chinese martial arts

By examining the history of various peoples around the world, we often stumble upon the concept of energy which resides in the body and is explained in a similar way and is called by similar names. Examples include the breath of life, life or vital energy or, oftentimes, inner energy. According to numerous legends and writings, the idea refers to a specific energy which is stored inside us, as well as in other living creatures, i.e. animals and plants, and is considered to be of vital importance. This is the reason why it is often called vital or life energy (bioenergy, bios = life + energy).
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Axie Breen Photography

The wide smile and palpable positive energy of Kathy Yang are the first things a student notices when watching her instructional videos.

Whether teaching White Crane or Long Fist styles of Kung Fu or Qigong exercises and sets, Yang conveys her instruction in a unique way that is easy to follow and packed with information.

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Nuns from the Drukpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, better known as the "Kung Fu Nuns," have been named as finalists for the prestigious Václav Havel Human Rights Prize. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which established the award in 2013, cited not only the nuns work promoting gender equality, environmental sustainability and intercultural tolerance but their teaching self defense to women across the Himalayas region as reasons for their nomination.

The order, which primarily lives and trains at Druk Amitabha Mountain Nunnery in Nepal, began practicing kung fu a decade ago as a means of empowerment and have since been active in the fight against human trafficking and in bringing pandemic relief aid to remote villages over the past year. The other two finalists for this year's prize, Loujain al-Hathloul of Saudi Arabia and Julienne Lusenge of the Democratic Republic of Congo, are also noted for their work promoting women's rights.


In the 1990s, when I started studying martial arts, classes started with traditional calisthenics and then stance training, which I deduced was an ancient form of torture devised especially for young men from the suburbs. There were lines of students holding low horse stances, breathing deep, relaxing their upper body, and focusing their minds to stay in the moment. It was great training. Years later, I was surprised to learn that stance training was a form of Qigong. Is it still Qigong if I don't know that it is? Yes.

There were lines of students holding low horse stances, breathing deep, relaxing their upper body, and focusing their minds to stay in the moment. It was great training. Years later, I was surprised to learn that stance training was a form of Qigong. Is it still Qigong if I don't know that it is? Yes.
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