練氣不練丹——外丹功

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1985 / 7月

文‧蕭容慧 圖‧鐘永和


最近,馬來西亞興起一種健身運動,是道地的「中國功夫」——外丹功。

 

外丹功源自道家不外傳的獨門功夫,既不是拳術,又非武功,論其在「武林」中的地位,至今仍「妾身未明」。

 

儘管如此,不但在本省有卅餘萬練「功」者,它在海外的名聲,也日有增進。


吳瑞文是一位患了高血壓的內科醫師。除了自己開藥,他還遍訪同行高手治療,但總是吃了藥血壓就降,不吃又升高。吳醫師覺得太過依賴藥物不是辦法,於是下定決心抽空做運動治療。

健身操、慢跑、打拳……等運動都試過了,卻仍無進展。有天清晨,他到附近公園散步,看到一大群人身體、四肢抖動不已,像是運動又不太像,覺得十分好奇。

在場有一位吳醫師的老鄰居,看他頗感興趣,就把這種看來無啥道理的外丹功介紹給他,勸他不妨一試。吳醫師經不起老鄰居的遊說鼓吹,最後懷著「死馬當活馬醫」的心情,加入練功行列。

說來也奇怪,一年過後,吳醫師的血壓逐漸恢復正常,身體其他的小毛病,如濕疹、腳酸也都不見了。

此後,若有慢性病病患來求醫,吳醫師除了開藥,還會建議不妨一試外丹功。

像吳醫師這樣的例子不勝枚舉。

黑馬一匹,異軍突起

外丹功是近幾年來風行的運動,可謂一匹異軍突起的黑馬。從民國六十七年推廣到現在,全省練習場地約有七百處,練功人數超過卅萬人。最近甚至渡洋遠征,「馬來西亞中華外丹功學會」就是設在海外的第一家「分店」。

事情是這樣的:馬國吉玻州總督警長因練外丹功而感體力大增,於是通令該州警察勤練。流風所及,馬國其他八州的軍隊和警員都練將起來,最後連一般人也紛紛加入。

今年四月,中華外丹功學會赴馬國為分會授證及訪問,適時露了一手真功夫。

當理事長張志通率會員拜會馬來西亞國父東姑拉曼時,東姑拉曼坐在輪椅接見他們。原來這位八十多歲的馬來西亞國父患有嚴重的風濕,不良於行。張志通發現他雙腿肌肉腫脹、呈青白色,已幾近萎縮。便提議以外丹功為他打通血脈。在旁的馬國秘書長和武官面面相覷,深怕後果不堪。

東姑拉曼卻欣然同意。於是張志通令幾名大弟子先將雙手覆在他雙腳的內外踝骨、雙膝和肩膀,就和武俠片中俠客運功為傷患灌注內力一個樣。

廿分鐘後,再由師父親自出馬。半小時後,原本青白的雙腿逐漸有了血色;而本來彎曲、不能動彈的手指竟能伸直且活動。消息傳出,大眾傳播媒體莫不競相報導。

「外丹功外交」

自此後,張志通一行人在馬國舉辦的幾場表演會,場場爆滿。訪問團最後一站到了新加坡,當地推廣外丹功只三個月,十分「資淺」,經過二次表演,成員也由四十名驟增為五百名。

一般說來,外丹功姿勢不如太極拳曼妙輕靈,也不像少林拳來得乾脆俐落。有人甚至認為練外丹功時身體抖顫不已,簡直就像「乩童」作法。

可是,為什麼現今練功的人數卻日益增加?外丹功究竟有什麼魅力?

答案很簡單——「因為它簡單易學、有效,而且人人可練!」在台大文學院視聽教育館任職的王素瓊說,她練了十個月外丹功,原本腸胃不好、臉色蒼白的毛病,現都有了改善。

外丹功既非拳術,也不是武功,它旨在養生,而非防禦或攻擊。

外丹功源自道家,原本是不外傳的獨門功夫,練功者或聽說過的人不多。因此許多國術界人士表示,很難去界定它在中國「武林」上的地位。只能說外丹功是一種養生之術,且可能與氣功堛漱漸\有關。

而氣功正是我國獨特的養生方法。

自古即有「氣功」

早在二千多年前,黃帝內經素問就提到導引吐納(練氣的方法之一)可養生;後漢名醫華佗模仿虎、鹿、熊、猿、鳥的動作,創作有名的「五禽之戲」,它除注重練內在的氣,還配合外在的動作來達到動靜相兼的保健效果。

晉代葛洪、梁陶弘景都著有養生方面的著作;隋代曹元方所著「諸病源候論」和唐孫思邈所著的「千金方」堙A亦記敘「吐納導引」的方法。

明朝有名的醫藥學家李時珍在「奇經八脈考」一書中,也提及練氣功的種種。幾千年來,積累下來有關氣功養生的書不下數百種,民間也流傳很多簡單有效的方法,但卻沒進一步歸納成有系統的理論。

大致說來,氣功可分「外功」和「內功」(有人則分靜功和動功)。

外功是練筋、骨、皮的外在力氣,使身體能承受外來的重壓;內功重在練氣,利用吸氣、吐氣,推動血液循環,以促進新陳代謝、增進內臟功能,使精力充沛。

外丹功應是類似氣功內功的功夫。

道家認為人體內原有可運轉的先天氣,叫做「腹v(音氣,可能是中醫所謂的中氣、腎氣或真氣);而人體中除有形器官外,還有無形的「奇經八脈」和「十二經絡」。

神秘的「腹v

根據中醫的醫理,經絡是人體氣血運行的通路,必須保持暢通,否則人體的機能和活動就會發生障礙,引發疾病。武俠小說中的「點穴」功夫,是武功高深者將體內真氣透過手指點住對手身上的穴道;中國的針灸則是利用針或砭等尖物來刺激穴道,使經脈暢通而消除病象。而外丹功則是以體內的先天氣代替針砭等外力。

它的原理是利用外表肢體動作,配合鼻孔呼吸引動體內的先天氣,激盪全身血液;血液暢通,人體就會健康。醫經精華說「血得邪氣則消灼,血得和氣則流暢」,就是這個意思。

這好比卡通影片「大力水手」堙A卜派在緊要關頭吃了菠菜之後,體內能量大增,像火藥似地打通關節經脈,輸往四肢,最後終能打敗笨驢。

先天氣也可視為一種「菠菜」,只不過它不假外求,可由人體自行「生產」。

如把人體比喻成發電廠,先天氣就是發電廠生產的電流;電流運作時,產生能量。問題是,當發電廠本身「年久失修」或因不常使用而「生鏽」時,就很難發動了。因此練外丹功,總以啟動先天氣為第一要務。

對初次練功者,教練總會要求他先修練廿七式的「導引強身功」。這是一種類似體操的功夫,目的在「導氣令其和,引體欲其柔」,使人全身肌肉柔和、筋骨舒適,也有助於先天氣的引動。

預備式是外丹功基礎

外丹功共分十二式,其中第一式「預備式」是外丹功的基礎和關鍵;第二至十二式則針對體內各部位,如腹、肩、四肢……設計。預備式就像列車的火車頭,它開動後才能帶動其他車廂,也就是其他十一式的進行。

比起其他拳術,外丹功雖說較為簡單易學,但「天下沒白吃的午餐」,想得它的精妙之處,還得下工夫才行。至於能否馬上啟動先天氣,除了要做到書上所說「站立寂然,不思、不念、不欲、不語、不笑、不煩、不躁」,還要看各人的「造化」——包括體質、健康情況、年齡和領悟力等條件。

功力屬「教練級」的台大外文系教授鄭恆雄舉例說明:「就像車子一樣,舊車的引擎不如新車的容易發動。一般說來,年輕、身體健康的人較容易啟動先天氣;相反的,年老體弱,尤其臥病多年的人,可能要經過較長時間的練習,才能啟動。」

「鬆、柔、虛、靜」為練功心法

練預備式時身體要做到「鬆」和「柔」,內心要達「虛」和「靜」的境界,才能盼到先天氣。

先天氣發動時,究竟有什麼感覺?

「先是十指蠕顫好像觸電,又像有小蟲爬動,然後手逐漸發熱,手臂、肩臂到全身劇烈抖動,頭在抽動,頸骨也喀喀作響,持續十分鐘,這會兒我心中真是害怕,不知是否『走火入魔』了,可是越怕越抖」,中華書局退休的徐書元記得當時把手錶抖掉了都不知道,「又過十幾分鐘,我乾脆豁出去,不再胡思亂想;不料心情一鬆懈跳抖就開始緩住了。停止後我全身大汗淋漓,胸口十分舒暢。」

由於練功時偶會有一些「奇怪」的現象發生,因此在練習前應要有足夠的認識和「心理建設」。

「先天氣發動時抖動不已,這是自然現象,並非『走火入魔』。之所以不能控制,是因初練習者不太瞭解練氣的訣竅;等進入情況,意志便能控制它繼續進行與否」,省議員、也是外丹功學會副理事長黃國展說。

黃國展當年是因腸胃不好,經常下痢而來練外丹功,他透露自己的經驗:「在練預備式的過程中,會有不適或舊疾發作的情形,這時毋須害怕,只要忍耐下去,約莫二星期就能漸入佳境。」

一分教,九分悟

外丹功傳授講究「一分教,九分悟」,也就是所謂的「師父領進門,修行在個人」。功夫能否有進境,端賴是否能每天不間斷地持續勤練。丹冊上有云「一日不修一日鬼,日日運息日日仙」,一語道盡天天習練的重要。

一般說來,外丹功修練可分為五境——第一境卻病延年,二是月下行雲,三是雲開月現,四是氣化為精,五是精化為神。

儘管練功者眾,但目前習者多練至一境,少數能達第二境。

第二境的「月下行雲」是形容詞,指氣在周身環流,如浮雲般自由運行。有人形容達到第二境的人練功時,氣像海浪一樣——前浪推後浪有高低起伏,運行毫無滯礙。

據說練到第三境以上者,全身充滿真精、真氣,外力難傷,可惜目前沒幾人達到此一境界。

外丹功是自然療法

話說回來,外丹功在醫療究竟有何科學依據?

在美明尼蘇達大學醫學院研究癌症和高血壓的病態生化博士宋炳祥,曾發表有關外丹功的專文。他指出外丹功是自然療法的一種,有別於藥物療法。

「外丹功是利用『腹z發動『神經電波』(又叫行動位能)的傳達,而發揮治病功效。」

「在病理上,如果神經受傷,與其連繫的肌肉必呈萎縮,原因是神經電波無法通過,肌肉細胞就無法得到『活水源頭』(一種生物活性物質);練外丹功能促使神經電波貫通肌肉、內臟和腺體,藉以恢復肌肉細胞的機能和活力。所以外丹功可說是現代的『自然醫學』或『養生學』。」

話雖如此,外丹功仍無法「越俎代庖」,完全取代藥物療法。

「外丹功不是萬靈丹,它主要目的在健身,而非治病。如有重病,還是應先找醫生診療」,張志通強調:「練功能幫助身體快一點恢復健康,但不能『喧賓奪主』代替醫療。如車禍骨折、斷腿,或是急性盲腸炎等急症,當然得先上醫院急救。」

只救「緩」不救「急」?!

外丹功雖不能「救急」,對慢性病卻頗具療效。

現代人由於吃得多又好、運動少;加上在競爭激烈的社會堙A工作緊張、精神壓力大,無疑是在體內埋下「定時炸彈」;一旦導火線引燃,就會炸出糖尿病、腸胃病、高血壓、失眠症、腰酸背痛……等疾病。外丹功在平衡心緒、調和內臟功能及增加人體抵抗力上頗有助益。

榮總針灸科主任鍾傑解釋,這是因為外丹功本是一種運動,在練功時可藉呼吸推動血液循環,以促進新陳代謝,對身體有一定程度的幫助。但它真正的作用機轉或原因,則有待進一步的研究和證明。

據傳,外丹功源於上古。在宋朝鄭樵的校目錄學道家篇中,載有吐納、導引、內丹和外丹功等書籍,其中以外丹功書籍最多,約有二百部,這些都是古代人民活動筋骨、舒暢血脈的健身運動。

外丹功是道家一種站著練習的禪功,由何人何時所創,如今已不可考。道家向來「獨善其身」,重視自身的養生之道,絕少對外推廣;即使傳人,也止於少數,因此名聲並不響。

清代嘉慶年間,有一位號稱韓道長的人曾在北平教丹功三年,由於戰亂,遷至四川授徒,其中有一名弟子陳慶深得師傳。後來陳慶再傳給王品春,王品春又傳給「冀東三張」——張策、張銳、張●。

民國廿六年,張●在天津設館授藝,張志通拜其門下學藝。由於當時功夫多是口授心傳,較少見諸文字,一般小徒弟很難領略;許多人學了許久仍無法進入堂奧,便中途放棄,因此成氣候者少之又少。張志通可謂其中佼佼者,但在當時,他的功力仍屬有限。

卅萬人在練功!

民國卅八年,張志通隨政府來台,至九份瑞芳國小任教。九份常年下雨,他的健康情況不佳。有回翻箱子找到師父贈與的丹功秘訣,靈機一動,決心試試。

張志通根據丹冊又改良設計出較簡單易學的十二式,經過卅年苦練之後,頗有心得;遂於民國六十五年在永和頂溪國小開班傳授。由於「口碑」好,從最初的三、五人增到百、千,連中南部居民都紛紛北上學習。二年後,在台北成立中華外丹研究學會。

令人驚訝的是,外丹功很快地就發展成為「全民體育」。

一般認為,外丹功能在短短七年內迅速發展,有幾個因素:易學、不佔地方、練習時間短(半小時即可),也不需要特別配備。同樣重要的,是不必繳學費。

因練功受益的學員,極願意把心得與他人分享,甚至出錢出力,推展會務,因此形成了不收學費的「優良傳統」。

全台有三千「駐地方代表」

目前外丹功學會的總會不定期舉辦指導員講習,為期一周,參加者由各地分會擇優推薦,有的來自外島和偏遠地區。講習結束返鄉後,學員成為「駐地方代表」,展開服務。目前參加講習者已達三千人。

只要你注意觀察,每天清晨在公園、校園或運動場,都可看到成群的練功者,和號稱「鐵三角」——負責講述、示範、巡行指導的三個教練。

由於習者愈多,「師資」也就愈豐富,除在上述地點推廣外,一般機關團體也紛紛開班,如國防部、外交部……等,均由總會派人義務指導。

既不為名又不謀利,這些「傻子」為何如此煞費周章地推廣外丹功呢?

外丹功學會理事長張志通的答案倒很簡單:「獨樂樂不如眾樂樂。」

這個精神和原先道學大師們的作法雖不盡吻合,但相信他們也不會介意的吧?

〔圖片說明〕

P.37

自左至右分別是外丹功十二式中的「蹲身甩手」、「托天按地」和「捧珠入覲」。

P.38

「集體肚子痛?!」可不,他們是在練第二式「龜息吐納功」。

P.39

功力屬教練級的台大外文系教授鄭恆雄(左)指正徒弟的姿勢。

P.39

清晨,許多婦女在青年公園練外丹功。

P.40

這位「面無表情」的仁兄,看來已達到練功時「不語、不笑、不煩、不躁」的要求。

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Waitankung, a hitherto little-known style of Chinese kungfu with roots in Taoism going back thousands of years, has become increasingly popular in the Republic of China over the last few years and has recently begun to spread overseas.


Dr. Wu Jui-wen had tried every kind of exercise he knew of to lower his chronic high blood pressure--jogging, calisthenics, martial arts--but nothing seemed to help. Medicine provided temporary relief but he felt relying on pills wasn't the answer. Then one morning walking in the park he came across a group who seemed to be practicing the shakes more than exercising. A neighbor of his who happened to be in the bunch, noticing his puzzlement, explained their seemingly irrational behavior and urged him to give it a try. Buckling under to his friend's persuasion, he thought "what's there to lose" and joined them.

Strange to say, one year later not only had Dr. Wu's blood pressure returned to normal, his problems with sore feet and rheumatism had disappeared too. Now, whenever a patient comes to him with a chronic ailment, Dr. Wu, besides writing up a prescription, also suggests trying waitankung.

Waitankung has truly caught on in a flash. Since it first began to be widely promoted in 1978, some 700 training centers have sprung up around Taiwan, with an estimated 300,000 practitioners. And the first overseas association was formed recently in Malaysia.

It got started there like this: A provincial police chief found that the training increased his vigor and strength and recommended it to his subordinates. Word spread quickly and soon other policemen, then servicemen and finally ordinary citizens began taking it up all over the Country.

When delegates from the Chinese Waitankung Association arrived in Malaysia this April to certify the new chapter, they caused something of a stir. The delegation, led by President and Grand Master Chang Chih-t'ung, paid a visit to the father of modern Malaysia, Y.T.M. Tunku Abdul Rahman, who received them seated in a wheelchair. When Chang noticed the swollen, discolored legs of the 81-year old Rahman, who suffers from severe rheumatism, he asked if he could apply some waitankung techniques and try to open up his circulation. Rahman agreed. Much to the surprise of attending officials, Rahman's legs regained color and his originally twisted and immovable fingers could be stretched freely again.

Waitankung is not as graceful as t'aichi and not as agile and forceful as Shaolin kungfu. So wherein lies its appeal?

The answer is simple--"Because it works, it's easy to learn and anybody can do it!" says Wang Su-chiung, whose stomach problems have cleared up since she started the training ten months ago.

Waitankung, long the exclusive preserve of Taoist adepts, is a form of kungfu directed primarily at maintaining good health. It is not a martial art and has nothing to do with attack and defense. Its theoretical roots go back to the ancient Chinese concept of ch'i, or vital force.

The importance of ch'i and of regulating breathing in preserving life was mentioned more than two thousand years ago in the Yellow Emperor's Classic. Later works describe numerous techniques to use this force in protecting the body and extending life. Generally speaking these techniques can be divided into two categories--external and internal. The external are directed toward training the skin, muscles and bones to resist attack from outside. The internal are aimed at controlling breathing and circulation to improve organic functions.

Waitankung seems closer to this latter kind. Its basic principle involves using external movements to tap into the internal force of ch'i and thereby preserve good health. The fundamental movements are twelve in number, each but the first directed toward a particular part of the body. Success depends on daily practice and the person's original physical condition. "Just like trying to start up the engine of an old car," says Grand Master Chang, "it takes more time for an older or unhealthy person to start up their ch'i."

And what does it feel like when someone finally does "start up their ch'i?" "Your whole body shakes, starting with your fingers, like getting an electric shock," recalls Hsu Shu-yuan, who lost his watch the first time it happened to him. "I shook like crazy for about twenty minutes. When it stopped I was soaking with sweat but felt completely free and easy."

"It's natural to shake when one's inborn ch'i starts up. Beginners don't yet understand the secrets, so they can't control it. But once they get the hang of it, they can control whether the shaking continues or not," says Tainan City Councilman Huang Kuo-chan, vice president of the association.

There are five levels of attainment in waitankung, from "dispelling sickness and extending life" to "transforming the essence into spirit." But at present most practitioners are still at the first level. Only a few have progressed to the second, "wandering clouds under the moon." At that stage, the inner ch'i is said to undulate throughout the body like ocean waves.

What sort of scientific basis is there for reports of waitankung curing disorders? Dr. Sung Ping-hsiang, a biochemist doing research in the U.S., believes the training can have a positive effect on health but "it's not a wonder pill; its main purpose is to strengthen the body and not to cure sickness. Although it can't substitute for medical treatment in serious cases, it can help the body recover health more quickly." Indeed, for many people today, plagued by overeating, hypertension and lack of exercise, waitankung can probably have a beneficial effect in increasing the body's resistance, stabilizing the emotions and improving overall health.

Waitankung techniques were passed on from master to disciple by Taoist adepts for centuries. Grand Master Chang studied under one of the last in Tientsin in 1937 but students were few and Chang's abilities at the time limited. It was only after following the government to Taiwan in 1949 and taking up a teaching position in rainy Chiufen, where his health was not good, that Chang, coming across a booklet left him by his old master, resolved to give it a try. Based on the booklet, he developed the twelve basic movements and, after decades of practice, started his first class in 1976. Two or three students became hundreds and then thousands. Two years later, he founded the Chinese Wiatankung Association in Taipei. The development from then on has been phenomenal.

Reasons for waitankung's popularity are not hard to find: It's easy to learn, it doesn't require any special equipment, the time to practice is short (a half an hour a day will do) and, equally important, there's no fee. Enthusiasm is what motivates practitioners to set up training camps, give instruction and spread the word.

When asked why these enthusiasts would take so much trouble for neither fame nor fortune, Master Chang's answer is simple: "Enjoyment with others beats enjoyment alone; the more the merrier!" That reply may not exactly tally with the spirit of his ancient Taoist predecessors, but who's to say they'd mind?

(Peter Eberly)

[Picture Caption]

Three of waitankung's twelve movements. From left to right--"front and b ack hand-swinging," "vertical arm stretching" and "leveled palm lifting."

Stomachaches? Not at all. They're practicing the second movement, "respi ration, tortoise style."

Many women practice in the park at dawn.

Professor Cheng Heng-hsiung (1.) of National Taiwan University teaches w aitankung in his spare time.

This intense practitioner seems already to have reached the fifth level of attainment.

 

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