Wudang internal martial arts most notably Taichi Quan, Xingyi Quan, Baji Quan and Baguazhang – utilizes Qigong training as its foundation so that efficient whole-body movement may be employed in a martial arts context. Within these arts the self-cultivation and refinement of the practitioner is emphasized rather than the sport competition that is often found in other types of martial practice within this country. Internal boxing is a traditional martial art and thereby stresses the development of proper respect for one’s lineage, teacher, community and self. As such, it is a powerful tool to empower the practitioner by enhancing feelings of self worth and heightening one’s self awareness. The internal martial arts, furthermore, yield many positive psychological and physical health benefits because they are essentially an extension of Qigong training. Finally, internal martial arts places the practitioner within a healthy and supportive community that is able to uphold the individual for life and is very literally considered to be one’s extended family
Qigong the Foundation of Internal Martial Arts
In Chinese philosophy and medicine there exists the concept of "chi" (Qi), a vital force that animates the body. One of the avowed aims of Qigong is to foster the circulation of this "chi" within the body, the belief being that by doing so the health and vitality of the person are enhanced. This "chi" circulates in patterns that are close related to the nervous and vascular system and thus the notion is closely connected with that of the practice of acupuncture and other oriental healing arts.
Another aim of Qigong is to foster a calm and tranquil mind, focused on the precise execution of these exercises. Learning to do them correctly provides a practical avenue for learning about such things as balance, alignment, fine scale motor control, rhythm of movement, the genesis of movement from the body's vital centre, and so on. Many practitioners notice benefits in terms of correcting poor postural, alignment or movement patterns which can contribute to tension or injury. Furthermore the meditative nature of the exercises is calming and relaxing in and of itself.