Kung-Fu, or Tauist Medical Gymnastics, by John Dudgeon, , at sacred-texts.com
Under this title we include all forms of friction, pressing, rubbing, shampooing, massage, pinching etc. This method of cure and prevention of disease is of very ancient origin. It has been revived in modern times and is of growing importance, the practice being employed in a large and ever-increasing number of diseases. From times immemorial the department of pressing and rubbing an-moh-k‘o (#) has been one of the 13 divisions of the great Medical College of China. This mode of treatment is used when the skin, tendons and muscles are injured or when the bones are fractured,
or dislocated, or where the soft parts are swollen, hard or anæsthetic. If the vessels become pervious and the air is no longer blocked up, this method acts as a deiscutient and the disease is cured. The Medical College of the present dynasty has only five officially recognised departments; viz., medicine, surgery, children's diseases and diseases of the mouth and eye. The other branches are forbidden and particularly acupuncture which is not allowed to be practiced in the Palace. The prevention and cure of disease by rubbing existed long anterior to the Founder of Tauism. Its place seems afterwards to have been taken by charms, incantations, magic and prayers, all of which, along with kung-fu, alchemy and the elixir of immortality, are treated together in the Tauist books.
In the volume from which we have taken the "divine" Surgeon Hwa-to's "Five Animals" there is the following on Shampooing (pressing and rubbing) called the Indian Method or that of Solomon, from the Sanskrit sala (Shorea robusta) the immense tree under which Buddha was born and died.
Grasp the hands and twist them as if washing them. Slightly interlock the hands and turn them backwards and forwards towards the breast. Grasp the hands and press them alternately on the right and left thigh. * Let the hands act on both sides as if drawing a bow of 5 piculs’ resistance. With both hands press heavily on the thigh and slowly hoist the body on both sides. With firmly closed fists push forward the hands alternately. Stretch the fists upwards and downwards alternately to open the thorax.
[paragraph continues] Act as if supporting a stone on the palm. Turn the hands backwards land strike the back on each side. Lay the hands on the ground and lift up the body by bending the spine thrice. Embrace the head with the hands and turn it on the thigh. This is to pull out the shoulders. Sit sideways on the two sides alternately as if leaning against a hill. Sit and stretch out alternately the feet and draw them forward in space. Lay the hands on the ground and look backward on the right and left alternately. This is termed the "tiger looking." Stand on the ground and twist the body round thrice. Deeply interlock the hands and tread the feet alternately in them. Stand erect and with the feet tread right and left in space. Sitting, stretch out the legs and hook them alternately at the knees.
These eighteen forms are to be practised thrice daily, and after one month, even an aged person will become strong and walk as fast as a galloping horse, will be able to eat, the eye will become bright, and moreover, will never feel tired or contract illness.
The Pressing and Rubbing Method of Lau-tse (Tauist).
Press down heavily on the thigh with the hands on each side and twist the body twice seven times. Press the thigh with the hands on each side and twist the shoulder twice seven times Embrace the head with the hands and twist the loins twice seven times. Shake the head twice seven times and support it thrice. Embrace the head with one hand and support the knee with the other and bend the body thrice on each side. Support the head with one hand and the knee with the other from below directed upwards three times on each side. Grasp the head directed downwards with the hands and stamp the feet three times. Grasp the hands and pass them over the head right and left three times. Interlock the hands, support the heart in front (front of the breast) pushing out and turning them back three times. Interlock the hands and press the heart three times. Bend the wrist, buttress the ribs and draw back the elbow thrice on each side. Draw back right and left side, pull forwards and backwards each three times. Extend the hands, draw back the neck thrice on each side. Lay the back of one hand on the
knee and let the other draw back the elbow, then lay the palm on the knee three times on each side. Let the hand press the shoulder from above downwards and change the hands on each side. Push (the air) with the empty fists, (loosely closed) three times. Interlock the hands and move them backwards and forwards reversing the dorsa and palms three times. Move the hands outwards, inwards and downwards each thrice. Rub and twist the finger thrice. Shake the hands backwards (reversing the dorsa and palms) three times. Interlock the hands and hoist the elbow up and down tines without number and exhale the breath ten times only. Place the two hands together three times. Lower the two hands three times. Interlock the hands and pass them over the head expand the ribs on the right and left ten times. Turn the fists backwards and rub the spine up and down three times. Turn the hands and grasp the ridge straight up and down three times. Pronate the palm, take hold of the wrist and move it inwards and outwards thrice. Pronate the palm and raise it in front three times. Pronate the palm and interlock the two hands and move them horizontally three times. Pronate the palm in a straight horizontal position and lift them up three times. If the hands get cold beat them from above down-wards until they become warm. Extend the left foot and support it with the right hand, the right and left taking hold of the foot, from above downwards and straighten the foot three times. Let the right hand take hold of the foot, the same as the other. Whirl the foot backwards and forwards three times. Whirl the foot to the left, and to the right each three times. Whirl the foot backwards and forwards three times. Straighten the feet three times. Twist the thigh three times. Shake the foot inwards and outwards three times. If the foot gets cold, beat it until warm. Twist the thigh so many times and stamp the feet three times and straighten them three times. Act like a tiger on the right and left and twist the shoulder three times. Push the heavens and support the earth right and left three times. Swing (like a pendulum) a mountain right and left, carry (on the back) a hill, and pull up a tree, each three times. Extend the hands and twist them straight in front three times, knees and feet each three times. Twist inwards and outwards the spine each thrice. (For further remarks on this method see further on).
The patriarch of Pêng says that by rubbing the face and ears with the hands every morning, the vigour of the face will then flow everywhere. Again by rubbing the hands until they get warm, and then rubbing the face, it will look bright and he able to bear the cold without suffering. He also says that the man who wishes to harmonize the breath must take a room, shutting the window and door, with a warm mat, a high pillow and the body reclining perfectly straight, shut up the eyes and the breath in the chest, and put a feather on the nose so that it does not move and after 300 breaths, the eyes will not see, the ears will not hear (will become insensible) and thus nether cold not heat will come nigh the body and no poisonous insects will deposit their virus on it, and the person will attain to the age of 360 years and thus become a neighbour of the genii. Every morning and evening with the face towards the South, place the hands on the feet and the knees, knead the joints gently, exhale the foul breath by the mouth, and inhale the pure air by the nose, and with the hands right and left, support the abdomen in front and behind, above and below. After a while, open the mouth, knock the teeth, wink the eyes, press the head, pull the ears, curl up the hair, loose the loins and cough in order to develop and excite the breath. Turn the hands and using the idea stamp the feet eighty or ninety times and then stop. Settle the heart slowly, preserve the thought like a Buddhist priest, shut the eyes and you will then see the original air come down as a canopy of distinctly different (5) colours gradually to the head, pass through the skin, to the flesh, the bones, the brain and finally to the abdomen and all the inferior viscera will derive benefit from it like the absorption of water. When the ku ku noise is heard in the abdomen, then keep the thought and do not let it communicate with external things, so the original air will be transported to the "sea of air" (#), and finally to the yung chuen (#), (acupuncture aperture on the inner aspect of the sole of the foot between the heel and great toe) and the body be excited. It is to be done once or twice a day up to as many as three to five times, when the effect will be that the body will feel pleasant, the face appear bright, the hair glossy, the ear and the eye become clear and intelligent, and the strength of the air become robust and all diseases be removed. If it could be performed 5,000 or 10,000 times without stopping up
to the full 100,000 times, the Kung-fuist is not far from the genii. And thus it comes about that the body is full of the suitable air free from sickness, otherwise all manner of disease will be engendered. Whoever, therefore, wants to improve his health must know how to harmonize the breath. It may he held after midnight and before noon, when the air is alive and can be profitably harmonized; in the afternoon or before midnight the air is dead and unprofitable. By lying on the back on thick and warm bedding, high pillow, keep the body even, stretch out the hands and feet, bend the joints of the thumb 4 or 5 inches apart from the body and the feet the same distance apart from each other, knock the teeth frequently and swallow the saliva, breathe air through the nose into the abdomen until full, after awhile, gradually exhale from the mouth and repeat the process continuously. Where there is a heavy fog, had wind and extreme cold, the breath should not be inhaled. When one has caught a cold and is feverish or has malignant boils, the kung must be performed at once, no matter what the time may be, and continued until cured. Another of the Tauist patriarchs, Ju Hsü, says that at cock crowing we should rise, sit on the bed and guide (refine) the breath; when finished and the toilet completed we should sit straight and according to the season, whether cold or hot take some refreshment; before partaking, a little medicinal wine is to be drunk. After it has dispersed, enter some quiet place, burn incense and purify the heart, after which read or chant prayers or charms and thoroughly wash away every thought of anger, grief, care etc., from the heart; after a little while, go out into the courtyard, slowly take step after step, letting off the breath. If the ground be damp the walking must be intermitted. Take 5 steps outside the room to disperse the air, pass the management of all domestic affairs to your son and thus set the heart free from all family cares. If the heart cannot be made and kept pure at home, then seek a retreat elsewhere, whether 50 or 100 li distant, and daily contemplate peace, and what is needed there, let some of the family bring it, etc.
The patriarch Shih-shih says, after meals fist rub the abdomen with a warm hand and walk 50 or 60 steps; repeat the operation after the midday meal and walk 100 or 200 steps but never walk hastily to cause panting, and return to the couch and lie down, extend the limbs but do not sleep, after the breath becomes settled, sit up and take
some medicinal articles such as dates, ginsing, China-root and liquorice in a decoction, and when a degree of warmth is experienced, take a decoction of bamboo leaves, imperata arundinacea (ophiopogon japonicus); and when the stomach is full do not walk quickly and when it is empty do not use the voice to call or use one's breath.
The patriarch, Chung Cheng, says, that man ought not only to know how to take his proper food but also to know how to harmonize the body by rubbing and kneading, moving the joints and guiding the breath. The importance of the latter is to keep it moving so as not to become an obstruction.
221:* The pi (#) which occurs frequently in these directions for Shampooing is the thigh. It is the same as pi (#) which is the, same as pi (#) the thigh. Pi ch‘ih (#) is the stomach. See foot note year's Kung, first month.