Animal Frolic

虎戏   Tiger Frolic   Hŭ

Animal Frolics Qigong: The Tiger
An Ancient Chinese E
xercise Regimen for Nourishing Life (Yangsheng)
For Fitness, Fun, Increased Vitality, Confidence, Strength, Good Health and Longevity

Qigong (Chi Kung) Internal Energy Cultivation Method, Chinese Yoga, Chinese Stretching and Healing Exercises (Daoyin)
Wu Qin Xi: Five Animal Frolics
Laohu Qigong, Tiger Chi Kung
Tiger Shaolin Kung Fu
The Eight Animals' Frolics Chi Kung

Introduction     Bibliography     Links     Movement Names     Videos

Lessons     Quotations     Tigers     Correspondences     Somaesthetics

Cloud Hands Blog     Valley Spirit Qigong     The Good Life     Pleasures


Research by 
Michael P. Garofalo

© Valley Spirit Qigong, Green Way Research, Red Bluff, California, 2003-2016
By Michael P. Garofalo, M.S., All Rights Reserved.




Frolics of the Five Animals

Bear     Tiger     Monkey     Deer     Crane     Dragon     Animal Frolics








虎戏   Tiger Frolic   Hŭ





Tiger Frolic

虎戏   Tiger Frolic   Hŭ





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Bibliography, Links and Resources
Tiger Frolic

虎戏   Tiger Frolic   Hŭ


Adjust San Jiao and Strengthen Body Structure—the Effects of “Tiger Show” of Wu Qin Xi.  Chinese Health Qigong Association.  2009. 

Alphabetical Index to the Cloud Hands Website

Ancient Way to Keep Fit.   Compiled by Zong Wu and Li Mao.  Translated by Song Luzeng, Liu Beijian, and Liu Zhenkai.  Paintings by Zhang Ke Ren.  Foreword by Kumar Frantzis.  Bolinas, California, Shelter Publications, 1992.  211 pages, glossary.  ISBN: 0679417893.  Outstanding illustrations by Zhang Ke Ren.  The Five Animal Frolics are beautifully illustrated on pages 68-80.  

Animal Frolics Qigong: Bibliography, Links, Lessons, Resources, Quotations, History 

The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu: The Secrets of Kung Fu for Self-Defense, Health and Enlightenment.  By Wong, Kiew Kit.  Charles E. Tuttle, 2002.  215 pages.  ISBN: 0804834393.  Chapter 9, pp. 102-118, Shaolin Five Animals: Training of Mind, Energy, Essence, Speed and Elegance.  Sifu Wong created a 36 Movement Five Animal Frolics form for this book.  The five Shaolin animals are the dragon, snake, tiger, leopard, and crane.  VSCL. 

Autumn (Fall):  Poems, Quotes, Sayings, Lore 

The Bear Frolic: Bibliography, Research, Notes, Lessons   

Chinese Healing Exercises: The Tradition of Daoyin.  By Livia Kohn.  University of Hawaii Press, 2008.  268 pages.  ISBN: 0824832698.  History of Daoist health practices.  Five Animal Frolics, pp. 57-70.

Chinese Health Qigong: Five Animal Frolics for Beginners  Instructional DVD by Master Jesse Tsao.  Tai Chi Healthways, San Diego, 62 minutes.  Creaded by Professor Yu Dinghai for the Chinese Health Qigong Association. 

Chinese Shamanic Tiger Qigong: Laohu Gong  Instructional DVD by Master Zhongxian Wu.  St. Paul, Minnesota, Dragon Door Publicatons, 2006.  Instructional DVD, NTSC Format, 65 minutes.  UPC: 872432000275.  VSCL. 

Cloud Hands Blog






Cloud Hands Website: Qigong and Taijiquan 

Correspondences and Alchemical Associations of the Tiger

Correspondences and Alchemical Associations of the Animals of the Five Animal Frolics Qigong 

The Crane Frolic:  Bibliography, Resources, Links, Lessons, Notes

Daoyin, Qigong, Chi Kung, Yangsheng Gong:  Bibliography, Links, Resources, Lessons, Lore  

The Deer Frolic:  Bibliography, Lessons, Links, Resources, Notes, Lore 

Dragon and Tiger Medical Qigong: Health and Energy in Seven Simple Movements.  By Bruce Frantzis.  245 pages.   North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California, 2010.  ISBN: 9781556439216.  VSCL. 

The Dragon Frolic: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Lessons, Notes, Lore

Dragon Qigong  

Drawing Silk: Masters' Secrets for Successful Tai Chi Practice.  By Paul B. Gallagher.  Third Edition.  Fairview, North Carolina, Total Tai Chi, 2007, 1988.  245 pages.  ISBN:  9781419663127.  The Five Animal Frolics are covered on pp. pp. 214-215.  

The Effect of Precaution against Sub-health of the Health Qigong Wu Qin Xi.  Chinese Health Qigong Association.  2008. 

Eight Section Brocade Qigong   By Michael P. Garofalo.  History and purpose of this popular chi kung practice.  Descriptions for each of the eight movements, health benefits, comments, variations, extensive links and bibliography, resources, quotations, animated .gif photographs of the movements, and charts.  This file is updated on a regular basis as I add new material, links, notes, and resources.  A.K.A:  Baduanjin, Pa Tuan Jin, Eight Silken Treasures, Ba Duan Jin, Pal Dan Gum, Ba Duan Gin,  Pa Tin Kam, Otto Pezzi di Tesoro, Acht Delen Brokaat, Les Huit Exercices del la Soie, Eight Silken Treasures, Brocade Qigong, Wudang Brocade Qigong, Silk Treasures Qigong, First Eight Buddha Lohan Hands. 

The Essence of Tai Chi Chi Kung: Health and Martial Arts.  By Yang Jwing-Ming, Ph.D.. Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, YMAA Publication Center, 1990.  Glossary, appendices, index, 148 pages.  ISBN: 0940871106.  VSCL.   

The Essential Book of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  By Liu Yanch 

Five Animal Frolic, Part I.  Instructional VHS/DVD, 120 minutes, by Shifu Jiang Jian-ye.  "Traditional Han Dynasty, Five Animal Frolic, Part I." 

Five Animal Frolic, Part II.  Instructional VHS/DVD, 120 minutes, by Shifu Jiang Jian-ye.  "Traditional Han Dynasty, Five Animal Frolic, Part II." 

Five Animal Frolic Handout.  A set of attributions and associations for each Frolic.  From Three Treasures Tai Chi. 

Five Animal Frolics.  An instructional DVD by Kenneth Cohen.  © 1990.  Website:  www.qigonghealing.com   Lecture and demonstration of each Frolic set.  VSCL. 

Five Animal Frolics.  Instructional videotape by Michael Gilman.  60 minutes VHS or DVD.  Five Animal Frolics  "An ancient form of Chi Kung, probably having strong influence on the development of Tai Chi Chuan. These easy to do, fun to practice movements are very complete for physical conditioning and internal health and well being. Especially valuable for the internal organs. Michael takes you through and explains these Five Animals in a simple easy to learn way. 60 minutes, produced for television." 

Five Animal Frolics.  Instructional DVD by Paul Gallagher.  95 minutes VHS.  "Five Animal Frolics #1: China's Earliest set of Internal Exercises, based on the Life-Enhancing Movements of the Crane, Bear, Monkey, Deer, and Tiger.  A complete invigorating fitness system for both body and mind which generates energy and mental poise without ever causing strain on the heart or joints. Many qualities of T'ai Chi, but much easier to learn for young or old. This Video of the Frolics contains complete, step-by step descriptions and explicit instructions for each movement. Excellent audio and video quality, close-ups and multiple angles enable you to see and refine every detail of your movement. Run-time is approximately 95 minutes; cost is $49."  

Five Animal Frolics: A Form Workbook.  A Complete Qigong Program for High Energy, Vitality and Well Being.  By John Du Cane.  St. Paul, Minnesota, Dragon Door Publications, 2002.  Second Edition, 2002.  121 pages.  Spiral bound notebook.  100 photographs.  No ISBN.   VSCL.    

Five Animal Frolics: Google Search

The Five Animal Frolics: A Practical and Workable Qigong Method.  By John Du Cane.  

Five Animal Frolics Qigong.  Authentic Eastern Health.  Instructional DVD, 60 Minutes.  Master Ping Zhao. 

Five Animal Frolics Qigong: Bibliography, Resources, Lessons, Links, Quotations, History.  By Michael Garofalo. 

Five Animal Frolics Qigong.  By Michael Winn.  Includes instruction on Inner Smile and Six Healing Sounds.  Audio CDs, DVDs, books.  VSCL. 

Five Animal Sports Qigong.  Instructional DVD, 180 minutes, by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming and Kathy Yang.  YMAA Publication Center, 2008.  ASIN: B0018OZFOS.  VSCL. 

Green Way Research.    Red Bluff, California.

Hatha Yoga: The Hidden Language; Symbols, Secrets and Metaphor.  By Swami Sivananda Radha.  Foreward by B.K.S. Iyengar.  Spokane, Washington, Timeless Books, 1987, 1995.  Index, 308 pages.  ISBN:  0931454743.  MGC.  A wonderful book filled with lore, myths, symbols, stories, and metaphors about various yoga postures. Yoga postures that embody aspects of birds (pp. 180-225) include the Swan (Hamsasana), Crane (Bakasana), Eagle (Garudasana), Peacock (Mayurasana), and Cock

History of the Five Animal Frolics 

The Magician's Companion.   A Practical and Encyclopedic Guide to Magical and Religious Symbolism.  By Bill Witcomb.  St. Paul, Minnesota, Llewellyn Pubs., 1993.   Appendices, resources, 577 pages.  ISBN:  0875428681.   VSCL. 

The Magic of Shapeshifting.  By Rosalyn Greene.  Red Wheel Weiser, 2000.  258 pages.  ISBN:  1578631718.  According to Ms. Greene the most common animals people shift into are the wolf, fox, cat and bear.  

Magic Pearl Qigong: A Tai Chi Medicine Ball Exercise Routine and Meditation Technique.  Developed by Mike Garofalo. 

Magic Pearl Qigong

Massage - Self-Massage, Patting 

The Monkey Frolic: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Lessons, Notes, Lore 

Power Qigong: The Bear and Tiger Frolics  By John Du Cane.  St. Paul, Minnesota, Dragon Door Publications, 2000.   Instructional DVD, 48 minutes.  Anti-Aging Series.  ISBN: 0938045210.  Website:  www.dragondoor.com.  VSCL.    

Qigong Essentials for Health Promotion.  By Jiao Guorui.  Beijing, China Reconstructs Press, 1988.  A lengthy description of the Five Animal Frolics can be found on pages 190-236.  VSCL.    

Relaxation (Sung, Song, Shoong), Effortless Action, and Qigong    Links, bibliography, quotes, and notes.  By Mike Garofalo. 

Sacred Circles 

Six Taoist Healing Sounds   Research by Mike Garofalo. 

The Spirit of the Five Animals: Shaolin Martial Arts.  By Tak Wah Eng.  Bo Law Kung Fu Federation, 2005.  171 pages.  Simple descriptions, with black and white photographs, for each animal form:  Dragon, Tiger, Leopard, Crane and Snake.  VSCL. 

The Spiritual Legacy of the Shaolin Temple:  Buddhism, Daoism, and the Energetic Arts.  By Andy James.   Foreword by Dr. Jerry Alan Johnson.  Summerville, MA,  Wisdom Publications, 2004.  179 pages.  I SBN: 0861713524.   VSCL.    

Spontaneous Five Animal Play Qigong (Zifa Wuqinxi Donggong).  Compiled and readjusted by Liang Shifeng who is a major Qigong master from a southern province of China, called Guangdong in the early 1980s. 

Staff Weapons: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Lessons

Sun Lu Tang's Internal Martial Arts: Baguazhang, Xingyiquan, Taijiquan, and Qigong.  Bibliography, Links, Quotes, Resources, Instructions.   

Shen-nong Limited: History of Chinese Medicine 

Standing Meditation (Zhan Zhuang)





Tai Chi Chuan

Taoist Qigong for Health and Vitality.  A Complete Program of Movement, Meditation, and Healing Sounds.   By Sat Chuen Hon.  Foreword by Philip Glass.  Boston, MA, Shambhala Pubs. Inc., 2003.  Notes, 174 pages.  ISBN: 1590300688.  The healing sound for the Heart in this book is "Ho" and is described on pp. 71-83.  VSCL. 

Tiger Frolic.  UTube Video, 1:34 minutes.  Performed by Anson Rathbone, 2007.  As taught by Deguang at NESA's Medical Qigong Class. 

Tiger Frolic.  UTube Video, 4:33 minutes.  Peformed by Master Howard Choy. 

The Tiger Frolic:  Bibliography, Links, Resources, Lessons, Notes  

Tiger Frolics   UTube, 7:26 minutes. 

Tiger Frolics Walking by Deborah Davis at Kripalu

Valley Spirit Qigong, Red Bluff, California.  Instructor: Mike Garofalo, M.S. 



Video Demonstrations Online

Five Animal Frolics.  Demonstration by Master Jesse Tsao.  UTube, 6:46 minutes. 

Five Animal Frolics Video Demonstrations

Five Animals Qigong.  Demonstration by Master Xiao.  UTube, 9:46 minutes. 

Tiger Frolic.  UTube Video, 1:34 minutes.  Performed by Anson Rathbone, 2007.  As taught by Deguang at NESA's Medical Qigong Class. 

Tiger Frolic, Five Animal Frolics, Demonstration by Master Howard Choy, UTube Video, 4:33 Minutes. 

Tiger Frolics   UTube, 7:26 minutes. 

WuDang Five Animals Qigong.  UTube, 6:30 minutes. 




Vital Breath of the Dao: Chinese Shamanic Tiger Qigong (Laohu Gong).  By Master Zhongxian Wu.  St. Paul, Minnesota, Dragon Door Publications, 2006.  Notes, index, 236 pages.  ISBN: 0938045687.  VSCL.  "Detailed instruction in this powerful Mt. Emei Sage Style 24-movement Qigong form, which combines the traditions of ancient shamanism, Confucianism, Daoism, classical Chinese medicine, and the martial arts."  Master Wu moved from China to Portland, Oregon, in 2002; and now teaches all around the world.  Visit his website for more information; and, check out his UTube videos.  This book includes much insightful discussion of Chinese cosmology, myths, culture, numerology, shamanism, qigong, nature, and healthy living.  Fairly detailed instruction and photographs of the Shamanic Tiger Qigong form. 

Vital Breath of the Dao: Chinese Shamanic Tiger Qigong (Laohu Gong).  Demonstrated and taught by Master Zhongxian Wu.  Instructional DVD.  65 minutes running time.  Available from Dragon Door Publications, 1-800-899-5111.  DVD # 031.  VSCL. 

The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing.  By Kenneth S. Cohen.  Foreword by Larry Dossey.  New York Ballantine Books, 1997.  Index, notes, appendices, 427 pages.  ISBN: 0345421094.  One of my favorite books: comprehensive, informative, practical, and reasonable.  

Way of the Staff  

Ways of Walking: Poems, Quotes, Sayings, Bibliography, Links, Lessons, Resources 

Wild Goose Qigong: Links, Bibliography, Quotes, Notes

Wudang Five Animal Qigong - The Tiger

Wudang Five Animal Form.  Instructional DVD.  Featuring Master Zhong Xue Chao..  Introductory video, 5:32 minutes.  Instruction over-dub voice in English.  This DVD include 5 forms of Tortoise, Crane, Snake, Tiger, and Dragon.  All 5 animal's complete demonstration, introduction and teaching. List of movements. 

Wudang Five Animal Regimen    UTube Video, 5:53 minutes. 

Wu Qin Xi Qigong.  UTube Video, 6:30 Min. 

Wu Qin Xi.  By Hu, Yao-zhen (1879-1973).  Hong Kong, Xin Wen Shu Dian, n.d..  

Wu Qin Xi.  Chinese Health Qigong Assocation. 

Wu Qin Xi (Five Animal Frolics): Chinese Health Qigong.  Compiled by the Chinese Health Qigong Association.  Beijing, Chine, Foreign Languages Press, 2007.  102 pages, includes an instructional DVD.  ISBN: 9787119047799.  VSCL.  "In 2001 the Chinese government showed great interest in regulating the Qigong movement. The State Sport General Administration of China founded the Chinese Health Qigong Association, as a mass-organization to popularize, spread and research Health Qigong in cooperation with the Peking Sport University. In 2003 the organization presented the newly developed four Health Qigong Exercises on the base of excellent traditional Qigong, including:  Ý Jīn Jīng (tendon-changing classic),  Wu Qin Xi (frolics of five animals 五禽戲),  Liu Zi Jue (the art of expiration in producing six different sounds), Ba Duan Jin (eight excellent movements), to fit the people's needs of promoting their health and body, and to develop traditional Chinese national culture further. The Chinese Health Qigong Association is a member of the All-China Sports Federation.  During the process of developing the exercises, strictly scientific research methods have been followed. Primary experiments took place under supervision of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Modern Medicine, Psychology, Athletic Science and other related subjects. The Four Health Qigong Exercises can be seen as the essences from the related Qigong in various schools, inherited and developed traditional Chinese national culture.  The new Health Qigong represented by the Chinese Health QiGong Association is breaking with the old tradition of family-styles and close teacher-student relation. It is hoped that the new standardisation is supporting the international spread of Qigong in the western hemisphere.  Starting in September 2004 the "Health Qigong Magazine" became the association magazine of the CHQA. It is the only national health qigong publication in China; edtited through China Sports Press.  After the successful 1st International Health Qigong Demonstration and Exchange in 2005 the CHQA organized in August 2007 the 2nd International Health Qigong Demonstration and Exchange in Peking including an international competition and the first Duan examination on Health Qigong. At the same time, the 2007 International Symposium on Health Qigong Science was organized where important scientific studies were made public."

Wu Qin Xi, Five Animal Frolics Qigong: Bibliography, Resources, Lessons, Links, History.  By Michael P. Garofalo, M.S. 

Wuqinxi: Five Animal Frolics Medical Qigong.  By Dr. Jay Dunbar, Ph.D.  "Wuqinxi Qigong is attributed to the physician Hua T'o.  An excellent and delightful lifelong exercise, the Frolics utilize deep, smooth, breathing matched to movements that mimic the crane, bear, monkey, deer and tiger. The aim is to enhance the flow of qi (life energy), harmonize the five elements (fire, water, earth, wood, and metal), strengthen the internal organs, nerves, muscles, and bones, prevent and cure diseases, improve the health and vitality of body, mind, and spirit, and prolong life.  Paul Gallagher, who learned it from Ken Cohen, taught us the basic set in 1988. The author and his wife, Kathleen Cusick, augmented the set as research and insight suggested. The book contains two five-color meditations from Master Jou Tsung Hwa, and directions for movement, breathing, visualizations and suggested health effects for the 42 exercises. 48 pp."

Xing Yi Quan (Hsing I Chuan) makes use of Twelve Animals. 

Yang Style Taijiquan

Yangsheng Gong, Daoyin, Qigong:  Bibliography, Links, Resources, History, Lessons, Guides, Quotes 

Yi Jin Jing Qigong (Muscle/Tendon Changing Qigong): Bibliography, Links, Resources, Lessons.   By Mike Garofalo. 

Yuli Qigong.  By Jeff Smoley.  Wujigong, Zhan Zhuang, 5 Animal Frolics, Jade Power Qigong, and Eight Section Brocade.  Jeff borrowed my disclaimer

Zhan Zhuang, Standing Meditation - Standing Like a Tree - Meditation and Qigong


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Postures, Routines, Names of Movements
Tiger Frolic

虎戏   Tiger Frolic   Hŭ



Anson Rathbone, Tiger Frolic UTube

1.  Tiger Looks Around
2.  Scratch, Scratch, Lunge 
3.  Big Lunge 
4.  Circle Back, Reach and Tear   

Tiger Frolic.  UTube Video, 1:34 minutes.  Performed by Anson Rathbone, 2007.  As taught by Deguang at NESA's Medical Qigong Class. 


Kenneth Cohen, 5 Animal Frolics

1.  Stepping forward side to side, alternating legs, both arms reach forward with tiger claw hands forward with each step
2.  Same as 1, tiger claw hands first forward then drop down
3.  Corner stepping, add lung, same as 2
4.  Corner stepping, lung, same as 2, repeat longer lung, claws forward then down
5.  Tiger Climbs the Mountain:  Forward stepping, one arm claws up and down, other arm reaches back

Five Animal Frolics.  An instructional DVD by Kenneth Cohen.  © 1990.  Website:  www.qigonghealing.com   Lecture and demonstration of each Frolic set.  VSCL. 


Jiao Guorui, Qigong Essentials for Health Promotion

1.  Tiger Footwork
2.  Tiger Power
3.  Coming Out of the Tiger's Den 
4.  Preying Movements
5.  Tiger Combat

Jiao Guorui, Qigong Essentials for Health Promotion, 1988.  The Tiger Frolic exercises are discussed on pages 214-220.  This set features walking forward as each exercise is done. 


Yajun Zhuang, Five Animal Frolics

1.  Preparation Position
2.  Tiger Gaze
3.  Tiger Out of Cave
4.  Tiger Gaze Around
5.  Tiger Pounce on Food 

Five Animal Frolics by Master Yajun "Thomas" Zhuang


Wudang Five Animal Qigong

In Chinese traditional culture, the tiger was the symbol of power and unruliness. In the five elements, the tiger belongs to soil. Practicing the regimen often can cultivate the spleen and stomach, strengthen the bones and muscles.

1.Starting position
2. Guarding the breath into the pubic region
3. The tiger washing the hands and face
4. The tiger crouching down to listen to the wind
5. The tiger attacking at the prey
6. The tiger standing there still to look around
7. The tiger swallowing the prey
8. The tiger turning back the head
Closing position

Wudang to Five Animal Qigong






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Lessons, Instructions, Suggestions, Comments
Tiger Frolic

虎戏   Tiger Frolic   Hŭ

There is no one common set of movements for the Tiger Frolics Qigong.  Each Qigong teacher repeats what they first learned, or creates their own set of Tiger Frolic movements from the dozens of different movement sets available.  Variety is a hallmark of all Animal Frolics movement sets.  Nobody really knows the exact movements of the original Tiger Frolics set created by Hua Tuo in the second century CE.  Most Tiger Frolics sets have 3 to 5 movements in the set.  My own version of the Tiger Frolics movements are taken from a number of different Tiger Frolics Qigong sets, or are created on my own, and the sources for each movement are cited below.  

All Tiger sets feature the hands in a Tiger Claw: open fingers, rounded, tensed, as if the tiger or cat were reaching with their claws extended.  The eyes are often focused and "fierce" in intention.  Stepping into lunge postures are a common feature of Tiger Frolic movement sets.  The Tiger Frolics emphasize muscular force and tendon power per Kenneth Cohen. 

Safety Considerations:  Always sensibly adjust and modify any Tiger Frolic movement to suit your level of physical conditioning, your flexibility, and any injuries you may be dealing with.  Make adjustments according to your age.  Pay attention to how you feel and listen to what your body is telling you.  Don't do some suggested exercises as necessary.  Avoid injuries and setbacks by knowing your own limitations.  Here is some more safety advice in my Disclaimer


1.  The Tiger Lunges and Attacks

Feet together.  Stand up straight.  Arms at sides.  [1a]
Bring hands to waist level with tiger claw hands (fingers open and curled).
Step out to right side at a 45 degree angle with the right leg. [1b]  Step into a high lunge posture.  [1c]
As the right foot lifts and steps to the side [1b], draw both hands up the body to above the head, lift the head, circling both arms up and down. [1b]
As the right foot comes to the floor (ground), both hands, separated by a foot or so, claw downward to about waist level.  [1c]
Draw the arms back to the waist (as if pulling the captured prey close to your Tiger body) [1d] as the right foot is drawn back to beside the left foot.  [1e]
Repeat this movement on the right side 4 to 8 repetitions. 


1a 1b 1c 1d 1e


Do the same movement to the left side. 
Step out to left side at a 45 degree angle with the left leg.  Step into a high lunge posture. 
As the left foot lifts and steps to the side, draw both hands up the body to above the head, lift the head, circling both arms up and down.
As the left foot comes down to the floor (ground), both hands, separated by a foot or so, claw downward to about waist level. 
Draw the arms back to the waist (as if pulling the captured prey close to your Tiger body) as the left foot is drawn back to beside the right foot. 
Repeat this movement on the left side 4 to 8 repetitions. 

Movement source citation:  Tiger Frolic #3, Big Lunge.  UTube Video, 1:34 minutes.  Performed by Anson Rathbone, 2007.  As taught by Deguang at NESA's Medical Qigong Class. 



2.  The Tiger Crouches, Raises, Lunges, and Attacks 

From a standing position, with the feet at shoulder width, draw your loosely clenched fists up to your upper chest.
Bend forward from the waist, extend the arms forward, make tiger claws with palms down.  Bring the head down to the level of the hips.  Keep the back as straight as possible.  Bend the knees slightly. 
Draw the arms back to the knees as you squat down low, look downward.
Draw both arms up the body to your upper chest, fingers loosely clenched, gradually stand up and lean back as you look up.  Arms are draw up close to the body as as you stand up. 
Bring both arms up a to ears and then above your head, and then forward and down as you step forward with the left foot into a short lunge posture.  The hands form a tiger claw as they come down. 
Step back with the left foot to a centered position and bring the arms to the sides.  Imagine dragging the captured prey back to the Tiger's body before the killing bite to the prey's neck. 

Repeat exercise but step out to the right side.

Movement source citation:  Tiger Frolic, Movement 2, Seizing the Prey, pp. 33-41.  Wu Qin Xi (Five Animal Frolics): Chinese Health Qigong.  Compiled by the Chinese Health Qigong Association.  Beijing, China, Foreign Languages Press, 2007.  102 pages, includes an instructional DVD.  ISBN: 9787119047799.  VSCL.





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Tiger Frolic and Tiger Lore

虎戏   Tiger Frolic   Hŭ



"The Tiger Play is to imitate the shape and movement of a tiger. The features of a tiger are its ferocity, strong body, and good at jumping and scratching. The most important element in the Tiger Play is to imitate the awe inspiring attitude of a tiger. Its spirit is shown in its eyes and its awesomeness comes out of its craws. It gazes with raged eyes and moves like wind. It twists its waist with force, wags head and swings tail, and vibrates its body. In practice the Tiger Play, you need to focus your attention on the "Life Gate" acupoint. The "Life Gate" is where the "Yuan Yang" resides. It is the sea of sperm and blood, the root of "Yuan Qi", and the tabernacle of water and fire. If you focus your attention on the "Life Gate" during practice, it will benefit your kidney and strengthen your waist, build your bones and produce marrows. It can also open the Jen (conception) and Du (governing) meridians to get rid of wind evils. The Tiger Play is suitable for curing the following diseases: clogged meridians, numbness caused by partially blocked Qi and blood circulation, pain in pelvis nerves, waist and back pain, infected spine, high blood pressure, and infected Du meridain."
-  Master Yajun “Thomas” Zhuang,  Five Animal Frolics 



"The tiger is the second animal in the five animal set and one of the most powerful.  The tiger is an animal that is know for its speed, agility and external strength.  Training under this form will develop the bones, joints, and tendons as it requires intricate coordinated movements.  The body is trained in the manner where it holds in twisting stances to develop a coil like exertion.  This centers the body to the ground and develops the legs to become more graceful yet deadly.  This form is perhaps the most physically challenging of all the forms.  Mastery of this form will strengthen the forearms, legs, torso and hands."
-  Tak Wah Eng, The Spirit of the Five Animals, p. 101. 



"Legend has it that when Bodhidharma arrived at Shaolin [circa 525 CE], the monks practicing there were frail and sickly and fell asleep when they tried to meditate.  He believed that strong bodies and good health would aid their spiritual practices and supposedly taught them three qigong exercises that are still practiced: The Muscle and Tendon Changing Classic (yi jin jing), Bone-Marrow Washing (xi sui jing), and the Eighteen Lohan Qigong (shi ba lo han gong).  There is some disagreement as to whether these exercise were from Indian yogic or Chinese qigong traditions and whether they originated in Bodhidharma's time or later. 
    The movements of the original Eighteen Lohan Qigong (a lohan, or arhat, is one who has reached the stage of nirvana) became the basis of martial training and in time developed into a more complex system of 72 movements.  By the time of the Mongol Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), these has expanded to 170.  These movements were expressed in the Five Styles, which drew upon the fighting styles, characteristics, and spirits of different animals.  The dragon, tiger, leopard, snake and crane (or cock) styles represented the training of spirit, bones, strength, qi, and sinews respectively.  It was said that to truly master this "mimic boxing" (imitating various animals), the human ego had to be set aside, which is also one characterization of the goal of Chan Buddhism."
-  Andy James, The Spiritual Legacy of Shaolin Temple, p. 31



"Usually, the Chinese call the tiger Laohu -literally meaning "old tiger," regardless of the tiger's age. Chinese character Lao for old is a symbol for wisdom and shamanic power. The tiger is the spiritual animal of the western direction and is related to the Queen Mother of the West. The Queen Mother of the West is a condensation of the Subtlest Vital Breath of the Western Essence from the Vital Breath of the Dao of the Original Chaos. 

The universal rhythm of the Dao can be found in the microcosm of the Lung. From a classical Chinese medicine perspective, we will never get sick if we can maintain Zhengqi in the body. Physically, Zhengqi is represented most strongly by the Lung, which prevents Xie (evil) Qi from invading the body. Here, Zheng can be translated as correct or upright. In contrast to Zheng, Xie can be translated as incorrect or tilted. Therefore, Xieqi includes all the factors, such as emotions, food, weather, habits, attitude, posture, or trauma, that may cause illness. One of the functions of Lung is to govern and energize all the meridians of the body. Strong Lung Qi helps us maintain wellness. We will be more susceptible to illness if the Lung Qi is weak. Thus, in Chinese medicine, the tiger is the spiritual animal of Lung and stands for the essential Lung Qi and vital breath. 

The Chinese Shamanic Tiger Qigong form is based on symbolic power-the essence of Chinese Shamanism-and has both medical and martial arts applications. The tiger form is the story of energy circulation from west to east, the movement of the Dao itself, as the symbolic power of the tiger communicates directly with the Dao. There are twenty-four movements in the form. Each individual movement is a seasonal connected to the Universal energy to help one to improve one's life. Through regular practice of the tiger form, one will strengthen one's Lung function and tonify one's Zhengqiand increase the harmonizing Qi of the whole body. In this way, one will be able to attune the personal Qi to resonate with the Universal Qi, to discover one's true potential nature and breathe with the Dao."
Vital Breath of the Dao: Chinese Shamanic Tiger Qigong (Laohu Gong).  By Master Zhongxian Wu, pp. 106-115. 



"The 5 Animal Frolics (五禽戲, Wu Qin Xi) is a complete qigong system, and the most ancient qigong system still practiced today. According to Kenneth Cohen, author of The Way of Qigong,”As story has it (Daoist Legend) Hua Tuo [110-207 AD/CE] received this text as well as instruction in Five Animals from two recluses living in a cave on Mount Gong Yi.”  The “more recent” teachers whom are credited with spreading qigong (and Five Animal Qigong, in particular) are Madame Guo Lin (1906-1984) and Feng Zhiqiang (who learned this from his teacher, Hu Yao-zhen)*.  The series of exercises that comprise the Five Animal Frolics not only help to keep the body sprightly and strong, but it engages both the mind and spirit as well.  The Five Animal Frolics help to great depth to your practice by allowing your body to communicate in different ways."
Creating Joyous Practice with the Five Animal Frolics






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Information, Facts, Lore, Artwork

虎戏   Tiger Frolic   Hŭ



All species of tigers are endangered. 

Domestic house cats sleep an average of 13 to 16 hours each day.  A tiger will spend from 16 to 20 hours of each day doing very little apart from lying in the shade. 

"The tiger (Panthera tigris) is the largest cat species, reaching a total body length of up to 3.3 metres (11 ft) and weighing up to 306 kg (670 lb).  It is the third largest land carnivore (behind only the Polar bear and the Brown bear). Its most recognizable feature is a pattern of dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with lighter underside. It has exceptionally stout teeth, and the canines are the longest among living felids with a crown height of as much as 74.5 mm (2.93 in) or even 90 mm (3.5 in). In zoos, tigers have lived for 20 to 26 years, which also seems to be their longevity in the wild. They are territorial and generally solitary but social animals, often requiring large contiguous areas of habitat that support their prey requirements. This, coupled with the fact that they are indigenous to some of the more densely populated places on Earth, has caused significant conflicts with humans.
    Tigers once ranged widely across Asia, from Turkey in the west to the eastern coast of Russia.  Over the past 100 years, they have lost 93% of their historic range, and have been extirpated from southwest and central Asia, from the islands of Java and Bali, and from large areas of Southeast and Eastern Asia. Today, they range from the Siberian taiga to open grasslands and tropical mangrove swamps. The remaining six tiger subspecies have been classified as endangered by IUCN. The global population in the wild is estimated to number between 3,062 to 3,948 individuals, down from around 100,000 at the start of the 20th century, with most remaining populations occurring in small pockets that are isolated from each other. Major reasons for population decline include habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation and poaching. The extent of area occupied by tigers is estimated at less than 1,184,911 km2 (457,497 sq mi), a 41% decline from the area estimated in the mid-1990s.
Tigers are among the most recognizable and popular of the world's charismatic megafauna. They have featured prominently in ancient mythology and folklore, and continue to be depicted in modern films and literature. Tigers appear on many flags, coats of arms, and as mascots for sporting teams.  The Bengal tiger is the national animal of Bangladesh and India."
Tiger - Wikipedia



"I have studied many philosophers and many cats.  The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior."
-  Hippolyte Taine



"Tigers live alone and aggressively scent-mark large territories to keep their rivals away. They are powerful nocturnal hunters that travel many miles to find buffalo, deer, wild pigs, and other large mammals. Tigers use their distinctive coats as camouflage (no two have exactly the same stripes). They lie in wait and creep close enough to attack their victims with a quick spring and a fatal pounce. A hungry tiger can eat as much as 60 pounds (27 kilograms) in one night, though they usually eat less.  Despite their fearsome reputation, most tigers avoid humans; however, a few do become dangerous maneaters. These animals are often sick and unable to hunt normally, or live in an area where their traditional prey has vanished.  Females give birth to litters of two to six cubs, which they raise with little or no help from the male. Cubs cannot hunt until they are 18 months old and remain with their mothers for two to three years, when they disperse to find their own territory."
Bengal Tiger - National Geographic



Cloud Hands Blog



"The domestic cat (Felis catus or Felis silvestris catus) is a small, usually furry, domesticated, carnivorous mammal. It is often called the housecat when kept as an indoor pet, or simply the cat when there is no need to distinguish it from other felids and felines. 
    Cats are the most popular pet in the world, and now found almost every place where people live. Cats are valued by humans for companionship and ability to hunt vermin and household pests.  
    Cats are similar in anatomy to the other felids, with strong, flexible bodies, quick reflexes, sharp retractable claws, and teeth adapted to killing small prey. Cat senses fit a crepuscular and predatory ecological niche.  Cats can hear sounds too faint or too high in frequency for human ears, such as those made by mice and other small game.  They can see in near darkness.  Like most mammals, cats have poorer color vision and a better sense of smell than humans. 
    Despite being solitary hunters, cats are a social species, and cat communication includes the use of a variety of vocalizations (meowing, purring, trilling, hissing, growling and grunting) as well as pheromones and types of cat-specific body language.  
   Since cats were cult animals in ancient Egypt, they were commonly believed to have been domesticated there, but there may have been instances of domestication as early as the Neolithic.  A genetic study in 2007 revealed that domestic cats have descended from African wildcats (Felis silvestris lybica) c. 8000 BCE, in the Middle East."
Domesticated and Feral Cats - Wikipedia 



Cats in the Garden, by Mao Yi, 12th century China
Cultural Depictions of Cats



Cats and Dogs in the Garden: Quotes, Sayings, Lore



"With the image of the lion in mind, the Egyptians built the Sphinx, a huge effigy of the Sun God, with the body of a lion and the head of a Pharaoh, and they also worshipped the goddess Sekhmet, who with the head of a lion (see picture) was the goddess of war, who descended to the earth to destroy the enemies of Ra, and was known as the Eye of Ra. Amongst the list of Egyptian feline goddess we find Mau, a personification of Ra as a cat (Mau being the ancient Egyptian word for cat); Tefnut, a lion headed goddess whose name means Moisture and represents one of the most primeval forces of creation; and Mafdet, a goddess of protection.  In an Ancient Egyptian spell which repels snakes, the protection of Mafdet is invoked: 'O cobra, I am the flame which shines on the brows of the Chaos-gods of the Standard of Years. Begone from me, for I am Mafdet!' 
However, the domestic cat was specifically claimed to be under the protection of Bast.  Bast, like Sekhmet was often said to be the daughter of Ra, and she was the protector of cats and those who took care of cats; her gifts were joy and pleasure.  Her cult was centered in the city of Bubastis (called Per-Bast, or House of Bast, by the Egyptians), where, once her temple stood. The Greek historian, Herodotus said "there is no temple more beautiful than that of Bubastis". Bubastis also housed a necropolis where hundreds of mummified cats were buried. She also had an annual festival, which seems to have been one of the most popular in the whole of Egypt, accompanied by loud music and chanting. She is often represented either as a woman with a cat's head, or as a cat.  The significance of Bast can only be understood by comparing her to Sekhmet.  Indeed, there is evidence that the Egyptians viewed them as aspects of the same divine force - Sekhmet being the violent aspect of the divine sun, and Bast being its gentler aspect."
The Magic Paw - Cats and World Mythology



"In China, the tiger is considered the King of All Beasts and represents powerful energy. Further, the tiger is associated with Tsai Shen Yeh, the Chinese God of Wealth, and this god is usually seen sitting on a tiger in Asian art.  Asian lore considers the tiger the protector of the dead, and will often be seen near graves as a mark of protection, assuring peace for those who have passed.  The tiger is associated with power, yang energy, royalty, protection, generosity, illumination, and unpredictability. 
    In ancient Chinese myth there are Five Tigers that hold the balance of cosmic forces in place and prevent the universe from collapsing into chaos.  The White Tiger rules the Fall season and is the governor of the Metal Element.  The Black Tiger rules the winter season and is the governor of the Water Element.  The Blue Tiger rules the Spring season is is the governor of the Earth Element.  The Red Tiger rules the summer season and is the governor of the Fire Element.  The Yellow Tiger is the supreme ruler of all the other Tigers and is associated with the sun."
Chinese Tiger Symbolism 


"'Tiger' ('Hu') represents 'the king of the mountains'. It is seen as powerful and full of courage and dignity. Since ancient times, Chinese people have worshiped and honored the tiger. In China today, there are many folk-customs and festival days involved with the tiger: people paste pictures of tigers onto doors or windows of their houses in order to be protected; the new-born infants are often named as "Tiger Boy" (Hu Wa) or "Tiger Girl" (Hu Niu) with the hope of their parents that they will grow up as vigorously as a tiger; soldiers are also called "the Tiger military officer" for their bravery."
The Tiger in Chinese Rock Art



"The Tiger ( ), is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar.  The Year of the Tiger is associated with the earthly branch symbol .  For example, 15 February 2010 – 2 February 2011: Year of the Metal Tiger."
Tiger in Zodiac






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Table of Correspondences, Associations, Symbolism
Tiger Frolics

虎戏   Tiger Frolic   Hŭ






Correspondences and Alchemical Associations for the Tiger:

Attributes:  Power, Courage, Ferocity, Quickness; Builds Willpower, Develops Yang Energy
Elemental:  Metal; Metal creates Water 
Direction:  West 
Organ:  Lung  
Environment: Dry, mild temperatures, less humidity.  Lungs cannot function with too much moisture inside of them, e.g., drowning, congestive heart failure, flu, pneumonia, bronchitis, etc.  Air that is too hot or too cold cause breathing problems.  The cooler and dryer weather of autumn is favored.  Clean air with less smoke, smog, and other pollutants is best. 
Season:  Autumn  
Color:  White  
Yin Organ:  Lungs 
Yang Organ: Large Intestines 
Energetic Movements:  Contracting, Sinking, Crouching, Leaping, Letting Go  
Healing:  Lungs, Bronchi, Nose and Sinus; Muscles, Tendons, Skin; Large Intestines, Liver and Gall Bladder.  The work on the lungs helps prevent colds during the coming winter season (water). 
Healing Sound:  "hsssssss"  
Time of Day:  Lungs (3am-5am) and Large Intestine (5am-7am) 
Release: Grief, Sadness  
Encourage:  Strength (Yang);  Joy and Courage (Yin) 
Associations: Harvest, Dusk, Dryness,  
Body Language of Tiger or Cat:  Sleeping, Purring, Clawing, Jumping, Crouching, Stalking, Biting

The assignment of alchemical and magickal correspondences to the Tiger vary amongst practitioners of the Five Animal Frolics, qigong theorists, and Taoist Alchemists.  The following authors have provided tables of correspondences:  Kenneth Cohen, Franklin Fick, Mike Garofalo, Alan Graham, Livia Kohn, Joseph Morales, Ken Morgan, Nancy Seeber, Yang Jwing-Ming, and Oberon Zell-Ravenheart

Readers should keep in mind that knowledge of these alchemical and magickal correspondences is of some usefulness to most practitioners.  The true Adepts and playful Wizards will need to pay very close attention to correspondences.  Theses associations have a long history in China and their meanings are part of the mental aspects of the Five Animals Frolics Daoyin practice.  Daily practice of the Frolics, often outdoors, is essential to embody these cosmic principles.     

A wise person will always try to understand the cosmic forces that influence and/or rule our lives: the air we breathe, the sun that warms the earth, the water that sustains all living beings, the plants and animals of our world, the human technology that makes our lifestyles possible, the ideas and values that constitute our spirit.  These forces are symbolized by Air (breath, energy), Fire (sun, hearth, heat, light), Water (rain, snow, lakes, sea, ponds, wells), Wood (plants, trees, fruit, grains, food), Animals (Deer, Crane, Monkey, Tiger, Bear, Dragon, etc., domesticated animals, food, humans), Metal (technology, science, agriculture, minerals, earthly resources), Humanity (persons, family, village, state, society, culture), Spirit (mind, knowledge, wisdom, Shen, Dao), and the Unbounded (imagination, fantasy, spirits, divine, Wu, Heaven, Emptiness).           

In China, the Five Elements (Phases, Processes, Cycles) are: Earth, Fire, Water, Wood, and Metal.  In the West, the Five Elements (Materials, Substances, Components) are Earth, Fire, Water, Air, and Spirit (Aether).   

Here is my current table of correspondences for the Five Animal Frolics Daoyin:


Animal Element Season
Healing Sounds
Deer Wood Spring
Yin: Liver
Yang: Gallbladder
Joints, Tendons
Benevolence/Kindness  Ren
Anger, Shouting 
Patience & Subtlety


Crane Fire Summer
Yin: Heart
Yang: Small Intestine
Blood Vessels
Order  Li
Joy, Laughing
Radiate, Disperse, Scatter, Rise

"Hoo"  as "Hook"
Monkey Earth Harvest
Young Adult
Yin: Spleen
Yang: Stomach
Taste, Mouth 
Trust  Xin
Pensiveness, Worry
Tiger Metal Autumn
Middle Age
Yin: Lungs
Yang: Large Intestine
Nasal Mucus
Whole Body
Smell, Nose 
Integrity Yi
Bear Water Winter
Old Age
Yin: Kidneys
Yang: Bladder
Lower Back
Hearing , Ears
Wisdom  Zhi
Inner Focus
Sensitive Smelling
Gathering, Absorbing
Wavelike, Dropping

"Hooo" sounds like the word who.



I have reflected on and developed my own schemas and correspondences tables.  Readers might want to look at my interpretations of the Trigrams of the I Ching 

I also developed a table of correspondences for the Baguazhang Qigong Animals circle walking practices.  In the Bagua Qigong the two "Birds" are the Hawk and Phoenix:







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Animal Frolics Qigong (Daoyin):     Deer     Crane     Monkey     Tiger     Bear     Dragon    

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This webpage was first posted on the Internet in January 2003 at:   http://www.egreenway.com/taichichuan/five.htm

This webpage was moved to this URL on June 15, 2009:  Animal Frolics Qigong http://www.egreenway.com/qigong/animalfrolics.htm

This webpage was last modified or updated on March 13, 2016.




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Deer Frolic

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