Train in Wudang

HEALTH CULTIVATION TECHNIQUES

Nourishing SheQn and Qi (练功夫养神气)

A translated and paraphrased quote by Wudang founder Zhang San Feng: “The Shen (mind) controls the Qi (life energy) in the body. Gaining a unit of Chi is like gaining a unit of treasure; the benefit of Qi is invaluable. Why does a follower of the Tao quarrel with the common folk? Profit breeds anger, and anger breeds internal Fire, which drains the Qi. Do not be ambitious and vain during practice. Simply cultivate your breath.”

站桩:
是太极内功修炼方式之一,即站无极混元桩,通过形体的周身弯曲成拉弓形,精神的专注归一,形神凝聚,性命双修,使其人道合于天道,即《道德经》:“曲则全,枉则直”,“天之道似张弓乎”的教诲。拳论曰:“以桩为本,以气为源,动如蛇行,静如山岳”,静是练习桩功内力的条件,只有静了才能在身体里面产生动,这就是道门里几千年所传的内功心法,是《道德经》里讲的“致虚极,守静笃,万物并作,吾以观其复,夫物芸芸,各复归其根。归根曰静”的真实反映.《庄子》也指出其相同的方法理念:“坠肢体,黜聪明,离形去知,同于大通”,练习逍遥掌桩功,在外形上看属于静态,但当站至周身疼痛关过后,全身能松下来,口鼻呼吸能转入体呼吸时,即鼻子的呼吸能与身体的起伏,开合,升降合住的时候,思想变得没有杂念或减少杂念,进入静态后,就能出现内气的运行,而看似外表安静,却内在如熊熊烈火,也就是《易经》里讲到的“天地定位,山泽通气,雷风相搏,水火相射”内功修炼准则,可谓别有洞天。
 
Standing Exercise (Stance):  
Wuji stance is one of the ways for taiji internal strength practice. It focused on coordination of both spiritually and physically to create the harmonization between man and nature through putting our body posture into a bow-shape, concentrating our mind and unification of our body and mind. Refers to the <Dao De Jing>: “Bend, thereupon composed. Crooked, thereupon straight.” and “The path of heaven: it’s like a bow.” The <Theory of Boxing> state that “Standing exercise as the fundamental, Qi (energy) as the source; move like a snake, as quiet as a mountain.” Quietness is the basic requirement in practicing standing exercise. When we are totally quiet from inside out, our body can generate the energy internally. This method was passed down by Taoists since few thousands years ago. It reflects to the <Dao De Jing> “Attaining to utmost emptiness, keeping to magnanimous peace, the myriad things performing all together, I by myself behold their return. The many many things, each return to recover its root. Recovering its root means peace.” Zhuangzi also has the same point of view, “Drop your limbs, remove your intelligence, get rid of form and intelligence, integrate with the Dao.”. When we practice standing exercise, the appearance seems to be static, but when we pass through the stage of pain and able to relax our body, the nose and mouth breathing will change to whole body breathing, which means the inhale and exhale of our nose can match with the up and down, open and close, lift and sink of our body. When our mind have no distraction or less distraction, our body reaching the calm and peaceful state, the internal energy will started to generate and circulate. In this stage, our posture seems static but actually the roaring flames is burning internally, as said in <The Book of Changes> “Heaven and earth positioned, mountain and pond ventilated, thunder and wind merged, water and fire evened .” The internal strength practice involve a profound understanding.
 
打坐:
又叫“盘坐”、“静坐”。即闭目盘膝而坐,调整气息出入,不想任何事情。与站桩同等重要的练内功的一种方式。张三丰祖师和历代前辈们总结出了很好内功打坐方法,他老人家指出:“大凡打坐,须将神抱住气,意系住息,在丹田中宛转悠扬,聚而不散,则内藏之气与外来之气,交结于丹田。日充月盛,达乎四肢,流乎百脉,撞开夹脊双关而上游于泥丸,旋复降下绛宫而下丹田。神气相守,息息相依,河车之路通矣。”功夫到此,筑基之效已得一半了,总是要勤虚炼耳。 其内在境况如魏伯阳在《周易参同契》提出的感受到的情况的那样:“淫淫若春泽,液液似解冰,从头流达足,究竟复上升,往来洞无极,怫怫被溶中,反者道之验,弱者德之柄”。打坐的关键在于养气调息,著名的武当派传人邢喜怀大师指出:“气何以养?寅时合道,神守天根,意沉海底,心静息寂,神意互恋,升降吞液,腹中如轮,旋转如规。是以知水火之和气,为两肾所出。此人身性命之本,须刻刻留意为是”。关于怎样调息,三丰祖师讲得很清楚,只要我们按此实践就会有效果:“调息须以后天呼吸寻真人呼吸之处,古云:‘后天呼吸起微风,引起真人呼吸功。’然调后天呼吸,须任他自调,方能调得起先天呼吸,我惟致虚守静而已。”
 
Sitting Meditation (Meditation):
When we do meditation, we close our eyes and sit cross-legged, adjust our breathing, and make our mind empty. This is another kind of internal strength practice which is as important as standing exercise. Founder master Zhang Sanfeng and other predecessors summarized a good way of practicing meditation, which is “ As long as you practice meditation, you must make sure that your spirit (Shen) is hugs with your Qi, and your intention (Yi) is tied up with your breath, surrounded at your Dantian, undispersed. The internal Qi and external Qi interact at Dantian.  Day by day, the Qi will reaches our limbs, flows to our meridians, strike through clip ridge (夹脊) and rise up to top of our head (泥丸), then sink down to middle dantian (绛宫) and thus dantian (丹田). When the spirit and Qi be together and interdependent, the way of river car is clear. Hereto, the foundation is half done and to be practice hard thereafter. Regarding the inner sight, we can refer to the book <Zhou Yi Can Tong Qi>, written by Wei Boyang, “These are like the abundance spring showers and dripping from dissolved ice. The fluid flows from head to foot, thence, they will rise again. They circulate continuously and without any blockage. You are in an infinite (Wuji) state, like being in a container of gas and liquid. These contraries to man’s habit proved by previous practitioners as the existence of Dao. In these inaction or empty state the morals is concerned.” The keys to meditation are to cultivate Qi and regulate our breath. The famous descendant of Wudang master Xing Xihuai pointed out: “ How to cultivate Qi? Breathing exercise at 3a.m. to 5a.m. (Yin hour), spirit (Shen) guard the Tian Gen (Upper Dantian), intention (Yi) sink to bottom of the sea, be peace of mind, spirit and intention in harmony, swallowing saliva while rise or sink (of Qi), like a wheel turning in the stomach. The harmonization of fire and water is produces by two kidneys. This is the fundamental of human lives and must pay attention to it all the time.” Founder master Zhang Sanfeng had told us clearly on how to regulate our breath, and if we follow his teaching, we will have effective outcome. “ When we regulate our breath, we begin from our normal breath and looking for the immortal breath. The ancients said: ‘normal breath blow the breeze and give rise to immortal breath.’ We must let our normal breath be naturally (let it be as it is) so that the primordial breath can arise. The only thing we can do is be empty and peace of mind.”
 
行功:
行功就是引导内力运行的功法,要求在练习中慢,柔,轻灵。通过行功的引导,站桩和静坐过程中产生的内力能很好的运化。三丰祖师指出告诫后世弟子们如果“不知行功之奥妙,挈置不顾,此无异炼丹不采药,采药不炼丹。莫道不能登长生大道,即外面功夫,亦绝不能成就。必须功拳并练。”因此行功是看拳法练得好坏的关键。
 
Movements (Jibengong and Forms):
Movements help to guide the Qi circulation inside our body. It requires to be practice slowly, softly, lightly and agilely. The energy arises during our practicing of stance and meditation can be transform through the guidance of our movements. According to our founder master Zhang Sanfeng, “If you do not know the secret of movements and ignore it, this just like you refine an alchemy without gather the herbs for it, or you gather the herbs but not refine it. Its not only cannot achieve longevity, your external strength also cannot be accomplish. You must practice both internal strength and movements together.” You can distinguish the skill level of a person through his movements. 

太极行功法 Taiji Working Method Song
 
行功法
Words/ Sounds

HE

XU

HU

SHEN

CHUI

XI
五脏
Organs

Heart

Liver

Spleen

Lung

Kidney
三焦
Three Burners
五行
Five Elements

Fire

Wood

Earth

Metal

Water
-
四季
Seasons
夏至
Summer

Spring
四季
Four Seasons

Autumn

Winter
-
动作配合
Movements
顶上叉
Fingers crossed over the head
睁其目
Open-eyes
把口嘬
Pout
手双托
Lift the hands over the head
抱膝骨
Hug the knees
仰卧时
Lie supine
对应病症
Symptoms
心神烦躁,喉病口疮并热痛
Upset, sore throat, ulcer, heat pain
眼中赤色兼多泪
Red eyes, tearful
湿热,泻痢脾鸣兼吐水
Damp-heat, diarrhea, vomit
咳嗽作痰涎,胃膈烦焦喉舌干
Cough with sputum, irritated stomach diaphragmatic, dry mouth
眉蹙耳鸣兼黑瘦
Frown, tinnitus, dark and thin (appearance)
火症
Inflammatio

(一)

两气未分时,浑然一无极。
阴阳位即定,始有太极出。
人身要虚灵,行功主呼吸。
呵、嘘、呼、哂、吹、加嘻成六数。
六字意如何?治脏不二诀。
治肝宜用嘘,嘘时睁其目,
治肺宜用哂,哂时手双托。
心呵顶上叉,肾吹抱膝骨。
脾病一再呼、呼时把口嘬,
仰卧时时嘻,三焦热退郁,
持此行内功,阴阳调胎息,
大道在正心,诚意长自乐,
即此是长生,胸有不老药。
 (The first part is about the working method of six words/ sounds and its connection with our internal organs and also the matching movements to work with.)
When the two Qi are not divided yet, they are in Wuji (infinity) state.
When Yin and Yang positioned, Taiji was born.
Man have to be empty and agile. The working method is stressed on breathing.
There are six words/ sounds, which is HE, XU, HU, SHEN, CHUI, XI.
What does Six words/ sounds mean? It provides the way to heal our organs.
We use XU to heal our liver. We open our eyes when we practice the sound of XU.
We use SHEN to heal our lungs. We lift our hands over our head when we practice the sound of SHEN.
We practice the sound of HE to heal our heart and at the same time crossed our fingers together and lift our hands over our head.
We practice the sound of CHUI to heal our kidneys and at the same time hug our knees.
We use HU to heal our spleen. When we make the sound of HU, we pout our mouth.
We practice the sound of XI to heal our three burners while lying supine and this will helps to relieve inflammation of our body.
Those who practice this method can balance their Yin and Yang and regulate their breathing.
The great way (Dao) is in our mind, pursues with sincerity.
This is the method of long life and an anti-aging medicine.
(二)
春嘘明目木滋肝,夏至呵心火自闭。
秋哂定知金肺润,冬吹惟要坎中安。
三焦嘻却除烦热,四季长呼脾化食。
切忌出声闻口耳,其功尤胜保命丹。
 (The second part is about the relationship between the working method of six words/ sounds and the four seasons.)
We practice the XU in spring to heal our eyes. Spring related to wood (in five elements) and the wood represents the liver and liver connected to our eyes.
We do the HE in summer to put out the fire in our heart. Summer related to fire (in five elements) and the fire represents our heart.
We do the SHEN in Autumn to moist our lungs. Autumn related to metal (in five elements) and the metal represents our lungs.
We do the CHUI in winter to stabilize our middle/center. Winter related to water (in five elements) and the water represents the kidney.
We do the XI to relieve the inflammation of our body and calm our mind.
We can do the HU in all four seasons to improve our digestive system.
Do not make the sound loud with mouth opening wide (only whisper the sound).
This working method is meant to save our life (long life).
(三)
肝若虚时目睁睛,肺知哂气手双擎。
心呵顶上连叉手,吹肾还知抱膝平。
脾症呼时须撮口,三焦客热莫生惊。
仙人嘻字真玄秘,日日行功体渐宁。
 (The third part is about the working method of six words/ sounds and the matching movements to work with when the illness/deficiency exist.)
If your liver is weak, you can open your eyes popeyedly.
The lungs will know the “SHEN” and hands lift up help to treat the lungs illness.
Crossed your fingers and lift your hands over your head with the sound of He to care for heart.
Hug your knees and making the sound of CHUI to care for your kidney.
To cure the spleen illness must pout with Hu.
When your three burners is in heat, you can use the word XI.
Practicing the working method everyday helps to improve our health.
(四)
肝本青龙旺在春,病来还觉好酸辛。眼中赤色兼多泪,嘘法行功效若神。
肺生咳嗽作痰涎,胃膈烦焦喉舌干。却病急行哂字诀,上焦火降肺安然。
心神烦躁急须呵,此法通灵更莫过。喉病口疮并热痛,行之渐觉体安和。
肾为水府是生门,保命藏精养蒂根。眉蹙耳鸣兼黑瘦,吹之精气返昆仑。
脾家属土太仓名,饮食成痰湿热生。泻痢脾鸣兼吐水,调和四季得和平。
三焦火症报君知,静坐蒲团须用嘻。此法通玄传上古,清凉三部是良医。
 (The forth part is about the working method of six words/ sounds and the symptoms related to the illness/deficiency of the particular internal organs.)
The liver is represents by green dragon and it flourishes during the spring season. Its misery when it gets sick. The eyes become reddish and tearful. The word/sound of XU is miraculously effective.
The lung’s symptoms of illnesses are cough with sputum, irritated stomach diaphragmatic and dry mouth or dry throat. The word/ sound of SHEN can used to cure the illnesses. It puts out the upper burner’s fire and the liver will composed.
The word/ sound of HE can be carry out when felling upset. This method is effective than any others. When there are sore throat, ulcer and heat pain, working with this method can relieve the symptoms and body become healthy (balance).
The kidney is the door of life and the reservoir of our body. It stores our essence and as the root of our life. When the symptoms of frown, tinnitus, dark and thin (appearance) exists, works with the word/ sound of CHUI and the vitality (Qi) will return to Kunlun (the way of Qi will be clear thus Qi can flow smoothly).
Spleen attributes to earth (in five elements) and it is the granary of our body. When illness exists, phlegm, damp heat, diarrhea, spleen tinnitus and vomit occurs. The body will be in balance and peace all year round (four seasons) if the spleen is well care.
When the three burner is having inflammation, sitting on (meditation) and works with XI. This is an ancient method for health preservation (keep our body in a balance state). 


 Wudang Taoist Five Animals Health Cultivation Technique (武当道家秘传五行养生功)
Mt. Wudang is a haven for recuperating lost energy and cultivate health. Over the centuries, Wudang Taoists have established a system of health cultivation methods, the most canonical being the Five Animals technique.
The Five Animals technique capitalizes on natural laws proposed by the ancient Chinese, who divided the world in five elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. These elements correspond to the liver, heart, spleen, lungs, and kidneys of the human body. Traditional doctors also understood the five facial sensory organs — the eyes, tongue, mouth, nose and ears — as corresponding to the tendons, Meridians, muscles, skin, and bones respectively. The Five Animals technique is based on this theory. Through standing, sitting, crouching, and walking, it aims to restore lost Jing (reproductive essence), Qi (life energy), and Shen (mind), raise clear energy (Qing Qi) and lower murky energy (Zhuo Qi) in the body, and rebalance the body’s Yin and Yang.
The techniques are divided into stationary and moving forms. Stationary forms are meditative practices, consisting of sitting and lying meditation. Moving practices include the Tortoise, Snake, Tiger, Dragon, and Crane forms, whose names are derived from their physical resemblance to these animals. The Tortoise, Snake, Tiger, Dragon, and Crane correspond to the Water, Fire, Wood, Metal, and Earth elements respectively, which in turn pair with the kidney, heart, liver, lungs, and spleen organs. Every form consists of 9 steps, totalling to 45 moves.
Tortoise Form
The Tortoise is a clairvoyant and prophetic spirit, calm and quiet, and blessed with long life and wisdom. The Tortoise is of the Water element. Practising this form is good for the kidneys.
1. Initiation Stance
2. Gather Qi to Centre
3. Circle Qi
4. Tortoise Raising Urn
5. Look for One’s Roots
6. Hug the Moon
7. Golden Tortoise Plays with Water
8. Golden Tortoise Spits Elixir
9. Finishing Stance
Snake Form
The Snake combines with the Tortoise to form the Xuanwu creature. The Snake is of the Fire element. Practising this form is good for the heart.
1. Initiation Stance
2. Gather Qi to Centre
3. Turn the World
4. Golden Snake Slithers
5. White Snake Leaves Hole
6. White Snakes Enters Hole
7. Green Snake on the Ground
8. Python Flips Body
9. Finishing Stance
Crane Form
The Crane is graceful and pure, and is widely admired by the Chinese. The Crane is of the Earth element. Practising this form is food for the spleen and replenishes energy.
1. Initiation Stance
2. Gather Qi to Centre
3. Fly Left and Right
4. Divine Crane Flashes Wings
5. Divine Crane Plays with Water
6. Crane Stands on Cliff
7. Divine Crane Takes Flight
8. Divine Crane Flashes Eyes
9. Finishing Stance
Dragon Form
The Dragon is of the Wood element. Practising this form relieves the liver, strengthens the gall bladder, and invigorates Jing and Blood.
1. Initiation Stance
2. Gather Qi to Centre
3. Black Dragon Claws
4. Twin Dragons’ Pearl Dance
5. Divine Dragon Flicks Tail
6. Dragon Coiled Around Pearl
7. Playful Dragon Takes Flight
8. Dragon Enters Sea
9. Finishing Stance
Tiger Form
The Tiger symbolizes vitality and nobility. The Tiger is of the Metal element. Practising this form strengthens the bones and tendons, and increases stamina and breathing.
1. Initiation Stance
2. Gather Qi to Centre
3. Tiger Washes Itself
4. Crouching Tiger Listens to Wind
5. Fierce Tiger Pounces on Prey
6. Upright Tiger Watches
7. Fierce Tiger Swallows Prey
8. Fierce Tiger Turns Head
9. Finishing Stance
Class Duration and Content:
Beginner Class (2 days): Focus on posture and structure. By practising the animal forms, students strengthen tendons and bones, learn the basics of channeling Qi, and learn the principle of circular and angular motion. Students return home to practice on their own for 1 year before moving onto the intermediate class.
Intermediate Class (5 days): Focus on training Qi. This class emphasizes on finding inner stillness through action, using Qi to direct action, and using the mind to direct Qi. We focus on Taoist “tortoise breathing” and strengthen the dantian, the energy centre of the body. Students who master this level will experience greater energy and resilience to illness. Practitioners practice on their own for 3 years at this level before moving onto the advanced class.
Advanced Class (10 days): Focus on training Shen (mind power). This class teaches inner alchemy and emphasizes nurturing the body and mind to attain inner harmony. Students will improve their Jing (reproductive essence), Qi (life energy) and Shen.
When do students start seeing benefits? With correct and regular practice, a student may expect to see observable changes to body and mind after 2 weeks.
Health Benefits:
1. Improves the respiratory system: As we age, our ability to breathe deeply decreases. The breath starts from the nose and reaches the dantian, but in older people this distance shortens to the chest, then to the throat. When finally a person’s breath shortens to nothing, he or she is extinguished. The Taoist Five Animals technique uses Qi channeling and deep breathing (Tu Na) methods to extend the breath. The essence is captured in the idiomatic phrase: The mind directs the Qi, and the Qi directs the body.
2. Improves the circulatory system: The slow and gentle actions of the Five Animals technique encourage blood to flow smoothly, improving Qi and blood circulation.
3. Improves the nervous system: The nervous system is vitally important to health. Not only does it help us respond to our environment, it also regulates our bodily functions. These techniques benefit the central nervous system and promotes greater harmony among our organ systems.
4. Improves digestion: Digestion is intricately connected to the nervous system. The Five Animals technique can prevent and improve digestive conditions related to the movement, secretion and absorption functions of the gut. Moreover, aerobic exercises promote circulation to the gut, thus improving digestion and preventing constipation. This is especially important for older people.
5. Improves Jing, Qi and Shen by quieting the mind: Modern minds are surrounded by stimuli and noise, provoking our senses and draining our Jing, Qi and Shen. We find ourselves stressed and sleepless. When our Shen and Qi are not in harmony, the Fire in our heart and Water in our kidneys do not mix, and our body’s Yin and Yang are imbalanced. Practising the Five Animals technique shuts the mind to external stimuli and gives our bodies a chance to replenish Jing, Qi and Shen.

Six-Word Mantra (六字诀)
The Six-Word Mantra has historically been an essential element of Taoist breathing meditation (Tu Na). The principle is this: the practitioner makes one of six sounds when breathing out, which shapes the throat differently and consequently stimulates different Meridians in the body. 
Preparation: Feet apart at approximately shoulder’s width, head straight, relax the chest and straighten the upper back, and slightly bend the knees. Relax and breathe normally.
Breathing method: Breathe in with your abdomen. Start with the out breathe before the in breathe. Make one of the following six sounds while breathing out. At the same time, lift the area between the upper thighs and shift the body’s centre of gravity to the heels. Make each sound six times, taking a break between each.
The first sound: xū. For liver Qi.
Lightly close the lips and tighten them horizontally. The tip of the tongue is forward but shrinks slightly towards the throat. Leave a small gap between the teeth.
Make the sound while breathing out. Lightly tip the ground with the big toes. Raise the hands with palms facing outwards from the lower abdomen to shoulder height. Part the arms upwards and apart like a bird spreading its wings, with palms facing up. Widen the eyes with the in-breathe. Lower the hands in front of the body, past the abdomen, then hang them by the side. Repeat six times before taking a break.
This sound relieves conditions such as eye diseases, enlargement of the liver, tightness of the chest, bad appetite, dry eyes, and dizzy spells.
The second sound: hē. For heart Qi.
Partly open the mouth, pressing the tongue against the lower teeth and towards the bottom of the mouth.
Make the sound while breathing out. Lightly tip the ground with the big toes. Raise the hands with palms facing inwards to the chest before flipping the palms to face out and continue raising them to eye level. During the in-breath, flip the palms to face forward and lower them past the abdomen and then rest them at the sides of the body. Repeat six times before taking a break.
This sound relieves conditions such as heart palpitations, heart pains, insomnia, memory loss, night sweats, and mouth and tongue related problems.
The third sound: hū. For spleen Qi
Pinch the mouth into an elliptical shape, with the tongue slightly curled upwards and extended forwards.
Make the sound while breathing out. Lightly tip the ground with the big toes. Raise the hands upwards with palms facing up until they reach the naval. The left hand now revolves outwards and upwards until it reaches the top of the head; at the same time the right hand revolves inwards, forming the bottom half of a circle with the left hand. During the in-breath, exchange the position of the two palms by revolving them in front of the body, the two hands passing at the chest with the left hand farther away from the body than the right. Revolve both hands down to the lower abdomen, then drop them to the sides. Repeat this with the left and right hand positions reversed. Repeat six times before taking a break.
This sound relieves conditions such as abdominal bloating, diarrhea, fatigue in the limbs, bad appetite, muscular atrophy, and swelling of the skin.
The fourth sound: xī. For lungs Qi
Part the lips while keeping the teeth together, with the tongue lightly pressing against the lower teeth.
Make the sound while breathing out. Raise the hands from the front of the abdomen, slowly rotating the palms upwards until they reach the chest. Rotate the palms outwards until the fingers point towards the throat, then open up the chest like a bird spreading its wings. During the in-breath, drop the arms to the sides. Repeat six times before taking a break.
The fifth sound: chuī. For kidneys Qi.
Make the sound while breathing out. Claw the ground with the toes, creating a gap in the middle of the sole. Raise the arms on the sides. When they reach the waist, revolve them forwards and raise them to the collar bone, where they form a circle as though hugging a ball with fingertips pointing at each other. Squat down and lower the arms. The hands should lower to the knees by the end of the out-breath. During the in-breath, slowly stand up while dropping the hands to the sides. Repeat six times before taking a break.
This sound relieves conditions such as weak lower back and knees, night sweats and seminal emission, decreased Yang, morning diarrhea, and cold genitals.
The sixth sound: xī. For organizing the Triple Burner. (The Triple Burner in Chinese traditional medicine refers to the space between the body cavities.)
Part the lips slightly, the tongue lightly shrinking towards the throat with the tip pointed downwards. The expression resembles smiling.
Make the sound while breathing out. Lightly tip the ground with the fourth and fifth toes. Raise the hands along the sides of the body as though carrying an object until they reach the chest. Rotate the arms such that the palms face outwards. Raise the arms with palms facing upwards and fingertips pointing towards each other until they reach the head. During the in-breath, lower the hands from the head to the sides in an outward circular motion. Repeat six times before taking a break.
This sound relieves conditions such as migraines, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), sore throat, tightness of the chest, and urination difficulties.

Zhonglu Eight-Segment Brocade (Baduanjin) Technique (钟吕八段锦)

The Eight-Segment Brocade (Baduanjin) Technique was invented by Zhongli and recorded by Lugong as a method of channeling internal Qi.
Seated Twelve-Segment Brocade:
Sit with crossed legs. Knock your teeth together 36 times. Hold your head behind the neck and take 9 breaths. Your breathing during this technique must not be audible. Shift your hands up to the ears and knock the back of your head with your middle fingers 24 times. Shake your head gently left and right 24 times. Stir your tongue from cheek to cheek 24 times while swallowing saliva. Breathe in gently with your nose. Make shallow your breath while rubbing your hands together to create heat, then rub your palms against your lower back while breathing out. Make shallow your breath again. Imagine the Fire from your heart descending into your dantian. Stop if the dantian feels too hot. Let your head hang and swing your arms side by side 36 times, imagining the Fire channeling from your dantian to your brain. Breathe in fresh air with your nose. Straighten your legs. Cross your hands and raise them into the air 3 to 9 times. Reach for your toes 12 times. Return to the cross-legged position and swallow your saliva in 3 parts. Repeat these steps 3 times. Then imagine the Fire from your dantian circulating the entire body while breathing lightly.
Eight-Segment Brocade:
This technique has been disseminated since the Northern Song dynasty. The earliest and most complete recording of Eight-Segment Brocade is in the “Ten Books of Xiuzhen.” There are many derivations of Zhongli’s original technique, with the standing form being the most popular. Compared to other methods to channel Qi, the Eight-Segment Brocade stands out as the most structured and accessible. It also marked a key innovation during Taoism’s shift from external to internal alchemy.
Along with techniques such as Five Animals, the Eight-Segment Brocade is an essential component of Qi channeling methods. Historical records suggest that these techniques were invented as early as the Qin dynasty and began appearing in bamboo writings during the early Han.
Standing Eight-Segment Brocade
The Standing Eight-Segment Brocade has gained considerable popularity in modern times, but its origins may be traced to the Taoist classic “Meditations on Channeling Qi,” written during the Song dynasty under the chapter on Qi Channeling Mantras. The steps are as follows:
The First Part: Stretch arms upwards with fingers interlocked and palms facing up
The Second Part: Open the arms into a bow stance; repeat for each arm
The Third Part: Raise one arm up with hand facing up while keeping the other resting; repeat with the other arm
The Fourth Part: Raise hands to waist-height and turn head left and right
The Fifth Part: Squat on right thigh, then transfer weight to left thigh; repeat in the opposite direction
The Sixth Part: Lock hands behind back and stretch downwards
The Seventh Part: Slowly punch out with each hand while standing in a horse stance
The Eighth Part: Stand on tiptoe, then suddenly drop your body onto the ground
Although various figures have made changes to the execution and ordering of these moves, the basic movements and stances have remained thematically consistent. The Standing Eight-Segment Brocade was itself a derivation of Zhongli’s original Seated Eight-Segment Brocade, but some of the more dramatic movements resemble external martial arts with its focus on stretching the joints and muscles. This distinguishes it from Zhongli’s original technique, which emphasizes internal Qi.
The Zhonglu Eight-Segment Brocade Technique’s Features and Historical Development
Features
1. The original Chinese description of each Part rhymes, making it easy to remember and teach. The rare complete preservation of a Taoist technique makes the Zhonglu Eight-Segment Brocade a unique historical relic.
2. The moves encompass a variety of health cultivating techniques, including massage, meditation, teeth knocking, breathing (Tu Na), and of course its main purpose, Qi channeling. The movements have a top-down focus, starting from quieting the mind, then focusing on the head, down to the neck, upper back, lower back, and feet. The final step involves the dantian, making it the most vital and subtle step.
3. Unlike many other Qi channeling techniques, the Zhonglu Eight-Segment Brocade is highly structured and accessible. The step orderings must not be reversed. Beginners may wish to first remember each of the eight steps, understand the nuances of each, and then practice in order. The key is consistent practice.
1Historical Development
1. The Eight-Segment Brocade is an important Taoist innovation resulting from the shift from external to internal alchemy. During the Tang dynasty, Taoist health cultivation was focused on external alchemy, which included practices such as ingesting rocks and herbs. The late-Tang marked a shift in focus from external to internal alchemy. Practices shifted from assimilating external substances to stimulating the body’s internal Jing, Qi and Shen. Zhongli’s Eight-Segment Brocade, developed around this transition period, systematically described a method to cultivate internal Qi and helped usher in the new era of Taoist health cultivation philosophy.
1. The technique heralded a new faction in Chinese health cultivation philosophy. Five Animals, Eight-Segment Brocade, and Yi Jin (roughly translated as Tendon Soothing) constitute the canonical techniques in ancient Chinese health cultivation. Five Animals was developed during the late-Han dynasty by the renowned doctor Hua Tuo and is recorded in the Taoist works “Longevity Log” and “Sage’s Health Cultivation Mantra.” Today, Five-Animals has numerous derivations, including its adaptation in Shaolin self-defence. Yi Jin is a Qi channeling technique whose development is largely attributed to the Taoist monk Zining during the Ming dynasty.
Eight-Segment Brocade appeared sometime after Five Animals and before Yi Jin. There is evidence of considerable cross-contamination amongst these three techniques. 


Master Chen

武当首位中国道教学院硕士
Wudang first Chinese Taoist master’s degree
武当山玄武派第十五代传人
15th generation disciple of Wudang Xuan Wu sect
武当派内家拳宗传承人
Inheritor of Wudang internal boxing
道家文化资深研究专家
Expert of Taoist culture research
道家武术养生资深专家
Expert of Taoist Kungfu and health

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Annual Course 2019