by John Arena, Sydney, NSW
On 21 August 2022, I attended the lecture and workshop “Qigong – from Martial Arts to Self-Cultivation” with Howard Choy, a prominent Qigong and Tai Chi expert visiting Sydney from Germany where he lives now after moving from Australia n 2001. I thoroughly appreciate the opportunity provided to us to meet and listen to Howard Choy talking about his life, his philosophy and his wonderfully enlightening approach to life, health and living longer and stronger in this modern world. That included his thoughts and insights into Qigong, Tai Chi and Wushu. I learned a lot bout the balance of Yin & Yang and, more importantly, about the “potential” between these two which with regular practice provides us with the opportunity to “become” – to improve ourselves by improving not just our skills and our vitality but our joy and peace in relating to our world, our relationships with our world, our environment by doing what we do with passion, with mindfulness and focus – also that we are happiest being in a place where we connect with people that we love , whether family, friends or those with whom we share common goals and interests. Also, that the best way to become good at Qigong, Tai Chi or whatever is to teach it to others – for in teaching we can gain very valuable insights into important aspects of our practice that we may not have ever considered.
Howard also demonstrated and allowed us to practice three basic fundamental Qigong exercises (using reverse breathing) :
- Lifting and Lowering;
- Opening and closing;
- Rotating – picking up a star down below and placing it in the Big Dipper above.
I had almost forgotten the technique of “reverse breathing” which I had learned decades ago 🙂
Another gem from Howard was the analogy that practising Qigong is “like coming home to yourself, giving time to be yourself to reconnect to the whole of Life, to heal ourselves, regenerate” as he said to ‘go out again’ we must first ‘come home’ .
He also spoke about correlative thinking/responses which explained how you can be manipulated if we believe that someone has power over us because they are ‘a Master’… and also that correlation does mean causation AND that while many schools of Qigong, Wushu and Tai Chi have the same basic principles, “it is the application… how we apply these principles… that makes all the difference… as he said he used to practice to be fast, to be able to win a fight, whereas now at his age he practises to prolong his life, enjoy life, find peace and better health and fitness!