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 ChingPhysiology of Kung fu 593 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 not 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 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 interal 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 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 ChingPhysiology of Kung fu 596 (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 (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."