SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
DECEMBER 1998 PART 1

Lohan Hands

Old text and pictures showing two of the Shaolin Eighteen Lohan Hands — “Lifting the Sky” and “Carrying Mountains”

Question 1

Why do you not approve of aerobic exercises such as running, walking, swimming, etc.? Since aerobic exercise is thought of as the best exercise for the body in the Western thinking, I would like to know why you disagree.

— Kevin, USA

Answer

Using aerobic exercises to attain health is confusing cause and effect. The ability to perform aerobic exercise well is the effect of good health and fitness, not the cause.

In fact aerobic exercises, such as vigorous sports, can be detrimental to health! They force the partitioners to overwork their vital organs, especially the heart, lungs and kidneys, without sufficiently strengthening the organs first. These harmful effects often surface when the athletes reach middle age, which is a time when their vital organs break down due to previous overworking. It is a little known fact that many former world class champions have serious health problems.

What then are the causes of good health and fitness? Ample supply of energy, effective disposal of toxic waste, excellent organic functions, strong and flexible muscles, emotional calmness, mental clarity and inner peace. All these are direct benefits of practicing the Shaolin arts.

When you practice chi kung, for example, you improve your lung capacity and breathing habits, so that with each breath you can take in about 3000 c.c. of air instead of 500 c.c. as in the case of an average person. This not only ensures a better supply of oxygen but also a better disposal of toxic waste.

In comparison, aerobic exercises produce a lot of toxic waste besides needing an increased supply of oxygen, and many people do not realize that breathing out is our most important way of toxic waste disposal. During aerobic exercises, as the partitioners are panting for oxygen in-take, their rate of toxic waste disposal is substantially reduced, and with their muscles often tensed, the toxic waste is locked in their tissues and cells, which may eventually result in blocking the smooth flow of energy (or, in western biological terms, mental impules) along the heart meridian system (nervous system) leading to organic mal-function.

In chi kung you send your chi or vital energy to cleanse and nourish your vital organs, making them strong and efficient. As your meridians are clear, negative emotions are flushed out, making you emotionally calm and happy. Chi kung also expands the mind and nourishes the spirit, resulting in mental clarity and spiritual joy. I also have dealt with this topic of conventional physical exercise and health in Question 6 of the October 1998 Part 2 of my Question-Answer Series.

Question 2

Your open manner in answering questions is very refreshing and something I do not see very often here in the West (from legitimate Masters). They tend to keep pretty silent about any practices except low-level ones.

Believe it or not, one well-known master actually charges just to answer questions — not too encouraging when someone is trying to find answers to some more esoteric questions concerning Qigong and the Chinese arts.

— Jeff, USA

Answer

This is the norm, not only in the West but also in the East. I am somewhat like a freak in this respect. Real masters keep silence on advance topics when asked by outsiders because it is a tradition that advance topics are reserved for selected disciples; bogus “masters” keep silence because they do not know the answers.

Although I may not do the same, I believe the master has a right, morally as well as legally, to charge money for answering questions. In the past in China many people were willing to risk their lives or pay a fortune to obtain esoteric knowledge concerning qigong and advance martial arts. If the answers provided by the master to esoteric questions are authentic, paying him a price (instead of a fortune or one's life) is a good bargain for the inquirer.

Realizing this, you will probably agree with me in saying that those who do not even bother to sign their names in their e-mails nor address the master respectfully, but expect him to provide answers just because they want to know, are both discourteous and absurd.

Question 3

From your book and web-page, it seems as though your knowledge of Qigong is pretty deep. I've read quite a bit about Qigong, but my knowledge tends to be more intellectual than experiential.

And since I have never had a Qigong teacher and tend to have a hard time picking a particular one because of all the types I've read about, I just recently started practicing one that I feel seems to be the core of many of the Chinese arts—-zhang zhuang.

Answer

I do not mean to suggest you are discourteous because I know you are not, but your expression “it seems as though your knowledge of Qigong is pretty deep” provides a good opportunity for many people in the West to better understand the cultural difference between the East and the West, and therefore they will be in a better position to benefit from both eastern masters and eastern arts like qigong and kungfu.

In western culture, your expression is a compliment to me — and that is how I take it. But in eastern culture, it is an insult, compounded by the double use of “it seems” and “as though”, implying that I am not a real master; I only appear to be one.

Moreover, you are in no position to make the judgement, as you have not even practiced qigong from a teacher. Had you said the same thing to a kungfu master in ancient China, one of his students would step out and, saying “I'll teach you some kungfu”, give you a punch.

You should have more respect for the art of qigong. If you think you can be proficient in the art by merely learning from books, then there is nothing great about the art nor was the great respect paid to qigong masters in the past justified. I don't think you would do the same had you wanted to be proficient in surgery. Yet, qigong is much more extensive and deeper than surgery. Real qigong masters, not qigong dance instructors, have helped patients recover when surgery failed.

That, of course, does not mean books are useless in qigong or surgery. Qigong, like the art of surgery (rather than its science), is experiential; how good one is as a qigong master or a surgeon depends on how well he can perform, not how much he has learnt from books. Unless you already have some practical experience in qigong or have a living teacher to guide you, learning from books will probably make you into a qigong dancer instead of a qigong practitioner.

Note : Jeff gracefully and promptly replied: I am sorry that I offended you in that I had no intentions of doing so and tried to show you the utmost respect in my letter as best I could.. I understand your point and apologize ...

Also, I'm sorry that you thought I was disrespectful of qigong as that also was definitely not my intention. I have great respect for it as it is one of my main interests ...

(Please see Question 7 below)

Question 4

The two qigong practices I have picked to start practicing are zhang zhuang and Ba Duan Jin. Any comments or suggestions on these practices?

Answer

Zhang Zhuang, which means stance training, is a genre of powerful qigong exercises. It is the single most widely used genre by kungfu masters of various styles, including Shaolin, Taijiquan, Bagua and Hsing Yi, to develop internal force. But it is not suitable for beginners, especially those without the personal supervision of competent instructors.

It looks easy, as you remain in the same static position for a long time. It is easy for you to make mistakes, and easy not to realize the mistakes. Because Zhang Zhuang exercises are powerful, the adverse effects of the mistakes are potent. Even in the unlikely situation that you do not make a single mistake in your long period of training, but if you have substantial blockage in your body to start with, the accumulated energy derived from Zhang Zhuang would cause internal injury.

Ba Duan Jin, which is pronounced as “P'a T'uan Jin” and not as “Ba Duan Jin”, and which means “Eight Pieces of Brocade”, is a set of eight dynamic qigong exercises. It is a wonderful set and is very popular today, although most people today practice it, like they practice other qigong exercises, as physical exercise rather than as qigong, which is energy exercise.

But even if they practice only the physical aspects of Ba Duan Jin, and missing its qigong dimension, there are many benefits, such as loosening muscles, promoting blood circulation and relaxation. It does not have the adverse effects of orthodox western exercises like forcing the organs to overwork and depositing much toxic waste in the body cells. It is an ideal type of exercise for you to practice on your own. Without the personal guidance of a qigong master, you would not obtain the wonderful qigong benefits of Ba Duan Jin, but at least you would not have serious side effects from wrong practice.

Question 5

I did try the 2 Qigong practices you recommended in your first Qigong book for approximately 2 months (20 repetitions of each exercise), but barely felt any energy flow, increased energy, etc. I was following the instructions to the word and was wondering why I didn't feel much.

I know 2 months isn't much time but I thought I would at least feel the energy enough to know that it wasn't my imagination. I really wanted to try to reach the induced chi flow state you mentioned — so I was disappointed when I couldn't get any 'results' with the preliminary practices.

Answer

The reason is that as you learned from a book instead of from a master, you merely performed the physical movement of the exercises, and missed their qigong effects. In other words, you performed qigong gymnastics or dance instead of qigong.

Virtually every one who took a qigong course from me, felt unmistakable qigong effects such as internal energy flow and increased energy level on the very first day. It is not for no reasons that my students pay a comparatively high fee for my lessons.

Interestingly, immediately following your e-mail, is an e-mail from one of my students describing his experiences from my lessons. He learned from me for only a few hours — during a workshop at the Second World Qigong Congress where I was lucky to receive the “Qigong Master of the Year” award. I am posting his questions and my answers after yours (see Question and Answer 12) for your perusal.

Question 6

Two other Qigong practices I have been looking at to add to my growing list of practices, are Yi Chin Ching and Bone Marrow Washing. Could you explain the results of these practices and comment on them?

Answer

Yi Jin Jing, or Sinew Metamorphosis, is an advance qigong exercise in Shaolin Kungfu. If you practice it without proper supervision, you are likely to injure yourself.

Bone Marrow Washing is reputed to be taught by the great master Bodhidharma to the monks at the Shaolin Monastery, but there have been no records of what the techniques were both inside and outside the monastery. From indirect evidence, I believe it could be some form of advance self-manifested qi movement whereby the practitioner channelled his energy to cleanse his brain and nervous system. In Chinese medical philosophy, the bone marrow flows into and from the brain; and corresponds in functions to the nervous system in western medical terminology.

In my recent qigong teaching trip to Austria, when we did advance induced qi flow in a class in Guttenstein, many of my students reported that they clearly felt qi cleansing their nerves and their brain. It was certainly not imagination. Asking them how they knew it was qi cleansing their brain is like asking someone eating an apple how he knew he was eating an apple. They knew from direct personal experience. If you had never eaten an apple before, you might think it was not possible to eat an apple.

An expert in Yi Jin Jing, without having to undergo any hard conditioning, can have the power to kill a bull with just one strike. An expert in Bone Marrow Cleansing is very quick and accurate in his physical as well as intellectual response. Both are of course healthy, fit and full of vitality.

By “expert” I refer to someone who has trained the respective art devotedly for many years; not someone who has learnt the techniques, even if the techniques are correct, in a week-end course from an instructor who himself is incapable of such attainment. Again, you should have due respect for such advance arts. Don't imagine you can attain similar results by merely learning from books.

Lohan Hands

Another two exercises from Eighteen Lohan Hands — “Green Dragon Presents Claws” and “Plucking Stars”

Question 7

I basically have been trying to 'create' a complete qigong practice out of the ones I know — but it seems as though so many have different aims and results that it makes my head hurt trying to put together a regimen.

I decided on Zhang Zhuang for generating chi, and Ba Duan Jin for increasing capacity for chi and internal health. If you wouldn't mind I could really use your advice on a really good and powerful qigong exercise that would go together and cover all aspects — i.e. inward/outward physical, jing/chi/shen, mental aspects (inc working toward realization).

I tried Zen for quite a while and got lousy results, so I would rather not have that included — I don't think it's for me. I practice other types of spiritual practice so I would like to focus on the Qigong and not sitting concentration. Also, I have a decent amount of free time to practice. Would Yi Jin Jing, Ba Duan Jin, and Zhang Zhuang be a good regimen? Should I add bone marrow washing?- Anything else? I think you understand my question and problem of deciding.

Answer

You really amaze me as to what little respect you have for a great ancient art like qigong. Please do not take my comment as a reprimand, nor mistake me as implying you are not respectful. If this were so, I would not have taken much time to reply. I reply in some details because I know you are sincere in wanting to better your qigong practice, and my answer will also benefit many others like you. although, for some reasons, some of them may have thought that practicing qigong is nothing more than learning some aerobic exercises, and teaching qigong is as easy as teaching physical education lessons to school children.

You have not actually started qigong, apart from doing some physical exercises you gathered from some qigong books, yet you imagine yourself competent enough to create a comprehensive qigong programme that will cover all qigong aspects, including jing, qi, shen and spiritual realization. You probably do not know what jing, qi, shen and spiritual realization really mean, apart from their hollow words.

Probably you also do not know what Zen means. You will find my webpage Frequently Asked Questions on Zen helpful. You will find much more information from my book, “The Complete book of Zen”.

Speaking as a qigong grandmaster, I would sincerely advise you, if you wish to get real benefits from qigong, to choose only two or three simple qigong techniques and practice them diligently, with the help of a competent instructor who himself has personal experience of the benefits.

Simple qigong techniques are profound at the same time. They are the crystallization of many qigong masters' effort over many centuries. One should not be so egoistic to imagine he is better than all these masters in a discipline they were expert at.

Question 8

I've been looking at Liuhebafa (by way of Paul Dillon-video) as a martial art discipline and would like to know your thoughts on it. Supposedly it has all the energies of Tai Chi Chuan, Hsing-I, and Ba Gua in it and others. Paul Dillon believes the 3 'internal arts' were derived from this one as Liuhebafa predates them.

Answer

Unless you are already well verse in the martial art, learning it from a video at best only gives you its outward form, not the essence of the art. You may become a martial art dancer, but not a martial artist.

If you are skilful enough, you can have all the energy of Tai Chi Chuan, Hsing Yi, Bagua, Shaolin, karate, taekwondo and all other martial arts in one simple movement, be it a causal sweep of your hand or leg. This is a serious statement, and there is no play of words in it.

Liu He Ba Fa (“He” is pronounced like “her”) is the name of an internal style of kungfu. It means “Six Harmonies and Eight Techniques”. This style established itself much later than Hsing Yi Kungfu or Tai Chi Chuan, and slightly later than Bagua Kungfu. The oldest of the “three internal arts”, Hsing Yi Kungfu, was evolved from Shaolin Kungfu by Yue Fei, a famous Song Dynasty general. It was initially known as Xin Yi Kungfu, which literally means “martial art of heart and will”, “heart” being the traditional Chinese term for what westerners would call “mind”. Later it was shortened to Yi Kungfu, or Yiquan in Chinese, and now it is popularly known as Hsing Yi Kungfu

Hsing Yi Kungfu is a very effective internal martial art, but is not spectacular to watch, as its forte lies not in form but in mind and energy. In other words, to defeat an opponent, a Hsing Yi Kungfu exponent depends not on elaborate external techniques but on his expert use of mind and internal force. To accomplish this, a Hsing Yi exponent employs the principle of Six Harmonies, which are the harmony of mind and will, of will and energy, of energy and strength, of shoulders and hips, of elbows and knees, and of hands and legs.

Later other masters, while maintaining the internal aspects of Hsing Yi Kungfu, paid more attention to its external aspects. One such master was Tong Zhong Yi, known as the wrestling king, who is also credited with the founding of Liuhequan, or Six Harmonies Kungfu. To execute the six harmonies, the exponents employ eight techniques, namely the technique of the hand, of the eye, of the body, of footwork, of spirit, or energy, of strength, and of skill. Hence, this style of kungfu came to be called Li He Ba Fa, or Six Harmonies and Eight Techniques.

Question 9

When practicing Zhang Zhuang to get the full benefits of this form of Qigong, do you eventually need to start mentally moving energy around your body—i.e. microcosmic, macrocosmic, etc.. or will that take care of itself?

Answer

As Zhang Zhuang is a genre of qigong, there are many types of Zhang Zhuang exercises. Generally the practitioner does not intentionally move qi around his body; he merely remains at his stance thinking of nothing and doing nothing. Sometimes, for specific purposes, a practitioner may channel his qi in some specific directions, such as along his arms or down his legs.

Question 10

Also, will just standing eventually (without visualizing anything) allow you the ability to move chi around mentally at will without having to do any breathing or moving techniques.

Answer

The answer is yes and no. In theory, everyone has the power of mind over energy and matter, which means that not only you can move your energy to flow anywhere you wish inside your body, you can also, by an act of will power, move the shoes you are wearing to the top of your friend's head. In practice, most people have lost this natural ability. Most qigong dancers, for example, cannot even start their own energy flow, which is actually a basic skill in qigong training.

If you have the skill, you can move your qi around mentally at will without having to do any breathing techniques or moving techniques while you are in any position, at Zhang Zhuang or otherwise. This is not a difficult skill to acquire if you are properly trained. In fact many of my students can do it after just one qigong course with me. But they usually do it while not at a Zhang Zhuang pose, for doing so would defeat the main purpose of Zhang Zhuang, which is accumulating qi and not circulating qi.

Question 11

There are so many types out there that it gets real confusing to know which ones are the best and most powerful — especially since some give 'opposite' results. For example, Tai Chi practice creates body that's' hard inside soft outside and Hsing-I practice creates body that is hard on the outside soft on the inside.

Answer

They are confusing only to those who are ignorant of their philosophy and practice. To those who know, they are crystal clear.

What is the best and most powerful for one who has properly practiced, not merely read about, qigong for many years is certainly not the best and most powerful for another who just performs gymnastics or dance.

The different types of qigong, as well as kungfu, develop because they serve different needs and abilities. In your present situation, what serves your needs and abilities best is not the most powerful, but the simple, direct and effective, such as “Lifting the Sky” or “Carrying the Moon” as described in my qigong books.

Question 12

Hello Sifu. I met you last year during the November qigong conference in San Francisco. I attended your workshops, and during the last day of the conference, we had tea together in the hotel lounge. I wanted to express my thanks, and to let you know that Shaolin Cosmos Chi Kung is amazing. I have not experienced another Chi Kung style or teacher with the same results as Shaolin Cosmos Chi Kung. Thank You for this special gift.

— John, USA

Answer

Thank you for your feed-back. While your achievement is no surprise to me, it will serve as an inspiration to many people, especially those who, for various reasons, have not experienced any remarkable chi kung (qigong) effects although they may have practiced what they think is chi kung for many years. The sharing of your experience confirms for them that what past masters mentioned about the effects of chi kung is true if one has the chance to practice genuine chi kung.

Question 13

I enjoy practicing Lifting the Sky, Pushing Mountains, and Carrying the Moon the most. I have been using these three (alternating days between dynamic and self manifested chi flow - followed by abdominal breathing and standing mediation) and feel fantastic. Occasionally, I will change to other forms (both Shaolin Cosmos Chi Kung forms and other styles I have learned) so I won't loose them form my memory.

Answer

These three dynamic patterns are amongst the best in chi kung. That is why I have chosen them to teach my students.

Your programme of alternating between dynamic patterns and self manifested chi flow, followed by abdominal breathing and standing meditation is excellent. Generally, when one has some illness to be overcome, he should emphasize self-manifested chi movement. As he progresses, he may shift his emphasis to dynamic patterns. When he is quite advance, he may spend most of his training time in abdominal breathing. While meditation is important in every stage of chi kung training, it is crucial in the highest of chi kung achievement.

It is also advisable to occasionally practice other forms of chi kung that you have learnt so as to maintain them in your chi kung repertoire. You will find that the fundamental skills you have acquired in your basic chi kung programme will enhance your other forms of chi kung.

Wudang Sword

Sifu Wong's disciples practicing the Wudang Sword during an Advanced Taijiquan Course

Question 14

But, I always return to these three forms because I like how I feel during and after the practice the best. I do not have any illness that I am aware of, so I use these forms to increase and maintain my energy and health.

Interestingly, I have noticed that when I am walking, I feel the chi swaying in my arms and hands — I simply smile. I have a feeling I am developing powerful hands and even more graceful martial arts movements during my martial arts practice. More importantly, I feel a greater sense of peace and joy throughout the day. Thank You!!!

Answer

While these three forms suit you best in your present stage, later when you are more advance you would change to abdominal breathing as your main training form. You will know when to make the change because the knowledge and experience gained in your progress will enable you to.

Your experience of chi even when you are not formally practicing chi kung is a normal chi kung development and an indication that your practice is correct. It is also an indication that you are practicing high quality chi kung.

In low quality chi kung, one needs to practice for an hour or more per session, and feels the chi kung effects only during the practice. In high quality chi kung, one needs to practice only about 15 minutes per session, but feels the effects the whole day. You will not only be powerful and graceful in your martial art performance, you will achieve better result in whatever you do. This is expected because your high quality chi kung training has developed both your energy and mind.

Question 15

I am finishing my last doctorate courses in Clinical Psychology this year, and I am interested in conducting research in qigong as part of my dissertation. In your opinion, what does the qigong field need in terms of research? Or, what would be worth studying?

Answer

Congratulations for your doctorate courses. You will find research into chi kung rewarding for yourself as well as other people, for there are many wonderful things chi kung can offer the modern world.

But I would like to modify your first question to “What do modern societies need in terms of research with special reference to qigong?” This is probably what you mean.

The rephrasing of the questions will set the perspective right. I am sure the significance of this new perspective does not apply to you because you already know and value the contribution of qigong (chi kung), but it is important for those who think that when they do any research into qigong, they are doing qigong and qigong masters a great favour, when in reality it is the other way round.

Qigong and qigong masters do not need any research to confirm the effectiveness of qigong. The real masters as well as those who have benefited from qigong know its effectiveness from their direct, personal experience. It is crucial for researchers to appreciate this point. It will enable them to understand not only why many masters are not keen on research, but more importantly why those who jump on the chance of doing research with them may not be genuine masters, and consequently their research findings will not be valid. Bogus masters who teach gymnastics or dance will grab the research opportunity to enhance their reputation.

The following true story may illustrate the attitude and perspective of many researchers. One of my qigong students, who is a world renounced surgeon, knowing my successful work with many cancer patients, suggested to his colleague who heads the cancer department in their hospital to conduct some research with me into cancer cure.

The cancer expert — interestingly, she is publicly acknowledged to be a cancer expert although neither she knows about cancer (which is not a slight on her, as nobody knows what cancer is) nor is the recovery rate of her cancer patients high — suggested that I should submit a proposal and that I should pay for my expenses in the research.

My student asked why I should pay when actually I was helping her. Her reply, which I believe would be legitimate from her perspective, was that the research would make me famous and I would subsequently earn a lot of money from the reputation I might gain from the research.

My student told her that I was already sufficiently known, that I already have a lot of students, and that I had no need for further publicity. My stand was that if she was interested to research into my success with cancer patients, she should submit a proposal to me, instead of the other way round. After all I would be sharing with her secrets which masters in the past might not even tell their daughters.

After rephrasing the question, let us now examine the answer. Modern, especially western, societies face two urgent problems, namely degenerative diseases and spiritual loneliness. Chi kung happens to be excellent in overcoming these two problems. Chi kung has both sound theoretical explanation as well as adequate practical cases to substantiate this claim.

While overcoming degenerative diseases and overcoming spiritual loneliness through chi kung are both worth studying and researching into, I believe the first topic will be more appropriate at present. You can take degenerative diseases collectively or take one degenerative disease individually at a time, such as cancer, cardiovascular disorder, diabetes and asthma.

Question 16

What is your concern or interest on how to integrate qigong and science? Is there any point to this? (I realize the West has a rigid view, and needs to see 'hard' scientific data before implementations happen with medicine)

Answer

The double standard wittingly or unwittingly adopted by many western professionals often baffles me. In my opinion, there is hardly any “hard” scientific data on the success or even suitability of using chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery on cancer patients!

I sometimes wonder whether the professionals who administer chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery on cancer patients really know what they are doing. Since they explicitly or implicitly admit they do not know what cancer is, and therefore do not know what it is they are supposed to cure, it is difficult for me to find their treatment objective, predictable or veritable — three crucial criteria for anything scientific.

On the other hand, qigong is objective (although it is often not quantified), predictable and veritable. Unlike western professionals who are not sure what cause cancer, and therefore their recommended treatment is based on their subjective judgement, qigong masters are sure that illness, irrespective of the labels given to its countless symptoms, is caused by yin-yang disharmony, and therefore their treatment is based on the objective principle of restoring yin-yang harmony.

While western professionals cannot predict that chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery can remove the cause of cancer, qigong masters can predict that when yin-yang harmony is restored the illness will be overcome.

And while western professionals cannot verify whether a cancer patient is cured of his disease after he has undergone treatment of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery (usually the patient has to wait for several years to find out whether his disease will relapse), chi kung masters can verify that once yin-yang harmony is restored, the patient is cured — and this is often substantiated by conventional medical tests.

The question of integrating qigong and science is irrelevant because qigong is already scientific. It is as irrelevant as asking how to integrate Chinese into a language.

Until and unless western medical scientists accept the fact that their way of looking at health and medical treatment is not the only correct way, there is no point attempting to integrate qigong with western medicine — just as until and unless western linguists accept the fact that western grammar and spelling are not the only ways to describe a language, there is no point debating whether Chinese is a language.

Say, you had diabetes. Your doctor told you that your diabetes could not be cured and you would have to take medication for life.

You practiced qigong, and after some time you found that your diabetes had disappeared. You saw your doctor again, and he said you were just lucky or yours was a natural recession. I would accept his opinion if yours was an isolated case, or even there were two or three such cases.

But if 40 out of 50 diabetics recovered from their illness after practicing qigong, and the doctor still said it was luck or natural recession, I would consider him hopelessly closed to other medical thought and treatment. If he challenged me to substantiate with hard data like sugar level and metabolism rate, I would not want to waste my time.

Question 17

I have been practising Yang Style Taijiquan for about 2 years. I an sometimes called upon by small groups and individuals to demonstrate the Beijing short form, Yang main form and some Qiqong forms for the purposes of relaxation. This I do without hesitation for although I have not practised for long enough to call myself a teacher, I do feel that by being in a situation where others can follow my movements and gain benefit from them, then I am doing somebody, myself included, a little bit of good.

— Paul, United Kingdom

Answer

Without your knowing, you are doing them a great dis-service — you are encouraging them to practice Taiji dance instead of Taijiquan. You can read about the difference between Taiji dance, which most people do today, and Taijiquan, done by great masters in the past, in my Taijiquan Home Page .

Question 18

Can you point me toward any info on the Taiji sword forms? I am currently learning the first of these and would like some help in knowing what and where to purchase my prize for finishing my form, that is a proper sword for demonstration purposes.

Answer

I would sincerely suggest for your benefit that you should postpone learning your Taiji sword dance, and concentrate on finding a master to practice genuine Taijiquan. Only when you can generate chi, or intrinsic energy, to your hands should you consider learning the Taijiquan sword. You will find much information on Taijiquan, including the Taijiquan sword, in my book, “The Complete Book of Tai Chi Chuan”.

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