The Tomo Ba Duan Jin is one of the most well known Qigong sets. With some variation the movements of this form have been practiced for hundreds of years. The earliest historically documented recordings of the movements of this qigong set are dated to approximately 150 B.C. More recently very similar techniques recurred in Buddha Da Mo’s Eighteen Lohan Hands qigong routine, a set famous for being used by the Shaolin monks. It has also been associated with the ancient “Five Animal Frolics” qigong form.
The Eight Silken Brocades qigong, in it’s current form, has been attributed to the Chinese General Yueh Fei who created it as an exercise for his soldiers. The exercise was used to keep the troops strong, healthy and vital during times of peace so they would be always ready to fight for the country when needed. General Yueh Fei was documented as a master of the Muscle and Tendon changing internal art practice and is credited with the creation of the art of Hsing-I. The fact of Yueh Fei’s mastery of the Muscle and Tendon changing set establishes a connection and lends credence to the earlier legendary root of the Eight Silken Brocades qigong set coming from the Bodhidharma.
Regardless of how far back you trace the origin of the Eight Silken Brocades, today it is a well known qigong set for cultivating health and vitality that is practiced around the world. There are slight variations in the form that change the degree to which it is physically demanding. This qigong routine can be worked with intense, deep horse stances and great muscular effort; with higher stances and light movements; and can also be worked from a sitting position for those who are ill or elderly and just beginning to restore their bodies. All of these ways of training are valid and which you choose will depend on your personal goals.
Below is a list of the Eight Brocades, as well as the opening and closing procedures of the qigong form. Each of these movements should be worked a minimum of three repetitions. They can be worked six, nine, or twelve times depending on your condition and your goals with your qigong practice. Traditionally, the prescription is to practice daily for one-hundred days. Do so and you will notice dramatic changes in your body, energy and mental state.
Eight Silken Brocades Qigong – Movement Guides
1 – Preparation
3 – Draw the Bow
4 – Raise One Arm
5 – Turn the Head
7 – Hold Ankles
8 – Shadow Boxing
9 – Lift Heels
Return the the Qigong main page for more information on this practice.