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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. Alcohol

e. Care of the physical body and mental attitude

f. Bao Ding Balls


a. Writing and Books

My writing:

Beginning Daoist Qigong, namely the exercises that weren't taught as a part of the study group.

Intermediate Daoyin Qigong and Applications

Advanced Daoyin Qigong and Kundalini Yoga

The Secret of the Golden Flower with interpretations.

Scholar-Warrior: A Modern Daoist Lifestyle Approach

Other authors:

The Root of Chinese Qigong by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming.

Qigong, The Secret of Youth by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming

Scholar-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/?j4wfzokkw3jq6lj

Daodejing (S. Mitchell translation): http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/core9/phalsall/texts/taote-v3.html  *Highly Recommended

Laozi's classic on the Dao

Zhuangzi (C'huang Tzu): http://www.mediafire.com/?dazr5c8udjnz4v1

The poetic parables of a Chinese mystic and voidwalker

Liezi (Lieh Tzu): http://www.mediafire.com/?sz2m98ljxpseata

The 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/?p4z8ux5dq15xebf

The Book of Changes, a Daoist divination manual used in conjunction with throwing coins called Bagua

The Art of War: http://www.mediafire.com/?whpjhz7pu24u6ax

Sunzi's treatise on war, politics, deception, and commanding a military

Siji Tzu: Siji Tzu

Other Religions and Philosophies

Hinduism: Bhagavad-Gita, Rg Veda, Upanishads, Kundalini Yoga Upanishad

Confucianism (related to Daoism): Analects of Confucius, The Mencius, The Doctrine of the Mean, The Great Learning

Buddhism: Buddhist Sutras, Tripitakas

Zen: Zen Koans

Book of Five Rings: http://www.mediafire.com/?r24w6fml67gr5zf

Miyamoto Musashi's classic on swordsmanship and the void (Japanese)

U.G. Krishnamurti and Enlightenment: http://www.ugkrishnamurti.net/


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.
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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.[2] 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.[3] Dong Haichuan taught for many years in Beijing, eventually earning patronage by the Imperial court.[4]

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

5. Aikido

"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 Lohan

Five Animal Frolics Qigong

Six Healing Sounds

Muscle-Tendon Change Qigong and Brain-Marrow Washing Qigong

c. Tea and Herbalism

Quote
Training Supplements

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.

Tea

"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."

"Green 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:
Quote
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), also known as epigallocatechin 3-gallate, is the ester of epigallocatechin and gallic acid, and is a type of catechin.

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[3]. 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.[4]
EGCG can be found in many supplements.

Tea and herbalism

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.

Quote
Astragalus root

 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 Root

 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

 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.

 Gynostemma Leaf
Adaptogenic, antioxidant, immune modulating, anti-inflammatory, respiratory tonic, platelet regulator, anti-hyperlipidemic, anti-obesity, cardiovascular protectant, anti-aging agent

Licorice Root

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

 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.

Siberian Ginseng

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

 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.

Different kinds of tea


There are different kinds of tea with different benefits.

They are, in order from least processed to most processed:

White tea

Quote
White tea (Chinese: 白茶; pinyin: báichá) is a lightly oxidized tea grown and harvested primarily in China, mostly in the Fujian province.[1] More recently it is grown in Taiwan, Northern Thailand and Eastern Nepal.

White tea comes from the buds and leaves of the Chinese Camellia sinensis plant. The leaves and buds are allowed to wither in natural sunlight before they are lightly processed to prevent oxidation or further tea processing.

The name "white tea" derives from the fine silvery-white hairs on the unopened buds of the tea plant, which gives the plant a whitish appearance.[2] The beverage itself is not white or colourless but pale yellow.
White tea is the least processed tea and contains the most ECGC. It is most beneficial to your health and has low levels of caffeine.
A truly great, whole leaf, organic white tea known as Bai Mu Dan (white peony) can be purchased in bulk at Costco World Market for a good price.

Green tea

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Green tea is made from the leaves from Camellia sinensis that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing. Green tea originates in China,[1] but it has become associated with many cultures throughout Asia. Green tea has recently become more widespread in the West, where black tea has been the traditionally consumed tea. Green tea has become the raw material for extracts which are used in various beverages, health foods, dietary supplements, and cosmetic items.[2] Many varieties of green tea have been created in the countries where it is grown. These varieties can differ substantially due to variable growing conditions, horticulture,[3] production processing, and harvesting time.

Over the last few decades green tea has been subjected to many scientific and medical studies to determine the extent of its long-purported health benefits, with some evidence suggesting that regular green tea drinkers may have a lower risk of developing heart disease[4] and certain types of cancer.[5] Although green tea does not raise the metabolic rate enough to produce immediate weight loss, a green tea extract containing polyphenols and caffeine has been shown to induce thermogenesis and stimulate fat oxidation, boosting the metabolic rate 4% without increasing the heart rate.[6]

The mean content of flavonoids in a cup of green tea is higher than that in the same volume of other food and drink items that are traditionally considered of health contributing nature, including fresh fruits, vegetable juices or wine.[7] Flavonoids are a group of phytochemicals present in most plant products that are responsible for health effects such as anti-oxidative and anticarcinogenic functions.[7] However, the content of flavonoids may vary dramatically amongst different tea products.
This stuff is great! It's Kouji's favorite tea. I really like Rishi Jade Cloud, Ancient Emerald Lily and Dragon Well.

Oolong tea

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Oolong (simplified Chinese: 乌龙; traditional Chinese: 烏龍; pinyin: wūlóng) is a traditional Chinese tea (Camellia sinensis) produced through a unique process including withering under the strong sun and oxidation before curling and twisting.[1] Most oolong teas, especially those of fine quality, involve unique tea plant cultivars that are exclusively used for particular varieties.[2] The degree of oxidation can range from 8 to 85%,[3] depending on the variety and production style. Oolong is especially popular with tea connoisseurs of south China and Chinese expatriates in Southeast Asia,[4] as is the Fujian preparation process known as the Gongfu tea ceremony.

In Chinese tea culture, semi-oxidised oolong teas are collectively grouped as qīngchá (Chinese: 青茶; literally "teal tea").[5] The taste of oolong ranges hugely amongst various subvarieties.[2] It can be sweet and fruity with honey aromas,[6] or woody and thick with roasted aromas,[7][8] or green and fresh with bouquet aromas,[9] all depending on the horticulture and style of production.[1] Several subvarieties of oolong, including those produced in the Wuyi Mountains of northern Fujian, such as Da Hong Pao, are among the most famous Chinese teas.
Oolong has less ECGC than white or green tea, but still has some, and it also has more caffeine than both of them. For this reason, it is good to use to wake up with, and good to drink before any moving meditation like Qigong.

Black tea

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Black tea is a type of tea that is more oxidized than oolong, green and white teas. All four types are made from leaves of the shrub (or small tree) Camellia sinensis. Black tea is generally stronger in flavor than the less oxidized teas. Two principal varieties of the species are used – the small-leaved Chinese variety plant (C. sinensis subsp. sinensis), used for most other types of teas, and the large-leaved Assamese plant (C. sinensis subsp. assamica), which was traditionally mainly used for black tea, although in recent years some green and white have been produced.

In Chinese languages and the languages of neighboring countries, black tea is known as "red tea" (紅茶, Mandarin Chinese hóngchá; Japanese kōcha; 홍차, Korean hongcha), a description of the colour of the liquid; the Western term "black tea" refers to the colour of the oxidized leaves. In Chinese, "black tea" is a commonly-used classification for post-fermented teas, such as Pu-erh tea; outside of China and its neighbouring countries, "red tea" more commonly refers to rooibos, a South African tisane.
Black tea contains no ECGC as it is removed during oxidation and processing. It also has higher levels of caffeine. However, it still has many antioxidents and catechins that are good for the health.
Protip: Putting milk in tea causes the catechins to chemically bond to lactose and makes them inert, removing all health benefits. So, please don't put milk in your tea, you'll ruin it. Thank kobok for this information.

Pu E'rh tea

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Pu-erh or Pu'er tea is a variety of fermented dark tea produced in Yunnan province, China.[1][2][3] Fermentation is a tea production style in which the tea leaves undergo microbial fermentation and oxidation after they are dried and rolled.[4] This process is a Chinese specialty and produces tea known as Hei Cha (黑茶), commonly translated as dark, or black tea (this type of tea is completely different from what in West is known as "black tea", which in China is called "red tea"). The most famous variety of this category of tea is Pu-erh from Yunnan Province, named after the trading post for dark tea during imperial China.[5]

Pu'er traditionally begins as a raw product known as "rough" Mao Cha (毛茶) and can be sold in this form or pressed into a number of shapes and sold as "raw" Sheng Cha (生茶). Both of these forms then undergo the complex process of gradual fermentation and maturation with time. The Wo Dui process (渥堆) developed in the mod-1970s by the Menghai [6] and Kunming Tea Factories [7] created a new type of pu-erh tea, whose legitimacy is disputed by some traditionalists. This process involves an accelerated fermentation into "ripe" Shou Cha (熟茶) which is then stored loose or pressed into various shapes. All types of pu-erh can be stored to mature before consumption, which is why it is commonly labelled with year and region of production.
Pu Erh tea contains no ECGC as it is removed during oxidation and processing. It also has higher levels of caffeine. However, it still has many antioxidents and catechins that are good for the health.
This is the strongest tea you can get, so if you like strong flavors it's for you. It also has the most caffeine out of any tea, so if you want to replace coffee with tea in the morning, choose Pu Erh. Though, I drink both because coffee is also good for you in ways that tea isn't.


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 Dantian. After a month 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. Alcohol

Alcohol, if used sparingly, can be good for the health.

One drink a day is said to prevent heart disease and promote cardiovascular health.

For this reason, I keep a bottle of silver grade Japanese junmai sake in my fridge, and try and drink one small shot glass a day, usually before bed. This helps me sleep, as I have frequent insomnia.
You can do the same with a drink of your choosing as a preventative measure and longevity practice.

Again, overindulgance or reliance on anything like this is dangerous, so remember not to get addicted. You don't ever want to "need" a drink.
That is it for the section on alcohol.


e. Care of the physical body and mental attitude

For care of the physical body, including some basic Yoga regimens, I highly recommend my fellow Teacher Rawiri's article found here. http://forums.vsociety.net/index.php/topic,10274.0.html

Shower at a minimum 3 times a week, using good quality soap and a brush to scrub off dead skin.

Keep a good regimen of physical activity, whether that is the Qigong you've learned or Yoga. Take a martial art if you're interested in that.

Try to eat healthy. Avoid junk food.

In your mental attitude, try and be friendly and loving to everyone around you. An old quote I find appropriate in social interaction is "Stand tall and shake the heavens." Do not be overly aggressive, but be firm in your beliefs, and true to yourself. Be a servant to your fellow man.
A Daoist approach to this is the philosophical Three Treasures, as opposed to the metaphysical or alchemical Three Treasures San Bao (Jing, Qi, Shen):

Quote
Chinese terminology

The first of the Three Treasures is ci (Chinese: 慈; pinyin: cí; Wade–Giles: tz'u; literally "compassion, tenderness, love, mercy, kindness, gentleness, benevolence"), which is also a Classical Chinese term for "mother" (with "tender love, nurturing " semantic associations). Tao Te Ching chapters 18 and 19 parallel ci ("parental love") with xiao (孝 "filial love; filial piety"). Wing-tsit Chan (1963:219) believes "the first is the most important" of the Three Treasures, and compares ci with Confucianist ren (仁 "humaneness; benevolence"), which the Tao Te Ching (e.g., chapters 5 and 38) mocks.

The second is jian (Chinese: 儉; pinyin: jiǎn; Wade–Giles: chien; literally "frugality, moderation, economy, restraint, be sparing"), a practice that the Tao Te Ching (e.g., chapter 59) praises. Ellen M. Chen (1989:209) believes jian is "organically connected" with the Taoist metaphor pu (樸 "uncarved wood; simplicity"), and "stands for the economy of nature that does not waste anything. When applied to the moral life it stands for the simplicity of desire."

The third treasure is a six-character phrase instead of a single word: Bugan wei tianxia xian 不敢為天下先 "not dare to be first/ahead in the world". Chen notes that

    The third treasure, daring not be at the world's front, is the Taoist way to avoid premature death. To be at the world's front is to expose oneself, to render oneself vulnerable to the world's destructive forces, while to remain behind and to be humble is to allow oneself time to fully ripen and bear fruit. This is a treasure whose secret spring is the fear of losing one's life before one's time. This fear of death, out of a love for life, is indeed the key to Taoist wisdom. (1989:209)

In the Mawangdui Silk Texts version of the Tao Te Ching, this traditional "Three Treasures" chapter 67 is chapter 32, following the traditional last chapter (81, 31). Based upon this early silk manuscript, Robert G. Henricks (1989:160) concludes that "Chapters 67, 68, and 69 should be read together as a unit." Besides some graphic variants and phonetic loan characters, like ci (兹 "mat, this") for ci (慈 "compassion, love", clarified with the "heart radical" 心), the most significant difference with the received text is the addition of heng (恆, "constantly, always") with "I constantly have three …" (我恆有三) instead of "I have three …" (我有三).


f. Bao Ding Balls
Quote
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.

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.
Bao Ding Balls on Ebay

This concludes the Qigong study group and the resources for continuing your training.

I wish you well on your path.

Feel free to contact me any time if you need assistance in your training. Martial artists, I have prepared something special for you. If you are interested, let me know.

Good Health and Training,
~Koujiryuu
« Last Edit: July 18, 2013, 12:24:27 PM by Koujiryuu »
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July 15, 2013, 02:37:15 AM
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I'm a martial artist and would be interested in what you have. Quick question, unless I missed it somewhere- what should the recommended training schedule be right now? Baduanjin, Dantien Meditation, Microcosmic Orbit? Or more? Thank you for everything thus far.
Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate. -Sun Tzu

When the Mind is clear and still, all things under Heaven fall into place. -Lao Tzu

Drink your cup alone, though it taste of blood and tears, and praise God for the gift of taste. -Almustafa

July 16, 2013, 03:01:57 PM
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What version of the book of five rings is it (or who was the editor/translator) because the link isn't working. Also I too am wondering what you have.

July 16, 2013, 09:29:27 PM
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Koujiryuu

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I'm a martial artist and would be interested in what you have. Quick question, unless I missed it somewhere- what should the recommended training schedule be right now? Baduanjin, Dantien Meditation, Microcosmic Orbit? Or more? Thank you for everything thus far.

PM'ed. The things you mentioned are what you should continue with. Add in Fa Jing training if you have a heavy bag or sandbag to use (don't practice it on open air; bad idea). You can also reference the section in Intermediate Daoyin Qigong, as well as proceed to the methods in Advanced Daoyin Qigong and Kundalini Yoga when you feel ready. I can assist with the training in Advanced so pm me if you start it and have questions or need help.

What version of the book of five rings is it (or who was the editor/translator) because the link isn't working. Also I too am wondering what you have.

Not sure what version it was but it doesn't matter because mediafire got a copyright complaint and forcibly removed it. You can probably find it elsewhere online.
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July 17, 2013, 03:20:32 PM
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You could add Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu, the origin of Aikido, to the list of internal martial arts. I have no less than three dojos close by


Sometimes it looks really crazy! :)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ny4qp3_pZVk

July 17, 2013, 07:44:29 PM
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I tried to check out "Beginning Daoist Qigong EX" but I got the following error:

The topic or board you are looking for appears to be either missing or off limits to you.

The other links from "my writing" section work.

July 18, 2013, 12:25:07 PM
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Had the link to the old version without images.

Fixed.
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July 18, 2013, 06:36:43 PM
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