There seems to be two schools of thoughts when it comes to "qi" or "qigong" in Chinese kung fu.
There are those that believe it doesn't exist and those that do.
So, is there any truth to qigong? Is there any benefit to practicing it? How can we come to determine from a practical point of view the truth about qigong?
The major reason qigong has gotten a lot of skepticism is because of different showmen that perform "impossible human feats".
I've seen such displays as someone using their qi power to knock someone down. I've also seen it to be used to resist injury to things like swords and nails.
So, can it really work?
First off, there is nothing in the human body that can stop something sharp from penetrating the skin. Drill bits will tear holes in steel. The idea of qi being able to stop a drill bit from penetrating human flesh is a gimmick.
The idea that you could knock someone down with a magical force is a fanciful idea. I've never seen it. Well known and respected masters in China that are very much into the internal arts haven't claimed they can do it.
Master Chen Xiaowang, who is direct lineage from the founder of Chen Style Tai Chi never claimed it. Chen style Tai Chi is the oldest and parent form of all Tai Chi. So, I meet that whole idea with skepticism.
So what can we know about qi?
First of all, it is a Chinese word that has a different meaning behind it. Chinese language is different than English. Chinese use fewer words to express larger concepts. English uses precise words to describe precise concepts. So, there is a lot that is implied in the Chinese language. This is one of the road blocks to understanding.
To understand more clearly from my western way of thinking, I decided to look at the way the talked about certain things. To see how they expressed a situation or a concept.
Based on interpreting the different ways the word "qi" is used, it seems to describe more a feeling and breath.
For example there is "huqi" (呼气) which means exhalation and "xiqi" (吸气) which means inhalation.
In emotions, there is "sheng qi" (生气) which is anger.
Medically it goes deeper, but I think in the practice of qigong, it's easier to describe them in this sense.
In regards to emotions they may say your qi gets stuck in your chest if you are afraid to talk, because it does feel like that. Also emotions are felt in different areas of the body, stress is around the eyes, forehead and chest area.
So in the practice of qigong we can think of it as a way of managing emotions and using breath control which directly affects our physical state. For example if we feel shocked, we tend to hold our breath, but by controlling our breathing we can unlock that frozen state and respond to the situation.
But don't feel confused that someone "uses qi" and someone doesn't. We all have relatively the same physiology. You may do a lot of these things unconsciously, but the practice of qigong can help develop another aspect of human potential.
The fact is, qigong takes practice and training, just like a physical skill. Essentially qigong is a type of training that uses breath work and visualization. Those are the two aspects of the art.
These two things have been demonstrated by science to have an impact on your physiology.
So, in the sense of using "qi power" or "fajin" （发劲）or some people call it "fajing", it really is about a feeling sensation. After watching kung fu videos in Chinese to understand how they use the language from an objectionable point of view, I've come to understand it as a feeling.
For example, having jin（劲）means that you can demonstrate power. If you are off balance, you don't have any jin. But increasing by putting yourself in a better stance, you can increase jin.
With the use of different internal techniques, such as diaphragm breathing techniques, you can activate more of your core to increase your power probably by 30%.
About the blog
Luke Shao and Master Wang are on a mission to share the ancient Chinese approach to acquiring any skill.