Qigong is the foundation for good habits and an internally conditioned body for the most of our Kung Fu fighting ability development journey.
The modern urbanite has evolved from their ancestors for the job of being pencil pushers in air conditioned offices, taking vehicles for most of their journeys. The result, small misaligned wrists and ankles and an underdeveloped cardiorespiratory system. Physical de-evolution only gets worse over the generations.
Qigong is an ancient practice refined over thousands of years. However there are many types of qigong, as there are many schools of Kung Fu. The right type of qigong can re-align a person's limbs, while energizing the internal organs. However, the effects can only be felt with the detailed instructions of a good teacher, and of course, constant practice.
Qigong should not be complicated, it should not need to be made up of too many different movements. Although I always criticize secretive conservative Chinese teachers for being reserved about teaching the whole art, I always emphasize taking things step by step, progressing to the next only when you have reached the standard for the current step. In this I highlight the importance of the fundamentals of deep breathing.
Besides recovery, Qigong also improves the nature of a practitioner's strikes and ability to stand the ground. It cultivates structural and breathing habits when executing Kung Fu techniques, the lack of it can result in the inability to do damage and worse, injury to your limb. There are countless martial artists I've encountered who are constantly stalled by injuries that could be prevented if they know and practice qigong.
Until now I do not understand how people can sprain their wrists or fingers when punching with big boxing gloves. If I am a Muay Thai guy, I will do qigong to prevent injuries and increase recovery.
As I mentioned before, Nei Gong aka Internal Force has two schools of thought, one believes in Qi, the other say it is structure and strictly only structure. They must be some crazy science cult or hardcore atheist, or they practice some modified Evangelical kind of Kung Fu. Whether it is qi or structure, it comes from visualization. Practicing qigong regularly burns the image into your habits so you always have the energy of intent behind your techniques.
So the next time you join our Kung Fu class, or some other traditional Kung Fu School if you don't live in Singapore, know the purpose when your beginner class has an emphasis on qigong. It is to protect you from injury and allow you to reach higher levels of skill in the future. In our Singapore Hung Gar Kung Fu class, I make muscular strength exercises and weight training a standard. It's the culture for macho men, and tough ladies.