Qi Belly or Blubber Belly?

A reader asks:

Hi Marcus
I observed that many of the people I see practicing Qigong in the park have big belly. Some people on the net say that the belly is big because it’s full of chi. But I wonder if it’s just omentum fat which is usually under the abdominal muscles…

Okay, here’s my reply:

I’ve certainly heard the ‘Qi Belly‘ theory. If you’ve ever heard of the martial arts pioneer ‘Robert W. Smith’ (no, not the lead singer from the ‘Cure’), you’ll know that in a lot of his books you’ll see photos of internal martial arts masters taking a full force punch from him to the belly.

Now they certainly had Qi Belly’s.

However, I believe today there are far more ‘Blubber Belly’s‘ than Qi Belly’s out there. This has certainly been my experience.

Having been the proud owner of a belly I can tell you I feel much healthier without it.

Qigong is a Chinese art and the Chinese have a different view on what a healthy body should look like.

Or they did until exposure to Western cultural influences took over.

The Chinese ideal of a beautiful, healthy body was one that was rounded and smooth. The theory being harmonious and abundant Qi flow fills the body.

A little bit like the difference between a hosepipe with water flowing through it and one without.

Not the best metaphor but it will do.

What I say now is just my own humble opinion based on my own direct experience of 20 years in the Chinese martial arts and Qigong world.

So if you don’t like what I have to say, fine, believe what you will. My aim is to share my experiences with you, to help you avoid the dead-ends and pitfalls I’ve encountered on my Qigong journey.

So here goes…

If there’s one lesson I’ve finally learned and it’s been a long, drawn out and often painful lesson, it’s this:

You’ve got to take everything people in the Qigong/Martial arts world say (including me) with a healthy pinch of salt.

Do your own research, trust your own instincts, rely on teachers that have earned your trust and believe your own direct experiences.

Do this and you won’t go too far wrong.

Oh, and if you’d like to find out how I lost my fake ‘Qi Belly‘ I invite you to read this blog post I wrote:

Qigong and Weight Loss

Enjoy your practice,


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