Anyone interested in Asian martial arts today will quickly find it. The supply is great, the demand as well. But unlike, for example, the Japanese aikido, the Chinese Gong Fu or Kung Fu brings some advantages. Because the art of Kung Fu - be it the Buddhist Shaolin or the Daoist Wudang Kung Fu - contains something that is not found in other martial arts. It is called Qi Gong.
What is Qi Gong?
Qi Gong is a collective term originated in the 1950 years. Below are all exercises that influence and strengthen the Qi, the life energy. Many of the exercises are over a thousand years old. Even the monks from earlier Buddhist and Daoist monasteries practiced the exercises.
However, Qigong not only plays a significant role in Chinese martial arts, but also in traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM for short. There it forms one of the five pillars on which the TCM builds. Different aspects combine to form a unity. These include relaxation, peace and naturalness, as well as movement, breathing and mental imagination. Unlike in meditation, here the movement is associated with relaxation. The breathing happens in unison, the movements fluently and slowly.
The differences behind the collective term
Although there is a term for all exercises together, Qi Gong is very diverse. The exact number of exercises is unknown. The variety of exercises can be explained by the many practices that have taken place over the centuries. Masters in ancient China passed their own practice system only to their students. They in turn changed it and developed their own exercise concept. In addition, many new concepts have been added to make Qigong more accessible to the broad masses of Europe and America.
Despite the great variety, all Qi Gong exercises have one goal: to balance Qi in the body. However, it does matter what kind of exercises you do. The individual exercises are related to certain energy channels, the meridians, in the human body. Consequently, the effects of the exercises are different.
From the teachings of TCM, it is clear that there is not one single type of Qi, but several: Respiratory Qi, Defense Qi, Food Qi, Trajectory Qi, and Organ Qi, which in turn are in the individual Organs is divided. All types of Qi can achieve disharmony, which can sometimes be brought back into balance. However, this requires the appropriate exercise for the given disharmony.
As a rule, Qi Gong is taught in such a way that it can be practiced without knowing the personal disharmony patterns. In addition, the Qi Gong taught in martial arts schools is more aimed at bringing the student's Qi into balance, making the Kung Fu's performance more powerful and energetic.
Well-known Qi Gong exercises
Some exercises have achieved a degree of familiarity and are thus taught frequently. These include the eight brocade exercises, the 18 movements of Taiji Qigon, Ba Fanhuangong, Chan Mi Gong, Ten Meditations, 5 organs Qigong, the game of 5 animals or the Meridian Qigong.
The types of Qi Gong differ not only in the effect and sequence of exercises, but also in the origin. As with Kung Fu, Qi Gong is also subject to the influences of the great Chinese religions Buddhism and Daoism. In a Daoist monastery on Wudang-Shan, you will never be taught Buddhist Shaolin Qi Gong and vice versa.
Chan Mi Gong
An example of a Buddhist Qi Gong is the Chan Mi Gong. This is also called spinal qigong. In fact, in this form, the spine is moved with the help of wave-like pulses. The movement ultimately transfers to the entire body.
An example of Daoist Qi Gong is the ten meditations from Mount Wudang. In this exercise, the focus will be on the Daoist principle of the balance of opposites. The central exercise is "The lotus flower opens", which is not just limited to physical labor but involves spiritual aspects.
It takes a lot of experience and practice to know the matter properly. The Chinese meditation and movement art is as versatile as the years of development and the size of China allow it. Nevertheless, for beginners, any kind of Qi Gong is initially suitable. Ultimately, all exercises have one goal in common: the harmonious Qi balance in one.