Qigong Study Group: Resources for Continuing Training
We are at the conclusion of the Qigong study group. By now you should be proficient in a variety of basic Qigong forms and meditations. You should be able to feel and perceive Qi in the body, and should be able to develop Jing through Baduanjin, and the microcosmic orbit meditation.
Here is a collection of resources for continuing training and education in Qigong and Chinese philosophy.
Outline:a. Writing and Books
b. Internal Martial Arts and other Qigong forms
c. Tea and Herbalism
d. Bao Ding Ballsa. Writing and Books
My writing:Beginning Daoist Qigong EX
, namely the exercises that weren't taught as a part of the study group.Intermediate Daoyin Qigong and ApplicationsThe Secret of the Golden Flower with interpretations.
Other authors:The Root of Chinese Qigong by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming.Qigong, The Secret of Youth by Dr. Yang, Jwing-MingScholar-Warrior: An Introduction to the Tao in Everyday Life by Ming-Dao Deng
Daoism and the Way:
Daodejing (Rosenthal translation) (Tao T'eh C'hing): http://www.mediafire.com/?j4wfzokkw3jq6ljLaozi's classic on the Dao
Zhuangzi (C'huang Tzu): http://www.mediafire.com/?dazr5c8udjnz4v1The poetic parables of a Chinese mystic and voidwalker
Liezi (Lieh Tzu): http://www.mediafire.com/?sz2m98ljxpseataThe Dao as taught by Liezi
(The above three texts are the "Big Three" classics of Daoism and constitute the philosophical base of Daoism)
Yijing (I C'hing) part one: http://www.mediafire.com/?1kqti4abuh081ol
Yijing part two: http://www.mediafire.com/?p4z8ux5dq15xebfThe Book of Changes, a Daoist divination manual used in conjunction with throwing coins called Bagua
The Art of War: http://www.mediafire.com/?whpjhz7pu24u6axSunzi's treatise on war, politics, deception, and commanding a military
Book of Five Rings: http://www.mediafire.com/?r24w6fml67gr5zfMiyamoto Musashi's classic on swordsmanship and the void (Japanese)b. Internal Martial Arts and other Qigong forms
So, we come to the section on Internal Martial Arts and other Qigong forms. This section is to be a repository of knowledge concerning martial arts that actively teach use of Qi, or Ki in fighting and self-defense.
1. Taijiquan (Tai C'hi C'huan)
Taijiquan is known as "Great Ultimate Fist". Legend has it, a Chinese Daoist monk named C'hang Sen Feng (Zhangsenfeng) created Taiji's original 13 movements after watching a fight between a Snake and a Crane on the mountain he was meditating on.
Modern Taiji has numerous forms, usually associated with the family that the art was passed down through. Yang family (or Yang style) Taiji is most common. Out of the original 13 movements, more were added on through the centuries to encompass 108 total movements. In modern times, those have been distilled to a shorter, 24 movement form. The 108 form method is called long style and the 24 movement form is called short style. Both have their benefits, but ultimately, the 24 form short style is more suited to health and is usually 'dumbed down' as a fighting art. Some "Taiji for health/old folks" even remove all teaching about Qi and Jing, and combat applications, and just use the form as a dumbed down light exercise. Thus, it is my opinion that in general, if you can find intense long style Taiji from a good instructor, to take that over anything else.
Taiji's basis is on neutralizing and redirecting the opponent's force. Many movements are circular in fashion. Taiji has a heavy emphasis on different forms of Jing, or power (such as listening Jing, upward moving Jing, neutralising Jing, and so on). The movements and breathwork as well as intent teach you how to manifest this energy to control and disable your opponent with the minimum amount of force necessary.
If you are interested in Taijiquan and do not have a teacher, it is possible to learn some of the basics of Long Style 108 Form Yang Taijiquan online at this website: Gilman Studio
2. Baguazhang (Pa Kua C'hang)
"8 Trigrams Boxing". This style takes a lot of inspiration from the Yi Jing (I' Ching). The practice consists of developing internal power and circle walking.
The creation of Baguazhang, as a formalised martial art, is attributed to Dong Haichuan (董海川), who is said to have learned from Taoist (and possibly Buddhist) masters in the mountains of rural China during the early 19th century. There is evidence to suggest a synthesis of several pre-existing martial arts taught and practised in the region in which Dong Haichuan lived, combined with Taoist circle walking. Because of his work as a servant in the Imperial Palace he impressed the emperor with his graceful movements and fighting skill, and became an instructor and a bodyguard to the court. Dong Haichuan taught for many years in Beijing, eventually earning patronage by the Imperial court.
3. Xingyiquan (H'sing I C'huan)
Xingyiquan, or "Mind/Intention Boxing", is the third of the traditional "Wudang" style martial arts. It is the most linear and explosive of the three. A lot of the movements are similar to and patterned after Five Animal Gungfu. It is accredited to the Song Dynasty (960-1279AD) general Yue Fei.
Read more here: Wikipedia
4. Liu He Ba Fa Quan
Not much can be said about this art other than it is extremely rare in the Western world. It is derived from Xingyiquan, but distinct. If you want information about this art, you'll have to contact Faijer on Veritas about it, as he has taken it and can tell you far more about it than me.
It is said to be the rarest, 4th internal Chinese art.Wikipedia
"Way of the Harmonious Fist"
Ai = love, ki = breath, do= way
Aikido is a Japanese art that has similar concepts to Taijiquan- neutralising the opponent's force with a minimum of your own force. It is said to be derived from Aikijutsu, which in turn was derived from Jiujutsu, a method of unarmed fighting and takedowns used against soldiers and cavalry.
The art was developed by Morihei Ueshiba, or "O Sensei" (Great Teacher), who lived from December 14, 1883 – April 26, 1969. Many legendary feats are attributed to O Sensei, and he supposedly possessed the ability of no touch throws, or no touch knockdowns, similar to the Chinese Lin Kong Jing. It was even said he had a group of soldiers line up in a field with rifles to shoot at him from some distance away, and he dodged the bullets (he claimed a golden-white ball flew off the top of the rifle before the person pulled the trigger).Wikipedia
6. Korean arts
There are numerous Korean arts that deal with Ki in fighting.
Some of them are Kuk Sool Won, Hapkido, Chung Do Kwan (Chung Do Moo Sool Won), and probably others I don't know of.
The Korean arts are powerful and are reknown for excellent mastery of pressure point striking, holds, joint locks, and takedowns. They employ Ki in fighting as well.Wikipedia for Kuk Sool Won
7. Other Qigong forms
There are as many Qigong forms as there are stars in the sky. xD
The Baduanjin you've learned is a very ancient exercise, with diagrams of it dating back to 1300 a.d., writing dating to 1000 a.d., and by some Chinese accounts it's been around as long as 900 BC! However, there are just as many other forms for health, vitality, and martial strength. Here are links to a few of them.Bodhidharma's Shaolin Eighteen Hands of LohanFive Animal Frolics QigongSix Healing SoundsMuscle-Tendon Change Qigong and Brain-Marrow Washing Qigongc. Tea and Herbalism
Qigong, in itself, is an art of self-healing and rigorous training; what is usually talked about little is the concept that certain things can enhance your qigong practice considerably, outside of qigong itself. Just as a body builder crosstrains and drinks protein shakes, so can an internal stylist augment his qi through methods other than qigong.
Here, then, is a short section detailing a couple different qigong "supplements" that are widely used and highly praised for the effects they bring.
"Firstly, I'll talk about tea. Tea is a great drink for cleaning out the system and ensuring proper qi flow; certain types of qi work on different meridians, clearing out and cleaning the subtle bodies' inner workings."
"Tea contains a chemical called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that binds to the enzyme urokinase, preventing it from stimulating tumor growth. The Journal of the National Cancer Institute has published articles on the cancer-preventive effects of green tea."
"Researchers believe that tea lowers cholesterol because EGCG combines with bile salts and cholesterol to form an insoluble precipitate."
"There are more chapters on tea in the Chinese Herbal Material Medica (Ben Cao) than on any other herb, including ginseng."
"A cup of drip coffee contains approximately 100 mg caffeine, black tea: 50 mg caffeine, green tea: 20 mg caffeine, bancha tea 0 mg caffeine. (Nevertheless, if you have cardiac arrhythmia, are taking MAO inhibitor drugs, or have any medical condition for which caffeine is forbidden, you must, sadly, avoid even green tea.)"
"Taoist and Buddhist Monks drink tea because it clears and refreshes the mind. If you are anxious or stressed, drink some tea and contemplate the beauty of nature, Drinking tea is meditation."
"Green tea, by far, is the most beneficial tea to drink. It has many, many health benefits, and works on the lung, spleen, and stomach meridians (Oriental Medicine - 12 meridian system). It can also be purchased just about anywhere quite cheaply. However, there are many more teas that are equally beneficial, some of which are available for purchase. A big part of becoming a tea drinker lies in drinking tea that you like- once you find one that you enjoy, stock up on it."
To quote wikipedia:
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), also known as epigallocatechin 3-gallate, is the ester of epigallocatechin and gallic acid, and is a type of catechin.Tea and herbalism
EGCG is the most abundant catechin in tea and is a potent antioxidant that may have therapeutic applications in the treatment of many disorders (e.g. cancer). It is found in green tea but not black tea; during black tea production, the catechins are converted to theaflavins and thearubigins. In a high temperature environment, an epimerization change is more likely to occur; however as exposure to boiling water for 30 straight minutes only leads to a 12.4% reduction in the total amount of EGCG, the amount lost in a brief exposure is insignificant. In fact, even when special conditions were used to create temperatures well-above that of boiling water, the amount lost scaled up only slightly.
EGCG can be found in many supplements.
Various herbs have been used in teas and tonics around the world for millennia. In China, it is thought that certain herbs affect the holistic health by acting on meridians. So, a large part of Daoist alchemy was actual external preparations of herbs into tonics and teas, or crushing them with a pestel to be put into a pill. Around the time of the warring states period, these court magicians, "prescription masters" or Fangshi, were employed by the Imperial Court and were often tasked with creating an Immortality Elixir or Pill for the consumption of the Emperor himself. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fangshi
Their work became what is known as Chinese herbalism, and unlike then, many of the herbs and teas they used are readily available today if you know where to look.
Here is a brief section on traditional Chinese herbs and how they affect the Qi. These can all be purchased independently and added to teas or tonics to balance things like Yin or Yang imbalance and energy stagnation.
Courtesy this site.
Astragalus is one of the most popular and important tonic herbs used in the Orient. It is said to strengthen the primary energy and to tonify the three burning spaces. It is famed as a specific energizer to the outside of the body and is therefore beneficial to younger adults, who tend to be physically active. Some people consider Astragalus to be a tonic superior to ginseng for younger people. Astragalus is believed to be strengthening to the legs and arms, and is traditionally used by people who work outdoors, especially in the cold, because of its strengthening and warming nature. As an energizer to the outside of the body, Astragalus is used to tonify the protective energy (Wei Qi) which circulates just under the skin. Wei Qi is the Yang counterpart of the more Yin nutritional energy (Ying Qi) which flows through the twelve meridians and supplies the organs with vital energy. Wei, like Ying, is generated in the Lungs and after the Lungs have extracted Qi from the air and the Stomach and Spleen extract Qi from food. The air and food energies are united in the Lung to generate the "essential energy." Ying and Wei are the two components of the essential energy. Wei Qi circulates in the subcutaneous tissues providing suppleness to the flesh and adaptive energy to the skin. It is the Wei Qi which provides the energy to perspire, produce goose flesh or shiver. If Wei Qi is deficient, exhausted or blocked, environmental forces such as heat, cold, humidity, wind, etc. (the so-called vicious energies") will penetrate through the flesh and injure the flesh, blood and inner organs. Astragalus, in tonifying the Lung, especially its Yang component, helps the body build an abundance of free flowing Wei Qi, thus fortifying the defense mechanism. Astragalus is also a blood tonic (Qi leads blood). It helps to regulate fluid metabolism, and those who consume it regularly are said to rarely suffer from fluid retention and bloating. It is also now considered an excellent regulatory tonic to the sugar metabolizing functions, especially when combined with licorice root.
White Atractylodes Rhizome
White Atractylodes is an important general body tonic which acts generally upon the digestive system and balances the appetite. It is widely used in Chinese herbalism as a potent energy tonic. White Atractylodes has warming properties and is a mild stimulant. As a tonic to the Spleen/Pancreas and Stomach, it is said to benefit digestion and to help regulate fluid metabolism. It is well known and widely used as a very safe, mild diuretic. Upon continued use, White Atractylodes will help regulate the appetite, so it is widely used as a weight control herb. White Atractylodes is also used to strengthen the muscles in general, and the legs in particular. By regulating the Spleen/Pancreas, it helps build energy which is distributed to the entire body. White Atractylodes is considered to be one of the best energy tonics by Chinese herbalists.
Codonopsis is a great general tonic used to restore bodily vigor, just like ginseng. Codonopsis has a mild energy, but it is a very powerful Qi tonic. Codonopsis is very effective as a tonic to the "middle burning space" which includes the Stomach and Spleen's unified function. It is excellent as an energy tonic, providing energy to the Lung and Spleen/Pancreas, those organ systems that extract Qi from environmental sources, and thus helps to generate energy for the entire body. It is said that this herb tones up the energy of the Spleen/Pancreas without making it too dry, and nourishes the Yin of the Stomach without making it too wet. The ability to balance the primary metabolic functions is one of this herb's great qualities. It also lubricates the Lungs and its passages, but always appropriately and not in excess. Codonopsis stimulates the production of blood, and is considered an excellent nutrient. It clears the Lungs of excess mucous and detoxifies the blood so that the skin becomes elastic, smooth and radiant.
Dioscorea root is widely used as a secondary tonic. Dioscorea, a type of yam, is an important Yin tonic that is said to benefit the spirit, promote flesh, and when taken habitually, to brighten the intellect and prolong life. Dioscorea serves as a Stomach-Spleen tonic, as well as nourishing the Lungs and supplementing the Kidney Qi. This white, brittle herb has cooling properties. Its energy is classified as neutral and it is sweet tasting.
White Ginseng Root
The root is said to replace lost Qi to the meridians and organs. It is used to benefit all the Qi so that one may live a long and happy life. It tonifies Qi and is adaptogenic. It is an immune modulator, prolongs life, overcomes fatigue, increases blood volume, aids in recovery from illness or trauma, sharpens and calms the mind, stabilizes the emotions, counteracts stress and enhances wisdom. Ginseng is tonic to both the Lungs and the Spleen/Pancreas systems.
Adaptogenic, antioxidant, immune modulating, anti-inflammatory, respiratory tonic, platelet regulator, anti-hyperlipidemic, anti-obesity, cardiovascular protectant, anti-aging agent
Licorice root stands next to ginseng in importance in Chinese herbalism. It is the most widely used of all Chinese herbs. It is known as the "Grandfather of Chinese herbs," as the "Great Adjunct," and as the "Great Detoxifier." It is used as a harmonizing ingredient in a large number of Chinese herbal recipes and is itself an excellent tonic and longevity herb. Chinese licorice root is said to revitalize the “Center,” referring to the “middle burning space,” and in particular to the digestive and assimilative functions associated with the Spleen. It supplements the energy and strikes a balance into the internal regions of the body. It is believed to drive out all poisons and toxins from the system and to eliminate side-effects from other herbs used with it. The “Great Adjunct” is said to aid all other herbs in entering their respective meridians and is thus of tremendous importance in the Chinese tonic herbal system. It is also believed that licorice will clean the meridians and allow Qi to flow smoothly. It is also widely claimed that licorice root builds flesh (muscle) and beautifies the countenance. Licorice root is also used throughout the Orient simply because it builds energy. It is now known that this is at least partly due to its remarkable power to regulate blood sugar balance. It is also widely used to sharpen the power of concentration.
Aged Citrus Peel
Aged Citrus (Tangerine) Peel is a digestant. It falls into the classical category of “Qi regulating” herbs --- that is, herbs that help Qi to move smoothly and to prevent blockage, particularly in the digestive and respiratory systems. It is not a tonic herb, but is often used in tonic formulations to improve their function. Sometimes strong Qi formulas, such as those being used in Qi Drops, can result in minor stagnation in the digestive tract if a Qi regulating herb is not included in the formula. Aged Citrus (Tangerine) Peel is VERY effective at moving Qi and preventing digestive blockage. There is sufficient Aged Citrus (Tangerine) Peel in this formula to prevent any possibility of Qi blocking.
Polygonatum sibericum is used as a Qi and Yin tonic, and is said to have a specific benefit on the energy of the heart and brain. It is used in Shen and Jing tonics to nourish the brain and strengthen the mind. It is a Qi tonic to the brain. It can be combined with Panax Ginseng, Siberian Ginseng (Eleuthero), Gynostemma, and various Qi tonics to add important mental Qi power.
Eleuthero is the equal of Ginseng in its adaptogenic capabilities. Some authorities think it is stronger. Eleuthero contains saponins which balance the nervous system and endocrine system. Eleuthero (Siberian Ginseng) also has a huge reputation as a mental tonic and even as a mental stimulant. It is considered to be faster acting than Ginseng. Studies have proven that people are more alert after they consume Eleuthero.
Tibetan Rhodiola Root
Tibetan Rhodiola sacra strongly increases vitality. It is good for strengthening the body and mind, resisting fatigue, resisting a lack of oxygen and excessive radiation (including solar radiation), and for prolonging life. It is especially well known for increasing the intelligence of those who consume it regularly. Rhodiola sacra has the action of “supporting and strengthening the human body” and the immune potentiating effects of Rhodiola sacra are, according to some researchers, stronger than those Ginseng (a VERY potent immune potentiator). Rhodiola sacra has a notable restorative effect if one consumes a preparation while the tired body is recovering or is failing to recover from strong or excessive exertion. Tibetan Rhodiola sacra has double-direction adjusting effects on the nervous and endocrine systems. It is good for resisting mental fatigue, and it can improve a person’s memory, power of concentration and work-efficiency.
Guilin Sweetfruit (Luo Han Guo) is an excellent Qi tonic to the Lungs. It improves functioning of the lungs and clears mucous and heat from the Lungs. Since the Lungs are central to Qi production, the condition of the Lungs is of the utmost importance to our health and well being. Guilin Sweetfruit is being widely researched because it appears to be a potent immune potentiator.
Some teas you may enjoy:Triple Leaf Decaf Green Tea with Chinese herbs
This one has ginseng and astralagus. It also has no caffeine. If you absolutely dislike tea, I would recommend you just stick with this and drink 1 cup daily to supplement your Qigong. The Ginseng in it is very good for Jing, and the Astralagus is good for Qi of the lungs, organs and Dantien. After two weeks of drinking a cup a day and doing Qigong every other day I have noticed a great overall increase in my energy body, a greater clarity of energy, less anxiety, and a stronger Yin Qi when doing the microcosmic orbit (I tend to be Yang imbalanced rather easily). The only downside: it pretty much tastes like green beans.Rishi Tea Organic Jasmine Pearl
A very strong, fragrant green tea that is flavored with Jasmine buds. Very flowery and sweet. A premium green tea. Good for Qi of the lungs, as any green tea is.Rishi Super Green Sencha
Haven't been able to try this yet, but I have some in the mail. This one is supposed to infuse very green (as opposed to more yellow for the above two), and the greener, the better. See, when tea infuses it also oxidizes, and when it oxidizes, it loses the beneficial antioxidants. So, if you really want to feel and benefit from the ECGC and other beneficial compounds in tea, drinking one like this is best.Traditional Medicinals Chamomile with Lavender
This one is great! Chamomile has been cultivated as far back as Ancient Egypt (around 2000 BC) for it's healing properties and use as a sedative tonic. This one also contains lavender flowers, which have been used for an equally long time as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agent.
I like to use this tea to help me sleep, but I also use to it prepare for any very heavy meditation (such as the macrocosmic orbit). It makes you somewhat sleepy and makes it much easier to reach deep mind states necessary for those exercises. It helps greatly with relaxation.
Chamomile should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women, it has been shown to have induce uterine contractions that can lead to miscarriage.
If you add a few shakes of ground cinnamon and a bit of honey to your chamomile tea, it will not only taste great but also works as a potent aid to stomach problems and nausea.Chaa Organic Mystic Darjeeling
This one is quite good. It is a dark, black tea, so it has no ECGC, although there are plenty of other antioxidants. The best way to describe this tea is "energizing". It has more caffiene than green teas do. I find this one best taken before a workout, yoga, martial arts practice, or anything very physical. It will give you energy, clear your mind and help you focus on your workout.
That concludes the section on herbalism.d. Bao Ding Balls
Baoding are small, heavy metal balls that used to be made out of solid stone or iron. They are named after the village in China of the same name that they originated in. In modern times, they are usually made out of hollow steel with a small plate inside that makes a ringing noise when the balls are spun in the palm of the hand.Bao Ding Balls on Ebay
Similar to the theory behind Ki-Cho-Jaki exercises, baoding are said to be very beneficial to the qi flow because they stimulate all the meridian points on the hands. This in itself means that the accompanying meridians are cleared out and stimulated as well.
Training with the baoding is simple, yet difficult at once. If you haven't touched a videogame in your life and have little hand-eye coordination, it will be very hard. Start off by holding them both in your right hand, and attempt to spin them around each other clockwise. Start slowly, and try to make them "ring" as little as possible, as that means you are clanking them together. At no point during the spinning should the baoding stop touching each other. The point is not to go fast, but to spin them as quietly as possible. Once you can spin them at an even pace quietly, try adding speed into the equation.
Eventually, the above will be easy. At this point, start spinning them with the same hand counterclockwise, progressing in a similar manner until you can spin them quickly and silently whilst spontaneously changing directions smoothly, at will. It takes a lot of practice!
After the right hand has become proficient in spinning them, move on to the left hand, and train similarly.
This concludes the Qigong study group and the resources for continuing your training.
I wish you well on your path.
Good Health and Training,