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bigfootsquatch

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The Chinese place heavy focus on chi, jing, shen and so forth. I am not nearly as knowledgeable as some of you guys in this subject. My question is, in your tai chi chuan practice and personal opinion, do you believe that chi is actually circulated through the body? ORRRR is it a more cryptic way of talking about proper angles, breathing and body mechanics?
 

mograph

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Good question. In my Tai Chi practice, once I relax and align better, I begin to feel a tingling in my hands and arms. When I stand in Zhan Zhuang, on different occasions, I feel tingling, a vibration in my teeth (when upper and lower teeth are touching), fatness in my hands, and recently, a strange compulsion to wiggle slightly. Is this qi (ch'i)? Well, if qi is the thing that drives biological responses, then I guess it's qi.

I believe that qi, at least when you begin to experience it, is like the wind. Just as you can't see wind, you can only see its effect in the trees and the clouds. I can only feel qi in terms of its biological effects, such as the feeling of more blood circulating in my hands, or a tingle.

As for mentally circulating qi through my body, I certainly can't do that yet, nor have I met anybody who can. I'm not saying it can't be done, I just don't know what it feels like, so I can't comment on it.

As for the angles, breathing and body mechanics, I think they can all lead to a feeling of qi, or an increase in the quantity and/or quality of qi.

Hope that helps ...
 

ggg214

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in my personal opinion, if you are not a daoist and under a good master's conduct, it's better to train the taiji as one kind of martial art.
 

jarrod

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The Chinese place heavy focus on chi, jing, shen and so forth. I am not nearly as knowledgeable as some of you guys in this subject. My question is, in your tai chi chuan practice and personal opinion, do you believe that chi is actually circulated through the body? ORRRR is it a more cryptic way of talking about proper angles, breathing and body mechanics?

for me, i don't really see a difference. the results are the same whether it's ki, electromagnetic energy, a placebo, or whatever. the tao that can be named is not the tao, etc.

take feng shui for an example. they say that if you arrange your furniture this certain way, it will bring you good luck because of how it directs the chi flow in your house. even if you don't believe in chi, you know that when your surroundings look better, you tend to feel better. we also know that even though beauty is in the eye of the beholder, certain things like symmetry or the golden ratio are almost universally appealing. so here's an example of chi be mystical language for a mundane (yet complex) thing. "believing in chi" is just an intuitive awareness of sense that everything affects everything else, & that this can be positive or negative.

jf
 

Xue Sheng

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My question is, in your tai chi chuan practice and personal opinion, do you believe that chi is actually circulated through the body?

Yes, but then it is a terminology thing and it depends on how you define Qi (it really is not all that mystical). Look to Yang Jwing Ming for his definition, look to Yang Chengfu for his, Look to Sun Lutang for his, look to Li Tainji for his, look to Yin Fu for his, look to Di Guoyong for his, look to Tung Ying Chieh for his. They may be similar (actually if you look many are if you can get past the terminology) or they may very cryptic or they may be different.

ORRRR is it a more cryptic way of talking about proper angles, breathing and body mechanics?

Nope not the same, but that is very important and without proper alignment things don't circulate, muscles do not relax, etc.

As to breathing, to quote my sifu and his sifu "Yes you should"

Don't worry about breathing, it will happen naturally.
 

Ninebird8

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Xue, wow, my tai chi Sifu is in favor of breathing too!! What a coincidence!!! Amazing what just natural body movement will do for circulation of chi. I know the first time that I rooted for real, and sunk, it felt like hands coming up from the earth and holding my feet in place. It was at first weird but now I enjoy the fact that at 5'4" 150 lbs hard to move me........Dr. Yang defines it as part of electric energy of body and chi as a conduit to other electrical and body movements. We use to get sick of him using Ohm's law as the example....LOL!!
 

Quotheraving

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The Chinese place heavy focus on chi, jing, shen and so forth. I am not nearly as knowledgeable as some of you guys in this subject. My question is, in your tai chi chuan practice and personal opinion, do you believe that chi is actually circulated through the body? ORRRR is it a more cryptic way of talking about proper angles, breathing and body mechanics?

My own view on this is pretty simple, but I'm prone to verbose waffling so please bear with me while I pin it out for your approval and (hopefully) delight. :)

Firstly it is necessary to bear in mind that we all of us live simultaneously in two apparently seperate worlds.
I don't mean anything mystical by this, though this dichotomy is the source of nearly all mysticism and religion, I simply mean that we all live in an objective world and a subjective one.

The objective world is full of a myriad of things that we can usually easily experience, agree upon and name. So when I speak of, say a 'computer' I'm pretty sure we all know pretty much what I am talking about.
Infact we've got really damn good as a species at representing the world 'out there' in words, so much so that one of our favorite past times is to become immersed in a kind of virtual reality woven entirely from words... though you probably know this fun past-time as 'storytelling', which ironically blurs the boundaries with the other world, namely....

The subjective world on the other hand is an entirely different ball game. Yes we can make educated guesses about what another is experiencing based on obvious objective cues, such as their being red in the face and shaking a fist in our direction, but because the majority of our subjective sensations are personal to ourselves they are difficult to render into language, for instance we don't have a word for that feeling you get when you walk into a room and stand there trying to remember just exactly what the hell it was you went in there for.
Oh people try, but without the words it is usually left for those who are driven to self expression, people like poets and mystics who resort to the only means at their disposal, allusion and metaphor!

Like the poet and the mystic the internal stylist has something intensely subjective that they need to communicate. Like the meditative mystic they have spent decades listening to their body, relaxing and through that realising (for lack of a better word hehe) their inner strengths, their Nei Jing, and like the poet they are frequently driven to communicate this body of accumulated experience to others.

Now how do you communicate this inner experience, is it like something connecting parts of your body? Is it like something moving through you and into the partner and/or vice-versa? is energy a good word for it?.
Imagine how easy it would be when hearing someone trying to communicate these experiences with the only tools at hand, allusion and metaphor, to think that they were talking about some kinda tangible sloshy magic 'stuff' that was really objectively out there?
 
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mograph

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Along those lines, when we try to communicate something, we try to let the receiver connect the new words or concept to something with which the receiver is already familiar. Learning builds on existing experiences.

"watashi" means "I".
"caress it like you would a woman".
"it's like riding a bicycle".
"qi feels like electricity, like a tingle".

Now in the case of qi, if we've never put your finger in a socket, we might not know what electricity feels like. So some faith is required, until the student actually feels qi. Faith is also required when the student has felt tingles before, but associated them with numbness, limbs falling asleep and other experiences not associated with martial power.

So for many, the feeling of qi is a new experience, or an old experience with new meaning. Some find this difficult to accept, especially since most of us learn about qi in adulthood, after having developed many assumptions (many correct) about the way the world works. Presented with a new concept such as qi, we have difficulty accepting that we need to take its existence on faith, as this removes some of our adult power and requires us to trust others as we did as children.

If qi is described as "energy", some of us (not here, I think) need to examine our preconceptions of energy as something magical that leaps from a Jedi knight's fingers to vanquish evil (or good). These preconceptions can influence our opinions that qi does not exist, since Jedi knights and similar beings of fiction also do not exist.

I still like these ideas of qi:
1) it's no more magical or mysterious than life itself
2) scientific instruments can't measure everything yet
3) something has to drive physical processes inculding the four fundamental forces (strong nuclear, weak nuclear, electromagnetic and gravity)
4) it can only be discovered through direct experience, training and being song

Just a thought. :)
 
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bigfootsquatch

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Yes, but then it is a terminology thing and it depends on how you define Qi (it really is not all that mystical). Look to Yang Jwing Ming for his definition, look to Yang Chengfu for his, Look to Sun Lutang for his, look to Li Tainji for his, look to Yin Fu for his, look to Di Guoyong for his, look to Tung Ying Chieh for his. They may be similar (actually if you look many are if you can get past the terminology) or they may very cryptic or they may be different.



Nope not the same, but that is very important and without proper alignment things don't circulate, muscles do not relax, etc.

As to breathing, to quote my sifu and his sifu "Yes you should"

Don't worry about breathing, it will happen naturally.

I've noticed several instructors focusing on "in" and "out" breaths...or basically correlating the breathing with the movements. Is this bad practice?
 
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bigfootsquatch

bigfootsquatch

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for me, i don't really see a difference. the results are the same whether it's ki, electromagnetic energy, a placebo, or whatever. the tao that can be named is not the tao, etc.

take feng shui for an example. they say that if you arrange your furniture this certain way, it will bring you good luck because of how it directs the chi flow in your house. even if you don't believe in chi, you know that when your surroundings look better, you tend to feel better. we also know that even though beauty is in the eye of the beholder, certain things like symmetry or the golden ratio are almost universally appealing. so here's an example of chi be mystical language for a mundane (yet complex) thing. "believing in chi" is just an intuitive awareness of sense that everything affects everything else, & that this can be positive or negative.

jf

That is how I feel. So many martial arts focus on building chi as well. That is why I asked the question. Even tae kwon do has exercises to circulate chi. That is what got me thinking of chi as a concept rather than an actual energy force. Perhaps it was just terminology referring to breathing patterns and bodily alignment that make moves more powerful than isolated muscle power can.
Most posts here hint towards an existence of chi however, so maybe I should study the concept more.
 

Xue Sheng

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I've noticed several instructors focusing on "in" and "out" breaths...or basically correlating the breathing with the movements. Is this bad practice?

Is it good or bad? I am not sure, but I wouldn't train it, "learn" the form and the breathing will follow.

And if you are talking for MA apps I wouldn't train it for that either. As my last Xingyiquan Sifu said. "If you only strike on exhale I will attack right after you exhale because you have no more power to strike."
 

jarrod

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That is how I feel. So many martial arts focus on building chi as well. That is why I asked the question. Even tae kwon do has exercises to circulate chi. That is what got me thinking of chi as a concept rather than an actual energy force. Perhaps it was just terminology referring to breathing patterns and bodily alignment that make moves more powerful than isolated muscle power can.
Most posts here hint towards an existence of chi however, so maybe I should study the concept more.

there is a really excellent film called "what the bleep do we know?" which is a layman's explanation of quantum physics (it's really a fun & accessible movie, don't worry). one of the things that it covers in pretty good detail is the extent to which reality is equally defined by perception as it is anything else. a good analogy (provided by the author alan watts) is a rainbow: a rainbow is the way light reflects of the rain as perceived by the human eye. so the human perceiver is just as much an integral component of the rainbow as the rain & the light. so what i'm get at is that i think that if you perceive chi as an actual energy, then it is by the power of your perception. if you perceive it as something else, that will also work as well.

jf
 

Phoenix44

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I believe it begins with good body mechanics, but it's way beyond that. So yes, I guess I do believe in qi.

In my opinion, a lot of these intangibles are expressed in some manner so we can wrap our puny little brains around it: I mean, what makes a body alive one instant and dead the next? Identical twins are genetically identical, but they're not the same person.
 

Quotheraving

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there is a really excellent film called "what the bleep do we know?" which is a layman's explanation of quantum physics (it's really a fun & accessible movie, don't worry). one of the things that it covers in pretty good detail is the extent to which reality is equally defined by perception as it is anything else. a good analogy (provided by the author alan watts) is a rainbow: a rainbow is the way light reflects of the rain as perceived by the human eye. so the human perceiver is just as much an integral component of the rainbow as the rain & the light. so what i'm get at is that i think that if you perceive chi as an actual energy, then it is by the power of your perception. if you perceive it as something else, that will also work as well.

jf

With all due respect, as someone with a layman's knowledge of Quantum physics as well as cognitive psychology, the two areas of science that the film draws upon most heavily, I really do feel that something should be said about this.

"What the bleep do we know?" is not a good explanation of QT, it is a piece of New Age mysticism that mis-represents and misunderstands Quantum Theory, in short it is pseudo-scientific twaddle served up with a pretty obvious mystical agenda.
This is largely due to the fact that the film's makers are members of "Ramtha's school of Enlightenment" a fairly whacky but largely harmless bunch of cranks who believe that they are channelling a 30,000 year old Atlantean warrior called Ramtha.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramtha's_School_of_Enlightenment

There is truth in your last point, but it is as well to bear in mind that while our perception of a phenomenon undeniably creates our Subjective reality, it does not create the objective world.
This boundary is blurred in What the bleep, all told making it, what I would generally term, a 'soggy philosophy'.
 
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jarrod

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thanks for the info, i did not know that film was affiliated with a particular sect.

There is truth in your last point, but it is as well to bear in mind that while our perception of a phenomenon undeniably creates our Subjective reality, it does not create the objective world.

this is true, i guess i usually operate on the assumption our subjective reality is more important. whether it is or not, i would say that the existence of chi depends on one's subjective reality.

jf

p.s. i'm really not a science guy.
 

ggg214

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I don't get it. Explain this please.

i mean qi's training is totally different training, such as qi gong or dao yin(导引). in taiji's training, external movement will lead your breath or qi on the right way. my master always say: when you are thinking of qi, you lose it.
in taiji, there is a saying:there is your mind, there is qi(意到气到).i suggest taiji practitioners pay more attention to the movement than to the qi.
 

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As my last Xingyiquan Sifu said. "If you only strike on exhale I will attack right after you exhale because you have no more power to strike."

Hmmm. I'll have to mull this over for a while.

Yes, I train to strike on the exhale. I never perceived it as a problem before.

I would think in a more realistic setting, the breathing would take care of itself, but this comment gives me pause, all the same.
 

JadecloudAlchemist

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The Chinese place heavy focus on chi, jing, shen and so forth. I am not nearly as knowledgeable as some of you guys in this subject. My question is, in your tai chi chuan practice and personal opinion, do you believe that chi is actually circulated through the body? ORRRR is it a more cryptic way of talking about proper angles, breathing and body mechanics?

First let us go back to the character of Qi. Meaning the vapors that rises from cooking rice. Now there are at least 30 something different varieties of Qi and I think that is only in the human body lol.

Also if you look at Qi cultivation in based on the I ching look at Ji Ji which is harmony of Yin and Yang composed of Li and Kan which is important in all Alchemy works.

Looking at the defination of Qi can be tricky because we are translating a Chinese word into English. Also we are using a word that can have multi meanings and comparing it to Modern Western science can be difficult.

IMO ATP or Mitochondria may be one form of Qi. Qi in its basic defination by more modern writers would say it is energy. But it is not meant to be mystical energy as to what some people look for. But rather that Chinese of old had no way to describe it(fitting Western science) in which modern science has already fitted the modern science defination.

In the role of Mysticism,Magic,Alchemy I don't really get into on forums and that is more in the realm of religion.

As far as Cryptic ways of talking yes they do exist!! Some of the old texts use so many oddities that only those who are intiated can know what they are talking about.
 

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