Eight Piece Brocade



These ancient Chinese exercises are one of the oldest classic exercise forms and can be traced back over one thousand years. Anyone practicing these exercises will easily see the stretching and strengthening benefits. What isn’t obvious is how these exercises affect Chi flow in the body. They are specifically designed to open Chi pathways and promote good health. Eight Piece Brocade remains one of the major training programs in the Shaolin Temple, China. Young monks start their training with these particular exercises. The exercises are so important that the Shaolin Temple built statues to help people remember them.

Notes on 8 Piece Brocade:

1. Holding Heaven:

a. arms at sides – palms come up through center
c. up over head – look up -press palms to sky
d. finger tips face each other
e. separate hands out sides and down
f. feet should width apart – inhale up – exhale down

2. Shooting a Bow:

a. horse stance – hands in front of sternum – loose fists
c. look to left – extend left arm – draw back right
d. inhale – open chest
f. exhale as hands come back to center

3. Raising One Arm

a. heels together
b. slowly inhale – turn to right – sit in left leg
c. hands crossed in front of sternum
d. raise left arm – palm up to sky – rotate clockwise
e. lower left arm – palm down to ground rotate counter clockwise
f. exhale return to center

4. Looking Backward

a. heels together
b. slowly inhale – turn to left – sit in right
c. look back over left shoulder – keep body straight
d. return to center – exhale

5. Rotate the Body

a. horse stance – hands on hips
b. rotate torso to right
c. rotate torso back – head back as well
d. complete rotation to left – then front – looking down

6. Bending the Torso

a. shoulder width stance – hands at sides
b. bring hands up through center over head
c. bend backwards – inhaling slowly
d. bend forwards at hips – relax – exhale
e. straighten torso – repeat

7. Holding the Fist

a. horse stance – fists at waist
b. right fist slow straight punch – inhale slowly – maximum tension
c. draw back fist – exhale slowly

8. Standing on the Toes

a. feet together – breath normally
b. rise up on balls of feet
c. drop all weight back on to heels
d. do only seven repetitions