Editor's note: This is reprinted from our 1996 Summer issue. Master Li Junfeng's facebook page is located at: www.facebook.com/masterlijunfeng and he is still actively teaching with many more accomplishments in his life.
Born in China in 1938, Master Li Junfeng has studied and taught kung fu, tai chi, bagua, qigong and meditation for over 60 years.
A distinguished graduate of the Beijing Physical Education University, Master Li is best known as head coach of the world-renowned Chinese National Martial Arts Team. For 15 years, under his extraordinary leadership, his students achieved unprecedented acclaim. His teams were consistently victorious, winning hundreds of gold medals. One of his most famous students is the Chinese movie star, Jet Li.
Considered a movement genius by his peers, Master Li also achieved international fame as an award winning kung fu movie actor and choreographer, starring in five major motion pictures.
In 1987, Li began the practice of Sheng Zhen Gong, and it changed his life. The next year, at the height of his professional success, he gave up fame and fortune and moved to Manila, where he found he could delve deeper into the spiritual aspects of Sheng Zhen. Soon he dedicated himself solely to the teaching of this potent and transformative practice. With joy, generosity, patience and humor, Master Li encourages his students, from the start, to go out and become teachers themselves.
Sheng Zhen translates as "Sacred Truth" or "Unconditional Love." and Master Li's message is simply, "Love Everyone. Love Everything."
He tells us that Qi and Love are never separate and that Unconditional Love is the best and strongest medicine. Relax the body, quiet the mind, and open the Heart
Sheng Zhen Gong has three main functions.
Firstly, it promotes the health of the physical body, building strength, balance and flexibility. The slow, rhythmic and symmetrical movements relax the body, increasing the flow of healing qi. With regular practice, this flow of fresh, clear qi cleanses the meridians, boosts the immune system, and improves blood circulation.
Secondly, the practice of Sheng Zhen Gong can dissolve negative emotions like worry, fear, anger, sadness, jealousy and most importantly, hatred. The mind automatically becomes clear and calm.
The third function of Sheng Zhen Qigong is to open and purify the Heart, ultimately elevating the Spirit. Becoming one with the Universe brings about a deep sense of peace, a feeling of connectedness to all things, and an inner state of total well-being. According to the Sheng Zhen philosophy, this is man's natural state.
Master Li contends that there is too much competition in the world today, too much fighting and stress. People are moving way too fast.
We have forgotten how to relax the body and, more importantly, the mind. When the mind & body are tense, the natural flow of Qi, or Life Force, is interrupted. This leads to many problems, from poor circulation and a weakened immune system, to chronic fatigue, depression and disease.
Sheng Zhen Gong is a graceful, healing system comprised of standing, sitting, moving and non-moving forms that helps us loosen and synchronize our bodies. With regular practice, we begin to calm down and move in harmony, inside and out. The inter-exchange of qi between us and the universe, the essence of human health, helps restore balance in our bodies and in our lives. Doubt and worry cease to exist, and what follows is sense of profound contentment.
Many of the Sheng Zhen forms are easy to learn and easy to teach. Master Li says that learning just one movement properly can be extremely beneficial to the practitioner.
At 77 years young, Master Junfeng Li embodies the selfless spirit that is at the heart of Sheng Zhen Gong, the qigong of Unconditional Love.
As the founder and principal teacher of the International Sheng Zhen Society, founded in Manila in 1996, he is dedicated to bringing the graceful, healing forms and inspired philosophy of this powerful practice to the world. He has taught Sheng Zhen workshops, seminars and teacher trainings in over 30 countries, across 6 continents, certifying scores of teachers to help spread messages of love, health and happiness. He has taught in Norway, Germany, India, Bhutan, Singapore, Australia, Croatia, Belgium, Latvia, United States, Canada, Switzerland, Austria and China to name a few. To date, he has given 36 ten-day Teacher Trainings.
Master Li has written four books: A Return to Oneness; Sheng Zhen Healing Gong, the Removal of Disease in Three Parts; Awakening the Soul; and Origin of the Heart; and has produced numerous DVD's and on-line digital trainings.
Presently based in Santa Barbara, California, at the Sheng Zhen Center for Self-Healing, Master Li also serves as advisor to the World Academic Society of Medical Qigong and the Qigong Science Research Association of China.
In February 2015, Master Li presented a TEDx talk in New Delhi, India, entitled "Earth, a Body Alive." He was also a presenter at the Parliament of World Religions last October 2015 in Salt Lake City.
Bill Douglas, founder of the World Tai Chi and Qigong Day stated: "When I first began organizing World Tai Chi and QiGong Day, I was invited by the National Qigong Association to come and speak to their annual forum. While there, I met an extraordinary man named Master Li Junfeng. He'd been perhaps the best Kung Fu coach in China's long martial arts history, but gave it all up to begin teaching Qigong for health. He stopped me in the hall one day and asked this, "Why are you organizing this World T'ai Chi and Qigong Day?" "Are you doing it for love?" he asked.
This caught me off guard, because I'd been doing it simply because it was proven to help people's health. But, Master Li insisted that it must be much more. He said the world's Qi, or life energy, was depleted of love in this age of hustle and bustle, no one taking the time to enjoy life or one another. This great Qigong master, and one of the world's greatest martial artists, gave me the quintessential Qigong lesson when he said, "Love is the essence of Qigong." I realized over time that he was right. Not just about World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, or Qigong, but about everything we do in our lives. If we don't do it for love, it is meaningless, and will not last, or have any real consequence in the grander scheme of life".
Reprinted from Summer 1996 Qi Journal
Liz Ely has studied Sheng Zhen Gong with Master Li for 20 years, and is a senior certified teacher. She currently serves on the boards of the Sheng Zhen Society of the Americas and the Santa Barbara Sheng Zhen Society. She lives with her husband in the historic gold mining town of Nevada City, located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Liz is a graduate of Stanford University, with a Bachelor's Degree in English