Small Golden Bell - The Secret of Iron Body
Běishàolín Quánmén Xiǎo Jīnzhōngzhào Qìgōng
(Northern Shaolin System's Small Golden Bell Cover Energy Skill: SGB)
• Caveat Lector: this article is not meant to teach SGB. The article only explains the different facets of SGB. •
北少林拳門小金鐘罩炁功 Běishàolín Quánmén Xiǎo Jīnzhōngzhào Qìgōng (SGB) is probably the most advanced 炁功 Qìgōng method available. It is believed to be based on the 易筋炁功 Yìjīn Qìgōng (Changing Thews Energy Skill). The first section of SGB is the most important; it builds the foundation for all the rest.
Trained correctly, SGB can do two things:
1. Provide unparalleled health benefits.
2. Protect the body from injury.
The health benefits are many and there is a treasure trove of anecdotal evidence to support this contention. Some of the supported evidence that has been attested to by my teacher's many years of practice are the following: treatment of cancer, treatment of infertility, treatment of paralysis, breathing dysfunctions, memory boosting, steroidal-like effects while training, et al.
SGB oxygenates the blood and laves the marrow (洗髓 xǐsuǐ). This will occur naturally through constantly training the sections whether or not the practitioner understands how to perform the directed manipulation of energy or not. By training SGB 10 to 20 times per day, one will reap the health benefits. By oxygenating the blood and laving the marrow, the damaged blood cells and other cells can be replaced by healthy cells. Oxygenating the blood is an easy process: breathing does it naturally. SGB has very deep breathing combined with focused training. So, it is a very practical way of increasing one's natural resources without depletion.
SGB is mostly a 拍打 pāidǎ (rhythmic striking) training: one trains the body to absorb and deflect strikes through daily training of the individual skills of perfecting and hardening the various "bells" of the body. These so-called bells are the 筋 jīn (thews). (The somewhat colloquial designation of bells probably began because of the unique bell-like sound created when the thews are hit correctly.)
SGB Ancillary Non-拍打 Pāidǎ Related Trainings
As mentioned, SGB is trained with directed attention and striking to the areas of focused attention. However, the following five sections, of the eighteen SGB sections, have no striking involved at all:
第十一段 Dìshíyīduàn (Eleventh Section): 搖頭擺尾 [叉虎式] Yáotóubǎiwěi [Chāhǔshì] (Nod the head and wag the tail [Fork the tiger posture])
第十二段 Dìshí'èrduàn (Twelfth Section): 海底撈沙: Hǎidǐlāoshā (Scoop sand from the bottom of the ocean)
第十六段 Dìshíliùduàn (Sixteenth Section): 鐵頭功 Tiětóugōng (Iron head skill)
第十七段 Dìshíqīduàn (Seventeenth Section): 閉穴法 Bìxuéfǎ (Close the cavities method)
第十八段 Dìshíbāduàn (Eighteenth Section): 羅漢功 Luóhàngōng (Arhat skill)
The above five sections of SGB require the individual to exert an extremely keen amount of attention to the channeling of focused energy to the meticulously discrete areas concerned for the firing of neural synapses in the manner required for the section being trained.
Of all eighteen sections, the first section is the most important. It starts the retraining of the neural pathways, begins the process of conscious manipulation of energies throughout the body, and teaches one how to control breathing and oxygenate the blood at will. That being the case, the first section will be the only section in review, in this article.
百日築基 Bǎirìzhùjī (One hundred days to build the foundation). The first hundred days are the most important because they lay the foundation for all the training. So, the strict rules (not covered in this article, but basically sticking to a vegan diet, no coffee, no sugar, no salt, no smoking, no alcohol, no sexual intercourse of any kind, avoiding loud noise and smoke, no training while sleepy or while sick, no training on an empty or full stomach, et al.) must apply during these 100 days of SGB's first section.
The training of the first section is in three parts. The classic description of the three parts of the first section follows:
第一段 Dìyīduàn (First Section):
1. 手捧千斤閘 Shǒupěng qiānjīnzhá (Both hands grasp the 500 kg (1000 catties) sluice.)
Zeroth rule before all others: the proper 站樁 Zhànzhuāng (Standing on a stake) and initial 導引 Dǎoyǐn (Conducting and pulling) of 炁 Qì (Energy) into and around the body. The feet should be shoulder width apart. The toes should touch the ground like the talons of an eagle: lightly, but firmly. The initial pulling of energy is through the fingertips and the soles of the feet. Breathing should be slow and paced to last the duration of the movement of the arms.
This is where it all begins. 地才 Dìcái (Telluric Powers) are pulled in through the feet, the 穀道 Gǔdào (grain path) is closed in coordination with the breathing, and the 搭橋 Dāqiáo (Connecting the bridge: placing the tip of the tongue to the roof of the mouth) is formed to allow the energy from the 任脈 Rènmài (RM) (aka the Conceptual Vessel = CV) to connect to the 督脉 Dumài (DM) (aka the Governing Vessel = GV) and allow for the free flowing of energy around the torso along the 小賙周天 Xiǎo Zhōutiān/Small Celestial Circling (Microcosmic Orbit) before expanding completely throughout the body by way of the 大周天 Dà Zhōutiān/Large Celestial Circling (Macrocosmic Orbit).
The attention begins at the furnace and the energy rises up the front of the body. The 火爐 Huǒlú (Fire Furnace) (下丹田 Xià Dāntián/lower cinnabar field) (CV-6: RM 6) is the point approximately 2 inches below the belly button. This is the point of the 假丹田 Jiǎ Dāntián (False cinnabar field). The 真丹田 Zhēn Dāntián (True cinnabar field) is located in the intestines a little to the front of the spine and is about the size of a pea.
Throughout this first phase of the first section of SGB, the body is actually tense as though one were actually lifting said extreme weight. While applying one's attention as stated, one should ever be cognizant of drawing the energy into the body by way of the 五心呼吸 Wǔxīn hūxī (5 Piths breathing). The five piths being: the 天關 Tiān Guān (Celestial Pass) (GV-20: DM 20) point at the crown of the head, the 勞宮 Làogōng (Consoling palace: P 8) points in the palms of both hands, and the 湧泉 Yǒngquán (Bubbling spring: K 1) in the soles of both feet.
2. 懷中抱月 Huáizhōng bàoyuè (Embrace the moon to the middle of the chest.)
Henting the moon and embracing it to the middle of the chest is not only poetic, but the description also paints a picture of how the arms reach out and around as though one were embracing the moon to not let it go.
This is where one pays more attention to the 人才 Réncái (Hominal Powers). The circulation of energy is compressed into the torso while remaining totally relaxed as though one were performing 太極拳 Tàijíquán.
Continue to draw energy into the body using the method of 五心呼吸 Wǔxīn hūxī (5 Piths breathing). Now, as the body is relaxed, one begins 體息 Tǐxī (Full body breathing) by envisioning the skin breathing in and out and drawing energy into the body during this. Similarly, the internal organs, muscles, and bones should expand and contract. Special attention should be given to the fluid entry of energy from the 天關 Tiān Guān point, as the energy between the torso and arms is collapsed and compressed. Here, especially, the three dimensional circling movement the 真丹田 Zhēn Dāntián should be felt. One should also feel a warm, tingling sensation from energy spiraling in and around the body.
3. 怪蟒縮洞 Guàimǎng suōdòng (The monstrous python withdraws to the cave.)
The 天才 Tiāncái (Uranic Powers) are brought more into play here. As the monstrous python withdraws to the cave, dynamic tension is once again applied. At the very moment of the python's descension (both arms coming down, now hands are in fist formation), directed attention is given to pulling uranic energy into the body through the 天關 Tiān Guān (Celestial Pass) and coordinated with passing energy by and through the 玄關 Xuánguān/Magic Gate (Location: Perineum point between anus and genitals) (CV-1: RM 1). This focused attention occurs while continuing with the 五心呼吸 Wǔxīn hūxī (5 Piths breathing), 體息 Tǐxī (Full body breathing), and the three dimensional circling movement the 真丹田 Zhēn Dāntián.
This third phase of the first section of SGB is also where the practitioner learns how to fortify the muscles covering the points at 期門 Qímēn (Cycle Gate: LV 14) and 日月 Rìyuè (Sun and moon: GB 24) by actually doing the specialized 拍打 pāidǎ at the finale.
An interesting and pivotal point is the following: 洗髓 xǐsuǐ (bone marrow laving) occurs by cycling energy through and around the spinal column by the forward and reverse channeling of energy using the 風路 Fēnglù (Wind path), the 水路 Shuǐlù (Water path), and the 火路 Huǒlù (Fire Path) methods of channeling energy. This will help clear any energy blockages and aid in marrow laving. (These will be covered in a future article.)
The coordination of the 天地才 Dìcái (Telluric Powers), the 人才 Réncái (Hominal Powers), and the 才 Tiāncái (Uranic Powers) is called the 三才 Sān Cái (Three powers). The expression of the union of the 三才 Sān Cái (3 Powers) is called the 天人合一 Tiānrénhéyī (joining of the uranic and the hominal into one). This is the proverbial "becoming one with the universe." SGB provides this.
Expectant SBG Results
Once the practitioner succeeds in this process, the health benefits described above will be possible. The practitioner will also develop a cataphracted body through the constant 拍打 pāidǎ training that streams energy throughout the body in ever flowing, minuscule runnels while hardening the thews to levels impervious to feeling pain from most attacks. There is a secret that few are aware of: SGB is the bread and butter of all of the iron training. That means that iron palm, iron body, and all projecting energy skills are based on SGB training.
The rewards of SGB training are simple:
1. Exceptional health benefits.
2. The practitioner can become a lean, mean, fighting machine.
Section one of the 北少林拳門小金鐘罩炁功 Běishàolín Quánmén Xiǎo Jīnzhōngzhào Qìgōng (Northern Shaolin Style Small Golden Bell Cover Energy Skill: SGB) is the first step to becoming…a phenomenon.
Author: 竇萬春 Dòu Wànchūn