Tristar Qigong - Introduction
Mission Statement
To help people improve their health and reduce their emotional stress, Master Li Rong and Optimum Health Care are promoting the practice of Tristar Qigong and a greater understanding of traditional Chinese culture. This promotion of Tristar Qigong is based on the traditional Chinese holistic view that Life is intimately related to all other processes in the universe, and that Heaven and Earth are the mother and foundation of Life respectively.
What is Qigong?
The word qigong is a new word, put into to use in the first half of the 20th century to refer to an ancient and vast tradition of physical and spiritual practices. The word itself consists of two components, the word qi meaning energy and the word gong meaning work, practice, art, and skill. In the classics of Chinese medicine and philosophy these exercises go by a number of names. The Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor (Huangdi Neijing) speaks of daoyin exercises.

The major goal of qigong is, as its name suggests, the cultivation of internal energy and the promotion of its circulation. This goal is one thing that distinguishes qigong from any western form of exercise. Each movement, even the whole spirit of movement, is carefully practiced and refined for the purpose of improving the strength and circulation of qi and blood. This is completely different from western aerobics and strength training, which aim to increase muscle (including cardiovascular) strength and tone. To be sure, qigong will improve muscle strength and tone, but it is able to do so at a deeper level, going beyond loading and stretching the tendons, to improving their nourishment. In western terms, qigong is not only able to increase the functioning of the cardiovascular system, but also the nervous system, and it is able to do so without overworking the delicate tissues of these systems.

Another aspect of qigong which makes it different from western exercise is that qigong is based on a holistic view of the human being. According to this way of thinking, humans do not consist of a material body and an ethereal spirit or mind which exist independently of each other. The quality of one's spirit depends to a great extent on the overall health of the whole body, on the strength and nutrient quality of one's circulation. So qigong is not only a way to fix an aching back or to make cold hands and feet warm; it is also a way to develop one's mental clarity and stability, one's happiness, one's sense of freedom and self fulfilment, and one's sense of unity with nature, including other people.

Qigong exercises have a long history in China. Recent archaeological finds indicate that people had developed these practices as early as 4800 years ago. Various ancient texts mention both dynamic and static exercises; for example, the Zhuangzi, one of the fundamental texts of Daoism, refers to quiet sitting, or sitting meditation. The Basic Questions section of the Huangdi Neijing says the following:

In the past, people practiced the Tao [Dao], the way of Life. They understood the principle of balance, of yin and yang, as represented by the transformation of the energies of the universe. Thus they formulated practices such as Dao-in, an exercise combining stretching, massaging, and breathing to promote energy flow, and meditation to help maintain and harmonize themselves with the universe.

And there is also the system developed by the very great doctor Huo Tuo (2nd century C.E.) which was called the wu qin xi or the Five Animal Frolic. Huo Tuo said, the body needs exercise, but it should not be excessive. Motion consumes energy produced by food and promotes blood circulation so that the body will be free of diseases just as a [wooden] door hinge is never worm-eaten.

From ancient times the development of qigong was continued by wealthy people (those with leisure time) under the influence of Daoism and its quest for longevity. In the 20th century, the government of the People's Republic of China was initially hostile towards qigong and related practices (as it was towards many traditions of "old" China), but in the last quarter of the century its attitude began to change, and today qigong is an accepted part of Chinese medicine.
Master Li Rong's Training in Qigong
Master Li Rong began studying qigong as a young adult. The first forms that she learned were not related to Tristar Qigong. From the famous master Ma Li Tang she learned Yang Qigong, and from Master Wu Dachai she learned Long Xin Qigong. Although these forms are not considered to be related to Tristar Qigong, the latter one is from Sichuan province, its home.

Master Li has practiced many styles of qigong and has learned from many great masters. After studying with Masters Ma and Wu she began to learn the Emei Shier Zhong (Emei 12 Stances). This difficult form is native to Sichuan province and is the source of two other traditional forms practiced by Master Li- Heshang Zhong and Zilan Qigong. Sichuan province's traditional qigong forms place great importance on stances (zhong), a characteristic which is of tremendous benefit to the practitioner. Proper standing and sitting posture opens the joints, relaxes and stretches the tendons, greatly improves the circulation of qi and blood, calms the mind and releases stress, and promotes the overall strength of the practitioner.

Apart from the Emei qigong forms of Sichuan province, Master Li also studied the Yi Jin Jing and Xi Jin Jing forms from Shaolin, one of China's greatest martial arts centres. Her long involvement with qigong and the teaching she has received over the years have enabled her to compile a new Tristar form.
What is Tristar Qigong?
The original Tristar Qigong, the ancestor of the form developed and now taught by Master Li Rong, was very popular in the ancient state of Shu which flourished 4800 years ago along the Yangzi river. Most of what is known about this culture comes from recent archaeological finds near Chengdu in Sichuan province. The people of Shu believed that Heaven, Humankind, and Earth are interconnected; that is, the processes of one affect the processes of the others. The wise person, they thought, would recognize these interconnections and live in harmony with them.

In their archaeological remains, Master Li has seen evidence that the Shu people had a number of exercise postures that look very much like the qigong postures practiced today. However, the Shu people seem to have had much more than a few postures for physical exercise. The archaeological evidence suggests that these postures were part of a well-developed, holistic practice which aimed to cultivate not only the joints, tendons and circulation, but also the spirit and the perceptive abilities of the practitioner. These practices are likely the roots of Chinese qigong. Master Li believes that this qigong was more widely practiced in Shu than forms in later periods, and that the Shu people were concerned with living naturally and cultivating the whole being rather than merely seeking longevity.

The Shu civilization eventually died out, taking much of its qigong with it; however, some of the postures were handed down throughout the centuries from teacher to student. While researching for the General Collection of Sichuan Wushu, Master Li gained access to this closed teaching tradition. She was able to question many old masters and receive instruction from them. Combining these very special instructions with her own qigong experience, she developed a new Tristar Qigong. Over a period of ten years, she combined the common postures of the Sichuan masters, used her own experience to interpret their sometimes vague instructions, and tested and improved the new form until she felt that it was ready to be taught. The Tristar Qigong offered through Optimum Health Care is a combination of the secret instructions passed down through the centuries since the end of the Shu civilization and Master Li's own knowledge, gained by years of hard work and training in qigong.