MARTIAL ARTS QIGONG
“I want to make fire with my hands!”. That was the request by one of the readers, after I had mentioned that some Qigong exponents are able to cause objects to burn by concentrating their external qi. Some Qigong healers generate intense heat from their palms without getting themselves burnt, even though the skin temperature has been shown by heat-sensors to be high enough to burn meat!
Other Qigong exponents are able to appear invincible by being impervious to sharp instruments; withstand heavy hammerings over their heads or other body parts; bear tremendous weights over their abdomens; and perform many other superhuman feats. There are also Qigong styles that specialize in gaining incredible sexual prowess.
With dedicated and prolonged training, it is not impossible to acquire all these if you practise the particular styles. But the training is intense and very disciplined. Those who have seen the TV documentaries on the Shaolin and other Qigong or Kung Fu martial arts training will know that it takes many years of physical and mental conditioning to achieve these abilities.
Although the feats described above are exceptional, all those who undergo the martial arts Qigong training will be healthy and fit, and have the skills of self-defence. My first master ( Master Yusuf Yang Hua Xiang ) was at one time a Qigong martial arts instructor for the Chinese Army, and his students were able to perform many such unbelievable stunts.
The Shaolin schools have become famous with hundreds of young children enrolling each year hoping to become famous exponents, just like the famous troupes that frequently perform here.
The most famous of these styles is perhaps Nei Kung or Iron-Shirt Qi Gong. As the name implies, the exponents are able to shield themselves with qi as if they wear iron armors. They are also able to fight with amazing strength and speed.
When fighting, some Qigong martial arts masters are able to defeat their opponents without even having any body contact.
SPONTANEOUS AND AUTOMATIC QIGONG
This phenomenon is often seen in the spontaneous form when new learners experience spontaneous movements when a Qigong master transfers his qi to them. Often even spectators experience this. And sometimes it happens even when the master is giving a speech about Qigong without deliberately sending his qi.
When you are relaxed, qi is able to flow and cause physical movements. External or internally-generated qi can cause these spontaneous movements when you are “sensitive” to it and these movements are in fact beneficial in unblocking qi meridians. Although these movements happen without intention, they can be consciously suppressed.
Learners will appreciate these spontaneous movements as they get first-hand experience of the actions of qi.
However, as you become more experienced, you are able to control the qi and decide how much of the spontaneous movements you want to allow or suppress. The master is fully in control of his qi, and can even direct the qi movements in another person.
Some exponents are gifted with the ability of “automatic” Qigong where they are able to command their qi to execute any desired martial arts move without ever having learned the art.
Whilst having superb fitness and fighting capability are important assets, for most of us it is sufficient to learn and practise simple Qigong exercises that help us remain healthy, and prevent or even recover from certain illnesses.
As with many other natural/alternative healing arts, mindfulness and concentration are important prerequisites of Qigong. In the exercises that require stillness or very slow movements, the effects are enhanced if the mind is in the meditative state. Although meditation is more often associated with Yoga, the monks who were the earliest Qigong practitioners all practised meditative Qigong as part of their training. Since the monks also meditated endlessly for their spiritual enlightenment, doing meditative Qigong was easy for them. It is not possible to achieve the highest of Qigong abilities without this practice.
This aspect of Qigong is not much emphasized now. Most modern styles are simplified to demystify and make Qigong purely a health-enhancing exercise acceptable to people of all religions. However there are still some Qigong styles that include meditation as part of their exercises. Some new styles also incorporate Yogic or other types of meditation.
MANY MASTERS, MANY STYLES
I have often been asked about the merits of the different Qigong styles being taught here. I don’t claim to be an expert in all. My advice is if the master is good, then any Qigong style you learn from him is beneficial. Although Guolin Qigong has become known for its healing effects, especially for cancer patients, all other Qigong styles can also give similar benefits if properly and sufficiently practised.
There are many new styles being introduced by masters who feel they can improve on what they have learned from their own masters. That was how Guolin Qigong was started by the late Madam Guo Lin. Some have combined several Qigong styles into a new one. Some combined Qigong with other healing arts. Some improvised their own exercises. Some added music to make the exercises more lively and enjoyable. And there will be many more styles as many more creative masters emerge in the future.
I practise the several styles that I have learned at different times, and the main Islamic Qigong ( Tang Ping Gong ) exercise that I learned from Master Yusuf is practised as part of my daily prayers.
The best is to find out from those who have practised the style concerned. Better still, try out for yourself. Whichever you choose, the key to getting the full benefit is to actually practise it consistently. And you are likely to do so only if you actually enjoy doing the exercises.