BADUANJIN: THE FIRST FORM
Ba Duan Jin is said to be have been created by a few figures, amongst them is the renowned General Yue Fei, said to have created the Qi Gong exercise for his soldiers. Its history like most Qi Gong forms or traditional Chinese martial arts, is vast and riddled with myth and legends. Kindly note, the version below is based on the various classical methods out there and is not to be confused with the standardised Ba Duan Jin exercise.
Ba Duan Jin in comparison to Yi Jin Jing, uses a different method in achieving the same result. It is an exercise that will boost your immune system, it is also reported to be good for the respiratory system. There are various versions of Ba Duan Jin, however they all share commonalities. This could be due to how masters have taught over the years adjusting based on their training and how they taught Ba Duan Jin.
Below will be a description in words of the first form of Ba Duan Jin following the version taught to me by Dr Jeff Lan. Accompanying the description is a video from our YouTube Channel which has all the eight forms.
1. Two hands pushing the sky to stimulate the San Jiao (the triple warmer).
The stretching motions of the first from regulates the triple warmer referring to all the organs; in traditional medicine the trunk of the body is divided into three regions. The top jiao involves the lungs, heart and digestive tract (the top part of the oesophagus). The middle Jiao is an area located between the diaphragm and the navel. This involves the spleen and the stomach. The lower Jiao will be the location for the small and large intestines, the kidneys and the bladder.
It is advisable to do some Zhan Zhuang before doing Ba Duan Jin. You may do Zhan Zhuang as indicated in the video for a minute or however long you want, repeat the movements six times.
Your feet must be a shoulder width apart-between your shoulders. The hands form hollow fists with the thumb touching the index fingers and then slightly touching the middle finger.
The move to the sides and as one inhales the slowly come up in co-ordination with the breath. The hands move up as the elbow joints relax and the elbows bend. The hands come to the front and then you open the hands as they go up.
The motion starts with the feet as the heels are lifted and the ball of the feet stay connected to the ground and as they move hands move, ending the motion with the hands up as if the sky or clouds are being lifted.
The exhalation is when the hands go down as per the video and then inhalation starts again as the hands go down and the heels which must touch the ground at this point lift again and wrists lift up with they are down on the sides, with the palms facing down (and are parallel ti the ground). Kindly refer to the video.
All joints need to be softened, using the main joints of the ankle, knees and waist/hip joints as reference points. Followed with the shoulders, elbows and wrists. Your knees are not locked, softened by simply bending them i.e. relaxing the joints.