- Martial arts Qigong uses qi (chee or chi) for protection and to defend against another.
- Spiritual Qigong uses Qi to connect with 'source' to develop and use spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts include the ability to sense truth, sense earth energy, sense people's true personality, sensing the future, sending and directing subtle messages, astral travel, travel to the past, as well as integrating with the Tao.
- Medical Qigong is used to maintain one’s health or help you (or someone else) heal thought directing Qi and moving &/or changing the energy frequency, vibrations, & flow of Qi.
- Martial Arts training will primarily begin with external techniques of physical movement. After those skills are developed, the training process usually then becomes more mental where the student learns to tap in, use, and direct Qi to be used with those defensive movements.
- Spiritual Qigong training usually begins with the internal so usually starts with meditation. The training and focus moves to mind training and visualization, focusing on sensing incoming messages from Qi, moving Qi, and then directing Qi (See Quesak for more information about Spiritual Gifts).
- Healing Qigong often uses a combination of both external exercises and inward meditation. It also includes using healing protocols and techniques for different symptoms and ailments.
Sometimes it is good to view the different styles of Qigong. This can help you see the similarities as well as the differences in these three Qigong branches. This video is of a Martial Arts Qigong and of a competition in China. Notice the physicality of the Martial Arts Qigong and how mentally directing Qi can be used for breaking, or for protection or to disable an opponent.
Because Spiritual Qigong is usually an inward and mental process, and the results are often more subtle, I'm going to use a movie as a demonstrative source for Spiritual Qigong. In this video clip from Star Wars, Obi-wan Kenobi, a Jedi Knight (who is a Qi Master) demonstrates using a spiritual gift known as 'Command Projection' which directs and influences another person to follow his guidance. In this clip, the Master says "you don't need to see his identification" and "these are not the Droids you're looking for." The Storm Troopers do not resist or question but follow these subtle commands. This is an example of Spiritual Qigong.
This video is a demonstration of one part of the Medical Qigong process. This video shows a popular Qigong exercise called the Eight Brocades. These gentle Qigong movements and exercises are used to help keep Qi flowing and balanced but also require the person to mentally focus and visualize the healing.