(Little Nine Heaven)
|While adhering to the theories of Huang- Di's Nine Chamber Scriptures, the Taoist, Wu Dao Zi, of the Tang dynasty (618 AD - 906 AD) blended the static and kinetic self-defense features of the birds, animals, boxing and swordsmanship comprising the skills of wrestling, striking, seizing and kicking as well as the skills of chi control and spirit preservation through the cultivation of bone marrow washing. This school was named Little Nine Heaven Wu Tao. The students of this school were responsible for guarding the temples of the Taoist priests.|
Jiu gong is a discipline heavily emphasized in the Little Nine Heaven System and has the characteristics of both body strengthening and self -defense. The theory behind the Nine Chamber Fist lies in exercising the palms, fists, elbows, shoulders, waist, thighs, knees and fist and implies the Nine Chamber evolution illustrated in the Tai Chi theory of the book of changes (I-Ching). The Nine Chamber Fist originates force from the waist, channels it to the two major tendons and then to the four limbs. This system focuses on promoting a longer, healthier life by reversing the aging process. As an Internal system, it shares many of the qualities of Tai Chi, Hsing I, and Pa Kua.
The Chian Kuan Jian (Little Nine Heaven sword) is long handled, 4' 2" in length with five reclined saw teeth in the mid section and seven reclined saw teeth in the stem or rear section, representing the 12 earthly branches combining the 5 elements and 7 stars. In training, one is taught to use either one or two hands and to use the various strategies of all the short range weapons. These include the hammer, staff, cudgel and knife.
The various forms practiced in the Little Nine Heaven system include yin-yang sword, crane sword, snake sword, monkey sword and the dragon sword. A student is taught to block and counterattack in one move and to use the tip, mid section and stem of the sword. This differs from the Shaolin system of using only the tip. The sword exercises are simple and without complex patterns but are highly effective against an attack. A student's goal is to attain a high proficiency and flexibility in the use of the sword without having to rigidly adhere to formalities.
An additional component of the Little Nine Heaven system is Xi Sui Gong (Bone Marrow Washing), which is a complex and powerful method of Taoist Chi Gong. Xi Sui Gong is a form of "Nei Gong" (internal exercise of power), an exercise which is performed with the inner body. Conversely "Wai Gong" (external exercise of power) are those types of chi gong based on the external movements of the body and muscles. By comparison, Nei Gong is much more complex, involving internal organs, parts, circulatory and neural systems, etc. Each school of the Chinese martial arts possesses its own secrets regarding the training of Nei Gong, which vary in ease of training and the speed and extent of accomplishment. Traditional schools of martial arts always balance the training of Nei and Wai Gong. A good foundation of the Nei Gong is essential to ensure a lasting (with respect to age) source of fitness, strength and energy.
The complex Xi Sui Gong practice consists of 3 sets of practices and 12 supplemental art techniques. Generally, Taoist Chi Gong is firstly practiced to generate body chemicals containing "vital energy" (mainly the hormonal substances, or chi) and consciously improve the circulation of vital energy to all parts of the body. The conscious flow of the vital energy sharpens the glandular and nervous systems and stimulates the various pressure points of the body, resulting in an improved metabolism and rejuvenated body. The next stage of Xi Sui Gong involves achieving an intense strengthening of the brain and mental capacity. By this stage, the practitioner would have a good command of his physical well being and clear mental awareness. The final stage is spiritual enlightenment, which is normally of little interest to the average practioner. The advantages of Xi Sui Gong Practice is that it is easy to learn, the effects are easily observed, and the practice has no adverse effects. The training process is therefore easy and safe, even if undertaken alone. Purist Taoist practices, however, require long periods of training in seclusion before the results can be seen.
Little Nine Heaven was originally passed down only to one Taoist priest per generation. Master Chaio Chang Hung (1914-2001), however, was the 33rd generation Grand Master of the system and is responsibile for introducing the system to the world at large. Master Chaio's teacher, the Great-Grand Master Lushan Daoren, was the 32nd generation disciple who oversaw the temple of San Ching Wan, situated at Yi Wu Lu San in northeast China. His original name is unknown. For several decades Lushan Daoren was assisted by a servant devotee and later the servant's son. Neither servant was aware of the Master's true name and origin. By reasonable deduction, Lushan Daoren would have been more than 120 years old at his death. Throughout the year, whether summer or winter, the Grand Master wore only a normal Taoist gown and never appeared to feel hot or cold. He had clear eyes with a penetrating look and often stayed in solitude meditating for more than ten days at a time without food. Occasionally, he was seen to swallow a pail or more of water, then spit it out in a single spray puncturing planks of wood more than an inch thick. The servant devotee had also observed him using his finger to hold back a farm cow. The Little Nine Heaven system was never taught to non-Taoist priests, except to Master Chaio. As Lushan Daoren said to the young Chaio, "We are brought together by fate, and I have no hesitation to pass it to you. Name it Little Nine Heaven Fist to the world when you have mastered it."