Qigong (Chi Kung)

Qigong (Chi Kung) is considered an essence of Chinese Kung Fu. Comparing with other Kungfu styles, it has a more extensive connotation. It is an ancient Chinese health care system that integrates physical exercise, breath control and mental training. The name is made up of two Chinese characters. Qi means the life force or energy that exists throughout the universe. Gong means Kungfu skills that are cultivated through continuous training. Therefore, Qigong means cultivating energy, which is a beneficial exercise way to strengthen the physical conditions, increase vitality and keep people healthy.

It presents the perfect combination between human beings and nature, and also between people’s body and their minds. It stresses that human beings have close connection with nature and the natural environment and the weather conditions influence their physical conditions. By adjusting the breath and physical movement in an intention that being in accordance with nature, people feel more comfortable and healthier both physically and mentally.

The ancient Qigong was classified into five schools: Confucianism, Medicine, Taoism, Buddhism and Martial Arts. Confucian School aims to improve people’s temperament. Medical School takes disease prevention, treatment and body health as the main points. Taoist School focuses on the mixed development of physical fitness and healthy mind. Buddhist School pursues the free spirit by cultivating the temperament, and Martial Arts School tends to practice body-building and improve the Kung Fu skills. The five schools are divided into two types: Static through cultivation and dynamic through exercise. The former aims to promote the organ functions by standing, sitting and lying quietly. The latter’s target is to strengthen the physical conditions by doing some soft practice and massage.

The present Qigong absorbs the curing methods and fitness skills of the ancient five schools to form a broad and profound fitness system. Now it is as popular as Tai Chi in China. Many people, especially the seniors, like to practice Qigong as the morning exercise in the city parks or public squares.

Types of Qigong

Hard Qigong is often used in the course of martial arts practice. It functions to tighten the overall muscles to release the force and usually aims to reach the goal of abdominal respiration to lay the foundation for martial arts practice. In many Chinese Kung Fu movies, it is often presented to fight against the enemy.

Soft Qigong is regarded as a good way for fitness. It attaches importance to deep breathing as a way to relax, so the exerciser can leave all problems and sadness behind. The basic skills of Tai Chi and Wing Chun of the Southern Boxing (Nanquan) belong to this training. As it doesn’t consume much strength and energy, it is suitable for the seniors, women and other weaker people.

Practice

Cultivating Qi: It refers to the art of sitting quietly that is stressed in Taoism. By doing so, people can make the Qi at the lower abdomen. Try to feel the power of it and keep it inside the body. Continue to sit quietly, ignore the surroundings and accumulate the Qi gradually.

Training Qi: Try to control and move the Qi flexibly according to one’s need. A boxer needs to neatly adjust Qi at his arms, move it to his waist, or use it in the whole body in different situations. Meanwhile, expiration means Yang(masculine element), activity, strength and inspiration means Yin (femininity), stillness and softness. When training Qi, it is necessary to properly combine the expiration and the inspiration.

Healing Function

Qigong is not a panacea, but it is regarded as an important complementary medicine in healing some diseases. Practicing Qigong can inspire the patients’ subjectivity and willingness to exercise and cure themselves. That is different from the traditional treatment in which the patients passively follow the prescription of their doctors. Through physical exercise and breath control, patients can gradually train their mentality to mobilize the Qi in the body to cure the focused organ of the disease. Besides, it helps the treatment effects of acupuncture and moxibustion.