Energy Arts is dedicated to offering the most comprehensive tai chi, qigong (chi gung), internal martial arts, breathing, and meditation programs on the planet.
On this page, you will find a complete overview (10 pages) of what Energy Arts and Bruce Frantzis teach. You can read about the Energy Arts System in its entirety, or just click to the area that interests you.
What Energy Arts Offers
Energy Arts offers programs in the following areas:
- Dragon & Tiger Medical Qigong
- Qigong Exercise Program (includes 5 core qigong exercise sets)
- Qigong Tui Na Energy Healing
- Yang and Wu Style Tai Chi
- Bagua Zhang
- Hsing-i Five Elements
- Taoist Longevity Breathing
- Taoist Longevity Yoga
- Taoist Meditation
Founder and lineage holder Bruce Frantzis has trained students and instructors for over 40 years in these programs. Bruce is the author of nine seminal books on the transformative power of qi (chi) and teaches with a focus on the health and meditation aspects of the Taoist Water Tradition, a tradition that emphasizes naturalness, flow, and spontaneity.
The skills developed in our programs have five primary applications:
- Health and Vitality—for prevention and healing of existing conditions and to mitigate and reverse the effects of aging
- Martial Arts—to generate internal power
- Healing Arts—to increase your qi and sensitivity to help others heal
- Meditation and Spirituality—to answer the deeper questions of life
- Teaching —to pass these arts onto others
The sophistication in the system allows you to study any or all applications through each layer of your learning. Our dynamic program also allows you to start anywhere in the cycle and progress at your pace.
Energy Arts publishes books, CDs, and DVDs to teach these programs. Bruce travels extensively to hold workshops, retreats and instructor trainings. One of Bruce’s primary missions is to pass down ancient China’s gifts of qi arts to as many students and instructors as possible so they will continue to thrive in future generations.
You can find over 300 Certified Energy Arts Instructors worldwide through our Energy Arts Instructor Directory. Our instructor trainings are some of the most comprehensive programs offered.
This 1500-year-old form of medical qigong (chi gung/chi kung) affects the human body in a manner similar to acupuncture. The seven simple movements that comprise Dragon and Tiger Medical Qigong make for one of the most direct and accessible, low-impact qigong self-healing methods that China has ever produced.
The Science of Human Energy
The Energy Arts Core Qigong Program systematically teaches the science of how energy flows in humans, known as 16 neigong (nei gung/neijia quan). Each qigong set in our program introduces you to various neigong components, so you can develop and embody internal (qi) power.
Taoists found that it is easier to learn the internal energy or neigong components by practicing specific qigong sets. Once you have mastered a particular energy component, then you can place that component into more complex movement forms such as tai chi or bagua.
As you progress, your nervous system, energy centers, and channels in your body transform, building a solid foundation for deeper work. You then become able to access, channel, and handle larger flows of energy. When this occurs, you can then learn even more advanced levels of the 16 neigong components.
As you learn the various qigong sets, you can apply your skills to Gods Playing in the Clouds Qigong, tai chi, and bagua—all of which embody the complete 16 neigong system.
These sets are containers for activating your internal power as a human being—a key goal of Taoist energy arts. As you move toward this possibility, you cultivate your qi and sensitivity to become a high-level practitioner, a teacher, and/or an energy healer. Anything is possible!
Core Qigong Sets and the Five Elements
In addition to integrating the 16-part neigong system within the qigong sets, the Energy Arts Core Qigong Program also links to the Five Elements. According to Chinese Five Element theory, everything in the manifested universe is composed of Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth elements.
Each qigong set focuses on a specific element, so you learn how each element manifests in your body.
Here is an overview of Energy Arts core qigong sets:
1. Energy Gates Qigong and the Water Element
The overarching theme of the Water Element is the downward flow of energy. Energy Gates Qigong (Chi Gung/Chi Kung) introduces fundamental neigong (nei gung/neijiaquan) components such as basic body alignments, increasing internal awareness of qi in the body and dissolving blocked qi. Energy Gates Qigong is the best way to get on the road to learning qigong by opening the tubes (i.e. energy gates and channels) of your body and preparing you for internal exercise of any kind.
2. Marriage of Heaven & Earth Qigong and the Wood Element
The Wood Element combines the upward and downward flows of energy. Some of the neigong that comprise this set include opening and closing (pulsing), complex breathing techniques, and how to move qi through the energy channels of the body at will. In one continuous movement, Heaven and Earth Qigong incorporates techniques widely used in China to help heal back, neck, spine, and joint problems.
3. Bend the Bow Advanced Qigong and the Metal Element
Metal energy creates strong center-to-periphery flows through the five limbs. Bend the Bow Spinal Qigong continues the work of strengthening and regenerating the spine learned in Heaven and Earth Qigong and incorporates neigong components for awakening and controlling all the energies of the spine.
4. Spiraling Energy Body Qigong and the Fire Element
This advanced Fire Element qigong set teaches you to dramatically raise your energy level and master how energy moves in circles and spirals throughout your body. Spiraling Energy Body Qigong incorporates neigong components for: directing the upward flow of energy; projecting chi along the body’s spiraling pathways; delivering or projecting energy (at will) to or from any part of the body; and activating the body’s left, right, and central channels, as well as the micro-cosmic orbit.
5. Gods Playing in the Clouds Qigong and the Earth Element
Gods Qigong incorporates some of the oldest and most powerful Taoist rejuvenation techniques on the planet. As an Earth Element qigong practice, all the physical, breathing and energetic components learned in earlier qigong programs are amplified. The process of integrating all neigong occurs in this final stage of learning where the student strengthens and balances the energies of the three tantiens, central energy channel, and spine. Gods Qigong, therefore, serves as a spiritual bridge to Taoist meditation.
Qigong tui na is a special branch of Chinese medicine designed to unblock, free, and balance qi in others. It is different from Chinese tui na massage, which does not involve the energetic component. This form of healing has never been taught at any depth in the West.
Part of Bruce’s Taoist training was to become a Chinese doctor, primarily using the qigong healing techniques known as qigong tui na. During this training period, he worked with more than 10,000 patients in Chinese medical clinics.
If you want to learn the most popular energy art in the world, look no further than tai chi (taiji). Although not widely known, most Chinese don’t take up tai chi until after the age of 50 when the affects of aging start to rear their ugly head.
Tai chi’s benefits—counteracting aging, calming the mind and unifying the body, to name a few—are just now becoming recognized as a sophisticated science in the West. Tai chi is recognized for relaxing and regulating the central nervous system, thereby releasing physical and emotional stress.
How We Teach Tai Chi
Bruce is one of the few tai chi masters who can transform tai chi into a moving meditation practice. He draws on his extensive background in China to teach tai chi. In 1981, Bruce was the first Westerner to become certified in Beijing by the People’s Republic of China to teach the complete system of tai chi chuan.
Bruce holds a tai chi lineage in Yang style tai chi from Lin Du Ying and in Wu style tai chi from Taoist Grandmaster Liu Hung Chieh.
Our tai chi courses are taught differently than most of what you’ll find in the West:
- All courses focus on the 16 components for generating and developing internal power, known as neigong
- We teach for health, martial arts and meditation applications
- Bruce uses mind-to-mind transmissions to impart his knowledge of energy.
Bruce is committed to passing down his tai chi lineages to the next generation and says the time for secrets has passed. Here is a brief overview of the two tai chi styles we offer:
Wu Style Tai Chi
Energy Arts teaches Wu style tai chi, both short and long forms, which is especially known for its healing and meditation aspects. It can be practiced by virtually anyone regardless of physical ability.
The Wu style of tai chi is particularly suited for Baby Boomers and the elderly because of its compact and soft nature. As a smaller frame style, it’s an excellent form for integrating the 16 neigong elements such as breathing techniques, proper body alignments, and openings and closings—all of which are responsible for tai chi’s tremendous health benefits.
Yang Style Tai Chi
Of the more than 200 million tai chi practitioners, Yang style tai chi is the most popular form in the world. Normally characterized by large stances and open postures, there are more then 20 variations of Yang style tai chi practiced in the West.
Although the energy work of tai chi originated with Taoist monks, Bruce reports no evidence that indicates Yang style tai chi was developed for spiritual purposes after emerging from the Chen Village and spread by the Yang family. Energy Arts’ focus of the Yang style tai chi teachings are typically for qi development and for martial arts.
In addition to the internal martial art tai chi, China produced two other movement forms: bagua zhang and hsing-i. Bagua zhang is mostly known in the West as a powerful internal martial art; however, it has equal or greater health and meditation applications, and is often the focus of Energy Arts trainings.
Bagua zhang was originally created as a comprehensive meditation system over 4,000 years ago in China by Taoists. Bagua zhang (translated means ‘eight trigrams’) was created to realize the practical energetic teachings of the I Ching through experiential knowledge of Walking the Circle or Circle Walking. The I Ching is an ancient Chinese text documenting the energies of the universe and how they change in life.
In ancient times, monks practiced bagua zhang (ba gua/pakua) to achieve stillness and clarity of mind; generate a strong, healthy, disease-free body; and perhaps, more importantly, to maintain internal balance while either their inner world or the events of the external world changed.
As a martial art, bagua zhang was designed to fight up to eight opponents at once. Virtually no other martial art system or style, internal or external, has combined and seamlessly integrated into one package the whole pantheon of martial arts fighting techniques as effectively as bagua zhang.
The basic internal power training consists of learning eight palm changes, each representing the eight trigrams of the I Ching, and combining them with walking, spiralling and twisting arm movements, and constant changes of direction.
Bruce and his Certified Energy Arts Bagua Zhang Instructors are the only instructors of which we are aware in the West that teach the monastic tradition, pre-birth style of bagua for martial arts, health, and meditation.
Hsing-i Five Elements (Xing yi/Shing yi), a much more linear internal martial art form created by the Chinese general Yue Fei in the thirteenth century, is practiced to cultivate an incredibly focused mind and a strong body.
Hsing-i Five Elements is especially beneficial for helping people to achieve their goals—whether physical, such as for athletes, or mental, for business and intellectual pursuits. It emphasizes all aspects of the mind to create its forms and fighting movements. Each of hsing-i’s five hand techniques corresponds with the Five Elements.
Hsing-i Five Elements is a potent healing practice because it creates an incredibly healthy and strong body and mind.
At the very heart of the practice of hsing-i is San Ti, or the “trinity posture.” San Ti is done holding a static standing posture with your arms in the air. San Ti unites and strengthens the energy lines of the body, making the entire body conscious and strong while cultivating clear intent.
As one of the most advanced breath training systems on the planet, Taoist breathing is taught in systematic stages. In Taoism, breathing properly is an exact science because the way in which you breathe affects all your daily activities.
The Taoists approach breath training as an art form of its own—a primary way to maintain health and wellness well into old age.
In Longevity Breathing, there are three primary benchmarks:
- The 30-second Breath
- The 2-minute Breath
- The 8-minute Breath, know as the “Turtle Breath”
Most people take short and shallow breathes. This deprives organs, cells, and body of the oxygen it needs. At each benchmark, dramatic changes occur that help you feel more awake and alive.
Breathing with the whole body has been used for millennia to enhance the ability to dissolve and release energy blockages in the mind-body, enhancing well-being and spiritual awareness—even taking practitioners to the depths of their soul for inner transformation.
Virtually unheard of in the West, Taoist yoga is ancient China’s soft, yet powerful alternative to what is popularly known today as Hatha yoga. In 2009, Bruce developed a system to teach Taoist yoga based on his experience training to become a Taoist priest. He calls this system Longevity Breathing® Yoga.
The original intent of yoga was to achieve stillness in the body as the necessary foundation for meditation—not all the complicated gymnastics we see today. Yoga was primarily developed to help students maintain a comfortable sitting posture, stimulate the flow of qi, and free up any blocked energy.
Longevity Breathing Yoga is different from Indian Hatha Yoga, although both systems use similar postures. Taoist yoga, however, focuses on circular and continuous breathing to open up the body and organs and does not include holding the breath. The main goal is not stretching, but rather to put your consciousness fully in your body as a preparation for Taoist meditation.
All 16 neigong can also be integrated with Longevity Breathing Yoga sets and many students find it is an excellent way to put their mind inside their bodies and feel their qi.
Although Zen and Buddhist meditation traditions are well known in the West, few people know that the Taoists were the scientists of China. They created Chinese medicine, martial arts, and also engineered a complete meditation system.
Taoist meditation has five modalities of practicing: sitting, standing, lying down, moving, and partner exercises. In Taoist meditation, you typically start by focusing on the body, with qi practices such as qigong and tai chi. These practices build a strong body that is the foundation for internal awareness and larger energy flows.
Taoist meditation surmises that each of us has not just one, but eight bodies:
- Physical Body
- Etheric Body
- Emotional Body
- Mental Body
- Psychic Body
- Causal Body
- Body of Individuality
- Body of the Tao
Through Taoist meditation, you work to activate and clear the first seven energy bodies to finally arrive at and become one with the Tao (the eighth energy body). This is done through practices such as Outer and Inner Dissolving.
My interest is in helping to free human beings from that which is within their mind and spirit—everything that binds them—from the inside out.
Bruce’s teacher Liu Hung Chieh, who empowered him to teach Taoist meditation, said that, although Bruce was a good martial artist, his greatest talent would ultimately be to work with people’s spirit by teaching Taoist meditation.
Meditation has always been Bruce’s deepest personal interest and he’s brought this passion to his teachings for the last 20 years.
An Invitation to Train with Energy Arts
We invite you to join us for a training or retreat. Bruce and his instructors have trained more than 20,000 students worldwide. With the completion of each training, Energy Arts releases new material to grow the most comprehensive library on the Taoist Water Tradition in the West.
Bruce’s mission is to certify all willing practitioners who put in the effort to acquire the skills necessary to help him pass down the Taoist Water Tradition. Instructor Trainings can be fun, exciting, rewarding and enlightening.
The Taoists say that you first work within yourself, next your family, next your local community and on up to the planet in a progressive fashion if you want to create positive change in the world.
What you’ll find at our trainings:
- Thorough explanations and demonstrations for beginning, intermediate, and advanced tracks of study
- Personal assistance and encouragement from well-qualified and experienced instructors, many of whom head tai chi, marital arts, or qigong schools of their own
- A nurturing environment where you can set a pace of learning that works best for you
- More advanced material, shared freely with those who are ready and able to absorb the knowledge
The Energy Arts System includes qi practices that have been used for millennia to teach students—via direct experience and practical knowledge—the tools necessary to achieve the highest level of their human potential.
As you move through the Energy Arts system, you can take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. Anything is possible!
We hope you’re inspired to practice one of the Energy Arts Programs. We invite you to explore further by checking out other areas of the website:
The smooth, balanced flow of chi—your life-force energy—is the single most important determinant to your health, vitality and happiness.