Christianity and the Martial Arts, pt 8

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What about Chi & Ki (the force)?

Chi (or ki) is the most esoteric areas of the Asian martial arts.

For decades the Chinese have been spending mega bucks on “chi research” using everything from E.K.G.’s to M.R.I.’s. They have been using the extremes like severing the spinal columns of piglets, (1) and then using “chi gung” (2) to try and restore nerve impulses.

Some studies have returned positive findings for mild electrical forces. But not nearly enough to do anything that chi masters are touted for.

The elevation of chi to a universal power that can be tapped into and bring you longer life, greater health and the ability to zap a man with you death touch (3) is a sad jump.

Chi is touted for increasing life span among other things. Yet even masters die at our national average age. The Grandmaster of Pai Te Lung was in his 60s (4) when he died of cancer. He was an avid practitioner of chi gong and tai chi.

If you read any martial arts mags. you will find a regular flow of obituaries for dead master of both Kung fu and karate that were in there 60’s or 70’s. The national average for all Americans.(5) Chi Gong or not.

I came from a very “new age” martial arts beginning. Chi and it’s development were high on the list of do’s. We practiced a huge amount of “chi” development exercises. Meditations, Chi Gung, Nei Gung ect.

The general belief behind Chinese training is that there is a universal energy that runs through all living things. It is suppose to give life and strength, except when there is  something impeding the flow.(6) (Your chi flow is out of whack). When this happens, chi stops flowing and your body begins to get sick and die. But when you train it and control it all is well in the universe.

The Chinese medical practice of acupuncture is based on the existence of chi, (7) as is the art of dim muk or death touch.

I do not dispute the effectiveness of acupuncture and of some of the “dim muk” (primarily the knock out ability and the ability to cause paralyses).

One of the things that really drive me is answering the “why” question. Why does this work, why did that happen?

At a seminar on Kuk Sool Won, lead by Grandmaster In Hyuk Soo, we spend time memorizing and learning the locations of the striking points of the arm. Acupuncture point along a meridian going down the arm.(8) The oriental theory is that you can affec the flow of chi through these points and cause internal damage or healing by manipulating them. The pattern that I saw emerging was a familiar one.

Upon returning home I opened my trusty Grey’s Anatomy and found the “brachial nerve“.(9) Lo and behold all of the points lined up with either nerve endings or branch splits.

A study of the nerves along the back and legs showed the very same results.

There wasn’t a mysterious flow of chi but a nervous system reacting to stimulation at various nerves.

A few years later I was introduced to the works of Master George Dillman. he has done a VERY in-depth study of the nerves and their response to striking and pressure. He actually spent time setting in on autopsies to learn about the nerves and their routing.

Now you do have to admire the Chinese. They found a physical reaction and studied it searching for more reactions and a logical pattern. And without any knowledge of the nervous system and using their own form of science they mapped out the ENTIRE NERVOUS SYSTEM.

What they really found as have all scientists regardless of nationality or of their beliefs is that the creator of the universe is organized and logical, and that his hand can be seen in all of his creation.

Now as Christians how are we t see chi or ki or the force.

We are not to be finding our longevity in anything or anyone other than the Lord God. He is our life and breath. Our Living Water and the Living Bread

He ultimately determines our times and places and to Him alone are we to trust our souls and lives.

Chi does not save. It does not bring eternal life. And it will certainly never say “Well done good and faithful servant”. (10)

The great feats that you will see chi masters do( bend rebar, break blocks on their heads, snap spears pressed into their throats, become human pretzels and fold themselves into little boxes) are great examples of conditioning, training, relaxing, and focus. Not of a mystical energy being at work.

If you ever step into the “side show” tent and a large circus you be introduced to a group of men and women referred to as “Blockheads”. Their talent is to stick spikes or needles through their skin and muscles. Drive spike up their nose into their heads. All with out bleeding or pain.

You will also find contortionists that are able to twist themselves into any imaginable shape.

They are not “chi masters”, merely well conditioned and trained athletes.

Most of the time the people that you hear of having tremendous effects from starting chi training have never done serious exercise in their lives and then suddenly they start doing chi gong exercises.

Any time you go from sedentary to active, no matter how active, you will have great health benefits. It will always make a difference. ALWAYS.

In fact you will find the same reports from sedentary adults that start “walking the mall” (as long as they stay away from the cappuccino bar) or riding a bicycle daily.

Are they suddenly tapping into the river of “chi”. No.

Now I realize that what I am saying on this point may be upsetting some people. The need for a mysterious power outside of our selves is great in ALL mankind. We all search for and hunger for it.

As Christians we KNOW that that hunger can only be satisfied in the person of Jesus. He came to remove the enmity between God and man (11) and restore us to the Father.

He IS the great power that new agers seek in the “universal consciousness” and the “chi worshippers” try to find in the flow of chi.

He wants us to have a personal relationship with Him. He is not an impersonal force, but the Loving God.

Even if one day they are able to find and isolate chi it will still only be a “physical phenomenon”, and as such is no more or less valuable than a hammer or a stove. That is, it will still only be a tool.

May the Lord bless you and your house hold.

John Roche

Foot Notes:

(1)    “Information taken from ‘China Taoist Ba Gua Xun Dao Gong Institute’ 1993 report. The study used 18 baby piglets of an average weight of 10.2 kg. Their spines were injured to make them paraplegic.”

(2)    “The use of ‘issuing morale from Bagua Xun-Dao Qigong’ was used as the therapy for healing.” Same Report.

(3)    “Currently the national averages range from mid-60’s in black males to almost 80 in white females”


(5)    Currently the national average ranges from the mid-60’s in African American Males to the 80’s in Caucasian Females.

(6)    “According to the basic theory when the flow of chi is halted or slowed down the organs nourished by that particular meridian of chi will begin to become ill and eventually die, unless the chi flow is restored. You will find this explanation in any number of acupuncture books as well as in books on moxibustion and herbal medicine.”

(7)    “Needles are used to regulate and the flow of chi to along the meridians in order to maintain health or to restore health. This particular meridian was the LUNG or LU. Here is a better explanation of meridians.  The Vital Substances flow through channels or ‘meridians’ in the body. There are 12 main meridians, and a network of other smaller channels branching off from these main channels. Each of these 12 main meridians is connected to one of the twelve organs and travels along its own route within the body. Unlike the Western blood circulatory system, these meridians are not visible to the naked eye. Acupuncture models show these meridians as lines running and occasionally  crossing throughout the body. The individual Acupuncture points fall along these meridians. When the vital substances fail to flow smoothly through the meridians,   disease occurs. By stimulating one of the Acupuncture points along the meridian, it is possible to release any blockages, thus restoring the body to its natural state.”

(8)  “If you don’t have a Grey’s I would strongly recommend one. Or you can go to and use their online version.”

(9)  “Mathew 25:21 His lord said unto him,Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

(10)   ” Colossians 1:21And you, being in time past alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works, 22yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish and unreproveable before him:”

(11)   “John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”

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