Qi / Chi / Chee / Energy…
“Before proceeding an explanation is in order here.
The word Qi is unfamiliar in English, it is the Chinese word equivalent to the English word ‘Energy’. However, a more familiar Chinese word is Chi, as in the name Tai Chi. But both are pronounced as Chee, as in Cheese ?!*
This confusing complication is because of a couple of reasons. In the 1950s the new Communist government of China changed the previous form of translation of their language. The new style was called Pinyin. In English the previous form was called Wades-Giles, which had been predominant since the beginning of the 19th century. Hence Peking became Beijing, Tao became Dao, Chi became Qi, and Chi Kung became Qigong.
A further complication is that Chi Kung is mainly used in the UK, and Qigong in the US. But with the weight of the Chinese Government behind it, Qigong has now become the major word used internationally.
However, on a personal level it never feels correct to describe my own experience of my energy as my ‘Qi’ – it just doesn’t feel right. It is not phonetic. I can’t pronounce it. It’s weird. It doesn’t fit. What feels right to me is ‘my Chi’. Therefore I use both words in different contexts – I practice Qigong, but feel my own Chi.
A similar complication with spellings exists with ‘Centre’ in the UK, and ‘Center’ in the US – hence The Personal Energy Centre or The Personal Energy Center ! As I now live in England I have to speak the local lingo, although the rest of the world might spell it differently. So it is not just an issue of Chinese into English, or Chinese into Chinese, but also English into English !*?
Anyway, I hope that helps explain any confusion around these perplexing issues with names, words and language.
Every person from the ‘West’ who is engaged in Qigong has their own unique story of how this came about, how they discovered it, and the path they followed – usually filled with remarkable encounters, experiences, insights, people, teachers and events. The following is Jim’s story.
The Early Years
Before discovering Chi at 27 years old, in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s Jim followed a varied trajectory. On leaving School he went to Liverpool and Manchester Colleges of Art and studied Painting and Drawing for 5 years. Following this he ran ‘Nova Express Light Show’ with Paul G. Brown, working in the Rock’n’Roll business with such bands as Pink Floyd and The Who. He then worked at Great Georges Community Arts Project / The Blackie in the inner city and docklands of Liverpool, engaged in participatory theate, cooperative games, film and video, and wrote the book ‘The State of Play – Theatre Games as Social Art’ with Bill Harpe at The Blackie. From 1972-73 he studied with Anna Halprin at San Francisco Dancers Workshop, and wrote ‘Exit to Enter – Dance as a Process for Personal and Artistic Growth’ with her. On returning to the UK he created The Natural Dance Workshop/NDW in London, with Anna Wise, which taught and toured throughout Europe from 1975-1981.
From 1974 Jim studied Acupuncture under Prof. J.R. Worsley and others, including Dr. Dick Van Buren, Giovanni Maciocia and John Hicks, graduating in 1977. He ran a practice in downtown London for three years. Having been introduced to Humanistic Psychology while in the US, Jim became involved in the field and was one of 12 signatories who created the European Association of Humanistic Psychology (EAHP) in Geneva in 1979. In 1981 he and Anna married and went to Colorado, USA, on a one-year sabbatical from NDW, to take care of colleague’s practice while she was on maternity leave. Anna had grown up in the area, and her parents still lived there.
Arriving in Colorado
Arriving in Colorado it turned out that Acupuncture was ‘alegal’ – neither legal or illegal, as no formal decision had been made about it – and there were only a handful of practitioners treating patients, in a state the size of the UK. He created The Acupuncture Center of Boulder, and was the first registered Acupuncturist in the State (registering with the State Board of Medical Examiners as a Physician Extender under Dr. Robert B. McFarland). In 1983 he was the Founding President of the Acupuncture Association of Colorado, a non-profit group of practitioners – including Donn Hayes, Ron Rosen, Molly Greacen, Zev Rosenberg and others – who worked with the State Legislature over many years to get Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine recognized and approved [www.acucol.org]. Acupuncture is now fully licensed in Colorado, with over 1,000 practitioners. The development of Acupuncture in Colorado can be seen in the following simple numbers. In 1981 Jim was the only registered practitioner in Boulder – in 2013 there were two Acupuncture Schools and 164 practitioners in the town. Whereas there may have been a few hundred people getting treatment in the State then, there are somewhere in the region of 50,000-100,000 people getting treatment every year now. The early work and effort was well worth it, for the greater benefit of society.
Teachers and Training
His initial Chi Kung (Qigong) teachers in the early ‘80’s were Master Mantak Chia and Gunther Weil. Since then he studied with, and has been exposed to, a wide range of teachers and styles. Jim began The Chi Kung / Qigong School in Boulder in 1983, and taught there until 2013. He created, and became Founding President of, the National Qigong Association USA in 1996, getting to know a large number of teachers and practitioners, and attended over a dozen international conferences in USA, Europe and China.
From 1982 to 1988 Jim was Co-Founder and Co-Director, with Anna Wise, of ‘The Evolving Institute – A Center For Personal and Social Evolution’. This integrated Acupuncture and Chi Kung with Biofeedback Consciousness Training. However, they eventually separated and went their own ways.
From 1989 to 2007, with Damaris Jarboux, he created and directed ‘The Body-Energy Center’. They married and worked together at BEC. The primary focus of this oranization was on Acupuncture and Chi Kung Healing, and training Chi Kung practitioners and teachers.
Now back in Liverpool Jim runs ‘The Personal Energy Centre – Qigong, Acupuncture & Tao Studies’.
In 1993 the first book of what turned out to be a trilogy, ‘Chi Kung – Cultivating Personal Energy’, was published by Element Books, which gave a unique overview of the whole field. This eventually went into 7 editions and was translated into 9 languages.
In 1995 ‘The International Chi Kung/Qigong Directory’ was self-published as the first publication to present a world-wide listing of teachers and organizations at the time.
In 1997 ‘Chi Kung – Alive with Energy’ was published by HarperCollins. The Foreword was by Prof. Feng, Li Da, President of The World Academic Society for Medical Qigong (WASMQ).
In 2002 the third book, and final book of the Trilogy, ‘Chi Kung – Energy for Life’ was published by Thorsons. This contained unique contributions by 22 of the leading Chi Kung/Qigong teachers and practitioners in the West.
Although these books are now out-of-print and unavailable in bookstores, they are all easily available on the internet through www.amazon.com.
In 1993, Jim visited Beijing, China, to attend an international Qigong conference, look at some of the research being done by engineers, scientists and Medical Doctors there, and train with Master Wan, Su Jian and others. During the visit, in recognition of his work in the field, he was made a Council Member of WASMQ. In 2004 he visited China a second time when he co-organized a trip taking 20 students to study with Master Ming Tong Gu and teachers from the reknowned Shi Neng Hospital of Dr. Pang, Heming. While in China he visited Taoist and Buddhist monasteries and temples, where he studied, meditated and practiced, and took part in ceremonies.
The National Qigong (Chi Kung) Association USA
In 1996 Jim was the Founder of the ‘National Qigong (Chi Kung) Association USA’, and was elected Founding President. This has since become the major organization of its kind in the US [www.nqa.org]. Over the next 10 years he was kept well-occupied serving as Chairperson of various committees, including ByLaws, Standards & Credentials, and Elections, and represented the organization at national and international meetings and conferences. In 2005 he produced and hosted the 10th Anniversary Conference at the University of Colorado, with 250 people attending, and over 50 major teachers from the US, Europe, Israel, China and Japan. At the end of this conference he ‘Retired’, from all formal positions in the organisation,
Qigong Acupuncture Treatment
Over the years Jim has combined and integrated Qigong into his clinical Acupuncture treatments, and, like many other practitioners before him, has developed his own personal and unique style – like a pianist may create their own particular style of playing. To reflect this he now calls his work ‘Qigong Acupuncture’ using his many years of experience and training to integrate and increase the effectiveness of both modalities.
Qigong Training – The Qigong School
Qigong teaching and classes has focused on ‘The Eight Extraordinary Meridians’ / 8 ExMs – a nine-month program developed and taught over the last 30 years. This is a developmental and progressive training that incorporates an understanding of the primary anatomy and physiology of the human energy system, and the use of the Master and Coupled points to activate it. This innovative work and research has been presented at national and international conferences, and has been well-received. This website makes it globally available.
The 8 ExMs training program is taught at The Qigong School. Classes will begin in Liverpool in
Autumn 2016. Please see the section on Classes on the top menu for more information.