Chinese martial Chi Kung was probably not developed until Da Mo wrote the Muscle/Tendon Changing Classic in the Shaolin Temple during the Liang dynasty (502-557 A.D.). When Shaolin monks trained Da Mo's Muscle/Tendon Changing Chi Kung, they found that they could not only improve their health but also greatly increase the power of their martial techniques. Since then, many martial styles have developed Chi Kung sets to increase their effectiveness. In addition, many martial styles have been created based on Chi Kung theory. Martial artists have played a major role in Chinese Chi Kung society.
When Chi Kung theory was first applied to the martial arts, it was used to increase the power and efficiency of the muscles. The theory is very simple - the mind (Yi) is used to lead Chi to the muscles to energize them so that they function more efficiently. The average person generally uses his muscles at under 40% maximum efficiency.
(*6). There are many reports in popular and professional literature of using Chi Kung to help or even cure many illnesses, including cancer. Many cases have been discussed in the Chinese Chi Kung journals. One book which describes the use of Chi Kung to cure cancer is New Chi Kung for Preventing and Curing Cancer (IfiiiJftPJjjfjJSiSi! ), by Yeh Ming, Chinese Yoga Publications, Taiwan, 1986.
If one can train his concentration and use his strong Yi (the mind generated from clear thinking) to lead Chi to the muscles effectively, he will be able to energize the muscles to a higher level and, therefore, increase his fighting effectiveness.
As acupuncture theory became better understood, fighting techniques were able to reach even more advanced levels. Martial artists learned to attack specific areas, such as vital acupuncture cavities, to disturb the enemy's Chi flow and create imbalances which caused injury or even death. In order to do this, the practitioner must understand the route and timing of the Chi circulation in the human body. He also has to train so that he can strike the cavities accurately and to the correct depth. These cavity strike techniques are called "Dien Shiuh" (Pointing Cavities) or "Dim Mak" (Pointing Vessels).
Most of the martial Chi Kung practices help to improve the practitioner's health. However, there are other martial Chi Kung practices which, although they build up some special skill which is useful for fighting, also damage the practitioner s health. An example of this is Iron Sand Palm. Although this training can build up amazing destructive power, it can also harm your hands and affect the Chi circulation in the hands and the internal organs.
Since the 6th century, many martial styles have been created which were based on Chi Kung theory. They can be roughly divided into external and internal styles.
The external styles emphasize building Chi in the limbs to coordinate with the physical martial techniques. They follow the theory of Wai Dan (External Elixir) Chi Kung, which usually generates Chi in the limbs through special exercises. The concentrated mind is used during the exercises to energize the Chi. This increases muscular strength significantly, and therefore increases the effectiveness of the martial techniques. Chi Kung can also be used to train the body to resist punches and kicks. In this training, Chi is led to energize the skin and the muscles, enabling them to resist a blow without injury. This training is commonly called "Iron Shirt (Tiea Bu Shan) or "Golden Bell Cover" (Gin Jong Jaw). The martial styles which use Wai Dan Chi Kung training are normally called external styles (Wai Kung) or hard styles (Ying Kung). Shaolin Kung Fu is a typical example of a style which uses Wai Dan martial Chi Kung.
Although Wai Dan Chi Kung can help the martial artist increase his power, there is a disadvantage. Because Wai Dan Chi Kung emphasizes training the external muscles, it can cause over-develop-ment. This can cause a problem called "energy dispersion" (Sann Kung) when the practitioner gets older. In order to remedy this, when an external martial artist reaches a high level of external Chi Kung training he will start training internal Chi Kung, which specializes in curing the energy dispersion problem. That is why it is said "Shaolin Kung Fu from external to internal."
Internal Martial Chi Kung is based on the theory of Nei Dan (Internal Elixir). In this method, Chi is generated in the body instead of the limbs, and this Chi is then led to the limbs to increase power. In order to lead Chi to the limbs, the techniques must be soft and muscle usage must be kept to a minimum. The training and theory of Nei Dan martial Chi Kung is much more difficult than those of Wai Dan martial Chi Kung. Interested readers should refer to the author s book: "Advanced Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan - Tai Chi Theory and Tai Chi Jing."
Several internal martial styles were created in the Wuudang and Ermei Mountains. Popular styles are Tai Chi Chuan, Ba Kua, Liu Ho Ba Fa, and Hsing Yi. However, you should understand that even the internal martial styles, which are commonly called soft styles, must on some occasions use muscular strength while fighting. Therefore, once an internal martial artist has achieved a degree of competence in internal Chi Kung, he or she should also learn how to use harder, more external techniques. That is why it is said: "the internal styles are from soft to hard."
In the last fifty years, some of the Tai Chi Chi Kung or Tai Chi Chuan practitioners have developed training which is mainly for health, and is called "Wu Chi Chi Kung," which means "no extremities Chi Kung." Wu Chi is the state of neutrality which precedes Tai Chi, which is the state of complimentary opposites. When there are thoughts and feelings in your mind, there is Yin and Yang, but if you can still your mind you can return to the emptiness of Wu Chi. When you achieve this state your mind is centered and clear and your body relaxed, and your Chi is able to flow naturally and smoothly and reach the proper balance by itself. Wu Chi Chi Kung has become very popular in many parts of China, especially Shanghai and Canton.
You can see that, although Chi Kung is widely studied in Chinese martial society, the main focus of training was originally on increasing fighting ability rather than health. Good health was considered a by-product of the training. It was not until this century that the health aspect of martial Chi Kung started receiving greater attention. This is especially true in the internal martial arts. Please refer to the future YMAA in-depth Chi Kung book series! "Chi Kung and Martial Arts."
4. Religious Chi Kung - for Enlightenment or Buddhahood
Religious Chi Kung, though not as popular as other categories in China, is recognized as having achieved the highest accomplishments of all the Chi Kung categories. It used to be kept secret, and it is only in this century that it has been revealed to laymen.
In China, religious Chi Kung includes mainly Taoist and Buddhist Chi Kung. The main purpose of their training is striving for enlightenment, or what the Buddhists refer to as Buddhahood. They are looking for a way to lift themselves above normal human suffering, and to escape from the cycle of continual reincarnation. They believe that all human suffering is caused by the seven emotions and six desires. If you are still bound to these emotions and desires, you will reincarnate after your death. To avoid reincarna tion, you must train your spirit to reach a very high stage where it is strong enough to be independent after your death. This spirit will enter the heavenly kingdom and gain eternal peace. This training is hard to do in the everyday world, so practitioners frequently flee society and move into the solitude of the mountains, where they can concentrate all of their energies on self-cultivation.
Religious Chi Kung practitioners train to strengthen their internal Chi to nourish their spirit (Shen) until this spirit is able to survive the death of the physical body. Marrow/Brain Washing Chi Kung training is necessary to reach this stage. It enables them to lead Chi to the forehead, where the spirit resides, and raise the brain to a higher energy state. This training used to be restricted to only a few priests who had reached an advanced level. Tibetan Buddhists were also involved heavily in this training. Over the last two thousand years the Tibetan Buddhists, the Chinese Buddhists, and the Taoist have followed the same principles to become the three major religious schools of Chi Kung training.
This religious striving toward enlightenment or Buddhahood is recognized as the highest and most difficult level of Chi Kung. Many Chi Kung practitioners reject the rigors of this religious striving, and practice Marrow/Brain Washing Chi Kung solely for the purpose of longevity. It was these people who eventually revealed the secrets of Marrow/Brain Washing to the outside world. If you are interested in knowing more about this training, you may refer to: "Muscle/Tendon Changing and Marrow/Brain Washing Chi Kung' by Dr. Yang.
Chi theory and Chi Kung were not applied to the Chinese martial arts until the late Liang dynasty (502-557 A.D.). This Chi Kung can be classified as either "external" or "internal.' The external styles energize the muscles in the limbs with Chi so that they can manifest their maximum strength. Naturally, such training also develops the muscles. The internal styles believe that, in order for the physical body to manifest its maximum power, the most important thing was learning how to circulate and build up the Chi. Only then could the physical body be energized effectively. Their training therefore focused on circulating and building up the Chi internally. To do this, the body must remain relaxed and, to a degree, soft. Tai Chi Chuan belongs to this internal category.
It is said that Tai Chi Chuan was created by Chang San-Feng in the Song Wei Tzong era (c. 1101 A.D.). It is also said that techniques and forms with the same basic principles were already in existence during the Liang dynasty (502-557 A.D.), and were being taught by Han Goong-Yeuh, Chen Ling-Shii, and Chen Bi. Later, in the Tarng dynasty (713-905 A.D.), it was found that Sheu Hsuan-Pin, Li Tao-Tzu, and Ien Li-Hen were teaching similar martial techniques. They were called Thirty-Seven Postures (San Shih Chi Shih), Post-Heaven Techniques (Hou Tian Faa), or Small Nine Heaven (Sheau Jeau Tian), which had seventeen postures. The accuracy of these accounts is questionable, so it is not really known when and by whom Tai Chi Chuan was created. Because there is more formal history recorded about Chang San-Feng, he has received most of the credit.
According to the historical record Nan Lei Gi Wang Jeng Nan Moo Tzu Min: "Chang San-Feng, in the Song dynasty, was a Wuudang Taoist. Wei Tzong (a Song Emperor) summoned him, but the road was blocked and he couldn't come. At night, (Wei Tzong) dreamed Emperor Yuen (the first Gin emperor) taught him martial techniques. At dawn, he killed a hundred enemies by himself."(*7) Also, recorded in the Ming history Ming Shih Fan Gi Chwan: "Chang San-Feng, from Lieu Dong Yi county. Named Chuan-Yi. Also named Jiun-Bao. San-Feng was his nickname. Because he did not keep himself neat and clean, also called Chang Lar-Tar (Sloppy Chang). He was tall and big, shaped like a turtle, and had a crane's back. Large ears and round eyes. Beard long like a spear tassel. Wears only a priest's robe winter or summer. Will eat a bushel of food, or won't eat for several days or a few months. Can travel a thousand miles. Likes to have fun with people. Behaves as if nobody is around. Used to travel to Wuudang with his disciples. Built a simple cottage and lived inside. In the 24th year of Hung Wu (around 1939), Ming Tai Tzu (the first Ming emperor) heard of his name, and set a messenger to look for him but he couldn't be found. "(*8)
It was also recorded in the Ming dynasty in Ming Lan Yin Chi Shou Lei Kou: "Chang the Immortal, named Jiun-Bao, also named Chuan-Yi, nicknamed Shuan-Shuan, also called Chang Lar-Tar. In the third year of Tian Suen (1460 A.D.) he visited Emperor Ming Ying Tzong. A picture was drawn. The beard and mustache were straight, the back of the head had a tuft. Purple face and big stomach, with a bamboo hat in his hand. One the top of the picture was an inscription from the emperor honoring Chang as Ton Wei Sien Hua Jen Ren' (a genuine Taoist who finally discriminates and clearly understands much" (Figure 1-1X*9). The record is suspect, because if is were true, Chang San-Feng would have been at least 500 years old at that time.
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Other records state that Chang San-Feng's techniques were learned from the Taoist Fon Yi-Yuen. Another story tells that Chang San-Feng was an ancient hermit meditator. He saw a magpie fighting a snake, had a sudden understanding, and created Tai Chi Chuan.
After Chang San-Feng, there were Wang Tzong in Shaanxi province, Chen Ton-Jou in Wen County, Chang Soun-Shi in Hai Yen, Yeh Gi-Mei in Shyh Ming, Wang Tzong-Yeuh in San You, and Chiang Fa in Hebei. The Tai Chi techniques were passed down and divided into two major styles, southern and northern. Later, Chiang Fa passed his art to the Chen family at Chen Jar Gou (Chen Village) in Hwai Ching County, Henan. Tai Chi was then passed down for fourteen generations and divided into the Old and the New Styles. The Old style was carried on by Chen Chang-Shen and the New Style was created by Chen You-Ban.
The Old Style successor Chen Chang-Shen then passed the art down to his son, Ken-Yun, and his Chen relatives, Chen Hwai-Yuen and Chen Hwa-Mei. He also passed his Tai Chi outside of his family to Yang Lu-Shann and Li Bao-Kuai, both of Hebei province. This Old Style is called Thirteen Postures Old Form (Shih San Shih Lao Jiah). Later, Yang Lu-Shann passed it down to his two sons, Yang Ban-Huo and Yang Chien-Huo. Then, Chien-Huo passed the art to his two sons, Yang Shao-Huo and Yang Chen-Fu. This branch of Tai Chi Chuan is popularly called Yang Style. Also, Wu Chun-Yu learned from Yang Ban-Huo and started a well known Wu Style.
Also, Chen You-Ban passed his New Style to Chin Ching-Pin who created Tsao Bao Style Tai Chi Chuan. Wuu Yu-Larn learned the Old Style from Yang Lu-Shann and New Style from Chen Ching-Pin, and created Wuu Style Tai Chi Chuan. Li Yi-Yu learned the Wuu Style and created Li Style Tai Chi Chuan. Heh Wei-Jinn obtained his art from Li style and created Heh Style Tai Chi Chuan. Suen Luh-Tarng learned from Heh Style and created Suen Style.
Many people think that Chi Kung is a difficult subject to comprehend. In some ways, this is true. However, you must understand one thing: regardless of how difficult the Chi Kung theory and practice of a particular style are, the basic theory and principles are very simple and remain the same for all of the Chi Kung styles. The basic theory and principles are the roots of the entire Chi Kung practice. If you understand these roots, you will be able to grasp the key to the practice and grow. All of the Chi Kung styles originated from these roots, but each one has blossomed differently.
In this section we will discuss these basic theories and principles. With this knowledge as a foundation, you will be able to understand not only what you should be doing, but also why you are doing it. Naturally, it is impossible to discuss all of the basic Chi Kung ideas in such a short section. However, it will offer beginners the key to open the gate into the spacious, four thousand year old garden of Chinese Chi Kung. If you wish to know more about the theory of Chi Kung, please refer to: "The Root of Chinese Chi Kung" by Dr. Yang.
In order to use Chi Kung to maintain and improve your health, you must know that there is Chi in your body, and you must understand how it circulates and what you can do to insure that the circulation is smooth and strong.
You know from previous discussions that Chi is energy. It is a requirement for life. The Chi in your body cannot be seen, but it can be felt. This Chi can make your body feel too positive (too Yang) or • too negative (too Yin).
Imagine that your physical body is a machine, and your Chi is the current that makes it run. Without the current the machine is dead and unable to function. For example, when you pinch yourself, you feel pain. Have you ever thought "how do I feel pain?" You might answer that it is because you have a nervous system in your body which perceives the pinch and sends a signal to the brain. However, there is more to it than that. The nervous system is material, and if it didn't have energy circulating in it, it wouldn't function. Chi is the energy which makes the nervous system and the other parts of your body work. When you pinch your skin, that area
* stimulated and the Chi field is disturbed. Your brain is designed "D sense this and other disturbances, and to interpret the cause.
According to Chinese Chi Kung and medicine, the Chi in your body is divided into two categories: Managing Chi (Ying ChiXwhich is •ften called Nutritive Chi) and Guardian Chi (Wey Chi). The Managing Chi is the energy which has been sent to the organs so that they can function. The Guardian Chi is the energy which has been sent to the surface of the body to form a shield to protect you from irgative outside influences such as cold. In order to keep yourself healthy, you must learn how to manage these two Chi efficiently so they can serve you well.
Chi is classified as Yin because it can only be felt, while the physical body is classified as Yang because it can be seen. Yin is the root and source of the life which animates the Yang body (physical body) and manifests power or strength externally. Therefore, when the Chi ; strong, the physical body can function properly and be healthy, and it can manifest a lot of power or strength.
In order to have a strong and healthy body, you must learn how keep the Chi circulating in your body smoothly, and you must also > .earn how to build up an abundant store of Chi. In order to reach these two goals, you must first understand the Chi circulatory and storage system in your body.
Chinese doctors discovered long ago that the human body has twelve major channels and eight vessels through which the Chi circulates. The twelve channels are like rivers which distribute Chi throughout the body, and also connect the extremities (fingers and toes) to the internal organs. I would like to point out here that the internal organs" of Chinese medicine do not necessarily correspond to the physical organs as understood in the West, but rather to a set of clinical functions similar to each other, and related to the organ system. The eight vessels, which are often referred to as the extraordinary vessels, function like reservoirs and regulate the distribution and circulation of Chi in your body.
When the Chi in the eight reservoirs is full and strong, the Chi in the rivers is strong and will be regulated efficiently. When there is stagnation in any of these twelve channels or rivers, the Chi which flows to the body's extremities and to the internal organs will be abnormal, and illness may develop. You should understand that every channel has its particular Chi flow strength, and every channel is different. All of these different levels of Chi strength are affected by your mind, the weather, the time of day, the food you have eaten, and even your mood. For example, when the weather is dry the Chi in the lungs will tend to be more positive than when it is moist. When you are angry, the Chi flow in your liver channel will be abnormal. The Chi strength in the different channels varies throughout the day in a regular cycle, and at any particular time one channel is strongest. For example, between 11 AM and 1 PM the Chi flow in the heart channel is the strongest. Furthermore, the Chi level of the same organ can be different from one person to another.
Whenever the Chi flow in the twelve rivers or channels is not normal, the eight reservoirs will regulate the Chi flow and bring it back to normal. For example, when you experience a sudden shock, the Chi flow in the bladder immediately becomes deficient. Normally the reservoir will immediately regulate the Chi in this channel so that you recover from the shock. However, if the reservoir Chi is also deficient, or if the effect of the shock is too great and there is not enough time to regulate the Chi, the bladder will suddenly contract, causing unavoidable urination.
When a person is sick because of an injury, his Chi level tends to be either too positive (excessive, Yang) or too negative (deficient, Tin). A Chinese physician would either use a prescription of herbs to adjust the Chi, or else he would insert acupuncture needles at various spots on the channels to inhibit the flow in some channels and stimulate the flow in others, so that balance can be restored. However, there is another alternative, and that is to use certain physical and mental exercises to adjust the Chi. In other words, to use Chi Kung.
In the last twenty years, Western medicine has gradually begun to accept the existence of Chi and its circulation in the human body. Several studies indicate that what the Chinese call " Chi" is the bioelectric circulation in the body. It is now generally accepted by Western medicine that imbalance of the bioelectric current is a major cause of most illness. Modern science is now learning many things which will help us to better understand Chi Kung, and will also increase Western medicine's willingness to accept the validity of Chi Kung.
If Chi is the bioelectricity circulating in the human body, in order to maintain the circulation of Chi or bioelectricity there must be an EMF (electromagnetic force) generating an electric potential difference. It is like an electric circuit, which must be hooked up to a battery or other source of EMF before there can be a current.
There are two main purposes in Chi Kung training: first, to maintain the smooth circulation of Chi (bioelectricity), and second, to fill up the Chi vessels (Chi reservoirs) with Chi. In order to have smooth circulation of Chi we must regulate the electric potential difference which controls the Chi flow, and also remove all sources of resistance in the path of the circulation. In order to fill up the Chi vessels, we need to know how to increase the charge in our "battery."
At this point you may ask, "If we keep increasing the EMF of the battery (Chi reservoirs), won't the excess Chi flow overheat the circuit (make it too Yang)?" The answer is yes, this can happen. However, your body is different from a regular electric circuit in that it is alive and can change. When the Chi flow becomes stronger, your body will react and build itself up so that it can accept this new Chi flow. Chi Kung should be trained slowly and carefully so that, as you build up the Chi stored in your channels, your body has time to readjust itself. All of this also makes your body stronger and healthier.
You can see that the key to Chi Kung practice is, in addition to removing resistance from the Chi channels, maintaining or increas ing the Chi level (EMF) in the Chi reservoirs (battery). What are the energy sources in our daily life which supply energy to our body, or, expressed differently, what are the sources by which the EMF can be increased in the body's bioelectric circuit, which would increase the flow of bioelectricity? There are four major sources.
L Natural Energy. Since your body is of electrically conductive material, its electromagnetic field is always affected by the sun, the moon, clouds, the earth's magnetic field, and by the other energy around you. The major influences are the sun's radiation, the moon's gravity, and the earth's magnetic field. These affect your Chi circulation significantly, and are therefore responsible for the pattern of your Chi circulation since you were formed. We are now also being greatly affected by the energy generated by modern technology, such as the electromagnetic waves generated by radios, TVs, microwave ovens, computer monitors, and many other things.
2. Food and Air. In order to maintain life, we take in food and air Essence through the mouth and nose. These Essences are then converted into Chi through biochemical reaction in the chest and digestive system (called Triple Burners in Chinese medicine). When the Chi is converted from the Essence, an EMF is generated which circulates the Chi throughout the body. A major part of Chi Kung is devoted to getting the proper kinds of food and fresh air.
3. Thinking. The human mind is the most important*and efficient source of bioelectric EMF. Any time you move to do something you must first generate an idea (Yi). This idea generates the EMF and leads the Chi to energize the appropriate muscles to carry out the desired motion. The more you can concentrate, the stronger the EMF you can generate, and the stronger the flow of Chi you can lead. Naturally, the stronger the flow of Chi you lead to the muscles, the more they will be energized. Because of this, the mind is considered the most important factor in Chi Kung training.
4. Exercise. Exercise converts the food Essence (fat) stored in your body into Chi, and therefore builds up the EMF. Many Chi Kung styles have been created which utilize movement for this purpose.
In Tai Chi Chi Kung, the mind and the movements are the two major sources of EMF, though the other two sources are also involved. For example, when you practice in the early morning you can absorb energy from the sun. When you meditate facing the south in the evening you align yourself with the earth's magnetic field. It is also advisable to eliminate greasy and other undesirable foods from your diet, and, if possible, to practice in the mountains where the air is fresh and clear.
Before you start your Chi Kung training, you must first understand the three treasures of life - Jieng (Essence), Chi (Internal Energy), and Shen (Spirit) - as well as their interrelationship. If you lack this understanding, you are missing the root of Chi Kung training, as well as the basic idea of Chi Kung theory. The main goals of Chi Kung training are to learn how to retain your Jieng, strengthen and smooth your Chi flow, and enlighten your Shen. To reach these goals you must learn how to regulate the body (Tyau Shenn), regulate the mind (Tyau Hsin), regulate the breathing (Tyau Shyi), regulate the Chi (Tyau Chi), and regulate the Shen (Tyau Shen).
Regulating the body includes understanding how to find and build the root of the body, as well as the root of the individual forms you are practicing. To build a firm root, you must know how to keep your center, how to balance your body, and most important of all, how to relax so that the Chi can flow.
Regulating the mind involves learning how to keep your mind calm, peaceful, and centered, so that you can judge situations objectively and lead Chi to the desired places. The mind is the main key to success in Chi Kung practice.
lb regulate your breathing, you must learn how to breathe so that your breathing and your mind mutually correspond and cooperate. When you breathe this way, your mind will be able to attain peace more quickly, and therefore concentrate more easily on leading the Chi.
Regulating the Chi is one of the ultimate goals of Chi Kung practice. In order to regulate your Chi effectively you must first have regulated your body, mind, and breathing. Only then will your mind be clear enough to sense how the Chi is distributed in your body, and understand how to adjust it.
For Buddhist priests, who seek the enlightenment of the Buddha, regulating the Shen is the final goal of Chi Kung. This enables them to maintain a neutral, objective perspective of life, and this perspective is the eternal life of the Buddha. The average Chi Kung practitioner has lower goals. He raises his Shen in order to increase his concentration and enhance his vitality. This makes it possible for him to lead Chi effectively to his entire body so that it carries out the managing and guarding duties. This maintains his health and slows down the aging process.
If you understand these few things you will be able to quickly enter into the field of Chi Kung. Without all of these important elements, your training will be ineffective and your time will be wasted.
Three Treasures - Jieng, Chi, and Shen
Before you start any Chi Kung training you must first understand the three treasures (San Bao): Jieng (Essence), Chi (Internal Energy), and Shen (Spirit). They are also called the three origins or the three roots (San Yuan), because they are considered the origins and roots of your life. Jieng means Essence, the most original and refined part. Jieng is the original source and most basic part of every living thing, and determines its nature and characteristics. It is the root of life. Sperm is called Jieng Tzyy, which means "Essence of the Son," because it contains the Jieng of the father which is passed on to his son (or daughter) and becomes the son's Jieng.
Chi is the internal energy of your body. It is like the electricity which passes through a machine to keep it running. Chi comes either from the conversion of the Jieng which you have received from your parents, or from the food you eat and the air you breathe.
Shen is the center of your mind and being. It is what makes you human, because animals do not have a Shen. The Shen in your body must be nourished by your Chi or energy. When your Chi is full, your Shen will be enlivened.
Chinese meditators and Chi Kung practitioners believe that the body contains two general types of Chi. The first type is called Pre-birth Chi, and it comes from converted Original Jieng, which you get from your parents at conception. The second type, which is called Post-birth Chi, is drawn from the Jieng of the food and air we take in. When this Chi flows or is led to the brain, it can energize the Shen and soul. This energized and raised Shen is able to lead the Chi to the entire body.
Each one of these three elements or treasures has its own root. You must know the roots so that you can strengthen and protect your three treasures.
1. Your body requires many kinds of Jieng. Except for the Jieng which you inherent from your parents, which is called Original Jieng (Yuan Jieng), all other Jiengs must be obtained from food and air. Among all of these Jiengs, Original Jieng is the most important one. It is the root and the seed of your life, and your basic strength. If your parents were strong and healthy, your Original Jieng will be strong and healthy, and you will have a strong foundation on which to grow. The Chinese people believe that in order to stay healthy and live a long life, you must protect and maintain this Jieng.
The root of Original Jieng (Yuan Jieng) before your birth was in your parents. After birth this Original Jieng stays in its residence - the kidneys, which are considered the root of your Jieng. When you keep this root strong, you will have sufficient Original Jieng to supply to your body. Although you cannot increase the amount of Original Jieng you have, Chi Kung training can improve the quality of your Jieng. Chi Kung can also teach you how to convert your Jieng into Original Chi more efficiently, and how to use this Chi effectively.
2. Chi is converted both from the Jieng which you have inherited from your parents and from the Jieng which you draw from the food and air you take in. Chi that is converted from the Original Jieng which you inherited is called Original Chi (Yuan
Chi).(*10) Just as Original Jieng is the most important type of Jieng, Original Chi is the most important type of Chi. It is pure and of high quality, while the Chi from food and air may make your body too positive or too negative, depending on how and where you absorb it. When you retain and protect your Original Jieng, you will be able to generate Original Chi in a pure, continuous stream. As a Chi Kung practitioner, you must know how to convert your Original Jieng into Original Chi in a smooth, steady stream.
Since your Original Chi comes from your Original Jieng, they both have the kidneys for their root. When your kidneys are strong, the Original Jieng is strong, and the Original Chi converted from this Original Jieng will also be full and strong. This Chi resides in the Lower Dan Tien in your abdomen. Once you learn how to convert your Original Jieng, you will be able to supply your body with all the Chi it needs.
3. Shen is the force which keeps you alive. It has no substance, but it gives expression and appearance to your Jieng. Shen is also the control tower for the Chi. When your Shen is strong, your Chi is strong and you can lead it efficiently. The root of Shen (Spirit) is your mind (Yi, or intention). When your brain is energized and stimulated, your mind will be more aware and you will be able to concentrate more intensely. Also, your Shen will be raised. Advanced Chi Kung practitioners believe that your brain must always be sufficiently nourished by your Chi. It is the Chi which keeps your mind clear and concentrated. With an abundant Chi supply, the mind can be energized, and can raise the Shen and enhance your vitality. The deeper levels of Chi Kung training include the conversion of Jieng into Chi, which is then led to the brain to raise the Shen. This process is called "Faan Jieng Buu Nao" (*11) and means return the Jieng to nourish the brain." When Chi is led to the head, it stays at the the Upper Dan Tien (center of forehead), which is the residence of your Shen. Chi and Shen are mutually related. When your Shen is weak, your Chi is weak, and your body will degenerate rapidly. Shen is the headquarters of Chi. Likewise, Chi supports the Shen, energizing it and keeping it sharp, clear, and strong. If the Chi in your body is weak, your Shen will also be weak.
(*10). Before birth you have no Chi of your own, but rather you use your mother's Chi. When you are born, you start creating Chi from the Original Jieng which you received from your parents. This Chi is called Pre-birth Chi, as well as Original Chi. It is also called Pre-heaven Chi (Shian Tian Chi) because it comes from the Original Jieng which you received before you saw the heavens (which here means the sky), i.e. before your birth.
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