(I'd like to apologise in advance if this is a stupid question)
Hi there everybody. I'd like to ask a question about Qi, but would like to set the scene for the question first, if that's ok.
Over the past few months i've read a good few books on Taijiquan. Chen Xiao wang, Chen Wei ming, Yang Chengfu (Louis Swaim), Fu Zhongwen (Louis Swaim), Chang Naizhou (Marnix Wells), and Douglas Wile to name a few (oh, i should ad T T Liang - Stuart Alve Olsen). Yesterday though, i went back to a book i bought a long time ago - years ago in fact. It is this book that has prompted my enquiry.
The book was "Tai Chi Classics" by Waysun Liao, and i immediately noticed a change in tone from the books i'd been reading before. The first two or three chapters were entirely dedicated to "Qi" (or Chi in the book). The book went into great detail about the history of chi, how to cultivate it, how to turn it into Jing (Which i hope he meant "Jin", as my Taoist memory tells me that Jing usually comes first in Jing, Qi, Wu, Dao). Chapter 2 had diagrams on how to visualise the Qi penetrating the marrow.
I have no problem with this style of introduction to Tai Chi, but it made me realise how little "Qi" gets mentioned outside the Tai Chi classics themselves. Most books mention energies (Jin), but they are more practical manuals for the learning of Taijiquan, than healing mystical texts. Even in class, i seldom hear "Qi" mentioned. One of the lines i remember most from my instructor is "When climbing a tree, you don't grab for the blossom", and at my level it is important that i work on my daily practice, and posture testing.
So, i guess my question is this. What is your opinion concerning "Qi"? Is it the crazy uncle we don't talk about? Is it the esoteric descriptive of times gone by? Is it the driving force of many practitioners?
It seems to me that some people come to Tai Chi hoping to feel this mystical "Qi" and drop off when they haven't been cured of Gout after an 8 week course, while others never mention it. None of those i train with regularly bring it up except in semi jest, but that's not to say we don't recognise it as part of of our art.
I hope that all made sense. Peace...Sean.