Correct Practice of Ba Duan Jin

“Learning” refers to the process of learning knowledge and skills, and “practice” refers to the process of increasing proficiency. In other words, applying learning to practice or integrating practice with learning is the essence for improvement, with each other perfect complement and reciprocal, which needs unremitting efforts. During the learning and practice of the Health Qigong Ba Duan Jin, it is involving with principles and methods of practicing as well as the fundamental characteristics, movement essentials and the requirements for practicing. This article intends to focus on several issues that is needed to pay attention to during learning and practicing the Health Qigong Ba Duan Jin.

Learning and practicing the Health Qigong Ba Duan Jin should take the “appearance training” as the key points

The standing postural Ba Duan Jin belongs to one of the ancient Chinese Daoyin. During its process of evolution, regardless of which period and what kind of genre, it has never separated from the exercise feature that focus on physical training. By means of limbs movement, it achieves the purpose of keeping fit through strengthening tendons and bone, enhancing the body immunity and organs, clearing the meridians and adjusting the blood circulation and breathing.

There are three stages in practicing the Health Qigong Ba Duan Jin. The first stage is the learning and mastering movement period. At first, it is required to practice from the basic body posture, basic hand posture and basic steps. During the learning and practicing, it is necessary to grasp the typical actions and movements for repeated practice. As the old saying goes, “regardless of similarity or not, you should achieve at least 30 percent of resemblance.” That is to say, regardless of the technical level, the depth of skills, the specific hands posture and footsteps, as long as you start practicing, you should exert every effort to make it standardized, which is very important for beginners. During learning and practicing the Health Qigong Ba Duan Jin, it is necessary to master three primary elements including point, line and posture. In terms of point, it refers to the starting and ending point of actions. In terms of line, it refers to the operative approach of the movements. In terms of posture, it refers to both the dynamic and static state. Whether for any requirement, it is significant to standardize your actions and movements. Generally speaking, it is required upper body straight, lower extremity stable, footsteps & hand postures clear, precise and in place. In other words, it is advised that as the old saying goes, “at first standardized and then to be diverse and flexible.” The second stage is to master actions and movements in proficiency period. During this stage, it is necessary to pay attention to the conversion of the body gravity, master a good balance and deal with the convergence between actions. In addition, it is required to rely on spinal column to lead to the movements of limbs in order to make the soft, gentle, flexible, coherent, and round movements. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to practice repeatedly, correctly and improve movements constantly so that each action can be accurate in place and with ease. The third stage is the consolidation and improvement of movements period. It is required that based on the previous practice to strive to the integration of dynamic and static, masculine and feminine, rigid and flexible. Furthermore, it is necessary to relax both internal mentality and external body, with serene mind and concentrating on practicing. Apart from that, it is significant to pay attention to the combination of tense with relax, firm with gentle, moderately elastic, and use mind concentration rather than physical strength. At the same time, it is advised to experience the connotations between “three adjustments” in order to achieve the flexible and freely movements, appropriate breathing and gradually transferred into the unity of “three adjustments.”

During learning and practicing the Health Qigong Ba Duan Jin, it is required to attach great importance letting the spinal column leading the movement of limbs

The spine has the functions of supporting the body and protecting the internal organs, and at the same time, it is also the hub of human motion, taking charge of the physical movements. According to the clinical statistics, the spine-related diseases have become the greatest potential risk for human health at the 21st century. Therefore, the spine is called the body’s “second lifeline.” The Health Qigong Ba Duan Jin takes full account the influences that the spine exerts in the human health during its working out specific movements, thus it emphasizes the training for the spine. Each action’s starting posture all stem from the Jiaji of the spine (empty place between two scapular ridges) and its exercise rules are all involved with the spine as the axis to extend to the whole body. In addition, the Du meridian has close relation with the spine and connects with the whole body meridians, while the Yu acupoints of the bladder of the both sides of spine directly connect with the internal organs, therefore, it is conspicuous to see the vital significance for training spine. To some extent, in the practice of Ba Duan Jin, those who master the rules of spine exercise grasp the essence of Ba Duan Jin of Health Qigong.

In order to facilitate practitioners to master the pivotal role of the spine, the specific illustrations are as follows. In the “preparatory posture”, it is required that both the preparatory posture as well as all the rising and fall movements should be in vertical spine, with the entire spine spiraling up and down throughout on the pull-out length. In the “Routine 1 Holding the Hands High with Palms Up to Regulate the Internal Organs”, it is required that both palms hold the spine and pull upward and downward, using vital energy to reach to the Lao Gong acupoints until the Jiaji. In the “Routine 2 Posing as an Archer Shooting Both Left-and-Right-Handed, it is required that two wrists cross- put on the chest and relax the Jiaji, with the strength of left-and-right shooting posture reaching Jiaji. In the “Routine 3 Holding One Arm Aloft to Regulate the Functions of the Spleen and Stomach, it is required that both palms pull in composite direction and make the spine stretch, using vital energy to reach to the Lao Gong acupoints and the Jiaji in center. In the “Routine 4 Looking Backwards to Prevent Sickness and Strain”, it is required that two palms press downward and hold the spine upright, stretching the shoulders to look back and using vital energy to reach to Jiaji. In the “Routine 5 Swinging the Head and Lowering the Body to Relieve Stress”, it is required that using forward stance to hold the spine, stretch the spinal column by side, and around the body to rotate the Weique. In the “Routine 6 Moving the Hands down the Back and Legs and Touching the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys”, it is required to stretch and relax the spine. In the “Routine 7 Thrusting the Fists and Making the Eyes Glare to Enhance Strength ”,it is required to using forward stances and crouching to hold the spine, with left-and-right fists twisting. In the “Routine 8 Raising and Lowering the Heels to Cure Diseases”, it is required that stretch the heels and slightly vibrate the lower spine. In the closing posture, it is required to relax the spine and make closure of the whole exercise. With the vital energy, it means using the idea rather than strength, otherwise, it is easy to lead to stiff and blood stasis. Therefore, the vital energy should be interpreted as the integration for verve, breathing and spirit.

The practice of preparatory posture cannot be ignored in practicing of the Health Qigong Ba Duan Jin

It is universally known for the preparatory posture of the Ba Duan Jin, which is called “Tai Chi Pile” in Tai Chi Boxing and is called “San Yuan posture” or “Holding Ball posture” in Health Qigong. Extremely rich in connotations, it is the primary preference when practicing, so that it is called “primary pile in practicing Health Qigong.” There are three connotations for the preparatory posture. The first one is as the basic body posture. The second one is as the basic movement. The third one is as the basic skills. With regard to the basic body posture, it refers to the static state of the body. This is the most representative posture, which requires straight spine, low shoulders and elbows, pulling back the abdomen and with comfortable ease mien. With regard to the basic movements, it refers to the most fundamental movements and with rules to follow. The preparatory posture appears repeatedly in the connecting of actions, playing an importantly coherent role. Therefore, if practicing this preparatory posture well, it is conductive to improve the overall exercise. With regard to the basic skills, it refers to the prerequisite quality and capacity for practicing Health Qigong. All the above-mentioned issues can be resolved and reflected by the standing pile exercise of the preparatory posture, which contributes considerably to the overall and comprehensive improvement of the practicing Health Qigong.

The above-mentioned “three basics” established the status of preparatory posture in the practicing of Ba Duan Jin. This shows that preparatory posture not only serves to prepare for practicing but also has the highly close relation with the whole set of exercise. Therefore, it is necessary to attach great importance and strengthen the efforts for practicing preparatory posture. There are three steps needed to pay attention during practicing preparatory posture.

The first step is “When Heaven is about to place a great responsibility on a great man, it always first frustrates his spirit and will, exhausts his muscles and bones, exposes him to starvation and poverty.” Therefore, it is necessary to overcome the muscle soreness, joint numbness as a result of standing pile and dismantle the exercise tension. This stage is called “change energy” in the Qigong terms. Normally it takes about three weeks. The first week is relatively tortured and the second week you will feel gradually relaxed, and the third week you will feel that there is strength in arm and the degree of comfort is improved.

The second step is based on the previous practice, it is naturally to pursue the relax and serene state of both spirit and body. With regard to relax and serene, the relax is the prerequisite, which is required to relax steadily from head to toe, from internal to external and spread from peripheral areas to pores. With regard to the serene state, it refers to remove the personal considerations and absent-mindedness. As the old saying goes, “it is important to pull back the absent-mindedness and curb the wanderings.” It is necessary to achieve the state of calm tranquility and concentrating on practicing. There are different effects of the relax and serene state, which cannot be attained in the short term and need to practice more than several years. Even some people practicing for a long time still fail to resolve the problems. It can be seen that if you do not seriously practice and exert assiduous efforts, you cannot grasp the essence of the Health Qigong.

The third step is with the deepened stage of relax and serene state, breathing begins to slow and the vital energy starts to rise and gradually enter into the period o f convalesce. Under this occasion, it is necessary to maintain the ease and natural state rather than pursue deliberately and mechanically. After the long-time practice, you will feel energetic and robust. It should be noted that it is negative to close your eyes during practicing With regard to the exercise intensity, it is advised to be moderated and suitable. If there happens to palpitation, shortness of breath, dizziness, uncomfortable, tremble and other abnormal phenomenon, it is significant to immediately stop practice and carry out adjustment to avoid deleterious effects.

Yang Bolong

Reference: Step-by-Step Description on Correct Practice Specific Phases of Health Qigong Ba Duan Jin

Chinese Health Qigong Association

Ba Duan Jin
Foreign Language Press
ISBN 9787119047812

Energy Exercise Mindset principle qigong

Guolin Qigong

The Guo Lin Story

Ms. Guo Lin was a teacher of traditional Chinese painting and was diagnosed with uterine cancer at age 43 and had her uterus removed in 1949 while she was in Shanghai, China. In 1960, the cancer was found to have spread to her bladder, so her doctors removed half her bladder. However, this did not help, her cancer remained and spread and after four other operations, the doctors gave up and in 1964, told her she had only six months to live.

She did not give up hope, but she did not know what to do. As she was cleaning up her home, she found ancient Qigong texts left to her by her late grandfather (a Taoist priest) and began to practice these forms. She found them to be very effective. After six months, she found that her cancer had gone into remission.

In 1970 she started teaching other cancer patients in the parks of Beijing. Her style was called New Qigong Therapy and soon, word was spreading that many of her students were benefiting from this “new” qigong. By 1977 she had gained national prominence and was teaching about 400 students daily in Beijing. She worked tirelessly until her death in 1984 at age 78 (of a cerebral hemorrhage), after having survived cancer for over 34 years and after helping thousands recover from the pain and suffering of various ailments. She had travelled throughout China to lecture, teach and demonstrate.

Now her Qigong style is named in her honor, and it has spread to many countries around the world.

There was a TV special on health called “The Healing Heart”. Near the end of the special was a segment on Guo Lin Qigong. It was about the Shanghai Cancer Recovery Club. These people, instead of being passive in their fight with cancer, were out everyday walking, moving, and breathing in a very special way.

All over Shanghai there were people getting together every morning, hundreds of people in dozens of places, to practice these Qigong forms to help fight their cancer. These groups were run solely by cancer survivors who had used this Qigong. At the time the show was taped, in Shanghai alone, there were almost 3,000 people in these cancer recovery clubs, and besides the Qigong classes they also scheduled group trips, met for yearly anniversaries of members survival, and generally supported each other in their fight.

Now, over a million Chinese with a variety of chronic diseases have learned Guo Lin Qigong, and the various groups claim to have an amazing amount of success (over 80%). One must take these types of claims with a grain of salt, since many of the people may not have been medically diagnosed. However, many hospitals that treat cancer in China will recommend Gou Lin Qigong as part of the treatment.

Guo Lin Qigong was credited as an agent in many cases of cancer remission by the Chinese government. These successes inspired the creation of a cancer survivors club in Beijing, then spreading to many other cities. Today, Guo Lin Qigong clubs can be found all over China. There have been studies done, in China, that seem to prove or provide evidence as to this Qigong’s effectiveness.

Guo Lin Qigong has become a social and medical phenomenon in China. No longer passive, the patients are very active in their own recovery which is strikingly different than what usually happens here.

This Qigong form can be used as an addition to any cancer recovery program. It should not be used to replace any cancer therapy prescribed by your physician. We offer no explicit nor implicit opinion or claim on the effectiveness of practicing Guo Lin Qigong for those with cancer or any other ailment. It is our wish to provide information on Quo Lin Qigong so that those interested can learn this style.

Reference: The Complete Guo Lin Qigong Form

by Coach Xu
The new Guo Lin Qi-Gong (GLQG) is a type of self control Qi-Gong therapy consisting of a combination of both slow movements and peaceful meditation. It was initially developed by the late Qi-Gongist, Mrs. Guo Lin who was born China in 1909 and died in late 1984. She was a famous painter noted for her mountain and river scenes of China. When she was six years old, she followed her grandfather to practice child Gong and play Hua-Tuo’s animal analogue demonstration. During her many travels, she visited many famous Qi Gongist throughout China.
In 1949, she contracted cancer of the uterus. Even in spite of her numerous operations, the cancer could not be controlled. In her search for a cure, she turned to the old, traditional Chinese treatment of Qi-Gong. She studied various medical books and continuously applied Qi-Gong therapy to cancer healing. After ten years of research, she developed a new system of Qi-Gong. Her therapy integrates movement with meditation. Her approach proved to be effective and easy to learn. Since 1972, patients have been using her treatment throughout China. More than ten thousand cancer patients have practiced her new GLQG treatment to fight their cancer. A lot of her cancer patients got healed and did not have any cancer recurrence. In studying the successful cases, it was revealed that GLQG is an acceptable method to add to the treatments integrating TCM with WM. (TCM–Traditional Chinese Medicine, WM–Western medicine)

The Shanghai Rehabilitation Club for cancer patients was established in 1989. in 1993, a survey was conducted of its 1,054 club members having cancer. The survey results revealed that 64 percent of the members having cancer had recovered. It was concluded that of those cured of cancer, 85 % were persistent in exercising GLQG. Some of the benefits from properly practicing GLQG therapy were improved sleep, appetite, improved immune functions that contributed to preventing replaces and metastasis, improved quality of life, and prolonged survival.

Today, there even a few teachers of GLQG outside of China , in the United States, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong and Macao. As a result, there are adherents of GLQG in these areas. Due to the favorable reputation of Qi-Gong teachers in the China, our teachers were invited to teach at the Qi-Gong Association of Japan twice, Once in 1992 and again in 1993.

The special features of GLQG are that it:
1.– improves physical conditioning which in turn prevents and cures diseases
2.– emphasizes self-training discipline so as to not require external motivation by others;
3.– differentiate Qi-Gong modes, program, and, duration which is, based on the different kinds of diseases including the cause, nature and’location the cancer as well as the physical condition of patients;
4.— is easy to learn and has no proven side effects. However self-training; should be advanced step-by-step and the patient’s willpower must be developed so that they can exert all of their strength.

There are several modes to apply the new GLQG program of treatment, such as:
* Walking with wind respiration:
— natural walking
— quick walking
— stable walking
— 1, 2, 3, point walking
* Waving arms slowly up and down and opened and closed
* Massaging of the Yong Quin acupoint and head
* Hand and Feet rods
* Making special vocal sounds
* Walking slowly for patients with chronic diseases.


More Videos of Guo Lin:
Demofilm Guo Lin Qi Gong intro A
Demofilm Guo Lin Qi Gong intro B
Demofilm Guo Lin Qi Gong intro C
Demofilm Guo Lin Qi Gong intro D

Book reference:
Traditional Chinese Fitness Exercises: Including Taijiquan and Qigong
p. 109-111.