While science doesn’t leave us with a definitive answer if Qi (Chi) exist. I can tell you from personal experience that I have felt this invisible energy move through my body while doing exercises like Qigong and Tai Chi. I even can feel it moving through my body when I am meditating.
…Before I finish up this post, check out what Sije Jamie and Sifu Phu has to say about it
You only need to train in Qigong a few times to feel Chi. I have never experienced anything super natural. I haven’t seen it create super human abilities or anything like that. Rather I have found that our bodies have the amazing ability to heal itself.
I believe that over the centuries ancient wisdom has been lost to our modern society as such things like Qi have been mis understood and the real power of Chi has been lost to history.
I read books on developing Qi as well as spoken in depth with my acupuncturist about it. It’s definitely a thing and that’s all I know. I mean I can feel it. Over the years I have practiced qigong going on 26 years now. I can relax my body and free my mind simply by breathing in and breathing out. From that relaxed state when I do things like play chi sao, spar or do push hands I can feel that my senses are heightened.
I also feel that doing Qigong over the years has given me an advantage when it comes to developing my sensitivity skill. And the proof is in the pudding. My skillset is really good and I can’t even tell you how shocked people are when they touch hands with me.
I remember when I first walked into Sifu Phu’s school 26 years ago. He hit me so hard I literally saw a white flash before my eyes. He joked and said it wasn’t even 10% of his power and looking back on that day I don’t think he was lying about that. I asked him what his secret was and he said he had good Chi. I then asked him, how do I have good chi. His answer was learn Tai Chi and Qigong.
It took me a hot minute to really dig into Tai Chi, but as for Qigong I learned that right away and have been practicing it ever since.
Prof Dr Andrew Lawrence-King says
Thank you very much for this article, Larry! And it has provoked interesting comments.
I see a connection between your over-questioning friend and that sceptical family physician: the conscious, analytical mind sometimes obstructs a deeper way of learning, in which the subconcious mind and the body’s multiple, intricate systems can interact more directly, faster, stronger than under conscious control.
Elite athletes, top musicians, and refined martial artists understand that whilst theoretical knowledge is useful, these various arts require subtle training that allows accessing the power and speed of that alternate state of consciousness, in which it feels as if the body “knows for itself what to do”. Sifu Phu’s saying “slow is smooth, smooth is fast, fast is deadly” can apply equally well to sports or musical training, just as to martial arts.
Opera singers are told such things as “sing with your eyes”: this is anatomical nonsense, as any family physician can confirm. But as an act of imagination, it creates certain real-life structures in the body, that optimise the desired sound. So even if Qi does not exist, thinking about it works in practice, and that is enough.
Of course, there is plenty of measurable energy flowing back and forth through the body’s nervous system, and this is a reasonable “modern scientific” rationalisation of Qi, that the family physician can accept. But I would suggest that explaining Qi away like this is too limiting: the holistic nature of Chinese Medicine correctly identifies a rich network of connections within the body/mind: connections which certainly function, even when western medicine does not yet understand the mechanism by which it functions.
So another answer could be that Qi is the entire system proprioception (extended also in partner-training to the subtle perception of the opponent’s mind-body holism). And that the images of Qi as some kind of fluid, light or energy that can be felt moving around the body, those images are a useful tool for achieving results that we cannot acheive otherwise.
Finally, remind your sceptical family Physician of the power of the Placebo effect, comparable to some of the most expensive medical drugs! Qi could be considered to be the way that we focus the power of our minds to work in harmony with the body: “where the intention is, there Qi will be also”.
Disclosure: I’m a top musician and qualified Hypnotist. I know nothing about elite Athletics, so feel free to throw your Javelin, Discus or Cricket Bat at me now! 🙂
Best wishes, Andrew
Sifu Larry Rivera says
Very well said, thanks for sharing 🙂