Qigong Energy Work
Qi is a general Chinese term which covers both the air and all grades of energy in existence. This allows any training method, from calisthenics, through breathing exercises, to meditation, to be called Qigong. Most forms of Qigong are positive and useful even though much of it is no more than simple unrefined exercises passed on by inexperienced people and elevated to mystical heights by immature students. There are two possible dangers. The first is that simple external movements and breathing exercises are working with externals and will not produce the promised internal results. This stalls genuine people who are looking for something much deeper, prepared to make the effort, but without the experience to discriminate. The second is that where the Mind-intention is employed to drive the generation and circulation of Qi, over-stimulation can occur in unstable individuals and lead to energetic and psychological health problems.
Taiji is a subtle and well supported form of Qigong. It has been developed and refined by many great masters over hundreds of years. It has the useful attribute that the skill of any teacher within the system is exposed by the subtlety and sensitivity of their Pushing-hands ability - gross physical strength, outer speed and technique, counting for nothing in this respect. In Taiji the term Qi is usefully applied in a general sense to the Lower Energies. It can sometimes be used in a more restricted sense by differentiating it into three - Jing, Qi and Shen. Here Jing refers to the most gross energies in the body which produce body heat and energise sexual functions. It is centred in the lower abdomen. Qi refers to the refined energy which is centred in the solar-plexus and chest and supports the genuine feelings. Shen has a different definition for every theoretician who has spoken about it. I experience it as the most refined of the Lower energy levels - the directing intelligence of the Lower Energies.
When the Qi is motivated by the Yi - the directed intention of the mind - and combined with the breath and loose body movements, it produces the Elastic Spring Force known by the technically correct term Jin. This Jin is a completely different character from the Jing - of Jing, Qi and Shen. Jin is a specialised term in the Chinese martial arts and can have little meaning to those without practical experience of it. This Jin or internal power is commonly, but confusingly, referred to as Qi and translated as Ki in Japanese.