Martial Arts


Getting in Touch With, Accessing and Channeling Your Ki
Original Unpublished Version

By Master Constantino Terrigno - 6th Dan
Editor - Tang Soo Do World

Click here for published version - Combat magazine - January 2009



My personal quest in the spiritual and metaphysical realm began roughly 30 years ago and, in no small way, was instrumental in my undertaking the study of martial arts.

I have broached subjects such as mind control, visualization, quantum physics, astral projection, remote viewing and parallel universes to name a few. As diverse as the topics were, I've found one common thread among them - each is directly linked to some facet of Energy. Without the benefit of a teacher, I studied all I could to learn more about the universe, our place in it and the true extent of human capabilities. So it was with great excitement and anticipation that I accepted Grandmaster Andy Ah Po's invitation to attend his Chi Gong symposium during the weekend of May 29th to June 1st, 2008. It would be the first time I would bridge the gap between theory and actual practice under the tutelage of someone renown for his capabilities in this area.

There were nineteen of us in attendance and it was an auspicious gathering since it was the first time a group encompassing seven different organizations took part in a shared learning experience. Of those seven, five were represented by the founders themselves. This turnout is a testament to the great respect accorded Grandmaster Ah Po for his experience and knowledge, and the fact that the symposium was held in Sedona, Arizona, a well-known "energy center" in the U.S., was icing on the cake.


Grandmaster Ah Po comes from a native Hawaiian Warrior as well as "Kahuna" class and since age 6, has been schooled in the "Huna" traditions. "The word 'Huna' means 'secret' and is taken from the Hawaiian word 'Kahuna' which means 'keeper of the secret". It is therefore the "secret science or practice of the control of the Universal life energies through the control of mind and breath", and is the focus of this article. I was about to become not only a further witness, but a participant in the exercise of just a few of these carefully guarded secrets. The terms and phrases in bold, italic print are those Grandmaster Ah Po used throughout the sessions. I include them to preserve the essential flavor that made his presentations unique.

Getting in Touch with...

It was made clear to us at the start that Ki, Chi or "Mana" (internal energy or life force) cannot be developed. Since it already resides in each of us, our goal was to develop a higher level of conscious awareness to access and utilize it for positive purposes. To succeed we had to be "open to change", to "look and listen with the intent to learn" and to "trust our feelings".

Our first day did not begin with esoteric Chi Gong exercises as one might expect, but with intense physical training. A full nine hours of it with an emphasis on proper breathing. The primary vehicle for that was forms practice. We practiced slow, we practiced fast and we practiced very hard. Always we were asked to concentrate on our breathing and to pay attention to the tempo of the form as it is directly related to breath control. What I thought I knew about proper breathing in forms practice was quickly made obsolete.


We learned that in addition to the Weh Ga Ryu (external energy) and Neh Ga Ryu (internal energy) methods, there was a third that Grandmaster Ah Po called Chung Ga Nyu (Ryu). It is a blend of the two and is a more natural method. Because forms each have their own distinct characteristics, we learned to experience the differences and exhibit them in a manner that now became not only technically correct but as he would often say, "characteristically correct". For instance, you can't do Neh Gung breathing with Weh Gung applications. Quoting the late Great Grandmaster Hwang Kee, his direct instructor since 1972, Grandmaster Ah Po stressed the importance of performing techniques in their proper character. "The internal organism must work in concert with the external. Much like humans, when you're out of character there is an imbalance. Be on the outside as you are on the inside and there will be no conflict between form and technique. In this way, Tang Soo Do helps develop character - your true character, not a fake one." One more important, often overlooked point - the preparation, or Jhoon Bee (ready) position is the first application in the generation of Chi Gong and should mirror the correct characteristic of the form as well.

To better understand the Chung Ga Nyu method, we worked for a long time on Tae Ki Kwan, a form created by Grandmaster Ah Po for that sole purpose. While an active method, its soft techniques and economy of motion allowed us to experience natural movement and breathing. I, as well as others I spoke to, felt a sense of calm and ease in its performance, and this sensory awareness greatly assisted me in later exercises.



Universal energy is available to us in limitless supply. We can receive it, give it to others, or store it for later use. Our health and well-being is determined by the quality and quantity we have. It can be measured and photographed by scientific instruments (as in Kirlian photography) and can also be seen by the highly trained eye such as Grandmaster Ah Po's. It is also referred to as the aura. It is an energy field that surrounds all living things and which we all experience on an unconscious level. In one sense, I equate it to the commanding presence or magnetic qualities that attract us to some people. In negative terms, it's a feeling that something is not right or trustworthy about a person. Either way, it is an exchange of energy, yet most people don't recognize it as such.

My personal research has shown that energy exchange is not just a localized event but can actually take place across vast distances. Furthermore, the volume can also be turned up through group dynamics. In one forms session we were asked to be aware of and keep pace with each other. When we tuned in, I noticed that this synchronization allowed me to tap into the energy of those around me. It was like locking into an unseen force that propelled me along with less effort than before. In another exercise we performed a basic form continuously, at a quickened pace and without pausing until told to stop. I don't know how many repetitions we did, but the exercise lasted three minutes. After about two minutes I was clearly past the physical and onto the mental level. Here again, the group tempo and energy served as a regulator and while I was beginning to tire, I noticed I wasn't even breathing hard. I venture a guess that Grandmaster Ah Po was also extending his Ki to us.

Energy is a naturally occurring phenomena. Unfortunately, humans have taken themselves out of the natural environment and created an artificial one and consequently lost their connection with universal energy. We built upon and paved over our natural surroundings with asphalt, concrete and steel, thereby insulating ourselves from the flow of energy. To reconnect, we need to re-establish direct contact with nature. Visit the shore, climb a mountain, stroll through an old growth forest, walk barefoot.


The notion of  "grounding" or "rooting" is another way to not only improve our awareness of earth's energy but to stabilize us, just as a solid martial arts stance would do for our technique. Poor posture or body alignment while in motion also impedes the flow of Ki. To experience this we practiced basic kicks by taking the movement through the body's center line. This not only improved balance and accuracy, but made the kick more efficient, with less dissipation of the kick's energy. It also allowed better utilization of the waist (Hu Ri), a signature of Tang Soo Do.

Ki can also be accessed through visualization. The use of imagery focuses our thoughts and magnifies our intentions. It is also a key to maintaining balance. Moo Sang, or guided imagery is the process of walking through a scene we create in our mind or one that is created for us by a narrator. The experience elicits a physiological outcome or Yu Sang which can be calm or highly charged. Two exercises that demonstrated this had us seated with eyes closed. In the first, Grandmaster Ah Po verbally led us through a beach scene complete with sights, sounds and smell. The result was a feeling of peacefulness and calm energy. The second trip was up the side of a volcano and of course, had the opposite effect - one of a more active, tense energy.

The intent of the exercise was to to create an emotional response that had a direct bearing on our physical state. We are familiar with the three states or "selves" that we possess - physical, mental and spiritual. Grandmaster Ah Po pointed out that in Huna practices, a fourth, emotional self exists and all four are necessary for well-being and the positive flow of Ki. The visual exercises were therefore designed to gain control over emotions in order to affect the physical and as a result, Ki.

Channeling Your Ki

Now that we were able to create a specific state of mind, it was time to receive and extend Ki. The operative concepts were "energy flows where attention goes" and "focus on the result, not the process". Again seated and with eyes closed, we were asked to find Grandmaster Ah Po as he moved noiselessly around the room. When we felt we had "located" him we were to point in his direction. Interestingly for me, I pointed directly at him every time. From my position, it was difficult to tell if the others had similar success but judging by those I could see, they too found him more often than not. To add a degree of difficulty, two other Grandmasters then moved around the room with him and we were to find only Grandmaster Ah Po. I missed only once out of what I believe was four attempts.

In the next segment Grandmaster Ah Po would send directed attention to only one of us in the group. If we "felt" we were being looked at we were to open our eyes immediately. If you did not, a rubber ring was tossed in your direction to confirm you were the target. A number of us then got a chance to be the sender. I found it was far easier for me to send rather than to receive and this might be true for most. When we send we are in control and focus more. When receiving we tend to override our intuition. In other words, we anticipate (think) rather than react (feel) as we often do in life and in martial arts practice, especially sparring.

Up to now, we had mixed success in energy awareness and transfer and there is always a question in your mind "was it luck, coincidence, etc.?" There is nothing more exciting however than visual confirmation when it comes to energy control. Our next two exercises showed without question we were able to affect the physical in a measurable way.

Before the symposium we were asked to bring a wristwatch-type heart rate monitor. Using the volcano and beach imagery we  attempted to both raise and lower our heart rate. The point was to "replicate your emotions" in order to achieve the desired result and the results were fairly noteworthy for me, changing the rate by up to 10 beats in each instance. We then tried to change the rate by at least a specific number and I was able to achieve a 12 beat drop within four seconds. Grandmaster Ferraro who has practiced Chi Gong for eight years, was able to record a +20 downward drop.

But nothing can compare with the last exercise we performed - that of physically affecting an external object, in this case a plant. Grandmaster Ah Po is truly adept at this and demonstrated it repeatedly throughout the sessions. When our turn came, we broke off into three groups and simply extended our open hand towards the plant to within roughly eight inches while charging ourselves internally either by the volcano scene or some other method. The results were startling. I was able to do it about 30 - 40 percent of the time. On two occasions, I was stunned by the amount of motion in the plant leaves, as if a soft wind had blown by.

One master in my group was having some difficulty. Grandmaster Ah Po unexpectedly grabbed him and vigorously rubbed his face with his hand, charging him with his Ki. When he tried again, the plant moved!


Grandmaster Ah Po performing a selective brick break


There were other demonstrations and exercises performed such as the unbendable arm. But I won't soon forget the sensation of being taken down by Grandmaster Ah Po. I was asked to attack him from a fighting stance. All I clearly remember is my initial forward movement, his hand over my face and picking myself up off the floor. I never saw him move toward me. The after-effect was also interesting. I could feel where his fingertips were on my face for about fifteen minutes. The sensation was one of both pressure and tingling.

What Does it all Mean?

One can never go in expecting to do any of what we did on the first try or even in the two days we had. Constant intense practice is required over a long period of time. But despite that, what (I) we were able to experience in such a short time is irrefutable evidence that energy can be accessed and channeled in many ways. So the symposium was an unquestionable success from my standpoint. It was also a new stepping off point for me as I continue my study of Tang Soo Do and of the spiritual and metaphysical.

In terms of its ultimate meaning, in my case it serves to underscore the important notion that if energy is everywhere and it flows through us all, then we are in fact all connected and drawing not only from the same energy pool, but the same universal mind. It is available to us to make remarkable changes in our personal lives for the better. Consequently, if we change our thoughts and lives, we can ultimately change our world. And that's a reassuring thought for anyone.

Tang Soo!

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