Qigong is a traditional Chinese health maintenance exercise, considered by kungfu practitioners as a way of breath managing and mind regulating as well as a necessary part of kungfu practicing. Qigong has a long history in China. In ancient times, qigong-related content was normally called “inhaling and exhaling”, “energy guiding”, “qi flowing” and “qi managing” etc.
Qigong is also a key component of Chinese kungfu. Chinese kungfu can be divided into two categories. One is external style that is characterized by fast and explosive movements and a focus on physical strength and agility, such as Shaolin Boxing and Wudang Swordplay. The other is internal style that focuses on strengthening body health. The internal style kungfu mainly refers to qigong, which is a mind and body exercise aimed at disease preventing and curing, life prolonging and potential developing through regulating the mind, breath and the body.
The practicing of qigong basically falls into two major categories. One is still qigong which is dominated by quiet standing, sitting or lying to concentrate the mind. At the same time, the practitioner breathes in a special way to boost his or her circulating and digesting systems. Another is dynamic qigong, which is a set of slow movements or massage motions that are good for body strengthening if practiced regularly.
There are three main schools of qigong. They are medical qigong, internal style qigong and wushu qigong, used for medical treatment, body strengthening and kungfu practicing respectively.
For foreigners, qigong may be a mysterious thing. Actually, it is something based on traditional Chinese medicine theory which holds that diseases are a result of the loss of balance in the body. The reason that qigong is capable of curing diseases and maintaining body health is because it is an exercise in which the cerebral cortex regulates internal organs through breathing movements to make the body function well.