Chi Kung Power is Best!
Chi Kung power is at the heart of this fight! Read on and see for yourself…
THERE’S GOING TO BE A FIGHT!
Al Case and Mark Wasson are going to duke it out until blood flows and the Martial Arts Chi Kung Power inside their cells explodes and a dark curtain of doom will descend upon the Universe and….
Want to know the truth now?
‘Al!’ He sort of murmered/exclaimed with all sorts of underlyings in his voice, ‘One of the students just called, He says you really got blasted in the latest magazine! He says the guy just tore you apart!’The truth is I was sitting at home on a lazy Sunday watching ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’ when the phone rang. Grumbling, I clicked John Wayne and Lee Marvin into motionlessness and answered the infernal device. It was my Martial Arts partner.
Within minutes I had visions of students calling on students, arranging the death match, I even had one concerned person tell me I should sue for slander.
‘Wait a minute,’ I said to all concerned, ‘Not only have I not read what was said, but neither have you!’ So I went out and got a copy of my favorite magazine.
The issue was Fall ‘94 of Inside Martial Arts, and the ‘blasting’ in question was actually a rather well written guest editorial by Martial Artist Mark Wasson, which was in response to my article of the previous Inside Martial Arts in which I espoused ‘Internalizing’ the Art of Karate.
Quickly I got my students to quit on setting up the death match (they weren’t really going too, anyway) and explained to them that one of the purposes of the magazine was to provide a forum for Martial Artists to trade ideas. I pointed out that Mr. Wasson not only didn’t use harsh language, he was actively concerned about ideas inherent in his specific Art which he felt had, to put it gently, been trod upon, or at least grossly misrepresented.
Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a martial artist defending one’s Art and ideas!
And he can certainly take me to task…if he can get away with it.
The fact is that the article in question was written for people in Karate, and was limited by certain considerations having to do with what makes sense to Karateka, or what is real to a hard style practitioneer.
While I could take issue with Mr. Wasson’s objections point by point, that would really be just defensive and not worth it. Instead, I think I’ll just take the point he made about my not mentioning Chi Kung. By explaining certain things about Chi I should be able to make points, as well as shed light upon certain things I said in the first article.
Before going on, however, I would like to offer a little precursor .
Did I mention that I began studying Tai Chi in 1975. It was a ragged book, some cheap publisher in Hawaii, I believe, but in the intervening years I have had some glorious experiences with martial artists both qualified and unqualified. That being said…
Chi, according to a couple of different Martial Arts dictionarys, means, among other things, ‘Spirit.’
Spirit, according to the regular dictionary, means, among other things, ‘The animating or life-giving principle within a living being.’
Before I delve deeper, let me forestall all the people who are going to shout that I need to know a culture or foreign language to understand Chi.
No, I don’t need to. What is needed is people who can accurately translate their concepts into the English language. When you are talking Chi, or similar concept you are talking about a concept that is true for all, and to say that only Chinese can understand a life giving principle is racism of the subtle and yet rank sort.
That being said, I am going to outline how Chi Kung works on the Three Levels of the Martial Arts (For a fuller understanding of the Three Levels see ‘The Seven Rules’ in the July ‘94 issue of Martial Arts Masters!)
The First Level has to do with the fact that everybody lives. That which has life has Chi.
So wanna be martial artist Joe Blow has Chi, wants to increase it, walks into my Martial Arts school and signs up for a course of instruction.
What I do is concentrate on getting that person to CBM. CBM, which means ‘Coordinated Body Motion,’ is covered in .
When a martial artist achieves CBM his Intention starts to Flow. Intention, according to the regular dictionary, is ‘The aim which guides action.’ When a person CBMs he has entered the Second Level of the Martial Arts.
In percieving the ‘Aim which guides,’ the Intention manifested, when one CBMs, one comes face to face with one extremely important factor, one which, when understood, will explain why I don’t bother with Chi much.
Where does the Intention come from?
If you understand this then you will understand what I call ‘Seeing the Thought behind the Action.’
In my Martial School we are more concerned with percieving Thought behind Action, both one’s own and another’s own, than in moving Masses of Energy.
That’s right. Moving Masses of Energy. That’s all Chi Kung, on the Second Level, is. (Don’t make the mistake of thinking I am underestimating Chi potential for health, well being, and so on. It is just that this is a Martial Arts article.)
In the beginning of the Second Level one concentrates on percieving the Thought behind the Action of moving Masses of Energy through his body, and actually moving the Masses of Energy. As one reachs the end of the Second Level one becomes aware of how Masses of Energy are moving through his opponent’s body. In otherwords, to enter the Third Level one must become aware of how his opponent’s Intention is working, and be able to control it. This means to percieve the Thought behind the Intention which moves the Masses of Energy of another person’s body. (Third Level Chi is Thought)
Simply, it is much easier to push on a person’s Thought than it is to push on his moving Mass of Energy. It takes far less than 4 ounces to deflect a thousand pounds if one understands this. In fact, by sychronizing with an opponent’s thoughts one can get a thousand pounds to deflect a thousand pounds, and the thousand pounds are all the opponents.
So I try not to get stuck in concepts of Chi Kung, moving masses of Energy, but rather concentrate on getting a student through to the Third Level of the Martial Arts.
Of course it is not all as simple as my logical treatise would fool you into believing. One can quite easily get into other Concepts having to do with Chi, Concepts having to do with the medical, or the religious, or one could even get stuck on the Second Level just because the sensations arising from moving Masses of Energy around the body can get quite heady, and never aspire to the Third Level. Let me tell you how I bypass such a thing.
After examining as many different Forms as I could I chose the Yang style for transmission of Tai Chi. The reason was because Yang has the best Basics of all the forms I encountered. Other Forms tended to warp Basics for esoteric purposes, purposes of increased sensation having nothing to do with the potential of Martial Application, and that sort of thing. When I looked for Potentials of Martial Applications I included everything from hard strikes to soft strikes to waving Energy, throws, absorbing Energy, and so on.
After selecting a Form which I thought best suited my purposes I then rearranged it so that it would be better for CBMing students.
A good Instructor, incidentally, will push on a person’s body until that person can hold a position and yet wiggle his fingers. I call this Body Testing, and the exact purpose of it is to apply Force to the person in such a manner that the Tan Tien must respond with a Flow of Force, and that Force may be further channeled as a moving Mass of Energy as the student becomes aware of it. While some people tend to slough off Body Testing, it is actually an exact science with great benefit for the student.
Did you know that all Forms are, in the end, equal? One could learn to read the Thought behind the Action no matter if he did a Tai Chi form, or a Shaolin Form, or a Karate Form, or whatever. This is, again, because all deal with Body Control, and if one pursues the subject of Form to it’s logical end they are face to face with the fact of Thought behind Action.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of teachers that don’t know this, and have somehow become victim to bad teachings, bad translations of Forms, muddled Concepts as systems are merged, and so on.
Karate Forms, to be truthful, are better for development of gross CBM. In my experience it has been easier to get a student to CBM using Karate Forms than Tai Chi Forms.
Tai Chi, however, is better at certain other things, such as becoming more aware of moving Masses of Energy once the CBM has begun. Tai Chi also has more potential for aligning a greater variety of applications. And Push Hands, to go beyond the Form a bit, is absolutely State of the Art as far as learning how to read the Thought behind the Action goes.
By now, whether you agree or not, you probably at least have an inkling of where I am coming from, that being said, let me explain a couple of reasons why I don’t bother talking about Chi to much.
The word Chi (chi kung) has become a catch basket for just about everything of a mysterious aspect in the Martial Arts. I don’t want anybody to confuse my logical and empirical teachings with something people don’t understand.
Second, I don’t want to open the door to meditation in my school. While some may scream that meditation is necessary, I don’t believe so. Furthermore, let me explain something about meditation. There is enough of ‘Looking inside the body’ to Intend the mass of Energy to move. To do too much tends to make a person too introspective. Hey, learn how to channel Energy, but the world is out there! Furthermore, there are certain types of meditation that can be harmful. In the extreme, the body is a chemical factory that can be made to produce virtually any chemical a person might wish. I am not saying that everybody who meditates is a Stoner, but be careful. Also, a last point on this subject of meditation, ever tried to reach Nirvhana? Somehow I fail to see how Intending Awareness into a moving (non-moving?) mass of Energy can be Nirvhana.
Third, I don’t have to talk about Chi because through my methods it develops naturally and needs no extra effort on my part.
That all being said let me get down to what I really consider the point of it all. Tai Chi is just a piece of the Martial Pie, as is Karate, as is Pa Kua, Ju Jitsu, Savate, and so on. If I have had any purpose in the Martial Arts thus far it has been to arrange all the Arts so that they compliment one another and make sense as part of a whole. I really feel I have had some success with this subject.
And if I have any purpose in the future it is that Martial Artists will, through understanding this concept, realize that they represent parts of a whole also. It is called the human family.
Mr. Wasson, your turn.
For scientific analysis of Martial Arts Chi Power check out Matrixing Chi.