Guo Liang

Guo LiangOccupation:
Qi gong healer, tai chi teacher
Time in Japan:
10 years

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 done.

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 attitudes.

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.

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