Chi refers to the active property of living beings, often referred to as either a metaphysical life force or biological processes. Chi is frequently translated as "natural energy", "life force", or "energy flow" and is based on the central underlying principle in traditional Chinese medicine and martial arts. The literal translation of "qi" is "breath", "air", or "gas". Equivalent to stamina, chi is lost by vigorous activity, while it is replenished by food, rest, and living in a healthy environment.
General features Edit
Chi is the life energy produced by all living bodies vital for survival, described as either as the electrical potential made by living things or a mystical, metaphysical substance.
Properties of Chi
Chi from all parts of the body has a tendency to flow together, producing one mass of energy. This happens without the individual's awareness, typically resulting in a slow leak of chi continually escaping the body, replenished by breathing, eating, etc. If one were to lose their entire aura, it would be equivalent to using up all the energy keeping them alive, which would be fatal. The pores or points on the body from which chi flows out from are called pressure points or chi nodes. Controlling those nodes is the first step to being a user of advanced qi gong. Different parts of the human body contain concentrated clusters of chi, better known as chakras, or "pools of energy" .
Higher animals like humans have the potential to become deeply connected to one another, thus enabling them to locate living beings out of sight and detect their thoughts and emotions by tapping into their chi.
Grain chi (from food/metabolism) and breath chi (from respiration) are replenishable and propagated by one’s spirit (impersonal life force that drives the body to live). Jing is vital chi inherited from birth that maintains one's basal metabolic rate and is the energy of the soul/essence (person’s or animal’s body and the life that they enjoy).
Symptoms of rapid/large chi expendure -loss of stamina -physical fatigue -heavy breathing -sweating -muscle soreness
Qigong, chi kung, or chi gung teaches one to control their own life energy flow and utilize their chi.
The set of techniques has the ability to enhance the strength of physical attacks or objects depending on the quantity of chi employed and an individual's chi type.
Learning Qigong and Initiation
A student learning qigong trains to manually open and close their aura nodes so that they can control the flow of their chi. One typically learns this process slowly and gradually through meditation. The second method (colloquially called Initiation or Baptism) is by having one receiving an influx of a chi shockwave from an experienced user that forces these nodes to open; despite how quickly it works, the method is typically frowned upon due to its danger to the student if the user is inexperienced or has malicious intent. Initiation via physically attacking another with the use of an enhanced chi typically causes permanent disability or death.
There is, however, a way to initiate that is less harmful to the student's body — depending on gently jolting open one's nodes forces the new user to learn to control their chi flow, else risk suffering severe exhaustion or death. Once one has opened their nodes, they will be able to see their own chi as a aura surrounding the body due to the nodes in the eyes being opened and perceives their electric potential. An aura of chi appears by most to look similar to steam from a kettle.
It is possible to feel the presence of aura even without being aware of its existence. It has been described as feeling like a warm, viscous fluid at rest. It has been said that powerful, refined auras produce a sensation that feels akin to needles pricking into the skin. Since every living being emits aura subconsciously, learning to sense aura is a useful skill for those tracking living things or hunting non-living things infused with aura. An experienced user of Qigong can judge the location and relative strength of his opponents through reading the output of their aura.
In order to fully grasp Qigong, one should first learn a school of Kung-fu that naturally develop the body's ability to handle larger amounts of chi. Everything else, including a practitioner of Qigong's individual skills, is based on the basic manipulations of one's chi flow.
Qigong comprises breathing, physical, and mental training methods based on Chinese philosophy. While implementation details vary, all qigong forms can be characterized as a mix of four types of training: dynamic, static, meditative, and activities requiring external aids.
Dynamic training involves fluid movement, usually carefully choreographed, coordinated with breath and awareness. Examples include the slow stylized movements of T'ai chi ch'uan, Baguazhang, and Xing yi. Other examples include graceful movement that mimics the motion of animals in Five Animals, White Crane, and Wild Goose (Dayan) Qigong.
Static training involves holding postures for sustained periods of time. In some cases this bears resemblance to the practice of Yoga and its continuation in the Buddhist tradition. For example Yiquan, a Chinese martial art| derived from xingyiquan, emphasizes static stance training. In another example, the healing form Eight Pieces of Brocade (Baduanjin qigong) is based on a series of static postures.
Meditative training utilizes breath awareness, visualization, mantra, and focus on philosophical concepts such as qi circulation. For example, in the Confucius scholar tradition meditation is focused on humanity and virtue, with the aim of self-enlightenment. In various Buddhist traditions, the aim is to still the mind, either through outward focus, for example on a place, or through inward focus on the breath, a mantra, a koan, emptiness, or the idea of the eternal. In Taoist and traditional Chinese medicine practice, the meditative focus is on cultivating qi in dantian energy centers and balancing qi flow in meridian and other pathways.
Use of external agents Many systems of qigong training include the use of external agents such as ingestion of herbs, massage, physical manipulation, or interaction with other living organisms. For example, specialized food and drinks are used in some medical and Taoist forms, whereas massage and body manipulation are sometimes used in martial arts forms. In some medical systems a qigong master uses non-contact treatment, purportedly guiding qi through his or her own body into the body of another person.
Shroud is the process of keeping the nodes open, but also having aura flow through and around the body rather than away from it. Once maintained, it creates a shroud around the user that feels similar to standing in lukewarm, steam. Having a shroud of aura surround the body is the most basic defense against the mental and emotional attacks from others , however, it can't defend against physical attacks. Shroud maintains youthful vigor and reduces one's aging; since the energy powering the body no longer leaks away, one can keep the body from breaking down and deter the aging process. Through frequent meditation, one can improve the quality of their Shroud.
While Shroud allows a user to keep aura from leaking away from their body, Null stops the flow of aura from their body altogether. By closing all of their aura nodes, the user is able to stop almost all outflow of their aura like water from a valve. Since the user is no longer surrounded by their own aura, they are more sensitive to the chi of others. This can be useful when tracking another person and it will also prevent Chi users from noticing them. Null can also be used to relieve fatigue, since it forces the body's external layer of aura to be fully contained within. However, since Null involves shutting off one's aura of chi, it can be dangerous due to it leaving the body defenseless against any chi or magic attack. Even a weak attack enhanced with chi or mana could do massive damage.
Refine is a direct application of Shroud. Since a user is capable of keeping chi from leaking away from the body, it's also possible for them to produce more aura around themselves without having to worry about losing it. Refine focuses on outputting a high amount of chi and keeping it on the body, expanding the size and intensity of it. If Shroud is considered to be purely defensive, then Refine typically what is used for offense. This increases the user's physical strength and durability and provides a large pool of chi for any advanced techniques or individual skills they decide to use.
After learning the basics, any skilled user of Chi will learn to utilize these advanced techniques. Most of them are achieved by using a combination of the basics. Most Qigong artists learn Shroud, Null, and Refine first before attempting these techniques.
Pinpoint Focus is an advanced application of Refine by which a Qigong artist concentrates a larger than normal portion of their aura into one specific body part. Focus increases the strength of that one body part, but leaves the rest of the body more vulnerable. Focus is most often used in the eyes, allowing a Qigong artist to see aura and things which would otherwise be hidden.
Conceal is an advanced form of Null used to almost completely hide one's aura. However, unlike Null, Conceal does not require the user to stop their chi flow, but hides it instead, making this technique perfect for launching a sneak attack or laying traps. Conceal can be countered by using Gyo in the eyes or through Encircle.
Encircle is an advanced application of Refine and Shroud. In Refine, aura usually envelops only a small amount of space around the user's body. Encircle is when one extends their Refine so that their aura extends further than normal, then uses Shroud at the same time to give shape to the aura, usually a sphere. Someone using Encircle can feel the shape and movement of anything entering their circle. The downside to this is that it is extremely tiring and draining for the Qigong to constantly deploy so much aura. Those who master Encircle are typically able to extend their Encircle to a circle of a 50m radius.
Enfold is an advanced application of Shroud. Enfold allows a Qigong to extend their aura's envelopment onto an object, allowing them to use that object as if it were an extension of their own body. For example, one could use Enfold to extend their Shroud around an object, which would strengthen and protect the object like the way Refine strengthens and protects their body.
Fortify is the advanced version of the basic Refine technique. Fortify is a defensive technique where a Qigong artist maintains a state of Focus over their entire body, allowing them to defend against attacks from any direction without the need to use Flow. Fortify is useful as a defensive position, but is tiring to maintain. Additionally, it is not as strong as Focus on any given part of the body, since it protects the whole body evenly. Because of that, it is used to guard when one wants to be cautious.
Temper is an enhanced version of Focus in which all of an individual's chi is concentrated into one particular body part. Null is used to completely stop the flow of chi in all other parts of the body. This makes that one body part exceptionally powerful, but leaves the rest of the body completely unprotected. This is used by some Qigong artists as an offensive technique (a Temper-punch would carry all 100% of your potential with it), but it is a risky move — leaving the rest of one's body unprotected in a fight against another Qigong user is generally not a good idea.
Realtime Flow is the term for real-time use of Focus (the adjustment of chi concentration in various body parts) by a Qigong artist in battle. For example, the use of Focus to increase the amount of Qigong in a fist as one strikes with it, to increase damage done; or to increase the amount of chi in an arm as it is used to block a blow, for extra defense.
For qigong techniques that go hand in hand with martial arts, they are often categorized according to their creation and their use.
- Augmentation The user cultivates their electric potential to brace their muscles and body to sustain more damage or produce more force from their blows than normal. The enhanced and controlled flow increases muscle tension, allowing greater power, speed, and endurance; it also increases the flexibility of muscles and tendons to prevent damage from overexertion. In addition, the person's reflexes are enhanced by a moderate increase in the stimulation of the nervous system.
- Burst These techniques involve formed and discharged portions of chi, frequently used for fighting. This happens as the body's electric potential is concentrated to a point on the surface to make an extremely high area of potential. This point can ionize the surrounding air enough to produce plasma that can be shot from the area as a projectile. Chi usually decreases in intensity very quickly when it is separated from the source body, but strong users can separate their chi from their body as bursts for long-periods of time and control the deployment of their chi while separating it from their body.
- Kiai The user can throws blows and hard enough that air in front of the strike becomes pressurized to the point where it becomes a projectile that exerts enough force to cause extreme collateral damage. Includes shock-waves expelled from a point where large amounts of chi is rushed to, causing internal damage to various structures and constructs. Many techniques of this type can cause the full power of an attack to explosively release inside the opponent’s body.
- Accumulation Chi can be received form outside sources like other beings to be added to one's current flow or to be released in a technique.
- Deflection Focus on repelling exposure to foreign energy by interrupting flow through concentrated shock-waves and bio-electric potential fields that produce a layer of protective plasma. Depending on their usage and power of the user, the incoming mass can be deflected, reflected, broken, or even vaporized.
- Movement Focusing chi into bodily points and directing its expulsion for faster movement and personal agility.
- Rejuvenation Restoring proper energy flow or concentrating electric potential to increase ones natural healing and repair. They also focus on improving one's physical abilities and increase longevity. Many of these practices are part of a spiritual path of enlightenment, awareness of morality, or a closer connection to the natural world or inner peace.