Eight Sections of Silk
Joe Hing Kwok Chu
Recorded by: Vera Eby
Retyped and reformatted by: Arnie Miller
original hard copy from Vera was scanned in and became distorted. Thanks
to Arnie for reformatting it. Some of the awkward explanation is added by
the teacher who is not a native English speaker. Vera Eby is an English
teacher in San Francisco. Arnie Miller is an engineer, a corporate data
These are mainly stretching exercises
coming from the Shaolin Monastery which is well known for its martial arts.
They are the preliminary exercises of the martial arts, including eye exercises,
massaging points, stretching, and
punching. Traditionally these
are not classified as neigong exercise. (Neigong was the term before the
term qigong became popular).
The name "eight sections of silk," also translated
as "eight pieces of brocade," is a misnomer. The correct name is "pull
and break tendons." Eight Sections of Silk has nothing to do with the number
"eight." In Chinese, the names sound almost the same.
The former is written as:
The latter is written as:
(pull and break
Today the name "eight sections of silk" is commonly
used. Most books describe the exercise as consisting of eight postures (movements).
The first author made the first mistake. Almost all of the subsequent books
followed the same mistakes. Today, you can buy books or charts , written
by wise men of the Orient, on "twelve sections of silk," "fourteen
sections of silk," etc, much more impressive than just "eight sections."
Traditionally Chinese authors prided themselves in doing "research" in ancient
texts. If there were mistakes in the ancient texts, the mistakes might perpetuate.
Some "scholars" even did questionable research by fabricating ancient texts.
Many books on "eight sections of silk" describe
the exercises as consisting of what they called the scholars' eight
sections and martial artists' eight sections. The former exercises are performed
sitting on the floor and the latter exercises are performed standing up.
Actually the "pull and break tendons" exercises are performed in standing
positions and in sitting positions and also in lying down positions.
In the class we focus on the more important exercises.
The supplement commonly used in Guolin Qigong is the
simplified version of "Pull and Break Tendons" as described in most writings.
Click here to see some of the warm up picture.
Roll the Eyes 36 times
Tap the Teeth
Roll the Tongue 36 times
,Chest and Arms ,Butt
Rolling the eyes
With the eyes closed, roll the eyes 36 times to the left and 36 times to
* Tapping the teeth
With the mouth closed, tap the teeth together lightly 36 times.
* Tapping the bones behind the ears
Tap the bones lightly 36 times with your index fingers.
Massage the temples.
Massage the jaw muscles.
Massage the neck muscles, both sides.
Massage behind the neck, both sides.
Massage the points at the beginning of each eyebrow.
Massage each arm, starting on the inside of the arm:
the upper arm
the lower arm
Pass one palm over the other, slowly, a few times.
Massage the outside of each arm, moving up:
the lower arm
the upper arm
Massage the lower back in the area right above the buttocks;
find the sore spot on both sides; press & rub.
Massage each side of the hips, where the trunk of the
body joins the legs.
Massage each leg/foot:
the middle of the thigh
the lower calf
the side of the ankle, four fingers
above the bone
Click on the thumb nail picture for a larger and detailed
picture for the acupoints.
To Maintain Spleen
Channel and Stomach Channel Raise One Arm
here to see movie here)
Turning the Body
here to see movie here)
Two Hands Supporting
the Sky to Maintain Triple Fire Channel (click
here to see movie here)
Spreading The Bow Left and Right as if
Shooting the Eagle
With moving stances
Spreading its Screen
The Giant Eagle Spreading its Wings
Seven Rocks and Eight Rolls to Get Rid of Hundreds of
Moving the Head and Swaying the Tail to Get Rid of Fire
in Heart Channel
to the Side and Back To Get Rid of Chronic Problems
Hands Holding the Feet To Strengthen the Waist and Kidney Channel
Twist out the
Punches with Angry Look
warm up the body by loosening from toes to the neck.
1. With hands resting on the waist, men step forward
with the left, women step forward with the right. Place more weight on the
front and less weight at the back. Rotate the foot at the back in circle
to left and right directions while the balls of the foot contacting the
ground. Do about 16 circles on each foot.
2. With hands resting on the waist, spread the feet to
the left and right about shoulder's width. Rotate the hip in both directions
about 16 times.
3. Place the feet together and hands on top of the knees
with fingers pointing inward. Rotate the knees about 16 times in both directions
to loosen the back.
4. Spread the feet to one leg's length and place the
hands on top of the legs a little behind the knees with fingers pointing
inward. Look back to the left and to the right and stretch the shoulders
one at a time while pressing the shoulder downward and look back.
5. Straight the legs while still holding the legs to
rest the body weight partly on the arms and look back to the left and to
the right to loosen the back.
6. Stand straight up and stretch the left hand down while
stretch the neck up and to the right. Repeat on the other side. Do this
a few times.
7. Stretch both hands down and stretch the head up. Do
this a few times.
The following #8 stretches were recorded by Peter Croke.
8. Place one
hand on opposite shoulder. Place other hand under the
elbow of the hand on the shoulder. Pull the elbow across
the chest to stretch the triceps of the arm with the hand on the
shoulder. Repeat on the other side.
Place the palm of one hand between shoulder blades with the elbow
facing up. Place the other hand on the elbow of the same hand.
Grab the elbow from the back making sure the forearm is behind
the head. Stretch by pulling on the elbow to stretch the triceps.
Stretch by pulling towards the rear of the head. Reverse the
Place one arm behind the back at the waist, parallel to the floor and
with the palm out and at the mid back level. Grab the wrist
(from the inside) with the other hand. Pull gently on wrist
to stretch the arm behind the body. Then switch arms.
Interlace the fingers and stretch the hands over the head. The
elbows are gently straight and the palms are facing upward.
Sway the arms and hands from side to side while breathing in and out.
Feel the stretch.
Feet are placed in the bow and arrow stance*. Hands are placed
on both hips. Stretch by bringing shoulders back and puffing
out the chest. The face looks forward and the tongue is stuck
out for a good stretch. * Bow and arrow stance: spread feet one legs
length apart. Turn one foot so it is facing sideways.
Bend the same knee until you cannot see your foot. Rotate
the torso so the upper body is facing the same direction. The
other leg is straight on an angle. The foot of this leg does
not move and remains facing the same direction.
(standing or lying down) Standing: Pull one heel up to buttocks.
Hold the leg to buttocks with the other hand holding that leg
by the ankle. Balance on the other leg. Lying: While on
your side keep the top leg gently straight. Pull the bottom
heel, with your upper hand, up to the buttocks. To pull the
heel to grab the ankle. Stretch. Repeat on the other side.
Lie down on the floor. Lie on your back. Extend the arms to the sides,
so the elbows are gently straight. The arms are at a 90 degree
angle to the body Bend the knees so the feet are flat on the
floor. Take one heel and bring it over the other knee and pull
the knee toward the floor. While doing
this rotate the upper torso in the opposite direction. Stretch
and repeat on the other side.
Lie on your back. Extend the arms to the sides, so the elbows
are gently straight. The arms are at a 90 degree angle to the
body Bend the knees so the feet are flat on the floor. Take
one heel and bring it
to the other knee. Place it foot against the inside of the other
knee and push the knee toward the floor. While doing this
rotate the upper torso in the opposite direction. Stretch and repeat
on the other side.
Lie on your stomach. Rise up so your upper torso is resting on
your palms with the arms straight. Knees are bent so they are
supporting the legs and touching the floor. The body is on an
angle. Turn the face upward and stretch the body.
Stay on the floor and get in a sitting position. keep one leg
straight and bend the other leg at the knee. Place the foot
of the bent leg flat on the floor. Place it on the outside of the
other leg (at the
knee level). Bend the arm of the straight leg and place the elbow
against the outside of the opposite knee. Push the knee toward
the floor. Turn the head and upper torso in the opposite direction.
Stretch and repeat on the opposite side.
– Seated on the floor
Spread the legs & lean forward.
Bend one knee & move the leg so the foot is positioned
at the crotch; lean towards the straight leg; put your hands behind your
back, twist, and turn, looking out to stretch the shoulder. At the same
time, with the elbow on the inside of the knee, grip the ankle with your
3. Bend the left leg with the foot positioned at
the crotch; bend the right leg with the foot facing out. Lean to the right
& massage the right hip joint. Reverse and do the other leg.
4. In a sitting position with your feet together
and touching at the bottom, roll forward & back, gripping the ankles or
5. Lie on the floor with the arms extended and palms
out. Bending the knee & keeping the foot flat on the floor, raise the right
leg. Cross the left leg over the right with the ankle on the right thigh,
just above the knee. Stretch the neck and look back. Reverse & do the other
6. With the arms extended and the knees up, turn
toward the right and look to the left; then turn toward the left & look
to the right.
7. With the right knee up, grasp it with the left
hand and pull it to the left & then back to the right. Then reverse and
bring up the left knee, pulling it with your right hand.
8. Bring both knees up toward the chest; first, grip
the left with your hand, pulling down and toward you; then do the same with
9. Cross the right knee over the left. Then do the
Raise the legs up high and do the windmill (walking
on a cloud).
With knees bent and feet flat on the ground, raise
the buttocks slowly, straightening the spine, one vertebra at a time.
Now gradually lower the buttocks & flatten the back, one vertebra at a time.
Lower the legs, so they are extended straight
out. Exhale deeply. Begin to loosen the body, starting with the toes and
loosening the parts of the body in the following sequence:
the dan tian
the belly button area
the upper belly
eventually the whole body
With eyes remaining
closed, roll them in big circles. Then open the eyes, looking far in the
distance, then closer and closer, and finally blinking, looking around you.
Click here to see a research report on the beneficial effect of Eight
Sections of Silk.
to see the class syllabus.
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Last update: June 29, 2011; 6:19 p.m.