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Bagua Applications: From Martial Arts to Healing


Copyright 2011 Bruce Frantzis All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the publisher. Published by Energy Arts, Inc., P.O. Box 99, Fairfax, CA 94978-0099 The following trademarks are used under license by Energy Arts, Inc., from Bruce Frantzis: Frantzis Energy Arts system, Mastery Without Mystery, Longevity Breathing program, Opening the Energy Gates ofYour Body Qigong, Marriage of Heaven and Earth Qigong, Bend the Bow Spinal Qigong, Spiraling Energy Body Qigong, Gods Playing in the Clouds Qigong, Living Taoism Collection, Chi Rev Workout, HeartChi, Bagua Mastery Program, Bagua Dynamic Stepping System, Bagua Internal Warm-up Method, and Bagua Body Unification Method.

Editing: Heather Hale, Bill Ryan, Richard Taubinger and Caroline Frantzis Interior Design: Heather Hale Cover Design: Thomas Herington Photo and Illustration Editing: Mountain Livingston and Thomas Herington Photographs by: Eric Peters, Bill Walters, Caroline Frantzis, Richard Marks and Catherine Helms Illustrations: Michael McKee and Kurt Schulten Image Alteration: Lisa Petty, GiriVibe, Inc., Patrick Hewlett and Jodie Smith Models: Bruce Frantzis, Bill Ryan, Keith Harrington, Don Ethan Miller and Paul Cavel Printed in the United States of America PLEASE NOTE: The practice of Taoist energy arts and meditative arts may carry risks. The information in this text is not in any way intended as a substitute for medical, mental or emotional counseling with a licensed physician or healthcare provider. The reader should consult a healthcare professional before undertaking any martial arts, movement, meditative arts, health or exercise program to reduce the chance of injury or any other harm that may result from pursuing or trying any technique discussed in this text. Any physical or other distress experienced during or after any exercise should not be ignored and should be brought to the attention of a healthcare professional. The creators and publishers ofthis text disclaim any liabilities for loss in connection with following any of the practices described in this text, and implementation is at the discretion, decision and risk of the reader.

Table of Contents
From Martial Arts to Healing ............................................... 5
Overview ..................................................................... 5
Energy Healing: Same Game with Different Goals and Rules ......................................... 6 Beijing: The Next Shift ............................................... 7

From Martial Arts to Healing

People come to practice internal chi arts for many different reasons. Often times, they shift their emphasis as the events in their life change or they address whatever the initial issue was that started them practicing in the first place. My training began with martial arts at age twelve. Although as a teen I studied shiatsu and worked extensively on large numbers of people, my interest in healing others didn't really start to emerge until my twenties. As I've written in my books many times, I contracted a severe, almost lethal, case of hepatitis while in India. As a youth, I had never before understood the pain and suffering of sickness. I beat the odds and brought myself back from the brink of death, but the hepatitis hangover lasted for many years.

2011 Bruce Frantzis-AII Rights Reserved.

Bagua Mastery Program

Through this period, I came to know the unrelenting pain of an unhealthy liver. At times, I watched as all of my strength completely left me, as though all of my blood was drained from my body. I would have intermittent experiences of shifting, seemingly out of the blue, from being a very physically strong person to suddenly becoming humbled and weak. The reality of pain, imbalance and suffering was much different than my intellectual ideas about what it was and was not. My experiences gave me a glimpse ofthe impact illness and injury had on people's lives. Some years later, as part of my Taoist priest training, I was told rather than asked to learn healing or withdraw. Although I had been exposed to qigong tui na training before, it wasn't until this time that I began seriously studying the medical arts of chi with the same intensity as my internal martial arts training. Initially, I noticed the similarities and connections between martial arts and healing work. For example, internal martial arts seek to move chi through your body. In the beginning, you practice to promote vibrant health otherwise you can get hurt. Anything less than good health supports internal weakness rather than strength. Essentially, internal martial art training evolves into developing chi inside your own body to manipulate and direct it externally. In coordination with physical techniques, cultivating chi helps to increase power, reflexes and speed, which creates a fighter who has a better chance of winning against an opponent.

Energy Healing: Same Game with Different Goals and Rules

Energy healing practices basically use the same process with a twist. Instead of inflicting pain and destruction, they work on the opposite side of the continuum to promote healing. So the learning progression is the same: first, you upgrade your own chi and then you can apply it to some end. However, now the

2011 Bruce Frantzis-AII Rights Reserved.

Module 9: Bagua Applications-From Martial Arts to Healing

context of the "opponent" changes, which shifts your focus. In energetic healing work, the physical aggressor (martial arts opponent) becomes the disease, injury or dysfunction that you seek to control or defeat. So rather than focusing on techniques to control or deflect a punch or kick, it shifts to techniques for increasing strong, free flowing bodily chi. You knock out deranged chi inside a patient's body to ultimately defeat it and thereby heal the health problem. As the skill of the qigong tui na practitioner gradually upgrades and he is able to heal unbalanced chi in others, the next step is to learn to do the same with the energies of the patient's mind and emotions, at least to the degree required to enable the patient's physical body, emotions and mental actions to smoothly link and flow between with each other. Otherwise, a major glitch at one level can interfere with the smooth functioning of the other two levels. As a patient becomes more emotionally and mentally healthy, it can help their physical illness improve. Equally, upgrading the functioning of their physical body enhances their mental and emotional dispositions. It is a selfreinforcing, positive feedback loop. like martial arts, healing work has a series of challenges to overcome. Helping a sick person get better requires more than just skill. It requires compassion. Good healers somehow find a way to drive forward by the motivation of the healing potential rather than getting stuck in human suffering. Exploring these perspectives has been one of my streams since my twenties. It still floats my boat to find myself thinking: "This is really difficult. Cool. Then, can it be done and, if so, how well can it be done?"

Beijing: The Next Shift

The next major shift in my life occurred in Beijing in my thirties during the time I spent with my primary teacher, liu Hung Chieh. It was the final and most

2011 Bruce Frantzis-AII Rights Reserved.

Bagua Mastery Program

difficult phase of my formal qigong tui na training. I primarily worked with cancer patients and some others with equally serious conditions. During this time, my teacher Liu awakened in me a genuine sense of compassion. This caused a shift in me where it ceased to be all about the challenge. He helped me see the most important consideration, which is the suffering of human beings and the great opportunity I have to reduce it. Now, when you work to physically heal people, you're basically in the same position as a doctor. For me, it was good that I initially had the martial arts training because it inured me to the rough stuff of life. As when you deal with very difficult and truly heart wrenching conditions, it can really affect you. If you have any kind of a heart whatsoever, it can be very painful constantly watching people die or undergo the most incredible suffering you can possibly imagine. To see it once or twice in your lifetime is one thing, but the ongoing onslaughts accumulate like ongoing post traumatic stress. Many young doctors/healers must ask themselves, as I did:"How do I help people without it hurting me?" The Taoist Inner Dissolving practices really helped me, but they weren't the whole story. Compassion completes the cycle for me. Just realizing the importance of making contact with a suffering human being and using the opportunity to somehow further the human condition is a good beginning, however, the road to compassion is a bit more encompassing than this. After these experiences, my road from healing and the road to meditation began to merge. Where will you go?

2011 Bruce Frantzis-AII Rights Reserved.