The 3 changes Qigong method


Borrowing from Taoist meditation

As described by Xingyiquan master Kuo Yun Shen, Xingyiquan is similar to Taoist meditation; In that, both have the goal of emptiness. Xingyi goes from inaction to action and the Taoist go from action to inaction.

The 3 changes qigong

  1. sperm changes to Qi
  2. Qi changes to spirit
  3. spirit changes to emptiness

While these changes are good to know, we cannot all claim to be as enlightened as Dámó (Bodihidarma, transmitter of Buddhism to China), this means we practice and find out for ourselves.

Xingyi stageSedentary stageChangesEnergy typeType of breathing
sperm into qiFire workBonesOvertBasic
qi into spiritSummoning fireSinewsCovertIntermediate
spirit into emptinessDivine fireMarrowMysteriousAdvanced
Ancient Qigong movements,

Obvious energy

Kuo Yun Shen teaches: The way to mysterious energy is through the obvious and concealed energies. At birth, our bodies are strong and later begin to decline. To get obvious energy you must be centred and balanced. Through this energy, sperm can be permitted to be worked into Qi, which changes the bones. After a concerted effort, the dispersed Qi is concentrated at the naval and all parts of the body are coordinated.

Concealed energy

It is free, relaxed, soft, and natural. However, do not be misled by the word soft. It is not soft like grass; rather, it is elastic. This stage deals with changing qi into the spirit, which works on the sinews. Concealed energy is the rear leg that holds the strength when readying to jump across a ditch.

Mysterious energy

The highest stage grows from the second. It is called mysterious, the result of marrow washing (training taken from Buddhism’s Yijin Jing, later developed by Yue Fei into the 8 Brocades). It is soft and uses no strength. It lets you move easily because the energy is concentrated. The energy that is derived from this way of training is not the same as actual strength. Although the actions taken are the same, the energy stays inside, controlled by the mind.

Chinese medicine system.

3 changes in the body

With your advancement through these stages already mentioned, there occur three changes in the body:

  1. change of the bones
  2. change of the sinews
  3. washing the bone marrow

While in the ‘Overt’ stage we hold the body like a mountain, by standing and moving the bones become hard. Changing the sinews requires the ‘Covert’ stage, fusing all your energy into and through all the sinew


Certified Yizong Instructor Xingyiquan, Baguazhang, Taijiquan with a background in external kung fu and western boxing.