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(11 pages total)

Page 2 - Bagua Qigong (Pa Kau Chang Ch'i Kung)

Baguazhang Master Park Bok Nam has practiced his art for over 32 years. Although Park is Korean, his teacher Lu Shui-T'ien (1894-1978) was a native of Shandong Province, Qingdao City, who fled China during the Sino-Japanese War. Lu was a guerrilla fighter during the war and when the Japanese put a price on his head, he left China, settled in nearby Inchon, Korea and lived in Inchon's large Chinatown.

During the 17 years Park studied with his teacher, his father supported him and he did nothing but practice Baguazhang all day, everyday. His teacher's Baguazhang training program was a balanced program incorporating elements of Qigong, Neigong, and Waigong training. Twice during the seventeen years Park studied with his teacher he went to the mountains of Korea for one year solitary retreats in order to dive deeper into his practice and especially develop the Qigong aspect of his training. This article will discuss some of Park's viewpoints on the practice of Qigong.

We will not try to strictly define Qi (Ch'i) in this article, but we are going to make the assumption that everyone has something in their body that the Chinese call "Qi." We are going to further assume that this Qi can be divided into the two general categories of internal Qi (nei Qi) and external Qi (wai Qi). Park likes to give the following example to help define these two different types of "energy" in the body. Take two individuals and send them to work; one goes to a construction job and digs ditches, the other goes to an office job, sits at a desk, answers the phone and works on a computer. At the end of the day, both of these individuals feel tired even though their respective expenditure of energy is quite different. The construction worker has spent a lot of physical, external energy; the office worker has expended a lot of internal, mental energy. Even though the work performed and the energy expended is quite different, they both feel fatigue because they both have expended equal amounts of energy.

This example of the difference between internal and external energy expenditure, although simple, will be enough to give you an idea of how Park defines internal and external Qi on the most basic level.

While a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine will define Qi in much more complex terms, Park generally believes in keeping explanations very simple and letting the student reach deeper levels of understanding through direct experience. When teaching, Park will give a student an exercise that produces specific results and allows the student to explain what he or she is feeling rather than give the student lectures on what he or she is supposed to be feeling. Park emphasizes that there is a big difference between knowing something in your head and knowing something in your body. When you "know" it in your body it becomes a reflex occurrence and it will not soon be "forgotten." Once when Park's instructor was teaching, Park started to take notes on what his teacher was saying. His teacher asked, "What are you doing?" Park replied that he was taking notes so he would not forget what his teacher was telling him. Park's teacher took away the notebook and said, "You go outside right now and practice this 1000 times. This is the only way you will remember!"

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