1.A Brief Introduction to Ba Duan Jin
Reinterpreting Ba Duan Jing From the Theories of the Eight Extra Meridians
Lee Chang-Chih May 10th 2005
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Keywords: Ba Duan Jin (Eight-Section Brocade), the Eight Extra Meridians, Meridians
The ancient exercise regimes, Ba Duan Jin (八段錦) has been passed sown for generations. Some literatures have been passed down or found documenting the forms and effects of the exercises, yet there has rarely been any writings touching on the topic of the fundamentals of the designs. Certainly, it is rather difficult to interpret the effect mechanisms of any exercise regimes from either modern medicine or Chinese meridian theories. But, the elements of “Forms”, “Theories”, and “Effects” must all be in place to make a regime complete. A learner or a trainer must know not only “How” but also “Why”.
Traditional health-keeping regimes are highly compatible with traditional meridian theories. From which, learners get to know “why” such exercises were designed and “what” effects are expected. There have been many attempts made to interpret Yi Jin Jing (易筋經)  with the twelve meridian theories, but there has yet any attempts of such studies on Ba Duan Jin (八段錦). In view of which, we take the initiative to open up the possibilities.
Ba Duan Jin (八段錦) has been through a long history of development and well documented in verses as it has traditionally been for martial art trainings. Different versions of the verses have been found, and most of them record the forms and expected effects of the exercises. Ba Duan Jin (八段錦, also translated as Eight-Section Brocade) consists of eight sections, which matches the number of the Eight Extra Meridians (Secondary Meridian System), just as the twelve forms of Yi Jin Jing (易筋經) matches the number of the Twelve Meridians (Main Meridian System). We do not know whether the eight sections of Ba Duan Jin were originally designed based on the Eight Extra Meridian System; what we are attempting here is to associate the forms and the expected effects with the theories of the meridians. Through organizing Ba Duan Jin into a set of new theoretical basis, we expect to laid out a set of principles for the designs of the forms and provide a set of guidelines for learning as well as teaching.
A Brief Introduction to Ba Duan Jin
Ba Duan Jin (八段錦, also translated as Eight-Section Brocade) is a treasure of therapeutic Chinese Qi Gong. Recordings of Qi channeling and health-keeping exercises have been found as early as in the ancient scripture of <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">The Internal Medicine of Emperor Huang</i> (黃帝內經, Huang Di Nei Jing). In general, Ba Duan Jin has eight sections called Jin (錦, Brocade). For generations, it has been taught and learned and passed down, for it is easy to learn with good effects.
The name “Ba Duan Jin” has been found as early as the Northern Song Dynasty. According to Hong Mai's (洪邁) Yi Jian Zhi (夷堅志, Song Dynasty), Zhenghe Seventh Year, Emperor's Chief Secretary, Li Shi-Ju, lived a simple life. He spent a large portion of his time in his mediation room practicing Daoist Monk’s exercises expanding like a bear and stretching like a bird. In the early hours, he is often found breathing and massaging, practicing the so-called Eight-Section Brocade (Ba Duan Jin). This passage reveals that Ba Duan Jin has been developed and practiced since the Song Dynasty as a general health-keeping regime.
Both sitting and standing forms have been found in the history of Ba Duan Jin (八段錦),. Standing forms were developed into two schools (northern and southern styles) in the Qing Dynasty. The Northern School, said to have been passed down by Yue Fei (岳飛), has tougher forms, and the Southern School, claimed the lineage from Liang Shi-Chang (梁世昌), focuses on softer trainings. Quite a few verses has been passed down during the period from Song Dynasty to Qing Dynasty, but all verses for the standing forms have evolved from the passages recorded in <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">The Chapter of Wonders, Pivot of Dao</i> (道樞·眾妙篇, Dao Shu, Zong Miao Pian, Song Dynasty) and verses of the sitting style from the forms recorded in The<i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"> Ten Books of Daoist Practices</i> (修真十書 Xiu Zhen Shi Shu, Ming Dynasty ) or<i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"> The Methods of Curing</i> (活人心法, Huo Ren Xin Fa, Ming Dynasty). Sets Ba Duan Jin forms are not always limited to the number of eight. The number of forms in a set range from a single form to tens or as many as a hundred; nevertheless, they are all exercise regimes designed for health-keeping, preventive, and therapeutic purposes, and, liberally saying, all exercise regimes designed for such purposes are part of the Ba Duan Jin system.
 a. Li Jia-Wei, <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">The New Health-Keeping Exercises – Introduction to Bodhidharma Yi Jin Jing</i>, Mar. 15th 2000, Jiu Si Publisher. b. Huang Jie-Liang, <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">E Generation Health-Keeping Exercises – Yi Jin Jing</i>, Aug., 26, 2003.8.26, <place w:st="><city w:st=">Mentor</city></place> Publisher. c.Lee Chang-Chih, Study of Yi Jin Jing and the Meridians, <date w:st=">Nov. 1st, 2004</date>, master thesis.
Major sports activities and organizations in the Song, Liao, Jin, and Yuan Dynasties - http://www.tiyuren.com/news_detail.php?id=1153&nowmenuid=52&cpath=0034:&catid=34
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