CHI FLOW AND QUALITY OF LIFE
Before I read your book “The Art Of Chi Kung”, I have been training in Aikido and I could not fill my hands with energy. Using your method described in your book, I succeed to fill my hands. But after some time, when I think about the point below my navel I often feel unpleasant vibration in my body. Probably I cannot cope with energy. What would you advise me in this case?
— Vao, Russia
AnswerThe vibration in your body is the result of energy flow from your hands. It is a natural characteristic of energy to flow to where it is needed most.
After performing relevant chi kung exercises to fill your hands with energy, the energy remains at your hands for some time. The energy need of your vital organs to maintain life is certainly more important than the energy need of your hands to do Aikido. Hence, later when you relax and be spontaneous, the energy flows from your hands to your vital organs..
But this flow is interrupted along the way due to some blockage in your body. The energy flow attempts to break through the blockage. Therefore you feel the vibration. Sometimes you may feel some pain. For convenience we call this type of pain, “good pain” or “healthy pain” because it is an indication that the energy flow is taking effect for your good.
My advice is that you carry on with your practice but you do not need to think about the point below your naval, i.e. your dan tian. If the vibration — which may be unpleasant, painful or otherwise — occurs, just relax and you need not do anything. The unpleasant or painful feeling will disappear when your energy flow has cleared your blockage.
You may find the following two points helpful. One, you may think that the energy flowing from your hands is wasted, as your hands become less powerful as a consequence. No, the energy is not wasted. It is put to its best use.
The most important use of energy is to maintain life — a fact many people forget or may not even know. After ensuring that you continue to live — which means all your systems, organs, glands, etc are working properly — the next most important use of energy is to enhance your quality of life. In practical terms it means you can now enjoy good food without worrying about heart problems or diabetes, you won't get angry when caught in a traffic jam, and you can enjoy your work and play without easily feeling tired.
Clearing your blockage is an indication that the energy is doing some of these important jobs for you. Only after performing these and other important jobs, will the energy remain at your hands for you to perform Aikido better.
This point exhibits a crucial difference between internal and external training. If you use external training, like hitting sandbags and lifting weights, your energy is “locked” at the site of training. Hence, your hands may always remain powerful, but you may not enjoy a better quality of life. If you use internal training, like practicing the chi kung exercises in my book, your energy is “alive” and will flow to wherever it is needed most. You may not have powerful hands always, but you may have a better quality of life.
Now, the second point. What, if you want to have powerful hands? There are two ways to achieve this. One, you can direct your energy to flow to your hands. Usually you direct it from your dan tian, your energy bank, but you can also direct it from other parts of your body. Of course, you must learn the skill to do so, and you learn it from a master.
Two, you continue to practice the chi kung exercises regularly for a long time, say, a few years so that you will have developed a lot of energy. Even after doing important and essential jobs like maintaining and enhancing life, there is still a lot of energy to spare, and the extra energy remains not just at your hands but all over your body.
This, in fact, is what internal art masters do. Not only they are healthy and full of vitality, and their hands are always powerful, they can strike you with any part of their body. They can, for example, cause serious injury on an opponent by hitting him with a shoulder at close quarters.
The question and answer are reproduced from Question 5 of the June 2002 Part 2 issue of the Question-Answer Series.