The 8 Brocades by Flowing Zen
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The Baduanjin is primarily designated as a form of medical qigong, meant to improve health. This is in contrast to religious or martial forms of qigong. However, this categorization does not preclude the form’s use by martial artists as a supplementary exercise, and this practice is frequent. 8 Brocades 8 Brocades
01 Supporting the Heavens (Shuang Shou Tuo Tian)
- This move is said to stimulate the “Triple Burner” aka “Triple Warmer” or “Triple Heater” meridian (Sanjiao). It consists of an upward movement of the hands, which are loosely joined and travel up the center of the body.
02 Shooting the Eagle
- 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.
03 Raising One Hand
- 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.
04 Looking Backward to View the Moon
- This is a stretch of the neck to the left and the right in an alternating fashion.
05 Swing Head Wag 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.
06 Holding the Feet
- This involves a stretch upwards followed by a forward bend and a holding of the toes.
07 Punching with Fiery Eyes
- 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.
08 Shaking the Back
- 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 or, in some systems, this is more specifically to follow Sway the Head and Shake the Tail 8 Brocades 8 Brocades
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