Honing the Body to Hone the Mind

The cover of "Instant Health: The Shaolin Qigong Workout for Longevity."
The cover of "Instant Health: The Shaolin Qigong Workout for Longevity." | Source

War of Skill

Martial- of, relating to, or suited for war or a warrior
Arts- skill acquired by experience, study or observation

The opposing dichotomy of each of these subjects when brought together becomes something which truly surpasses human understanding. To dedicate an entire lifetime to an ideal, to the attainment of a higher plane of thinking or functionality, to forego any and all ties to humanity by abandoning self and forging a path towards discipline and steely-eyed determination.

I have had a fascination with martial arts and the artists that are born from such enduring study for the better part of my life. Regardless of the age of my body, I feel an almost spiritual connection to observing anything that remotely shows or represents an individual on their journey towards master.

Now the purpose behind this introduction goes much further in the past. The hundreds of years of Chinese history and its people that conceived and perfected such mastery of oneself physically and mentally are the roots and foundation for almost all other forms of martial arts in the world as we know it today. However that is another study left for another time. The introduction into modern Western society would be best acclaimed to the one and only Bruce Lee.

Bruce Lee, the prime paragon of peak physical prowess!
Bruce Lee, the prime paragon of peak physical prowess! | Source

Introduction of Eastern style into Western Civilization

Bruce Lee, after many years of training and developing himself, had been said to have achieved a state that Man hadn't ever before even dreamed of. Astounding the athletic community and awing the masses on the big screen. One could say that Bruce Lee had reached the epitome of what a martial artist is. Yet despite all his expertise and near invulnerable disposition he would fall to the hand of fate and thus the world lost a truly remarkable individual.

His rise and influence in Western society paved the way for many other pioneers to chart their own path with their fists and so wonderfully was Chinese taijiquan, better known as tai chi, introduced to us.Tai chi is known today as a technique which improves ones health. It is plainly disregarded as an ineffective style with moves and forms only suitable for the elderly. This is an extremely saddening misconception.

Take your time, take a deep breath, take a step forward. You got this.
Take your time, take a deep breath, take a step forward. You got this.

The Internal Strengthening Art

Taijiquan or, loosely translated in Chinese, "supreme ultimate fist" would be considered an internal martial art. Designed for focusing the energy of the body through fluid concentrated movements, controlled breathing and deliberate intention. This energy, known by many names but most commonly as "chi," is the foundation of qigong practice in the world today. Considered as a form of alternative medicine in large parts of Eastern culture, modern science, especially Western practice has written it off as largely superstitious and even bordering the supernatural. However, there have been no disputes on the benefits that one can obtain from practicing any form of martial art with the use of qigong.

Now I strongly believe that the mind is more powerful than the body and I would even go so far as saying that a large portion of the successes based on qigong just might be the will of the individual over the idea of an inner energy. But hey! I'm just a punk kid, no use pontificating on things that I've no proof of. A gut feeling couldn't be considered proof either. Maybe there truly is an unknown life force and maybe there isn't, it isn't something anybody should worry about. As far as I'm concerned, just try some chai tea, I mean tai chi, feel better and live in the moment.

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Comments 12 comments

mr-burns profile image

mr-burns 4 years ago

A great hub! Very interesting

Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 4 years ago from Western Australia

An interesting hub, it teaches us to be passionate and commited for whatever activity we choose...only that way we are able to master it fully:)

CodeMaster profile image

CodeMaster 4 years ago from Alaska, Anchorage Author

Well I don't train in a specific school. When I was much younger I practiced Tae Kwon Do and the teaching are still with me today. I do try to maintain physique with simple push-up/pull-up workouts. Just basic stuff. Capoeira has always been interesting to me as its origination is founded in dance. Tai Chi was the example that I used in the difference between American-izing such an ancient practice over improving one's health using deliberate movements and forms. If I were to dedicate to a specific school I'd probably choose a grappling style like aikido or jujustu.

AlexK2009 profile image

AlexK2009 4 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

You don't train? You say you are too old? You are never too old. Even if you never become a master you will benefit. I found Capoeira benefited me immensely, though I will probably never reach master level, and you will find teachers everywhere for example

http://equipejaguarcapoeira.blogspot.com/2009/08/e... (courtesy of googling "Capoeira Anchorage Alaska classes"

I agree it is hard to find good Tai Chi teachers are hard to find. I can think of two one of whom taught me and another taught my teacher. Tai Chi is subtle which is why it needs lots of practice. Some videos I saw on the web suggest that when treated as a combat system it looks like most other fighting systems. And is very effective.

Unfortunately I do not have time to study more than one art.

CodeMaster profile image

CodeMaster 5 years ago from Alaska, Anchorage Author

Thank you Daisy, it's one of my biggest interests and it's an extreme acknowledgement by HubPages and my fellow hubbers to have it considered "nugget" worthy :) I read yours and found myself smoothly swept along your adventure of being battered by turbulence and your incredible attempt at overcoming your fear. Very well done! Great voice and easy reading, it's refreshing to come across a hub that can accomplish both of those while keeping my attention to the subject matter!

Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

I wanted to congratulate my fellow HubNugget Accolade winner on a well-written, well-researched , very interesting Hub. The subject matter was new to me. I learned alot. Great job!

Jacob Harding profile image

Jacob Harding 5 years ago from Omaha, Nebraska

I truly believe it is a lot more the is more spiritual, and that is where the most benefits will come. These days the martial art and the religion seem to be more separated, especially here in the west.

Jacob Harding profile image

Jacob Harding 5 years ago from Omaha, Nebraska

Very well wriiten. I think that you would still benefit from the teachings if you were to start. Many martial arts, like kung fu and aikido, were directly connected to religion. In kung fu's case, Buddhism, where understanding the mind and the bardos are more important than physical training. Sounds funny that a peaceful religion invented a form of fighting. I wish I had time and money to get in to the training myself, despite my age.

CodeMaster profile image

CodeMaster 5 years ago from Alaska, Anchorage Author

Thanks! Sadly enough no... As much as I know about theory, I feel an adequate teacher is the only way to truly experience a practice, and I don't think I'll find anyone capable of that here in the U.S. I'm also far too old now to get the benefits of a lifetime of training and the level of expertise I'd like is something only obtained after a lifetime of training.

KBEvolve profile image

KBEvolve 5 years ago from United States

It's great that you're so passionate about it. Do you train?

CodeMaster profile image

CodeMaster 5 years ago from Alaska, Anchorage Author

I just believe that it doesn't have to be all physical and that a large portion of Eastern practice is founded on the spiritual. I could literally talk for hours and write dozens of hubs on all the different ideas and philosophies that revolve around Martial Arts ^_^

KBEvolve profile image

KBEvolve 5 years ago from United States

Interesting perspective on the benefits of training consistently.

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