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(8 pages total)

Page 7 - Finding Qi in Internal Martial Arts



Becker, Robert O., MD, The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life. New York: Quill/William Morrow, 1985


Bracy, John and Liu, Xing-Han, Ba Gua: Hidden Knowledge in the Taoist Internal Martial Art, North Atlantic Books, 1999


Eisenberg, David, MD, Encounters with Qi : Exploring Chinese Medicine, W.W. Norton & Co., New York, NY, 1995


Krishna, Gopi Kundalini: Empowering Human ­Evolution; Selected writings of Gopi Krishna. Edited by Gene Kieffer, Paragon House, 1996


Needham, Joseph, Science and Civilization in China, Volume 5, Cambridge University Press, 1983


Wang Xiangzhai, Wang Xiangzhai Discusses the Essence of Combat Science Newspaper Interview, Shibao and Xinbao, Beijing, 1940 translated by Timo Heikkilla and Li Jiong. Contact timoheik@sci.fi or ivyitian@mailisxptt.zj.cn


Wile, Douglas Lost Tai Chi Classics from the late Ching Dynasty, Albany: State, University of New York Press, 1996



Note: This article is part of a collection of writings by internal martial art professionals to be published as Journeys with the Taoist Warriors: a Quest for truth in the Alchemical Fighting Arts. Edited by Alex Kozma. To be published summer 2002.



 1. Nei Tan translates as internal alchemy, (literally, internal elixir of immortality) and refers to the Taoist yogas originally practiced in the search for the secret of physical immortality. According to Douglas Wile and others, the development of internal arts can be traced to the adoption of principles from inner yogic arts to the martial arts during the late Qing (Ching) Dynasty. See Wile, pp 49-51. For a detailed overview of the history of the development of internal energy with the martial arts see Bracy & Liu, pp. 5-20   


2. Note exception for very high level practitioners who seem to suspend dependence on physical principles. In this article I am describing principles of physical and energetic merging, not yin-yang polarity within the body that creates and allows the manifestation of internal energy.  


3. Wang Xiangzhai, the founder of Yi Quan (Mind-Boxing), gave a series of interviews that were published in 1940 in the Beijing newspapers Shibao and Xinbao. In this highly recommended reading, ­Master Wang was emphatic regarding the importance of free and open demonstration of skills and advocates open and friendly comparison and tests of realistic self-defense abilities to be essential for the preservation of the art.   


4. Following Wang Xiangzhais example, this is most productive when done with sincerity and without attachment to being superior, or even getting a demo right every time. When I demonstrate, I try to keep in mind only the intent to show something of the physical magic in which, we as seniors in the field, have invested so many years of study.   


5. The reader will note that I have purposely left out examples of specific demonstrations. How one teacher is able to demonstrate internal power will vary widely from the next. The main point is that 20 or more years in the art should produce objective skill in the practitioner.   


6. Cheng Ting-Hua, Sun Lu-Tang, Yang Chen-Fu, Wang Xiangzhai and many other famous boxers.   


7. Needham, pp. 64-70   


8. Taken from a private letter to the author.   


9. Most likely sent through a measurable, but barely detectable bio-electrical signal. This might be compared to a telephone which transmits data through a nearly faint electrical signal that is interpreted a certain way on the receiving end.


10. A good example is our blind spot, and the way our brain fills in the visual gap created by the blind spotthe place where the optic nerve ­attaches to the retina, thus creating a hole in the visual field. The visual impression of what is filled in by the gap is a fictional coloring of logical background that may, or may not exist. We all have these visual holes that we are not aware of. This illustrates the power of the mind to create the world that it believes exists.


11. Becker, Robert; The Body Electric and Eisenberg, David, Encounters with Qi: Exploring Chinese Medicine


12. Dr. Becker suggests that there may be a physio­logical explanation to account for how some ­individuals might be able to see the human bio-energy field. See Becker, p.268


13. The thesis of human energy systems as a vehicle for genius and evolution can be found in Gopi Krishnas writings and descriptions of his experiences.


14. Sung is the single most important concept in the internal martial arts. Not easily translated into ­English, it can be approximately translated as springy-ness or tenacity and can be used to describe the resilience of bamboo. A common use of the word in Chinese language is as an adjective to describe the springy-ness of correctly cooked rice.


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