Qigong Exercises – Ba Duan Jin

Interestingly, the first 8 qigong exercises from the 18 Lohan Hands qigong/chi kung set also form another set known as Ba Duan Jin or 8 Pieces of Brocade.

There are many different versions of the Ba Duan Jin made up of different qigong exercises to the ones in this version (just do a quick search on Youtube and you’ll see what I mean).  Is that a problem?  I don’t think so, I think it makes sense.  When you consider that qigong has a history of over 5000 years you’ve got to expect a bit of variety!  Especially when you factor in things like different religious and political views, different needs of different people and groups.

So let’s not have any of that ‘my ba duan jin is better than your ba duan jin’ nonsense.

Recall that Qigong is a composite of Form, Energy and Mind.  As long as the 8 qigong exercises of a ba duan jin set are practiced as qigong (and not just qigong form) and a practitioner gets the benefits of practicing qigong from them – then that’s brilliant.

The 8 qigong exercises that I was taught as making up the Ba Duan Jin are as follows:

  1. Lifting The Sky
  2. Shoot Arrows Left Right
  3. Plucking Stars Change Galaxies
  4. Rotating Winch
  5. Big Turn of the Cosmos
  6. Punching With Wide Eyes
  7. Look Back To Carry The Moon
  8. Reverse Hands Bend Waist

Ba Duan Jin qigong exercises creatorYue Fei, a famous general in the Southern Sung Dynasty (AD1177 – 1279) is generally attributed as creator of the Ba Duan Jin qigong exercises. Yue Fei is also associated with Eagle Claw and Hsing I (xingyi) kung fu. Wikipedia has a very interesting section on him if youwish to read more.

Bye for now

Marcus James Santer

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

David Burch May 26, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Does this tradition practice the exercises in the Ba Duan Jin together? If so, how what would that daily routine look like? Would you pick one of the exercises and use practice it inside the PERFECT method? If so, how long would you practice one before going to the next?

Marcus May 27, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Hi David,

Great question, thanks for sharing.

The usual method is pick one pattern and practice it inside PERFECT. If you wanted to practice all 8 of the qigong exercises that make up the Ba Duan Jin together, then you’d still perform them inside PERFECT. But instead of 15-30 reps (depending which exercise you were doing) you’d probably do the following number of repetitions:

Lifting the Sky – 4 reps
Shooting Arrows – 2 Reps to the left, 2 to the right
Plucking Stars – 4 Reps
Turning Head – 2 reps of each (turning head to the left then the right X2, Up and Down X2, Rotating head twice to the left, twice to the right)
Big Turn of the Cosmos – 2 reps to the left, 2 to the right
Stay in horse riding stance to do…
Punching with Eyes Wide – Punch with left then punch with right X2
Carry the Moon – 4 reps
Nourish Kidneys – 4 reps

Remember to stay relaxed and do all the moves gentle. Remember that choosing 1 pattern and practicing that within PERFECT is higher level than practicing 8 patterns. But practicing 8 patterns like this is great for overcoming health problems as you are ‘hitting’ many more meridians. As always Qi flow is vital =)

Hope that helps and keep an eye out for my Ba Duan Jin DVD – coming out as soon as I have the funds to produce it =)

Bye for now


Dickie June 4, 2010 at 11:33 am

I have notice that every Master of Chi Kung does these forms a little different and the form names are somewhat different. I guess this is pretty normal do to the different styles?

Marcus June 7, 2010 at 10:15 am

Hi Dickie,

Yes you are right. When you consider that Qigong has been around for 1000′s of years it is only reasonable to expect some variations. Based on different understandings, different religious and personal views, cultural and social economic situations etc.

Focus on the results you are getting rather than the differences.

Kindest regards


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