It will come as no surprise to you that as a practitioner of Tai Chi for the last 45 years I believe that Chi energy is a fact. However, that was not always the case. In my early days of training with Master Chee Soo I often thought the Chi energy exercises and demonstrations were pure fiction, illusion, accepted as truth by deluded students.
So what changed my mind?
Was it attending training Tai Chi days for quite some time and seeing Master Chee Soo occasionally demonstrate Chi energy in various ways, usually on one of his instructors? Nope, that certainly didn’t help convince me at all. Curious, I talked to a few of them and frankly got the impression that they were merely sycophants, willing to accept whatever they were told by the Master. One or two others however, seemed normal enough. These instructors had experienced Chee Soo’s demonstrations of this Chi energy first hand, and whilst their explanation seemed a little tongue in cheek at best I had to admit they did not come across as weird or puppets of the Master’s will. They seemed perfectly well adjusted people. Of course I was just a newby so would be unlikely to be chosen for a demonstration, and to be honest the thought of being on the receiving end of this mysterious energy was a little scary.
So what to do in search of the truth?
Some time later after a great training weekend I arrived home after a three hour drive, tired but content. I had learned a lot, and also seen yet another Chi energy exercise which left me yet again not convinced. I sat down to a welcome meal and then plonked myself in front of the TV for some light entertainment. My youngest daughter had other ideas and pestered me to play with her. My protest that I was tired and wanted to rest fell on deaf ears, all you parents will know this one, so eventually I gave in.
Then suddenly I had one of those moments that often arrive after you subject yourself to the inevitable. Why not try some of these Chi exercises with my daughter. She was only four years old and had no knowledge of what to expect.
At the end of this article is a short video of the exercise that convinced me that Chi energy was a reality. But please read the rest of the article first.
So it became a regular thing I would see and try some Chi energy exercise and then return home and try them with my daughter. She loved it. Dad was playing games with her and for me it was an eye opener that was to play a major part in my development and understanding of the art of Tai Chi. You see I realised my daughter had no preconceptions as to the outcome whilst I tended to form an opinion as I watched these demonstrations. Naturally I tried to analyse something new to me, something that I didn’t understand. I tended to look for a reference point in my internal computer i.e. my brain. If nothing came back from the memory bank I tended to disbelieve what I saw. My daughter however, just immersed herself in the game with no expectations but just enjoyed the experience. True Taoism is action. No wonder the Taoists talk so much about returning to the child’s mind, a little understood aspect of Taoism most people gloss over as its doesn’t fit well with their world view of themselves. For me this was a defining moment in my development of the arts. Over time I cultured a different attitude, instead of questioning whether a Chi demonstration or technique in some other part of the arts worked or not, I merely went away and practised it. I eventually came to be able to look and see, without peppering what I saw with my own thoughts. A quantum leap in development of the art followed.
Take a look at the exercise I shared with my students on one of my day courses. But first consider this - why should you become heavier because you point your fingers at the floor and imagine pushing them downwards? There is no logical explanation why you should become heavier, you weigh what you weigh.. The answer is you send you Chi downwards and it makes appear you heavy to your partner.
© Copyright 2018 Howard Gibbon – all rights reserved
Howard, who was a student of the late Grand Master Chee Soo for 21 years has been practicing and teaching the Lee Style of Tai Chi and related arts since 1973.