Qigong, Philosophical Reading, and the Cultivation of Attention: Chinese Contemplative Body Practices and Slow Philosophy

 by Steven Geisz

Sport, Ethics and Philosophy
(April 2020) 




Qigong practices are contemplative body practices and meditation techniques that emerge from Chinese philosophical, medical, and martial traditions. This paper argues that Qigong is a kind of embodied philosophical activity that is analogous to the ‘slow philosophy’ called for by Michelle Boulous Walker. Four features of Walker’s slow philosophy are highlighted: (i) careful slowness, (ii) repetition, (iii) openness to the transformation of one’s propositional attitudes and one’s virtues, and (iv) a blurring of boundaries between philosophy and non-philosophy. A particular Qigong practice is then examined as a case study: Hunyuan Qigong (Hùnyuán Qìgōng 混元氣功), a Qigong form taught by the Chen-style Taijiquan master Feng Zhiqiang 馮志強 (1928–2012) that involves the practitioner moving her body through multiple series of broadly circular movements. It is argued that Qigong practices are examples of philosophical activity analogous to slow philosophical reading, that slow philosophical reading and Qigong practice can be mutually illuminating and can help us better understand what doing philosophy is, and that Qigong can transform us both by changing our philosophically significant propositional attitudes and by providing means of cultivating virtues related to attention.

 About the author:
Steven Geisz (the University of Tampa, Florida, USA) is currently doing research focused on the ways that body techniques and contemplative practices such as yoga, qigong, the martial arts and meditation are embodiments of philosophical ideas and methods of engaging in philosophical activity. His research and teaching interests include classical Chinese philosophy, the philosophy of mind and language, and political philosophy (particularly questions about democracy).
Steve Geisz is a 500-hour registered yoga teacher (RYT 500). He completed his 200-hour yoga teacher training at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, MA, and his 300-hour advanced yoga teacher training at the Lotus Pond Center for Yoga and Health in Tampa. 

Geisz also teaches Qigong (i.e., Chinese yoga and meditation) and practices several forms of Taijiquan. He is a graduate of the multi-year Qigong teacher training program of Ken Cohen and a certified full instructor in the Universal Tao/Healing Tao Qigong system of Mantak Chia.


World Health Qigong Day 2020

The 4th World Health Qigong Day will be held globally on 12 September 2020.

The theme of World Health Qigong Day 2020 is “Have You Baduanjined Today?

Among the ancient Daoyin in China, Baduanjin is the most widely spread form. Among the Health Qigong promoted to the world, Health Qigong Baduanjin is also the form practised by the largest number of people in the world. This theme is in conjunction with the “Global Health Qigong Time” activity launched by IHQF this year, calling on all practitioners to keep practising Health Qigong  Baduanjin every day, emphasising the importance of perseverance for the effect of Health Qigong, so as to have a deeper experience of Health Qigong and truly benefit from it.

The World Health Qigong Day is expected to be celebrated in many locations throughout Australia.

One of them is: Liberty Grove Village Green, Sydney from 10.30 am. You are welcome to join.

No panacea? Tai Chi enhances motoric but not executive functioning in a normal ageing population

by Roderik J.S. Gerritsen, Joelle Lafeber, Naomi van den Beukel & Guido P.H. Band


Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition
A Journal on Normal and Dysfunctional Development
(August 2020) 




Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) is a promising intervention against age-related decline. Though previous studies have shown benefits in motoric and cognitive domains, it is unclear how these effects are functionally related. Therefore, a randomized controlled trial was conducted in an ageing population (53–85). Two measures of motor functioning – motor speed and functional balance – and three cognitive control measures – shifting, updating and inhibition – were included. The TCC condition consisted of an online 10 week 20 lessons video program of increasing level and control condition of educational videos of similar length and frequency. All analyses were done with Bayesian statistics. Counter to expectation no differences were found in cognition between TCC and control pre-to-posttest. However, there was extreme evidence for TCC benefits on functional balance and moderate evidence for increased motoric speed. After weighing the evidence and limitations of the intervention we conclude that TCC does not enhance cognitive control.

Ageing is affecting societies worldwide. The average life expectancy at birth has increased by 6.2 years from 1990 to 2013 (Murray et al., 2015): in the following decades it is expected that the world population of people aged 65 and over will have more than doubled (He et al., 2016). One of the phenomena related to aging is individual functional decline, both in a physical and a cognitive sense, which has negative consequences both for the individual and society as a whole. Pathological aging conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease are a large individual and societal burden. But even normal age-related cognitive decline and loss of mobility have far reaching consequences, such as on quality of life, which has received increasing attention (Hoang et al., 2020). In the current study, it is tested whether older adults performing a series of 20 Tai Chi Chuan exercise sessions improve their control of motor and cognition function relative to a control condition.

Full text…

 Authors’ information:
Roderik J.S. Gerritsen is currently doing research in age-related cognitive decline and different types of cognitive enhancement. He is specifically interested in meditation or mindfulness interventions within a large study among elderly citizens in the city of Leiden. He studies different styles of meditation that may combat age-related cognitive decline and effects of these practices on attention and executive control processes, neurobiological mechanisms and implicated genetic markers. Other research interests include but are not restricted to: cognitive science of religion, creativity, consciousness, evolution, cultural differences and behavioural economics.
Guido P.H Band obtained his master degree (1992) and PhD (1997) in developmental psychology and psychophysiology at University of Amsterdam, where he focused on response inhibition. Since 1997 he has studied performance monitoring, cognitive control, dual-task performance, and more recently various forms of cognitive enhancement. As of 2009, he is an associate professor at Leiden University, The Netherlands.


Ethics As Never Seen Before

Recently, the International Wushu Federation has established the Ethics Committee in order to safeguard the ethical principles of the Federation.

The IWUF Ethics Committee’s responsibilities include but not limited to formulate rules and procedures governing the conduct of the ethics or disciplinary process, to oversee compliance with the rules of conduct, standards and policies, to receive, initiate and investigate; to report on types of cases investigated with specific description of difficult or recalcitrant cases; to dismiss or recommend action on ethical cases investigated; to resolve cases by agreement where appropriate.” (http://www.iwuf.org/2020/07/24/iwuf-establishes-its-ethics-committee/)

We wonder who the judges are?

The members of this committee MUST BE people with impeccable reputation and clean hands, right?

Of course.

Mr. Walt Missingham (AUS) – Chairman
Mr. Mahdi Alinejad (IRI) – Member
Mr. Julian Camacho (PHI) – Member

Here is more about this Troikahttps://wuguanblog.wordpress.com/category/aktuelles/

Open Tai Chi Championships 2020


The 2020 TCAA Australian Open Tai Chi Championship, will be held on Saturday 30 May 2020 in New South Wales at the Morris Iemma Indoor Sports Centre, 150 Belmore Road North, Riverwood, NSW 2210.

Participation is OPEN TO ALL TAI CHI ENTHUSIASTS. Please register as early as possible, and tell all your Tai Chi friends to register to perform or to come and enjoy watching.

The closing date for registration is Friday 1st May 2020.

For more details and registration visit TCAA Competition Page