Poison hand

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Poison Hand (Tu Shou)

By now you have covered many basic aspects of Feng Shou kung fu, and have practised them to such an extent that if anyone did attack you, you could prove to be quite a formidable opponent, no matter what kind of situation might arise.

You can ward-off almost any type of attack, and with your experience turn it in such a way that you will gain the advantage with complete simplicity. Similarly, you know how to use your feet and your body in the skilful art of evasion; you know how to use your hands in the various forms of striking, and the best areas to strike at, for quick results.

However, Feng Shou is such a comprehensive art that you can go on learning the vast range of techniques for ever, as well as developing the crucial weaknesses within yourself, attaining perfection in movement, gaining the necessary experience, increasing speeds, and learning to live constantly in accordance to the laws of the universe and our personal Tao.

Speed is something that can improve through constant practice, and it needs concentration, arm and body control, for you can never be too fast. Therefore, to help you gain extra speed and control of your hands and arms, we have a number of very ancient sets of movements, in one of our 'forms', which is called the 'Poison Hand Form' (Tu Shou).

These sets incorporate a series of defensive arm and leg movements, which are always practised very softly, slowly and gently. However, these sets also include a number of hand and leg strikes which must all be practised regularly, so that you can gradually build them up into lightning-fast striking actions, harmonized with high speed changes in the various striking units that we use.

Tu Shou therefore, was primarily designed by our Taoist masters, as a high-speed hand training with the ultimate aim of enabling you to strike at various targets with the speed of lightning. Tu Shou consists of fourteen different sets of movements in all, but we will only explain the first three sets of this form in this book. You will find them fairly easy to learn as they all have the same sequence and the only changes that makes one set different from the others is the three hand strikes which are incorporated into each one.

First Set of Tu Shou

Starting Position: Riding Horse Stance {Ch'i Ma Shih)

  1. Step back one pace with your right foot, and place your body weight onto your right leg, and you should be in Monkey Stance. At the same time as you step back, make an upward left arm ward-off. Make sure that your right hand with palm facing upward is kept close to your right waistline.
  2. Step forward with your right leg, so that it is one pace ahead of your left foot. Move your weight onto your right leg so that you are now in Dragon Stance, with your rear leg firm and straight. At the same time as you step forward, bring your left hand back to your left side with the palm of the hand up, and throw your right arm round in a big circle in a hand sword strike, palm up, to the left side neck of an imaginary opponent.
  3. Stay in your right Dragon Stance. Now direct your left hand spear, in a straight forward arm thrust, to your opponent's heart. At the same time as your left arm moves forward pull your right hand back, palm up, alongside your right waistline.
  4. Stay in your right Dragon Stance and pull your left hand back to your left side waistline with the left palm facing upward; meanwhile, your right arm shoots directly forward with your right hand spear aiming directly at your imaginary opponent's heart.
  5. Execute a left arm upward ward-off and, as you do so, bring your body weight back onto your left leg, with your left knee bent slightly, and also withdraw your right foot, keeping the right toes in touch with the floor, so that you are in right Cat Stance.
  6. Lift your right foot into the air, and make a front snap kick directly forward, imagining that the target you are aiming for is your opponent's groin.
  7. Swing your right leg down and step back one pace with your right foot to the rear of your left foot, keeping your front foot flat on the floor. You should now be in a Monkey Stance. As you step back, swing both arms upward, in front of your body until they both cross in front of the head and on a level with your forehead. Then, without stopping your flow of movement, bring both of your arms straight down the centre line of your body, to stop in front of the lower stomach. At this stage both arms separate and sweep to the outside of your own thighs.
  8. Now move your right foot forward until it is on a level with your left foot, and bend both knees. You are now back in the Riding Horse Stance. Simultaneously, both arms are brought inward and upward until they nestle close to your waistline on either side of your body. The palms of the hands should face upwards, with the hands clenched into fists.

That now completes the first half of this first set. Nos. 9 to 16 This is exactly the same sequence of movements as before, the only difference being that this time you practise to the left side — in other words you reverse all the movements. So instead of stepping back with your right foot, you step back with your left, and instead of warding-off with the left arm you ward-off with your right, and so on.

Second Set of Tu Shou

  1. This movement is exactly the same as No. 1 in the First Set.
  2. Same as No. 2 of the First Set, but as you step into right Dragon Stance you throw a right hammer fist (Ch'uan Ch'ui) to your opponent's left temple.
  3. This is a left handed two finger spear (Liang Chih Ch'iang) to your opponent's eyes.
  4. This is now a right hand spear to your opponent's heart.
  5. Same as No. 5 in the First Set.
  6. Same as No. 6 in the First Set.
  7. Same as No. 7 in the First Set.
  8. Same as No. 8 in the First Set.

Nos. 9 to 16 are the same as above but again they are now executed on the left side.

Third Set of Tu Shou

  1. This is the same as No. 1 in the First Set.
  2. The body movements are the same as No. 2 in the First Set, but as you step into the right Dragon Stance, you execute a right upper cut with the Poisoned Hand (Tu Shou) to your opponent's chin.
  3. Now with your left arm, lock your imaginary opponent's arm by making a big circling movement upward, then outward to your left, then downward and under his arm, till your left hand can grip his arm from underneath, and his hand and wrist are locked under your left armpit.
  4. This is now followed up with a right hand sword strike to your opponent's left side temple.
  5. This is the same as No. 5 in the First Set.
  6. This is the same as No. 6 in the First Set.
  7. This is the same as No. 7 in the First Set.
  8. This is the same as No. 8 in the First Set.

The other half of this set, Nos. 9 to 16 are exactly the same as the above but, as in the previous sets, all the arm, hand and leg movements are reversed.

Practise these sets very thoroughly, and slowly at first, until you know the sequences instinctively. Once you know them properly, and can execute each technique perfectly, start thinking of building up your speeds when performing Nos. 2, 3, 4 and Nos. 10, 11, 12 of each set.

If you get into a habit of doing them in a jerky fashion, you will never achieve the grace, fluency and speed that is absolutely necessary. So remember, you must attain the flowing, rhythmic style from one movement to another, which is symbolic of our kind of kung fu. Once you have attained this, speed will come with the flow of movement. Your ultimate goal is to strike those sequences of three blows, one after the other, with the shoulders swinging forward and back to attain maximum momentum, within a period of two seconds.


The Taoist Art of Feng Shou Hand of the Wind kung fu

by Chee Soo

Copyright ©Seahorse Books 2006 reproduced with permission