INCMA Forum Posts Archive 7:
Date: 11/19/00 05:38:39 PM
Name: Mark McGee


Subject: External and Internal Arts

I'm curious how many in the forum have had the experience of practicing external martial arts for years, then learning an internal art (T'ai Chi, Pa Kua or Hsing-I). If so, how has learning the internal art affected your practice of the external arts? What did you learn that made your external practice better or worse? Do you prefer internal or external? Do you think the experience has made you a better martial artist? Do you recommend that martial artists learn both? In what order do you recommend? External or internal first?

I would like to use some of your comments for a future article for the GMAF Newsletter.

Thanks and have a great week!

In Christ's Love and Grace,

Mark McGee 

Date: 11/19/00 10:26:39 PM
Name: Marc Paine


Subject: Re: External and Internal Arts


I'm not sure if my answer will be satisfactory, but I'll try. I didn't learn external, then supplement with internal. I did the opposite.

I have been practicing Wudang Taijiquan for 9 years. I've been teaching for two. During college, however, I took Isshinryu Karate under Sensei Robert Holley. I wanted to study an external art for a change.

I felt that my internal training did not help me learn the external drills any faster than other students, since there were many adjustments to be made which my experience in another style made complicated. However, I found that my poise and balance were superior to my fellow students. At one time, a student attempted to sweep me with an iron-broom type sweep as a counter to a kick. Even though I was standing on one foot, he hit my post leg like it was a pillar, unable to move me at all. This "rooting" was clearly unique to me among my fellow Karate students, and a prime example of the influence the one art had on my other.

At another time, a student complained of recurring pain in their wrist and arm which I massaged to health in a few moments. This also demonstrated my internal knowledge in the external setting.

I feel that the external art forced me to rise to a more aggressive model of fighting, while the internal gave me the necessary body mechanical skills to perform my techniques with poise and a firm root. Most of my fellow students hated sparring me, complaining: He doesn't move until we do, then he hits us.

After college, I left Isshinryu. Do I recommend internal exercise as a supplement for external? Absolutely not. I do, however, feel that a year or so of external before taking internal will help, just as a year or so of internal before taking external will be great. However, once you decide on internal or external, you should be consistent.

I was taught in the Chinese systems that Internal arts and External arts start at opposite ends of the spectrum, but end up in the same place. Internal train from trunk to limbs, while external train from limbs to trunk. Both should end with a whole-body martial artist. We had the philosophy of 30,000 also. We said that for external martial artists it is the same as internal: the first 10,000 times you repeat a technique, you are making it yours. The second 10,000 times you repeat it, you are practicing Qigong. The third 10,000 times you repeat it, it is marrow-washing.

Would I recommend "crossing over" at all? Only early in your martial arts career. If you haven't naturally crossed over by your late career, you're doing something wrong.

Marc Paine
Instructor: Seng Wu Yi Martial Arts
Fayetteville, Arkansas 

 Date: 11/20/00 09:50:14 PM
Name: John R. Himes


Subject: Re: External and Internal Arts

I practiced wrestling, Judo, Karate and external Shaolin Kung Fu for many years before learning any external martial arts. However, I must say that in wrestling and Judo I learned some internal principles having to do with rooting and sinking, yielding, a relaxed body and sensing the opponent's movement with my nervous system before I ever learned internal arts. Any grappler learns some internal principles by necessity without them being called internal.

In my mind, the difference between internal and external martial arts is this. The internal arts emphasize principles and thus train primarily the mind and the nervous system, while external systems emphasize physical power and technique, and thus train primarily the muscular system.

In a typical internal style, such as Hsing I, the student will be corrected by the instructor over and over in such principles as correct breathing, "sinking and rooting" (this has to do with balance, posture, center of gravity, etc.), protecting the centerline, moving the body as a unit (the secret to the one inch punch), different types of energy (hitting the surface of the opponent's body, his inner organs or hitting through, for example), etc. He will be taught various ways of doing the five basic techniques of Hsing I from different angles and with different energies. He will also train his nervous system to sense the opponent's technique by drills similar to "pushing hands."

On the other hand, a typical Karateka will be taught the virtue of doing 1000 reverse punches, lifting weights to build his muscles, punching and kicking the heavy bag for hours, etc. His physical training will be long and hard and his mental training will be short and sweet.

On the whole, I believe that an internal stylist who uses his mind and trains his nervous system will defeat an external stylist of equal training who simply trains his muscles and techniques. This is not to denigrate such training, but simply to say that I would put the internal first, while not rejecting the external. 

Date: 11/20/00 11:18:23 PM
Name: Scott


Subject: Re: External and Internal Arts

I pretty much agree with John's definition of external vs internal. My understanding is that in the end, at the highest level, internal and external merge into one. But that's a very long journey, and I don't think many people get that far. In the meantime, external arts emphasize speed and physical strength and physical domination of the opponent. It's mostly a muscle thing with the external arts, but over time technical skill takes the place of physical power. Examples include taekwondo, boxing, Brazilian ju-jitsu, and Okinawan karate. Internal arts emphasize control of the opponent's body, redirection of his energy, timing, and most importantly they emphasize "ki" or "chi." It's the cultivation of ki energy that allows the internal martial artist to stand his ground against an external martial artist. Without a high degree of ki, internal arts quite simply don't work. Examples include aikido and those already mentioned. I hestitate to say either path has an advantage over the other, because I've seen good and bad from both camps. Some martial arts combine internal and external, and try to take the best of both. Examples include wing chun, judo, and hapkido.

I started in external arts, got burned out by the aggression, crossed over the internal side, got burned out by the lack of aggression, then found a happy medium in silat. If I had to choose one or the other I wouldn't. I would say that the choice is not either-or, because in truth you can find a balance. I totally recommend that martial artists learn both, because both sides have many good things to offer. I am a true believer in ki energy, but I'm also a true believer in the boxer's jab.

About the time I left internal arts (aikido, specifically) I sparred with some higher-ranked TKD and karate people, and totally messed up their game plan because I wasn't standing where I supposed to stand, I wasn't standing how I was supposed to stand, I wasn't blocking like was supposed to block, and darn it, I kept grabbing their arms and twirling them around. (Taekwondo players really hate when that happens, because they're fish out of water when it comes to grappling.) The internal training most definitely improved my external skills. Most definitely. But on the other hand, I "ate" more kicks and punches than I should have, because I was rusty at blocking rapid-fire strikes. It goes both ways. That's why I suggest a person learn both.

I would suggest studying external first because it's easy to insert aggressive attacks into a "soft," internal, ki-filled sparring exercise, and I don't think the instructor would mind. On the other hand, it's difficult to add "soft" ki-filled techniques into an (agressive) external curriculum. I agree with Marc Paine in saying that the adjustment from internal to external is compicated. 

Date: 11/20/00 02:00:24 PM
Name: Vicki (blackrat78)


Subject: Re: External and Internal Arts

I must be confused, I know what internal is, and what external is, but what do you mean by that w/ martial arts? 

Date: 11/22/00 06:51:02 AM
Name: Mark McGee


Subject: Re: Re: External and Internal Arts

Another way to explain external and internal martial arts is "express" and "conceal" or "hard" and "soft." External martial arts include Wushu, Kung Fu and Karate. Internal martial arts include T'ai Chi, Pa Kua and Hsing-I. External arts also include internal elements even as internal arts include external elements. Much of the difference is in the training and expression in forms.

I hope this helps.


Mark McGee 

Date: 11/22/00 04:49:39 PM
Name: Kevin D. Schaller


Subject: Re: Re: External and Internal Arts

I'm finding that the longer I train, the more the two schools of thought merge together. I started in a very hard-style Kenpo dojo that focused on physical power. Eventually, I ventured into another Kenpo dojo where the instructor (a very small man) had focused on the internal energy aspects of the art and movements. It was a perfect fit for me, but a very long adjustment period. I tend to feel that a few years of external style training is a good way to start, but that eventually everyone must move towards the internal. The older we get, the less abuse we can inflict upon ourselves! I have observed some old "dragons" that come from both paradyms and they all tend to move in a similar fashion...a high degree of fluidity, coupled with pinpoint accuracy striking and locks. Great stuff indeed!

Date: 11/21/00 05:39:19 PM
Name: Marc Paine


Subject: Hwa Yu Tai Chi

I looked at the website and saw the Hwa Yu Tai Chi information. I had a question:

Is Hwa Yu Tai Chi the same as the art commonly referred to in Wushu Circles as "Water Boxing?" If so, then I must say that the forms are not exceptionally martial in nature, but incredibly beautiful and graceful to behold - true demonstrations of physical-internal training.

Pax Christi 

Date: 11/22/00 06:45:35 AM
Name: Mark McGee


Subject: Re: Hwa Yu Tai Chi

Hwa-Yu T'ai-Chi Ch'uan is certainly a beautiful thing to observe. The name Hwa Yu translates as "beautiful place within." It is a beautiful form and leads one to a beautiful place within. It is very relaxing to do and is one of the great Internal arts of China.

Grand Master John Chung Li studied Liu Ho Pa Fa (Water Boxing) in China and brought the art to the United States in 1969. He changed the name of the art to Hwa-Yu T'ai-Chi Ch'uan. Master Li, a Christian, emphasized the health benefits of Hwa Yu based on the principles of slow, soft, graceful (fluid) and fun. His goal was to lead practioners to what he called the Advanced or Natural State.

Master Li also taught some of his students the martial side of water boxing, which are concealed within the forms. Each one of the more than 500 movements in Hwa Yu has scores of martial movements hidden within. We express the martial side through the companion arts of Yon Ch'uan (Soft Fist, Cotton Over Steel) and 15 Animal Kung Fu. Master Robert Xavier, a co-founder of Grace Martial Arts Fellowship, is the lineage holder of both arts.

I hope this helps. Thanks for asking!

In Christ's Love and Grace,

Mark McGee 

Date: 11/23/00 11:33:12 AM
Name: Jeff McLaughlin


Subject: Website with articles about knife fighting, forms and stances

One of our members, Mr. Bob Orlando, addresses several of these topics that we are discussing on his website. Some of the topics include knife fighting, forms and stances. I thought they were very interesting and wanted to share them with you. They can be found on his website at:

Thanks and God bless and have a Happy Thanksgiving!!
Jeff McLaughlin 

 Date: 11/27/00 06:21:21 AM
Name: David Lieder


Subject: Commercial & Christian Based School
My family & I own a small school in suburban Houston. 70-80 students. It was pure commercial when I took over earlier this year. I've set the school up to break even or make just a small profit. Our new logo includes the cross. I have biblical meanings for each belt color that I will start requiring memorization of for belt test. We are openly Christian. Most students are believers I think. I know of a couple that aren't. I'm looking for the perfect opportunity to share with them. They are testing for their black belts in 2 weeks. I believe between now and then will be the best opportunity to witness. I'm considering giving all my black belts at their test a Bible with a marked scripture just for them.

Does anyone else out there have a commercial school that uses God's word? If so how? I'm always searching for ways to grow His kingdom. I really believe the Lord has given me the tools of a martial arts school to use for His benefit.


Date: 12/5/00 10:35:16 PM
Name: Philip A. Payne


Subject: Re: Commercial & Christian Based School
My schools are not commercial. We do God's work to glorify Him. However, we do receive donations from students and members of the community who see what we are doing and want it to continue. Even the local law enforcement had patted us on the back for keeping the kids off the street and out of trouble ... their donation did'nt hurt either.
Some months we break even. Some months we don't. Some months we have a little left over at one school and it helps keep another one running. Ultimately, very little of it is comming out of my pocket, but when need be, so be it. That's just how He works.
I think what you are doing is great and pray that God will continue to bless you in your works. I would also like to recommend, if you are not already using it, Psalm 144: 1-2, "Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war; my refuge and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield in whom I trust, who subdues peoples under me."
Yours in the warrior tradition,
His humble steward,
Philip A. Payne, benefactor.  

Date: 11/27/00 10:56:53 AM
Name: Vicki (blackrat78)


Subject: Re: Commercial & Christian Based School
At my old martial arts school we were located in a commercial building, and our school patch had a cross, and gave out new testaments at yellow belt, and expected students to recite John 3:16 as a yellow belt requirement. Students were then at their black belt test given a bible with the scriptures in Samuel (not sure off hand) pertaining to the hands were trained for battle. When I find them, I'll let you know. Also, right after we did our long test, and got our black belts tied on our waist, and such, we did a feet washing ceramony like that of Jesus with his disciples. This signified teh instructor as the teacher, like Jesus was teaching his disciples, and that we were like his disciples, and that now it was our turn to go out and do the same for others as our "teacher" did for us. It reminds me of how the black belt is a "new begining".
Our school was commercial based, charged students at first $50.00 a month, for up to five days a week, classes for kids, adults, sparring, circuit training, demo team, weapons, and a few extras as well. Each student could attend any class, as long as they were the right rank for it. Demo team was slighly different.
When we walked in we knew it was Christian based from the first day. The school's patch was the first thing you saw, as it was on the wall, enlarged. The handouts in the office had the school patched, explained it, and then also stated the instructor's experience, and his church as well.
Later on, things changed, and finacial problems occured when parents dropped kids off, without paying, and then pick them up before anything could be said. The rent of the building went up too, as much of it did in our area, and we were forced to relocate.

When it was in a commercial building, many knew it was Christian based, and most were believers of Christ. However, there were a few that joined, that were not Christians. Usually, Mr. Blackstone would allow them to not memorize the verse, but would tell them of it, but in private so they didn't get embarassed.
One kid in particular, Neal, after his black belt began to ask of questions of Christ. His parents were not Christians, but still allowed him to train. (The Lord does work in mysterious ways!) Neal, later became saved and his parents after he had left training in the martial arts.
Anoter kid, on his way to help at a black belt test, was asked by Mr. Blackstone of his faith, and later they pulled to the side of the road. At that moment, Robby, was saved!

I know I babble a lot on here, and for that I appologize. It takes me a while to get to my point.

Have you asked your students of their faith? Pressuring a person, who was used to one way of traning, and then adapting to a new way, is hard. I know from when my instructor later left. A bible at a black belt, is a great way to minister to those who are not saved, but also a good way to keep the faith for those who are. I'd recommend putting in good verses in their to show them to become saved, and then verses of encouragement, such as the famous: Philippians 4:13.

God bless!

Also, could you send me the verses you use for belt meanings? I'd like to see if they are simular to my ideas.   

Date: 11/27/00 06:26:44 AM
Name: David Lieder


Subject: Demonstration help
I need help with ideas for my demonstration team.
I plan on doing demos at some local private schools this spring.

Does anyone have any ideas on what to perform and maybe some cute ways of applying TaeKwonDo to a Christian walk? How about some corresponding bible verses?


Date: 11/27/00 11:04:11 AM
Name: Vicki (blackrat78)


Subject: Re: Demonstration help
When I was on the demo team at my old school, I only did one demo, but loved it so much. I have a copy of it, and each time I watch it, I'm reminded of how much is available to demonstate.

Musical Forms,
Board/Brick Breaking,

And so much more!

Each person watching demos have different interests and abilities. If you just do one thing, they tend to get bored. Our demo we did, that day had a variety of things, to show others all that we did in our school.

Although we didn't do much on the Christian side of it, we did show the karate side well.

I would have liked to write sins on boards and break them, and show if you think that's powerful, I just did one, but God is able to do that for everyone in the world. NOW THAT'S POWER!

I would like to show people that in a form we are focused, and in life, we are to be focused on Christ, the main thing in our life. Without Him, nothing is possible.

I would have liked to show people our double man forms, and say one was God, and one was Satan, and show that satan will fall no matter what God does. Maybe a correographed fight, where Satan tries to do something, but God will overcome.

I would have liked to show a form with music, and add some tumbles, or such, to show that being a Christian doesn't have to be dull and boring. Living for Christ is a wonderful thing, and for that life should never be dull and boring again.

I would have liked to also demonstrate a set of self-defense or such, with a Christian who dies, vrs that of a non-Christin who dies, and show them, that the way to heaven is being a Christian. Show them why it is such an important thing to be a Christian. Show them why they would want to be a Christian, so if by any chance, they don't live to see the next day.

Showing a variety of things will catch the interest of everyone!

I wish you the best with your demos.

Date: 11/27/00 11:36:21 AM
Name: Marc Paine


Subject: Re: Demonstration help
If your school does any grappling or throwing at all, I recommend demonstrating this. Even if your school only does the Chuck Norris "kick the knife out of the hand" gag, I've found that people really dig watching "combat application" demonstrations. If you do throws, have the smallest girl in class toss the biggest guy... the girls eat it up. You can really play that stuff up.

Remember: breaking gets boring fast! It seems neato to your demonstration team, but it is so cliche that without a gimmick, people just don't care to watch more than one or two boards get broken. Also, if you do breaking, make sure your breakers actually CAN BREAK the boards. It is really shaming to have students fail in breaks in a demonstration, not to mention how it demoralizes the team.

I don't know much about TKD, but if your weapons forms have bunkai (counter-forms) which can be practiced with them at full speed, this is much better than a simple kata demonstration. Sticks clacking together really keeps people interested.

Avoid synchronized forms. They aren't worth the effort.

Use some familiar "techno" music for a long (black belt?) form that someone is very familiar with. This usually goes over much better than simply doing the advanced form. A great attention-getter for forms demonstration is this:
At pre-arranged points in the form, have someone run in and attack the demonstrator (with the bunkai, of course) so that the demonstrator can defeat them with the form and continue without breaking rhythm. This sounds hokey, but if you do it well, it is great looking.

Just a few thoughts.


For all of you who are thinking of criticizing such "plum-flower fist" demonstrations... This is what a demonstration is all about. Its pragmatic, so don't start. *grin* 

Date: 11/27/00 11:54:39 AM
Name: Scott


Subject: Re: Demonstration help
Vicki has some good ideas. Definitely do many things.

1) One-on-one and three-on-one choreographed sparring is always cool, if it's done crisply like in the movies. The audience shouldn't realize that it's choreographed. Spontaneous sparring usually doesn't work well because the audience wonders, "Why is he still standing? After a kick like that, shouldn't he be on the floor unconscious?" You could have a sequence that ends very quickly, and a sequence that goes on for a minute. The purpose of the short sequence is to show the effectiveness of your fighting style. The purpose of the long sequence is to show the great variety of techniques in your arsenal.

Maybe you want two versions of each sparring demo: one fairly fast, say 80% of full-speed, and a separate demo that's fairly slow, say 30% full-speed. The purpose of the fast demo is to show how a "real" fight would turn out. In real life, people try to be as fast as possible. The purpose of the slow demo is to show the audience the intricacy of the techniques that go unnnoticed when the combatants move quickly.

2) Board/brick breaking is always impressive. I can't imagine taekwondo without it.

3) Katas, especially when several people do it as a synchronized team, is nice to watch. I've never done it to music, but that sounds very nice. I'd do an unarmed kata, and a weapon kata.

4) In addition to the unarmed choreographed sparring, I'd have two weapons sparring demonstrations, also choreographed. One would be unarmed-vs-weapon (and the weapon wins), and the other would be weapon-vs-weapon.

5) For a demo team, I would show several techniques that don't work when the body is out of alignment, but that are very simple to execute with proper alignment. I would correlate this to the physical body following the human will, which is being led by the human spirit, which is tuned in to God's spirit. If any link is broken, then God's spirit can't trickle down to the actions of the physical body. If God isn't being displayed through our actions, then things don't work out very well. But, when all the links are there, and the person is listening and obeying God as best as he knows how, then life works out well. 

Date: 12/2/00 09:42:06 AM
Name: Scott


Subject: George Dillman
The January 2001 issue of Black Belt Magazine has a feature article on George Dillman and his exposition of katas. It looks like fantastic material. Does anybody have any knowledge of, or experience with, Dillman's karate? Please share.  

Date: 12/4/00 07:16:21 AM
Name: Joe Long


Subject: Re: George Dillman
I'd like to hear more about this, too...Dillman's claims, particularly the light-touch knockouts, seem preposterous, yet people of great knowledge and experience, like jiu-jitsuka Wally Jay, take him very seriously. Has anyone here witnessed - or preferably, experienced - a Dillman "knockout"?  

Date: 12/5/00 10:19:13 PM
Name: Philip A. Payne


Subject: Re: Re: George Dillman
One of my black belts is in Ryukyu Kempo, through Dillman Karate International. Yes, his Kyusho-jitsu (One second fighting) techniques are real ... very real. Dillman brought to light many "secrets" of the martial arts which I had never had a clue about before. I had done bloack/punch for seven years when I was finally shown that Kata is not about blocking and punching.
There's a reason why Prof. Jay thinks so highly of Dillman. Without Dillman's pressure point research Small Circle Jujitsu would not be the system it is today. At the same time, wihtout the Prof.'s Small Circle theory, Dillman would not be getting the results he is. Dillman's pressure point attacks rely greatly on his ability to transfer energy from his own body into that of his "attacker." This in turn is done more efficiently when the correct circular motion is given to the technique.
My personal system carries strong influences from both of these teachings and I would not have been able to develop it to work for me, had I not been influences by these two great teachers.
Study the theories of either of these tow men and your personal system will become a thousand times more effective. At least that was my experience.

Yours in the warrior tradition,
His humble steward,
Philip A. Payme, benefactor. 

Date: 12/18/00 12:00:39 PM
Name: Kevin D. Schaller


Subject: Re: Re: Re: George Dillman
I have to "second" Phillip's comments. I too, have had training from Mr. Dillman's system, through Dan McCuskey and David McNeill. We have also borrowed heavily from the Chinese arts (TCM) for more information on Tsuba theory.

We just finished a law enforcement defensive tactics certification here and I demonstated/instructed 2 techniques that applied nicely to law enforcement applications. I dropped a volunteer in each class with very little effort and cops DO NOT play along, so I KNOW this works. (Made instant believers out of the volunteers too!)
Get Dillman's books, go to his clinics. Get to Wally Jay's clinics before it's too late (He's 83) For those of you (Phil?) who have attended Prof. Jay's seminars, how long did it take you to regain the use of your fingers? (I've been priviledged to by Prof. Jay's Uke on 3 occassions, painful but wonderful)
Go in peace,

Date: 12/22/00 01:02:17 PM
Name: Philip A. Payne


Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: George Dillman
About the Prof's seminars ... It's not just the fingers. Wrists, knees (pretty much any part of your body that can bend {naturally or other wise}) tends to be sore for several days afterward. But hey, no pain no gain, right?
I haven't heard of your teachers, but it's been several years since I was directly involved with D.K.I. My teachers were Jim Corn, Will Higginbotham, Brion Bellor and Bernie Grundhoefer, all from Indiana. With the esception of Brion, I think they are all still heavily active in the organization.
If you run into Will or Jim at a seminar, tell them I said "Hey" and pay close attention to everything they do. They have a great deal of knowledge to share. Will is something of a kata expert and is deep into the energy transfer aspect of Kyusho-jitsu. Jim (in my opinion) is the best around at teaching application ... yes, even better than Dillman ... shh. Both of these two are also ranked in Small Circle Jujitsu.

Yours in the warrior tradition,
His humble steward,
Philip A. Payne, benefactor. 

Date: 12/5/00 07:30:09 AM
Name: Marc Paine


Subject: Qigong
I was wondering if anyone had any comments concerning Qigong. I am a Christian practitioner; I've lectured on Qigong several times, and I teach it in my classes.

Many times I've been asked about Qigong by Christians who feel that it is "occultic." I usually chalk it up to ignorance of the long-standing tradition of Chinese/Eastern medicine, which while perfectly normal in Chinese culture, is considered "alternative" or "new age" medicine in the West.

Anyway, if anyone has any comments about a Christian view of Qigong, please let me know. Please don't reply if you don't know what Qigong is first-hand, though. I'm looking for another Christian who can give me an EDUCATED opinion, so I can compare it with my own knowledge and understanding of Qigong.


1 Cor 9:25-26
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 

Date: 12/5/00 11:56:25 AM
Name: Scott


Subject: Re: Qigong
Qigong is great for health. And I don't know of a better way to warm up before exercising, any type of exercising. If I was going to run a marathon, I'd want to warm up with qigong. If I was going to wrestle or box or otherwise spar, I'd want to warm up with qigong. If I was sick, I'd want to do qigong exercises.

When I was doing aikido we began every class with a 20-minute qigong routine, and everyone in the class, not just me, felt rejuvenated and ready to go. We all felt the flow of energy that defies Western understanding. It ain't the ordinary flow of blood that we all feel after jumping jacks and jump roping. Qigong gets your chi energy flowing. Our Western culture unfortunately has no word for it.

Anyone who has ever practiced an "internal" martial art knows that ki/chi energy is real. Anyone who is a Christian knows who made that energy -- God made it. Believing that chi is real no more violates the First Commandment than does believing that Excedrin will take away my headache.

Those who criticize qigong, chi, and Eastern medicine, are either ignorant or foolish, or both. I maintain that Eastern medicine is more biblical than Western medicine. I believe this because Western medicine views the human body, and all of creation, as a big modular machine to be fixed and replaced with scalpals, and tubes, and artificial chemicals that have harmful side effects. In Western medicine, my body is no more sacred than an automobile. Parts is parts, and the sterile chemistry lab will invent some new potion to fix the problem caused in part by my reliance on last year's potion. Am I lying? No, I am not lying. In stark contrast, Eastern medicine operates under the belief that the human body is a single unit, not a conglomerate of modules, with a life energy flowing through it. In biblical terms, that life energy is our spirit, breathed into Man's body by God in Genesis 2. Eastern medicine believes that the human body was designed to interact with and live off nature. This comports with Genesis 1-2, wherein God made nature to serve and meet the needs of the human race. Eastern medicine believes that plants, a proper diet, and the inner energy of the body can heal us. Again, this ties into to Genesis, wherein God put absolutely everything that the human race needed inside the Garden of Eden.

So, qigong is as "Christian" as anything else. It agrees with the Bible. It does not violate the Bible. If your Christian friends want to see "occultic," they should take a closer look at the Man-centered philosophy of the Western world.

Here's an amusing game to play with someone's mind: Ask your Christian friends why they believe the Earth goes around the sun. Truth is, there is no scientific basis for insisting that the Earth moves. All of the math, all of the physics, can go either way. We could just as well put my house at the center, and have the universe circle my house. Really. I know of what I speak. Furthermore, a strict, literal, word-for-word reading of the Bible has the Earth standing still. Hmmm. Are your Christian friends being occultic when they believe the Western scientists who insist that the Earth orbits the sun? Something for them to think about. Maybe we Americans don't like qigong and other aspects of Oriental medicine because we are sheep allowing ourselves to be blindly led hither and tho by atheists. It's something to think about.

I don't mean to be ranting. Sorry. Some things I have opinions about, and you did ask for an educated opinion.  

Date: 12/7/00 07:12:43 PM
Name: John R. Himes


Subject: Re: Re: Qigong
The first form I teach is a short Shaolin breathing form that is a form of qigong ("ch'i kung" in Wade-Giles romanization). Through it I teach proper breathing from the diaphragm, proper stance (rooting and sinking), and what we call "body state," or a relaxed and ready posture. However, I distinctly oppose the view that we have some sort of energy field in our body that we can cultivate by qigong. That is a Taoist view that I do not accept anymore than I accept the Taoist view that there are five elements (metal, wood, water, fire and earth) or that there is no God in the universe but only an impersonal energy called "tao" ("the way").

Scott, does this make me "ignorant or foolish"? I beg you to tone down your rhetoric and reconsider your opinion here. The only proof that you give for your position is one verse (Gen. 2:7) and the fact that you "felt the flow of energy that defies Western understanding." I submit that feelings are not enough on which to take a position, and that Westerners can understand your energy feelings perfectly well by calling them adrenalin.

I'm going to append here an article I wrote for my column in the April 2000 edition of the "GMAU Journal." Please note that this article is copyrighted by the Gospel Martial Arts Union, and it would be illegal and unethical to use it without permission.

John R. Himes

"The View From Mount Fuji"
by John R. Himes


Get ready for a shock. The word Chinese word "chi" ("qi" in Pinyan romanization, "ki" in Japanese) means "breath, air, vapor, flavor." ("Chinese", by H. R. Williamson. Kent: Hodder and Stoughton Paperbacks, 1947. P. 41) Hmm, that's strange. I thought it meant inner strength, or maybe some unknown substance that flows through my body on meridians as yet undiscovered by Western science. At least those are the definitions given by the masters of various Asian martial arts.

Linguists often determine a word's exact meaning by its actual current usage by average people. Let's check the word "chi" out in the most commonly used Chinese Bible, the Union Version of 1919. We find there that, indeed, the Chinese character for chi occurs meaning "breath" in Gen. 2:7, "air" in Job 41:16, as part of a compound for "breath" in Acts 17:25, as part of a compound for "air" in 1 Cor. 9:26. This last compound word is used also in Japanese for "air", though a different character is normally used in Japanese for breath. It is obvious that the normal meaning of chi is simply "air!"

So how in the world did chi/ki come to mean "inner power" in the martial arts? The only answer is that it came from Taoism (Daoism). This is a Chinese philosophy first expounded in the 4th century BC by Lao Tzu in his book, "Tao Te Ching." However,
"Taoism also developed on a popular level as a cult in which immortality was sought through magic and the use of various elixirs. Experimentation in alchemy gave way to the development, between the 3rd and 6th centuries, of various hygiene cults that sought to prolong life. These developed into a general hygiene system (called "chi kung"–JRH), still practiced, that stresses regular breathing and concentration to prevent disease and promote longevity." ("Taoism," Microsoft® Encarta® 97 Encyclopedia. © 1993-1996 Microsoft Corporation. [CD-ROM] All rights reserved.)

Again, Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming says, "Many Chinese believe that everything in the universe has its own energy field–every animal and plant, and even inanimate objects like rocks. Living things have a particularly strong energy field circulating through them." ("Tai Chi Theory and Martial Power". Jamaica Plain, Mass.: YMAA Publication Center, 1996. P. 27.)

So how did the term "chi" come to mean "inner strength" in some martial arts? The answer is that Taoists founded various Chinese martial arts, chief of these being the three so-called "internal arts" of Tai Chi Chuan, Pa Kua and Hsing I. These Taoist martial artists incorporated their view of air (chi) into their training. In particular, they believed that the air was filled with a special kind of energy that was the substance of the universe. If only they could tap this power they would be invincible! This is similar to the old, disproved notion that space was full of an unknown substance called "ether"!

How then does a Taoist martial artist tap into this chi energy? According to Robert Smith, "The chi is breathed in and combines with the ching in the tan-tien, thus creating heat. The inspired chi...thus becomes yuan-chi, an electrical substance, which travels through the blood vessels and enters the bone structure through the sacrum." (Chinese Boxing: Masters and Methods, Tokyo: Kodansha, 1974. P. 34) You get the picture: lots of mysticism is involved.

Many Chinese do not believe in the Taoist version of things. To them chi is simply air. For that matter, not all masters of the internal martial arts believe in chi. Robert Smith mentions one such man: "Chou (Chou Ch'i-Ch'un) believed differently about chi. He believed it was simply air, not energy. Skill and technique, not chi, were the important things." (Ibid, p. 84) Significantly, Smith also mentions several other teachers who believed in chi but taught that it only came through long and hard practice.

If you still believe that there is a mysterious internal energy that a martial artist can harness to increase his fighting ability, I do not condemn you for that. I simply urge you to acknowledge that this view comes from a Taoist world view and not a Christian one. Please think through carefully the implications of your position. Please also remember the words of Paul to the Colossians: "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." (Col. 2:8)  

Date: 12/12/00 11:45:18 AM
Name: Scott


Subject: Yes, qigong can be Christian
Intelligent minds may differ. Believing a lie doesn’t make it true, but denying a truth won’t make
it false. For many topics, we won’t really know the truth until we’re talking face-to-face with
Jesus in heaven. I have a biblical reason for believing chi energy is real. First, though, a little
background analysis is needed.

The only argument against chi energy that I have ever heard or read anywhere, by anyone, at any
time, goes like this (simplified): “The idea of chi came from some non-Christian Taoist monks in
China a long time ago. Taoists continue to promote chi still today. Taoism is bad. Therefore, chi
is bad.” This argument is invalid. “Invalid” is a technical term that means the conclusion does not
follow from the hypotheses. The word “invalid” refers only to the structure of the argument, not
to the content. It’s a truth of logic that when the structure of an argument is bad, the conclusion
cannot be trusted. (I am a mathematician. Forgive me if I seem nitpicky.)

Any argument that address the origin of chi and the religious beliefs of its promulgators, but does
not address the substance of chi, is necessarily invalid. Why? Because the origin of chi and the
religious beliefs of its promulgators are a “so what.” The character of the inventor does not speak
to the capabilities of his invention. The religion of a discoverer does not speak to the attributes of
his discovery. The Boy Who Cried Wolf didn’t always lie. Dr. Laura is overtly Jewish but she says
the right thing show after show after show after show.

If one were to draw Venn diagrams of the numerous world views, the circles would ALL overlap
somewhere. There is overlap between the world views because each one contains some amount of
truth. Narrowing the scope from world view down to religion, all religions -- Taoism, Judaism,
Hinduism, Moslem, Buddhism, etc. -- all of them contain some truth. To conclude that a
particular belief is false merely because it originated in a false world view or a false religion, is
illogical. It is invalid. It is an untenable conclusion. As for Taoism in particular, I would say it’s
Venn diagram overlaps about 90% with Christianity. Lao Tzu and other Taoist scholars down
through the centuries wrote a lot of the same thoughts (that is, they wrote a lot of the same
truths) recorded in our very own Christian Bible.

What does this mean? It means that we should never discount a foreign idea merely because it fits
inside a foreign world view, or a foreign religion. We need another reason, a valid reason, for
discounting the idea. Further analysis might actually reveal that the denounced teaching is part of
our very own world view. And in fact, foreign world views have led atheists and other
non-Christians to invent, discover, and promote many things that true Christians believe in and
utilize. Even Taoist priests invented and discovered many things that Christians believe in. They
did so in their search to understand natural laws, because their world view -- just like our
Christian world view -- predicts the existence of natural laws. Some of the things Taoists
scientists invented under the influence of their flawed world view are: Newton’s First Law (F =
ma), the circulation of blood, kites, hang gliders (developed and flown to learn and work with
natural laws), the hot-air balloon, the helicopter rotor, parachutes, the compass, the difference
between true and magnetic north, hermetically sealed research laboratories, the decimal system,
the calculator, the mechanical clock, movable type, primitive movie projectors, the spinning
wheel, the fishing reel, the chain drive, the belt drive, the suspension bridge, the canal pound-lock,
drilling for natural gas, sunglasses, waterproof clothing, gunpowder, wallpaper, toilet paper,
tissues, paper money, porcelain, lacquer, phosphorescent paint, tuned bells, equal temperament in
music ... the list goes on. These were LATER independently invented or discovered in Europe.
What’s my point? My point is that 1) heathens can discover truth too, and 2) Taoism, despite it’s
flaws, leads to a lot of truth. In addition to “scientific” truths, Taoism leads to some good moral
and ethical results, including peace on earth, good will toward men, the Golden Rule, ecology,
two-partent families, and heterosexuality. We Christians believe and promote these very same

Unfortunately, European scientists, and their descendants in America, did not develop or
promulgate the belief that science, morality, and spirituality must go together. In the Western
view, science and spirituality do not and can not mix. Not so in China. In the Taoist view, science
without ethical and spiritual considerations is incomplete. It is madness even. They are equal parts
of greater whole. Which view, either science with religion or science without religion, would the
physician and Gospel writer Luke would take? Which view would the Apostle John take? I assert
they would both agree in principle with the Taoist scientists, not with the Western scientists. I
assert that all of the Bible writers, for that matter, would say that science and religion should, yea
must, complement one another.

The question Marc Paine asked is whether chi energy is legitimate. Some of his Christian friends
are telling him that chi is occultic, and therefore he should shun chi. Since we can’t see, touch,
taste, smell, or hear chi, and since the Bible does not outright say “chi energy is good,” we must
look for indirect evidence of its existence and use. This is valid. We can’t see, touch, taste, smell,
or hear electricity either, and electricity is not mentioned in the Bible, but we nonetheless believe
it exists, and we believe it is good. Why? Because electricity, somehow, fuels our lightbulbs and
computers. Since chi energy allegedly circulates through the human body, the appropriate field of
inquiry is human medicine. Let’s compare:

On the one side, we have Chinese/Eastern Medicine (naturopathy, herbal remedies, acupuncture,
acupressure, and qigong), predicated upon a belief in the circulation of chi throughout the body.
Chinese medical books from the 3rd century BC are still used today -- the year 2000 -- because
the information and remedies contained therein are accurate and useful. In other words, medical
knowledge based upon an assumption of chi energy has not been outdated after 2300+ years of
further research, discovery, and practice. The actual practice of Chinese medicine goes back even
further than that, some say as far back as 5000 BC. Amazing. For literally thousands of years
people have been cured of illnesses and have maintained good health following the very same
“modern” chi-centered medical remedies and internal martial arts practiced today. Maybe that’s
not conclusive evidence that chi energy exists, but it’s absolutely conclusive evidence that the
remedies work, and it strongly suggests the existence of chi. Adding to this plentiful empirical
record my own first-hand experiences -- things I actually have felt and seen with my own physical
senses -- I become 100% certain that chi energy is real. But, I shant be hasty. Let’s look at the
other side.

On the other side of the scale we have Western Medicine. It is only a few hundred years old, but
disregarding the age difference, Western Medicine cannot brag of any pedigree at all, because
Western Medicine changes every single year. Our doctors can’t even rely on books written 60
years ago, let alone 100 or 300 years ago, because too many of the “facts” therein are no longer
“facts.” Any historian of science (such as my brother, a Ph.D. candidate of the History and
Philosophy of Science) could quickly list dozens of “scientific facts” once believed and taught in
Europe and the USA, but now shunned, scoffed, and denied as mistakes and falsehoods. This is
not evidence that chi energy doesn’t exist. On the contrary, it is substantial and undeniable
evidence that Western science doesn’t understand the world. Western doctors are still struggling
with bronchitus, influenza, and the common cold. Herbalists solved these problems ages ago,
without side effects, but no one listened. The villagers stopped listening to The Little Boy Who
Cried Wolf after only three lies. Western medical “scholars” have made more mistakes than that.
Call me silly, but I don’t rely on people who keep changing their tune. I’m a skeptic.

In an effort to explain an Eastern concept in Western terms, people have suggested that maybe chi
energy is really adrenaline. I have not known adrenaline to calm the body, but I admit that human
physiology is not my expertise. I’m a mathematician, not a biologist. Perhaps they know
something that I don’t. But, if chi energy actually is adrenaline, then I think we should amend as
necessary our Western text books to state the “fact” that adrenaline both excites and calms the
body. (That sounds like a yin-yang duality, which is a Taoist concept!) On the other hand, maybe,
just maybe, millions upon millions of tai chi and qigong practitioners, present and past, throughout
the centuries, could feel a recognizable difference between adrenaline energy and chi energy.
Maybe. I certainly think so.

Now for short a biblical argument. There is no Bible verse specifically and clearly addressing the
question of chi energy, but there are many passages that conform to the idea underlying chi and
Chinese medicine. Chi energy and plant remedies are inseparable aspects of Chinese medicine. The
pertinent Bible verses include, but are not limited to: Gen 1:26-31, wherein God announces that
Man will rule over all the animals, and may eat all the plants on earth. “I give you every plant to
use as food,” said God (summarizing). This means that God designed the world such that all of
Man’s physical needs can be met through one plant or another. Then we move to Gen 2:7 wherein
Adam was animated not by a command of God, as the plants and animals were, but instead Adam
was animated by a breath, the “breath of life.” As John Himes rightly pointed out, the literal
translation of “chi” is “breath.” Then we move to Lev 26:3-26, wherein God announces to Israel
that if they follow his way (isn’t this like the Tao?) then they will have rain and abundant food and
all-around prosperity. If instead they stray too far from God’s path, then they will have drought
and famine and uncontrollable wild beasts and all-around misery. This suggests that Man and
nature are connected on some level, the connection being conformity to God’s plan. This also
suggests, through a carrot-and-stick mold, that God would rather we live in harmony with nature
as set forth in Genesis. The unwritten but plain-as-day message in Leviticus is that we were
designed to use nature to meet our physical needs, in concert with -- together with -- our spiritual
walk with God. Then we move to Psalm 8, where Man’s status is reinforced as ruler over all the
animals and “everything” God made. Again, the idea is that God designed us to live in harmony
with creation. The clear message is that all of our physical needs can be met through something in
nature. Then we move to Psalm 16:11, and find Taoism in a nutshell. Wow, who would have
thought we’d find that! Then we move to Psalm 23 - green pastures, quiet waters, oils, plenty of
food. The same idea is being repeated, and that is, if Man will follow God’s path then all of his
physical needs will be met through nature. Then we move to Psalm 24 and learn unequivocally
that “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” If the earth is the Lord’s, and if Man is his most
precious creation (I submit the Easter crucifixion and resurrection to prove that latter hypothesis),
then doesn’t it make sense that God designed the two to work together? Doesn’t it make sense
that all of Man’s physical needs can be met through something growing somewhere on the earth,
if only Man will follow after God’s heart? I assert that it does. Then we move to Zech 14:16-17,
and learn that at some future time, when the Kingdom of God is established, that those nations
which don’t celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles will not get rain. We’ve seen this idea before. As
long as Man follows God’s path, then God will see to it that nature serves him (Man). That was
the original design of creation. That was Genesis. But if Man strays too far from God’s path, then
nature will fight him, and God will see to it that nature wins. That was Leviticus. Then we move
to John 1:1-14, and we see a holistic, even Taoist universe. “Through him all things were made”
and “that life was the light of men” and “he was in the world, [and] though the world was made
through him” and “children born of God.” Huh? And what does it mean that “the Word became
flesh”? You can’t get any more ORIENTAL than John’s Gospel! This is not Western philosophy.
This is not Western science. This is not Western medicine. John wrote pure Oriental philosophy
that conforms beautifully with the concept of Eastern medicine and chi energy. Then we come to
John 14:6 and Acts 9:2, and we find that Jesus himself, the Son of God, took for himself the name
“Tao” (literally “Way”), and identified himself as the same “way/path” of God so often referenced
in the Old Testament.

What does this all mean? This does not conclusively prove that chi energy is real. Rather, it
conclusively proves that the philosophy underlying Eastern medicine and chi energy conforms
with biblical truths. The foundation for chi energy, that our life energy is a “breath of life” affected
by the food we eat, is, at the very least, theologically neutral. I assert more than that. I assert that
it is theologically accurate. We can embrace the Eastern medical evidences supporting chi energy
with a clean conscience. “No fear” say the t-shirts.

In summary, my argument is this: First, it doesn’t matter who came up with idea of chi. Truth
transcends. Second, we have this “black box” machine called the human body. We don’t know
how it works. We come up with a theory explaining how it works. (“Chi makes it work.”). We
come up with some ways to test this theory. (“If we do this and that, then the result, assuming chi
exists, will be such and such.”) We go forth and test the theory for about 2500 years straight. The
theory holds. We conclude what? We logically conclude that the theory is correct, and we don’t
need to test it anymore. Third, we look for alternative and, hopefully, simpler theories regarding
the function of this black box. (“Chi energy is bogus. There’s got to be a logical physical science
explanation for how the body works.”) We stumble around, we have halting starts, we make some
progress at times, but after several centuries of careful and diligent study we really have no
reliable evidence one way or the other. We’re just as confused as when we started. We conclude
what? Well, in “Christian” America we usually conclude that we need to spend more money on
further research, because we don’t like to admit mistakes. But in my house we conclude that
those crazy Taoists weren’t entirely stupid. Fourth, after a few years of external martial arts, I
decide to test this chi theory myself through aikido, qigong, a short course on tai chi, the
macrobiotic diet, herbal supplements, and chiropractic care. I feel the energy. I say to myself,
“Something is happening when I do this stuff.” Fifth, being wary of occultic dopplegangers, I, we,
double-check everything against the Bible. We read Genesis, the Law, the Prophets, the Psalms,
and the Gospels. Throughout the Bible, from beginning to end, we see holistic and naturopathic
descriptions of the interaction between Man, nature, and God. We read that Man was born in a
different way than the animals and plants. Animals and plants became alive when God commanded
life through his mighty Word. In contrast, Man became alive when God breathed -- BREATHED
-- into him. Put all these together, and we conclude that chi energy (literally “breath” energy) is
not such a crazy idea after all. Chi energy and the foundational concepts behind Chinese medicine
rationally fit within the four corners of our Christian Bible.

No, I’m not Chinese. I’m American, from European descent. 

Date: 12/14/00 01:47:49 AM
Name: John R. Himes


Subject: Re: Yes, qigong can be Christian
Thanks, Scott, that's much better. Now I don't feel like an ignorant fool for disagreeing with you! Unfortunately, this week I am extremely busy and don't have time to answer your long treatise as it deserves. Hopefully early next week I can get to it. However, I would like clarification on several important points so that I can answer you fairly and accurately. (1) What is your definition of chi? I'm not sure I can pin this down from what you've written except that it is inner energy from breath. Is that an accurate statement to you? (2) In your view, what does chi do for the martial artist? Or to put it another way, what can a martial artist do with chi that he could not do without it?

Marc, I'm looking forward to reading your views on chi, also. From your website and the forum, you look to be a sensible, thoughtful type.

While I await Scott's answers, I am going to append another of my articles from the "GMAU Journal" to show that Asians do not have a monolithic view of chi. In general, Japanese people (except for most, not all, Aikido people) do not hold the Taoist view of chi (nor do Koreans or Thais, to my knowledge). My view is much closer to the Japanese view than the Taoist view in that if I am forced to used the word chi I will use it to describe a wide variety of phenomena rather than a single energy. Along this line, please note the excellent definition at the end of the article by my good friend Dr. Kent Haralson (9th Dan Chairman of the GMAU), who is by no means foolish or ignorant.

A Linguistic Look at Ki
by John R. Himes
(NOTE: This material is copyright by the GMAU)

The first game of the 1999 Japan Series is beginning and I'm rooting for the Hawks. Their manager, Sadaharu Oh, is a walking inspiration. A Chinese-Japanese, he holds the record for home runs for all of professional baseball at 868 dingers. Part of his original training regime was swinging a samurai sword! Okay, Noguchi, the Dragon's pitcher, is glaring at Muramatsu, the Hawks batter. The announcer says, "Kiai ga haitte iru, ne," which means, "He's got his ‘kiai' into it, isn't he?"
The average American martial artist will be surprised that the word "kiai," usually translated as "spirit shout," is very commonly used in all of Japanese culture, not just the martial arts. The word literally means "ki meeting," and only the martial arts use this word for a shout. It normally means concentration or perhaps energetic style. I have heard lovely Christian ladies at camp relay races saying, "Put your kiai into it!" In fact, in a TV program showcasing young singers recently, the voice teacher of one used the same phrase for her girl's solo!
I had a great feeling of culture shock in 1981 when I learned how to say "How are you?" from my tutor. The phrase is, "Ogenki desu ka?" meaning, "Do you have your original ki?" The truth is, as I learned later at the prestigious Tokyo School of the Japanese Language, there are many Japanese idioms and compound words with the Chinese character "ki" in them. "Put out your ki" means, "Be careful." "It becomes ki" means, "It bothers me." "Don't make it ki" means, "Don't let it bother you." The list goes on and on.
Let's think linguistically. Most Western martial artists think of ki as some kind of special internal energy. Are they right? Let's learn what Japanese dictionaries say about ki. Let's start with the huge "Kenkyusha's New Japanese-English Dictionary" (4th Edition; Tokyo, 1974), edited by Koh Matsuda. Its definitions of ki are: "(1) spirit; (a) mind; (a) heart. (2) a mind; an intention; will. (3) one's feelings; a mood; (a) humor; (a) frame of mind. (4) a nature; (a) disposition. (5) care; precaution; attention. (6) atmosphere; gas; vapor. (7) ether; essence; spirit; breath. (8) flavor; savor; smell; fume."
Well, that didn't sound too good for the internal energy theory, did it? Let's try a strictly Japanese dictionary, then. I have no time to translate the entire page of tiny Japanese script so I'll cut to the chase. The first definition says, "A changing, flowing natural phenomenon. Or, the substance that causes that natural phenomenon." ("Kokugo Daijiten," Shogakukan Publ.; Tokyo, 1982, p. 602) Sub-definition (3) under that says, "The universal energy (or spirit) that causes all things to grow."
Now we're getting somewhere, right? Wrong! That definition is actually a Taoist concept from China that never got very far in Japan. The truth is almost all Japanese I've used the term "Taoist" with were ignorant of that philosophy. The same is true of the idea of ki as a specific kind of internal energy. The Japanese don't think of it that way, but more as a general force of life developed by hard practice and positive attitude.
But don't Japanese martial artists think differently than the actual citizen? Sorry, but very seldom is that true. None of the four books in Japanese on Karate that I have discuss ki at all except for brief mentions of kiai. The same is no doubt true for Judo, Kendo, Iaido, etc. I don't know enough about Aikido to comment on it, except to say that its founder, Morihei Ueshiba, spent many years in China before founding his art, and therefore no doubt had his concept of ki from Taoism and possibly the Pa Kua style of internal kung fu. ("The Power of Internal Martial Arts", by B. K. Frantzis. North Atlantic Books, Berkeley: 1998, p. 118.) According to B. K. Frantzis, who trained both under Ueshiba and in China, "In Japanese history, there was no martial art to compare to it, and no one else in Japan could do anything like it." (Frantzis, ibid)
To sum things up, Dr. Kent Haralson's definition is the best one I've seen of the Japanese view of ki: "The cumulative energy to be gained by developing the spiritual, mental and physical elements of the human being." ("Ki/Chi Power and the Christian." GMAU, 1992, p. 36) I'll deal with the Chinese idea of ki (chi), which can be very different, in a future article.
There is an application here for the Christian life. "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment." (Mark 12:30) If your ki represents the cumulative energy of your life, then you need to commit it entirely to the Lord to be used by Him.  

Date: 12/16/00 01:59:28 PM
Name: Scott


Subject: Re: Re: Yes, qigong can be Christian
> (1) What is your definition of chi?
> I'm not sure I can pin this down from
> what you've written except that it is
> inner energy from breath. Is that an
> accurate statement to you?
You ask what I think chi is, as opposed to what other people have told me about chi. I
think chi is the “Innate” that chiropractors talk about. The chiropractic mantra is that,
“The power that made the body heals the body.” And it’s a true saying. Well, what was
the power that made the body? The broad answer is that it was God’s creative power. The
more specific answer is the “breath of life” in Genesis 2:7. I think chi is the breath of life. I
think chi is the power that both animates and heals the body. I think chi is what makes life,
“life.” In my view, chi is part physical and part spiritual. It’s a go-between connecting our
bodies with our spirits, but chi itself is not one or the other. Chi is physical in that it
animates and heals our bodies. But at the same time, it is spiritual because it came directly
from God, not from the earthen dust from which God made Adam’s body. I do not believe
that plants, animals, or inanimate objects have chi. Only humans have chi. (And I suppose
that God does too, but that is not relevant here.)

Chi therefore sets us apart from the animals. But so does art. Yes, art. I need to say a
word about art. There is a difference between poems that I have written in school, and the
poems Shakespeare wrote. There is a difference between how I play a piano, and how
Elton John plays a piano. There is a difference between how I play basketball, and how
Michael Jordan played basketball. There is a difference between paintings I have made in
school, and the paintings of Andrew Wyeth. The difference in all these cases, and more, is
“art.” We all know art when we see it or hear it. On the fringes people may argue and
debate about whether something is art, and different people may prefer the works of
different artists. Through it all, though, we unanimously agree that some people do art,
and some don’t. And by-and-large we all agree upon who does.

I ask, why do we do it? That is, why do we make art? I submit that we make art -- and
that we appreciate art -- because it was programmed into us. Art in all its forms stimulates
us deep inside, in a visceral way, through at least one of our five senses. The stimulation
cannot easily be explained, and I have no word for it, but it is always immediately felt by
every one of us. Music, for example, stimulates us through the sense of hearing. Paintings
touch us at exactly the same point, but through the sense of vision. Dance stimulates that
exact same spot deep inside us, but it does so through the sense of touch and sometimes
the sense of vision. Every art form hits that “something” deep inside us. I submit that that
“something,” for which I have no name, is what makes us human. Because I observe it to
be universal and instinctual, and to have no purpose other than pleasure, I conclude that it
cannot be natural in the sense of natural versus supernatural. It did not evolve because it
doesn’t fit the paradigm of natural evolution. [This is one of many reasons why I do not
believe in evolution.] There simply and factually is no point to art with respect to “survival
of the fittest.” And if this “art part” has no natural purpose, then it is not entirely physical.
It has to be spiritual, at least in part.

For a further description of this eternal art component I searched the Bible, because
through observation alone I could not learn enough about it. From several passages I
found a distinction between soul and spirit. I believe that humans have both a soul and a
spirit, but that animals have only a soul. I believe our “art part” is in our spirit rather than
in our soul because animals are not observed to recognize nor appreciate any form of art,
not even of an animal sort. Another reason I connect art to Man’s spirit is that art was a
form a worship in the Old Testament. It’s through our spirit, not through our soul or our
brain, that we communicate with God. Look at the elaborate and detailed designs for the
Temple, and all the paraphernalia - lamps, stands, altars, dishes, gilded walls, robes, etc.
God was directing sculpture, and patterns, and colors. God was directing art. And there’s
King David dancing to and for God. And those Psalms, which are really songs and poems.

More about art in the next question.

> (2) In your view, what does chi
> do for the martial artist? Or to
> put it another way, what can a
> martial artist do with chi that he
> could not do without it?
We all have chi. You’re really asking about the martial artist who develops his chi.

Chi is what put “art” in martial arts. Without chi, it’s just people clomping around a dojo,
like wooden soldiers. Or maybe it’s a cockfight with humans instead of roosters.

We’ve all seen good dancing, and bad dancing. Good dancing is The Riverdance and Fred
Astaire and Gregory Hines. Bad dancing is the annual Nutcracker performed by
nine-year-olds. (This is not a slam on children. I adore children. I have a 4-year-old
daughter, and I hope that she wants to take ballet in a few years. But if you’ve watched
children perform, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, imagine Al Gore in a
ballet.) What’s the difference? They’re doing the same thing, basically. Is the difference
merely that the professionals jump higher, or keep a better rhythm, or never flop their
arms? That may be part of it, but that’s not all. There is unquestionably something else,
something more. The difference is something intangible, yet clearly discernible. We all
discern it, whether we have a name for it or not. The difference, I submit, is ART.

And the difference, I submit, is CHI. Why chi? First, because that same something, that
same “art” that I see in professional dancers, I also see in good martial artists. I see it
when someone does a kata just right. I see it when someone demonstrates a new sequence
of techniques just right. I see it when someone performs on someone -- whether a willing
partner or not -- a sequence of techniques just right. I see it when two partners perform a
drill on each other, back and forth, just right. And, I FEEL it. I feel like a dancer when I’m
doing arnis flow drills just right. My partner feels it too. Together we feel the creativity,
and the rush of free expression, that dancers and the late Bruce Lee talk about. It’s the
same thing, what I’m doing and what dancers are doing. The same. But, you know what?
Sometimes I also feel chi. This is the second prong of my argument. The very same chi
that I feel when I do qigong or tai chi, I sometimes feel when I’m “dancing” in martial arts
class. It’s the same. You might think it’s just adrenaline, but I know the difference
between adrenaline and chi. I have experienced adrenaline on many occasions, and it’s not
the same thing as what I label chi.

Ergo, chi and my “art part” coincide. When I’m doing art, I feel chi. When I see other
people who believe in chi doing art in the dojo, they tell me that they feel the chi flowing
too. Thus, I assert that chi is what puts “art” in martial arts. Take away chi, and you just
have grade-school Nutcracker. Or Al Gore doing the Nutcracker.

You don’t have to acknowledge chi to have it or to use it. Atheists don’t acknowledge
God, but yet you and I both believe that God is real.

I wrote my answer before reading your GMAU article regarding the Japanese definition of
“ki,” so as to not spoil my answer. After reading your article, I’m not surprised by the lack
of clear meaning in the word. English does not have a word for “chi” at all, yet we’ve all
seen this, this ... this thing that I described. My definition most closely matches “(7) ether;
essence; spirit; breath. (8) flavor; savor.”

I have some familiarity with aikido and Taoism, and yes, I would say that Ueshiba’s
concept of ki, and his entire world view for that matter, is very similar to that in Taoism.  

Date: 12/18/00 11:19:28 PM
Name: John R. Himes


Subject: Re: Re: Re: Yes, qigong can be Christian
Scott has given a wonderful definition and explanation of chi! I'm delighted! He is making me think, and I love people who make me think. Especially important are his points on the connection between chi and art. I've not read anything so good on art from a Christian viewpoint since "Art and the Bible," by the great philosopher/theologian Francis Schaeffer. That is a genuine compliment from the heart, Scott.

However, after the great buildup on Taoism being the fountainhead of chi teaching, Scott's view is not based on Taoism at all, it is from the Bible! In his post answering my questions, he talks about the "‘breath of life' in Genesis 2:7", he talks about the Biblical doctrine of trichotomy (that we are composed of spirit, soul and body), and God as a Creator (especially of the "art part" in us–I love that phrase, Scott!). On the other hand, in this post he does not even mention Taoism until he mentions Ueshiba at the end. Why? As soon as you put the discussion of chi in the context of the Bible, you are opposing Taoism.

Let's consider some things from Scott's long treatise on Taoism. First of all, I was dumbstruck by his statement, "As for Taoism in particular, I would say it's Venn diagram overlaps about 90% with Christianity. Lao Tzu and other Taoist scholars down through the centuries wrote a lot of the same thoughts (that is, they wrote a lot of the same truths) recorded in our very own Christian Bible." Forgive me, Scott, but this statement makes me doubt that you have more than a surface knowledge of Taoism. All I can think of is that you are mistaking the "wisdom" (a technical term in theology meaning the teaching of a religion for success in daily life) of Taoism and the Bible (the wisdom literature of the Bible is: Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, some of the statements of Jesus, etc.) for the doctrines of the two faiths.

Please consider Taoism. I'm going to leave aside for the moment that fact that it is a religion of idolatry, which is an abomination to God. (If you want your heart broken, come meet me in Japan where I have lived since 1981, and watch with me children bowing and praying to a "jizo" child-Buddha statue.) From my understanding of traditional Taoism, major doctrines include: the Tao ("way") as an all-pervasive power in the universe, yin and yang (untranslatable), wu wei (literally, "no action"), the five elements theory of cosmology, etc. Popular Taoism includes the idolatrous worship of deities such as the Jade Emperor, Lao Tzu himself, etc., and the use of the "I Ching" for divination. None of these are found anywhere in the Bible, though I admit that "yin and yang" has certain applications for balance in our lives. (See the GMAU pamphlet, "Yin and Yang: for the Christian Martial Artist," by my old kung fu buddy Dr. Michael McClure.)

Let's look at a more modern brand of Taoism. At the Western Reformed Taoism ( website we find that they: do not oppose abortion or euthanasia, believe in evolution, do not believe in a personal God or the concept of a messiah, do not believe in sin, believe that all religions are equal, do not believe in prayer, accept homosexuality ("The only unnatural love is an oppressed (or repressed) one."), etc.

Compare these things to our beloved faith. Nowhere in any version of Taoism are the most precious beliefs of our faith: the existence of a personal, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, holy and loving God; the Trinity (especially God as a loving Father); the incarnation of the God-man, Jesus Christ; his sacrificial death and atonement for our sins; His resurrection (or any resurrection, for that matter); His second coming, etc.

As I said in my article on "The Chinese View of Chi," if you want to give the Taoists credit and use their terminology, I don't condemn you. I simply urge you to think through carefully what you are doing. I believe that there is real danger for a Christian martial artist embracing and acknowledging the Taoist viewpoint.

Further, I doubt seriously Scott's rosy view of Taoism as being so great for China. For example, how does he know all those inventions were by Taoists? Why could they not have been by Buddhists, Confucianists, the Moslems of North China, or worshiper of Shang Ti? (Shang Ti was the original, monotheistic God of China, predating the other religions mentioned here.) For that matter, is Scott aware that Nestorian Christianity had a strong presence in China for hundreds of years beginning in the 7th century? Why could not some of those inventions have been by Nestorian Christians? Please be aware that there is much illusion in Asia. What you read in America about Asian countries may not be true, but may simply be "face-saving" lies. (Example: the "rickshaw" was invented by a Baptist missionary to Yokohama, not by a Japanese as they will tell you.)

The truth is, Christians have done far more for the good of mankind than all the other religions combined. I don't have time to develop this theme, so I'll direct you to one of the best books I've ever read on apologetics, "What if Jesus had Never Been Born?" by Dr. D. James Kennedy. Suffice it to say that in most of Asia, China included, infant mortality, blindness, leprosy, short life spans, etc., were very prevalent until the coming of the Christian missionary force, of which I am a part (and I am incredibly grateful to God for that privilege.) In China in particular, foot-binding oppressed most women, girl babies were often killed after birth (still are), democracy didn't exist, all foreigners were called "foreign devil," and many Chinese and foreign Christians were butchered by Taoists in the Boxer Rebellion.

Having said these things, I do not believe that you are demon possessed or influenced by demons if you come from the Taoist viewpoint. In the context of Marc's original question, I don't even believe that doing Qigong in a Taoist regimen will always open you up to such difficulties. I believe the primary danger is a different one, that of glorifying Man and not God. We are commanded in Scripture, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:31).

Let me quote from the great Chinese pastor, theologian and martyr, Watchman Nee, who did know about Qigong: "The ascetic practices of the Buddhists, the breathing and abstract meditation of the Taoists . . . and all the varieties of meditations, contemplations, concentrated thought to no thought at all, hundreds of similar actions which people practice, follow the same rule–however varied their knowledge and faith may be. What all do is nothing more than bring man's external confused thought, wavy emotion, and weak will to a place of tranquillity, with his flesh completely subdued, hence making possible the release of the soul's latent power. The reason this is not manifested in every person is because not all can break through the barriers of the flesh and bring all common psychic expressions to perfect calmness." (Watchman Nee, "The Latent Power of the Soul," New York: Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc., 1972, p. 30).

Essentially what Watchman Nee is saying in this tremendous book is that we, as humans, are made in the image of God and thus have incredible potential. However, rather than depending on our human potential we should live for the glory of God and depend on His power.

Frankly, I think that we can give glory to God with if we credit Him with our inner strength. I prefer the term "internal energy" to "chi/ki/qi," based on Ephesians 3:16 in the Bible: "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man." My internal energy comes from God, and I view it in particular as being self-control given by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). With this self-control comes muscular control, pain control and pain reaction control, the grace of movement that Scott talked about, breath control, etc. With God's strength (and a knowledge of physics and body mechanics) I have done many of the so-called "chi" stunts: the "unbendable arm," the bed of nails, the arrow to the throat (I used to use a genuine hunting arrow), the one-inch punch, etc. Why should I give credit for these things to Taoism? I much prefer to glorify God. "Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight." (Ps. 144:1)

Having said that you are not necessarily demon-possessed or influenced if you practice Qigong from a Taoist viewpoint, I do believe that pursuing the powers of Taoist Chi (qi, ki) over a lifetime can lead to serious spiritual trouble. One example is Morihei Ueshiba himself. I refer you to "Three Budo Masters," by John Stevens (Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1995). After a Shingon Buddhist fire ceremony, Ueshiba was presented with a special certificate. According to Stevens, "This triggered the first of a long series of mystical experiences for Ueshiba. ‘I felt as if a guardian deity had settled in the core of my being.'" (Stevens, p. 96)

Later, Ueshiba joined a cult called "Omoto Kyo." (Stevens, p. 104). It was after his "enlightenment" in this cult that his powers of ki reached a higher level. According to Stevens, "Following this earth-shattering transformation, Ueshiba began to manifest incredible powers: he could displace enormous boulders, leap unbelievable distances, and dispose of any kind of attack–anywhere, anytime." (P. 112) This sounds to me like the supernatural physical power given by demons to the maniac of Gedara. (Mark 5:1-13)

In conclusion, why should we as Christian martial artists advocate Taoist doctrine? By doing so we make ourselves suspect to other believers. Why open ourselves up to criticism? It is far easier and more true to our beliefs to say, "Well, I do believe in an inner power, but it comes from God. I do this breathing exercise called Qigong to learn the Holy Spirit's self control. Let me tell you how God has strengthened me. Let me tell you about the marvelous power of the breath of life that God has breathed into us!" 

Date: 12/20/00 12:49:33 AM
Name: Anonymous


Subject: mapping different Taoisms to Christianity
I think we’ve reached the end, and we agree with one another.

> On the other hand, in this post he does not even
> mention Taoism until he mentions Ueshiba at the end.
> Why? As soon as you put the discussion of chi in the
> context of the Bible, you are opposing Taoism.
Taoism as I know it (which obviously is not the way you know it) is incomplete and
inaccurate, but the Bible as I know it is both sufficiently complete and always accurate. I
acknowledge truth wherever I see it, because honesty demands it, and because all
conversations must begin at a point of common ground, but I will always favor the Bible
over everything else. I’m a Christian, not a Taoist.

We’ll never know who really first invented all those things in China, and it really doesn’t
matter. The list came from “The Te of Piglet,” by Benjamin Hoff. It is a follow-up
companion to his book “The Tao of Pooh,” which is terrific. I own both books. “The Tao
of Pooh” comes so close to Christianity that I could almost use it for a devotional.
Almost. I’ve marked up my copy of “Pooh” with biblical comparisons and parallel Bible
verses. Hoff runs 90 yards down the football field, and then fumbles the ball in an
embarrassing display of foolishness. It’s so sad, but I really like what he wrote before he

My Taoism, which apparently is not orthodox, goes like this:
The Tao maps over to the pathway of God so often referenced in the Old Testament, and
ultimately the Tao is Jesus Christ. (“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”) Jesus is an
all-pervasive power in the universe, to quote your language. Everything ultimately is
revealed in the Tao, nothing has meaning upart from the Tao, but yet, we really can’t and
won’t understand the Tao until we’re dead. Both Lao Tzu and the Bible say this (except
Lao Tzu left out the part about Jesus).

Yin and yang are merely ways of explaining the world around us. The sun versus the
moon, male versus female gender, short versus tall, hot versus cold -- nobody disagrees
with these contrasts. Yin and yang makes for a neutral filtering lens. They are relative
attributes, not absolute descriptions. At 6 foot 2, I’m “tall” compared to most people, but
I’m “short” compared to NBA players. Sometimes, then, I’m yin, and sometimes I’m
yang. The yin/yang dichotemy leads us into Chinese medicine.

Wu wei has biblical parallels. The idea is to not worry, and to not try to do everything on
your own. Nobody was designed to do everything, or to be good at everything. Instead,
we must have faith in God, rely on God’s providence, and work at that which we were
called to do. Here is a quote from A. A. Milne, the author of the Winnie the Pooh stories,
that Benjamin Hoff used for describing wu wei:
“By the time it came to the edge of the Forest the stream had grown up, so that it was
almost a river, and, being grown-up, it did not run and jump and sparkle along as it used
to do when it was younger, but moved more slowly. For it knew now where it was going,
and it said to itself, ‘There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.’”

When I read that, I think of being led by the Holy Spirit. I think of Jer 29:11, “‘For I know
the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.’” I think, “My God will meet all your needs according
to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:19), and “I am the vine, you are the
branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.” (John 15:5) I think
of Matt 6:25-34, and Romans 8:28, and I think of lots of other verses. This, to me, is wu
wei. This is wisdom, but yet it is also religious doctrine. It crosses the boundary between
the two, and that’s what makes it so wonderful. I assert that a religion that cannot be lived
out every day in everything you do, is not worth practicing. At best it is an amusing
academic pursuit, but more likely it is worthless.

The five elements theory of cosmology, well, Hoff didn’t write about that. I’ve read
elsewhere that the elements (wood, dirt, metal, water, air) transform one into the next, and
they correspond to organs of the body. That ties into Chinese medicine, but I don’t know
anything about any of the details. But as for the transforming cycle, the five elements are
just a way of explaining the visible world around us. Who of us can see hydrogen atoms,
or floride atoms, or any of the other elements of the periodic table? I sure can’t, but my
chemistry teacher insisted they’re real. I can see the wood, dirt, metal, water, and air.
Well, I feel air. Scientists tell us that our bodies are mostly water, yet the Bible says we’re
made of dust. Huh? I thought dust means earth, not water. I conclude that sometimes
simplification is appropriate. You go camping, and you make a fire, and what happens?
The wood burns up into ashes which blow away as dust, and after a couple days you can’t
find those old ashes anymore. I have no problem with that. Any ecologist will tell you the
“circle of life” actually happens, but I don’t think our planet is getting smaller or larger.
That implies that either we’re recycling our component parts, or that there’s an
interplanetary shuttle service renewing our resources. The Taoists say we’re recycling
according to the cycle of the five elements. Sounds good to me. Recycling takes us back
to yin/yang, because the decomposition or transformation is not instantaneous. It is
gradual. This ecological cycle also ties in with wu wei, because transformation (change) is
natural. You ought not fight what is natural (the Tao). Wow, now we’ve connected
everything to religion! This is the way it ought to be! Recall that God told the Old
Testament Israelites to think constantly about his laws. God wanted them to make his law
(that is, religion) part of every aspect of their life (that is, make them wisdom). In the New
Testament we are exhorted to “renew our minds” and to “be imitators of Christ.” And
that’s what my version of Taoism has done, if you substitute Tao for Christ. It’s beautiful.
Everything ties into everything else, so that my religion can be expressed in my ordinary,
daily life. Beautiful.

So, what just happened? I just mapped a version of Taoism the religion into medicine,
chemistry, geology, ecology, physics, weather, and wisdom for daily living. Taoism, we all
know, played an important role in the development of Chinese martial arts. That’s how
this conversation originally started. Hence, all of these other subjects are connected to the
martial arts. But wait, I also mapped Taoism into Christianity. Hence, Christianity is tied
into all those subjects. Fanstastic! And art, too. Who can forget art. I’m having trouble
thinking of something that I haven’t or couldn’t map to Christianity.

It’s not the Taoism part that is important. It’s the Christianity part. Friendships are made
on common ground, and evangelism is performed on common ground. I always look for
similarities in other religions, and then focus on those similarities, not on the differences. I
can’t change other people, but I can maybe be an encouragement for change, if -- only if --
I begin with our common ground. Taoism is incomplete. Christianity is complete. But
there is overlap.

My knowledge of Taoism comes almost entirely from these two books by Hoff, and part
of Lao Tzu’s “Tao Te Ching” that I read a few years back. The Taoism that you’re talking
about is 176-degrees opposite from Hoff, and what I recall from Lao Tzu, and the little
extras here and there that I’ve read. The Taoism that you’re talking about is bogus
nonsense. Western Reformed Taoism is bogus nonsense. Obviously then the
religion/philosophy is not monolithic. Now we know. This doesn’t make my inter-subject
connections dubious, because it’s not “Taoism” that I really care about. It’s the spider web
of beliefs, connecting everything with everything, that I care about, and I didn’t need Hoff
or Lao Tzu or Milne to express them. I could find them in the Bible just fine.

I don’t remember any Jade Emperor or any other deities in the “Tao Te Ching,” and Hoff
said nothing about worshipping gods. Just the opposite, Hoff said that Taoists don’t
worship any gods because the true Tao cannot be bottled into any particular form. The
only Taoist person I ever personally knew also did not worship any gods, nor would he
encourage such worship. Hoff did not mention homosexuality, but reading between the
lines I believe that he would oppose homosexuality, because such a relationship lacks
balance (male + male is not balanced). Hoff’s brand of Taoism is all about balance, and
that’s what I love about it. Our Christianity is all about balance too -- balancing our lives
inside the path the Living God would have us take, each in accordance with his unique

Lao Tzu’s foundational cosmology goes like this: “In the beginning there was One
(nothingness). One became Two (yin and yang). Two became Three (yin, yang, and chi,
which together equal energy). Three became 10,000 things (the universe).” You could say
this looks like Western science’s Big Bang, or you could say this looks like Genesis
chapter 1. I favor Genesis, but either way, Lao Tzu is saying that the laws of nature call
for both yin and yang. You don’t get this in a homosexual relationship. You only get one
or the other. Likewise, reading between the lines, I expect that Hoff would disapprove of
single parenting, because it is not natural (it’s so blatantly obvious that human babies need
two parents) and it again lacks that same requisite balance of the Tao (male + female).
Abortion, well, yes, Hoff would probably condone abortion. I said Taoism is incomplete.

But while we’re on the subject, I’m not surprised that Taoism is fractured. Our beloved
Christianity is fractured too. Denominations disagree about the Sacrements, eschatology,
whether to speak in tongues, the proper gender for a head pastor, how much alcohol to
drink, and sometimes even what translation of the Bible to use. Back here in the USA, a
growing minority of the Protestant churches openly accept homosexuality, support
abortion, support euthanasia, and teach evolution. And the statistics I’ve heard say that the
divorce rate among “Christians” is no lower than the divorce rate among the general
population. (Sigh -- this morality part is all very saddening to me)

> In conclusion, why should we as Christian
> martial artists advocate Taoist doctrine?
> By doing so we make ourselves suspect
> to other believers. Why open ourselves up
> to criticism? It is far easier and more true
> to our beliefs to say, "Well, I do believe in
> an inner power, but it comes from God. I
> do this breathing exercise called Qigong to
> learn the Holy Spirit's self control. Let me
> tell you how God has strengthened me. Let
> me tell you about the marvelous power of
> the breath of life that God has breathed into us!"
I agree with you. We shouldn’t advocate false doctrine, but in order to be understood, we
have to use some of their language. It’s sort of like Acts 17:23 -- they’re all caught up in
something that they don’t really know about, but yet they’re pointing in the right direction
and can be influenced if only we speak their language and meet them where they are.

The history thing, about Christianity being a superb blessing for the world, I don’t know
about that. History is not my strong point, so I’m not in a position to weigh the balances,
and I’m not in a position to prove James Kennedy wrong, but I see a lot of evil and hurt
done in the name of Jesus, and I see a lot of evil and hurt done by those who profess the
name of Jesus. I’m thinking of the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the depravity and lust
of the Popes for centuries on end, the feudal system in England and the continent, the
mistreatment of the natives by early European explorers on our East coast, the
mistreatment of the natives by the Spanish Conquistadors on our West coast, the conquest
of the Aztecs and Incas by the Spaniards, the black slave trade, the legalization of slavery
by our US Constitution, the sweat shops and child labor here and in Europe, the Ku Klux
Klan, Jim Crow laws, the struggle for civil rights in the American South just 30+ years
ago, the Protestant/Catholic fight in Northern Ireland. We’re in agreement that Christians
carry the one and true “good news” of God for mankind. That’s not what I’m talking
about, and that’s not what I’m questioning. I’m also not questioning or denying that
various non-Christians throughout history have promoted many horrible things, such as
those you mentioned. I’m only questioning just how far the balance really tips when you
objectively weigh Christians (not Jesus, but Christians) on one end, versus everybody else,
or anybody else, on the other end. Buddhists have never gone to war in the name of
Buddha. They’ve never killed anyone in the name of Buddha. “Christians” have gone to
war, and have killed people, in the name of Christ. (Sigh -- that’s another thing that makes
me sad)

This history comment of mine is meant as a rhetorical question. I don’t need an answer on
this forum, because the topic is much to big for an internet forum. Kennedy’s book can
defend itself. We’ve drifted away from the martial arts now anyway.

Date: 12/22/00 06:53:54 PM
Name: John R. Himes


Subject: Re: mapping different Taoisms to Christianity
Scott, you're probably right that we've reached the end of our discussion on chi and Taoism. I'm glad we can agree with each other on some important things. You are right that we need to be humble and look for bridges rather than walls when we witness for Christ. When I was in Japanese language school many years ago I had a blast giving out Bibles to all my Chinese friends (Communist, Taiost, Buddhist, Confucianist), and that built some bridges. Of course I almost blew it by giving a Bible in mainland script (simplified characters) to a Taiwanese girl, and mainland script was illegal there! Fortunately I had a tract for her in the traditional script and she ended up becoming a Christian.

One last word concerning Taoism, to clarify things. Lao Tzu originally wrote a philosophical work, but unfortunately later generations of Taoists turned his work into a religion and added idols, including Lao Tzu himself. There exists a philosophical version of Taoism, which is where you seem to be coming from, and a religious version, which is what most Chinese Taoists are. You used the term "religion" when you first wrote about Taoism so I thought that's where you were coming from. I'm glad you're not a religious Taoist, but only interested in the philosophy!

Now I agree with you that we've strayed from the original idea here, which was Qigong in the context of Christian martial artists. However, there is no way in the world I can avoid commenting on your final discussion of religion, even though you say it is meant rhetorically. It's just not in me to keep quiet about such an important issue. Also, I do believe this has relevance to a discussion of Christian martial arts, since many Christian martial artists have little idea of the truth about Asian religions, and many Americans learn only a politically correct or New Age version of history. I'll try to make it short, though.

First of all, I am sad but not embarrassed at the evil things done in the name of Christ. The reason is that most if not all of those historical events or movements you mentioned were done by the Catholic Church (a political organization for most of its history) or others who were not Bible-believing Christians. Christ will say to such people, "Depart from me, I never knew you." (Matt. 7:22-23) Christ is not embarrassed at such things, He is offended that they would dare use His precious name for evil.

Secondly, you say that "Buddhists have never gone to war in the name of Buddha. They've never killed anyone in the name of Buddha." First of all, few Buddhists do anything at all in the name of Buddha, other than being called "Buddhists"! They don't live as disciples of Buddha, they don't consider him or call him their savior, he is not their example for daily living, they don't read his sayings. They try to become gods through "enlightenment" as Buddha taught and as Satan tempted in the Garden of Eden. The truth is, Buddha was a very arrogant man (said he was above the gods) who left his wife and family to go on a journey to find enlightenment.

So what do these benign Buddhists do? The Shaolin temples were famous for aiding and abetting revolution, and Japanese Buddhist priests and monks fought as soldiers to establish Buddhism politically against Shintoism in the early centuries. (So much for Buddhists never promoting war.) Japanese Buddhists raped, killed and tortured several hundred thousand Chinese men, women and children civilians at the "Rape of Nanking" in WW2. (I won't take time to list all the other atrocities of Japanese Buddhists during that war.) Tibetan Buddhists were vicious enough that any foreigner entering the country up through the 1940's was persecuted or tortured and possibly killed. When my parents were planning to be missionaries there in the late 1940's before the communists took over, there were more graves of Christian missionaries on the borders of Tibet than Christians in the entire country. Thailand is so strongly Buddhist that all young Buddhist men spend time in a Buddhist monastery. Oh, yes, and they have probably the highest rate of child prostitution in all of Asia. That's because Japanese Buddhist men go there on "sex tours." And that is because Japan is full of child pornography (60% of the Internet child porno is from Japan) and never even had a law against child molestation until last year.

I love these people and have offered my life and all that I have to win them to Jesus. I have many Buddhist (and ex-Buddhist, praise God!) friends. But I can't swallow the sweet and innocent Buddhism that sells itself in America. I've seen too much. I wish you could have been with me a couple of months ago when I tried to tell a Sokagakkai Buddhist about Jesus and she told me to go to Hell!

Scott, you are obviously an intelligent man and a good thinker. As a Christian martial artist, you owe it to the Lord, your martial art students and yourself to divest yourself of myths about Asian religions. Please educate yourself on this matter. For that purpose I recommend missionary biographies such as the story of missionaries to Asia.

God bless you. I think we've had a thoughtful and edifying discussion on Chi. Marc, may we have your views on the subject? 

Date: 12/22/00 11:13:00 PM
Name: Scott


Subject: and now we agree
Now that all is said, it comes about that we agree with one another, on chi and the rest.
I never thought it would turn out differently.

Yes, apparently the Taoism that I learned was moreso the "philosophical" version than the "religious" version. Now I know.

You're a good man. Look me up if ever you come my way on furlough.  

Date: 12/21/00 08:37:36 PM
Name: Mark McGee


Subject: Re: Qigong
Good question!

Chi is understood as Internal life energy and life breath. Chi Kung (Qigong) is understood as training the breath, guiding the Chi, building Internal energy.

Every human being has Chi. Without Chi they are not alive. We have original Chi (inherited) plus the Chi developed through eating, breathing, exercising, etc. Where did this Chi begin? God breathed into living beings the Breath of Life. God breathed into the first humans the Breath of Life. That is the Original Chi. Humans pass along that Original Chi through God's Gift of re-creation (conception).

Satan takes everything that God does and imitates it and spins that imitation into something evil. Satan has taken God's Breath of Life and turned it into something occultic. However, that does not change the fact that every baby has Original Chi (Breath of Life) and builds on that Chi as they grow. Everyone owes their physical life to God, whether they admit it or not.

I teach Hwa-Yu T'ai-Chi Ch'uan and Chi Kung, have practiced martial arts for 40 years and have been a Christian for 30 years.


Mark McGee
Grace Martial Arts Fellowship