How to Invent Your Own Style of Qigong

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Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

If you’ve ever watched a kung fu movie…

…now hang on a minute!

Are there people reading this who haven’t watched a kung fu movie?

If so, then stop reading right now, go rent Drunken Master with Jackie Chan, and then report back to me when you’re finished.

Okay, now where was I?

If you’ve ever watched a kung fu movie, then you’re probably familiar with this line:

“Right then! What’s your style?”

You’ll often hear this just as one of the bad guys strikes a fancy schmancy kung fu pose. It’s time for kung fu fighting!

What’s all this talk about “style,” and what does it mean for the modern practitioner of qigong or tai chi?

I’m going to clear that up for you.

By the end of this article, you’ll understand what a qigong style is (and isn’t), and whether or not any of this stuff even matters to you.

What IS My Style? 

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Here’s my dilemma.

Imagine the scene above, with the bad guy striking a kung fu pose in front of me and saying, “Right then, what’s your qigong style, Mr. Anthony!” 

Now imagine me responding not with a kung fu pose, but by stroking my beard pensively and saying: “That’s a really good question, Mr. Bad Guy!”

For years, whenever someone asked what style of qigong I teach, I always answered as follows:

Shaolin Hunyuan Yi Qigong (少林混元一氣功, Shaolin Cosmos Qigong).

But there’s a problem with that answer.

The problem is that it’s not accurate.

If you want to understand more about the nature of qigong “styles”, then keep reading. My own journey will help you to see things clearer.

Style vs. Lineage

The truth is that I’ve learned and practiced many styles of qigong (more on that below).

Yes, Shaolin Hunyuan Yi Qigong is the style that I studied deepest. It’s also the only style that I claim lineage too.

But is it really the style that I teach?

(The subject of lineage is closely connected to the subject of styles, so bear with me.)

If you’re new to Flowing Zen, then you need to know some quick history. 

In 2014, I “divorced” my Sifu after 17 years of discipleship.

For the record, I didn’t just divorce him. I was the main whistleblower for a sexual abuse scandal in his organization, perpetrated by one of his “certified” instructors. I left — and not quietly — because I believe that his organization condones sexual and emotional abuse. Hundreds of students and many instructors also left for the same reason.

The question is — what happened to my lineage after my divorce?

The Politics of Lineage

Some people will tell you that I no longer have lineage because of my divorce.

They will actually try to convince you that my 17 years of discipleship and my 11 years as a chief instructor just magically disappeared the moment I left.

Obviously, that’s just politics. If anything, I am a better teacher now, not to mention a better person for standing with the abuse victims.

The ugly truth about lineage is it’s actually quite political.

And speaking of politics, if I were still in the organization, if I were still an inner-chamber disciple, if I were still the chief instructor in the U.S. — then I would have no choice but to say that I teach Shaolin Hunyuan Yi Qigong.

In other words, I would be required to downplay all the other styles that I learned, and push my lineage’s style to the forefront.

Obviously, I wouldn’t be writing this article.

Now that I’m free, I’m no longer beholden to a master or a lineage.

In other words, I’m no longer obligated to say that I practice and teach Shaolin Hunyuan Yi Qigong.

FREEDOM!

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Swallow Flies through Clouds, a pattern from the 18 Arhat Arts qigong set.

For the first time since I began this amazing qi journey in 1992, I’m totally free.

My freedom is a beautiful thing, and not just for me.

I believe that my freedom makes me a better teacher, and a better artist.

In other words, I think that my freedom is a beautiful thing for YOU.

But I want you to know that I’m not just some crazy, rebellious American thumbing his nose at tradition.

Okay I am a bit crazy. And I’m also rebellious. And yes, I’m American.

That’s all true. But it’s also true that there is a long tradition of leaving one’s master, studying other styles, innovating, and then creating a new, modern style of qigong or kung fu!

So I’m in good company.

The Structure of a Style

What does it mean to create a new style?

First we need to figure out what a style actually is!

To understand this, let’s look at the basic building blocks for all styles of qigong and kung fu (including tai chi).

The structure is as follows:

pattern —> set —> style

Let’s start with the most basic unit in qigong (and tai chi): the pattern.

Structure 1: Patterns

A pattern is a single, distinct qigong or tai chi move. Usually, a pattern will have a poetic name.

For example, Lifting The Sky is a famous qigong pattern, and Single Whip is a famous tai chi pattern.

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Single Whip, a famous tai chi pattern.

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Lifting the Sky, a famous qigong pattern.

With tai chi, this can be confusing. Beginners often have difficulty seeing where one pattern finishes and another begins.

That’s because tai chi is characteristically fluid, unlike karate, which is much more linear and choppy.

To help you understand this, think of tai chi like cursive writing, and karate like block writing.

Cursive letters are designed to flow together. Once you learn to read cursive, it’s easy to see where one letter stops and another begins.

The same is true in tai chi.

Now that you understand the basic units (patterns), let’s move on to sets.

Structure 2: Sets

A set is an intelligent combination of patterns.

Some people refer to a “set” as a “form.”  For example, the Tai Chi Short Form should really be called a set.

I think the word “form” muddles the distinction between a set and a pattern.

In fact, some people refer to a pattern like Lifting the Sky as a form.

Confusing, right?

The word “set” is better.

Here are some examples of sets:

  1. Yi jin Jing (Sinew Metamorphosis) is a famous qigong set,
  2. The Tiger-Crane Set is a famous Shaolin Kung Fu set,
  3. The 24-Pattern Short Form is a famous Tai Chi set.

Sets are intelligently arranged for various purposes, like easy memorization, energy flow, or in the case of Tai Chi and Shaolin Kung Fu, self defense.

Now let’s move up the structure to a style.

Structure 3: Styles

A style is a comprehensive methodology that includes several different sets, as well as specific training theories.

Think of a style as a curriculum.

For example:

  1. Shaolin Hunyuan Yi Qigong includes the sets: The 18 Luohan Hands, Yi Jin Jing (Sinew Metamorphosis), One Finger Zen, Golden Bridge, Cosmos Palm, Small Universe, and Big Universe.
  2. Yang Style Tai Chi typically includes the sets: The 24-Pattern Short Form (or the 108-Pattern Long Form), Pushing Hands, one or more weapons forms (like the sword), and auxiliary qigong techniques (like the 8 Brocades Qigong set).

If you can understand this basic structure of pattern, set, and style, then you should find it much easier to navigate the confusing world of qigong (and tai chi).

How Many Styles Are There?

The short answer is: It depends on how you count them.

Part of the problem is that many people don’t understand the hierarchy of pattern, style, and set that I described above.

For example, some people think that Ba Duan Jin (The 8 Brocades) is a style of qigong. It is a qigong set, not a style.

Another problem is that the Chinese tradition of secrecy makes historical study more difficult.

It’s hard to count the number of qigong styles out there, but it’s easy to count the ones that I myself have learned!

Over the last 24 years, I’ve studied and practiced the following styles of qigong:

  1. Shaolin Hunyuan Yi Qigong
  2. Chu Style Nei Kung
  3. Yan Xin Qigong
  4. Yi Quan
  5. Cosmic Freedom Qigong
  6. Wild Goose Qigong
  7. Primordial Qigong
  8. Dragon and Tiger Qigong
  9. Zhineng Qigong
  10. White Crane Qigong
  11. Spring Forest Qigong
  12. Holden Qigong

Note that I did not study all of these styles deeply. I did, however, practice a considerable amount. 

Although this post is mainly about qigong, it’s worth talking briefly about kung fu as well.

What About Kung Fu?

A Shaolin Kung Fu pattern called "Hungry Tiger Catches Goat"

A Shaolin Kung Fu pattern called “Hungry Tiger Catches Goat”

Historically, some styles of qigong were embedded within (and kept secret by) styles of kung fu or karate.

For example, until the 20th century, you couldn’t learn Shaolin Hunyuan Yi Qigong without also learning Shaolin Kung Fu (at least not in my lineage).

So for the sake of clarity and transparency, let me quickly list the major styles of kung fu that I’ve practiced (including my first karate style, which had some Japanese Qigong embedded inside)

  1. Goju-Ryu Karate
  2. Northern Shaolin Kung Fu
  3. Southern Shaolin Kung Fu
  4. Tai Chi Chuan
  5. Baguazhang
  6. Wing Chun Kung Fu

If you didn’t get the memo, all styles of tai chi are actually just sub-styles of kung fu. You can read more about that here.

If I were forced to give an answer to the question of how many qigong styles still exist in the 21st century, I would estimate that there are about a dozen well-known styles, plus another 2 dozen lesser-known styles, plus an unknown number of highly-secretive styles that will gradually emerge over time.

And don’t forget that there are over 100 different kung fu styles!

Yikes!

Why So Many Styles?

I know what you’re thinking.

Why are there so many frigging styles?!?

To me, the answer is simple: Artistry.

Name one art that has remained unchanged over a period of a hundred years, let alone 1000!

Artistry — real artistry — involves creation. And creation involves innovation.

Take Mozart. Sure, he’s a “classical” composer, but in his time, he was a major innovator.

So was Picasso.

So was Jane Austin.

Qigong is an art. And like all arts, it is alive. It is not the same art today as it was 1000 years ago.

In the final analysis, this is the most satisfying answer to the question about why there are so many different styles of qigong.

In other words, there are many styles because, in the history of qigong, there have been many, many artists.

The Ironic Truth 

In truth, the style of qigong that I inherited wasn’t really Shaolin Hunyuan Yi Qigong.

My Sifu heavily modified the qigong that he learned from his teacher.

And guess what? His Sifu did the same thing.

Ever since my divorce, I’ve been painted as a pariah. The ironic truth is that I’m just following a long tradition of innovation.

It’s also worth mentioning that, in the 21st century, there is widespread resistance to innovation in traditional Eastern arts when that innovation is done a Westerner.

For example, people don’t even blink when a Chinese master makes changes to a qigong or kung fu style — but when a Westerner like me does the exact same thing, they get all huffy.

Let them get huffy. I will continue to master my art (including the art of teaching).

Taking the Good, Discarding the Bad

A rare image of me with my first teacher, Sensei Bonnie Baker (middle).

A rare image of me with my first teacher, Sensei Bonnie Baker (middle).

Back in 1992, I learned a life-changing lesson from my first karate teacher, Sensei Bonnie Baker.

“Take the good, discard the bad,” she said, over and over.

That advice has turned out to be a godsend.

Today, that advice is helping me more than ever.

I’m free to take the good and discard the bad — and that’s precisely because I am no longer beholden to any lineage or master.

And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing — especially when you live in the information age!

The Information Age

The information age can be problematic for beginners. How do you sift through so much information? How do you tell the good from the bad? Who do you trust?

But for someone like me, the information age is a bonanza.

By “someone like me,” I mean someone who has already completed a 17-year apprenticeship, learned face-to-face from a dozen masters, and put in well over 10,000 hours of deep practice.

I’m in a fantastic position to take take the good and discard the bad.

With so much information at my disposal, plus the ability to sift the good from the bad — ask yourself this question:

Why on earth would someone like me NOT incorporate new ideas into my traditional style of qigong?

Or as T.S. Eliot put it:

Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better….

No Really, What’s Your Style?

Okay, so after all this — what style of qigong do I teach?

At this point, it feels disingenuous to continue saying that I teach Shaolin Hunyuan Yi Qigong.

What about all the stuff that I’ve learned from other teachers that I now incorporate into my teaching?

What about all the stuff I learned from Shaolin Hunyuan Yi Qigong that I’ve discarded?

The truth is that you could go learn Shaolin Hunyuan Yi Qigong from 4 different teachers, and none of them would teach what I teach.

I’m finally ready to admit what I’ve known for years:

I no longer teach Shaolin Hunyuan Yi Qigong!

Boy, that felt good to get off my chest!

Oh wait, I still didn’t answer the question, did I!

Introducing Big Tony Style!

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I’ve thought long and hard about what to call my style of qigong, and I’ve come up with the follow name:

Big Tony Qigong!

Okay, I’m just joking.

But actually, that’s exactly what some masters have done. They just have cool Chinese names. I’m a bit jealous.

Since my website is Flowing Zen, I think it’s logical to call start calling my style Flowing Zen Qigong.

It fits. My teaching emphasizes the importance of a Zen state of mind, and also the importance of energy flow.

Also, the name “Flowing Zen” is fluid enough to allow for evolution over time.

Because, as you can probably guess, I’m not done evolving.

I’m an artist, and I will continue to deepen my mastery of qigong until the day I die.

And thanks to qigong, I expect that day to be at least 70 years in the future!

Summary

We’ve seen that there are countless styles of qigong, and kung fu.

We’ve seen that styles are composed of qigong sets, which are composed of qigong patterns.

We’ve seen that masters in many lineages innovated, gradually creating new styles of qigong. 

We’ve seen that I’ve learned many styles of qigong, and that I’ve also learned to take the good, and discard the bad.

And we’ve seen that I’m ready to start calling my style Flowing Zen Qigong.

So what does all this mean for you? What’s your takeaway?

It depends on how you reacted to this post.

Were you nodding while reading it? Did you resonate with my ideas of innovation, artistry, and mastery?

Or were you shaking your head the whole time? Do you prefer strict traditions that (supposedly) remain unchanged over time? Do you want to learn the “original” or “orthodox” style of qigong?

If it’s the latter, then I’m probably not the teacher for you. I wish you the best of luck in your search. (And if you come full circle ten years from now, I promise to welcome you back with open arms!)

Either way, I hope that you learned something useful in this article, and that you have more clarity now!

I’d love to hear from you. What do you think about all this talk of style? Do you think I made the right choice? Or should I have stuck with “Big Tony Qigong”? 

Mindfully yours,
Sifu Anthony

I’m Anthony Korahais, and I used qigong to heal from clinical depression, low back pain, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. I’ve already taught thousands of people from all over the world to use qigong for their own stubborn health issues. I teach online courses, and also lead in-person retreats and workshops.

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45 Responses to How to Invent Your Own Style of Qigong

  1. Derrick August 16, 2016 at 2:00 pm #

    Sifu, Great Blog! I think many of us will go with the flow on whatever you want to call your style, even if you name it “Big Tony Qigong”. I am just grateful I have a chance to learn it. THANK YOU!

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 17, 2016 at 11:26 am #

      Glad you found it helpful, Derrick!

      • Dee (Dominic) Kwan August 17, 2016 at 1:21 pm #

        Sifu. Very good info.“Take the good, discard the bad,”

        Born in Hong Kong myself, I was a big fan of Bruce Lee even though I never practiced martial arts.

        “Take the good, discard the bad, ”It was his philosophy also. So you should rejoice in “all great minds” think alike. 🙂

        He actually eschewed styles. He thought it was limiting. He first learned Wing Chun in HK. When he was in Chinatown SF, the local Chinese martial artists were upset at him for teaching martial arts there. That led to a fight with the local best fighter. Lee won but was very upset because he thought it took too long to beat the guy (3 mins).

        So he learned other disciplines and started his own “Jeet Kune Do”.

        The rest was history.

  2. Stan Cohen August 16, 2016 at 2:22 pm #

    Once you have internalized the various and sundry patterns it is quite fun to create spontaneous form play. This can be a single movement after standing up to go to the kitchen, playing tai chi or qigong while waiting in line somewhere or creating your own form for practice and mediation. The key word here is play.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 17, 2016 at 11:27 am #

      I agree, Stan. But did you mean to say “spontaneous set play” or “spontaneous pattern” play? 😉

  3. burchdDavid Burch August 16, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

    Big Tony Style. It’s Great! 🙂

  4. summerville2531 August 16, 2016 at 6:43 pm #

    Loved the article. I have read in a few qi gong books about qi gong being an evolving art form anyway. You realize that you have just put it in all our heads you teach “Big Tony Style.” 😉

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 16, 2016 at 6:51 pm #

      Yep. I do realize that!

      I’m a voracious reader, so I’d love to know which qigong books you read.

      • j.juanavi August 17, 2016 at 3:30 pm #

        Professor Allan A. Johnson has extensive info on Daoism and Medical Qi Gong. if you have not been introduced to him. I would highly recommend his catalog.

  5. Pam Dye August 16, 2016 at 10:43 pm #

    Thanks, Sifu- you have a lot of wisdom to share, and I’ll take whatever you put out there-Big Tony Style, Flowing Zen Style or whatever you decide! I’ll search back through your other blog postings for more information.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 17, 2016 at 11:28 am #

      Thank you, Pam. I’m glad it was helpful. I’ve got over 130 published articles, so there’s plenty to sift through!

  6. Monica Marquis August 17, 2016 at 7:47 am #

    Thank you! This is a wonderful article!! Love these arts and appreciate the freedom to create!

  7. Paul White August 17, 2016 at 8:57 am #

    Not much (if any) information on what the title of the article suggested. It’s all about the writer rather than about how practitioners can develop their own personalised system of qigong to train. Rather egocentric.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 17, 2016 at 11:01 am #

      Hi Paul. I’m sorry you didn’t like the article. Nevertheless, I don’t think your comment is accurate, nor is it particularly nice.

      I believe that my intro makes it perfectly clear what the article is about. The intro ends with: “By the end of this article, you’ll understand what a qigong style is (and isn’t), and whether or not any of this stuff even matters to you.”

      I believe that the article delivers on that promise.

      As for the title, there are many ways to interpret it. If you are looking to invent your own style of qigong, which is not the main thrust of the article, then I think the article still gives you my opinion on whether or not you are qualified to do so.

      It took me 24 years to finally feel confident enough to create my own style. I am certainly not encouraging beginner or intermediate students to create their own styles. That is not the message here.

      Wishing you the best.

  8. Tom Judge August 17, 2016 at 11:02 am #

    Thank you, you have just opened the door even wider. You have discarded thinking inside the box for not only thinking outside the box but also creating your own box. Congratulations Sifu!
    Tom J

  9. dionshortgmailcom August 17, 2016 at 1:05 pm #

    Enjoyed the post! I would definitely go with Flowing Zen Qigong. I hope to be with you for a very long time! Question: Will you offer a Qigong certification in the future?

    Dion

  10. Rachel August 17, 2016 at 1:42 pm #

    Sifu Anthony, you are a gem!! I’ve just had a right hearty chuckle reading your article. This is especially welcome as I’ve just been through some major stress and haven’t had much to laugh about for a good while. I found the whole article really interesting. Just watched the trailer for Drunken Master (somehow I’ve not seen this Jackie Chan film) can’t wait to see it. I’d love to know what other films and/or books you rate – hint, hint! 😉

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 17, 2016 at 8:01 pm #

      Good to hear form you, Rachel. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      As for kung fu movies start with: Tai Chi Master (with Jet Li and Michele Yeoh), Fist of Legend, an Heroes of the East.

      • Rachel August 18, 2016 at 4:27 am #

        Great! Thanks for those recommendations, really appreciate it 🙂

  11. Beverley Kane, MD August 17, 2016 at 2:37 pm #

    Thank you! I feel validated in teaching an eclectic set (I’ve been looking for that word!) derived from many masters, many styles, many sets–Paul Lam, Master Li, Ken Cohen; my current medical qigong teacher, Gideon; Chen, Yang, Sun, qigong and what I call Shao Lin Qi-gong-fu. I have to laugh: in my martial/healing arts circles frequently hear long lineage litanies of Chinese names. In my equestrian circles, I hear similar recitations going back generations of horse lineages. In either case, the names mean nothing to me. Like, are you impressed that my horse is Colonel Freckles + Power Commander? Better to believe that what you sense is what you get.

  12. Vera August 17, 2016 at 3:58 pm #

    Thanks so much!!! Love it that you share and that -is the best teaching.. Flowing Zen Qi gong sounds more ..literate 🙂 I felt long ago that this is a maze, but I’ve been “lucky ” to have had chronic pain and that was my greatest teacher…I followed my instinct and kept learning .your teachings are good for me and enriching my own practice as well as my teaching.

  13. Ando Mierzwa August 18, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

    Great article, sir! Keep flowing! 🙂

  14. Eric August 18, 2016 at 7:51 pm #

    Another great blog, and an excellent philosophy. I have to say that I genuinely agree with everything you’ve said. The benefits of adhering to tradition are, of course, gaining all the benefits of an accumulation of progress – however, you also lose the opportunity to potentially improve methodologies if you adhere too strictly; I believe a balance is needed, or as your Sensei put it: “Take the good, discard the bad”!

  15. Kristi Vanous August 18, 2016 at 9:04 pm #

    Excellent post! You took a complex question and gave a very clear answer. Mark of a true teacher. I understand the delima of defining style when there have been so many influences and so many changes made by generations of teachers. I was one nodding in agreement. I think you are making a good choice in labeling what you teach as your style while acknowledging the roots you built upon.

  16. Cichon Kendall August 20, 2016 at 9:13 am #

    In order for people to excel at something or do something worthwhile, they must be willing to change, modify and improve as they go along. Tradition is good, but there’s always room for improvement. That’s the way I live my life. I’m always open to finding ways to improve. I like the fact that you’re not a know-it-all. You make it very clear that you will continue to build on the many years of experience you have already. You will continue to grow and evolve. So many people are benefiting because you’re always willing to share and help others with all that you have learned. Big Tony Qigong sounds really cool 🙂, but Flowing Zen Qigong is more descriptive and fitting for your teaching style. I’m a little older than you so I’m looking forward to doing Flowing Zen Qigong for the next 70 years 😉.

  17. David Whitham August 23, 2016 at 5:34 am #

    Sifu Anthony, your Zen backed words are very interesting as are your teachings, the age old problem I have found is finding the correct teacher and I have found many along the way can talk the talk but cannot deliver the essence of the art they teach or willing to demystify the secrets of the art they teach.

    I have found you (so far) to deliver in a way I like, and this is found in the way you teach and the language you use, and also the way you teach and demystify how to feel and develop the great mysterious flow of Qui, I have been following you from a distance for some time now and find you of genuine, informative and trustworthy in your approach.

    I now will continue to submerge myself into your teachings, thank you for your honesty which you clearly show. best wishes David Whitham

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 23, 2016 at 8:27 am #

      Demystifying these arts is something I feel strongly about. I also feel strongly about helping students to get remarkable results. Interestingly, those two things go hand-in-hand in the 21st century. 🙂

  18. Cindy August 25, 2016 at 9:42 pm #

    Sifu Anthony,

    The name you have chosen, Flowing Zen Qigong, is an exellent choice. It is compatible to the names of the various styes of qigong from the past.

    I thought your blog was very informative and quite refreshing. I can appreciate calling the moves patterns, which are generally called postures. What I have always disagreed with is calling Qigong an exercise. I have eliminated that word from my Qigong vocabulary and my brochures.

    Exercise is misleading, since qigong’s main focus is internal self healing with calmness and relaxation, and health benefits that at one time people thought were unimaginable. I have also found that many who sign up for a qigong class expect the same type of workout as that in a fitness gym. People do not realize they can experience fitness with these slow, flowing modaities.

    I have seen literature that reads, ” … meditation and qigong exercises.” I would like to see all qigong and tai chi instructors eliminate the word exercise, as it carries the tone of an injustice to qigong.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge,

    Sifu Cindy

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 26, 2016 at 7:50 am #

      Thank you, Sifu Cindy, for the insights.

      I don’t disagree with you about the problems with the word “exercise”. On the other hand, I come from a classical music background, where the word “exercise” is used frequently for specific drills. In college, I learned writing and logic exercises.

      So perhaps, we just need to differentiate between external, physical exercise.

      You might consider using the term “inner calisthenics”. I quite like that one myself. 🙂

      • Cindy August 28, 2016 at 5:39 pm #

        Sifu Anthony,

        Hmm! When defined, calesthenics is just a more intellectual word for “exercise”. : )

        I may have found something closer to describe the “qigong and/or tai chi patterns or postures” to let people know they will have some form of a workout. I think of tai chi and qigong more as a mental therapy with physical flowing patterns. Therefore, when providing a course description, i.e., one might say, “Qigong includes, meditation, breathing techniques, and qigong physical flowing patterns.” Qigong physical flowing patterns replaces “qigong exercise”.

        Tai chi and qigong are all about moving chi throughout the body and using physical movements that are slow, flowing and relaxing. These modalities are not in the category of exercise as people know it today. Exercise implies strenuous moves, i.e., lifting weights, working with kettle bells, performing crunches, situps, push ups, and using exercise equipment.

        I have had many students attend 2 lessons out of 6 and never return. Why? Well, I was told by a few that they expected actual exercises, not slow moves. The course description, which I did not supply, stated “qigong execises”. They thought it was something new in the world of [hard] exercise.

        We need to find a way to open the minds of the public to realize the importance and seriousness of qigong and tai chi. Walking on a treadmill will not help someone with cancer taking chemo, performing crunches willl not help someone with a kidney problem, and so on. Qigong and tai chi are not fads or whats trending. Qigong and tai chi are therapies that have found their place in the medical field as complementary medicine.

        I have doctors referring their patients to me and I am involved with a medical doctor in my area who has started a network of practioners, such as, chiropractors, nutritionists, accupuncturisst, yoga intructors, and tai chi and qigong instructor, which I represent. His goal is to bring more awareness of these holistic approaches to the medical doctors in our area who have not embraced the idea of complementary medicine.

        This is why I am refraining from using the word “exercise”, what we do is so important to everyones health and wellness, and tai chi and qigong deserve a great deal of attention, respect, and acceptance.

        May there be balance of peace and harmony in the universe that will permeate all life in our world.

        Sifu Cindy

        • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 29, 2016 at 3:35 pm #

          Hi Cindy,

          I don’t agree with all that you say, but I love your passion and enthusiasm! In the end, we all want to promote qigong.

          As I said in my earlier reply, I believe that the word “exercise” has many other connotations. It is not limited to physical exercise.

          But I agree that we need to educate people about the internal aspects of qigong. Many people view qigong as simply a movement art.

          The way that I teach emphasizes the internal aspects of qigong right from the start. You my also be interested in this article of mine: http://flowingzen.com/9544/the-number-1-mistake/

  19. Bonnie Nordby August 26, 2016 at 8:46 am #

    A brave article, thank you for sharing your journey as a human, artist and innovator. I appreciate the clarity of definitions. I have developed what I laughingly call my own “Water Weasel Wisdom Qigong” which I practice standing in lakes and rivers from shallow to deeper depths included suspended in the middle of the lake. Discovering and creating in the moment is down right fun. While I don’t teach it, I do encourage people to try it out. I started out many years ago after watching a video Ruth Sova produced to teach people AI CHI. Thankfully I started with a teacher Roger Jahnke OMD who encourages people to explore and innovate. For me it is in practicing that I make new discoveries for myself. Then later I may see yes there have been others throughout the ages who have discovered this and given it a name. So many rich wells of wisdom to learn from.

  20. Mike September 5, 2016 at 2:34 am #

    Kudos! Kudos! Kudos! Sifu Antonio! I can’t wait to learn the good and not the bad/ fluff! As a disabled military retiree I rather experience results of better health, vitality, mind set etc! Can’t wait for the big tony qigong to come out! I am anxiously awaiting it…

    Peace,

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais September 5, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

      Thank you, Mike! And don’t worry. Big Tony Qigong is already here! But soon it will be available online, in all its Big Tony glory. 🙂

      • Mike September 5, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

        Great Sifu! I am happy that you give it straight to your students and by process of elimination the good/ beneficial postures stood out! I myself have practiced the external arts ( Kenpo, Wingchun) which possessed the internal sides but now are lost, as you know Sil Lim Tao/ Dau is considered internal by some WC masters but others choose the combative side and either didn’t teach it or didn’t know about it right? I may be wrong but when I do my Pan Nam SLT with breathing techs I find it invigorating, but then again it might just be me? Standing by for the TBTQ 😬…

  21. Doug Cameron October 26, 2016 at 8:20 am #

    You write about sexual abuse at your “divorced” teacher’s school. Would you not name that person/school ? You had to take a stand and terminate that long deep relationship – but don’t feel strongly enough to speak out, except in a disguised, anonymous sense ? Wouldn’t that be your Responsibility, if thats what you feel ?

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais October 26, 2016 at 8:25 am #

      I don’t think it’s any secret that my former teacher was Sifu Wong Kiew Kit and the school was Shaolin Wahnam.

      I spoke out publicly and loudly 2 years ago by publishing a long post on the subject. I received death threats and hate mail as a result. I took down the post so that I could move forward and get on with my life and my teaching peacefully.

      It might be time to revive the post for people to reference. I will consider it.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais October 26, 2016 at 8:28 am #

      I forgot to mention that I was (and still am) protecting the identity of several victims. The comments on my blog post started to threaten their identity. I made a promise to those victims, and I am committed to protecting them. So I took down the post.

  22. Suyog Shrestha December 14, 2016 at 10:12 pm #

    hi Sifu! I usually really prefer lineage based traditions but I choose to learn from you having considered the matter at hand. and the fact that you were sort of already certified in the past by your past Sifu Wong. when you make that point about how Westerners are often criticized when they break the lineage, I think it is important also to acknowledge and would like to hear your comments on the fact that it is mostly Westerners, and not Easterns, who approach many of these things like they are the boss and create their innovations (if we can even call these things innovation) without having studied in depth from the teacher. be it Qigong, different eastern spiritual traditions, they learn for so little time from the teacher and don’t like some thing in the tradition which they may label as cultural baggage and create their own thing. It is mostly westerns who do that so may be it is reasonable that they are criticized? But in your case, clearly you have learned this for many years and have mastered this so there is a great level of trust but if it was someone who may have learned from Sifu wong even for 7 years, i would think that is too little time to be qualified to create their own style. Any comments, Sifu?

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais December 15, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

      Hi Suyog,

      Yes, I have a strong lineage. Just because I left his school doesn’t mean that I’m not lineaged. Another way to look at it is like this. Just because your father is unscrupulous doesn’t mean that you don’t come from royal stock.

      I myself was criticized not for lack of training, but for blowing the whistle on a sexual abuse scandal. So my case is different. The fact that my former Sifu chooses to disparage me now can be viewed as ugly politics. Before I left, he was happy to flaunt me as one of his top disciples, and his chief instructor in the US.

      In my opinion, it’s fair to criticize people who “innovate” without first going deeply into an art. I am a fan of the 10,000 hour rule. In most arts, whether it’s violin or qigong, it takes 10,000 hours of deep practice to become a master.

      If you’ve got less than 10,000 hours, then you should be practicing, not innovating.

  23. Pngo February 17, 2017 at 9:27 am #

    Sifu, I don’t bother with the lineage as long you can teach me well.
    And I (as your student) will name it “Big Tony teaches small Tony Qigong” .
    I hope I can learn much from you.

    Ngo

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