One Hundred Days of Darkness and Light
is the first section in Robert Peng's book,
The Master Key
At a Crossroads
From the Martial Arts to the Healing Arts
When I was thirteen an incident took place that forever altered the course of my training as a martial artist. It began when I met my best friend, Jianqing, on the street and noticed his face was badly bruised.
“What happened to you?” I asked.
“Zhang Gong beat me up,” he replied.
“Yesterday I wore the soldier’s cap that my uncle gave me as a gift, and Zhang Gong grabbed it from me. I tried to get it back and he attacked me, as did his whole gang.”
In those days a soldier’s cap was a valuable fashion item for a teenager. As my friend recalled the altercation, his blackened, swollen eyes moistened and I became enraged.
“Where did this happen?”
“On the street corner where they’re always hanging out.”
I marched there in a fit of rage to confront Zhang Gong, who was there with three of his hooligan friends. They were each three years older and at least one head taller than I, but that didn’t stop me. I stepped right into the middle of their circle.
“You stole Jianqing’s cap yesterday and I want it back!” I barked. The biggest thug in the group taunted me. “Or else what?” he asked, winking at the others.
My martial arts instincts took over. Without warning I smashed him in the chest with a devastating punch. He flew backward. After a moment of stunned silence, the rest of the gang members jumped me. I moved with blinding speed and struck one of them to the ground. Another pulled out a knife and sliced my lower back. I smashed his ribs with a vicious strike and punched his face. He fell to the ground unconscious. Zhang Gong jumped on me, but before he could hit me I snapped and broke his arm, then continued to pummel him mercilessly while he lay helpless on the ground. Within seconds the fight was over. Each gang member was either disabled or unconscious.
I quickly ran away to hide in another part of our neighborhood. As I calmed down, fear grabbed me. I began to wonder if I had killed Zhang Gong. My short-lived feeling of triumph suddenly turned into bitter anxiety that stalked me for the rest of the day.
That evening Zhang Gong’s parents came to our building and banged on our door. My parents let them in. His mother was livid. She told my parents that her son was lying in a hospital bed, and she threatened to have me thrown in jail. My father berated me in front of Zhang Gong’s parents while my mother cried. They made me apologize.
The following day I visited Zhang Gong in the hospital with my mother. We brought him dried lychees and apples. His face was badly disfigured and his right arm was in a cast. He was in pain and unusually timid. He didn’t look like an arrogant bully, but like a weak and cowardly boy. To my surprise, I felt heartfelt sympathy, and I apologized to him.
Later that afternoon my master greeted me with a cold, unfriendly stare. My mother had paid him a visit earlier.
“You lost control over your emotions,” he said sharply. “I’m sorry,” I replied. “I’m very disappointed in you.”
I could handle my mom’s disapproval, but my master’s reproach was unbearable.
“Today your lesson will be the washboard,” he said.
Shifu Tan leaned his wooden washboard against the wall at a forty-five degree angle and made me kneel on it. After five minutes my knees ached badly. He made me face the wall for two punish- ing hours.
Not long after the fight, Shifu Tan had an unusually serious, straightforward conversation with me.
“Jihui, you are standing at a crossroads, and you must choose only one way forward. You can continue training as a martial artist and fight in competitions to establish your reputation. At the end of this road you’ll become an accomplished fighter, and you’ll be able to open your own martial arts school someday. But down the other path lies a different destiny. I can train you to become a Qigong healer.
This journey requires developing your healing abilities, refining your inner vision, and greatly empowering your Qi. Though it might not seem apparent, the training for the second path is far more rigorous and demanding than the first. Take your time and decide which path you want to follow.”
Over the years I had witnessed Shifu Tan heal many people with Qigong. His reputation as a healer had quietly spread around our neighborhood. Strangers often knocked on his door at odd hours, and Shifu Tan never turned anyone away. Sometimes he even let me watch him treat a patient.
Just a few weeks before I fought with Zhang Gong, a woman had limped into the boiler room on crutches asking for help.
“A steel beam fell and crushed my toes,” she winced. “The doctors gave me painkillers but they no longer work. I’m in constant agony. I was told you are a healer.”
“Show me your foot,” Shifu Tan said. He massaged her leg and directed his Qi into the wound. He blended some herbs, mixed them with medicinal liquor, and sprayed the concoction on her foot. Then he bandaged it.
“Come back in a week,” he instructed.
A week later the woman returned. Her pain had diminished considerably. He repeated the same procedure. The following week she knocked on the door one last time and walked in without her crutches.
“My foot doesn’t hurt anymore,” she said, beaming.
My master examined the foot. It looked almost normal. The woman burst into tears. “Thank you.”
Her gratitude touched me, and each time I recalled her apprecia- tion I became more interested in following the path of healing.
I gave Xiao Yao my answer on the spot. “Shifu, I want to become a Qigong healer.”
“Good.” He seemed pleased with my choice.
To be continued in the next issue of Catalyst...
Robert Peng is a world-renowned Qigong Master, healer, and author of the book, The Master Key: Qigong Secrets for Vitality, Love, and Wisdom.
Click here for a free download of the audiobook, 100 Days of Darkness and Light, which is the first section in Robert's book, The Master Key.
Robert's companion resources include:
The Master Key Video Series (4 DVDs of Qigong practices)
The Master Key Audio Series (5 CDs of Qigong practices)
Qigong Ecstasy (45-minute Qigong practice video)
AM/PM Qigong (Two 30-minute Qigong routines video)
Robert was born and raised in Hunan, China. At age eight, he began an intensive apprenticeship under the close guidance of the legendary monk Xiao Yao, an enlightened master known for his profound healing ability and martial arts skill. At age 15, Robert performed a 100-day water fast in a small dark room at a secluded monastery in the remote mountains of Hunan province. He underwent a radical spiritual transformation and awakened amazing healing powers. Master Xiao Yao encouraged Robert to develop his healing skills by studying with other Chinese masters.
After pursuing his training quietly while attending university in Changsha, where he majored in English Literature, at 29 years old he began to teach publicly, and within five years had trained over 150,000 students all over China, Australia, and the U.S.
With his deep understanding and practice of Qigong, and with extensive life and teaching experience in the western world, Robert has developed a unique way to teach Qigong that people from different cultures can easily understand and follow while enjoying the real essence of this ancient Chinese healing art of wisdom, love, and vitality.
Robert has been a regular presenter at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, The Esalen Institute, Integrative Health Symposium, and many other organizations and schools.
Together with Bishop Desmond and Pema Chodron, he was honored as one of "Top Ten Heroes of 2013" for his contribution to transform "the ancient Chinese healing art of Qigong into today's fast-growing holistic practices — in addition to use as a spiritual practice for inner balance and peace, Qigong movement is gaining acceptance as a gentle movement for chronic illness and pain."