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One Finger Shooting Zen

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One Finger Shooting Zen is an exercise for developing and learning to direct internal chi energy. Many people consider it to be the most effective exercise available for martial arts chi.


In order to be able to perform this you must be able to stay in the horse riding stance for at least 2 minutes reasonably comfortably. If you have no previous training in kung fu you will need to practice the stance on its own for a month or to before moving on to the full exercise. To perform the horse stance begin standing upright with the feet about 1.5 shoulder widths apart; keeping the back bend your knees and straight lower yourself down until  your thighs are parallel to the floor, or as close to this as you can manage. Without bending the back or neck forwards, or straightening the legs, and keeping the breathing steady, concentrate your awareness on the Dan Tien, the energy storehouse of the body which is located within your abdomen about 3 inches below the level of the navel. Hold this stance. If you are new to this you will probably find that about 30 seconds is all you can manage. Practice regularlt until you can hold this stance for at least 2 minutes. This is a good chi kung practice on its own, building the energy stored within the Dan Tien. You can also add to its effectiveness by visualising a sphere of light at the Dan Tien, another in the centre of the chest, and another above the head, entering at the crown, and a column of light connecting them and descending to the ground between your feet, concentrating on holding the column, which is the central meridian, and the spheres on it in a straight line.

The Wu Huo - Martial Fire Chi Kung method of breathing is usually used in conjunction with this exercise.
To perform the one finger shooting zen exercise begin by assuming the horseriding stance with the right hand held in front of your chest; the index finger should point up towards the sky, bu the other digits should be bent at the middle joint (top joint for thumb). Breath in gently through the nose and as you exhale make a gentle 'shsss' sound and move your hand out slowly until the arm is parallel to the floor, stopping just before the arm is locked out. Pull your arm in as you inhale. Do this 3 times. Then quickly shoot out your hand pointing the index finger forward and unleashing an explosive 'her-it' sound from the abdomen; do not raise your shoulder as you do this, and fully extend the arm this time. Now do the same with the left arm. Repeat as many times as you can stay in the horseriding stance for.
When doing the fast movement try to feel the energy flowing up from the Dan Tien, through the arm, and to the point of the index finger. At the end of th movement, when your arm is still outstretched, your awareness should be focused singularly on the point of your index finger. After practicing this for a while you will start to get a feeling of the energy flowing through your body to the finger; and you can tell when this is working because your finger will tingle and you may get a 'pins and needles' like feeling. If you are having trouble mastering this stage you should concetrate on doing some of the basic chi kung exercises
Check out how to use this in Shaolin Steel Jacket training: Hard Chi Kung, or continue your study into directing internal energy with the Shaking The Earth technique.

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