(11 pages total)
Page 4 - Bagua Qigong (Pa Kau Chang Ch'i Kung)
The Baguazhang Qigong System
Park's system of Qigong has three component parts. These components are initially trained separately in a series of progressive exercises so that the practitioner can develop each component in isolation. Once a student has reached certain levels of development in each of the component areas, more advanced training is initiated which combines the component elements. The component parts in this system include breathing development and breath control exercises to help increase the body's vital capacity, meditation exercises to help increase awareness, focus and concentration, and body movement exercises to help increase circulation of blood and Qi. Park's "equation" for Qi development is as follows:
Qi Development = Breathing + Body Movement + Mind
Park believes that each component of this equation should be initially trained in isolation starting with very simple exercises. If a beginning student were to try to train breath control, meditation/visualization, and body movement in the same exercise he or she would not gain full benefit from the exercise--it is too much to digest all at once. There is also a higher risk of developing an internal disorder when something too difficult is attempted by a novice.
All systems of Qigong will contain elements similar to those listed above and the simple Qigong methods discussed in this article, although attributed to Baguazhang, will not differ much from other system's methods. Qigong development that is specific to Baguazhang will not be attempted until the student has experience with the fundamental methods of Qi development. The three component parts of Park's Baguazhang Qigong training are discussed below with an explanation of some of the introductory exercises.
When referring to internal development, the first aspect that Park likes to address is breathing. He points out that a person can live for a number of weeks without food, and days without water, but one cannot survive more than several minutes without air. Developing the ability to breath efficiently and fully will greatly improve the quality of life and health of an individual.
Replenishment of expended energy in the body is accomplished through the intake of food and air. If your breathing is inefficient, your body can easily expend more energy than you replenish. Park feels that one reason so many people become very tired by the end of the day is that their breathing process is inefficient. Through breathing development and breath control exercises you can learn to breathe fully and efficiently, help the body rid itself of toxins, and strengthen the body's vital capacity.
Breathing exercises and breath control are also key elements in developing skill in internal martial arts practice. To effectively apply "internal energy," whether it is in a martial application or healing application, a practitioner needs to not only develop proper alignments and mechanics, but they also need to develop the ability to concentrate Qi in their body and move it with the mind. This is no small task. However, through breathing exercises, combined with meditation and other Qigong work, this ability can eventually be attained.
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