With three-thousand different styles of Qi Gong, students have a lot to choose from. Over the centuries and even millennia, practitioners sought to utilize the principles of Qi to cultivate the specific intentions that were important to them. The result has been a diverse collection of practices that offer endless possibilities within the realm of Qi.
One of the more widely applicable styles of Qi Gong is called Iron Shirt. Throughout history, Iron Shirt has been a source of great resiliency against both military enemies as well as illness. This blog post will discuss the origin and power of the ancient practice known as Iron Shirt Qi Gong.
Ancient Military Technology
Military power has long been the pursuit of civilizations around the world. Even today, we all know that nations dedicate significant resources and energy in order to further their influence and ability to protect themselves. In the twenty-first century, most military investments are in technology and engineering to create the most robust weapons possible. However, for thousands of years, the primary focus was on cultivating the technology that exists within each individual—the technology of Qi.
Iron Shirt Qi Gong was developed in the Shaolin Temple in ancient China as a way for warriors to build power in preparation for battle. Essentially, military leaders saw Qi as a source of strength that could be used to overcome their enemies.
Once discovered, warriors throughout China adopted rigorous training routines to perfect the practices of Iron Shirt Qi Gong. They realized that there was more to battle than learning how to use a sword or bow. Being an effective soldier required them to build strength and resiliency at the core of their beings, and that is what Iron Shirt helped them to do.
Cultivating Qi for Power
Before delving too much further into Iron Shirt Qi Gong, it’s important to understand the framework of Qi Gong practices. As we mentioned in the introduction, there are over three-thousand different styles of the ancient art. Most of these can be broken down into three primary groups—medical, spiritual, and martial.
As you might expect, medical Qi Gong is used to heal the body and increase vitality. Many of the practices that Lee teaches help us to enrich our immune system and release energies that are negative for our health. Medical practices often focus on the circulation and abundance of Qi in our organs and meridians. By creating rich, flowing rivers of energy in all parts of the body, we become better prepared to fend off illnesses and maintain our good health.
Spiritual Qi Gong is used to cultivate our awareness and connection to the universe (Tao). When our minds, hearts, and body can find unity with the divine, we experience a deep feeling of love and harmony with both ourselves and others. Further, by finding alignment with the true nature of the Tao, our path forward in life becomes clear and attainable. Spiritual Qi Gong is seen as a valuable practice for wisdom and peace.
Martial practices focus on power, and this is where Iron Shirt Qi Gong lies. As we already discussed, Iron Shirt practices allow individuals to cultivate their Qi for physical resiliency and strength.
Building power means cultivating an abundance of vital Qi in various parts of the body. To do this, Iron Shirt practitioners seek to pack energy into different organs. As the word suggests, “packing” consists of directing energy to the organs where it is concentrated and fortified. This process is referred to as “tonifying,” and is used in many of Lee’s practices for various intentions. By doing tonifying exercises for each of your organs, the body experiences a great big boost of vitality that protects it against negative outside influences.
If you’ve taken Lee’s Five Elements Immersion program then this may sound a bit familiar to you. You can think of Iron Shirt Qi Gong as a continuation and progression of the Five Element practices that Lee teaches. While the FIve Elements exercises focus on understanding the harmonizing the energies of each organ, Iron Shirt takes things a step further by introducing new practices to significantly increase the energy (Qi) that is stored throughout each part of your body.
Why is it important to strengthen your organs? Well, although organs can perform miraculous functions for your body, they are also quite fragile. Lee compares organs to eggs—they contain a lot of power, but they need to be protected so they don’t break. When you practice Iron Shirt Qi Gong, you’re essentially strengthening the proverbial “shell” of each of your organs. In battle or sporting events, this leads to improved physical strength. In the context of health, this helps you to resist against sickness and disease.
One Connected Being
One fascinating aspect of Qi Gong is that each of these styles of Qi Gong are intimately connected with the others. That means that cultivating physical strength through Iron Shirt practices also delivers medical benefits for your health. Therefore, Iron Shirt Qi Gong is not simply a strategy for war and power. Rather, it’s an art that allows you to boost your health and nourish all parts of who you are.
With the abundance of Qi that is cultivated through Iron Shirt, it’s important to also learn how to circulate that energy throughout your body. After Lee shows students how to pack their organs, he guides them through several wonderful exercises to ensure that all of your meridians are filled with Qi like flowing rivers throughout your body.
Iron Shirt Qi Gong
In order to share Iron Shirt Qi Gong with students around the world, we’ve put together an online program in which Lee teaches powerful practices to help practitioners cultivate strength, energy, and vitality through each of their organs.
This program includes nourishing breathing exercises that allow students to take in healing energy through the breath. It also shares some of the packing exercises that we talked about earlier, as well as focuses on “charging” the body so it can experience all of the richness and vitality that it has the potential to experience.
Click on the banner below to learn more and start practicing today.
Written by Ian Drogin