Lindsey Wei is a young American-Chinese seeker after truth, drawn to the ancient Wudang Mountains on a quest to uncover the hidden knowledge of Daoist martial arts, healing and spiritual wisdom. This unique true story relates her many years spent learning from a hermetic Daoist recluse, the eccentric and enigmatic Li Shi Fu.
American born, but seeking her ancestral roots, the beautiful young woman battles her own earthly desires, the seduction of powerful Daoist masters, and the dark side of modern Chinese society, on a journey towards discovering her true inner power.
This book is for anyone who has ever pondered the true meaning of Chinese wisdom and the Dao De Jing, or practiced meditation and yoga in the hope of discovering a deeper strength within themselves. This first hand account describes the living experience of a profoundly sincere, bitter, and ultimately liberating quest of one aspirant.
(excerpt from chapter “The Seven Star Sword and Eight Step Pure Light”)
To practice open fist fighting, it is also important to strengthen the wrists and forearms. To achieve this, Li Shi Fu would have us throw sand bags back and forth. We were to catch them as if plucking something out of the air, as a chicken’s talons would grab, while simultaneously blocking and evading the bag by moving the head and upper body to the side. Standing only five feet and weighing 110 lbs, I never had as much strength as I did fluidity and flexibility. Li Shi Fu always reprimanded me for being weak and feeble and of course nothing was ever good enough. I would practice push-ups and sit ups as well as running up to the peak of the mountain and back. His method of producing internal gong was to begin with the muscular structure. First, he said, you must gain strong muscles, then, you transform them. Between the muscle and the tendon is a layer of fascia. Through the passing of li and qi, power and energy, via this layer, strength is transferred from the muscles into the tendons. We can produce this transfer by practicing standing meditation and spiraling movement, “chan su jing.” Once you have strong tendons you then move this strength into your bones and marrow, however this is a highly advanced level. When the marrow within the bones becomes full, our bones are dense and strong. These are just a few examples of the traditional process of producing gong or skill.
Perhaps the highest of all physical skills is the one which begins to bridge us to the spirit. It is known in martial arts as “eye spirit.” This is the intent behind the eye and its coordination with the movements. With our eye spirit alone we can defeat an opponent. When Li Shi Fu moves, his eye’s immediately change to that of an otherworldly wildness, as if something has taken him over.
At first I had no eye spirit. I mostly looked at the ground or inward, thinking about the movements I was making. Slowly Li Shi Fu began to teach me to have intent, to look where I was punching or stepping. He then taught me to bring my spirit into my eyes. He says if the energy has not risen to the eyes, it has not been completed. Wherever you look, that is where your spirit goes. He would scorn me, saying that I looked like a guilty dog, head down and eyes darting back and forth not knowing what to do.
“Your eyes need to become focused and radiant! What are you afraid of!”
He began to move around the eight, demonstrating the movements, and that glimmer came into his eye. “It’s as if you are looking for something, scanning the area like a hungry tiger. You are trying to find the minutest dot…or for example the iris of your opponent’s eye…or his most hidden weaknesses!”