Learn the Chinese Wand 17 Exercises Routine Online

Jiangan – the Chinese Wand Exercises

The gentle ancient Chinese exercise that fits the Open and Free Access model of learning

Although there are hundreds of `Chinese Wand Exercises’, the 17 Exercises Routine contains everything for a comprehensive daily health and fitness workout. It is also easy to learn. Following the ethos practiced by Bruce Johnson in the last century, I encourage people to learn these exercises by themselves or in small groups rather than taking commercial classes, buying DVDs or attending seminars by professional instructors. Practiced each day, the 17 Exercise Routine traditionally taught by Bruce Johnson contains a comprehensive range of movements sufficient for the average person’s health and fitness needs.

The `wand’ is the only piece of equipment needed, and must be a light strong cylindrical object about 1 inch thick and about 48-50 inches long for the average person. A wooden dowel is adequate, though bamboo poles are traditional in China. Accompanying the descriptive text of each exercise on this page is a video performed by myself and photos of Bruce Johnson (black & White) and myself (colour) performing the postures. If you require further information the 17 Exercise Routine there are two books published on the subject but the important points are listed on this page.

1 Stretching the Crane
2 Sunrise & Sunset
3 Peeling the Octopus
4 Twisting the Snake
5 Twitching of the Dragon’s Tail
6 Bowing
7 Greeting the Traveller
8 Search for the Hatchet
9 Horse Stance on a Tightrope
10 The Tiger Springs
11 Rowing
12 The Rocking Bear
13 Tailor’s Walk
14 Rolling the Panda
15 Raising the Bird’s Wing
16 Dragon Kicks
17 Shoulder Shrugs

1 Stretching the Crane

Wide stance. Inhale deeply, rise onto your toes, stretch arms out and back behind your body, tilt head back, arch your back slightly. Exhale completely, come down from toes, bring arms to front of body, palms together, bend knees, swing hands between legs. Beginners and those who have difficulty standing on toes can simply move their weight to the front of the feet either as alternative or as a preliminary to standing on the toes. Advanced practitioners can sometimes arch their back a little further for increased stretch in the final repetitions.

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2 Sunrise & Sunset

Yin (beginning position); wide grip, hold the wand above head, in line with nose, feet wide apart, back straight but slightly arched backward. Do not bend forwards at any time in this exercise. Inhale deeply, rise onto toes, stretch up high as you can. Exhale completely and bring the Wand down close to your face, stopping at your throat, while coming down from toes. Inhale deeply as you lift the wand back up to the beginning position, raising onto your toes and stretching as you lift the Wand up as high as you can. Repeat this sequence, resting at lower points each time you come down from beginning position, till you get to the following points:-

2: chest

3: navel

4: lower hip

5: top of thighs.

Yang (end): a few inches below the top of thighs.

Then repeat the Yin-Yang positions as many times as you wish.

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3 Peeling the Octopus

Yin (beginning); feet in medium stance, hold wand in wide grip horizontally above the back of your head. Inhale deeply, lower the wand to the back of the head. Then exhale completely and raise the wand back up to beginning position, stretching arms to the fullest extent & locking elbows. Repeat this sequence but resting at lower points each time you come down from the beginning position, loosening grip each time till holding wand between thumb and forefinger in end position.

2: back of neck

3: back f shoulders

4: shoulder blades

5: lower back.

Yang (end): touching buttocks.

Then repeat the Yin-Yang positions as many times as you wish.

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4 Twisting the Snake

Yin (beginning); feet medium width, wand held in wide grip in front of body, shoulder height, elbows locked. Inhale deeply, swing right arm around to left up and over head, touch neck briefly. Exhale completely roll wand around your neck by raising left arm overhead to right side and bring wand back to beginning stage. Then repeat sequence leading with left arm. Then repeat, resting at lower points each time as follows:-

2: back of shoulders

3: shoulder blades

4: middle back

5: lower back.

Yang (end): touching buttocks, holding Wand between thumb & forefinger, pausing slightly & locking elbows.

Then repeat the Yin-Yang positions as many times as you wish.

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5 Twitching of the Dragon’s Tail

Yin (beginning); feet in medium stance, wand in wide grip resting against back of shoulders, knees locked.

Left side: Exhale completely and twist the left arm a few inches to the right, head keeps facing directly forwards and do not move hips. Inhale  deeply and return to beginning stage. Exhale completely as you bend upper body to the left a few inches. Inhale deeply and return to beginning stage.

Repeat this sequence with the right side of the body.

Then repeat first the left and then the right sequences as above, but extending a little further each time, so that by the Yang (end) positions the elbows are touching hips in the bends and the hands are in front of face in the twists.

Then repeat the Yin-Yang positions as many times as you wish.

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6 Bowing

Yin (beginning); Feet in medium-wide stance, hold wand in wide grip on upper chest, knees locked, legs straight. Exhale completely, bring the wand down to touch top of thighs and bend upper body slightly. Inhale deeply and return to beginning stage. Turn upper body to face left, hold for a second then exhale completely and bring the wand down to touch side of upper left thigh, bending upper body slightly. Inhale deeply and lift the wand and straighten up. Hold this position for a second then turn back to the front beginning stage.

Repeat this sequence with the right side of the body.

Then repeat left and right sequences as above, extending a little further each time. By the Yang (end) positions the wand reaches ankles at the front and mid-calves on left and right sides.

Then repeat the Yin-Yang positions as many times as you wish.

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7 Greeting the Traveller

Yin (beginning); feet close together, hold the wand in wide grip on back of shoulders, arching the back slightly backward, legs straight, knees locked, chin up, head tilted back, eyes looking up at all times. Look at ceiling or sky directly above. Inhale deeply, then exhale slowly and bend forwards from the hips a few inches, keeping the back arched and head high. Inhale deeply, return to beginning stage. Then repeat as above, extending a little further forward each time. By the Yang (end) position bend to point shown.

Then repeat the Yin-Yang positions as many times as you wish.

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8 Search for the Hatchet

Yin (beginning); stand with feet between medium and wide stance, back slightly arched backward. Hold the wand behind the body, against the backs of thighs, your hands about a foot from each end, elbows and knees kept locked. Exhale completely and bend forwards slightly, lifting the wand away from the body. Inhale deeply and return to the beginning stage, keeping the back slightly arched and the head high and eyes looking up.

Repeat as above, extending a little further forward each time and lifting the arms a little higher each time. By the Yang (end) position bend to point shown with arms out in front of body.

Then repeat the Yin-Yang positions as many times as you wish.

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9 Horse Stance on a Tightrope

Yin (beginning); stand with feet in a very wide stance, with toes pointing out to the sides, heels face each other as if you are on a tightrope. Hold the wand lightly on the back of shoulders in wide grip. Keep the back straight and look directly forwards. Exhale completely, arch back slightly backward and slowly bend knees a few inches. Inhale deeply as you slowly return to the beginning Yin stage.

Repeat as above, bending knees a little further each time, to the Yang (end) position as shown.

Then repeat the Yin-Yang positions as many times as you wish.

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10 The Tiger Springs

Yin (beginning); stand with feet in a medium stance, holding the wand against your chest in wide grip. Keep back straight and look directly forwards. Keep elbows above the Wand. Exhale completely and thrust the wand high as you step forwards with right leg, bending right knee and also slightly bending the rear left knee – but leaning the body away from the wand. Inhale deeply and quickly step back with the right foot to return to the beginning stage, straightening both legs.

Repeat as above, bending the knees a little further each time, to the Yang (end) position as shown.

Then repeat all the stages leading with the left leg.

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11 Rowing

Yin (beginning); sit on the floor, knees bent, slightly apart, heels together, holding the wand high against chest in wide grip, elbows up. Keep chin tucked into neck and keep the back and shoulders rounded. Inhale and lean back no more than 45 degree angle. Exhale completely and bring upper body forward and push the wand forwards to touch knees. Inhale deeply and bring the wand back to the beginning stage.

Repeat this sequence, exhaling and bending a little further and moving the wand a little further down the legs each time, and inhaling as you come back to the beginning position, until you reach the Yang (end) position with the wand against the ankles.

Then repeat the Yin-Yang positions as many times as you wish.

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12 The Rocking Bear

Yin (beginning); sit on the floor, knees bent, legs wide apart, holding the wand high against chest in wide grip, elbows up. Keep chin tucked into neck and the back and shoulders rounded. Lean back no more than 45 degree angle. Exhale completely and bring your body forward, twisting to the right so the left hand touches right knee. Inhale deeply and bring the wand back to the beginning stage. Exhale completely and bring your body forward, twisting to the left so the right hand touches left knee. Inhale deeply and bring the wand back to the beginning stage. Repeat as above, bending a little further and moving the wand a little further down each leg, to the Yang (end) position touching the hands against the feet.

Then repeat the Yin-Yang positions as many times as you wish.

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13 Tailor’s Walk

Yin (beginning); sit on the floor with legs straight out in front of you, knees slightly bent, holding the wand against the back of the shoulders in wide grip. Keep eyes and head facing directly ahead, the back is relaxed but straight. Breath naturally. Walk forwards on buttocks by bringing the left heel forward and twisting upper body to the right and bringing the left elbow forwards a little. Then bring right heel forward, twisting the upper body to the left, bringing right elbow forwards slightly. Carry one with another left step, right step and left step again, with the arms coming a little further forward each time, making 5 steps in all, finishing with elbow in front of the body.

Then walk backwards, twisting the waist to the left while placing the left heel backwards and bringing the left elbow back slightly, shifting the left hip backwards to move the left buttock back. Then do the same with the right side and carry on walking backward five times till elbow is in front of the body. Then walk forwards-backwards five times each, for as many times as you wish.

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14 Rolling the Panda

Yin (beginning); sit on the floor, knees bent, heels together, the wand resting on the ankles. Place hands between knees and thread them under knees so they come out holding the outside of your ankles, grasping the wand, palms up. Keep heels together, back and shoulders rounded, chin tucked into neck.

Phase One: Exhale completely and rock backwards from the beginning stage very slightly, lifting heels a few inches off the floor. Inhale deeply and roll forwards back to the beginning stage. Repeat, lifting feet a little further. Then Exhale completely and rock right back so your back is on the floor, shoulders touching the floor, looking at the ceiling or sky, then immediately inhale deeply and roll back forwards to the beginning stage. Repeat as many times as you are able.

Phase Two: Go through phase one a few times then rock backwards till your shoulders are some inches off the floor, inhaling deeply as you roll back to the beginning stage again. Perform this as many times as you are able. After a few days or weeks first go through the two above phrases a few times, then adding a new part; rocking backwards so your middle back is touching the floor.

Phase Three: after a few days or weeks first go through the above phrases a few times, then add a new movement; exhale completely and rock back till your lower back is touching the floor. Then inhale deeply as you slowly roll forwards to the beginning stage.

Repeat as many times as you are able.

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15 Raising the Bird’s Wing

Yin (beginning); lay on right side and place the wand vertically next to you, grasping it at arms length as if holding a flag pole, your right hand grasping the base and your left hand about half way up. Keep body in a straight line and legs straight, left leg on top of the right. Keep your head up off the floor, knees locked and toes pointed. Inhale deeply and raise left leg about ten inches. Then exhale completely and slowly lower the left leg to the starting stage. Carry on like this in five stages till you get to the Yang (end) stage, touching your left toes against the top of the wand. Then repeat the Yin-Yang positions as many times as you wish.

Repeat with the opposite leg.

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16 Dragon Kicks

Yin (beginning); lay on the floor, on your stomach, grasping the wand with both hands close together in the centre, knuckles faced upwards, elbows about a 45 degree angle. Hold the head and chin up as far as comfortable and Keep legs straight (knees locked) and toes pointed. Inhale deeply and raise right leg a few inches. Then exhale completely and slowly lower leg to the starting stage. Do this five times, going slightly higher each time, finishing at the Yang (end) position shown. Then repeat the Yin-Yang positions as many times as you wish.

Repeat with the left leg.

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17 Shoulder Shrugs

Yin (beginning); stand straight, feet close, wand behind back, grasping it at shoulder width, knuckles forwards, look directly ahead, keeping chin up, arms straight by your sides, elbows locked. Inhale deeply and raise your shoulders up as high as you can then throw shoulders back as far as you can making sure arms remain straight, elbows locked. Then exhale completely and  lower shoulders very slightly as you move them forward to the Yang (end) position.

Repeat about eight times.

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