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
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.
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.