Lifting the Sky
Shaolin Golden Bell
Tai Chi Chuan Three Circles Stance
|What is chi kung?
Chi kung is the art of developing vital energy particularly for
health, vitality, mind expansion and spiritual cultivation.
Is chi kung the same as qigong?
Yes, they are the same. "Chi kung" is the usual English
spelling, whereas "qigong" is the Romanized Chinese spelling.
In Romanized Chinese, q is pronounced like the English ch'; and o like
the English u. Hence, both "chi kung" and qigong" should
be pronounced like the English "ch'i gung".
Are there many types of chi kung?
Depending on how we would define "types", there are two,
three, four, five, six, hundreds of or thousands of types of chi kung.
Some people divide chi kung into two types: quiescent and dynamic, or
internal and external. Some into three types: quiescent, dynamic, and
quiescent- cum-dynamic. Others into four types: standing, sitting, lying
down, and moving. Still others into five types: Buddhist, Taoist,
Confucian, medical, and martial. Some add populace chi kung to the five
to make six types. There are various schools of chi kung, such as
Shaolin Cosmos Chi Kung, Shaolin Damo Chi Kung, Taiji Eighteen Steps Chi
Kung, Flying Crane Chi Kung, Fragrance Chi Kung and so on. Sometimes,
people may refer to different chi kung techniques as different types of
chi kung, in which case there are thousands of them. Hence, it is
understandable that there are also different levels of attainment in the
various types of chi kung.
Is chi kung the same as Taijiquan?
They are different, although Taijiquan (if it is practiced the way
traditional masters practiced it) makes extensive use of chi kung.
Basically, Taijiquan is a martial art, whereas chi kung is a collective
term for various arts of energy, which may or may not be used for
martial art purposes. The movements of some chi kung types resemble
those of Taijiquan, whereas many other chi kung movements are totally
different from typical Taijiquan movements.
What are the benefits of practicing chi kung?
There are many wonderful benefits derived from practicing chi kung,
and they may be generalized into the following five categories:
- Curing illness and promoting health.
- Enhancing vitality and developing internal force.
- Promoting youthfulness and longevity.
- Expanding the mind and the intellect.
- Spiritual cultivation.
Many chi kung types focus on only one or two of the above categories,
but a few cover all the five. For example, most types of medical chi
kung aim mainly at curing illness, virtually all sexual types of chi
kung emphasize solely on youthfulness, whereas Shaolin Cosmos Chi Kung
touches on all the above five categories of benefits.
What kinds of illness can practicing chi kung overcome?
According to Chinese medical thought, practicing chi kung can cure as
well as prevent all kinds of illness, including diseases like asthma,
diabetes, hypertension and cancer which are generally considered
"incurable" by conventional medicine. Practicing chi kung is
also very effective for overcoming psychological problems. (Please see
the following section.)
How does practicing chi kung cure so-called incurable diseases?
One must, first of all, realise that the conventional medical
paradigm is only one of many ways to look at health and illness, and it
is not necessarily the only correct way. According to the Chinese
medical paradigm, there is no such a thing as an incurable disease,
although a patient may be incurable if his disease, even a simple one,
has done damage beyond a certain threshold. No disease is incurable
because it is our natural birth-right to overcome all types of diseases
-- if our psychological and physiological systems are working the way
they should work. Illness occurs only if one or more of these natural
systems fail in their functions. When all our systems are functioning
naturally, the Chinese figuratively describe this condition as
harmonious chi flow, i.e. the energy flow that supplies the right
information to every part of our body (and mind), that provides the
right defense or immunity when needed, that repairs all our wear and
tear, that channels away toxic waste and negative emotions, and that
performs other countless things to keep as alive and healthy, is
functioning the way it should. If this harmonious chi flow is disrupted,
illness occurs. The forte of chi kung is to restore and enhance this
harmonious chi flow, thus overcoming illness, irrespective of the labels
one may use to define its symptoms, and promoting health, which the
Chinese have always considered to be more important than curing
diseases. It is significant to note that the claim of chi kung to
overcome illness and promote health is not based just on the above
philosophical explanation, but on thousands and thousands of practical
How is chi kung related to kungfu?
All great kungfu makes use of energy training (which is chi kung) to
develop internal force, without which it remains at its external,
mechanical level, considered by Chinese martial artists as rough and
low-class. Hence, a kungfu master may look, and actually is, gentle, yet
with his internal force he can cause much damage to his opponent if he
wishes. Moreover, his internal force does not diminish with age, and he
can apply it for peaceful use in his daily living. Unlike in many other
systems of martial arts where the training itself often results in
physical as well as emotional injuries, kungfu training with chi kung
enhances harmonious chi flow, thus promotes health, vitality and
How is chi kung related to Zen
There are three aspects in all types of chi kung, namely form, energy
and mind. If you practice only the form, without the energy and the mind
dimensions, then you are merely performing physical exercise, strictly
speaking not chi kung, for there is no training of energy. For an
effective control of energy, you have to enter what is called in modern
terms "a chi kung state of mind". In the past, this was called
"entering Zen" or "entering silence". When you are
in Zen or a meditative state of mind, you can, among other things, tap
energy from the cosmos and direct the energy to flow to wherever you
want in your body. It is this mind aspect of chi kung, even more than
its energy aspect, that enables chi kung masters to perform what lay
people would call miracles, or, depending on their attitude, fakery.
World Congress on Qigong was held from November 21-23, 1997 in San
Francisco, USA where some of the world's best known masters and
scientists gathered to demonstrate and broaden the influence of qigong
(chi kung) as a viable, essential practice for enhancing everyday life
and as an effective factor in mainstream health care. Sifu Wong Kiew Kit
of Malaysia was awarded "Qigong Master of the Year", and
Professor Feng Li Da of China was awarded "Qigong Research
Scientist of the Year" at the Congress