What is Chi?
January 31st, 2011
Golden Harmony Kung Fu, Virginia
Blog #2- Sifu Gordon Wicks
A big question asked by students of Chi- Gong: What the heck is Chi? This term is too often misunderstood, and misrepresented. It is very simple yet not as easy to explain.
Chi- simply translated means “breathe”. Gong- work.
The practice of Chi- Gong is “breathe work”.
Chi has been said to be many things; life force energy, the ethereal substance that binds all things, electromagnetic energy, so on and so on.
Truthfully, Chi is fundamental basis of all animate beings. The first page of the book of Genesis, refers to this as the Word (I assume spoken from the breathe of the Divine).
Chi within the body is the elixir of oxygen mixed with the chemicals from the the reproductive organs and glands within the blood. As this concoctions moves through the organs, and tissues of the body, it causes the cells to vibrate at certain frequencies. This in turn causes an electromagnetic charge that stimulates the tissues and creates field or spherical wave around the cells, the organs and tissues and the body.
When Chi-Gong practitioners experience “substance” between their hands, for example in “Breathing Hands”, it is this residual electromagnetic charge that they are sensationalising. Harmonizing their breath with their body movements tunes their mind and body into this already existing phenomenon. Through diligent practice, one creates a stronger vibration, a more sensitive nervous system, and a more relaxed muscular skeletal system, that allows the practitioner to move their attention along the natural connective channels (meridians) in the body. By guiding the breath through these meridians, one is able to focus necessary healing and invigorating supplies to the organs and vital parts of the body through the blood.
Transference of Chi- known as Fa Jing is the expelling of Chi from the body. In Martial practice this generally means striking or throwing from internal energy. Notice that this cannot be executed without proper breath control. Whether you are breathing out (most common) upon impact or delivery of technique, or inhaling (in our layman’s terms, reverse breathing) it is no different. The intake and control of oxygen determines the effectiveness of ones technique. And for devils advocates, even when one holds their breath, they are simply utilizing the oxygen already being processed by the system.
Fa Jing, though, incorporates a few other components. One is intention. The mental intent of the person and their projection of that intent, stimulates the nervous system, controlling the muscle fibers, tissues and organs. It also involves physics. Energy, as we learned in grade school, is kinetic. It never diminishes, it simply transfers form. As one exerts energy, it transfers as motion, or sound, or heat, light, whatever it is, as it transfers from the internal alchemy of the bodies unit, it transfers into something else. The study of Tai Ji has a resounding application to make sure and round off ones technique so that energy becomes cyclical, having a positive, not a diminishing effect on the body.
That which binds us is Tao. It is unexplainable, yet ever present. Like the Holy Spirit (what does that mean, Anyway?). It is ever present, permeates all things, is the substance of all things, all things came from its womb, and like individual fibers, we all are joined as an extravagant tapestry. Our breath, comes from our first breath, it hasn’t stopped since, all life started from the One and has existed since.
One final note: To visualize Chi, is important. To perceive it as a substance, whether gooey and thick, or dense and very bright, it is imperative to your training. That will give you a mind body connection from the deepest aspects of your imagination, to the smallest fibers and molecules of your form. See it, Believe it, Do it.
Sifu Gordon Wicks