Chi Kung/ Qigong
‘Chi’ (Qi) is a natural energy which pervades all things. Chinese medical theory is based on the understanding that if the body’s Chi is balanced, clean and circulates smoothly, health and vitality will result.
Chi Kung is the practice of charging the body with fresh, balanced Chi, eliminating stale Chi and circulating Chi through all of the meridians and to every cell of the body.
Martial artists tend to practice chi kung because its physical benefits can enhance their performance, but in fact, anyone can benefit greatly. Chi Kung is also an excellent basis for spiritual development.
We practice and teach two different systems of Qigong :
Soft Chi Kung for Health and Long Life - an easy and efficient system, suitable for beginners, called Tong Ling (clearing and circulating) Chi Kung.
Practicing this Chi Kung helps people remain young and healthy, boosts energy levels, speeds recovery, calms emotions, counters stress and enhances the senses.
This is simplified description of how Chi Gong works in favour of our health:
Chi circulates around our bodies, in a daily cycle, mainly but not entirely through pathways called meridians and vessels.
Chi is stored in energy centres / reservoirs called Tan Tiens.
The two main sources of chi are the Earth (Yin Chi) and the sky (Yang Chi).
When the Chi in our bodies is circulating freely and is balanced between Yin and Yang, we will enjoy good health.
Opening the meridians through stretching exercises and guiding Chi through them facilitates strong, smooth circulation of the Chi.
Drawing in fresh Chi from the earth and sky keeps our Chi plentiful and allows us to balance Yin and Yang.
Expelling stale or excess Chi keeps our Chi fresh and prevents it from becoming excessively strong.
Hard Chi Kung trains Chi energy into the tendons where it is stored ready to be released in a whip-like action – rather like letting go of an elastic band. It trains all of the body to be capable of absorbing heavy blows and snapping out incredible force. Hard Chi Kung packs Chi into the internal organs, boosting their performance and making them highly resistant to strain.
Martial Chi Kung (Qigong) goes a step beyond Chi Kung for health. It develops abilities well beyond those of normal people. Mastery of this type of Chi Kung is what enables martial arts masters to perform such ‘superhuman’ feats as punching the ends off bricks, washing in broken glass, rubbing red-hot metal and being hit with hammers and axes.
We train a number of different systems of Martial Chi Kung:
Vein Tendon Chi Kung - a simple but effective system which tones all of the tendons in the body and increases its elasticity so that it can store energy.
The Sum Chien routine from the Tiger - Crane Combination Art is perhaps the most powerful exercise for martial Chi Kung. It involves building elasticity into the whole body and then using it to store energy in the lower tan tien (the lower Chi energy center of the body), releasing it in explosive bursts down to the hands, and then returning it to the tan tien to be used again. It incorporates reverse abdominal breathing and exercises absolutely all of the tendons in the body.
Iron Shirt Chi Kung involves several sets of exercises which train the tendon to be elastic and store energy for explosive release. It also incorporates reverse abdominal breathing. It serves as a good supplement to the Sum Chien training.
A brief note on pronunciation:
The words Chi (energy) and Kung (sustained work) are pronounced differently in different Chinese dialects. Most writers follow their teacher’s pronunciation hence you may see the term Chi Kung written as Qi Gung, Qi Gong, Ki Gung or Ki Gong!