Eight Pieces of Brocade

A Remarkably Effective New Form of Instruction Made Possible by Cutting Edge Speech Technology

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Reflections in the waters below the castle of Lenzen, Germany. The view from where I have practiced Qigong.

Qigong is the increase and improvement of the quantity, quality and flow of Chi energy in the body. Qigong has a history of some 4,000 years in China. About 1,000 years ago, the leader of the entire Chinese army – a general in his thirties – developed the ‘Eight Pieces of Brocade’ as a set of Qigong movements to support his troops in their defense against a Mongolian invasion. He created a sitting set for wounded soldiers who could not stand and a standing set for those who could. ‘Eight Pieces of Brocade’ has had 1,000 years of refinement and is well known in China as an excellent practice for health and well-being.

What I call ‘Brocades’ is a remarkably effective, new form of instruction for learning and practicing Qigong movements in precise detail, made possible by cutting-edge voice synthesis technology. It is based on the video course instruction by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming.

Also known as ‘Brocades Qigong Coach’, my creation is intended to be heard as an audio while following the voice prompts to make the Qigong movements. Hearing voice prompts, without having to watch a person, enables one to feel the Chi energy more deeply. It is helpful to follow precise prompts and not have to count repetitions while moving Chi with the mind and coordinating the body. When practicing in a public area, the prompts can also be very useful as a focal point for maintaining concentration.

‘Brocades’ is not first meant to be viewed as a video, yet for someone new to the practice of Qigong the scrolling text could be useful. Please note that the mis-spellings in the text are deliberate, to achieve the correct pronunciation!

In the latest versions of the Qigong voice prompts, the voice is synthesized by the Speechify app, which has given me the ability to fine-tune the instruction so it flows with the movements of the practitioner. According to the developer, ‘Speechify uses cutting edge Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning to synthesize the highest quality and most natural sounding voices in history.’

After enjoying several teachers and forms of Qigong, I most resonate with Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming (YMAA). His app on ‘Eight Pieces of Brocade’ is recommended for foundational understanding before using my practice aid.

‘Deep Breathing Reflections’ is an adjunct to the Brocades movements. It is introduced at the beginning of ‘Brocades’ to move the mind to the present moment, and at the end to finish with deep breathing.

Brocades 002 (video below) is spoken in a male voice, and Brocades 001 (at the Whole Human site) is in a female voice. Both are available as downloadable files, unconditionally free, so they can be played with any mp3 player.

Perhaps because I am the creator, I love following the prompts. It feels so vital and alive, and I can focus on that feeling rather than watching what a person is doing. Test it out and let me know how it feels to you, please.

Any comments and/or suggestions will be appreciated.

Originally published on the Whole Human site.

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A view from the castle garden in Germany, where I practice the 'Present Moment Brocades.'


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