Neijia quan

Life energy, QI

” Qi ” in Chinese and ” Ki ” in Japanese is the word to describe ” life energy ” can also be translated as ” air, breath, force, and power ”, however the above
character is most commonly used to represent the meaning of energy or vital essence.

According to Chinese belief and medicine, Qi is the animating power that flows through all living things.
A healthy individual has more qi than one who is ill, a dead person has no more Qi, the warmth, life Qi is gone. Health is more than a lot of qi, health means that the Qi in our bodies is clear, rather than polluted and turbid, and flowing smoothly like a stream, not
blocked or stagnant. Qi is also the life energy one senses in nature.

One of the great contributions of early Chinese culture, going back thousands of years, was the discovery that it was possible to trace quite accurately the patterns of energy surrounding all living things, and in the human body this life energy is circulated through what is referred to as ”meridians”.

From these studies and analysis came:

1. The foundation for Traditional Chinese Medicine ( TCM ) including accupressure ( in Japan known as Shiatsu ), accupuncture, and herbal medicine.

2. Forms or sets of exercises that strengthen the body internally, stimulating good health, and long life. ( Nei jia )

3. An effective knowledge of the anatomy, and the sensitive points, for combat both unarmed and with weapons known as the Martial Arts.


The ”Qi Network” is like any transportation system, if there is a blockage at any junction this will overload the entire system, in the short term this overload can be compensated in some way, but in the long term serious damage can occur if not attended to.

In the human body these blockages can be caused by bruising, muscle injuries, sprains, especially if they are not treated properly, and quickly.

Long periods of lying, sitting or working in the same position together with the type of work or nervous tension involved, can also result in blocking the Qi.The answer to these blockages is ”Qi Gong” meaning work/training or benefits achieved through regular dedicated effort.



Qi Gong = working with the life energy in developing knowledge and control of the qi improving the health and harmony of the mind ( Yi ) and body.


Qi Gong can be divided into two categories :

Dong Gong
Dynamic or active. Yang / exercise
Dynamic Qi Gong

Jing Gong
Tranquil or passive. Yin / meditation
Tranquil Qi Gong


Both these forms of Qigong are to be found within Yoshinken through Yiquan ( China ) and Taikiken ( Japan ) and regardless if the reason for training is for development in the Martial Arts or for good health and enjoyment, the beginning of every training is the same with :

1. Zhan Zhuang ( Ritsu Zen ) Standing meditation
2. Shi li ( Yuri ) Slow arm/hand movements in stationary position
3. Mo ca Bu ( Hai ) Slow movement forward & back, arms stationary.
4. Zou bu Shili ( Neri ) Slow,flowing arms/hands/legs/body movement

It is advisable to separate these training methods from other training ways during the same session, as the mind and body need this period to fully absorb the details in a calm, smooth, and balanced manner.

The demanding, physical training should be trained at another time, not to confuse the feelings between soft and hard ( Yin and Yang ).


Photos from Paul von Stroheim