In my article, Qigong Q&A with Wen-Ching Wu, I posed questions to Wen-Ching Wu I had after reading his incredible book (written with Master Shou-Yu Liang), called: Qigong Empowerment. In this review of that book, I will detail the gems of enlightenment waiting for your discovery in Qigong Empowerment and the companion Health Maintenance Qigong videotape.

The Chinese have been exploring and utilizing Qigong for thousands of years. Qigong is an integral part of Chinese life and it should be an important part in each of our lives, for within Qigong hides the secret of the universe: You become an entire entity connected to everything, flowing with all and thriving beyond your body. With Qigong activated in your life, it is possible to experience immortality, swim in the future cosmos, and be unbound by the past.

We should first dissect the term “Qigong” in order to understand what’s at stake in this review. Qigong (pronounced “Chi Kung”) is made up of two separate ideas that compliment each other to create a whole greater than the sum of its parts. “Qi” basically translates to “energy.” That energy is what moves in the universe, the earth, and our bodies while “gong” translates loosely to “power used to produce an effect.”

Combine “qi” and “gong” into “Qigong” and you get what I like to call “Energy Management.” Qigong allows you to heal yourself, send energy to others, and smash and vanquish enemies. You can attain Qi from flowers, the sun, the moon, trees and bushes. You can also float among the stars.

Qigong Empowerment
ISBN: 1-889659-02-9
7×10 Paperback, 348 Pages
1997
$34.95
This book is an unreal marvel because each page holds universal truths of life. Some may call it a Bible. I call Qigong Empowerment intricately amazing because it will take you years to inherit and employ every idea bound betwixt its covers. I will do my best to give you a general glossing of the spirit of the book in this review, but remember that the power of the book comes in the re-reading, re-analysis of the diagrams and the animated practice of the methods described. Illustrations of the body and its energy channels are amazing and hard to find.

Acupuncture Charts are also a keen addition to the scholarship of the book. I challenge you to find another Qigong book that details the history and practice of five kinds of Qigong so ornately, respectfully and dutifully. Qigong Empowerment is five “books” in one. Witness:

Book One: Medical Qigong
Managing your energy when it comes to your health is vital if you want to live a long and pain free life. This book deals with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and focuses on Energy Meridians, Yin-Yang, Jing (essence-of-life), Qi (intrinsic substance), Shen (spirit) and how they all converge to bring you good health. If any of those elements are out of synch, you will be sick.

Learning how to manage these essences is paramount and the book examples successful management slowly, clearly and cleanly. The book concentrates on the healthy maintenance of your lungs, kidneys, liver, heart, stomach/spleen and firing up your Triple Burner. The “Healing Sounds” of “Xu” (liver), “Ke” (heart), “Hu” (spleen), “Si” (lungs), “Chui” (kidneys), and “Xi” (triple burner) are also detailed and demonstrated.

Book Two: Daoist (Taoist) Qigong
Daoist Philosophy and Traditional Chinese Medicine are wedded because they each use Qigong to pass power to and from important pieces of the body. The book begins with an in-depth lesson the the history of Daoism and the Daodejing and that proves to be quite fascinating and enlightening.

Next, the book deals with the Fundamentals of Qi Circulation. That includes massage, Microcosmic Circulation and Macrocosmic Circulation. You also learn how to acquire Qi through the Golden Light Method and manage it via Meridian Circulation. Converting Bone Marrow into Qi (Fostering Shen into Void) is both practical and invigorating. This book concludes with instruction how to condense and distribute your Qi.

Book Three: Buddhist Qigong
While Buddhism is a religion, it is also a major part of Chinese culture. There are philosophic parts to Buddhism and religious parts. The philosophic part of Buddhism is what many Chinese choose to follow, making it an innate piece of their being as a culture. This book concentrates on Tantrayana cultivation of Mahayana Buddhism (Tantric Buddhism).

If you’re confused by those terms, read the book, for it reveals the historic and cultural definitions of those ideas much better than I can here. Tantric Buddhist Qigong involves three energy channels and seven energy centers (Chakras). Hand seals are a mode of Qi communication for Tantric Buddhism and prove to be challenging and intriguing forms of Qi attainment.

Book Four: Absorbing and Emitting Qigong
This is perhaps the most universally interesting book because it strictly deals with you and your place in the cosmos. You are directed how to rotate a Qi ball, activate the girdle vessel and how to emit and return Qi back to your body. You are also taught how to use pressure points on the tips of your fingers to activate Healing Qi.

My favorite method in this book is Emitting Beams of Light for that process is like creating and then casting off your own star into the sky to illuminate the dark night. The book instructs you how to share and manage Qi between a group of people, how to absorb Qi from the Sun, moon, trees, flowers, bushes, mountains, rivers, oceans, heat sources, and through objects.

You also learn how to develop your healing ability, how to read auras and how to ward off negative energy. This book alone will change your life and your outlook on your fellow human beings as you ponder the greatness of the cosmos and your role in affecting its power.

Book Five: Wushu Qigong
Ouch and look out! This book is overwhelming and a bit frightening and revelatory in scope and depth. If you think you’re tough, wait until you read the section on “Groin Conditioning” (page 256) and you’ll be revealed to be soft and timid. Wushu (Martial Arts) Qigong deals with training your internal energy in order to protect the vital areas of your body in a fight.

Iron Shirt and Golden Bell Qigong concern making your body so strong that it can take a serious punch or a vicious kick without injury. The goal in Wushu is to fix your body so much that it is as if you are covered in an iron shirt or covered by a golden bell — that hardening of your body will protect you from getting punched and kicked. Wushu is inspired by this Chinese proverb: First learn how to take hits, then learn how to fight.

If you want to make your body hard enough to bend a spear with your throat and accept a baseball bat to the head and break a brick in your armpit, then Wushu Qigong is the method you seek. You begin by hardening your upper body, solar plexus, throat, armpit, head, shins, muscles and groin. Remember, these exercises are tough! They can hurt if you’re not extremely attentive. You’ll be punching things and irritating your skin in order to build an indifference to striking and being struck. Beware that you’ll have to take care of your bruises immediately or you will continue to bruise and your progress in training will stop. The book explains precisely the kind of emollient you will need and you can purchase those soothers directly from Way of the Dragon.

In this book, you are not engaged in a philosophical debate: Wushu uses Qi to numb your nerves and energize your body so you can hit to kill and get hit without dying! Beware that Iron Fist, Iron Palm, Steel Finger, Iron Forearm and Iron Knee training is meant to make your hand so hard that you can break bricks and shatter bones. You should not go the serious Iron and Steel training route unless you don’t mind losing some joint sensitivity and flexibility.

You also risk arthritis settling in your joints as well if you are not careful. I know several former Wushu students who now suffer pain from their competition days because they did not properly tend and mend their bodies during training. Iron and Steel training is only for the serious Wushu fighter and to play in that den indifferently without serious professional intent will only harm you in the end and injure you along the way.

If, however, you are a serious Wushu disciple, this book will reveal every training method and key Qi management technique you’ll ever need to succeed. Even though I’m not a candidate for Wushu Qigong, I still found this book amazing and intricate and I now have an even greater admiration and respect for those who choose to dedicate their gives and give over their bodies to the Wushu path.

Appendices
The Appendices include Acupuncture Charts and whole body diagrams of energy system flow and return, Corrective Methods for fixing Qi gone bad during practice, and a Glossary of terms used along with complete definitions.

The five books within Qigong Empowerment that I’ve reviewed for you here make the book invaluable, innovative and intrinsic. You will spend years of a lifetime investigating the book’s thoughts and theorems. Every moment of that journey will build your life by binding your Qi to the cosmos.

(all green)

Health Maintenance Qigong
ISBN: 1-889659-06-1
60 Minutes of Instruction
1997
$39.95
The Health Maintenance Qigong video is a companion to the ideas taught in the book. The video is not Closed Captioned and that’s unfortunate because non-native English speakers and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing need Closed Captions to understand what is being taught. The video expertly demonstrates Lung Qigong, Kidney Qigong, Heart Qigong, Stomach/Spleen Qigong, Triple Burner Qigong and Healing Sounds for Nourishing Life. Demonstration of the “Healing Sounds” is especially helpful in a video format.

The information is excellent and outstanding, unfortunately the production quality of the video itself is not up to the par of excellence demanded by the material. Shot on what appears to be a home video camera with a voice over that is too fast and too hard to hear many times. The choppy video edits between scenes — editing time code even appears briefly in one scene — makes for a bit of a disjointed experience when you’re struggling to retain the information proffered. If you can accept the production values of the videotape, the information demonstrated is sublime and greatly compliments the text.

(three GREEN, two RED)

Conclusion
You can find more information about Qigong Empowerment and Health Maintenance Qigong online at Way of the Dragon Publishing.