Feng Shou Kung Fu, literally meaning “Hand of the Wind,” is a distinctive style of Chinese martial arts and a part of the Lee style Taoist arts. It’s a comprehensive system that encompasses various techniques and principles, making it a well-rounded form of self-defense and physical cultivation. Here’s a breakdown of its key components:
- Evasion: This is the art of avoiding attacks. In Feng Shou, evasion is not just about physically moving out of the way but also involves understanding the opponent’s intentions and energy. It’s about using minimal movement for maximum effect, often utilizing the opponent’s force against them. Evasion in Feng Shou is subtle and emphasizes fluidity, aligning with the Taoist principle of flowing with rather than against natural forces.
- Footwork (Foot Flows): The footwork in Feng Shou is an integral part of the martial art, enabling practitioners to maintain balance while moving swiftly and efficiently. It includes steps, turns, and shifts that allow for quick changes in direction and position. This agility is crucial for both attack and defense, facilitating evasion and the positioning necessary for effective strikes or locks.
- Arm Locks: These are techniques designed to immobilize or control an opponent by manipulating their arm joints. In Feng Shou, arm locks are applied with an understanding of the body’s mechanics and energy flow. They are used not only to subdue an opponent but also to redirect their energy or create openings for further techniques.
- Wrist Locks: Similar to arm locks, wrist locks involve the manipulation of the wrist joint. They require precision and an understanding of leverage. In Feng Shou, these locks are often used to control an opponent’s movements, lead them into a vulnerable position, or disarm them if they are holding a weapon.
- Rollaways: Rollaways in Feng Shou refer to the techniques of deflecting or redirecting an opponent’s force. These techniques are based on the principle of using an opponent’s energy against them, rather than meeting force with force. Rollaways involve a combination of hand movements and body positioning, often accompanied by stepping or turning to redirect an attack.
- Grip and Breakout: This aspect focuses on breaking free from an opponent’s grasp. It involves techniques to release oneself from holds and grabs, using leverage, pressure points, and an understanding of body mechanics. Grip and breakout techniques in Feng Shou are practical and efficient, often leading directly into counterattacks or control techniques.
- Forms: Forms in Feng Shou are pre-arranged sets of movements that teach basic principles for self defence like use of stances, good posture, balance and co-ordination of upper and lower body techniques. They are practiced to develop fluency in techniques, improve coordination, and enhance understanding of the principles underlying the martial art. Forms in Feng Shou range from basic sequences for beginners to more complex patterns for advanced practitioners, encompassing the full spectrum of techniques within the style.
Each of these components is practiced with an emphasis on internal energy (Qi), balance, and the Taoist principles of harmony and natural flow. Feng Shou Kung Fu, like other Taoist arts, is not just a physical discipline but also a spiritual practice, aiming to balance and harmonize the body, mind, and spirit, these are fundamental aspects of Feng Shou Kung Fu that distinguish it from many other martial arts styles.
- Softness and Using the Opponent’s Force: A central tenet of Feng Shou is the concept of softness, which refers to the ability to yield and flow with the opponent’s force rather than opposing it with brute strength. This principle is deeply rooted in Taoist philosophy, which values harmony with natural forces. In practice, a Feng Shou practitioner learns to sense the direction and strength of an attack and use this information to their advantage, often turning the opponent’s force against them. This approach requires a high level of sensitivity and control, and is more about skill and timing than physical power.
- Use of Qi Instead of Physical Strength: In line with Taoist practices, Feng Shou emphasizes the cultivation and use of Qi, or life energy, rather than relying solely on muscular strength. Practitioners learn to channel Qi to enhance their movements, making them more effective and efficient. This focus on internal energy contributes to the art’s characteristic fluidity and power, allowing practitioners to execute techniques with minimal effort yet maximum effectiveness.
- Circular Movements to Redirect and Recycle Force: Feng Shou extensively utilizes circular movements, which are key to its defensive and offensive strategies. These movements allow practitioners to redirect incoming force, using it to their advantage. The circular motions in Feng Shou are not just physical movements but also represent the Taoist concept of endless flow and the cyclical nature of the universe. By employing circular movements, practitioners can seamlessly transition from defense to attack, maintaining a continuous flow of energy and motion.
- Practical Self-Defense Orientation: Unlike many martial arts that are oriented towards sport or competition, Feng Shou is primarily focused on practical self-defense. The techniques and principles are designed for real-world situations, emphasizing efficiency, adaptability, and effectiveness. The training in Feng Shou is geared towards developing skills that can be used in various scenarios, with an emphasis on de-escalation, control, and the ability to defend oneself without causing unnecessary harm.
In summary, Feng Shou Kung Fu is a sophisticated and holistic martial art that combines physical techniques with deep philosophical insights. Its emphasis on softness, the use of Qi, circular movements, and practical self-defense skills make it a unique and effective system for both physical and spiritual development, aligned with the broader principles of Taoist philosophy.