Qigong is two Chinese words combined together.
Qi is pronounced, “Chi,” which is how it is spelled in the Cantonese dialect.
Gong is pronounce, “Gong,” which is the Mandarin version of the same word, “Kung,” in Cantonese.
Gongfu is the way all people in China say, “Kung Fu.” Same written characters. They’re just pronounced slightly different in the Mandarin dialect.
Gong / Kung can be translated as “Work.” “Effort” is a good word depending on how you understand that word.
“Kung Fu” = “Working Time.” Too literal. I prefer to teach my students that “Kung Fu / Gongfu” mean, “Time and Effort.” More on that later.
Qi / Chi means “life force.” Yep. All you Jedi are just kids with plastic battery powered flashlight sabers until you master your “life force.” I have studied under many Taoist masters and learned many Qigong exercises. There are actually some that I think are harmful. So don’t get all Bruce Lee and think any Kung Fu trick is worth adding to your arsenal. Pick your Qigong master carefully. Some are just videotape graduates and some may have exercises that can lead to “Chi Poisoning.” You can usually see it in their eyes being all “bug-eyed.” They look like they saw and ghost or got possessed by it. There were a lot more of these charlatans in the seventies and eighties when Americans were grabbing any kind of Kung Fu to add to their martial arts hodgepodge.
Incidentally, our Chinese Name, Shaolin CHI (QI) Mantis does not include the word “Chi” of Tai Chi Chuan. Because I have such an extensive and wonderful Qigong program I used the word for “Breath Energy” instead of the “Chi” word of Tai Chi Chuan. Tai Chi Chuan = “Supreme Ultimate Power Boxing Style.” Anyone who cannot fight with their Tai Chi Chuan is not learning Tai Chi Chuan. If your Tai Chi Chuan instructor cannot demonstrate the fighting uses of each movement–they are a fake.
Qigong has become so popular that many Yoga “teachers” watch a few YouTube Qigong videos and add them to their YMCA classes.
By 1989 I had created my basic Qigong curriculum in my Shaolin Chi Mantis Traditional Buddhist Kung Fu schools. Since then it has proven to be 100% successful in enhancing my students’ “life force” abilities and powers. Qigong = “Energy Work.” You are working your Qi energy.
But first you have to discover your Qi. The Chinese have an old saying, “It takes 100 days to discover your Qi.” I’ve taught in prisons and rehabs. A couple of my less cooperative and skeptical students put that slogan to the test–attempting to invalidate me. Every single student, especially the skeptics proved that slogan to be true. They all came to me “bug-eyed” (I’m chuckling to myself) and said, “YOU WERE RIGHT! I CAN FEEL IT NOW!”
One caveat to that statement: 100 days = 100 days of practice and effort. To ensure my correctness I usually qualify it further to, “It only takes 100 days of Tai Chi Chuan practice to discover your Qi.” This qualification benefits the student because in my Shaolin Chi Mantis schools I teach the Yang Tai Chi Chuan Short Form to breathing commands. We practice the entire form in a specific “Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale…” that makes it easier to “work your Qi.” So yes, I do create Jedi warriors. I wish people would stop thinking you have to be a mutant, or have your Bourne abilities created by scientific and genetic modification. Just do the work!
So Qigong is “Energy Work.” What’s that? Sheesh. I spend years teaching this topic because there are so many levels and abilities and tricks you can employ to enhance your Qi energy.
Incidentally: I had a dental exam a couple days ago. My dentist walked up to me shaking his head after he looked at the X-rays of my teeth. I clenched a little–in my mind. My new dentist said to me, “I would kill to have your teeth.” I replied, “Huh?” He said, “You have perfect teeth. Not one single cavity. I have 14-year old kids with worse teeth than yours, and you are 66 years old!”
I was flattered but awkward. “Thanks doc.” He said, “Whatever you’re doing–keep doing it.”
My younger brothers have lots of fillings in their mouth.
I’ve got to get back to working on the school website “Kwoon” at www.ShaolinInteractive.com
So let’s summarize Qi development in three levels which my students attain in less than one year.
LEVEL 1: Control your breathing. By using the Tai Chi Chuan Short Form of Shaolin Chi Mantis you will learn to control your breathing with your movements and vice versa. This is DIAPHRAGM breathing by the way. The same breathing I learned as an opera singer in 1970. I had played trombone for several years and probably already developed it, but for singing it is fundamental.
LEVEL 2: Discover your Qi. As I said, you must discover it before you can manipulate it or enhance it.
LEVEL 3: Move your Qi within your body with your mind. I’ve developed a curriculum that has several levels in it to move it eventually in and out of every limb and toe and finger…
LEVEL 4: Externalize your Qi. Oh yeah. I said I’d give you the first three levels now.