What do you give a 106-year-old Qigong Grandmaster?

What do you give a 106-year-old Qigong Grandmaster?

That was the question I was asking myself in May of 2002, before my journey to visit Yang Mei June, 27th Generation Grandmaster of the Kunlun Da Yan Qigong System. I wanted to carry with me something from Scotland. But what do you gift to such a woman?

A week later in Beijing I unpacked my rucksack. They had made it through:

A blooming root of purple mountain heather, picked from the summit of a Scottish munroe. Its root wrapped in moist tissue and then again in foil. And a stone. Gneiss. Washed and tumbled by the sea, off the coast of Arbroath, for ages, into a perfect egg shape. Mountain & Sea.

“It’s heavy!” commented Yang Mei June, taking it in her hand. The stone filled her palm. The gneiss - 3 billion years old - predating all life on earth. Her skin so thin, paper-like, transparent, without age spots.

The purple blooming heather made its way into an oversized plant pot. Filled with soil from a nearby...

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The late Grandmaster Yang Mei June (d. 23 July 2002, aged 106)

 

Meeting the Grandmaster...

At 106 years of age, Yang Mei June had to be carried to the dinner table. I sat opposite her. Her body was frail. But her voice and spirit were strong. This diminutive lady – under 5 foot tall - had the most incredible story...

Yang Mei June was born at the end of the Qing dynasty (1644 -1912). She only narrowly survived the Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) by pretending she was dead, being consequently buried alive and later digging her way out. She later survived persecution during the Cultural Revolution (1966 –1976). What made her survival more crucial, was that Yang Mei June was the 27th Grandmaster of the Da Yan (Wild Goose) Qigong system. She was highly respected in the Qigong and Internal Martial Arts circles.

After the violence of the Cultural Revolution, Yang Mei June decided to go against tradition and open this skill to the public for the well-being of everyone. Students came to her from far and wide, for she, and only she,...

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