Martial Arts Ki is one of the great mysteries of all time. It’s not just that you see it in the movies, or that it has become some sort of an urban legend, it’s that there is truth in there somewhere. Chi does exist, but how the heck to you make it…let alone use it?
So we have a two part mystery here: how do you manufacture chi, and how do you use it? Interestingly, the second part is the solution to the first part. Unfortunately, this results in a catch 22…how do you use the stuff if you can’t create it, how do you create the stuff if you can’t use it?
To solve this conundrum let me give you an exercise and a martial arts drill, and see if you can solve the problem. The exercise is an old Pa Kua exercise called ‘Stroking the beard.’ The drill is a simple ‘Catch hands’ game we used to play as children.
To Stroke the beard simply move the hands in medium size circles, coming together at the top of the chest and moving downward as if stroking a beard. To do this effectively you must relax, sink the weight, regulate the breathing (low), and do it until you can do it with no distraction. Doing with no distraction means doing only one thing at a time, and this is very critical to your success.
Once you have stroked the beard for a couple of hours, find a friend and practice ‘Catch Hands.’ To do Catch Hands simply face your partner at handshake distance and let your hands relax at your sides. Your partner places his palms together and extends them in front of his body.
The object of this drill is to wait, create lots of silence, and then catch his hands. Don’t slap them, catch them, and do it gently. This simple move imitates either a block or a strike, and is well worth practicing.
As time passes, and you become more adept at the exercise, you will find yourself becoming calmer and less twitchy, and that is when the benefits of stroking the beard are going to appear. You will find that energy gathers at your center. It will be like a fountain flowing in reverse, and it will be as if energy is entering into your tan tien with every breath.
Eventually, you will be able to catch your partner’s hands easily and there will be nothing he can do about it. The important thing, though, is that you will feel the ‘universal energy’ that is chi. Keep practicing this exercise and you will experience some fascinating results, and it will be proof positive that you can create and use Martial Arts Ki.