What exactly do you do?
Okay. I teach tai chi, which is a soft martial art, and also run a qi gong healing clinic
in Shinjuku. Basically, tai chi and qi gong exercise and strengthen a person' qi, or life
energy, through a variety of movements, breathing and meditation, and healthy qi is
essential for a healthy body. Advanced practitioners of qi gong can project their own qi
and use it to heal patients-even those with very serious diseases, such as cancer-and that
is what I do.
How does it compare to, say, what Bruce Lee did?
Well, when Bruce Lee first started to study martial arts, he probably learned something
very similar to what I studied growing up in China. But what made Bruce Lee so special in
martial arts terms was that he was able to amalgamate aspects of Western philosophy with
aspects of Eastern philosophy and put that into action in his martial arts. What I studied
originally was based around Taoist philosophy, but what I do now with qi gong is similar
to what Bruce Lee did: I take the best of both worlds and adapt them.
How did you become a teacher?
Before I came to Japan I was a professional martial arts instructor in Xian, my home town.
I started studying martial arts from a very young age and was the All China Martial Arts
Champion in praying mantis style wushu. I also starred in a number of martial arts movies
and had my own TV series in which I played a young man seeking revenge for his father's
murder. However, as you get older, it becomes more difficult to stay in shape and prevent
injury so it made sense for me to make the transition from martial artist to healer. You
can actually improve your healing skills over time, whereas there's a limit to what you
can do as a martial artist as you get older.
So why did you come to Japan?
Well, my wife is Japanese and so it was natural to come here. Also, there is much more
freedom in Japan than in China, so it's easier to do what you want to do here. Things in
China are getting better now, but there was a time not so long ago when we were not
allowed to practice even martial arts.
Did you find it difficult when you first came here?
Yes, especially for work. But Japanese culture is very similar to Chinese culture so in
that respect it was not so difficult. I went to school to study Japanese for about three
months and I can get by now, though I have no intention of studying any more. I'm more
interested in studying English-it's such a nice language.
What's the best thing about living in Japan?
I like that it's so convenient for transportation, shopping and things like that. Also,
education is so much better and the standard of living is so much higher than in China
where not having those things makes people very untrustworthy and pushes many of them to
extremes just to earn a living.
What about the worst thing?
There's not much greenery in Tokyo and too many gray buildings. This extends to many areas
of life. A lot of it is very artificial. If you look at the food for example, it's very
pre-packaged; it looks very nice but it's not really natural. There's too much of
that-people meddling with everything.
What do you think of the Chinese food here?
Disgusting! It's Chinese food made for the taste of the Japanese. Something should be
If you could change one thing about Japan, what would it be?
I wish that the Japanese would truly be a little more international in their outlook. They
should embrace the foreigners who live here as ?normal? and be able to interact with them
in a friendly way. I found it very difficult to find a good studio to rent and I think a
lot of foreigners face similar problems.
If the Japanese want to internationalize, this is where they must start: with their
What are your plans for the future?
I want to improve my skills and my business. Eventually, I want to build a center with
practices embracing all aspects of qi gong treatment, including a center where people can
eat food for treating specific diseases.
To contact Guo Liang call 3200-5108.
Thanks to Chris Dixon.
Guo Liang spoke to Richard James.
Do you know an interesting person in Tokyo? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org