2019 Mawang Dui Health Qigong Master Class

What better way to spend a bleak and rainy Saturday, September 21st 2019, than to attend a Mawang Dui Qigong workshop at the Ashburton Centre taught by Snr Master Chin Min! Around 30 people came from classes far and wide, including one enthusiastic lady who came all the way from Shepparton! Senior Master Chin Min began by giving us some history of the form.

Mawang Dui is the name of a site from the early Han Dynasty (202BC – 9AD) tombs, located in Changsha, Hunan Province, China. When the tombs were excavated in the 1970s, many very well-preserved artefacts were found, including some important silk manuscripts. Some of the manuscripts depicted human figures performing a number of different physical exercises and it is from this that Mawang Dui Qigong (translated as ‘health protection qigong’) is derived. Inspired by this story, I did some research and found that within the tombs there were also manuscripts detailing the earlier known versions of the Yijing (I Ching), some of the oldest known medical manuscripts found in China to date, and maps, both geographical and military. To this day, the manuscripts, tombs inhabitants and other artefacts are still being studied and there are many reports in the research literature. Studies include the investigation of the effects of Mawang Dui Qigong on the health of people with essential hypertension (see Chen, 2016. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society).

The Mawang Dui Qigong form consists of an initial or preparatory stance followed by 12 postures with movements and then an ending stance. Snr Master Chin Min went through each movement in detail, revealing the health benefits of each. He explained that the set was designed to assist with enhancing the health and strength of the whole body and the mind. At various points we paired up to practice each move with a buddy. I was very fortunate to buddy up with Christina from the Doncaster group who had done Mawang Dui previously and was very helpful in the practice. Thanks Christina!

For me, it was quite unlike any Qigong I had done before, so it was a really calming, enjoyable and novel session. Mawang Dui Qigong involves the whole body with bending, stretching, rotating, lifting up, pushing down. The moves are reasonably simple, but very effective in stretching and strengthening tendons, joints and muscles, bones and even the internal organs. I think my favourite moves were Stretching the Back (Yin Bei), Hawk Glaring (Chi Shi) and Wild Goose Flying (Yan Fei). Even though I’ve done tai chi now for a few years, I’m still amazed at the depth and richness of this martial art and how there are still so many new things to learn and enjoy.

It’s really nice to spend an afternoon with like-minded people, catch up with other students, meet new people, learn something enjoyable and switch off from the chaos and stress of the outside life for a while. Thank you Senior Master Chin Min Lian!

Bronwyn Campbell
Trainee Instructor, Bundoora Centre

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Updated 27 September 2019