This section is from the book "The Beverages of the Chinese; Kung-fu or Tauist Medical Gymnastics; the Population of China; A Modern Chinese Anatomist and A Chapter in Chinese Surgery.", by John Dudgeon. Also available from Amazon: Kung Fu, or Taoist Medical Gymnastics.
The following eleven rules are laid down for the regulation of this art.
1. - To swallow or gulp breath is of the first importance in the due performance of kung-fu. Gulping breath (air) is different from disciplining or refining it; for if the latter is not well performed phlegm may obstruct and the "fire" may not descend. But this is the easier and is free from any disadvantage. In gulping, one must stand erect, look level, open the mouth wide and as the true (original) air exists naturally in the body, so the air must be swallowed gently as if drinking tea. At first in swallowing there is no sound, later a certain sound is produced which goes straight to the tan t'ien, leading the " fire " to the original place. When the mouth is opened wide, it should not be too small, otherwise the constitution will be injured by the wind which is inhaled.
2. - Avoid hasty wind, violent rain, thunder and lightning; these are the anger of heaven and earth. Also dread impure and deflected air. Select a high, bright and clean room, not opposite to the wind.
3. - Thrice daily, dawn (5 - 7 a.m.), noon (11 - 1 p.m.), and twilight (5 - 7 p.m.) perform constantly these exercises without intermission. If business should interfere, then alter the time to either before or after the fixed period, say on rising and retiring independent of the hours, and for the midday exercises suit your own convenience. The kung must be performed on an empty stomach so that the air may freely circulate; if the stomach is full, the breath gets obstructed and injury may result. The sixty diagrams can be easily overtaken in half an hour. This is not a difficult task.
4. - In swallowing air, the head is not to be directed upwards lest the bodily heat should rush upwards; neither should it be directed downwards lest the breath sink. If, when fatigued, these exercises are performed, one will at once feel pleasant.
5. - No matter, whether one is ill or not, it is not necessary to take medicine, in case it should obstruct the breath. Even chronic bronchitis, dropsy and inability to swallow food, get well by the performance of these exercises. Three exercises daily must be gone through; neither more nor less will be found suitable. In exercising, the strength must not be over exerted, it must be done as it were of itself
6. - At the commencement of these exercises all drink and venery are to be avoided. Three months later this rule may be neglected. Weak persons should obstain from both of these, throughout their entire lives.
7. - These exercises may be performed by anyone, even women or children. If women practise them, they will have no difficult labours; their strength will be equal to that of men. The aged will become as strong as young men.
8. - At the commencement perform the "level frame position" by gulping the breath seven times; ten days after, add the first "military position" once on each side. Keep on practising in this manner for a month, i.e., three times each ten days, thus performing the military position three times and gulping the air eighteen times. Ten days after these, perform thrice on each side the position of "resting on the knee" and together gulp six mouthfuls of air. Then change the level position into the " looking-moon " one, a form of scooping up the moon (when reflected in water) omitting the two "expanding-breath" forms. Twenty days after this, (in two periods often) the exercise termed the chan-hsiao (the standing digesting) form is to be performed twice on each side with twelve gulps of breath. The exercises have now been performed for eighty days and forty-nine breaths have been swallowed. Hereafter the "beating" exercises are to be performed.
9. - In beating, make a bag with a double blue cloth, 18 or 19 inches in length and 3 or 4 inches in circumference, like a girdle, one end closed, the other open. Pack it firmly with grain, 8 or 9 inches deep, tie the open end tightly with a piece of rope and use the remaining half of the bag as a handle. The grain should weigh two catties. If the person be weak diminish the amount.
10. - In beating, first beat the left, then the right side of the body, and lastly the four surfaces of the hands and feet. Beat first from the inside of the left elbow down to the palm and then to the end of the middle finger. Then beat the outside in the same direction. Then beat from the left arm-pit down to the side of the fifth finger, and from the left shoulder down to the side of the thumb.
After finishing beating the left upper limb, transfer the process to the left lower limb. First beat from the left ribs passing down the left side of the abdomen, then to the front of the leg to the knee, instep, dorsum of foot and left big toe. Then from the left axilla beat inclined to the left loin passing to the outer ankle and turn to the side of the small toe. Then from the end of the breast bone (sternum) to the left side of the abdomen, and from the part which lies between the ribs and abdomen pass horizontally to the right of the abdomen. Here change to the left hand in holding the bag and from the right side beat horizontally to the left of the body. Let the right hand cover and protect the secret parts and let the left hand begin beating from the " little abdomen " and the inside of the left leg, passing down to the ankle and side of the toe.
Then hold the bag with the two hands and raise it up over the head beating the left part of the back twenty times; then hold the bag in the left hand and turn the hand and beat the underpart of the back passing gradually down to the end of the lumbar region, then turn.
The hand and beat the left leg, down to the calf and heel. After finishing the exercises on the left limbs, the right limbs are taken in hand in a similar manner. The beating must be done closely from the upper to the lower part. No part is to be neglected nor any retrograde movement made. If a certain portion is neglected, it must not be repaired, the exercise must be steadily and continuously prosecuted. On beginning the beating one breath is first taken which makes altogether 16 mouthfuls of air, which, with the preceding 49, now reckons 65 in all. After one or two months of beating, add the seven positions of the " inspecting-hand " and take four mouthfuls of breath. After ten days more add the " side-lifting" position, and take six mouthfuls of breath, then add the "front-lifting" position and take three more mouthfuls. After ten days more perform the "Hsueh-kung standing" position and take three mouthfuls, and after another ten days exercise the "arranging-elbow " position and take six mouthfuls. Altogether we have now swallowed twenty-two mouthfuls of air and this added to the previous 65, makes a total of 87 mouthfuls. These are the first part of the exercises.
11. - Sixty-four diagrams are here described; they are only the first portion of the primary part of kung-fu. If we reckon all of them they exceed more than a thousand. In performing the first part all diseases will disappear and one's vitality will be two-fold augmented. There remain still the 2nd, 3rd and 4th parts, which will take two years to perform. Since completing the kung, the pulse has gathered to the head; the body will possess the strength of 1,000 catties, sufficient, as is recorded in the I chin ching to enable the fingers simultaneously to pass through the belly of an ox or cut off the head of an ox with the edge of the palm. The advantage accruing is even greater than this. If these 64 positions are continually performed, the kung-fuist will avoid disease and prolong his life. Speaking generally, diseases reside in the inner viscera and may be cured with medicine but those which exist in the muscles and blood vessels cannot be reached by the power of drugs. If one wishes to secure ease to the muscles and blood vessels and prevent the air and blood from offering obstruction, except by the exercise of these kung no effect will be produced. Many people have experienced the beneficial results derived from the performance of these exercises.
This method was obtained from the province of Kwei-chow; it was delivered orally and not by books and because this method is closely related to the Tai-hsi-tao-yin (one of the Tauist doctrines and practices referred to in several sections, in the work Sheng-ming-kwei-chih) the person does not desire to deliver it down [in print ] nor to have his name become known. Notwithstanding this, the method is profitable for physical improvement and according to the oral explanations, figures have been drawn and explanations made, and the work is now published. Let everyone therefore accept the advantage.