Dragon and Tiger Medical Qigong

About a week ago, I participated in a free Zoom workshop offered by Energy Arts, a Colorado-based company that offers instruction in meditation, qigong, tai chi, and bagua, all with a Taoist focus.

The workshop was on Dragon and Tiger Medical Qigong, a form of qigong that has been shown to be of value to people with medical problems; however, its benefits are not limited to that group.

Qigong, also spelled chi kung, is pronounced chee-gung. It means “energy workout.”

Dragon and Tiger Medical Qigong contains only seven movements. They are done slowly, mindfully, and precisely. In this video, Paul Cavel, a senior Energy Arts instructor, demonstrates the form.

Don’t be deceived by the slowness of the movements. In the workshop, Craig Barnes did three sets of the form, doing each movement 20 times. If you do not think that is a good workout, you either have never done it or are not doing it correctly.

In his webpage titled “What is Qigong?” Bruce Frantzis, the founder of Energy Arts, defines it as

a form of gentle exercise composed of movements that are repeated a number of times, often stretching the body, increasing fluid movement (blood, synovial and lymph) and building awareness of how the body moves through space.

One thing that differentiates qigong from both exercises people in the Western world do is that it is not just an external (physical) exercise.

Frantzis writes,

When you practice and learn a qigong exercise movement there are both external movements and internal movements. These internal movements, or flows, in China are called neigong, or ‘internal power’. These internal neigong movements make qigong a superior health and wellness practice.

Need more evidence that qigong works?

According to Frantzis, “qigong has been proven in China by its beneficial impact on the health of millions of people over thousands of years.” No Western exercise can match that claim.

For more information about Dragon and Tiger Medical Qigong, view this video narrated by Frantzis. Besides a demonstration, it offers background information on Dragon and Tiger.

Exercise Can Both Improve and Protect Your Health

My parents walked, weather permitting, for at least 30 minutes even when in their eighties. But that was not their only exercise. My mother continued her tai chi lessons, attending William C. C. Chen’s class in New York and my father would go to a gym.

They were convinced that exercise was a life-extender. They were right.

“Regular physical activity can actually slow the aging process on a cellular level and potentially add years to your life,” according to an article by Michelle Crouch on the AARP website.

Exercise can more. It can help both improve and protect your health.

Thus, it is even more important now when a pandemic threatens all of us and the federal government’s response has been haphazard and the medical system is being overwhelmed by too many patients and too few supplies. As a result, each of us needs to assume more responsibility for our health.

A tweet by Dr. Howard Luks highlighted the connection between exercise and the immune system:

The above tweet links to an article Dr. Luks wrote in which he said, “Exercise is the best medicine. Aside from social isolation and masks, it is also possible that it’s your best strategy to minimize the risk of having severe issues with COVID19.”

But which exercise?

Given that many Americans are abiding by the “shelter in place” guideline, that reduces the number of viable exercises.

One form of exercise not widely known in the United States is one that many more Americans should consider doing. It can be done at home. No equipment, special clothing, or athletic ability is required.

It is called qigong — pronounced chee-gung.

On his website, Bruce Frantzis, one of the leading qigong practitioners and authors in the world, describes qigong this way:

Qigong (alternatively spelled chi gung or chi kung) is a form of gentle exercise composed of movements that are repeated a number of times, often stretching the body, increasing fluid movement (blood, synovial and lymph) and building awareness of how the body moves through space.

There are many different types of qigong. Some that Master Frantzis teaches are Dragon and Tiger Medical Qigong, Heaven and Earth Qigong, and Gods Playing in the Clouds Qigong.

In this video, Paul Cavel demonstrates Heaven and Earth Qigong.

In my next post, I will continue this talk.

Body or heart and mind? Or both?

Though the Mets Spring Training has just begun, the Edwin Diaz drama continues.

In Joel Sherman’s article, “Mets are desperate for Edwin Diaz resurrection,” “faulty mechanics” are blamed for Diaz’s 2019 problems on the mound, highlighted by his 5.59 ERA and his 45.3 Hard Hit % — 10 points more than his previous high.

Source: Statcast

Causes?

Sherman writes, “He opened up his front shoulder too soon too often, plus his hand position was off.” Diaz adds, ““I left too many pitches right in the middle.”

In 2019, why weren’t the Mets able to figure that out? That failure is not just a coaching problem, it is a team problem, one Mets GM Van Wagenen has been trying to resolve.

New pitching coach Jeremy Hefner has inherited the Diaz problem. However, poor pitching mechanics do not appear to be what most concerns Hefner.

“He [Diaz] can only control what is going on in his chest and inside of his brain. That is what we have been focusing on,” Hefner said.

Diaz says one thing; Hefner another. Body or mind and heart?

Sherman summed up the situation:

Today, he [Diaz] is the face to what currently is an abysmal trade — Seattle received one of the majors’ best prospects in Jarred Kelenic while the Mets got Diaz and Robinson Cano, who had his worst season at the plate and with health in 2019.

Despite the hope that Hefner expresses, the Diaz problem does not appear to be a quick fix.

Mets Need More Inning-Eaters

Since the 2015 season, only two starters have pitched more than 200 innings in a season as a Met.

That’s more than 600 outs per season.

Both have done it three times.

Jacob deGrom did it in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Tom Glavine did it in 2004, 2005, and 2007.

Since 2000, no other Mets pitcher has done it more than twice. Four accomplished that twice: Al Leiter, Steve Trachsel, and Mike Pelfrey, all before 2011, and R. A. Dickey in the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

Al Leiter also did it in 1999, so in his Mets career he reached the 200 marker three times.

Before 2017, the last Mets pitcher to do it (once) was Bartolo Colon, who did it in 2014. Others were Pedro Martinez (2005), Johan Santana (2008), Kevin Appier (2001), and Mike Hampton (2000). No Mets pitcher broke the 200 IP barrier in either 2015 or 2016.

Before 2000, Mets pitchers reached the 200 mark much more often with one pitcher, Tom Seaver, doing it 11 times, accomplishing it in every season from 1967 to 1976.

In the last century, it was done most often from 1962-1979 and from 1983-1993, eras when Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack, Dwight Gooden, and David Cone brought fans to their feet in Shea Stadium.

For deGrom to have done it three times in a row in this era when relievers are entering games earlier and earlier shows that he deserves to be ranked among the Mets great starting pitchers, the men who made the mound their monument. His two Cy Young awards acknowledge that.

Note: Al Jackson deserves special credit for getting at least 600 outs in the Mets first two seasons on a team that, in 1962, won 40 games while losing 120, and in won 51 and lost 111. In that second season, Jackson’s record was 13-17, so he notched more than 25% of the team’s victories. His won-lost percentage of .433 was 118 points higher than the Mets’. Though he never had a winning record with the Mets, he was a winner.

A source of the historical data in this article was Baseball Reference.