View Full Version : Ba Duan Jin (Eight Pieces of Brocade)

Dr.Frank Loo
30th November 2005, 02:50 AM
In one of "Questions and Answers" by Wong Sifu he mentioned about "Ba Duan Jin" which he did recommend. I love doing "Ba Duan Jin" or "Eight Silk Brocades" and this has become my daily training ritual amongst other things.

I would like to meet members of this forum who are also doing "Ba Duan Jin" and discuss matters pertaining to it.

Best Regards,

30th November 2005, 03:57 PM

Baduanjin is a wonderful exercise to complement any method.
Though generalized in orientation and scope, it still has wondrous benefits.

The many variations are interesting enough where I have incorporated the ones best suited for a specific group. I teach a class for elders and the routine is adapted for sitting and for standing. The younger groups do a more varied and active routine.

Dr.Frank Loo
1st December 2005, 03:16 AM

Interesting. I agree with you that it can be modified to suit people of different age groups and different physical conditions. Keep on the good work.


Zhang Wuji
1st December 2005, 08:02 AM
Hi Frank

It is surprising that no Shaolin Wahnam members have replied to you yet.

Interestingly, while we do not practise Ba Duan Jin as part of our official syllabus, our Eighteen Luohan Hands (http://shaolin.org/chikung/lohan.html) is also found in Ba Duan Jin. Obviously we have 10 more patterns, although personally I only know 3 of the 18.

I am aware of some differences between our 18 Hands and Ba Duan Jin, particularly in the breathing methods. For example, in Lifting the Sky (Shuang Shou Tuo Tian), we breathe in as we raise our arms, whereas some practitioners I know breathe out when extending the arms upwards. I think it depends largely on the objectives of the exercise, or it could simply just be a natural variation as the the two sets of exercises evolved through different masters. In fact, I believe that Ba Duan Jin is far from homogeneous among practitioners. I have seen at least 4 different ways of Lifting the Sky and Shaking Waist outside Shaolin Wahnam.

If you ask for my favourite of the Ba Duan Jin (18 Hands), it must surely be Lifting the Sky. I have a sneaking suspicion it is the same for just about every Shaolin Wahnam student.

Dr.Frank Loo
1st December 2005, 08:23 AM
Hi Wuji,

Lifting the sky is a very good and powerful exercise. It has cleansing properties. As for me this is the first thing I do in the morning during my training ritual at 5.30am.

Best Regards,

1st December 2005, 03:28 PM

I realize systems are known by other names but here is my own reference.

Ba (8) duanjin (Brocade) is a different routine and a kind of warmup exercise with good exercise benefit when compared to 18 Lohan. I practiced 18 Lohan years ago and it is similar to changquan.

Dr.Frank Loo
2nd December 2005, 03:40 AM
The 18 Lohans is a very good and effective basic Chi Kung exercise. It does incorporate some Ba Duan Jin exercises.

Best Wishes,

2nd December 2005, 05:16 PM
There are indeed many variations of both the Eight Brocades and the 18 Lohan Hands. In Shaolin Wahnam, the Eight Brocades are the same as the first 8 Lohan Hands. We rarely use the Eight as a routine but more pick out individual patterns for specific (or generic) aims.


2nd December 2005, 05:18 PM
The 18 Lohans is a very good and effective basic Chi Kung exercise.
As we learn them, each of the 18 patterns is a very powerful Chi Kung exercise. The benefits are available for the novice and the Master alike. As the practitioner develops his/her skills, they can use these exercises for the lowest or the highest goals of Chi Kung training.


2nd December 2005, 09:24 PM
It won't be the first time, nor last time I say this:

"Lifting The Sky" is more than enough for anyone. :)

Dr.Frank Loo
3rd December 2005, 04:05 AM
I agree with Andrew and Anthony absolutely.

Correct me, if I am wrong that "Litfting The Heaven" relates to the fire element according to I-Ching and the direction is south. In view of this it has very powerful Yang energy.

Amongst the benefits, it has a direct relation with the heart, small intestine, stomach and lungs.

If one lacks Yang energy "Lifting The Heaven" is an ideal rountine.

For the purpose of general discussion under this thread it would be interesting to hear the experience of those who are doing "Lifting The Heaven". As for me, I can feel the energy (chi) gets to tip of all my fingers almost immediately when I start doing it.

Best Regards,

4th December 2005, 10:18 AM
Hi Frank,

Lifting the sky is described by Sifu Wong as being one of the best exercises in chi kung. Its main function is to promote overall energy flow (from Chi Kung for Health and Energy by Wong Kiew Kit).

Sifu Wong does not mention facing any particular direction whilst doing the exercise or the I'Ching.

If you click on the link, you will be taken to Sifu Wong's home page. There is a photo of him doing lifting the sky on the left side, and general information about Wahnam chi kung.

Chi kung (http://www.shaolin-wahnam.org/chikung.html)

I have also included a link to the questions and answers series which cover many aspects of chi kung practice (although not the points you raised).

Q & A (http://shaolin.org/general/question-index.html)

Sometimes I do lifting the sky as part of the 8 brocades set, sometimes on its own, or part of a random set. It feels different each time.

Best wishes,


Dr.Frank Loo
4th December 2005, 11:33 AM
Hi Phil,

Neither did I say one should face a particular direction. I did say "Lifting the sky" relates to the south. I gather the 8 silk brocades has reference to the 8 directions of the Ba Gua. It does make sense to me. Having said that I really don't have the answer whether one should face a particular direction when doing it.

Best Wishes,

5th December 2005, 03:35 PM
Hi Frank. :)

I gather the 8 silk brocades has reference to the 8 directions of the Ba Gua. I've never heard this connection between Ba Duan Jin and Bagua before, but it is interesting. However, my understanding of Ba Duan Jin is that it originally came from a set of 12 exercises, and was later shortened to 8. Perhaps it was later that they tried applied the theory of Bagua.

Having said that I really don't have the answer whether one should face a particular direction when doing it. Generally speaking, the best results are obtained if you practice qigong facing the east. But much depends on where you are practicing. For example, it is also good to face a body of water. If the body of water is not to the East, then you should pick the direction that feels best, which may or may not be East.

Correct me, if I am wrong that "Litfting The Heaven" relates to the fire element according to I-Ching and the direction is south. In view of this it has very powerful Yang energy...Amongst the benefits, it has a direct relation with the heart, small intestine, stomach and lungs. In our Shaolin Wahnam school, "Lifting The Sky" is the most holistic of all our qigong exercises. It does relate to the Heart, as well as to the Triple Burner (Sanjiao), but we do not focus much on these "thematic" details because this exercise is extremely effective for every organ in the body, not just the Heart.

Best regards,

Dr.Frank Loo
5th December 2005, 05:37 PM
Hi Anthony,

From my memory the original Ba Duan Jin actually came from 8 brocades of silk recovered from an ancient tomb and on each brocade of silk the form was drawn. Thus the name Ba Duan Jin (8 brocades of silk). Being eight in number I conclude that there is a connection with the bagua which has 8 directions. I maybe wrong but it does make sense to me.

I have not heard that the original Ba Duan Jin has 12 exercises. If it had 12 exercises then the name would be different. In Chinese Ba is eight, Duan is brocade and Jin is silk.

When you mentioned 12 it reminds me of the 12 hours day per the Chinese instead of 24 hours. According to the Chinese a full day is divided in 12 "si son" and each "si son" is 2 hours starting from 11.00pm to 1.00am as the first "si son" which is known as "chi si". The 12 "si son" has a direct relationship with the 12 acupuncture meridian points of a human body. This brings us to the art of "tim mark" and I am sure you have heard about "tim mark". "Tim mark" is a very powerful art which can paralyse or kill a person with just a touch by one finger.

I agree with you east is where one should face. Having a body of water will be even better. East is controlled by the element "wood" and "wood" needs water. This will enhance the power of the cosmic energy.

As I have mentioned in one of my postings Tai Chi is an exact science practised as an art.

I also agree that "Lifting the Sky" is a "Triple Burner".

Best Regards,

6th December 2005, 03:14 PM
Note: I moved this thread to the appropriate section.

Dear Frank,

Here is a quote from Dr. Yang Jwing Ming's book "Eight Simple Qigong Exercises for Health -- The Eight Pieces of Brocade":
The Eight Pieces of Brocade were created by Marshal Yue Fei to improve the health of his soldiers. It is said that originally there were twelve pieces of brocade, but after being passed down from generation to generation for more than eight hundred years, they were edited down to eight pieces. And another quote from "The Way of Energy" by Master Lam Kam Chuen:
...it is known that the famous General Yeuh Fei, who lived during the Southern Sung dynasty (AD1177-1279) developed a set of 12 fundamental exercises to train his army. These were later simplified to eight -- Ba Duan Jin. The silk book that you are referring too -- do you mean the "Dao Ying Xing Qi Fa" that was discovered in the 1970s?

Best regards,

Dr.Frank Loo
6th December 2005, 03:50 PM
Sorry Anthony I can recall where I have read it. If I come across it again I will surely let you know.


Sifu Stier
6th December 2005, 06:17 PM
The Shen Men Tao System incorporates two different Pa-Tuan Chin or Ba-Duan Jin Routines....Standing and Seated. The more common Standing Routine is taught to most students....while the Seated Routine is taught to those who are disabled, too weak, too elderly, or too infirmed to perform the Standing Routine. The Seated Version is also a nice auxilliary exercise to include in one's seated practices either before or after meditation sessions. There is in fact...historically...a 12 Posture Version of the exercise which can be found in copies of an early Taoist Alchemy book entitled Tsan Tong Chi.

In my humble opinion...there is NO direct correspondence between the eight postures of these routines and the 8 Directions or 8 Trigrams of Pa-Kua Chang....which are individual, single hand postures representing each Trigram...and are completely different and separate from the postures of the Pa-Tuan Chin/Eight Section Brocade. Literally translated....Pa/Ba=8; Tuan/Duan=Section; Chin/Jin=Brocade or Tapestry (usually embroidered silk pieces traditionally).

6th December 2005, 08:29 PM
From Q&A series
Q & A (http://shaolin.org/answers/ans03a/mar03-1.html)

Question 7
Is Pa Tuan Tsin (The Eight Precious Sets of Exercises) the same as Ba Duan Jin or Ba Kua Chang?
Peter, U.S.A

Answer 7
Pa Tuan Tsin is the same as Ba Duan Jin but different from Ba Kua Chang.

Transcribing Chinese characters into English spelling, or any spelling using the alphabet, poses a few problems.

First there is the problem concerning which of the many Chinese dialects to use. There are more than a hundred dialects in which the Chinses language is spoken! The two most important dialects are Mandarin and Cantonese.

Mandarin, which means the language of court officials, is spoken widely in north China and Taiwan. Interestingly, in China today, Mandarin is called “putonghua”, which means the language of the common people. In Taiwan it is called “guo yi”, hich means national language. Most of Taijiquan terms today are translated into English following the Mandarin pronunciation.

Cantonese sounds closer to Chinese spoken in classical and ancient times. Chinese poetry sounds beautifully when read in Cantonese, but out of rhyme when read in Mandarin. Cantonese is spoken in south China, Hong Kong and most overseas Chinese communities, like in the United States, Canada, Britain and Australia. Most Shaolin terms today are translated into English following the Cantonese pronunciation.

After deciding on the sound system to be transcribed, the next problem is to choose the spelling system to transcribe it. The spelling system used in English is meant to transcribe English sounds, which it often does badly. For example, “bus” is not pronounced as [bus], like the Irish say it, but as [bas], and “mother” is not pronounced as “mother’ but as [mather]. The English, therefore, should not complain that other people mis-pronounce!

Using English spelling to transcribe Chinese sounds is worse. There are simply not enough letters in the alphabet for all the Chinese sounds. To make matter even worse, each Chinese sound can be pronounced in four different tones, which are alien to English speakers.

“Pa Tuan Tsin” and “Ba Duan Jin” are different spelling systems to transcribe the same sounds. “Ba Duan Jin” is more exact. It uses not the English spelling system, but the Romanized Chinese system. Everyone who knows the Romanized Chinese system will pronounce “Ba Duan Jin” in only one way. “Pa Tuan Tsin” is inexact. For example, different people may pronounce “Tsin” differently. Some may pronounce it like [tin], some like [sin], some like [jin] and others like [chin].

Please take note that “Ba Duan Jin” is transcribed in the Romanized Chinese system, and not in the English spelling system. The Romanized Chinese “Ba Duan Jin” sounds something like [P’a T’uan Ch’ing] in the English spelling system, and not like [Ba Duan Gin]. Similarly, the Romanized Chinese “qigong” sounds like [ch’i kung] in the English spelling system, and not like [ki gong].

“Ba Kua Chang” is “Ba Gua Zhang” in Romanized Chinese, and “Pa Kua Chang” in the English spelling system. “Ba Gua Zhang” is usually written in one word as “Baguazhang”.

Sifu Stier
6th December 2005, 09:59 PM
So...Phil...what's your point? And what does all of that have to do with the Topic of discussion here?

The fact is that there is NO completely accurate system of Romaization for Chinese words. Chinese words...and the written characters traditionaly used to represent them must be heard and imitated properly to be pronounced accurately. The newer Pin-Yin System is really no more accurate across the board than the older Wade-Giles System or Yale System. Even though the English, Germanic, and the Latin based 'Romance' Languages all use essentially the same alphabet letters....they DO NOT pronounce these letters the same way. Thus...Pin-Yin Romanizations such as 'xing' or 'juan' are naturally spoken differently by an English speaker than they would be by a Spanish speaker for example.

And other Pin-Yin renderings such as 'quan'...'xia'...or 'rong' really aren't any better than the Wade-Giles equivalents of 'chuan'...'hsia'...or 'jung'. Neither one even comes close to approximating the correct sounds of these words for English speakers. Again...there is simply no adequate substitute for actually hearing a native Chinese speaker's pronunciation. And the best written form remains the actual Traditional Chinese Characters.

So...now that we have temporarily side-tracked this thread sufficiently....let's hear some more about the Eight Section Brocade Energy Work!

6th December 2005, 10:24 PM
There is in fact...historically...a 12 Posture Version of the exercise which can be found in copies of an early Taoist Alchemy book entitled Tsan Tong Chi. Thank you, Sifu Stier, for this reference. I knew there were some ancient texts with the 12 posture set, but I couldn't remember where I read about them. Do you perhaps have any clues on the translation of Tsan Tong Chi? I'm trying to figure out the Chinese characters.

As for the seated version of Ba Duan Jin, I have only seen it in books, although we often adapt our Shaolin 18 Lohan Hands for people who cannot stand. "Lifting The Sky," "Pushing Mountains," "Shooting Arrows", and many other exercises can all be done effectively from a seated posture.

Sifu Stier, I think it is admirable that you teach the disabled. Not too long ago, I heard of a chi kung teacher who turned down a potential student. I was shocked. She has a hip problem that makes it difficult for her to walk. But she can stand with no problem. It turns out that this particular style of chi kung was very athletic, so it was unsuitable for her. Nevertheless, I was surprised that the teacher didn't have something to offer a person in her situation.

In our Shaolin Wahnam school, we have many exercises to offer. I've seen Sifu teach crippled people who could barely stand. I've seen him teach people who could only sit. I've even seen him teach a person who could only move one of his arms (he eventually "revived" his bad arm, but for many months, he had to raise the "dead" arm using his good arm).

Sifu Stier
7th December 2005, 03:53 AM
Dear Sifu Korahais:

The Tsan-Tong-Chi (Yale) , San-Tung-Chi (Wade-Giles) or San1Tong3Qi4 (Pin-Yin) by Wei Po-Yang is considered by many to be the earliest written work on Taoist Alchemy...dating to about the mid-1st Century AD. If memory serves me...the title translates as 'Three Unified Energies' or 'Gathering the Three Energies'....i.e. Jing, Qi, and Shen. Perhaps this will help you track down the Chinese characters for the title.

Mark CH
7th December 2005, 10:52 AM
Hi Frank. :)

Generally speaking, the best results are obtained if you practice qigong facing the east. But much depends on where you are practicing. For example, it is also good to face a body of water. If the body of water is not to the East, then you should pick the direction that feels best, which may or may not be East.

Hi Anthony, I have read in Sifu book that facing east is best, but have never heard about facing a body of water. Is there a reason why so. I live along side a big river and practice facing it, so was wondering what the advantage was.

I think I read this in Sifu book also about not to practice near a cross roads. Can anyone give tell me why this is not recommended.


wooden shoes
7th December 2005, 11:15 AM
Hi Mark,

At the Intensive Chi Kung Course Sifu let us practise whilst looking at a body of water. It was a very small lake (pond would be a better word) He said it was good to practise whilst looking at water. He also said flowing water would be even better. (So you're probably lucky)

Crossroads: Probably lots of bad energy coming from cars. I know that things that go in a straight line, like roads, are not beneficial either, especially if they "point" directly at you.

Can't really help out with the why's though.

Best wishes,


23rd January 2006, 08:52 PM
As a novice I have a question on the Eight Brocade Plus....I recently purchased a book called: "A Tooth from the Tiger's Mouth". The book is written by Tom Bisio(i've never heard of him until getting the book), anyway it concerns primarily healing injuries via Chinese medicine and maintaining good health...the book recommends/with reasonable detail the "Eight Brocade Plus"...as a novice...do you think its okay for me to learn this on my own?...With thanks...

23rd January 2006, 10:20 PM
Hi Shamsher. Welcome to the forum.

Tom Bisio's book is excellent. It contains a ton of valuable information on Chinese Sports Medicine (also known as Traumatology). It also contains some good information on various remedial qigong exercises.

However, in my opinion, it cannot compare to Sifu Wong's books on qigong. If you must learn qigong from a book, then you are better off practicing exercises like Lifting The Sky and Carrying The Moon out of Sifu Wong's book, "The Art of Chi Kung." I think that the results will be significantly better.

Tom Bisio's book focuses on Chinese Sports Medicine. Sifu Wong's book focuses on qigong. If you want to practice qigong, then go with Sifu Wong's book.

Or better yet, learn from an instructor. :)

Best of luck to you,

23rd January 2006, 10:46 PM
I will hopefully join a class in either Scotland or London(depends on some other issue of mine)...of course I wish to learn qigong...but first I would like to develop myself physically e.g. better stamina and convert some of my gut into muscle rather than fat(as it stands..hahahah)....actually I noticed one of the exercises in Tom's book: "the prone tiger pounces on its prey" is very similar to the Dande(I think thats the correct name)...which is used to strengthen the whole upper body/back and breath...I agree the one book I do have of Sifu Wong's is much better...I just haven't yet been able to commit 'lifting the sky' to my daily routine yet...but I think after this friday I will(I have an exam on friday..)...Thanks...

23rd January 2006, 10:52 PM
I forgot to mention: I got Tom's book purely because of it being a primarily sports injury based text....Good thing was that it came in really handy about one day after recieving it...I had really tight and sore arms from too much weightlifting....I used the arm three-li point(Shou san li) and my arms after a few applications of the acupuncture were close to normal again...

30th August 2006, 12:58 PM

You can also, if you want read more about Ba Duan Jin here: