Sarina Stone: Well hey guys and welcome back. Master Chia is on tour for the next few months. So in this episode, I'm with a favorite educator of his and the founder of White Tiger Qigong School and a master in his own right, Tevia Feng. We are going to demystify ancient Chinese secrets, talk about why we advocate Medical QiGong and why we think it should be brought to people like you. Everybody can make a difference in thier health and mental state, in a positive way, with Medical Qigong. I see Tevia coming now. Hi
Tevia Feng: Hey Sarina.
SS: Alright, so we're just going to be sitting around here at Tao Garden and you're going to hear dishes clanging and birds chirping. Maybe you'll hear somebody walk by. We're just hanging out in Tao Garden and Tevia we're going to be offering folks some information.
TF: Oh, happy to be here and talk about QiGong. I can talk about it all day long.
SS: So let’s go right into it. Just last night I was hanging out with some friends and what came up was that it’s pretty airy fairy, you know, very mystical. You see movies with guys flying through the air, whaaaa, and then their throat explodes or their heart bursts. I want to get into a little bit about how QiGong got started. You definitely know more about the history than I do. So you take the mic.
TF: Well first, if we really want to understand what is QiGong we have to look at the history of it to really grasp it. Actually, QiGong really started to be widely used around the time of the communist revolution…around 1949.
SS: I love the cloths in the 40's, keep going. (laughing)
TF: And that's when Mao Zedong came into power. He led the communist revolution and at that time he believed in QiGong because some of the other members of the party were healed by QiGong. The communist party wanted to take the spirituality out of everything so they wanted to make QiGong sort of a science.
SS: Wasn't the religion of China Buddhism?
TF: Actually, they say Buddhism was imported. The original religion of China is actually Taoism. Buddhism they say, came from India.
SS: Oh boy, so let’s go back to your story...so they wanted to take all of the religion or spirituality out of it?
TF: Yep, they were doing that with everything. What Mao Zedong wanted to do is clean any connection to anything spiritual or religious in China. And why is that? That is because China was being invaded by western powers. You had America, France, England, Japan and they were all invading china at the time. Mao Zedong saw that his country was about to be dominated by western powers so he realized he needed to have a strategy that was very extreme. He saw that the Chinese people were very soft, warm and excepting and he needed to completely shift their reality. He created the cultural revolution. That created havoc in China and was pretty much a devastating event in Chinese history. It wiped clean a lot of their connection to their ancient culture. He burned plantations and he forbade many ancient Chinese practices. Martial artists and qigong masters fled and were either murdered or put in prison. Many fled into the mountains or other countries.
SS: Because they were viewed as people who retained their gifts through some sort of spiritual connection?
TF: Yeah, it had a connection to the culture number one. That is why it was a culture revolution. He was trying to eliminate the connection to the culture. He was actually using an ancient book called the “I Ching” which is the book of changes. And he used that book for his strategy of war. He also used Sun Jian in the art of war. He went on this rampage and started to cut the connection with QiGong but then QiGong started to come back. Then during the Deng Xiaoping era, he was the next president after Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping promoted qigong and business, even though it was still under communist rule. He founded the city called Chongqing. It’s now the entrepreneurial capital of China.
SS: So now we're out of the 40's and we're into the 50's…ladies, ducktails, black leather jackets on the guys, we love it…poodle skirts. Ok, now we're getting into pretty modern times. Mao is out but he facilitated a pretty huge change and I'm sorry, but as a woman sitting here, you know, the yin portion of our show, that sounds horrible.
TF: Millions of people died. They had re-education programs. A lot of famous QiGong masters were put into these re-education camps to rehabilitate them so they wouldn't believe in these fairytale beliefs. Deng Xiaoping came into power and he promoted QiGong and business but they still wanted to keep any type of connection to spirituality out of it and keep it a science. He started to classify any supernatural power as qigong. Later all these quacks started coming out and they were trying to gain popularity. saying they could cook meat with their hands, they could heal people without touching them and they were making fortunes doing that. What happened were some institutions started demystifying QiGong saying these guys were con artists. So a lot of people started thinking QiGong was some mystical thing.
SS: A mystical thing with some really heavy connotations. I mean you could die under Mao's rule or you could be labeled a charlatan.
TF: And QiGong went through these massive waves of rising, falling and changing. People’s viewpoint of what QiGong was, was changing so significantly. People were getting rich and there were coffers to be filled. It is said that a lot of these Chinese government officials kept a slew of Chinese qigong masters at their helm so that they could teach them the exercises. These exercises are actually originally called Tao Yin. Tao Yin really means guiding and pulling. Tao Yin is really the category within qigong, if we really want to get specific that refers to the actual physical exercises in relationship to the practice of qigong.
SS: So they were doing QiGong because they knew they were safe. They weren't going to get hurt, right? But they’re not going to share it. They knew the differences between the people in power, charlatans and the real deal and so they were using QiGong.
TF: When QiGong was permitted by the Chinese government they put these people in units. We have to understand how the communist operation works, a unit consisted of a factory and all the people that lived in that community. Government officials and spokesmen lived there too. People in china lived in these enclaves, so to speak, at that time. When you think of the soviets and communist Russia, it’s a very closed off. They had these closed off units all over China but then they would spread from unit to unit about promoting what the government wanted to promote. So that’s how they made QiGong really popular. It was a way that people were getting better and healing without spending a lot of money.
SS: In my country that would be great because we’re having some issues with healthcare...
TF: Without going into too much detail there, most powers don’t want you to have access to natural healing modalities.
SS: Well it’s a little hard to make money selling medicine if you don't need it. Enough said.
TF: Back to this story, then along came this massive healing movement using qigong. This movement was called the Falun Gong. Falun Gong had a hundred million Chinese at its peak practicing this type of qigong. Government officials were doing it, the elite were using it, and professors at universities were using it because people were getting great and profound effects from it. So what happened the leader of Falun Gong? He decided that he was going to get political. That is when it took a turn for the worse. He started a cult like following claiming he was the master of this sect and he would start to tell people how to behave morally. He started speaking out politically.
SS: Big mistake
TF: At first, the communist party couldn't fight him because they had their own members of the party practicing. It was a tricky subject. The Falun Gong movement was actually protesting and arranging thousands of people to do QiGong at the same time to overthrow the government. Jiang Zemin, president at the time, decided that decided that he was going to clamp down. That is when a major war started with the communist party and the Falun Gong movement. The Falun Gong movement lost and that leader, Li Honggzhi fled the United States. I don't get political so I won’t go much further than that. At that point, a lot of people became scared to be associated with QiGong. So as we say in yin and yang, as we reach one extreme the opposite extreme will happen. So QiGong reached this massive popular state with a hundred million people practicing and it flipped and then hardly anyone practiced after that. They were scared and they didn't want to be associated with QiGong.
SS: …and rightly so.
SS: People were disappearing. I can't speak for all our listeners but for a lot of us, we saw tons of news reports and things on Facebook telling us that masters were fleeing China. People were disappearing because they were doing, you know, what looked like
Ti Chi in the park. It was pretty heavy and i can tell you for a fact t, Tao Garden hosted a few masters that needed to leave. But I haven't heard anything about it for a while so where are we at this now?
TF: Where we are at now is as China's new government has moved into power they started to open up the country and they really want to bring back the culture. They are actually promoting traditional Chinese culture and within that qigong is an integral part. I have to give credit to the current government because they are actually allowing people to come out and practice and encouraging it. They promote Tai Chi predominately and Baduanjin which is the Eight Pieces of Brocade and Five-Animals which is another form.
They are promoting specific forms but they are so many forms. People are now allowed to come out but the thing is a lot of these older masters still have those memories of what happened. Because its not so long ago that that happened. They are still scared to come out still because it could happen again.
SS: It’s pretty normal for a human being to say this has happened before and it could happen again. From your perspective, you speak fluent Chinese, you're living in Asia. What do you think? Do you think we're safe?
TF: I feel totally safe. I wouldn't get involved in any sort of political groups…absolutely not.
SS: That’s not very Tao to take this natural art and go ahead and stampede the government with it.
TF: A lot of people viewed Li Honggzhi as quite manipulative. Actually, Falun Gong roots come from Buddhist origins so it had no relationship with Taoism. So that brings us into the modern age and here we are now. Are there people that have mystical powers? Yes. Absolutely. There are people that can light fires with their hands it been documented and filmed. Is this what I practice? No.
SS: And is it really mystical?
TF: It’s a lot of practice with the right technique.
SS: I’ve seen some stuff too and let’s face it, if either one of us just focused on this one thing for like twenty years we would probably be mystical too. And frankly, I've heard people talk about the way you move or touch people with your Medical Qigong that could be perceived as...
TF: I'm laughing because people think that it’s mystical. It’s really just experience and doing the same practice for so many years. It just becomes second nature and I can recognize patterns. You start to recognize patterns in your own body and then by teaching others you can start to see their patterns so you can recognize imbalances very quickly. When you understand the human body and how it really works you can see these patterns. For some people that don’t know they might see this as some type of super power but it’s really just recognizing patterns fro years and years of experience.
SS: For folks that don't know, one of the things I'm really good at is Chi Nei Tsang, an abdominal massage technique. I literally just came from giving a friend a treatment and it does seem mystical. There is a certain thing I see in everybody. If they have had a trauma, it’s pretty heavy and they still don't feel safe. They still live in fear or anger. There is a thing I find in everybody that there is a wall between them and the rest of the world to be safe. So I know if I just test this place [with Chi Nei Tsang] and I feel the thickness and start touching and asking, "Why would you have a wall around the core of your being", the understanding comes in the client. For them, it feels like a spiritual experience if they are spiritual. At the very least it feels profoundly emotional. After they spend some time taking a look at what’s been screwing up their life, they look different, they feel different, and their blood and cerebral spinal fluid is flowing totally different. Then it becomes a mystical experience for them because then literally looks younger after a treatment like that and it kind of sticks in their mind. It looks mystical. That’s why I have this amazing reputation. But it’s not mystical. I am just like everybody else. There is nothing mystical about it. It’s anatomy, physiology and understanding energy. When energy vibrates at a low enough frequency it can actually become solid matter that can become stuck in your tissues. They have this thickness in their tissues that no doctor can explain. You just have to understand that stuff...I know that you do, Tevia. You actually understand at a level that is different than mine. There is still some stuff that I think is a little mystical out there and that is thought is fun. I'm not going to take that thought away from my consciousness. For you listeners out there, Tevia and I have some pretty strong feelings about demystifying this stuff. People talk about, like you just touch this and it’s a big change, it feels like a spiritual experience to have that tension that was with us for so long we didn't even realize was making us feel bad, go away. It feels spiritual but we're going to spend the next few months explaining how spirituality is a good thing but that it’s not what we're going to talk about. We're going to make this real physical. Alright, we don't have a whole lot of time left today. In the future we are going to put up another podcast and take this a little bit deeper. We're going to talk about some of the things that Tevia or I might be teaching and how to demystify some of this stuff. I would like to hear more about the Chinese language and how we may interpret this stuff and also how martial arts look mystical in movies and how much of that really happens because I've watched you move and that kind of defies logic. Nobody should squat that low if you're over twenty. So folks come on back. Until next time…