View Full Version : The 5 Animal Frolics

The Willow Sword
03-31-2002, 09:09 PM
Aside from myself who knows the training, Who else does it and what do you get out of it?

Many Respects , The willow Sword

04-01-2002, 09:20 AM
Why not tell us what you get out of the training if you do it?

- Nexus

David Jamieson
04-03-2002, 08:39 AM
The animal frolics.

Not necessarily the "5" animal frolics.

Qigong that allows for free flow of energy through the body.
In early times, practitioners where thought to be in a trance like state and that their motions were imitating those of animals. Hence the name.

However, the motions are induced by the allowance of the free flow of energy.

For example, have you ever seen a small child just standing there and for no apparent reason the child is flapping their arms or stamping their feet or just generally moving about for no apparent reason. If not, take a look at a kid sometime and you will see what I mean. This is free flow and is in essence similar to what is apparent when an adult allows for this to happen.

People would let energy flow freely and because of this they looked like they were imitating everything from deers to geese to tigers to bears and so on.

A very early version of "freestyle" chi kung. :)


Repulsive Monkey
04-04-2002, 03:26 AM
Well it is actually known as the 5 Animal frolics by a lot of people. When the 5 Animal frolics were created by the famous Chinese Physician Hua To they were later expanded upon to include other animals too, but initially there were 5 one animal each to represent all 5 elements. This was so because each animal represents all thr elemental groups of all Zang Fu, i.e.:
Bear = Spleen/Stomach , Bird = Lung/Large Intestine , Deer = Kidney/Bladder and so on...

The Willow Sword
04-04-2002, 03:36 PM
so i will refer back to my original question and that is ,,,if you do the training what is it that you get out of it? Kung LEK. i liked your knowledge of what you call free flow of energy through the body.
as i have learned the five animals: bear crane tiger deer and monkey. each one signifies a different meridian point on the midline of the body. two aspects to the training,,the live(or moving the chi aspect through body movement) or the dead(which actually means isometric or stationary) the dead training is something like the i chin ching muscle tendon changing classics where you are tensing and breathing and relaxing. focusing on different points all along the midline. bear being the easiest to follow for it focusues on the tan tien and building chi there and washing it through out the body. the bear is a yin excersise.
thats all i will write for now,,,i am interested to read others views on the training that have actually learned it and what they get out of the training. SO nexus, you will have to wait a bit.
Many Respect, The Willow Sword

Judge Pen
12-29-2003, 09:31 AM
Can someone point me to a thread or a resource on this form of qi gong? I'm starting to study it right now, but I always like to compare what I am learning with other resources so I can learn any differences/nuances. Thanks.

12-29-2003, 03:33 PM
I learned about it in the book ancient way to keep fit. Isn't it like the earliest qigong or something? It has a couple of different illustrations f it in the book but don't really know online.

12-29-2003, 03:43 PM
Has a video on it which is offered by the magazine of this site.

The 5 animal play(frolic) is an awesome set of movement that all have a martial root and it is easy to see a tai chi connection in it.

01-08-2004, 09:08 AM
Hello boneset,

There is a book and video companion set of the five animals of Hua To at:


Happy Practice,


09-01-2011, 09:27 AM
Anyone here do the 5 Animals Frolic/Play qigong set?

If so, what are your thoughts on it?

Are the animals supposed to be done one after another and if so what order?


Are you supposed to only do one animal at different times?

thanks for any input.

David Jamieson
09-12-2011, 01:22 PM
I learned 2 versions of these. They were both crap.
I'm sorry I can't be more positive in my response.

09-12-2011, 02:23 PM
5 Animal Frolics By Annie Rose (2009 March/April Wudang Special (http://ezine.kungfumagazine.com/magazine/article.php?article=803))

An Introduction to Hua Tuo's Five Animal Frolics By Jane Qianying Zhao (2009 May/June (http://ezine.kungfumagazine.com/magazine/article.php?article=819))

DVD/Book - Five Animal Frolics (Wuqinxi) DVD with instruction manual (http://www.martialartsmart.com/dvd-hq001.html)

Music CD - Five Animal Frolics (Wuqinxi)

10-09-2011, 01:47 PM
There are variation of 5 animal qigong.

Based on the basic spontaneous 5 animal qigong meditation (very effective for self healing but required proper guidance), a practitioner would move spontaneously( can be scary) as per his Yang qi deficiency (his sickness). His movement can be mistaken as if possessed by devil if seen by an outsider.

A stronger movement signifies a weaker qi deficiency.

The movement can start in any of the 5 animal forms. e.g. "BEAR" movement if Kidbey qi is weak. Once kidney is healthy (cured), the next animal movement starts ( say "MONKEY" form with Stomach problem) and so on until all 5 yang organs are healthy. If yang organs are healthy, yin organs always follow (healthy too).

Sometimes, a practitioner moves in other forms spontaneously( semi-consciously) e.g. tai Chi, dancing, singing, jogging and all sort. Some may just lay down to sleep.

Once all his yang organs are fully healthy, his motion would slow down to almost stop.

Further meditation would enhance qi cultivation (at lower dan tian to move qi along the small circle, (Du & Ren meridians).

It is a fast action remedy for illness, but require a good sifu guidance and his willingness to pass his qi (if he is capable) to you.

Qi, jing and shen are all part of qi cultivation esp. in a higher level meditation when you united them all in one.

10-12-2011, 03:16 PM

This looks similar to what my Sifu does...I'm only allowed to do Bak Mei and Tai Chi as a smoker my breathing is not good enough for 5 animals I'm told like I'm too tense when I float/sink Bak Mei Jik Bo. The younger students don't do 5 animals either I guess because they're working on bak Mei external-fast ging/power. all I've seen the 1-7 year students do is BM and TCC.

There is one BM student-sifu who has been doing it for 10 years who knows all the fundamental sets of BM he looked like a beginner learning 5 animals like 10 years with sifu and he's still working on basic breathing while moving through various stance postures. Contrasting is Ging with an Older Tai Chi student of my sifu who started TCC at the age of 70 due to high blood pressure he had no prior martial art training until his 70's. He does Yang TCC and 5 animals with my sifu.

So, Bak Mei students aren't allowed to learn it I guess until they get good at 9 step push-Gow Bo Toi which takes 5-7 years for the tendons to relax enough to match the footwork with the various poses but if you are old and don't know martial arts after 1-2 years of TCC you can learn it.:)

This is just how my sifu runs his school but it makes me wonder if it's only good for advanced students and old people because they have less external tension in their skeletal and muscular structures so as they get deeper into the 5 animals their postures relax more and the bodies hormones can do their job making the blood and mind move more efficiently!?.

10-13-2011, 03:07 PM
There is no reason why one shouldn't start 5 animals at younger student.

5 animals qigong has many variations but mainly focus on breathing and generating qi.

Your sifu may be reluctant to teach you as it is Chinese tradition to believe in teaching qi to loyal students only after years of following the sifu.

Also your sifu is probably more specialize at Bak Mei and TCC which are his rice bowl.

BTW TCC is closely related to qi initiating movement. I believe BM is the same.

Mixing too many styles would not make a person an expert.

TCC is a life time learning perfecting day by day.

10-13-2011, 04:02 PM
There is no reason why one shouldn't start 5 animals at younger student.

5 animals qigong has many variations but mainly focus on breathing and generating qi.

Your sifu may be reluctant to teach you as it is Chinese tradition to believe in teaching qi to loyal students only after years of following the sifu.

Also your sifu is probably more specialize at Bak Mei and TCC which are his rice bowl.

BTW TCC is closely related to qi initiating movement. I believe BM is the same.

Mixing too many styles would not make a person an expert.

TCC is a life time learning perfecting day by day.

Yeah he's been teaching BM for over 40 years and play Hsing Yi and Pa Kau as well as Tai Chi...I think BM and TCC are the main curriculum for the first five years because of the shaolin stances...doing yang tai chi slow horse and bow wide stances balances BM's short and fast frame. BM doesn't do a lot of standing around in the beginning I think that's why he reserves it for more Senior students. BM is hard enough work TCC helps to calm you so you don't overtrain too much. He won't even show us his Hsing yi lol it just seemed interesting that he reserved that specialized training for older students who don't do martial arts only Chi Gong and for his best most fastest students.

02-24-2017, 09:19 AM
I've always liked the translation "frolics"
Wu Qin Xi (五禽戲) is literally 'five', 'bird' or 'fowl', 'theatrical play' or 'show'.

Five-Animal Frolics (http://www.shanghaidaily.com/sunday/now-and-then/FiveAnimal-Frolics/shdaily.shtml)
Source: Shanghai Daily | February 26, 2017, Sunday | PRINT EDITION


ONE of the outstanding features of the traditional Chinese martial arts is imitating animal movements. This is because, Chinese martial artists believed in the past — and still do today — that we humans have lost or have never developed certain natural instincts, senses and fighting abilities that other animals possess in order to survive in the wild.

By imitating animal movements, martial arts practitioners intend to regain or develop certain animal fighting techniques and spirit to fight against other men.

The first set of animal-imitating exercises came into being about 2,000 years ago. It was called Wu Qin Xi or Five-Animal Frolics, created by Hua Tuo (circa 140-208 AD) as a form of therapeutic qigong or chi kung.

Hua was a famous physician in the later years of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD). He is widely known as the first doctor in the traditional Chinese medicine to invent some anesthetic herbal formulas and the first surgeon to conduct abdominal operations.

Hua Tuo was born in today’s Bo County in eastern China’s Anhui Province. His father died when Hua was only seven. Then, he lived with his mother in abject poverty. In order to survive and enable her son to have a career, the mother sent young Hua to study medicine from a local folk doctor.

The master first assigned the boy to learn filling the prescriptions with other elder apprentices. But, the boy was frequently bullied by his fellow apprentices because of his young age. He was even denied the use of Chinese scales, thus making his job almost mission impossible.

However, through diligent practice, the boy later learned to accurately measure the weight of herbals and other pharmaceutical ingredients just using his hands.

The master was impressed by the boy’s diligence and ingenuity, so he decided to teach him all the skills he knew. Soon, Hua became an expert in fields such as acupuncture, physiotherapy, gynecology, pediatrics and surgery.

Later, Hua also created the Five-Animal Frolics qigong exercises to help people improve their physical and mental health.

Some historians have pointed out that animal-imitating exercises in the country could date back to around 300 BC when Chuang-tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher and key representative of Taoism wrote in his book that “walking like a bear and stretching their neck like a bird to achieve longevity.”

However, they all agree that it was Hua Tuo who developed the first complete set of animal-imitating qigong exercises in China.

One of Hua’s outstanding disciples, Wu Pu, practiced the Five-Animal Frolics every day and lived for more than 100 years. In his book, entitled “The Five-Animal Classic,” Wu quoted his teacher as saying that human body needs exercise, but it should never be done to the point of exhaustion.

“Now, I have created the art called the Frolics of the Five Animals, imitating the movements of tiger, deer, bear, monkey and bird.

“It eliminates sickness, benefits the legs, and is also a form of Tao Yin (body exercise of bending and stretching).

“If you feel out of sorts, just practice one of my Frolics. A gentle sweat will exude, the complexion will become rosy; the body will feel relaxed and you will begin to build up an appetite.”

Later, many other forms of qigong and martial arts introduced the animal movement imitation concept.

For example, many martial artists believe that Xingyiquan or Shape-Will Boxing, the oldest of thee Wudang internal martial arts, was created in imitation of the fighting techniques and spirit of 12 animals, including the five animals of Hua’s Frolics.

Because of its health preserving benefits and easy-to-do, fun-to-practice routines, Five-Animal Frolics is still practiced today by a great number of people, not only in China, but also in many other places of the world as well.

In 2011, the Chinese government included this ancient Hua’s Frolics into the country’s protection list of national cultural heritages.

12-06-2018, 08:10 AM
500,000 people perform "Kungfu Yoga" in east China city (http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-12/06/c_137655182.htm)
Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-06 15:34:54|Editor: WX

HEFEI, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Over 500,000 people braved chilly winds to practice Wuqinxi, an ancient Chinese physical exercise mimicking the movements of five animals, on Wednesday in the city of Bozhou, east China's Anhui Province.

Participants from schools, communities and government organs gathered at the square of the city's stadium and practiced Wuqinxi for 20 minutes.

Students from more than 1,000 schools in the city staged a show practicing the exercise.

Wuqinxi, literally meaning Five-Animal Exercises, is a set of physical exercise accompanied by Qigong (breathing exercises). Practiced in China for 1,800 years, it is proved to improve a person's immune system and helps prevent illness.

As a Chinese legend goes, Wuqinxi was invented by Hua Tuo (145-208), one of the greatest doctors in Chinese history, based on his observations of tigers, deer, bears, apes, and birds in Bozhou, where he was born.

"The bear movements are good for the stomach and spleen. The tiger soothes pain in the waist and back. The deer movements can reduce fat around the waist, and the ape is good for cardiopulmonary functions. Bird movements can help prevent arthritis," explained Hua Yi, the 59th inheritor of Wuqinxi.

The practice of Wuqinxi was inscribed into China's list of national intangible cultural heritage in 2011. Since then, 5,600 instructors have helped train 1 million people to learn the exercise in the city.

Hua said Wuqinxi is "not only good for the body but also fun to watch." Inheritors have performed the health-promoting exercise in shows around the world. Martial arts enthusiasts from more than 10 countries came to Bozhou to learn Wuqinxi.

Mass Qigong Demonstrations (http://www.kungfumagazine.com/forum/showthread.php?68693-Mass-Qigong-Demonstrations)
The 5 Animal Frolics (http://www.kungfumagazine.com/forum/showthread.php?11399-The-5-Animal-Frolics)

12-06-2018, 08:16 AM
These were in a different section on Xinhua's site.

Citizens practice Wuqinxi in east China's Anhui (http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-12/05/c_137653098.htm)
Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-05 19:30:32|Editor: Yamei


Citizens practice Wuqinxi, a kind of traditional Chinese exercise Qigong which imitates the moves of bear, tiger, monkey, deer and birds, on a square in Bozhou, east China's Anhui Province, Dec. 5, 2018. (Xinhua/Zhang Yanlin)

Mass Qigong Demonstrations (http://www.kungfumagazine.com/forum/showthread.php?68693-Mass-Qigong-Demonstrations)
The 5 Animal Frolics (http://www.kungfumagazine.com/forum/showthread.php?11399-The-5-Animal-Frolics)