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Michael Tse began his studies in China in 1984 with Grandmaster Yang Meijun who was the 27th generation inheritor of the Kunlun Dayan Qigong skill. Every year he would travel to China to study with her, developing his Qigong and Qigong healing skill. Although Grandmaster Yang Meijun passed away in 2002, she lived to the age of 104 years old and her name is known throughout the world as one of the most famous Qigong masters who lived in this century.
Master Tse always says, "I am so lucky to have met and studied under such a Sifu. Although Sifu is no longer here, her skill is still alive and helping so many people to be healthy and good people. She had a remarkable life and went through many difficult times but she always kept practising her Qigong skill."
Many of her stories, including how she came to learn the Wild Goose Qigong skill from her grandfather and some of the extraordinary events in her life are related in Wild Goose Qigong book series books by Michael Tse.
Although a very tiny lady, her presence was much larger and she was a very strong person who gave a great gift to the world by opening the Kunlun Dayan skill to the public. For over 1800 years the Kunlun Dayan Qigong skill was practised in secret, until she herself opened the skill in the 1980's. She did this because she had seen so many people die during the Cultural Revolution and she was afraid that if she passed the skill on to only one person, then the skill might be lost. She made the Wild Goose name famous in China, travelling throughout China and Hong Kong to help promote the Dayan Qigong skill.
Kunlun Shan is a mountain range in Western China, almost on the edges of Tibet and it is here that the Kunlun Dayan Qigong skill was developed during the Jin Dynasty. The skill was developed by Daoist monks who had made this area their home. The monks often observed the wild geese who lived there. Da (Big) Yan (Wild Geese) are considered birds of longevity in China and so they would have been a special animal symbol to a Daoist monk who was cultivating himself to live longer in order that he could achieve immortality. Dayan are also symbols of unity as they always fly together as a flock.
Wild Goose Qigong (also called Dayan Qigong) began to be developed based upon the movements that the monks observed in these beautiful birds. They also combined the skill with their knowledge of Chinese medicine theory which included knowledge about the channels and acupoints in the body. Wild Goose Qigong is the foundation form of this Qigong system but many other forms followed until eventually there were at least 72 forms and methods. Daoism uses a lot of numbers and each number has a special meaning and connection. Some relate to the Yijing (Book of Changes), some to the stars and constellations in the sky and some to the Bagua. There is more information on this in Michael Tse's Wild Goose Qigong books.
Not all of the Kunlun Dayan Qigong forms are long forms like the Wild Goose Qigong. Some are shorter forms, like Eight Pulling Waist Gong or Seven Star Opening Gong. Some of the skills are different meditations and some are healing skills. In addition, Master Tse has continued to develop other Qigong forms, such as Balancing Gong and Healthy Living Gong, based upon the principles of the Kunlun Dayan System.
At the time of the Eastern and Western Jin Dynasty (265-420 A.D.) Daoism was also developing. Daoism advocates leading a simple life in harmony with nature. This was also a time of much artistic development, particularly writing, calligraphy and painting. However, it was also a tumultuous time with many wars between countries. With so much of China in upheaval, there came a growing popularity in things of a spiritual nature.
Many Daoist masters went into the mountains to live and develop themselves without the distractions of politics and strife. Some of them joined together and built their own Daoist temples to help them further their studies on how to become one with nature and also develop their skill and pass it down to the next generations. Living in harmony with nature also meant your own internal body should be in balance. Daoists viewed the body as a complete universe in itself and the there is a diagram which shows this.
During the Jin Dynasty, there lived a very famous Buddhist monk called Si Dao An. He was responsible for the translation of many Buddhist texts from their original Sanskrit. He travelled to many different places giving lectures, sharing Buddhist knowledge and building temples. Many thousands of temples were built in China during this time.
Whilst Daoism aims for longevity and balance with nature, Buddhism aims for non-attachment and enlightenment. When we practise Wild Goose Qigong, we first need to relax and empty our minds. When we can empty our minds, then we do not need to think about Qi or where it goes and what it does. Everything happens naturally. This emptiness is also one of the goals of Chan Buddhism because when we can let go of our emotional attachments and worries, then wisdom can then develop. Si Dao An is considered the spiritual founder of Wild Goose Qigong which is related to the Amitabha school of Buddhism.
Rujia (Confucian) Connection
Rujia is the proper name for Confucianism and Kong Zi is the proper name for Confucius. During his lifetime, he promoted the Wu Chang which meant the Five Standards of behaviour for a good human being. Some called it the Five Virtues. These were:- compassion, loyalty, courtesy, wisdom and trust. Of these, loyalty was one of the most important because if a person were loyal, it also meant that they were stable and could build on a good foundation. If a person was always changing from one thing to another or could not keep their word, then none of the other good behaviours could develop.
In the Kunlun Dayan Qigong system, there was a traditional rule was that the skill could only be passed down to one other person but not until the practitioner reached the age of 70. This tested the person's loyalty to their word and to their practise. If they could do this, then wisdom, compassion, trust and courtesy would naturally follow. If they reached this age, then it also meant they had reached a good skill level and was healthy, thus proving that the Qigong was good.
In Chinese thinking, both spiritual and physical are intertwined and good health is not exclusive to the body. The mind also be considered. Michael Tse says, "When you come to a certain level in your studies, you may feel like you are not progressing. This is because you have gone as far as your physical body can manage. The next is to develop the mind and heart."
"If you are still stubborn or angry or impatient, this means your internal organs are not healthy enough. So it is not enough just to train the body. We must also train our attitude. One of the ways to train the heart is through meditation. Meditation helps to store our energy but it also helps to calm down the emotions so we can be healthy and balanced." The philosophies of Daoism and Rujia and particularly Buddhism are all education methods for training the spiritual heart whilst Kunlun Dayan Qigong trains the physical heart.
What will I learn in Class?
First you will begin with Balancing Gong which is a beginning set of exercises which Michael Tse developed in 1993 when he was teaching in Yorkshire, England. He saw that, in the beginning, not everyone could manage the more challenging movements of Wild Goose Qigong, particularly if they had any injuries or illness.
So he created Balancing Gong based upon on the principles of Wild Goose Qigong which are:- relaxation, posture and natural breathing. In order to do the movements correctly, we need to have the right posture and relaxation so that Qi can flow unrestricted through the body.
Balancing Gong is very good for any joint problems as the movements slowly help to realign the body externally and internally. He says, "I find these movements are the perfect beginning for Qigong studies. So many people work or play on the computer and this affects their posture. Poor posture will affect our health by stopping the Qi from flowing properly in the body. Good health begins with good posture."
Balancing Gong is also very good for helping:-
Back pain and joint problems or injuries
- Reduce stress
There is a Balancing Gong DVD of the movements to aid you in your practice at home.
Healthy Living Gong
Next, you will move onto a set of movements called Healthy Living Gong. Michael Tse created these movements in 1995. In his healing practise, he found that certain kinds of movements could stimulate the healing responses in the body and so he began to develop individual movements for healing particular parts of the body or illnesses.
Healthy Living Gong Part I works for relaxation and balance in the body. Healthy Living Gong Part II works for fitness and coordination. Healthy Living Gong Part III works for strength and power. The third set of Healthy Living Gong is very interesting as many of the movements are based upon martial art principles. Like Balancing Gong, Healthy Living Gong does not take too much space to practise and individual movements can be repeated again and again to help with a specific problem.
Regular practise can help improve:-
- Coordination and help prevent strokes
- Sleeping, concentration and memory
- Bone density
- Chronic tiredness
Healthy Living Gong Part I, II and III are available on DVD and in book form which make it convenient for students who are unable to attend regular classes to practise at home.
After completing and reaching a good standard of their Balancing Gong and Healthy Living Gong, students are then ready to begin Wild Goose Qigong. There are two levels of Wild Goose Qigong.
Wild Goose Qigong 1st 64
The first 64 movements work for post-natal problems and illnesses using larger movements, fluttering and sweeping. Post-natal problems are all the kinds of problems that happen after we are born and can be things like injuries, cancer, chronic fatique (ME), etc.
Wild Goose 2nd 64
By contrast, the second 64 movements are more subtle and work deeper internally on pre-natal problems. Pre-natal problems are body weaknesses that are passed down to us from our family. These may be things like hereditary heart disease, diabetes, etc. These problems take much longer to help and so the 2nd 64 form is almost twice as long as the 1st 64.
Other Kunlun Dayan Qigong Forms
Each of the forms within the Kunlun Dayan System have their own emphasis and special meanings. For instance, when we talk about seven stars this refers to the Big Dipper, which is often used in connection with our practice. The Big Dipper relates to the North Star and the kidneys.
Other Qigong forms like Plum Blossom Gong are for developing our Sky Eye and spiritual potential. Jade Pillar Gong is good for the back and spine and can help make the body more flexible. Swimming Dragon Gong is good for the kidneys and uses a lot of circular movements and one legged stances to create very strong bone Qi.
Michael Tse says, "For myself, the Kunlun system is one of the most profound systems of Qigong that I have ever seen. It covers Yin and Yang, soft and hard. Some forms with a more martial aspect like Dayan Palm, Dayan Fist and the weapon forms are Yang, while forms like Wild Goose Qigong are more Yin. There are also many different kinds of meditation to create either soft or strong Qi in the body."