The qigong of Cheng Ming school goes back to the Buddhist and Daoist traditions of yang sheng (养生，nourishing the body), passed down in the traditions of xingyiquan and baguazhang, and especially in the studies of master Wang Shujin with Wang Xianzhai, founder of dachengquan. Our qigong is taught in different sets of postures and in exercises connected to them.
Qigong (氣功, inner breath and energy regulation), also called neigong (内功, internal control) is a series of Chinese exercises and techniques practised for personal health and well-being, as well as for strengthening and inner balance. Qigong originates from the merging of different elements and develops with different names in the five thousand years of Chinese history. Apart from being a practice belonging to traditional Chinese medicine, qigong is the foundation from which internal martial arts stem.
The fundamental elements that contributed to the development of qigong are:
Qigong is based on the concept of dynamic equilibrium: the greater the smoothness, speed, synchrony and cooperation of the movement of qi (氣, qi, breath or internal energy), the greater the balance, strength, stamina and adaptability to the environment.
In order to increase the dynamic equilibrium, the “three treasures” are strengthened and harmonized:
Exercises are thus based on the triple regulation of:
Being rooted in different positions affects the quality of posture. Postural exercise are known in Chinese by the name zhan zhuang (站桩￼, standing pole). When the student familiarizes with these stances, he or she learns relaxation and to obtain a state of quite concentration which helps him or her to perceive his or her body, to acquire deeper breathing and better body awareness, perceiving the body as the seat of a great energy production. Work on posture includes the study of inner strength, which then leads to the emission of strength in martial applications.
Qigong is therefore useful both for the recovery of limitations and ailments (therapeutic and educational aspects), for the development of latent abilities (self-cultivation), and for increasing martial prowess.
Going back to a single origin for qigong is not possible, as every medical, philosophical, religious and martial school disclosed to its followers specific exercises for health, energy, inner strength and meditation. Qigong is a modern word indicating such exercises, that were called in various ways in each single school.
In the most ancient treatise on Chinese medicine, dating back to 200 a.C., 黃帝內經素聞 (huangdi neijing suwen, or Yellow Emperor’s inner canon, simple questions) refers to physical exercises for health and longevity. In 1973 in a tomb belonging to the first Han Dynasty (about 2500 years ago), situated in Mawangdui (馬王堆), close to Changsha, China, were found fragments of scrolls illustrating breathing and moving exercises to safeguard oneself against illnesses and increasing the body’s vital energy.