Hard Qigong (硬气功)
Hard Qi Gong is a challenging and demanding internal and external training programme that works on a mental and physical level. It can benefit many chronic health conditions.
What is hard Qigong?
Hard Qigong is one of the quintessence of Chinese martial arts. It can show great power in actual combat, whether it is attacking or defending. It has a long history, many schools, and different training methods. Nowadays, it is practised to draw Qi and to guard Dantian (like Self-cultivation exercises) and exercises that rely solely on brute force and brutal beating to stiffen the fascia and muscles.
How do you practice hard qigong?
Authentic Chinese martial arts have the core connotation of the fundamental culture of the Chinese nation, including profound and universal national culture such as Yi Xue, Chinese Medicine, the Art of War, Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism.
Martial arts were born in these excellent cultures. Countless martial arts ancestors in the past dynasties devoted their whole lives. The cold and summer are challenging. Blood and fire are mixed, and they endure the pain that ordinary people can't bear and establish the ambition that normal people can't persevere. In today's world, only authentic Chinese martial arts can scientifically and reasonably explain, repair and prolong human life. There are military forces, big or small, the big one defends the country, and the small one defends the people. Wushu is not only Taoism and philosophy. It trains people's wisdom, benevolence, courage and ability, improving physical and mental health and quality of life.
Learning Kung Fu moves is a crucial step in practising hard Qigong. The accuracy of the action directly affects the success or failure of the exercise and the size of the effect. Therefore, practitioners must be meticulous, practice every move and style, and be in shape.
The basic methods of practicing Qi
Master the basic methods of practising Qi:
1. Inhalation: The air inhaled in the mouth is concentrated and exhaled from the nose.
2. Swallowing: Swallow the air in your mouth as if swallowing food.
3. Naiqi: When you exhale, you want to send the air to the Baihui acupoint of the top of the head.
4. Concentrate on thinking according to the length of your breathing. Breathe naturally. Make it long. When inhaling, keep the speed neither fast nor slow. The air enters the mouth and nose. Loosen the anus, relax the whole body, focus on the lower Dantian, and close the anus when exhaling. Yang, the whole body exerts energy, and Qi moves the whole body.
5. When standing, the body should be upright, and the toes grasp the ground. The Qi should sink into the Dantian, the tongue should touch the upper palate, and the tip of the tongue should naturally touch the lower teeth when swallowing the Qi.
The principle of hard qigong
Hard Qigong, in terms of hard work, is to tighten muscles to prevent injury, exercise the pain tolerance of certain parts (such as hands, elbows, knees, and legs), and break a certain degree of hard objects to withstand blows with a certain force. The way to get started with hard Qigong is to practice fighting first, the ability to fight. The saying goes, “If you want to beat someone, you must first learn to be beaten.” Steady your horse stances again, stretch your hands straight forward and think about transporting all the Qi in your body to your back so that your friends come up and kick your back one by one. One must kick from the front of the calf to the large surface of the foot so that the contact area should be larger, the force should be even, and attention should be paid to the force and air when the legs are retracted so that neither side will be injured. A good hard Qigong is fast and does not hurt the body. The hardness of each part of the human body is relatively good when practising hard Qigong. A saying is that you must be hard on yourself first when you strike the iron.
Precautions for practicing hard qigong
1. Do not know its quietness and insist on its power
Those who practice tranquillity Qigong should eliminate all selfish and distracting thoughts and focus on tranquillity. Only when there is no desire can one enter tranquillity. However, many practitioners are unilaterally pursuing Qi and enthusiastically guiding the Qi engine to start. When the inner Qi is not full, they are eager to succeed, causing the Qi engine to appear in various disordered states. Suppose the practitioners of the movement exercises need to understand the principle of the interaction between movement and static and blindly pursue the so-called aerodynamics, moves, etc. In that case, they are bound to go in the opposite direction. Wudang Patriarch Zhang Sanfeng said: “Every move should be light and agile throughout the body, still need to penetrate, the Qi should be swollen, and the spirit should be restrained. Don’t use flaws, don’t use bumps, don’t use intermittent places, like the Yangtze River and the sea, talking endlessly.” He attaches great importance to the “lightness” of movements. Wang Zongyue repeatedly emphasised the “straight raising” and “smoothing” of Qi, which shows that the kung fu that is naturally practised is the real kung fu. Therefore, in the practice of dynamic power, we must seek stillness through movement, and there is stillness in movement.
2. Don’t know its softness but practice its rigidity
Some young people do not understand the principles of Qigong and pursue “hard” Qigong. Those who practice hard Qigong should first ask a master to teach them the correct way to practice Qigong. In practice, one should also master the principles of “intentional luck”, “move strength with air”, “both internal and external cultivation”, “half practice and half cultivation”, etc., so as not to go astray. The lack of correct methods causes the types, as mentioned earlier, of deviations. For example, some people who practice iron arm gong hit trees daily, their arms are bruised, and they become ill over time. Some practitioners practice the iron sand palm; their hands are covered with calluses, half of the body is numb, and even serious sequelae occur. Those who practice hard Qigong should not only insist on the hardness of the muscles, bones, skin and flesh on the outside but must understand the function of internal Qi, use the soft to nourish the hard, and the internal to nourish the external, to achieve success.
3. I don’t know its meaning, but I know its appropriateness
Out of ignorant devotion, some practitioners think they can practice at any time, place and state of mind. Little do they know that Heaven has six evils (wind, cold, heat, dampness, dryness, and fire), and people have seven emotions (joy, anger, worry, thinking, sadness, fear, and shock). Sow the bane of all kinds of deviations. Practitioners should choose the best time to practice in the early morning when the wind and sun are warm. In spring, summer, and autumn, they should get up early; in winter, they must wait until sunrise. As for the practice place, try to choose a place with quiet scenery and sparse flowers and trees to make you feel relaxed and happy. Do not practice in deserted ancient temples, barren mountains, tombs, or dark and damp places. You should also avoid practising in the event of wind, snow, rain, fog, thunder and lightning. Regarding dealing with life, Qigong practitioners must also control the “seven emotions” and “six desires” to achieve great success.
The effect of hard qigong
1. Qigong Treatment Effect
The most important treatment measure is breathing, body or mind-adjusting exercises to treat diseases. It is the verification of many people, and it is a self-regulating treatment method after many patients have exerted their potential. It can cultivate true Qi, strengthen righteousness, dispel pathogens, dredge the meridians, harmonise Qi and blood, balance Yin and Yang, and promote patient recovery. Therefore, the scope of Qigong therapy is extensive, and it has different degrees of curative effect on more than 60 diseases. The following diseases are more clinically used: neurasthenia, menopausal syndrome, gastric and duodenal ulcer, gastroptosis, gastric mucosal prolapse, chronic gastritis, chronic enteritis, constipation, chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, arteriosclerosis, hypertension, coronary heart disease, rheumatic heart disease, tuberculosis, silicosis, asthma, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, uterine prolapse, glaucoma, etc.
2. Qigong has also achieved preliminary results in the treatment of certain cancers
Although Qigong can maintain health and cure diseases, it is not a cure for all diseases, nor does it exclude other treatment methods without asking questions. In most cases, Qigong is often used as an important auxiliary therapy. It cooperates with drugs or other therapies to achieve joint effects. It is wrong not to see the good effect of Qigong alone. Neglecting drugs and other treatments is also harmful and unhelpful. Zhang Jingyue, a famous doctor in the Ming Dynasty, believed that Qigong and medicine “have their uses” and that there is “urgency”. “Qigong is used for alleviation, and medicine is used for emergency. The help of curing diseases and prolonging life is the way of self-cultivation, and it is impossible to know what can be wonderful.”
How to practice hard qigong
1. Refinement of Qi
The breathing method of hard Qigong is quite special, while the method of solid Qi belongs to the secret practice. To learn it, you must learn the art from an experienced master. After all, the skills of hard Qigong are taught by selected people.
2. Paida practice method
Hard Qigong requires years of accumulated slapping, calluses and even deformation before it can be practised. The platoon fight is only to speed up and strengthen the function of resisting toughness and sharpness, enhancing confidence in combat and performance.
3. Anti-attack ability
Because of the need to hone the will and the physical ability to resist blows, special parts such as the palms, legs, and other muscles need to be honed and practised. Among them, the practice of hard Qigong to hold the Qi is to store the inner Qi, emit it quickly, and add great resistance to hitting. Based on holding your breath, practice hitting. After you have a certain foundation, gradually increase the hitting degree. Step by step. Hard Qigong is not recommended for ordinary people to practice because it requires special guidance and systematic practice. If you want to learn, you must learn the art from a master. After a long time of tempering and persistence, you can be effective!
As the saying goes: “Fist never leaves the hand, and the song never leaves the mouth”. The ancients said again: “A bookworm must be skilled in literature, and a knowledgeable artist must be good in skills.” Believe me! The “skill” of “practice makes perfect” is the “trick” and “mystery” of it!
Internal strength type hard Qigong is the true inheritance of Chinese martial arts and the essence of Chinese Qigong. It is often practised internally first, then externally, from the inside to the outside, so it can also be called internal strengthening hard Qigong. It not only trains internal organs but also trains muscles and bones externally. Therefore, if you hit the body with a slow force, you don’t care, and if you hit the body with a fast force, it will not vibrate or damage the internal organs. After two or three months of practice, the whole body can withstand punches, kicks and direct blows with iron and wooden sticks. In the intermediate and advanced stages, the body can produce a huge rebound force against blows and is not afraid of a knife and axe to slash directly.
Internal strength is different from internal energy. Some internal exercises only practice inner Qi, not inner strength. This kind of gong is also a relatively high-level gong method. It mainly trains the inner Qi to run the whole body, which can cure diseases and strengthen the body. The breath of trees is used to treat diseases, and some can also stimulate the human body’s potential.
Written with Qi by Shifu Shi Yanjun
Shaolin Warrior Monks Head Coach