About 20 people recently attended Ashburton Primary School on Saturday 27 October 2018, for a very informative and fun Qigong workshop. Master Tong Low expertly taught the Yi Jin Jing Qigong which can be translated as Tendon-Muscle Strengthening Exercises. Grand Master Eng Chor was also in attendance and made valuable contributions.
Master Tong Low started by explaining some of the differences between Tai Chi Chaun and Qigong practice. He also provided some background of how Yi Jin Jing came about. This set of Qigong exercises, according to legend, was developed by Bodhidharma, an Indian Monk, who also brought Buddhism to China. When Bodhidharma arrived, he found some monks who were very unfit because of too much sitting meditation. So he developed this set of exercises for them. The Yi Jin Jing has been practised for at least 2000 years and there are various versions. However, Master Tong Low emphasised that we would be learning the standardised version officially promoted by the Chinese Health Qigong Association ( check it out for an overview).
The Workshop ran from 2pm to 5pm and was paced so well that the time flew. There were regular breaks and tea was available (thank you to Margaret Rogers and Yvonne Schmidt). Master Tong Low went through each move in great detail and with clarity. His instructions not only explained the moves really well, but also the breathing and timing that went with them. As Master Tong Low said with a smile, after we learnt the first three moves, ‘It gets more interesting from here’. And he was right. Some of the movements had intriguing names such as Nine Ghosts Drawing Swords and Pulling the Tail of Nine Cows. Tiger Springing on Its Prey was very descriptive of what the movement was like. It was also quite challenging. However, Grand Master Eng Chor and Master Tong Low provided variations that could be done by all levels of ability.
One of the best features of the Workshop was that we had plenty of opportunity to go over the movements repeatedly and progressively as we learnt them. This was fantastic as it made remembering the set very easy. Grand Master Eng Chor and Master Tong Low were very approachable and answered many questions from the enthusiastic participants. As a result of the Workshop I can now make this wonderful routine a regular part of my practice. The Yi Jin Jing felt challenging and invigorating. It was definitely worth attending and learning it. Unfortunately, it was the last Qigong workshop for this year. But there will be more next year, so watch out for them!
Martin Bay, Assistant Instructor, Bundoora Centre