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8 Exercises for Fitness, Healing, and Longevity - Part 6

Punching with an Angry Gaze

In Traditional Chinese medical theory this movement helps stimulate and revitalize the liver.  

This is a somewhat controversial movement

Feel anger and 'make a face like tiger', staring ahead.

The legs are in a horse-riding stance, about 3 feet apart and the fists clenched, palms upwards. 

Sometimes people think they have an anger problem, and sometimes they think they are never angry

Here we might become aware of anger and therefore be more able to recognize it.

One point is that even the most angry person, trying to maintain her anger, would soon find that like all things, anger might arise, we observe it mindfully, without trying to influence it. And then it declines. And we notice how it goes away. 

To find Part 1, 2, 3, 4 and Part 5 follow the links below

Starting Position:  Wu Ji

Movement Name:  Punching with Angry Eyes, Purging Anger from the Liver

Step out to the left into a horse stance: feet pointing forward, feet at more than shoulder width, knees bent, back straight, head up, eyes looking forward, shoulders relaxed.

Hips are raised, butt tucked, and lower back strong.  

Arms are positioned at the waist.  Hands are held in a soft and relaxed fist.  Palms are up.

Slowly extend the right arm to the front, turning the fist as the arm moves forward.  The arm should be gently lifted up and extended.  The arm should end at about chest level.  The fist should be palm down at the end of the extension.  Do not use intense and powerful muscular force to strike forward.  

Exhale through the mouth as the arm moves out, inhale through the nose as the arm moves in.  The lips should be slightly parted, with the tongue at the top of the mouth.
Eyes should be wide open, staring forward, and the gaze should be intense. 

Open the eyes really wide!  Project fire, fierceness, toughness, determination and courage through your eyes.  Glare at your opponent.
Clench your teeth, part your lips - snarl!

Imagine that energy is projected outward from the fist and moves into an imaginary opponent.  This energy travels along a path set by your stare.  

The right arms returns to the waist as the left arm duplicates the previous movement of the other arm.  The combined movement results in alternating soft punches by each arm.

Repeat the soft punch with each hand for a number of repetitions: 2, 4, 8, 16, 36, etc
Stay relaxed, keep your head up, and keep your back straight.  

Generally, exhale as you strike something.  
Inhale as you gather your energy before a strike.  

Return you left foot back into the Wu Ji position to rest and realign the body-mind.  Wu Ji signals the end of one movement and the beginning of the next movement.  
Enjoy some cleansing breaths.  Opening/Closing.

Stand up straight and tall.  Lift the head.  Tuck the chin inward a little.

Loosen Up, Soften, Merge and Relax.
Feel yourself sinking and rooting into the Earth.
Free up the mind, reduce thinking, forget, become outside more. 


Variations of Movement 6 (Punching with Angry Gaze)

a)  Sink lower in the horse stance every 2 to 4 punches.  The lower the horse stance the more physically demanding the exercise because of the tension in the quadriceps. 
b)  Some hold the hands at the waist in a open position with the fingers pointed forward.  When the arm is extended, the hand moves to strike with the palm and with the fingers up.  The movement is still done slowly and gently, but palm rather than fist strikes are used. 

c)  Chi Kung movements are generally done in a relaxed, soft, and gentle manner.  However, if your spirit is in a Yang mode and your energy high, you might sometimes punch with a bit more gusto.  If the intent is to develop speed, power, and throw the fire of anger outward, then some additional energy must be used and projected, in addition to sinking even lower in the horse stance, and opening the eyes wider.  This kind of dynamic and forceful punching is sometimes referred to as punching with fa-jing (emitting jing energy).

d) Some stand in a shoulder width stance, knees only slightly bent.   They gently rise up and down as punches are made, rising up and exhaling as the punch goes out. 

e)  Right fist is at the right side of your waist.  Palm strike straight in front with the left hand.  Make a fist with the left hand, turn the left wrist over and backfist strike with the left fist.  Pull the left arm back to left side of your waist, left fist up at side.  As left arm comes back, strike forward with a right palm strike.  Make a fist with the right hand, turn the right wrist over and backfist strike with the right fist.  Pull the right arm back to the right side of your waist, right fist up at side.  As the right arm comes back, strike forward with a left palm strike.  Repeat!  Repeat back and forth, alternating arms.  Inhale as you turn your wrist, exhale forcefully as your backfist and then palm strike.  I like this variation the best while walking. 

Health Benefits of Movement 6 (Punching with Angry Gaze)
Chi Kung Eight-section Brocade Exercise

Horse stances strengthen the thighs, back, and cardiovascular system.

Shoulders and wrists are exercised.

Balance and coordination are improved.  

Angry and tense feelings are vented, released, and dispelled.  

Eye muscles and face muscles are exercised.

Breathing is deep and frequent - additional oxygen is supplied to the blood.  

In traditional Chinese medical theory this movement helps stimulate and revitalize the liver.  

Emulation of the fighting spirit helps engender courage and toughness. 

Squatting down exercises the leg muscles including the thighs (quadriceps), hamstrings (biceps femoris), buttocks (glutes), calves (gastrocnemius), iliopsoas, and increases demands on the cardio-vascular system. 
References for Names for Movement 6 (Punching with Angry Gaze)
The Eight Section Brocade Chi Kung 
(See below for reference sources.)  
Clench Fists and Look Angrily to Build Up Physical Strength.    (Zong Wu and Li Mao, R1)
Clenching the Fists Increases Strength.   (Lam Kam Chuen, R2)
Screw the Fist with Fiery Eyes to Increase Chi Li.   (Yang Jwing-ming, R3)
Grip the Swallow's Egg.   (Geoff and Phyllis Pike, R4)
Holding Fists and Opening Angry Eyes to Increase Physical Strength.   (PRC Publication, R5)
Punching with Angry Gaze to Increase Qi and Strength.   (Kenneth Cohen, R6)
Punching with an Angry Gaze.   (Michael Garofalo, R7)
Punching with Angry Eyes.   (Stanley Wilson, R8)
Twisting the Fist and Focusing Fierce Eyes to Cultivate Energy and Generate Power.  (Daniel Reid, R9)
Clenching the Fists and Stretching the Arms for Strength  (Jiao Guorui, R10)
Thrust Punch.   (Wong Kiew Kit, R11)
Clench the Teeth, Widen the Eyes, and Strike in Four Directions.  (Maoshing Ni, R12)
Thrusting the Fists and Making the Eyes Glare to Enhance Strength  (Chinese Health Qigong Association, R13)
Clench the Fist, Zhuan Quan Shi   (Shifu Yan Lei, R14) 


Comments about Movement 6 (Punching with Angry Gaze)
The Eight Section Brocade Chi Kung 
This movement (#6) can be done very slowly and one can imagine sending energy outwards, or a powerful beam of chi-light from your hand.  One of my teachers had us punch softly, but asked us to imagine our energy blasting through the brick wall of the dojoOr, this movement can be one of really punching with some force with intense and angry eyes.    

Compare this movement (#6) with the one described by Rachel Schaeffer
in her informative and beautiful book Yoga for Your Spiritual Muscles: A Complete Yoga Program to Strengthen Body and Spirit

On Page 118, she calls the movement "Hara Punches and Hara Pulls."   
She says that "hara is the Sanskrit word for the area of the body (around the abdomen) from which life energy emanates.  
Focus on drawing power from this area as you imagine you are throwing away tensions with each punch. 
Apply your robust presence to push stress away from your physical and mental being.  As you pull your hands to you belly, visualize that you are drawing into your body strength and energy from the abundance of the universe."  
I believe hara is the Japanese word for the area of the Dan Tien or "elixir field" (丹田) spoken of by Chinese Taoists, or, that area spoken about in Kundalini or Tantric Yoga, and referred to as the Manipurna Chakra
 or "jeweled city." 

Every beginner should stay within their comfort zone, don't over stretch, and be gentle with your body and mind.  Don't try to "exactly" imitate a fellow student who is an intermediate or advanced Chi Kung player or the teacher.   Know and respect your own body and mental state.  Don't go beyond your own personal bodily conditioning, skills, abilities and limits.  Some advise reducing your exertion levels and doing 30% to 40% less than you can do.   Be reasonable and kind to yourself.  Take your time, advance slowly, be careful, be patient, and remain injury free.  Sometimes, an old or new injury, or joint disease, will limit your range of motion. 

Know your own strength and limitations - the practice of Chi Kung and Tai Chi forms will reveal to you your strengths and limitations.  Resolve to make two positive contributions today.  Stay within your comfort zone, explore with the body-mind, and renew-recreate both self-awareness and awareness of Self, and come to experience your comfort zone.  Float on the Wu-wei raft on the Tao River; when standing on Earth then root, soften, move. 


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    Healing Exercises


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