Chi Kung

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Chi Kung
Chi Kung

What is Chi Kung (Qi Gong)

Chi-kung (alternatively spelled Qi Gong) is a form of gentle exercise (training) composed of standing in different shapes and forms as well as movements that are repeated a certain number of times, often relaxing, stretching or tensing of the body, increasing fluid movement (blood, synovial and lymph) and building awareness of how the body moves through space.

Chi Kung - Sifu Benno Wai - Meditation

When you practice and learn a Chi Kung exercise movement, there are both external movements and internal movements. These internal movements or flows in China are called ‘nei-gong’ or 'internal power'. These internal nei-gong movements make Chi Kung a superior health and wellness practice.

The internal movements also differentiate Chi Kung from almost every other form of exercise in the West that often emphasizes prolonged cardiovascular movements (such as in running and biking) or that focus on muscular strength training (weight lifting).

Iron shirt Chi Kung

In Iron shirt Chi Kung the practitioner get’s introduced to the practice that not only strengthens the body but also strengthens the internal organs, helps to establish roots to the earth’s energy and unifies physical, mental and spiritual health.

Through a unique system of breathing exercises the practitioner is taught how to permanently pack concentrated air into the connective tissues (fasciae) surrounding vital organs, making them nearly impervious to injuries.

For more information contact:

Training Chi Kung

Chi Kung (soft)

This training will be open to all members of UCT International. These are normal group classes. Check for training schedule our UCT Amsterdam Academy training schedule.

Iron shirt Chi-Kung

This training is only available for UCT International members of the Omega group. If you (being a UCT member) are interested in this highly specialized training please contact Sifu Benno Wai.

Benefits of Chi Kung

There are a multitude of benefits of Chi Kung. Below is a list of some of the reasons why qigong is so effective as an exercise for our modern times.

General benefits

  1. Chi Kung Loosens the Muscles and Builds Power
  2. Chi Kung Strengthens the Organs
  3. Chi Kung Improves Cardio-pulmonary Function
  4. Chi Kung Strengthens the Nerves
  5. Chi Kung Improves Vascular Function
  6. Chi Kung Helps Prevent Injury to Joints, Ligaments and Bones
  7. Chi Kung Speeds Recovery Time from Injuries and Operations
  8. Chi Kung Builds Athletic and Martial Arts Power
  9. Chi Kung Eases Stress and Balances Emotions

Chi Kung Party

Chi Kung loosens the muscles and builds power

Chi Kung works with the muscles quite differently than the typical exercises practiced by Westerners. Aerobics and vigorous stretching build strength and flexibility; qigong and other internal exercises build effortless power and looseness. The feeling of strength, of being 'pumped up,' obtained in Western exercise is actually due to muscular contraction, that prevents the free flow of chi, even though such exercise may give you the extreme flexibility to be able to do leg splits, for example.

In the internal arts, the feeling of muscular strength is considered inappropriate; the goal, rather, is a feeling of relaxed power. Relaxed power comes when the muscles, rather than fighting and straining to do something, just loosen (open up) and allow the energy to flow through.

Chi Kung strengthens the organs

The Chi Kung techniques in the Chi Kung program work to strengthen and balance all the internal organs. There are also other techniques to strengthen specific organs: massaging techniques specifically for the organs.

Ch-kung improves cardio-pulmonary function

Most people think that aerobic exercise is necessary to strengthen the heart and lungs. While aerobic exercise does accomplish this, so does Chi Kung. Slow, deep, regular breathing and energy movement combine to work oxygen deeper into the tissues than regular exercise.

One case in point: a Chi Kung student who holds a normal, sedentary office job and engages in almost no aerobic activity has a brother who is a well-known mountaineer. Invited to climb a mountain in Colorado with his brother, he imagined himself gasping for air as his brother marched ahead, but much to his surprise he found that his capacity for physical activity, in terms of breath, had actually come to surpass that of his brother, who engaged in aerobic activity continuously.

Chi Kung strengthens the nerves

A primary way chi flows is along the nerves of the body. Although at advanced levels of development chi and the nerves can be felt separately, the great majority of beginners only have an awareness of their nerves.

The nerves are an intermediary between the body and the mind, and it is through the nerves that we can gain access to information about our body. Much of the initial Chi Kung work, which emphasizes getting in touch with the body and clearing out blockages, is accomplished through the nervous system. As your chi gets stronger through continued practice, your nerves are strengthened and your body awareness is enhanced.

It is commonly said in the internal arts that the mind moves the chi, and the chi moves the body. While this is true, it is important to be aware that most beginners need to work through the nerves first.

Chi Kung’s ability to strengthen the nervous system makes it a magnificently effective technique for relieving stress on a day-to-day basis, as well as rebuilding bodies that have broken down due to long-term stress.

Chi Kung improves vascular function

Western aerobics increase circulation by exercising the heart. Chi Kung improves circulation by increasing the elasticity of the blood vessels themselves. It is standard in China to prescribe Chi Kung exercises for both high and low blood pressure, as both are due to problems in vascular elasticity and strength.

Chi Kung helps prevent injury to joints, ligaments and bones

Accidental injury can occur in many ways and joints and ligaments are particularly vulnerable. People habitually lock their joints when falls or accidents occur, and a locked joint is an easily broken joint. Ligaments can easily be overstretched in an accident and getting them to bounce back is very difficult.

Chi Kung teaches better balance; it also teaches how to turn correctly without straining, to move your joints without locking them and how to relax during a fall. Chi Kung increases flexibility and the spring of ligaments. Chi Kung is like a good gentle stretch and an acupuncture treatment combined, which improves the circulation of fluids and energy in the body to lessen the impact of injuries and allow more rapid healing.

Practitioners of Chi Kung learn to avoid strain and stay well within their 70 percent capacity, and, in particular, not to overstrain if there is already some pain or restriction.

Chi Kung balances energy and improves the weaker areas in people's internal systems. The aim is

Chi Kung speeds recovery time from injuries and operations

The gentle, non-jarring and low-impact movements of Chi Kung can be done immediately following an injury or operation, particularly if the 70 percent rule is adhered to and no strain is applied. This rule is particularly important during healing, as the body is already overstressed.

First, parts of the body that were not injured can be gently moved and exercised. These movements will increase the circulation of bodily fluids and the flow of energy to all parts of the body. The lymph system will be energized, which helps to improve the immune system. Opening the energy channels will enable the natural healing abilities of the body to accelerate rapidly.

Second, Chi Kung helps the entire body and mind to relax. During injuries, the body and mind tense. Tension in the uninjured areas of the body will suck up chi necessary to heal the injured parts. Chi Kung helps to relax the parts of the body that were not injured. This gradually takes tension out of the body to help the body heal faster. Doing something proactive and effective to speed recovery also can diminish anger and fear.

Applying the rule of no strain helps injuries to heal fully. The 70 percent rule allows recovery to happen gradually and fully. Injuries that are only partially resolved can progressively weaken other parts of the body and set up conditions for major problems in uninjured areas, immediately or over time.

Chi Kung builds athletic and Martial Arts power

Chi Kung is the basis of the power of the Chinese martial arts, whether kung fu, or the more subtle internal forms, such as Tai-chi, Hsing-i, Ba-gua and in some Wing Chun arts. It is almost impossible to determine from an external view how the seemingly gentle, smooth movements of the internal forms enable the advanced practitioner to defeat the most violent street fighter. This capability is basically derived from the practice of Chi Kung, which develops chi and internal power.

Chi Kung eases stress and balances emotions

Much of the new literature on stress indicates that one of the largest factors in determining stress levels is the emotions. Most physical exercise is at least somewhat useful for relieving anger, but one need only look at the behavior of some top athletes to see that typical physical activity does not necessarily balance the emotions.

The clearing process in Chi Kung can be used on strongly repressed, as well as on spontaneously over-expressed emotions. Many of the movements of Chi Kung can be refined to specifically address your problem area, be it depression, grief, frustration, irritability, or any combination thereof.

Stress-related problems in our society are worsening, so it is urgent to gain the ability to convert the energy of negative and destructive emotions to those that are more positive in nature. The ability to release stress directly through control of the central nervous system is a method par excellence for dealing with burnout.

to prevent the body's 'weak links' from causing problems down the road.

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History of Chi Kung

The effectiveness of Chi Kung has been proven in China by its beneficial impact on the health of millions of people over thousands of years. Developing the life force, or chi, is the focus of Taoism, China's original religion/philosophy. The Taoists are the same people who brought acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, bone setting, and the yin/yang concept to the world.

Unfortunately, most of the specifics of these valuable contributions have until just recently been mostly been blocked from Western awareness by cultural and language barriers. These barriers are beginning to break down to an extent in acupuncture, but with regard to Chi Kung they are still very much in place.

For most people, the first and foremost benefit of Chi Kung lies in the relief or prevention of chronic health problems. The range of illnesses that have been helped by Chi Kung in China include cancer, internal organ ailments, poor circulation, nerve pain, back and joint problems and general physical disease.

Chi Kung gives mental clarity

Many physical problems are at least partially due to, or aggravated by, mental or emotional stress, so the importance of the inner tranquility developed through Chi Kung cannot be overestimated. The practice of Chi Kung helps manage the stress, anger, depression, morbid thoughts, and general confusion that prey on your mind when your chi is not regulated and balanced. Strengthening and balancing the energy of your mind enhances your ability to detect subtle nuances and to perceive the world and its patterns at ever-increasing levels of complexity. People who do not practice some form of energy development many never acquire these abilities.

Clearing Energy Blocks

Many people involved with spiritual disciplines focus their attention on enlightenment, and in the process injure their bodies and agitate their minds. They attempt to train in the higher spiritual disciplines without first clearing the energy blocks in their physical and emotional bodies. This way of proceeding can cause the equivalent of a short circuit in their systems, as spiritual practices may generate more power than their bodies or minds can handle.

Many monks from different Buddhist sects in China have had to seek out Taoist masters to repair the damage to their systems caused by overly forceful meditation techniques. That is why Chi Kung is only a preparatory practice for Taoist meditation. Chi Kung can help calm an agitated mind and your negative emotions, strengthen the nerves, clear energy blocks and make you healthy.

However, Chi Kung alone is normally insufficient to resolve and clear serious and traumatic emotional and spiritual blockages within the deeper layers of your consciousness. This more encompassing skill primarily belongs in the realm of Taoist meditation.

Chi Kung Can Be Practiced by People of Any Religion

Chi Kung was primarily developed as an exercise to keep people healthy and reduce tension. Chi Kung is practiced by people of all spiritual and religious persuasions. Although the basis of Chi Kung is Taoism, one of the primary Eastern religions, there is no necessity to learn or believe its philosophy to practice Chi Kung.

The Mind Directs the Chi

The science of Chi Kung is based on the axiom that the mind has the ability to direct chi. You can literally learn to go inside your body with your mind, feel what is there, and direct your chi where it needs to go. This is not a mysterious process, but a natural one that can be acquired with time and effort.

Relationship of Qigong to Wing Chun

In the West, most styles of Wing Chun or other martial arts are taught from the viewpoint of movement, speed, technique, strength and overall physical ability. Principles such as softness, relaxation, and body alignment are occasionally thrown in.

However, most of the internal components of Wing Chun Kung-fu that bring about health are commonly overlooked. Whether this lack of information is due to the resistance of teachers or the language and cultural barriers between China and the West, a large vacuum of knowledge does exist for Westerners.

The traditional and complete internal martial arts of tai-chi, hsing-i, and ba-gua have extremely subtle and advanced forms of Chi Kung. Authentic material on these arts is rarely found in the West and, where it is found, the transmissions tend to be clouded.

Chi Kung - Shaolin Monk

Iron shirt Chi Kung

Before the introduction of firearms, Iron shirt Chi Kung built powerful bodies to withstand hand to hand combat. Already back then the martial use was only one aspect of the training. As today it was also used by those who seeking better health, a sound mind and spiritual growth. In Iron shirt Chi Kung the practitioner get’s introduced to the practice that not only strengthens the body but also strengthens the internal organs, helps to establish roots to the earth’s energy and unifies physical, mental and spiritual health.

Through a unique system of breathing exercises the practitioner is taught how to permanently pack concentrated air into the connective tissues (fasciae) surrounding vital organs, making them nearly impervious to injuries.

Find a UCT School

Chi Kung Instructors

  • Sifu Benno Wai - CK
    Sifu Benno Wai
    Master Instructor