Five-Animal Play

Five-Animal Play

Question 7

Can you talk about the importance of the 5 Animal Play and its context in the history of (worldwide) medicine? Why do you think that Hua Tuo was the person to discover, or crystallize this method?

Sifu Andy Cusick


The Five-Animal Play could provide the philosophical framework for overcoming diseases in world medicine, but it doesn’t. Two questions we should address ourselves are why in theory it could provide the philosophical framework, and why in practice it doesn’t.

Five-Animal Play touches on the core of health and medicine. The core of health and medicine is maintaining life, including overcoming pain and illness that threaten life. Life, in all forms and at all levels, is a meaningful flow of energy, a fact verified by both traditional Chinese doctors and modern scientists. Obviously, if this flow of energy is insufficient or blocked, the quality of life would be affected, manifested as lack of vitality or illness.

Five-Animal Play indicates this condition of energy flow, and rectifies it if the flow is insufficient or blocked. Hence, it provides an excellent philosophical framework to maintain health and overcome illness.

However, in real life this is not so. Very few professionals trained in mainstream health care and medicine know of this excellent philosophical concept, least to practice it. The reasons for this theoretical abnormality, though most people of the world accept this abnormality as normal, are political and economic.

Today, conventional Western medical thought provides the philosophical framework for mainstream health care and medicine. This is due to Western political and economic might. It started in the 18th century with the industrial revolution, followed by the great exploration to find markets. This led to colonization of almost the whole world by Western powers. It was logical that the world followed, and still follows, Western culture, including health care and medical thought and practice. It is, therefore, no surprise that Five-Animal Play, despite its excellent philosophical framework, is not in mainstream health care and medicine.

On the other hand, Five-Animal Play was also not the mainstream medical practice, though its philosophy was in mainstream medical thought, during the time Chinese culture held sway in many countries, like China itself, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. This was because of two main reasons. Five-Animal Play was usually performed at a form level of chi kung, and therefore was not powerful enough to overcome serious health problems. Secondly, there were other effective methods of Chinese medicine, like herbalism, acupuncture and external medicine.

However, the first of these two reasons is no longer valid in our school. Drawing inspiration from the Five-Animal Play, our Self-Manifested Chi Movement has become very powerful, and is capable of overcoming any illness, including so-called incurable diseases. But we still face other powerful reasons, like the efficiency of other Chinese healing methods, and the dominance of conventional Western medical thought and practice due to Western political and economic might, that hampers the application of Five-Animal Play or Self-Manifested Chi Movement to overcome illness.

I believe in the future, perhaps 300 years from now, Self-Manifested Chi Movement, pioneered by our school, will be the norm in mainstream medicine to overcome illness. Paradoxically, this will be due not to its effectiveness, which is true, but to the inadequacy of conventional Western medicine in dealing with so many so-called incurable diseases. This does not mean that the future world will abandon Western medicine. Western medical technology is very advanced and aid future world medicine in many ways, like producing pills that generate chi flow instead of performing chi kung exercises.

Hua Tuo was the person who discovered or crystalized Five-Animal Play because he was a genus. He had an excellent understanding of chi kung philosophy and practice, besides being an expert in herbalism, acupuncture and surgery. Hua Tuo successfully operated on the brain more than 15 centuries before the West started on surgery!

If Chinese surgery was already so advanced in the past, why isn’t surgery an outstanding feature of Chinese medicine today? It was because Hua Tuo and other Chinese doctors found better methods to overcome illness where surgery was needed! Indeed, the Chinese people in the past considered surgery barbaric, like the people in the West as resent as 300 years ago who regarded surgeons the same status as butchers and barbers!

It may be difficult for many people today, when surgery is highly regarded, to believe that other forms of Chinese healing methods, which they often consider primitive, could overcome diseases where many people think, wrongly, that surgery is the only option. In other words, instead of undergoing surgery, patients could overcome their diseases like kidney stones, ulcers and cancer by treatment with herbs and acupuncture.

Indeed, empirical evidence shows that our chi kung healing produces better results than surgery. Surgery removes symptoms of the illness, but our chi kung healing removes the root cause. A patient who underwent surgery for a heart problem or a tumour, for example, would have to undergo future surgery when the symptoms recur. But a patient with the same diseases can recover completely with chi kung healing without the need for further treatment.

In my opinion, because Hua Tuo was also an expert with herbs and acupuncture, which could overcome diseases treated by Five-Animal Play, that he did not face the need to develop his chi kung healing to a very high degree. This could be a reason why Five-Animal Play remained, as far as I know from my research, at a form level. He also did not have the rare opportunity as I do of teaching more than 100 chi kung classes a year, which would give him the opportunity to raise his chi kung healing to a level beyond recognition.

This is the incredible level our chi kung healing is at at present. It is, I believe, unprecedented in the history of medicine. Our chi kung healing is capable of helping patients overcome so-called incurable diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disorders, inability to walk, depression and many others, and our results are unbelievable. But, as mentioned in an earlier answer, most people, including conventional Western doctors and those who suffered from so-called incurable diseases, do not believe in our ability in helping patients overcome so-called incurable diseases.

Five-Animal Play and Other Chi Kung in Barcelona 8-11 May 2014

Questions on Five-Animal Play – Overview

The questions and answers are reproduced from the thread Hua Tuo’s Five-Animal Play - 10 Questions to Grandmaster in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.

Five-Animal Play

Self-Manifested Chi Movement