Thoughts of Light Kung (Jin Shen Shu)
From the Gateway of The Southern Kingdom
Comes The Pure Spirit of the Hawk

The truth of the light kung is a marvelous personal realization. Only if and when one can master the tricks that comprise this ability can it be fully appreciated. It has to do with breathing, a shift in body mechanics, a manipulation of the spirit and adaptation to your environment. Many people do not understand where such a skill set would be employed. Or even why they should take the time to learn of this confusing material in the first place? Well friend, this is Jiang Hu. Or did you forget? You must be from the other side. I know because your thinking gives you away. Here things are different. Here these skills actually mean something. They ARE power, things like light kung may be myth in other places like the old world you came from. But here, they are merely hard won truths of a masters path learned well. Please re-focus your attention and let us try once again to approach light body research via kung fu tradition and in the Jiang Hu manner. 

As I was saying, to create and employ the light body kung is something you must want or desire. Then you must practice. And keep practicing! I personally found that pranayama helped me in the breathing element. Changing my gait also helped. I did that via wearing heeless, soleless moccasins for two years straight. Intuiting what you touch, feel, walk on and sense is "listening energy". It tells you when to change into another element. Raising the shen (Tai Chi) also makes the body either very substantial or very insubstantial. All by the will of the warrior who wields the way is the desired effect brought forth. Visualization is also used as can be sound in certain cases of light body kung. Light kung can not only make light your own body, but objects external to your person. I ask: "Is the ability to levitate an object due to a kind of "sticking energy"? Or could it be the placement of the light kung energy into a solid object that makes it easier to move and float"? Consider what I ask, be aware of energy fields about you. "Light" is a concept.

It seems to me that when the topic of light body kung fu comes up what most people always think of is walking on sand or snow and leaving no footprints. To them that is "light kung" - but you know there is more to it than that. But yes, even that is a fine example of what we speak. So let's begin there, since it is handy. Lets talk the talk of the light body kung fu walk. An ability nearly anyone can possess. Other light kung not so much. 

Depending upon your skill level and also upon what it is you are walking upon your light kung skills will alter as needed. Snow walking is different from sand walking. Mud walking is different from ice walking. I will advise you to begin your training with sand. It is best to learn with and it's easy to see results with sand (in my opinion). I do not like beach sand. I like the up and down uneven terrain of actual sand dunes. The ascent, the descent, the flat land, these elements present the challanges. The way to play your light kung on sand is to relax and have fun with it. Experiment and note effects. You probably already know that to breathe in the dan'tien (lower abdomen) balance is improved, stability enhanced and control over the emotions assisted. In the martial path it is always the lower abdomen. But that is the limited external path of thought. More knowledge required. 

In Pranayama Yoga one learns to use breath as life. Timed breathing forms are the regimen of some. The breathing process itself is taught thus: First the lungs are divided into three chambers. Each have purpose, so in order to find health and balance each chamber and it's breath traits are taught individually. Each chamber is isolated and developed. Yes there are times that all three chambers are employed obviously. You can change yourself as in which we speak now. Or you can change others by recognizing their breathing patterns and the effects. Meaning this: People who are nervous, who have allergies, who experience anxiety are all negative upper lung shallow breathers. When the disease of emphesymea hits someone, the upper chest raises along with the shoulder line. The disease forces them breath hard in the upper lungs. A bad situation for several reasons.

Light kung requires command of the positive high chamber breath, avoid the Tan'tien breathing. The placements of your hands during this is also very important. The palms face down most of the time. Tuck the thumbs into the fists lightly. This aids some, others not. Like walking a tightrope. Hands and arms are to adjust the carriage particularly when in motion. So Practice. To walk as you wish please consider the sliding step of ba gwa (modified) initially. Heeled shoes will work, flat soles are easier. (The mocassin makes you use different muscles. Your feet go from heel to toe action to toe and heel action. The connection with the earth is also gained via the mocassin or barefeet. Vibrations are picked up through the feet. Vibratory learning of natures secrets sometimes comes through the ground - your feet. Try, experiment and be sensitive to it all. Training on smooth ice is also beneficial. Thin ice is good too. But stay in shallow areas, fall through the ice and die! Caution on ice at all times. But it is next to sand for easy learning and breath control development. The Ba-Gwa body weight shift is clearly seen on ice surfaces during motion and weightlessness should be felt as you move. In movement there can less weight than when standing still.

Raghava Janaka Ananda was a friend of mine until the day he passed away. I knew him since I was a young boy. His sincerity in his devotion to yoga and to helping others was genuine. He was a gentle soul who experienced many setbacks in his life. But he never lost his sparkle for life. He practiced pranayama (breath and vital energy) yoga and jnana (high intellect-wisdom) yoga. He was often a guest teacher at my old martial arts academy in the old world. He penned the small book "Seven breaths to a better life" by Raghava Janaka Ananda late in his life. I have a signed copy and still refer to it as a valued resource. I state this so that you all will understand that I studied pranayama as much as I did the other arts in my day. When I tell you of these things I am not spouting some new age tripe or para-phrasing someone else's work. I have LIVED this stuff for years. It is a part of the Jiang hu life style that a Master must know about. By "master" I refer to YOU my friend, not me! Back to the breathing and light kung we go!

In my youth a friend and I studied the light work and attempted several stunning experiments which came through in varying degrees of success. One experiment where light body kung was employed was in climbing sheer walls. We first learned "sticking" ability with the entire body. Mind control was also something we pushed hard onto ourselves. Remaining calm was paramount. Calm and concentration upon the breath cycles was the glue which brought it all together. In the parlance of Jiang hu such light kung climbing skill is sometimes called "wildcat climbs tree" or even "gecko skill". Whatever the name or purpose, light kung figures into the equation in each instance. Once the authorities caught us mid-climb, about 50 feet up a sheer wall. The standard fare ensued: "How you get up there? How you get down? Where are the ropes? - yeah, rich and heady kung fu soup! 
Instead of arresting us they were impressed enough to offer us a job. We jumped at the chance and soon other opportunities arose as well. Jianghu!

Jumping too is assisted by light kung. To jump upwards or to jump down from a height. The Light Kung glide therein is employed (or not).
Light body is also a part of a skill what is called "reverse jing". Using a strong energetic burst of issued force is normally employed to repel and knock down an opponent. In this instance you conduct the energy so that while the opponent is still struck quite hard it is you that is then repelled away. The jing aspect is not the hard part. It is the light body trick that allows your own jing and the anchor point of the adversaries body to give thee wings. In some instances Tai chi masters repel men up and out. Some up to ten feet away and four feet high at times. So now we must see the opposite of that and teach ourselves to cover great distances when we employ reverse energy jing or when we absorb a blow from an enemy as would a feather or blade of grass. (you use the opponent as a base to launch yourself backwards and away from them as part of a planned jing strike) It is safety and trick all in one, allow their force to aid your own powers. It is this sensing of the opposing forces that makes the magic to the eye and brings hidden power to your slightest movements. (when they do it, you simply exploit it). 

As far as the "trackless form" material goes that is the real thing, the ability to move, do a form on any surface and leave little or no track at all. At one point in my light body kung regimen if I could leave such a minor print in the soil or sand when I did my form as to where it would blow away in an hour or less - I felt even that minor thing was advancement and success of sorts in this challenging field. Remember there are external methods taught as light kung and then internal methods. External methods are foolish, childish equations that waste time and entertain the stupid and lazy. The internal path is easier and evolution is seen by yourself and those about you. Nei chia is the idea, use energy not force. Mind first, then body. Directed energy of ten thousand things in the form of one glistening pearl racing through the nine passages of the Jiang Hu cosmos. The "secret path" is found.

Things I have Noticed: (Observations)
Light body is like moving on a a sawdust covered floor. Like ICE, but a bit tackier. Slippery? It isn't too bad, but balance is different, particularly in motion. You can fall down easily. Called "losing your legs". As advised earlier, suspending the headtop, erect posture, raising the shen (spirit) keep the body upright and focused. The body moves as one unit, all together. Like a "Golden Pillar" gliding across the floor, a narrow doorway of light from an unknown source. A human feather, a leaf in the wind, the golden pillar of the western gate embodied. Thunderbird spirit mountain roar. The rush of wings and weightless things. Balance like a scale and understand that the air-wind-smoke and fog are your allies (study them) in this light body work you dare chase. Time frames to competency? Well, you can get the idea in less than three weeks. You can be fairly confident with this skill in about two years or less. The real advanced stuff may take a lifetime. Casual and free, allow the light kung to "be" with you. You'll like the feeling!