In the traditional Chinese martial arts, it is important to be soft. Only the soft overcomes hardness, making the body stronger, more resistant and prevent sickness.
The standard stretching routines in the traditional Wudang schools demand high flexibility to improve ones internal power. Being flexible puts less strain on the body and relaxation becomes more efficient. This will prevent injury and establishes freedom in the mind. Freeing oneself from physical and mental blockades to prevent stagnation of energy.
Only flexibility is not enough
It is a misconception in the Wudang martial arts that endless stretching may lead to a better condition. One more important factor is the power of the muscles and the elasticity of the tendons. It is common practice to use balancing stances to improve the fine-musculature of the body. The power to balance and hold the body is as important as the softness while being in this stances. This leads to better control of the body and more efficient use of the muscles.
Why it is important for power
Once the body can move unrestricted and freely, the power can be easily transferred through the body. Once we understand the Taiji – Yin Yang principles of power generation than it becomes clear how we train our coordination to work internally with our Qi. It is the time where students discover their Qi once they are flexible enough.
Qi Gong or Chi Kung?
The spelling Chi Kung (Wade & Giles) is outdated and was developed as a transcription around 100 years ago in Cambridge. Today we know how Chinese people emphasize and the current romanization is called Pinyin. It is also called Tai Ji instead of Tai Chi.
Breath or energy?
There are schools that say Qi Gong is about energy or breathing, but both are not entirely accurate. The fact that one tries to delineate the whole is typical of our Western conception and absolutely cramped.
After traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and classical Chinese medicine (CCM), which by the way are different from the commercialization of the Sino-Republican concept, the CCM is closer and more authentic to our Wudang understanding. Both teachings state the following:
- Qi is energy
- Breath is oxygen
- The heart carries both over the blood
- Power arises from this process
- The heart stands for emotions
- Therefore, it is important to keep calm in the breath and in the heart to gain strength
What is Qi Gong?
Qi Gong can be translated very precisely as a breathing practice that brings us energy. However, here the medical conception differs from the esoteric one. Energy is not obtained from the pleasant comfort in which the ignorant like to crawl. Qi Gong is a soothing and enjoyable practice where you learn to stand properly, breathe properly and relax. The focus is inside out and the practitioner gains control over himself. The path is to change, and for any organism, change is never pleasant.
Qi Gong is the foundation of the inner martial arts and health, the circulation created by these exercises gives the body the necessary energies to become stronger. Qi Gong is also the only practice recommended for healthy and sick people.