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Kung-Fu, or Tauist Medical Gymnastics, by John Dudgeon, [1895], at

Physiology of Kung-fu.

The general principles of this art may be briefly and clearly expressed in the following quotation from one of their numerous works on the subject, and from one of the prefaces written in commendation of the system.

The Chinese acknowledge three principles or forces upon the regular movement of which the life of man depends—the vital spirits Ching (#), or organic forces produce the animal spirits Chi (#), or forces, and from these two springs a finer sort, free from matter and designed for intellectual operations, termed Shen (#). The particles of the vital spirits glide over one another as the parts of water; growth and nourishment belong to them; the animal spirits put the internal and external senses in exercise; their particles are smaller than the vital and they move in every sense like particles of air. As it is not possible to subsist without these forces, care must be taken no; to dissipate them by immoderate use of the pleasures of sense, by violent efforts of the body or by too great or too constant application of the forces or spirits. They have besides

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two organic principles, from the union of which man is made which pervade all parts of the body, and upon the union of which life depends. The one is the yang or vital heat, or light, the positive or male principle; the other is the yin, radical moisture, darkness in nature, the negative element or the female principle. The body is divided into right and left, the pulse of each side governing its own side of the body. The internal parts are divided into the five viscera and six fu (or organs connected with the outer air) There are six which lodge the radical moisture and belong to the female principle and comprehend the heart, liver, left kidney, all situated on the left side, and the lungs, spleen and right kidney (otherwise called the "gate of life" but by other writers this latter expression is perhaps more correctly applied to the vagina) on the right. Those which contain the vital heat are on the left, the small intestines, pericardium, gall bladder and ureters; on the right the large intestines stomach and the three divisions of the trunk (altogether imaginary) certain relations are supposed to exist between these as for example—between the small intestines and heart, gall bladder and liver, ureters and left kidney, on the left side; and large intestines and lungs, stomach and spleen, three divisions and right kidney, on the right side. These organs contain the vital heat and radical moisture which by means of the spirits and blood go from these organs into all the other portions of the body. All the various members of the body, the diseases, the materia medica etc, are all arranged according to a well established and ancient relation between them and the 5 elements, 5 colours, 5 tastes, 5 points of the compass, etc. Each organ has a road or blood vessel proceeding to it and as there are 12 Chinese hours (each two of our hours) in a day, and as the blood and air make a circuit of the entire body in 24 hours, the blood remains in each organ two hours. There are therefore 12 roads or vessels and of course as many pulses, one for each vessel and organ. These pulses are subdivided into male and female according to the dual principle and this it is evident involves three double pulses on each side and thus the theory is elaborated. Still further divisions of the pulse on the right and left are into superficial, deep and intermediate according if the pressure of the finger is applied lightly, firmly or intermediately to indicate diseases of a superficial, deep or intermediate position. Numerous volumes in Chinese exist on the pulse alone on the skill of which subject the Chinese pride themselves as it is the

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pivot upon which their whole system hangs. As an example take the pulse of the large intestines. It belongs to the male principle; is felt at the "foot" (cubit, the 3rd pulse position at the wrist in order reckoning from the base of the thumb backwards) on the right arm (the small intestinal pulse is felt at the same spot on the left arm). The blood flowing to the large intestines rises at the tips of the thumb and index finger, unites and flows up the back of the arm to the head, then down the face to the lungs and thence to the intestines; in the larynx it gives off two branches which run upwards to the ear and across to the mouth and terminate at each side of the nose. Deafness, ringing in the ears, pain behind the ears, and in the arms are owing to the large intestines. The blood resides in this viscus from 5 to 7 o'clock a.m.

Although the Chinese speak of blood moving forwards, they have never had a correct notion of the heart and circulation. With them it is the air either inside the blood or outside the vessels according to others, which presses the blood forwards.

At first the yin (earthly vapour) and yang (heavenly air) produced the root of man, the kidneys; and one or other of the 7 Ching (#) * (emotions or passions) injure the original air and so cause disease, and thus the circulating air of the entire body gets blocked up and the blood gets coagulated in heaps and then disease is produced; therefore in ancient times good men who understood the Great Reason (Tao) sought out clear methods by which to nourish the original air. Kung-fu was discovered in this way and as the bear carries his neck firmly and the birds use their wings, so the eyes and ears must be directed inwards and the air and blood be conducted to the joints to nourish them, and thus what is above will flow below and what is below will flow upwards and as the heavenly elements are themselves strong and fixed, so man must himself try to bring his body into the same condition, and as the heavenly bodies according to the Divine Law are always revolving, so must the air in our bodies. The creation of the great heaven must resemble the creation of the little heaven

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[paragraph continues] (the microcosm, man). The head is round resembling the arch of heaven and our feet are flat resembling the earth. (The Chinese saying is "Heaven is round, earth is flat" and the comparison of man to the great outside world is very common as for example because there are 360 degrees or days in the latter, there must be 360 bones in the former) Confucius said that "all the revolving changes do not surpass the four seasons."

In a small work by a native of Soochow named P‘an-ü-wei (#), wei-sheng-i-chiu-cheng, in the year 1858, the following prefatory remarks on kung-fu occur:—

Why do some men live, others die? Why are some diseases light, others severe? To answer these questions we must refer to the existence in sufficient or insufficient quantity of the original vital principle. The origin and foundation of the five viscera 1 depend upon and spring from the vital principle. 2 It is here where the yin and yang reside, and from which these male and female principles emanate, and whence proceeds the breath in expiration and to which it goes in inspiration. There is no fire nor oven, and yet the body in its furthest parts is kept quite warm; there is no water or reservoir, and yet the five viscera are kept moist.

All men must beware of admitting depraved air, as for example, heat, cold and such like into the five viscera and six fu 3; the twelve arteries and veins, tendons, blood and flesh, otherwise if such poisonous air should get admittance, disease will be contracted.

The ancients used acupuncture and the moxa as remedies, afterwards they took stones and rubbed themselves in order to cause the blood to flow; and they also used friction to the skin and muscles with the hand to cure disease and cause the blood and air to move. They also used a more violent pressing and rubbing method over the affected part. They had also a spirit-drink mode. All these methods were designed to cause motion in the joints—to harmonize the blood and air so as to leave no vacuum and to cause the

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depraved air to escape and be quickly expelled, because only on its

exit will the perfect and wholesome air be revived as before, circulate and so secure freedom from disease.

When disease is expelled great care must he taken with the tan t‘ien, so that the original fire and water may coalesce and assist each other; the spirit of man will then wax greater and stronger and the bad air cannot enter. But one must not upon any account wait till disease has attacked the system and is unbearable. It will then be too late. True wisdom is to begin Kung-fu before the approach of the disease, and so prevent it. It is true the limit of our lives is fixed, but at the same time it is also true that by Kung-fu the body can be strengthened. This is therefore the object of this publication. The author has consulted the work of Hsü-ming-feng (#), of Fheng-ch‘eng (#) and the various medical works. As all men have five senses 1 and four bodies, 2 so all require gymnastics, pressure and friction. Kung-fu divides itself into external actions and internal merit, each one chooses his own kind. The ancients divided actions into twelve kinds and wrote in poetry the method to be followed, in order that all might remember the rules laid down. All can do them, at all times, and every one can understand them quickly and efficaciously.

There is no necessity here for claptrap and useless nonsense, the true and important object is to drive away or ward off disease, and procure long life. Belief in this plan will bring merit out of it. The doctrines of Lau-tse, (#) C‘hïh-sung-tse, 3 (#) and Chung-li-tse 4 (#) are not superior to the precepts of this book. If a person can perform daily once or twice the exercises herein prescribed, his body wilt become strong and elastic, and no matter how many kinds of diseases he may have, all will vanish and thus will the vital principle exist in adequate quantity and life consequently will be prolonged. This is surely good and on this account I have taken up my pen to write this preface.


283:* Note.—The 7 Ching are the following, joy injures the heart; anger the liver; grief the lungs; doubt, the spleen; fear, kidneys; anxiety, the gall bladder; and sadness and crying, the spirit of the liver and the air of the lungs. Mayers gives the seven conditions as:—1—Joy, 2—Anger, 3—Grief, 4—Fear, 5—Love, 6, Hatred, 7, Desire.

284:1 1.—Heart, lungs, spleen, liver and kidneys, related to the Female Principle.

284:2 2.—The Tauists believe that the original source of Being and Life is situated in and comes from a point in the abdomen, called tan-t‘ien, one inch below the navel. The Medical Faculty believe it is to be found in the lumbar vertebrae, at a point opposite the kidneys, immediately adjoining the side of the spinal column, apposite the "small heart" or supra-venal capsule—called also and on this account the ming men or "gate of life."

284:3 3.—Gall-bladder, stomach, large and small intestines, bladder and the three divisions, related to the Male Principle.

285:1 1.—Eyes, ears, nose, mouth and eye-brows; all the 5 senses must be in the head, the heavenly part of man, and as high mandarins closer to the Emperor.

285:2 2.—The two arms and two legs.

285:3 1.—The designation of a rain-priest in the time of Shen-hung, the divine husbandman (B.C., 2,737).

285:4 2.—The first and greatest of the Eight Immortals in the time of the Chow dynasty (B.C., 1122–255) when he attained to possession of the elixir of immortality.

Next: Diagrams Illustrating the Physiology of Kung-fu