The Chinese government has estimated that somewhere around three thousand (yes, 3000) forms of Qigong still exist in China. It’s true they may be disappearing faster than the rain forest but, as of now, there is still a great inheritance.
Martial arts fans of Kung Fu may know that Kung Fu used to boast (before the devastation called the Cultural Revolution) somewhere around 350 styles of martial practice. But the 3000 forms of Qigong makes one pause. Why, that’s inventing one new style a year for the last three thousand years. Good Lord, that would be astonishing if, as is the case, Qigong were not about 3000 years old.
Think of it, one of the most creative peoples on the face of the earth given 3000 years. It used to be a fact that the amount of poetry written in the Chinese language exceeded all the poetry in the rest of the world combined. Hardly surprising when you think of how long the Chinese have loved poetry and how many Chinese have done so. Remember this is a culture that looks to be entering it’s SIXTH renaissance soon.
But the major reason there are so many styles of Qigong is that it is deeply rooted in the lives of the Chinese folk. I remember traveling to Taiwan on a plane. You know one of those long, drowsy trips. I awoke suddenly around midnight and the old lady next to me, the one I had helped with her seat belt, was rubbing her hands together. After a few second this lovely old Hui (Chinese Moslem) woman held her palms out and we both watched as they turned a deep purple. Then she proceeded to massage her face. This was as dramatic a demonstration as any teacher I saw in Taipei. And, obviously, it was a family thing, a little traditional self-maintenance handed down from grandmother to grandmother
So, let me tell you, 3000 is probably just the number of Qigong methods which have survived the centuries. Qigong is one of the great contributions of Chinese society and to think that it all depends on what modern people, fickle as the wind, think or don’t think about it all is to be a little naive. Qigong is on the planet to stay. How it will develop in the next hundred or so years may, in part, be up to you.
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