The Chinese written form of the word Qi (often seen written as “chi”) has many definitions given to describe its meaning. In Taiji (tai chi) practice it is referred to as “energy”. For the purposes of explanation, Qi is a universal energy that exists in all living creatures, and Gong is the work that is required in cultivating the essence of strengthening that life force. Qi has been compared to and linked to adrenaline and in some cases this comparison may be somewhat correct. Like adrenaline, Qi can be tapped into for emergency situations where great amounts of strength are required. But unlike adrenaline, we train to bring forth this energy at will through the concentration of our Qigong (chi gong) practice, rather than waiting for the appropriate set of circumstances. Qigong (chi gong) is a series of exercises designed to relax the mind and body, loosen stagnation in blood flow, aid in better circulation, and loosen the joints. Qigong is a great practice for those with various ailments such as diabetes, high blood pressure and HIV. It is thousands of years in the making and comes in many different styles with many different purposes. The following are examples of some of the various schools of Qigong:
The Daoist (Taoist) school focuses on the preserving of the physical body, emphasizing joint health, internal and external strength training, deep breathing, balance, and relaxation of the mind and body.
The Buddhist school aims at liberating the mind through its Qigong training. Many Buddhist exercises are inwardly oriented to focus your attention on the spiritual aspects of one’s life. As a result these are often described as static (non-moving) exercises.
The Confucian school is based on attaining a higher moral character. This school is only taught only in China.
The Wu (martial) school of Qigong places its emphasis on protecting the body from blunt trauma associated with various strikes from hands, feet, and sometimes weapons. It also emphasizes training the body to deliver fatal blows as taught in iron palm and iron leg techniques.
The Medical school of Qigong teaches patients to take control of their various illnesses and to prevent them. This school brings Qigong into the light and educates western doctors to its amazing benefits.
In Qigong training, all things in the universe, including man, have a collection of traits that correspond to the five elements of nature:
- Metal (jin) related internal organ: lungs, energy: yin
- Water (shui) related internal organ: kidneys, energy: yin
- Wood (mu) related internal organ: liver, energy: yang
- Fire (huo) related internal organ: heart, energy: yang
- Earth (tu) related internal organ: spleen, energy: yin
This training gives greater strength to practitioners of the martial arts and holistically minded individuals, as well as improving one’s health for better quality of life. This practice is considered a treasure and is still revered and practiced by millions.