Sun, Oct 10, 2004 - Page 18 News List

These guys have got balls

Master Tu Chin-sheng moved to the US to teach qigong, but his Taipei school continues to attract students for whom penis pulling power is a draw

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tu Rui-lin prepares to lift 105kg with his penis, under the watchful eye of coach Li Rong-chou.

PHOTO: GAVIN PHIPPS, TAIPEI TIMES

In late October, 2000, Tu Chin-sheng (涂金盛) and his genital-based form of qigong (氣功) known asyin diao gong (陰吊功) made international headlines after three of the qigong master's students hauled a flatbed truck weighing 25 tonnes 1m across a Taipei car park using nothing but their penises.

At the time, reports said that Tu planned to achieve this feat with the backing of the Guinness World Records. Sadly, Guinness didn't sanction the event and, according to a spokesperson for Guinness, "would not accept a record in this category."

Not that getting in the record books really mattered, as since that eventful day four years ago the Chiu Chiu Shen Gong (九九神功) guan and its students have become celebrities of the martial arts world. The school has been the focus of countless television documentaries and has also been the subject of an even greater number of articles penned in over a dozen languages.

Tu no longer teaches in Taiwan, but now divides his time teaching at his Chiu Chiu Shen Gong guan's in San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles and Hawaii. The master's original Taipei chapter, which he established over 20 years ago, continues to thrive and attract students, even in his absence.

One such student is 62-year-old Shen Shyr-jong (申時中), who joins a group of a dozen men at the small second floor guan three days a week. There, under the glare of florescent lighting and the guidance of instructor Li Rong-chou (李榮秋), the group practice yin diao gong, or "genital hanging qigong."

Like many of the current batch of students, Shen never learned or practiced qigong before attending Tu's school. Introduced to the unconventional form of qigong by a friend while living in Los Angeles two years ago, Shen has been studying at the guan since he retired and returned to Taiwan.

"I'd never studied qigong before and had never really thought about it much. When I was introduced to Tu's school it became clear that his form of qigong was designed for older people with health problems like myself. I figured I should give it a go," said Shen. "It helps me feel young and gives me the energy to study and learn new things now that I'm retired."

Although attracted to Tu's teachings, the art of yin diao gong wasn't the main reason Shen opted to study at the school. Chiu Chiu Shen Gong is not only aimed at improving libido and increasing hormone production. There were, according to Shen, an often overlooked aspect to Chiu Chiu Shen Gong that led to his choosing to study at the school.

"Diao gong is an important aspect of the qigong we study, but it is not the primary reason we study. Master Tu's qigong is both internal and external," said Shen. "Externally it improves ones skin complexion and boosts energy levels. Internally it helps strengthen bones and muscles, reduces arterial blockages and cholesterol levels and eases allergies that effect orifices such as the nose and ears."

Unlike other forms of martial arts that attract students of all ages, many of those who choose to study at the Chiu Chiu Shen Gong school are, like Shen, retired or close to retirement age. The age of the students in Shen's class ranges from between 50 to 72 years old.

"I figure young people think its silly. They think it is an old person's activity and look down on it and laugh," said Shen. "But then they're fit and active and probably don't understand the real meaning of the qigong we practice. For us older people it is very important."

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