Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Philosophical

I'm down with a cold or some sort of virus. Made me miss all-belts class Monday, so I did some thinking and reading instead.

Being sick actually made me think about the topic of energy again.

On Sunday morning, I woke up with a sore throat and a feverish feeling. But I also noticed something I often notice when I'm just coming down with a cold: my energy had retreated.

I don't know how else to put this. It's not that my physical energy level was low. That's not it. It feels more like my physical energy and psychic energy retreated to deep inside myself--I could feel it hovering along an axis from my brain to my gut.

Sheesh. This sounds wacky. I hope no one's going to pack me up and haul me off to California.

Well, maybe I am wacky. The concept of spiritual/physical energy interests me. Then I remembered a video I saw once that mentioned it.

It was a video about the spiritual aspects of martial arts. I remember one of the practitioners talking about something called qi. (It's pronounced "chee.") He said that understanding qi was central to martial arts, and it had to do with energy and focus and breath. I am pursuing this.

I looked at one of my favorite internet sources, the Wikipedia. This is what it says about qi:

Qi, also commonly spelled ch'i, chi or ki, is a fundamental concept of everyday Chinese culture, most often defined as "air" or "breath" (for example, the colloquial Mandarin Chinese term for "weather" is tiān qi, or the "breath of heaven") and, by extension, "life force" or "spiritual energy" that is part of everything that exists.

See, there's that "energy" idea. I guess qi is what gives life to living things, a spiritual and physical energy.

I think qi different from the Christian/western concept of a soul. Soul seems very spiritual or ethereal: one's soul is in one's head or heart. Qi seems to be both physical and spiritual. It seems to make the connection between our intentions (what's in our head /heart) and our actions.

Well, what I felt when I was first getting sick may be mostly a physical symptom of a cold. Being sick just happened to influence my mental/spiritual energy as well. I think it affected my qi, though probably not my soul.

I think I have an energy field that fluctuates. Recently, I have been very aware of it, physically. Sometimes I feel like my qi fills all of me to just below my skin. It's contained by my physical presence. But usually when I'm around people, when I'm doing TKD, or I'm teaching, I feel my qi radiating outside myself, reaching out to the qi of others.

This is something I've really noticed recently, as I've become more older and more intuitive.

When I was younger, I think I conserved my qi, kept it protected inside myself, didn't let it radiate out. Especially when I was, oh, say, in junior high, and I wanted to be unnoticed (a good survival tip for small, nerdy, smart girls).

I'm also basically an introvert (INFP on the Meyers Briggs scale), and conserving my qi, keeping it protected inside myself, is one way to keep myself sane, especially since I'm an outgong introvert.

I wonder if and how extroverts think of their qi. Anyone out there an EN on the Meyers Briggs scale?

Master Hughes is clearly an extrovert, and I can tell if he's teaching before I even get up the stairs: his qi fills the entire place! There's just a different energy in the air.

Internal aspects of martial arts are not really discussed at our dojang. So if anyone out there has any insights, questions, or resources to help me to continue to think about qi, please let me know!

1 comment:

Mr. Justin Wasson said...

Mr. Tsang, my former Language Arts teacher, is very big into kung fu. He has been practicing it for over 50 years now! He often talks about how martial arts is equally internal and external. Dot Mow, an Indian monk went to China and became the head of the Shaolin Temple. He was given credit for developing three internal styles, Lo Shin, Bone Marrow Washing, and Muscle Tendon Changing. These internal styles led to a longer life for the monks and also served the purpose of keeping the monks awake during long boring meetings; the monks would often fall asleep during these meetings because they were vegetarians. Mr. Tsang believes that internal abilities play a great role in martial arts. In my opinion, the only internal abilities that a person uses is their mind. Everyone has a breaking point that determines when they can no longer do something and I think that most of this breaking point is attributed to how much a person thinks they can do. Other than that, I believe that martial arts is all external. Punching, kicking, movements, forms, sparring, board breaking are all external abilities and ones mind tells the person whether they can do these things. Well, thats my opinion on this subject, tell me what you think.