A new YouTube video landed a day or so ago that has caused something of a sensation. It’s a trailer for a movie called The Power of Chi and has some well known UFC fighters and professional athletes in it, all experiencing the power of a Tai Chi master’s “chi”. And there’s a voice over by Morgan Freeman. I kid you not! Yes, the Morgan Freeman!
From the trailer, this mysterious chi is presented as a force that can be produced by the master and defies all explanation. To be honest, this tai chi master has been producing very similar YouTube videos for years now, but he’s usually demonstrating on no-name seminar attendees, this time however it’s a big budget production with well known fighters like Fabricio Werdum and Lyoto Machida being demonstrated on.
You can see the trailer here:
Now I haven’t seen the full film, and frankly, I’m not going to pay to download it, but colour me unimpressed with that. It all seems a bit silly to me.
Friend of the Notebook, Rob Poyton (who I recorded a podcast with recently) has produced his own video response to the trailer and I think it’s hard to argue with his conclusions, but feel free to make your own mind up:
I like Rob’s point at the end, that if you’re going to demonstrate things like this, then what are the functional uses of it? That’s what you should be demonstrating.
22 thoughts on “The Power of Chi, the movie, and a response”
John that’s just more of the same. And I couldn’t care less what Rogan thinks about anything. I posted my clip as response to that video, it was immediately removed.
Seems like Werdum disagrees with you & Rogan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5rpP2qIRI0
So after all those mammoth posts and the rest of it, he is basically agreeing with us???
I’ve banned Ti from this forum, but he’d like to leave one last response which I will allow as he says it’s his last response. Gentlemen, please don’t respond to him after this – I’d just like Tim to go away at this point. Tim – nothing else by you will be posted after this, you are banned:
I tried twice to post a comment in the site’s section currently featuring comments about the “Power of Chi” film but did not see my comment appear. I’m not sure if this is a glitch within the site or a blocking of my further comments. I think, with use of that section, a new comment seemed to post almost immediately.
In any case, I’d like to see the comment posted since it represents what I think is an important amendment to my previous post in order to clarify some of what was in that post.
I’ll attach the text of that comment below. I believe this is a reasonable clarification and expect this to be my final comment on the subject.
Since the site won’t allow for edits, I need to do an amendment of the previous post in which I placed some video links and didn’t explain as I should have. The Huang Sheng Shyan demos should be viewed as an example of a master working with what I believe to be compliant students who exaggerate the effects for dramatic impact. It doesn’t diminish his powerful skills but is in a kind of tradition whereby students try to play along with force to exaggerate it or make what is subtle more visible. The demos in the large event with others in celebration of his teaching are more realistic, especially in the section where Adam Mizner and others do free sparring and the effects are clearly more natural. So I should have made that distinction and emphasized that the effects of internal power are usually in combination with the application of subtle body mechanics, and that some demos involve at least a certain amount of compliant reaction by students wanting to show the master’s power in a more dramatic way. That will undoubtedly lead to charges of fakery.
The more potent fa of someone at a very high level is generally more subtle and felt rather than visible to an onlooker. That doesn’t make it any less real. But the demos too often try to express that impact by exaggerated responses, and the entertainment value of that is not what matters.”
If you really want substance, don’t be anonymous.
I deal with all your points in my video.
I comprehended what you said perfectly.
I’m not responsible for your real or faux anger, outrage, hurt or whatever it is. That’s yours.
If you want to be deserving of attention, don’t be anonymous.
You seem a bit confused as to who you are actually responding to.
And now you are trying to invent some kind of argument between Graham and myself?
Where’s your video?
Sorry I wasted so much time trying to deal with some substance here instead of your idea of being polite or whatever your dodge is. You didn’t even have the courtesy to comprehend what I said and deal with my points, but maybe someone else will take note. (Not that many human beings seem to frequent this insular and self-aggrandizing platform.) Your latest haughty response doesn’t even show that you’re paying attention, so I don’t owe you anything further. Incidentally, the reason I said you had accused me of being a cultist is because I confused your original response with that of someone on a related thread, which I now realize must be the king of this funky blog. He calls it a blog, you don’t think it’s a blog, so I guess the two of you should fight that out between yourselves. That should be amusing.
You talk a lot about being angry and respect and manners, yet still don’t have the courtesy to even introduce yourself. Why would you wish to remain anonymous?
A video is worth ten thousand words. In the time it took you to put together that huge reply you could have shot two videos of yourself demonstrating “chi power.” If you can do it – show us. If you can’t, then putting up videos of people doing things I described in my original clip doesn’t really help your cause.
What you call being succinct seems more like being curt. You gave quite a few comments that were in fact non-responsive or so terse that they were insubstantial and sometimes disrespectful after I took the time to present a more detailed set of comments. I can be succinct but not easily when dealing with this subject and also trying to reply to your various off-handed or incomplete statements.
As for who I am, I teach Tai Chi Chuan in southern California. The lineage I associate with is that of Grandmaster Tung Kai Ying; I studied with some of his long-time senior students who went on to teach. As I said before, I don’t consider myself that proficient in push hands or internal power, but I have worked with some teachers who are and have been close to others who shared with me their personal experiences in that arena.
You suggested in your previous reply that I might be a “troll” based on nothing but my audacity at challenging your comments on the website and your denial of the very existence of internal power as opposed to technique and what you vaguely and deceptively termed “bio-mechanics”. (How about defining that?)
I think the more correct term would be body mechanics, and I agreed that it is fundamental to virtually all effective self-defense. You didn’t name Adam Mizner in your comments about the film in question, but when you say “a single person” in the film earned your disdain it’s very clear who you mean. So let’s not play games. You speak with disdain for “tricks” but don’t define what a trick is, either. Do you call it a trick when someone is using technique and body mechanics but claiming it’s something more magical? That’s not a trick, it’s a deception. Or do you call it a trick when it is fooling the viewer with a complicit student pretending to be affected by some mysterious power? That’s just fraud. As for your use of “psychology” as another explanation for certain effects, that’s also very vague. What does that mean? Are you suggesting otherwise very capable martial artists and honest people are simply “psyched” by someone else?
It seems to me there are certain elements to effective self-defense up to a very high level when those elements are less important or not important at all: body mechanics like positioning, angles, reaction to the opponent that counters their move; sensitivity to the opponent, which includes relaxation and mindfulness; skillful use of defensive and offensive techniques. Internal power can give a modest enhancement of those elements, or it can be more profound so that it’s more important than the techniques. I include in the term “internal power” sinking or Song, having another person effectively stick to you and be under your control, and generating force that is not muscular or mechanical, as well as issuing of jin in its various forms. If you accept the existence of ch’i or internal energy, which is also the basis of Chinese medicine, why is it so hard to accept such energy can be mobilized and issued against someone else in a potent power? What do you tell your Tai Chi Chuan students or others is the nature of chi?
If you haven’t experienced the more profound form of internal power, seeing someone use it will probably look fake. There are so many fakers that it becomes challenging for most viewers to distinguish between the fakery and the genuine article. If you haven’t felt it from someone else, I doubt that anything I can show you in a video will convince you it represents internal power. But one thing I look for is the response of the partner or opponent: how does their body react to the power, so that it’s clearly pretense or reactive in a way that someone can’t do by themselves?
I referenced at least two people by background whose experience and credibility are of the highest standard. You quoted only one sentence from that, which was ” I’ve worked with such people and have also had conversations with a number of people who engaged in pushing with Adam Mizner and others of his skill.” You’re response was the insulting: “My brother knows a guy who etc etc” That’s a cheap dismissal, especially disrespectful since you both disparage the value of my accounts and the people I refer to but you also failed to even address the specific experiences I said they had in engagement with Adam Mizner. I can’t show you a video of these highly skilled people in that engagement, because it wasn’t filmed, but for you to discount their credible accounts as mere subjective “sensations” or trickery is just insulting. However, you can see similar effects in some of his video clips of workshop demos. By the way, if you feel something that is not visible to someone else watching, what else would you call that but a sensation or a feeling that can’t necessarily be measured?
Likewise, you cherry-picked one specific account I gave of a teacher I know well and his experience with a Qi Gong master, citing the ability to generate heat in the person’s chest without touching him (a technique used by most Chinese medical practitioners in their treatment) but leaving out the part where he caused a tremendous jolt of energy that threw the person back forcefully simply by touching his chest lightly. You made the presumptuous claim “it’s quite simple method” without being clear about what specific technique or generated force you’re referring to. If it’s so simple and has a clear method to it, wouldn’t numerous people be demonstrating that to wow audiences far and wide? If you mean that you can generate such intense force by barely touching another person, I don’t believe you. If you could, would you not call that internal power? What you’re saying is highly unlikely but also contradictory to what you’ve said elsewhere.
You asked me to identify people by name, including response to the list of Tai Chi masters you named. I purposely avoided naming people I referenced strictly for the accounts they have given; this was out of respect for them, especially since there are already too many social media attack dogs and disrespectful people who make it their business to slam those they consider unworthy fraudsters or whatever they say out of ignorance.
There are masters and then there are masters. Last time, I said, “ I don’t want to disparage any specific Tai Chi masters” to which you replied, “But you are going to.” No, I did not. I didn’t mention any specific masters by name. You’re the one who named a bunch of masters you know of (personal contact or not?) and asked me to acknowledge and revere them, but said nothing about what it is that you consider noteworthy about them other than the one master you named who is currently head of the Chen school.
Most of the Tai Chi masters are ones I’ve never met or seen in person, only in video and written reports about them. Do you know masters like Grandmaster Huang Sheng Shyan who are known for their high level of skill as well as internal power? Just naming various current or former prominent masters doesn’t distinguish between their abilities in terms of fighting skill or possession of internal power. Would I rank any of them as being superior to Grandmaster Wang Pei Sheng, reputed to be one of the most powerful fighters, if not the most powerful of all, in the 20th century? And what about the masters who remain quietly on the sidelines, uninterested in public spectacles and fame, but regarded by those who encountered them as every bit as good as the “name” masters of today?
I’ll give some links to Youtube videos featuring some of those masters or practitioners with similar abilities. I would describe the demos as a combination of body mechanics and more or less use of internal power. This is for the benefit of others following this thread as well.
Grandmaster Huang Sheng Shyan:
Wee Kee Jin (long-time senior student with Master Huang Sheng Shyan):
Adam Mizner (one of many, on correctness being the key):
Well that is quite the response for a blog site. I’ll try and be as succinct as I can in reply.
Who are you, by the way? Seems only polite to introduce yourself. You know who I am, I take it.
”It may be impossible to speak frankly, respond to your defensive and distorted responses and still be civil here. I tend to be blunt and sometimes come across as combative as a result.”
I’m not defensive and am quite clear. Interesting opening. Be as blunt as you like.
” You’re obviously offended and ended up making a lot of false assumptions and ridiculous insults in the process.”
Not offended and I made no insults, I asked a question. I note that you didn’t answer it.
” Because your various comments demonstrate that and you tend to slander anyone who claims to have powers you don’t possess and haven’t experienced.”
But I have experienced them and can quite clearly replicate them.
” it makes ridicule the easy response for those who are ignorant and dismissive.” I am neither
“Yes, I listened to what you said, which is what I reacted to in my own comments” Not very well it seems.
”you indicated you had not seen “the full video” of “Power of Chi” but then in your response to me insist that you did”
I saw the full film after posting that clip. It didn’t change my mind.
” It’s not the film but the reality of internal power that I wanted to defend. Characterizing what you saw as cheap tricks and being cavalier about dismissing all internal power claims as fakery is a sign of ignorance, by which I mean lack of knowledge and understanding about a subject. I stand by that.”
I stand by what I said in my video. All based on mine, and others, experience. I showed Matt how to do the trick in two minutes.
“And choosing to demean Adam Mizner personally” Where?
” tells me you know nothing about his years of public demonstrations, workshops and videos in which you can see evidence of his ability.” I’ve seen his clips. Yes, there is evidence of his “ability” certainly.
“ Do you really think this is a setup with a complicit person pretending to be affected by some subtle force? “ Largely, yes. If you have MMA people there why not spar with them?
”I agree that there’s a way to do this by a “trick” of body mechanics and positioning, but I don’t believe that’s what is happening.”
So you do agree these are tricks. That is exactly what is happening
” I’ve seen the same repelling of an opponent done with no setup, no required stance, even from a very neutral standing position.” Where?
”I know you can be effective in combat or in push hands using body mechanics and certain techniques of positioning, angles, etc.”
Difficult to be effective without them. Can you demonstrate that?
“ But you don’t seem to distinguish between genuine internal power”
Then show me something that doesn’t rely on psychology or mechanics.
”should make clear that I have respect for Systema and have been impressed with what I’ve seen of its higher level practitioners in practical self-defense applications. Like other hard styles, it can be very powerful and effective in fighting situations.”
Systema is not a hard style
”But it’s not a martial art with the same emphasis on internal power as the internal martial arts including Tai Chi Chuan and Bagua. “ It is actually, but from a different approach.
” I’ve worked with such people and have also had conversations with a number of people who engaged in pushing with Adam Mizner and others of his skill.”
My brother knows a guy who etc etc
” One of those people is a former US Push Hands champion who has studied and taught Tai Chi for decades. Another is a long-time kung fu and martial arts student, who also was involved in teaching kung fu in southern California.” Who are they?
”As soon as he touched arms with Mizner, it was as if his nervous system had been seized or taken over, he was being floated around the room while in light contact, and he couldn’t regain any control over his own body during that time. The other person I mentioned gave a similar account. That’s not body mechanics or trickery.”
It is and I can demonstrate those too
“ You asked if someone can move a person with chi energy alone. The answer to that is yes”
Great, show us.
“The master circled his hands in front of Mr. Lee’s chest, creating a strong sensation of movement and heat building up.” Sensation is the key word.
”Does that sound like trickery? It certainly “moved” him.” Yes, it’s quite simple method
” But that doesn’t mean we should cynically discount the existence of such power. To say those who have experienced it and those who believe in it are brainless dupes is not healthy skepticism. It’s arrogant denial and offensive” Strawman
” In fact, your characterization of me as being a member of a cult is both ridiculous and insulting.”
Something else I never said
“Do you understand the difference between “ch’i” and “jin,” as a starting point?” Yes
“ Do you know how chi is converted into various forms of jin, each with different sensations”
Ah, more sensations.
” Do you know what Neigong training is and how internal power is developed?” Yes.
”As for the Tai Chi masters you named, I know of maybe three of them” Personally?
“ I don’t want to disparage any specific Tai Chi masters” But you are going to.
”But you invoked their names as if they’re representative of the highest level masters and their powers.” Chen Xiaowang is current head of Chen style, right?
” But I’ve rarely seen them use much jin in combination with their techniques. This could be because they don’t want to injure the student, or because they don’t have a great deal of internal power despite excellent ability in the more external force applications.” Ah, I see.
“Yes, I’ve seen internal power used in free sparring, including with MMA fighters. I worked with a sifu in southern California who specializes in training for MMA, and I helped introduce him for informal sparring with MMA and kung fu practitioners,” Great, show us.
” I’m not a fan of MMA” Me neither
“ but I recognize that traditional Tai Chi masters often sought out opponents for “testing of skills” and this is in that tradition.” That’s one view of history I suppose
“ And maybe some useful dialogue will emerge from this.” We live in hope.
My response to the Systema person’s posts: It may be impossible to speak frankly, respond to your defensive and distorted responses and still be civil here. I tend to be blunt and sometimes come across as combative as a result. You’re obviously offended and ended up making a lot of false assumptions and ridiculous insults in the process. I didn’t write my original comments to “defend my teacher”, nor did I claim to be a great exponent of internal power. But I feel confident in saying your comments show little or no understanding of real internal power. Because your various comments demonstrate that and you tend to slander anyone who claims to have powers you don’t possess and haven’t experienced. I’m not talking about fakers and woo-woo displays that so many skeptics and brash critics like to assail. Because there are many more charlatans and pretenders than the genuine practitioners of an internal power approach, it makes ridicule the easy response for those who are ignorant and dismissive.
Yes, I listened to what you said, which is what I reacted to in my own comments. I responded to your brief and dismissive review and the commentary in the video clip by Rob Poyton, which is who I assume responded to me as “Cutting Edge Systema”. I objected to the written commentary by whoever is in charge of the site and more so to the cavalier criticisms made in the video. In the video and the written commentary, both of you indicated you had not seen “the full video” of “Power of Chi” but then in your response to me insist that you did. Your commentaries show no evidence of having seen more than a couple of promotional clips. I’ve only seen a few short promotional clips myself, some of which I found compelling and a couple not very impressive. It’s not the film but the reality of internal power that I wanted to defend. Characterizing what you saw as cheap tricks and being cavalier about dismissing all internal power claims as fakery is a sign of ignorance, by which I mean lack of knowledge and understanding about a subject. I stand by that. And choosing to demean Adam Mizner personally on the basis of what little you might have seen tells me you know nothing about his years of public demonstrations, workshops and videos in which you can see evidence of his ability.
You must not have seen more than a couple of the promotional clips if you think that Adam Mizner’s one or two demos are representative of the whole film. There’s a brief clip of an older master (I assume, and I don’t recognize him) sitting in a chair and lightly touching the hands of an MMA fighter who is standing. The MMA fighter is seen to be strongly influenced by some internal power and stumbling away from it more than once. Where’s the “trick” in that? Do you really think this is a setup with a complicit person pretending to be affected by some subtle force? Where is the simple body mechanics in that?
The quick clip of Mizner touching a single finger of each hand to a fighter’s clenched fists is not something I’ve seen him do before, and I’ve seen a lot of his extended workshop and demo videos so I don’t think it’s representative of his usual demonstration. I agree that there’s a way to do this by a “trick” of body mechanics and positioning, but I don’t believe that’s what is happening. I’ve seen the same repelling of an opponent done with no setup, no required stance, even from a very neutral standing position.The bigger point is about the terminology and principles you allude to in your own commentary. You refer to “bio-mechanics,” which is a frequently misused or inappropriate term. Bio-mechanics doesn’t mean the same as body mechanics. I know you can be effective in combat or in push hands using body mechanics and certain techniques of positioning, angles, etc. People also use chin na or joint locks and breaks in combat situations as another form of external force applications. That’s not internal power, but it can work well enough in combat situations. In fact, most combat is chaotic and requires use of hard force techniques, though some internal power can enhance the external art techniques. I tend to think that internal power is more effective in self-defense where the opponent is not a trained fighter but rather a typical street thug type. But you don’t seem to distinguish between genuine internal power and external force techniques, and even discount the existence of any such internal power. If you don’t know the difference, you shouldn’t be offering a commentary that dismisses what you don’t understand.
I should make clear that I have respect for Systema and have been impressed with what I’ve seen of its higher level practitioners in practical self-defense applications. Like other hard styles, it can be very powerful and effective in fighting situations. But it’s not a martial art with the same emphasis on internal power as the internal martial arts including Tai Chi Chuan and Bagua. At the same time, very few people practicing Tai Chi ever get into the deeper martial arts practice, much less the use of authentic internal power. I’ve worked with such people and have also had conversations with a number of people who engaged in pushing with Adam Mizner and others of his skill. (He’s not my teacher, and I don’t do public relations for him. There are also higher level masters with even greater internal power.) One of those people is a former US Push Hands champion who has studied and taught Tai Chi for decades. Another is a long-time kung fu and martial arts student, who also was involved in teaching kung fu in southern California. They both said similar things about the experience of engaging with Mizner, for example. One described it this way: As soon as he touched arms with Mizner, it was as if his nervous system had been seized or taken over, he was being floated around the room while in light contact, and he couldn’t regain any control over his own body during that time. The other person I mentioned gave a similar account. That’s not body mechanics or trickery.
Neither of these people are young, inexperienced, gullible, complicit or subject to cultish attitudes. They are sophisticated martial artists with years of training, teaching and personal experience, including free sparring with practitioners of many different martial arts including bjj, Thai boxing, kung fu (external and internal forms), karate, etc. It’s disrespectful and silly to fault people doing demos for employing “no name” students or whatever. But it’s fine to question whether certain techniques are practical and would work in a fight. You asked if someone can move a person with chi energy alone. The answer to that is yes, though that doesn’t mean that internal power can by itself allow someone to win a full-force combat. A Tai Chi teacher many years ago told me of his encounter with a Qi Gong master who was visiting in California and giving workshops. The master asked him, “Would you like to feel my chi?” to which he replied yes. The master circled his hands in front of Mr. Lee’s chest, creating a strong sensation of movement and heat building up. (This is common in Chinese medical practitioners treating patients.) Then he lightly touched Mr. Lee’s chest area with his hands, and Mr. Lee flew back against the bleachers behind him. He said it felt like he had received a large jolt of electricity that propelled him backward violently. Does that sound like trickery? It certainly “moved” him.
It’s pretty natural for most of us to find such energy or power fascinating, and the number of fakers who feed off that appeal and that mystery is definitely troubling. So some people are led astray and take up exaggerated or fantasy views about the supernatural effect they believe is at work. But that doesn’t mean we should cynically discount the existence of such power. To say those who have experienced it and those who believe in it are brainless dupes is not healthy skepticism. It’s arrogant denial and offensive. In fact, your characterization of me as being a member of a cult is both ridiculous and insulting.
Do you understand the difference between “ch’i” and “jin,” as a starting point? Do you know how chi is converted into various forms of jin, each with different sensations and intentions? Do you know what Neigong training is and how internal power is developed? Do you know what Qi Gong can develop in the way of internal energy and the difference between that and the issuing of jin for martial intent?
As for the Tai Chi masters you named, I know of maybe three of them. I don’t want to disparage any specific Tai Chi masters (unless they’re making false claims or abusing students), but you invoked their names as if they’re representative of the highest level masters and their powers. I will say that I’ve seen some of those masters in demo or instruction. They seem very capable and help to show the martial applications of various movements in the form, whether it’s Chen style, Yang style, Wu style or whatever. But I’ve rarely seen them use much jin in combination with their techniques. This could be because they don’t want to injure the student, or because they don’t have a great deal of internal power despite excellent ability in the more external force applications.
Yes, I’ve seen internal power used in free sparring, including with MMA fighters. I worked with a sifu in southern California who specializes in training for MMA, and I helped introduce him for informal sparring with MMA and kung fu practitioners, including teachers. I’m not a fan of MMA but I recognize that traditional Tai Chi masters often sought out opponents for “testing of skills” and this is in that tradition. Being able to repel someone regardless of their martial arts style is an excellent way of testing one’s ability in practical application. What I saw was a combination of very subtle sensitivity, body mechanics and internal power used, and those who sparred with this sifu were very impressed.
I know I’ve made a very long reply out of this, so your patience is appreciated. And maybe some useful dialogue will emerge from this.
I am continually amazed by some of the comments here, and on my Youtube channel, that start “You should get some experience in Tai Chi before, etc, etc.”
I can only assume these people never actually watched my clip, or doine any research on me. Are they just sent out to post and almost cut and pasted comment defending their teacher?
Please do try and exercise some critical faculties before responding, it will save us all a lot of time.
Alternatively, get in touch to arrange a face to face meeting, where I will be happy to feel your “chi power.”
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“I’m disappointed in your entire take on internal power, as indicated by your dismissive way of talking about those who actually do possess some genuine internal power as using “tricks”. To be blunt, you’re just ignorant–that is, you have no personal experience with real practitioners and assume everyone showing such power must be a charlatan. ”
Did you actually listen to what I said or have you just been sent here to troll? Do you think Chen Xiaowang is a real practitioner or not? How about George Xu? Chu Gin Soon? Ji Jian Cheg? Vincent Chu? Yap Cheng Hai? Among several others
” You haven’t seen this film” I have
” but you lump everyone doing demos of internal power into one category of fakers using cheap tricks.” No, I’m talking specifically about the person in the film
” I suggest you seek out one of the genuine Tai Chi practitioners who possess such power and experience it for yourself.” Like one of the people I listed above?
” Otherwise, you don’t represent Tai Chi Chuan as your little blog suggests. ” I don’t have a blog
“You just stand for the Tai Chi meditation approach and teaching form,” I taught Tai Ch i as a martial art for around 30 years
“Start with the Martial Man series and see some who have taught at their “camps”–Adam Mizner,! After seeing his tricks? No thanks.
“Tai Chi Chuan is a martial art” I know. I started training it in 1981
“that includes the use of various forms of “jin”–an energy converted to force that can be issued against any opponent. ” Can you move people with “chi energy” alone?
“Take a breath, lose the cheap tricks of your dismissal, and try to seek out some contact with those who can show you what you’re missing.”
The cheap tricks are in presenting bio-mechanics and set up drill as “chi power.” Why no free sparring?
And again I refer you back to my original point. Try listening to what I actually say next time.
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I’m disappointed in your entire take on internal power, as indicated by your dismissive way of talking about those who actually do possess some genuine internal power as using “tricks”. To be blunt, you’re just ignorant–that is, you have no personal experience with real practitioners and assume everyone showing such power must be a charlatan. Yes, there are many fakers out there and also many brainless critics who are not truly skeptical but just reactionary and dismissive. You haven’t seen this film but you lump everyone doing demos of internal power into one category of fakers using cheap tricks. I suggest you seek out one of the genuine Tai Chi practitioners who possess such power and experience it for yourself. Otherwise, you don’t represent Tai Chi Chuan as your little blog suggests. You just stand for the Tai Chi meditation approach and teaching form, which is OK but very limited and in denial of the original purposes and uses of Tai Chi Chuan. It’s not that difficult to find those who are the real deal. Start with the Martial Man series and see some who have taught at their “camps”–Adam Mizner, Liang de Hua and many others who are authentic practitioners of internal power approaches. Those people are themselves the former students of even higher-level masters whose powers are phenomenal. Tai Chi Chuan is a martial art that can be practiced for health and well-being, but it remains an extremely effective and powerful self-defense system that includes the use of various forms of “jin”–an energy converted to force that can be issued against any opponent. Take a breath, lose the cheap tricks of your dismissal, and try to seek out some contact with those who can show you what you’re missing.
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Lots of butt hurt no touch armchair warriors in the comments section.
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People who do not understand how the chi is acquired will always remain skeptical about it. People who have acquired it tend to make things too secretive so that others who “do not understand” are shown all the “moves” but are not explained the process, reason, the “how it is achieved” and finally the true goal and purpose of it. That’s the mentally of the world we live in unfortunately and so my question what is the point of having it?
Some interesting and predictable comments. I had some similar on my YT channel, though 95% of responses were positive. I’m not sure the other 5% even really watched my clip.
“You’ve never met any of the top taiji practitioners” But I have met them
” and refuse to meet them before publishing negative theories about the limits of the art”
I don’t refuse to meet anyone.
” Kind of strange to have such strong opinions on something you have no experience in….”
I have plenty of experience in it, and so does Graham. Try again
Why do you have a website about Taiji (that’s the correct pinyin spelling btw) when you’ve never met any of the top taiji practitioners – and refuse to meet them before publishing negative theories about the limits of the art? So the best explanation to you is that the top practitioners in the world who have trained thousands of students are merely liars with fake reviews from professional athletes and professional teachers?
I’m starting to think Taiji is just so hard that it insults the character of people who have no ability to overcome their own shortcomings in the art – so they claim everyone who has accomplished the basics of the art (where you haven’t) is just lying about how far the art can be taken.
So you did not see the move, or met anyone in the movie to experience this skill/ attribute first hand. Kind of strange to have such strong opinions on something you have no experience in….
An interesting find. I have not seen the film, Power of Chi, and I am neither endorsing it nor criticizing it or the featured teacher. This is a general response to the topic and controversy.
I have commented on qi in past Tai Chi Notebook posts. From my perspective, “what we have here is a failure to communicate.” Of course, Westerners who misunderstood the name of Chinese martial art was kungfu, led also to images of qi balls shooting out their hands, and force fields, and laser beams, and so on. Others thought qi was just life force or breath.
When a Chinese traditional teacher answered, How is this done? with the answer, “qi.” He was essentially saying biomechanics, or physics, or motor control, or sports psychology, or some other subject he couldn’t fully explain. Or more specifically, by qi, he was saying, “I can’t explain the details of why, but it falls in the category of qi.”
Most people who dismiss these techniques by saying, “It’s just biomechanics,” if pressed for the exact biomechanical or anatomical mechanism, would not know. They are essentially doing the same thing as the traditional teacher answering qi. It just sounds science-y, which is an explanation modern people accept. The fact is, many have yet to be fully explained by biomechanics or anatomy. We intuit there’s probably a good biomechanical explanation, but the academic field has little interest in pursuing such a topic.
Further, when a modern teacher “structure tests” a student’s posture, and identifies, “That’s strong structure,” he or she is doing the exact same thing as a traditional teacher who “structure tests” a student’s posture and identifies, “That’s strong qi.” Both are affirming that this is the anatomical alignment the student needs to perform this movement, and this is what it feels like.
I typically do not use the concept of qi when teaching. I think it is confusing to students without a background in Chinese culture. But, there are teachers who do, some well intentioned and some charlatans.
The question I asked myself was, should I dismiss these techniques as “tricks,” or can I capitalize on them to apply them to push hands, sport fighting, or self-defense? For example, what good would being able to easily knock someone off-balance who has tensed his muscles, powered up, and engaged his structure? When might that happen? The answer for those not familiar with fighting is virtually every attack an opponent makes is made this way. And, once off-balance, one could counterattack relentlessly, never giving him another opening, until the opponent was subdued.
I have taught a number of these “tricks”, appropriate to their sport to athletes of various contact sports, football (American), rugby, wrestling, MMA, basketball, soccer (football), and a few others, as an empirical proving ground. My observations is they do not take the place of good basics; they can only enhance them and open new possibilities to give the athletes an edge. But, like magic tricks, one can learn the secret to the trick in a minute, but mastering the trick takes many hours, sometimes years, of practice.
This experience also brought home the idea that we don’t necessarily have to throw an opponent 20 feet across the room, although that can happen, we just need to delay him a few milliseconds, or disrupt her balance or structure a little to nullify an attack or defense. There is a lot to be learned if we do not miss the mark.
You obviously didn’t saw the movie but you’re talking, and blablabla … What’s the point here, maybe your ego is shocked because you passed your life unable to develop any skill. Lol