Qi exercise (Dragon's pearl water bending)

Qi (or Chi) is the energy of the body in Chinese martial arts and Daoist practices.

Qi can be manipulated in various ways, but here we will focus on a simple Tai Chi exercise. (All images were sketched via an app. They read left to right. Be aware they might be exaggerated; they are only diagrams).

  1. Stand ready (as upright as possible, fists to your hip sides and knuckles out, elbows jutted back, feet together and pointed to the front of you). Make sure you have enough room to move around comfortably before proceeding (if you’re inside you shouldn’t be able to touch any furniture with two full strides in any direction, including back. If you’re outside, be sure that you’re in a minimally trafficked area with plenty of space). Envision your personal qi and try to find it and concentrate it into your upper torso (unlike other forms of energy, qi is fluid and can migrate and divide. It is literally your life force and it focuses on areas of sensation) Also feel energy in the air. Focus on your breath and feel what it is breathing.

  2. Start to coil your arms in front of you, one on top of the other (I like to do my dominant hand, right, first). Imagine you are whisking water from the air and it follows your finger tips. Start to have the foot on the same side you start with follow the top arm. Stop when the two arms are in a square position. You should hold them up to a comfortable height. The feet should be together. Focus on an energy ball of water forming up in the space your arms create. Envision this however you like (my preferred vision is holding a dragon’s pearl)

  3. When you are ready to proceed, dissolve the energy ball back into water. Reverse step 2 (if you started on the right, switch to the left, and vice versa). The arm that leads should be on the bottom. Repeat a few more times to get into a light trancelike state of calm. You can do this exercise by itself or let it be the gateway for more complex qi/energy work.

  4. To finish the exercise, coil your hands around but don’t let the foot of the leading side follow the leading hand. Stop when your arms are fully extended on either side. Return to the ready stance to close to exercise.

Overall tip; relax and have an empty mind. If you are tense and trying to force qi, this can theoretically worsen your health. Don’t let it be out of control either. Qi is like air or water at its core; you can control it by setting boundaries, but it cannot be fully tamed. Healthy qi is like a flowing river. Unhealthy qi would be a flood or drought on that very river. Don’t be too soft or too hard. Control gently. Know where to put dams, and know where to let it flow. If it feels tense or difficult, try to figure out why. If it feels calm and moderately easy, you’re doing it right.

Hope this helps or inspires you guys! I just felt like sharing my favorite meditation that I used to do when I took Kung Fu. :slight_smile:


Posture description is a little hard to understand but i would guess its the same or close to “holding the ball” from tai chi?

Yes, exactly the same. :slight_smile:

@Grimner @SabahSnoblod Almost everyone performs Tai Chi wrong though. Tai Chi per say works quite well, but most of the information out there is completely useless stuff made up by inexperienced practitioners. By “most” I mean almost all.

I’ve only ever seen and practiced Tai Chi in a Kung Fu studio under instruction unless I’m practicing by myself. By “wrong”, do you mean unaware of qi? Stiff body motions? Is it the same deal as Yoga where ditzy girls are thinking they’re exercising but they don’t realize what they are doing?

Well seeing as many ppl view Tai Chi as exercise and not martial art i do tend agree with you but undeniable there are good teachers for that out there.

I of all people am aware of that.

Not per say unaware of qi. In some cases that is the case. However, a lot of the time the problem isn’t that they are not aware of the existence of chi just not aware of how to actually cultivate it. They keep talking about qi without ever actually doing much to cultivate it (or, as happens all too often, doing stuff to cultivate qi that doesn’t actually work) if you get what I mean.

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