Qi Gong (or Chi Kung)
Qi Gong (or Chi Kung) is an ancient Chinese energy (Qi) practice. Qi means energy, Gong means work. It is based on the concept of Qi energy which flows through the body. Qi gong is a practice that incorporates breathing techniques and specific movements and postures to help adjust balance in a practitioner’s body and mind, heighten feeling, internal awareness, and bodily communication, and to promote an overall more balanced and healthy existence. As a result of aligning the consciousness and the body in more harmonious communication with each other, we find the body healthier, with a stronger immunity to protect against invasive forces like sickness and disease.
The practice of qi gong is a method that people of all body types, ages, and goals can partake in. The practice of qi gong can help strengthen a practitioner’s external and internal bodies, vital energies, and spirit. By awakening the potential of our bodies, strengthening our immunity and inner-communication, and understanding each pathways of circulation, we work towards having a clean and calm body, mind, and spirit.
Wudang Qi Gong has two systems of Qi Gong practice: Internal Qi Gong (or soft Qi Gong) and Hard Qi Gong (also called ‘Tong Zi Gong’ or ‘Bucket’ Qi Gong’).
Wudang Daoist Internal Qi Gong’s main focus is on the body and health preservation. The focus is placed on deep breathing without allowing the thoughts to wander too far. The practice of soft qi gong does not require the use of large amounts of physical energy. This type of training can help to open the lungs and strengthen respiration, strengthen the organs, and also open the energy channels and meridians of the body.
The benefits of internal qi gong practice are vast. Internal Qi Gong practice is beneficial for all people and can help with physical and emotional ailments that a practitioner may be suffering from. The main practice of internal qi gong is the practice of taking in healthy fresh qi and expelling the waste, toxins, and unhealthy qi that have accumulated in our bodies over time. Alongside this practice is the practice of collecting qi and storing it in the dantian to strengthen the body and revitalize the energy and the spirit. After extensive practice and enough qi has been cultivated in the dantian of a practitioner they can then learn to use it to strengthen the five organs (recognized in Traditional Chinese Medicine) and also to use the mind an intention to circulate qi to open the body’s energy channels and meridians. The result being that a practitioner’s body and mind then gradually returns to the calm, soft, supple state of a child.
In Wudang Hard Qi Gong there are three levels of training in the practice; beginning with basic level training and moving to the more advanced stages. Combining these practices together with the conditioning of the skin, muscles, and tendons through repeated hitting with various technique and instruments and various movements can increase the strength of the external body and internal organs. The practice of qi gong is meant to awaken and strengthen the vast potential each individual has; both internally and externally. It can also teach a practitioner how to be in better communication with their body and thus have better internal coordination as it has been conditioned to higher levels of health and power. Once a practitioner of hard qi gong has trained the higher levels of training they can then break objects over their body and be struck with kicks, punches, etc. without sustaining injury.