8 Brocades

Ba Duan Jin – the Eight Strands of Brocade
The 8 Brocades is a simple qigong set that can be practiced in many ways for varying benefit. Sets vary according to teacher.  No one is definitive or correct.

When and where to practice
6 and 12 both am and pm are said to be optimal times to practice and it is said it is best to avoid practice in damp conditions.

Lam Kam Chuen advises to avoid five of the qigongs from the Brocades when pregnant.
Gazing at the Moon
Lowering Head and Hips to Reduce Heat from the Heart
Two hands Climb the Legs to Strengthen the Kidneys
Punching Illusion
Kidney Shake

He also suggests not to eat an hour before any practice and that a full stomach may affect breathing and digestion.(REF2) Mimi Kuo-Deemer suggests to always eat at least a little before practice as the food in the stomach can transform into a vital qi energy.(REF3)

Kenneth S. Cohen explains this contradiction in teaching in talking of the ‘seven major kinds of qi’.(3)(REF4) and so where Chuen’s advice may be sound I much prefer Mimi’s reasoning.

Health Benefits
Best practiced daily as a preventative medicine, strengthening the system and aiding functionality of organs.  Some use it as a deep muscular massage and repair, some as a moving meditation, some as a warmup and some as an unwind. 

All medicinal tai chi works in harmony with mainstream medication, helping the body absorb the benefit from medication, helping rid the body of toxins, balance emotion from and minimise side effect of medication and create an internal peace of mind conducive to healing.

The Brocades is a great study of histories and mysteries in tai chi, of warriors and Holy men. Long used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), parts are now being embraced in Western medicine.

It’s an easy 20 minute daily tonic.



In main the work of senior student Silvia Rossi, written as part of coursework for a presentation on the Brocades, we’ve used notes from online courses Silvia has taken with Mark Peters and Mimi Kuo-Deemer along with notes from:

The Way of Qigong – The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing – Kenneth S. Cohen.
The Way of Energy – Lam Kam Chuen
Qigong and the Tai Chi Axis – Nourishing Practices for Body, Mind and Spirit – Mimi Kuo-Deemer
The Theory and Practice of Taiji Qigong – Chris Jarmey

Along with two photocopied handouts from coursework over 20 years ago – authors unknown.