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Home Close Combat Tai Chi Chi Whiz! – Questionable Demonstrations of Internal Energy

Chi. Ki. Qi. Internal energy. Whatever you call it you can find a martial arts forum where it’s being discussed, usually at high decibel levels and involving the liberal use of references to mothers.

Martial artists tend to fall into two camps when it comes to the concept of energy: either it is a mystical thing that flows through our bodies like just so much golden manna, can be effectively used in martial applications and is created by both pre- and postnatal means such as diet, exercise and breathing, or it is something that is produced within the cells of most tissues i.e. liver skin, muscle etc and is done so by the mitochondria, said continuous cycle being called the TCA cycle and using carbon compounds to produce H2O and CO2 (also known as cellular respiration).

The funny thing is that both viewpoints have their truths.

But whatever viewpoint you choose to believe in there’s one group of internal energy practitioners that BOTH sides can agree to hold up to ridicule …

Yeah … those guys.

The sad thing is, it doesn’t even matter if you dress them up in purple skirts – the end result is still the same …

Heck, you can even be a full-blown Buddhist monk that levitates!

… or have a Conga-line of willing subjects at your disposal …

… it just doesn’t matter – SOMEONE is going to show up at your door someday and ask to be your next test-subject.

As a long-time internal arts practitioner I’ve seen and felt a lot of things over the years – things that I cannot always explain, but that lack of hard evidence isn’t always a concrete sign that mystical forces are involved. I prefer to use the principle of Occam’s Razor – that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. It’s only when I exhaust all possible explanations that I start considering metaphysical causes.

Another factor to be considered in the debate is that the Chinese have always liked to put forth their ideas as paradoxes, puzzles, enigmas and mysteries;  they like to use allegories and metaphors in their teachings, and nowhere is this found so profusely as in the fields of martial arts and traditional Chinese medicine, both of which utilize the concept of qi / ki / chi.

Ongoing research shows some interesting parallels between the scientific and the mystical interpretations of internal energy, but one thing is for sure – if you’re going to make claims that this energy can be used in a real-world situation (usually in a spectacular way) then you’d better be ready to show total strangers also, not just friends, family and students.

Count Dante (AKA John Keenan) was one such person who claimed mystical powers – indeed, he made quite a profit off his comic-book ads that offered to teach these same miracles to anyone who sent him a few bucks – but in the end his teachings are generally discredited by the martial arts community …

Of course, you should probably develop your bare-hand energy abilities before you start swinging swords …

… but no matter where you are or how you dress, you have to watch out for the soul-crushing power of TRUE INTERNAL ENERGY …

… even if you’re just making bowls of water move across tables …

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