Slap Yourself Healthy

Applied Knowledge Leads to Health and Power

Over my years of practicing, observing and reading about Qigong I have often observed that Qigong and Tai Chi are difficult for beginners to understand. Many forms are simply too advanced or unusual for the average Westerner to grok.

The underlying methodologies are often hidden to the uninitiated, and often not even spoken of.

Knowing what you are doing, what you are trying to accomplish, why you are doing that and how to go about it are crucial to getting the greatest benefit from your practice.

Cracking the Qigong Code

I want to crack open the secretiveness and confusing-ness; to make the subtle motions and sublime notions of Qigong come to the light of easy awareness.

Once you understand and can imbue the principles of movement in the exercises you begin to see how they apply in other venues and avenues of your life. You see how applicable the principles, philosophy and foundational movements are in multiplying ways.

One of the main uses and meanings of the Five Flows Qigong set is that it is an introduction to many other Qigong exercises. The principles and movements are a foundation for many, many other exercises in the great pantheon of Qigong.

Slap Yourself Resilient

I read an article today in a Dragondoor.com catalog about a man who survived a car accident unscathed. His car was broadsided by a pickup truck speeding some 50 miles per hour. Though the side of his car was smashed and was spun around 360  degrees, he had no repercussions that he could notice at all. No headache, muscles soreness, neck stiffness-nothing.

This man-Stephen Berwick-has developed a Qigong system for systematic self-hitting called True Strength Yang. The self-hitting can be seen as an extension of the idea that I introduce in the Five Flows exercise Outer Qi Shower.

He attributes his amazing escape from even nominal injury to his practice of this art, one he developed from old Kung Fu principles.

Self-Hitting is an Advanced Art

Though there is some self-hitting history in the West, it is not usual.  Self-hitting practices are common and quite developed into many varieties in the Orient.

Healthy self-hitting has many benefits. It helps loosen stagnations and toxins from the muscles and cells, bring blood flow to the skin, and generally wake up your internal systems. You can slap or tap muscles, organs, acupuncture points, etc.

Slap like a Wise Goose

There is a wonderful and quick Wild Goose Qigong form called Healthy Slapping Gong that uses 9 sets of 9 pinpoint taps to wake up some 60 pairs or single acupuncture points. When I practice this short form I notice a sense of fullness, rightness, and openness in my body, breathing, and energy flows.

I was told that the famous Wild Goose master Yang Mei Jun used self-tapping extensively. She was said to be tapping herself all the time in her older years, keeping her energetic juices flowing. (This would have been in her late 90’s and early 100’s.  She died at 106.)

Slap with Sticks and Wires

The Universal Tao School of Qigong uses bamboo sticks and wire hitters to slap. Two bamboo (or rattan) sticks taped together are used to send percussive vibrations into the tissues. The wire hitters are 100 small wire rods set in a handle. Self-hitting with the wire rod is said to be able to set free deep stagnations in the bones, while strengthening the bones and other tissues.

[Safety Note: Always avoid tapping the joints with any kind of tool or with any but the lightest of force.]

The Tarzan Chest Pounding

In an article about a Tarzan-like chest pounding, Qigong teacher John Ducane talks about the value of tapping:

“Why do you think we instinctively like to pat our kids or friends, or administer taps to ourselves and others? Yes, it’s often a demonstration of affection, but it’s also an instinctive move to enliven and bring energy to ourselves and those we care for.

With their tremendous interest on observing nature and animal behavior to gain insights into human Qi cultivation practices, the Daoists systematized many of these instinctive patting and tapping practices, so we could more consciously employ them to our benefit.

… the chest pounding helps to enliven both the lungs, the heart and also key acupoints in the front of the body. We become immediately more alert and systemically activated to deal with a potential environmental challenge.”

Tap Gently

My recommendation is to be gentle with your slaps. But there are schools of thought that encourage more vigorous slapping. Stephen’s Berwick’s methodology is on the harder end of the spectrum to build strength, toughness and resiliency. It apparently saved him from serious injury. Don’t do any of this kind more vigorous slapping without a qualified instructor guiding you.

Study and Practice Qigong Principles

My main point of this post is to encourage you to learn and use Qigong principles, which are based on our natural way of being, doing, and attaining. Qigong principles are a fascinating and functional study that will serve you well the rest of your life.

Know principles and exercises that apply them. This will widen and clarify your perspective when learning other exercises.

For instance, The Five Flows Qigong exercise Outer Qi Shower is a harbinger and doorway to all of the slapping methodologies above; and many more. Practicing it will help you understand more later than you would have otherwise.

You will have a doorway to understanding that give you more ability to use what you learn, and learn it well.

It is a superb and pleasant exercise to experience on it’s own.
It leaves you feeling tingly and ringingly alive.

1 Comment »

  1. Michelle said,

    September 11, 2012 @ 10:56 am

    A funny observation – and not to be taken the wrong way – but my cats love to be “spanked” and tapped on the upper thigh muscles. They also find it very comforting to be slapped lightly on the rib cage (as you would if you were burping a baby). This has evolved into a play time of drumming them with pencils carefully up and down the the muscles of the back (not on the spine! ouch!) They absolutley love it and it definately energizes and relaxes them. And it’s fun! I’ve been giving the gift of Qi Gong to my cats and never realized it until now!

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