Lesson 1 – What is Qi?
Qi: the wrong view
A note by Master Kongling – I try to be a rational teacher and I have thought a lot before deciding to publish this chapter because the Qi-related theory is not scientifically organized (not in a western way) and this makes it susceptible to a lot of misunderstandings related to wrong interpretations, mystical parts (etc.). The fact is that, despite the practice and the study that I have done on this, I am the first to have uncertainties and perplexities. As you surely know, when we talk about Qi or Qi Gong, all those charlatans and sophists come to mind: they pollute a knowledge already complex, fragmentary and not always scientific (but that has a meaning) with more or less effective tricks, illusions (etc.). What made me decide to share the little I know about this vast argument comes from the fact that, having tested the effects in the first person, I can not hide what, in my opinion, works (the way to deal with human necessities, the benefits that I had, etc.). As for martial arts in general, I feel very ignorant in this field, my studies will continue with my life and although I probably will not be able to dispel all my doubts, I trust that someone, after me, will continue this path.
In many martial arts movies and in ridiculous fake videos on the internet you can see people:
- Pushing away 2-3 men without touching them
- Throwing energetic spheres
- Immobilizing the opponents with epileptic spasms
- Levitating 1m from the ground
These things are purely impossible, the Qi Gong practice and the Qi theory has nothing to do with this. Do not believe this and do not believe that Qi practices involve those kinds of things.
Said this, in this chapter, we will give first look at this immense topic: let’s start with the Chinese view about Qi.
Qi: the Chinese view
In 6 Dragons Kung Fu, we call “Qi” the various types of energies that work in our body but before entering in the topic (read The use of Qi in the 6DKF’s meaning), let’s try to have an idea of what it is in Chinese culture.
Qi is the vital energy that pervades everything in the universe:
- Living beings (humans, animals, etc.)
- Inert things (stones, trees, etc.)
In humans, Qi is also seen as bioelectricity, a magnetic field that can be affected positively or negatively by things like:
- Mental activities (thoughts, moods, stress, etc.)
- Body activities (sport, work, sickness, etc.)
- External factors (air quality, food quality, weather, other forms of energies, etc.)
In Chinese traditional medicine, the study of Qi has been developed with the objective to gain the best benefits in terms of life quality and its lengthening (Qi Gong).
Qi functions include:
- Protection of the body (from external pathogens, read How to avoid seasonal illnesses)
- Warming (warming and cooling the body, read How to control the perception of cold)
- Holding (governing the correct work of internal organs, read Advanced body control)
- Transformation (converting food, water and air in energy, read Qi and proper nutrition)
- Transportation (allowing the flow of energy in our body, read The metal sphere: how to release the force of a punch or a kick)
A note by Master Kongling – It is not strange to listen to Chinese people describing the feeling that a person gives them using the word “Qi”: Xang Qi (depressed), Sheng Qi (angered), Xi Qi (vibrant), etc.; this word and its foreign counterparts (Prana, Ki, Chi, etc.) over the centuries has been used in so many ways that if we do not choose which one we want to pursue we risk to fall in an indefinite plan of knowledge. In this chapter, we want to give you the 6 Dragons Kung Fu’s vision, nothing more, nothing less.
A few examples of Qi levels
A perfect way to start to familiarize with Qi concept is to make a few examples of its levels.
You have a good Qi level when:
- You feel strong and / or relaxed
- You feel confident and / or happy
- You feel focused and positive
- Your digestion works correctly
- You reach your ideal weight
You have a Qi deficiency level when:
- You feel weak and / or stressed
- You feel unsure and / or sad
- You feel confused and negative
- Your digestion works slowly
- You gain fat mass
- You are sick
You have an excess of Qi when:
- You are irritable and / or stressed
- You feel tense and / or aggressive
- You have a headache
- You cannot sleep
The 6 Dragons Kung Fu’s approach with Qi
6 Dragons Kung Fu tries to be at the same time open-minded and as much scientific as possible; due to the today’s debate related to Qi, our idea is:
- For the student – If there is something that you can personally feel and use with results, you should not refuse or negate it (even if you do not understand it completely); you have to be honest and try to find sources, causes, verification, negations, explanations (etc.) of what you can do
- For the instructor – If you can teach / pass Qi-related capabilities that you (honestly) have / feel and who follows your teachings gain benefits from this, you are working correctly; if you try to impose a knowledge that you do not believe / feel or that you only suppose, you are damaging the martial growth of your students
A note by Master Kongling – Above all for the novices, I would like to discourage the approach to people who believe they have supernatural powers (not replicable in any situation, without any connection with reality, with a high degree of fallibility, etc.). In most cases, they are scammers, illusionists or people trying to self-delude themselves. Stay away from them, when you will have the necessary knowledge to immediately recognize the most common tricks, you will be able to make your own evaluations.
In the next lesson, we will continue the discussion with Qi Gong.
- A relentless pursuit – Find an objective and reach it
- Body and mental perception – Crossing data to limit errors
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.