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…
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.
內功 neigong (pronounced nay-gung): the science of observing, strengthening and directing bio-energy, or chi.
A repository of extraordinary skills such as telekinesis, pyrogenesis, telepathy, remote viewing and levitation, the esoteric Eastern school known as Mo-Pai has been described as a real-life order of Jedi Knights. Some have even speculated that its history inspired George Lucas’ script for Attack of the Clones.
Among the ancient neigong lineages still in existence today, the Mo-Pai is characterized by an unusual openness. The school and its headmaster, known by the alias “John Chang”, has been the subject of two recent books and a video documentary.
Jim McMillan, who identifies himself as a longtime disciple of John Chang, has graciously agreed to share a few of his experiences with Martial Development readers:
a.k.a. “Dynamo Jack”
The Final Qigong Demonstration of John Chang remains one of my most popular posts. With the help of Youtube’s new viewer demographics feature, we can learn more about the people who find this video so fascinating.
Long before the invention of the blog, and even before the creation of the World Wide Web, there was Usenet. The world’s first electronic social network was established in 1980, and martial artists have been arguing there ever since.
Back in the late 1990s, I started reading the rec.martial-arts newsgroup as most people do, with posts sorted by discussion topic. I soon discovered that, since 90% of the replies on any given topic were rubbish, it made more sense to sort by author instead. Although I abandoned rec-martial arts years ago, due to its low-signal-to-noise ratio, I can still remember the names of some of my favorite writers. At the top of that list, I place the mysterious Ordosclan, also known as Turiyan Gold.
I don’t know Ordosclan’s real name, or his training history. I don’t know how many of his posts were written under the influence of anti-psychotic medication, as his critics claimed. Perhaps not enough of them.
Ordosclan’s martial arts commentaries were sagacious and entertaining, sometimes cryptic and unfortunately brusque. In honor of Black Belt Mama’s Admired Martial Artists Month, I’d like to highlight a few:
Why punch from the hip?
In boxing, the boxer keeps his hands up on either side of his face for protection. Punches are thrown from this position. One hand goes out, the other stays by the face for protection.
Why does karate require that you throw a punch from the hip? What is gained by this?
The point of pulling the fists back is to open the chest. Doing so during stance changes makes it harder to use the arms for balance. It’s not for punching. Punches done from the hip are just a training exercise. The Japanese simply copied basic Shaolin from the Chinese. Some teachers try and read ridiculous theories into why something is the way it is: “It’s for qi,” “it’s for jing,” “It trains you to monkey elbow a guy that puts you in a bear hug from behind”, etc.
If you start taking things out of MA that are not combat-relevant, you’re left with punches and kicks, knees and headbutts. The simple answer is: it’s not martially oriented. Its just a myth that Shaolin monks are/were “fighting” monks. That’s nonsense. And everyone knows it.
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.
As a fan of Bruce Lee, you probably already know about his extensive library. Bruce’s collection reportedly spanned more than 2000 books on philosophy and martial arts. (In fact, much of the material in his “signature work”, the Tao of Jeet Kune Do—compiled and published posthumously from his notes—was copied from these primary sources.)
Bruce Lee was influenced by D.T. Suzuki, J. Krishnamurti, and many other teachers, but perhaps no author left a greater impression on him than Napoleon Hill.
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.