The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers: Martial Arts Study Guide

This article is intended as a companion piece to The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers series. It will provide additional information on the martial arts themes that frequently appear in The LXD.

AntiGravity Heroes

What styles of martial arts are performed on The LXD?

In Episode 2, AntiGravity Heroes, Jimmy and Justin perform a dazzling set with elements of parkour, XMA, and modern wushu. Although the term wushu technically refers to Chinese martial arts in general, the term is most commonly applied these days to theatrical renditions of the arts, tuned for artistic performance rather than for direct combat application. Continue reading The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers: Martial Arts Study Guide

Derren Brown Investigates The Bronnikov Method

A Martial Development Meta-Investigation

I can see inside Vyacheslav Bronnikov’s head.

Not because I possess the disputed X-ray vision skills–though if I did, I would probably keep quiet about it. No, I’m just saying that I may understand what Bronnikov was thinking when he did what he did.

I should back up, and tell the tale from the start. Derren Brown is a renowned ‘psychological illusionist,’ a performer who combines magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship in order to seemingly predict and control human behavior. Imagine a younger, more talented, and more personable version of James Randi…

For the past ten years Derren has created TV and stage performances that have stunned audiences, debunked the paranormal and encouraged many to improve and enhance their own mental abilities. His first show appeared in 2000, Derren Brown: Mind Control, and followed with Trick of the Mind, Trick or Treat and a series of Specials including the controversial Russian Roulette and the hugely popular Events.

In the second episode of his latest television series, Darren Brown Investigates…, the illusionist set out to test The Bronnikov Method of human potential development. Created by Vyacheslav M. Bronnikov, this system–based in ancient Tibetan Yoga–promises to awaken dormant human skills and abilities, among them the ability to see while blindfolded, or indeed with no eyes at all.

Derren traveled to a Bronnikov seminar in Belgium, accompanied a woman who has been legally blind for more than a decade. As for what happened next… Continue reading Derren Brown Investigates The Bronnikov Method

Qigong and Energy Arts Forum – September 2010

Qigong and Energy Arts Forum is a collection of the best new articles and resources on the topics of qigong (chi kung), reiki, ayurveda, kundalini yoga, and other related disciplines.

Jim Nance on Spring Forest Qigong with Mary Treacy O’Keefe (Hope, Healing and WellBeing)
Jim Nance was once a black belt Kung Fu fighter and a professional basketball player, until a series of serious injuries forced him out of the game. For the next 25 years, he traveled around the world seeking solutions to his physical and emotional challenges. He finally settled on Chunyi Lin’s Spring Forest Qigong, becoming the first American master of the system. Listen to his recent interview on Web Talk Radio.


Wudang Qigong

Continue reading Qigong and Energy Arts Forum – September 2010

Science and the Problem with Chi

Chi Gong: The Ancient Chinese Way to Health by Paul Dong and Aristide Esser

Chi theory is an ontology, in which it is pointless to declare one’s belief or disbelief prior to understanding. In this excerpt from Chi Gong: The Ancient Chinese Way to Health, author Bruce Holbrook addresses the root of the controversy, which is neither logic or science, but cultural impedance.

The concept of chi is confusing to Western readers, not because it is a difficult one, but because our own culture stands in the way.

Occidental civilization is based on certain religious and philosophical premises which invite false translation of chi and related concepts. For example, our philosophy forces a choice between two fundamental levels of reality, which in the Chinese worldview are but a single one. That historically recent epistemological expression of our civilization, science, forcefully fights against comprehension of a single reality. Through out this section, therefore, “science” and related terms such as “physical,” are used within quotation marks when they refer to Western concepts. This may promote correction of the false, but very widespread, ethnocentric assumption that Western science is the only form of science.

Our “science” is firmly based on inanimate models and data-recording devices, whereas chi (in the central sense of this book) is intimately related to distinctively animate phenomena and cultivated human sensing. An additional problem is that Western science–especially “medical science”–has become dogmatic, so that it rejects any logical conclusion which lies outside its paradigm. The prevailing attitude is: If we can’t deal with it on our terms, it does not exist, because only our terms are valid. Cultural anthropologists call such systematic ignorance “ethnocentrism”–being confined, unaware of the confinement, by one’s own culture.

Western scientists can describe in unparalleled detail a decline in metabolic energy and regenerative capacity, but as soon as they state or suggest that these are the causes of natural dying, they are refusing to answer the question at hand: How does a human die of natural causes?

Given such widespread ethnocentrism, it is only natural therefore that Western thinking beyond the scope of “science” has surrounded chi with a mystical aura, while “scientific thinking” has reduced and deformed the concept into something manageable on its own terms. Such terms are untrue to the original concept and reality of chi. Beyond that there is a natural difficulty with distinctions among different kinds of chi. This can give rise to the impression that Chinese thinkers indulged in unnecessary conceptual multiplication to compensate for their own weaknesses in natural scientific understanding. Nothing could be further from the truth. Continue reading Science and the Problem with Chi

The Martial Arts Styles of Hip-Hop Heroes

Nicki Minaj

Artist: Nicki Minaj
Video: Your Love
Styles: Kenjutsu, Karate
Facts: Michael Jai White, who plays the sensei in “Your Love”, holds black belts in seven different styles of martial arts, including Tang Soo Do and Kyokushin. Continue reading The Martial Arts Styles of Hip-Hop Heroes

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

Penn and Teller: Two Morons Learn Martial Arts

Penn & Teller: Bullshit

In a recent episode of their hit Showtime series, stage magicians Penn Jilette and Raymond Teller warn viewers away from the universally fraudulent field of martial arts. Now a real expert martial artist rescues us from their half-baked debunkings.

For their own convenience, Penn and Teller divide the world of martial arts into three categories: traditional, mystical, and murderous. Continue reading Penn and Teller: Two Morons Learn Martial Arts

Qi Magazine: Free To Download Today

Qi Magazine covers

For almost twenty years, Qi Magazine featured original articles on kung fu, qigong, and other facets of Chinese culture, many written specifically by and for martial artists. (Qi Magazine is not to be confused with Qi Journal, which seems more targeted to the Goji berry set.)

Qi Magazine ceased production in early 2009, and publisher Michael Tse has since opened the archives. Continue reading Qi Magazine: Free To Download Today

Mantak Chia on Sex, Discipline, and Qigong

Mantak Chia
Mantak Chia

Mantak Chia was born in Bangkok, Thailand in 1944. His pursuit of Taoist teachings led him to meet the White Cloud Hermit Master Yi, a Taoist Master living in the mountains near from Hong Kong.

Over a period of five years, Master Yi transmitted to Master Mantak Chia the most sacred and closely held Taoist practices, formulas and methods of internal alchemy, culminating in the Reunion of Heaven and Man.

The author of dozens of books, booklets, videos and CDs describing these practices, Master Mantak Chia has taught hundreds of thousands of eager students the principles of Taoist internal practice over the past 40 years.

Following is an excerpt from a recent Blog Talk Radio interview with Mantak Chia:

Lama Tantrapa: What is the purpose of qigong practice?

Mantak Chia: The initial purpose of qigong practice is to become stronger, to heal yourself, and increase your wisdom and knowledge. The early stages are like Taiji, and afterwards we can begin what we call supreme inner alchemy practice. Continue reading Mantak Chia on Sex, Discipline, and Qigong

The Challenge and Promise of Scientific Qigong Research

Excerpted from Professor Lu Zuyin’s “Scientific Qigong Exploration”, a survey of qigong research experiments conducted in China between 1978 and 1992.

Scientific research in the last ten years has captured many external qi phenomena and qualitatively recognized certain characteristics of external qi. On the whole, research on external qi is still at a qualitative stage. It is not easy to establish quantitative laws and phenomenological theories thereby moving to a quantitative stage.

The difficulty is mainly due to insufficient investigation of external qi and the resulting lack of scientific means to express the level of external qi. With more than a thousand qigong schools and numerous different qigong methods, it is difficult to establish common standards.

In addition, a qigong master’s qi-emission power is closely related to his own physical, mental, emotional state at the time of qi emission. As a result, each external qi emission is at best only roughly the same, and it is not as precisely reproducible as an instrument. Experiments seeking basic laws of external qi are not easy to accomplish because they require tens or even hundreds of strictly repeated experiments.

[As demonstrated by our previous experimental results,] qigong is more advanced than contemporary science, thus it is difficult to fit into the framework of contemporary science. However, like all fields of scholarship, if qigong research does not pass strict scientific examination, it will not survive in contemporary society, let alone be accepted in international academic circles. This is a fundamental contradiction. Continue reading The Challenge and Promise of Scientific Qigong Research