Author: Jiang Sheng
Nanjing, China 
Conference/Journal: 2nd Int Conf on Qigong
Date published: 1989
Other: Pages: 128 , Word Count: 1277
'Qigong' gives a unique influence on the art of Chinese character writing Sou Shu writes with the mouth holding the brush instead of the Hand. The calligrapher's neck serves as a fulcrum. The writer mobilizes the internal 'Qi' to run the brush
In this kind of writing, the strokes of the written characters are rather restrained They seem rather compact , and gives out a steric sensation The writing skill combines the characteristics of both grossness and prettiness In writing Kou Shu , the calligrapher's head protrudes forward to bring the whole sheet of the paper directly under his nose This posture widens the visual field of the doer so much that the writing strokes are made much free and easier. Qigong practice makes a man healthier and cheerful. You Shu utilizes Shu Fa in the practice of 'qigong'. In Kou Shu, the calligrapher propagates his internal 'qi ' to the tip of the brush pen. At the same time, each stroke serves to reinforce the physiological functions of the visceral organs and 'Jingluo' (channels and collaterals where acupuncture points are distributed).
Kou Shu is multifunctional. It not only practices calligraphy, but also molds a person's temperament. It does breathing exercise and cures disease. I call it 'Kou Bi Qi Gong Shu Fa'.
I The Relationship between Kou Shu and Qigong
To practice 'qigong , the first clue is 'ru-jing', entering the absolute refractory state to external stimulations. The essence of 'ru-jing ' is the complete disposal of emotional upset. This is to enter quietude of the mind (breath). Such a state enables clearness of the mind, alertness, optimism and light-heartiness. Brain is the highest center of the nervous system. The healthier the brain, the happier [we] will be.
Breathing exercise is called 'Tu Na' -- getting rid of the stale air and taking in the fresh. In our language, it is known as 'Tu Gu Na Xin'. It possesses the effect of enhancing the blood circulation, facilitating 'jingluo', activating the visceral organs, arousing' Yuan-Qi' (vitality), concentrating 'Jing Qi' (energy). To breathe through the nose is the main point to be observed in breathing exercise.
Qigong is to be practiced only in absolute calmness of the mind. One has to breathe naturally. In writing, the force applied, the rate of the writing, the direction of the motion and the rhythm of each stroke of the character are kept in harmony with the respiratory rhythm. Practicing Qigong one should be a state of 'Shang Xu Xia Shi'. A man past his adulthood or patients with chronic diseases usually suffer a state of 'Xia Qi' deficit, which advances in parallel with the age and severity of the illness and presents an 'augumered Shang Qi'. This type of 'Xia Xu Shang Shi' is due to deficiency of liver-qi, kidney-qi, and sperm-qi resulting in 'Xia Xu', characterized by weaknesses of waist and knee, muscular asthenia, spermatorrh) and 'Shang Kang', characterized by vertigo, redness of the eyes and hot temper. While I am writing, I assume the following posture: standing with hands place on the table, cheeks sucking-in, chest distending, belly contracted to loosen the waist and buttocks. This is to induce the descent of 'qi', to maintain a state of 'Shang Xu Xia Shi', or 'Xu Xiong Shi Fu'. Ge Kong (an ancient made??) in his famous b [book?] 'Bo Pu Zi' noted: 'whereas one feels bad, just to induce 'Bi Qi' to cure the disease.' After I have finished one character or a few characters in writing at one go, I used. to hold my breath (' Bi Qi') for a while. To practice 'Bi Qi' in writing will put activity of 'Jingluo' (channels and collaterals) on stress, so as to reinforce its function.
II. Oral Calligraphy Presents A New Problem in Qigong
Qigong was called 'Dao Yin' in ancient times. The so-called 'Dao Yin is to 'Dao' (conduct) the 'Qi' to make the 'Qi' harmonize and to 'Yin' (enable) the body to feel well' (Zhuang Zi, Ke Ye: On Sedulous Strife, footnote of Li Yi). This is qigong therapy combining qigong with physical training.
In ancient times, respiration was considered as a process of 'Tu Gu Na Xin' ( getting rid of the stale air and taking in the fresh) and physical training imitates the movements of fur and feather.
'Inhaling and exhaling slowly in respiration, 'Tu Gu Na Zin', and the imitation of the movements of fur and features are aimed at prolonging one's longevity. The person who practices using normal 'Dao Yin' is aimed at keeping one's figure straight and upright like Peng Zu. ( Zhuang Zi Ke Yi ( On Sedulous Strife ). Wu Shang Guang of Qing Dynasty in his .book 'Theoretical Pianwen' (rhythmical prose characterized by parallelism and ornateness) wrote : 'According to Zhuang Zi, the essence of 'Dao Yin' is what he said that respiratory 'Tu Na' and bear's footprints and birds' wing spreading -- just one kind of medical therapy, indicating that the ancient 'Dao Yin' is nothing but respiratory movements and imitative play of fowls and beasts.
In 1973, the excavation of Han Dynasty at Ma Wang Dui, Chandsha included an ancient medical book copied on silk. There were two articles on qigong. one dealing with the indications and performance of 'Dao Yin ', the other being an atlas of 40 pictures of 'Dao Yin' imitating the moving and static gestures of birds (stork) and beasts (bear, monkey, tiger, etc.).
'Kou Bi Qi Gong' is the kind 'Dao Yin' mentioned above. It is derived from ancient breathing exercises and physical exercises imitating the gestures of fur and feather.
Qigong is characterized by:
Postural changes in physical exercise: While I am writing, I assume the following posture: standing on the floor with both hands on the table, bending the upper part of the body, holding the brush shaft in mouth, turning head and neck to manipulate the brush. This stimulates the motion of fur and feather. In cooperation to manipulate the brush, both feet moving accordingly and both hands straightening the paper and at the same time supplying ink [as] necessary. Then I bow and stretch, when occasion arises, in alterations.
Breathing movement: While I am doing with both hands on the table, elbows slightly abducted, shoulders abducted and sucking in of cheeks to make the chest'to hold the breath. Standing with both knees slightly knocked and with waist and gluteal regions relaxed is indispensable for one to start the 'Gong'.
Thus in Dao Yin, the internal 'qi' (vital energy ) in the body descending to the 'internal center'. Dao Yin by the contraction of abdominal muscles renders the Qi in the 'internal center' flowing back to the back of the body, then through the vertebral column going upward to the cervical region and finally to be propagated to the tip of the brush. This completes the cycling of internal Qi, again and again inside the body.
This is called 'to run the qi by 'Dan Yin' described in Ling Shu of Huang Di Nei Jing Zhuang Zi, in his article 'Ke Yi' pointed out: 'To run the 'Qi' by Dao Yin, to cultivate the flesh and soul. It is the path to longevity and the art to conserve youth.' In ancient times, it is called auto recycling of qi treatment.
The application of qigong in calligraphy and the feedback of calligraphy to qigong make it possible to turn the art of calligraphy into a kind of qigong therapy for the healing of various diseases benefit mankind. It is not only a new path in Chinese calligraphy, but also opens up a new field of qigong in traditional medicine. Therefore, 'Kou Shu serves a new type of 'Qi Gong Shu Fa'.