Hi, I'm posting here to respond specifically to this topic, after finding it on google search.
From my point of view, dismissing something without actually trying it makes for an uninformed opinion and comes across as pretty ignorant. Say for example I try a particular exercise methodolgy, or meditation practice, I know nothing about it. I try it for 4-8 weeks, then evalute and decide whether to continue etc. This would be an informed view, where I have experience.
Contrast that to hearing about something, nothing nothing about it, and dismissing it without any practice or evaluation whatsoever is just ignorant. Another example, I love strength training, and my body responds well to it, but long runs, well I've done 5 and 20k's, and I can say they are not really for me, and so I choose long slow walks and hill sprints or very short runs that don't damage my ligaments, tendons and joints, in that sense I think running is a bit rubbish, compared to doing Tai Chi Chuan, Qi Gong, Yoga etc for overall health and longevity.
Well, I will offer my "bias" here. I have bought various programs from Matt Furey over the years, and applied all of them that I bought including: Combat Conditioning, Combat Abs, 101 to Magnetize Money, and Dao Tzu programs those others are books, the Dao Tzu prog is DVDs, instructional videos. I have read Furey's email/ blog for about 10 years (the blog is newer) and know his views on most things from his material etc. He moved away from heavy weights into callisthenics, and then moved away from callisthenics into internal martial arts, and focusing on his business seminars and others specific seminars.
I find it admirable that he does so much for others, his entire life is focused on service and helping others, when I first saw the pictures years ago of the schools he was sponsoring, I nearly cried.
Firstly, I love the Dao Zou practice, I had never heard of backwards walking before, but it appealed to me having a general (book) knowledge of Tai Chi, Ba Gua, Qi Gong etc, although I did do some Tai Chi Chuan for about 6 months last year, I also have previously practiced Tae Kwon Do (1.5 years) and Ju-Jutsu-Kan, (3 years) as well as Yoga and seated daily Meditation for about 10 years.
I've been doing the practive for about 1.5 years now, at least 3-4 times a week, more time permitting, I love to do it everyday, but there other commitments - gym, work, writing etc.
If I was working for myself, setting my own schedule I would be doing this every morning and evening.
The DVDs show a variety of different hand and arm movements, done in sequence, each of which has their own particular effect.
The physical exercise is not Furey's Dao Tzu. Just walking backwards is NOT doing Dao Zou, at least the way Furey teaches it, the same way that sitting in a chair doing nothing is not meditation.
If you've ever watched someone doing Dao Tzu, well truthfully you have never SEEN anyone doing Dao Zou. Why?
Because it is an internal practice, the physical movements are about 10% of your efforts and attention. The external form is just that, external, the ACTUAL practice that Furey teaches is the internal form.
There is about 10 minutes you could watch of a video to explain the movements, the rest of the DVD is explaining what you are doing internally while moving, there is about an hour of this, and it comprises a heap of different things to do (or not do).
Some info regarding my state while practicing:
*My mind is blank other than if I am counting steps, focusing on breath, or visualising in the quantum domain
*My movements, now learned by the central nervous system and muscle memory are instinctual (same with any long term martial arts practice), therefore no conscious attention is on the movement, but the FEELING of the movement in the body, and the associated internal states. In this way Dao Tzu is similar to Yoga Asana, different postures being about different internal states, but you need to focus, not practice with a scatter-shot mind. Be a laser beam, not a shot gun.
*The practice is a deliberate walking Meditation, not a stroll in the park.
*As someone pointed out, it is essential to be relaxed, smile etc, otherwise you carry around excess tension and bound up energy, thus defeating the purpose of the practice.
So what separates general walking /marching / strolling (which I do before and after to get to the park)
from Tao Tzu?
Well, I would say Conscious Intention and Focus. Which you can of course bring to any activity.
I usually go for 30-50 mins in my local park, and sometimes I have been for 2 hour Dao Zou walks around my town, up and down the hill, all over and WOW, I love it, great in summer in the warm weather, shirt off, just sandals and shorts.
I have tried the practice indoors, and I consider that a complete waste of time.
Everything that lives has an electromagnetic field that we mix with when close to, so outdoors, many trees, many birds, good health, clear mind.
Indoor practice is just "muddy" and "ugh" internally, I don't bother with it.
I've been out in my heavy coat in a real downpour in the winter Dao Zou'ing, I love it that much, of course people think I am nuts, but then I get funny looks from people when I swing my 10kg Yoga Club bells in the park every other day half-naked, or maybe they are just scared of the hairy neanderthal swinging a club that could take their head off? LOL.
If anyone has any specific questions on the practice, please do ask.