Principia Discordia

Principia Discordia => Think for Yourself, Schmuck! => Topic started by: Kai on October 26, 2008, 04:18:00 pm

Title: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 26, 2008, 04:18:00 pm
I don't know if we've ever had a thread about this on here, but I thought I might bring it up because of the very different filters that other people have around here, different perspectives and different ideas.

So what is Chi? Is it actual manipulation of internal energy? Is it some sort of psychosomatic effect? Something is going on when I visualize chi manipulation and while I'm going with psychosomatic right now, I would like to hear other peoples opinions about it. There also seems to be some deep health benefits of the sustained practice of Chi Gung, what is that from? I hear stories about older people, well into their 70s, who were once in poor health and after several months of chi gung practice have recovered from intense arthritis, and so on.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: East Coast Hustle on October 26, 2008, 06:20:45 pm
I think it is very likely that humans are MUCH more capable of consciously manipulating their internal processes than "conventional wisdom" (what a silly term!) would indicate. I'm not informed enough to have an opinion on the framework you use to achieve that end other than to say that if it works for you, keep doing it.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: fomenter on October 26, 2008, 06:35:38 pm
i did ti chi for a little while, i am not an expert or a convinced believer but i enjoyed it and got something out of it as a mind fuck yourself view the world differently type exercise
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 26, 2008, 07:36:00 pm
I think it is very likely that humans are MUCH more capable of consciously manipulating their internal processes than "conventional wisdom" (what a silly term!) would indicate. I'm not informed enough to have an opinion on the framework you use to achieve that end other than to say that if it works for you, keep doing it.

Well, you hear about those scientific studies that show Buddhist monks using meditative activities to manipulate their body temperature, to the point where they can steam dry cold wet towels in cold weather.

My question is, what is that is moving, if anything? I mean, it could very well be energy, though its never been measured as far as I can tell. It could be changes in circulation patterns, as in, lymph fluid circulation, blood circulation. Your body does not open all of its blood vessels all the time, usually it causes physiologic shock. If you could somehow manipulate the circulation of fluids by the dilation and constrictions of vessels, whether lymph or other wise....nahh, I don't know where I am going with this. *waves hands* something.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 26, 2008, 08:08:02 pm
i did ti chi for a little while, i am not an expert or a convinced believer but i enjoyed it and got something out of it as a mind fuck yourself view the world differently type exercise

Well, T'ai Chi is something I do, and have been doing for a long time. You can do it completely without the Chi Gung exercises, but it is far more beneficial if you join the two together. Chi Gung is something I just picked up recently.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: fomenter on October 26, 2008, 09:28:02 pm
a big part of what i was supposed to be doing as i practiced ti chi was moving and manipulating energy "chi ". i am not sure if that is the chi gung exercises you are talking about or not, i found that visualising and repetition altered your perception to where you could feel the chi (a good "different paradigm" for a westerner to experience). i never went any further than that and never even considered trying to get results that could be measured by science. if you can get (or are willing to try to get) measurable results i say go for it, i have no clue what energy you would be measuring or how to measure it, or what the physiology you can measure would show
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 26, 2008, 09:47:14 pm
a big part of what i was supposed to be doing as i practiced ti chi was moving and manipulating energy "chi ". i am not sure if that is the chi gung exercises you are talking about or not, i found that visualising and repetition altered your perception to where you could feel the chi (a good "different paradigm" for a westerner to experience). i never went any further than that and never even considered trying to get results that could be measured by science. if you can get (or are willing to try to get) measurable results i say go for it, i have no clue what energy you would be measuring or how to measure it, or what the physiology you can measure would show

Yes, that is the Chi Gung. Chi gung is literally "energy work" in mandarin. The goal is be able to effortlessly manipulate your internal energy for personal use. The first step is suppossed to be just feeling/sensing energy movement. Whether it is some aspect of your physiology, imagined, or some cosmic energy moving through you, you start feeling it. Then you can learn how to move it around.

I don't think its measurable except in the results, that is, any physical or physiological improvement. The same way meditation leads to mental improvement. Hm.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Cain on October 26, 2008, 09:53:56 pm
I've heard of Chi Kung/Qi Gong before.  I have a couple of books in my library, one on the philosophy behind a Japanese conception of ki, and one about the technique.  I'll see what I can dig out.

I suspect since some of the effects are biologically readable, so are the causes.  It suggests some form of conscious control over various body systems, though a better anatomist than me would have to tell you what ones.  Looking over some of the exercises could yield clues, however.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 26, 2008, 10:19:00 pm
I've heard of Chi Kung/Qi Gong before.  I have a couple of books in my library, one on the philosophy behind a Japanese conception of ki, and one about the technique.  I'll see what I can dig out.

I suspect since some of the effects are biologically readable, so are the causes.  It suggests some form of conscious control over various body systems, though a better anatomist than me would have to tell you what ones.  Looking over some of the exercises could yield clues, however.

Looking over the book I have, Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body by Bruce Franztis, he incorporates several sets of lessons, one set on breathing, one set on standing and sitting posture, one set on sinking chi (physically feeling chi and then systematically moving it down the body and out through the feet; he says you will feel a relaxation of muscles and a release of tension of hardness as this occurs), one on opening energy gates (that is, locations around the body that chi travels through and can become blocked, found at joints, intersections of nerve pathways, around organs, lymph nodes, etc) to facilitate chi movement, and several more on swings (sorta like back and forth swinging of the body, arms and legs).

My guess (and there are many other things he talks about) is that mental visualization and awareness causes systematic relaxation. Coupled along with breathing, it facilitates the dialation of circulatory vessels slowly (which would explain the buzzing, vibrating feeling I get after I get done with it) to increase blood flow. The increase of bloodflood increases nutrient transfer, oxygen exchange, lymph circulation, and reduces tension. The whole process at the same time promotes relaxation and connection and awareness with the body. The whole thing is some sort of induced psychosomatic response to visualization and awareness of the body, along with healthy posture and breathing.

I've been able to do similar things to this before. For example, with use of a breathing technique and mental release of identity, I can reach a state where the whole body pulsates with blissful feeling that can last sometimes an hour, and leave you feeling relaxed and focused. Theres lots of interesting things you can do with the mind-body connection. I had forgotten about them, but maybe its time to remember.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Cainad (dec.) on October 26, 2008, 10:31:19 pm
I've heard of Chi Kung/Qi Gong before.  I have a couple of books in my library, one on the philosophy behind a Japanese conception of ki, and one about the technique.  I'll see what I can dig out.

I suspect since some of the effects are biologically readable, so are the causes.  It suggests some form of conscious control over various body systems, though a better anatomist than me would have to tell you what ones.  Looking over some of the exercises could yield clues, however.

Looking over the book I have, Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body by Bruce Franztis, he incorporates several sets of lessons, one set on breathing, one set on standing and sitting posture, one set on sinking chi (physically feeling chi and then systematically moving it down the body and out through the feet; he says you will feel a relaxation of muscles and a release of tension of hardness as this occurs), one on opening energy gates (that is, locations around the body that chi travels through and can become blocked, found at joints, intersections of nerve pathways, around organs, lymph nodes, etc) to facilitate chi movement, and several more on swings (sorta like back and forth swinging of the body, arms and legs).

My guess (and there are many other things he talks about) is that mental visualization and awareness causes systematic relaxation. Coupled along with breathing, it facilitates the dialation of circulatory vessels slowly (which would explain the buzzing, vibrating feeling I get after I get done with it) to increase blood flow. The increase of bloodflood increases nutrient transfer, oxygen exchange, lymph circulation, and reduces tension. The whole process at the same time promotes relaxation and connection and awareness with the body. The whole thing is some sort of induced psychosomatic response to visualization and awareness of the body, along with healthy posture and breathing.

I've been able to do similar things to this before. For example, with use of a breathing technique and mental release of identity, I can reach a state where the whole body pulsates with blissful feeling that can last sometimes an hour, and leave you feeling relaxed and focused. Theres lots of interesting things you can do with the mind-body connection. I had forgotten about them, but maybe its time to remember.

I tend to agree with this. The system may refer to "energy gates," and I've often heard chi described as a "life force." These things may not be objectively real, in the sense that you probably couldn't invent a chi-o-meter to measure the stuff, but the combination of visualization and physical practice seem to produce very real results. It's almost like an intentional placebo effect.

Unscientific anectodal evidence: What little experience I have with Qigong emphasizes moving your body as if you were moving through a very thick fluid, or even sand. I don't know why, but this method improves circulation in my hands, even though I have Reynaud's Syndrome.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 27, 2008, 12:09:38 am
I've heard of Chi Kung/Qi Gong before.  I have a couple of books in my library, one on the philosophy behind a Japanese conception of ki, and one about the technique.  I'll see what I can dig out.

I suspect since some of the effects are biologically readable, so are the causes.  It suggests some form of conscious control over various body systems, though a better anatomist than me would have to tell you what ones.  Looking over some of the exercises could yield clues, however.

Looking over the book I have, Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body by Bruce Franztis, he incorporates several sets of lessons, one set on breathing, one set on standing and sitting posture, one set on sinking chi (physically feeling chi and then systematically moving it down the body and out through the feet; he says you will feel a relaxation of muscles and a release of tension of hardness as this occurs), one on opening energy gates (that is, locations around the body that chi travels through and can become blocked, found at joints, intersections of nerve pathways, around organs, lymph nodes, etc) to facilitate chi movement, and several more on swings (sorta like back and forth swinging of the body, arms and legs).

My guess (and there are many other things he talks about) is that mental visualization and awareness causes systematic relaxation. Coupled along with breathing, it facilitates the dialation of circulatory vessels slowly (which would explain the buzzing, vibrating feeling I get after I get done with it) to increase blood flow. The increase of bloodflood increases nutrient transfer, oxygen exchange, lymph circulation, and reduces tension. The whole process at the same time promotes relaxation and connection and awareness with the body. The whole thing is some sort of induced psychosomatic response to visualization and awareness of the body, along with healthy posture and breathing.

I've been able to do similar things to this before. For example, with use of a breathing technique and mental release of identity, I can reach a state where the whole body pulsates with blissful feeling that can last sometimes an hour, and leave you feeling relaxed and focused. Theres lots of interesting things you can do with the mind-body connection. I had forgotten about them, but maybe its time to remember.

I tend to agree with this. The system may refer to "energy gates," and I've often heard chi described as a "life force." These things may not be objectively real, in the sense that you probably couldn't invent a chi-o-meter to measure the stuff, but the combination of visualization and physical practice seem to produce very real results. It's almost like an intentional placebo effect.

Unscientific anectodal evidence: What little experience I have with Qigong emphasizes moving your body as if you were moving through a very thick fluid, or even sand. I don't know why, but this method improves circulation in my hands, even though I have Reynaud's Syndrome.

I think it has something to do with the heat the muscles produce, because slow sustained constant muscle movement actually burns about as much energy as the most aerobic exercise. I've heard that T'ai Chi burns as many calories in an hour as downhill skiing, and some of that goes to heat. If at the same time you are relaxing your blood vessels, your hands will warm up.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Manta Obscura on October 27, 2008, 02:16:22 pm

I suspect since some of the effects are biologically readable, so are the causes.  It suggests some form of conscious control over various body systems, though a better anatomist than me would have to tell you what ones.  Looking over some of the exercises could yield clues, however.

I'm not a particularly knowledgable anatomist, but I've read something (about 4 years ago, now; damn time goes fast) about the causes of chi/ki exercise control. In a lot of cases, tai chi and other chi/ki-building exercises work on forms of endocrine-neural synthesis (or some such word; can't remember the actual term). People who frequently practice mental, emotional and physical calming exercises tend to strengthen their nervous system's ability to signal the release of various synaptic enzymes (as well as reducing other enzymes, like SSRIs), as well as other chemicals from the various major endocrine glands throughout the body.

Physically, the health benefits of various awareness-based exercises comes in a large part from the ability to exercise muscles and neural pathways and  simultaneously reduce the introduction/release of detrimental chemicals (like lactic acid for muscles, or the aforementioned SSRIs for synaptic clefts) that would otherwise damage/physically tax the areas being exercised.

That's the gist of what I put in my notes from my anatomy class. I'll try to find the original article that I had as a reference to this but, until I do, feel free to call bullshit on anything that I said. There's a good chance that I'm wrong.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on October 27, 2008, 03:08:22 pm
I think that Chi and Ki and 'Energy' in some of the neo-pagan senses are all talking about some similar objective territory. I've done both Chi exercises and various 'energy raising' rituals when I was playing with various forms of paganism. The experiences seemed to have a lot in common.

My personal opinion is that:

A) There is something going on. It probably doesn't directly relate to 'energy' but that's the closest word we can find to associate it with... or at least it tends to be the most common one. I think a lot of it has to do with the neurological aspects of our reality, but I think that's a pretty huge chunk of reality anyway ;-)

B) The less symbols dumped on top of one of these systems, the better it seems to work. That is, I could feel that internal 'energy' when in ritual, I could feel it more when practicing Chi and I noticed the feeling quite a bit when playing with Antero Alli's 'Archelogy of the Soul' where he basically tried to strip of all the metaphors and work directly with the psychological mechanisms of ritual.

So, in my wild conspiracy theory:

Once upon a reality, humans found that they could control their bodies much more competently than most people believe today. To gain this control, certain exercises and meditations were useful. In order to teach these, people created models/maps/symbols to make teaching easier. Over time, the map became the territory and people became so focused on the signs and symbols, that they lost sight of the actual valuable stuff. And thus we have the birth of religions, invention of the idea of Magic and Supernatural and Powers...

Of course, I don't believe this... but sometimes I think about it. I agree with Kai, when I do Chi (or some rituals) something definately seems to be going on... and though I am trapped in my perceptions, it does tend to act as though its something beyond simply psychosomatic response.

I don't think energy is really the right term, but I dunno what the right term is.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 27, 2008, 03:18:50 pm
I think I like both Ratatosks and Manta's answers very much and I need to think more about this.  :)
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Elder Iptuous on October 27, 2008, 04:33:02 pm
This thread is inspiring me to try and begin some form of Chi manipulation exercise.  Up to now, i have always clung to the view that there is definitely something there, but it's not well defined enough (without handwaving or fluffery) for me to give credibility to... My wife (a massage therapist, and more esoterically gullible attuned)  refers to 'energy' and my immediate response is along the lines of 'what are you blathering about? what energy are you talking about?' which, of course, kills any useful coversation.  then i feel like an ass, and it's over.  But i'm thinking now (in part because of this thread) that i should experience the phenomenon first hand without getting too hung up on the fact that we don't have an adequate enough (in my tiny opinion) model to explain it.

soooooo. that being said:  Could we have a weigh in on what people have had the most successful experiences with? Rat voted for the 'archaeology of the soul' it seems.  what about the rest of you?  Also, i'm thinking the state of mind that you embark on it with would effect your success too, so that would be worth mentioning, no?
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on October 27, 2008, 05:07:34 pm
This thread is inspiring me to try and begin some form of Chi manipulation exercise.  Up to now, i have always clung to the view that there is definitely something there, but it's not well defined enough (without handwaving or fluffery) for me to give credibility to... My wife (a massage therapist, and more esoterically gullible attuned)  refers to 'energy' and my immediate response is along the lines of 'what are you blathering about? what energy are you talking about?' which, of course, kills any useful coversation.  then i feel like an ass, and it's over.  But i'm thinking now (in part because of this thread) that i should experience the phenomenon first hand without getting too hung up on the fact that we don't have an adequate enough (in my tiny opinion) model to explain it.

soooooo. that being said:  Could we have a weigh in on what people have had the most successful experiences with? Rat voted for the 'archaeology of the soul' it seems.  what about the rest of you?  Also, i'm thinking the state of mind that you embark on it with would effect your success too, so that would be worth mentioning, no?

I think Antero's stuff is brilliant, but BUT!, I have no qualms in admitting that I'm biased. His book Angel Tech was one of the first books to change my brain, and his use of RAW and Leary models (which I'm familiar with) make it easier to work through. I also did some Method Acting which seems pretty useful.

The system Antero made out of his archeology work is called Paratheatrics, and its very interesting to experience. Very much a 'raising of energy' without worrying about crystals or Chi or labels. However, it also means you spend time in your own headspace, dancing around like a crazy person. Being that I am a crazy person, this was not difficult. If you are not a crazy person, it may be a little more difficult.

I highly recommend checking out his YouTube channel. Remember his videos are of polished public rituals/performances. Not of the regular exercises etc.

http://www.youtube.com/user/paratheatrical (http://www.youtube.com/user/paratheatrical)

Chi exercises require getting into the model a bit, but the exercises are IMO a little less 'intense' if you've never done anything like this before. Not that they 'raise less energy' but, just that they require less 'acting'.

The difference between "Colse your eyes and visualize a ball of energy" and "You are now the First Circuit of your own brain, behave accordingly" ;-) (Obvious simplistic example is obvious)
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: fomenter on October 27, 2008, 06:27:30 pm
I found the ti chi classes i took useful and interesting, angel tec was good too. Also i found readily verifiable results with Carlos Castaneda's "don Juan's" gait of power exercises and as a tenderfoot with no hippie calluses was able to walk bare foot in the desert W/O hurting my feet, a  pretty mind blowing accomplishment at the time.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 28, 2008, 01:04:55 am
This thread is inspiring me to try and begin some form of Chi manipulation exercise.  Up to now, i have always clung to the view that there is definitely something there, but it's not well defined enough (without handwaving or fluffery) for me to give credibility to... My wife (a massage therapist, and more esoterically gullible attuned)  refers to 'energy' and my immediate response is along the lines of 'what are you blathering about? what energy are you talking about?' which, of course, kills any useful coversation.  then i feel like an ass, and it's over.  But i'm thinking now (in part because of this thread) that i should experience the phenomenon first hand without getting too hung up on the fact that we don't have an adequate enough (in my tiny opinion) model to explain it.

soooooo. that being said:  Could we have a weigh in on what people have had the most successful experiences with? Rat voted for the 'archaeology of the soul' it seems.  what about the rest of you?  Also, i'm thinking the state of mind that you embark on it with would effect your success too, so that would be worth mentioning, no?

I think Antero's stuff is brilliant, but BUT!, I have no qualms in admitting that I'm biased. His book Angel Tech was one of the first books to change my brain, and his use of RAW and Leary models (which I'm familiar with) make it easier to work through. I also did some Method Acting which seems pretty useful.

The system Antero made out of his archeology work is called Paratheatrics, and its very interesting to experience. Very much a 'raising of energy' without worrying about crystals or Chi or labels. However, it also means you spend time in your own headspace, dancing around like a crazy person. Being that I am a crazy person, this was not difficult. If you are not a crazy person, it may be a little more difficult.

I highly recommend checking out his YouTube channel. Remember his videos are of polished public rituals/performances. Not of the regular exercises etc.

http://www.youtube.com/user/paratheatrical (http://www.youtube.com/user/paratheatrical)

Chi exercises require getting into the model a bit, but the exercises are IMO a little less 'intense' if you've never done anything like this before. Not that they 'raise less energy' but, just that they require less 'acting'.

The difference between "Colse your eyes and visualize a ball of energy" and "You are now the First Circuit of your own brain, behave accordingly" ;-) (Obvious simplistic example is obvious)

I really like to cut things down to the bare bones and shape them to my ethics and spirituality, loosing the complex ritual that other systems have.  So, chi gong works for me because it doesn't require any belief in something outside your own experience, or any ritual, or doctrine. The simple exercise of breathing and focusing on the body systematically and sensing, over time, brings an awareness of "energy" or whatever the hell it is, without believing that this energy is some cosmic force, or that Taoism is perfection, or believing in the Chinese Immortals. Its okay for me to say this is my mind body connection at work, I am manipulating my body with my mind, and just go with it. Biofeedback is a scientific fact, there is plenty of evidence for it, so I don't  have to enter new models to experience it, or if I do, I don't have to entertain ritual.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Requia ☣ on October 28, 2008, 05:34:29 am
I'd completely forgotten about the chi exercises from my earliest martial arts classes.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: PeregrineBF on October 28, 2008, 07:02:46 am
I'm a 2nd Dan in Ki-do (korean, evolved from moo duk kwan and hap ki do.) My grand master, Grand Master Moon Ku Baek, had a saying: "If you want to be like superman, the secret is to breathe." Given that I've seen him and Grandmaster Kim break cast-iron wok covers with a chop I can well believe it. Their technique is much better than mine, but I can "concentration break" 2-3 bricks. A concentration break is a kneeling break, using meditative concentration to move the hand fast enough to break the bricks, without the benefit of the weight of the body as in a normal break. Without breathing, there will be no circulation and your arm muscles won't have the oxygen needed to move quickly. Knowing how to breathe can allow for "impossible" feats, simply because the tissues will be fully oxygenated.

As for body control, I can control heart rate +- about 10 bpm, and breathing rate down to about 0.5 breaths/minute, while still getting enough oxygen. Any high-ranked martial artist should be able to confirm this, breathing is critical. While the physiological mechanisms may not be perfectly understood it has noticeable and measurable external effects.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 28, 2008, 03:48:34 pm
I've always wondered why there is so much emphasis on breaking things in some martial arts. I like the Chinese approach, that as you deepen with the understanding of Chi, you can use it to heal people. I don't know how it works, but I guess it seems to work somehow. At any rate, it seems much more practical.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Manta Obscura on October 28, 2008, 04:02:42 pm
I've always wondered why there is so much emphasis on breaking things in some martial arts. I like the Chinese approach, that as you deepen with the understanding of Chi, you can use it to heal people. I don't know how it works, but I guess it seems to work somehow. At any rate, it seems much more practical.

I agree. The average number of bricks, boards and other typical martial arts regalia that I have to break each day tends to average at just above zero, whereas the average number of times that I stub my toe, burn my hand, or have my cat scratch at my trachea as I sleep, due to general feline ass-hole-ishness, tends to average in the 100-200 range.

I could do with some martial arts healing techniques throughout the day.  :)
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Elder Iptuous on October 28, 2008, 04:18:20 pm
The healing brings up a good point.
As i mentioned earlier, my wife is a massage therapist that has studied under a master over in Thailand and various mentors here in the US.  She will refer to the energy work that she does (which i have an unfortunate propensity of needling).  Although it bugs me that she cannot describe any mechanisms in terms palatable to my western science outlook, the end results are not deniable.  She has diagnosed called serious illnesses in people (that you cant really tell by palpating or such). and has generally amazing recuperative skills.  So she talks about the 'energy work' not just as something simply such as blood flow, or proper breathing, or something else entirely internal.  its something that is detectable and alterable from one person to another.....
 
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Manta Obscura on October 28, 2008, 04:28:36 pm
The healing brings up a good point.
As i mentioned earlier, my wife is a massage therapist that has studied under a master over in Thailand and various mentors here in the US.  She will refer to the energy work that she does (which i have an unfortunate propensity of needling).  Although it bugs me that she cannot describe any mechanisms in terms palatable to my western science outlook, the end results are not deniable.  She has diagnosed called serious illnesses in people (that you cant really tell by palpating or such). and has generally amazing recuperative skills.  So she talks about the 'energy work' not just as something simply such as blood flow, or proper breathing, or something else entirely internal.  its something that is detectable and alterable from one person to another.....
 

I can believe it. My former post concerning the internal endocrine changes and synaptic enzyme releases doesn't come NEARLY close to encompassing the full scale of chi healing. The effects of it, from person to person, remind me of something I once heard concerning the nature of subatomic particles, which is that once one particle comes into contact with another, they will continue to affect each other's movement for the rest of eternity, no matter what distance there is between them. So a particle in my lungs might be spinning to the tune of a dancing quark on Alpha Centauri, or something. I'm not sure if this idea is true or not, but I find it aesthetically pleasing.

I would like to be able to post/go into an intelligent conversation about physics (both Newtonian and quantum scale), energy transfer and other possible physical explanations for the phenomenon, but I am, regrettably, woefully ignorant in any non-biology-or-geology-based science. Has anyone read anything about interaction of the two?
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 28, 2008, 04:33:00 pm
I've always wondered why there is so much emphasis on breaking things in some martial arts. I like the Chinese approach, that as you deepen with the understanding of Chi, you can use it to heal people. I don't know how it works, but I guess it seems to work somehow. At any rate, it seems much more practical.

I agree. The average number of bricks, boards and other typical martial arts regalia that I have to break each day tends to average at just above zero, whereas the average number of times that I stub my toe, burn my hand, or have my cat scratch at my trachea as I sleep, due to general feline ass-hole-ishness, tends to average in the 100-200 range.

I could do with some martial arts healing techniques throughout the day.  :)

Well, obviously theres some internal healing technique for yourself, but I was talking about more Chi Gung Tui Na, and other techniques that are claimed to be able to heal other people through your manipulation of chi. You've probably all heard of Reiki, or something like that.

I don't know if it works. I've had personal experience with something similar to each of those (projecting energy from the hands into my body) and I could feel it, and as anyone here knows I'm a huge sceptic, but there was something going on, whether it was energy or a psychosomatic response. I don't know what it was.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 28, 2008, 04:37:15 pm
The healing brings up a good point.
As i mentioned earlier, my wife is a massage therapist that has studied under a master over in Thailand and various mentors here in the US.  She will refer to the energy work that she does (which i have an unfortunate propensity of needling).  Although it bugs me that she cannot describe any mechanisms in terms palatable to my western science outlook, the end results are not deniable.  She has diagnosed called serious illnesses in people (that you cant really tell by palpating or such). and has generally amazing recuperative skills.  So she talks about the 'energy work' not just as something simply such as blood flow, or proper breathing, or something else entirely internal.  its something that is detectable and alterable from one person to another.....
 

I can believe it. My former post concerning the internal endocrine changes and synaptic enzyme releases doesn't come NEARLY close to encompassing the full scale of chi healing. The effects of it, from person to person, remind me of something I once heard concerning the nature of subatomic particles, which is that once one particle comes into contact with another, they will continue to affect each other's movement for the rest of eternity, no matter what distance there is between them. So a particle in my lungs might be spinning to the tune of a dancing quark on Alpha Centauri, or something. I'm not sure if this idea is true or not, but I find it aesthetically pleasing.

I would like to be able to post/go into an intelligent conversation about physics (both Newtonian and quantum scale), energy transfer and other possible physical explanations for the phenomenon, but I am, regrettably, woefully ignorant in any non-biology-or-geology-based science. Has anyone read anything about interaction of the two?

I don't believe that there is any sort of real energy transfer involved because we don't see any physical evidence of such. Well, obviously there will be some electromagnetic transfer (in the form of heat), but chemical energy transfer wouldn't be occuring, kinetic transfer, or mechanical, or any of the other types of energy we know of, would not be occuring in this. So, I stick to the idea that its some sort of psychosomatic response.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: LMNO on October 28, 2008, 04:44:57 pm
Thank you for that.  Once you mentioned Reiki, I started to worry.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Elder Iptuous on October 28, 2008, 04:45:42 pm
Well, obviously theres some internal healing technique for yourself, but I was talking about more Chi Gung Tui Na, and other techniques that are claimed to be able to heal other people through your manipulation of chi. You've probably all heard of Reiki, or something like that.

I don't know if it works. I've had personal experience with something similar to each of those (projecting energy from the hands into my body) and I could feel it, and as anyone here knows I'm a huge sceptic, but there was something going on, whether it was energy or a psychosomatic response. I don't know what it was.

Ah yes, Reiki is one of the disciplines that my wife has studied.....
she told me the story about how the original Reiki guy was instructed by some entity to climb a mountain and meditate and then magical glowing glyphs flew into his head and BAM he knew Reiki and taught it to others (for a fee)..... (i think that's how it went)
That was totally a mistake for her to tell me that, but i gotta admit.... there is something there, even if it does reeeek of superstitious scam to me when i walk into the room and shes sitting there in lotus praying this prayer to the original Reiki guy.....'Om nammo, zhivago, blah blah....."
so easy to laugh at.....
so hard to dismiss...
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Manta Obscura on October 28, 2008, 04:47:11 pm
I've always wondered why there is so much emphasis on breaking things in some martial arts. I like the Chinese approach, that as you deepen with the understanding of Chi, you can use it to heal people. I don't know how it works, but I guess it seems to work somehow. At any rate, it seems much more practical.

I agree. The average number of bricks, boards and other typical martial arts regalia that I have to break each day tends to average at just above zero, whereas the average number of times that I stub my toe, burn my hand, or have my cat scratch at my trachea as I sleep, due to general feline ass-hole-ishness, tends to average in the 100-200 range.

I could do with some martial arts healing techniques throughout the day.  :)

Well, obviously theres some internal healing technique for yourself, but I was talking about more Chi Gung Tui Na, and other techniques that are claimed to be able to heal other people through your manipulation of chi. You've probably all heard of Reiki, or something like that.

I don't know if it works. I've had personal experience with something similar to each of those (projecting energy from the hands into my body) and I could feel it, and as anyone here knows I'm a huge sceptic, but there was something going on, whether it was energy or a psychosomatic response. I don't know what it was.

I see what you're saying. Pardon the tongue-in-cheekness in my previous post.

I'm flummoxed by the whole, thing, too. If only there was some sort of Akashic record that could just give us a clue . . .
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: LMNO on October 28, 2008, 04:48:05 pm
so easy to laugh at.....
so hard to dismiss...

I can do both quite easily, thank you.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on October 28, 2008, 05:02:13 pm
The healing brings up a good point.
As i mentioned earlier, my wife is a massage therapist that has studied under a master over in Thailand and various mentors here in the US.  She will refer to the energy work that she does (which i have an unfortunate propensity of needling).  Although it bugs me that she cannot describe any mechanisms in terms palatable to my western science outlook, the end results are not deniable.  She has diagnosed called serious illnesses in people (that you cant really tell by palpating or such). and has generally amazing recuperative skills.  So she talks about the 'energy work' not just as something simply such as blood flow, or proper breathing, or something else entirely internal.  its something that is detectable and alterable from one person to another.....
 

I can believe it. My former post concerning the internal endocrine changes and synaptic enzyme releases doesn't come NEARLY close to encompassing the full scale of chi healing. The effects of it, from person to person, remind me of something I once heard concerning the nature of subatomic particles, which is that once one particle comes into contact with another, they will continue to affect each other's movement for the rest of eternity, no matter what distance there is between them. So a particle in my lungs might be spinning to the tune of a dancing quark on Alpha Centauri, or something. I'm not sure if this idea is true or not, but I find it aesthetically pleasing.

I would like to be able to post/go into an intelligent conversation about physics (both Newtonian and quantum scale), energy transfer and other possible physical explanations for the phenomenon, but I am, regrettably, woefully ignorant in any non-biology-or-geology-based science. Has anyone read anything about interaction of the two?

I don't believe that there is any sort of real energy transfer involved because we don't see any physical evidence of such. Well, obviously there will be some electromagnetic transfer (in the form of heat), but chemical energy transfer wouldn't be occuring, kinetic transfer, or mechanical, or any of the other types of energy we know of, would not be occuring in this. So, I stick to the idea that its some sort of psychosomatic response.

But, if the psychosomatic response causes change... then its running off of some sort of 'energy' (where energy is defined as the ability to do work). Maybe the 'energy' isn't being transferred so much as its internal energy being focused to do work?

In all of my experiments, I find that different systems tap into different things... that upon reflection seem very similar (as we discussed above). If I can raise "energy" myself through ritual or meditation or breathing exercises etc... can someone else evoke this same thing through something weird like Reiki?

I dunno, but it seems as possible (if not more possible) than some mystical transfer of 'energy' from someone's hands into someone elses body.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Cain on October 28, 2008, 05:02:56 pm
I swear I'll get that book out tonight and take notes.

As for energy....paging LMNO....
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 28, 2008, 05:04:57 pm
Thank you for that.  Once you mentioned Reiki, I started to worry.

LMNO, you know me. I work on my experiences, and use the best scientific information to try to explain them. If science doesn't know how something works, then I say "I don't know, but there is something happening". If science can make no claim about something because its untestable, then I say "I don't know" and don't make a further comment. I don't understand the origins of everything, and science will probably never have ALL the answers, so I end up saying I don't know quite a bit.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: LMNO on October 28, 2008, 05:06:52 pm
I swear I'll get that book out tonight and take notes.

As for energy....paging LMNO....

Nah, Kai already stated there's no known energy at work here.

Rat, unless you want to re-define "energy" as information transfer, "psychosomatic" energy is chemical energy in the hormonal cascades from the limbic system.

Thank you for that.  Once you mentioned Reiki, I started to worry.

LMNO, you know me. I work on my experiences, and use the best scientific information to try to explain them. If science doesn't know how something works, then I say "I don't know, but there is something happening". If science can make no claim about something because its untestable, then I say "I don't know" and don't make a further comment. I don't understand the origins of everything, and science will probably never have ALL the answers, so I end up saying I don't know quite a bit.

See?
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 28, 2008, 05:13:14 pm
The healing brings up a good point.
As i mentioned earlier, my wife is a massage therapist that has studied under a master over in Thailand and various mentors here in the US.  She will refer to the energy work that she does (which i have an unfortunate propensity of needling).  Although it bugs me that she cannot describe any mechanisms in terms palatable to my western science outlook, the end results are not deniable.  She has diagnosed called serious illnesses in people (that you cant really tell by palpating or such). and has generally amazing recuperative skills.  So she talks about the 'energy work' not just as something simply such as blood flow, or proper breathing, or something else entirely internal.  its something that is detectable and alterable from one person to another.....
 

I can believe it. My former post concerning the internal endocrine changes and synaptic enzyme releases doesn't come NEARLY close to encompassing the full scale of chi healing. The effects of it, from person to person, remind me of something I once heard concerning the nature of subatomic particles, which is that once one particle comes into contact with another, they will continue to affect each other's movement for the rest of eternity, no matter what distance there is between them. So a particle in my lungs might be spinning to the tune of a dancing quark on Alpha Centauri, or something. I'm not sure if this idea is true or not, but I find it aesthetically pleasing.

I would like to be able to post/go into an intelligent conversation about physics (both Newtonian and quantum scale), energy transfer and other possible physical explanations for the phenomenon, but I am, regrettably, woefully ignorant in any non-biology-or-geology-based science. Has anyone read anything about interaction of the two?

I don't believe that there is any sort of real energy transfer involved because we don't see any physical evidence of such. Well, obviously there will be some electromagnetic transfer (in the form of heat), but chemical energy transfer wouldn't be occuring, kinetic transfer, or mechanical, or any of the other types of energy we know of, would not be occuring in this. So, I stick to the idea that its some sort of psychosomatic response.

But, if the psychosomatic response causes change... then its running off of some sort of 'energy' (where energy is defined as the ability to do work). Maybe the 'energy' isn't being transferred so much as its internal energy being focused to do work?

In all of my experiments, I find that different systems tap into different things... that upon reflection seem very similar (as we discussed above). If I can raise "energy" myself through ritual or meditation or breathing exercises etc... can someone else evoke this same thing through something weird like Reiki?

I dunno, but it seems as possible (if not more possible) than some mystical transfer of 'energy' from someone's hands into someone elses body.

If we talk about psychosomatic "energy", then in essence we are talking about consciousness affecting physiology. And consciousness is an emergent system from biology that doesn't violate biological systems but can't be derived from basic biological equations (kinda like how the fluid behavior of liquids can't be derived from atomic physics). I'm a biologist, I don't know anything about consciousness. In the case of "healing energy", it might be mind affecting body affecting mind affecting body in some network I don't claim to understand in the least bit and should probably shut up now before I put my food in my mouth. I'd rather say I don't know.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on October 28, 2008, 05:17:00 pm
Right, I'm not talking about a transfer of some definable energy. But rather, that some energy (ability to do work) appears involved. Could be psychosomatic, aka it could be internal and simply 'engaged' by the ritual (be it Rieki or Chi or Magic Rituals or Whatever).

But I still think energy isn't the right semantic symbol to use here... too many other connotations involved with it that just don't fit.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 28, 2008, 05:24:31 pm
Right, I'm not talking about a transfer of some definable energy. But rather, that some energy (ability to do work) appears involved. Could be psychosomatic, aka it could be internal and simply 'engaged' by the ritual (be it Rieki or Chi or Magic Rituals or Whatever).

But I still think energy isn't the right semantic symbol to use here... too many other connotations involved with it that just don't fit.

I'm okay with defining Chi as this nebulous idea we are talking about, whatever it might be and whatever its origins are. We can talk about Chi in this way, and it doesn't matter whether its psychosomatic or some sort of cosmic energy, we can still talk about it in the same manner, because we are talking about the emergent properties and results, and working backwards from that.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on October 28, 2008, 05:26:08 pm
Right, I'm not talking about a transfer of some definable energy. But rather, that some energy (ability to do work) appears involved. Could be psychosomatic, aka it could be internal and simply 'engaged' by the ritual (be it Rieki or Chi or Magic Rituals or Whatever).

But I still think energy isn't the right semantic symbol to use here... too many other connotations involved with it that just don't fit.

I'm okay with defining Chi as this nebulous idea we are talking about, whatever it might be and whatever its origins are. We can talk about Chi in this way, and it doesn't matter whether its psychosomatic or some sort of cosmic energy, we can still talk about it in the same manner, because we are talking about the emergent properties and results, and working backwards from that.

Works for me. For now, until we find something better, I'll use "Chi" as the representation of this 'stuff' in our discussion of this topic. ;-)
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 28, 2008, 05:45:02 pm
I think the most basic thing we can say about Chi is that there is some sort of major health benefit associated with it, or with its cultivation. Some of the health benefit claims are rather wild, but most of them are down to earth.

Hypertension is one that has actually been clinically tested for Chi Gung, and it does seem to work quite well.  It also reduces the chance of stroke, chance of death by stroke, and I guess because of that, increases your lifespan. As we have already talked about in this thread, it seems to improve circulation. Note that all of these benefits deal directly with the circulatory system, specifically in dialation of blood vessels.

There are more items here: http://www.qigonginstitute.org/html/papers/Anti-Aging_Benefits_of_Qigong.html

Along with references at the bottom.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: LMNO on October 28, 2008, 05:50:03 pm
I would also like to say that even if it's being used as a placeholder for "certain things observed", and that there is a method to increase said Observed Things, that doesn't mean the placeholder is anything more than a convenient way of saying "I dunno".

After all, the Reactive Mind and Engrams are Observed Things in Scientology, yet I'm sure most of us would call bullshit if we discussed them as "real".*









*The fact that if you do excercise X you'll get a result Y is one of the strongest selling points of Scientology.  The trick is that they don't have to PROVE that it happened because of Z, because you've already got result Y.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on October 28, 2008, 06:10:16 pm
I would also like to say that even if it's being used as a placeholder for "certain things observed", and that there is a method to increase said Observed Things, that doesn't mean the placeholder is anything more than a convenient way of saying "I dunno".

After all, the Reactive Mind and Engrams are Observed Things in Scientology, yet I'm sure most of us would call bullshit if we discussed them as "real".*



*The fact that if you do excercise X you'll get a result Y is one of the strongest selling points of Scientology.  The trick is that they don't have to PROVE that it happened because of Z, because you've already got result Y.

YES!

And this is a great example of a valuable sport for Model Agnosticism. If we are agnostic towards the model X (Reiki, Chi, Magic rituals, Yoga, Tantra etc etc etc) we can examine the Y results without a dogmatic belief in the Cause being Z. Rather we can look at the proffered Cause explanations (Z1 ... Zn) from each model and determine if the explanation works across more than just that model. So if we have a model which says "The magical powerz come from glyphs burned into your brain by Angels when you engage in rituals A, B and F" and we can get results in a different model which doesn't require rituals A, B F or Angels with magic markers... then obviously, the model may be valuable (it may be a documented way of achieving results) but its explanatory power becomes obviously flawed.

As Crowley once said:

Quote
Anyhow, we have got values of y and z for x, and values of x and z for y—all our equations are indeterminate; all our knowledge is relative, even in a narrower sense than is usually implied by the statement. Under the whip of the clown God, our performing donkeys the philosophers and men of science run round and round in the ring; they have amusing tricks: they are cleverly trained; but they get nowhere.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 28, 2008, 06:11:19 pm
I would also like to say that even if it's being used as a placeholder for "certain things observed", and that there is a method to increase said Observed Things, that doesn't mean the placeholder is anything more than a convenient way of saying "I dunno".

After all, the Reactive Mind and Engrams are Observed Things in Scientology, yet I'm sure most of us would call bullshit if we discussed them as "real".*









*The fact that if you do excercise X you'll get a result Y is one of the strongest selling points of Scientology.  The trick is that they don't have to PROVE that it happened because of Z, because you've already got result Y.

Something is happening. Its happening in the open, not in some closed in room with a phony machine. People are becoming healthier by standing in one place and cultivating and manipulating chi. Whatever chi is, I don't know, but something is going on. I don't just have to observe it in others either, I can do it myself (and unlike with Scientology, I can do it for free) and I can see the difference in myself. I don't use any fancy rituals or language for it, I just do it, stripped bare, and its doing something, and that something has observable benefits. It doesn't require buying into something, and it doesn't require belief beyond experience, no trickery involved, no lying, no SP's, etc. And I think most of you would agree that there isn't a level of disrespecting other people that goes into the process, it seems like the opposite happens.

I'm not going to argue any more than that.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 28, 2008, 06:23:42 pm
Sorry. Its like creationists. I don't like it when someone insinuates even the slightest comparison between something I do and Scientology.

Sets me on the defensive.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on October 28, 2008, 06:27:36 pm
Sorry. Its like creationists. I don't like it when someone insinuates even the slightest comparison between something I do and Scientology.

Sets me on the defensive.

Well, the difference is in the conclusion... All you have claimed throughout the discussion is that when you do Chi exercises... 'something' happens. You haven't made any claims about the Cause... and any discussion of Cause has been nicely spiced and seasoned with skepticism and uncertainty.

Thus, I would say that, in no way, is your position here comparable to Scientology. For what its worth, I didn't read LMNO's statement as anything like that anyway, rather I think it was just an illustration of what it looks like on the wrong side of this line we're walking ;-)
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 28, 2008, 06:34:13 pm
Sorry. Its like creationists. I don't like it when someone insinuates even the slightest comparison between something I do and Scientology.

Sets me on the defensive.

Well, the difference is in the conclusion... All you have claimed throughout the discussion is that when you do Chi exercises... 'something' happens. You haven't made any claims about the Cause... and any discussion of Cause has been nicely spiced and seasoned with skepticism and uncertainty.

Thus, I would say that, in no way, is your position here comparable to Scientology. For what its worth, I didn't read LMNO's statement as anything like that anyway, rather I think it was just an illustration of what it looks like on the wrong side of this line we're walking ;-)

Yes. I know. Thats why I apologized.  I wouldn't have if LMNO had really.

Wish I knew the cause though. Knowing the cause can help you manipulate the outcome.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on October 28, 2008, 06:38:02 pm
Sorry. Its like creationists. I don't like it when someone insinuates even the slightest comparison between something I do and Scientology.

Sets me on the defensive.

Well, the difference is in the conclusion... All you have claimed throughout the discussion is that when you do Chi exercises... 'something' happens. You haven't made any claims about the Cause... and any discussion of Cause has been nicely spiced and seasoned with skepticism and uncertainty.

Thus, I would say that, in no way, is your position here comparable to Scientology. For what its worth, I didn't read LMNO's statement as anything like that anyway, rather I think it was just an illustration of what it looks like on the wrong side of this line we're walking ;-)

Yes. I know. Thats why I apologized.  I wouldn't have if LMNO had really.

Wish I knew the cause though. Knowing the cause can help you manipulate the outcome.

Oh, you scientists and your desire to KNOW WHY! ;-)

Hehehehe, I wish we knew too.

Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: LMNO on October 28, 2008, 06:38:22 pm
I would also like to say that even if it's being used as a placeholder for "certain things observed", and that there is a method to increase said Observed Things, that doesn't mean the placeholder is anything more than a convenient way of saying "I dunno".


Redacted.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: LMNO on October 28, 2008, 06:39:30 pm
I would also like to say that even if it's being used as a placeholder for "certain things observed", and that there is a method to increase said Observed Things, that doesn't mean the placeholder is anything more than a convenient way of saying "I dunno".

Doing X and getting Y doesn't mean that it was caused by CHI.


Redacted.

Expanded.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on October 28, 2008, 06:40:40 pm
I would also like to say that even if it's being used as a placeholder for "certain things observed", and that there is a method to increase said Observed Things, that doesn't mean the placeholder is anything more than a convenient way of saying "I dunno".

Doing X and getting Y doesn't mean that it was caused by CHI.


Redacted.

Expanded.

Agreed... Chi appears as a convenient label for X in this case.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: LMNO on October 28, 2008, 06:45:05 pm
Really?

I figured X was the excercise, Y was the result, and CHI was the "reason".
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Elder Iptuous on October 28, 2008, 06:47:14 pm
yea, i think chi is the unknown mechanism.
And i would say that if chi is shorthand for 'idunno' then it would be accurate to say 'doing X gets you Y because of chi'
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on October 28, 2008, 06:54:01 pm
Really?

I figured X was the excercise, Y was the result, and CHI was the "reason".

I just meant X as in unknown.

But in "Do X, get result Y because of Z" then I think Chi would be the Z.

yea, i think chi is the unknown mechanism.
And i would say that if chi is shorthand for 'idunno' then it would be accurate to say 'doing X gets you Y because of chi'

like that.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: LMNO on October 28, 2008, 06:55:23 pm
Ah, but we just recently changed the definition from the standard one used, which is "lifeforce/energy/cosmic blagadibloo".

CHI is our hypothesis, not our theory.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Elder Iptuous on October 28, 2008, 07:01:35 pm
Ah, but we just recently changed the definition from the standard one used, which is "lifeforce/energy/cosmic blagadibloo".

CHI is our hypothesis, not our theory.

Ah, And still i pee!.....

wait.. wrong conversation.
aren't we even further back than that?  we have no hypothesis here.  just observation and a placeholder for a hypothesis.....
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Manta Obscura on October 28, 2008, 07:09:38 pm
Are we doing chi exercises or science/math equations, now?

If the former, I think it would be easiest just to say that chi exercises help people in various ways. If the latter, then I think we're just making up abstractions that are leading us around in logical circles, until we'll eventually prove that chi = chi*chi/ki^(lifeforce/[belief-definition]).
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 28, 2008, 07:16:33 pm
I've got nothin but observations and something that is goin on which I am calling chi for the moment.

Besides, I like the history behind Ch'i (the chinese concept, the wade-giles spelling, separating that particular concept from a nebulous chi we are talking about) and I used to be Taoist; I feel an affinity for the philosophy and culture behind it. So, while I may not agree with the usefulness of all ritual, there are some rituals I partake because I enjoy them, even if I don't have to do the ritual to achieve the results. Thats all personal reasons and not science though.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Manta Obscura on October 28, 2008, 07:22:10 pm
I've got nothin but observations and something that is goin on which I am calling chi for the moment.

Besides, I like the history behind Ch'i (the chinese concept, the wade-giles spelling, separating that particular concept from a nebulous chi we are talking about) and I used to be Taoist; I feel an affinity for the philosophy and culture behind it. So, while I may not agree with the usefulness of all ritual, there are some rituals I partake because I enjoy them, even if I don't have to do the ritual to achieve the results. Thats all personal reasons and not science though.

 :)

Taoism is a great philosophy; the sense of quiet that it imparts is liberating.

Do you do any Taoist art techniques, like brush-stroke painting?
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 28, 2008, 07:43:20 pm
I've got nothin but observations and something that is goin on which I am calling chi for the moment.

Besides, I like the history behind Ch'i (the chinese concept, the wade-giles spelling, separating that particular concept from a nebulous chi we are talking about) and I used to be Taoist; I feel an affinity for the philosophy and culture behind it. So, while I may not agree with the usefulness of all ritual, there are some rituals I partake because I enjoy them, even if I don't have to do the ritual to achieve the results. Thats all personal reasons and not science though.

 :)

Taoism is a great philosophy; the sense of quiet that it imparts is liberating.

Do you do any Taoist art techniques, like brush-stroke painting?

I don't anymore. I did at one time. I'm not Taoist because I reject some aspects of Taoism. Just like I'm not Buddhist because I reject some aspects of Buddhism. Use what works, discard what doesn't, write your own scripture.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus on October 29, 2008, 09:30:03 am
This is an excellent discussion so far, and I'll just jump in here.

I use Chi/Ki and Pranayama(lit. -Breath-Mastery, Sanskrit) models while meditating and for martial arts. I also gave a short talk about the breath techniques I use @ the last KallistiCon.

So, first I'll rant about Breath (and I'd e-prime this, but it's freakin' late, and I'm starting to feel the sleep dep, so keep in mind that I'm talking MODELS not Truth). I'll go further into this and how it ties to Chi/Ki in further posts. Since most people here should be somewhat familiar with the 8Circuit model, I'll stick to that for most of my explanations. If anything confuses, please ask.

-Breath: All Chi/Ki building exercises I've done and read about start with a breathing practice.

Why? Breath is the door to achieving conscious control over sub-conscious bodily processes.

The body has many systems and processes that we usually let the subconscious and the limbic system handle. Heart rate/circulation. Blinking. Digestion. Breathing.

Yet breathing is the one that we can have the most direct conscious effect on. We learn very early on (bathtub anyone?) to hold our breath when necessary. Some websites I've looked at says a human can learn to hold it's breath at 6 months of age. It's also one of the primary functions that we first start doing _outside_ the womb.

In the 8Circuit model, this is imprinted 1st circuit reflexes. But, it's also the one of the easier imprinted reflexes to achieve conscious control over. Once you can mindfully sit and follow your breath, you can mindfully sit and follow more complex bodily reflexes, like heart-rate/circulation, and thinking. Again, breath is the 'subconscious' process that we can most readily access consciously through our motor cortex. Yet, like training the hand to draw, training the breath takes some direct, repetitive practice.

Now, once one achieves a relaxed and mindful awareness of one's breath, the next thing you should notice is Muscle Armor (1st circuit tensions). These, according to the 8C model, are chronic stress-handling "muscle-armor" tensions. In "civilized" hominids, these usually occur in the upper frame and shoulders, as well as the abs and lower back.

Vividly imagine someone yelling and swinging a baseball bat at your face and these areas of muscle tension should leap into your awareness.

With these areas tensed, the body breathes by raising and lowering the shoulders. This breath pattern tend to increase noradrenaline and the related responses in the limbic system. This is natural for a monkey to do, but the constant perceived threats we encounter in our "civilized" environments, which we then mentally suppress, have conditioned these areas to be chronically tensed. This leads to a constant flush of noradrenaline in our systems, which may lead to some nasty results later in life.

This is not the first way we learn to breathe, and closely observing babies will tell you this. This has been trained into us from constant exposure to perceived threats. So, most breathing exercises teach you at first how to recapture the breathing techniques of the innocent child.

Wow, that got kinda long, so I'll go into the practice and effects of the "Complete Breath" tomorrow.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 29, 2008, 11:38:22 am
This is an excellent discussion so far, and I'll just jump in here.

I use Chi/Ki and Pranayama(lit. -Breath-Mastery, Sanskrit) models while meditating and for martial arts. I also gave a short talk about the breath techniques I use @ the last KallistiCon.

So, first I'll rant about Breath (and I'd e-prime this, but it's freakin' late, and I'm starting to feel the sleep dep, so keep in mind that I'm talking MODELS not Truth). I'll go further into this and how it ties to Chi/Ki in further posts. Since most people here should be somewhat familiar with the 8Circuit model, I'll stick to that for most of my explanations. If anything confuses, please ask.

-Breath: All Chi/Ki building exercises I've done and read about start with a breathing practice.

Why? Breath is the door to achieving conscious control over sub-conscious bodily processes.

The body has many systems and processes that we usually let the subconscious and the limbic system handle. Heart rate/circulation. Blinking. Digestion. Breathing.

Yet breathing is the one that we can have the most direct conscious effect on. We learn very early on (bathtub anyone?) to hold our breath when necessary. Some websites I've looked at says a human can learn to hold it's breath at 6 months of age. It's also one of the primary functions that we first start doing _outside_ the womb.

In the 8Circuit model, this is imprinted 1st circuit reflexes. But, it's also the one of the easier imprinted reflexes to achieve conscious control over. Once you can mindfully sit and follow your breath, you can mindfully sit and follow more complex bodily reflexes, like heart-rate/circulation, and thinking. Again, breath is the 'subconscious' process that we can most readily access consciously through our motor cortex. Yet, like training the hand to draw, training the breath takes some direct, repetitive practice.

Now, once one achieves a relaxed and mindful awareness of one's breath, the next thing you should notice is Muscle Armor (1st circuit tensions). These, according to the 8C model, are chronic stress-handling "muscle-armor" tensions. In "civilized" hominids, these usually occur in the upper frame and shoulders, as well as the abs and lower back.

Vividly imagine someone yelling and swinging a baseball bat at your face and these areas of muscle tension should leap into your awareness.

With these areas tensed, the body breathes by raising and lowering the shoulders. This breath pattern tend to increase noradrenaline and the related responses in the limbic system. This is natural for a monkey to do, but the constant perceived threats we encounter in our "civilized" environments, which we then mentally suppress, have conditioned these areas to be chronically tensed. This leads to a constant flush of noradrenaline in our systems, which may lead to some nasty results later in life.

This is not the first way we learn to breathe, and closely observing babies will tell you this. This has been trained into us from constant exposure to perceived threats. So, most breathing exercises teach you at first how to recapture the breathing techniques of the innocent child.

Wow, that got kinda long, so I'll go into the practice and effects of the "Complete Breath" tomorrow.

This is a great post and I just have some comments on several aspects of it:

1) I've heard of Pranayama before, have seen it used in yogic practices. To a large extent, it seems very much like the breathing practice you work with in Chi Gung. I don't know if thats because both these practices have come from the same root (homologous) or that they have arisen separately but similarly (analogous).

2) You seem to be already using the psychosomatic model for Chi (and the 8 circuit model), while I am going to remain agnostic on this.

3) In Chi Gung, the focus is on bringing the breath downward, out of the chest, strengthening the diaphragm, stretching the abdominal muscles, and using all areas of the torso to gather breath. I don't think many people realize they can gather breath in each distinct part of their torso, even in one side and not the other, that you can breathe from very specific areas, including the lower abdomen, upper, right and left, the kidneys (the area around them),the lower chest, the upper chest, the upper back, and the neck.

4)  I love the use of visualizing a baseball bat flying at your face to quickly find areas of tension. That is something I have never heard before and may use in the future.

I'm guessing where you are going with this is to lower the breathing into the abdomen. I'm looking forward to seeing how you explain it.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on October 29, 2008, 02:12:19 pm
I love PD.com...


Very nice, Telarus!
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Honey on October 30, 2008, 02:28:32 pm
I do appreciate what’s been said here!   :D  Hey Thanks & Respect!   :)

Busy, busy, busy lately but I did want to add something here.  First off, I am definitely no expert in Tai Chi Chuan.  I became attracted to Tai Chi Chuan from reading the Tao Te Ching. 

Quote
Nothing in the world
is as soft and yielding as water.
Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible,
nothing can surpass it.

The soft overcomes the hard;
the gentle overcomes the rigid.
Everyone knows this is true,
but few can put it into practice.

Therefore the Master remains
serene in the midst of sorrow.
Evil cannot enter his heart.
Because he has given up helping,
he is people's greatest help.

True words seem paradoxical.

-Tao Te Ching, 78

Tai Chi Chuan seemed to me (or maybe was described) as a type of meditation in motion.  This greatly appealed to me as I sometimes see the mind as a tool & meditation as a way to sharpen.  It was the ‘sitting’ that I found most hard to practice.  I often felt my mind worked better when I was moving my body.  Also the concept of balance.  I’ve always been attracted to activities that require balance.  I also know I need to work on my balance.

I was fortunate enuff to study with 2 excellent teachers.  Both stressed the importance of K’e Ch’i:

Quote
“A person with an excellent sense of K’e Ch’I will be very good at Tai Chi Chuan.”  -Robert W. Smith (student of Professor Cheng)

K’e Ch’i means “manners,” that characteristic of the Chines that can be graceful when sincere & annoying when an empty formality.  The etymology of the phrase is revealing, K’e means guest.  Ch’i is the same word – breath, air, spirit force – that is the center of Tai Chi.  So taken together, K’e Ch’i is the “the air of a guest.”

Think of being a guest of the earth.  Grateful, glad to be in this lovely house, respectful of everything, which is, after all, not yours; but not subservient either, secure that your presence is welcome & provide for by a beneficent universe.

In doing push hands our attitude should also be K’e Ch’i.  We should not try to dominate or overposer the opponent.  Professor Cheng said that if your idea is to push or not be pushed, it is not Tai Chi.

-From There Are No Secrets Professor Cheng Man-ch’ing & his Tai Chi Chuan by Wolfe Lowenthal

& both stressed the importance of balance.

Quote
In the absence of harmony, apply the principle of push hands; we don’t look to blame the other, we look to ourselves.  We also need to understand that separation & its attendant negative emotions are not to be indulged; that is a sign we are out of balance & if not corrected will lead to even worse trouble.  The organism, healthy & in balance, is meant to be “happy as a fish in crystal waters.”

From the 1 teacher I learned more about the form, from the other I learned more about push hands.

(Please note: see also the Bokononist practice of Boku Maru where the ‘soles’ of the feet are used (playfully n’est-ce pas?)

Quote
"Do push hands as if no one is there, do the form as if someone is there."  –Professor Cheng

Martial ability in Tai Chi develops through osmosis.  Correct &, as Professor Cheng would say, “sincere” practice of the form & push hands produces a body wisdom, an instinctual power that when initially emergent surprises the practitioner.

1 night during class my teacher noticed I was having some trouble.  After class he asked me if I was feeling alright.  That night I had considered skipping class ‘cuz I had a pretty bad toothache & the pain was making it difficult for me to focus or concentrate.  My teacher asked me if I would allow him to help.  Of course I agreed.  I sat down on the floor and he sat down next to me.  He studied my face for a few moments & then applied pressure to an area closer to my ear than my tooth.  After about 15 seconds I started to feel warm & then I felt/heard what was like a small ‘pop’ inside my head (not a noise outside).  Then I felt the pain leaving, pulsing out of me, draining too, thru the place where he was still applying pressure.  (His fingers seemed to be positioned in a specific way.)  I was sweating lightly & still warm, especially my face & head.  Then it was over & I had no pain.  He told me something like there was a channel that was blocked & the chi could not pass thru as normal.  He was also careful to tell me that I still needed to see a specialist because the problem was still there.  He relieved the pain for me until I could seek treatment.  (I went the next day to my dentist.)

Another time my teacher had a few friends visiting when I first got to class.  We were warming up for class & they began to play a game.  The only way I can describe it, is that they were having a ‘chi-ball toss.’   They threw something to each other, back & forth.  & as they played, the chi-ball got bigger & bigger, starting out like about the size of a marble & ending up being the size of a small beach ball.  That was fun to watch!

The warm-ups he taught us were usually fun too, self-directed massages & techniques for maintaining health & always related to improving the form or push hands.

This 1 warm-up exercise I shared with a co-worker who was trying out for pitcher with a minor league baseball team.  He then shared it with some of his teammates.  It’s really easy.  I think it helps to re-direct the mind & body to be open & ready to receive. 

This is it.  It’s better to do from a relaxed standing position but can also be done seated.

Close your eyes.  Rotate your nose in small clockwise circles.  Imagine you are trying (with your nose) to form a circle about the size of a nickel.  You will most likely hear a crinkling noise inside your head.  Now, form the circles in a counter-clockwise direction.  You can make smaller or larger circles – whatever produces the best feeling.

But to get back to Chi.

Quote
We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.

Tao Te Ching 11

In my mind, Chi is the word, the symbol, the metaphor even or whatever used to express the idea of  :?

& having a word, symbol, metaphor, etc. is what makes the idea useful or malleable or workable or whatever it is to us.  Like many other words, symbols, & metaphors, etc.  & this is where (going off-track or side-track now) I think about the book 1984.  A classic.  George Orwell took the concept of language as metaphor & powerful powerful tool & created a work of fiction describing a negative utopia where the aim was to destroy or distort the meaning of words.  The aim being complete control.  The end-product would be a language pared down to basically consist of 2 words.  Good.  Bad.  & the Jailers or the Wardens of the prison would be the ones to define the words.  If you don’t have a word, symbol, metaphor, etc. to describe the idea it DOES NOT exist for you.

Scary stuff.

& removing diversity by making everyone & thing the same.  (stay in line, stay in step)

& without humor, religion & politics or whatever is transformed from a mechanism for freedom into chains of fanaticism.

& stubbornness is often mistaken for stupidity.

Different strokes for different folks & different wishes for different fishes.   
   
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Honey on October 30, 2008, 02:40:30 pm
Just noticed this spelling mistake - sorry!

In doing push hands our attitude should also be K’e Ch’i.  We should not try to dominate or (overposer) (should read overpower) the opponent.  Professor Cheng said that if your idea is to push or not be pushed, it is not Tai Chi.

There are probably more too -sorry for that.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 30, 2008, 09:23:32 pm
I do appreciate what’s been said here!   :D  Hey Thanks & Respect!   :)

Busy, busy, busy lately but I did want to add something here.  First off, I am definitely no expert in Tai Chi Chuan.  I became attracted to Tai Chi Chuan from reading the Tao Te Ching. 

Quote
Nothing in the world
is as soft and yielding as water.
Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible,
nothing can surpass it.

The soft overcomes the hard;
the gentle overcomes the rigid.
Everyone knows this is true,
but few can put it into practice.

Therefore the Master remains
serene in the midst of sorrow.
Evil cannot enter his heart.
Because he has given up helping,
he is people's greatest help.

True words seem paradoxical.

-Tao Te Ching, 78

Tai Chi Chuan seemed to me (or maybe was described) as a type of meditation in motion.  This greatly appealed to me as I sometimes see the mind as a tool & meditation as a way to sharpen.  It was the ‘sitting’ that I found most hard to practice.  I often felt my mind worked better when I was moving my body.  Also the concept of balance.  I’ve always been attracted to activities that require balance.  I also know I need to work on my balance.

Those are all good reasons for practicing T'ai Chi Chu'an. However, its important to remember that it is a martial art...I think some people get sloppy with the motions because they don't see it this way. Arm breaks and punches and kicks were all put in the form to train a person in defense, while Chi Gung is specifically for ch'i cultivation. Remembering the martial reasons for specific movements helps you increase the precision of these movements.



Quote
I was fortunate enuff to study with 2 excellent teachers.  Both stressed the importance of K’e Ch’i:

Quote
“A person with an excellent sense of K’e Ch’I will be very good at Tai Chi Chuan.”  -Robert W. Smith (student of Professor Cheng)

K’e Ch’i means “manners,” that characteristic of the Chines that can be graceful when sincere & annoying when an empty formality.  The etymology of the phrase is revealing, K’e means guest.  Ch’i is the same word – breath, air, spirit force – that is the center of Tai Chi.  So taken together, K’e Ch’i is the “the air of a guest.”

Think of being a guest of the earth.  Grateful, glad to be in this lovely house, respectful of everything, which is, after all, not yours; but not subservient either, secure that your presence is welcome & provide for by a beneficent universe.

In doing push hands our attitude should also be K’e Ch’i.  We should not try to dominate or overposer the opponent.  Professor Cheng said that if your idea is to push or not be pushed, it is not Tai Chi.

-From There Are No Secrets Professor Cheng Man-ch’ing & his Tai Chi Chuan by Wolfe Lowenthal

I have never heard of K'e Ch'i before. Thank you for that. Guest energy, sincere and grateful yet subjugated.

Quote
& both stressed the importance of balance.

Quote
In the absence of harmony, apply the principle of push hands; we don’t look to blame the other, we look to ourselves.  We also need to understand that separation & its attendant negative emotions are not to be indulged; that is a sign we are out of balance & if not corrected will lead to even worse trouble.  The organism, healthy & in balance, is meant to be “happy as a fish in crystal waters.”

From the 1 teacher I learned more about the form, from the other I learned more about push hands.

(Please note: see also the Bokononist practice of Boku Maru where the ‘soles’ of the feet are used (playfully n’est-ce pas?)

Quote
"Do push hands as if no one is there, do the form as if someone is there."  –Professor Cheng

Martial ability in Tai Chi develops through osmosis.  Correct &, as Professor Cheng would say, “sincere” practice of the form & push hands produces a body wisdom, an instinctual power that when initially emergent surprises the practitioner.

I'm a big fan of push hands. In my understanding, there should be absolutely no pressure between the two people in a push hands excercise, only the lightest of touch.

[quote1 night during class my teacher noticed I was having some trouble.  After class he asked me if I was feeling alright.  That night I had considered skipping class ‘cuz I had a pretty bad toothache & the pain was making it difficult for me to focus or concentrate.  My teacher asked me if I would allow him to help.  Of course I agreed.  I sat down on the floor and he sat down next to me.  He studied my face for a few moments & then applied pressure to an area closer to my ear than my tooth.  After about 15 seconds I started to feel warm & then I felt/heard what was like a small ‘pop’ inside my head (not a noise outside).  Then I felt the pain leaving, pulsing out of me, draining too, thru the place where he was still applying pressure.  (His fingers seemed to be positioned in a specific way.)  I was sweating lightly & still warm, especially my face & head.  Then it was over & I had no pain.  He told me something like there was a channel that was blocked & the chi could not pass thru as normal.  He was also careful to tell me that I still needed to see a specialist because the problem was still there.  He relieved the pain for me until I could seek treatment.  (I went the next day to my dentist.)

Another time my teacher had a few friends visiting when I first got to class.  We were warming up for class & they began to play a game.  The only way I can describe it, is that they were having a ‘chi-ball toss.’   They threw something to each other, back & forth.  & as they played, the chi-ball got bigger & bigger, starting out like about the size of a marble & ending up being the size of a small beach ball.  That was fun to watch!

The warm-ups he taught us were usually fun too, self-directed massages & techniques for maintaining health & always related to improving the form or push hands.

This 1 warm-up exercise I shared with a co-worker who was trying out for pitcher with a minor league baseball team.  He then shared it with some of his teammates.  It’s really easy.  I think it helps to re-direct the mind & body to be open & ready to receive. 

This is it.  It’s better to do from a relaxed standing position but can also be done seated.

Close your eyes.  Rotate your nose in small clockwise circles.  Imagine you are trying (with your nose) to form a circle about the size of a nickel.  You will most likely hear a crinkling noise inside your head.  Now, form the circles in a counter-clockwise direction.  You can make smaller or larger circles – whatever produces the best feeling.

But to get back to Chi.

Quote
We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.

Tao Te Ching 11

In my mind, Chi is the word, the symbol, the metaphor even or whatever used to express the idea of  :?

& having a word, symbol, metaphor, etc. is what makes the idea useful or malleable or workable or whatever it is to us.  Like many other words, symbols, & metaphors, etc.  & this is where (going off-track or side-track now) I think about the book 1984.  A classic.  George Orwell took the concept of language as metaphor & powerful powerful tool & created a work of fiction describing a negative utopia where the aim was to destroy or distort the meaning of words.  The aim being complete control.  The end-product would be a language pared down to basically consist of 2 words.  Good.  Bad.  & the Jailers or the Wardens of the prison would be the ones to define the words.  If you don’t have a word, symbol, metaphor, etc. to describe the idea it DOES NOT exist for you.

Scary stuff.

& removing diversity by making everyone & thing the same.  (stay in line, stay in step)

& without humor, religion & politics or whatever is transformed from a mechanism for freedom into chains of fanaticism.

& stubbornness is often mistaken for stupidity.

Different strokes for different folks & different wishes for different fishes.   
   

[/quote]

I'm a little confused at what the last part has to do with Chi in particular, but I see several examples of affects some people say Chi is responsible for.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus on October 31, 2008, 05:35:54 am
Sorry it took me a few days to get back to this, I'm fighting off a cold, and spent some time digging up some references I had.

At this point I'd like to express how glad I am, and excited, to meet other Discordian who practice martial arts. I ran across a Discordian Aikido practitioner on the web a while back, but didn't get a good chance to discuss anything with her. It's great to meet all of you.

Moving on (warning: this is going to get _long_).

This is a great post and I just have some comments on several aspects of it:

1) I've heard of Pranayama before, have seen it used in yogic practices. To a large extent, it seems very much like the breathing practice you work with in Chi Gung. I don't know if thats because both these practices have come from the same root (homologous) or that they have arisen separately but similarly (analogous).
From my (limited) understanding of the history formalized martial arts, they all stem from various importations of the Yogic arts into Chinese culture at different points in time and from there to the other countries that developed their own specializations. I suppose that analogous evolution could have taken place, but all the basics come back to "that which works", and then the esoteric practices build off of that.

Quote
2) You seem to be already using the psychosomatic model for Chi (and the 8 circuit model), while I am going to remain agnostic on this.

I purposely remain a Model Agnostic and Zetetic (doubt, and then doubt the conclusions you came to from doubting, then look for more information, wash, rinse, repeat...see 'Skeptics' just stop thinking after the first round of Doubt).

I also tend to change my "working" models from time to time. For example, while swordfighting (we have a good, active group here in Portland that uses lacrosse gear and bamboo shinai) I tend to convince myself that Ki/Chi is a real, actual energy. This is mainly because if I allow myself to doubt, I destroy any benefit of using the model at that time. Afterward, I can examine and search for explanations of my experiences.

As to the 8 Cricuit Model, I'll mention a verbal epiphany I had while explaining the 8C model to a couple at the door of Esozone who were interested in Antero Alli's talk, but hadn't decided to buy a ticket yet.

The 8C Model isn't intended to explain how the mind or body physically functions or is structured. The 8C Model is used to group human experiences/states-of-consciousness into useful families so that we can see how experiences/habits/programs/etc in each family relate to each other, and to the functions in the other circuits.

Quote
3) In Chi Gung, the focus is on bringing the breath downward, out of the chest, strengthening the diaphragm, stretching the abdominal muscles, and using all areas of the torso to gather breath. I don't think many people realize they can gather breath in each distinct part of their torso, even in one side and not the other, that you can breathe from very specific areas, including the lower abdomen, upper, right and left, the kidneys (the area around them),the lower chest, the upper chest, the upper back, and the neck.

4)  I love the use of visualizing a baseball bat flying at your face to quickly find areas of tension. That is something I have never heard before and may use in the future.

I'm guessing where you are going with this is to lower the breathing into the abdomen. I'm looking forward to seeing how you explain it.

This is the correct motorcycle. Lol.

The first breathing exercise I learned involved lying down in a relaxing environment (lying down elongates the spine and lets the back muscles relax), and following the breath using a counting technique (make sure not to do this, or most breathing exercises, on a full stomach). The basic form is to inhale through the nostrils, and exhale through the mouth. Count each breath at the end of the exhale, when you get to ten, start again at one. If you loose count, mentally recognize what distracted you then turn your attention back to the count.

Once you are comfortable with this, the next step is exactly to lower the breath down into the abdomen. You can visualize your abdomen (in Japanese, the Hara or center of Gravity, just below the Navel) filling with air, Chi, sparkly fairydust, whatever works for you. The point with these visualizations is to turn the attention to that area of the abdomen, keep it there, and observe the effects. Combine this with the counting technique above.

Usually, you'll notice that the stomach bulges up and out on the inbreath and sinks below the level of the ribs on the outbreath (remember, we're doing this laying down). Breathe naturally, don't force yourself, and don't hold the breath (this can cause muscle strain in the diaphragm until it is strengthened).

While you don't hold your breath, there will be a moment of relaxation at the end of the inbreath, and similarly at the end of the outbreath before the other half of the cycle starts. Much like the moments of stillness at either extreme of a pendulum. Don't hold onto this moment, just recognize it and let it go.

(Kai, it seems you're already familiar with the "Cauldron" in the abdomen, so I'm mostly typing this out for others benefits, and so you can compare practices.)

Now, after practicing this lying down (I did it for a week or two) you can start practicing it while sitting. The sitting technique differs slightly, in that _after_ you channel you Chi down into the abdomen and fill it, you want to raise the chest and shoulders slightly, elongating the upper spine. This elongates the torso, and allows more volume of air to be held in the lungs at a slightly higher pressure. Remember your counting! It will allow you to return to awareness of the breath if anything distracts you. Again, breathe naturally, don't force yourself, and don't hold the breath.

Now, the effects of the sitting practice: By "pooling Chi" in your abdomen and allowing the stomach to bulge and the muscles of the stomach wall to relax, this allows the 'guts' to move out of the way of the expanding lungs. This also has an effect on blood circulation, as you are basically using the diaphragm as a secondary pumping mechanism to get the increased oxygen from the lungs into the rest of your system. On the exhale, the balance of pressure will naturally push the diaphragm upwards, and as you let your shoulders and upper frame relax and come downwards you are basically allowing gravity provide most of the force used to exhale. Thus, you're not burning as much oxygen to work muscles to provide that force.

Once giving this a good solid period of practice (another few weeks), you can introduce the 3rd aspect of the "Complete Breath".  This is twofold: While filling the Hara, you allow your hips to rock slightly backwards, elongating your stomach. Then raise the chest/shoulders (this elongates the lower and then the upper spine, and again, increases the volume of the lungs... this is why practicing the earlier exercises are necessary, jumping to this point with a diaphragm that's not used to it can cause some serious problems). Lastly, you want to raise the elbows away from the torso, thus allowing the ribs at your sides to expand, further increasing the lung volume (I think you mentioned this Kai).

On the exhale; relax and let gravity pull your arms back to your sides, then allow gravity to pull your upper frame down, then rock your hips forward (shortening the stomach). This should happen in a smooth blended manner. Remember, breath naturally, don't force yourself, don't hold your breath.

At this point you've probably done lots and lots of counting to ten, so you can move to mantra (an internal "Om" during the exhale, or one I use from a Ninjutsu manual, resonating "So" on the inbreath, and "Han" on the outbreath). This ties into Zen, and sitting/walking meditation tho, and aids in clreaing random abstract thought from the mind.

There are advanced techniques that build off of this 'complete breath', such as lengthening the moments at each end of the pendulum, but I won't get into that now. Instead I'll share some of my research links.

Pranayama - The Art of Breath by Philip H. Farber (http://www.hawkridgeproductions.com/media/pranayama.html)

Pranayama-Breathing Techniques Benefit's for Martial-Arts Artist’s Truth-Realization. (http://www.martial-arts-action-and-enlightenment.com/pranayama-breathing.html)

And because this thread is about Chi, per se, I'll share a couple of links regarding the symbolism that the Japanese and Chinese use when discussing the subject.

5 ELEMENT CODES (PART 1) -Jeff M. Miller (http://www.ninjutsu.co.uk/uraomote/96/june.html#elem)

5 ELEMENT CODES (PART 2) -Jeff M. Miller (http://www.ninjutsu.co.uk/uraomote/96/july.html#elem)


Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 31, 2008, 12:04:57 pm
I need to come back and read this more completely when I have more time, Telarus, but I've seen it and I like it.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 31, 2008, 09:34:23 pm
Yes, I'm familiar with that technique, but I have never had it explained to me in that way. As a corollary to not doing this with a full stomach, don't do it on an empty one either. Neither are comfortable.


I am having trouble stretching my capacity to what it should be if everything was not so tight but I guess that it comes over time.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Honey on November 01, 2008, 06:24:57 pm
Hi again,

Telarus?  I'm gonna experiment with some of the breathing techniques you've described so well here.  Thanks & respect.

& Kai?  I really liked the original question you posed here.  It made my mind jump.  Then, when reading all the great replies with peoples' observations, experiences & thoughts, my mind continued to jump & my heart began to go buh boom buh boom pitter patter buh boom & my Chi was bouncing all over the place too!  Holy Cow or Chao or whatever!

My reply was attempting (albeit feebly) to describe some of my observations & experiences with this stuff.  & in trying to describe Chi, I began to think about how inadequate words are to describe certain things.  Even when you have a specialized language or have created new words.  The 'speaker' & the 'listener' have to be on the same page, so to speak, or maybe speaking the same language I suppose.

Which is, at times, difficult.  I sometimes struggle to understand & to be understood.

That is maybe why my answer veered off topic perhaps?  I really dunno.  I also struggle for focus at times.

Long story short.  The words (or symbols, metaphors, literal descriptions, etc.) we choose to describe are what we work with.  They may or may not accurately describe the action, concept or idea.  The point I'm trying to make, I guess, is this:  The word is NOT the thing.  Like a photograph of a sunset is not the sunset itself.

If we agree to use the same word, in this case Chi, to describe the action, idea, concept, etc. of  :?.  That idea or ‘thing’ becomes available to work with as we will.

Quote
We work with being,
But non-being is what we use.
-Tao Te Ching #11

In order to answer the question, for example, “What is Chi?” we need to use the word, symbol, metaphor, etc. (non-being).  Even to simply document the observations, experiences, etc. we need the words (non-being) to describe the “thing” (being).

Thanks & Respect!
(I'm gonna go try some of this stuff)  YaY! :wave:   

Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on November 01, 2008, 06:42:56 pm
Hi again,

Telarus?  I'm gonna experiment with some of the breathing techniques you've described so well here.  Thanks & respect.

& Kai?  I really liked the original question you posed here.  It made my mind jump.  Then, when reading all the great replies with peoples' observations, experiences & thoughts, my mind continued to jump & my heart began to go buh boom buh boom pitter patter buh boom & my Chi was bouncing all over the place too!  Holy Cow or Chao or whatever!

My reply was attempting (albeit feebly) to describe some of my observations & experiences with this stuff.  & in trying to describe Chi, I began to think about how inadequate words are to describe certain things.  Even when you have a specialized language or have created new words.  The 'speaker' & the 'listener' have to be on the same page, so to speak, or maybe speaking the same language I suppose.

Which is, at times, difficult.  I sometimes struggle to understand & to be understood.

That is maybe why my answer veered off topic perhaps?  I really dunno.  I also struggle for focus at times.

Long story short.  The words (or symbols, metaphors, literal descriptions, etc.) we choose to describe are what we work with.  They may or may not accurately describe the action, concept or idea.  The point I'm trying to make, I guess, is this:  The word is NOT the thing.  Like a photograph of a sunset is not the sunset itself.

If we agree to use the same word, in this case Chi, to describe the action, idea, concept, etc. of  :?.  That idea or ‘thing’ becomes available to work with as we will.

Quote
We work with being,
But non-being is what we use.
-Tao Te Ching #11

In order to answer the question, for example, “What is Chi?” we need to use the word, symbol, metaphor, etc. (non-being).  Even to simply document the observations, experiences, etc. we need the words (non-being) to describe the “thing” (being).

Thanks & Respect!
(I'm gonna go try some of this stuff)  YaY! :wave:   



Yes, its pretty impossible to work through anything but symbols in writing, or communicating over the internet. In direct experience, things are different.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on November 01, 2008, 07:09:45 pm
Please forgive me... as bits of this have inspired parts of my NanoWriMo entry ;-)
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Cain on November 03, 2008, 10:48:56 am
I just grabbed Kenji Tokitsu's book from my second bookshelf (I have two...well, closer to three).

Its called Ki and the Way of Martial Arts.  Its a bit....mystical, but I'll find some useful extracts.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Cain on November 03, 2008, 11:30:27 am
Page 26

Quote
Ki is felt by the means of the body and is given a more or less defined representation depending on the culture in question.  The sensation of ki is intensified when when speculative self-consciousness is pushed into the background.  This happens to varying degrees depending on how much people are willing to let go of their ego in deferring to what surrounds them.  If the ego is reinforced, the sense of ki diminishes.  In a certain way, the state of mind of heightened ki awareness runs counter to the Cartesian process.  In being attentive to the sensation of ki, you dissolve into your surroundings through the effacement of the central sensation of your own existence.  This attitude is at the root of the different techniques for strengthening ki.

Two things strike me about this.  First, if we assume he is writing in bad faith, this argument sounds very familiar to "if you don't believe in it, it won't work."  Which would suggest it is something of a placebo, a psychological effect manifested through belief which does not, in fact, objectively exist.

Secondly, if we take his argument in good faith (and, although it is hard to guage someone's character from a single book, I think he does argue his position sincerely) then the sensation is somewhat akin to that of certain meditations, a sort of externally directed mindfulness.  I know when I practised Tae Kwon Do frequently, I used a method of relaxation before and during fights where I would relax my field of focus, to take in as much as possible.  You can try this wherever you currently are.  If you just relax, and stop thinking for a while, by paying extreme attention to your surroundings, your field of vision seems to widen and you pick up on even slight movements.  Again, this suggests something physiological, not mystical.

Tokitsu also mentions he thinks that Freud's conception of libido may touch upon ki, though of course Freud was notorious for creating and universalising psychological constructs he thought he had found.  He also notes the Japanese conception of ki differs from the Chinese, in that everything, not just living creatures have ki.  This could just be because of Japanese Animist religious history however, a point he sort of raises (though in a defensive manner).

He also notes that our system of thinking, of using words and cutting up and abstracting reality, may also have a negative effect on ki.  Again, we can see the influence of Buddhist and especially Zen thinking.

Quote
This is ine of the keys to the methods of kiko [the Japanese  version of Qi-gong].  In kiko, we use images, sounds and movements rather than words in order to increase depth beyond words, in order to lead our being into the world of ki.

Again, I think this points to a physiological origin.  Ki, like a martial art, can only be really taught by doing stuff.  Like a martial art, you can understand principles of physics and biology and these may be useful, however it will not actually make you any good at Ju-jitsu or Kendo.  Equally, you need to condition the body to gain that sensation of ki, it is not something that can simply be accessed through logical construction and understanding.

Tokitsu then goes on to explain Japanese dualism in some depth.  I found this quite interesting, and it has potentially wide applications. 

Quote
The mind guides the body, but at a certain moment, the situation can be reversed.  Generally speaking, one can reach the mind through the body and the mind is capable of being strengthened by physical practice.  Moreover, if the body, guided by the mind, accomplishes a certain breakthrough, it places itself on the same plane as the mind - at that point one can speak of a fusion of body and mind.  Practitioners of the martial arts who have gone beyond certain limits, or monks who have practiced certain ascetic physical exercises, attain this fusion and various methods have been elaborated to accomplish it.  In traditional Japanese belief, it is normal to consider that great masters are capable of exerting power over spirits or demons that an ordinary person is incapable of even facing.

This conception has a defining role in the Japanese martial arts.  It brings up the idea that in order to conquer physically, it is necessary first to conquer the mind; after that it is through conquering the body that one can totally conquer the mind.  Seme [mental offensive] expresses itself in movements, but these are aimed at first striking the mind of your opponent.

Just checking, but haven't some studies suggested that keeping mentally active usually results in longevity?

Tokitsu notes that seme is not a feint.  For him, a feint only works if it has seme, if it succeeds in moving the mind of the opponent.  Moving on

Quote
At a more advanced level, you try to cause a movement in the mind of your opponent without producing any outward sign.  At this stage, you take the offensive mainly through ki.  This is called kizeme: succeding in disconcerting yoour opponent through the ki emanating from your person without any visible gesture.

While I think the concept of kizeme, as he explains it is pure crap, it is true that fairly profcient martial artists and other dangerous people do hold themselves in certain ways which, without really expressing itself via combat moves, is obvious.  This is more like intimidation through general presence.  I'm sure everyone here who has done a martial art with any sort of competition has had the unpleasant experience of facing someone who, as soon as you saw them, knew they were going to be trouble.  The fact that they seemed untroubled or distant, just adds to the sense of disquiet.  Like I said, I don't think this is ki, it is just Tokitsu using ki as a placeholder for certain concepts and sensations one has within martial arts which may not be appreciable though usually observable methods.

He goes quite in depth about two different types of ki in the next chapter as well.  Its not worth recounting in depth, only to note he thinks ki can be used through contraction (physical methods) and release (mental methods).  You need the former to proceed to the latter, but limiting yourself purely to the former is silly.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on November 03, 2008, 03:39:49 pm
I often wonder if the bullshit level of those sorts of observations are more to do with their model and symbols...

according to some experts, the vast majority of human communication happens through body language. I think, the number was somewhere around ~%80 or so. As Telarus and Kai have discussed in earlier posts... one of the interesting things about Chi exercises, pranyama, etc is the isolation of otherwise sub-conscious activity (breathing etc).

Much Human Communication is Body Language.
This Body Language appears to be subconscious in most humans.
Various forms of meditation allow subconscious activity to become conscious activity.
Therefore, meditation may allow us to gain better control of our body language.
By making the appropriate body language, an opponent may be thrown off, tricked, overpowered, or simply distracted, though subtle body language.

Maybe.

In fencing, the feint is a mainstay in the bag of tricks. After a long time of practice, I've found that a lot of the feint is in body language. While I don't consider myself a master, I do consciously 'say' stuff with my body to trick my opponent, often by visualizing exactly what I want them to do.

Example:

Opponent takes out rapier and buckler (small shield). I take out rapier and dagger.
The 'lay on' is called.

I immediately, focus on the upper right shoulder, I make every muscle I can control prepare for a thrust to the upper right shoulder. Usually, the opponent almost immediately responds by dropping their right foot back, defending that area. As they step back, I allow my sword guard to widen, which makes it appear as though by lower right side is open.

Now, (again, just bullshit theory), it seems that the shift from "I'm gonna attack you" to "I'm not defended" kicks on their automatic opportunity response. As far as they can tell, my dagger is to the left and back (my right foot is forward), so they see no threat to their attack. Their foot that was retreating, now comes forward in a thrust and as it comes in, I sacrifice my long rapier blade. Rather than a quick parry, I commit the entire weapon, by dropping the point down and stepping forward very quickly. This results in their rapier being pinned between my long useless blade and their own buckler... meanwhile, my dagger finds its way into their right side, or under the buckler.

All of that happens in about 4 seconds, and at least in my mind, it relies heavily on using body language to trick your opponents subconscious reflexes.

It may not be the same, perhaps kizeme is something far more than that in a refined state. However, I'm not sure that it needs to be more than that to get the results they're talking about... perhaps they've simply refined the body language to tiny movements, eye flickers, muscle twitches, breathing etc.

Tiny packets of information used to hack the opponents brain?
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Cain on November 03, 2008, 03:45:58 pm
I think you may be onto something.

Tokitsu also mentions how this will not work on someone who is not a martial artist because they are not attenuated to ki, which to me says they have not been conditioned to recognize attacks, whereas someone who has will (rightly or not) react when they see something which looks like an attack, because they have been trained to recognize the opening stages of one.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on November 03, 2008, 04:05:55 pm
I think you may be onto something.

Tokitsu also mentions how this will not work on someone who is not a martial artist because they are not attenuated to ki, which to me says they have not been conditioned to recognize attacks, whereas someone who has will (rightly or not) react when they see something which looks like an attack, because they have been trained to recognize the opening stages of one.

That dovetails nicely with my experiences. Feints work, I think, by engaging an automatic robot response (muscle memory?), if the robot hasn't yet gotten the program... I can't rely on them to respond the way I expect them to.

hrmmm... now that's some food for thought.


In fact, it makes me wonder how much 'magic' might be able to be modeled through a similar mechanism.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Manta Obscura on November 03, 2008, 04:12:54 pm
Cain and Rat:

Both very insightful posts that I'll have to look over more thoroughly when I get a chance. As it is now, both of your posts remind me of some of the ideas of classic and post-classic rhetoricians, many of whom spoke at great length on the subjects of kinesics and haptics in controlling the (in their cases) rhetorical situation. Attributing ki and its "transmission" to a combination of physiological and nonverbal cues seems akin to the ideas of one rhetorician (whose name I can't remember; it begins with an M, and it isn't Marshall McLuhan. I'll look him up whenever I can go back to my rhet journals tonight) concerning the Tyrannizing Image, the idea of certain held notions and visual/verbal/societal cues structuring how we respond to certain stimuli.

I often wonder if the bullshit level of those sorts of observations are more to do with their model and symbols...

according to some experts, the vast majority of human communication happens through body language. I think, the number was somewhere around ~%80 or so. As Telarus and Kai have discussed in earlier posts... one of the interesting things about Chi exercises, pranyama, etc is the isolation of otherwise sub-conscious activity (breathing etc).

Much Human Communication is Body Language.
This Body Language appears to be subconscious in most humans.
Various forms of meditation allow subconscious activity to become conscious activity.
Therefore, meditation may allow us to gain better control of our body language.
By making the appropriate body language, an opponent may be thrown off, tricked, overpowered, or simply distracted, though subtle body language . . .

Tiny packets of information used to hack the opponents brain?

The idea of nonverbal, kinesic cues being used to "hack" others' brain has been around since the dawning of rhetorical education. I think you're definitely hitting the mark when you talk about the use of nonverbal cues in physical interpersonal interactions. The use of studied motions of the body can definitely correspond to a control of the mental and physical situation of an opponent/listener/other communicator, and has been written widely in the writings of folk like Cicero and the Belletristics. I'm wondering if the ideas of ki and chi, if we were to study them technically and experimentally like the rhetoricians did with the art of converse, would have a correlation to the arts of kinesics, haptics, logos modification, and the transition of the Tyrannizing Image.

Hmm . . . now I want to check out some of my old rhetorical texts . . .
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on November 03, 2008, 05:18:46 pm
I don't really know what to add to these posts, since the current discussion of Chi as utilized externally is foreign to my personal internal experience.

It does seem more and more likely Chi is psychosomatic, possibly the ultimate result of invoking the mind-body connection.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: fomenter on November 03, 2008, 07:19:58 pm
I don't really know what to add to these posts, since the current discussion of Chi as utilized externally is foreign to my personal internal experience.

It does seem more and more likely Chi is psychosomatic, possibly the ultimate result of invoking the mind-body connection.

my chi experience is also limited to a internal perceptual one, any one who has studied ti chi has probably heard stories of the 90 something year old master  who is helped (carried) into the classroom by some burly students and left standing in the middle of the room, instructions are given for a large number of the best students to attack him as hard and fast as they can with no concern for his safety and when they do the old guy makes a few subtle movements and the entire bunch of students are left on the ground hurting. this is a display of external use of chi i would love to see. the explanations given are, harmony the old guy is in harmony and the act of attacking automatically puts the students out of harmony, and the other is the use/manipulation of external chi the old guy doesn't need to touch  the attackers in order to effect them. 
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on November 03, 2008, 07:22:56 pm
I don't really know what to add to these posts, since the current discussion of Chi as utilized externally is foreign to my personal internal experience.

It does seem more and more likely Chi is psychosomatic, possibly the ultimate result of invoking the mind-body connection.

my chi experience is also limited to a internal perceptual one, any one who has studied ti chi has probably heard stories of the 90 something year old master  who is helped (carried) into the classroom by some burly students and left standing in the middle of the room, instructions are given for a large number of the best students to attack him as hard and fast as they can with no concern for his safety and when they do the old guy makes a few subtle movements and the entire bunch of students are left on the ground hurting. this is a display of external use of chi i would love to see. the explanations given are, harmony the old guy is in harmony and the act of attacking automatically puts the students out of harmony, and the other is the use/manipulation of external chi the old guy doesn't need to touch  the attackers in order to effect them. 

I've heard that story too, but I heard it from study of Chi Gung.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: fomenter on November 03, 2008, 07:53:31 pm
i have heard it as an aikido story as well, using the harmony instead of the chi explanation.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on November 03, 2008, 08:19:16 pm
In fencing, the better fencers are spotted because their movements are so much smaller and precise. A 'disengage', for example, is usually a big wrist movement for a n00b, a small wrist movement for a decent fighter, a twitch for masters... and I know one guy that, well, I'd swear he doesn't move his wrist at all.

So perhaps we have move X which takes a 3" movement for a n00b, a 2" movement for an advanced student, 1" for a master and there's a few crazy bastards that can pull it off in 3/4". Following are crazy theories that could explain some of it:

1. The shorter the movement, the faster the movement, the less time it takes to recover from the movement or correct it. Advantage to the Master

2. Defending against a 3" move X requires slightly different movements than a 2" or a 1"... IF a person has never fought someone that had a 3/4" move X, then it may be that they simply couldn't defend against it. Advantage to the Master

3. The Master has thousands of years of myth and tradition on his side. The student has always heard of the Master, in whatever art, and his amazing prowess. Thus he may overestimate his opponent and make mistakes. Advantage to the Master

4. The Master has thousands of years of the experiences of other Masters on his side. The Master has learned to work with whatever is available to him. If his legs are poor, then his arms must find a way to replace them. Thus, the student, believing the Master to have no legs of use... may underestimate his opponent and make mistakes. Advantage to the Master

5. Maybe the Master doesn't actually need to be carried in, cause he actually just has a bit of arthritis in his knee. Advantage to the Master

Or, maybe there is some phenomena that the Chi label actually describes, which would also be an advantage to the Master.  :fnord:

Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on November 03, 2008, 08:31:56 pm
Regardless of why, the master always has the advantage.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on November 03, 2008, 08:43:43 pm
Regardless of why, the master always has the advantage.

This is the correct zen motorcycle.  :wink:
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: fomenter on November 03, 2008, 09:03:35 pm
i would like to see it in practice ... i also kind of buy the harmony argument for an explanation since ti chi, aikido and probably chi hung are all soft martial arts and rely on the redirection and manipulation of the force used against you it makes a type of sense .. the mechanics of leverage applied to a force would seem to be in action (a small movement applied to a moving object with leverage creates a large change in the objects direction)
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on November 03, 2008, 09:05:17 pm
i would like to see it in practice ... i also kind of buy the harmony argument for an explanation since ti chi, aikido and probably chi hung are all soft martial arts and rely on the redirection and manipulation of the force used against you it makes a type of sense .. the mechanics of leverage applied to a force would seem to be in action (a small movement applied to a moving object with leverage creates a large change in the objects direction)

I agree with this too... its amazing what an understanding of physics can do for fighting ;-)
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: fomenter on November 03, 2008, 09:18:36 pm
i would like to see it in practice ... i also kind of buy the harmony argument for an explanation since ti chi, aikido and probably chi hung are all soft martial arts and rely on the redirection and manipulation of the force used against you it makes a type of sense .. the mechanics of leverage applied to a force would seem to be in action (a small movement applied to a moving object with leverage creates a large change in the objects direction)

I agree with this too... its amazing what an understanding of physics can do for fighting ;-)
yes -- this also works for the case where the master "knocks the attacker over with chi" if the attacker makes a fully committed strike there is a point at which his balance is dependant on the impact of the strike, if the master can "through experience and practice" learn to move away and not be there after the strike is committed and before it hits the attacker will fall on his own. waving your hands around and calling it chi is the misdirection of a magic trick at that point.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on November 03, 2008, 09:19:34 pm
i would like to see it in practice ... i also kind of buy the harmony argument for an explanation since ti chi, aikido and probably chi hung are all soft martial arts and rely on the redirection and manipulation of the force used against you it makes a type of sense .. the mechanics of leverage applied to a force would seem to be in action (a small movement applied to a moving object with leverage creates a large change in the objects direction)

I agree with this too... its amazing what an understanding of physics can do for fighting ;-)
yes -- this also works for the case where the master "knocks the attacker over with chi" if the attacker makes a fully committed strike there is a point at which his balance is dependant on the impact of the strike, if the master can "through experience and practice" learn to move away and not be there after the strike is committed and before it hits the attacker will fall on his own. waving your hands around and calling it chi is the misdirection of a magic trick at that point.


 Of course, the waving your hands around bit may be extremely useful esp if its a magic trick  :wink:
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on November 03, 2008, 09:35:39 pm
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.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: fomenter on November 03, 2008, 10:14:13 pm
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
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on November 03, 2008, 11:37:19 pm
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.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: fomenter 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.   
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai 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.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus 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
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: fomenter 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. 
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: wade 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
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai 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.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai 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.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai 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.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus 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).
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai 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.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: wade 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....   
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus 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 (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.
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e4/Gray824.png)

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.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: wade 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.)
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai 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.

Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus 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.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on November 05, 2008, 05:49:09 pm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_multiple_intelligences (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_multiple_intelligences)

Its the Body-Kinesthetic intelligence I am talking about. Balance and coordination are the things you would generally associate with this, but Chi, I think, would be a deeper understanding of this intelligence.

One of the things I don't like about this "theory" is that people always assume intelligence is fixed, that people are just born with what they have and they make use. This is bullshit. You can develop kinesthetic intelligence the same as you can develop verbal-linguistic intelligence. Also, just because you are an athelete doesn't mean you have high kinesthetic intelligence. It could just mean you are stronger and faster. The actual intelligence part of that doesn't depend on how strong or fast you are, but how coordinated and balanced you are, things that can be cultuvated regardless of muscular ability.

Rambling....
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: N E T on November 06, 2008, 12:32:00 am
I'm jumping in here a bit late, but I'd like to add another perspective that hasn't been discussed.

Why does it follow that control over largely unconscious processes is desirable? It's one thing to have control and it's another to know what to do with them and when.

Think about driving a car or riding a bicycle. When you first learned how to do it you had to think about everything you were doing, drawing your attention away from traffic, parked cars, etc.

You knew that you mastered driving or riding a bike when you didn't have to consciously think about what you were doing—freeing up your conscious mind for other things.

After spending a few years studying and practicing pranayama, various meditations, hypnosis, NLP, and my own combinations of the techniques I came to the conclusion that it was indeed possible to have too much control over breathing, posture, and bodily rhythms of all sorts. At some point I think it's imperative to cede control back to your unconscious mind.

At the beginning stages its fun to play with warmth, euphoria, confidence and whatnot. And it's an important thing to do. It validates that your efforts have tangible results. Cain said a few pages ago that, "... it is something of a placebo, a psychological effect manifested through belief which does not, in fact, objectively exist." This is a common misunderstanding of placebos. Placebos don't necessarily result in actual effects but many times there is a measurable effect.

I'm endlessly amused that we know that placebos conflate scientific research but know very little about what actually occurs on neurobiological level to create these effects. I have a hunch that it's behind the big blind spot in biology that is intercellular communication.

Very interesting stuff going on all around in this thread. I'm glad I had time to read through it.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: wade on November 06, 2008, 03:11:32 am
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 martail arts esoterica. Glad I could share it.
for what it's worth, i developed a technique while running that has indeed helped me out a ton.  I've noticed a large increase of endurance from the point I started to use the technique.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus on November 10, 2008, 12:33:58 am
Found an interesting quote. Notice the URL.
http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/nem102 (http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/nem102)
Quote
In the pioneering work by Shinagawa (31) and Kawano et al. (36), it was shown that Qi-energy emitted from a Qigong healer carried some form of information. They demonstrated that the brainwave distributions of both the volunteer and the healer became synchronized even when Qi was sent from behind the volunteer.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Fractalbeard on November 10, 2008, 01:01:28 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNFSrWytq8s

I've met this guy in person, my Taichi teacher had him come over from Taiwan to teach a series of seminars.  From what I've read so far, y'all are pointing towards what he was saying (and my teacher keeps saying).

BTW, couldn't even touch this guy.  Well, I could, but he let me, and then I couldn't let go.  Until I slammed into an object.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus on November 10, 2008, 01:33:37 am
The quote from the above article was just a little snippet taken out of their closing. The entire article is really worth reading thro. They have correlated Ki activity with energy in the near-infrared range, and produced repeatable effects involving bouncing it with mirrors.

Here's an earlier study by the same people from 2006:

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1475930 (http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1475930)
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: N E T on November 10, 2008, 09:11:26 am
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 martail arts esoterica. Glad I could share it.
for what it's worth, i developed a technique while running that has indeed helped me out a ton.  I've noticed a large increase of endurance from the point I started to use the technique.

Do tell.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Rococo Modem Basilisk on November 12, 2008, 03:17:29 pm
I consider it mostly to be a model that's useful for allowing the self to do certain things that other models aren't as likely to let you do. Like magic, or science, or method acting, or alcoholism. Whether it's "true", or testable, or whatever doesn't really matter, as long as it's useful. I'd prefer useful abilities to testable ones any day. If a placebo works, who cares if it's a sugar pill?
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on November 12, 2008, 03:45:30 pm
That is true. I think most of the people in this thread are in agreement that it likely does work and thats a cool or good thing, however you want to say it.

The concept of this thread is to ask what it is, rather than if it works.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on November 12, 2008, 04:13:38 pm
That is true. I think most of the people in this thread are in agreement that it likely does work and thats a cool or good thing, however you want to say it.

The concept of this thread is to ask what it is, rather than if it works.

It 'IS" Chi*.

;-)

*Rather, it is Chi, if we're using a model that labels it as Chi.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Elder Iptuous on November 12, 2008, 04:16:16 pm
 :cramstipated:
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Rococo Modem Basilisk on November 12, 2008, 05:11:53 pm
That is true. I think most of the people in this thread are in agreement that it likely does work and thats a cool or good thing, however you want to say it.

The concept of this thread is to ask what it is, rather than if it works.

It 'IS" Chi*.

;-)

*Rather, it is Chi, if we're using a model that labels it as Chi.


I hereby declare that anything that works, could work, or may work shall be labeled Chi, or some other label that is a label (such as "label"), and everything else will be labeled as something else.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on November 12, 2008, 06:53:40 pm
That is true. I think most of the people in this thread are in agreement that it likely does work and thats a cool or good thing, however you want to say it.

The concept of this thread is to ask what it is, rather than if it works.

It 'IS" Chi*.

;-)

*Rather, it is Chi, if we're using a model that labels it as Chi.


I hereby declare that anything that works, could work, or may work shall be labeled Chi, or some other label that is a label (such as "label"), and everything else will be labeled as something else.

But, if the person describing it (or experiencing it) isn't using a model that has the label Chi, maybe it will be "Energy" or "Power" or "Kia" or "The Holy Ghost" or "Insert some label here"...

As to what it "IS"...

Well, I'd say it IS 'interesting'....  :lulz:
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on November 12, 2008, 07:16:49 pm
That is true. I think most of the people in this thread are in agreement that it likely does work and thats a cool or good thing, however you want to say it.

The concept of this thread is to ask what it is, rather than if it works.

It 'IS" Chi*.

;-)

*Rather, it is Chi, if we're using a model that labels it as Chi.


I hereby declare that anything that works, could work, or may work shall be labeled Chi, or some other label that is a label (such as "label"), and everything else will be labeled as something else.

But, if the person describing it (or experiencing it) isn't using a model that has the label Chi, maybe it will be "Energy" or "Power" or "Kia" or "The Holy Ghost" or "Insert some label here"...

As to what it "IS"...

Well, I'd say it IS 'interesting'....  :lulz:

You know, the semantic games are fun for a while, but then they get old. There is a point at which you move beyond any sort of meaningful specific defining of terms and into...well trolling and mental masturbation.

It happens in science, people arguing over whether Dipseudopsidae is pronounced "Di-seeu-do-sih-dee" or "dip-seeu-dop-sih-dee" or even "di-seeu-dop-sih-dee". You just want to say Pick one already, so we can talk about it! Really.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus on November 12, 2008, 07:21:06 pm
This.


And anyway, if you read the last two links I posted, they claim to have measured near-infrared wavelengths as on of the energy components to Chi/Ki/Qi. I'm not _too_ sure how well controled their experiemtn was, but it was interesting to read about, none the less.

I'm digging up more research now.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on November 12, 2008, 07:24:40 pm
This.


And anyway, if you read the last two links I posted, they claim to have measured near-infrared wavelengths as on of the energy components to Chi/Ki/Qi. I'm not _too_ sure how well controled their experiemtn was, but it was interesting to read about, none the less.

I'm digging up more research now.

Heat? I guess that would make sense. Temperature control is known from Buddhist monks, so it certainly would manipulatable to some extent.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Rococo Modem Basilisk on November 12, 2008, 07:58:21 pm
Meh. I think the reason why the term 'Chi' and its corresponding model exists and persists is that it's a useful model for looking at something that otherwise is really hard to model. If it was easy to model in another way, it would be modeled in that way, and not as 'chi'. Why isn't there a good scientific explanation forthcoming that encompasses the whole of it? Probably because, from the point of view of someone who thinks in scientific terms (be they biological, chemical, cognitive-science-based, neurological, quantum physical, mathematical, or even astrological if you swing that way) the phenomenon it describes in its own model would describe in the modelset that the scientist is using a bunch of seemingly totally unrelated things across a bunch of seemingly unrelated subjects, which in the symbolset of whatever model they are using, are totally contradictory.

When you say "what IS chi", what you really mean is "translate the model of 'chi' into the modelset X" where X is whatever modelset you personally subscribe to at the moment, and it probably implies that you think that there's someone else who subscribes to that same model set, who can translate it. I don't know what your modelset is, and I wouldn't want to hazard to guess. Translation will be problematic (though probably not entirely impossible -- just pretty hard to understand) for the same reason that it's hard to describe "oedipal complex" in terms of quantum physics, or describe "formula 1 racing fans" in terms of pharmaceutical biochemsitry. How does one create a drug that cures someone of their love for formula 1 racing without touching anything else? Even extremely close and intimately related fields of study are often pretty hard to translate models between: within genetics, we have both genes and alliles, and alliles are typically spread between genes on unrelated chromosomes -- heredity is related to alliles, but they still can't find how to cure cancer or obesity genetically, despite knowing about several genes that are quite key to those alliles.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on November 12, 2008, 08:06:23 pm
Meh. I think the reason why the term 'Chi' and its corresponding model exists and persists is that it's a useful model for looking at something that otherwise is really hard to model. If it was easy to model in another way, it would be modeled in that way, and not as 'chi'. Why isn't there a good scientific explanation forthcoming that encompasses the whole of it? Probably because, from the point of view of someone who thinks in scientific terms (be they biological, chemical, cognitive-science-based, neurological, quantum physical, mathematical, or even astrological if you swing that way) the phenomenon it describes in its own model would describe in the modelset that the scientist is using a bunch of seemingly totally unrelated things across a bunch of seemingly unrelated subjects, which in the symbolset of whatever model they are using, are totally contradictory.

When you say "what IS chi", what you really mean is "translate the model of 'chi' into the modelset X" where X is whatever modelset you personally subscribe to at the moment, and it probably implies that you think that there's someone else who subscribes to that same model set, who can translate it. I don't know what your modelset is, and I wouldn't want to hazard to guess. Translation will be problematic (though probably not entirely impossible -- just pretty hard to understand) for the same reason that it's hard to describe "oedipal complex" in terms of quantum physics, or describe "formula 1 racing fans" in terms of pharmaceutical biochemsitry. How does one create a drug that cures someone of their love for formula 1 racing without touching anything else? Even extremely close and intimately related fields of study are often pretty hard to translate models between: within genetics, we have both genes and alliles, and alliles are typically spread between genes on unrelated chromosomes -- heredity is related to alliles, but they still can't find how to cure cancer or obesity genetically, despite knowing about several genes that are quite key to those alliles.

I think I love you.


In related news, I enjoyed watching 'Timewarp' this week (Discovery Channel show that uses high speed cameras to look at cool stuff). They had a master from one of the eastern fighting styles, using a katana. This started out fine, slice through some straw mats, check out the cool video...

Then he faced off with a sparring partner. He took his sheathed sword, and brought it across his opponents chest. The opponent fell backwards as though he'd been shoved. The scientist on the show said "How did you do that?" The sword weilding dude said "Transference of Energy". The science dude smirked.

This led to the science dude being put on the mat. After a few experiments, they watched the video.

The science dude ended up very confused, because even in slow motion, there was no indication that an 'equal and opposite reaction' was taking place. Even at 3000 fps, it still looked like transfer of energy.

I LOL'd.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus on November 12, 2008, 08:39:29 pm
That was Season 1 Ep 7 of time Warp (which I missed  :argh!:, looking for it right now).

[mininova].org/tor/1986025

for anyone interested.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus on November 12, 2008, 08:47:02 pm
Heat? I guess that would make sense. Temperature control is known from Buddhist monks, so it certainly would manipulatable to some extent.

Uuuumm. They claim to have bounced a signal around a 60 degree corner with a mirror, and have used optical-only filters to block Chi signals that aren't blocked by near-infrared and infrared only filters. The wildly fringe-scientific aspect of the experiential setup is that they are using other humans as detection devices (usually blindfolded). I mean, sure, the 5th commandment of the pentabarf crops up here, but it's an interesting read to consider.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on November 12, 2008, 08:52:42 pm
The word is allele, and an allele is simply a gene which has at least one other different genotypic sequence or phenotypic response, they are homologous but not identical. Just wanted to point that out.

The video is awesome. This sort of thing is what you hear about.

Telarus: Yeah....humans aren't good measuring devices.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on November 12, 2008, 08:57:27 pm
Just a thought: would physics allow for near 100% transfer of kinetic energy between two bodies? Obviously we aren't working in a frictionless environment, but if an object in motion struck an object at rest with the proper relative amount of kinetic energy and at the proper location could the kinetic energy, aside from heat loss be near completely transfered without any other loss of motion besides friction and heat?
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: N E T on November 12, 2008, 09:13:12 pm
If you're looking for technical biological explanations of measurable psychosomatic phenomenon, I'd recommend the book "The Psychobiology of Mind-Body Healing" by Ernest Rossi.

It's over my head, and often extremely technical which makes me think you'd get more out of it Kai. I'm less interested in how precisely this may work on a biological level than in the techniques and practical theory. I'd mail you my copy if you'd help break it down for us.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on November 12, 2008, 09:16:25 pm
Just a thought: would physics allow for near 100% transfer of kinetic energy between two bodies? Obviously we aren't working in a frictionless environment, but if an object in motion struck an object at rest with the proper relative amount of kinetic energy and at the proper location could the kinetic energy, aside from heat loss be near completely transfered without any other loss of motion besides friction and heat?

Maybe, but I think it would violate netwon's third law.
"the forces of two bodies on each other are always equal and are directed in opposite directions."

There is no indication that any force went in the opposite direction, and certianly not an 'equal' force.

However, my current favorite theory... is that it works the same way that Faith Healing 'drops' seem to work... that is, they don't use much energy (thus there isn't much energy in the equal and opposite), they simply hit the right spot to place you off balance and allow gravity to do the rest. To the individual being dropped... the shift of gravitational pull might be interpreted by the brain as 'That dude just dropped me'. To everyone watching, it would look like energy transference.


Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus on November 12, 2008, 09:20:50 pm
Just a thought: would physics allow for near 100% transfer of kinetic energy between two bodies? Obviously we aren't working in a frictionless environment, but if an object in motion struck an object at rest with the proper relative amount of kinetic energy and at the proper location could the kinetic energy, aside from heat loss be near completely transfered without any other loss of motion besides friction and heat?

Ok, so here's the thing with linear Chi and circular/spherical Chi.

I throw a linear punch, you swing your arm in for an inside block. The two vectors com in line this -->|, with the arrow being your block and the vert pipe being the vector of my punch (seen from the top). This 'hard style' block would knock my attack at a diagonal vector away from it's target, but a lot of the blocker and some of the attackers energy is lost into the impact (shock absorbed by the flesh, muscular and skeletal sytems) and a little heat.

Compare to circular reaching trapping motions. At contact, the defender's motion is already traveling at a similar vector to the attack, and it just needs to blend, meet, and then exert a little control in order to throw:
(http://www.aikido-otago.com/kokyu.gif)

Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on November 13, 2008, 01:03:45 am
Just a thought: would physics allow for near 100% transfer of kinetic energy between two bodies? Obviously we aren't working in a frictionless environment, but if an object in motion struck an object at rest with the proper relative amount of kinetic energy and at the proper location could the kinetic energy, aside from heat loss be near completely transfered without any other loss of motion besides friction and heat?

Maybe, but I think it would violate netwon's third law.
"the forces of two bodies on each other are always equal and are directed in opposite directions."

There is no indication that any force went in the opposite direction, and certianly not an 'equal' force.

However, my current favorite theory... is that it works the same way that Faith Healing 'drops' seem to work... that is, they don't use much energy (thus there isn't much energy in the equal and opposite), they simply hit the right spot to place you off balance and allow gravity to do the rest. To the individual being dropped... the shift of gravitational pull might be interpreted by the brain as 'That dude just dropped me'. To everyone watching, it would look like energy transference.




Thats my opinion too, that it IS kinetic energy applied in a precise manner.

Its the same way that people can put out candles with flap of their hand or their fist.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on November 13, 2008, 01:06:20 am
Just a thought: would physics allow for near 100% transfer of kinetic energy between two bodies? Obviously we aren't working in a frictionless environment, but if an object in motion struck an object at rest with the proper relative amount of kinetic energy and at the proper location could the kinetic energy, aside from heat loss be near completely transfered without any other loss of motion besides friction and heat?

Ok, so here's the thing with linear Chi and circular/spherical Chi.

I throw a linear punch, you swing your arm in for an inside block. The two vectors com in line this -->|, with the arrow being your block and the vert pipe being the vector of my punch (seen from the top). This 'hard style' block would knock my attack at a diagonal vector away from it's target, but a lot of the blocker and some of the attackers energy is lost into the impact (shock absorbed by the flesh, muscular and skeletal sytems) and a little heat.

Compare to circular reaching trapping motions. At contact, the defender's motion is already traveling at a similar vector to the attack, and it just needs to blend, meet, and then exert a little control in order to throw:
(http://www.aikido-otago.com/kokyu.gif)



Exactly. In the yielding to the energy of the blow you are able to redirect the the blow. You become the equal and opposite force.

More and more I think Chi is mind-body connection and awareness.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: fomenter on November 13, 2008, 01:06:44 am


Thats my opinion too, that it IS kinetic energy applied in a precise manner.

Its the same way that people can put out candles with flap of their hand or their fist.

read that as fap  :fap:  :lulz:
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on November 13, 2008, 01:07:31 am
If you're looking for technical biological explanations of measurable psychosomatic phenomenon, I'd recommend the book "The Psychobiology of Mind-Body Healing" by Ernest Rossi.

It's over my head, and often extremely technical which makes me think you'd get more out of it Kai. I'm less interested in how precisely this may work on a biological level than in the techniques and practical theory. I'd mail you my copy if you'd help break it down for us.

Net, You could just lend it to me when I'm in Portland in a month. :)
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: N E T on November 13, 2008, 01:40:06 am
If you're looking for technical biological explanations of measurable psychosomatic phenomenon, I'd recommend the book "The Psychobiology of Mind-Body Healing" by Ernest Rossi.

It's over my head, and often extremely technical which makes me think you'd get more out of it Kai. I'm less interested in how precisely this may work on a biological level than in the techniques and practical theory. I'd mail you my copy if you'd help break it down for us.

Net, You could just lend it to me when I'm in Portland in a month. :)

 :eek:

I didn't know you were coming! I'm stoked.

I hope it's not in between the 31st and the 5th of January though, because I'll be in Oakland.

If that's the case I'm sure Nigel could hand it off to you.

You, Telarus, and I could get together for a discussion.

I have a voice recorder too, so we could post or transcribe it for the forums should it be relevant or lulzy.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Rococo Modem Basilisk on November 13, 2008, 01:46:26 am
I haven't seen the video, but is it possible that the "energy transference" guy just used suggestion to make the researcher believe that he was being pushed down? I mean, that's half of martial arts anyway -- if you intimidate your opponent into believing they've lost, you've pretty much won. That's why there's so much emphasis on yelling and looking badass. At least in my experience. I'm a black belt in shotokan, but I haven't done any in several years.

Half the battle is looking fierce. Unless you do chin-na or another pressure point form. Then, causing intense pain while seeming totally relaxed and flippant seems to be the big thing. When I practiced that, I was the one being demonstrated on, and it got to the point at which when the instructor seemed to make a more relaxed movement than usual, I responded as though I was in one of the most painful joint locks ever, before he even did anything.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on November 13, 2008, 01:47:34 am
If you're looking for technical biological explanations of measurable psychosomatic phenomenon, I'd recommend the book "The Psychobiology of Mind-Body Healing" by Ernest Rossi.

It's over my head, and often extremely technical which makes me think you'd get more out of it Kai. I'm less interested in how precisely this may work on a biological level than in the techniques and practical theory. I'd mail you my copy if you'd help break it down for us.

Net, You could just lend it to me when I'm in Portland in a month. :)

 :eek:

I didn't know you were coming! I'm stoked.

I hope it's not in between the 31st and the 5th of January though, because I'll be in Oakland.

If that's the case I'm sure Nigel could hand it off to you.

You, Telarus, and I could get together for a discussion.

I have a voice recorder too, so we could post or transcribe it for the forums should it be relevant or lulzy.

 :lulz: I'm not cool at all in person so don't get your hopes up. But yeah, it will prolly be the 12th or 14th to the 22nd. Something like that.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on November 13, 2008, 01:49:47 am
I haven't seen the video, but is it possible that the "energy transference" guy just used suggestion to make the researcher believe that he was being pushed down? I mean, that's half of martial arts anyway -- if you intimidate your opponent into believing they've lost, you've pretty much won. That's why there's so much emphasis on yelling and looking badass. At least in my experience. I'm a black belt in shotokan, but I haven't done any in several years.

Half the battle is looking fierce. Unless you do chin-na or another pressure point form. Then, causing intense pain while seeming totally relaxed and flippant seems to be the big thing. When I practiced that, I was the one being demonstrated on, and it got to the point at which when the instructor seemed to make a more relaxed movement than usual, I responded as though I was in one of the most painful joint locks ever, before he even did anything.

There was no yelling, there was no looking fierce. Everyone was cool as pie. No pain as far as I could see either.
It looked to me like the guy aplied force at just the right angle, point and amount.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Rococo Modem Basilisk on November 13, 2008, 02:04:18 am
Was there staring? Or, a glance right before the moment of impact?
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on November 13, 2008, 03:52:50 am
Was there staring? Or, a glance right before the moment of impact?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtT03lzCuvA (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtT03lzCuvA)

Watch it and see for yourself.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Elder Iptuous on November 13, 2008, 04:13:50 am
that was interesting, i guess.
I wonder if the 'samurai' would have been willing to allow quantitative measurements to be made in comparison to some fighter using 'brute force'?  it looked to me, like he just smacked him.  didn't really see anything that made me  :eek:.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on November 13, 2008, 05:14:52 am
that was interesting, i guess.
I wonder if the 'samurai' would have been willing to allow quantitative measurements to be made in comparison to some fighter using 'brute force'?  it looked to me, like he just smacked him.  didn't really see anything that made me  :eek:.

There wasn't any preparation. Both of those things movements without any excess force. The second one wasn't a punch, it was a push.
 I have some ideas of how they may work.

The first push on the head, if you notice, was not a direct push down, nor a direct push back. It was a diagonal push on the head and it was a complex movement of the hand in several planes. This is similar to a video I found on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNFjAq6V64g Watch the way the hand moves in the short complex arch that causes the other people to fall backwards. It required no force. Also, listen to the commentary, the acceptance and letting go is a linguistic attempt to describe the complex action.

The second one seemed more just a concept of whole body moving forward at once. In the slow motion you can see him lean in. The main movement is coming from the legs. I can easily push over a person much larger than myself if I use my whole body and I take them from their root of balance.

Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: fomenter on November 15, 2008, 04:50:10 am
tai chi being used in combat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0W1ym3yggR4&feature=related
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on November 16, 2008, 02:16:10 am
tai chi being used in combat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0W1ym3yggR4&feature=related

I'm not sure whether to  :lulz: or  :|.

Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: fomenter on November 16, 2008, 02:24:57 am
I  :lulz:  - the power of chi in action :roll: it struck me as funny...
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Mu on February 16, 2009, 07:11:54 pm
Heyy, here's my views on ki/chi

I study karate and practice zazen (zen meditation) regularly. I see ki (chi) as less of a physical force and more of a means or tool with which to focus your mind totally on the task you are doing. Its amazing (and to a casual onlooker may seem supernatural) what you can do when your mind is totally focused on a specific thing (and it is harder than you think to do it). That means from the moment you start the move to the moment you finish not a single thought passes through your mind. That is extremely difficult but visualizing and "feeling" the ki running through your arm or whatever helps you to focus as it keeps your mind occupied.

When you don't focus it is easy to slip up on silly little things like activating the wrong muscle groups. That sounds ridiculous i know but if you take your basic punch as an example; we naturally tense up our biceps as we punch. As the triceps are used to extend the arm and the biceps are used to contract it again the biceps are actually working against your triceps and it results in a weaker punch. (It makes you feel like Bruce lee but it is like a machine with two motors trying to turn kogs in the opposite direction). Obviously this is a rookie error and you eventually stop doing it even if you don't focus but it makes for a good example and you experience similar, if more complex, problems as you progress in the martial arts.

For me this is the real application of ki in a fight situation. Simply to help you focus. But there are still those weird things that your not really sure whether to believe or not which throw my perception of ki out of the window a bit...

Check this out for an example of what confuses me and makes me want to hide in science's loving embrace:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC45kYb9Sjg (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC45kYb9Sjg)

Argh  :x

Sorry i went on a bit there but it is a subject i have given allot of thought over the years.
Obviously these are just my views and I'm sure many other people experience ki/chi/qi/psy differently.

 :)
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: fomenter on February 16, 2009, 07:21:10 pm
don't apologize i like seeing this thread reactivate and new comments being made, especially by some one with knowledge on the subject..
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Mu on February 16, 2009, 07:29:10 pm
Thankyou  :mrgreen:

Its my first proper post really so I'm glad i could contribute in something i have a small bit of experience in

I enjoyed reading other peoples views as well, seems between you you have pretty much every school of thought on the subject covered  :mrgreen:. Its a topic that people normally just blindly dismiss as stupid or adamantly say its real with no proper evidence either way.
Seems to be the way of the world at the moment, everythings either write or wrong, no one likes gray areas  :sad:

Cheers
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Richter on February 16, 2009, 07:53:50 pm
I had a buddy at work who I'd often talk with about this.  He was fairly experienced in martial arts, had done some Reiki, and was an avid gamer.  I've done some martial arts too, and when discussing various things, I'd always try to attribute various effects of "Chi" to psychosomatic effects, physics tricks, etc.
His take was that, as if we were qualifiying ourselves as D+D 3rd ed. characters, I was trying to explain a WIS (Wisdom) based skill in INT (Intelligence) terms.  The effect, the mechanism, the manifestation can certainly be described in empirical terms, but the act of producing it required a certain state of mind or focus that you can only really get internally.  Nothing weird or mystical, more like riding a bike.  You can never TELL someone, or write down how to ride a bike.  You can't consciously direct every motion to balance a bike either.  Everyone has to do it and get the intuitive sense for it themselves.   
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Mu on February 16, 2009, 07:59:25 pm
That is a nice one. Haven't heard that before.
I can see how that would work

nice  8)
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: P3nT4gR4m on February 16, 2009, 08:00:39 pm
I had a buddy at work who I'd often talk with about this.  He was fairly experienced in martial arts, had done some Reiki, and was an avid gamer.  I've done some martial arts too, and when discussing various things, I'd always try to attribute various effects of "Chi" to psychosomatic effects, physics tricks, etc.
His take was that, as if we were qualifiying ourselves as D+D 3rd ed. characters, I was trying to explain a WIS (Wisdom) based skill in INT (Intelligence) terms.  The effect, the mechanism, the manifestation can certainly be described in empirical terms, but the act of producing it required a certain state of mind or focus that you can only really get internally.  Nothing weird or mystical, more like riding a bike.  You can never TELL someone, or write down how to ride a bike.  You can't consciously direct every motion to balance a bike either.  Everyone has to do it and get the intuitive sense for it themselves.   

THIS ... Is why, in my opinion, it's called martial ART
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on February 17, 2009, 01:15:24 pm
Thank you for reviving this thread.


That is all.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Novatore on May 06, 2009, 07:01:52 pm
I think it is very likely that humans are MUCH more capable of consciously manipulating their internal processes than "conventional wisdom" (what a silly term!) would indicate. I'm not informed enough to have an opinion on the framework you use to achieve that end other than to say that if it works for you, keep doing it.

On top of this our sense organs and imagination have far greater potential than they are typically given credit for. A great deal of health is due in part by the way the person feels about themselves even if they are not aware of the thought patterns, i believe it is possible to find these patterns and alter them to become more beneficial.

One of the simplest and most important chi gung exercises (which i occasionally do but should do more) is the inner smile. Where you smile at each of your five major organs (Lungs, metal; Liver, wood; Kidney, water;  Heart, fire; Spleen, earth). Then smile down your throat to your digestive system then from pineal gland down spinal column.

The taoist geography of the body is very interesting, and worth exploring. By mapping the psyche on the body, we turn our sense's inward and can interpret understand messages our body gives us in a language that we can understand, this way averting serious illness before it surfaces or creatively alter previous imbalance for greater cohesion and direction (or directionlessness)

be warned im about to dump big time into this thread with my knowledge
MASSIVE knowlege

until then check out Jerry Alan Johnson he has published a large amount of chi gung info in english
http://www.qigongmedicine.com/
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: LMNO on May 06, 2009, 08:09:55 pm
And be warned, I'm going to ignore you.

MASSIVELY ignore you.







Protip: Being a pompous ass isn't a good way to get people to like you.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on May 06, 2009, 08:19:05 pm
LOL "knowledge"
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: N E T on May 07, 2009, 04:20:55 am
LOL "knowledge"

Rat, I think your balls are hanging out your fly.

Or you have a small, hairy tumor.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Triple Zero on May 07, 2009, 05:21:21 pm
LOL "knowledge"

Rat, I think your balls are hanging out your fly.

Or you have a small, hairy tumor.

Your serif appears to be dangling :p
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on May 07, 2009, 05:23:10 pm
LOL "knowledge"

Rat, I think your balls are hanging out your fly.

Or you have a small, hairy tumor.

I'm a squirrel, my balls are always hanging out.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Novatore on May 07, 2009, 05:40:14 pm
And be warned, I'm going to ignore you.

MASSIVELY ignore you.







Protip: Being a pompous ass isn't a good way to get people to like you.

Im sorry i didnt here you what did you say
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: LMNO on May 07, 2009, 06:15:06 pm
http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Novatore on May 08, 2009, 05:18:53 pm
http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/

 :argh!: KRYPTONITE  :argh!:

no really i dont know shit, but i thought it would be funny to make a joke on that note.  :horrormirth:

Within the daoist system there is Chi, Jing, Shen.

Chi is breath, it is movement and change
Jing, is the initial essence the driving force of being
Shen is the spirit, the psche to a lesser or greater degree

There are two types of chi
chi that is obtained through the parents prior to birth
chi that is obtained from food, water, air, trolling

chi gung is the process of becoming mindful of the chi that one consumes and to regulate it to bring about optimum efficiency of being.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on May 10, 2009, 12:39:50 am
You know, some of this sounds interesting, but its not really in a language base/set that I understand. Maybe you could honor me with translating it into a more common dialogue? :)

~Kai
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: LMNO on May 10, 2009, 12:51:35 am
Chi is breath, it is movement and change
Jing, is the initial essence the driving force of being
Shen is the spirit, the psche to a lesser or greater degree

There are two types of chi
chi that is obtained through the parents prior to birth
chi that is obtained from food, water, air, trolling

chi gung is the process of becoming mindful of the chi that one consumes and to regulate it to bring about optimum efficiency of being.

Specifically, the bolded words you used currently have a value of "meaningless" to one as ignorant as I. Please to be further explaining such concepts?
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on May 10, 2009, 02:17:18 pm
Chi is breath, it is movement and change
Jing, is the initial essence the driving force of being
Shen is the spirit, the psche to a lesser or greater degree

There are two types of chi
chi that is obtained through the parents prior to birth
chi that is obtained from food, water, air, trolling

chi gung is the process of becoming mindful of the chi that one consumes and to regulate it to bring about optimum efficiency of being.

Specifically, the bolded words you used currently have a value of "meaningless" to one as ignorant as I. Please to be further explaining such concepts?

Well, not really meaningless, rather that those words have different meanings for me than they do in this context, and I can TELL they are important terms, but I don't have enough context to come to terms with the author.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Richter on May 12, 2009, 01:19:08 pm
Chi is breath, it is movement and change
Jing, is the initial essence the driving force of being
Shen is the spirit, the psche to a lesser or greater degree

There are two types of chi
chi that is obtained through the parents prior to birth
chi that is obtained from food, water, air, trolling

chi gung is the process of becoming mindful of the chi that one consumes and to regulate it to bring about optimum efficiency of being.

Specifically, the bolded words you used currently have a value of "meaningless" to one as ignorant as I. Please to be further explaining such concepts?

Well, not really meaningless, rather that those words have different meanings for me than they do in this context, and I can TELL they are important terms, but I don't have enough context to come to terms with the author.

You're right.  It's not the kind of thing that's easily written down easily.  Translation doesn't help these things much either.  Like riding a bicycle.

Hillariously though, WITHOUT said context, you can swap the words around and still come up with a mostly coherent statement.  :)
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: LMNO on May 12, 2009, 02:13:15 pm
Ooh, let my try!


Chi is the initial essence, it is force and being
Jing is breath, the driving movement of spirit
Shen is the being, the optimum efficiency to a lesser or greater degree

There are two types of chi
chi that is obtained through the parents prior to birth
chi that is obtained from food, water, air, trolling

chi gung is the process of consuming the chi that one is becoming mindful of and to regulate it to bring about psyche of change.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: fomenter on May 12, 2009, 07:51:52 pm
 :lulz:
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Richter on May 12, 2009, 09:13:11 pm
Ooh, let my try!


Chi is the initial essence, it is force and being
Jing is breath, the driving movement of spirit
Shen is the being, the optimum efficiency to a lesser or greater degree

There are two types of chi
chi that is obtained through the parents prior to birth
chi that is obtained from food, water, air, trolling

chi gung is the process of consuming the chi that one is becoming mindful of and to regulate it to bring about psyche of change.


 :lulz:  That's the spirit!
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: LMNO on May 13, 2009, 12:00:14 am
I IZ MYZTIKAL!

 :rpger:
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: LuciferX on May 13, 2009, 08:29:19 am
chi is just too personal, thinks it me like smells of turpentine ;-)
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: fomenter on June 18, 2009, 08:00:04 pm
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/131447/dim_mak_death_touch/  chi death touch
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on June 20, 2009, 02:44:50 pm
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/131447/dim_mak_death_touch/  chi death touch

Interesting. We've talked a bit in this thread about what might really be going on when chi interaction between two people takes place. I'm not really sure what is going on here at all.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: fomenter on June 20, 2009, 03:42:41 pm
this is definitely different than the chi is the kinesthetic awareness/application of small amounts of force/leverage definition we have circled around.
i can't really say what is going on here either..
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Cain on June 20, 2009, 04:08:33 pm
Dim Mak is bullshit.

Worse, its useless bullshit.  George Dillman's attempts to explain why one of his students was unable to use a "knockout chi" effect on a sceptic investigator is hilarious:

“The skeptic was a totally non-believer. Plus – I don't know if I should say that on film – but if the guy had his tongue in the wrong position in the mouth, that can also nullify it [chi power]. You can nullify it – you can nullify a lot of things. In fact, you can nullify it if you raise those two big toes! If I say I'm going to knock you out, and you raise one toe, and push one toe down....I can't knock you out. And then, if I go to try again, you reverse it. If you keep doing this, I won't knock you out."

So yeah.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: MMIX on June 20, 2009, 04:09:13 pm
. . .  my little atheist soul was exultant . . . and giggled a bit too

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2509/is-the-ninja-death-touch-real
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: fomenter on June 20, 2009, 04:26:28 pm
the interviewer wasn't very sceptical in this case, i can believe fingers can be strengthened enough that being poked with them would hurt, but if i had to guess at what was going on in this video i would say practitioner hypnosis - if some one is taught this stuff day in day out long enough....
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: MMIX on June 20, 2009, 04:41:42 pm
[snip]- if some one is taught this stuff day in day out long enough....

enter the dragon triumph of teaching over authentic experience . . .
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on June 20, 2009, 06:17:08 pm
Dim Mak is bullshit.

Worse, its useless bullshit.  George Dillman's attempts to explain why one of his students was unable to use a "knockout chi" effect on a sceptic investigator is hilarious:

“The skeptic was a totally non-believer. Plus – I don't know if I should say that on film – but if the guy had his tongue in the wrong position in the mouth, that can also nullify it [chi power]. You can nullify it – you can nullify a lot of things. In fact, you can nullify it if you raise those two big toes! If I say I'm going to knock you out, and you raise one toe, and push one toe down....I can't knock you out. And then, if I go to try again, you reverse it. If you keep doing this, I won't knock you out."

So yeah.

Thanks. I know there's something to this psychosomatic idea of chi, but I didn't know how to fit this particular stuff into the mix. Now I don't have to.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on June 20, 2009, 06:25:50 pm
. . .  my little atheist soul was exultant . . . and giggled a bit too

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2509/is-the-ninja-death-touch-real

Was just reminded of a video on you tube. I can't find it now, but the basic premise was the investigation of different schools of martial arts in regards to how they actually work physically. The one segment I remember is of a Ninja practitioner who claimed to be able to stop a person's heart with a punch. The idea is that if you apply the right amount of force in the right spot, you can cause commotio cordis (as described in the article above). There was certainly more than enough pressure upon impact with a sensor equipped mannequin to accomplish this.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Triple Zero on June 20, 2009, 06:55:22 pm
though the article also says you have to hit in just the right 15-20ms timeslot. buuuut let's say they are really awesome and have been pacing their opponent from the start, maybe being able to make a decent guess at the heart phase?
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on June 20, 2009, 07:04:45 pm
though the article also says you have to hit in just the right 15-20ms timeslot. buuuut let's say they are really awesome and have been pacing their opponent from the start, maybe being able to make a decent guess at the heart phase?

Unless the force of impact was strong enough over a great enough length of time. An impact isn't instantaneous, it lasts near half a second or more. That's including all the inertia.

Feel free to call bullshit on me if I'm wrong. :)
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Adios on June 20, 2009, 07:05:31 pm
I had an instructor who explained that 'chi' was the art of centering yourself so you could focus on what you are doing. In fact he never used the word chi when teaching, he always coached on centering. He simply turned it into paying attention in the pure verb form. I have found it to be effective in this form.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on June 20, 2009, 07:11:25 pm
I had an instructor who explained that 'chi' was the art of centering yourself so you could focus on what you are doing. In fact he never used the word chi when teaching, he always coached on centering. He simply turned it into paying attention in the pure verb form. I have found it to be effective in this form.

I've often thought that accessing chi involved centering first.

I'm not quite sure how your definition of centering relates to mine.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Adios on June 20, 2009, 07:14:21 pm
I had an instructor who explained that 'chi' was the art of centering yourself so you could focus on what you are doing. In fact he never used the word chi when teaching, he always coached on centering. He simply turned it into paying attention in the pure verb form. I have found it to be effective in this form.

I've often thought that accessing chi involved centering first.

I'm not quite sure how your definition of centering relates to mine.

To me centering is the act of internal focus. To attempt to remove outside distractions. Many athletes use this technique before competing.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on June 20, 2009, 07:17:59 pm
I had an instructor who explained that 'chi' was the art of centering yourself so you could focus on what you are doing. In fact he never used the word chi when teaching, he always coached on centering. He simply turned it into paying attention in the pure verb form. I have found it to be effective in this form.

I've often thought that accessing chi involved centering first.

I'm not quite sure how your definition of centering relates to mine.

To me centering is the act of internal focus. To attempt to remove outside distractions. Many athletes use this technique before competing.

Yes, bringing of awareness of the body into focus. Feeling yourself here and now. It allows you to access chi, or at least the way I've been defining chi in this thread.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Adios on June 20, 2009, 07:23:56 pm
I think we are on the same page. In my simple laymans terms it is 'getting in the zone'.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Triple Zero on June 20, 2009, 07:53:06 pm
though the article also says you have to hit in just the right 15-20ms timeslot. buuuut let's say they are really awesome and have been pacing their opponent from the start, maybe being able to make a decent guess at the heart phase?

Unless the force of impact was strong enough over a great enough length of time. An impact isn't instantaneous, it lasts near half a second or more. That's including all the inertia.

Feel free to call bullshit on me if I'm wrong. :)

I dunno man, that's what the article said. I call for MOAR EXPIRIMINTS!!!
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: MMIX on June 20, 2009, 08:40:27 pm
  so looking at he chi phenomenon from a slightly different angle . . . when I was first reading up about chakras - yeah wildly different countries/energies/whatever/whatever - and trying to do those exercise thingies I was sent for an MRI scan. So they give you a radioactive drink and then bombard you with magnetic doohickies. So I'm lying there and when the magnetic torus gadget gets to my root chackra Bang - off it goes. So I mentioned this to the radiographer in a conversational way and he was totally unsurprised YES it turns out that this is a common phenomenon during scans, and is thought to be a side effect of the radioactive isotope you drink . . .  well lets just say I'm not convinced. But I can't find any refs to it online - I suspect that there is a scientific explanation here which relates to the body's electrical/magnetic makeup - thoughts . .  and how does it relate to chi . . .




removed orphan letter - damn this obsessive behaviour . .
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus on June 20, 2009, 09:02:44 pm
Most of the public "Dim Mak" demonstrations I have seen reek of bullshit, as Cain has alluded to. I agree that it is akin to guided hypnosis, and falls into all of the lame complications that recreating hypnosis effects on different people suffer. (See the Grade 5 Syndrome thread).

A lot of martial artists throw this same argument at Aikido practitioners ("dancing in fancy pants, and training the students to simply accept all of the high-level practitioner's body cues and movements").... this may be a valid criticism of _some_ (full of fail) Aikido instructors, but there are schools of Aikido out there that will have none of the bullshit, and indeed those masters tend to criticize individual techniques that are widely taught that leave one open to attack in the middle of the technique.

For a specific example, I point to Nishio Sensei's exposition on Shihonage (I'm really still learning the terminology):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9PTMSwr1h0 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9PTMSwr1h0)

Dammit, I need a job so I can afford some formal instruction. The above is what to look for in a MA instructor, dead honesty about the weakness of techniques.

As to Dim Mak, I think that it was originally based on a solid concept. The above video should show how a solid concept can devolve over time without a critical attitude in the practitioners. Dogma leads to bullshit.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on June 20, 2009, 09:42:34 pm
  so looking at he chi phenomenon from a slightly different angle . . . when I was first reading up about chakras - yeah wildly different countries/energies/whatever/whatever - and trying to do those exercise thingies I was sent for and MRI scan. So they give you a radioactive drink and then bombard you with magnetic doohickies. So I'm lying there and when the magnetic torus gadget gets to my root chackra Bang - off it goes. So I mentioned this to the radiographer in a conversational way and he was totally unsurprised YES it turns out that this is a common phenomenon during scans, and is thought to be a side effect of the radioactive isotope you drink . . .  well lets just say I'm not convinced. But I can't find any refs to it online - I suspect that there is a scientific explanation here which relates to the body's electrical/magnetic makeup - thoughts . .  and how does it relate to chi . . .

I don't really know anything about it, but if you learn more I'd love to hear. :) Sounds interesting.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on June 20, 2009, 09:43:19 pm
Thanks for the link Telarus.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: fomenter on June 20, 2009, 10:01:48 pm
i suspect dim muk is the equivalent of a throat punch knee to the balls, applied to the one or two areas that are potentially as devastating, fancied up and made mystical to sell the teaching,  and to maybe keep it secretive during times when civilians knowing things was not encouraged
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: LMNO on June 22, 2009, 02:56:41 pm
though the article also says you have to hit in just the right 15-20ms timeslot. buuuut let's say they are really awesome and have been pacing their opponent from the start, maybe being able to make a decent guess at the heart phase?


The chance of it working is small, but if you add up all the times throughout history where one fighter has punched another fighter in the chest, the probability that at some point some guy's heart stopped after getting punched starts increasing pretty quickly.


And it only takes one instance to start a legend.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on June 22, 2009, 04:40:16 pm
though the article also says you have to hit in just the right 15-20ms timeslot. buuuut let's say they are really awesome and have been pacing their opponent from the start, maybe being able to make a decent guess at the heart phase?


The chance of it working is small, but if you add up all the times throughout history where one fighter has punched another fighter in the chest, the probability that at some point some guy's heart stopped after getting punched starts increasing pretty quickly.


And it only takes one instance to start a legend.

Yeah, the one guy who did it probably thought "holy fuck, I could market this", and he did. Thus, Dim Mak was born.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Richter on June 22, 2009, 05:29:37 pm
That sounds like a fair assesment.  Martial arts tend to grow esoteric qualities (like mold) over time.

Going along with the idea that the heart punch does work, it seems like a very specialized, very convoluted thing to know.  Not many of us will ever need to perform 1 hit kills, at close range, unarmed. 

How do you practice something like that?  Kill people?
Assuming you have the experience / wherewithall to execute such a technique when caught flat footed, do you then use it to slaughter every ornery drunk, mugger, or punk who ever crosses you? 

Personally, I'd rather spend my time learning esoteric ways to open a beer bottle, dancing in funny pants, and perfecting the combo of kick knee and RUN.  I feel this will provide a much happier life.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: LMNO on June 22, 2009, 05:38:55 pm
Going along with the idea that the heart punch does work, it seems like a very specialized, very convoluted thing to know.  Not many of us will ever need to perform 1 hit kills, at close range, unarmed. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZpw8NgL_2M
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Richter on June 23, 2009, 02:06:30 am
I did that once.  The digging out takes LOTS longer.  (To be fair, I was only buried to the neck too.)
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on June 23, 2009, 02:22:41 am
I walked through a cow pasture one time.  Put my foot in some Chi.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Triple Zero on June 23, 2009, 10:58:55 am
esoteric ways to open a beer bottle

three paper napkins.

i had several witnesses.

and no they were none of those foreign screw-off caps.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: LMNO on June 23, 2009, 02:23:26 pm
How many times did you fold them?
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Rococo Modem Basilisk on June 23, 2009, 07:01:25 pm
I guess it's probably more reliable than using a blowtorch.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Triple Zero on June 26, 2009, 07:35:59 pm
How many times did you fold them?

enough to get a good edge on it. I guess 3 or 4 times, but I was a littlebit drunk when I managed it :)
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on January 14, 2010, 01:02:24 am
Reviving this thread, for some more thoughts.

I've been reading through Bruce Frantziz's Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body again, especially in respect to my evening ritual. Right before I go to bed every night, I stand in a relaxed stance in the dark, and attempt to relax all the tension out of my body. After 5 minutes, I bring my awarness to all the things which are incomplete, things that are bothering me, etc, and I take them all and put them in this big mental wooden chest of drawers, and lock it up, letting the items go. By this point I'm starting to get sleepy, I'm relaxed and I don't have any more troubles on my mind. I think back and try to go through the entire day passively, observing. By the end, I get in bed, lay down, and usually fall asleep within 10 minutes.

I've been looking at Opening the Energy Gates again because it seems Bruce was on to something with his "energy gates", or not really his energy gates but the ones of his artistic lineage. From my practice, it seems the gates correspond to places in the body which end up holding a lot of tension, or are centers for regions that hold a lot of tension, muscular and circulatory tension I mean, physical parts. The process he outlines is called "dissolving the ch'i", where one systematically from the crown of the head to the balls of the feet move downwards, being aware of places of tension and coaxing it into "dissolving", or what I would call completely relaxing. The method is part simply awareness, part visualization, and part breathing excersize, I think. The flow of tension seems to move downwards in a wave as upper parts become more relaxed. I think Bruce would call this "sinking the ch'i".

So, I've been trying this, and there seems to be some physical effects. When I just try to relieve tension from the crown to the feet slowy downwards in a wave, it is not nearly as effective as doing this in combination with focus on the gates individually. Remember, when I say the gates I mean general areas in the body where tension is often centered. There are the temples, and the jaw, and right behind the eyes and the back of the neck for example. And its possible that tension is all around that area, not really localized in it, but when I focus on a gate and "open it" (IOW when I focus on a point of tension and work to relax it, the muscles and vasculatur) it tends to relax the whole area surrounding the gate.

Now, whatever it is that's happening, it seems to be working. The tension releases after some time, and feels almost as if it rolls downwards. It seems that when I am aware of tension and breathe out while focusing on relaxing that tension, it relaxes. This is interesting. Why is it that the tension only relaxes when brought under awareness? Is it that I am unconsiously holding these regions tight and I "suddenly" consciously realize they are tight and release them? In any case, this is definitely some sort of psychosomatic manipulation, or Ch'i work, however you want to say it. Damned useful too.

Question: would anyone be interested in a full overview of the salient points of this book? I've been thinking I might put those in this thread.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Rococo Modem Basilisk on January 14, 2010, 02:23:25 am
I certainly would, Kai. It sounds like I could use my gates opened.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: NotPublished on January 14, 2010, 02:56:14 am
lube oughta do the trick

Though Kai, yeah that seems like a good idea, I seem to be picking up tension where ever I walk lately.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: LMNO on January 14, 2010, 01:36:36 pm
Anything that can distill practice from theory is useful, in my mind.  I'd like to hear more.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on January 15, 2010, 03:11:14 am
Okay.

So, the book is Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body by Bruce Frantzis. I unfortunatly can't find an online copy of this book, so if you want to read it, you'll have to find it elsewhere. In his introduction, Frantizis lays out his history of learning and teaching of Asian martial and "energy" arts. He is notable for being the only westerner to ever receive the title of lineage holder for a Taoist martial lineage, and is therfore adept at all three of the Taoist martial arts, Hsing-I, Ba Gua Chang, and Ta'i Chi Chu'an, as well as Taoist meditation and "energy healing" practices. He claims that Chi Gung is the base of any of these martial arts, and that it has significant healing and regenerative attributes, and he provides himself as example, healing from several disabling car accidents and diseases. Frantzis gives a number of stories of elderly people he worked with in training in Asia, which I am taking with a grain of salt since it's hearsay. He also seems to put supernatural aspects into this book, which I am ignoring as much as possible, except where it factors into the method itself.

In the first chapter, Frantzis describes some definitions. Of Chi he says it is "life energy", and of Chi Gung, "energy work...the practice of learning to control the movement of the lifeforce internally, using only the mind to direct energy in the body". Now, metaphysical aspects aside, Chi Gung is interesting in that it requires no cathexis, no ritual of external objects to work. In other words, there are no silly hats in Chi Gung. The other interesting aspect is it is not merely physical movement, but also movement of mind if you will. From the very definition, I see this is a psychosomatic art, manipulating the connection between the brain and the rest of the body.

"The mind directs the chi", he says. "You can learn to feel your central nervous system, which is a primary intermediary between thoughs and chi." Again, what I am hearing from this is psychosomatics. He continues on to tell some benefits of Chi Gung, that it teaches moderation (what he calls the 70% rule, but I have also heard called the 80% rule elsewhere), relieves tension and stress, can be done by the elderly and infirm with little risk to injury. Frantzis suggests Chi Gung as the solution to the western medical crisis of chronic diseases, which he also calls life-style diseases "because they are caused by living and working in unhealthy environments or by stress, alcohol, tobacco, poor diet or lack of exercise." I guess I can't disagree with that statement.

Now, here he talks about the physical benefits of Chi Gung, which of course I haven't falsified, so it's just what he says: relaxed power, strengthening and balancing of the internal organs, improved cardio-pulminary function, strengthened nerves, improved vascular function, prevention of injury to joints, bones and connecting tissues, speeding of recovery time from injury and operations, strengthening of  martial power, easing stress, and balanced emotions.

That's a good long list. I'd love to benefit in all those ways, but of course I have no idea if it's all true. I suspect that it makes for a more relaxed presence, eases stress, and probably balances emotions as a result. I would also suspect it improves cardiovascular function as well, with continued use. But how does one verify "prevention of injury" or "speeding of recovery" without actually trying to bust a knee or something? Also, I'm not sure how to interpret statements on strengthening the nerves and strengthening and balancing of the internal organs, as in, I don't know what the hell that means.

Chapter 2 and 3 will be next, on how Chi Gung works according to Frantzis, and "Chi Gung Theory".
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus on January 17, 2010, 09:39:31 pm
Sweet, looking forward to it.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Cramulus on January 20, 2010, 10:44:24 pm
yo, it would be so super cool if somebody could make a .pdf of this thread's "meat".

if you make it, I'll help pass it around

(http://23ae.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/300px-Appleguns.png)
I shall call this
CHI-GASM

Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Triple Zero on January 20, 2010, 11:06:53 pm
oh somebody please do, cause I've been meaning to read this thread from whenever it started. yet i never come around to it.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on January 21, 2010, 02:46:33 am
In Chapter two, Frantzis first gives some physiological "reasons" for the benefits of Chi Gung. Some are plausable (the exercising of vascular smooth muscle, efficient movement of lymph, tendon and muscle elasticity) but others I don't know what to make of (cerebralspinal fluid "pump"? Bone marrow "energized"? Body cells "healed"?). Even if frantzis is wrong on only some accounts then by default he is onto something on others. I'm willing to spend the time investigating.

He then proceeds into the process of awakening Chi. "Muscles that were initially numb will begin to regain sensation. Your body will reveal itself to you gradually...as your body becomes more alive you will be able to feel how your physical self works from the inside out." Now, if that doesn't sound like psychosomatics, I don't know what does. Frantzis goes on to say this process is irregular, with starts and stops, a sort of two steps forward one step back kind of process. "One week one part of your body will open [you become more aware and psychosomatically connected to that part], while a previously open part closes again...the time will come...when your body will open up and stay open, completely accessible to your awareness." He also warns that you should never force this process, that "your chi is growing whether you are [consciously] aware of it or not, and that strange sensations of pressure, warmth, tingling or "electricity", expansion, contraction, or "wind or water movement" (most of which I would guess come from vascular related happenings). It may also cause the release of emotions (remember, it's psychosomatic /and/ somatopsychic, the connection goes both ways).

The last section of this chapter discusses that in specific, that is, the Taoist approach to emotional release rather than the western or Kundalini approach. The latter types focus on catharsis, either in stages or all at once (think of the screaming, yelling, punch a pillow, act it out types of emotional outbursts that are often suggested). The Taoist approach is to "dissolve emotions", by which he means "allowing emotional energy to move through your system until it completes itself'; there is no attempt to push the energy out or to prevent it from occupying in the first place." Now, where have we heard something like this before? Oh right, ANGEL TECH! In the discussion on excitement and resistance, AA suggests "blending with it. For further instructions, don't hold your breath." I think what they both mean is, emotional or second circuit stuff is something that should be worked through constantly, not holed up until it is released in stages or all at once. A constant working through, or "dissolving", of emotional energy is more healthy in his view (and mine as well, from experience).

And of course, the caveat: that he is not a doctor and that Chi Gung does not replace psychotherapy or medical advice, and that all techniques should be taken with caution. "Until the nerves [psychosomatic connections]  have been developed, the will [conscious effort] must be used to transmit messages, much as a baby at first has to use tremendous will power to crawl and walk untill the appropriate nerve ways between the brain and the chi [or in my words, the appropriate psychosomatic connections] are forged. Once those links are in place, you do not have to think about walking, you simply walk." This shows that Chi Gung is in Frantzis' mind an activity integrated into the rest of one's life until it becomes unconcious and habit.

Feeling a bit tired right now. Chapter three when I have time.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Cramulus on January 21, 2010, 03:20:58 am
encoding the whole thing into a document is going to be a lot of work -- but many hands can do it more easily

I've pasted the first page of this thread onto my sandbox wiki --- feel free to paste more on there, it'll make it easier for [whoever does it] to make it into a sexy pdf

http://principiadiscordia.com/cramulus/index.php?title=What_is_Chi%3F
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on January 21, 2010, 04:00:23 am
I think there is only a problem with such a publication if it is not remembered that this thread continues to be a work in progress and as such is nowhere near complete.

I just keep writing whenever something occurs to me, or when I hear of some particular matter in conversation.



Also, I apologize if my writing sounds weird at times. I've been reading Darwin's Autobiography recently, and I'm rather tuned into his style (or lack thereof, some may say) at the moment.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: LMNO on January 21, 2010, 03:32:11 pm
I like how you parse his writing into "possible physical effects," "possible mental effects,"and "could be a metaphor for something else" (my phrases).  When you do that, you can see that the physical actions can result in mental changes, which are usually described in metaphorical ways.

This makes it harder to dismiss the whole thing as bullshit, which is good.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on January 27, 2010, 01:23:46 am
I don't know if we've ever had a thread about this on here, but I thought I might bring it up because of the very different filters that other people have around here, different perspectives and different ideas.

So what is Chi? Is it actual manipulation of internal energy? Is it some sort of psychosomatic effect? Something is going on when I visualize chi manipulation and while I'm going with psychosomatic right now, I would like to hear other peoples opinions about it. There also seems to be some deep health benefits of the sustained practice of Chi Gung, what is that from? I hear stories about older people, well into their 70s, who were once in poor health and after several months of chi gung practice have recovered from intense arthritis, and so on.
I never took a decent statistics class.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on January 27, 2010, 01:28:33 am
Some are plausable (the exercising of vascular smooth muscle
Two things:
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on January 30, 2010, 05:28:12 pm
Okay, this is chapter three now, on Chi Gung Theory.

And this one comes with a huge WARNING from me. The author is from the west, his first language is English and he's attempting to transmit a thousand year old system from Chinese into English, from which I am attempting to understand as part psychosomatics and part metaphor and translate from that version to what you see here. In other words, this is going through many reality filters, and just like a game of telephone I have no idea if this is going to come out interesting or as gibberish. Good? Good.

Frantzis begins by explaining that the way Chi Gung has been popularized in the west is largely that of superficial imitation of movements and visualizations. He says that the contents of this book actually encompass a system known as nei gung (lit: internal power or work), which focuses on "developing the core energy that travels through the center of the body, and from the core, opening and energizing the peripheral energy lines" whereas Chi Gung worked in the opposite direction. Now, this sounds really bogus right there, because I don't quite know what any of that could be if taken as metaphor. However, he goes on to say "In chi gung, the practictioner works one chi technique at a time, combining them gradually into a single sequence....from a medical perspective, Chi Gung uses specific techniques for specific problems, while nei gung energizes the whole system." This I can work with. I remember my T'ai Chi Chu'an instructor talking about the difference between chi (whole body "energy) and li (localized body "energy"). He demonstrated by taking a fist and throwing it out before him, just simply bending the arm at the shoulder and elbow, a movement with very little power behind it. Then he showed that with very little motion, turning his whole body in unison, the fist was thrown with great strength.

This, I think, is the difference Frantzis is talking about. While the western popularization of chi gung focuses on surface movements in sequence and in localized parts of the body (li), whereas nei gung focuses on doing these motions and visualizations in tandam and in the whole body (chi). As my instructor would say, movement from the core out rather from the out, in.

He now says some things about breath.  "The physical breath and the subtle breath [the flow of chi, or psychosomatics] can be coordinated...nei gung can work directly with the subtle breath only without depending upon the intermediary of the physical breath." While breath can be used to coordinate the mind with body, that connection is independent of the breath. Or that's what I'm taking him to say, in my own words. "The practitioner slowly over time becomes sensitive to how the subtle breath or chi is not only penetrating the physical body [1C], but also the more subtle energy bodies [other circuits] -- the emotional body [2C], the mental body [3C]....Once the connection between the mind and the verious chi bodies has been stabilized, one will be aware of how the coordination of the breath with physical and chi movement affects all levels of one's being."

After a short section on relationship of Chi Gung to the other chinese martial arts of T'ai Chi, Hsing-I and Ba Gua, Frantzis goes into the three levels of Chi Gung: body, Chi, and Mind, and how they should relate to each other synergistically (and I know, LMNO, I cringed too). "Simply put, synergy in the core exercises involves coordinating the nany elements of body mind and energy [Chi] so they move simultaneously....Using the parts synergistically would be like multiplying the energy value of the parts, rather than just adding them..." Which goes back to what I said above about chi and li. I interpret his term "core reserves of energy" as being related to overall health, physical, psychological and psychosomatic, with the purpose being increased vibrancy and longevity. He says that this is critical, that most people deplete their core reserves with long term stresses so that they are not available in times of emergency. "The purpose of these core exercises...is a direct investment investment in the future, just as small daily investments of money when it is compounded can lead to large sums down the road." This is a long term thing, not a method of instantaneous gratification. Fair enough.

I'll write up the rest of the chapter later today.

Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Rococo Modem Basilisk on January 31, 2010, 02:30:40 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/b/b7/Chi_from_Chobits_8.jpg/300px-Chi_from_Chobits_8.jpg)
                                      /
                     ChiiiiiiiiiiiiIIIIIIIIIII?

 :horrormirth:
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on January 31, 2010, 05:57:20 pm
Okay, so this is where it gets far more difficult for me to extract meaning from this chapter.

From the three levels, Frantzis goes into what he calls the "fundamental principle: Heaven [tien], Earth [di], and Man [Ren]". "energy from the Earth is drawn upward from the practitioner's root; the root being slightly below the spot where the feet touch the earth. Energy descends from Heaven through the crown of the head. We are in the middle, and need to recieve energy from both of these sources...when the [two] are connected, the life current can flow naturally." This all seems very weird and useless, but, I think I can work with it.

If we go back to the previous metaphor of mind/chi/body, we can psychosomatic language to this section as well. The core of chi gung, Frantizis goes on, is standing, particularly standing with proper physical alignment of parts. As we'll see later, this alignment is simply the most natural, comfortable way to stand, nothing esoteric to it. He says, "If the body parts are not properly aligned, energy will leak out or dam up [the psychosomatic connection will be diminished]...Most of these places....are in and around the joints."

The first stage is said to be "bringing energy from heaven through the body and down to the earth". I'll stop using his language and start using my own here. From what he says, heaven to earth is closely aligned with 1st circuit, the physical body, which makes perfect sense under all the metaphors we are using, especially when you consider "before energy is sent through specific circuits, the body's capacity to withstand the increased current must be developed." That sounds like a short circuit to me. He also notes that "many people temporarily experience involuntary shaking when standing. This this shaking is symptomatic of bound [1C] energy".

The second stage is the ascending current, "from below the ground to above the head, or from earth to heaven". This is the 2nd circuit primer, and he notes that people short circuit and have "spiritual experiences" from this, and that a want for that sort of experience is a trap in practice. The overall purpose is to have both "currents" "flowing evenly, powerfully and naturally", and that "the sense of well-being and clarity that comes when energy is flowing smoothly does not have the incredible power surges and larger than life quality to it that many imagine. It is, rather, just a very natural ease and connectedness to oneself...When the shoe truly fits the foot, the shoe is forgotten, and one just walks, easily and comfortably."

The last thing to note in this chapter is that the author suggests that for every 2 units of time one practices the ascending current, 8 units of time are spent practicing the descending current, a 1:4 ratio. He says this will prevent burnout [2C short circuit?]. He also says that practicing the different parts of the book out of sequence is either a waste of time, or possibly dangerous to one's health, because the body/chi/mind takes time to assimilate information. In Angel Tech parlance, this practice is an exercise of increasing intelligence, the ability to absorb, INTEGRATE, and communicate information and/or energy, and it takes time to integrate.

I'll be skipping chapter 4, which is on crosstraining with other exercises, and moving straight to 5, which is on breathing.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on August 09, 2010, 01:47:07 am
Today I was listening to a radio show on acupuncture and alternative medicine while driving home from my girlfriend's place. I've caught this show several times before, and while it can sometimes make me cringe, it also can be interesting. I bring it up because today the first topic of business was the title of this thread.

Now, I've been going with Chi as a metaphor for psyche-soma interaction, instead of the literal "currents of energy" definition that the host and most other people would give you. Despite this, she had the right idea about mind and thoughts affecting the wellbeing of the somatic and autonomic nervous systems (the body), and vice versus.

However, the very interesting thing was when she brought environment into the discussion, as yet another layer of effect upon the soma-psyche. I had not yet considered what would traditionally be called Feng Shui since it's so full of bullshit (so much more than Chi Gung) as far as the methods, but there was a kernal of truth there, of environment affecting the psyche-soma.


A question, then: What would feng shui look like if it wasn't full of so much bullshit about mirrors and "wealth corner" and compasses and whatnot? Home decorating?
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Cain on August 09, 2010, 08:26:31 am
If you stripped Feng Shui of its mystical trappings, it would pretty much be culturally bound interior design.  I mean, personally, I favour the Scandanavian open plan style to the traditional Chinese look (though occasionally it can be pulled off in a way I not only appreciate, but is very pleasing to the eye), so really it is a matter of aesthetic inclination and what makes someone feel comfortable, relaxed and revitalized.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on August 09, 2010, 03:48:06 pm
If you stripped Feng Shui of its mystical trappings, it would pretty much be culturally bound interior design.  I mean, personally, I favour the Scandanavian open plan style to the traditional Chinese look (though occasionally it can be pulled off in a way I not only appreciate, but is very pleasing to the eye), so really it is a matter of aesthetic inclination and what makes someone feel comfortable, relaxed and revitalized.

On the other hand there are universal human aesthetics dealing with objects within space, corridors and whatnot. I'll refer again to ancestoral environment, the savannah, which has evenly spaced objects and clear corridors. That at least, seems to be clear for any human design.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Golden Applesauce on August 09, 2010, 05:05:08 pm
An excerpt from a talk Douglas Adams gave in 1998 to a bunch of atheists, with relevance to Feng Shui and the rest of the 'metaphysical explanations for physical effects' subject.

Quote from: Douglas Adams's Speech at Digital Biota 2, 1998
(...)

There's a very interesting book - I don't know if anybody here's read it - called 'Man on Earth' by an anthropologist who use to be at Cambridge, called John Reader, in which he describes the way that - I'm going to back up a little bit and tell you about the whole book. It's a series of studies of different cultures in the world that have developed within somewhat isolated circumstances, either on islands or in a mountain valley or wherever, so it's possible to treat them to a certain extent as a test-tube case. You see therefore exactly the degree to which their environment and their immediate circumstances has affected the way in which their culture has arisen. It's a fascinating series of studies. The one I have in mind at the moment is one that describes the culture and economy of Bali, which is a small, very crowded island that subsists on rice. Now, rice is an incredibly efficient food and you can grow an awful lot in a relatively small space, but it's hugely labour intensive and requires a lot of very, very precise co-operation amongst the people there, particularly when you have a large population on a small island needing to bring its harvest in. People now looking at the way in which rice agriculture works in Bali are rather puzzled by it because it is intensely religious. The society of Bali is such that religion permeates every single aspect of it and everybody in that culture is very, very carefully defined in terms of who they are, what their status is and what their role in life is. It's all defined by the church; they have very peculiar calendars and a very peculiar set of customs and rituals, which are precisely defined and, oddly enough, they are fantastically good at being very, very productive with their rice harvest. In the 70s, people came in and noticed that the rice harvest was determined by the temple calendar. It seemed to be totally nonsensical, so they said, 'Get rid of all this, we can help you make your rice harvest much, much more productive than even you're, very successfully, doing at the moment. Use these pesticides, use this calendar, do this, that and the other'. So they started and for two or three years the rice production went up enormously, but the whole predator/prey/pest balance went completely out of kilter. Very shortly, the rice harvest plummeted again and the Balinese said, 'Screw it, we're going back to the temple calendar!' and they reinstated what was there before and it all worked again absolutely perfectly. It's all very well to say that basing the rice harvest on something as irrational and meaningless as a religion is stupid - they should be able to work it out more logically than that, but they might just as well say to us, 'Your culture and society works on the basis of money and that's a fiction, so why don't you get rid of it and just co-operate with each other' - we know it's not going to work!

So, there is a sense in which we build meta-systems above ourselves to fill in the space that we previously populated with an entity that was supposed to be the intentional designer, the creator (even though there isn't one) and because we - I don't necessarily mean we in this room, but we as a species - design and create one and then allow ourselves to behave as if there was one, all sorts of things begin to happen that otherwise wouldn't happen.

Let me try and illustrate what I mean by something else. This is very speculative; I'm really going out on a limb here, because it's something I know nothing about whatsoever, so think of this more as a thought experiment than a real explanation of something. I want to talk about Feng Shui, which is something I know very little about, but there's been a lot of talk about it recently in terms of figuring out how a building should be designed, built, situated, decorated and so on. Apparently, we need to think about the building being inhabited by dragons and look at it in terms of how a dragon would move around it. So, if a dragon wouldn't be happy in the house, you have to put a red fish bowl here or a window there. This sounds like complete and utter nonsense, because anything involving dragons must be nonsense - there aren't any dragons, so any theory based on how dragons behave is nonsense. What are these silly people doing, imagining that dragons can tell you how to build your house? Nevertheless, it occurs to me if you disregard for a moment the explanation that's actually offered for it, it may be there is something interesting going on that goes like this: we all know from buildings that we've lived in, worked in, been in or stayed in, that some are more comfortable, more pleasant and more agreeable to live in than others. We haven't had a real way of quantifying this, but in this century we've had an awful lot of architects who think they know how to do it, so we've had the horrible idea of the house as a machine for living in, we've had Mies van der Roe and others putting up glass stumps and strangely shaped things that are supposed to form some theory or other. It's all carefully engineered, but nonetheless, their buildings are not actually very nice to live in. An awful lot of theory has been poured into this, but if you sit and work with an architect (and I've been through that stressful time, as I'm sure a lot of people have) then when you are trying to figure out how a room should work you're trying to integrate all kinds of things about lighting, about angles, about how people move and how people live - and an awful lot of other things you don't know about that get left out. You don't know what importance to attach to one thing or another; you're trying to, very consciously, figure out something when you haven't really got much of a clue, but there's this theory and that theory, this bit of engineering practice and that bit of architectural practice; you don't really know what to make of them. Compare that to somebody who tosses a cricket ball at you. You can sit and watch it and say, 'It's going at 17 degrees'; start to work it out on paper, do some calculus, etc. and about a week after the ball's whizzed past you, you may have figured out where it's going to be and how to catch it. On the other hand, you can simply put your hand out and let the ball drop into it, because we have all kinds of faculties built into us, just below the conscious level, able to do all kinds of complex integrations of all kinds of complex phenomena which therefore enables us to say, 'Oh look, there's a ball coming; catch it!'

What I'm suggesting is that Feng Shui and an awful lot of other things are precisely of that kind of problem. There are all sorts of things we know how to do, but don't necessarily know what we do, we just do them. Go back to the issue of how you figure out how a room or a house should be designed and instead of going through all the business of trying to work out the angles and trying to digest which genuine architectural principles you may want to take out of what may be a passing architectural fad, just ask yourself, 'how would a dragon live here?' We are used to thinking in terms of organic creatures; an organic creature may consist of an enormous complexity of all sorts of different variables that are beyond our ability to resolve but we know how organic creatures live. We've never seen a dragon but we've all got an idea of what a dragon is like, so we can say, 'Well if a dragon went through here, he'd get stuck just here and a little bit cross over there because he couldn't see that and he'd wave his tail and knock that vase over'. You figure out how the dragon's going to be happy here and lo and behold! you've suddenly got a place that makes sense for other organic creatures, such as ourselves, to live in.

So, my argument is that as we become more and more scientifically literate, it's worth remembering that the fictions with which we previously populated our world may have some function that it's worth trying to understand and preserve the essential components of, rather than throwing out the baby with the bath water; because even though we may not accept the reasons given for them being here in the first place, it may well be that there are good practical reasons for them, or something like them, to be there. I suspect that as we move further and further into the field of digital or artificial life we will find more and more unexpected properties begin to emerge out of what we see happening and that this is a precise parallel to the entities we create around ourselves to inform and shape our lives and enable us to work and live together. Therefore, I would argue that though there isn't an actual god there is an artificial god and we should probably bear that in mind. That is my debating point and you are now free to start hurling the chairs around!

(...)
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Cain on August 09, 2010, 05:48:11 pm
If you stripped Feng Shui of its mystical trappings, it would pretty much be culturally bound interior design.  I mean, personally, I favour the Scandanavian open plan style to the traditional Chinese look (though occasionally it can be pulled off in a way I not only appreciate, but is very pleasing to the eye), so really it is a matter of aesthetic inclination and what makes someone feel comfortable, relaxed and revitalized.

On the other hand there are universal human aesthetics dealing with objects within space, corridors and whatnot. I'll refer again to ancestoral environment, the savannah, which has evenly spaced objects and clear corridors. That at least, seems to be clear for any human design.

True, but many smaller aspects are culturally transmitted as well.

It's like how peoples music taste can differ, despite shared conceptions of music across vast geographical areas.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on August 09, 2010, 05:54:51 pm
That was excellent.

So, Chi is an intuitive metaphor for psychosomatics, just as feng shui is an intuitive metaphor for architectural design. I could know how each neuron connects and what their gated channels, I could calculate all the angles and shapes in a room, but it's faster and intuitive to visualize energy flow, or how a dragon might live in that space (at least for the Chinese). There's a level of direct (mystic? in the sense that mysticism is direct connections rather than through intermediaries) connection to the problem which can be far more effective and close at hand than the roundabout way of other methods.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on August 09, 2010, 05:59:19 pm
If you stripped Feng Shui of its mystical trappings, it would pretty much be culturally bound interior design.  I mean, personally, I favour the Scandanavian open plan style to the traditional Chinese look (though occasionally it can be pulled off in a way I not only appreciate, but is very pleasing to the eye), so really it is a matter of aesthetic inclination and what makes someone feel comfortable, relaxed and revitalized.

On the other hand there are universal human aesthetics dealing with objects within space, corridors and whatnot. I'll refer again to ancestoral environment, the savannah, which has evenly spaced objects and clear corridors. That at least, seems to be clear for any human design.

True, but many smaller aspects are culturally transmitted as well.

It's like how peoples music taste can differ, despite shared conceptions of music across vast geographical areas.

Yes. So, we can agree there are universal (genetic?) aspects and culturally bound and transmitted aspects. All cultures have music but the scales are different. Where and how did music originate? That will tell me of the human universals related to music. This reminds me of EO Wilson's comment on the complexity of abstract images and people's reaction to them, that there is a peak level of complexity that people find most pleasing, that beyond that level it's too busy and below that level too boring.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Triple Zero on August 09, 2010, 07:05:07 pm
That was excellent.

So, Chi is an intuitive metaphor for psychosomatics, just as feng shui is an intuitive metaphor for architectural design. I could know how each neuron connects and what their gated channels, I could calculate all the angles and shapes in a room, but it's faster and intuitive to visualize energy flow, or how a dragon might live in that space (at least for the Chinese). There's a level of direct (mystic? in the sense that mysticism is direct connections rather than through intermediaries) connection to the problem which can be far more effective and close at hand than the roundabout way of other methods.

Yeah. I got a few rules of thumb (ok, just one) from Feng Shui, and it works exactly as that. An intuitive metaphor (useful term, that). When I try to figure "what's wrong with this room/place/space?" and I can't quite put my finger on it, I try to imagine what an energy flow would do (apparently it moves kinda like a stream) and usually when it has either "dead spots" or just moves straight from one entrance to the exit, that is (part of the) problem. Also, if it sort of twhirls in corners and such, that's a good place to put a chair or some other thing you can be "at rest" (even if it's just the place in your kitchen where you'd stand cutting your food). Cause apparently it's good to stay in such a twhirly place.

So, yeah, that bit I learned from Feng Shui and it worked pretty well. You can imagine my disappointment when I set out to learn more about it and I got a whole load of magical bullshit :) [however, I just assume I haven't picked up the right book yet. My gf has one other that sounded promising]
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Cramulus on August 09, 2010, 07:13:20 pm
I agree, Zilch. And I feel like a lot of feng shui is lost on me, as a lot of it is tied into symbols that westerners are not familiar with. On a similar note, I had an i ching reading the other day which advised me to seek things in the south and west, avoid things in the north and east. And this doesn't make any sense unless you're aware of what each cardinal direction means within that culture. When I finally unraveled the mystery, it ended up being pretty solid advice.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Requia ☣ on August 09, 2010, 07:20:10 pm
I've been talking with some people of a different martial arts background than me, and it seems ki (in addition to what is being discussed right now), acts as a placeholder for things like how to not break your hand throwing a punch, or putting the momentum of your body behind a blow.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Triple Zero on August 09, 2010, 07:33:55 pm
One thing in the promising-sounding book about Feng Shui was in fact about the wind directions, that since in our culture we are not constantly aware of these directions, you can also apply them as relative to the entry to your house.

BTW in case you didn't know it yet, or perhaps stumbled across it before you became acquainted with I-Ching, deoxy.org has a very useful I-Ching "calculator":

http://deoxy.org/time/d2k/ching/icalc.htm

---

Requia, speaking of that, did you see TMM / Nick Dipple's Slow Motion Destruction (http://www.principiadiscordia.com/forum/index.php?topic=25911.msg905234#msg905234) videos? The second one has this slow-mo part of a martial arts guy smashing a brick with his hand, but in the slow motion you see his entire hand flubber and ripple, and I can't possibly imagine how he did not hurt himself badly doing that.
I wonder if he did, in which case it was probably a mistake (happens), and then what a "proper" brick smashing looks like in slow motion.

Or maybe that's OT.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on August 09, 2010, 08:59:37 pm
I've been talking with some people of a different martial arts background than me, and it seems ki (in addition to what is being discussed right now), acts as a placeholder for things like how to not break your hand throwing a punch, or putting the momentum of your body behind a blow.

That doesn't seem like how I'm using it. I'm not even sure how I would qualify that use.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Requia ☣ on August 09, 2010, 09:06:22 pm
It's not how I've ever used the term either, its always been a mental thing, a way to 'get in the zone'.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on August 09, 2010, 09:12:00 pm
It's not how I've ever used the term either, its always been a mental thing, a way to 'get in the zone'.

Well, feng shui is full of bullshit, so why not ki focusing in martial arts? *shrug*
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus on August 11, 2010, 01:18:19 am
I've been talking with some people of a different martial arts background than me, and it seems ki (in addition to what is being discussed right now), acts as a placeholder for things like how to not break your hand throwing a punch, or putting the momentum of your body behind a blow.

That doesn't seem like how I'm using it. I'm not even sure how I would qualify that use.

Intuitive, unified, all-over-the-body-at-once models of intentionality (visualization/methods-of-attention) allow greater synergy between all of the mechanics of the force-bearing muscles and bones.

Your weight bearing leg and how you shift your center of gravity as you punch has much more to do with maximum momentum than your arm muscles. Arms muscles are to amplify and target the force you generate by charging your center of gravity forward.

Trying to actively think about these two things with separate models while in the moment (I've got to visualize a glowy blob at my hips thrusting forward, but then focus on my target and punch efficiently) actually degrades the synergy between them.

Visualizing ki flowing up through your legs and out your arm, and then being able to hallucinate how the flow 'feels' as you shift your center of balance and punch puts the unity of motion primary, and lets your subconscious handle the individual tweaking and tuning of muscles. The sense data that is turning into this sense of flow is (along with other environmental things) your muscle-force opposing gravity. As you bring your hips forward in stance, the body converts some of the force which was keeping you upright into forward momentum for your fist. Your spine and shoulder stabilize this force and your arm whips out and multiplies it.

Also, many of the more effective maneuvers involve changing force vectors (i.e. not attacking in a straight line, the wave cut as opposed to the chop cut, etc, etc).

This is one of the secrets behind Bruce Lee's 1-inch punch.

I'd recommend watching the Time-Warp episode with the Katana master (S01 E07). He demonstrated (but didn't explain fully) the non-linear force trick by push-throwing a guy into a chair.

Ok, I couldn't find a clip of that, but you should be able to see similar all-over-at-once synergenic action in these clips:

Hip driven punch: http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/time-warp-martial-arts-punch-chest.html

Catching an arrow: http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/time-warp-arrow-catch.html

Dog Brothers Kali-Escrima: http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/time-warp-stick-fighting.html

And, just cause it's cool, a kali stick hitting a coconut: http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/time-warp-kali-vs-coconut.html

It's much more clear in that clip in Ep 7, tho, if you can find it.

Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Cain on August 11, 2010, 01:24:34 am
I've been talking with some people of a different martial arts background than me, and it seems ki (in addition to what is being discussed right now), acts as a placeholder for things like how to not break your hand throwing a punch, or putting the momentum of your body behind a blow.

That doesn't seem like how I'm using it. I'm not even sure how I would qualify that use.

That could be "external ki"...it rings a bell, at least.  I know the author I referenced earlier on distinguishes between a "hard", external kind of ki and a ki proper....but I don't have access to that book for another three weeks at least.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on August 11, 2010, 01:53:28 am
I've been talking with some people of a different martial arts background than me, and it seems ki (in addition to what is being discussed right now), acts as a placeholder for things like how to not break your hand throwing a punch, or putting the momentum of your body behind a blow.

That doesn't seem like how I'm using it. I'm not even sure how I would qualify that use.

Intuitive, unified, all-over-the-body-at-once models of intentionality (visualization/methods-of-attention) allow greater synergy between all of the mechanics of the force-bearing muscles and bones.

Your weight bearing leg and how you shift your center of gravity as you punch has much more to do with maximum momentum than your arm muscles. Arms muscles are to amplify and target the force you generate by charging your center of gravity forward.

Trying to actively think about these two things with separate models while in the moment (I've got to visualize a glowy blob at my hips thrusting forward, but then focus on my target and punch efficiently) actually degrades the synergy between them.

Visualizing ki flowing up through your legs and out your arm, and then being able to hallucinate how the flow 'feels' as you shift your center of balance and punch puts the unity of motion primary, and lets your subconscious handle the individual tweaking and tuning of muscles. The sense data that is turning into this sense of flow is (along with other environmental things) your muscle-force opposing gravity. As you bring your hips forward in stance, the body converts some of the force which was keeping you upright into forward momentum for your fist. Your spine and shoulder stabilize this force and your arm whips out and multiplies it.

Also, many of the more effective maneuvers involve changing force vectors (i.e. not attacking in a straight line, the wave cut as opposed to the chop cut, etc, etc).

This is one of the secrets behind Bruce Lee's 1-inch punch.

I'd recommend watching the Time-Warp episode with the Katana master (S01 E07). He demonstrated (but didn't explain fully) the non-linear force trick by push-throwing a guy into a chair.

Ok, I couldn't find a clip of that, but you should be able to see similar all-over-at-once synergenic action in these clips:

Hip driven punch: http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/time-warp-martial-arts-punch-chest.html

Catching an arrow: http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/time-warp-arrow-catch.html

Dog Brothers Kali-Escrima: http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/time-warp-stick-fighting.html

And, just cause it's cool, a kali stick hitting a coconut: http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/time-warp-kali-vs-coconut.html

It's much more clear in that clip in Ep 7, tho, if you can find it.



So, simply focused psychosomatics?
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on August 11, 2010, 02:02:15 am
I've been talking with some people of a different martial arts background than me, and it seems ki (in addition to what is being discussed right now), acts as a placeholder for things like how to not break your hand throwing a punch, or putting the momentum of your body behind a blow.

That doesn't seem like how I'm using it. I'm not even sure how I would qualify that use.

That could be "external ki"...it rings a bell, at least.  I know the author I referenced earlier on distinguishes between a "hard", external kind of ki and a ki proper....but I don't have access to that book for another three weeks at least.

Ki...extended? I can see the metaphor, but I'm wondering how that ties into the general system of body-mind coordination.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Cain on August 11, 2010, 06:53:09 am
I'd have to read the book again to get the specifics.  Someone PM me on, say, September 3rd and I'll look it up.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus on August 12, 2010, 01:05:53 am
Something relevant that I found (ask me to comment on anything that doesn't seem clear, keep in mind I'm learning these metaphors as we go as well).

http://www.aikidofaq.com/practice/ki_sayings.html

Quote
FOUR MAJOR PRINCIPLES TO UNIFY MIND AND BODY

   1. Keep one-point.
   2. Relax completely.
   3. Keep weight underside.
   4. Extend Ki.

...

  Most people can see the difference between the mind and body being coordinated and the mind and body not being coordinated but they cannot see or understand how to maintain this state of being. We often think the mind is a difficult thing to understand because we cannot hold it in our hand, it has no color, shape or physical or visible boundaries. While the body is finite and has substance with visible boundaries. In today's society, we have to deal with our daily challenges and many of us suffer from anger, anxiety, sadness, etc..... This is because most people still think of the mind as being separate from the body. But, since both are born of the Ki of the universe, and are fundamentally one and the same, it is relatively easy to unify mind and body with practice. The difficulty is learning to maintain it in our daily life.
  We have to understand the relationship that exists between the mind and body in order to achieve mind and body coordination. For the moment let us take the position that the body moves the mind. Then we ask the question, can the mind be made immobile? If the body is tied up, is the mind also tied up? Of course not, the mind moves more when the body is restricted. When we first begin to meditate, the body is still, but the mind is flooded with many thoughts and images. By sitting in silence, the waves (thoughts) of our mind can become still through this discipline and training. Sometimes we think that if the body becomes sick then the mind also becomes sick or gloomy and sad. Although the body can influence the mind, it does not lead it. We always have a choice. Many times when our bodies are sick, subconsciously our mind becomes sad and gloomy. The wonderful thing about the mind is that we can consciously choose to be happy and bright. By understanding that the mind leads the body, we can recover more quickly from physical illnesses if we chose to be happy  and positive.
  There are many outside influences that effect our lives. The outside world is always changing and changing. If we allow our mind to be influenced and controlled (this happened to me, or he made me mad, etc...) by the changing outside world, we are giving up the opportunity to make choices in our life and we become unstable. Everyday things come into our subconscious mind that works on our body. If we think that we are sickly and weak then we will probably be weak and sick. We must use positive thoughts and actions to achieve mind and body unification in our daily lives.

 FOUR MAJOR PRINCIPLES TO UNIFY MIND AND BODY

The first and forth principles are principles of the mind (which has no shape or color) and the second and third principles are principles of the body. Principles of the mind are meant to "put or concentrate" the mind in the way specified. Principles of the body mean to focus or concentrate the body in the way specified. All four principles train the mind to lead the body. Like a house with 4 doors, each door leading to the same place, the Four Basic Principles all lead to the same place, mind and body unification. If you have any one principle, you have them all naturally.
 

I recommend going and reading the rest of that page. Here's the breakdown on Extending your Ki.

Quote
5. EXTEND KI (Principle of the Mind)

As we learned earlier there are over one-thousand words/concepts in Japanese that have "Ki" in them. In this book we have used the words "coordination" and "unification" interchangeably. The Japanese Language is conceptually different from the English Language. Translating from one language to another does not always give a clear understanding of the concepts being conveyed. When westerners hear the words, "Extend Ki", they think that they have to do something to achieve this state.
When we say, "the absolute universe is one and then two opposing forces appeared, yin and yang, plus and minus and the relative world was born", we are saying that everything came from the same source. Everything is Ki, but because our minds have to interpret the world by saying that this is different from that, we forget that we are all connected. The yin and yang and plus and minus mean that we always have a choice in life. When we chose a plus life our view of life is positive and happy. When we chose a minus life our view of life is negative and we are very unhappy.

1) You are not overly conscious of your body

When you tense your body, you are subconsciously and consciously aware of it. When one performs daily tasks, one is not consciously aware of the body; but when we become upset or tense in our daily life, we can notice many changes in our bodies. If we are speaking in front of a large group of people or if we are teased and become embarrassed, blood can rush to our heads, and we become tense and unable to think properly. When we are concentrating deeply (relaxed completely = extend Ki), we are not overly conscious of our own body and we are mind and body coordinated.

2) You make full use of the centrifugal force in your movements.

Any time a body is in motion centrifugal force is created. Because our eyes are in our head people tend to move from their head and shoulders first, separately from the rest of their body. This type of movement creates instability. When we are mind and body coordinated and we move from our one point, we are also extending Ki. We have all heard that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When someone attacks us and we are aware of the Ki that is extending, his or her centrifugal motion of attack is easily redirected ( or led). If we think (with a calm mind) of the attack as a force who's energy will be always be reduced by half and therefore spent/used-up, then we can easily extend Ki. Extending Ki also means totally focusing on your opponent and leading your opponent's force/Ki/mind.

3) You have soft eyes and a poised manner.

The eyes are the windows to the soul. When we look at a person, some times we can tell what they are thinking and how they are feeling. We take cues from people's expressions and body language. Our own eyes and expressions show tension, anger, sadness, disappointment, relaxation, calmness, happiness, and confidence. Some people believe that hard eyes create power and control. It is also a good way to get into a fight. But soft eyes can show confidence and kindness. If you are relaxed enough to have soft eyes then you are extending Ki.

4) You show composure in your posture.

Remember the Japanese word, "Shisei", means posture and attitude. Extending Ki does not mean that you are doing something. It is a natural posture that is in line with the principles of the universe. A Ki test is a good way to check our natural posture. If one becomes tense during a Ki test, then our posture reflects that and our mind can be moved. When we relax completely our posture is strong and stable. A proper Ki test always demonstrates our state of mind and body unification.

5) Therefore you are bright and easygoing.

When you are extending Ki you are relaxed and easy to get along with. When you are tense or upset the people around you tend to move away. A smile always makes friends and this demonstrates that plus breeds plus. Being positive and having a smile on our face is a choice we make. This is extending Ki, your intention, focus, goal.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on August 12, 2010, 02:22:43 am
Yeah, they are definitely using Ki (=Chi) in the same way I am, as psychosomatics.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Brotep on August 12, 2010, 02:25:43 am
The impression I have gathered is that ki (the Japanese term) carries the meaning of breath as well as subtle energy or what have you, whereas qi is not necessarily breath.

Coordinating breath with movement is pretty standard martial arts practice.

Furthermore, in Chinese martial arts I have never heard of using qi to make one's attacks more powerful (except maybe with pressure point strikes), whereas I have heard of using jing (internal power, which is cultivated through training, and not to be confused with the jing of the Three Treasures of Daoism) in such a way.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: LuciferX on August 18, 2010, 03:09:20 am
I tend to use Chi and Ki interchangeably.  Dismissing the difference of breathing tek?, I would say that what they both have in common is intentionality or 'directendness'.  I asked the same question about moving the ki and what I took away was that it is inherently directed (to its object), like an arrow, and the execution of motor-intentionality presupposes a resolute alignment with the target of this 'ki arrow'...  (I'm tired)
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Nurse Enabler on September 06, 2010, 04:55:41 pm
I don't know if we've ever had a thread about this on here, but I thought I might bring it up because of the very different filters that other people have around here, different perspectives and different ideas.

So what is Chi? Is it actual manipulation of internal energy? Is it some sort of psychosomatic effect? Something is going on when I visualize chi manipulation and while I'm going with psychosomatic right now, I would like to hear other peoples opinions about it. There also seems to be some deep health benefits of the sustained practice of Chi Gung, what is that from? I hear stories about older people, well into their 70s, who were once in poor health and after several months of chi gung practice have recovered from intense arthritis, and so on.
I don't know anything about this chi gung stuff. But I did do TAI ChI for a few years. I felt much better and still practice some of what I learned.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus on September 06, 2010, 05:16:47 pm
Kai,

I just went back and read through this whole thread, and I have to say this is one of my favorite discussions on this board.


Thank you.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Triple Zero on September 06, 2010, 05:31:22 pm
I still intend to read it, one day. It took off way too fast when it started and I'm afraid of adding things that have been chewed to death already (plus I'm pretty sure a lot of other ITT are more knowledgeable on the subject than me anyway).
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Armond on September 06, 2010, 09:00:28 pm
Try reading some of the stuff Here --> http://forums.vsociety.net/index.php?board=13.0 (http://forums.vsociety.net/index.php?board=13.0)
hope that helps
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on September 06, 2010, 09:24:38 pm
Try reading some of the stuff Here --> http://forums.vsociety.net/index.php?board=13.0 (http://forums.vsociety.net/index.php?board=13.0)
hope that helps

I read a few of those posts. Some of it seems quite reasonable, the rest seems like assumptions and speculation without evidence.

Perhaps you would like to summarize the stuff worth reading?

ETA: It also seems to include many posts which take Chi as a literal "universal energy" rather than a metaphor, which is just the opposite of any experience that I have had, as well as the general comments I've seen in this thread.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus on October 04, 2010, 12:03:43 am
The quote from the above article was just a little snippet taken out of their closing. The entire article is really worth reading thro. They have correlated Ki activity with energy in the near-infrared range, and produced repeatable effects involving bouncing it with mirrors.

Here's an earlier study by the same people from 2006:

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1475930 (http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1475930)


Bump.

This 'wacky' idea keeps coming up.

http://www.livescience.com/health/090722-body-glow.html

(http://i.livescience.com/images/090722-body-glow-02.jpg)
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 04, 2010, 02:46:15 am
Question: Does Chi change the body light emission?
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: LuciferX on October 26, 2010, 06:36:59 pm
everyman has his techniques...  wait till you see my digital counter :gheyforum: ;-)
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus on October 27, 2010, 06:32:35 am
Do you actually want to contribute to this topic? 'Cause the noise is just getting to be a droning buzz at this point.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 28, 2010, 08:31:13 pm
I can believe that someone would emit visible light in the red range (just above infrared). Not anything luminous enough to be detectable with human eyes but still EM radiation above 390 nm.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on October 28, 2010, 08:40:16 pm
So in some sense... we have an aura.

I don't think its likely that the pro-aura folks actually were talking about this phenomena... but it may well explain how some animals 'detect' tumors or 'see' when a patient is going to have a seizure.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: LMNO on October 28, 2010, 08:51:57 pm
Rat, you're redefining a word that most commonly has a different meaning that the one you're ascribing to it.

You should really read the LessWrong sequences.  He has a bit about that.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on October 28, 2010, 08:55:50 pm
Rat, you're redefining a word that most commonly has a different meaning that the one you're ascribing to it.

You should really read the LessWrong sequences.  He has a bit about that.

Well, that's why I said "in some sense..." . I wasn't defending the newage concept. After all, I find it difficult to come up with any kind of argument about how someone could detect this with their hands or eyes ;-)
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 28, 2010, 11:35:39 pm
Rat, you're redefining a word that most commonly has a different meaning that the one you're ascribing to it.

You should really read the LessWrong sequences.  He has a bit about that.

Well, that's why I said "in some sense..." . I wasn't defending the newage concept. After all, I find it difficult to come up with any kind of argument about how someone could detect this with their hands or eyes ;-)

Goddamnit rat.

This thing we're doing, it's called communicating. The purpose of communication is to relay messages. This shit you do, it doesn't actually aid in communicating anything other than "I am a slippery bastard, watch me dance". That's what your "language-fu" comes off as. This is why LMNO is telling you to read the Sequences, cause it's damn annoying trying to communicate when you do this.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on October 29, 2010, 12:12:30 am
Well by all means point me to the essay. I've been reading LessWrong but haven't read all of it.

Out of curiosity, what do you think the definition of aura is?
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 29, 2010, 05:08:36 am
Not anything physical, which is what you would be implying.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Triple Zero on October 29, 2010, 09:11:09 am
Rat, you're redefining a word that most commonly has a different meaning that the one you're ascribing to it.

Says you and Kai.

If you say that the word "aura" means by definition "Not anything physical", as Kai put it, then you are the ones taking the easy and wrong way out, failing at communicating, BADLY.

Yeah sorry, I've been reading those LessWrong sequences too, and sometimes I disagree with them. But what really disgusts me is how Eliezers words are being treated as gospel. Especially when people try to engage in real discussion, they say something that doesn't fit with treating the way it was treated on LW, so instead of actually communicating your own thoughts (Think for Yourself style) you tell people to "read the sequences, I'm not entirely sure how you are wrong, but read the holy sequences, and it'll become apparent to you".

I know, I know, I'm overstating it a littlebit. I know and damn well hope you guys don't think like that, but it sure sounds like it.

Anyway, back on topic, as far as I know, the most commonly used meaning of the word "aura" is that it's some kind of "energy field" around a living organism.

If you want to insist that no, it's by definition non-physical, and therefore paranormal and therefore doesn't exist, then congratulations, you won the argument by defining the word in a way that wins you the argument. Stating it that way is also just about as useful to state (if I'm quoting you quoting Eliezer correctly) "I'm not anticipating any God", which you said is not a very interesting thing to state and only needs to be said once, if at all.

who's the authority on what the word "aura" should mean? Let's say it's the new age hippies that believe in them. The strongest I ever heard one seriously argue is that it could be, or might be non-physical, but no one ever told me it HAS to be non-physical otherwise it's not an aura. On the OTHER hand, every single definition I ever heard of the word aura DID include "it's some kind of energy fields around a living organism".

It's just like that discussion on souls and ghosts we had a little while back. But back then you didn't tell me I was being More Wrong than Less Wrong when I compared [spitirual] energy to memetics. Yet following the same argument, I was totally redefining the words, because I was arguing that, they might not be entirely paranormal.


Weren't we all in agreement about how it's rather useless to flaunt the skeptic statement "I don't anticipate God" and rather dumb (More Wrong than Less Wrong) to make the atheist statement "I don't believe in God" ?

Good!

Cause I think the same argument can be made here. And once we get past that we ALL might actually get to the interesting parts that, among others, Ratatosk was trying to get to.

Cause IMO, the interesting parts are, if the paranormal doesn't exist (we are in agreement) then what is it, what is the thing that people claim to perceive as auras or Ki?

Could part of it be a result of near-infrared radiation?



If the way I'm stating my case is Too Wrong to be Less Wrong, my apologies and please continue, I'll leave this thread alone so that people can use it to agree with the Scriptures.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on October 29, 2010, 03:19:02 pm
Not anything physical, which is what you would be implying.

Well... I disagree. The entire package of beliefs around auras ascribe many qualities to the word, but most of them seem to consider an aura as a kind of physical luminous radiation that surrounds all life. Some newage people claim to feel them, or see them or can read your personality in them or take pictures of them... and I still think that's all very likely bullshit. However, the most basic claim, which most people (including myself) have considered as bullshit up to this point is that there's some kind of physical radiation or light which comes from all living things.

Here's some definitions:

In parapsychology and many forms of spiritual practice, an aura is a field of subtle, luminous radiation surrounding a person or object (like the halo or aureola in religious art). The depiction of such an aura often connotes a person of particular power or holiness. Sometimes, however, all people, or all living things, or all objects whatsoever are said to manifest such an aura. Often it is held to be perceptible, whether spontaneously or with practice: such perception is at times linked with the third eye of Indian spirituality.[1][2] Various writers associate various personality traits with the colors of different layers of the aura.[3][4][5] - Wikipedia

An invisible breath, emanation, or radiation. - Answers.com

(Spirituality, New Age, Astrology & Self-help / Alternative Belief Systems) (in parapsychology) an invisible emanation produced by and surrounding a person or object: alleged to be discernible by individuals of supernormal sensibility - Free Dictionary

a luminous radiation - Webster

an energy field that is held to emanate from a living being - Also Webster


I would really like to read the LessWrong essay that shows my logical flaw here.




Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Faust on October 29, 2010, 06:35:00 pm
People DO have an electromagnetic aura, its not in the visible spectrum and certainly isn't what is described by ki or the people who claim to see aura's. But strictly speaking they are PHYSICALLY there so that shouldn't be where the problem comes in.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on October 29, 2010, 07:40:33 pm
People DO have an electromagnetic aura, its not in the visible spectrum and certainly isn't what is described by ki or the people who claim to see aura's. But strictly speaking they are PHYSICALLY there so that shouldn't be where the problem comes in.

I don't know if Kai and LMNO thought I was saying "OMGZ MAGIKZ AURA IS REALZ!!!!" or what... I just really thought it was interesting and an appropriate comparison. However, if I'm wrong and its a bad way to communicate, then I'd like to understand what the hell I did so I can fix it.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on October 30, 2010, 12:02:16 am
I objected because the last thing I want this thread to turn into is a definition fest over whether auras are "real" or not.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Faust on October 30, 2010, 12:31:07 am
I objected because the last thing I want this thread to turn into is a definition fest over whether auras are "real" or not.


Aura's are real, they have no significance beyond the basic electrical and characteristics of the body (overall resistance and such) and they certainly can not be seen by the naked eye.

Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on October 30, 2010, 12:47:32 am
I objected because the last thing I want this thread to turn into is a definition fest over whether auras are "real" or not.

Ah, I didn't intend to Jack the thread, it was just a comment. Apologies, carry on.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Cramulus on November 01, 2010, 04:33:27 pm
encoding the whole thing into a document is going to be a lot of work -- but many hands can do it more easily

I've pasted the first page of this thread onto my sandbox wiki --- feel free to paste more on there, it'll make it easier for [whoever does it] to make it into a sexy pdf

http://principiadiscordia.com/cramulus/index.php?title=What_is_Chi%3F

^^

just in case anybody feels up to it, I think there's a lot of info in this thread that could be condensed into something awesome and stand-alone
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus on November 14, 2010, 03:01:04 am
I found this article interesting, and more proof that while there may or may not be "physical" subtle-energies, there looks to be a neuro-somatic feedback loop that damn well resembles them.

http://www.alternet.org/story/148800/how_new_agey_energy_healing_can_cure_your_body_and_mind?page=entire
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on November 14, 2010, 01:54:17 pm
I found this article interesting, and more proof that while there may or may not be "physical" subtle-energies, there looks to be a neuro-somatic feedback loop that damn well resembles them.

http://www.alternet.org/story/148800/how_new_agey_energy_healing_can_cure_your_body_and_mind?page=entire

That was awesome.

The best part about that story was not only the full investigation, but how the accupoint tapping actually disarms the alarm response of the amygdala. THIS Is the sort of thing I meant when I started this thread. Here is a clear case of psychosomatic interactions and the method to utilize them. I just wish the author provided a methodology of the accupoint tapping, when and where to tap, so that I could use this technique in the future.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Brotep on November 14, 2010, 04:49:53 pm
While some points are genuinely situated over nerve bundles, I think a great deal of it is the performance side, even in the speedy stuff. Will comment more when I've time fully peruse the article.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Planeswalker on November 14, 2010, 06:30:32 pm
Found this thread, loving it, printed out 97 pages to read in comfort and make notes - catching up while trying to wrap my head around the semantics and then expressing a hopefully worthwhile thought on the matter.

Quick thanks to Telarus' for the very nice and detailed post about complete breathing techniques: a superb complement to my own breath work.
And general big thanks to everyone involved for the stimulation.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: LuciferX on November 14, 2010, 09:50:21 pm
Rubber suits and Pd_Annodes over sheepskin condoms bubbles trouble for catalytic electro sister bears  :roll:
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus on November 15, 2010, 12:16:44 am
 :roll:


Anyway, back on topic.

I didn't know how far into the discipline of Psychiatry these concepts had penetrated. The author's wife has apparently written a book on the most common variations of the techniques. I'll look for a torrent. Also, now that we have the label that Psychiatry assigns this phenomena ("Energy Psychology"), we can look for more sources.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on November 15, 2010, 02:38:31 am
:roll:


Anyway, back on topic.

I didn't know how far into the discipline of Psychiatry these concepts had penetrated. The author's wife has apparently written a book on the most common variations of the techniques. I'll look for a torrent. Also, now that we have the label that Psychiatry assigns this phenomena ("Energy Psychology"), we can look for more sources.

But this is honestly only one part of the whole thing. Energy Psychology only covers this one technique. It doesn't delve into the rest of psychosomatics.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Requia ☣ on November 15, 2010, 02:41:11 am
Somebody PM me around thanksgiving, and I'll get my brothers university password out of him so I can go trolling through psychinfo for stuff on Psychosomatics.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus on November 15, 2010, 03:12:35 am
Relevant article is relevant.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/14/this-is-your-brain-on-metaphors/?hp
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus on January 14, 2011, 08:39:35 am
Wow, I seriously want to read this dude's book:

http://www.sharpbrains.com/blog/2009/01/21/learning-about-learning-an-interview-with-joshua-waitzkin/
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on January 17, 2011, 12:23:30 am
Wow, I seriously want to read this dude's book:

http://www.sharpbrains.com/blog/2009/01/21/learning-about-learning-an-interview-with-joshua-waitzkin/

I think I do as well.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus on January 17, 2011, 12:34:19 am
Found some good resources on Josh's "Foundation" website:

http://theartoflearningproject.org/educate/resources/
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on January 23, 2011, 08:56:14 pm
Found some good resources on Josh's "Foundation" website:

http://theartoflearningproject.org/educate/resources/

The ideas are good. Sometimes it's hard to create personal methods and techniques from such ideas.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Telarus on May 02, 2012, 05:30:57 pm
Bumping for this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgPlmFOhAyA&feature=colike


Isao Machii - Cutting BB pellet with Iaigiri (Sheathed Draw Cut)


They've got a specialist in perception on to view the slow motion footage, and she says something that really jumped out at me.

"This is about processing at an entirely different sensory level, because he's not visually processing. This is... this is a different level of... Anticipatory Proccessing, something so procedural... so fluid for him..."

And that's where they cut her off.

This has gotten my head wrapped around some more of the Chi experience... I have to integrate this with the previous material, tho. More later.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Doktor Howl on May 02, 2012, 05:34:53 pm
Bumping for this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgPlmFOhAyA&feature=colike


Isao Machii - Cutting BB pellet with Iaigiri (Sheathed Draw Cut)


They've got a specialist in perception on to view the slow motion footage, and she says something that really jumped out at me.

"This is about processing at an entirely different sensory level, because he's not visually processing. This is... this is a different level of... Anticipatory Proccessing, something so procedural... so fluid for him..."

And that's where they cut her off.

This has gotten my head wrapped around some more of the Chi experience... I have to integrate this with the previous material, tho. More later.

Oh, that?  He's just using the force.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Don Coyote on May 02, 2012, 08:04:43 pm
Bumping for this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgPlmFOhAyA&feature=colike


Isao Machii - Cutting BB pellet with Iaigiri (Sheathed Draw Cut)


They've got a specialist in perception on to view the slow motion footage, and she says something that really jumped out at me.

"This is about processing at an entirely different sensory level, because he's not visually processing. This is... this is a different level of... Anticipatory Proccessing, something so procedural... so fluid for him..."

And that's where they cut her off.

This has gotten my head wrapped around some more of the Chi experience... I have to integrate this with the previous material, tho. More later.

Isn't that an airsoft pellet? Aren't airsoft pellets fired a lower velocity?
In any case, to me, it seems that he is indeed anticipating where it is going to be and would presumably already be in motion when the pellet reaches where his sword will be. It is an impressive feat.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Doktor Howl on May 02, 2012, 08:57:25 pm
Bumping for this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgPlmFOhAyA&feature=colike


Isao Machii - Cutting BB pellet with Iaigiri (Sheathed Draw Cut)


They've got a specialist in perception on to view the slow motion footage, and she says something that really jumped out at me.

"This is about processing at an entirely different sensory level, because he's not visually processing. This is... this is a different level of... Anticipatory Proccessing, something so procedural... so fluid for him..."

And that's where they cut her off.

This has gotten my head wrapped around some more of the Chi experience... I have to integrate this with the previous material, tho. More later.

Isn't that an airsoft pellet? Aren't airsoft pellets fired a lower velocity?
In any case, to me, it seems that he is indeed anticipating where it is going to be and would presumably already be in motion when the pellet reaches where his sword will be. It is an impressive feat.

It occurs to me that if swordsmanship = magickque > bullets, then that explains why Perry was unable to make any headway in Japan, which is why they're still a feudal state.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Don Coyote on May 02, 2012, 09:10:47 pm
Bumping for this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgPlmFOhAyA&feature=colike


Isao Machii - Cutting BB pellet with Iaigiri (Sheathed Draw Cut)


They've got a specialist in perception on to view the slow motion footage, and she says something that really jumped out at me.

"This is about processing at an entirely different sensory level, because he's not visually processing. This is... this is a different level of... Anticipatory Proccessing, something so procedural... so fluid for him..."

And that's where they cut her off.

This has gotten my head wrapped around some more of the Chi experience... I have to integrate this with the previous material, tho. More later.

Isn't that an airsoft pellet? Aren't airsoft pellets fired a lower velocity?
In any case, to me, it seems that he is indeed anticipating where it is going to be and would presumably already be in motion when the pellet reaches where his sword will be. It is an impressive feat.

It occurs to me that if swordsmanship = magickque > bullets, then that explains why Perry was unable to make any headway in Japan, which is why they're still a feudal state.

 :lulz:
Only if Perry had been armed with airsoft pistols.
This reminds me of that show that fired an M2 at a fixed katana, and using highspeed photography were WOWED that a piece of hardened steel cut pieces of lead traveling at highspeed.
I mean him cutting a pellet out of the air is impressive, but he knew where the pellet was coming from, and it was only one pellet, and is traveling at drastically slower velocities than firearms. This is like the videos of the man catching arrows out of the air, or cutting them out of the air.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Kai on May 03, 2012, 09:47:03 pm
Bumping for this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgPlmFOhAyA&feature=colike


Isao Machii - Cutting BB pellet with Iaigiri (Sheathed Draw Cut)


They've got a specialist in perception on to view the slow motion footage, and she says something that really jumped out at me.

"This is about processing at an entirely different sensory level, because he's not visually processing. This is... this is a different level of... Anticipatory Proccessing, something so procedural... so fluid for him..."

And that's where they cut her off.

This has gotten my head wrapped around some more of the Chi experience... I have to integrate this with the previous material, tho. More later.

Well, we've talked quite a bit in this thread about the involvement of muscle memory in muscle control. I think, if this stuff isn't doctored, that it fits in quite nicely with this idea.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: hirley0 on May 04, 2012, 06:08:03 pm
Well, we've talked quite a bit in this thread about the involvement of muscle memory in muscle control. I think, if this stuff isn't doctored, that it fits in quite nicely with this idea.

7WeLL? does it help control MsRa
.1 Chi was the viet namese kid at naive center i called shy
2: after a guy in the navy from chicago who went by chi (chy|?
3: White foot upon overhearing me pronounce chi (chy  said to say He. chE
  in other words give the ending i an E sound so i do:
as far as the practice: it reminds me of the pre 81 action
i had just bought a new house on Missouri / And it was pre st. hellens
some asian kids move in a block away {this tale is to long skip it
on day DAWNs older brother | she cam in to use the computer
was crossing the street when he saw me he drew his knife looked at me
and tossed his knife at a telephone pole some 20 feet away. it stuck .
a perfect knife thrower atany distance clearly, clearly i was inpressed
i think the youg kid already knew CHI / i do not know / knife throw /
though when i was that age i did try / but i never did master the art.
i now return my question to MsRa as i call it MRSA2U
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: Icey on May 05, 2012, 06:27:01 pm
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=4393377&page=1#.T6ViAeiJfNV

Anyone been over the man who was impervious to cold in this thread? Sorry, if this is old hat. But really, I find this to be much more impressive than airsoft hijinks. I've read in some places that he claims to have developed this ability through meditation, and even is training an apprentice. I think, regardless of modifiers, this is an impressive story and shows that we have the bodily hardware to do impressive things, we just need to rewrite some of our software.
Title: Re: What is Chi?
Post by: hirley0 on May 05, 2012, 08:27:08 pm
MRSA 4U
WeLL Most of the ?MRSA? {MsRa) photos i have seen show them as BLUE
NOT A GREEN?  anyway sorry about the cap lock} yeah i agree? once
the gravity games progress to the next stage | beyond skate boards
& bikes | to the new 1.9 inch {i think that's what i heard) thing may well
change ?/? for now however i will try to link to today | if i Kan ?/?

11:44 ? 11:22 ?/?( MRSA 4 (http://www.principiadiscordia.com/forum/index.php/topic,28564.45/msg,1171415.html))