Why I Teach Qi Gong

I was first introduced to Qi Gong when I was 10 years old, as a martial arts student.

Although it was a very basic beginning, it began a love affair, a Healing Journey, and an exploration of the most powerful practice that I have encountered in my life. That was about 45 years ago.

Thirty-seven years ago, I began studying with lineage-holding Masters of Martial Arts, Qi Gong, Daoism, Chan/Zen, and in 1996 I became a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

There have been two defining experiences that feel worth sharing as an introduction to where I am coming from, as a Qi Gong student and teacher. One experience was a near-fatal rock-climbing accident that should have left me paralyzed, or dead. The other was living as a Hermit as a formal Daoist initiate. One kind of led to the other.

When I was 23 years old, I almost died falling off of a mountain. At the time, I was on the journey of becoming a professional Martial Arts and Qi Gong teacher.  I was also preparing to go to China and become a Daoist priest. After the accident, I was certain that I would need to rethink my career and let go of my passion.

Fortunately, with the guidance of amazing teachers and healers, and many months of daily Qi Gong, Daoist Inner Cultivation (Nei Gong), and other Healing practices, I was on the mend and had recovered most of my agility and range of motion in just over a year.


The world that I had discovered; learning and practicing more advanced Inner Qì Gōng (Nei  Gōng), began calling to me. Within a year I had moved across Canada, made my commitment to becoming a Daoist Priest, and found a place to go through an initiation process of sorts. Which, at the time, involved 49 days of complete solitude, a few hours of Martial Arts training, and at least 4 hours of advanced Qì Gōng and Meditation practice per day.

I imagined that this is what training to be a Daoist priest involved, and I wanted to make sure I was able to commit to that level of training.

It turns out, that Daoist priests rarely ever train that hard.

At the time I was teaching Qi Gong and Martial Arts and continuing my studies with three of the highest-level Masters in the Western world (1992 – 1997). I had planned to return to my teaching and learning but had made a discovery that I did not want to lose.

I realized that not having students and teachers watching my every move had stopped me from trying to get it ‘right’.

When I decided to stay in the forest, a quality of performance for others fell away, and I began to move in unexpected, but profoundly more effective ways (for me). Meditation invited me into a completely new dimension of stillness.

Living as a hermit for 49 days, exploring my meditation practice, breathwork, and Qì Gōng as deeply as possible every day, was a life-changing experience. After the seven weeks were over, I wanted to stay in the forest for the rest of my life. My practice had transformed in a way that could not have happened in any other way.

I lived that way for as long as possible, but eventually had to return to the modern world, my students, and my teachers. I was nervous that people would complain about the changes I had made to my practice. I expected my students to be upset at having to learn things ‘all over again’ and my teachers would try and make me go back to the old way.

The opposite happened.

One of my primary teachers smiled and said, ‘I see that you have bled into the scrolls.’

I had never heard that expression but it made perfect sense. What I had learned was what I could see and ‘read’ from my teachers. I had learned to imitate them all and had spent thousands of hours getting it ‘right’. We all have to go through that process.

Learning from the outside in…

At some point, those of us who are committed to taking our practice as deep as possible, need to practice from the inside out. As a teacher, it has become my passion to help people move in this direction as soon as possible.

Every Qi Gong teacher and student begins by imitating the scrolls – practicing what we can see and understand. Eventually, if you are determined and willing to commit to a few years/decades of personal practice, you will ‘bleed into’, or pour your heart and soul into your practice and then it will become yours.

It has always been this way.

This time ‘In the mountains and caves,’ as the expression goes, changed the nature of what I understood to be possible, at least experientially with practices like Martial Arts, Qi Gong, Nei Gong, and Meditation. I decided to stay a lot longer…

After a few months of living away from all stimulation and human contact, I was very comfortable with a future of living monastically. Perhaps I would become a respected martial arts teacher, or perhaps I would become a priest and live that life. I was 24 years old at the time, and honestly, I had very little life experience because I spent all of my spare time training. I left my hermit life behind with three specific intentions. To find an authentic Daoist teacher and lineage, to teach Martial Arts, and to become a Healer.

A few short years later, I had completed my studies in Traditional Chinese medicine, began developing and teaching my own approach to the Combat side of Martial arts, and received the teachings of an Oral tradition of Lay Daoism.

Be careful what you wish for… 😉

At 28 years old, and I am a bit amused at my ambition as a young man, I became a co-founder of the first full-time, 5-Year Doctoral Program, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in Canada. Besides writing, translating, and teaching some of the primary courses on Acupuncture, Herbology, and TCM Theory, I was also responsible for developing the Medical Qi Gong Therapist program.

That was in 1996.

I have continued to ‘bleed into the scrolls’ and share what makes the most sense in the modern world – ever since!

Are you practicing from the outside in, or from the inside out?

As a Teacher…

I have supported Qi Gong teachers and enthusiasts for over 30 years.

As a teacher, I am committed to helping my students, Qi Gong friends and family, find a good balance between learning from the outside and from their very unique and individual inside. The first few years are always about getting the external physical details and principles refined enough that a person could practice effectively, and potentially someday teach with confidence.

Qi Gong is the most potent way that I know of to help people find their innate style of movement and expression. Combined with meditation and breathwork that help people dissolve unconscious and deeply held Somatic boundaries, Qi Gong is a path to Self-Awareness, Self Intimacy, and a true sense of personal and Spiritual Autonomy.

I would be honoured to help you regain your birthright of playful self-expression, self-care, and embodied meditation.

As a Clinician…

I have been in clinical practice for over 25 years. Mostly learning how little we really know about resolving the epidemic of chronic disease.

For most of that time, I have focused on helping people with Autoimmune Diseases, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Addiction.

As a clinician, I have combined the leading-edge sciences of Functional Medicine and Ancestral Nutrition with the ancient healing wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Qi Gong. I have seen this combination of healing modalities help hundreds of people resolve or at least find relief from many of the complex, chronic, and degenerative diseases that plague modern society.

Fifteen years ago I began introducing Medical Qi Gong, Trauma Release, Breathwork, and more Personal Mentoring into my practice and my patients responded so profoundly that I have been teaching these practices and protocols to other clinicians and Qi Gong teachers ever since.

I encourage all of my patients to engage in meditation, Qi Gong, Yoga, Meditation, or any other embodied mindfulness practice. I teach some Qi Gong, Breathwork, and meditation to my patients when I can. Clinical medicine is not really designed for that, which has been a motivating force in creating this website and these online courses.

People always get better faster (or progress slower) with a daily embodied awareness practice. Especially if that practice includes a conscious shift of state and narrative, as well as a tangible reduction in physical and emotional tension.

As a patient…

I have lived with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis for many years. I admit that having an autoimmune disease has inspired both my clinical focus and my passion for the Healing Power of Qi Gong and Nei Gong.

In my experience, life has many layers and many opportunities. The challenges we face and how we face them is what makes us who we are. Trying to be someone else, perfect, or magically powerful is going to distract any Spiritual seeker from even beginning their journey to becoming their authentic self.

As a patient, I use my Qi Gong practice to stay as healthy, aware, and present as possible. Meditation has become a silent visit with the wisdom of the Elders and Breathwork is my medicine for when I need to shift my state and work with the subtle forces of life.

The integration of modern Trauma Release therapies with my other practices has made a profound difference in my life, and in what I teach. When I studied modern embodied trauma therapy I was profoundly surprised to see the similarities to an ancient ‘village tradition’ of Dao Yin – the ancient version of Qi Gong.

If you are living with Chronic Illness, Trauma, and/or Addiction, I encourage you to find a good teacher. It may help you heal in ways that will surprise you.

As a student…

I sometimes go to beginner’s classes to experience another person’s practice. Recently, I have been exploring other Qi Gong practitioners online. As a student, I am always curious to see other lineages practice the same skills I have learned.

I learn something new from EVERY practice!

I will always be a student of Qi Gong, meditation, and Martial Arts. My absolute favourite experience to have is an ‘Ah Ha’ moment when learning something new and meaningful. It is also my favourite experience to share.  I miss having a direct teacher guiding my practice in some ways, in other ways I feel that I have found an aspect of Qi Gong to research, develop, and teach that will take the rest of this life – at least!

Most of the courses that I offer are for those who plan to teach someday soon.

I learn the most from attempting to communicate subtle specifics with others. If you want to teach, get really good at what you like the most. Then share it with friends, family, and your community as a volunteer. Learn to explain, exaggerate, and find your flow, before you start teaching more publically. Use what you are learning about your inner landscape to encourage you to go deeper and try the practices you find challenging.

I had a teacher once who asked me to write down my most favourite and least favourite music. We were getting into some Nei Gong (Inner Cultivation) during some intense private training. In the next class he played my favourite music, we danced and laughed and imitated rock and roll singers. Then he showed me why being emotionally invested, playful and curious were so important. I finally got something after months of frustration (for both of us).

Imagine dancing around like a teenager with an 80-year-old, world-famous Gong Fu (Kung Fu), and Qi Gong Teacher.

In the next class, he played the most annoying ‘nails on a chalkboard’ music there is. Well, in my opinion. The amount of focus it took to follow his instructions taught me a great deal about attention and how easily distracted I can be, especially by preconceptions and opinions.

As a student, I am grateful that I will continue to learn by doing my best to teach this ancient and life-changing skill – sometimes through a computer screen.

I look forward to helping you learn – and learning together in a playful and focused way.

I am interested in learning more about becoming a Qi Gong Teacher and/or a Medical Qi Gong Therapist and would like to receive your MONTHLY newsletter.

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