Derren Brown Proves No-Touch Knockdowns are Real, and Fake

In the proceeding video, mentalist Darren Brown knocks a martial artist down from behind.
That proves his skill is real.
On the other hand, Darren Brown did not touch him.
That proves his skill is fake.
As for Darren Brown’s explanation, “It’s all in your mind,” that proves…what? Continue reading Derren Brown Proves No-Touch Knockdowns are Real, and Fake

The Comforts of Mindless Consistency

Recounted by psychologist Robert Cialdini:

One night at an introductory lecture given by the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program, I witnessed a nice illustration of how people will hide inside the walls of consistency to protect themselves from the troublesome consequences of thought.

The Science of Meditation

The lecture itself was presided over by two earnest young men and was designed to recruit new members into the program. The program claimed it could teach a unique brand of meditation that would allow us to achieve all manner of desirable things, ranging from simple inner peace to the more spectacular abilities—to fly and pass through walls—at the program’s advanced (and more expensive) stages.

I had decided to attend the meeting to observe the kind of compliance tactics used in recruitment lectures of this sort, and had brought along an interested friend, a university professor whose areas of specialization were statistics and symbolic logic. As the meeting progressed and the lecturers explained the theory behind TM, I noticed my logician friend become increasingly restless.

Looking more and more pained and shifting about constantly in his seat, he was finally unable to resist. When the leaders called for questions at the completion of the lecture, he raised his hand and gently but surely demolished the presentation we had just heard. In less than two minutes, he pointed out precisely where and why the lecturers’ complex argument was contradictory, illogical, and unsupportable. Continue reading The Comforts of Mindless Consistency

If It Doesn’t Look Fake, Then It Isn’t Real Taiji

The position of refinement of consciousness in the theory and practice of martial arts is utterly critical. It pervades the fundamentals of training in martial arts as well as the most advanced contents of their highest level. This is the technical and theoretical core and quintessence of martial arts.

To abandon this is tantamount to throwing away the living soul and fundamental work of the techniques and theories of martial arts, leaving only low level “external exercises” with their peculiarities of outward form…

Consciousness as we use it here does not mean consciousness in the ordinary sense, abstract logical thought, or abstract ideation; neither is it formal thinking in the ordinary sense…it is always a result of combined refinement of body and mind.

from Mind Over Matter: Higher Martial Arts by Shi Ming

Master Shi Ming, from Bill Moyers’ Healing and the Mind

Shi Ming’s demonstration, and similar performances by other Taiji masters always draw criticism from the incredulous.

The most common objection is at the appearance of cooperation between teacher and student: the disciples appear to be throwing themselves. In many cases, that is exactly what they are doing. This fact alone does not, however, prove that the master is a fake. Continue reading If It Doesn’t Look Fake, Then It Isn’t Real Taiji