Tai Chi - How long before you feel the chi?

Discussion in 'Internal Martial Arts' started by MikeGore, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. MikeGore

    MikeGore New Member


    I was wondering, how long it takes to actually feel this chi that Tai Chi is said to develop. Also what does it feel like? Does every body feel it after regular practice?


  2. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    What do you mean by "chi"?

    This is a contentious issue to say the least! MAP has about 3,276* threads on it already

  3. Lad_Gorg

    Lad_Gorg Valued Member

    Roughly 2 years, 3 months, 2 weeks, 5 days, 11 hours, 23 minutes, and 0.0066 seconds.

    But you know, that's a rough estimate.
  4. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Just a reminder on how we treat newcomers to MAP.
  5. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    I would also add if you don't have anything useful to add here you should probably move along.
  6. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Irreverence aside it IS important that the OP has a clear idea about what he is looking for, what he expects to sense/feel and what he is being told about it.

    The sense of "focus" or "alignment" one feels in practice is separate from any prosaic/esoteric expectations.
  7. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    Given that you're asking this question, can I assume you have no real idea of what chi is and you are a beginner?

    The only real answer I can give you right now is there is no single universal definition of what chi is. As has already be said it's a contentious issue. Focus on quality training and don't be in a rush. Irrespective of whether chi exists or not. There are no short cuts.
  8. Putrid

    Putrid Moved on

    Impossible questions to answer.The only way is to practice and find out for yourself.Its a highly subjective experience but also one you might find interesting.
  9. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Depending on how you define it, you could feel 'chi' after 1 session.

    Whether you put any value into the sensations that you feel is entirely up to you - however, generally, if you allow yourself to get hung up on this feeling and that feeling (whether chi or just trapped wind), you waste time that could be better spent training.
  10. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    If you do the ending of the Taiji form, when you

    - raise your arms in circle, you inhale.
    - drop your arms in circle, you exhale.
    - raise your arms up shoulder height, you inhale.
    - drop your arms down next to your legs, you exhale.

    you will feel Chi shortly. The most important question to ask is what will you do with your Chi? If Chi can't help you in combat then why should you care about it?

    A friend of mine told me that when she did her Taiji, her soul could separate from her body, float in the sky, and looked down on her own body. Oneday she invited me to meet her Taiji teacher, I turned her down just because I knew the outcome of that meeting could be ugly.

    If I can run 5 miles without breathing hard, I have Chi by my own definition. To me the lung capacity is much more useful in combat than the Chi feeling.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  11. Lad_Gorg

    Lad_Gorg Valued Member

    Low hanging fruit, my bad.

    The bolded section looks like you have doubts about Chi in the context of Tai Chi.
    Am I wrong to assume that you are frustrated because you haven't developed Chi despite practicing Tai Chi for ** years, or that you simply just doubt it's existance?

    Either case it's probably a good idea to follow Hannibal's advice, and look for Chi related threads here on MAP. This way you can see ALL the different angles that people take on the subject, and hopefully come out with a better idea of when you feel "Chi" in your practice.

    To me, what Chi sounds like it means, is a greater ability to understand and control your biomechanics. Nothing metaphysical about it. And to be fair just about any physical activity can develop this skill. Just watch two ping pong players do things, like their accuracy and reaction times, that the average person can't and you'll understand. Of course I have a bias towards non-mystical definitions, so to hear the otherside read those threads.

    As for how long it takes to develop it. Well as others have said that's impossible to answer. How long do you practice, how intense do you practice, how many time do you practice per week/day, etc. will all play a role. And of course latent talent is also quite important.
  12. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    My first piece of advice to the OP would be to avoid searching for previous threads about 'chi' on MAP as 99.99% of them are a complete and utter waste of time. You might get the occasional giggle, but I don't think you will learn anything of any value.

    My second piece of advice to the OP would be to forget about 'chi' and concentrate on learning your form. (I'm assuming from your question that you are a relative newcomer to Taiji.) Forget about 'chi' and concentrate on learning to relax, that is far more important.
  13. inthespirit

    inthespirit ignant

    OP, you could give something like this a go, not really my cup of tea, but some folk rate it.

    It’s basically a rehash of numerous Taiji classics, with some additions and interpretations by the author and a more modern take on terminology and such, as well as relatively detailed instruction for the authors method.

    [ame="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Juice-Radical-Energetics-Scott-Meredith/dp/1478260696/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358952149&sr=8-1"]Juice: Radical Taiji Energetics: Amazon.co.uk: Scott Meredith: Books[/ame]
  14. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    According to the blurb on Amazon, reading that book will teach you to master the Taiji sword. Who needs a class when you can learn everything from a book? :rolleyes:

    No offence, Inthespirit, as I'm sure you're just trying to help the OP answer his own question, but whenever I see stuff like that it just makes me cringe. I'm just going to pop out now and kill a puppy. Laters!
  15. inthespirit

    inthespirit ignant

    No worries Johnno, it’s really not to my liking either. I even read the thing! :) Though, in terms of exercises for feeling "stuff", I've see much worse and this one in particular is quite easy to follow. Personally, I think you could spend your time on more useful pursuits, but I do think this is the sort of stuff the OP is after. Lets see..
  16. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    For feeling 'stuff', I've always found the form to be the business. I don't really undertstand what the 'stuff' is, but it feels rather nice. Whether I'm feeling 'chi' isn't something that I've ever spent a great deal of time pondering, because I find the whole concept of 'chi' to be a difficult one to understand.
  17. inthespirit

    inthespirit ignant

    I think there may be a great danger of turning this in to yet another “chi” thread :D

    I have mixed feelings about feeling these sorts of things, I don’t have a problem doing it, but in terms of where to fit it in within the paradigm of MA or IMA is something I am not too sure about. In any case I think it should be of lesser importance than say partner work and drill/form movements. With the partner work (providing it’s properly structured) you can easily feed it in to your solo work refine and iron out gaps in your movement and then feed that back in to your partner work, and so on and so forth, testing with sparing etc, refining again and on and on. In my experience from this sort of process alone not only do you develop combat skill, but you also have your health/relaxation benefits gained through increased body awareness and removal of bad structural/breathing/psychological habits. I guess you could say through constant pressure testing and refinement any imperfections you have become more apparent and therefore are brought in to your awareness which allows you to work on them.

    If you take the “chi, chi and only chi” approach, which I admit I have done for a quite substantial amount of time, you also get some health benefits, relaxation and such, but it does (in my experience) very little for testing and refining your combat skills. There is some effect (in my experience) on improving structure, root and such, but in my eyes, combat wise it does not hold a candle to the refinement gained through partner/solo work dynamic.

    The only place I have found it useful to some extent is learning how to not use more force than needed, so in essence you don’t need to expend as much energy for the same effect, but this is only after you have developed the partner/solo work stuff to an applicable degree. All in all, even though that’s how I started off, I don’t think the “chi” only way (if we can call it that) is a good starting point and if I am to teach anyone I would certainly take a more tangible, hands on approach. I think, if its structured correctly, you can get many more benefits and skills much faster using the partner/solo work dynamic.

    Just my worthless 2 pence of course :)
  18. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member


    I don't understand what you mean by the 'chi only' approach.

    But I'm off to class now, so I'll ponder it further while I hug some trees and cultivate my chi. ;)
  19. inthespirit

    inthespirit ignant

    Haha! I suppose that is not too clear, by chi only I mean heavy chi gung emphasis, forms with emphasis on chi, and no push hands or any application work. Basically a curriculum solely based on energy work. I've been drinking since my last post, so hope this makes sense :D
  20. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    It makes perfect sense. I've never been to a class with that kind of approach, but i think I can imagine it.

    Our class is the complete opposite. On the rare occasions when the teacher mentions 'chi' he immediately starts laughing. We used to have one lady student who would talk about 'chi' and 'meridians' and so forth, and you could hear the rustling of raised eyebrows throughout the hall. (When you get to my age, your eyebrows do rustle when you raise them.)

    It's not that I personally dismiss the concept of 'chi' out of hand, because it gets referenced so much in the Taiji classics and so forth. If masters with decades of experience talk about it then they must be talking about something. But I don't understand what that something actually is, so I don't dwell on it. I suspect that what they are referring to is more of a 'state' than a 'thing'. Possibly a combination of physiological (sp?)conditions which the ancient Chinese didn't have scientific explainations for so they labelled the sum of the parts as 'chi'. Or something like that.

    I tend to just think of it as 'energy', because that seems like a handy label. I appreciate that it is using the word in a layman's way rather than a scientific way, but I'm not a scientist so I don't really give a damn.

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