Hold Up the Sky
and Move Your Qi
Through thought and posture you can move your life
your body. Moving and manipulating your qi
strengthens your internal organs and makes your body
better able to withstand the beatings of martial arts
training. To concentrate and manipulate the qi
you must have a location to focus the mind. In our
family of Mantis Boxing the three main locations are
called 'lower, middle and upper yuan
The Origin of Life
means 'origin' and
can be taken to mean our source of energy. The choice of
the character yuan
by Praying Mantis
kung fu is unusual, normally the character
原 yuan is used.
makes up the term
our original or primordial
passed down to us at the creation of our essence and
spirit. It is a transmission of energy from our parents
and their parents before them that stretches back to the
very beginning of life's creation and from that original
creation it has been transmitted through the countless eons until
finally filling you with your life. Developing the
potential of your
yuan qi develops your vitality and spirit.
Our Cauldron of Cinnabar
The lower yuan is commonly known as the dan
'field of red.' The area under your belly is likened to a
field, the character tian
田 shows the
arrangement of the plots of earth. Cinnabar is colored
red, the character dan
丹 is a picture of a cauldron with a dot
for the cinnabar. The
idea is that here is your field of cinnabar.
Figuratively, dan tian means that our cauldron
is filled with cinnabar.
Literally speaking, when cinnabar
is smelted it produces mercury. This has been known by
humankind for over 10,000 years. Mining cinnabar is extremely harmful to health producing
such effects as shaking, loss of sense, and death. It
has been conjectured that China went through a
historical period around 2000 years ago where
practitioners literally smelted and ingested cinnabar.
Such a practice would quickly produce severe mercury
Instead, the idea that the ancients want us to grasp
about our 'field of cinnabar' is that our spirit is
refined by exercising the mind on the dan tian. To
explain this thought and breath process, the
analogy of turning cinnabar to mercury is used, an ancient
process dating back many thousands of years. Cinnabar is
that precious material that we refine into mercury. Mercury represents our spirit and the dan tian is
the place where we refine the vitality of our spirit.
This symbology is the way the ancients have passed on to
us the subtle method of developing our spirit. We
develop the strength of our spirit through
exercising the qi on the dan tian.
Eight Sections of
This article explains the
method of moving the qi to the three yuan
in the first exercise of Ba Duan Jing
八段錦 - Eight
Sections of Brocade.
The middle yuan is at the xyphoid process and the
upper yuan is located at the middle of the
sternum. These are the first locations used in Eight
Sections of Brocade.
Grand Ultimate Praying Mantis Boxing has several
exercises that require an intimate knowledge of the
three yuan one of these being Eight
Sections of Brocade. The Praying Mantis version is named
after the famous Taoist immortal Tai Yi Zhen Ren
popularized in the novel Fengshen Bang
published in the 1550's. In Praying Mantis boxing the
complete name of Eight Sections of Brocade is
Realized Immortal Tai Yis Eight Sections of Brocade
Body Training Method Formula
It has eight exercises of breathing and stretching that
are built on a theory of fundamental breathing methods
that matches other exercises of praying mantis kung fu.
Li Kunshan, famous praying mantis master,
is the essential key to developing your body,
training your mind and enhancing your beauty. When
teaching it transmit it faithfully.
Taiyi Zhen Ren - Realized Immortal Taiyi
Moving the Hands
The first exercise is called
'support the sky with a
qi - shuang shou tuo tian yi qi hao
exercise develops our physical sensation of qi by moving qi through each of
the three yuan. To train this move you start with
a short exercise called xing shou
To perform xing shou: First finish ping qi
with the hands at the side of the legs. Raise the palms
and squeeze them into fists as you pull the qi
Li Kunshan wrote it likes this
As the hands make a fist and reside in
simultaneously push the qi to the top, middle and
strength required to support the sky is a great effort
requiring a calm mind. Likewise, in this exercise you must calm your
mind and regulate your respiration-this is the so called
The importance of ping qi: Ping qi
pacifies the mind and is the psychic and spiritual root
of our training. It can be performed for a multiple of
three breathes such as 9, 18, 36 etc.'
Moving the Qi
the qi to the lower yuan:
Stand with your heels squeezed together. Pull the fists
up to the height of the upper yuan then sink them
to the height of the lower yuan as you push out
at the lower yuan. To the left, the hands are at
the height of the lower yuan.
the qi to the middle yuan: Inhale and pull
your fists up to the height of the middle yuan.
Once here push out until you feel a force from inside
your body pushing at the middle yuan.
the qi to the upper yuan: Inhale and pull
your fists up to the height of the upper yuan as
you expand your chest with qi. This picture can
be see at left.
To expel the qi:
Squeeze the arms in and use the upper body to squeeze
all the qi together inside the body. Force the
hands up with a big exhalation.
This is the exercise
called support the sky with a
qi. Be sure to practice it diligently with a will
of firm determination.
During the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the era when
Eight Sections of Brocade
first appears, brocade weaving became highly developed. It was applied to clothing as well
as painted scrolls (some preserved to the present day). The artisans made the colors melt into each other
by the process of mixing strands of colors of nearly the
same hue to achieve an unusual artistic effect.
Like the value of
this weaving skill, the method of developing your qi
is a great treasure to be cherished and practiced