Hua Tor

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A brilliant doctor called Hua T'or formulated a series of movements coupled with special breathing exercises that were intended to limber up the body, ease the nerves, and generally reduce bodily tensions.[1]

Hua Tuo studying monkey movements

Further advancement was made through the doctrine and work of Hua Tor (AD 136-208), who is considered by many to be the father of physical culture in China, and it was he that formulated the 'five animal' method, which was based on the movements of the bear, deer, crane, tiger and monkey. This method brought out the very best of physical attainment, and at the same time he utilized the Taoist breathing exercises (Tao Yin), both of which were intended to help everyone attain the normal age of a hundred years. The principles of his teaching were those that had been laid down by the Taoists thousands of years before, and they were based on:

  1. Shen — spirit.
  2. Ching — essence.
  3. Chieh P'ou Shu — anatomy.
  4. Chi — internal energy.
  5. Li — external energy.


Hua Tuo (c. 140–208)[1] was an ancient Chinese physician who lived in the late Eastern Han Dynasty. The historical texts Records of the Three Kingdoms and Book of the Later Han record Hua as the first person in China to use anaesthesia during surgery. He used a general anaesthetic combining wine with a herbal concoction called mafeisan (麻沸散, lit. "cannabis boil powder"). Besides being respected for expertise in surgery and anaesthesia, Hua Tuo was famous for his abilities in acupuncture, moxibustion, herbal medicine, and medical Daoyin exercises. He developed the Wuqinxi (Wade–Giles: Wu-chin-hsi; 五禽戲; lit. "Exercise of the Five Animals") from studying movements of the tiger, deer, bear, ape, and crane.[3]

  1. Fs.jpg

    The Taoist Art of Feng Shou Hand of the Wind kung fu

    by Chee Soo

    Copyright ©Seahorse Books 2006 reproduced with permission

  2. TWOH.jpg

    Taoist Ways of Healing - The Chinese Art of Pa Chin Hsien

    by Chee Soo

    Copyright ©Seahorse Books 2012 reproduced with permission