Exploring Shaolin martial arts from 72 Kung Fu Arts

During the period of the Republic of China, Mr. Jin Jingzhong, a famous martial arts master, compiled 72 kinds of soft and hard skills according to the oral instruction of Miao Xing abbot of Shaolin Temple. Now, taking “seventy-two skills of Shaolin” as a reference, this paper analyzes the characteristics and originality of Shaolin’s martial arts practice. (editor’s note: the details of the 72 art of Shaolin have been published in this journal and can be consulted by readers.)

Mainly hard work, mostly hand work

Shaolin hard work refers to the practice of fighting or enhancing the effect of fighting. As the secret of Shaolin boxing said: “when you have achieved your Kung Fu, you will have flexible muscles, solid bones and flesh. You can concentrate on your breath when you move your blood. If you want to be lucky between your fingertips, arms and waist, you will go there when you move your mind. If you fight with people, you will hurt your skin and feet everywhere. It’s impossible to cure. The function of Qigong is divine.” It shows that the hard work of Shaolin has a unique fighting ability.

Although there are many kinds of skills and soft and hard lightness skills in the seventy-two skill practice of Shaolin, there are as many as 57 kinds of hard skills. Shaolin hard work occupies such a large proportion, just in line with the style and characteristics of Shaolin boxing school. Shaolin boxing school mainly highlights the word “hard”. It is famous for its strength and bravery. The form of exercise is simple and compact in ancient times. It is vigorous and brave. In terms of technique and usage, the boxing is straight, hard attack is straight, and voice is used to boost the morale. At the same time, it uses deep breathing method and combination of internal and external three harmonies to make the whole body as hard as iron stone and as fast as a dragon.

Among the hard skills of Shaolin, hand skills are the most, reaching 26 kinds. It emphasizes the practice of hand skills, as the Shaolin rhyme says:

Shaolin’s technique is ingenious and nimble. It rises and falls in accordance with the law.

After carving, hands are like swallows, while before carving, hands are like harriers.

Attack hard and defend with both hands. Fall like bricks and rise like wind.

The hair is like a tiger throwing at a sheep, and the hair is like a dragon.

The application of technique in actual combat mainly includes pushing, grabbing, cuddling, throwing, chopping, chopping, picking, pressing, wrapping, pulling and supporting. Therefore, technique plays an important role in Shaolin martial arts. It is expressed by the technique and strength of fist, palm, hook and finger, such as iron sand palm, nail pulling method, Eagle Claw force, one finger zen, etc. In Shaolin Wushu, the first refers to the golden needle finger, the second refers to the golden scissor finger, the third refers to the three Yang fingers, the fourth refers to the golden shovel finger, and the five fingers together are called palms. In the secret of Shaolin boxing, it emphasizes the use of finger skill, compares the fist, palm and finger, and emphasizes that “fist has no palm power, palm has no finger essence, and finger is the pioneer of palm”. Therefore, through the practice of various finger skills, the strength and hardness of the knuckles will be increased, acting on points, thrusts and presses, mainly attacking the enemy’s eyes, nose, throat and other weak parts, so as to win the victory. At the same time, the practice of finger skill is also the basic skill of Shaolin acupoint practice.

All over the body

In Shaolin practical practice, the parts of practice are all over the whole body, especially in hard skills, the head, feet, waist, legs, arms and other parts of the body are practiced all over the body, plus various forms of soft and lightness skills, it has a strong power. Therefore, there is a saying in boxing: “practice one breath inside and one’s muscles and bones outside.”. By using the inner Dantian Qi, we can lead the Qi with the will, reach the Qi with the will, and practice with the external muscles and skin to form a harmonious and unified whole.

Shaolin boxing has the theory of “ten fists of human body”, that is, there are ten parts of the body that can defeat the enemy. The ten fists are one fist for the head, one fist for the shoulder, one fist for the elbow, one fist for the palm, one fist for the fist, one fist for the finger, one fist for the arm, one fist for the crotch, one fist for the knee and one fist for the foot. These parts can be as solid as a rock, as hard as steel, and as agile as a dragon through extraordinary practice. In the actual combat, the whole body is integrated and full of fists. In various situations, you can use all parts of your body to not hit each other, so that they lose their fighting power and surrender. At the same time, they can withstand the enemy’s blows. Some parts even have no pain, internal organs are not damaged, and they can play the skill level, show the martial arts prestige of Shaolin, so as to defeat the opponent.

Based on internal skill practice, emphasis on both internal and external training

As an exhibition of external physical strength, hard work shows the limits of muscles, bones, skin and other parts, while internal skill and its basic principles play an important role. At the beginning of Qigong elucidation, the secret of Shaolin boxing, it is said that the school of jujitsu is very complex, and Qigong should always be the principle. Qigong here refers to the control of Qi and blood and the control of breath of various internal and external skills in Shaolin martial arts. Based on the internal skill practice, it is shown in the following three aspects.

1.Guide blood and dredge blood vessels, both internal and external

There are two interpretations of “Qi” by Shaolin Kung Fu, one is to refine Qi and the other is to Nourish Qi. “Qi” is a basic material to maintain human life activities, and it is the functional expression of human physiological activities in the heart and the bowels. Nourishing Qi refers to using the basic concept of Buddhist meditation to make Qi and blood Lord Zhang Ping, Jing, Qing as a daily life style, through various forms of cultivation, so that people’s body and mind, body and posture can be reconciled, so there is a saying of “no mind, self-cleaning spirit, clear mind and mind”. The essence of refining Qi is to “use the Qi as the effect, take the huff and puff as the work, take the softness as the main purpose, take the hardness as the extreme”. Through various forms of movement, take the idea as the main purpose, take the meridians as the channel, make the Qi and blood in the body reach the body under the guidance of consciousness, swim in the membrane, collaterals and collaterals, and finally reach all parts of the body, “Qi also moves, blood also moves, Qi and blood transport, and the whole body passes through”. Therefore, there is a saying in Shaolin boxing that “when practicing, Qi and blood are in harmony with each other, and Qi and blood are flourishing and the skill is self-improvement”. The whole physiological operation mechanism is to make the blood flow smoothly, at the same time, with the body training, to achieve strong muscles and bones, showing the overall role of internal and external repair.

2.Eliminate distractions and concentrate

All kinds of exercises are based on the premise of “concentration and concentration of essence, meditation and Qi”. The purpose is to keep the body and mind free from external interference, eliminate all kinds of distractions, and consciously enter a relaxed, peaceful and natural state. Its physiological mechanism is that the activity of the sympathetic nervous system is weakened, the interference to the outside world is reduced, and the physiological and biochemical process of the human body is in the best state, that is, the so-called “Taishan falls to my side, the East China Sea leans to my right, the heart is calm, and the place is as plain”. So that the body and mind gradually enter the realm of “meditation, beyond the fear of life and death”, at the same time, it can also alleviate the stress response of the cerebral cortex to the whole, and provide favorable conditions for the adjustment and recovery of the body.

3.Medical care and physical fitness

Among all kinds of skills in Shaolin, except that the soft and hard skills belong to self-defense and actual combat against the enemy, there are also some skills that are used to improve human function, prevent diseases and strengthen health care by referring to ancient health care and guidance techniques in China. We call them Shaolin health care and health care.

For example, the movement of “four section skill” in 72 art is similar to that of “eight section brocade” in ancient times. It is simple, convenient and practical. It can not only be used as a health care skill alone, but also be applied to the basic exercises before the exercises of various soft and hard skills. So “after success, not rely on strong physique, and for the foundation of practicing boxing.”.

In addition, there are surface, ear, eye, nose, mouth, tooth and other health functions.

Pay attention to the regularity of practice

The seventy-two arts practiced by Shaolin monks are all based on various skills that have been handed down in the temple for a long time. Shaolin Kung Fu, as a kind of practical skill, has experienced a long way from its emergence to development. Each skill has its own originality and training principles. Although 72 skill has its own differences in terms of skill types, they all have the same rules and characteristics.

1.Adhere to the persistent and unremitting attitude of practice

If you want to practice any kind of Kungfu, you can’t do it overnight. It’s a long-term, hard, monotonous and unconventional practice. The practitioners need to bear the physical and psychological tests. The skill gradually becomes stronger and stronger. The practice time is four or five years less and dozens of years more. If there is no persistent determination, we cannot reach the other side of success. “Master miaoxing practises martial arts and techniques” says that those who practice seventy-two martial arts should take physical fitness as the key point, and should be engaged in it day and night, and should not stop at will.

2.Step by step, from shallow to deep

As the saying goes, “if you want to speed up, you will not achieve it. If you achieve it, you will achieve it naturally.” According to the master’s instruction, the seventy-two skills practiced by the temple monk are from easy to difficult, from simple to complex. First, they practice simple Kung Fu, such as playing wooden man, thousand layers of paper, kicking wooden stake and other skills. These skills are relatively simple in the form of practice. They can be self adjusted according to their own situation, and can also be used as the basis for practicing other skills. After having a certain foundation, they practice hard and light skills, such as iron Head skill, iron cloth shirt, light body skill, etc.

In terms of the strength of practice, we should also follow the principle of gradual progress. The increase of strength should be from weak to strong, so that the body can gradually adapt to it, such as “iron broom skill”, which specifically refers to the leg strength. At the beginning of the practice, the leg strength is weak, and hitting wooden piles is like climbing Mount Tai, dragonflies shaking stone pillars, and the achievement is slow. With the increase of practice time, the strength is also gradually increased. Four or five years later, when you sweep the tree with your front legs, the weak leaves on the branches will shake. When you practice leg skill to perfection, the tree will shake and fall. If you hit hard at the beginning, you are too impatient and eager for success, sometimes you will have ligament strain and joint strain, which will affect the progress of skill practice, not only won’t progress, but also cause retrogression.

In the number of exercises, we should follow the principle of from less to more. The number of various exercises is the basis of success, which reflects the dialectical process from quantitative change to qualitative change. All kinds of skills and structures of 72 arts are not complicated, simple and easy. They all repeat a certain action mechanically through a large number of repeated exercises, accumulating over time and gradually achieving results. For example, “iron head skill” belongs to the strength of masculinity and internal strength. In the early stage of practice, the head is lined with cotton brocade, and the head butts against the wall several times a day. Do not use strong force to butts. After a long time of practice, the number of butts will increase with it. After a long time of walking, you will not realize it gradually. If the head is as hard as the brick, you will achieve it.

Most of the skills are assisted by some instruments, and some rules should be followed in the selection of instruments. At the beginning of the exercise, the selected instrument should be of moderate hardness and no damage to the body. For example, in the initial practice of “Pai Da Gong”, the items used should be made of solid wood, which is suitable for all parts of the body. One year later, they will be replaced with kiln bricks, and another half a year later, they will be pai Da with copper and iron blocks. After the completion of the exercise, the muscles of all parts of the body will be firm and abnormal, and the fist, foot and kick will not be hurt. Another example is the “palm skill”. First practice the palm to cut soft objects, then cut wood, stone bricks, and then cut stones, until you can cut them to pieces.

3.The time and place of practicing should follow the physiological characteristics of human body

Although there are not too strict restrictions on the time of practicing, there are rules to follow in the practice of Shaolin Kung Fu. Because the human body is a unified whole, it has certain regularity in conscious activity and physiological characteristics. The observation of sports medical treatment shows that if the training cycle is consistent with the internal physiological cycle of human body, the training effect will be better. So choosing the best time to practice is good for improving your ability.

It is generally believed that six or seven o’clock in the morning is the most appropriate time. At this time, the Tai Qi is at the peak of the yin-yang exchange. Facing the source of the Oriental day, try to exhale the foul air in your chest, then absorb the fresh air, and then immediately learn various skills of Qigong exercise. But on the whole, we should choose the time according to our physiological functions and hobbies. It can be morning or night. It can’t be generalized. In the place of practice, it is better to choose a quiet place to avoid dust, smoke and impurities, so that the practitioners can reduce external interference, concentrate, concentrate, relax, adjust breath, luck and strength, and complete various exercises.

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