My hands-on experiences on "Empty Force"--Distanced discharging
By David Chen, 2000.
Proofread by Dr. Ron Przygodzki.

I was always skeptical about the Qi (Chi) phenomenon - whether it is inside of my body or outside.

Before I started Tai Chi, there were number of Qigong masters that tried their best to make me "feel" the existence of Qi. I was lying on a table one time, like a sacrifice in front of an audience, where the master waved his arms around my body like a magician. I tried hard to "imagine" or "hope to expect" some kind of energy like what my friends described to me. Nothing happened, not even the tingling. Another time, there was a master who gave me a music cassette with "Qi" on it. Still another gave me his "Qi" business card for me to keep in my pocket so the "Qi" will penetrate me and better my health. Well, the Qi cassette jammed in my car stereo, and the "Qi Card" went with my dirty laundry.

Eight years went by with my Tai Chi practice. The understanding of the Qi sensation gradually became clearer over time, but was only limited to the confines of my own body. I never experienced Qi as an outside encounter, until I met the three following masters. Here is my experience:

Experience #1---- I went to a northern city to a conference, where I was introduced to a local Tai Chi master. I'll call him Mr. W. He said he didn't get the Qi idea until one day when he was teaching a small group of junior students. After a round of practice, while everyone was at standing meditation, he meaninglessly waved his arms toward the group. A few of the front row students leaned back coinciding with his hand motion. Puzzled, he tried again, and with the same result. This lead to his and his students' study and practice of "Kong Jing" (discharging without touching) for the next 15 years. He showed me how he controls the students' movement without touching their bodies. Very impressive as a show but I didn't buy it. He then tried to control me from getting up from a chair but failed. I was as free as normal. He attempted many other things on me but none of them worked, except on the last day of my visit. We were in standing meditation, and my mind was relaxed and did not anticipate any outside energy, when Mr. W waved his hand. I felt a suction-like energy aimed at my forehead that made me lean forward and lose my balance. It felt like a vacuum cleaner directed at my head sucking me towards it. This was my first experience with Qi energy from outside of my body. I have shared my experience with a few close Tai Chi friends after I came home, but they thought I musts have been hypnotized.

Experience #2---- There was a master that came to our area for a workshop two years ago. I'll call him Mr. C. I gathered with a few Tai Chi friends to see his demonstration on "Kong Jing" (discharging without touching). Since we all knew what to expect at the show, we decided not to leave without testing the master. As we expected, Mr. C choreographed a demonstration with his assistant. Many spectators started to shake their heads and roll their eyes. After the demonstration, we went up to ask for a "hands-on" demonstration. Mr. C was not interested and thought we were trying to make things "difficult." We were there with good intentions, and with a good attitude. Moreover, we were not leaving until we experienced it ourselves. He finally willed to let us try, because I told him that we are trained and have got Qi for him to "play with." He asked me to "pump up" the Qi to my Lau-gong pressure point (center of the palm) and I did so with my mind. He then started to pull out a thread of Qi from palm - without touching it! Yes, you read this correct. His hand was about 12 inches away from mine, and he continuously pulled out something from my palm as if it was silk thread. I was totally amazed because it was clearly an invisible "something" being pulled from INSIDE of my hand by another force against my will. He later tried the same "silk thread pulling" from my fingertips. It felt like three hair-thin lines that were being pulled out of my fingers. He told me that I had a clean & durable Qi that made it easy for him to pull whereas others would break easily. The center spot of my palm and the fingertips where he pulled my silken Qi from had the sensation of clear and open for almost 3 months.

Experience #3---- A friend invited me for dinner a year ago. He also invited his Aikido teacher to join us. I always interested to know more about the Aikido art, so I asked many "silly" questions during the course. After the meal, I was anxious to try her Qi. She was in her late 50's, and was 3rd Dan in Aikido. She looked just like an ordinary next door neighbor. Her calm and quiet approach made me feel like a greedy child. We exchanged gentle touches in pushing hands, nothing special. I have to admit that I sort of shunned her attitude towards the whole encounter. This made me bring up the issue of "Empty Force" and wanted to experiment with her view on this. With this, she calmly, with a peaceful smile, opened up her arms at 45 degrees palms facing up a proceeded to demonstrate. I was standing about one step away from her with a glass of juice in my hand (I don't drink) and was expecting another failed demo from just another master. Suddenly, a breeze of Qi flowed over my entire back, which felt like a light current covering the skin of my back---under my shirt. I almost spilled my juice. Then she did the same movement with her arms---mild, calm & no waving, this time I felt something is approaching my chest, as if a silk handkerchief was tossed at me---very light but certainly with an intended force. I instinctively turned and neutralized its direction but her Qi energy kept chasing my turnings until I had to take one step back. Now I was really serious about this lady in front of me. I asked for a second try, so she complied. I stayed sunk & rooted the whole time as if I was preparing for a real fight. She immediately stopped the interaction because she felt my resistance and did not want to waste her energy against it. I apologized for been rude and requested to experience her Qi one final time. She then sent out the energy, and stuck it to my center. Again I couldn't get away from it.


Through my limited research on such ability, I gradually learned that "Empty Force" is a perceptual game that develops field awareness in order to overcome strength and techniques. In the game, the fields of the participants are interacting as a sender and a receiver. However, it does require a high lever of sensitivity on the receiver role to receive the invisible signals and respond accordingly. I have often witnessed failed demonstrations between the sender and uncooperative volunteers.

David Chen