What is Qigong

Discussion in 'Chinese Martial Arts Articles' started by russell-NWFA, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. russell-NWFA

    russell-NWFA Valued Member

    What Is Qigong

    By Jeff Patterson 8/9/09​

    Qigong (or chi gong) is an internal art focusing on the study and practice of the breath and how your breath is directly correlated with the bodies over all circulation health and well being. There are many styles of Qigong and many reasons one might start a practice. It is common that many people are introduced to Qigong through the study of martial arts. Qigong can be used in the martial arts to increase your power, endurance, focus, raise your fighting spirit, and increase your health and prevention of injuries. All of these are valuable for any athlete especially if you are training hard and pushing your body. Another common reason some people turn to Qigong is the medical benefits. Qigong is used to cure and aid in the prevention of many diseases some of which include arthritis, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, insomnia, mental illness and many others, the list and the stories go on. Hearing some of these testimonials on how Qigong has helped thousands of people with so called incurable diseases is one of the main reasons it so strongly drew my attention and has made it a lifelong practice for myself.

    Others will turn to the practice wanting to become healers or acupuncturists. In my home town there are three fairly large acupuncture schools; it has become pretty mainstream. It is hard to drive anywhere around town without seeing at least one acupuncture clinic. There are two paths one can take when studying Qigong to become a healer. The first one, and by far the easiest, is to learn the theory and use either needles, massage or herbs to help your patient prevent and overcome illness. By far the most difficult would be to learn the former and live the life of a true Qigong master creating abundant energy that you can pass along to your patients to aid in healing as well as teaching them how to develop a practice that will show them how to cure themselves.

    Some people will turn to Qigong for the spiritual benefits searching for a more meaningful connection with nature and the universe. There are two main schools of thought with spiritual or religious Qigong, Taoist and Buddhist approaches. Both use Qigong for the health benefits as well as to quiet their minds open up their natural spirit and become enlightened.

    The Chinese character for Qi in Qigong means air. Gong means skill, hard work and discipline, so Qigong therefore means breath work or skill, along with consistent practice. It is believed by Qigong practitioners that there is a direct link between breathing techniques and the electrical force that gives life and exists everywhere in the universe. In China Qigong was becoming so popular in the late 20th century that the Chinese government became concerned that Qigong would turn into a political weapon and in 1999 banned all large gatherings of Qigong practice. Most Western medical practitioners and many practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, as well as the Chinese government, view Qigong as a set of breathing and movement exercises with benefits to health through stress reduction and exercise. Other practitioners view Qigong in more metaphysical terms, claiming that Qi can be felt as a vibration or electrical current and physically circulated through channels called meridians. Many testify to a reduction or elimination of pain through the use of Qigong. With the practice of Da Mo’s muscle/tendon changing and marrow/brain washing one is able to build the external and internal body to a powerful state. These exercises are used for injury prevention as well as having great physical abilities.

    In all Qigong practices, it is taught that through the practice of humility ones spirit can reach the highest level. There is an old famous Chinese story of a poor beggar child about 15 years old who every day went to a local bridge where he would beg people for money or food. One day an old man threw his shoe off the bridge and told the boy to go fetch it. The boy said "yes, sir" and went to retrieve his shoe. As soon as he returned the old man threw it over the bridge again and told the boy to go fetch the shoe. The boy, thinking he was a crazy old man but too cripple to go fetch it himself, went one more time to fetch the shoe. When he returned the old man told the boy to put the shoe on his foot and he did. The old man thought since the boy was so willing to bend or be flexible that he might be worthy of some ancient manuscripts regarding martial arts and combat. So, he told the boy if he wanted the manuscripts that he should meet him first thing in the morning at a place up in the mountains. The boy, so excited, said "Yes sir, I will be there." The boy arrived at the crack of dawn and the old man was already there. He said "You are late. You made me wait. Come back tomorrow first thing." And so he did, 4 am, still dark when he arrived, again the old man already there said "Come back tomorrow." Not being able to sleep the boy stayed up all night and was there waiting on the mountain at 1 am when the old man arrived and said "You are flexible and determined. You show respect and good discipline. Here are the three manuscripts I promised." Later, the boy became a famous general in the Chinese army. The moral of the story that being humble is a necessity for raising the spirit and will make you a respected leader.

    Qigong is so deep there is no way I could touch on all of the areas of study. There are thousands of books and studies on the subject and if you are interested in starting a practice, read as many as you can. The best and only way to develop a solid Qigong practice is to find a good teacher who will show you how to approach this vast art so you will move forward in the direction of your interest. One of the main reasons you cannot learn from reading book or studying videos is that you have to experience the “feeling”; a good teacher can show you this and show you what to do with your training as it progresses.

    soure: Jeff Patterson, Northwest Fighting Arts, Portland OR
  2. cheesypeas

    cheesypeas Moved on

    This is, or appears to be, steeped in the PRC's view of QiGong. Which is selective to say the least. And incorrect on some issues.
  3. russell-NWFA

    russell-NWFA Valued Member

    Hi RedKite,

    I train with Jeff, who wrote the intro. He is by no means touting the PRC's view, or denying it. The idea was to give a brief overview and mention different perspectives. The article was to serve as an introduction and a talking point which I should have mentioned in the post... my apologies.

  4. fmma

    fmma New Member

    Thanks Jeff, the article was well written even if there is a slant there. I'm curious how tai chi would fit into this definition or view of qigong.
  5. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    If qi gong was a martial art that is - which it isn't.

    But yes - you could describe walking down the street as a qigong if you wanted to.

    However the tai ji walking exercises for example are far from being the martial art. in the same way boxing can be good exercise, taiji can be good qi gong. But that's not what it *is*

    Good martial art obviously incorperates good exercise, physiology and all the rest. So rather than taiji is qigong, it incorparates it in its training system both as exercises and qigong elements in the form practices.

    Don't pay attention to redkite - she is always consistently getting this wrong, and repeating the same misinformation. Tai chi chuan and qigong are not one and the same thing. Maybe if all you did was form without any shen fa (body method) even, however some people do still practice it as a martial art firstly and formostly..

    Some people may well know this, but for the benefit of those that don't, there you go.
  6. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    What he said.

    ANGELSGYMSINGH Valued Member

    Wow Cloudz... You are as intense asI was in the Rumsoakedfist.... lol.... Good posts all of you... Thanks for the information....
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2010
  8. rivend

    rivend Valued Member

    Greetings im new to this forum and have replied to a few posts.I hope you excuse me for any mistakes i make.But correct me please. OK qigong interests me deeply, not so much as a way of battle but as a way to prepare for it. Millions practice this in china there not all warriors but in a way everyone is a warrior in life in general. The way i look at this qigong is like a class you attend you can grow and learn on your own after the class. A way of health, becoming strong inwardly, and breath is also a major factor in qigong, massage may be the most important element in the study. And for myself i believe there are some that have really done some amazing things in this practice.The hard road to battle is always in the lead it seems. But theres things you need to pick up along the way to make it there.So for myself qigong will be studied as carefully and as respectfully as i am capable of.
  9. eyeofstorm

    eyeofstorm Valued Member

    Thanks for the article on the breathing aspects and benefits of qigong. I would like to add that posture is also of great importance. Without good posture it is impossible to breathe fully so one of the definitions of good posture is one that enables a full and free breath.
    We tend to hold onto physical (and emotional tensions) in our posture. Learning to align ourselves to the constant force of gravity and relax fully while holding postures has enormous benefits and is another of the precepts of qigong.
    Posture involves aligning the body with the forces that are acting upon it. Gravity is the main one of course but in martial arts training there are many other forces coming from different directions. Learning to use good posture enables you to absorb that force with it having minimum effects on you physically. You learn to control the force coming into you without giving in to it or pushing back against it. The goal is both physical and mental equilibrium even under extreme stress.
    It is a huge topic but should provide some interesting discussions.
  10. zxcza

    zxcza New Member

    Breath meditation, Qigong is a very wonderful thing. Science is still unable to explain.

    the purchase and baby car seats. The child's entire childhood, at least two child baby stroller.
  11. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    Explain what,exactly?Any examples of where recognized scientific researchers have been unable to account via a scientific basis for benefits attributed to ch'i-gung practice?
  12. FRT

    FRT Valued Member

    An art that focuses on how breath control can aid the body for overall better physical well being? Very interesting indeed.

    I know nothing of this art, but I can say that athletes who can control their breathing can help maintain their endurance.

    And as for ordinary people who can control their breath, they seem to not get as angry as those who cannot. =)

    Thanks for the information Qigong, it's another thing that martial arts scholars should research.

    Train Harder!
  13. Hannibal

    Hannibal Angriest MAP resident.... Supporter

    Yeah, who would think that getting more oxygen into you can make you feel better and calm you down.....................
  14. invisi

    invisi Valued Member

    Martial artists might use it to strengthen and protect external skin and internal organs. Useful in crisis situation where might get you hurt.

    Getting the energy balanced. Equilibrium. Health and happiness. Good spirits. Tonification of body organs, healthy flow of energy channels. Starts with a clear mind focusing on breathing and movement. They work together. Harmony.

    Sets of breathing exercises and movements.
  15. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    This is not completely accurate
  16. invisi

    invisi Valued Member

    I respect that. I watched a shaolin monk do something with that ability. There is a pugilist club in epsom that teaches students hard qikong, this too i see.


    tapos na, kuya.
  17. frownland

    frownland 【ツ】

    Can anyone give examples from this article of the PRC's view on qigong, and how that differs from other perspectives? thanks
  18. frostty

    frostty New Member

    i would like to ask if there are side effects of breathing practising if the practise was not right??
  19. kevinfoster

    kevinfoster Valued Member

    Breathing incorrect

    Yes there can be difficulties in breathing excercises are done incorrect. I advise the guidance of an experienced master if you can find one. Good luck!
  20. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    There aren't any true Shaolin monk nowadays. There hadn't been any true Shaolin monks for centuries

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