I have had a connection with Chinese exercise pretty much as long as I can remember, and for most of that time I have studiously ignored it, for reasons now unknown to me. Vietnamese refugees resettled near my house as a child practiced various forms, and I remember my new friends doing exercise in the backyard in the earl morning.
A trip to China in my late twenties surrounded me every morning with crowds exercising, doing forms of either Tai Chi or Qigong, silently moving through space and time, with hundreds of people on a riverbank or in a park moving together in unison.
Perhaps I just wasn’t ready to slow down at that point? Needless to say at this time in my life I am more open to alternative systems of dealing with my own body and invigorating its energies.
At the IKFF Certified Kettlebell teacher training earlier this month, I had to the good fortune to meet Ed Coughlin, Steve Cotter’s long time martial art brother, who led us through four days of basics in Qigong, which already in the week that has passed since I left, has opened up a range of new possibilities for me.
Because of that experience, I will be expanding the scope of the Gaijin Kettlebell site to a full exploration and discussion of Qigong, its practice, uses and benefits, with the intention to gradually build up sufficient interest here in Japan that I can ultimately get Ed to come out here to teach in the near future.
In the perfect balance of soft and hard, Qigong complements the intense sport of the kettlebell, the body naturally needing to rebalance and recharge itself after an intense workout.
For those not so interested in intense physical activity, Qigong offers them an easy release from high stress lifestyles and a way to maintain energy levels and general health in our fast paced and debilitating society.
Qigong has already long been believed in China to hold the answers to an array of maladies and debilitating illnesses, and now in the West has been the subject of intense scientific study for the last ten years or so.
Like meditation, it is not something that lends itself well to logical examination- it is experiential in nature and must be viewed with an open and exploratory mind willing to observe both itself and the body’s basic condition.
you can look forward to a weekly article on either the practice or effects of Qigong in the near future.