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Opposing 10,000 Men

To master Mantis Boxing requires the training of gung. Without the training of gung Mantis Boxing can not be mastered.

Jinnaluo originally labored in the kitchen of Shaolin. When the temple came under attack by the Red Turbans he single handedly scared away the hordes of bandits with his stove poker. Later, he occupied the seat of the monastery's guardian spirit. A diety with the strength and bravery to oppose 10,000 men!
Picture from a Ming Dynasty staff fighting manual

The training of gung harmonizes three aspects of our self:

  1. The body
  2. The respiration
  3. The mind or spirit

Our goal is a prolonged life and a lucid mind. It can be said that the purpose of our life is to follow our spiritual path. Only with a healthy body and a clear mind is following our spiritual path possible.

This is the idea behind Damo's teaching of exercises to Buddhist monks at Shaolin 1500 years ago. Whether that really happened or not does not take away from the fact that it has been a popular story for many centuries that Damo taught kung fu exercises to the monks of Shaolin to strengthen their spiritual practice and defend their temple.

Summary of Yin and Yang of Gung Fu

Within the gung of Mantis Boxing is a summary of the training in three parts. yin yang

  1. How we may have the strength and bravery to oppose 10,000 men.
  2. The requirements to complete this training.
  3. The effects of incorrect training.

Summary of Yin and Yang of Gung Fu discusses the key terms qi, jing and spirit.

Qi and Jing

Qi is that which moves throughout our body. Essence or jing is that which becomes concentrated.

fireOn its most basic level our qi is breath and our essence is jing or semen. Our qi and essence are represented by the yang principle.

Since fire is also yang it is sometimes taken to mean our qi and essence. Fire is also taken to mean the heart for it is like a burning furnace which warms the kidney water.

Mind and Spirit

waterYin represents mind or spirit whose thoughts lie hidden like the shadows of darkness. Yin sinks like water while kidneys move the water, so the terms yin, spirit, water and kidney are used to describe each other. This keeps the practitioner mindful of the properties of mind and kidney.

Kidneys are the chief yin organ. The kidneys control and aid the fire of the heart. Since fire also affects the water attributes of the kidneys they are often said to be mutually aiding.

Mutually aiding water and fire as well as harmonizing yin and yang refer to our mind, qi and essence as well as our kidney and heart.

Mutual aiding of water and fire means the heart and kidneys aid and balance each other. For the average person this is a way to say that a healthy mind and body is a balanced mind and body.

The Power to Master Mantis Boxing

The physical aspect of the gung are postures which work to keep our internal organs in balance so that they work together in harmony. In other words, the functions of organs such as kidney and heart as well as functions relating to them can be strengthened or regulated by certain physical exercises. This is the underlying basis of the postures of yoga and something in common with the gung of Mantis Boxing.

This strengthening of the internal organs provides the power to master Mantis Boxing.

The original summary,

This is the summary of the yin and yang of gung fu. When the gung is complete and the strength attained mastery is accomplished. After mastery one can oppose  10,000 men.

Using this gung is no children's game. It requires the training of qi and the stabilizing of one's essence for 100 days in order for water and fire to mutually aid and for yin and yang to correspond. Then you can attain the bravery of 10,000 men.

Otherwise, to train the qi without stabilizing jing or stabilizing jing without refining qi unbalances water and fire and puts yin and yang out of harmony.

In such a situation your limitless gung fu becomes useless in the end.

The Carp Stands Up

Caution! For those who have never trained back bend exercises, or have not done them recently, there is a very real danger of injury. Students should practice these exercises under the guidance of an experienced master!

Following the Summary of Yin and Yang of Gung Fu is the posture Carp Stands Up, pictured here.

Bend the waist protrude the belly use all the body's strength.

Seal the anus regulate the qi.

Harmonize yin and yang stretch the myriad joints.

Each joint has to adopt to its own qi.

In practicing the gung don't release the qi.

To let go you must let out the qi

With a sincere heart and mind success is guaranteed.

The Carp Stands Up from Luohan Gung

Within the well known exercise Luohan Gung is the very same posture. The text is somewhat different.

Hands and feet grasp the earth press the body up.

Apply all your strength, blood and qi spring forth.

Bend the waist protrude the belly harmonize the joints and bones.

Unless your strength is forceful otherwise success is not achieved.

A body durable and strong is not easy to obtain.

Regulate the respiration with orderly repetition.

The roads of 18 gates are yet to be completed.

You should constantly keep in mind in how to perform them as one.

Not everyone can perform a back bend with powerful strength. Either by injury, age or maybe new to the training, some people find this exercise too difficult to perform or they can only hold it for a few seconds, not long enough to receive any benefit.

Fish on the Wall

For those who have difficulty developing the speed and strength of carp stands up there is a step by step process. This is to start the practice with your back to the wall. Stretch your hands behind you until you reach the wall and walk your way down the wall. The picture shows the movement just as you make contact with the wall.








Attach to the wall like the bending of a bow.

Turn your face toward the sky fill your chest with qi.

Press your feet flat and apply all your strength.

Pull and turn wei lu keep the waist suspended.

The key is in always nourishing your respiration.

Attaining strong tendons and durable bones is not an easy task.

Don't discard this gung as useless.

Curtailing wine and lust provides a speedy attainment.

Pulling Wei Lu

Wei Lu is known in the West as GV-1. The first point of the governing vessel. The governing vessel can be said to lead or govern the yang of the body. This point is needled in acupuncture to extend the strength of the kidneys or to treat conditions of weak kidneys.

Governing vessel depicted in 1624 Lei Jing

The governing vessel meridian is shown here from start to finish. Wei lu is located at the base of the spine.

wei lu pointHere is a close up of the section with wei lu, it is the point at the bottom. Wei lu is an alternate name, the point name is written here as chang qiang.

Carp stands up requires us to push wei lu as far away from the ground as possible. A posture which is physically difficult and requiring great strength also works to strengthen our kidneys.

Training Mind and Spirit

The power of the mind increases when we gain control over it. We control the mind by learning to quiet the mind. From first to last it is to lead the qi with the mind. With a mind under our conscious control we focus and direct it as we wish all while exploring ever deeper our own inner subtleties. Through this yoga posture we adjust and harmonize our inner organs. With a harmonized internal body do we make our thoughts and concentration strong.

That is why kung fu and Mantis Boxing are a life long practice. Not only do we train the body, but we train the mind and spirit[

For more on qi read The Revolving Wheel of Water and Fire

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