Many things have changed since the early beginnings of Qi Gong. Even within our lifetimes, our world has seen significant transformations in every aspect: technologically, socially, culturally, and even spiritually. However, despite the rapid evolution of humankind, there are some things that remain timeless. One of these is the wisdom that Qi Gong can teach us.
While the specific intentions of early Qi Gong practitioners were sometimes different than ours in the twenty-first century, we can still apply their knowledge in our modern lives. After all, our DNA has stayed pretty consistent for thousands of years. One of the things that Lee loves about Qi Gong is how it allows us to use ancient wisdom for modern purposes. Today, we’re going to explore the history of the Eight Pieces of the Silk Brocade, as well as how the practice can be applied today.
Born on the Battlefield
As a practice for strength and vitality, it’s no surprise that warriors were some of the first Qi Gong practitioners. Anything that could allow soldiers to cultivate power was seen as valuable, so many generals studied and taught various Qi Gong practices.
The practice known as Eight Pieces of the Silk Brocade originated during the South Song Dynasty nearly 1000 years ago. As legend has it, a young Chinese General named Yue Fei decided to commit himself to discover more ways to enhance the strength of his army. He was already well known as an excellent general and skilled martial artist, but he knew there was more to power than strategy and physical strength.
To explore his own inner power, General Yue Fei started studying history as well as Chinese classics about Qi Gong. At the time, there were already nearly 3000 years worth of Qi Gong evolution, so he has a lot of guidance. By combining ancient wisdom with his “modern” understanding of combat, he was able to develop a new practice that was extremely effective for both himself and his soldiers. He created practices for able-bodied soldiers as well as for the wounded. Some of the practices were actually specifically designed for those who couldn’t walk.
The new practices were invaluable for the Chinese army as they defended themselves against the Mongolian invasion. Combined with rigorous military training, General Yue Fei’s soldiers became formidable opponents on the battlefield. They also experienced greater health at home.
As more people started learning about the Eight Pieces of the Silk Brocade, it became popular among the civilian population as well. Not only did the practice give people greater physical strength, but it also increased their focus, resiliency, and internal peace.
Fundamentals of the Practice
The Eight Pieces of the Silk Brocade offers practices that are accessible for everyone, regardless of age or physical condition. In general, the first practices that students generally learn about are relaxation.
Many ailments that people experience are the result of stress or tension that leads to stagnation within the body. When our body becomes stagnant, our emotions and Qi are no longer able to circulate in a healthy and positive way. On the other hand, when your body is relaxed, your Qi can flow smoothly and all parts of your body are able to find harmony with one another.
By learning how to identify stress and tension, practitioners can begin to release it through exercises taught in Eight Pieces of the Silk Brocade. Additionally, they can learn how to balance energies that may have gotten out of harmony with one another within the body.
Like many practices, the Eight Pieces of the Silk Brocade was often communicated in poetry form. This reminds us that it isn’t just about learning the specific routines, but also about practicing them in a way that helps us find flow with ourselves and the world. Just like spoken poetry, the Eight Pieces of the Silk Brocade is based on finding a graceful and fluid rhythm among your own internal energies.
Part of finding this internal harmony relies on cultivating awareness of various energies within. Once you’ve learned a variety of practices and are able to really tap in with what’s happening inside, you can allow your own needs to guide your practice as your own personal dance.
While ancient Chinese soldiers were focused on cultivating personal power for the battlefield, the practices are equally valuable for cultivating personal power in all ways. The same principles of redirecting adversarial energy from an opponent in battle can also apply to redirect negative energy in a stressful situation. Instead of facing the threat of a sharp sword, perhaps you encounter angry children or toxic ways of speaking. In such situations, the practices and techniques of the Eight Pieces of the Silk Brocade are an excellent way to protect yourself while maintaining your peace of mind.
The Eight Pieces of the Silk Brocade is similar to many of Lee’s other practices while also offering a unique flavor. It provides a new approach to addressing the energies that Lee already teaches about and invites students to examine their personal awareness with a new lense. The practices work with both the mind and body, and pays special attention to the intentions we bring to our life.
Eight Pieces of the Silk Brocade Workshop
On Sunday, February 9th, Lee will be leading a special workshop called Eight Pieces of the Silk Brocade. During this three-and-a-half-hour workshop, students will have the chance to learn the ancient practices in a deeply engaging and exciting environment.
Lee will provide a thorough introduction before teaching how to use the practices to transform stress into vitality. He’ll also offer instructions on how to use the power of intention to lead your mindset and body in the way that you desire. Mindfulness is an important aspect of these lessons, so he’ll be teaching about that as well.
Since the practice was originally developed to cultivate strength and flexibility, Lee will guide students through several exercises aimed at achieving those qualities through flowing movements. Regardless of what your personal struggles are, the Eight Pieces of the Silk Brocade is designed to provide new resources for addressing adversity and challenge. This is an excellent opportunity for new students and experts alike, so click the banner below to learn more or sign up today.
By Ian Drogin