Is Qi Gong a spiritual thing or is it a purely physical thing? For me, I always considered the Qi Gong part physical. Why? Because if my Sifu pushed or demonstrated a strike I felt how powerful it was, I knew it was different than the power you get from lifting weights, but especially after I developed some power of my own I understood it to be all physical. That is not to say that I didn't feel some spiritual practice with the meditation. But that was for me. Not something I taught or did in class. It was something Sifu would talk about but not openly.
When I interviewed Donald Wong, I found that yes the Qi was also taught as a physical practice backed up by scientific studies done by Umass Boston. So it wasn't like a church or faith healing.
Sifu Donald demonstrated on my arm and we tested together whether I could feel certain things. Droplets of water like sensations or buzzing and vibrations. He pushed Chi through my shoulder (which has some injuries) and afterward it felt looser and he showed me some videos of him treating a Veteran who had a seriously injured arm.
Even though this stuff is amazing and wonderful, I think this side of the of it is still very much physical. There is no "faith" or "Magic" involved. Although we might not understand exactly what is going on, it's sort of like not understanding what electricity or light is about. Basically at some point, with enough studies, there will be some sort of explanation.
For sure Donald Wong uses Qi Gong to do good, whether it is to help cure veterans or relieve them of pain, or help raise money for other non profits. But one thing that is noticeable is that since a lot of non Chinese like learning about Qi Gong, it is a bridge into the Chinese culture, like food, or art. It is another way to bring outsiders, IN to Chinatown and in some way make them insiders.
When you practice Donald Wong's Qi Gong, these exercises no longer are some mysterious thing that old Chinese people are doing in the park secretly. It isn;t witchcraft or devilry like you might see the Chinese Culture portrayed in a Sax Roamer Novel. Instead they are normal exercises that you practice at home and that you feel a health benefit from.
In addition to being good for the body's health, in a changing Chinatown, it is essential for the health of the community. At least that's what I think.
(more to come in the next post.)