Qigong and Yang Style Taiji Essay
Qigong is a type of mediation consisting of three components: the mind, breathing, and posture. The term Qigong consists of two Chinese Terms Qi and Gong. The former is construed to imply vital energy or life force flowing through everything within the universe. The other word, Gong means skill, or accomplishment derived from constant practice. The combination of the two words forms Qigong, which implies cultivating energy, a practice for increasing vitality, healing, and health maintenance. In other words, Qigong denotes an integration of focused intentions, breathing techniques, and physical postures. Qigong practices are broadly classified as spiritual, medical, or martial. All these three categories of Qigong have various three aspects in common: mental focus, breathing techniques, and posture (whether stationary or moving). Some Qigong practices enhances the Qi, others use the Qi to heal and cleanse the body, emit it, tore it, or circulate it. Practices range from internal soft styles to vigorous eternal styles. However, most Qigong forms have gentle and slow movements that can e adapted by people of all age groups and by the physically challenged.
Some scholars have argued that Yang Style Taiji is a moving Qigong or a moving meditation. To this end, let us examine the Yang Style Taiji. Yang Style Taiji is the most widespread and popular type of Tai Chi and it is practiced by groups and individuals. It is practiced by teachers, experts, advanced practitioners, avid players, and students. The people who practice Yang Style Taiji enjoy various benefits in the mind and in the body from the gentle and vigorous exercises involved, including self-defense techniques, playful postures, mind-body rejuvenation methods, and choreography challenges. This internal martial art has attracted a number of scholars and professionals due to the associated health benefits and its philosophy. Young Style Taiji is a complex type of martial art and it consists of many levels. The so-called long hand form cultivates inner strength. It is also beautiful and graceful choreography and it has both health benefits and calming effects. This research paper seeks to determine the interrelationship between Taiji and Qigong and the importance of qigong training to martial artists.
Yang Style Taiji as a Moving Qigong
Yang Style Taiji has been called moving Qigong or moving meditation. I agree with this statement for various reasons. Notably, both Qigong and Yang Style Taiji have various characteristics in common. First, both Yang Style Taiji and Qigong originated from martial art forms. Just like Qigong, Yang Style Taiji regulates and relaxes an individual’s nervous system and thus releasing both emotional and physical stress, and enhancing emotional and mental well-being. Yang Style Taiji’s non-jarring and gentle movement are suitable for people of all ages and can the practitioner with a high level of physical coordination, balance, and relaxation. As such, Yang Style Taiji is often called moving meditation. Its graceful, slow movements offer relaxed focus and sense of relaxation to the practitioner that enables him or her to release inner tensions. However, only few Yang Style Taiji masters understand the manner in which to transform this practice to a moving mediation. The main aim of Yang Style Taiji is to open up the mind’s potential and achieve clarity and stillness, create a disease-free, health, strong body, as well as maintain internal balance irrespective of the changes in the external world or inner world.
In addition, both Yang Style Taiji and Qigong have health benefits. According to Mayer, both Yang Style Taiji and Qigong are effective treatments for depression. Moreover, both practices can be used as hypnotic anchors when one is not performing physical exercises. For instance, the practice of experiencing the so-called energy ball as well as the combined breathing techniques used to overwhelm negative cognitions. Qigong practice’s deeper dimensions involve the capability of activating an energized, empowered state when a person is not exercising. Thus, this practice is suitable in all the sedentary settings associated with modern life and modern office.
Relationship between Taiji and Qigong
Both Yang Style Taiji and Qigong are interrelated in that, depending on how fast they are practiced, one can lead to the other. Notably, when Taiji is practiced slowly it becomes a qigong for various reasons. First, unlike Taiji, Qigong is slow, relaxed, and graceful. This is the main reason as to why when Taiji is practices slowly it becomes a qigong. Qigong movements are often slaw and circular. Taiji beginners often practice it slowly for various reasons. One, slow movements in Taiji helps in calming the learner’s mind (Yi) and thus providing an opportunity for the student to become more aware of his feelings and actions. For example, the learner can feel the part of the body that is too weak or too strong. As such, the learner can make the necessary adjustments in order to harmonize the entire body movement to gain coordination and balance. The awareness that joins the body and the mind (Yi) is possible in slow movements.
In addition, Taiji movements are taught slowly in order to reveal the depth of each movement involved. This is because the power and richness of Taiji originates from the learner’s inside and thus every detail is critical. The movements involved in Taiji include turning the fingers, sinking the elbows, relaxing the shoulders, and shifting the weight of the body. Slow movements enables thee learners to understand how to practice both Taiji and Qigong. Taiji is a moving mediation. Slow movements build up coordination, balance, and posture. The three major components of Qigong are the intention (mind), breath, and posture. A good qigong practice involves all the ether components.
Reasons as to why Qigong training is important to a martial artist and how this same training can be helpful to you in your day-to-day living
Qigong training is important to martial artists and it can be helpful to the practitioner in various in the day-to-day living. Qigong is important because it is practiced for various reasons: martial, medical and spiritual. While is not entirely a martial art, some aspects of its training are useful in the martial arts training. In this regard, Human Kinetics asserts that martial qigong refers to the practice of qigong aimed at developing physical aptitude or fighting skill. Martial qigong concentrates on the body as well as increasing power, resistance, and strength. Martial qigong emphasizes bones, muscles, and tendons. It consists of multiple Iron training including Iron Fist, Iron Shirt, and Iron Palm.
According to Liu and Qiang martial qigong stresses on training the human body’s physical aspects including skin, bones, muscles, and tendons externally, as well as refining and cultivating the one breath of energy (Qi) internally. The main characteristics of martial qigong include difficult movements, vigorous exercises, as well as the integration of strength (Li), energy (Qi), and mind (Yi). Some of the martial qigong styles consist of special breathing techniques that enhance the practitioner’s ability in exerting force. The major forms of martial qigong are classified into three different categories, with each category focusing on different aspects. These categories of martial qigong include “traditional movement-set qigong,” “martial arts standing post qigong,” and “internal martial arts.” There famous traditional movement-set qigong methods include Shaolin Internal Qigong, Tendon/Muscle Changing Classic Technique, and Eight Pieces of Brocade.
The Tendon/Muscle Changing Classic Technique uses both vigorous movements and static force. The practitioners in this method have to learn the balance between soft and hardness. In this regard, tendons refer to the elastic and tough tissues that lie inside or outside the muscles and connect muscles to their respective bones. Tendons connect various bones together as well as the four limbs. Enhancing blood circulation and strengthening tendons support the practitioner’s spirit externally. Thus, this method focuses on enhancing blood circulation and strengthening the bones and tendons in order to make the practitioner’s body heath and strong. On the other hand, Shaolin Internal Qigong is a martial qigong developed by a specialist of Chinese massage. This method uses both the arrow and bow stance and horse-riding stance. The method emphasizes four alignments and three straight positions (keep leg, back, and arm straight with the foot, hand, shoulder, and head in alignment.
As aforementioned, Martial Arts Standing Post Qigong is another martial qigong. The most popular martial qigong styles that have been developed from this method include Dacheng Boxing, and E-Mei 12 Stances. This form of martial qigong focus on developing the foundation by cultivating thee spirit (Shen), energy (Qi), and essence (Jing) through the standing post. The E-Mei 12 Stances involves fundamental standing post and some body movement. In this regard, this form of martial qigong requires an empty mind (Yi), balanced and concentrated energy (Qi), and round postures. In other words, this form emphasizes centeredness, emptiness, and roundness. It also emphasizes on softness. When properly practiced, the body’s Qi movement can be controlled by the mind or Yi. This form of also uses sound breathing methods (Xi, Xu, Hei, and Si) in regulating the closing, opening, descending, and ascending of Qi.
On the other hand, the most prominent internal martial arts include Taiji Quan, Xinyi Quan, Bagua Zhang, as well as Wu Dang Neigong. All these internal martial arts are fighting arts. Additionally, these internal martial arts also stress internal cultivation and life nurturing. They represent the concepts of hard-soft, motion-tranquility, Yin-Yang, as well as training the practitioner’s body to nourish the Yi. For instance, Taiji Quan is the most popular type or internal martial art. Taiji Quan’s movements are continuous, slow, circular, and smooth. It combines leg, body, eye, and hand movement, with Daoyin exhalation and inhalation. As such, Taiji Quan is regarded to be an integrated type of internal martial art. This practice also requires then harmonization of body movements, abdominal breath, and mind, and the integration of tranquility and motion. Additionally, this practice has “unique arc-shaped spiral movements”.
Qigong is also used for medical applications. Medical qigong implies practicing qigong in order to improve one’s wellness and health. Medical qigong is emerging as alternative to the western medicine practices. The practice has been practiced widely by the Chinese as a way of regulating one’s health by individuals of all age groups. However, apart from self-cultivation, medical qigong demands assistance of a disciplined and highly trained practitioner. The practitioners train and study for years in cultivating their own Qi as well as human physiology and anatomy. The practice can be utilized in addressing various health concerns or ailments, such as depression or anxiety, headaches, high blood pressure, physical pain, and emotional, physical, or mental stressors. It is worth noting that the experience of each patient I unique when practicing medical qigong and some patients may experience relief quickly, while others may experience it slowly.
Qigong therapy is may be useful to patients who are suffering from sleep disorders, blocked grief, depression, and anxiety. Some researchers have also reported lower scores in the mental disorder indicator among patients often involved in medical qigong practices. This suggests that medical qigong could e helpful to patients with mental disorders. The benefits medical qigong are enormous because the practice works on various levels simultaneously. The practice strengthens one’s whole body including the mind, blood, tissues, and organs. It leads to increased oxygenation and blood circulation, increased heat5 strength, increased attention and focus, and increased balance and flexibility (Human Kinetics, 6). Other benefits of medical qigong include increased coordination, increased overall energy, and increased bone mass. It is also being as an alternative or complementary therapy for cancer, asthma, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, ADHD, and thyroid conditions, among various other health problems.
Qigong can also be practiced for spiritual reasons. In this regard, spiritual qigong implies practicing qigong in order to develop an individual’s spiritual path. It emphasizes on strengthening, refining, and developing one’s spirituality. It is sometime called shen gong-Mediations. However, some scholars have argued that on form of qigong such as medical qigong, spiritual qigong, or medical qigong can result in improvements in the other form. This has compounded the process of separating the three forms of qigong. Traditionally, spiritual qigong was referred to as Buddhist qigong. This form of qigong was aimed at liberating the mind (Yi) by focusing on cultivating virtues as well as enlightening wisdom.
This research paper examined the interrelationship between Taiji and Qigong and the importance of Qigong to the martial artist. The two forms of martial arts are consists of three aspects n common: intentions, physical postures, and breathing techniques. The major difference between the two forms of martial art is that Taiji involve fast movements while Qigong involves slow movements. Essentially, Yang Style Taiji is actually a moving Qigong or a moving meditation. Similarly, when Taiji is practiced slowly, it becomes Qigong. The later demands graceful, slow, and relaxed movements. Qigong has various benefits to the martial artist. It is used for medication, martial arts, and spiritual purposes. However, there is still a challenge in isolating one form of Qigong from another. Thus calls for more future research work.