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Literature that talks about such health and fitness exercise postures or routines, with some movements quite similar to movements in the Eight Section Brocade Chi Kung, goes back nearly 2,500 years.Let us now review some of that historical development, in chronological order.One can also see some movements and postures in the Five Animal Frolics that are comparable to the Eight Treasures.
These are known as the "Eighteen Hands of the Lohan." This Shaolin Lohan Qigong (i.e., the art of the breath of the enlightened ones) "is an internal set of exercises for cultivating the "three treasures" of qi (vital energy), jing (essence), and shen (spirit)," according to Howard Choy.The qigong and Chinese scholar, Stuart Alve Olson, says the seated Eight Section Brocade form was created by T'ao Hung-ching, a Taoist adept living in the fifth century CE, and further developed by the Taoist sage Chen Tuan (Chen Hsi-yi, Hsi-yi) living in the tenth century CE.During the period of 800 - 1200 CE, variations of these exercises were done in Wudang Mountain Daoist Temples for health and meditation purposes, and some were used as warm up exercises by monks training at the Shaolin Temple in hard style martial arts.He created a series of exercises called the "Animal Frolics." There are many versions of the animal frolics exercises today, and some of these exercises are similar to those found in the Eight Section Brocade Chi Kung.In The History of the Later Han, Hua T'o wrote: "Man's body must have exercise, but it should never be done to the point of exhaustion.