Recorded in Darebin Creek, Reservoir, Melbourne, Australia Spring 10:53am 15/Aug/2022
Music: Stillness of Mind · Aroshanti [https://youtu.be/do6XiwGnCg]
禅功柔拳 · Chan Gong Rou Quan, also known as Soft Fist is a great art, which constantly develops the physical and vital energy reserves available to the human body and in conjunction with the Five Skills [Chin .: wǔgōng 五 工], allows strides to anyone wishing to develop his skills in concentration, balance and deep relaxation.
These five skills are: Mian, Lian, Yuan, Guan and Quan.
Skill Mian [Chin .: mián 棉], means to look like cotton, that is very soft, very relaxed and very calm. This does not entirely cover the meaning as silk. Taking energy as silk as it really is, we mean the principle of the eight qualities. That is the burden of energy to be shared, stability, focus, softness, lightness, relaxation and simultaneously strength and perfect silence. This is the main reason why the Soft Fist Rou Quan is suitable for ages over 40 years old, because it does not require much strength. The strength required is internal only.
Skill Lian [Chin .: lián 涟], means continuation, flow, and this means continuous energy that should be flowing continuously from beginning to end, from the mind to the heart and in each inhalation and exhalation we take. All movements are combined together without breaking. The Chinese say that the last movement is preparation for the next movement, which is why each movement must be connected perfectly with the next one. You should not interrupt the flow of the movement because this way the flow of energy is interrupted and flow of energy interruption means wrong energy. That is why the basic principle of the Soft Fist Rou Quan even today is called "the technique of the swinging clouds and the running water" [Chin .: fúyún hé yùnxíngshuǐ 浮云 和 运行 水]. Through this continuity and continuous flow of energy and motion, we manage to restore the balance of our body.
Skill Yuan [Chin .: yuán 圆], means circle or circular. When we practice Soft Fist Rou Quan, it is necessary to move steadily, following circular motion. This is done in all the movements, without exception. The energy thus passes from Dan Tien [Chin .: dāntián 丹田], our inner center, or energy center of the body, and heads to our hands and our legs.
Skill Guan [Chin .: guān 观], mean absorption. By absorption we mean that when we practice Soft Fist Rou Quan, we must be focused and absorbed. We should not be influenced by any external factor and the only thing that should concern us is to be able to see the movements, feel them and become one with them. Only if we have absolute absorption in Soft Fist Rou Quan, we will be able to feel the Vital Internal Energy [Chin :. qìgōng 气功].
Skill Quan [Chin .: quán 全], means completeness. In Soft Fist Rou Quan every movement employs the entire body and mind. It is said that when one part moves, the whole body moves. When a part stands still, whole body stands still. The same happens also to the mind. Energy used in every movement, reflects through the hands to the fingers. This is vital for the fingers, to feel the chi, the energy. Only when you feel, when practicing Soft Fist Rou Quan, the energy in the fingers, it means that what you do, you do it well and the result is correct."
Source: Excerpt from the Book "Shaolin Wu Gong The Martial Arts of Shaolin Temple " VOLUME 1 | ISBN: 9786188056633