Starting: Eight Pieces of Brocade

Eight Pieces of Brocade Qigong @

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There’s a natural interest in Chi Kung (Qigong) by martial practitioners. When left to their own devices they may pick a difficult but profound or, possibly, a limited and over-specialized method to start their studies. Sometimes it is just a matter of waiting for your instructor to show you the tailored, appropriate and fittest Qigong for your style. Sometimes there is no  instructor in sight. When martial artists ask me about the best Qigong to start with I tell them that it’s highly personal but  often recommend one of the classics,  the Eight Pieces of Brocade.

For some people this one seems just too easy and simple. Nonetheless, there are some reasons to recommend it. The first is that it definitely comes from a martial  perspective, though it is a very toned-down approach. We can’t, of course, necessarily credit the account that marks it as  a product of that famous general, Yue Fei. (If Yue  Fei did all that it is said he did he would be honored more like Alva Edison than Hannibal.) But there are punches and a horse stance, so there’s at least a martial fragrance. Non-martial practitioners don’t perform these actions particularly well but that’s all right.

Also, the BDJ (Ba Duan Jin, the Chinese name) is broken into separate sections for ease of learning. These sections advance from really simple to pretty sophisticated so one can adapt upward. Many of the sections are explicit about their benefits (though this should be taken with a grain of salt). The BDJ is also very old, not an essential attribute, but nice. There is also a SECOND version, completely different, in which you sit on the floor and attend to other  matters such as head massage. Overall, a good place to start, where you aren’t doing a Qigong completely unsuitable for martial training, but also not complex enough to compound frustration.

Here are some resources:

DVD: with Professor Lu ShiCai

DVD: the Shaolin version

DVD: with Dr. Yu Ding  Hai

BOOK (English): Leung Ting’s version

One Response to “Starting: Eight Pieces of Brocade”

  1. Jeff says:

    I do this when I have the time, which isn’t very often. It takes a long time to go through the full thing. It’s a great way to warm up and limber up a bit before class. It isn’t as hard on my old body as some other exercise, but I find it prepares me better for what I’m about to do.

    I’ve tried the sitting down version but didn’t care for all the mouth rinsing and spit swallowing. I don’t think I’m ready to get the full benefit of that.

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