Qigong with the elderly – an experiential report
By Gisela Binde
The increasing public recognition of Qigong in our society is mirrored by a growing interest among the elderly. Gisela Binde describes how, starting with a Berlin village club, she has built up practice groups for the elderly with whom she regularly practices Qigong. She finds it important that all the participants should be able to learn without specific goals and in accordance with their individual abilities, and is fascinated by the developments that are possible also among persons of advanced age. Over the last three years she herself has learned a great deal, for instance how the practice can be facilitated by images from everyday life or by the inclusion of small interim steps in individual exercises. One important and constant principle is the enjoyment of practicing together.
On the origins of Taijiquan in the art of war -
Part 4: Taijiquan as a martial art
By Jan Harloff-Puhr
In the final part of this series on the origins of Taijiquan in the art of war, Jan Harloff-Puhr considers the relationship between Taijiquan and the concepts of “martial arts” and “combat arts”. He reveals the links between competitive combat sports, martial movement meditation, hand-to-hand combat and fight choreography which developed over the course of history, for instance on the basis of war dances. Here he shows that in some respects the origins of Taijiquan in combat arts are quite separate from the use of weapons.
A Chinese-European or a European-Chinese movement art?
Reflections on cultural transfer
By Helmut Jäger
When we practice Qigong or Taijiquan, we enter into contact with another culture. We are aware of something “alien” in the context of our own cultural background. Something new that has arisen from other forms of relationship is connected with our own ideas and experiences, which have been increasingly anchored in us since our earliest childhood. For this reason, cultural encounters always involve an element of uncertainty or insecurity because things we believe to be certain are shown to be relative. Helmut Jäger reviews his experiences in various cultures and advocates a conscious and cautious cultural transfer. Making reference to the terms mianzi, guanxi, amae and dao he describes special features of Asian traditions that have no direct correspondences in European thinking. He points out that the Chinese methods of practice that affect people in their unity of body and mind can, like all effective methods, also involve risks and thus require good teachers.
The six sounds method
By Ulla Blum
The “six sounds method” or “six healing sounds” are one of the classic series of Qigong exercises and are practiced in various external forms in German-speaking regions. Their special feature, the specific use of the voice, makes these exercises a special type of Still Qigong. Ulla Blum explains how the sounds and their effects on the breathing serve to order and clear the functional spheres of the organs. This also connects them closely with the emotional level; together with appropriate imagined images the exercises have a purifying and renewing effect here as well. Furthermore the imagination creates connections with the seasons and in particular with their corresponding colours. When practicing one should ensure a balance between the clearing and regenerating phases.
“A sports-based bridge between East and West”
Interview with Prof. Bai Rong on the Taiji Ball Game
Since the 1990s the Taiji Ball Game has been spreading through PR China and, soon after, Japan and Europe as well. In 2005 the TQJ had previously conducted an initial interview with the founder of this new sport, Professor Bai Rong, to find out more about Taiji Bailong Ball. This July he visited Germany and Almut Schmitz took the opportunity to talk to him about the developments that have taken place in the intervening period. Prof. Bai Rong explains how the change of name came about, that alterations have now been made to the equipment as well, making it easier to keep the ball on the racquet, and that the Taiji Ball Game is currently seen as a trend sport in China. He wishes the sport to be as accessible to as many people as possible, but he also supports the attitude within the European Taiji Bailong Ball Association that aims to retain the original standards. Many Taiji practitioners use the ball game to test whether they can really put the Taiji movement principles into practice.