Lifting the Sky

Genuine chi kung


I do not wish to practice Chi Kung to develop spiritually yet (although I would very much like to do so in the future), but have decided to start by practicing only to get better health, and I consider buying your book “Chi Kung for Health and Vitality” in order to achieve this. Can I practice any exercise I feel like in the mentioned book or are there some exercises I should avoid?

-- Niklas, USA


As long as you practice genuine chi kung, even if it is of a low level, you will develop spiritually, because genuine chi kung cultivates the physical body, the energy and the spirit. In low level chi kung, the benefit of spiritual development may be too little to be easily noticeable, whereas in high level chi kung the spiritual experience can be very powerful.

As some people may have the misconception that genuine chi kung or genuine kungfu must necessarily be of a high level, the following explanation will be helpful.

I use the term “genuine chi kung” to highlight its difference from gentle physical exercise mistaken by many people as chi kung. For example, if you perform “Lifting the Sky” but have no experience of chi or energy, then you only perform gentle physical exercise, even though the form of the exercise is exact.

I use the term “genuine kungfu” to highlight its difference from external kungfu forms incapable of combat function, or what past masters called “flowery fists and embroidery kicks”. For example, if you practice only kungfu patterns but cannot apply them for combat, even though the patterns are genuine, then you only practice kungfu forms or “flowery fists and embroidery kicks”, and not genuine kungfu.

Genuine chi kung and genuine kungfu can be of a low level, whereas gentle physical exercise and “flowery fists and embroidery kicks” can be of a high level. The chi kung or kungfu you practice may be genuine, but if you get little result after practicing for many years, then yours is of a low level. On the other hand, the external Taiji forms or modernized wushu forms practiced by some masters are of a very high level.

You may buy my other chi kung book to read for information and pleasure, but it is not advisable for you to practice chi kung from it, as you already practiced wrongly from my other books. If you ask a question like whether you can practice any exercise you feel like, it comes as no surprise that you practiced wrongly.

It is stated many times in “The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu” and “The Art of Chi Kung” that certain exercises are not to be attempted without the supervision of a master. If you can miss such an important warning despite it having been stated many times, it is likely you will interpret instructions of chi kung exercises according to your wish (instead of according to the author) resulting in faulty training.

Reproduced from June 2005 Part 3 in Selection of Question-Answer Series


Special Issues of Question-Answer Series

Courses and Classes