The least you need to know about Qi Gong (Chee Gong)
This lesson is a "crash introduction" to Qi Gong pronounced "Chee Gong". Qi Gong is also spelled Qigong, Ch'i Gong, Chi Gung, and Ch'i Kung. Which is very confusing if not frustrating to a Westerner. The most established spelling for ancient Chinese texts is called the Wade-Giles transcription, developed in the 19th century. Its spelling for ch'i is often simplified to chi. In the mid-20th century, the Chinese government presented their own system of transcription, called Pinyin, in which the word is spelled qi. This was accepted as the international standard in 1982. So we will use the standard spelling Qi Gong just remember it is pronounced "Chee Gong". Daoism has been spelled Taoism traditionally in books about Chinese philosophy which people constantly mispronounce as "Toe-ism". But in the martial arts community, you will more than likely see it spelled Daoism which is phonetically correct. The spellings Qi Gong, Dao, and Daoism are used by Masters Damo Mitchell, Zhongxian Wu, and Wu Dang Chen whom I am a big fan of. For the sake of uniformity, I will use their spelling.
You might have passed books and DVDs about Qi Gong and Tai Ch'i at Barns & Noble. This lesson will clearly define what Qi Gong is. Instead of reinventing the wheel I am going to quote my Master, Corinna Somma, from her book Shiatsu (2007):
"As mentioned previously Shiatsu is one form of Qi Gong. In the broadest sense, Qi Gong is the study of vital energy circulating in the body (Jwing-Ming, 1992). The term encompasses many related fields, including acupuncture, herbalism, martial arts, massage therapy, energy work, breath-work, and exercise. The suffix gong means "effort and time" and thus implies any discipline that cultivates vital energy and requires serious dedication over a lifetime. In common parlance, Qi Gong refers to any physical discipline or exercise that develops energy and focuses the mind through movement and breath control, such as Tai Chi and Yoga."
I would also like to quote Bruce Frantzis who is considered the foremost teacher of Qi Gong to the West:
"Qigong is a form of gentle exercise composed of movements that are repeated a number of times, often stretching the body, increasing fluid movement (blood, synovial, and lymph) and building awareness of how the body moves through space. When you practice and learn a qigong exercise movement, there are both external movements and internal movements. These internal movements or flows in China are called neigong or "internal power". These internal neigong movements make qigong a superior health and wellness practice."
For simplicity sake, we will define Qi Gong as "any exercise that moves Qi through the body". As mentioned by Bruce there are also Nei Gong exercises that are more internal and meditative. For this course, we will focus on the external movements of Qi Gong only. These exercises range from smooth elegant forms of Yoga and Tai Ch'i to bizarre, spastic, and uncouth random movements. You will watch a video in the next lesson that will give you a broad overview of Chinese healing arts and Qi Gong encompasses them all.