What is qigong and how is it practiced?
I know that its a martial art but I don't know what exactly.
the way that you spelled it is korean. there is the chinese version of chi gong, the japanese ki gong, and the korean qi gong. its a form of moving meditation meant for energy cultivation. it is closely associated with religion and with martial arts. its to focus, harness, and strengthen the bodies internal energies so that you can use them. it might be for health, well being, protection, strength or in some cases better sex (i'm not making that part up). the monks use it before some iron body training to improve their resistance to the attacks or techniques. (breaking metal on their head, bats against their necks, bending spears and swords, etc.) the exercise includes repetitive movements that can be either stationary or mobile. it can include striking oneself, getting the lower body in sink with the upper body. and many others.
Ive been taking a class of it with my dad as an addition to my other martial arts. It's three hours and the first half we practice meditation and everything along those lines, the second half is all combat. Fight a martial artist who studies it and you will never doubt wheather or not it is a martial art.
Qigong is a composite of form, energy and mind. Martial arts like: Hsing I, Pa Kua, Tai Chi Chuan and Shaolin Kung Fu could in theory be called Qigong if they are performed with correct form, energy and mind. But in practice Qigong is not a martial art. It is used primarily to live a happy, healthy and long life full of vitality.
Try practicing Qigong only and then go sparring and you'll be introduced to a world full of pain =) Qigong is usually practiced by martial artists as a supplement to their martial arts training. Why? To help them develop vitality and internal force for sparring. Internal force helps a martial artist to stay clear minded and spar for longer without getting out of breath.
Interestingly the Shaolin 18 Lohan Hands was the fore runner of the Kung Fu set: The 18 Lohan Fists, which was the prototype of Shaolin Kung Fu.
Hope that helps =)