Grandmaster Wong in Alaska


Recently I went for my first qigong class where we did Ba Duan Jin. After the lesson I noticed that I was in a better mood and still am although the way that I was learning appeared to be only at the lower level of qigong.

-- Jonathan, Australia


Ba Duan Jin, or the Eight Pieces of Brocade, is a very famous form of qigong (chi kung). Whether a particular kind of qigong is of a high, middle or low level, often depends on how it is performed and what results it produces, rather than on what form of qigong it is.

Regarding how it is performed, I would consider working on energy mainly through physical movements as low level qigong, mainly through breathing as middle level qigong, and mainly through mind as high level qigong.

Regarding results, I would consider qigong that produces miraculous effects like dispersing rain, as high level qigong; that produces remarkable effects like overcoming cancer, as middle level qigong; and that produces expected results like providing general well-being, as low level qigong.

You have just started qigong. Be a bit modest in your expectations. Nobody expects you to disperse rain in your first qigong lesson. Moreover it is best to proceed from low to middle then to high levels.


The only things that I was focusing on, or remember focusing on was breathing and the form but somehow this lower back pain I had is fading away quite fast.


Focusing on your breathing and on your form is a very good method. If you can only do this effectively, you will attain a unity of mind, energy and form, and be able to operate at a high level of qigong, though your results may still be far from miraculous.

If you can eliminate your lower back pain at your very first qigong lesson, you already have done remarkably well. What else would you or anybody expect in the first lesson?


I'm not sure how things are supposed to be taught but I find what happened rather strange though not necessarily bad. Is there anything that I should be careful about?


You are only a beginning student. You have no way, and no right, to judge how your teacher should teach. If you wish to learn from a teacher, first of all you have to trust and respect him (or her). Considering that many people take pain killers for years and still have back pain, yet your teacher teaches you an art that eliminates your back pain in the very first lesson, you should have much faith in and gratitude for him.

Yes, that something you should be careful about is observing the first (often unwritten) law in kungfu and qigong culture, and that is respect your teacher. Should you for any legitimate reason find no respect for any particular person, then you should not learn from him.

Reproduced from June 2000 Part 2 in Selection of Question-Answer Series


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