Qigong is the practice of cultivating longevity through movement, breathing and meditation. Why cultivate long life? Buddhism would say in order to have time to gain realisation and to benefit others. Taoists aims to become immortals for much the same reasons. Taoism has had a major influence on the theory behind Traditional Chinese Medicine: Yin and Yang, the theory of the 5 Elements, the meridians and points, all of which are evident in Kunlun Dayan Qigong. Dayan Qigong has been influenced, like all of Chinese culture, by the three great philosophies of Rujia (Confucianism), Taoism and Buddhism.
The wisdom of Rujia is embodied in the family structure of the Tse Qigong Centre: a person’s teacher is called Sifu, which literally means “father” (whether the teacher is female or male). A person’s co-students are “brothers” and “sisters”, and senior students are “uncles”. One’s teacher’s teacher is called “Sigong”. This structure provides a framework for cooperation and respect.
Dayan Qigong’s ancient lineage was kept secret and preserved for centuries in Taoist monasteries, and in modern times by Grandmaster Yang Meijun, the 27th generation inheritor of the skill. It was she who ensured that the skill survived into the 21st century by teaching a number of close students, whom she in turn authorised to teach, including Grandmaster Michael Tse, who studied with her from 1984 until she passed away in 2002. He visited her often in China, improving his skill and his understanding of this profound tradition. The Tse Qigong Centre was founded by Grandmaster Tse in 1990 to promote Qigong and other Chinese Martial Arts. It treasures the teachers who worked hard to preserve these skills and trains new instructors to hand them on.
What will I learn in Class?
We follow the syllabus of the Tse Qigong Centre: initially you will learn some sets of simple exercises devised by Grandmaster Michael Tse, which grow gradually in complexity and difficulty. They introduce movements from the forms, not just the Qigong forms, but also movements from traditional Chinese Martial Arts like the Chun Yuen Kung Fu and Chen Taijiquan. It’s a bit like learning a vocabulary of movement, and it makes subsequent learning much easier, because forms are continuous sequences of movement and it can be a mental as well as a physical challenge to pick them up and retain them.
These exercises are not just training for future learning, but are very good to use for general health care. Many of them have quite specific benefits and the exercises can be used as a kind of tool kit for looking after your health. They are perfect for those practitioners, who, because of mobility restrictions, old age or other health problems, might choose to stick with simpler exercises.
We start the Qigong syllabus with a warm-up, then Balancing Gong, and then there are three sets of forms called Healthy Living Gong 1, 2 and 3. These may take a year or two to learn. We review these with students fairly regularly, so that their skills can develop; it’s not just about ticking off forms, but about integrating the skill properly, which really improves health. We call this process “polishing”, and it is a vital component of the Centre’s teaching methods, incorporating feedback and the chance to observe closely a teacher’s movement. There are different stages in learning movement: first comes the shape, the outline and sequence; next comes the energy of the movement, and this develops gradually over time, being continually refined and improved.
After learning the foundation sets, students begin to learn forms, starting with the Wild Goose 1st 64, then the 2nd 64 movements. These are followed by Green Sea Swimming Dragon, Jade Pillar Gong, Slapping Healthy Gong and Kunlun Twining Hands Bagua. It takes some years to learn up to this point and the syllabus then carries on with Cotton Palm, Triple Crossing Spiral Gong, Eight Pulling Waist Gong, Plum Blossom Gong, Seven Star Opening Points Gong and Peaceful Position Meditation. These forms are the first two levels of Kunlun Dayan Qigong; there are 30 forms in total.
Qigong for Wing Chun students
The attainment of a high level skill in a martial art is the result of hard work – years and years of practice, discipline and sacrifice. With a good teacher and the right practice the body and mind are developed and transformed into much better version of yourself.
Qigong is a pathway to improving your health, posture and breathing while increasing your energy, stamina and vitality. The benefits of practising Qigong are limitless, some even believe Qigong can cure cancer!
Sifu Tom Rogers began his Dayan Qigong studies in 2004 and with regular practice, has been amazed by the very profound changes that occurred.
“My mind is a thousand times clearer and I have much more confidence, it feels like I grew taller as I now stand straighter and more upright.”
Qigong teaches us firstly how to relax and let go, then it works on our posture and the way we hold ourselves. Like acupuncture, Qigong unlocks tension and unblocks the channels that run through our body. It is a Chinese treasure that is almost always found side by side with all traditional Chinese martial arts.