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Chi Kung

Chi Kung is... 

Chi Kung is the stuff of folk-  lore and martial arts legend. The benefits are multi-faceted from physical to mental and even spiritual benefits that the Indian Yogi refer to as the 8 Sidhi. Chi Kung includes meditation but, includes much more. Meditation is a purely mental exercise, such as in Zen meditation where they try to minimise all their bodily functions and emotions in a process of disassociation in the search for ' reality'. Chi Kung explicitly cultivates and directs the body's internal energy systems using external and/or internal methods. I.e. instead of dampening down the energy systems as Zen practitioners do, Chi Kung practitioners try to activate and raise their energy levels to acquire the 8 Sidhi and ultimately 'enlightenment'.

The first stage or level of enlightenment is said to take many years to achieve (>20 years according to the Chinese), though this may owe much to weak techniques or a lack of willingness to teach people any faster for both (perceived) safety and control/power purposes. In practice, there are schools and systems that can get you to this first level within three months of steady and dedicated practice, one of which, is taught and practised as part of the Liikan Jitsu training system. The risk with this speed of development is the students mental and emotional (spiritual) readiness to embark on such a journey, which inevitably must be taken alone.
 
There are unfortunately very few people, even amongst the martial arts community who really know and and can practice these arts to a high level. Much of the real knowledge is scattered far and wide amongst small disparate groups or individuals and often practised in secret. After all, this is the stuff that gave rise to religion and thereby all the religious factions and wars of history such as the crusades and the Templar Knights etc. However, if you can find a suitably qualified teacher, the far eastern traditions do not seem to have become quite so bogged down in the religious interpretations, doctrines and power politics that have plagued the western and middle-eastern variants. The Indian Yoga systems, however, seem to have been misdirected and miss-represented in the west as purely fitness and health systems. Only the Kundalini Yoga system seems to have managed to maintain a steady focus on the meditative and chi kung (Bio-Energy Training) purposes.

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