Special QIGONG Seminar Series – BA DUAN JIN
Grand Master Eng Chor and Master Tong Low
A long-awaited series of Seminars on ”the art of breathing or energy flow”, in Grand Master’s words, commenced on a glorious autumn Sunday afternoon with 25 participants, keen to fathom and learn the wisdom of Qigong. Many had previously learned different newer forms of Qigong, such as Shibashi, Lotus, Lohan and Dayan in classes across our College, but the purpose of this series was to introduce the four major original forms that are recognised and promoted by the Federation of Chinese Health Qigong Associations: Ba Duan Jin, Yi Jin Jing, Wu Qin Xi and Lui Zi Jue. These forms are amongst the most popular and beneficial styles, hence the College has included them in its teaching syllabus. Each of the four seminars will systematically cover one full form, independently of others, to allow the practitioners a flexible choice.
This first seminar was very well structured with the Masters collaborating skilfully, moving through theoretical and practical principles and examples mindfully and with ease. At the beginning, GM Eng Chor set the context for the series, pointing out how each form of Qigong deserves in-depth understanding and practice and for that reason each seminar would be covering one form in detail. That decision was welcomed by the participants as we all wanted to learn in a relaxed manner, at our own pace, under the watchful eyes of the masters and their advice.
GM Eng Chor painted a picture of Chinese history of Qigong with a few masterful strokes in his engaging manner, throwing questions at us to keep us at our toes, no doubt. He spoke of Hua Tuo, the first physician in ancient China to use Qigong exercise for healing purposes. The first versions of Qigong originated over 2000 years ago during the reign of the Han Dynasty. Eng Chor explained the meaning of names of each form, in Mandarin pronunciation – always a challenge and delight to learn a little bit of the Chinese language and culture from the expert. He answered our questions and prompted us to think inquisitively.
Following such an informative introduction, Master Tong Low, a highly qualified graduate from Chinese Wushu Association (6th Duan in Wushu and Tai Chi), and Chinese Qigong Association (3rd Duan in Qigong), switched to group practice. At first, he explained and demonstrated Qigong etiquette and then moved to Ba Duan Jin, the first form in the seminar series program. It is interesting to note that the translation in English, “Eight section brocade” or “Eight pieces of brocade”, refers to the cloth, silk or brocade, on which the movements were discovered, rather than the content and meaning of the actual exercise.
Our learning of all eight Qigong movements was relaxing yet highly focused, interactive and fun. Master Tong Low asked Instructor Bruce Ellis to assist with demonstrating the movements, which was helpful as we had a simultaneous front and back view of each exercise. Repetitions, suggestions, corrections and clarifying questions allowed us to learn the movements step by step, move deeper to correct breathing technique for each movement and even deeper to how some internal organs move during exercise. The learners appreciated the Masters’ insightful knowledge and skill in Qigong.
At the end of the day, I believe we accomplished a huge task and promised to keep practising, as the Masters meandered through the complexity of a truly profound Ba Duan Jin form of Qigong. I can hardly wait for the next seminar – especially one where we are going to use secret sounds to stimulate energy! Also, for Zenaida’s welcoming smile and scrumptious snacks. A big thank you to the Masters and all their assistants!
Senior Instructor Box Hill Centre