A brief introduction to QI GONG and Internal Martial Arts as taught by Dr. Thomas Jahn at HOUSE OF HOLISTIC HEALTH, and how these ancient and time-tested practices can benefit your health and well-being – either as a means to assist in the treatment or recovery from illness or injury, or to build up your health + vitality.


QI GONG (pron. “chee gong”) is an age old system of stationary + dynamic therapeutic + health-enhancing exercises that enable you as the practitioner to contribute to an unobstructed flow of Qi / Vitality throughout your entire body – a pre-requisite to proper physical, mental, emotional + spiritual health + well-being. QI GONG fundamentally emphasizes our relationship to two key constant phenomena to which all living things are submitted:

1: Gravity
2: Breath

This means that based on how you are posturally alligned relative to the constant pull of gravity – whether your body is ‘at rest’ or being exerted – directly determines the degree to which you will automatically rely more on muscle tension to hold and carry you, or bone structure to channel more of your body mass into the ground

Our modern living + working environments place huge amounts of stress on our bodies and their ongoing functions, often contributing to chronic postural mis-allignment and unfavourable breathing habits that in turn further stress our bodies to expend energy unnecessarily, consuming our resilience and vitality, and consequently making us more vulnerable to illness and injury as well as mental + emotional susceptibilities.

With QI GONG there is no emphasis whatsoever on aesthetics – it is all about how you continue to feel during the time that you practice, and beyond that, how you continue to feel outside of that time, since the true value in practicing QI GONG lies in transferring its principles to your daily routine. The postural + breathing principles that underlie QI GONG practice are simple, safe + very effective, perhaps being more relevant than ever before as a realistically accessible tool to not just cope with the multitude of ongoing physical, mental + emotional stressors, but learning to master them, consequently developing a higher level of mindfulness. By applying these principles correctly + regularly, one eventually allows the body to regain more of its potential and thereby enhance one’s vitality, making one less prone to illness + injury.


The exact same principles that underlie QI GONG also define the practice of INTERNAL MARTIAL ARTS, which formally include styles such as TAI JI QUAN (“Tai Chee” in the west), XING YI QUAN (“Shing Yee Chuan”) + BA GUA ZHANG. This allows the practitioner to apply the entire body in movement and on exertion whilst performing a set of predetermined sequential movements at a slow speed to safely ensure proper circulation through the joints, internal organs, glands, blood + lymphatic vessels + nerve pathways. Partner exercises called Push Hands are strongly emphasized here to further internalize the principles of solo practice, as well as enable the practitioner to develop a sense of security and confidence whilst moving in close physical proximity with another person.

This enables one to be more realistically prepared for an actual self-defense scenario, as opposed to solely practicing empty forms, and, more importantly, becoming aware of how to safely exert oneself during one’s daily routine.
At an advanced level one is able to exert huge amounts of force + speed with minimal effort.


QI GONG classes take place on Tuesday evenings (6:15 – 7:45 p.m.) at HOUSE OF HOLISTIC HEALTH, while the advanced classes, which include PUSH HANDS + INTERNAL MARTIAL ARTS training are conducted Thursday evenings (5:30 – 7:30 p.m.) at St. Margaret Mary’s Church in Green Point. One-on-one sessions are also available per appointment.


XING YI (pronounced “Shing Yee”) is a style of INTERNAL MARTIAL ART less well known compared to TAI JI, placing great importance on the “trinity posture” – a standing meditation exercise that requires properly displacing one’s body weight over one leg at a time to develop a solid foundation in the legs, waist and spine – and subsequent “Five Element Boxing” – a training set of five styles of stepping routines that develop whole body power in motion.

What is Pushing Hands?

Pushing hands is a two-person exercise that promotes the very same principles of posture, breath, focus of attention and body mechanics during solo practice of QI GONG, now whilst practicing with a partner who one attempts to push off balance with sensitivity rather than brute force, whilst at the same time attempting to avoid being pushed off balance oneself. This ability grants you a solid foundation in self-defence applications, along with the confidence of being much stronger than you otherwise may have thought.

Health, well-being + life are all defined by ongoing movement that must be allowed to continue unhindered to ensure a basic level of functioning within our bodies as well as in society. Through the exercises of QI GONG + INTERNAL MARTIAL ARTS one can safely access this movement to further enhance it, consequently enhancing one’s vitality and thereby minimizing vulnerability to illness + injury.

What is my personal Background?

I have been studying and practicing QI GONG and INTERNAL MARTIAL ARTS for the past 25 years, accumulated in Japan, USA, China and South Africa, and am an apprentice of Master Ma Shi-qi in Beijing for QI GONG and Xing Yi Quan INTERNAL MARTIAL ARTS.

I have been fortunate to teach these principles to patients at a state-run hospital outside of Cape Town for over four years, as well as in my private Chinese medicine practice, gaining great results with people suffering with arthritis, digestive conditions, depression, chronic fatigue, headaches, pain, asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure and many other conditions.

Please feel free to contact me for further information.
I look forward to seeing you in class or for a private lesson.


Dr. Thomas Jahn has been studying and training Qi Gong and Internal Martial Arts for the past thirty years, and Chinese Medicine for the past 25 years in a host of countries including Japan, the USA, China and, more recently, South Africa. He has had the great fortune of being able to witness the successful application of this medicine in a broad variety of clinical settings, including hospitals, substance abuse clinics, hospice, sports medicine, homeless clinics, as well as in integrative and private practices. Thomas started learning to read and write traditional Chinese characters over 30 thirty years ago. He has subsequently transcribed numerous original texts on Chinese medicine, martial arts and Qi Gong. His ongoing passion for this unique language grants him a deep understanding of the medicine and the arts he practices and teaches.