|Posted on Monday, December 19, 2005 - 12:03: |
I remember reading an essay about taichi principles and it said there that the ancient chinese regarded chi as more important than blood. It also said that chi is regarded as the commander (?) of blood. Anyone cares to explain this to me?
|Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 09:47: |
This idiom comes from the classics of Chinese medicine and is one of the corner stones of classical Chinese physiology. The ancient Chinese regarded the whole body as an enormous energy field as much actually as all other physical phenomena upon earth. This field of energy was basically divided into a Yin current and Yang current, by which the Yang current usually stood for function, activities and flow whilst the Yin current stood for material (e.g., flesh and bones) or liquid such as urine or blood. These energies were further divided into 5 basic elementary energy types, i.e., water, wood, fire, earth and metal. Those energetical elements stood for specific functional activities, each of which was attributed to one of the visceral entities. I.e., fire to the heart, water to the kidneys etc.
By this view, our body systems and components differed from one another only by the density of the energetical constituent that they were composed of. The lowest in this line are the bones, nails, teeth etc. A more refined energy type comprised the flesh, a higher level made the body liquids such as sweat, tears, urine and lymph. An even higher density of energy comprised the blood, a higher one stood for the Qi (chi) and its different types. The highest in hierarchy was considered the spirit.
Chinese medical philosophy, of which Tai chi is a definite offspring, claims that, as much as a stately hierarchy, each level of energetical type is a subordinate of a higher level energy in terms of function and ability. Thus, the blood energy nourishes and commands the flesh, muscles and bones. The Chi energy commands and rules the blood, i.e., the blood flow is directed by the Qi. The Qi itself is ruled by the spirit, i.e. our intent, willpower, meditative abilities and so on.
As for your question Jerome, there is a definite pattern of relationship between the Qi and blood according to Chinese med. The Qi is said to rule or command the blood, as said above. Thus, the efficiency and intensity of the blood flow is dependent on the abundance and vigor of the Qi. One aspect of Qi is breathing for instance. We know that inhalation and exhalation rhythm and quality have much to do with blood circulation. We also know that if Qi circulation is even, smooth and untied, also blood flows uninterruptedly throughout the body and this has to do with emotions, fear, pain syndromes and fighting. On the other hand, blood is describes in the classics as the mother of Qi. This means that as long as the blood is abundant and healthy it can nourish properly the internal organs which, on their part, are involved in the reproduction of Qi. This is a circular relationship conceptualization, as much as the logic behind the Yin & Yang emblem.
In Tai Chi classical works, one can always find the significance of the idea that the Qi must be made to sink to the lower Dantian. This is achieved by the postures, relaxation, breathing and intent. Only when this goal is achieved, the practitioner can reach a state where blood circulates freely and efficiently throughout the whole body. The ultimate goal of Tai Chi, as stated clearly in the classics, is not fighting rather achieving an outstanding equilibrium of Qi and blood and mind and body. When this goal is reached, life can be prolonged and bettered and the practitioner may reach a state of immortal.