Sifu Pedro Cepero Yee (余彼祖) (Sifu, 9th Dan) is a Senior Disciple and legally adopted son of Hung Ga Kung Fu Master Frank Yee (Yee Chee Wai). He is the World President of Yee’s Hung Ga International Kung Fu Association as well as a 4th Generation Disciple of Great Grandmaster Wong Fei Hung. Sifu Pedro Cepero Yee is the Honorable Vice Chairman of the Grandmaster Yuen Ling Hong Kong Martial Arts International Association as well as the Co-Vice Chairman of the World Hung Kuen Association, Ltd, Hong Kong, being its only non-Asian Board Member.
Today he instructs workshops both nationally and internationally on Hung Ga Kung Fu, Tuina Therapy, Medical Qigong Therapy, and Qigong Methods and has been written about in Forbes for his three greatest teachings that can influence today’s entrepreneurs. All of his methods and skills, as well as clinical services, are offered at his full-time Clifton, New Jersey Branch School and Clinic, which has operated continuously since 1991.
Read more about this fascinating man in our latest MysticMag interview.
Can you explain the principles and techniques behind Tuina Therapy and how it differs from other forms of massage or bodywork?
Tuina therapy is an ancient bodywork system that was created more than 2,000 years ago. Originally it was created and used for digestive disorders in children. Over time it has developed into a comprehensive system of healing addressing both internal disharmonies and structural disorders. This system is one of the major focuses of study at the Traditional Chinese Medical Universities in China along with Acupuncture, Herbology, Dietary Therapy, and Medical Qigong therapy. The focus of Tuina therapy is to find and remove the obstruction and restore harmony to the effective areas. This is done through four basic principles:
- Activate the Qi and Blood
- Find and remove the obstruction.
- Harmonize the Qi and Blood
- Restore functional anatomy.
When we look at Tuina (Chinese Bodywork Therapy), it is considered a task-oriented bodywork system. This system focuses on treating as opposed to just relaxation. It follows the Traditional Chinese Medical Theory Model, (the same that is used in acupuncture, Chinese herbology, and dietary therapy.) This promotes the movement of both Blood and Qi, and it is this “energetic portion” that differs from other Bodywork/Massage systems. The system of Tuina Therapy contains a multitude of hand techniques that are created for specific purposes. These movements are unique to Tuina therapy itself. These techniques fall under different categories. One such method is called oscillating techniques which utilizes a rhythmic alternation of kinetic force to produce a specific effect upon the physical and energetic system. The repetitive action creates a kinesthetic wave pattern that produces a greater effect than the literal pounds per square inch application of a specific technique. This wave pattern penetrates and mobilizes the blood and the circulation down through the body into the bone. There are four requirements to perform these methods correctly. The movements must be smooth, even, enduring, and penetrating. These methods include rolling, finger springing, light, moderate, and heavy kneading, and grasping. Other methods include rubbing, chafing, press-rub, press-knead, and pushing with thumbs, knuckles, fists, and elbows.
Rounding out some of these are passive joint movement, traction, and twisting. As you can see this method requires an in-depth study and a high-level skill to apply these methods correctly. This may be a reason why there are less than a handful of full-time Tuina Therapy practitioners in the state of New Jersey.
How does Qigong Therapy aim to promote health and well-being? Could you provide examples of specific conditions that Qigong Therapy has been shown to be effective for?
Qigong and Qigong Healing (Therapy) has a history of over 4,000 years as a medical tradition. Qigong is the practice of Qigong exercise methods for balancing oneself as well as strengthening systems within the body. Qigong Therapy is the Qi application of Qigong Methods to specific diseases, imbalances, and even negative energy (Tumors and Cancer). The practitioner of Qigong Therapy finds these disharmonies and directs his Qi like a laser beam to the specific area or energetic obstruction. His application breaks up the obstructions which may be physical or energetic. Specific conditions that can be helped by Hypertension, Coronary Artery Disease, Peptic Ulcers, Chronic Liver Diseases, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Insomnia, Lower Back and Leg Pain, and a host of others. Qigong prescription exercises are then given to the patient in order for him/her to continue strengthening themselves, thus having a lasting effect and helping the patient to become accustomed to a health regimen to lessen or prevent illness in the future.
There are various methods and styles of Qigong. Could you describe a few different approaches and their unique benefits or focuses?
Ancient Qigong practiced by the Wu (Shaman) gradually split and grouped into various schools and traditions. The major traditions include Buddhist, Daoist, Confucian, Medical, and Martial Arts Qigong; the most notable today are Buddhism, Daoism, and Medical Qigong.
Medical Qigong: Modern Qigong grew out of ancient Medical Qigong. Therefore, it was the precursor of modern Chinese Medical Qigong. This style of Qigong is concerned with the theories and principles as well as methods of practical and clinical application to the body and illness and the different life phenomena that occur. Its focus includes the study of Yin and Yang, Five Elements theory, Essence (Jing), Qi (Life Force), Spirit (Shen), Zhang-Fu Theory, Meridians, and Qi and Blood Theories.
Daoist Qigong: The Daoists through their methods sought to return to the origin of the universe. Their focus was on the internal elixir, and they believed that by practicing these, they would one day become immortals or perfected men who would free themselves from all by letting things take their natural course.
Buddhist Qigong: The mission of the Buddhist doctrine is to teach human beings to put aside this imaginary life to know the real disposition, namely the Buddha nature the Buddhists believe that this Buddha nature is inborn, not external, and that by following Buddhist guidance one can gain insights into it, so the Buddhist forms of cultivation are designed solely to achieve this goal.
Confucian Qigong: Confucius and his students were the earliest advocates and practitioners of this type of internal cultivation. The aim of Confucianism was to cultivate personal strength, harmonize the family, govern the state, and bring peace to the world. So, practices such as static Qigong, embody the idea of tending life and cultivating spirit which is the major aspect of Confucian Qigong.
Martial Arts Qigong: focuses on training the physical aspects of the human body such as tendons, muscles, bones, and skin externally. It also focuses on refining the concept of one breath of Qi internally. Its main characteristics are extremely vigorous exercises the integration of the Mind, Qi, and Strength. It focuses on the intention leading the Qi while the force or strength accompanies the Qi. A few of the styles of Qigong within this category have specialized breathing techniques that aim at improving the ability to exert explosive force.
Qigong often incorporates meditation practices. How does Qigong Meditation differ from other forms of meditation, and what are the key aspects of combining movement, breath, and mindfulness in this practice?
Qigong and more specifically medical Qigong, utilizes Qigong meditations to achieve control over one’s energy. This control allows you to clear blockages within yourself, open the meridians, open both the micro and macrocosmic orbit, strengthen your internal systems to optimize your health, and help you in utilizing your Qi to help others. It also promotes an inner peace and external awareness that borders supernatural abilities. It also can open one’s natural latent abilities and bring them to the surface. It does this by way of the three regulations. These regulations regulate the posture, the breath, and the mind. In regulating the posture, we learn to attain the best possible position to allow the energy to move freely within the body. This is like either a straw being bent in which it is difficult to move liquid through it, but when you straighten it out the liquid moves easily. This is what is meant by regulating the posture. The second regulation is regulating the breath. In regulating the breath, we learn to keep the breath smooth and steady but also learn that by breathing in particular patterns, we can create change within our bodies such as giving the body more energy or when you have too much energy calming it down. The third regulation is regulating the mind. In regulating the mind, we learn to put the mind on something sort of like visualization. This visualization can immediately change the state in which you are in. In a very simple example, when you think of something beautiful that has happened in your life, you immediately experience that feeling from head to toe. In that second you change the state in which you were into one of bliss. Regular Meditation today is usually practiced to develop a state of inner tranquility as well as to develop a deeper awareness of who they are and the world around them. This allows them to focus, calm the mind, and probe the root causes of a person’s motivations.
Dit Da Ke is known as an ancient Chinese practice for treating injuries and promoting healing. Could you elaborate on its historical origins and some of the traditional methods used in this practice?
Dit Da Ke (Die Da, Dit Daa) Fall and Hit medicine, is a traditional folk manual medicine system founded in the Guangdong Province area in China. It was mainly practiced in the past and today by practitioners of Traditional Chinese Martial Arts. It is the practice of treating traumatic injuries such as bruises, sprains dislocated joints, fractures, cuts etc. This art has been an integral part of traditional Kung Fu practitioners for centuries. It makes extensive use of herbal remedies/medicines/ plasters and massage as well as several other methods to treat many different types of injuries. The focus of Dit Da Ke is almost always on the injury-specific area. Dit Da Ke is also known as bone setting medicine as practitioners of this type of medicine deal with types of bone injuries from dislocations to full breaks. One of the most famous practitioners of this medicine in southern China was my great grandmaster Wong Fei Hung who practiced in Foshan, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong. It is his methods that I practice today.
How do Tuina Therapy, Qigong Therapy, Qigong Methods, Qigong Meditation, and Dit Da Ke complement each other within traditional Chinese medicine? What are some potential holistic health benefits when these practices are integrated effectively?
Tuina Therapy, Qigong Therapy, Qigong Methods, Qigong Meditation, and Dit Da Ke are all branches of traditional Chinese medicine. They all share the basic foundation. That foundation is Qi at the source, which binds these practices together. By integrating these methods together, you create a well-rounded individual as well as a well-rounded medical approach for both emergencies and prevention. When these methods are combined, they create a deeper effect and more complete healing. When we look closely at all these methods we begin with the self, and the basic idea that Breath and Qi are one and the same. Think about it for a second, you start this life with a breath, and you end this life with a breath. When you ponder this statement, you realize that breath is one of the most important things in life and if we master it, we have the ability to master life.
By using Qigong methods, we can learn just as the ancient texts stated that movement is the companion of life. By utilizing these movements to open the channels and the body’s energy flow, we are able to prevent disease and over time remove it. But when disease sets in we need a stronger or more direct intervention by utilizing Qigong therapy, Tuina therapy, or Dit Da Ke to resolve and stop the progression of disease or injury and then strengthen the overall condition of the person.