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(11 pages total)

Page 3 - Bagua Qigong (Pa Kau Chang Ch'i Kung)

Once the student has experienced a sensation as a result of an exercise, Park will ask the student to explain what he or she has felt and then guide the student to deeper experience by adding to the exercise or by teaching a higher level technique. In this manner, all the student's knowledge of Qi, or martial arts practice in general, is experiential. Changing, or adding to, the basic training exercises is an integral part of continual development. Park's experience has told him that once you reach a certain level of development with one exercise, you need to change the exercise or change the breathing technique in order to progress further. However, the only person that can tell you how and when to change your exercise to reach higher levels is an experienced teacher. Everyone is different and thus there are no cookbook methods--all Qigong practice should be closely monitored by an experienced instructor. In the realm of Qigong, an exercise that could help one person could easily damage another.

BaguaQigong Balancing Internal and External

In order to live a healthy life, an individual should exercise (in a balanced manner) both the internal Qi and the external Qi. External exercise (swimming, biking, running, weight lifting, martial arts forms and fighting, etc.) will strengthen the external, but will not efficiently or fully exercise the internal. Internal exercise (breath control, meditation, visualization, yoga, and other Qigong training methods) will not efficiently or fully train the external, but will develop the internal. To achieve optimum levels of health, martial arts development, or fighting skill, internal and external training should be balanced.

Modern health, fitness, and physical education disciplines tend to emphasis the external methods of physical development. However, in terms of health and longevity, internal development is equally, if not more, important. As a simple example Park likes to point out that a man who is physically very strong can easily be overcome by internal disorder or disease while an old person, who may be physically weak in terms of muscle strength, could be very robust and strong internally and thus live a long, healthy life. In Chuang Tzu there is a story that is apropos:

T'ien K'ai-chih said, "I have heard the Master say, 'He who is good at life is like a herder of sheep--he watches for stragglers and whips them up.'"

"What does that mean?" asked Duke Wei.

T'ien K'ai-chih said, "In Lu there was Shan Po - he lived among the cliffs, drank only water, and didn't go after gain like other people. He went along like that for seventy years and still had the complexion of a little child. Unfortunately, he met a hungry tiger who killed him and ate him up. Then there was Chang Yi - there wasn't one of the great families fancy mansions that he did not rush off to visit. He went along like that for forty years, and then he developed an internal fever, fell ill, and died. Shan Po looked after what was on the inside and the tiger ate up his outside. Chang Yi looked after what was on the outside and the sickness attacked him from the inside. Both these men failed to give a lash to the stragglers."

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