A Test of Chi

Dear Mister Savelli,

I am coming to the realization that people (including myself) do not excell at Kun Tao simply because they practice the wrong things, while never realizing what true Kun Tao is all about. We do this because we don't know the "Secrets" of Kun Tao, even thought the "Secrets" aren't hidden at all and are there for everyone to see on you videos, in your book, on your web page and in conversations with you. We can't see the "Secrets" of Kun Tao because they are so simple and obvious that we ignore them or skip over them looking for something more advanced. I'd like to share the experiance I had coming to understand one of these "Secrets".

"I was told by Master Reeders to think of if or when you have ever dived into the water (a lake or a river, etc.) and gone down too far, so far that when you tried to come up within one breath, you ran out of air maybe ten feet from the surface from which you dived. At that time, you felt you would die because you could not breathe. You started to panic. You gave one last burst of frightened energy upward and somehow you made it. You rose above the surface to safety. That last effort was Kun Tao. That last effort took Chi. When you can understand this, you know what Kun Tao is." Breathing for Chi Part 1 (available on your web page, emphasis mine)

I knew the words in this saying, I thought I knew what it meant. I read it on your web site. I heard you say it on your Correspondence Videos. You even told me this story in person. I thought i got the "Secret", and skipped over it to go on to train other things... But I did not get this "Secret" of what Kun Tao is at all until yesterday when I decided to try and find out what it really meant.

I thought of this story as I eased into the swimming pool, and I thought of how you said that people don't train correctly because they don't realize Kun Tao is really simple to practice. I thought, " If this story from Master Reeders is simple and tells me what Kun Tao is, I better understand it." So, I dove under water to the bottom of the deep end.

I swam down and paddled to keep myself against the bottom of the pool, determined to stay down as long as I possibly could. It did not take long before my throat began to hurt from holding the air back in my lungs. My head started to ache from the pressure of not breathing. My lungs began to burn and I felt an uneasiness start spreading through my body.

My ribs started to hurt, and then my throat started to spasm because it could not keep the air in any longer. I had to let the air out! The entire contents of my lungs came out of my mouth in a burst of bubbles. I knew I had to get to the top and take a breath, but I was determined to stay down longer. It was very difficult, and my body started to tense everywhere. Then it suddenly happened.

My whole body was in panic. I had to get to the surface, no matter what. I knew had to get air, or I would die. I worked with everything I had to get to the surface before I inhaled water. I know it only took seconds to get to the top, but it seemed to last forever. I didn't know what I was doing, I just struggled to make it and when I got to the top I gasped for air and was shocked how much I hurt. That's when I knew I had felt Chi.

We practice in Kun Tao with the understanding that we are a triune being... physical, mental and spiritual. We have training practices to develop each of these parts and to lead us to an understanding of them. We do exercises to develop "Chi" without really knowing what the "Secret" of Chi is. When I turned in panic towards the surface and worked with all my might to reach the air, I knew what Chi was. Chi is the unified effort of the physical, mental and spiritual powers of a man singularly directed towards one perfect purpose. When I had to get to the top and breathe, every part of my being pushed forward with one thought, "I must Breathe!" That was Chi.

And it wasn't a "secret", it had been in front of me all along, just like Master Reeder's story said.

I repeated this exercise three more times, each time working to stay down at the bottom longer than the time before. Each time I felt the panic that Master Reeders described in the story. Then I got out of the pool and practiced tree hitting, trying to remember the feeling in my whole body. I worked against the tree as I had worked against the water, desperately using everything I had. It was intense and powerful. I think it was Kun Tao.

You once told me that Master Reeders said "The frightened man is five times stronger than the normal man." I have a sense of what this "Secret" means now also. I know for a fact that if any man (or two or three men for that matter) attacked me while using this "Secret" they would not be able to stop me from surviving. I would make it through them somehow, because I had to.

Thank you for the Correspondence Courses. Thank you for all your attention and the teaching you do. How can you put up with us when we don't have a clue most of the time? Thank you for teaching the true art of Kun Tao, with all of of the Secrets the others won't share.

God Bless,

Jim Olsen

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