In 1984 when the Japan-France symposium was held, scholars of religion, medicine and psychology were gathered from both sides, and they engaged in discussion in order to promote the movement of New Age Science. I included a suggestion, made from the Japanese side, presentations on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Parapsychology, Eastern martial arts and their demonstrations. In the martial arts demonstration there was included the performance of a technique in which a master martial artist, by emitting ki-energy (chi-energy), makes opponents, who are spatially distanced from him, fall down. This technique is called “distant hitting” [to-ate: 遠当て], and it became a conversation piece, attracting people’s attention. As a result, many q(g(ng (Chi-gong) masters came to visit me. I studied their techniques, and experienced ki-energy as a subject of their q(g(ng techniques. Afterwards, I went to China to learn about its actual situation. While I was staying in Beijing in 1997, the Chinese Society for Somatic Science (CSSS) was established. The leaders of this society came to see me with a request to make efforts to propagate q(g(ng in Japan. In the following year, I invited scholars and q(g(ng masters from China and held a symposium “Ki (Chi) and Human Science” in Tokyo.[i] At about this time, a q(g(ng boom was being generated. After this conference, I went to China many times to investigate and study q(g(ng. I will introduce its fundamental ideas, while incorporating my own opinion.
Chinese Somatic Science focuses on the three fields of traditional Chinese medicine, q(g(ng and special abilities as its main objects of research. “Special abilities” refer to what parapsychology calls psi-ability (paranormal ability). A central focus in each of these fields is ki-energy as the object of research. Traditional Chinese Medicine understands the fundamentals of the human body’s organization by means of the network of meridians. Meridians are channels of energy which circulates in the interior of the human body. However, they are an invisible system which cannot be discovered by dissecting a corpse. In other words, they are a system unique to the body that is active while it is alive. I am taking this to mean, for now, like a system that organizes the subject-body (i.e. the lived body) of which Merleau-Ponty speaks. An important point, when it is seen from a theoretical point-of-view, is that the meridians are a system which does not agree with the mind-body dichotomization established since Descartes. That is to say, ki-energy is conceived to be a life-energy which has both physical and psychological characteristics. The fundamental principle of needle therapy used in traditional Chinese medicine lies in activating the circulation of ki-energy within the human body by infusing fresh ki-energy into the human body, while eliminating the stagnant and inferior flow of ki-energy.
Next is q(g(ng. Q(g(ng teaches us that the activity of ki-energy can be heightened through a repeated training. Consequently, we can understand that q(g(ng, theoretically speaking, has a characteristic commensurate with the training in martial arts. It is a bodily technique with a tradition stretching from ancient times. In the case of medical therapy, a mature q(g(ng doctor guides patients to train themselves and practice q(g(ng on their own. Here we can discern a methodology different from the therapeutic method of modern medical science. While modern medical therapy leaves patients to assume a passive standpoint of simply receiving doctor’s treatment, q(g(ng lets them assume an active standpoint of training themselves. The point of this training lies in activating the natural healing power latent in the interior of one’s own body. Ki-energy is thought to be the...