Qigong (/ˈtʃiːˈɡɒŋ/) Qi gong, Chi Kung, or Chi Gung (simplified Chinese: 气功; traditional Chinese: 氣功; pinyin: qìgōng; Wade–Giles: Chi Gong; literally: “Life Energy Cultivation”) is a holistic system of coordinated body posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used to promote health, spirituality, therapeutic flow of internal energy, and used as a perquisite to the practice of any Martial Arts. With roots in Chinese medicine, philosophy, and Martial Arts, Qi-Gong is traditionally viewed as a practice to cultivate and balance Qi (chi), translated as “life energy.”
According to Taoist, Buddhist, and Confucian philosophy, Qi-Gong allows access to higher realms of mindfulness (having a heightened awareness of this very moment without dwelling on the past or worrying about the future), present moment awareness, and is believed to awaken one’s “true nature” or “true self” as displayed in a positive light as opposed to the negative beliefs one may hold regarding one’self due to past trauma of any kind, and maximizes a human’s potential to think and behave in a therapeutic and healthy manner which promotes the health of one’s mind, body, and Qi (Chi) / soul.
Qi-Gong practice typically involves the meditation of movement, coordinated slow flowing movement, deep rhythmic breathing, and a calm meditative state of mind. Qi-Gong is now practiced throughout China and worldwide for recreation, exercise and relaxation, as a mild form of stretching, preventive medicine and self-healing, alternative medicine, meditation and self-cultivation, and as a perquisite preparation for the practice of Martial Arts.
Contrary to the claims of Wikipedia (a non-academic and very unreliable online “thesaurus” which has NO statistical validity, NO professional peer-review, and is NOT founded on Evidence Based Medicine . . . and this online resource can literally be edited and rewritten by ANYONE with access to the internet regardless of that person’s lack of academic training), there are (in fact) plenty of STATISTICALLY VALID, DOUBLE BLIND trials with a CONTROL GROUP and a PLACEBO GROUP (in which neither the participants in the study nor the researchers know which group is receiving a placebo series of movements and breathing techniques and which group is receiving the actual traditional exercises and breathing techniques practiced my eastern medicine for thousands of years, and EMPIRICALLY VALID DATA such as blood pressure readings before and after the exercises/breathing techniques, OBJECTIVE SURVEYS, PROFESSIONAL PEER REVIEW by academic sources with a DOCTORAL DEGREE in several pertinent areas of academic study. . . and these valid studies DO IN FACT show that Qi-Gong and Tai Qi (Tai Chi) promote a lower stress level, serve as a mild form of cardiovascular exercise, reduce anxiety, promote a more therapeutic blood pressure, therapeutic respiratory rate, and a therapeutic heart rate, in addition to many other therapeutic effects through a process that is very similar to medically-substantiated “bio-feedback” techniques . However, listing out these studies is beyond the scope of this essay because they are far too numerous to mention.
Tai Qi (Tai Chi):
Since the earliest widespread promotion of the health benefits of tàijíquán by Yang Shaohou, Yang Chengfu, Wu Chien-ch‘üan and Sun Lutang in the early 20th century, Tai Qi (Tai Chi) has developed a worldwide following of people, often with little or no interest in Martial Arts training, for its extensively documented benefits to personal health. Medical studies of t‘ai-chi support its effectiveness as an alternative exercise and stretching regimen and a form of Martial Arts and healing / health promotion therapy.
It is reported that focusing the mind solely on the movements of the form helps to bring about a state of mental calmness and clarity of mind. In addition to general health benefits and stress management attributed to tàijíquán training, aspects of traditional Chinese medicine are taught to advanced students in some traditional schools.
Meridians and Pressure Points:
While there is no DIRECT proof at all that meridians (internal paths of energy) actually exist, there is circumstantial evidence that these “meridians” do actually exist. For example, when performing an autopsy or an exploratory gross anatomy dissection of a human cadaver, there is no physical indication of such meridians; they cannot be seen through the exploration of gross anatomy such as nerves, organs, and blood vessels can be seen with the human eye. However, acupuncture and acupressure both have innumerable statistically valid trials with a double-blind study approach that contains both a control group and a placebo group. These trials, research articles, and conclusions are professionally peer-reviewed, and heavily documented. The vast majority of these doctoral-level research thesis articles show that the therapeutic effects of acupuncture and acupressure are very reliable and produce very concrete (tenable) conclusions that these treatment modalities DO WORK very effectively on a number of health afflictions and for the purpose of promoting health benefits. What is of significance in this matter is that although there is no direct proof that meridians exist, both acupuncture and acupressure are founded upon the study of meridians and their related pressure points (to include theoretical “chakras”).
Chakras (चक्र, cakra, Pali: cakka) are theorized to be the various focal points in the body used in a variety of ancient meditation practices, collectively denominated as “Tantra,” or the esoteric or inner traditions of Indian religion, Chinese Taoism, Tibetan Buddhism, as well as Japanese Buddhism, and in new age medicine, and originally psychologically adopted to the western mind through the assistance of Carl G. Jung.
The concept is found in the early traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. They are treated as focal points, or “nodes” in the body of the patient and/or practitioner. These theories differ between the Indian religions, with many Buddhist texts consistently mentioning five Chakras, while separate Hindu sources will suggest that there are six, or even seven chakras. Chakras are believed to be embedded within the actual physical body, whilst also originating within the context of the more abstract psychological and spiritual fields, and are considered to be complexes of electromagnetic energy, where energy is echanged with one’s environment. The precise degree and variety of which directly arise from a synthetic average of all positive and negative so-called “fields.” Kundalini Yoga breath exercises, visualizations, mudras, bandhas, kriyas, and mantras are focused on transmiting energy through “chakras.”
It is NOT AT ALL NECESSARY to actually believe in “Qi” (“Chi”), “Meridians,” “Pressure Points,” or “Chakras” to reap the many benefits of practicing Qi-Gong and/or Tai Qi (Tai Chi), because even after subtracting those concepts, just the very act of controlling one’s breathing (slowing one’s breathing), moving in the form of a mild exercise, mild stretching, and the use of Evidence-Based-biofeedback exercises yield the same statistically valid and empirically verified therapeutic effects as anyone who does actually believe in these esoteric concepts such as “Qi (Chi), Meridians, Pressure Points, & Chakras.” In other words, it is much more important to be a “doer” than it is to be a “believer.”
This is a series of videos, which once completed, will show the individual sets of Qi-Gong, followed by the individual sets of Tai Qi (Tai Chi), and the videos are posted in chronological order with the number of the set mentioned in the name of the video.
These videos feature Sifu Joseph Estrada who has practiced Eight-Animal Kung Fu (Gong Fu), Qi-Gong, & Tai Qi (Tai-Chi) for over twenty years. In these videos Sifu Estrada will explain each set sequentially in a step-by-step manner.
Here is the YouTube website where the videos will continue to be posted (click on the link):