Wu Dang Qigong: Taoism in Movement

sem_wd1MoonGate Qigong and the Academy of Martial Arts hosted the second of three Sunday seminars on the art and practice of Qigong. This 4 hour session concentrated on the set called Wu Dang Qigong, which originates in one of the birthplaces of Taoism, Wu Dang temple.

Teacher Ted Mancuso gave a brief history on the temple and Taoism, offering some important insights on the terms “internal” and “external” (NOT the typical attributions!) He introduced (and re-emphasized for those who had attended the previous seminar) the importance of the Qigong ‘tripod’: Diao Shen (Regulate the Body); Diao Xi–or Diao Qi–(Regulate the Breath) and Diao Yi (Regulate the Mind).

sem_wd3After some simple Qigong warmups, the class started in on the movements themselves. Wu Dang Qigong is a series of exercises, plus a refrain, that can be linked together in a 20-minute routine, or performed modularly. Thesemoves slowly graduate from simple arm and leg movements to elegant (but profound!) body twists at the end.

Mancuso’s approach to teaching this set included Qigong fundamentals, partner work (a big hit with the class) as well as close observation and instruction on the moves themselves. Particular emphasis was given to the “Qigong Hand”. This important concept, although centered around the movement of the wrist, resonates throughout the entire Qigong curriculum: it is a way of moving the wrist through the movement of the arm, not flapping the wrist independent of it. This integration–whether forearm to wrist, shoulder to forearm, or waist to whole arm–is one of the key components of performing Qigong correctly.

sem_wd2Specific attention was also given to acupuncture points and meridians, aided by information from Narrye Caldwell, who has practiced Chinese medicine for over 20 years. This information is especially useful to those Chinese Medical doctors (who earn CEUs for this course) and students in the class, who might use these exercises for their patients as well as part of their own health regimens.

By the end of the 4 hour session, the class was able to perform the entire routine and, from this reporter’s perspective, did so beautifully! Had I just walked in at the end and not watched the transformation, I would have assumed that they had all been practicing for months.

sem_wd4The one shared concern–that once at home, they would not remember all the moves–was instantly swept aside when Mancuso handed out the fully-photographed booklets at the end of the session, demonstrating not only the set itself but also keypoints and acupuncture points and meridians.

The last of the three seminars, which will take place on Oct 18, is devoted to Blossoms in the Spring, a three-part Qigong that, in this case, will be taught as a seated series of movements. For more information, click here.

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