Get it on, Falun Gong

Michael Courter

Almost immediately after learning about Falun Gong 12 years ago, Michael Courter was moved to share the practice with others. Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) is a spiritual practice using meditation and movement to balance and focus qi (chi), or “intrinsic life energy.” On sunny Sundays at 1 p.m., Courter can be found giving free lessons at One Mile Recreation Area in Bidwell Park. He also takes appointments all over Butte County. When not harnessing inner energy, Courter taps into that of the sun as co-owner of Sagefield Power, a local company that sells clean-energy alternatives for commercial, residential and agricultural uses. Email him at to set up an appointment. Go to for more info on his company.

How did you find Falun Gong?

I have always been interested in Eastern religions and philosophies. I read about Falun Gong and was really interested in it, so I got the books and started doing it.

What does it do for you?

On the most basic level, it’s very stress-relieving. When my work starts getting to me and I meditate, it all goes away. It’s given me a lot of guidance, and helps me feel confident, relaxed, comfortable and happy with where I am in life.

What motivated you to teach it?

I know how much it’s benefited me and others I know or I’ve talked to, so when someone is learning, I think about how it might benefit them a lot and I feel really good about that.

What’s going on with Falun Gong followers in China?

One of the worst things happening is that China has a transplant tourism industry, where a customer arrives in the country and they’ll harvest organs from prisoners to sell to wealthy buyers. Falun Gong practitioners have been victims of that.

How are you involved in the fight against this?

So much of the persecution takes place in the media, with China demonizing the practice to make an excuse to what they’re doing with the practitioners there. For many years, I’ve written and talked to the media about what Falun Gong really is, and I try to give them that information rather than allowing people to believe propaganda put out by the Chinese government. I’ve been to Washington, D.C., a few times and talked to lawmakers and local representatives. When I was at Chico State I ran a club to teach people Falun Gong, and we held an anti-torture exhibition on campus.