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Do you have to see something to believe it, or do you revel in the inexplicable?

Qi is the inspiration for the Force in Star Wars. It is the life energy that powers us. Like the concept of Prana in Indian Buddhism and yoga. Which makes sense that the concept is shared, since Shaolin kung fu is rooted in combative yoga.

In the buddhist teachings of the Shaolin temple, it is our qi that powers you. It affects your health, your mood, your outward energy, your inward energy, your physical strength. It explains why a lean, wiry fellow can perform physical feats greater than the burly bodybuilder.

Shaolin kung fu develops mastery over qi like any other part of the body. It does so through certain motions, breathing exercises, and mental training.

Legends have been told of ancient Shaolin monks who performed super human feats and enjoyed extended lives thanks to their mastery over their qi.

Bruce Lee demonstrated the 1-inch punch, which drew on the explosive energy of qi, gathered, channeled and released through the fist.

Hard Qigong is the practice of channeling qi to fragile body tissue to toughen it and resist damage. Practitioners bend spears, point pressed to their throat, by leaning into them. They walk on blades, sharp enough to cut a vegetable, without injuring their feet. It’s a remarkable practice.

I’ve seen shaolin brothers in my club take a strike to the chest during sparring that left a bruise on their back.

Qi is an inexplicable force that you can either believe in or dismiss. But like Luke Skywalker learned by embracing the Force – qi can be a powerful ally if you should ever need it.

Do you believe in qi? Have you ever witnessed or performed an act that you thought impossible that proved or changed your belief in your internal energies?

Included is a Q and A to help you better understand qi, and its effects.

Q: Can I use qi to channel lightning from my fingertips?

A: No, qi is not the Force. It can be used to strengthen your body. Not alter the weather.

Q: Can I use qi to fly?

A: Qi may allow you to jump higher, but it will not let you fly. Do not attempt to leap from impossible heights. Without a parachute that is.

Q: Can I influence other’s minds, like Obi Wan Kenobi did?

A: You can try, but you’ll be using your personal charisma and powers of persuasion. Which may be bolstered somewhat by qi and/or ranks taken in diplomacy.