On one of my trips to Beijing, as is my usual habit, I took a copy of the “China Daily” (English version). Whilst this newspaper is preoccupied with a left-wing view of life on the planet, it has absolutely no relationship to the press of the Tabloids and Broadsheets. What the paper excels in, is the factual and scientific data – material that certainly would not sell many Daily Mirrors! The subject that captured my interest on this particular occasion was a government-sponsored pharmaceutical committee conclusion on certain substances being used in many areas of traditional Chinese medicine. After some ten years of research into 10,000 remedies, the published findings decreed 2,000 to have no scientific basis or contain curative properties. I believe the jury is still out on the other 50,000 or so items used across the 1.2 billion population of this vast area of terra firma.
I feel this highlights a similar dilemma that exists for students of Chinese martial arts and Qigong. There is reported to be some 2,000 methods of Qigong being practiced throughout China. Among these many are insubstantial, unresearched, unproven and unfulfilled. So, for Westerners, how to sort the wheat from the chaff? If it does not work, why pay for it? I have read of Chinese who unquestioningly studied with teachers for ten years only to discover the training was taking them nowhere.
Daoyin is one of the oldest known and most researched systems of health training in China and can be traced back many centuries. Daoyin, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Diet, Martial Arts, Qigong are all part of the cultural holistic view of maintaining the body’s energy and metabolism. The principle of Daoyin is enlightened self-cultivation and concerns itself with body management. If the body is not regulated and kept refined, how can we expect it to have the qualification for anything other than mundane experience?
Daoyin can be practiced by people of all ages, it can be exercised anywhere. No expensive equipment is required. It can be practiced anytime by anyone. The most popular time is early morning – in the open air when nature is waking, would be considered the most desirable and beneficial.
Daoyin Yangsheng Gong
Daoyin Yangsheng Gong is a system of Qigong researched and developed by Professor Zhang Guandge, resident professor at Beijing University of Physical Education. Daoyin Yangsheng Gong is subtitled ‘Physical and Breathing Exercise, Combined with Self-Massage for Health Preservation”.
This development has taken place and progressed since the early 1970s. Professor Zhang has made a lifelong study of Daoyin, Yangsheng and Longevity Systems. He also inherited from his maternal grandfather a family system of exercise for chronic illness. These exercises are guided by the theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine. A holistic understanding of treatment based on diagnosis and the analysis of symptoms. This embraces the theories of Yin Yang balance and the circulation of energy through the Meridian System, the pathology of diseases and related studies of Modern Medicine. Daoyin is now widely practiced in China and throughout the world.
My first encounter with Daoyin Yangsheng Gong was at the People’s University in the 1980s. The first tuition I received was given by a visiting teacher from the Qigong Research Institute. Later I learned some more from a Traditional Chinese Doctor practicing in the UK – Dr. Dan Lijun. I was fortunate to meet Professor Zhang on his first visit to Europe when he was brought over to Jersey by my friend and colleague Mark Atkinson – Chief Instructor of the Daoyin and Taijiquan Centre in Jersey.
In 1995 we both traveled to China to study with Professor Zhang at the University of Physical Education. Along with Gordon Faulkner from Scotland, we were given permission to teach and promote Daoyin in the United Kingdom. We were also given membership to “The Chinese Daoyin Qi Gong Association”.
l like to see this system as Qigong demystified, structured and systemised. For those not familiar with Professor Zhang and his work, he was born in 1931 and comes from Tangshan City, Hebei Province, China. From a medical family background, he naturally developed an interest in Wushu. In 1955, he was enrolled in the Wushu Department of the Beijing Institute.
Daoyin concerns itself with rhythmic movement to invigorate and increase our personal energy quotient. The aim should be to relax, soften and loosen the body and joints. There should be much turning and twisting of the limbs and trunk to bring massage, stimulation and blood circulation to the internal organs. The triple key to development is movement combined with visualisation and deep abdominal breathing.