When I talked about the characteristics of “Five Elements & Bagua Qigong (WG-8), I mentioned how this Qigong has incorporated some punch and kick movements from the martial arts into its own system to enhance the Qigong effects. To be specific, quick and linear movements are used for the training of emitting Qi and for stimulating our Qi to go to the surface of our body, while soft and gentle movements are used for the training of returning and absorbing of Qi.

In practicing WG-8, if you can always have this above-mentioned goal in mind, your practice will be more effective. But you may still encounter some problems: When you make a forceful punch or kick, your Qi naturally goes to your hand or foot, but you may also feel that it is not so easy to bring the Qi back to the body center after a punch or kick movement. In this sense, to practice WG-8 effectively, is to learn the techniques of how to bring back one’s Qi after a punch or a kick.

There are three ways to recover your Qi after a punch or a kick. They are listed here according to their degree of difficulty for the learner. The first is the easiest way, and you may start trying this technique right now.

  1. Relaxation -- Generally speaking, the more you can immediately relax your whole body after a punch or kick, the greater amount of Qi will return to your body automatically.
  2. Using awareness -- There is a well-known traditional Chinese Qigong maxim: -“shen hui Qi hui”, which means: “When shen returns (to your body), Qi will return (to your body)”. What is “shen”? It is a polysemy, or, a word that has many meanings. Here it simply means: “awareness”. Thus, this maxim could be interpreted as: “Qi follows one’s awareness”, or, “awareness leads the Qi”.
  3. Since Qi always follows your awareness, during the quick and linear movements of punching or kicking, your awareness should be on your own fist or the outside of your heel. If your awareness is on the imaginary enemy in front of you, your Qi will dissipate more. Always bear in mind that you are now learning a medical Qigong and not martial arts. It doesn’t matter how high you kick or how forcefully you punch. There’s no imaginary enemy in front of you, and you are not interested in any kind of street fighting. Therefore, relax and keep your awareness on yourself -- from your body center to your body extremities. In this way, Qi will return to your body center.
  4. “Phrase” your movements -- I borrowed the word “phrase” from the vocabulary of playing music and singing songs. When we sing a lyrical song, we usually “phrase” several words together within one breath. In the same way, when we play a set of Qigong movements, we can “phrase” several movements together within a breath. If we can consider a punch or kick movement in WG-8 a process within a “phrase of movements”, and not the end of a “phrase of movements”, the Qi will naturally return to the center of our body, especially when accompanying a centering movement.

Of course, learning “phrasing” in Qigong movements may take some practice. But the immediate rewards of making your movements more agile, your breathing gentler, and your sensation of Qi moving inside of you stronger, will surprise you.