Qigong in the Arcane Realm, teaches one to control and utilize their own life energy flow for various feats. As an exercise, it strengthens and revitalizes the body and mind. As a set of techniques, it focuses on enhancing the strength of physical attacks or objects depending on the quantity and quality of their life force employed.
Chi (気, Breath) or Ki or Prana depending on country of origin. The establishment of Eastern religion and martial arts lead to the concept and discovery of qigong, the ability to release that power from inside of your body through training and physical exertion which allowed for an easy transition into martial arts, where the two became intertwined. As well as martial arts, qigong found it’s way into the esoteric ways of buddhism through various sects, mainly Vajrayana Buddhism, whose bestowed powers onto their acolytes, which eventually spread by endowing them with special abilities on the level of super-humans. Majority of Arcane Realm martial arts rely of the fundamental basis of exerting Chi to perform duties, much like magic relys on mana.
A student learning qigong trains to manually open and close their aura nodes so that they can control the flow of their life force. One typically learns this process slowly and gradually through meditation. The second method (colloquially called Initiation) is by having one receiving an influx of a life energy shockwave from an experienced user that forces these nodes to open; despite how quickly it works, the method is typically frowned upon due to its danger to the student if the user is inexperienced or has malicious intent. Initiation via physically attacking another with the use of an enhanced life force strike typically causes permanent disability or death.
There is, however, a way to initiate that is less harmful to the student’s body — depending on gently jolting open one’s nodes forces the new user to learn to control their life flow, else risk suffering severe exhaustion or death. Once one has opened their nodes, they will be able to see their own life energy as a aura surrounding the body due to the nodes in the eyes being opened and perceives their electric potential. This aura of life force appears by most to look similar to steam from a kettle.
It is possible to feel the presence of one’s life force as an aura even without being aware of its existence. It has been described as feeling like a warm, viscous fluid at rest. It has been said that powerful, refined auras produce a sensation that feels akin to needles pricking into the skin. Since every living being emits this aura subconsciously, learning to sense an aura is a useful skill for those tracking living things or hunting non-living things infused with metabolic energy. An experienced user of Qigong can judge the location and relative strength of his opponents through reading the output of their aura. The aura also carries the mental/emotional attributes of the being, such as the presence or lack of murderous intent.
In order to fully grasp Qigong, one should first learn an internal school of martial arts that naturally develop the body’s ability to handle larger amounts of their life force. Everything else, including a practitioner of Qigong’s individual skills, is based on the basic manipulations of one’s metabolic life flow.
Qigong comprises breathing, physical, and mental training methods based on Chinese philosophy. While implementation details vary, all qigong forms can be characterized as a mix of four types of training: dynamic, static, meditative, and activities requiring external aids.
Involves fluid movement, usually carefully choreographed, coordinated with breath and awareness.
Involves holding postures and stances for sustained periods of time. In some cases this bears resemblance to the practice of Yoga and its continuation in the Buddhist tradition.
Utilizes breath awareness, visualization, mantra, and focus on philosophical concepts such as qi circulation. For example, in the Confucius scholar tradition meditation is focused on humanity and virtue, with the aim of self-enlightenment. In various Buddhist traditions, the aim is to still the mind, either through outward focus, for example on a place, or through inward focus on the breath, a mantra, a koan, emptiness, or the idea of the eternal. In Taoist medicine practice, the meditative focus is on cultivating qi in dantian energy centers and balancing qi flow in meridian and other pathways.L
Use of external agents
Many systems of qigong training include the use of external agents such as ingestion of herbs, massage, physical manipulation, or interaction with other living organisms. For example, specialized food and drinks are used in some medical and Taoist forms, whereas massage and body manipulation are sometimes used in martial arts forms. In some medical systems a qigong master uses non-contact treatment, purportedly guiding chi through his or her own body into the body of another person.
For qigong techniques that go hand in hand with martial arts, they are often categorized according to their creation and their use.
Augmentation: Techniques where life force is used to boost the physical body, becoming stronger, faster and tougher.
The user cultivates their electric potential to brace their muscles and body to sustain more damage or produce more force from their blows than normal. The enhanced and controlled flow increases muscle tension, allowing greater power, speed, and endurance; it also increases the flexibility of muscles and tendons to prevent damage from overexertion. In addition, the person’s reflexes are enhanced by a moderate increase in the stimulation of the nervous system.
Burst: These techniques involve formed and discharged portions of chi, frequently used for fighting.
This happens as the body’s electric potential is concentrated to a point on the surface to make an extremely high area of potential. This point can ionize the surrounding air enough to produce plasma that can be shot from the area as a projectile. Life force usually decreases in intensity very quickly when it is separated from the source body, but strong users can separate their chi from their body as plasma bursts for long-periods of time and control the deployment of their chi while separating it from their body.
Kiai: Techniques that involve pressurized air being manipulated by one’s life force.
The user can throw blows hard enough that air in front of the strike becomes pressurized to the point where it becomes a projectile that exerts enough force to cause extreme collateral damage. Includes shock-waves expelled from a point where large amounts of chi is rushed to, causing internal damage to various structures and constructs. Many techniques of this type can cause the full power of an attack to explosively release inside the opponent’s body.
Accumulation: Techniques that not only use your own, but anyone else’s life energy.
Life force can be received form outside sources like other beings to be added to one’s current flow or to be released in a technique. Important for these techniques is the sense the life energy of others, can tell where they may be and how powerful they are.
Deflection: Techniques where refined life energy flowing through your skin makes it hard as steel, or attacks are cancelled out by a surrounding wall of life force.
Focus on repelling exposure to foreign energy by interrupting flow through concentrated shock-waves and bio-electric potential fields that produce a layer of protective plasma. Depending on their usage and power of the user, the incoming mass can be deflected, reflected, broken, or even vaporized.
Movement: Focusing life energy into bodily points and directing its expulsion for faster movement and personal agility.
The electromagnetic force of life energy can push away or from the ground, voluntarily or as a side-effect of focusing the power.
Rejuvenation: Techniques that involve expend your own life force to recharge another’s energy.
Restoring proper energy flow or concentrating electric potential to increase ones natural healing and repair. They also focus on improving one’s physical abilities and increase longevity. Many of these practices are part of a spiritual path of enlightenment, awareness of morality, or a closer connection to the natural world or inner peace.
Shroud is the process of keeping the nodes open, but also having life energy flow through and around the body rather than dissapate away from it. Once maintained, it creates a shroud around the user that feels similar to standing in lukewarm steam. Having a shroud of aura surround the body is the most basic defense against the psychokinetic (psychic) attacks from others , however, it can’t defend against physical attacks. Shroud also maintains youthful vigor and reduces one’s physical aging; since the energy powering the body no longer leaks away, one can keep the body from breaking down and deter the weakening of the aging process. Through frequent meditation, one can improve the quality of their Shroud and their aura.
While Shroud allows a user to keep life energy from leaking away from their body, Null stops the flow of it from their body altogether. By closing all of their life nodes, the user is able to stop almost all outflow of their aura like water from a valve. Since the user is no longer surrounded by their own aura, they are more sensitive to damage from the life force of others. This can be useful when tracking another person and it will also prevent other qigong artists from noticing them. Null can also be used to relieve fatigue, since it forces the body’s external layer of aura to be fully contained within. However, since Null involves shutting off one’s protective life force layer, it can be dangerous due to it leaving the body defenseless against any life energy or magic attack. Even a weak attack enhanced with metabolic energy or mana could do massive damage.
Flare is a direct application of Shroud. Since an qigong artist should be capable of keeping their metabolic energy from leaking away from the body, it’s also possible for them to produce more of it around themselves without having to worry about losing it. Flare focuses on outputting a high amount of life force and keeping it on the body, expanding the size and intensity of it. If Shroud is considered to be purely defensive, then Flare typically what is used for offense. This increases the user’s physical strength and durability and provides a large pool of life energy to access for any advanced techniques or individual skills they decide to use.
After learning the basics, any skilled qigong artist will learn to utilize these advanced techniques. Most of them are achieved by using a combination of the basics. Most artists learn Shroud, Null, and Flare first before attempting these techniques.
Focus is an advanced application of Flare by which a qigong artist concentrates a larger than normal portion of their aura into one specific body part. Focus increases the strength of that one body part, but leaves the rest of the body more vulnerable. Focus is commonly used in the eyes, allowing a qigong artist to see aura and things which would otherwise be hidden.
Conceal is an advanced form of Null used to almost completely hide one’s aura. However, unlike Null, Conceal does not require the user to stop their life flow, but hides it instead, making this technique perfect for launching a sneak attack or laying traps. Conceal can be countered by using Focus in the eyes or through Encircle.
Encircle is an advanced application of Flare and Shroud. In Flare, aura usually envelops only a small amount of space around the user’s body. Encircle is when one extends their Flare so that their aura extends further than normal, then uses Shroud at the same time to give shape to the aura, usually a sphere. Someone using Encircle can feel the shape and movement of anything entering their circle. The downside to this is that it is extremely tiring and draining for the qigong artist to constantly deploy so much life energy out of their body. Those who master Encircle are typically able to extend their aura into a circle with a 50m radius.
Enfold is an advanced application of Shroud. Enfold allows a qigong artist to extend their aura’s envelopment onto an object, allowing them to use that object as if it were an extension of their own body. For example, one could use Enfold to extend their aura around an object, which would strengthen and protect the object like the way Shroud or Flare strengthens and protects their body. Another great effect of infusing the object with life energy is it being able to channel life force attacks, but Enfold is only useful if the user has contact with said object.
Fortify is the advanced version of the basic Flare technique. Fortify is a defensive technique where a qigong artist maintains a state of Focus over their entire body, allowing them to defend against attacks from any direction without the need to use Flow. Fortify is useful as a defensive position, but is tiring to maintain. Additionally, it is not as strong as Focus on any given part of the body, since it protects the whole body evenly. Because of that, it is used to guard when one wants to be cautious.
Temper is an enhanced version of Focus in which all of an individual’s non vital biological energy is concentrated into one particular body part. Null is used to completely stop the flow of life energy in all other parts of the body. This makes that one body part exceptionally powerful, but leaves the rest of the body completely unprotected. This is used by some qigong artists as an offensive technique (a Temper-punch would carry all 100% of your potential with it), but it is a risky move — leaving the rest of one’s body unprotected in a fight against another qigong artist is generally not a good idea.
Flow is the term for real-time use of Focus (the adjustment of life force concentration in various body parts) by a qigong artist in battle. For example, the use of Focus to increase the amount of qigong in a fist as one strikes with it, to increase damage done; or to increase the amount of chi in an arm as it is used to block a blow, for extra defense. The transfer of energy to the needed par of the body is quick enough to provide exceptional coverage but getting the timing right takes a lot of practice. Not to mention a great degree of being able to predict the foe’s next move so that the artist can make the call to use their life energy offensively, defensively, or evasively.