December 03, 2006

Chi and Internal Force!?

Reading this month's question and answers (found here), I was pleased by Master Wong's down to earth description of our chi kung. He wrote of the importance of the practical results of correct chi kung. Too many people look for "novel effect" and are often frustrated. However, we would hardly be authentic Shaolin if we didn't believe in the real benefits that our training brings us. In the same Q&A Master Wong also describes "internal force" as part of the essence of kung fu. So what then is chi? What is internal force?

kungfu lifting the skyPut simply chi is energy and internal force is that energy applied for combat. Even by those within the internal martial arts (Tai Chi, Bagua, hsing-yi etc) there is much debate over what this chi energy actually is. Some try to use Western concepts like bio-electric energy or the movement of body fluids. Others seem to hide under expressions like, "in the ancient Chinese understanding of the body..." without really committing to their actual belief in the subject.
Where do I stand in the debate? My stance is easy and can be used for many situations in life. Basically, I do the exercises and feel the benefits. Maybe if I didn't get the results it would cause me more concern. Maybe if I wanted the benefits without the patience to do the exercises I would be searching for short cuts and "novel effects"?