Mind Over Matter


Loyd Auerbach

Excerpts from Chapter One-- Outstanding Human Physical Performance

The Martial Arts

A number of years ago, I worked at the American Society for Psychical Research. My half-time position was that of a consultant on Public Information and Media (a sort of public relations position), yet I also participated in some experiments performed at the wonderful location the ASPR has on the Upper West Side in Manhattan.

One such series involved work with a martial arts master and teacher from Kirtland, Ohio, who claimed he had psychokinetic and telepathic abilities.

Master Guy Savelli claimed to be able to do a number of things that came from his martial arts training. Many of them involved physically affecting people and objects at a distance based on moving "energy."

Several tests were set up for him by Dr. Karlis Osis, research director of the ASPR (now retired) and researcher Donna McCormick. While I had little to do with the setting up or running of the experiments, I was there during one experimental series in which Savelli tried to "break" an infrared beam (as used in security devices) without physically doing so. He focused his attention on where he was told the beam was, then he pushed his open palm in that direction (this from several feet away from the beam). He was able to cause a break in the beam in most of the repeated trials.

In addition to the infrared beam, strain-gauge sensors, which can sense small physical movement, and temperature sensors, were used to check for disturbances in the area of the target (the beam).

Savelli achieved strong movements of the strain-gauges, and some weaker indications that temperature was affected. His son, Bradley, who also attempted to affect the targets, had better success with the temperature measures.

Savelli then attempted to teach a brief technique to Donna and myself. For me, the experiment was both frustrating and finally exhilarating. I recall his guided visualization quite vividly, as it was not a "peaceful" visualization, but rather one you might consider was more in keeping with the martial arts.

He asked that I visualize myself as a hunting animal (I chose a wolf) and that I was hunting someone or something I disliked, that I "see" myself stalking this target through a forest or jungle, thinking all the while how much I disliked or even hated the target. Then, I was told to visualize catching up with the target, leaping and striking. At the moment of the strike, Savelli instructed me to throw the "energy" of the attack, of the emotion, at the place where the infrared beam was. . . .

. . . . Going back to martial arts master Guy Savelli, other research conducted with him when I worked in New York, as well as subsequent information from him demonstrates the importance of mind in the martial arts.

When we did research with him at the ASPR, Savelli claimed to be able to influence people at a distance, so Osis and McCormick set up a situation in which a subject (that would be me) was to be influenced by Savelli, who would be in an isolation room watching the subject on a video monitor.

In order to determine whether there was more than a subjective suggestion reaction going on, the protocol involved me moving forward, backward, to the right, to the left, or up and down at signaled intervals. The movements were randomly assigned to time intervals, and Savelli was given the instructions and a list of scrambled movements once he was inside the isolation room. I, too, was alone in the target room, which was being monitored by the researchers from a third room.

Basically, Savelli was to read the list of movements and at each specified interval, was to focus his energy on me (while watching me on the monitor) and somehow get me to so the movement.

As each interval was called out over the intercom to me, I went with my gut instinct as to what direction to move. One basic problem with the protocol was that I might have been using my own psi abilities (which we all have to some degree) to unconsciously access the list so I would know which way to move. However, I distinctively felt a force pushing or pulling me in particular directions during a number of the trial intervals. In fact, I felt myself pushed back during several trials in a row, the last of the series of pushes feeling hard enough to cause me to lose my balance.

I later learned that the random assignment of movements had resulted in several backward motions in a row, which Savelli said he used to really give me something to think about (and feel).

Our overall hit rate was over 50 percent, by the way. Much greater than what chance would expect (only about 20 percent, or one in five). A few years later, Savelli sent me a couple of videotapes. One dealt with his healing work (actually helping people to heal themselves), the other was a demonstration of the techniques of Kun Tao, which he had taught to some army officers. Three soldiers, all who identified themselves as sergeants, appeared on the martial arts demo tape.

The tape was seemingly done for others in the military, to show what kinds of things one can do after only some, not extensive, training in Kun Tao. The emphasis, however, was all on mental attitude.

We've all probably seen martial artists breaking boards and even bricks or concrete blocks with their hands and feet on television, both for demonstrations and in the slightly exaggerated format in Kung Fu films, and you may have even seen people do this in person. I've certainly seen people do some pretty incredible things as demonstrations of martial arts skills.

What I saw in this demo tape Savelli sent me was a bit different. The emphasis was on the conditioning of the mind, rather than the conditioning of the body. The soldier narrating and doing most of the demonstrations constantly reiterated that fact, that he and his buddies had gone through no hardening of the hands by hitting sand or rice, that it was all in the mind.

The first technique they demonstrated was called "the whip," based on the whipping motion of the arm and the hand at a target. Hands were whipped out at boards, both held in the hands of another and falling in midair. The fingertips would strike the boards and break them, rather than the full hand contact one's used to seeing in such demonstrations. Using "the whip," one of the soldiers broke off the top portion of a bottle he had just placed on a stand, shattering it, without disturbing the bottom portion.

Keeping his fingers stiff and straight out, one of the men broke through a pine board, then penetrated a watermelon with the same straightened fingers. No damage to the hand, much damage to the board and the watermelon.

One very interesting application Of "the whip" was a slapping motion at a watermelon, the open hand hitting the side of the melon. No damage was done to the outside of the rind, but when it was cut open, the inner flesh of the watermelon was mushed. This blow was likened to a "dim mak," the legendary art of the "delayed death touch (or blow)," in which the martial artist is able to strike someone with a blow that causes internal damage that may not cause severe injury or death for hours or even days (leaving no outer evidence of the blow). Such a blow in supposedly less related to the force used (how hard) and more to a transfer of energy, or chi, into the target.

The lack of damage to the striking hands and fingers was related to the mental conditioning, that with enough of a belief, the mind tells the hands it can do the breaks and still not receive any damage. An extension of this was next, that the mind could tell the body not to receive damage when struck.

The soldiers demonstrated this with what they called "the shield," again with more than a bit of mental conditioning. I watched the demonstration tape, enraptured, as the soldiers struck each other (or Savelli stepped in for the blows). A thick wooden dowel was broken over one of the soldier's stretched-out arm, a 2x2 was broken across the back of the neck (took two blows to really break the wood), and a metal pipe was bent across the chest. Each time, the "victim" looked as though he had been slapped with a feather, no pain and no damage.

The conditioning and training Savelli put them through focused on the philosophy and conditioning of the mind.

Excerpts from Chapter Two-- Mental Healing: From Self to Psychic

Visualizations are used in healing the mind and healing the body. It may be that one can shift one's emotional state through visualization (causing, then, appropriate shifts in the chemistry of the brain and the rest of the body.) For example, imagining one's anger compressing into a ball of energy, which can be thrown away, may leave a sense of calm (this is a technique I have used, taught to me by martial artist Guy Savelli years ago; it works, at least for me.) Such a technique may be useful in "throwing off" any negative feelings associated with an illness or injury (such as the pain) and reinforcing the positive healing "energy" in the body. . . .

. . . Guy Savelli, whom I discussed in Chapter Two, is a martial artist in the Midwest interested in mind over matter in more than just the fighting arts. For years he has engaged in spiritual healing, using his blend of martial arts and spiritual beliefs to work on others and, more to the point, in helping people heal themselves.

One area of real success is in pain control, which can be extended to try to effect real healing. Different martial artists may have differing views on how to help people learn to heal themselves, and some may use their own chi to help heal others, but many of the techniques can be taught so that one can continue to work toward a healing even without the martial artist.

I recently rewatched a videotape Savelli sent me a few years ago of a couple of sessions he had in his school in Kirtland, Ohio. In the first session, he helped a gentleman with some intense back pain.

He told him that it's important to "Say thank you, say you're sorry [for anything you may have done wrong], and ask for help" from whatever higher power on believes in.

Visualization is an important part of the process, and being able to visualize in color and in three dimensions makes the process that much more effective. "To work with this power, you have to picture it. . . . As you believe more, the picture becomes clearer."

Savelli first asked the man to picture an open Japanese fan in front of his face. Then, he had him visualize the fan becoming a funnel, the point of the funnel going into him. As the man was Catholic, he had him picture Christ standing at the open end of the funnel. For other belief systems, it could be another religious figure or figure of power, or simply a "power" at the other end.

Savelli asked the man to "see" a beam of light coming from the Christ-figure through the funnel and into him, "swirling around and around" in his body. As the man had a lower back pain, Savelli directed the visualization so that the man directed this light down his shoulders, down his spinal column, dripping and swirling around it, and down to where the man's back pain was.

"Picture all of that and say thank you, say you're sorry, and ask for help."

Then he asked the man to both picture and feel the energy as heat or warmth being applied to the place of pain.

The man, at first, related that the pain had lessened. Yet over the next few minutes, as Savelli reinforced the visualization, the man spoke of the pain being gone.

The next step, of course, would be to attack the cause of the pain, to use that same energy to effect a self-healing.

Years ago, Savelli had told me something I've since heard from a few other martial artists I've spoken with. People can heal themselves if they just tap into their own energy. Sometimes they need help, either in getting in touch with that energy (through techniques such as I described above) or in initiating the healing process. If the latter is the case, it may be that they need the energy and the aid of others.

Copyright © 1998 by Guy L. Savelli. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Except as otherwise provided by law, this writing may not be produced in whole or in part, in any manner.