Drunken Boxing for Internal Development

© 2011 Shifu Neil Ripski

Drunken style is a fully rounded Kung Fu system and as such contains various internal practices for health and fighting ability. In the west people who are able to tap into this energy source are gifted by birth or stumble upon it in various athletic practices. In China there have been systems created over hundreds of years to teach any person how to tap into their internal energy to live a longer healthier life and for martial power.

The very base of Drunken training as with most martial arts of China is in the body. Externally developing and shaping the body to strengthen it, speed its movements and create flexibility. However most if not all of the Chinese arts also go into the deeper internal practices as the student becomes more adept. In Drunken Boxing we try to start this training as early as the students mind and body will allow in order to build the vital energy of the body for various potential skills.

The vital energy of the body or Qi is constantly running throughout the series of channels known as meridians. This ebbs and flows with times of day, activities and basic health, but without this energy we no life at all. There is a Chinese saying about this “Weeks without food, Days without water but not one second without qi.” The beginning of this training is in the breathing method known as bellows or Dantien breathing.

Breathing deeply into the body down to the Dantien (a place just below the navel and about three finger widths into the body) allows the lungs to be used to their full capacity. This brings in more energy and oxygen for the body to use during motion than our regular shallow breathing methods. The belly should expand on the inhalation and contract on the exhalation. This basic breathing method must be practiced until it becomes fully natural and the student no longer has to think about it at all. This is the first step.

Once a person can breath in this way with little or no mental energy used to accomplish it then the true use of expansion and contraction in the body must be realized. The body itself should expand, not just the belly expanding forward from the spine. The practitioner should expand in all directions from the dantien while inhaling the qi from the air. The kidneys should be felt expanding away from the bodies center and contracting gently when the exhalation begins. The perineum should be relaxed and soft while feeling a VERY gentle sensation of expanding downwards from the breath. Be vaery careful of this as to try and force the perineum to expand can result in fox shen (inguinal hernia) this gentle expansion should take place naturally and cause no discomfort.

To learn this breathing method and have it become a part of your training will lay the foundation of building the internal energy and learn control of your body. The modern person lives a great deal in their head and upper body rather than truly integrating their mind into their tissues. This breathing becoming natural, at rest, work or Drunken practice is the first step in opening up the inner power of the body, learned through proper practice.

Shifu Neil Ripski

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