Today, let's talk about “Qigong – “Paid” vs “Free of Charge (FOC)”
I have been teaching Qigong for over 30 years. The most common question asked of me is not “Does Bai Yin Qigong really help?”, but rather “Why must we pay to learn Bai Yin Qigong?”
My friends ask me, “There are many styles of Qigong practised in the park which are free of charge. Why spend money to learn Qigong? Shouldn’t it be free?”
I remember the days when I was teaching in Germany. A doctor from Switzerland and a lawyer from Denmark flew in to join a weekend class there. They had taken 10 days annual leave, just to attend my 4-day class. They had purposely arrived earlier to Frankfurt for pre-class preparation, and reserved another day to attend my post-class consultation session where a fee was charged.
I felt awkward to impose charges for my post-class consultation, for the first time, in Germany. In Asia, students freely asked me questions anytime, anywhere – via email; letter; phone call; FaceBook, Line, YouTube,… It has been my practice over all these years to serve all students willingly and whole-heartedly, adhering to the Bai Yin Qigong principle of “Virtue Is Priority”. I was somehow convinced by the Organiser, to charge consultation fee by the hour and by appointment only.
The Swiss doctor and the Danish lawyer came very early for my class. Although they saw me seated at the stage, they only observed me from afar and left me alone.
Knowing that they had travelled a great distance to attend my class, and that they would have many questions to ask me, I took the initiative to step down from the stage, and start with them. While talking with them, I discovered that both of them were well-known professionals in their respective fields. They had taken every effort to make time to attend my Qigong class. In fact, they had planned for this one year in advance.
The Swiss surgeon had frozen shoulders, which had become worse over the past 3 years. He could not sleep at night, and was worried that his pain might affect his surgical skills. The lawyer had very bad backache, and had been relying on pain killers for 2 years, which was causing him gastric problems as a side effect. He was worried about his health.
I was about to advise them, but the doctor interrupted me. He said, “Master, I have already made an appointment with you for the charged consultation session. You can advise us then.”
During my consultation session with them, I was very curious to find out why they had stopped me from advising them on the spot. They replied, “We do not normally just give suggestions or advice to our clients or patients. We insist that they make appointments first, so that we have time to prepare for it.”
“Master, it is with respect for your professionalism that we refrain from asking you questions casually, and expect you to focus on us and give us a consultation at any time. Likewise, we also want our patients to give us due respectful, too.”
We pay to show respect to professionalism, in return for professional services or products. I appreciate this concept, although this may be difficult to implement in Asian society. To me, as a Qigong professional, I am very strict on myself and my trained HarmonyQi Instructors, so that they too will be respected by their students.
I have spent many years in research to elevate Bai Yin Qigong to be synonymous with professionalism in Qigong. We do not expect to have free English lessons; or photography training; or Karate, Taekwando, or even Yoga classes. Yet why do we, Chinese people, expect such a priceless Chinese cultural heritage as Qigong to be available free of charge (FOC)?
How can we allow our thousands year old heredity of Chinese medicinal practices to become so cheap and lowly, that it attracts people or can be promoted only when it is offered FOC?
I believe that Qigong cannot be simply taught, nor learnt casually. There profound traditional Chinese cultural concepts and philosophies which are able to transform our body and mind. So, why is it that foreign originated sports can charge, whereas Qigong has to be FOC?
Because of this unacceptable mindset, I researched Qigong even more diligently. After I have delved into it, I hold in the highest esteem the great wisdom of our ancestors. To learn it, we need academic teaching methods, similar to teaching university courses – each step systematically organised; with its facts and findings. It may be a lifelong learning process.
Paying a fee means we respect and recognize professionalism. Qigong that comes with a learning fee will be the trend for the future, in order to attract professionals and intellectuals, to learn and study Qigong, using modern technology as the means to further the teaching of Qigong. Hence, the birth of a new generation of professional Qigong instructors.
When things are offered free, the value is not appreciated. They will come and go as they wish. There is nothing to lose if they do not practise regularly, or only when they feel like it. However, when they have to pay for it, there is the desire to get back a return on the fees paid. Students will want to study it seriously, and practise it persistently; hence bringing about better and continuing effects. When results are good, sharing it by word of mouth becomes most effective, and learning Qigong will have added value.
Dear Students, because you have paid the fees, you will be more earnest in learning Qigong, and be more diligent in your practice. I hope that you will make practising Qigong a way of life, like taking your 4th meal of the day. Besides the 3 regular meals, you can feed on Heaven & Earth Qi to your heart’s content, have better health and lead a joyful life. Spread the word around to your relatives and friends, and be their well-wishing angel.
Sharing is part of the practice of “Virtue is Priority”. If you believe that traditional Chinese wellness practice is a priceless treasure, and it should have its rightful market value, please “share” this article.
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