First and foremost I’m a swordsman. A dying art you might say, and a pretty uncalled for skill, but there it is. I was trained from the Fiore Manuals a 15th Century ‘how to’ system written by Fiore the foremost dualist of his day. I was first taught T’ai Chi Qigong then to compliment the balance, strength and footwork needed for all forms of swordsmanship. And this makes total sense to me. Martial Arts originated from fighting arts taught to the military: until very recently in our history we fought not with guns and missiles but with hand held weapons like a sword. Therefore martial arts training was focused upon the attaining of enough strength, balance and flexibility to successfully wield 5 kg of sprung steel faster and more deftly than your opponents. I can see the connection between Qigong and swordsmanship. Every move and exercise of Qigong is intrinsically linked to a swordsmanship manoeuvre. Over the years though, as swords disappeared from the military so ‘martial’ arts changed to become something altogether different. But I say let’s not get too carried away by the relatively new martial hand-to-hand forms. All of them have their origins in simple human biomechanics and all originate from swordsmanship. Aikido’s literal translation for example is ‘without a sword’. All martial forms were deviations thought up by masters wanting to put their own stamp on teaching and demonstrating, often making things unnecessary complex. Swordsmanship was something that Fiore would have viewed as simplicity itself. His manuals were about speed, strength and purpose of attack, they are deceptively simplistic in just giving beginning, middle and end of each fight, but inculcate such extraordinary strength, poise and terrifying grace. Therefore my approach to martial arts training is to engage in precisely that, training. The fastest and most expedient forms of attack and defence with a rapier requires unbelievable flexibility and power. Martial arts training therefore should train the body and mind to be flexible, strong and balanced, like a swordsman.
Yoga-Qi is a synthesis of Qigong, Yoga and Pilates. It is a natural progression to take the dying-out ancient forms of swordsmanship and to create a martial form that trains the body and mind in a genuine ‘martial’ way, as would be needed for swordsmanship, but to take out of the equation the sword.
Therefore we have a system that is based upon millennia-old martial arts that has none of the ego-centric, testosterone-fuelled nonsense that most exam-based ‘belt’ systems are based upon. In Yoga-Qi there is no sparring, no mock fighting, no testing, no humiliation, no anger. Just powerful training of mind and body in the most ancient and proven of martial forms that have been utilised practically by generations wanting to benefit mind, body and spirit.
Increase your strength. Increase your flexibility. Increase inner peace and mindfulness. Practice meditation. Do Yoga-Qi!