The Baduanjin (simplified Chinese: 氓鈥ββ得┾€澛γβ扳€澝ヅ犈? traditional Chinese: 氓鈥ββ得┡捖γβ奥Ｃヅ犈? pinyin: B脛聛du脙聽nj脟聬n q脙卢g脜聧ng) is one of the most common forms of Chinese qigong used as exercise. Variously translated as Eight Pieces of Brocade, Eight Section Brocade, Eight Silken Movements and others, the name of the form generally refers to how the eight individual movements of the form characterize and impart a silken quality (like that of a piece of brocade) to the body and its energy. The Baduanjin is primarily designated as a form of medical qigong, meant to improve health. This is in contrast to religious or martial forms of qigong. However, this categorization does not preclude the form"s use by martial artists as a supplementary exercise, and this practice is frequent.
The Baduanjin as a whole is broken down in to eight separate exercises, each focusing on a different physical area and qi meridian. The Baduanjin traditionally contains both a standing and seated set of eight postures each. In the modern era, the standing version is by far the most widely practiced. The particular order in which the eight pieces are executed sometimes varies, with the following order being the most common.
StandingTwo Hands Hold up the Heavens (Shuang Shou Tuo Tian)
This move is said to stimulate the "Triple Warmer" meridian (Sanjiao). It consists of an upward movement of the hands, which are loosely joined and travel up the center of the body.
Drawing the Bow to Shoot the Hawk (or Vulture)
While in a lower horse stance, the practitioner imitates the action of drawing a bow to either side. It is said to exercise the waist area, focusing on the kidneys and spleen.
Separate Heaven and Earth
This resembles a version of the first piece with the hands pressing in opposite directions, one up and one down. A smooth motion in which the hands switch positions is the main action, and it is said to especially stimulate the stomach.
Wise Owl Gazes Backwards or Look Back
This is a stretch of the neck to the left and the right in an alternating fashion.
Sway the Head and Shake the Tail
This is said to regulate the function of the heart and lungs. Its primary aim is to remove excess heat (or fire) (xin huo) from the heart. Xin huo is also associated with heart fire in traditional Chinese medicine. In performing this piece, the practitioner squats in a low horse stance, places the hands on thighs with the elbows facing out and twists to glance backwards on each side.
Two Hands Hold the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys and Waist
This involves a stretch upwards followed by a forward bend and a holding of the toes.
Clench the Fists and Glare Fiercely (or Angrily)
This resembles the second piece, and is largely a punching movement either to the sides or forward while in horse stance. This, which is the most external of the pieces, is aimed at increasing general vitality and muscular strength.
Bouncing on the Toes
This is a push upward from the toes with a small rocking motion on landing. The gentle shaking vibrations of this piece is said to "smooth out" the qi after practice of the preceding seven pieces.