Another version of the spontaneous qigong exercise: Richard S. Omura and his book Katsugen.
The spontaneous qi effect has been recognised by many different people throughout he world. Not just in China.
Perhaps it can be called a primitive or fundamental form of healing. This is because it is the body healing itself by clearing its own channels and encouraging a smooth flow of qi.
In this short article, I will give one example of spontaneous qigong-type exercise from a Japanese author and practitioner – Richard S. Omura.
Richard Omura calls this type of qigong ‘Katsugen’. He described this system in his book ‘Kasugen: The Gentle Art of Well-Being’.
After reading the description in his book, I believe that ‘Katsugen’ is another name for Self-activated Spontaneous Qigong. The descriptions of his exercises matches what I have talked about in this series of articles on spontaneous qi.
Katsu-Gen 活元 meaning
The title of this book comes from these two Japanese kanji – ‘Katsu’ (活) – meaning life and ‘Gen’ (元) – meaning vigor, spirit or energy. It is shortened version of the word – ‘katsugen undo’, which the author defines as “primal life exercise”. From my understanding of this exercise, katsugen undo refers to the voluntary practice of Spontaneous Qigong. Or in other words – self-activation spontaneous qigong. Not the type of spontaneous qi that is activated by someone else (e.g. from an acupuncture treatment).
Richard Omura’s path to Katsugen
The author Richard Omura was a very sickly child. Whilst in third grade, He had a tumour in his brain which needed to be operated on and had his pineal glands removed meaning that he would have to take several hormone drugs and steroids for the rest of his childhood.
Richards mother wanted to help him in any other way and so took him to see a well-known healer called Noguchi-San who treated him and also taught him the art of Katsugen, which the author continued to practice and which he attributes to helping him deal with many physical and psychological problems throughout his life such as co-dependency issues with an alcoholic women and substance abuse.
Omura describes his meeting with the healer Noguchi-San:
“Noguchi was a kind, good natured gentleman with longish greying hair dressed in a traditional Japanese brown hakama and charcoal grey kimono. He treated his patients sitting on a zubuton (small flat cushion).
The order of the treatment was like this: first you sat and waited on the sofas out front, then you were called into the treatment section among about ten patients who also sat on zabutons about ten feet directly in front of Noguchi-san. As Noguchi san finished treating his patient lying right before him, the next in line would get up and lie down to be treated.”
Noguchi had two aspects to his treatment. His patients would come and receive treatment directly from him. However, his clinic was also divided into another section where his patients would practice specific katsugen exercises. He also used relaxing classical music as a background during the katsugen exercise.
I assume that these exercises they practiced were similar to spontaneous qigong-type exercises.
Descriptions of Katsugen
In his book, Richard gives an honest account of his life and describes the practice of Katsugen. For example He describes Katsugen as
“A way of letting the natural system of our bodies take care of itself; maintaining and sustaining the circular balance of energy in our body… The body knows things which the body doesn’t.”
“You want to break free out of the robot shell, to burst the inhibiting bonds of the statue’s mold. You’re tired of acting in set ways, treading tired, old, familiar steps… By invoking the flow, your body’s natural creative energies will emerge, blooming like a flower. As you become connected to the katsugen flow, the cares and concerns of the mundane world disappear.”
There are other such poetic descriptions of katsugen in this book. For example:
“You become aware of memories of the past few days which stressed your mind and body. These memories bring out impatience, anger, irritation, disgust, hate and other negative emotions…you can no longer keep them bottled up.
Through the movements of your body you express them. Vibrations and shudders rack your body… these negative energies are expresses as movement of the various parts of your body. You wring your hands, shake your feet, twist your body, jump up and down. You do whatever your body wants to do to let these pent-up energies go”.
I find Richard Omura’s prose really inspiring and just reading it makes me want to start practicing now.
Instructions of entering a Katsugen state
In his book, he gives instruction on how to enter a Katsugen state. I won’t detail this in this article. If you want to try his approach, I recommend you buy his book. However, the exercises do involve finding a quiet place, starting with some gentle spinal twists, stretch and breathing, meditation. He then advises to relax and sit quietly:
“The idea is to let your body move without influencing its movements… Let your body be. And slowly, it will begin to move of its own accord.
A gentle swaying is what usually happens. A rotating of the neck or shoulders may also occur. Whatever movement you may be experiencing, just let it happen. Don’t force the movement to become bigger or smaller, let the movement increase naturally…”
It is apparent the author is experienced in this kind of practice. His book contains other insights into the practice. He make a mention of the source of Katsugen as being the Dantian (an area about 2 or 3 inches below the naval). The dantian is an important energy centre of the body and is often cultivated in qigong practice.
Katsugen: The Gentle Art of Wellbeing
For more information, check out Richard Omura’s book on Amazon: Katsugen: The Gentle Art of Wellbeing.
A unique perspective
Richard S. Omura has other works. His other books, which are inspired by the Urantia book (Earth book), show a very unique perspective compared to many books on the market today,
I feel that the purpose of Katsugen is not just about healing illness. It is about personal transformation – finding our purpose and deeper spiritual and soulful meaning in life.
Turtle in pond – Silvia Lüthi. akupunkturplus.ch
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