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By Sensei Charlaine Engelhardt, 3rd Dan July 1999 Faith Fighters for Christ Ministries first appeared on www.angelfire.com/oh/ff4christ
In our last article "Harmonious Living", we do apologize for the delay (we were in the middle of moving), I promised to cover the concept of Ch'i since this permeates the martial arts and is part of the doctrine of the Yin Yang. Chi, or Ki, is an energy force that is in everything in the universe, according to those who believe in Taoism and Buddhism. This energy supposedly comes from the Tao, from which all things come and receive their existence. For a human being, the Chi center of the body is just below the naval. When Chi is balanced,then one is healthy and vibrant. But when Chi is unbalanced, then one is ill and in need of healing. The Yin Yang comes into this with the understanding of balance and harmony. When imbalance occurs, then balance must be restored. Chi can be from the personal level, societal level, nature level, and universal level.
There is a rather complicated belief system around Chi, but it is easier to keep it simple for the purpose of this article. In martial arts, most of the Chi concept is personal. When someone is injured, then there are intricate charts to follow for pressure point healing to restore the flow of Chi which is acupressure. Acupuncture works in a similar manner. Reflexology is a diagnostic process by flexing areas of the body at points where the reflexes can be activated checking the flow of Chi to find the source of the "blockage". Iridology, another diagnostic process, checks the iris of the eye to find out what the ailment is. These ancient healing methods have been practiced in China and Japan for hundreds of years.
The newest twist to this you may recognize in advertisements: magnetic therapy. The magnets are supposed to restore the balance of Chi and bring healing to the injured area. Copper bracelets are similar from American Indian lore. Some methods of healing using Ch'i are even more mystical and magical such as visualizing toxic energy draining from an injured area while placing the left hand on the injury and holding the right hand outward away from the person. Then the healer places the right hand on the person and imagines circulating positive energy back into the person to restore balance. Balancing Chi is considered extremely important to stay healthy and vital for the martial artist who lives the Eastern way.
Another way that martial artists use the concept of Chi is in meditation from a more universal perspective. Transcendental meditation and yoga are the primary methods. In mainline Buddhism, the practitioner works off karma through meditation, yoga, and/or Tai Chi to come closer to enlightenment. Karma is either good or bad works that one accumulates. Tai Chi is based solely on balancing Chi (building good karma), although there are recreational groups who teach it to older people for exercise purposes only. When one feels harmony and peace through meditation, then he has helped restore harmony in nature as well. Special posturing to keep Ch'i flowing freely is considered essential.
Zen Buddhism uses the concept of Chi a bit differently. The martial artist, when in combat will strive to knock the opponent's Chi out of balance in order to win the match. Dim Mak uses Ch'i to disrupt the Ch'i of the opponent to kill him, or to disrupt the Ch'i of breaking material instead of simply using physical force to make the break how and where it is desired. Dim Mak seems to come from a Zen influence. Although Zen also seeks to find peace and harmony, it is much more physical in nature rather than contemplative.
Many New Age spiritualists have this Taoism, Buddhism, and nature worship as the base of their belief systems. New Age treats the religions as a smorgasbord: pick what works for you, leave behind what does not. Chi has a central focal point that threads many of the New Age groups together. They all practice meditation from an Eastern religious source and want to restore harmony in nature. They also practice many of the healing arts described previously. Bringing balance in order to reach Nirvana is the ultimate goal.
But is there reality to the concept of Chi? Do the healing methods work? There is energy in everything. We have learned that from science since around 3rd grade. There is energy in motion (kinetic energy) and energy at rest (potential energy). We are electrochemical in nature. Human beings produce a weak electrical charge. The neurons send electrochemical messages across our synapses in our nervous system that is responsible for activity, thought, life support function, etc. Have you ever done the experiment of lighting a light bulb with a potato? All planets, moons, stars, and other celestial bodies have some form of gravitational pull. Whenever these forces are out of balance then problems crop up. Could this be what ancient Chinese call Chi? Maybe. However, there is not tremendous scientific support of the healing practices to work in the manner that are practiced from ancient Eastern religions.
Many modern acupuncturists actually deaden nerve centers to disrupt information being sent to the brain about pain to an injury. Some believe that the nerve networks line up with the meridian lines for acupuncture. This is not restoring balance, but actually disrupting the message system God set in place as a warning system. It is used for arthritis sufferers, shingles victims, and anyone who has constant unbearable pain. There also is no real convincing evidence that magnets work to restore healing. There are elements in our blood that may be attracted to the area with the magnet, which may promote healing. But could it also cause damage? We also have an interdependence with all of creation whether it is ocean tides, the placement and gravity of various planets, moons, and the sun, the animal kingdom. What happens with one affects other parts of our environment. Ecological systems, if you will. When something dies out, then the food chain is affected. If the Earth shifted too much, we could have frigid winters too harsh to stand or scorching heat that would burn up life. There is such a delicate balance.
But is there one central force responsible for the balance of all things such as Ch'i? For the Christian, the Bible is the source to which we turn so we might see God's view. We believe it to be God's revelation of Himself to us. According the God's Word, all things were created by God. He is very involved with creation. He spoke all things into existence and sustains all things, including our very lives. (Colossians 1:15-17; Genesis 1:1-31) It is by His power that everything exists and operates. He set up the systems that govern our lives. God is not some impersonal force into which we are absorbed, but rather a Being who desires a relationship with His creation. He knows all things before they happen. He works through the events of history to work His perfect plan, regardless of what we decide to do. (Psalm 139:1-18; I John 3:20) We have a healing system that God set up for us. Our blood clots to form scabs so we don't bleed to death. Our skin is able to seal up after cuts and scrapes. We can slow down our heart rates to keep ourselves from hyperventilating. Our nerves alert us to danger or tell us that we have been injured. Only God gives us the ability to do anything we do: healing through medical means, ministering to those who need help, using the spiritual gifts that come only through the Holy Spirit (Spirit of God), and the talents we use in our vocations, including the ability to perform in the martial arts. No one does anything apart from God or without His knowledge and permission.(Exodus 3:11-12; Psalm 92:9-10; Philippians 4:13) Only Christians receive a special power from the Holy Spirit whose main purpose is to glorify God and not man.(Romans 12; 6-8;I Corinthians 12:4-30; James 1:17) Non-Christians do not receive this sort of thing from God. They are unable to please God because they do not have faith in the One He sent to bring them into a relationship with Him. Without faith, no one can please God.(Hebrews 11:6)
Practices like the Dim Mak death touch are not from God. Satan gives a power that is a poor imitation to those who do miracles or healings not consistent with the character of God (Exodus 7:10-13). We do caution people to not throw out the possible validity of alternative healings, but to scrutinize them. We do not believe in Ch'i, but there may be some scientific evidence of alternative medicine working. It may be a case like the meat that was sacrificed to idols passage in I Corinthians 14-33. There are many holistic health practices being used in doctors' offices and hospitals that work for people. This is all well and good. But if you believe it to be a stumbling block to your faith in Christ, then stay away from it. If there is no reasonable scientific principle behind the practice, I would personally consider it suspect. What is proven scientifically is part of God's revelation of Himself to us. God's work, power and existence can be seen in His creation. Electrochemical systems cannot be disrupted nor reconnected apart from the preset systems God has set in place.
Our time to die is known only truly by Him. When we die, we come before Him for judgement. Those whose name is in the Book of Life will live eternally with God and Christ. Those who are not in the Lamb's Book of Life will die in the Lake of Fire with Satan and his demons, a second death. (Revelation 20:10-22:5) It seems that Christians have a win-win situation. Where do you stand?
Black Belt Magazine April 1996 issue, "The Magic Power of Ch'i" by Mark Wasson.
Black Belt Magazine October 1997 issue. "Chi Kung: Kung Fu's Magic Method for Healing Injuries" by Linda J. Woodward. Body Works CD-Rom "Acupuncture" by Softkey Multimedia, Inc. Copyright 1994.
Creation Science Research Institute general information on biblical creation.
Invasion of Other Gods by David Jeremiah. Word Publishing copyright 1995. Chapter 8.
The New Open Bible NKJV by Zondervan Press.
Copyrighted 1999 by Charlaine Engelhardt, 2014, 2015 by Charlaine W. Martin. all rights reserved.