Ba Duan Jin: Eight-Section Qigong Exercises compiled by the Chinese Health Qigong
Singing Dragon, London and Philadelphia, 2008
ISBN: 978 1 84819 005 4
The Chinese Health Qigong Association is an organization which promotes and researches
health qigong and is a group member of the All-China Sports Federation. CHQA promotes
four particular classical qigong practices, of which this is one, both in China and
abroad. The Health Qigong Federation UK is the organisation recognised by CHQA in
UK. CHQA sends teams of health qigong masters to various countries to teach people.
They also set standards for these forms.
I recommend ba duan jin as the best practice to start with out of the four that CHQA
teaches. It is one of the classical qigong practices which is very popular as a health
qigong exercise and also used by a lot of martial artists. Although it is a classical
practice, there are many versions of the practice seen today.
The two main divisions of ba duan jin are the standing and sitting practices. This
particular book covers the standing version which is the most popular form of ba
The book includes a very comprehensive DVD which is complete in itself. This makes
the book a bargain. Dr. Yang Jwing Ming’s Eight Simple Qigong Exercises For Health,
for example, covers another version of ba duan jin, but you would have to buy his
The book covers the history of ba duan jin and includes an explanation of the principles
to follow when practising the forms. For example, the movements of the form should
be gentle, slow, smooth and consistent. For each of the eight forms comprising ba
duan jin, the book describes the sequence of movements, highlights the key points
of the form, describes common mistakes and how to correct them and explains the functions
and effects of the form, that is, what benefits it has.
One slight drawback to the book is that being produced by a Chinese team, its language
doesn’t always sound natural to a Westerner. Examples are the terms “dynamism and
inertia” and “practice and conservation”. While the terms make sense, I don’t recall
reading a Western book using this kind of language.
The book is written like a textbook. Personally, I like to read books which give
the personal background and experiences of the author and that are written in a more
chatty style. However, more or less the whole book is covered on the DVD and the
script is actually better than the book.
The DVD is very professionally and beautifully done and is one of the best that I
have seen. The practitioners demonstrating the forms are clearly very experienced
and are excellent models to follow.
The DVD follows the same pattern as the book: demonstrating the forms, showing common
mistakes and their corrections, and explaining the benefits. My recommendation would
be to watch and learn each form from the DVD and to just use the book for reference
once you’ve learned the forms.
I have practised several versions of ba duan jin and I particularly like this version.
It’s simple , aesthetic and very effective.
This book and DVD are a reliable and thorough guide to the practice of ba duan jin.
Although the book has a brief introduction to the principles of qigong, if you aren’t
already familiar with the principles and methods of qigong, I would strongly recommend
that you also get a good general book on qigong and I would have no hesitation in
recommending Ken Cohen’s “The Way of Qigong”.