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Page 6 - Finding Qi in Internal Martial Arts
I believe that the act of being open to the existence of the subtle energy matrix as a possibility encourages electrochemical changes in the brain. This in turn encourages sensitivity to, and development of ones own internal energy field. In my experience, most open-minded people, given the right conditions, are able to develop the ability to sense internal energy through and around their body to at least to some degree. This ability seems to be independent of age, education or life experience. The list of those who I have seen train and increase their sensitivity to their internal (and external) energy matrix is quite varied, and includes tenured professors at prominent universities, lawyers, engineers, medical doctors, and, even more challenging, a few medical students. Some out of each of these groups just mentioned have been not only able to sense, but even (given the right conditions) see their own or anothers energy field extending a foot or more outward from their own physical form.12
The late Master Liu demonstrates Lotus Palm qigong.
I feel strongly that the ability to sense and develop internal energy is related to personal and social evolution13. It is personal since each individual has the potential to sense and develop internal energy and positively influence his or her personal growth and understanding through the process. It pertains to social evolution through its universality and positive potential consequences to society. If it really is the basis of human energy, health, and a higher order mind-body integration this suggests attributes that speak to the underlying codes of the human spirit and potential that go beyond differences in culture or religion.
However, as I can attest, the ability to perceive the bio-energetic field does not mean that one has attained some kind of personal perfection. The activation of latent skills, because of the degree of introspection and sensitivity required, usually indicates evolution in progress, or at least the aspiration toward advancement. This evolution is characterized as the ongoing, transformation and exchange of coarseness for subtlety. In practical terms it requires giving up callousness and tension in form and mind and replacing them with sensitivity. In human terms, it makes one gentler. In internal martial and healing arts it manifests as less need to resort to obvious strength or technique alone, relying instead on lightness of touch. In healing terms, sensitivity like this opens the doorway to being able to medically intuit the cause and cure of pain or disease and assist the patients energy in the healing process.
Blending of the poles I:
Loose and connected power
One of the best places to look at the key to the merging of the poles of physicality and internal energy is in the principle of sung or loose and connected power. Sung14 is the merging point between the hard and soft. Its hardness is the manifestation of the power of a spring-steel whip delivered with minimal effort. Its softness is the ability of the whip to adapt, manipulate and express power through its fluid-like, changing medium. There are various techniques used by internal masters to get students to attain this soft yet connected power. They all involve the merging of hardness and softness, of stillness and movement: the blending of the two poles. The principles they use were derived from ancient Daoist naturalistic yogas. Some of the best methods of learning inner connection and alignment can be gleaned from the study of these early roots of the internal arts.
Blending of the Poles II:
Internal Energy & Taoist Yoga
The Daoist yogas, or Dao Yin, are among the best ways to merge physical form and internal energy. These exercises originated as attempt to bridge the secrets of life and death and attain physical immortality. The literature of these alchemical traditions, a blending of philosophical Daoism with a declining Yin-Yang school, first appeared in China during the third century CE. The work of the early Daoist yogis led to the creation of the first systematic physiotherapeutic tradition and laid internal energy and physical principle groundwork for what was to become the internal martial arts 1,400 years later. Significantly, the physical training aspects of these arts required Daoist sages to master control and coordination of muscle groups that are not normally under conscious control. This set of knowledge and training method was later to become the basis of the unique physiomuscular mechanics of the internal martial arts. Along with this development came the peculiar internal alchemy terminology and theory such as lien tan (exercising the essential energy) and the melding of the three aspects of internal qi: Shen, Qi, Ching. The development of these was to become the root theory and the central goal of the internal martial and healing art systems as a way of merging of energy and structure. However the nexus where structure, form, mind, will and energy merge is delicate and the process of integrating the knowledge with physical form is one that requires the lightest touch.
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