Welcome to the resource page on the 8 section brocade / baduanjin
Here is the 8 Section brocade (baduanjin) as promised, I tried to find the best video for instructional purposes, on youtube, as there were a lot of fancy ones that look pretty but will bore your socks off unless youre seriously dedicated to taichi and qigong.
So I found one that was clear, to the point and presented each movement once.
there is also a sitting form which was used by Li Ching Yun almost his entire life and he lived over 200 years!, I will post more on this later.
PS : I have created a printable PDF for your convenience so that you can print it and use it as a reference when practicing at home you can download it here:8 Section Brocade
How to do the 8 Section brocade practice:
8 Section Brocade Instruction Video
No of repetitions:
In the beginning you should do 5 repetitions of each exercise shown in the video , after a while slowly increase it to 24
8 Section Brocade
the 8 section brocade is a fascinating qigong form with a long and colorful history, Marshal Yue Fei created the 8 section brocade (also known as the Ba Duan Jin) in the 12th centaury – To improve the vitality of his soldiers.
I got most of this information originally from reading a wonderful book by Jack Crutchley, called “Live Longer Live Stronger ISBN 1920084126”
Note in order to really benefit you must keep the practice of cultivating the qigong for 100 days, you will however feel the benefits fairly immediately.
Things to consider before beginning the form:
It is not strictly necessary to start with meditation but I find it helps to relax and breathe deeply for about 3 minutes, and use the time to calm the mind, bring it into reign and calm down, regulating the breath and taking the time to get a calm relaxed yet strong posture, if you want to read more about this please look at my section dealing with the 3 intentful corrections, as they are the foundation and base of all qigong practice.
To recap they are:
- Adopt the correct posture
- Slow your breathing, especially the out breath to slow and help you
- Calm the mind.
Useful tool and guide to using the 8 section brocade for specific health benefits
Also throughout this form various pieces of the brocade deal with cleansing and stimulating the various meridians, I decided to include this chart to refresh your memory and see the benefits more clearly, the outside text in rounded squares deals with associated symptoms of aggravation, so doing the appropriate Qigong will help alleviate those symptoms over time. Eg. San Jiao- is stimulated by the first move in the 8 section brocade form, and thus if you have tinnitus – practicing the 8 section brocade will help
How to do the 8 section Brocade
Benefits: balances clears and makes the the triple warmer/heater meridian (sanjiao) flow properly in balance which is primarily associated with endocrine system and our fight or flight response, an unhealthy triple heater can result in issues such as ADD, Chronic fatigue, Anxiety and panic attacks as well as insomnia and tinnitus, practicing this qigong will benefit all these conditions.
- Stand relaxed with fingers interlinked palms facing you
- Inhale slowly and raise your hands to overhead(like in the picture) palms still facing you.
- stretch in this movement and go onto your tiptoes
- hold your breath for a few seconds
- lower yourself back on your heels
- now move your body left and right (imagine you are standing between two walls of glass so you cant move forwards or backwards, you can only arc left and right – so that you become the shape of a crescent moon –imagine the guy in the picture stretching left and right in that position- that is exactly what you must do.
- Repeat this 7 times
Benefits: balances and replenishes the kidney meridian, strengthens your root through the low horse stance, strengthens lower body
- stand in a horse riding stance, ie wide legs like in the picture
- your arms are at your sides, bring them up and cross them in front of you
- extend your left arm out and put your index finger out(this motion should look like you are drawing a bow) while simultaneously drawing your right hand back as if pulling on a bowstring(see picture)
- now feel your chest open as you draw the bow, your backs shoulder blades should come together like you are trying to squeeze a cigar between them
- with your index finger out you should feel a weird tingling in your finger, this is stimulating to the vagus nerve and is a health benefit of its own.(for longevity)
- 4 reps
Benefits: Spleen and stomach meridian
- stand in horse riding stance (ma pu) slightly, not as intensely as drawing the bow
- place hands in a position as if youre holding a beachball with one hand on top and one below
- raise your top hand until its in the position in the picture above your head
- with your other hand you put it palm facing the floor fingers facing your leg(pity it doesn’t show this in the image)
- now create a nice stretch with your hands (should feel a definate tingle)
- swap hands to do opposite side
- Do this 7 times on each side
Benefits: Cures energy depletion and consumptive illnesses, as it works the entire spine much like a wringed out cloth, it gets rid of nagging stiff muscles and pinched nerves, this exercise really improves your vitality, focus and energy levels, it also wards off aging and is very beneficial for back pain all along the spine.
- 1. go down into horse position(or riding horse)
- 2. raise your right hand to heart level with your palm open(imagine having your hands in a prayer position – then remove the left hand and relax it at your side – this is the position your right hand should be in.
- 3. exhale and rotate your body left twisting your spine relaxedly – as far as it will go comfortably.(hey don’t strain, relax)
- 4. follow this movement up by moving your head to look back (left) Ie continue the movement you made with your body simultaneously with your head.
- 5. inhale as you come back to the central position
- 6. repeat with the other side of your body ie now use your left hand and twist right.
- 7. Do 10 reps 5 each side.
Benefits: strengthens and revitalizes the liver. Engenders courage and fortitude
- stand in horse stance but not too low
- face forwards and raise both arms to the hips
- clench fist gently and raise your elbows (as if you have just picked up a barbell and are at the bottom of a bicep curl)
- pivot towards the left with your whole body(without changing your footing, so you twist to face 90 degrees left
- Simultaneously punch, now you can adjust this to your mood, if angry then punch hard and forcefully allowing your angry energy to be thrown out as you exhale at the point of hitting. If you are calm, then do a relaxed qigong punch.
- do this on both sides for 5 reps each side
Benefits: this exercise directly increases your life force and energy, affecting longevity personal power and health.
- stand in horse stance with your hands on your hips at 90 degrees
- you should face north when doing this exercise
- turn left while pivoting your waist to face right(90 degrees from facing forward)
- now go back to facing forwards
- do the same to the left,
- basically you face left and right but in a low horse stance position, you can move your legs to accommodate.
Benefits: stimulates the yin meridians and the governing vessel so most of the lower meridians and all the solid organs of the body, check above for the illustration
- begin with a relaxed stance not too low ie not horse stance
- bring your arms to your lower dantien(navel area) as if you are cradling a tennis ball in both hands and bring it slowly up to your middle dantien(heart) area,
- exhale slowly as you push out with both hands going forwards from this point (as if you are pushing someone
- bend forward at the hips but keep a straight back (this will pull your hamstrings)and go down as low as you can, and try touch the floor with both hands- all the while exhaling
- feel the earth energy(yin) and inhale as you bring it back up with you, trace your inner legs beginning with ankle and calf area and up past inner thighs & groin back up past the lower dantien(inhaling all the way and pulling the earth energy with you) back to the heart area
- put your hands on your lower back in the kidney area and massage gently
- bend backwards and look up as you do so
Benefits: Bouncing on your toes, aside from a good calf workout is said to help rid the body of many diseases and stimulate healing and immune system.
This makes sense even in western medical theory as it would stimulate the lymph to flow – the bouncing
- stand with your legs about shoulder width apart
- slowly raise yourself to your tiptoes
- bounce down with reasonable force ie allow yourself to bounce on your heels
- keep doing this for about 21 repetitons
- you should feel the force of the movement throughout your body, obviously don’t do it so hard you hurt yourself in any way, just bounce lightly.(but feel the impact through the body)
Many thanks to Sifu Andreas from http://www.taichichuanberkeley.com/ for allowing me to use the little chinese men images from their website – and thus making this page that much easier to understand!
Sifu Liang introduced me to some cool taoist practices that are simple yet profound, such as taoist meditation.
Master Andy Hu taught me some deeper practices such as how to set up a daily meditation & qigong waidan practice the ultimate goal of this is to increase health and vitality and increase compassion and leads to possible enlightenment! Shifu Michael Rinaldini taught me to go within and most of the real meat and bones of qigong and daoist theory, in fact most of the content of this blog is a result of his homework assignments! He is one of those rare individuals who live the way so deeply as to be synonymous with it.