Pro blogger Darren Rowse asked me to make a prediction on what the new year will bring to the martial arts community. I expect that qigong will continue growing in popularity, and that within ten years it will be as ubiquitous as yoga is today.
What is Qigong?
In case you don’t already know, qigong (pronounced chee-gung) is the applied science of manipulating bioenergy, and has been practiced by martial artists, doctors and shamans for over 8,000 years. Basically, qigong is to breathing what yoga is to stretching.
As qigong becomes more popular in mainstream society, big business will step in to reap the profits. The last decade brought us yoga straps, yoga mat cleaning spray, yoga for dogs and even nude yoga; get ready for the QiStick™, dantian energizing lotion and yuanshen helmet.
Even more troubling is the inevitable decline in teaching standards. The qigong field already suffers from a few naive instructors who perpetuate falsehoods, such as the claim that qigong skills cannot be measured. Such claims are unlikely to be corrected by forthcoming corporate chain instructors, whose credentials consist of a short 40-hour training course.
Considering the diverse set of motivations for qigong study—health and healing, self-defense, spiritual growth and more—it may seem impossible to define a common set of criteria for identifying high quality instruction. (A similar problem exists for martial arts such as Tai Chi.)
But there is a common quality that links legitimate qi gong study, martial arts practice, and other personal development disciplines. This quality can be expressed in a single word. Do you know what it is?