Tai Chi - How long before you feel the chi?

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

  1. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    What? Because the word Chi is in the name? :confused:

    My understanding of the translation of Tai Chi Chuan is that it means "supreme or Grand Ultimate Fist." Granted I don't speak Chinese, but that is the overwhelming translation I have always heard.

    The word "Chi" in TCC therefore is not referring to what I think you are thinking. TCC=Grand Ultimate Fist. Think about it.

    hmmm, I find that last sentence is awefully presumptive on your part.

    My suggestion is that you should practice Chi Kung/ Qi Gong for development of the Chi energy you are looking for.

    Our GM won't answer questions like yours BTW. He tells us to practice standing meditation for at least 20 minutes EVERY DAY- no exception - for a year. Then and only then will he discuss it with you. (I haven't reached this point yet.)
  2. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    Exactly - we can describe things down to molecular level. We understand (at least to some degree) things like electrical whats-its that control our movement and so forth in a way tha tthe ancient Chinese didn't. Maybe there is a phenomenon which they labelled as 'chi' which we could explain scientifically, which woul dinvolve an understanding of a myriad of physical and pysiological processes. Maybe that would take half an hour. Maybe it would be easier to just coin a single word to use instead? Or hang on a tick... maybe there's an existing word that we could use? A Chinese one.

    It's just a thought.
  3. LilBunnyRabbit

    LilBunnyRabbit Old One

    This debate has been had many times, the viewpoints basically boil down to this:

    - some people use chi to refer only to the scientifically explained processes, and therefore chi as a general term should be fine
    - some people use chi to refer to and promote mysticism, fraud and superstition, and therefore chi as a general term should be avoided in favour of more specific terms without such baggage
  4. inthespirit

    inthespirit ignant

    Just wanted to throw this out there. Probably not very specific to the Chi/Qi reality debate, however I personally found this quite interesting and perhaps it is relevant to some TaiJi classics, their purpose and method of conveying information.

    As I mentioned previously (namely here http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1074714946&postcount=21 ), I’ve found a lot useful info in the aforementioned book and am currently reading another book by the same author. The current book I’m reading has an interesting idea within it, basically the author states that images and imagery are far easier to grasp, recall and perform, mainly due to the human brain which has evolved to register images more vividly and memorably than abstract ideas.

    Thus when teaching/learning, an image, though on an intellectual level wholly inadequate, can be a more useful tool for grasping, recalling and performing whatever movement. As the TaiJi classics are in purpose there to teach/guide people how to do TaiJi, they are full of imagery and I don’t think we should be taking them literally on an intellectual level. Likewise, perhaps the musing on Chi/Qi are also based in a similar framework.

    We should also consider that the people who were developing the various ideas on Chi/Qi, as far as I am aware, were not using any instruments to detect movement of Chi/Qi, but were probably using imagery to describe what they were feeling within themselves and seeing in others. Therefore, putting the Qi/Chi ideas through a modern intellectual scientific analysis wont yield anything other than errors and confusion. This coupled with the fact that the Chinese languages are generally full of imagery as can be seen in the development of their writing systems, probably suggest that anything originating from a certain time period within China, was seen through this sort of framework. You can see a lot of this if you look at the names of various ancient Chinese inventions, generally very long winded and full of imagery. Similarly, I think it’s unfair to assume that because their descriptions don’t blend so well with our modern mind set, that these people were somehow inferior, stupid, etc. They were likely using the best tools/framework available to them at the time, and we certainly should not forget that a large amount inventions which are still integral to our everyday lives were developed in ancient China long before we even had the modern concept of a scientific method, these people on the large, were certainly very intelligent and developed, much more so than the other civilisations around at the time.
  5. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    I've noticed! But it's seems to very rare for anything constructive to be said. usually just the same old circular arguments.

    I think that the point about baggage is a good one. Perhaps we need to coin a new word, for the sake of argument let's say 'splod'. Then every time we read the word 'chi' we mentally substitute it for 'splod'.

    The snag is that we still have to judge for ourselves whether the word 'chi' is being used in the first sense that you used, or the second one. And there is of course the danger of 'splod' gaining the same baggage as 'chi'.

    I suppose we could invent a third word, let's say 'grazark', and substitute it for 'splod'...
  6. LilBunnyRabbit

    LilBunnyRabbit Old One

    It's because no one ever presents actual evidence, or even opens up to a scientific test of the claims.

    I've heard a couple of terms coined - one was biotensegrity, a sort of shorthand for good biomechanics.

    Better to throw away the baggage before we start working on new terms really, or make sure that the term clearly excludes the baggage. :)
  7. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    In the case of people claiming that Chi is some kind of mysterious force that was known to the ancients but that we can't detect, then that's a fair point. If on the other hand you feel, like I do, that it is simply an ancient name for a complex series of physical phenomena which have (or at least have mostly) been explained by science then it isn't relevant.

    I'm not sure that biomechanics tells the whole story, although it's a big improvement on 'mystical energy'. (Of course, that could simply be due to my lack of knowledge of biomechanics.)

    I don't think we'll ever get rid of the baggage, mainly because there are too many people who desperately want to believe in the mystical bullcrap. And I fear that there always will be.
  8. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    It doesn't. In my experience psychology is massively important.
  9. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    You are correct.
    If we use the Pinyin method of romanisation, rather than the outdated Wade Giles system, we have:

    Tai Chi Chuan = Tai Ji Quan
    Chi = Qi

    The 'Chi' in 'Tai Chi' is different from 'Chi' the principle/energy.
  10. GaryRomel

    GaryRomel Valued Member

    Well, it's a bad thought. I think it's worth the half and hour to explain the process that is actually happening than to vague it up in a Chinese term coined by dead and comparatively very ignorant men.

    Even making up your own single "term" is cheating the process of understanding and teaching of the actual principles. Instead of bothering to study the physics and mechanics, and rolling it up into a splickity splat simple term (or whatever you said), does nothing but stagnate the arts, and furthers misunderstanding and creates more misinterpretations and mystifications in the long run. Some things are not so simple one term will do, some things need to be actually taught in a half and hour or more to be understood and developed properly. :hat:
  11. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Off you go then. We're not in a rush.
  12. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    quick explanation of my interpretation of chi:

    two ancient chinese guys are tying to do something (maybe wrestle, maybe move a big rock, or whatever).

    ancient chinese nº1: hey, this way works, but this one doesn't. what gives?

    ancient chinese nº2: maybe it has something the other one doesn't?

    ancient chinese nº1: could be. i breathe differently when it works, so maybe the breath helps?

    ancient chinese nº2: hmmm, maybe. perhaps we could call it chi, then?

    ancient chinese nº1: sounds good.

    insert hundreds of years of memetic mutation induced by medieval physiological knowledge, followed by easily impressed people who like mysticism.
  13. Hannibal

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

    it is such a nebulous term - or rather has come to mean such - that discussions just mire.

    For me it of good mechanics + intent = chi

    You hear boxing coaches saying "punch through the target" - same thing IMO
  14. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    Apparantly 'chi' originally meant steam. Presumably the concept of different types of 'chi' developed from there, with 'breath chi' being the elder.
  15. Moosey

    Moosey invariably, a moose Supporter

    I heard it went like this:

    Chinese master: You have to use your breath properly if you want to be any good!
    Student: Thank you master, I'll just write that down as a reminder...
    Student's note book: Must learn to use 氣 to get good at MA!
    ...and so it begins....
  16. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Is this the video clip you and frozen Ghost are talking about?

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEDaCIDvj6I"]Kiai Master vs MMA - YouTube[/ame]
  17. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

  18. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    He must think that could really do it.

    The empty force will need a "sender" as well as "receiver". If there is no "prope receiver", it just won't work. When you stab a sword at your opponent's face, even your sword hasn't touch his face, he will move back. The reason that he moves back is because in his mind, "If I don't move back, I'll be hurt". His students may have such "faith" in him but his opponent doesn't. That was why his "empty force" didn't work on the challenger.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2013
  19. crshieh

    crshieh Valued Member

    The "chi" in Taichi is actually pronounced "ji" in mandarin. Due to earlier Chinese immigrants in the late 80's coming from Southern China, the translation were based off of their native dialect.

    The "chi" in Taichi has nothing to do with that flow/energy bs. Taichi literally translates to extreme polar.
  20. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    No,the pronunciation (in the English speaking world) is due to the fact that when TC books began to be published in English in the 1960s most people were not cognizant of the rules of Wade-Giles,which was the common method used in print at the time.

    So when people read "Chi" they pronounced it "chee",and when they read "ch'i" they also pronounced it "chee". In my experience most Chinese teachers of TC don't bother to make a big point of correcting their students in this.

    My Hung teacher's dad (a Toi San) had no idea what I meant when I said T'ai Chi,(spoken as tie ji),I had to say T'ai Gik.

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