Fascia or connective tissues known for long by scientists but more recently defined as a new organ under the name “Interstitium” is familiar to the Chinese for a much longer time. Particularly yijinjing which is the fundamental exercise of the Buddhist Shaolin School that I am from or “Muscle and Tendon Work” that I prefer to use at the 1stStage of Cem Şen trainings is widely known for its strong effect on this connected and elastic tissues coined as Interstitium.
Few years ago when talking about fondness in driving in high speed with my master Jiang Feng, he told me he does not drive fast when there are others in the car. When I asked why he said he could protect himself in case of an accident but not others. What he referred to when talking about protecting himself was the technique used in yijinjing practices that is called the Buddha Bell. This technique that gives incredible resilience to physical body in case of external strikes is more popularly known as “Iron Shirt.” Here, large volumes of Qi that is vital energy fills in vacuums between fascia layers that function as multiple layers of airbag. Just imagine this: There is tractor tire within the tire of a giant working machine; a truck tire within the tractor tire; a car tire in it; motorcycle tire within then car tire; bicycle tire in it; a ball within the bicycle tire; a balloon in the ball and finally an egg in the balloon…. Further imagine that each tire is filled with pressure air. Then suppose a wrecking ball strikes the wheel of the working machine. What do you think? Will the egg deeper inside be broken? This analogy will help you understand better how the technique “Iron Shirt” works.
The Iron Shirt or Buddha Bell technique fills in 3 major fascia layers and vacuum in-between layers as if with pressure air. This operation has its three uses:
- Protects physical body from strikes coming from without.
- In an analogical way, Qi pressure filling fascia and overflowing also fills the vacuum between organ membranes and the organ itself. What makes this possible is the indirect connection between fascia and membrane (I think contemporary science has yet not discovered this connection, but it will). This protects organs from pathogens, problems in blood circulation and similar threats.
- Fascia layers and organ membranes filled with strong Qi pressure enables us to build resilience against emotional pressures coming from without. Emotional fluctuations or being impressed negatively by emotional states of others which are problems for many people thus disappear. The Chinese Medicine discovered that the origin of feelings is not our minds but organs (this is also a relationship that the western science has not discovered yet, but I am sure it will soon). If Qi pressure in our organs is reduced, then each organ produces negative emotions like fury, fear, anxiety, indecision, conceit and sorrow.
These effects can be ensured through Yijinjing exercises as the fundamental of Zen Buddhism or Chan in its original Chinese wording. This legacy is left to us by the Buddhist Monk Bodhidharma who lived in the 5thcentury AD and established the Chan (Zen Buddhism) and Shaolin Monastery. Unfortunately, today Yijinjing is known and practised fully and correctly neither in the west nor in China. Again unfortunately, it is thought that it consists of a mere physical exercise comprising 12 moves. Yet, Yijinjing is a comprehensive system containing many elements including physical exercises, breath control, meditation, healing techniques, martial arts, manipulation of matter and techniques of being enlightened.
It is of course not easy for the Qi to fill in the vacuum between fascia and organ membranes. There is absolute need to proceed in steps. As a matter of fact gradual techniques in the Cem Şen Training System are put together for this purpose. Firstly, muscle and tendon exercises at the 1ststage training establish the relationship between blood and Qi. Each of 12 moves supplies Qi to organ meridians in order: The 1stmove fills large bowels, the 2ndmove small bowels, and the system continues this way. Of 12 moves, 10 fill the main body system, 3 fill energy areas, and finally 1 fills organ membranes. This way, inner organs are gradually filled with Qi, cleaning up energy stillness, blood weaknesses and coagulation. When Qi easily flows in 12 meridians, inner organs are healthy and emotions are balanced. It is after this stage that the time comes for opening of extraordinary 8 meridians. There are 2 of these meridians without opening of which it would be unrealistic to claim any mastery in Qi. These two meridians are the two main conduits carrying positive and negative energy called as Du Mai and Ren Mai. The opening of these two conduits is by no ways easy. Moreover, it will bring harm not good if energy in these conduits is set in motion without healing the organs first.
It is for this reason that many Qigong and Taiji (T’ai Chi Ch’uan) masters lose their lives at young ages as a result of heart attack or brain haemorrhage. Although having sufficient Qi to flow in these two conduits of their body, they unfortunately face such consequences since energy and blood blockage in their organs is not eliminated. This is one of the problems that I frequently observe in both western and Chinese Qigong practitioners. The Qigong knowledge is largely forgotten in our day and the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has unfortunately lost its most important elements and techniques. Nevertheless, the present popularity of Qigong techniques is a satisfying development in spite of that big loss in knowledge. Besides helping people to gain in their health, this development will also lead the way for new advances in the field of vital energy.
If we knew the correct techniques, it is possible to restart the Qi flow in Du Mai and Ren Mai meridians within 4 or 7 years. Why “restart”? We say “restart” because Qi flow in these two conduits continues independently after baby’s umbilical cord is cut out and it triggers growth hormones. It is a pity that this energy flow supplying great strength and energy to the baby and child stops with adolescence and hormones start to recede. This is a part of the natural process of growing and aging.
So if we learn how to set Qi in motion in this conduit and achieve it, we can start returning to our pre-adolescent period in gradual steps. In other words, energy set in motion in this conduit revives our hormones and starts to gradually empower us. There is no doubt that it is a long and painstaking process requiring correct techniques. Still, it is worth efforts that must be made for a period of 4 to 7 years. What is more, if there is a master with sufficient skills and power, he can set in motion the Qi flow in two conduits of your body by sending energy from his body. This will eliminate the need for efforts for a period of 4 to 7 years. This is of course sanctification and a quite rarely found gift (This operation can be followed in the video: https://www.facebook.com/cemsen/videos/10155637906892675/?t=0) When the Qi is in motion in these two main conduits it slowly increases and gets stored in the body.
This is a process which is again painstaking, but making us more powerful and alive day after day. It is also a process which is joyful as its practitioners feel stronger. It usually takes about 2 or 3 years. Within 2-3 years following appropriate efforts, positive and negative energy in bodies of many people are ready to merge at lower level. On the basis of this merging, both positive and negative energy are ready to be transferred out of body and used at higher levels as vital energy. This merging is called Taiji (Tai Chi) or Lei Shan Dao or Lightning Path. To be frank, Taiji (T’ai Chi Ch’uan) exercises start to reach their real power only after this level.
When increased Taiji energy is ready to be transferred out of body, it cleans up all 8 extraordinary meridians in the body. And when this powerful energy starts filling fascia or interstitium, Yijinjing (muscle and tendon exercise) turns into Iron Shirt. The Qi which fills organ membranes and fascia only to the level where it makes the body healthier at earlier level then gets strong enough to stop strong blows to the body coming from without.
While examining interstitium, scientists of our day state that this structure has the character of springing and re-bouncing against external blows. The video annexed shows fascia layer on a cadaver (attention: contains disturbing images) : https://youtu.be/gf_2TSnlagM
As contemporary science takes steps ahead with impressive discoveries, it also discovers the ages old vital energy science and Buddhist mind science in completely different ways. These discoveries can find a way of transferring to us Qigong vital energy science and what was found in Buddhist, Taoist and Hindi mind sciences in the light of a valid scientific theory. And in our times this is an exciting progress for me and many friends of mine who dedicated their lives to these sciences.
It is of course true that having valid theories about life will remain useless unless we translate them into life. In this respect there is a serious difference between explaining something theoretically and actually doing it. We must learn to add value to our life by imparting meaningful theories and, most important of all, by translating these theories into life.
I wish you all a meaningful, healthy, energetic and wise life.
With feelings of friendship,