This month completes Xing Yi Master Shang Ji’s discussion of Pao Quan (Pounding Fist/Cannon Fist) extracted from his book Xing Yi Quan Fighting Skills. In this segment Shang Ji discusses both the martial applications and health benefits of Pao Quan.
To read Xing Yi Master Shang Ji on Pao Quan – Pounding Fist/Cannon Fist (Part 1): CLICK HERE
Application – Attacking and Defending Methods
When the opponent attacks, we connect with the hand and meet his attack. No matter whether the attack is a straight punch, angled punch or a series of punches, our lead hand connects to his hand and wraps (Guo), drills (Zuan), twists (Ning) and overturns (Fan), lifting upward as our rear fists strikes forward directly as we advance to attack. The rising hand guards and protects. It is the looking around (defending/ guarding) hand, which can also be a striking method. Drilling upward and turning over dissolves the opponent’s force and twisting and overturning opens to the outside so we can strike to the center. If we contact the opponent’s arm from the outside, twisting and overturning outside is assisted by stepping with the forward foot. This can lift the opponent up from below, breaking his balance so that he is tossed back. We can then follow with a direct attack. This is the striking (attacking) method within the defending method.
If the attack is not stopped one can drive straight to the center. However in an encounter the opponent will naturally stop the attack. We use the forearm bone (ulna) to press and cut the opponent’s forearm so the strike will not miss. This is simultaneously attacking and defending. The leg must tread/stamp (Deng Tui); Yao twists (Yao Ning); Kua follows (Shun Kua); shoulders loosen (Song Jian), and then Qi can urge/hasten the force and one can squeeze through the gate to enter, close and strike.
If the opponent does not give out his hand (does not attack), we extend out hand to attack. We can use front hand drilling fist to advance and attack his face. This is “true” and “not true.” If he blocks we quickly drill and overturn to lift his hand upward, while the rear hand strikes his chest. This is a twisted step Beng Quan.
If the opponent avoids our strike, we can hit with Beng Quan while twisting and overturning upward, striking while seizing the opportunity to use Pao Quan. In this way one can turn and alternate while advancing to attack. This is known as ring-linked fists (Lian Huang Quan). Pao Quan, Pi Quan, Beng and Zuan are all blended and unified giving birth to limitless and inexhaustible changes and combinations.
Note: Master Shang Ji shows applications of Pao Quan and the ring-linked fists mentioned above in his discussion of Beng Quan: CLICK HERE
Dispelling Illness and Nourishing Life (Yang Sheng) Method
If training Pao Quan for health, do not issue firm, fierce sudden (explosive) force. It is not necessary for the fist to go with hand and foot completely coordinated and unified. So long as the hand and foot rise and fall and the Yao, Kua, shoulder and elbow move harmoniously and the internal Qi rises and falls and opens and closes harmoniously, and the external forms are smooth, and the internal Qi and blood are harmonious, the Shen Qi will be upright and will display inner intention. The Exterior forms are not clever, and the interior is not contrary to the Shen Qi. Inside and outside are unified and natural. In order to prevent disease the Jing Luo (meridians) must be open and unobstructed (have free flow).
When making a fist, do not use strength. The fist is empty and the palm of the hand is empty, but Shen Qi requires concentration. The movement follows a pattern. The Qi of the Cannon Fist emanates from the heart. Train the One Qi to open and close. The blood is the tip of the force and can cultivate mental calm. As traditional Chinese Medical theory relates to boxing, upward twisting and overturning movement activates the heart channel, pulse and Qi. The acu-points Ji Quan (HT 1 “Highest Spring”), Shao Hai (HT 3 “Lesser Sea”), Shen Men (HT 7 “Spirit Gate”), Shao Fu (HT 8 “Lesser Mansion”), and also Shao Chong (HT9 “Lesser Surge”) on the little finger transfer the pulsing Qi of the heart goes along the Pericardium Channel from the nipple along the inside middle of the arm, passing through the Qu Ze (P 3 “Marsh at the Bend”), Nei Guan (P 6 “Inner Gate), and Lao Gong (P 8 “ Palace of Labor”) acu-points, going without ceasing to Zhong Chong (P 9 “Central Hub”).
Furthermore, Zhong Chong (P 9 “Central Hub”) is stimulated by the fist as it goes outward, and Liver-Wood Qi aids Heart-Fire. The two fists rise with inhalation and fall with exhalation. With rising the blood vessels expand and stretch; with falling, the blood vessels contract and gather. With exhalation, the Qi in the Jing Luo goes from the chest to the hands; with inhalation, Qi in the vessels returns from the hands. If the vessels are free flowing and unblocked, then heart blood is harmonious and smooth. If heart Qi is smooth and harmonious blood can be nourished. Blood belongs to the heart. After training this fist the pulse becomes slow, harmonious and powerful, and the complexion ruddy and rosy.
In the theories of modern medicine, the heart functioning is a combination of the cardiovascular system in coordination with the central nervous system. The cardiac muscle contracts and expands. The veins contract and draw in blood and the arteries send it outward. The heart itself needs nourishment from oxygen (氧气 Yang Qi).
The coronary artery increases the rate of the flow of blood and increases the supply of oxygen. The cardiac muscle must maintain a constant pressure and the blood vessels that return blood to the heart increase the amount of blood then the ventricle must contract with greater force. Pao Quan can be used to slow down, soften and harmonize the rhythm of contraction and expansion so that the amount of heart blood returning increases and the ability of the ventricle to contract is strengthened. The cardiopulmonary circulation of the blood is also increased. This is how Pao Quan supports and strengthens the heart.
However, one should take care that “doing too much is the same as not doing enough.” When the heart contracts, if the return of heart blood exceeds the limit, then this can cause heart disease and reduce the contracting force. Therefore, when using Pao Quan to treat heart disease one must have a good understanding of the degree of exertion and be able to moderate it.
The movements must be relaxed and easy (harmonious). Respiration must also be regulated carefully. The energy expenditure should be small and it is important to know when to rest. Those with coronary heart disease and angina pectoris should not feel tired and those with hypertension and heart disease should first practice stillness gong as well as Pao Quan. In general if those with various kinds of heart disease persist in practicing Pao Quan they can cause the heart rate to slow down, increase the rate of blood flow, lengthen the time of diastole, increase the amount of blood flow per beat and cause the cardiac muscle blood vessels to expand, so that the cardiac muscle will receive more blood flow and oxygen. Thus the metabolism is improved and the heart capacity is improved. Furthermore the health and vigor of the whole body will be improved.