Where is the energy in the body come from?

Where is the energy in the body come from?

Postby ChiDragon » Mon May 30, 2016 10:36 pm

Greetings!
Most people were always talking about energy flows in the body. Are we just taken it for granted? It is because that's what we had been told in the first place? If not, then, where is this mysterious energy came from? How can we explain it in such way without any doubt in our minds?

Any thoughts are welcome but please make it brief. The old concept by using the terms like 精氣神(jing, chi and shen) is not worth repeating. It is really nothing new. Don't you think that we have heard enough of the old concept? Isn't it wise to move on with some newer concepts? Please don't be offended by my unprovoked presumptuous attitude. If I did, I apologize. Thank you for your generosity! :)
Last edited by ChiDragon on Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Where is the energy in the body come from?

Postby global village idiot » Mon May 30, 2016 11:38 pm

(Edited to add) Sorry, this isn't brief.

I'm no physician. I took a few medical courses in the Army, but they were only of the "ditch medic" type, and so the anatomy & physiology study was limited only to that necessary to patch up a busted-up Soldier long enough for the quacks to have a chance at him, in addition to the usual "sick call" complaints.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who would value a doctor's input.

My chosen profession is within the discipline of civil engineering. I'm a land surveyor. As such, I use my understanding of the concepts of force, motion, etc., which I learned or apply in my profession to my understanding of tai chi.

Not very long ago I had an online discussion with a person of the type most would classify as a "skeptic," one who is of the opinion that anything for which science has no authoritative answer is meaningless "woo," or nonsense. I find hers to be an impoverished view of the world but the likes of this woman aren't going away any time soon and are probably around for good.

Anyway, she derisively asked me why, if I passed myself off as an engineer of any type, why I would believe in such nonsense as "chi." What follows is my response to her:

To one who believes strongly in the value of the scientific method, empirical evidence and measurable phenomena as the source of all knowledge of any value; and moreover, to those who believe this AS WELL AS in the invalidity of those "ways of knowing" which stand at odds with the above, the Asian concept of "chi" is likely to be viewed as mystical mumbo-jumbo with no basis in fact.

It's easy to come to such a conclusion. You can't measure chi - there is no metric by which one can say "This has X more units of chi than That." People who discuss chi don't do themselves any favors by speaking of it in mystical terms as though it were some hippy-dippy New Age fairy-dust.

I'm no expert, and certainly no Asian, but I submit that the question of chi as Asians understand it is more a matter of conceptualization than it is of quantifying, and that it is possible to understand what Asians are getting at - when they discuss chi - within a scientific context.

The Law of Conservation of Energy describes the behavior of measurable phenomena in the physical world. The Law exists and can be shown to exist, yet the Law itself is not a physical thing. So with most other physical laws and theories (theories in the scientific sense of being an explanation for physical phenomena consistent with known facts). They describe properties of physical things and phenomena but are not the physical things or the phenomena they describe.

So it is with chi. It is a sort of blanket concept which contemplates the laws of Nature (without going into detail on those laws) generally and of one's interaction with them specifically. A writer elsewhere used the concept of metabolism as an allegory. Metabolism is a blanket term encompassing all the interactions of the several systems of the body, as well as their collective integrity. Metabolism isn't a physical thing, though its various properties are observable, measurable and predictable.

Chi is usually expressed in the West through the martial arts - one martial artist flopping his opponent around like a rag doll -or preventing the same being done to him - is said to be better at projecting chi. It is expressed far less in medicine (though traditional Chinese medicine makes use of it) and fewer people anywhere spend much time on its spiritual connotations.

If someone wanted to take the trouble, he could demonstrate that when we talk about a martial artist "using his chi," it could be broken down into a series of vector problems, statics/dynamics equations, physiological properties and so on. Or we could simply use the word "chi" as a shorthand for the sum total of physical phenomena he applied to his opponent, in addition to his mastery of them. The latter is certainly easier for a layman to write and indeed understand.

To this point - what benefit would accrue if we somehow expressed martial arts training purely in scientific terms? Notwithstanding the impossibility of quantifying all the various phenomena going on in such a dynamic environment as a confrontation, it would be extremely tedious to try and teach to any level of proficiency. The meaning and value would be squeezed out in search of pointless, trivial detail.

I would hasten to add that as applies to mastery of the skills in martial arts, we must also apply the concepts of practice, instruction, technique, study, talent, etc. Science can place no quantifiable values to these phenomena, in terms of martial arts, but they exist there and can be shown to exist in exactly the same way a violin sounds different when I pick it up versus when Itzaak Perlman does so - science acknowledges the difference but has no metric with which to quantify it.

Even more important, I think - particularly in a martial arts context - the concept of chi, when applied and utilized properly as a guiding principle - not as some magical "æther" - produces consistent results in the practitioner. His balance is improved, his awareness somewhat keener, his reflexes and understanding of his opponent's intentions is improved, etc.

I think the problem people have with the concept of chi arises when we focus on the mystical things written and said of it, to the exclusion of anything else. But this is an oversimplification, and to my opinion more like blanket dismissal than an honest attempt at understanding and evaluating. It isn't like "the Force" in Star Wars. But while not a physical thing, it is something which exists and can be made use of with reproducible results.
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Re: Where is the energy in the body come from?

Postby ChiDragon » Tue May 31, 2016 4:52 am

ops....
Am I asking about energy in the body or chi....? Perhaps chi is the Asian view of a mysterious energy which was widespread in the west. Now, may I ask where does the energy in the body which was used for lifting weights came from? Is this body energy is the same as chi or something else? Let's say the term "chi" does not exist, then, how would a westerner by using modern scientific terms to describe the body energy? I hope I have rephrased the question correctly this time.
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Re: Where is the energy(ATP) in the body come from?

Postby ChiDragon » Tue May 31, 2016 4:49 pm

To understand Chi or energy, one must have a thorough understanding of ATP. Find out as much as you can, you will apprciate Tai Chi a lot more than you had anticipated. Please pay close attention to oxygen. It is because that's why breathing is so important during Tai Chi practice. You will be a master if you can sink chi(breath) to the dan tian.

Learn about ATP, your body energy.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00jbG_cfGuQ

In case the video was too fast to catch all meanings, here is something simple to read to get a general idea about ATP:
https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellular_respiration
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Re: Where is the energy(ATP) in the body come from?

Postby ChiDragon » Sun Jun 05, 2016 1:13 am

Tai Ji Chuan had been known, worldwide, it makes a person healthier and stronger. During the perpetual state of practice in Tai Ji, some people with health and breathing problems had been improved drastically; and the healthy people become much healthier than before. A weak person become a lot stronger. Unfortunately, after a long period of practice, the health of some practitioners has not been improved at all. Thus it makes me to raise a question why is it so? Since we knew that energy is required to performing all the functions in the body, let's investigate what is that energy and where does it come from?

The human body is biologically and chemically oriented. Therefore, the only known bioenergy in the body was discovered by modern science. It was known as adenosine triphosphate(ATP). I think we all are guilty of paying too much attention to chi and neglected ATP. It is long overdue to put some consideration into it. Perhaps it might clear some of the mists for the mysteriou chi. May be we could link chi and ATP together. At the end, there is a possibility that we might reach a conclusion that both energies are the same after all.
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Re: Where is the energy(ATP) in the body come from?

Postby ChiDragon » Sun Jun 05, 2016 10:27 pm

Tai Chi practice does a lot of muscle slight contractions. Even a signal was sent from the brain to commend a muscle to contract requires energy. Since my health have improved and my body strength have increased quit drastically from Tai Ji practice, I have been studying about physiology and how the human body functions. I am no doctor but I understand more about the energy in the muscles and why Tai Ji works well for the body. One can control the ability for the muscle to perform in its ultimate capability. It can be done by providing nourishment and plenty of oxygen plus keeping the muscle in its resilient state.

The diligent practice of Tai Ji movements can provide the oxygen and the resilience of the muscle. The former is the main concern of the thread. By going into the study of ATP, one will know the significance on breathing in Tai Ji.

The bioenergy formula for ATP is:
glucose + O2 = CO2 + H2O + heat + energy(ATP)

There are four cycles in the production of ATP. It is very interesting to learn what will take place in the muscles during each cycle. The second cycle will give produce muscle pain if oxygen was not provided in time. The last cycle is where the most energy was generated in the muscle tissues if plenty of oxygen was provided.

This is only the introduction to build up your interest for ATP. The next post maybe more interesting by going into the chemical aspects.


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Re: Where is the energy(ATP) in the body come from?

Postby ChiDragon » Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:10 pm

The muscle has two sources of oxygen to release energy from glucose. The main source is from blood circulation and the other is from the muscle itself. The are some oxygen which are stored within the muscle cells. When muscle contracts, it is the fastest way to get oxygen for a quick muscle active response. However, when the oxygen is depleted in the muscle cells, it has to be paid back. It would be have to be paid back from the oxygenated blood. If the oxygenated blood was not sufficiently provided, then the glucose in the middle of the energy conversion cycle turns in to lactic acid which will cause muscle pain. In order to prevent the lactic acid build up, then, the blood has to deliver ample of oxygen to the muscle cells.

Sometimes, people with breathing problem cannot deliver sufficient oxygen to the muscle cells throughout the body. Unless, they have improved their breathing habit by practicing Tai Ji of Chi Kung. However, if people just go through the Tai Ji movements without the breathing exercise, then, it will be useless. Breathing has a deep effect on the Electron Transport Chain and Chemiosmosis, the last stage of cell respiration (the final stage of manufacturing ATP). At the stage, the muscle has lots of power for contraction. As a matter of fact, that is where the power come from for lifting heavy weights. Tai Ji practitioners call this power (Jin) or explosive force.
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Re: Where is the energy(ATP) in the body come from?

Postby fchai » Fri Jun 10, 2016 10:46 am

Greetings,
Sorry, but I find it difficult to link 'qi with ATP. I think the use of the word énergy' with 'qi' arises from an inability'/difficulty to neatly quantify what 'qi' is, and énergy' is the closest but misleading description of it. The other term closely linked to it is 'breath'. From my limited understanding of 'qi' which I admit is based solely on my very personal and subjective experience of it from practicing Taiji is this. It is not 'jin' though the potential exists, it is not 'shen' though it is intrinsically part of it, it is not ýi' though it cannot exist without it and it definitely is not 'li'. When I practice Taiji I feel this énergy' (?) expand, condense, flow and envelope. However, this is more about awareness than anything quantifiable or measurable. Perhaps a figment of an over-active imagination?
My personal opinion is that 'qi' cannot be taught. Only through long practice and the development of one's awareness can one begin to gradually understand and experience the 'qi'. Are there quantifiable and measurable benefits? Perhaps. Afterall, some studies using brain imaging technologies have shown that the practice of 'mindfulness' can bring about discernible growth in neural networks in the brain and improved cognitive functions. Perhaps someone should study the effects of Taiji further in-depth?
Take care,
Frank
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Re: Where is the energy(ATP) in the body come from?

Postby ChiDragon » Fri Jun 10, 2016 5:24 pm

Greetings! fchai

Thank you for your precious response which leads me to question. Have you ever wondered how much does a person or Taiji practitioner understand the facts about ATP? I would like to hear some of the comments from anyone who can give it a good explanation. I would like to have a good justification not to relate or link chi, energy and ATP together. Otherwise, it is rebuttable but not deniable.


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Re: Where is the energy(ATP) in the body come from?

Postby ChiDragon » Sun Jun 12, 2016 5:12 pm

fchai wrote:Greetings,
Sorry, but I find it difficult to link 'qi with ATP. I think the use of the word énergy' with 'qi' arises from an inability'/difficulty to neatly quantify what 'qi' is, and énergy' is the closest but misleading description of it. The other term closely linked to it is 'breath'.
Frank


fchai
It seems to me that you are a senior member, here, in the forum and a most humble one. With all respect, it is my pleasure to go into the discussion of each issue in your valuable comments one by one.

In the above quote, it is difficult to link qi with ATP. It was misleading is because there is a language barrier between the English and Chinese. In English, most of the words are explicitly defined and precise. However, in the Chinese classics, I could almost say that all things were never defined clearly and ambiguous. Unfortunately, the contextual meanings in the text are solely based on the interpretation of the reader.

So, let's look into qi. Is it energy or breath? I was reluctantly to use the definition as energy. The reason I have used is because qi is well known as "energy' it the whole wide world. I was try to relate it to the people rather than actual meaning. I see that you experiencing the difficulty that I am having. However, the character was often used as breath in the Chinese language. For example, the phrase as "有氣就有力" was often used by Chinese martial artists. Unfortunately, the people in the west probably would have interpreted in terse English as "Have energy then have strength". A Chinese would interpret it as "Have breath(or air) then have strength". The former seems like a fallacy and redundant. The latter seems fit perfectly into the bioenergy formula:
glucose + O2 = H2O + CO2 + heat + energy

The O2 on the left hand side of the formula is the dominant factor to produce the energy on the right hand side of the formula. One might ask, where does the O2 come from? Of course, it come from our breath. The ancients didn't know that there is oxygen in the air but we do now.

Okay, if this is still not a good answer. Lets' try this approach. One must have lift weights once in one's lifetime. What is the first thing that a weight lifter do? Well the first thing one does was to take a deep breath and hold then lift. The breath must hold as long as the weight is in the air. As soon the breath was exhaled, the weight lifter will be weakest at the time. It is obvious that there was not enough oxygen to produce the ATP energy to support the body to handle the weight.

I hope this will make sense to someone. BTW There is a big discussion about Chi in the Chi thread. Please review it again as a reminder.
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Re: Where is the energy(ATP) in the body come from?

Postby ChiDragon » Sun Jun 19, 2016 8:45 pm

Hi, all
Here is a more explicit explanation of ATP. It's seems real complicated. However, for simplicity, please just pay close attention to that we need oxygen to make energy(ATP). If we need to produce lots of energy, then, we need to breathe in lots of oxygen. This is the reason why breathing is so important in Tai Ji practice. There is a hidden biological effect in breathing which people have not aware of.

ATP is generated in the mitochondria in the boyd cells. How much energy one can be produced depends on how many mitochondria are there in the body cells. In a normal body, there may be only a limited amount of mitochondria in the cells. However, in a Tai Ji body, there was a biological change inside the body. The biological change will manufacture more mitochondria up to maximum which the body can be produced.

After diligent Tai ji practice with slow deep breathing involved, for a long time, most practitioners felt that they are much stronger than before the practice. They were wondering where the extra energy came from. Well, to be exact, the extra energy was called jin(). The came from the extra amount of mitochondria which was acquired from practice.

Has one ever wonder why some practitioners have jin and some others do not? Well, the reason is that they had missed the breathing part to capture more oxygen in the air. The body had not seen the change of amount of oxygen intake. Thus the body had not make any significant change in its internal functions.

Ref: Learn to understand the significance of breathing for oxygen.
https://www.khanacademy.org/science/bio ... espiration


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Re: Where is the energy(ATP) in the body come from?

Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue Jun 21, 2016 4:04 pm

You are born possessing this energy, it is life itself. After that you have to obtain it from the food you eat, the water you drink, the air you breath, and the light you absorb through your skin form the sun and the moon.
There are many names for it, so call it what you want; Chi, Jing, Shen, Jingshen, prana, anima, biorythm, divine spark, essence, vis vitalis, potato, tomato... whatever word or words you use it is the same.
It's really not all that hard to figure out. Or shouldn't be.
It's not mysterious or magical and there's no reason to over complicate it.
Keep it simple!

Bob
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Re: Where is the energy in the body come from?

Postby ChiDragon » Mon Nov 21, 2016 12:57 am

Traditionally, Chi, Jing and Shen are defined differently. It would be too hasty to say that they are the same. It is nice to make things simple. However, complicated matters must become demystified for simple understanding.

Jingshen, prana, anima, biorythm, divine spark, essence, vis vitalis, potato, tomato... whatever word or words you use it is the same.

These words are definitely not the same. I don't see how would they have any significance which is so characteristic to the meaning of ATP energy. Indeed, ATP can be interpreted chemically and biologically. Once it was understood, it should not be that complicated.
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Re: Where is the energy in the body come from?

Postby mls_72 » Mon Nov 21, 2016 2:32 pm

I like the western science approach of ATP.

the Chinese medicine theory is pretty accurate as well: we get Qi from parents (yuan qi) and post-natal were get about 70% from food (Gu qi) and more from oxygen (kong qi) those combine and make zheng qi (true/upright qi). the nourishment in the channels in ying qi, while outside the channels and what you experience in Taijiquan and Qigong is Wei Qi (defensive qi).

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Re: Where is the energy in the body come from?

Postby ChiDragon » Fri Dec 23, 2016 11:54 pm

mls_72 wrote:I like the western science approach of ATP.

the Chinese medicine theory is pretty accurate as well: we get Qi from parents (yuan qi) and post-natal were get about 70% from food (Gu qi) and more from oxygen (kong qi) those combine and make zheng qi (true/upright qi). the nourishment in the channels in ying qi, while outside the channels and what you experience in Taijiquan and Qigong is Wei Qi (defensive qi).



I agree that the Chinese medicine theory is pretty accurate as well. However, it would be much clearer if it was explained in modern terms. The Yuan Qi get from parents. In modern thoughts, it can be said that it is the body cell which carries the DNA or genes are from parents.

The ancient terms may have the modern equivalent as follows:
1. Kong Qi(空氣): air; oxygen
2. Yuan Qi(元氣): basic unit; body cell
3. Gu Qi(穀氣): cereal; glucose
4. Zhen Qi(真氣): vital energy; ATP

Yuan Qi (body cell) has a biological effect:
Gu Qi(穀氣) + Kong Qi(空氣) = Zhen Qi(真氣)

Modern biochemical energy formula:
Glucose + Oxygen = HO2 + CO2 + heat + ATP

Although we see the linguistic terms are stated differently, however, we can link the two systems together by their similarities. It seems that we have learnt nothing new between the two systems due these similarities . Hence, I must conclude that the wisdom of our ancestors are admirable. They had made a contribution of such valuable knowledge to mankind.
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