Your Ch'i (Qi)

Ch'i (Qi)

In humans, ch’i (also written qi) is a psycho-energetic expression.  It’s a subtle life force that radiates from a person and interacts with the environment and other people. A person can have strong or weak ch’i. It is strongest when a person is operating from his/her optimal state.              [READ MORE ABOUT CH’I/ QI]

In Chinese culture, the management of ch’i energy
in and around the body is called ch’i-kung (qi gong).                     [link: what is ch’i kung/ qigong]


Depending on the individual’s reason for practice and the
disciplined followed, ch’i-kung can be a spiritual practice, enhance
self-healing, a healing technique you apply on another person (e.g., energetic massage /acupuncture) [link: energetic acupuncture reference] or a method to increase one’s effectiveness in the martial arts.

While some ch’i-kung practices are calming and meditative, others can be physically challenging.

Why our ch'i-kung stands out.

Although ch’i-kung has been included with Hsing Chen classes since the school’s founding in 1976, a dramatic shift took place in our training in 2004. Then, as a response to a significant injury, master teacher and founder Shrfu Bracy intensified our “internal” training.

Taoist breathing techniques, special meditation training, and other mind-body training protocols became more closely integrated with the arts we study.  Significantly, a special kind of attunement to and harmonization of biorhythms was emphasized. An integrated new training method called “entrainment” yielded amazing results beyond expectations.  

Major Discovery

The most important thing we learned from this new style of “internal training” was how powerful mind-body synchronization could affect performance. New techniques became the central focus of training, such as learning to pay attention to, and harmonizing internal rhythms. An example is the practice of paying attention to the heartbeat and pulse at various locations throughout the body.  As an example of more advanced practice of this kind of training, with experience we found that subtle body signals such as paying attention to the heart and pulse could be observed as a kind of background effect which could dramatically affect one’s performance while practicing martial arts or performing other athletics. 

This approach to ch’i-kung yielded amazing results that surpassed our expectations. Practitioners who added the practice to their ch’i-kung state found that they could attain more advanced mind-body states more quickly.  For martial art students, the results were even more dramatic. Benefits included improved reaction time and more creativity during close-combat training.

Applied to sparring practice, Shrfu describes this discovery in his latest book:

“ When entrainment is induced and maintained during mock combat, an individual becomes more coordinated, is better able to quickly counter an opponent’s attacks, and is more creative in their own attack. In most cases, a practitioner applying the technique while being challenged by an opponent could apply what could be called “effortless control” over the opponent, as long as the entrained state was maintained.

       While engaged in the entrained state, our students consistently exhibited superior abilities. Often, they seemed to be “a move ahead” of their attackers,”….

Later, John writes about how the method worked for him in actual close combat:

“Under these conditions, a light touch placed at exactly the right spot at a precise moment can influence an aggressive and angry opponent intending to harm you. To cite another true example, there may be the full power charge of an angry person coming at you out of nowhere. In this situation, maintaining a playful style of engagement enables you to set your conscious thought processes aside and, as in the first scenario, also allows your brain’s creative centers to take over. For the practitioner, the experience is that of being “out of body.” From such a vantage point, one is able to sit back and watch the application of the well-honed defensive tactics apply on their own. These outcomes are reminiscent of Chuang’s Tzu’s description of Cook Ting’s effortless skill.” *

*Cook Ting story is a famous story from the Taoist philosopher, Chuang Tzu, who describes meat cutting by a master butcher who cut so effortlessly and without resistance that his knife never dulled.

VIDEO: Hsing Chen students applying the principle of coherence/ entrainment to combat training

Applying Coherence/ Entrainment to meditation & ch'i-kung

The Harmony of Bio-rythyms                                                      (the center of our ch’i-kung practices) 

There are a number of biological rhythms (oscillators) in the body. The in and out breath is one. The transit of blood from the heart to a particular place or pulse in the body is another (pulse transit).  There are others.

Except for top athletes, who can get into an advanced mind-body state called “the zone” pretty quickly, for most of us, most of the time, our biological rhythms are not synchronized.

The Hsing Chen/ Chi-Arts Method:

Without attaining a state of coherence/ entrainment, movements are empty. The art – and eventually the habit – of harmonizing one’s bio-rhythms creates a palpable and dramatic state change in the body. Even the simplest of ch’i-kung practices are greatly enhanced when enlivened through coherence/ entrainment practices where biological rhythms are trained to move in a coherent way.

Along with a positive attitude and a little practice, most individuals can learn to attain the state of coherence pretty quickly.


For more information on coherence / entrainment, write