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"This exercise consists of eight sections (forms), which the ancients thought as beautiful as brocade, hence its name.

To practice this exercise one must keep a tranquil mind, concentrate the mind on Dantian (elixir field), pose as if the head is suspended, keep your mouth shut with the tongue-tip resting on the palate, keep the eyes looking straight forward, relaxing the body as a whole, and breathing naturally. It's practiced in the morning and evening in fresh air for 15-30 minutes each time. In addition, Baduanjin can be used as a warm up exercise." - Baduanjin

"Wen Ba Duan is the essential basic set of exercises practiced by Shaolin Monks both prior to, and following their daily long hours of training. The Shaolin Temple, famous as the birthplace of Chinese Martial Arts, was built in 495 AD, and this set of exercises has been documented as having a history in excess of 800 years. The exercises known as

Eight Golden Treasures consist of two main parts: the standing forms (Wu Ba Duan) and the seated forms (Wen Ba

Duan). Wen Ba Duan emphasizes the internal nature of these exercises in that its principle aim is the cultivation of qi without excessive physical movements of the external Wu Ba Duan. Wen Ba Duan combines the qi cultivation of the mind (yi), deep breathing (tu na), gentle exercise (dao yin) and therapeutic self massage (an mo)." - Tai Chi Australia

"These are mainly stretching exercises coming from the Shaolin Monastery which is well known for its martial arts.

They are the preliminary exercises of the martial arts, including eye exercises, massaging points, stretching, and punching. Traditionally these are not classified as neigong exercise. The name "eight sections of silk," also translated as "eight pieces of brocade," is a misnomer. The correct name is "pull and break tendons.""


- Joe Hing Kwok Chu, Eight Sections of Silk

"Chinese medical chi-gung emphasizes soft, slow, rhythmic movements of the body synchronized with deep diphragmatic breathing. The purpose of these exercises is to stretch the tendons, loosen the joints, and tone the muscles, to promote circulation of blood, and to regulate all the vital functions of the body. The medical school adapted many forms of

'moving meditation" exercise for therapeutic use, including the ancient dao-yin and 'Play of the Five Beasts' forms based on animal movements, martial forms such as 'Eight Pieces of Brocade' and Tai Chi Chuan, and special exercises developed specifically to treat various internal organs." - Daniel Reid, A Complete Guide to Chi Kung, p. 52.

"China's health-preserving ways of long standing - the technique of Daoyin, meant to activate limbs and the trunk through mind-directed exertion of inner force with simultaneous movements of body-bending and back-inclining, and the extending with withdrawing of limbs; and the technique of Tuna consisting of deep breathing exercises of the abdomen - are recorded in the writings of such fourth century B.C. authors as Lao Zi, Zhaung Zi, Meng Zi, and Qu Yuan."

Many scholars attribute the development of the Eight Section Brocade to General (Marshall) Yeuh Fei in the

11th century AD. Others have a different opinion. Stuart Alve Olson, a scholar and Tai Chi Chuan master states:

"Pa Tuan Chin, the Eight Pieces of Brocade, is a very ancient form of Tao Yin (Taoist breathing exercises)

attributed to Chung Li-ch'uan (also known as Han Chung-li) of the Han Dynasty. Chung Li-ch'uan was the teacher of Lu Tung-pin, one of the Eight Immortals and founder of the Complete Reality Sect. The exercises of Pa Tuan Chin have also been attributed to Chen Tuan, the teacher of the famous Taoist immortal,

Chang San-feng, who is credited with inventing T'ai Chi Ch'uan. Pa Tuan Chin has both seated and standing exercises, in both hard and soft styles." Cultivating the Ch'i, 1993, Stuart Alve Olson, p. 138.

Hua T'o (110-207 A.D.) is one of the famous physicians of the Han Dynasty. In The History of the Later Han, Hua T'o wrote:

"Man's body must have exercise, but it should never be done to the point of exhaustion. By moving about briskly, digestion is improved, the blood vessels are opened, and illnesses are prevented.

It is like a used doorstep which never rots. As far as Tao Yin (bending and stretching exercises) is concerned, we have the bear's neck, the crane's twist, and swaying the waist and moving the joints to promote long life. Now I have created the art called the Frolics of the Five Animals:

the Tiger, the Deer, the Bear, the Monkey, and the Crane. It eliminates sickness, benefits the legs, and is also a form of Tao Yin. If you feel out of sorts, just practice one of my Frolics. A gentle sweat will exude, the complexion will become rosy; the body will feel light and you will want to eat."

- From: Drawing Silk: A Training Manual for T'ai Chi. Page 6.

"Down through the ages, the exercises as practiced at Shaolin Temple have developed into the largest wushu school with hundreds of routines in different styles, from which many other schools have been derived. Of these mention may be made of Long boxing, "cannon and hammer" boxing, "six-in-one" boxing, baduanjin ("brocade"

exercises in eight forms) which is said to have been revised by General Yue Fei (1103-1142) on the arhats'

routine in 18 forms, the "stepping exercises" and "heart-and-will" school derived respectively from the dragon's and tiger's sections in Monk Bai Yufeng's routine imitating the five animals' movements, and the long-range boxing in 36 forms compiled by the First Emperor of the Song Dynasty (9601279). The routines can be practiced solo, duet or trio, and bare hand or with ancient weapons, particularly the cudgel which has earned great reputation for Shaolin Temple."

- China Sports Publications, Shaolin Temple Wushu

"Ba Duan Jin means literally "Eight Pieces of Silk Brocade." These eight exercises are elegant, graceful, and essential methods of qi cultivation. They were first described in an eight-century Daoist text,

Xiu Zhen Shi Shu ("The Ten Treatises on Restoring the original Vitality"), in the Daoist Canon. Daoist tradition attributes the exercises to one of the Eight Immortals of Chinese folklore, Chong Li-quan. Chong is frequently represented in Chinese art as a bald-headed, potbellied figure, with a white beard reaching to his navel. Chong had been a general during the Han Dynasty. When his army was defeated in a battle against the Tibetans, Chong withdrew into the mountains rather than face the Emperor's wrath.

There he met a Daoist who transmitted to him dao-yin (qigong) "recipes" to create an inner elixir of long life. The Eight Brocades was one of these methods. Before he died, Chong inscribed the exercises on the walls of a cave. When another general, Lu Dong-bin, discovered the cave several centuries later, he followed the diagrams and also became a sage-Immortal. According to a statement in the Ten Treatises, it was General Lu himself who first described the exercise on stone.

- Kenneth S. Cohen, The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing. 1997, p. 186.

Zhang Liquan (Chong Li-quan) One of the Eight Taoist Immortals Legendary Practitioner of the Eight Treasures Qigong

"Ba Duan Jin first appears in writing in an eighth century Taoist text, Ten Treatises on Restoring Original Vitality.

It is also explained in an ancient Chinese text call the Dao Shu, compiled during the Southern Song Dynasty (11271279 AD). This version is derived from still another Chinese military hero, Marshal Yeuh Fei (1103-1142 AD). He recorded each of the movements in the form of a poem that explained its execution and purpose, and taught them to his soldiers to improve their health, stamina and martial art skills." - Stanley D. Wilson, Qi Gong for Beginners, 1997, p. 19

"The Eight Strands of Silk Brocade are indeed a fine suit of clothes. It has been said that Baduanjin is the most popular qigong exercise set in the world. It is plain to see why. By practicing the whole set of eight exercises in a similar manner to Taijiquan one can expect to see significant changes in health and vitality within six months, more subtle changes within a year and greater changes within five years." - Shihfu Mike Symonds, Ba Duan Jin

"In the past, people practiced the Tao, the Way of Life. They understood the principle of balance, of yin and yang, as represented by the transformation of the energies of the universe. Thus, they formulated practices such as

Dao-yin [qigong], an exercise combining stretching, massaging, and breathing to promote energy flow, and meditation to help maintain and harmonize themselves with the universe." - Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, Huang Ti Nei Jing, 800 BCE

"Later, during what is known by historians as the Warring States Period, 480-222 BC, we find the emergence of what are called Tao Yin (daoyin) disciplines, again special exercises for health that may, in part at least, have been derived from the much earlier era of the Yellow Emperor. Tao Yin means 'guiding and inducing' - guiding and inducing the flow of chi around the body. At the same time, special breathing techniques combined with meditation were also being introduced by the Taoist philosophers. These techniques, they claimed, were effective not only in the treatment of certain illnesses but also in the prevention of disease. It is important to understand that in those times a philosopher was also someone who meditated and probably also practiced medicine. All these subjects were linked, making up what we would today term an 'holistic' approach." - History of Chi Kung

"The Eight Strands of Silk Brocade are an extremely fine set of eight Qigong exercises. They are learned and then practiced as one complete, unbroken form; each movement of each of the eight exercises being repeated eight times before doing the next exercise in sequence. Like most of the best things in life they are simple, easy to learn, easy to perform and taking only 14 - 18 minutes to do every morning and night. This is the way to improve health and well-being in a relaxed and easy manner. The only thing which stands in anyone's way is their own laziness or lack of self-discipline." - The Eight Strands of Silk Brocade

"The most recent evidence of the long history of these movements [Qigong exercises] comes from a silk book unearthed in 1979, known as the Dao Ying Xing Qi Fa ("Method of Inducing the Free Flow of Chi"). The book dates from the Western Han Dynasty, which ran from 204 BC to AD24, and bears 44 drawings of men and women in exercise positions resembling the Ba Duan Jin." - Master Lam Kam Chuen, The Way of Energy, 1991, p. 81.

Qigong Positions

Reproduction of the qigong exercises silk scroll (Dao-yin Tu) found in the tomb at

Mawangdui, China, in 1973. This scroll is from the period around 168 BCE. Photo from the Wonders of Qigong,

China Sports Magazine, 1985

"The Dao-yin Tu is the finest example of the consistency and continuity of qigong healing techniques. The majority of the exercises look so similar to the postures of modern qigong that it is possible to deduce how they were performed. The rich themes found in the Dao-yin Tu run like a fine thread through the fabric of qigong history and evolution.' - Kenneth Cohen, The Way of Qigong, 1997, p. 19

"Baduanjin", which literally translates as "eight pieces of silken brocade", has always been a very popular exercise in China. Its unusual name derives from the fact that the Chinese character for silken brocade - 'jin' - also has the archaic meaning of that of a set of exercises composed of different movements. Hence the title "eight pieces of silken brocade" can be interpreted more accurately as "an exercise composed of eight sets of movements".

Baduanjin has a written history of over 800 years. During this period of time, many modifications and innovations have been added to the original form. Although the variations are numerous, they can be broadly categorized into themes related to the seated and to the standing postures, with the latter further sub-divided into the 'Northern' and the 'Southern' styles. " - Howard Choy, Baduanjin

"Ba Duan Jing consists of eight different movements, each one of which is simple, short, and effective. Since time or location does not restrict one's practice, it is quite popular, and consists of two styles. The Wen or sedentary style adopts a sitting position with concentrated mind and attention to one's breathing. This particular type incorporates knocking teeth, shaking head, gargling throat, massaging the kidney area, swaying shoulder, pressing the scalp, stretching the sole of the foot, etc. In contrast, the Wu or active style adopts a standing position emphasizing body movement. These movements are called "Upholding the heaven and regulating Sanjiao,"

"Stretching the bow with both sides," "Regulating the spleen and stomach," "Looking backwards,"

"Swaying the head and tail," "Tapping at the back," "Holding fist and staring," "Stretching to both soles," etc."

- Ming Qi Natural Healtcare Center

"The "Eight Brocades" are a static - dynamic Qigong technique widely diffused among the Chinese people. The technique is extremely ancient, with at least a thousand year history. It has been highly studied and perfected throughout the course of its history, to the point where it could represent a complete therapy. It is ideal for stretching the meridians and unblocking the energy channels (qi) in the human organism. It balances the energy in all of the internal organs and eliminates every type of nervous or emotional tension. It can be practiced in different ways, according to the predetermined scope, martial or therapeutic, or according to the person practicing it (young, old, healthy or sick). The exercises of which it is composed can be practiced individually or all together, one after the other separately or in a continuous sequence."

Gli Otto Broccati

"The Eight Section Brocade exercise has been in existence for more than eight hundred years. Because of its effectiveness for keeping fit, it was accepted by Shaolin monks as one of the basic entering level exercises for Shaolin Wushu. Unlike Shaolin hard kung fu and the rest of Shaolin style for combat, the Eight Section

Brocade is a form of soft qi gong. The Eight-Section Brocade is an ideal life time exercise for most people.

It is especially recommended for people who work at desks every day. Regular practice of this exercise can strengthen one's internal organs as well as one's muscles and tendons." - China Guide

Cloud Hands Blog

"Badunjin Qigong originates from the Dao-Yin life-nourishing techniques of the ancient era. The medical professionals, longevity-research experts, Qigong masters of all ages developed this set of traditional body-strengthening exercise which was founded on the theory of Chinese medicine. The Dao-yin, Qigong, martial arts, gymnastics, massage, breathing arts, life-emulation and ancient dance is amalgamated to form into eight segments. The creation of these segments is based on the physiological condition and pathological changes of the human body, and the emulation of the self-strengthening and self-healing movements of flying birds, diving fishes, running animals and crawling species. The categorization of these uniquely selected segments is based on the concept of Pak Qua. This has been profoundly developed in the past through long-term practice and continual improvements and is rich in the ethnic characteristics of the Chinese race."

- Wudang Mountain Badunjin Qigong, by Dragon Gate Master Woo Kwong Fat, Wudang Mountain.

"The eight brocade is one of the most widely practiced classic exercise sets in China, which can be dated back over 1,000 years. Its long existence has resulted in its adoption by a diverse collection of practitioners, which has lead to numerous variations. This set of excises is often practiced with Qigong. The movements provide a comprehensive system of excise for people of all ages, toning up muscles and stimulating the flow of qi throughout the body. People are advised to perform it vigorously when in good health, to help build up the strength and suppleness.

But if you are in illness or in later years you should practice more gently. It is widely regarded as the initial form set for any qigong or martial arts new practitioners. Every movement is designed to regulate or strengthen organs or bowels." - DaMo Qigong and Wudang KungFu

"The Eight Pieces of Brocade (Ba Duan Jin). The Eight Pieces of Brocade is a Wai Dan Medical Qigong exercise set. It is actually two sets of eight simple exercises each (a sitting set and a standing set) that can maintain your health and increase your energy reserves if you are healthy, and speed your recovery if you are ill. This set was created by Marshal Yue Fei (1103-1141 A.D.) in the Song dynasty to keep his soldiers strong and healthy. The Eight Pieces of Brocade leads the beginner to the door of understanding Qigong." - Yang Jwing-Ming's Martial Arts Academy

"Baduanjin which literally translates as the "eight pieces of silken brocade," has always been a very popular exercise in China. Its unusual name derives from the fact that the Chinese character for silken brocade also has the archaic meaning of that of a set of exercises composed of different movements.

Hence the title "eight pieces of silken brocade" can be interpreted more accurately as "an exercise composed of eight sets of movements." Baduanjin has a written history of over 800 years. During this period of time, many modifications and innovations have been added to the original form. Although the variations are numerous, they can be broadly categorized into themes related to the seated and to the standing postures, with the latter further sub-divided into the Northern and the Southern styles. The

Northern style claims its legendary founder to be Yue Fei, who was a famous general in the Sung

Dynasty (960-1279AD). It is considered to be more difficult to perform than the Southern style."

- Baduanjin

"These are the "Buddhidarma lohan 18 hands" ("lohan kung" for short), the "siu lohan", the "da lohan"

and the "wu chi". Together these four form a complete system of internal kung-fu to cover the whole range of choy lee fut qigong skills. We have grouped these four forms under the generic name of

"lohan qigong", literally "the art of the breath of the enlightened ones". In its original form lohan qigong is an internal set of exercises for cultivating the "three treasures" of qi (vital energy), jing (essence), and shen (spirit). Done regularly it activates the flow of the intrinsic life energy along the meridians, strengthens the internal organs, increases longevity through maintenance of health and vigor of body and mind, exercises the joints and muscles, promotes relaxation and stress management, prevents occupational physical stress diseases, promotes postural awareness and correct posture, and provides the essence and base for many internal and external martial arts." - Howard Choy, The Lohan Qigong System, 1999 The Shaolin 18 Lohan Hands system is much more extensive than the Eight Section Brocade. Refer to the bibliography above for more references. Notes on "Lohan."

"The Eight Verses of Wudang Mountain Badunjin :

1. Lift the ground and hold the sky to take care of the three internal cavities

2. Draw a bow to the left and right, just like shooting a vulture

3. Lift the hand up singly to tone and caress the spleen and the stomach

4. Look backwards to cure the five strains and seven injuries

5. Reach down the leg by both hands to strengthen the kidney and the reproductive organ

6. Swivel the head and rock the bottom to calm down

7. Rotate fists and stare to add stamina

8. Vibrate the back seven times to expel illness

The first segment takes care of the three chiaos (internal organs), the second segment strengthens the heart and the lung, the third regulates the spleen and the stomach, the fourth cures strains and injuries, the fifth toughens the kidney and reproductive organ, the sixth calms the nervous system, the seventh increases stamina, the eighth gets rid of illnesses. It has materialised the merging of the theory and movements of Badunjin with clinical sports, as well as specified the importance of life-nourishment and health-preservation. Badunjin Qigong, uplifted by the modern medical confirmation from Chinese and western professionals and scholars, continues to be revitalised and made to perfection. Thus it has been made even more suitable and practical to serve the needs of the modern era, and advances with time.

The theory and movements of Wudang Badunjin is thorough; it is safe and easy to learn, and has a wide application on medical cure. Externally, it exercises the skin, muscles, tendons and bones; internally, it strengthens the organs, improves the circulatory system, and consolidates the spirit of well being. Its movements involve breathing naturally, and are smart & light, continuous and lively, elegant and beautiful, stretchy and graceful, alternating relaxing with tightening, synchronising harmoniously, can be fast or slow but with distinct rhythm, can be complicated or simple, active or quiet, and cohere the opening with the closing. It stresses on the mutual use of toughness and gentleness, the training of the internal and external body parts, the merging of activity and quietness, the balancing of the left and the right, the top and the bottom, alternating the real and the virtual, and nourishing both the body and the spirit. The amount of exercise and the length of the practice session can be adjusted anytime, and it can be practised alongside with other exercises. Age, sex, body nature, location, equipment, time, season, etc do not restrict the practice. It can be practised individually, with the whole family, or with a group. The all-encompassing effect and value of its body-strengthening and medical aspects is evergreen."

Wudang Mountain Badunjin Qigong Original (in Chinese) written in Hong Kong by Woo Kwong Fat, the 28th Generation Master of Dragon Gate Branch, Wudang Mountain. 20Kb.

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  • jeffrey
    What is the meaning of 8 brocades in qigong?
    9 years ago
  • Kathrin Wolf
    Is 8 brocades a static form of Qigong?
    9 years ago
  • christine
    Which side to face when we do eight brocades of taichi?
    8 years ago
  • jennifer
    How to get double sided brocade age of wushu?
    7 years ago
  • debora bellucci
    Are the eight golden treasures anti christianity?
    2 years ago

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