Author Topic: What is Chi?  (Read 31952 times)

fomenter

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Re: What is Chi?
« Reply #90 on: November 04, 2008, 12:37:37 am »
The issue being here is that the knowledge is not logical-mathemetical. Its kinesthetic, its wordless, something you learn by doing. Which means you may not even know its a "magic trick" consciously.
this would tie in nicely with the harmony part, wordless (mental harmony ) kinesthetic (feeling) your opponents movement and moving with it in a way that defeats him. also both martial arts and mysticism use the acquisition of magical powers to gain students, "i have to work how hard?!!" "yes but wen you are done you can do amazing X". the practical results keep people who do the work happy and justify the exaggerations when its their turn to cultivate students

Essentially, what is magical is actually natural, but must be advertised as magical for people to keep interested.

I am more interested when the nature of the techniques are claimed honestly from the get go.
i agree i am willing to work for real results even ones that cant be measured, putting out candles with a blast of chi looks goods on TV but if it isnt real i don't need the tricks to have interest. increased balance, flexibility, muscle tone, control over heart rate, control over breathing, control over blood flow, experience of altered states W/O drugs, silencing the internal monologue and of course the ability to survive a tough fight unhurt are plenty cool.   
"So she says to me, do you wanna be a BAD boy? And I say YEAH baby YEAH! Surf's up space ponies! I'm makin' gravy... Without the lumps. HAAA-ha-ha-ha!"


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Re: What is Chi?
« Reply #91 on: November 04, 2008, 12:57:13 am »
The issue being here is that the knowledge is not logical-mathemetical. Its kinesthetic, its wordless, something you learn by doing. Which means you may not even know its a "magic trick" consciously.
this would tie in nicely with the harmony part, wordless (mental harmony ) kinesthetic (feeling) your opponents movement and moving with it in a way that defeats him. also both martial arts and mysticism use the acquisition of magical powers to gain students, "i have to work how hard?!!" "yes but wen you are done you can do amazing X". the practical results keep people who do the work happy and justify the exaggerations when its their turn to cultivate students

Essentially, what is magical is actually natural, but must be advertised as magical for people to keep interested.

I am more interested when the nature of the techniques are claimed honestly from the get go.
i agree i am willing to work for real results even ones that cant be measured, putting out candles with a blast of chi looks goods on TV but if it isnt real i don't need the tricks to have interest. increased balance, flexibility, muscle tone, control over heart rate, control over breathing, control over blood flow, experience of altered states W/O drugs, silencing the internal monologue and of course the ability to survive a tough fight unhurt are plenty cool.   

Definitely. And then all the secondary health benefits.
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

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Re: What is Chi?
« Reply #92 on: November 04, 2008, 01:23:38 am »
This topic has progressed excellently (those were some good citations Cain, thanks!). As to the whole 'magic'.. Any sufficiently advanced technology, blah, blah, blah.

I've got a real world example to add. I experienced 'ki' very consciously when I started training in Kali-Escrima a while back (philippino stick art). It was at my sensei's master's house a few years ago, and he had a few other people over. We were doing multi-man drills (one person in the center defending, 4-5 on the edges in a circle) at about 1/2-3/4 speed. I had seen the others watch as we would circle around them, usually one or two people going in for an attack. The defender would deal with the attackers, and then the next 1-2 attackers would go in. Everyone jumping in at once is a bad idea, you'd get in your teams way with sticks flying.

Then it was my turn in the center. I was nervous as hell (this was my first multi-man exercise). After the exercise, my sensei's master explained it thusly: "His Ki was contracting, did everyone see that? It caused you all to rush him at once, pulling you towards his center. He reacted to the fastest person, stepping thro his attack while parrying to end up behind him, thus outside the attacker's circle."

At that point, I had pushed my first attacker into another one, and had to deal with the remaining two (who had been split by the tangle of bodies in the center)  so I circled over to the one on the left, dealt with him, and then had to square off with my sensi, which went ok. The only reason I could react correctly was they were slowing the exercise down for all our benefit. Looking back on it, it was definitely my body language that caused them all to decide to attack at once, instead of just 1-2 people at a time.

Ok, I also have something I typed out for the LJ Convert_Me community. Keep in mind the audience I was writing towards was mostly atheist/materialists:
Quote from:
In a comment to a previous post in [info]convert_me, [info]pastorlenny and [info]valmorian brought up the subject of "Chi", with [info]valmorian arguing that we cannot detect Chi as a discrete physical force (such as electricity or magnetism). They then went on to blather about Dowsing, which I'm not that interested in. My response follows, and I thought everyone should have a chance to comment on it, not just those who browse through every thread. Lol.

    Having felt chi, and used it as a metaphor/technique while training with swordforms and while in combat, the best I can explain it is:

    ~ A hallucination that compiles sensory information about the body and the environment, synthesizes this information with subconscious reflexes (that have been refined by practice, and oddly seem centered around my center of balance/abdomen/hara) and present the new synthesized information to the conscious mind as a feeling of flow(energy).

    In my head... Yes. But in your head also, thus affecting and affected by your intent and movements.

    When I have used chi to attack some-one's chi in their leading sword-hand, my body interprets this in such a way as to subtly alter my stance, breathing, and certain muscles to give the impression that I am about to cut their hand.

    They then attempt to block the attack (which isn't actually coming, the Chi attack has already happened, and I'm moving on to the next attack), thus creating an opening that my chi flows into. Allowing my sword-as-extension-of-myself to follow this new flow, I land a cut from their collar-bone to their sternum.

    I find it takes a deep meditation to achieve and maintain this useful hallucination.

    So, the point is, in a survival situation if I tried to think dualistically about my body separate from my environment, and try to focus on my breathing/stance as well as the opponent/environment as separate processes... my chi becomes dispersed and muddled, allowing my opponents chi to overcome me.

Here's a great video on Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxQd_kBse-c

    Pay close attention to when the old man (I love that old man) faces multiple opponents. He does not react to the individual opponents, but to the unified force of the opponents. Yes, in some sense, viewing all of your opponents as one opponent is a fiction, but it's a useful fiction because as soon as you break your belief in the fiction your attention becomes fragmented.

    This explains the Discordian mantra of Sri Syadasti, "Everything is true, false, and meaningless in some sense."

Since the Truth Value of chi doesn't matter to me, that's probably not the best thing to attempt to convert me on. If you want to try at converting me to your view of the Usefulness of the concept-in-application, go right ahead.

Next, I'm going to pull some text from my Aikido manual, "Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere". I haven't nearly digested all of the techniques (and they go over a lot of the basic ones.. A LOT), but the sections that talk about theory I've devoured again and again. Oh, I also have a secret about how Masters achieve the appropriate mindstate at the start of combat... next post, after I type out the citation.  :D
« Last Edit: November 04, 2008, 09:29:14 am by Telarus »
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Re: What is Chi?
« Reply #93 on: November 04, 2008, 03:28:59 am »
thanks telarus this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxQd_kBse-c
 video shows much of what we are talking about on this page the use of leverage, getting out of the way, and chi as a perception/kinisthetics understanding of an attacker as well as some chi demonstrations at the end that are amazing. if this isn't the guy from the story it should be.
because of this conversation  i am getting inspired to take up aikido again. 
"So she says to me, do you wanna be a BAD boy? And I say YEAH baby YEAH! Surf's up space ponies! I'm makin' gravy... Without the lumps. HAAA-ha-ha-ha!"


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Re: What is Chi?
« Reply #94 on: November 04, 2008, 04:01:27 am »
I've done a breathing exercise with visualization designed to increase the bodies temperature, and all I can say is, it works very well. 

I've also read, and noticed that slightly more blood flows to the part of the body you are visualizing.


**now i want to start getting back into this stuff again.

I also recall a time where I felt this very intense feeling of ecstacy simply by controlled breathing and visualization. 

*sighs
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Re: What is Chi?
« Reply #95 on: November 04, 2008, 04:26:59 am »
I've done a breathing exercise with visualization designed to increase the bodies temperature, and all I can say is, it works very well. 

I've also read, and noticed that slightly more blood flows to the part of the body you are visualizing.


**now i want to start getting back into this stuff again.

I also recall a time where I felt this very intense feeling of ecstacy simply by controlled breathing and visualization. 

*sighs

its repeatable, because I do it all the time. Instead of visualisation I deny the existence of self. Joined with the breathing and I think so alternate tensing and untensing of the whole body, I experience this build of...something, don't know what it is, and pleasure starts filling my body. It feels like some liquid substance is coursing through.
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

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Re: What is Chi?
« Reply #96 on: November 04, 2008, 04:33:12 am »
thanks telarus this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxQd_kBse-c
 video shows much of what we are talking about on this page the use of leverage, getting out of the way, and chi as a perception/kinisthetics understanding of an attacker as well as some chi demonstrations at the end that are amazing. if this isn't the guy from the story it should be.
because of this conversation  i am getting inspired to take up aikido again. 

Chi demonstrations meaning external chi use, whatever that might be. Its interesting, because I've seen word of it before. Actually, I've done more than seen. I've had it used on me, several years ago. It wasn't in a martial arts context, but there was definetly something happening, either psychosomatic or otherwise. (lots of weird shit happened that night). Anyway, this friend started pulling his hands up along the sides of my body while I was standing, pulling them up, he said he was piling energy on my head. Funny I thought I could feel it, though he wasn't touching me. Then, he said to close my eyes, and he stood right in front of me and pushes his hands at my face from about a foot away. I started to feel something wash over my face, some sort of tingling, and I felt like I was going to fall over. It felt like something was pushing on my face, but his hands weren't touching me.

I didn't fall, I kept my balance, but when he did it to several other people they did. He wasn't a martial arts master, he was some kid that had learned it somewhere.
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

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Re: What is Chi?
« Reply #97 on: November 04, 2008, 04:42:56 am »
I also just want to thank Telarus for posting good stuff and to keep it coming. Srsly.

Also, going to try to pull off the "extacy" breathing excercise right now. I'll let you know how it goes.
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Re: What is Chi?
« Reply #98 on: November 04, 2008, 04:55:23 am »
 :mittens:

I'd love it if you could break down your technique later (and any effects you got).

Quote
alternate tensing and untensing of the whole body

Haven't heard of this before. Could you describe it a bit more (along with the other/breathing aspects).
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Re: What is Chi?
« Reply #99 on: November 04, 2008, 05:32:44 am »
:mittens:

I'd love it if you could break down your technique later (and any effects you got).

Quote
alternate tensing and untensing of the whole body

Haven't heard of this before. Could you describe it a bit more (along with the other/breathing aspects).

I don't know if I could explain it exactly. It feels as if the breath is being drawn up from deep down, rushing up from the dan'ten. The tensing increases as you breathe in, but its a relaxed tensing, if that makes any sense, and when you breathe out the tension is completly released. Over time, the rushing feeling builds, and it extends out into the extremities. I know when I have reached the goal because I have a huge smile on my face and I am feeling good all over. It feels like the tension starts at the dan'tien, and the rushing is being sucked through a straw.

I attempted it a few minutes ago but I went too fast, so the building rushing stacked only so high. I've done it before where the afterglow has lasted an hour. At the same time, I am thinking, "There is no I, self is illusion, body is illusion, world around is illusion", slowly, and the feeling just builds and builds.


In the multiple intelligence theory, there is a Kinesthetic intelligence. I think I am coming to the realization that Kinesthetic intelligence is the manipulation of chi, at some level, that is, the direct connection to the body.
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Re: What is Chi?
« Reply #100 on: November 05, 2008, 03:19:36 am »
:mittens:

I'd love it if you could break down your technique later (and any effects you got).

Quote
alternate tensing and untensing of the whole body

Haven't heard of this before. Could you describe it a bit more (along with the other/breathing aspects).

it is a relaxation technique to tense and release your muscles....   
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Re: What is Chi?
« Reply #101 on: November 05, 2008, 03:42:55 am »
Cool Kai, thanks. I've had a similar experience of tension rising from the core when doing breathing exercises with similar feelings of pleasure. (Man, I need to start regular practice again, I've fallen out of it recently. My girl's also started doing a pilates/yoga workout that I'm going to join in with her on. Need to keep in shape during the swordfighting off-season. ^__^)

The basic reflexes have sunk in tho, and I can drop the breath down to the Centre pretty easily during day to day activity.

RAW calls this 5th circuit Neuro-Somatic feedback. I like the term Kinesthetic intelligence, but haven't heard of the multiple-intelligence theory. Where did you pick that up?

Also, the 'rushing up' feeling corresponds to how Kundalini is described in Tantra.

Do you have a breathing count pattern that you use? And how long do you usually practice? (You mentioned rushing it this last time.) I've used a 4-2-4-2 (inhale-relax-exhale-relax) pretty successfully when sitting Zazen, and this produces a mild euphoric high. I've also used it while walking to ignore extreme weather in the cold (my core had been shivering throwing off my breathing pattern, so I focused on integrating the count/breath with my walking, and the shivering stopped pretty quickly). Then I realized that while I could still feel the cold, it wasn't effecting my muscles anymore. Probably similar to what wgeorgew described.

Ok, now for some citations. The book is 'Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere' by A. Westbrook and O. Ratti. This book also has some extremely good illustrations. Oooh, I found a some animated gifs taken from the text: http://www.aikido-otago.com/images.html
::Edit:: .gif broke, linked to the page with all of them.

Quote from: 'Glossary p366'
~hara: the Centre of existence, abdominal and otherwise
~ki: centralized, coordinated energy, considered as the energy of life itself

Quote from: 'The 'Centre' and 'Ki' p21-24'
    Westward from the Orient have come many tales of strange forms of power -of strength like that of "massed wind or water" sweeping everything away before it. This power has been called by many names, but the one that appears most often in these accounts, especially in Japan, is ki and the seat of that power is the hara, or Centre.
    Almost all of the martial arts at some point in their development mention this power and the various means by which it may be developed. It is held to be "Intrinsic Energy" or "Inner Energy" and possessed by everyone although developed consciously by only a few.
    The seat of this energy, the hara, or Centre, is a point approximately two inches below the navel. This corresponds roughly to the physical balance point of a man's anatomy which we in the West call his centre of gravity.
    In aikido, the emphasis upon this balance point and this Inner Energy (as differentiated from purely physical, muscular energy) is the very core and lodestone of the method.
    We are faced with certain difficulties in attempting to explain and define this power according to generally accepted Western terminology. It is mental as opposed to physical and yet more than mental in the restricted, Occidental sense of "mental power" -although Western psychology does speak of "will power," the "will to live," etc., all aspects of attitudes and mental impulses which, while unsubstantial can nevertheless produce physical results.
    By far the most serious obstacle to any discussion of the particular strength referred to in aikido as ki is the strict division which Western terminology usually makes between what is mental and what is physical -between the mind and the body. But of what use is the mind and its reasoning, directing powers without the body to act and carry out its decisions? And of what use is the body without any over-all conscious control and direction? The mind and the body are not separate entities; the mind is part of and contained within the body. The closer the unity of mind and body -the fusion of these two functions (direction and action) -seems to come closest to an acceptable Western explanation of the strange strength which aikidoists call ki.
    What do we mean, exactly, by this "fusion" of mind and body? Well, if you have ever tried unsuccessfully to open a tiny baby's tightly closed fist, you will have encountered and example of this fusion. The baby is relaxed and obviously not straining to resist you -he may not even seem to be aware of you -but that little fist remains closed. Since a baby responds instinctively to its environment, there is hardly any seperation between perception and reaction, or between the mental and the physical. But as we grow older and develop our rational powers, we find, especially in Western cultures, a widening of the ga between mind and body, a noticeable hesitation between decision and action. It is as if the mind is to review, decide, and then leave the body to carry out the physical activity, depending solely upon the muscle power which can be generated.
  But if this gap can be bridged, the result will be a closer unity of mind and body, with the strength, decision, and direction of the mind flowing directly and without interruption through all the channels and into all the recesses of the body.
....
    It might be possible to link the idea of the hara, or Centre, more closely to what Westerners know as a man's center of gravity -the spot where his weight reaches its concentration and balance, achieving equilibrium between the central and upper anatomy above and the supporting architecture of his hips and legs below. Mr. Tohei especially warns again and again that you cannot "keep one point" or stay centralized (and thus be able to extend and utilize your ki, or Inner Energy) unless you keep your balance.

Quote from: 'The Principle of Extention p79-87'
    Aikido begins, in fact, with the fundamental assumption that every human being possesses this ki: this vital force which when concentrated in a single unified stream can be extended and channeled into a practically irresistible action of defense, into a technique.
...
    The general doctrine of the martial arts also enlarges at great length upon the basic differences between the "hard" for of ki and the "soft" form. Hard ki appears to be sharp and concentrated to a dangerous point of fusion resembling the edge or point of a Japanese blade. As such, when used in combat (whether offensively or defensively), it will cut through the physical target against which it is being directed. It is predominantly straight (direct) although there are circular forms of hard ki (theory of slashing extension). The very concentration of this form of ki usually requires that a single anatomical weapon, i.e., arm, leg, foot, elbow, etc., be employed to deliver the force of the concentrated energy.
    Soft ki, by contrast, appears to be evenly diffused, irradiating, and expanding like a huge globe to envelop the target completely or spin tangentially against it. Here again we have the image of "massed wind or water."
    This form of energy does not cut though the target, it sweeps it away in a tangential, circular pattern that sends that target spinning in full centrifugal unbalance or extends and stretches it elastically in the desired direction. The diffusive nature of this soft ki implies necessarily a typically circular form of extension as well as the employment of the whole body to produce it.
    In aikido, soft ki is the desired form, and according to Master Uyeshiba, it should be employed within the framework of the natural laws of creation. Aikido does not, in other words, advocate the employment of intrinsic or total energy in a way which breaks those laws by seriously injuring or destroying another man.
...
    Finally, this intrinsic energy is permanent in the sense that, like the Centre, its extension is "turned on" at all times, not only during combat. This requisite implies that the energy developed progressively through the specialized exercises of abdominal breathing and mental concentration in the Centre, extended consciously at first, will become a part of your personality -a way of being -through regular and properly motivated practice of the art of aikido.

Okaaay. Now for the SECRET. Lol.
The easiest place to internally feel your own pulse is where the abdominal aorta splits into the two iliac arteries which continue down into the legs as the femoral arteries.


This is where the blood pressure is the highest as it runs into a divided channel. As you can see, this point lies just at or below the navel and level with the tops of the hip bones, just at or above the area called the Hara. Masters use this as a point to concentrate on. By feeling the pulse internally and loosing yourself in the rhythm, you can achieve a trance state with one-point concentration in the correct area.

This is easy to do while sitting Zazen, less easy to do with walking meditation, and even tougher at the beginning of combat where your senses are screaming for you to pay attention to the external environment. Find the silence after the inhalation phase as the chi is pooled into your Hara/Dan Tien and you should feel an almost audible thump-thump-thump. Cultivating the awareness of this area should assist in centering your concentration there when you really need it.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2008, 05:53:21 am by Telarus »
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Re: What is Chi?
« Reply #102 on: November 05, 2008, 04:33:25 am »
Quote
I've also used it while walking to ignore extreme weather in the cold (my core had been shivering throwing off my breathing pattern, so I focused on integrating the count/breath with my walking, and the shivering stopped pretty quickly). Then I realized that while I could still feel the cold, it wasn't effecting my muscles anymore. Probably similar to what wgeorgew described.
 

Thanks for bringing this up.  Lately I have been out in the cold standing there, 'chilling' not shivering at all, while my buddies would be shaking like there is no tomorrow.  I figured I was just used to the cold and my body adapted.  Now I suspect my lack of shaking probably has a lot to do with my experience dealing with controlling my breathing.

(when i reached that state of ecstacy, I was filtering the "energy" visualizing colour collect in the core of my body, and leave again in a new "cleaner" colour...   meh.)
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Re: What is Chi?
« Reply #103 on: November 05, 2008, 12:14:31 pm »
So, the Dan'tien/hara sensation is caused by arterial flow. Thats very interesting. :) It also helps me find and focus on the that spot, knowing the physiology. If I ever have any contact with martial artists talking about the center ever again, I'll be sure to mention its where the aorta splits into the illiac nerves and the vessels both contract, increasing blood pressure.

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Re: What is Chi?
« Reply #104 on: November 05, 2008, 05:08:59 pm »
So, the Dan'tien/hara sensation is caused by arterial flow. Thats very interesting. :) It also helps me find and focus on the that spot, knowing the physiology. If I ever have any contact with martial artists talking about the center ever again, I'll be sure to mention its where the aorta splits into the illiac nerves and the vessels both contract, increasing blood pressure.

Well, I can't say for certain that that _is_ the spot or the cause of the feelings. Most descriptions of the hara put it about 2 inches below the navel, and identify it more with the physical center of gravity, which may be in a different area for different people of different builds than the aorta/iliac artery split is. But! Concentrating on that spot, and feeling the pulse there is a sleight-of-mind trick to getting the attention focused in generally the correct area. I've read anecdotal medical stories that focusing attention increases blood pressure and temperature in things like the extremities, so there may definitely be a connection. Without medical studies I don't want to go drawing erroneous conclusions, but rather would focus on how to achieve success with the exercises described in the martial arts tradition.

Still, this is one of the most interesting and useful tidbits I've picked up from studying martial arts esoterica. Glad I could share it.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2008, 07:06:07 pm by Telarus »
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