After the bustling energy of the San Yue San festivities subsided, the group resumed kung fu trai-ning with renewed vigor. First, we were introduced to the Heavenly set of Da Gong exercises, hard
qigong designed to strengthen the bones, muscles, tendons and internal organs. In the Chun Yang system of Da Gong there are 3 sets, Heaven, Human and Earth; the Heaven set comprising 9 standing exercises involving hitting oneself in various areas, the Human set involving various external implements and objects such a trees, and the Earth set involving flinging oneself onto the ground from various angles and heights. The Earth set is the hardest. After a few days training, it was apparent to all that the effects are not only limited to protecting against the blows of an opponent, but also has strong health benefits such as opening and detoxifying to reach areas of the body, on deep and superficial levels. Emphasis later in the week shifted to Dan Tian Da Gong, in order to remove blockages from this area, and prepare from a forthcoming “examination”, which will most likely involve taking strong hits to the abdomen. This week also saw the group commence study of the unique Wu Dang Wu Long Ba Gua Zhang form, emerging from the Wu Long Gong 5 Dragons temple in Wudang, with its roots stretching back to Daoist immortal Lü Dongbin in the Tang Dynasty. It is one of, if not the, most difficult and high level forms in the Chinese martial arts world. The form comes from a time before more well known Daoist martial arts systems such as Bagua, Xingyi and Taiji. As a result it comprises many elements of these systems synthesized together, all while retaining its own unmistakably individual characteristics. Upon first glance, it may seem to resemble Ba Gua due to the emphasis on circle walking, although there are a few key differences, the most obvious of which is that in this form the practitioner faces out of the circle, not towards the center. One reason for this is that it more effectively trains the stepping of the practitioner to deal with multiple opponents, rather than just circling around one single opponent. On a more advanced level, this form also involves ceremonial Daoist elements rarely found in other martial arts forms in the modern era. We were told this martial arts form can act as a channel for communication with higher realms and higher dimensions of existence. Later training involves integration of more advanced elements of Daoist study such as Jue (hand symbols), Zhou (incantations) and Fa (ceremonial methods) with the form. Opportunities to commence the study of such an intricate martial arts form with so many interwoven elements is undoubtedly a scarcity these days, and the group was thankful for being involved at this time.
To learn more about stepping patterns of that ancient form click link below: