Danielle…. You Ain’t No Sensei
I get it. I’m not Chinese. I’ve never been to China. I don’t teach in Chinese silk pyjamas. I have no lineage of masters before me. My teacher was a 6 foot 2 giant from the North of England who looks a little like Beaker from The Muppets.
Who the heck am I to be teaching Chi Kung or is it Qigong or hang on… cheegoong?
So what is my qualification to teach Chi Kung?
I discovered Chi Kung when I started learning Craniosacral Therapy (CST) in 2007. Our teacher used it as a way to get us to increase our awareness and probably to calm us all down! I was hugely into self improvement and there was something about receiving CST, practicing it, meditating, cleansing, yoga-ing etc that generated a lot of energy in my body. I mean a palpable buzzing. At first it was just in my hands, later it became an unstoppable rush through my core. It got pretty uncomfortable and when I told my CST teacher about it, he said “That happened to me” and casually walked away.
I was intrigued and wanted to know how he’d stopped it. Turns out he hadn’t stopped it and had found a way to cultivate it and work with it to fuel a transformative process for himself and later for thousands of people.
How…. through Chi Kung (and of course, CST).
This guy had found Chi Kung back in the early 80’s and had explored many of its variations with a number of Masters who had the biggest lineages on the planet. He took the best from each tradition and bought it together to create a system that could satisfy the Western students’ desire to connect with an ancient practice AND to understand what the heck that they were doing.
Was he qualified to teach Chi Kung?
I don’t believe he had the piece of paper that said Sensei, but over the almost 10 years that I learned from him, what I witnessed was more powerful than seeing a piece of paper.
I trained as an instructor through his school and in the process I saw myself go from a scared, unconfident shadow to a women who was connected with her power. My mental, emotional and physical health transformed. I was able to shake off the residues of childhood trauma, addiction and the domestic violence I’d experienced as a young woman. Gone. It sparked a reconnection to my real self. I watched others transform. It was like watching layers of dirt being washed away.
All this and no one ever called him Master (unless they were taking the piss).
We studied 5 Element Theory, some Chinese Medicine theory. All good. But what I wanted to learn most was his ability to intuitively channel the most perfect moving form or meditation that would create transformation for the students that I wanted to teach.
The first time it happened I was blown away. I had this big plan on one of my early workshops to teach specific forms. Half way through teaching I got this vision of a particular form. Wait! That’s not on my plan I thought, I taught it anyway. Later an Osteopath on the course told us that she’d felt a big clunk and release in her thoracic spine. She’d had many goes at having that discomfort cleared before with no results and boom, there it was… gone.
Since then I’ve seen some amazing things with the students who practice regularly and keep coming back. Adrenal fatigue… gone. Anxiety… gone. Insomnia, arthritis, back pain… gone. Overweight students feeling graceful and flowing in movement. Older students regaining balance and fluidity. Stressed students finding peace and feeling the serenity. Big sparks of energy. Deep connection with health. Joy, joy and more blinking joy!
So as you can see I’m not that into the tradition of the tradition. I will say though if you want to learn Chi Kung maybe it’s not so important to see the piece of paper and know the lineage, what is important though is that…
- the person who is teaching you glows with the chi that they cultivate,
- they move well,
- they can’t help but share the joy of the chi,
- they have done the years of practice so that they can hold the space for others,
- they have worked with their system to clear away as much of their conditioning and stagnation as possible.
You will know a true teacher when you see them…. piece of paper or not.