Do-In Ho Kiko Jujutsu
Energy Cultivation, Awareness & Longevity Arts
The Yellow Emperor and the Han Dynasty
The earliest written mention of Chi Gong as a healing technique is found in The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, or Huang Ti Nei Jing, written sometime during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220). Here it describes the fundamental natural principles that lead to good health:
"In the past, people practiced the Tao, the Way of Life. They understood the principle of balance, of yin and yang, as represented by the transformation of the energies of the universe. Thus, they formulated practices such as Dao Yin Fa Chi Gong. Exercises combining stretching, massaging, and breathing to promote energy flow, and meditation to help maintain and harmonize themselves with the universe. They ate a balanced diet at regular times, arose and retired at regular hours, avoided overstressing their bodies and minds, and refrained from overindulgence of all kinds. They maintained well-being of body and mind; thus, it is not surprising that they lived to be well over one hundred years and more."
Another early Han period record of Chi Gong practice is the Dao Yin Illustrations (Dao Yin Tu), written by the healer Hua Tuo (Kada), considered the patriarch of Chinese medicine. It includes a chart representing 44 human figures which perform movements emulating wild animals, including the wolf, monkey, bear, crane, hawk and vulture. Hua Tuo is credited with developing the "Five Animal Frolics" style, which is still popular today.
"The superior physician teaches; the inferior physician treats."
(ancient medical proverb)
Up until the 20th century, Chi Gong was a closely-guarded state secret in China, passed down from monk to monk in special lineages. On demand, the monks would share their esoteric Chi Gong knowledge with their emperors, who were more often than not seeking the key to eternal life.
As it developed over the centuries, Chi Gong incorporated a variety of spiritual influences. Buddhist monks used Chi Gong to enhance their spiritual practice, strengthen their bodies and help them attain enlightenment (nirvana. Taoists used it to help them become strong and flexible like nature, with the goal of attaining immortality. During the Liang Dynasty, a Buddhist monk named Damo would develop two series of exercises to improve the health of the monks living at the Shaolin Temple. These exercises, Muscle/Tendon Changing and Bone/Marrow Washing, are still used today. Due to this influence, Chi Gong became incorporated into martial arts training.