As a continuation of Retsu Kaioh's Training, here are some more of the 72 Arts of Shaolin.
#6: The Four-Part Exercise- This exercise is a little more extensive than most of the other arts, if only because there are, as the name suggests, four parts to it. the first part is
>Supporting the Sky, Raising the Earth, Adjustment of "Three Heaters"
-Stand up straight, stick out your chest, draw in your buttocks, and look straight ahead intently. Your arms are at your sides, fingers straight and your feets and knees are together. You will raise your arms up at the your sides, but do not bend your elbows. As the arms reach above your head, form your arms into a circle and interlock your fingers and turn your palms upward, pushing up to the sky with all of your might. Tilt your head back and look at the back of your hands, while clenching your jaw tightly. Next you will bend at the waist and attempt to put your palms on the ground, without bending your knees at all. You may not be able to do so at first, but this is the ultimate goal. Then, you slowly come back to the original position, pushing up with all of your might. This exercise is to be done slowly.
>Five Damages, Seven Harms, Looking Back
-Stand up straight and turn your head slowly to the right, attempting to look at the heel of your left foot. When you turn your head, your chest sticks out, the torso stays still, and your shoulders should not tilt. Then, return to the starting position and turn your head to the left, trying to look at your right heel. Finally, return to the initial position. This should also be done slowly.
>Opening the Window to Admire the Moon, Drive Away Fire from the Heart
-Adopt a horse stance, (you may take whichever form you like), but your chest must be forward a little. Your hands are clenched into fists and pressed to the waist, palms up. Look forward and then push with your left leg and straighten it, as your left arm comes up, elbow pointing away from your body and palm facing out. Then take a step out to the right, toes pointing in that direction now with the knee still bent, and forcefully push your right palm out, your body also turning to the right. Keep your eyes on your right hand. Then, you will make the same movement to the left, the left palm out, stepping with the left, turning to the left, your right leg straightened. Return to the starting position.
>Catching Emptiness, Striking at Emptiness, the Strength will not Give Out
-Adopt a horse stance again, the fists clenched at the waist again. Throw out a strong punch with your right fist at shoulder level, palm down. The left remains at the waist. The right hands opens and immediately clenches inot a fist again as if catching something, before snapping back to your waist. At the same time the right returns to your waist, the left strikes out now, opening and clenching just as the right did just a moment ago. Alternate this process until your legs are too tired to stay in this position.
For this Art, you can do each of the portions for a time limit in progression or in a cycle for a time period. For instance, you can do them each for 5 minutes or cycle through them as many times as you can in 20 minutes. In general, these are done slowly and are meant to build strength, range of motion, and body awareness. This Art's abilities will manifest naturally in your other skills. You must exhale deeply when bending down and for the first, it is best if you can raise up on your toes a little when pressing your palms into the air. Your breath should not be held, but kept in steady rhythm with your body's movements. This is a further foundation for the rest of your training.
#7: Exercise "One Finger of Chan Meditation"- I, personally, find this skill questionable. Up to the mastery of the first level, it seems practical enough, but after that, I'm not sure if I fully support what the author says. However, if you wish to train this art, by all means, practice with the full intent of success and maybe you can acheive something most think is impossible. The method of practice is from the story of a "well-known master of the Shouther Shaolin school" who apparently studied Martial Arts for 40 years and was never beaten.
This training begins with hanging a weight, assumably at about chest or shoulder height. I would say this weight should be considerable, maybe 40-50lbs or so. The master put the weight in a place he often would pass by and, as he did so, he would poke the weight with his finger. Initially, the weight remained motionless, but after a while it began to move and then it moved easier and easier. Here is where my belief begins to get shaky.
After a while, he would poke at the weight a little distance away (I'm guessing just a few inches at first) and the weight would move without him touching it. He then further increased the distance. After this, the master apparently placed a few lamps in the court and lit them in the evening. He would stand about 25 feet away from the lamps and delivered a blow at the flame with his finger. The flame apparently swayed at first, but after some time of practice, would go out immediately at the strike of the master.
The next stage after this was to cover the lamp with a paper shade and deliver blows at it until a single finger blow delivered in the direction of the flame tore the paper and extinguished the flame. The final stage has the paper shades replaced with glass and finger strikes are delivered in the direction of the flame so that the flame goes out without the glass breaking. With regular practice, (I'm supposing every day practice) the author says that this stage can be reached in 10 years and that if a strike is directed at a man, no wound will be seen but his internal organs will be seriously injured.
Like I said, hard to believe, but train it if you want to train it. I'm just relaying the information.
That's all for today. Retsu Kaioh's Training is going to take a while to complete because there are so many Arts, however it should be a fun ride. Until next time, good luck and train hard!
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