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  1. Apologies for a long winded post. I waned to enquire whether any of you have thoughts on combining strength training with internal arts? Let me explain what I mean by that. The style of taijiquan I practice emphasizes letting go of muscular strength (li) and rather use jin - I know different people/schools have different ideas about what jin is. In our system it is considered to be the power generated by accelerating Qi into the bone marrow and the lower Dantien. So we store power by condensing Qi into the born marrow - my Sifu says it is like burning gas to generate horse power. Eventually it is generated by directing incoming force into the LDT, which results in power/force rippling out like how a stone is dropped into a pool generates ripples. This ripple effect is capable of returning incoming force, and therefore ends up looking mysterious and woo woo. My experience is, that it took me a long time to get it to a point where it works, to drop my tendency to use physical strength (almost 20 yrs of daily practice now). There is a sense of freedom and relaxation, along with the sense of unbroken sheath of cotton or silk/satin under the skin. I think many of you know what I’m referring to. Whenever I try to add physical conditioning to this, I feel suffocated; like the muscles develop in strength and begin to strangle the other type of ability generated in the body. So I stopped physical training several years ago. I revisit from time to time but give up after a few weeks because of what I described. As I’m growing older, I’m putting on more weight, as the metabolism is slowing down. I don’t think I can lose weight without adding some physical conditioning. What do the members on this group do? How do you balance your internal cultivation with physical conditioning?
  2. There is a soliloquy underway at present, that is trying to find all the biomechanical and newtonian explanations and interpretations of Qi and Jin. These are wrong, imho. Qi is real -- those who work with it know it. It is energy. What is energy then, you may wonder. Physics defines energy as the ability of a system to do work. Or in other words, the rate of change of energy measured is work. So, energy, really is measured by the magnitude of work done. Eg: Energy is measured in degree of heat, speed of wind, speed at which some object moves etc. If Qi is energy, the Jin (or Jing depending on which school we adhere to) is Power, where power can be defined as the rate at which energy is converted into "Work". To give an example, if the work done by a particular form of energy is generating heat, the rate at which it generates heat is the power of that particular form of energy. In my opinion and experience, Qi has a wave like nature, but it can behave in a particulate manner (like Electro-magnetic energy). Depending on the nature of observation (in this case, experience), it can be wave-like and particulate. In different cases, it may feel like a wave and in others it feels like a "stream of particles -- like electricity is a "stream of electrons". Jin is the Power associated with Qi and it's effect can be measured (in work done). Unlike the normal manifestations of energy (such as light, heat, etc), Qi has two aspects -- The Substantial and insubstantial. In other words, Qi has an expanding aspect as well as a contracting aspect. So, Qi is both like say sunlight as well as gravity. Sunlight is expansive, gravity is contracting (condensing, etc). The interplay of the expansive and condensing is what produces life (ie if there is too much expansion, the energy will dissipate. If there is too much condensation, energy will become a point and collapse into itself. Also, Qi can be guided by the mind. Like a self-boot-strapping system, the Qi starts the mind and then mind controls the Qi (known or unknown to the mind). But that which the mind operates on (the medium and the source) are both Qi (so Consciousness is also Qi or Qi is also Consciousness). Qi in different amplitudes and wavelengths is identifiable as various phenomena we encounter in living beings. By using the mind intent, the vibrational frequency of Qi can be altered. When Qi is made to vibrate at higher and higher frequencies, it is known as Shen. At lower frequencies it is known as Jing (essence), When Qi is stored in the bone-marrows (empty space in the skeletal structure), at various frequencies of vibration, it is known as Jin. This Jin can then be projected unto the environment around us to produce work (Fa Jin). How's that for a start?