The concept of Chi is over 4,000 years old. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Chi is the general name given to energy as a whole. There are two types of energy, the physical and the non physical. Physical energy is found in tangible objects and is yang energy, Non-physical energy includes the different electro-magenetic waves: radio waves, magnetic waves, light waves, and x-rays. These energies are considered ying energies. Likewise, the human body has the physical part, yang and the part that cannot be seen, ying.
Chi is considered to be the life force of the body. There are three sources of chi: the original chi from birth, chi from food and drink, and chi from breathing. Everyone is born with a limited amount of chi. During the course of life, the body consumes the birth chi. As the chi level decreases, the body becomes sick. Injuries result in blockages of chi flow which leads to a decline in health. When the chi is depleted, life is over. Chi levels can be increased through food, drink, and breathing. Exercise, acupuncture, massage and friction/rubbing can also be used.
Chi theory was formalized sometimes during the reign of the Yellow Emperor Huang Di, 2690 - 2590 BC. There is over 7,000 recorded exercise designed to increase chi energy and chi flow throughout the body. These exercises became qigong or ching kung. The exercises can be classified by the area of China they originated. The Wu Tang mountains is the home of Tai Chi Chaun, 12 and 8 Pieces of Brocade, Hsing Yi, Lui Hu Ba Fu and Ba Kau.
The 7,000 exercises can be simply divided into two types of qigong. First is pure qigong. This style is used for health, longevity and spiritual fulfillment. The second type is martial arts qigong used to increase the body’s fighting abilities. These exercises are supplemented with pure chi qigong and daoist meditation to maximize the fighter’s abilities.
With 7,000 exercises from three divisions and 4 major schools, there are over 84, 000 variations to the practice. Qigong can be practiced while moving, standing still, sitting in a chair, sitting on the floor or laying down. Although the schools may have a different approach to qigong, it is all valid. Remember it is not right or wrong, only different.