Kung Fu Grandmaster Zhou Ting Jue, who has been called a “Jewel of the Nation” in China, has cultivated a number of loyal clients during his time living in Los Angeles, one of them being his 27-year-old granddaughter Jun Zhou. Jun’s growing passion for Qi Gong and curiosity for knowledge of her grandfather’s mysterious history leads the duo to embark on a journey that reveals and explores the past that led Master Zhou to become the Grandmaster of Qi Gong that he is today.
Master Zhou’s introduction to Qi Gong began at a young age when he was very ill, and his uncle came to visit him, teaching him the healing power of Qi Gong. It was through this first encounter that Master Zhou’s passion for Qi Gong grew. Soon after, the young Zhou and his family relocated to Shanghai where he witnessed firsthand the practices and culture of Kung Fu. Seeing this only deepened his passion and willingness to learn and when his uncle recognized his talent for Kung Fu, he introduced him to the Chinese Kung Fu Association of Shanghai.
Qi Gong has long been considered a traditional form of Chinese Medicine. As doctor Effie Chao explains, there are different stages to Qi. Hard Qi is martial arts, and soft Qi is the healing concept. “To be a master, one needs to practice a long time, and diligently, and develop the power of the internal Qi, so that you can effect changes not only in yourself, but in others, and the universe, and the planet,” explains Dr. Chao.
Though several people still consider the Qi Gong practice to be one of deception, Sheryl and her son Nicolas, who was diagnosed with SCID (Severe Combine Immune Deficiency) at the age of 1, are supporters of Master Zhou. Nicolas, who suffered from severe coughing during the night and could hear a crackling in his chest was relieved of his symptoms after just three visits with Master Zhou.
During a conference, Master Zhou demonstrates the power of Qi to an attentive audience. With five volunteers on the stage with him, he takes nothing but a piece of aluminum foil, dips it in water and then wraps it around a paper towel. He then uses Qi to heat up the paper and aluminum foil, and the volunteers experience firsthand the heat that has been transmitted into the aluminum. While this doesn’t dissuade his most hardened critics, it does offer a compelling reason to look further into Master Zhou’s life and training.
Master Zhou travels to Shanghai to continue his journey with granddaughter Jun, where he became so well known for his martial arts practices that even the gang members around Shanghai would come to him to learn Kung Fu. Despite government opposition, Master Zhou believed in teaching all people the value and skills of Kung Fu. Master Zhou was consequently imprisoned by the government, twice, and suffered an emotional toll so deep that he considered suicide. Through the power of Qi Gong and Kung Fu, Master Zhou found his ‘savior.’
During his 26 years of imprisonment at the Shanghai Pane Glass Factory, Master Zhou taught Kung Fu and Qi Gong in the surrounding neighborhoods and was able to teach for a living. “I had nearly one thousand students… My family needed help, so I had to teach… to support the family--because my income was very low, 39 Chinese dollars a month, I had no choice but to teach.”
Master Zhou and Jun then travel to where Master Zhou was imprisoned and meet with two of his previous students. The students, both masters themselves now, give insight to the large teaching population of Master Zhou and the dedication that he put into his Kung Fu practice. “He woke up at 2 AM! He was extremely serious about it…He practiced relentlessly. He wouldn’t even sit down to watch a movie but would stand and watch it in the Kung Fu horse stance! And a movie would last over an hour! He was quite powerful.”
Another success story is that of Shawn Jordan Manross who sustained a severe frostbite injury while on a rescue mission on Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. After numerous doctor visits that resulted in several drug prescriptions and even talks of amputation, Shawn was left with discontent by the medical community; he sought the expertise of Master Zhou. “Master Zhou is a miracle worker; with his bare hands he does what the entire medical community cannot do. And that’s to get your body to heal itself.”
With numerous television appearances, including on Stan Lee’s Superhumans, Master Zhou demonstrated the power of Qi Gong to mass audiences, and continued to prove the people that tried to discredit him, wrong.
Back in Shanghai, Master Zhou takes Jun to Wu Dang Mountain, which is considered one of the most sacred places in the world and where Tai Chi and Qi Gong first began. There, we meet Masters Ge Mokang and Gao Feng, who explain to us the importance of Qi Gong in their lives and how it has helped them lead healthier lifestyles at their respective ages. “On the path, we must keep learning and practicing Martial Arts and Qi Gong, constantly improving and refining ourselves so that we may have health, longevity, and happiness. This is why we say: “Live every day, happily.” This is what we are after.”
Their next stop is the Golden Temple Jinding, which stands over 3,000 meters above sea level, where Master Zhou once stayed and would visit frequently during his earlier years practicing Kung Fu. “The purpose of coming here is to practice. The air up here is amazing. In the mornings, it feels as if you could catch the sun in your hand; and there are clouds beneath your feet, like you're floating.” Now aged 80, Master Zhou is astonished to make it back to the temple of his youth after so many years.
Finally, Master Zhou takes his granddaughter Jun to his birthplace, a village called Sija, where he recounts years as a sickly child. A child so sick, and with no means for medical assistance, that even the neighbors once told his mother to leave him forgotten on the side of the road. As Master Zhou and Jun visit his mother’s grave, he shares with Jun how different the life of his mother was, compared to that of Jun’s life. “We're going to my mother’s grave to pay our respects, to honor a woman who lived an unfortunate life. She never got to enjoy life, never benefited from her children.” To Jun, Master Zhou shares what it means to him to have her take this journey with him through his past. “Thank you for coming such a long way to be here, to help me. Several of my siblings have visited in the past and received great blessings from my mother’s spirit. We must never forget our ancestors.”
The practice of Qi Gong as a healing component is no longer isolated in China. It has begun to catch the eye of experts in the medical field, such as Dr. Peter Wayne, who explains “there’s good scientific evidence to suggest that this should be pursued further, it seems to impact many health conditions and support healthy aging.”
Back in Los Angeles, after completing their historical journey, Master Zhou and Jun continue to give Kung Fu classes from their home, where Jun further solidifies her passion for Kung Fu and her promise to continue practicing it and spreading knowledge of it.
“Make your own destiny. I'm proud of you and I love you.”