Qigong 102: Secrets of Meditation and Emotional Balance

Introduction

  • Qigong (chi gong) is most often understood as a set of active exercises, guiding qi (chi) energy around the body through intention, movement, and sound. It is less well known that Qigong incorporates rigorous courses of standing and seated meditation. These active and passive, external and internal modalities are mutually supportive.
  • One of the first goals of Qigong meditation is to reach a deep level of quietude within the mind and body. Sustained quiet allows a student to perceive increasingly subtle objects and movements inside their body.
  • In a quiet meditative state, relationships and correspondences that were previously hidden or overlooked, become clear and credible. In other words, meditation allows for biofeedback training without the need for electronic biofeedback instrumentation.

Continue reading Qigong 102: Secrets of Meditation and Emotional Balance

Joint Locks Considered Dangerous

Over the past week, Seattle’s recent “jaywalking rumble” has gained worldwide interest. It has provoked a spirited debate, among martial artists and the public at large, over the limits of reasonable force. Some believe that the police officer’s punch was brutally excessive, and that some form of joint lock would have been more appropriate. The following article expresses my dissenting view.

Introduction

In the martial arts, a “joint lock” is a technique that targets a joint in an opponent’s body, holding it near or outside its normal range of motion. The purpose of a joint lock is not to inflict harm, but to issue a credible threat of harm. The recipient of a joint lock is expected to submit: to move, or to stop moving, as directed by the applicant.

Locking techniques exist for nearly every joint in the human body. Depending on the technique selected, the recipient may or may not be physically immobilized (“locked”) upon application. The recipient may or may not experience significant pain, as a signal to comply, before the onset of bone or soft tissue damage.

Joint locks can be applied in the context of combat sport, law enforcement, or self-defense. The use of joint locks is usually restricted in fighting competitions, due to the high risk of injury.

Joint Locks for Pain Compliance and Restraint

The use of the joint lock as a “nonviolent” coercion method–and an alternative to striking–is complicated by a number of factors. Continue reading Joint Locks Considered Dangerous

Bleeding, Brainwaves and Biofeedback

Beyond Biofeedback

Excerpted from Beyond Biofeedback, a record of Elmer and Alyce Green’s research on theta brainwave training, which they describe as an accelerated form of meditation.

When Jack Schwarz was in his early teens, he saw a stage hypnotist enter a self-induced trance and then push pins into his arm while he talked about the power of mind to control pain and bleeding. Jack had the normal response to pain until he saw that demonstration, and then, for no particular reason, he knew that he would be able to do the same thing. He got some pins and tried it, and sure enough he could turn pain off. What a conversation piece, he thought.

Jack said that at first he never tired of amazing his friends. He developed a cocky attitude, in spite of the fact that he had not had to develop his skills, but “woke up one morning and found all the diplomas were on the wall.” He could stop pain, stop bleeding, influence people through hypnosis, remove pains in other people by putting his hands on them and thinking about the pain going away, and could often “guess” other people’s thoughts precisely.

We did not make a focused effort to interrogate Jack when we began the laboratory work. As with Swami Rama, we asked him to tell us what he would like to demonstrate. Dale and Alyce wired him in the same way we prepared college-student subjects in other research. When he sat down in the experimental room he produced an envelope with two 6-inch steel sailmaker’s needles. Continue reading Bleeding, Brainwaves and Biofeedback

Cure Your Sore Lower Back with Tai Chi Ruler

Vertebral column

Although Tai Chi is an effective treatment for stiffness and lower back pain, the complexity of its forms discourages some from learning the practice.

Fortunately for back pain sufferers, not all Tai Chi forms are long and elaborate. While some traditional forms contain more than one hundred movements, others contain less than a dozen. The short forms are easier to learn and faster to complete, but no less beneficial to the practitioner’s health.

Among the short forms, Tai Chi Ruler is the easiest to learn. The ruler, or chih, is a simple wooden dowel, approximately one inch thick and one foot long. Fundamental ruler practices consist of a single movement, repeated a few dozen or few hundred times.

Many of the Tai Chi Ruler movements do not actually require a ruler, and can be performed just as well without it. Here I will describe one such exercise, which is suitable for any age and fitness level. Continue reading Cure Your Sore Lower Back with Tai Chi Ruler

Shi Yongxin on Life After (Fear of) Death

Shi Yongxin

Shi Yongxin, Abbot of Shaolin Temple, speaks on the greatest benefit of studying martial arts:

The ultimate Shaolin Kung Fu is to train to have a mind that does not stir. If you develop a mind that does not stir, then you won’t be afraid of death. Not being afraid of death does not mean not loving life. In contrast, you will love life even more. To love life is the real purpose of learning zen! What kind of life is worth loving? Only a life without worries and pain is worth loving. To reach a state where there is no worry and pain, one must practice to have a mind that does not stir. Martial arts zen is a path towards a mind that does not stir.

Translation provided by Kah Joon Liow, author of Shaolin: Legends of Zen and Kung Fu

The Costs of Fighting with Anger

While reading another martial arts blog, I encountered this advice on the use of anger:

You have to be aggressive and attack your opponent, attacking them will make them block more and hence stop their attacks… So how do you become aggressive, if it’s just not in your nature? It’s all about how you process the situation, psychologically. Start thinking “I’m not going to let them do this to me. Fcuk them!”. You have to get mad.

I believe that, if you practice martial arts for personal development, rushing to rage is a counterproductive strategy.  And truthfully, anger isn’t all that useful for fighting either. Continue reading The Costs of Fighting with Anger