Hazards for Western Students

"One of the hazards of being a Western Qigong student is believing you are practicing in the correct form. Many of us Western students rarely get to see our Qigong Master. We may practice months and months without form correction.

Advanced students get a feeling for the movements, and think they are doing it correctly, and yet their movements and their posture within the form can be so wrong...

Often advanced student of 3 or 4 or 5 or even 8 or 10 years still cannot physically perform the form correctly. Their posture does not permit it. Their shoulders are still too tight. Their low back still too flat. Their center of gravity is still too high.

They practice but maybe not daily. So their posture still shows bad habits of usage and it takes years to create correct posture and proprioception...their hips are too tight, their head is still forward; they cannot yet maintian their root or their central line. They are 'pushovers.' No Qi. No Aura... When the Teacher sees Auras then you cannot cheat. Your form could look beautiful but still you may have no Qi!

I was lucky to see Master Chan twice a year for the first 10 years, usually each time for a 6 day intensive retreat. So I got a lot of instruction in short amounts of time. Then much practicing at home alone... So form correction occurred every 6 months or so...

I remember him saying to the group more than once: 'If I do not come over and correct your form that does not mean you are doing it correctly. Believe me! Some of you are still so far wrong that I do not even know where to begin making corrections. Some of you are at least getting pretty close so I make an effort. So don't think you are correct! Just keep trying to move something. Maintain your anchor. Drop your shoulders. Relax your low back. Do not squeeze your butt! Relax! The form will teach you...'

SO in my classes I always repeat and repeat and repeat the fundamentals of correct posture: 'Eyes on the horizon...' 'Your head as if suspended from above...' 'Do not tuck your chin...' 'Drop your shoulders...' 'Do not squeeze...' 'Ears should be directly over your shoulders...' 'Relax the knees...' 'Relax the low back...' 'Tailbone points towards the ground...' Again and again and again and again...

Sometimes advanced students get frustrated and impatient, thinking they are ready to learn more about the form, or progress quickly to the next level. But I always teach my beginning students and my more advanced students together. If advanced students are not willing to review the fundamentals then I do not really want to teach them.

The teacher will tell you when you are ready. They will be waiting and waiting for that day! Believe me! Then you will make THEM look good! Every teacher wants their students to surpass them!

Master Chan says even after 45 years his Lao-shi still corrects his form! If Master Chan still needs form correction than who am I??? Qigong keeps you humble! Hao la!"

--Pahka Dave