The late Sifu Kenny Gong was a true legend. I was so fortunate to discover him in the heat of the summer of 1984, in my quest for a Chinese Master that will teach me the top secrets. After several years of training in Praying Mantis Kung Fu and Yang Style Tai Chi with Harold (TZVI) Weisberg in Jerusalem, I arrived in New York with a firm decision to stay as long as it takes, and to learn a Chinese internal martial art in depth, from a great master.
Going back and forth between the different schools in China Town I became more confused and frustrated than ever. Tiger Claw, eagle Claw, Hung GA, and Tai Chi schools were all that impressive, and I could start in a week time but something inside me told me that I hadn't yet found what I was looking for.
As I exited yet another school, weighing up a flowing conversation and demonstration with the Chief instructor, I noticed on the wall a small business card sized flyer. Taken by it's humbleness, I pulled a pen and wrote the number of this Shing Yi Chuan school, and headed for the first public phone booth on East Broadway Street.
The voice on the line was decisive, sharp, and authoritative. After him explaining patiently in succinct broken English that Shing Yi is about Power of mind and shape, the reply to my next question was "come now" !
As I placed the phone back on the hook, I knew that I had found my Master.
I rushed to the 2nd floor of 60 East Broadway, to the Shing Yi Chuan association, and was greeted by a senior student who introduced me to Sifu Kenny Gong.
The exercise that Sifu started me with, was of course "Dragon Turns head".
If I would have to choose one single movement out of the many that I had learnt from him, the first on the list would no doubt be the "Dragon Turns Head". (Found in Tai Chi Kung 1 DVD )
I spent the next seven years learning and training in Shing Yi Chuan and Pa Kua, the two internal Arts sisters of Tai Chi.
Sifu was a doctor of Chinese Medicine, a remarkable teacher and a martial artist of the highest level. His way of life was a shining example of his Shing Yi trilogy, of heaven , man and earth.
The medicine, the philosophy and the martial art, making Sifu Gong someone worthy to be called "Sifu". The term Sifu, literally translated, means teacher (si) father (fu).
Just a few months before Sifu passed away he was interviewed by Mike Patterson, another renowned Shing Yi Master.
Patterson wrote" I found Sifu Gong to be a most remarkable man with an obvious high level grasp of Shing Yi and Internal Arts principles. His knowledge of the theories, kinetics, tactics and techniques of Shing Yi is inspirational, and he is quick to back up what he says with concrete demonstration and action.He is also probably one of the most humble and down to earth people I have met"
Shing Yi Chuan is an ancient Chinese Internal Martial Art of refining body shape and mind intention. It is based on the Five Elements and fundamental principals that are common to Tai Chi Chuan and Pa Qua.
I found Shing Yi Chuan to be an exceptionally good system, with a set of established rules of physiology and body kinetics, enabling me to flow naturally in harmony. It is perhaps one of the best gifts I ever received and I wish to share with the greater society.
Although very structured, one can very soon feel connected. Practicing the basic theories of Yin & Yang, five elements, stillness & motions, empty & full, rising & falling, hard & soft, all comes to life, integrating body, mind and spirit.
Five Elements of Shing Yi Chuan
The heart and soul of Shing Yi practice are the five elements. These simple actions can result in total Mind –Body integration. They are directly related to many aspects of five Elements cosmology of traditional Chinese medicine.
Each element expresses a force with internal energy patterns, originated and corresponding to specific internal organs.
The Metal Element expresses the force of an Axe chopping down, and splitting the wood. It corresponds with the lungs and large intestine meridians. It works along the vertical circle in our body.
The Water element expresses the force of drilling, just like a rotating object. It corresponds to the Kidneys and the Urinary Bladder meridians. It works as a spiraling power out of our centre.
The Wood element expresses the force of crushing. It’s association is an arrow flying forward out of the centre. It corresponds to the Liver and Gall Bladder meridians. It works as a united movement of the hand, leg, hip and floating rib forward in a straight line.
The Fire element expresses the force of pounding. It’s association is a Canon explosive power. It corresponds to the Heart and Pericardium meridians. It works as an ultimate contract and expand of the
Upper Body, similar to fire explosives.
The Earth element expresses the forces of crossing and wrapping. It’s association is of the rotation power of our planet. It corresponds to the Spleen and Stomach meridians. It works as a coiling power, surrounding and wrapping another object.
The element’s dual purpose begins with protecting the body by strengthening our internal organs, massaging and stimulating energy flow around and through them, and via the corresponding channels.
If practiced harmoniously, with a very focused mind, the elements will result in a very solid, consistent body, that can be applied for self-defense.
To be successful in this approach we have to go through several stages. First we must let the Mind teach the body. This is the Stage of learning new movements. We follow our Teacher’s body and simply copy the external shape. (Shing). The next stage is when we can perform the movements flowingly, while relaxing all unnecessary body parts. At this stage we start to feel. The body will now teach the mind (Yi).
It takes patience, perseverance and sensitive efforts to reach the third stage when the elements will be expressed by intention, resulting in a pure harmony of Mind- Body intention.
The third part is the Shing Yi forms including Five elements form and Shing Yi assorted form. It is a combination of the elements with some of Shing Yi’s 12 animals.
The Shing Yi 12 animal's practice imitates not just the shape of the animal's bodies at the moment of defense and attack, but also the mind and fighting spirit of each animal.
The Shing Yi Mind
The development of mind in the internal arts is a very important part of the training. We say that the specific part of the intellect we are trying to cultivate is the "Intention".
What is Intention? It is the workings of the mind which when put in to motion causes the occurrence of events in our lives. When you intend to do something, you cause it to come to pass. When you do something unintentionally, it is a reflection of an undisciplined mind. To train the Intention is to train yourself to be successful in any endeavor.
This is the stage of true harmony between the mind, intention, and the body. Hsin, Yi, Li, Chi, Jing (Desire, Intention, Motion, Energy, Power).
If the principles of Shoong (relaxation), Yi (intention) and the manipulation of the jing (energy) pathways are not understood, the practice is empty. Without these principles, you are practicing only the shell of the form.
"Yi" – Intention
The character for "Yi" in Shing Yi is usually translated as Mind or Intellect. To be more specific, it should be translated as Will power, or simply Intention.
This single focus of energy is what is meant by "Yi". It is important to remember that to apply this concept in practice, mental clarity is essential. We must visualize in exacting detail the desired position. The more coherent the image, the better the result. If the Mind is scattered, so shall be the Chi, and the result will be minimal. In time, through repetitive practice, this procedure will become totally natural. The focused imagery and the firing of the energy will become as a Mental Pulse. The Mind is an extremely powerful tool if properly trained and disciplined.
Yi Chuan - Mind power Standing Meditations
Yi Chuan is the Art of Mind Intention. This is about the importance of meditation to our development as healthy and strong human beings. Yi Chuan contains many diverse types of meditative practices and postures that are employed to stimulate Yang, Yin, and Yin/Yang circulation to accomplish various things.
Discover the movement in the stillness. Become stable as a mountain and flowing as a river, slow down the mind and sharpen your concentration.
Using empty mind, we learn first to observe the chi movement through the body, and later to transmit it from our center to the extremities. We not only play with the power of our mind, but also connect in harmony the Body, Mind and Spirit, allowing calm and relaxed internal work and state of mind, to intensify our intention and build internal strength.
The first level of meditation involves freeing all of the energy pathways, eliminating any stagnation or blockage. Continued practice will lead to consciously controlled Chi circulation while remaining still. This condition is known as "Fluid Stillness". The Yi Chuan is probably the best method to improve one's Tai Chi or Shing Yi forms in order to achieve the highest phase.
Tai Chi Gong
An extremely effective method I learnt from Sifu Gong, is to practice specific energy patterns repetitively, strengthening and healing our body and mind.
I called this assorted new Style Tai Chi Gong, as a tribute to Sifu Kenny Gong.
It is a program of 27 energy patterns, stretching, and strengthening techniques of Tai Chi, Qigong and Shing Yi Chuan.
Firstly we warm up the joints and create proper alignment. We open blood vessels, nerves and ligaments. When we succeed in moving chi, we can feel blood moving, either by sensing our pulse in various places change of temperature to feet or hands. We can also sense some success when we feel more alert and more alive.
We continue with relaxation and expanded awareness. The term shoong in Chinese means deeper relaxation. In order to get muscles to relax and to stretch, we first have to smooth out the flow of the joints and the nerve impulses, promoting strong flows of chi through the channels. The stretching of the muscles then will allow you to connect our arms and legs to our spine.
Shing Yi's Dragon Turns Head, is crucial in increasing the strength of the flowing of the chi. Once you have improved the nerve flow, the muscle stretching, and the alignments, then “opening and closing” of the cavities and joints will advance the level of the chi flow to the next level.
We practice deep breathing and feel how far down we can sense the breath in our legs. We keep playing with body's opening and closing, expand and contract, spiral up and down and centering and balancing and shifting our weight to adjust empty and full weight bearing on each leg.
For a special offer on all three DVD's (Tai Chi Gong 27 Energy Patterns, Five Elements of Shing Yi, And Standing Meditations of Yi Chuan) please call Gadi on 0405084220, or Check our website: www.LifeinMotion.com.au