Grandmaster Feng Zhi Qiang (1928- ) is one of China’s ten greatest martial arts masters. He is the founder of the Hun Yuan Tai Chi system. From his more than sixty years of experience in Chinese martial and health arts, he emphasises the need to develop internal energy and, to this end, he recommends the practice of the Hun Yuan Qigong set.
Qigong is the term Chinese use to describe practices that stimulate and strengthen the body’s energy system. We all have qi. It is our life force. It can be balanced and powerful or out of balance, causing our bodies to weaken. Qigong is the essence of Tai Chi and Chinese martial and health arts. The first stage of Qigong or energy training is the nourishing of yuan qi or essential energy. Due to life style, over exhaustion, worry, fear, stress, illness, etc., this energy supply is gradually weakened. Qigong exercises help to purify, cultivate and eventually strengthen the body’s energy system.
The main qigong form that we teach is the Hun Yuan Qigong. It has its roots in Taoism and was taught to Grandmaster Feng Zhi Qiang (1928- , founder of the Hun Yuan system) by his teacher Hu Yao Zhen. Hu was a famous traditional Chinese medical practitioner, a qigong master and an expert in Xin Yi Chuan (Heart Mind Boxing). Hu became known as the father of modern qigong in China.
When Grandmaster Feng met Hu Yao Zhen, he had been training in Shaolin and Tong Bei Chuan, two very hard style martial art systems. Grandmaster Feng was able to smash a stack of bricks with his palm and lift a weight of 300 kilo. He was a very strong man. However, when he attempted to hit Hu Yao Zhen, his power was useless. He was effortlessly propelled by what he described as an electric shock. Hu was a gentle looking man. So where did this power come from?
Hu warned Grandmaster Feng that he was damaging his body by practising only the hard style. Hu prescribed qigong training for Grandmaster Feng when he began studying with Hu.
TheHun Yuan Qigong practice gathers the qi from our surroundings and mixes it with the body’s qi. It is best to practise in the morning or late at night when the air is fresh. In the Hun Yuan Qigong, we make a conscious effort to connect with the environment. If possible, practise in a garden or amongst the trees and sky. We usually face the sun – not looking directly at the sun but through the trees. We draw the warmth and energy of the sun into our bodies. Try to practise for forty minutes. If you do, you will feel peaceful and happy. A strong flow of qi will gradually move through your body. You will feel tingling and warmth in your hands. Eventually, your abdomen will become warm. This is a sign that the qi is building. By this stage, you will not want to miss your training. Continuous practice will lead to feelings of joy and clarity.
It is important to practise every day. Do one movement for ten minutes if you are very busy. Grandmaster Feng always says, “You must practise Hun Yuan Qigong daily. If you have limited time, do the essential movements or a few of the set.” Cultivating qi is no different from eating. If you miss a day, you body will feel uncomfortable.
In the Hun Yuan system of Qigong, we build the qi and refine it to one point at the body centre (Dan Tian). Then, we watch it move through the body – from the Dan Tian to the Hui Yin point (the perineum), up the spine to the crown of the head, then down the front of the body to the Dan Tian. This is referred to as the Small Heavenly Circuit (Micro Cosmic Orbit). Accomplishing this is considered a great achievement in Qigong. It means that the Conception Vessel (Ren Meridian) and Governing Vessel (Du Meridian) are fully open and connected. One’s qi is able to flow according to one’s intention throughout the body. Good health and well being will now prevail.
People, whose internal power is developed, are very aware of their bodily functions. They can feel much more than most people. They can even adjust their heart rate and other bodily functions which are normally beyond our conscious control. Grandmaster Feng was once challenged by a Qigong master to a fasting contest. They sat in meditation for three days and nights without eating anything. Only a little water was allowed. On the morning of the fourth day, Grandmaster Feng was seen practising with an iron spear weighing over 19 kilograms, while his rival could hardly walk. This feat indicates that Grandmaster Feng’s internal energy is very strong.
Grandmaster Feng attributes his health and his high level of martial skills to the practice of the Hun Yuan Qigong. A student who is serious about good health cannot afford to neglect this simple yet effective set of exercises. As you continue practising, the sensation of qi will be stronger and you will also feel the various acupuncture points in your body. Practising this Qigong for thirty to forty minutes daily can dramatically improve your quality of life. Try it for ten days and experience the difference for yourself!
Qi cultivation takes patience, persistence and the right effort. If you do the practice daily with mindfulness, you will get results. A calm mind, an optimistic attitude, contentment, confidence, and good health are some of the many rewards.