“If you want to be healthy and live to 100, do Qigong.” 

-Dr Oz on Oproh’s TV show   http://www.albanyqigong.com

Baduanjin Qigong

8 Brocades - 1-8pic copy

 The above drawing was culled from http://www.egreenway.com/taichichuan/esb.htm.   Remember that the sequence is not fixed.  It is merely a LIST of individual exercises that should be repeated 7 – 15 times.  If you don’t have time to do them all, pick one or two and practice them only.  Below is a definition of the health benefits of each exercise.

1.     Palms raised to Heaven
2.     Drawing the bow
3.     Separating Heaven and Earth
4.     The Wise Owl Gazes Backward
5.     Shake the Head & Swing Tail
6.     Punching with Angry Eyes
7.     Press the Earth, Touch the Sky
8.     
Lifting Up the Heels

The www.egreenway.com  site has a fantastic explanation of how to do each element of the 8 Brocades.

Eight Pieces of Brocade  is a form of gigong.

Many theories abound about the origin and development of the Eight Section Brocade Chi Kung.  Ancient dances, medical theory, military drills and exercises, shamanistic rituals, and Buddhist and Taoist practices were all sources for the specific and formal movement routines of Dao-yin or Chi Kung (Qigong). The ancient terms for these types of Qigong or Chi Kung (energy/Qi/breath training) fitness exercises were Dao Yin (guiding, breathing and stretching) or Daoqi Yinti (guide the qi and stretch the body) or Yang Sheng Fa (Longevity Practices).

Literature going back nearly 2,500 years reveals health and fitness exercise postures or routines, with some movements quite similar to movements in the Eight Section.

Use of calisthenics, stretching, and breathing exercises to maintain good health, fight disease, and enhance the quality of life has a long documented history in both India and China.  Artwork, medical manuals, folklore, treatises, scriptures and reports on the subject go back over 2,500 years. Likewise, military physical conditioning techniques, and training with military weapons (bow, sword, staff, saber, knife, spear, etc.) are of comparable antiquity.

Researched by Michael P. Garfalo (http://www.egreenway.com/taichichuan/esb.htm )

 I like the story of they young general that I thought was the “real story” for a long time.

One historical accounting reports Marshal Yue Fei molded it from a longer form in the mid 1100s from concern for his warriors.  The Song Dynasty (960-1279) was a tough tie in Chinese History with many wars.

Yue Fei was a poor boy with a childhood filled with turmoil and poverty.  He entered the army at nine and rapidly rose within the ranks and by twenty-six he was a general.

Yue Fei developed Eight Brocades to support his men’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual balance.

His methods proved very successful especially for poorly trained  or conscripted warriors with no training.

He was betrayed and killed by jealous and corrupt politicians at a young age, but his Brocades and revered history have passed down through generations.

In over 2000 years the Eight Brocades form of gigong has inevitably morphed into many variations.  Some refer to it as Baduanjin gigong.   Most practioners believe the importance lies not the form itself, but the theory, guidelines, and principles that cement all of gigong to its simple roots.  Ba duan jin translates to “Eight Pieces of Brocade,” or some version of “Eight Silken Movements” a series of eight sequential movements that are easy to remember because of “Marshal Yee Fei’s well-conceived form is the essence of gigong –simplicity and effectiveness.  Other histories exist.  Learn more at  http://www.egreenway.com/taichichuan/esb.htm   an Wikipedia.

Health

         Click here  or on the link above to read more about the  health benefits of Qigong and the 8 Pieces.

The Baduanjin as a whole is broken down into eight separate exercises, each focusing on a different physical area and qi meridian. The Baduanjin traditionally contains both a standing and seated set of eight postures each. The following is a short description followed by a more detail version.

BadunjinSeated copy

Standing

Two Hands Hold up the Heavens (Shuang Shou Tuo Tian)

This move is said to stimulate the “Triple Warmer” meridian (Sanjiao). It consists of an upward movement of the hands, which are loosely joined and travel up the center of the body.
Drawing the Bow to Shoot the Hawk (or Vulture)
While in a lower horse stance, the practitioner imitates the action of drawing a bow to either side. It is said to exercise the waist area, focusing on the kidneys and spleen.
Separate Heaven and Earth
This resembles a version of the first piece with the hands pressing in opposite directions, one up and one down. A smooth motion in which the hands switch positions is the main action, and it is said to especially stimulate the stomach.
Wise Owl Gazes Backwards or Look Back
This is a stretch of the neck to the left and the right in an alternating fashion.
Sway the Head and Shake the Tail
This is said to regulate the function of the heart and lungs. Its primary aim is to remove excess heat (or fire) (xin huo) from the heart. Xin huo is also associated with heart fire in traditional Chinese medicine. In performing this piece, the practitioner squats in a low horse stance, places the hands on thighs with the elbows facing out and twists to glance backwards on each side.
Two Hands Hold the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys and Waist
This involves a stretch upwards followed by a forward bend and a holding of the toes.
Clench the Fists and Glare Fiercely (or Angrily)
This resembles the second piece, and is largely a punching movement either to the sides or forward while in horse stance. This, which is the most external of the pieces, is aimed at increasing general vitality and muscular strength.
Bouncing on the Toes
This is a push upward from the toes with a small rocking motion on landing. The gentle shaking vibrations of this piece is said to “smooth out” the qi after practice of the preceding seven pieces.

Many versions of the Eight Pieces exist, so I culled this printed form from www.albanyqigong.com/.

Video

Many  8 Brocades videos exist on YouTube.  We have liked the  Shaolin style by Master Shi De Yang

Shaolin Monk 8 Pieces of Brocade (Baduan Jin)

on Youtube  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jSrWdGQnKw

My current favorite on You Tube is from Health Qigong Ba Duan Jin, performed by MAster Faye Yip, President of British Health Qigong Association, Founder of Deyin Taijiquan Institute (intenational) and Executive member of the Tai Chi Union for Great Britain.  Eight Treasures

We also like  –Qigong: Eight Piece Brocades Chi Kung  by Jesse Tsao  on youtube.com  It is a simplier version.  You can find it at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJeyZ43i-xY    You can peruse Jesse Tsao web site at   http://www.taichihealthways.com

Another good source for 8 Brocade video is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZgbFD39OdI