What Is Qigong

Qi is information energy that supports our life, and Qigong is a kung fu of qi, an art to manage and empower the qi within our body and beyond.

Qigong is an integral part of all Chinese kung fu, be it as vigorous as Shaolin or as gentle as Taichi. The only difference is the proportion between the tangible (physical) movement and the intangible (qi) movement.

Thus a physical exercise without conscious involvement of qi is not Chinese kung fu but sport, which not only is limited in martial power but could deplete player’s energy. 

There are many different qigong techniques, including Daoist qigongs, Buddhist qigongs, medical qigongs, just to name a few.

2,000-Year-Old Qigong from Mawangdui Lady’s Tomb

This drawing unearthed from Han Dynasty Mawangdui tomb illustrates the movements of 2,000-year-old fitness qigong.

There are also notes on the painting that explain how the qigong can help maintain a healthy digestive system, a youthful facial look, strong bones and joints, and a robust immune response against infection.

Daoist Tai Chi Qigong

There are two types of qi, yin qi and yang qi. The key to maintaining health is to keep yin-yang qis in a good balance, which is all Tai Chi trying to achieve.


Aquil A Rahman
I would imagine that his master taught it, but it has been my understanding that those deeply immersed in Qi Gong are very reluctant to show off or reveal much of their craft to the uninitiated.

I’ve not taken any kind of survey, but I get the impression that many westerners think Qi Gong is some sort of magic and useless.

In fact, there was this guy from Taiwan that did a demonstration at the National Institute of Health in front of some highly trained medical people.

The response from some? They would have to observe it in a more isolated situation.

He could set a paper on fire with his hand and break rock without touching it and could detect small imbalances in the body.

I was fortunate to somehow contact him and learn the exercises before he left the country.

Ironically, there were about 14 people, 3 Americans and one seemed to be there for the purpose of debate and speculation.

Something typical of western thought.

While people are so fascinated by the skills of Bruce Lee, they hardly have the attention spans or curiosity to explore the deeper realities.

This is how the western mind tore down so many cultures. He sought to possess only what he could visibly see. But the things ethereal, always ignored or denied.

All Things Chinese
You’ve touched the deep core of the subject. You see, when a clock pendulum swings too much to the left, what is going to happen the next? It will swing too much to the right. This is the action and reaction, and this is karma, the only law in the universe.

The West thinks it has woken up from the Dark Ages since the Renaissance and has been enlightened by science and logical thinking, but in fact, the mindsets between the two are quite similar – it just goes from one extreme to another and they are mirroring each other.

Many in the West used to place blind faith in an external force, now they put blind faith in their own brain and eye, and the products of their brain, the logic (way of thinking), and the extension of their eye (the instruments). They still think they are the chosen, still believe they are the spokesmen for truth, still cling on to one portion of the fact and being exclusive of the rest, therefore are still the slaves to blind faith, albeit a different faith.

Hyoon-dae Cheon
And, by going from a serious force to a forced belief, they’ve made a good force a farce, you see.

Instead of telling them, “May the Force be with you” say “I know the FARCE within, been withering you”…

All Things Chinese
“May farce be with you!” 😀

Aquil A Rahman
I agree we are still in the dark ages. The dark ages never had anything to do with sunlight, but a profane condition of the mind, that has not gone away but has only become more malignant with time.

Daoist Five Animals Qigong

There are many traditional Chinese qigong forms that imitate animal postures and movements. The Five Animal Frolic is one of them, based on the physical imitation of tiger, deer, bear, monkey and bird.

Five animals correspond to five agents in the human body:
The robust tiger mainly has the Wood trait and Wood agent relates to the liver;
The tranquil crane mainly has Fire trait and Fire agent relates to heart;
The divine dragon mainly has Earth trait and Earth agent relates to the stomach;
The resilient snake mainly has Metal trait and Metal agent relates to the lung;
The tough turtle mainly has Water trait and Water agent relates to Kidney.

Each section of the exercise is aimed to help you strengthen associated organs in your body.

Buddhist Yijinjing Qiong

Yijinjing, Change Your Tendon and Wash Your Marrow, is part of the basic kungfu training in Shaolin Buddhist temple.

Shaolin Kungfu: Iron Shirt

In this universe, nothing can be softer or stronger or more beneficial or more detrimental than qi.

The energy management training allows the monks to concentrate qi at any point in their body.

The difference between defused qi and concentrated qi is like natural light and laser beams. We are living in the light (from the sun, the moon or lamps) which are basically harmless, but a highly concentrated light (laser) can cut diamonds.

A 94-Year-Old Granny Kung Fu Master

The Chinese granny in the front is 94-year-old Zhang Hexian (张荷仙) from Liyang Town, Zhejiang Province.

She started to learn kung fu since age 4 and has never stopped practicing in the next 90 years and remains a formidable master in fist kung fu, leg kung fu and cudgel kung fu.

A 95-Year-Old Chinese Qigong Man

One day, the 95-year-old Tang Lixian (唐礼贤) from Chongqing boarded on a bus and found a young man was trying to steal his wallet, so he knocked the guy off feet with just one punch.

His punch is so powerful because he is a Hard Kung Fu master. But he only began to practice this potent form of martial arts since 71 when he was seriously ill with emphysema, a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that damages the air sacs in his lungs and made his throat constantly clogged up with thick phlegm. Apart from that he also suffered from hyperosteogeny and rheumatism.

It was then he made a decision to learn Hard Qigong at a training class in a park. Two years later, he was free from all health problems, and his chest, back, tummy and head can endure heavy blows from a steel hammer without feeling pain and incurring injury.

“The hammer did not really hit on my physical body but the qi surrounded it,” he explained.


Dominick Mas
Chi Kung is an awesome mind/body meditative art. I learned the simplest forms by reading books on how to conduct the movements and direction of what to think while you do so. Open your mind to this wonderful and beautiful art and it will change your life.

All Things Chinese
His physical strength is proven to be better than the guy less than one-third of his age as he knocked that young thief with just one punch that was not even heavy according to his standards. “I didn’t use too much force because I didn’t want to break his bone,” he explained later 😀
We are living in an ocean of qi but we don’t see it so often don’t know its existence, just like when fish live in water. In fact, our physical body and the world around us are also formed by qi, the condensed qi, which we can see and touch but are hard to change. That is why working on qi instead of the physical body and material world is a shortcut to management and transformation.

Dominick Mas
I absolutely agree. I found Qi Gong in 2009. As I continued to practice and learn, the more advancement I noticed. I ripped my shoulder tendons and joints out last year and once I could finally use my arm slightly again, Chi Kung is the first exercise I went to for therapy. This art has helped many times in my life. Since seeing this post, I have just decided to get back to it. Thank you for the reminder. It has been a few months since I practiced. Pencak Silat is also my way of life.

All Things Chinese
Of all therapies, qigong therapy is the only one that brings no pain but enjoyment during the treatment process (and with absolutely no side effect). Have you ever encountered someone who’s so excited when going to see a doctor like he’s going to a movie? Nope, but this is what usually happens when one goes to see a qigong therapist (unless it is a bad qigong therapist:D) 

A Basic Trading of Qigong: Standing Pole

Standing Pole (standing like a pole while holding an invisible ball) is basic training in Chinese martial arts and qigong practice.

It is initially a method developed by Chinese medicine for the purpose of removing the blockages that prevent a smooth qi flow in the human body.

While we normally utilize the brain to work on new assignments, use the body particularly cerebellum to handle regular tasks, and set up qi storage in the lower part of the abdomen, our true self (the consciousness) usually dwells in the middle of the chest.

That is why the posture is designed like what is shown in the photo.

Of course, the posture demonstrated by the guy isn’t entirely up to standard (his arms and hands are not at the same level). He still has a long way to go ~_^

The progress of Standing Pole can be tracked in 10 stages:

1) feeling the heat in the body;

2) seeing the light ball (condensed qi) rotating;

3) hands physically feeling the existence of the ball;

4) feeling the qi of your environment (the breath from the earth, from the trees) and the breath of your body (not through your nose);

5) feeling a core of qi in your body forming, growing and moving;

6) feeling all your acupoints in your entire body opened up and swilling, as qi traffic flowing through freely in high speed – by then your Big Qi Circle is activated;

7) seeing or sensing Taichi in your body rotating;

8) feeling the core of qi developed into Taichi and expanding to include all of your body then fading into Wuchi;

9) realizing you are free to communicate with your external world and alter the reality;

10) realizing the division between internal and external worlds has disappeared. You are your entire universe and all things in your universe is part of you.

The first step to master qigong is to learn how to control –> minimize -> eliminate desire. For those who entertain an ambition to dominate the lives of other people or other nations, either physically, culturally or spiritually, they will never become real qigong masters but monsters.

That is from where some dangerous cult figures and crazy politicians came. Their expended power may help them to satisfy their desire, yet it just means they have extended their credit limit but doesn’t mean their credit has increased. Consequently, these are the people who will be quicker to go bankrupt than anyone else.

A Chinese Taoist practicing standing-meditation at Celestial Cloud Temple in Henan Province.


Aquil A Rahman
It’s not even an opinion, just what I’m experiencing.

With my practice of qi gong / tai chi I find myself practicing a particular move or position and one lady from Beijing as well as another guy from Beijing, they corrected some of my movements EVER SO SLIGHTLY and it changes virtually my entire practice.

My balance becomes firmer and I find more fluidity in the particular movement.

It’s simply amazing how we can be less than inches away from correctness and never realize it.

One Chi Gong form, I have practiced for years, and this guy from Beijing is with me for a few weeks and it all looks familiar, yet all so new.

I’m still trying to digest it all.

Internal balancing is incredible.

All Things Chinese
That’s even much more valuable ^_^ You’ve come a long way in your internal qi training, congratulations ^ ^

Have you noticed the colour change in your palm? This is one of the best indications for the progress and level of qi cultivation.

ponderous tomes
The Cultural Revolution raped and mutilated Chinese traditions and culture, including martial arts. If you don’t believe me try practicing Falun Gong in public there.

All Things Chinese
In fact, the so-called Cultural Revolution period was a golden age for Chinese martial arts, Chinese medicine and Chinese music in China. It was after the CR, China made a U-turn to embrace the US culture without reservation, and Chinese people ditched their own tradition and replace Chinese kung fu, Chinese medicine and Chinese music with Western sports, Western medicine and Western entertainment media on a massive scale.

As for that Falun Gong, it’s not a kung fu to start with. US propaganda machine labels it spiritual movement, so it’s not physical, how can you call a non-physical movement kung fu?

I do believe if I practice Falun Gong in China I will get myself in trouble. But there is no way I will practice it in China or anywhere else on the earth because I don’t want anybody, Li so and so or his intangible masters or his tangible disciples, to do some black magic on my body by installing an invisible wheel in my tummy and turning me into a human puppet with my fate controlled by others.

By the way, would you like to try practicing Heaven’s Gate in public in the US? (You probably can in China, because Chinese don’t really know what it is ~_^)

ponderous tomes
Lol! Black magick! xD you’re trying to lecture me about Chinese culture and you don’t know the fundamentals of Chi Gong. Man somebody skull fucked your brain pretty good because you are either clueless or delusional. One of the first things you’ll notice is that Cantonese was “simplified” which means stripped of it’s spiritual and cultural meaning.

China is basically 1984 in practice with newspeak controlling the conversation and avenues of thought. We’re not talking about natural changes in syntax and definition. Just one example of the rape of Chinese culture.

All Things Chinese
I’ve noticed the folks with blind faith in something are most likely to accuse others with different views of being brainwashed. Since you have a habit to use offensive language to curse around, it’s not difficult for me to realise what a rude and vicious soul you have developed after your special-brand “kung fu” or “qigong” practice.

Talking about delusions, I think your idol Li so and so could be a classic example. Here is what he said in his lecture in Los Angeles in 2006:

“I do not need to lift a finger, I only need to give you a quick glance, which is powerful enough to get rid of the illness from your body. In fact, any part of my body has such a supernatural function.”

Yet he couldn’t heal his close friend’s cancer and couldn’t even cue his own brain tumour but went under operation.

And this:

“Like what I said before, I said, all sentient beings in the universe are guilty of failing to lend me a hand, and I said they all owe me a huge debt.”

And this guy also claimed he is the reincarnation of a Manchu emperor with a mission to restore Manchu’s rule in China and establish a Manchu empire in the world. — I found it’s deeply offensive and repulsive!!!

Practicing qigong, like practicing religion, could be constructive or destructive, all depending on the objective of your practice: for becoming the master of yourself or the master of others (i.e. to control your own destiny or to control the destiny of other people)

By the way, I’m not interested in lecturing you on anything. I couldn’t care less what you think or believe. My time can be better spent by doing something more interesting and useful.

One last thing, 1984 is 7 years after the Cultural Revolution officially ended not during the Cultural Revolution.

ponderous tomes
It is true that one can practice the wrong way or the wrong method, but most people who practice martial arts don’t include a spiritual aspect in my experience. We all know that Chinese Kung Fu was brought by a Buddhist as a form of yoga, but almost no one brings up Bodhi Darma when talking about styles.

Personally, I don’t practice Chi Gong but it isn’t dissimilar from yoga or other forms of martial arts. Quite frankly you sound like someone with no to a little background on the subject

All Things Chinese
So you play yoga, never mind. However, only Chinese Buddhist meditation techniques were initially introduced to China from India. Meditation and Qigong in Daoist form existed in China long before the import of Buddhism. 

Go Beyond Qigong

A Daoist temple on White Rock Hill in Guiping, Guangxi Province. The hill is known as the 21st of the 36 Daoist Cave Heavens in China.

Qigong for physical health is just the first level of the wellbeing that we can expect from the practice. The second level is the intellectual which relies heavily on the wellbeing of our brain. The next level is the mind that has involved spirituality.

However, once we die, most that we have achieved in above faculties could all be lost, leaving a core portion of the qi consisted of long-established habits (the default programs) roaming between space-time to find another suitable life form (computer terminal) to express itself and to restage the old drama of karma.

So the ultimate goal of Qigong should be beyond the body, beyond the mind and beyond the spirituality.

Because all above are just a small part of our whole true self, a small portion of our complete consciousness, and a small section of manifested illusive reality.

Thus the final stage for Qigong is to collect all the qi that forms all things in your world. Although all things both tangible and intangible are by essence illusions, when the whole illusions are gathered together, you’ve got the true reality.

By then you’ll have to forget about qigong and forget about the concept of Qi.

Why? Because Qi is the tool of our consciousness. It was split into yin yang dual forms from united Nothingness to shape myriad things imagined by the consciousness. In other words, qi is an illusive existence as well. Only when yin qi and yang qi merge into one, we’ll experience the true reality.

At that stage, you’ll need to cease all the thoughts created by your mind, as that is the only way to stop qi from keeping splitting from nothingness. And you’ll need to be fully aware the elusive nature of the entire world you’ve experienced, as that can prevent you from being emotionally sucked in by any particular role (yourself or your loved ones). And you’ll need to be able to float freely between nothingness and illusion, and between all illusions.

By then, you are not only totally enlightened but have full control of your illusive world.

Being a slave to our own illusion is not a desirable way to go, yet staying in nothingness is also not recommendable.

What we hope to achieve is to be the master of our own world, or to put it another way, to be the director of our own drama.

Quan Xuesen, China’s Pioneer Research Scientist on Qigong

China is to launch the China Brain Project, which is aiming at developing brain science and brain-like intelligence technology.

The project will be coordinated by China’s Science and Technology and funded by the Department and National Natural Science Foundation of China based on a 15-year plan.

Shanghai has already launched its own Brain project in March this year while the US’ similar project was launched two years ago.

Qian Xuesen (钱学森 (1911-2009), the most respected Chinese scientist and the father of China’s missile and space programs, also a co-founder of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory located in Pasadena, California, was the first to study human brain and body through qigong research.

In the final stage of his life, he devoted his energy into promoting Qigong research and worked closely with some big Qigong masters.


George Conkwright
CBR should look into drunken gongfu

All Things Chinese
You mean drunken kung fu? The player actually has to be totally lucid. 

Sultan Salahuddin
O.k. sooo, is this going make us smarter? Or make us more dependent?

All Things Chinese
Very good question. I think if we rely on external devices (even though embedded ones) to think faster and remember things better, we are not only become more dependent but less smart. 

Mr Qian Xuesen was trying to increase the human body including brain potentials organically.

I’m not sure this new China Brain project is going to take which direction.

M. armani
The human brain is one of a kind, a very complicated-sophisticated-ingenious machine, God’s creation. They won’t be able to develop such a thing, no matter how genius the scientists are. My opinion.

Lori Sylvia
I think they will be able to develop such a thing but will never truly be able to duplicate it and what they genetically engineer will not come without an ethical and moral price along with maybe many unforeseen problems (psychological, physical… etc) science is a wonderful thing but sometimes we have to wonder what future results will happen and are we prepared for the consequences?

All Things Chinese
I agree. Scientific development should be placed under strict scrutiny. 

During the Shang, Zhou, Qin, Han, Tang to Song dynasties, Chinese science and technology developed extremely fast, especially during the Song when China ran so far ahead of the rest of the nations of the 11th century.

But there was also a dominant Confucius sector in the government trying to keep this development in check to make sure it wouldn’t lead to a self-destructive result.  

Lori Sylvia
I wish that more sectors were in place around the world today…science and technology are amazing in so many ways but not everyone has the purest of intentions nor the foresight to predict the questionable unknowns. Unbiased sectors should be and need to be in place in order to protect everyone as much as possible for the greater good of humanity and the environment….wishful thinking anyway.

All Things Chinese
Yes, the development of science and technology should serve a good purpose, not just for satisfying the curiosity of the few. 

You are welcome to share your thoughts here