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History of Shaolin One-Finger Qi Gong

Shaolin Nei Jing Yi Zhi Chan Qi Gong (Shaolin One Finger Qi Gong) is a Qi Gong originating from Buddhism. It arrived from Dharma, a buddhist monk who traveled from India to China to spread Buddhism around 420 D.C. to 589 D.C., and then became the founder of China’s Zen Buddhism. This is why there is no movement in the Shaolin One Finger Qi Gong; it is based on being Zen, or present in the moment. There is no use of the mind or the body except to relax and feel.

Qi Gong was only passed on as an oral tradition, and only a few monks were chosen by the Chief Monk of the Monastery to train in Qi Gong. They were not even allowed to pass their information to their fellow monks.

Great Great Grand Master Ah Shui (1918-1982), teacher of Great Grand Master Cai Qiu Bai, retained the oral tradition of Qi Gong. In the early 1960s he shared his information with a handful of students in Shanghai, China. Que Ah Shui was born in Suzhon Weitang to a very poor family. He started his training at the age of 8 when two monks took an interest in his abilities. At that time, there were two Shaolin Monasteries: one located in Song Shan in Northern China and the other one in Fujian Putian in Southern China.

Temple monks would recruit boys they saw the most promise in. They would negotiate a price to compensate the boy’s family for taking him away from the family and training him as a monk - which included a vow of celibacy. In traditional Chinese culture, however, it is pivotal to have offspring and pass on one’s family name. Que Ah Shui was the only son in his family and his parents did not want him to be a celibate monk; they wanted him to continue the family name. The monks were so impressed with Ah Shui’s talents that they agreed to let him have a son of his own while also teaching him. 

Que Ah Shui therefore had the opportunity to introduce and teach Shaolin One Finger Qi Gong in Shanghai, and spread it all over China in the 1960s. The spreading of Shaolin QiChan Gong must be credited to Master Ah Shui. Ah Shui was the Chief Monk at the Southern Shaolin Monastery where he mastered Shaolin One Finger Qi Gong.


Master Que Ah Shui taught Shaolin One Finger Qi Gong verbally and individually. He did not allow his students to take note as he was forbidden to do the same from his masters. As a result, no one knows whether he had taught everyone the same thing or whether he had taught each of his disciples/students differently. In fact, there was proof later indicating that what one disciple/student learned could be very different from that of other disciples/students.

Master Que Ah Shui recognized Cai Qiu Bai as his chief successor based on his abilities as a student. Great Grand Master Cai started training with Master Ah Shui at 6 years of age. His mother befriended Ah Shui when she needed his assistance in healing a painful elbow. Master Ah Shui was looking for a young person to start training at a young age, and he found Cai to be very good at the basic techniques of Qi Gong. Cai trained with Master Ah Shui most of his life.

Master Cai came to the United States in 1989 on a visiting visa. He was here during the Tiananmen student uprising and was granted amnesty by the United States to stay and become a U.S. citizen. He was told by Ah Shui that he was to teach Qi Gong to as many people as he could and to teach in the United States. Master Cai currently resides in the Bay Area and continues to teach all over the world.

Angela Lee is one of Master Cai’s senior Qi Gong students. Angela is ranked by the China Shaolin Nei Jing Yi Zhi Chan Association Instructor V. She has a background in Martial Arts starting from Tai Chi Chuan at 10 years old. She studied many hard Martial Arts styles through the years, such as Shaolin Northern Praying Mantis, Sil Lum White Lotus, and Choy Lei Fut. She found she was a better healer than a warrior, and she started studying Qi Gong with Master Cai in 1991.

During the first three months of Qi Gong practice she did not feel much of anything. Then, in a burst of Qi one night, she accelerated in her practice. Master Cai saw the change immediately and was excited to tell her she had great potential to be a master. She decided to learn more about Traditional Chinese Medicine and received her Master of Oriental Medicine in 1997. 


As she was building her acupuncture practice, Angela felt it was time to teach Qi Gong to her friends. She became the first Qi Gong Instructor at UC San Francisco in 1998. In 1999 She opened the first Qi Gong class at UC Berkeley, and in 2000 She started teaching the first Qi Gong class offered at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco.


Presently there are over half a million people around the world practicing Shaolin One Finger Qi Gong.

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