31 May 2009

Qi Gong: The Eight Section Brocade (Ba Duan Jin)

Did you know that... Baduanjin (“Eight Section Brocade”) is so named because it is made up of eight sections and the postures and movements are as simple and elegant as brocade...

Dear students:

For all those who wish to take the TaiChi/Qi Gong Exam you will be expected to know the main 8 stances of Baduanjin.

Baduanjin is composed of eight sections of movements. The word “eight” not only refers to the eight movements, but also indicates the multiple elements of the qigong that are inter-restricting, inter-relating and in repeated cycles.

This collection of movements is used regularly by Shaolin Disciples as part of the training regime because it is at the core of developing internal energy.

Baduanjin, or “Eight Section Brocade”, is a type of Chinese qigong handed down from ancient times. It was created in the Southern Song Dynasty and caught on in the late Northern Song Dynasty. Baduanjin was collectively created by health experts and qigong practitioners through the ages.

Ba Duan Jin is thought to have been created by Ling Qiushan, an eminent monk of Shaolin Temple who died at the age of 109. Ba Duan Jin has the function of spreading the bones and muscles, accelerate the circulation of blood, regulating the qi and blood, and promoting the metabolism of the body. By regular practice it can improve your constitution, increase your resistance to illnesses, prevent diseases, and prolong your life.

Eight Section Brocade

(1) Two Hands Hold up the Heavens (Shuang Shou Tuo Tian)

This move is said to stimulate the "Triple Warmer" meridian (Sanjiao). It consists of an upward movement of the hands, which are loosely joined and travel up the center of the body.

(2) Drawing the Bow to Shoot the Hawk (or Vulture)

While in a lower horse stance, the practitioner imitates the action of drawing a bow to either side. It is said to exercise the waist area, focusing on the kidneys and spleen.

(3) Separate Heaven and Earth

This resembles a version of the first piece with the hands pressing in opposite directions, one up and one down. A smooth motion in which the hands switch positions is the main action, and it is said to especially stimulate the stomach.

(4) Sway the Head and Shake the Tail

This is said to regulate the function of the heart and lungs. Its primary aim is to remove excess heat (or fire) (xin huo) from the heart. Xin huo is also associated with heart burn in traditional Chinese medicine. In performing this piece, the practitioner squats in a low horse stance, places the hands on thighs with the elbows facing out and twists to glance backwards on each side.

(5) Two Hands Hold the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys and Waist

This involves a stretch upwards followed by a forward bend and a holding of the toes.

(6) Clench the Fists and Glare Fiercely

This resembles the second piece, and is largely a punching movement either to the sides or forward while in horse stance. This is aimed at increasing general vitality and muscular strength.

(7) Bouncing on the Toes

This is a push upward from the toes with a small rocking motion on landing. The gentle shaking vibrations of this piece is said to "smooth out" the qi after practice of the preceding seven pieces.

(8) Focus Energy in Dantian

While focusing your mind on the belly area, which is your energy centre, make circular movements with some pressure as if trying to push all the energy in the area. Concentrate and breathe in during half a circle - as you push your palms against the belly area - and breathe out as you complete the circle. Do this circular movement six times. Slowly let go and relax.

I hope this helps. If you have any questions please come and ask me!

I look forward to seeing you all in class and at the exam!

Peace - Courage - Faith