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  • Chi Kung without Chi?

    There are many schools and systems of Chi Kung (Qi Gong) in the world today. Most (if not all) refer to Chi Kung as an "energy art" or "practice of energy" or "energy work". With so many, however, not having any experience of Chi, why do they continue to call their arts Chi Kung?

    Andrew
    Sifu Andrew Barnett
    Shaolin Wahnam Switzerland - www.shaolin-wahnam.ch

    Flowing Health GmbH www.flowing-health.ch (Facebook: www.facebook.com/sifuandrew)
    Healing Sessions with Sifu Andrew Barnett - in Switzerland and internationally
    Heilbehandlungen mit Sifu Andrew Barnett - in der Schweiz und International

    Chi Kung Courses: May 2019 in Landquart CH
    QEA Discussion Forum: www.qea.ch/forum

  • #2
    Maybe because different people ascribe different sensations to "chi". What you feel as "chi" is most likely vastly different from the sensations others describe as "chi". But how do we know many do not have any sensation of "chi"? Clearly people are feeling something; whether it fits your criteria for a "chi-ful" sensation is another matter. Is chi really that objective? Does your sensation of chi match up with your Sihing's and Sidai's sensations? Maybe it's just the sensation of blood being locked up and flowing again?
    One of my reasons for wanting to attend an intensive course is to "calibrate" my own sensations to what Sifu Wong describes as chi sensations, as well as internal force. It's like learning chinese from a book. I know all the tones in cantonese, and I can read the romanization from a webpage. What I was missing was someone (or a recording) to show me what tones correspond with what symbol.
    Last edited by Chiahua; 17th September 2004, 09:51 AM.

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    • #3
      Nice post sunyata, thanks.

      Clearly people are feeling something
      That's the problem ... in many cases they don't feel anything. Maybe they feel a little bit more relaxed but nothing at all tangible.

      I have had a number students who have attended chi kung class elsewhere and never felt anything --- not even more relaxed. Some didn't even realise that Chi Kung is more than non-aerobic stretching.

      Andrew
      Sifu Andrew Barnett
      Shaolin Wahnam Switzerland - www.shaolin-wahnam.ch

      Flowing Health GmbH www.flowing-health.ch (Facebook: www.facebook.com/sifuandrew)
      Healing Sessions with Sifu Andrew Barnett - in Switzerland and internationally
      Heilbehandlungen mit Sifu Andrew Barnett - in der Schweiz und International

      Chi Kung Courses: May 2019 in Landquart CH
      QEA Discussion Forum: www.qea.ch/forum

      Comment


      • #4
        The other way round

        Or another question: What do you feel if you don't know you're practicing Chi Kung?

        One year ago, I even didn't know what Chi Kung really is, but a few months ago I realised, that I was doing Chi Kung for more than two years.

        I'm learning Kung Fu from a Vietnamese master. In his courses, we are doing something called "Energy". I think that "Energy" is his own translation (he was born and learned Kung Fu in Vietnam) from his native language. But his description of "Energy" is obvious: "Training the internal energy/force".

        What we are (were, in my case) doing is hard Chi Kung, dynamic patterns with tensed muscles. My master recommended it (apart from gaining power for Kung Fu) for preventing illness, especially when you feel that you will get sick (i.e. the flu).

        The fact is, that I was never ill since I started Kung Fu (I used to stay in bed two to three times every winter) and that I felt very energized after the practice. I also felt very powerfull in the arms during practice. Whether it was Chi or not, I can not say, but it contributed to my health.

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        • #5
          Initial sensations

          Originally posted by WahnamCH
          not having any experience of Chi
          I think this is the key part of the equation.

          If someone has not yet experienced any energy flow but they have experienced what is called energy flow, then they will believe that they have experienced energy flow. The other extension of this is someone believing that they have accomplished a great deal when in fact they have hardly moved at all.

          I have had well meaning students come to me with excited faces to demonstrate new found skills and abilities, only to be sobered by the realisation that they are not the first person to experience these events. I would say that anyone who has experienced energy flow will know the joy of first realising it, of playing with the physical sensation, the elusive feathery touch of your own energy on your skin. You may start thinking that this is great, fantastic, amazing (which it is) but then you realise that you have not even scratched the surface.

          Many people love the movements of their chi flows, treating them almost as badges of competance. While they are wonderfull, again they are only the beginnings of something greater.

          This is not to diminish the experiences themselves - if someone has learned to relax more by practicing a 'gentle exercise', this is still good. It's just not what I would call Chi Kung. If using common sense, you can say that everything is an expression of energy anyway. Also using common sense, you can say that the earth is flat. So if someone calls their art 'Chi Kung' because they can feel a ball of energy between their palms, fair enough. I think the real worry is when people think that that is all that Chi Kung is.

          My interpretatin of the question is - should they still be referred to as Chi Kung?

          Comment


          • #6
            Chi ?

            Hey Guys,
            Just to add my own opinion. Does noit every action we do, thinking. moving, feelin emotions. Does this not involve chi? If we dont have any chi then are we not dead?

            Like people have said it comes down to peoples experiences of chi and what they percieve about it.

            Thanks Mark
            Sifu Mark Appleford

            sigpic

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            • #7
              Chi flow

              What we are (were, in my case) doing is hard Chi Kung, dynamic patterns with tensed muscles.
              I'm wondering if what you were doing is actually Chi Kung as everything I have heard about Chi Kung points towards being relaxed, or else you will block the flow of chi.

              I would say that anyone who has experienced energy flow will know the joy of first realising it, of playing with the physical sensation, the elusive feathery touch of your own energy on your skin.
              I remember my wonder of chi as a child, when thinking how a tingling sensation travelling/flowing through my body like water could be possible when all of my organs were seperate I now know that it was just the natural feeling of chi, and feel quite lucky to know that too

              Namo Ami Tuo Fo
              Philip
              Last edited by shaolinfist; 20th September 2004, 09:46 PM.
              You should not only aim at the destination but also enjoy the journey. You should not just celebrate the achievement but also cherish the effort.
              - Sifu

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm wondering if what you were doing is actually Chi Kung as everything I have heard about Chi Kung points towards being relaxed, or else you will block the flow of chi.
                This is exactly the point of this thread. When can you call something Chi Kung? As far as I know, Chi Kung means "the skill of working with energy" or "mastering energy". I think this is the subtle difference: working/mastering. When can you call it Chi Kung, when you are practicing just the movements (working) or when you can feel and direct (master) the chi?

                Perhaps someone who knows Chinese could tell us more about the exact translation of the word "Chi Kung".

                If Chi Kung is generally only "energy work", then everything that has to do with energy is "Chi Kung". Whether you let the chi flow or compress it in the muscles. What I was doing was internal force training, which hasn't the all the benefits of Shaolin Chi Kung (cleansing, spiritual developement, etc) of course.

                This thread becomes interesting

                Comment


                • #9
                  Perhaps someone who knows Chinese could tell us more about the exact translation of the word "Chi Kung".
                  Chi Kung is the art of training vital energy, literally translated as the art of energy.

                  If Chi Kung is generally only "energy work", then everything that has to do with energy is "Chi Kung". Whether you let the chi flow or compress it in the muscles.
                  The key word here is art.

                  When can you call it Chi Kung, when you are practicing just the movements (working) or when you can feel and direct (master) the chi?
                  When you are training the energy you can call it Chi Kung. In order to do this you must be in a Zen/Meditative/Chi Kung state of mind. If you practise only the form, without the energy and the mind dimensions, then you are merely performing physical exercise, strictly speaking not chi kung, for there is no training of energy.

                  What I was doing was internal force training, which hasn't the all the benefits of Shaolin Chi Kung (cleansing, spiritual developement, etc) of course.
                  In Shaolin Chi Kung even the internal force training cleanses the meridians and is primarily geared towards spiritual cultivation.
                  I hope that my answers are fairly accurate and helpful.
                  Namo Ami Tuo Fo
                  Philip

                  There are three aspects in all types of chi kung, namely form, energy and mind. If you practise only the form, without the energy and the mind dimensions, then you are merely performing physical exercise, strictly speaking not chi kung, for there is no training of energy. For an effective control of energy, you have to enter what is called in modern terms "a chi kung state of mind". In the past, this was called "entering Zen" or "entering silence". When you are in Zen or a meditative state of mind, you can, among other things, tap energy from the cosmos and direct the energy to flow to wherever you want in your body. It is this mind aspect of chi kung, even more than its energy aspect, that enables chi kung masters to perform what lay people would call miracles, or, depending on their attitude, fakery. Wong Kiew Kit, www.artofchikung.com
                  You should not only aim at the destination but also enjoy the journey. You should not just celebrate the achievement but also cherish the effort.
                  - Sifu

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                  • #10
                    tensed muscles

                    Originally posted by Shaolinfist
                    I'm wondering if what you were doing is actually Chi Kung as everything I have heard about Chi Kung points towards being relaxed, or else you will block the flow of chi.
                    Hi,

                    Doing this practice with tensed muscles builds hard qi in the muscles to resist blows, so it is a type of hard qigong. One of my sifu's students (a woman) did this 4-5 times a week for 6 months, and could put her hand through a cement block afterward. Flomo, did you tense all muscles in your body while doing this?

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                    • #11
                      Hi Qiflow,

                      Originally posted by qiflow
                      One of my sifu's students (a woman) did this 4-5 times a week for 6 months, and could put her hand through a cement block afterward.
                      You sound like you are a bit amazed about what that woman achieved. It's true that this training method somehow works, but I wouldn't advise you to practice it. While there are some benefits, there are also harmful side effects which don't really enhance your daily life.

                      I'm practicing Shaolin QiGong for 18 months now, and I trained the hard method until 8 months ago. But since I stopped with it, my chiflows have really improved. And so did my daily life.

                      Originally posted by qiflow
                      Flomo, did you tense all muscles in your body while doing this?
                      I won't explain you any techniques here, because I'm not a master in them and because these methods contradict the ones discussed on this forum.

                      But to answer your question:
                      There are a lot of exercises, which affect different parts of the body. This might be only one finger, or even the whole torso. And because you are in the horse riding stance, they affect mostly the upper body. So the tension depends on the exercise. This is combined with (harmful) forceful breathing, which contracts your abdomen a lot.

                      As I said: Don't waste your time learning those techniques. There are better, healthier methods do learn how to break things. Read some posts on this forum. But if you still want to do it, speak with your sifu and that woman you mention.

                      flomo

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by flomo
                        Hi Qiflow,
                        You sound like you are a bit amazed about what that woman achieved. It's true that this training method somehow works, but I wouldn't advise you to practice it. While there are some benefits, there are also harmful side effects which don't really enhance your daily life.
                        Yes, I find it pretty amazing. I agree, it is not great for your health, and there are better methods. This is why I do mostly internal work. However, it is fascinating what can be achieved.

                        Originally posted by flomo
                        I won't explain you any techniques here, because I'm not a master in them and because these methods contradict the ones discussed on this forum.

                        But to answer your question:
                        There are a lot of exercises, which affect different parts of the body. This might be only one finger, or even the whole torso. And because you are in the horse riding stance, they affect mostly the upper body. So the tension depends on the exercise. This is combined with (harmful) forceful breathing, which contracts your abdomen a lot.

                        As I said: Don't waste your time learning those techniques. There are better, healthier methods do learn how to break things. Read some posts on this forum. But if you still want to do it, speak with your sifu and that woman you mention.
                        Thanks for the general overview, which was what I was after.

                        I definitely agree, there are better methods out there. I have been practicing Pan Gu Shengong (www.pangu.org), and the results are rather remarkable, though it is not a martial system.

                        Peace.

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                        • #13
                          Most people are very impressed by such feats like smashing bricks etc with their bare hands. Quite honestly I am not impressed at all. Let me share with you what I saw when I was 14 (I am now 62). My sifu who was a hermit demonstrated something to me which I can't forget for the rest of my life. One day he lined up a row of eggs (about 5 ) in a straight line. Then he used his hand balls which were actually large size ball bearings and took aim and threw the ball bearings at the eggs with great force from a distance of about 5 feet or so.

                          My first reaction was "no big deal" as I could also break those eggs without any problem. The answer was not that simple. All the eggs were hit but none of them broke. He then took a bowl and smashed the eggs. All the eggs were well beaten up. Then he said "Ah Weng (this is my Chinese name) we can have omelette and plain rice for lunch".

                          If this is not Chi Kung I wonder what it is?

                          Best Regards,
                          Frank

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                          • #14
                            chi kung without chi.. is like playing music without feeling.. you're doing all the right notes..but nothing sounds right.

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                            • #15
                              chi kung?

                              I've been practicing chi kung everyday for some months now and I often find that during chi kung practice I don't feel chi. Actually, I feel chi much more often when I perform lifting the sky, pushing mountains or carrying the moon than when I go into "chi flow". However, I generally feel good after practice.

                              Is this chi kung without chi still chi kung?

                              Mark
                              少林華南台灣 Shaolin Wahnam Taiwan

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                              "Then how could chi kung overcome diseases where the cause is unknown or when there is no cure? The question is actually incorrect. The expressions "the cause is unknown" and "there is no cure" are applicable only in the Western medical paradigm. The expressions no longer hold true in the chi kung paradigm. In the chi kung paradigm the cause is known, and there is a cure."

                              -Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

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