Excerpted from the book Tao and Longevity by Nan Huaijin
Does the spirit actually leave the body during the transformation of chi into shen?
…There are many [Taoist] descriptions of being pregnant for ten months, suckling the baby for three years, and facing the wall for nine years that have led some people to believe that successful meditation must involve astral projection. The supposition is that the spirit or divine self has a fetal body of its own which ultimately shoots out of the top of the head and ascends into heaven itself. To believe that this is the way of transforming chi into shen is a serious mistake.
According to the Tan Tao school, yang shen (or positive spirit) and yin shen (or negative spirit) may both account for the projection of the spirit from out of the body. Continue reading Astral Projection and Yin Shen: A Taoist Perspective
Every person’s body has an aura (light). All living things have auras. Even nonliving things have auras. Physicists refer to the aura as a field, a space which contains active magnetic or electrical lines. The aura of the human body is the qi field of the body. Some individuals are born with the ability to see auras. Others are able to see auras with qigong training, as well as after a session of meditation. With the ability to see human auras, it is possible to understand the workings in the human body. Depending on the colors and the intensity of the aura around the individual, the condition of the individual can be deciphered.
With the ability to see auras, one can also decipher the depth of another person’s energy cultivation. The aura of Laozi was described as purple. The auras of Sakyamuni Buddha and Avalokiteshvara (Guan Yin) were described as a ring with multiple radiating colors. Drawings of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary also showed auras. Indian yogis, Chinese Daoist and Buddhist cultivators all have large beautiful auras.
Training Methods: Continue reading Developing Your Ability to See Auras
by Rick Bauer
Over the last twenty years, a considerable amount of interest has been generated concerning the use of acupoints and pressure points in the martial arts. These include material on medical uses of acupoints (also referred to in certain Western publications as “pressure points” or “vital points”), as well as their use in fighting techniques. The commercially available products include seminars, books, videotape and magazine articles; much of it coming from Europe, Asia, North America and Australia.
Documentation suggests the martial uses of acupoints were first discovered about fourteen hundred years ago in feudal China… These techniques have been incorporated into several Asian martial arts systems.
The term “acupoint” refers to specific spots along the body, all of which are highly reactive to stimuli. These are the same points used by acupuncturists for treating ailments and promoting health. In all, there are 361 classic acupoints sprinkled across the human anatomy. The martial use of acupoints, however, refers to controlled strikes to these same anatomical locations. When executed correctly, acupoint strikes can elicit an array of physiological effects, dependent on the angle, direction, and force of the strike, as well as the specific point(s) used.
The term “pressure point” or “vital point,” as used in the West, is slightly broader (conceptually). In addition to the classical acupoint centers, the Western conceptual view of a pressure point or vital point may also include sensitive anatomical regions of the body, which are unrelated to acupoint centers, but have useful martial applications (such as certain joint-lock release centers).
Acupoint striking techniques where originally developed in the Orient. Continue reading A Primer on Dim Mak Pressure Points
In his final years, the founder of Aikido was seen to demonstrate many skills that defy the layman’s understanding of physics. Ueshiba sensei reportedly used sen sen no sen and psychic powers to disrupt his opponent’s attacks, threw attackers without touching them, or simply disappeared and reappeared in a safer location.
O-Sensei’s disciples and descendants are unable to repeat his incredible demonstrations. Instead, modern Aikido dojos will introduce ki (life energy) principles to their students with the help of a crude parlor trick: orenaite, or the “unbendable arm”. Continue reading How to Bend an “Unbendable Arm”
In 1939, Wang Xiangzhai issued a public challenge through a Beijing newspaper. His objective: to test and prove the new martial arts training system of Yiquan, a system that placed standing meditation (zhan zhuang) at its core.
Expert fighters from across China, Japan and even Europe traveled to answer Wang’s challenge. None could beat him or his senior students. His standing meditation training produced superior results in a shorter time period, when compared to methods used in boxing, Judo, and other styles of Kung Fu.
Considering the proven value of standing meditation, surprisingly few people undertake the practice today. Why is this? As Wang himself noted, the exercise is plagued by logical contradictions. Continue reading Four Paradoxes of Standing Meditation
Bad answers to martial training queries are inconvenient, but ultimately innocuous. If every theory and technique is tested, as common sense requires, then false information will eventually be recognized and discarded.
Bad questions are more dangerous. A bad question is one with a useless answer: there is no benefit to answering it correctly. People who ask too many bad questions find themselves hamstrung, and unable to deepen their understanding. These questions are a defense mechanism of the ego, breeding complacency and conceit.
Are references to Chinese life science—qigong and TCM, specifically—a necessary component of Chinese martial arts instruction? This subject resurfaces every few months on Internet kung fu forums. Most recently, Joanna Zorya of the Martial Tai Chi Association argues against the practice. She invokes the names of famous instructors—Tim Cartmell, Chen Zhenglei, and Hong Junsheng, to name a few—in support of her claim that talk of qi is superfluous at best, and outright deceptive at worst. Continue reading What Every Martial Artist Should Know About Chi and TCM
Taiji master Yang Cheng-Fu said that, without lifting your Bai Hui point, even 30 years of practice would be a waste of time. Why is this particular point so important to martial artists, and to everyone else?
The Bai Hui point, which sits on the crown of the head, is known by many different names. In acupuncture, it is identified as Du Mai 20 (百会), the point where the body’s Yang energy naturally converges. In kundalini, tantra and other Indian yogas, this point is named the Sahasrara (crown) chakra. In many esoteric traditions, Bai Hui is regarded as the gate between Man and Heaven.
Bai Hui is not in the middle of the head, but near the twirl of the hair.
If your Taiji practice is in line with the instructions of the old masters, then you are probably already familiar with the benefits of lifting the Bai Hui point. If, on the other hand, you do not currently practice Taiji, zhan zhuang or any other meditative discipline, here is a sampling of the benefits you can expect—benefits which exceed mere self-defense. Continue reading Three Benefits From Lifting Your Bai Hui Point
When alleged masters of kiai-jutsu and no-touch throws use their own students for demonstrations, skeptics cry foul. If such incredible skills truly exist, the skeptics contend, they should enable the master to stop a skilled and determined attacker whom he has never met; otherwise, it’s obviously just bullshido.
K-1 Fighter Bob “The Beast” Sapp
These skeptics are serving up a false dilemma, lightly seasoned with argumentum ad baculum. Under their revised laws of physics, the forces of this universe are neatly split into two categories: those which can floor Bob Sapp, and those which simply do not exist. Fortunately, there is a middle ground where useful and interesting experiments can be performed. Continue reading Can Qigong Soothe These Savage Beasts?
Since writing Teachings of an Authentic Taoist Immortal a few weeks ago, I’ve discovered some newer video footage of the Indonesian acupuncturist and qigong master known as John Chang. Continue reading The Final Qigong Demonstration of John Chang