Qigong strengthens both the inside of the body (yin– the unseen) and its exterior (yang– the visible) producing a synergy via the yin/yang balance which occurs which facilitates enhanced progress in both areas. This helps to develop willpower and endurance necessary for prolonged and arduous kung fu training.
In Shaolin Kung Fu progress towards higher grades needs intensified Qi awareness and qigong practice. This needs considering in terms of Yin- Yang Theory and the famous T’ai Chi T’u diagram’s (sometimes known as the Taiji symbol) with two black and white ‘fish’ continuously circling each other.
The white ‘fish’ represents Yang the seen, the manifest and the solid and the physical body (and its exterior muscle-mass) visible in the gym mirror for example. But rather than a be-all-and-end-all this is just a (very important) starting point. The black ‘fish’ represents Yin the unseen, the unknown unmanifest void and the invisible core and skeletal muscle (and there is more of this) and solid organs which flex and pulse continually, invisible to the naked eye in the body’s interior. The quality and strength of these inner power-sources can be significantly increased alongside the organs’ ability/ capacity to act as reservoirs or batteries of Qi power
Whilst the West has neglected internal energy training and its impact on associated physical development, Chinese Martial Arts frequently build their external physical training programmes upon this and achieve results that Westerners are hardly aware of as a consequence of their longtime specialisation in this field and the tremendous expertise developed over many centuries.
External (Wei Dan) Qigong improves skin and underlying muscle quality whilst also reinforcing/enhancing key points on or near the body’s surface. Internal (Nei Dan) Qigong refreshes brain and bone marrow, builds internal muscle closer to the body’s core and strengthens the five major organs: lungs, kidneys, liver, heart and spleen. These ‘Famous Five’ can be considered the ‘5 Elements’ of the body’s physical existence, working together as part of an internal system which Nei Dan Qigong works systematically, enhancing system performance thereby. Combined Wei Dan and Nei Dan practice is a further dimension of the ‘synergy’, springing from yin/yang balance, referred to above.
‘Black’ Symbolises that which is unseen, internal, unknown and ‘unknowable’–the void where no-one has been before, in this case the interior of your body! Progress towards higher grades in Shaolin Kung Fu is facilitated by intensifying one’s awareness of Qi and undertaking more diligent and extensive practise of qigong as part of an ongoing journey of self discovery. This, invariably, encourages enhanced performance levels to become evident in subsequent kung fu practice.
‘Sifu Wo Lei’ is the nom-de-plume of Feng Shui Consultant Peter Allsop M.Ed. who also publishes ‘Red Dragon Martial Arts Ezine’. Longevity Training, Iron Shirt, 5 Elements Qigong, Daoism, Chinese metaphysics and Astrology feature among his interests alongside gem and crystal Feng Shui. Senior Student of GrandmasterYap Leong, Peter also teaches Shaolin Kung Fu and Qigong in Yorkshire and Derbyshire U. K. as Shaolin Fists International Area Instructor for the region.View the free resources at: www.sheffieldkungfu.com.