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A CHI GUNG JOURNAL


Chi Gung is a Chinese discipline that uses certain postures and breathing to "clean the energy" of the body. Alan Fraser had the good fortune to learn Chi Gung from Sun Zhen Zhun, a Chinese professor visiting the University of Novi Sad in the early 1990's.

These excerpts from Alan Fraser's Chi Gung journal document the lessons he received from Sun Zhen Zhun, and at certain points echo aspects of the philosophy of movement that he is bringing to piano technique.


April 29, 1995

To facilitate the operation of the gas circulation system, envisioned as existing similar to the blood, nervous and digestive. This chi gung is called heueh shyed gyyy, meaning crane (symbolizing stillness, slow, calm movements, deliberation) angel (happiness, all-owningness) post (standing upright).

Stand, feet together, the tongue pressed lightly against the upper teeth, and first clear the mind of all garbage. You are king, you are God, all that you see around you exists only for you. Awareness of this should make you very happy, and already relax you, improve your physical well-being. Thinking, “Megan is so far away” doesn’t help or empower you. Thinking, “I am God, if I really want it then I can do it!” is much more useful.

There are three energy centers or pools, the xhia dan tien (lower), the drung dan tien (middle, at the breast bone between the nipples), the shong dan tien (upper, about the top half of the skull). Chi gung concerns itself with three types of circulation: within the body, excretion of waste gases and drawing in of fresh materials.

These materials enter and leave the body through five doors: two in the palms, near the mound of the thumb, one on the skull, that place which wasn’t yet joined when you were born, one at the xhia dan tien, and two in the soles of the feet (I know, that’s 6 not 5). There are two others on the hand, in between the edge of the palm and the hand’s outer ridge. These are the devil’s doors, very useful for breaking stones, trees and other Karate activities. Dr. Liu will often use the angel’s doors in the hands to rejuvenate someone who is tired, run down. By massaging and opening them it helps waste gas escape.

You must imagine this. If you create it with your mind, your attention, it will have the desired effect, no problem. You will feel warmth, even heat on your palms. You wouldn’t feel it on the backs of your hands because the gas doesn’t pass there.

Chi gung 1:

Introductory visualization (always the same): Imagine the gas flowing to the xhia dan tien: from the toes up through the legs, from the shong dan tien down through the torso, the yin me, from the fingertips up through the arms and down the torso. Imagine that you are  reaming out the channel from the extremities to the center  through which the gas can flow. All gas balances to the xhia dan tien for two minutes.....  Then imagine a channel from the xhia dan tien down the front, through the hui yin point, the reproductive organs, around and up the back of the pelvis, up the spine, the du me, to the top dorsal vertebra, then branching outwards to the shoulders, down the outsides of the  arms and out the fingers, lao gung. The gas goes out that channel.

1) Then to expel gases: raise wings: step with the left foot to the left, feet now shoulder width with the toes turned slightly inward, like the Chinese number 8. Raise arms to horizontal, then raise hands to vertical, wrists ideally at an angle of 90 degrees. Draw hands towards chest (not all the way) and push, keeping the angle of the wrist maximal. Three times.

2) Then move hands to the sides; do the same pushing movements three times to the sides.

3) Fold wings, hands come to the sides of the body, the arms are still open 20 degrees.

4) Turn hands fingers pointing forwards. Move forearm back, as if pressing back against a wall.

5) Take a bird beak, beginning with only the thumb and fifth, bringing other fingers in one by one. Draw beak up to kidneys, rising up on tiptoes at same time. Finally throw out hands forward, opening them and sinking down, bending knees.

6) Continuing we now draw in fresh gas. Imagine a large balloon in which the gases are so compressed, concentrated that it is very heavy. This rests on your arms. Slowly raise it up until you draw in all those new gases and deposit them in the shong dan tien. Then interlace the fingers and turn palms outward. This closes the door in the head.

7) Three rotations clockwise then counterclockwise, with three fulcrums (fulcra?): first a point on the cervical spine, then a point on the back behind the drung dan tien, then on the 3rd lumbar, the xhia dan tien. Then the torso and arms, hands still interlaced, lower to the ground, three times push to the center, left foot , right foot.

8) Bringing your right hand to protect the dan tien, to prevent the energy from leaking out, cup it in, step forward left 45 degrees, then the left hand goes out, palm up, filling and holding energy, Arm rises to bring that energy finally to the shong dan tien, then hand comes down to join the right, make a ball. Walk, do the same on the other side.

9) Then slide the hands out behind, to the sides then forward and draw energy in to xhia dan tien.
Stand. The first of the five Chi gung’s is finished.

T’ai Chi needs many years’ study to be done well. Chi gung can be learned quickly, in a few hours, and is as effective as is the clarity of focus and intention of your mind.

May 2 - Chi Gung 2: tyen dyu di toung (sky earth pass through)

This chi gung is called ‘Earth and sky connected by a pole’. Preparatory thinking is the same.

1) Then raise wings but hands vertical (palms facing each other). Curl the lower two fingers and join the thumb to them, turn the hands palms down with the first two fingers pointing forward, joined, making a sword. Arms move to sides, then 3 times do this waving movement as seaweed undulating in a gentle ocean swell.

2) Open the palms and face them forward, lean forward, rise slightly on tiptoes, reach forward then turn palms upward, raise arms upwards, lean and look as far back as possible, opening the chest.  Return to normal and then repeat steps (3)-(6) from chi gung #1:

3) Fold wings, hands come to the sides of the body, the arms are still open 20 degrees.

4) Turn hands fingers pointing forwards. Move forearm back, as if pressing back against a wall.

5) Take a bird beak, beginning with only the thumb and fifth, bringing other fingers in one by one. Draw beak up to kidneys, rising up on tiptoes at same time. Finally throw out hands forward, opening them and sinking down, bending knees.

6) Continuing we now draw in fresh gas. Imagine a large balloon in which the gases are so compressed, concentrated that it is very heavy. This rests on your arms. Slowly raise it up until you draw in all those new gases and deposit them not in the shong dan tien  but in the third eye on the forehead.

7) Walk left 45 degrees, arms open, then turning to right the left arm makes a wide circle embracing as  much air as possible to place hand on right chest, fingers at the shoulder. Return left, right arm arcing to place hand on left chest. The arms are crossed, folded on the chest. Left hand rises, fingers pointing forward, right hand descends, palm down. The hands press vertically, one to the sky the other to the earth. Turn right foot outward, shift weight to right, turn left heel back, open arms and repeat on this side.

8) Turn right foot in, body to the left, arms to sides, palms up, slide the hands out behind,  then to the sides then forward and draw energy in to xhia dan tien. Finished.

May 3 - Chi Gung 3: Chi tung guan

1) The visualization is the same. Then step left to spread the feet shoulder width. Lead with your chin maximally high, leaning forward, then drop it, draw it into your chest, retract, come to neutral. It describes a big circle.  The chest is involved as well: It collapses as chin drops, then moves up, opening as the chin returns to normal. 3 times.

2) Drop head side to side lightly, the shoulders drop as well, just to relax the neck. Continue this movement but rise up, quicken it to a shake as you reach forward with your chin, stretch the whole upper spine, go up on tiptoes. 3 times.

3) Raise arms palms up, gather energy balloon into shong dan tien, draw hands down to sides, palms down. Draw backs of hands to rest on the kidneys, do three pelvic rotations in each direction, activating the horizontal flow of gas.

4) Fold the thumbs to protect the lorum, bring hands forward, retract them slightly by bending elbows, then hands descend to the knees. When thumbs press on the knees open the hands to grasp the knees. Knee rotations 3 times in each direction, then in opposite directions (mirror image).

5) Chi tung guan: keeping spine as erect as possible, visualize the gas not able to burst through into the ground pools of energy. Squat more and more until, ahhhh it releases. Then visualize the same in the head, the shong dan tien, straighten as much as you can with the hands on the knees, until you feel the release upwards. 3 times.

6) Conclusion: arms forward, palms up, gather energy to the third eye, hands come down, to the hips, back, out and around, draw in, finish.

May 4 - Chi gung 4: guang heuh diu syi (crane walks drinking water)

Same preparatory visualization. Draw hands up, palms up, Gather energy to 3rd eye, down to dan tien.
1) Arms come up forward, horizontal, left thigh as well. As the hands rise slightly bend the right knee until the left toes touch the ground. The wrist relaxes as you rise again to neutral. 3 times.
2) Make the sword with your hands, touch them then spread arms. Left heel kick, walk like a crane, bend right leg at the knee so calf is horizontal, heel back, toes pointing relaxed to the ground. Wave your swords like seaweed undulating in the water. Open the hands.
3) Flap your wings again gently as you bend left leg to touch right toes to ground. 3 times.
4) Arms sink down then flow out in front of you and up (palms down), as you draw the right knee forward to horizontal thigh position, arms forward. Repeat (1), (2), (3) on this side. Arms sink again, conclude by gathering energy to 3rd eye then down, out and around as usual.

May 6 - Chi gung 5: huan yuan guiyee (mixture - cycle - integrate)

1) Intro the same. Gather energy the same. Then a funny movement: turn to the right, left hand comes to touch its back to the left shoulder, the right hand touches its back to the right kidney, look as far to the left behind you (i.e. extremely to the right). Then the same on the other side. 3 times.
2) Left foot toe kick, heel kick then toe rotations first to the outside then inside. Same on right. All this 3 times.
3) Gather energy to 3rd eye again, then arms to the left. Make vertical arm circles counterclockwise 3 times, arriving at the same place on the left, then clockwise 3 times,. Open the hands to draw in gas from the sky, expel gas into the ground, then draw in again as you come up.

May 7 1995 - The quiet chi gung: shrong hui chi

Your head is suspended from a string. Your neck feels this too. Your arms are rounded and horizontal - under each arm you hold a big balloon. Your hands as well hold a very large balloon. Your knees are bent because they too hold big balloons. Everywhere balloons.

Just think about the xhia dan tien. Don’t try to move the energy, to circulate the gas, just focus on the main energy pool.

For the first five minutes you might feel fatigue but then it passes. Half hour minimum for good results. The first five chi gungs are preparatory for this one. After the first five all gas passages should be open, the gas flowing freely. You need a quiet place to do this, no people around, outside. _uacct = "UA-1129505-2"; urchinTracker();



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