The Double-Standards of the Qi-believer

I've largely given up on arguing about the non-existence of qi on public forums and blogs, however I just wanted to share an interesting double standard I've encountered during my past discourses. Whenever I have stated categorically that qi does not exist, I have been bombarded with insults accusing me of being a fool, an idiot and a "low level" practitioner. I've also been called eurocentric, a cultural imperialist, a bigot and even a Nazi.

It has not mattered if I've recounted how my teacher, or another prominent practitioner has stated that qi is irrelevant to Taijiquan practice. It has made no difference if I have told them that some Taiji teachers state that any tingling sensations experienced during stance holding (often attributed to qi) will go away after a while and that this is a good thing because it indicates less muscular tension.

Allegedly I am not allowed to make absolute statements in "their universe" such as that "qi does not exist" because, they say, "everything is relative", including truth. "One person's opinion is as valid as any other", they will tell me, so I cannot and must not state that qi does not exist.

Yet they are not prepared for me to be of the opinion that qi does not exist, or to practice Martial Tai Chi™ / Taijiquan and hold this belief. They will insist that Taijiquan without qi is not "real" Taijiquan - it is invalid. So what happened to their alleged equal validity of every individual's truth? Even if they concede that your Taijiquan may be valid as an entity, they will still insist that it is not "real" Taijiquan! By what authority can they make such a statement if they adhere to their position that everything is relative?

The truth is that these people hold absolutely absolute views about the existence of qi, based on what their teachers have told them and whatever books they might have read. They are not open minded about it at all. Frankly it will most often be the case that they desperately want to believe in qi for some reason and will attribute any sensation or phenomenon they can to its existence, despite the fact that there will invariably be a more mundane and more scientific explanation for whatever they think they are experiencing.

Selective thinking

Another point worth making is how selective people are about which Chinese myths they choose to accept and reject. Do qi believers also believe that the first living being was a hairy giant called Pangu, who, having emerged from a cosmic egg, separated the world into earth and sky with a swing of his axe? Do they also believe in the existence of dragons, qilin and fenghuang? In jiangshi (vampires) as well as the array of Chinese fairies, goblins, dwarfs, immortals, ghosts and gods? I would say it is highly unlikely. And yet the myth of qi persists.

The chances are, too, that they will accept the Western concept of vitamins and will take antibiotics to clear up potentially life-threatening infections, although such concepts are not a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Interestingly, antiobiotic over-use became so commonplace in China that the State had to impose a restriction on their availability. Chinese citizens now need a prescription to obtain them, instead of their simply being able to buy them from a pharmacist and take them as "preventative medicine". This shows how important it is to understand how such drugs work from a Western medical perspective and to appreciate the dangers of their misuse.

To the qi believer, qi certainly does exist and you will not get away with stating that it does not in their company. They can state that it does, but you cannot state it does not. You can't even agree to differ - to go your separate ways and for them to go on practicing their allegedly qi-fuelled Taijiquan and for you to go on practicing your 100% Qi-Free Taijiquan. Despite the fact that they hold personal belief to be the only arbiter of truth in the world today, when your truth contradicts theirs, then it is no longer valid. The one belief you are not allowed to hold is that there is such a thing as a fact, despite the fact that they consider it to be factually true that there are no facts.

Now some readers might be tempted to throw my accusation of double-standards back at me by informing me that by stating that qi does not exist, I am being just as bad as the people who insist it does. But in my case, it is not a double-standard because I believe in facts and the fact is that qi does not exist. I have never said that all opinions are equally valid because it is not true. Opinions can be more or less well-informed and better or worse grounded in fact. Standards and double-standards are not the same.

Read more of my articles on "Qi"

A practical guide to qi

The trouble with qi

"100% Qi-Free? How can that be?!"

What are "Qi sensations?"

Further reading

The following links do not necessarily reflect our views on everything, but we think that other voices need to be heard on this matter.

Sima Nan: Fighting Qigong Pseudoscience in China.

The Roots of Qi.

Acupuncture - Where's The Point?
Telegraph journalist Damian Thompson reports on an important German study, proving what I've suspected for sometime - so-called "meridians" and "qi" have nothing whatsoever to do with why acupuncture seems to work for some people. It makes no difference where the pins are inserted - the patient merely produces endorphins in response to being punctured with pins. I've certainly never had any lasting benefit from acupuncture for my osteoarthritis, despite having had several courses of it with three different qualified acupuncturists.

Breaking Through the Barriers of Darkness: Recognising the Cult of Qigong for What It Is
A Christian perspective from the "China For Jesus" website.

Stop Pseudoscience!
Here is a petition that some concerned parents put together after "Medical Qigong" was taught in a school without parental knowledge. At the bottom of the petition are many links expressing opposition to the qigong craze. If you wish to explore those links, please note that the "International Institute of Medical Qigong" have subsequently transferred details of courses dealing with their most disturbing occult teachings to a sister site on Daoist Mysticism / Magic.

Martial Arts - Are They Harmless?
A Christian perspective on occult elements inherent within many traditional martial arts.

The Truth about Spontaneous Chi Kung (Jinns / Demonic Possession).
A concerned Muslim's perspective. Read also his personal story.

I Do Not Believe in Ki
Shotokan Karate Instructor Rob Redmond explains why he does not believe in ki (the Japanese name for "qi" / "ch'i")

How People Are Fooled by Ideomotor Action
Ray Hyman Ph.D. discusses how people may be fooled into thinking "qi" exists.

taiji concepts DVD
Martial Tai Chi™