5 Different Levels Of Chi Kung

As I mentioned in a previous post. With around 5000 years of history it’s easy to see why there are so many different schools, styles and approaches to Chi Kung.

Keep this in mind as you read the rest of this post, remember it is just my opinion – not a definitive, carved in stone opinion – which I don’t believe exists anyway.

A question I get many times goes along these lines:

“Can I do more than one qigong exercise during my Chi Kung session?”

The quick answer to this question is ‘yes’ and ‘no’. But let’s dig a little deeper in this post. Here’s a metaphor I remember my teacher using to answer this type of question:

Let’s say a doctor has 3 jobs – doctor, bank clerk, gardner. His income will be much more if he just did the one job as a doctor instead of splitting his time over 3. The job of doctor gives him a much better cash flow.

This is why the results from your practice will usually be less if you do 2 or 3 Chi Kung exercises instead of just 1.

It’s our Scale of Development that’s important. Let’s take a closer look at what that means.

In Chi Kung we usually talk about 5 different ‘levels’ of practice:

  1. Medical Chi Kung – overcomes pain and illness
  2. Dynamic Chi Kung – increases vitality so we can enjoy our work and our play
  3. Intellectual Chi Kung – mental freshness for scholarly, creative pursuits
  4. Warrior Chi Kung – internal force for martial artists
  5. Spiritual Chi Kung – for spiritual cultivation

Keep in mind that these levels are not mutually exclusive, we could practice dynamic Chi Kung for Spiritual cultivation, but all things being equal we would get better/faster results by practicing Spiritual Chi Kung.
Chi Kung Skills

If a person is suffering from pain and illness it is pointless to talk about increasing their vitality. If we have pain and illness we need to restore health and so it would be most cost effective to practice medical Chi Kung. When we have health, we want to increase our vitality to do our work and play better, so we would choose to practice Dynamic Chi Kung.

When we can do our work well, we can spend time enhancing our hobbies – become Scholar Warriors (definition – very successful in public and private life). At the highest level we may work on ‘returning to God’. This is what I mean by ‘Scale of Development‘.

When we practice Medical Chi Kung, a good example being Self Manifested Chi Flow, we use 3 Chi Kung Exercises during our 15 minute Chi Kung session. I’ll point that out again because it’s so important.

During our 15 minute Chi Kung session – whether you are using 3 exercises or 1, your practice still only takes 15 minutes.

So how can we practice 3 Chi Kung exercises during our session and still only take 15 minutes? It’s not by cutting down the number of repetitions, if anything we’ll probably be doing far more repetitions than if we just did 1 exercise during our practice.

No, we perform the 3 Chi Kung exercises as 1 set. At a much faster speed than we would if only performing 1 exercise in our practice.

We start at a slow speed and then get faster and faster. Because the exercises are performed 3 or even 4 times faster there is no way we can co-ordinate the breathing with our external movements. So breathing is what we call spontaneous i.e. you breathe in when you need to and out when you need to.

At this level we are using the ‘form’ to generate Energy Flow, which is why it is considered to be ‘lower’ level than Dynamic Chi Kung where we are using the form and the breathing to generate energy flow.

Of course ‘lower level’ is subjective. If you are suffering from pain and illness then Medical Chi Kung will be the ‘best’ most cost effective level for you.

So don’t get hung up on the different levels, they’re just used mainly so that I can talk to you about the different types of Chi Kung easily. Because their are no hard and fast rules about these levels. The reason being that the key difference, that makes the difference is the practitioners level of skill.

The same technique can be used for different means e.g. Energy Flow, directing Chi to massage the internal organs, develop internal force or ‘see’ God. The important factor is skill.

What this means is that I could practice what appears to be the lowest level of Chi Kung – Medical but my results and benefits compared with a brand new student learning a higher level of Chi Kung – Warrior – will be better. Why? Because I have higher skill.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record I’ll say it again. When it come to Chi Kung it’s skill that is important, not how many different Chi Kung patterns you know, not how beautifully you perform your Chi Kung. It’s your level of skill at entering a Chi Kung state of mind, of letting go and enjoying flowing breeze swaying willows, of standing meditation – that will dictate what results and benefits you get from you practice.

Bye for now


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