QiGong, or Chi Gung is a practice that has been used in China for thousands of years to increase Qi (or Chi), or “lifeforce”.
At one end of the spectrum is the development of Chi simply for improved health. At the other end, martial artists use it to develop strength and power.
Its association with martial arts is extensive, mainly with the internal styles, such as the Chinese martial Arts of Tai Chi, Xing Yi, and Bagua Zhang.
In Japan, the energy called Chi in China is translated to Ki, and is used in both the hard styles as well as the more internal Japanese styles such as Aikido.
But the development of Chi can be found in other non-Asian areas of the world, with practices ranging from Native American, Indian, European and even to the Quakers and Shakers. They may call it by other names, such as Kundalini, but the energy is the same.
I’ve studied various martial arts for several years, ranging from Xing-yi, to Bagua Zhang, Aikido Tai Chi, Kenpo and Silat. Every one of the martial arts had some sort of connection to developing power through a form ofQiGong.
Climbing and QiGong
After climbing for several years, I have been experimenting with the use of QiGong as a way to amplify strength and power specifically to climbing. I am at the beginning stages of integrating practices used for Martial Arts, and experimenting with applying this to Rock Climbing.
There are some similarities between Martial Arts and Climbing. Both use graceful movements combined with explosive power. Both use powerful grips, in martial arts for throwing and controlling, and in climbing for grasping holds and to make upward progress.
In practice, I’m finding that the techniques for raising Chi can translate to climbing. After practicing QiGong, I’ve found that I’ve used it to heal joint dysfunctions (shoulders), as well as increasing grip strength through the application of Chi rather than sheer physical strength.
At a certain level, movement and physical mechanics can be directed by the mind, with very little apparent strength involved.
In this section I plan to outline some of my findings and experiences as I discover how Chi is expressed in climbing. I think it can be useful to climbers in improving their abilities both in the present, and well into old age.
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