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My Opinions on the Teaching of Health Qigong (Ⅰ)

I began to teach Taijiquan since 1997 and began to teach Health Qigong since 2010. During the teaching process, I get to know both common points and differences between the teaching activities of Health Qigong and Taijiquan. In the teaching, first of all, the correct exercise of every movement in every routine should be explained in details. For a beginner, the emphasis should be put on the meaning of the art of attack and defense of every movement in the teaching of Taijiquan, and the teaching must always focus on the art of attack and defense in martial arts. As for Health Qigong, however, it is not exactly the same case.

I. For a beginner of Health Qigong, the teaching must cover every meridians, collaterals and acupoint. For example, there is the movement- hooked hand in more than one method of Health Qigong. To do this movement correct, the little finger, ring finger and middle finger should bend naturally, and the index finger should stretch out naturally, with Shaoshang acupoint inside the thumb closing to the Shangyang acupoint of the index finger, malaxating and pressing each other, which is called the "contact of Shaoshang and Shangyang". The purpose of "the contract of Shaoshang and Shangyang" is to connect the lung meridian to the large intestine meridian, and form a circulation in the arms by the two meridians, which is called "arm circulation". The formation of "arm circulation" is to stimulate and initiate Jing acupoint (Shaoshang and Shangyang) on lung meridian and large intestine meridian, thereby circulating qi and blood in the two medidians. For another example, in the movement of "moving the hands down the back and legs" of Ba Duan Jin Routine 6 "Moving the Hands down the Back and Legs, and Touching the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys", thumbs of two hands move down from axillas on both sides along the gallbladder meridian, and the other four limbs move down along the large intestine at the back. Repeat interpretation can make the learners understand the effect of Health Qigong, and deepen their understanding on every movement.

II. The basic hand techniques, body manoeuvres, leg techniques, foot position and expression in eyes should be explained clearly, and the movement should be constantly standardized. For example, the leg spreading in "Beginning of Heaven's Creation (Qian Yuan Qi Yun)", "Old Horse Is Stabled (Lao Ji Fu Li)", "Lotus Flower Appears Above the Water (Fu Rong Chu Shui)", etc. in Daoyin Yangshenggong Shi Er Fa, the outside of feet is as wide as the shoulders; in other movements such as "Ji Chang Shoots a Louse (Ji Chang Guan Shi)" and "Rhinoceros Gazes at the Moon (Xi Niu Wang Yue)", the width is the that of bow stance.

III. Highlight and emphasize the main points of every movement. For example, the tiger exercise in Wu Qin Xi, the names of its acts are lifting hands, extending forwards, pressing down, lifting, swooping, lifting, stretching, pressing, lifting, swooping, lifting, stretching, pressing, lifting, swooping, lifting, stretching, pressing, lifting, swooping, side lifting of hands, closing inside and pressing down. The essential of this movement is the folding and bending of spine and the intersection of every parts. For another example, in Ba Duan Jin’s Routine 3 "Holding One Arm Aloft to Regulate the Functions of the Spleen and Stomach", the essential of the movement is "holding one arm aloft". The palms rising upwards need to stretch the meridians and collaterals of the entire arm, and meanwhile, the palms pressed down should also stretch the meridians and collaterals on the entire arm. The two palms rise upwards and press down at the same time, forming a tensile force. To cite another example, in the routine "Posing as an Archer Shooting Both Left- and Right-Handed" in Ba Duan Jin, the essential of the movement is to put forth strength at the palm posturing in a shape of "八 (inverted V)", and the arm stringing a bow should stretch its elbow outwards, with the hands forming forces in opposite directions.

IV. The teaching of Health Qigong is simple, because the movement is slow and there are no difficult movements. For the average person, they can easily master the shape and movements after imitating. But it is also difficult, because every movement needs to combine the breathing, not just the even speed and the slow and gentle movement. Breathing regulation is to combine the breathing. Fortunately, the lyrics composed for the accompaniment music of Health Qigong is clear in rhythm. So, the coach needs to guide the learners to follow the lyrics, which can avoid fastness and suspension, thereby smoothing and regulating the breath.

(By Shi Jiujin)

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