One factor that still manages to persist, even in this age, is the so-called Chi master in martial arts. They appear in several guises but most commonly as pressure point masters of the “internal” martial arts who can project their Chi and throw opponents all over the room.
To date the only witnesses to these events seem to be the followers of these masters. Any public demonstration of such power has either been avoided or failed to demonstrate any power, beyond standard martial arts techniques, other than on very cooperative students who have been carefully choreographed.
In fact, there are several examples out on Youtube of these “masters” coming to very bad endings at the hands of Thai boxers and MMA fighters. However, they still they manage to give some explanation as to the reason this occurred, and retain their followers.
Another approach, aside from the direct confrontational challenge, to debunking these “Masters” is for individuals to replicate their powers without using so called martial arts techniques, as Derren Brown and others have also done.
In addition, James Randi still offers his 1 million dollars for anyone able to demonstrate meta-physical power, to which this martial arts Chi power also belongs.
So why no takers, quite simply because it does not work, it is B.S.
The majority of people who come to take up a martial arts do so for confidence building, fitness and learning how to look after themselves.
These Chi dependant methodologies do nothing to meet any of these needs. They have the same value as “snake oil” and love potions that have been peddled by con-men for centuries.
The real way to learn a martial art, and be effective at it, is no different to learning anything else of value; hard work, dedicated learning of quality technique form a reputable, trained teacher and practice, practice, practice.
As for Chi, it was originally a Chinese word for breath or the more precisely originally described the vapors given of a dead corpse, as it decayed. Hardly something that we can project as a useful self defense power unless you have particularly bad breath that is so offensive that people do not want to come near you.
It was only later that it began to be used as an abstract term to define something that is, to this day, still not understood well, the essence of life, what constitutes life and consciousness.
The better explanation of the state that Chi seems to represent, from what practitioners say about it, is an extremely focused state of mind and power that permits the practitioner to reduce thought interference and concentrate more fully on performing the techniques that they are executing.
The same state that an athlete experiences “in the zone” or that can be induced by hypnosis, however, it is a state only practical for self preparation and usage. Attempting to use hypnosis or other mind-altering phenomena, in a fight situation as a means of trying to defeat an attacker is a thing of fantasy and will get you killed or at least severely injured.
For anyone interested in learning martial arts as a means of developing their confidence and ability to look after themselves, should they be attacked, spend your time, money and energy learning a practical and evidence proven martial art.