Tai Chi - How long before you feel the chi?

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

  1. taiji48

    taiji48 Valued Member

    I heard a fellow student in the Hunyuan Tai Chi class I attend started to feel a warm energy ball in his Dan Tian area (lower stomach) after about 6 months of practice. He is more advanced than me, so he might have done other internal arts before studying Tai Chi. But that's the anecdote I can offer.

    Speaking of how "Chi" is felt in your body - my teacher said it feels like a warm stream of energy flow. I am at a stage where I can feel heightened sensation in my palms (like being gently needled), but obviously they are in their early development stages.

    Just to explain how we are trained - we have to do Qigong in addition to the form exercises. If your training does not incorporate Qigong or Neigong (internal kung fu), then it might take a very long time to develop any feeling of Qi, if you only practice forms.

    Without Chi, you are only doing Tai Chi dance, not tai chi martial arts.
  2. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Actually, if you're doing Taijiquan without 'quan' - then you are only doing Taiji dance.

    Since 'qi' is such a misunderstood term, I'd be interested in hearing your opinion on what it actually is, before I add any more comments to this recently revived thread...
  3. GaryRomel

    GaryRomel Valued Member

    I'd wager that if you think Qi exists, and can be used in a MARTIAL art, then you are likely the one doing the dance!

    Qi can be a good metaphor, but understanding biomechanics, and principles of energy/physics goes a million miles further in helping develop and apply the internal arts in combat than the ancient notion of Qi.

    Any Master claiming Qi power is their trump card, or that Qi is a major necessity in application is sorely mistaken. I would be happy to compare my Qi-less taijiquan any day of the week to any lineage head etc. when it comes to combat viable skill.

    Don't chase the Qi, its a fairytale. Just train.

  4. nefariusmdk

    nefariusmdk Valued Member

    There's plenty of good answers here already, but I just have to put in my 2 cents, as it is becoming a hot topic among the students in my Tai Chi class right now.

    The simple answer to OP: if you want to experience chi, find your local Reiki healer and schedule an appointment. I was introduced to what chi feels like through Reiki. The healing art of Reiki is a hard pill to swallow. But if you really want a quick way to see what it feels like, have a Reiki healer demonstrate it for you.

    The "Difficult and Long-Winded" Answer: Many Western/secular/scientific values make it hard to understand chi. The intangible and esoteric are difficult subjects because they cannot be explained conventionally - usually. But I will say the "chi" is a belief found in many cultures. Chinese call it chi, Japanese ki, Indians call it chakra. The Greeks call it pneuma. New agers call it aura. Evangelicals call it the Holy Spirit (ever been to a revival?). Regardless of what you've heard about it, the essence and nature of it is the same: it is the mysterious life force that all living things have. When you are alive, you have it. When you are dead, it is gone from your body. EVERYONE has chi.

    Now, Tai Chi is based on the belief that you can harness chi and use it for both healing and harming. Most Tai Chi practitioners focus on the healing aspect, because that is what sells people. The simplest of evidence: most people seen doing Tai Chi are elderly, healthy, and smiling individuals doing very easy looking and beautiful movements. I want to be as healthy as them at their age... how I can learn that?

    There are many exercises and descriptions on the internet, but really the best way is to have someone physically validate it for you. Basically, try to harness it and see if the other person can feel it coming from you. Then, have them try to harness it and see if you can feel it from them (which is why I suggest finding a Reiki healer). Everyone has chi, and it is not a mystical power that can only be used by a few. You're already utilizing chi by simply being alive.

    On a last note: I actually did a little research on the Japanese way of developing chi. The Chinese have Tai Chi and Qi Gong, so shouldn't the Japanese have any variation to it? Well, in my search, I've found 2 things. 1- For the Japanese, you develop ki by eating healthy, exercising, staying away from drugs and negative influences, and meditating. 2- the Sanchin form is a way of developing ki. As far as the mystery behind internal strikes in Tai Chi, a well-trained Western boxer can hurt you internally as well with a good punch in the right place in your body. So aside from Tai Chi strikes, dedicated and rigorous training in a fighting art can make you strike internally as well.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2014
  5. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Ah, the good ol' "westerners/scientists can't understand what Asians can" arguement...

    Actually, Indians call it 'Prana' - Chakra's are the equivalent of meridians & acupuncture points.

    Where is your evidence for this statement? Oh yeah - scientists can't understand it...

    Dear god, I hope you're not the teacher of the class you mentioned earlier..
    Tai Chi (Chuan) is a martial art, based on the interplay of Yin and Yang (hence the name 'Tai Chi').

    How do any of those qualities that you've listed have anything to do with 'chi'?

    I can think of much more effective ways of spending my training time, rather than trying to 'harness' some vague 'inner energy', or trying to feel the 'energy' of others..

    Tai Chi Chuan is nothing to do with 'developing chi'.

    And why should the Japanese have a variation of this? Do the Swiss? Or the Russians?

    Do these things 'develop chi' - or is it just common sense healthy living (plus some meditation)?

    Nefariusmdk - what is your actual experience in Tai Chi Chuan? Or Qigong? Or Karate? Or any martial arts?
    Right now, you're just spouting nonsense that has been around the block several times. Reading something on the internet and then regurgitating it doesn't count as 'research'.
  6. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Ooh can I post my chi video again?

    This isn't fixed, Andy couldn't pick me up on the second attempt.

    Is it chi though?

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmwkOIDKHww"]Simon's Incredible Chi - YouTube[/ame]
  7. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    How would you then explain why so many martial systems called "ta chi chuan" contain qigong sets.

    This fact would seem at odds with a statement that tai chi chuan has nothing
    to do with developing "qi".

    Further how would you explain the many many references and instructions regarding "qi" in the practice of the tai chi chuan taolu etc. in boxing manuals from all the major family styles such as Chen (Chen Xin's book), Yang and Wu Families published writing?
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
  8. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    and you recently posted in the tai chi forum last week


    It's ok dude; I will let you have your cake and eat it :D
    But only 'cos we're mates!
  9. embra

    embra Valued Member

    Loading your weight distribution more fluidly in a channeled and relaxed state - especially when Andy has to lift you against gravity, can lead to immovability - especially with someone (Simon) heavier than the other (Andy.)

    We can call it Chi, but for me, it is using your body more effectively (2nd time) - in this case.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
  10. m1k3jobs

    m1k3jobs Dudeist Priest

    When you lift something isn't it always against gravity?

  11. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    How dare you call my chi into question. :D
  12. embra

    embra Valued Member

    1st time Simon does not oppose Andy --> Andy's Chi wins out.
    2nd time Simon uses his weight and posture to sink better and join gravity, hence difficult for Andy -> Simon's Chi vaquishes's Andy's Chi.

    However, this is Netwonian Physics much, much more than it is some Bio-pixie fairy-tale plasma Cheesey Tosh.

    Same exercise exists in Aikido, can't remember its name.
  13. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Yep, nothing mystical.

    If you want to show it as a parlour trick, as I've done here, the skill is in not making my movements look any different each time.
  14. embra

    embra Valued Member

    I can see small differences in your weight distribution between 1 + 2 -> lookat Simon's knees.

    Should sell a few bottles of snake oil down at the market on a sunday however.
  15. m1k3jobs

    m1k3jobs Dudeist Priest

    Embra, no reply was necessary as I was being a smartass. However the same technique is used in wrestling as well. Whenever your opponent grabs you you want to lower your hips and take away his leverage.
  16. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Chi, it's chi I tell you.

    You can go off people you know. :D
  17. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    I would argue that it is less to do with 'developing qi' - and more to do with coordinating breath with movement; over-riding the tendency to hold your breath and "brace" when doing any kind of large or strenuous movement.

    I would ask if any talk of 'qi' refers to 'developing' or 'using' - and also, what is the universally agreed-upon definition of 'qi'?

    Also, is there any mention in any of the writings of "Tai Chi is based on the belief that you can harness chi and use it for both healing and harming."

    I don't see any contradiction in those comments :p

    And, I'm always happy to share cake with a mate :)
  18. nefariusmdk

    nefariusmdk Valued Member

    Thank you Dan Bian for your reply. Yes there are many different ideas about chi, its existence, and so forth. My understanding of it comes not only from my experience, but from others' experiences with it as well. Acupuncture's healing techniques rely on repairing the flow of blocked chi. Reiki is based on chi. Aside from Tai Chi, I also practice Qi Gong - though I do not consider myself a teacher in it. But this is where my understanding of chi comes from.

    Yes there is plenty of information on the web. I could easily also do this "research" at my local library, the old school way, but with the internet I can grab more information as well as find objective viewpoints on the matter.

    In short, I do not proclaim myself as an expert on chi; I am barely a student of it. But I do acknowledge its existence from an objective point of view. And finally, no I'm not the airy-fairy hippie instructor who's ranting about chi to the students - that's my master's job, and he's neither airy-fairy or a hippie. I just make sure everyone's doing the form properly.
  19. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    I'm very interested in objective information on chi; it's so hard to find!

    Would you be kind enough to provide some links please? :)
  20. EmptyHandGuy

    EmptyHandGuy Valued Member

    My simplistic understanding of Chi goes like this. I've read that some say Chi is breath, I've been taught that when you breath during practice that you don't breath to expand your chest but down to your diaphragm/belly area. So when you breath in your belly expands and contracts, now this area is where your navel is, which is also where traditionally the Dantien is located. So you breath in and fill the Dantien with your breath. This is then circulated around your body in your blood giving energy to your body.
    Could chi be the ancient way of explaining in the east what the oxygen in our blood stream is? Part of the energy that helps power our body?

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