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Whoon Hei (chi)

by George Mattson
I have long stayed away from any comments on this subject for fear of contradictions to another’s belief or understanding of such.  The practice of hei ghoun has always been a portion of every kung fu style I’ve learned beginning in 1960 and also in the twenty or so years I’ve been going to China for learning and training.

The Chinese art of Tai Chi has always been given credit for their practice of hei ghoun (some call it chi ghoun depending on what geographic location the speaker is from).  This is because most westerners do not see the value of Tai Chi as a fighting art. 

Most western martial artists adopting the macho Japanese attitude of strength conquers all does not see the importance of evasiveness and speed over strength. 

Many of the triad families in Hong Kong and China study and train in just that.  It is called “hai geat tharn shill” which in western terms means tai chi loose hands.  Most do not even care to learn the tai chi 108, 80, 40 nor the 24.  They just learn what they need to do what they must.

In truth, “hei ghoun” exist in every system and style.  The training is called “whoon hei” or “the movement of air”.  This health benefit credited to Tai Chi can be obtained in any and every style.  The secrete (if there really is a secrete) is in the way we take in and discharge the life giving air.  This has been taught to me since I was 9 years old.  This is also the understanding and teachings of every accomplished Chinese Martial Artist I’ve had the pleasure to meet and trained under.

We have it in Uechi-Ryu.  I make everyone of my students aware of the benefits of proper breathing.  As a matter of fact, I am developing a routine for my students to wind down after a hard work out.

Please do not forsake the importance of proper breathing.  Improper breathing on the other hand can become a detriment.  Be careful not to confuse the 2.   

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