Is Tai Chi sorcery?


#1

Tai Chi trains a person to use their internal energy to heal themselves and to develop a mystical awareness of the world. I just found this in the Catechism.

“All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others – even if this were for the sake of restoring their health – are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritismoften implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another’s credulity (CCC 2117).”

This seems to condemn Tai Chi, Yoga, and all other alternative health care and holistic practices not including herbology. Am I right?


#2

[quote=DarinHamel]Tai Chi trains a person to use their internal energy to heal themselves and to develop a mystical awareness of the world. I just found this in the Catechism.
[/quote]

Tai Chi Chuan is a martial art which is often practiced for its health benefits. It is usually practiced slowly. I’m a Tai Chi student, and I’ve never heard anything about a “mystical awareness of the world”. It is in no way related to magic, sorcery, occult practices, or calling upon demons.

I can’t speak for Yoga, alternative health care, etc., but I can assure you that Tai Chi Chuan has nothing whatsoever to do with the practices mentioned in the Catechism passage.

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#3

I got into Tai Chi in 1987 and trust me when I say Tai Chi has an internal energy called Qi that is used in self-defense and healing. I have studied all over the world and have been teaching Tai Chi at St John hospital in Detroit for about five years.

Taught solely as a martial art is just one aspect of Tai Chi. It is famous for health, self-defense and spirituality in that order.

How long have you studied Carol Ann?

Darin


#4

[quote=DarinHamel]Tai Chi trains a person to use their internal energy to heal themselves and to develop a mystical awareness of the world. I just found this in the Catechism.

“All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others – even if this were for the sake of restoring their health – are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritismoften implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another’s credulity (CCC 2117).”

This seems to condemn Tai Chi, Yoga, and all other alternative health care and holistic practices not including herbology. Am I right?
[/quote]

I don’t see this. The reference is specifically to “occult” powers giving one power over others. Occult powers need to be defined, but I don’t think in their cultural context Tai Chi or yoga involve occult powers. They involve what are seen to be latent, intrinsic powers of human beings, but they are natural powers insofar as the distinction makes any sense in Eastern thought. However, I grant that the distinction probably is a difficult one to apply to Asian cultures. I think the clearer issue is “having power over others” which is certainly not the point of yoga.

The more I think about it, the less sure I am what “occult” means, really. If it simply means powers that most people don’t normally tap into, then I guess some of these practices would qualify. But “occult” is one of those really difficult terms to define. I’m pretty sure that the Catechism primarily had in mind things like traditional African magic/medicine, which would of course also apply to much traditional European or Latin American folk magic. Voodoo and stuff. But I dunno. Maybe the Catechism does condemn yoga. Not being a Catholic this wouldn’t automatically make it forbidden for me, but I would take such a condemnation seriously. But I’d like to see it a lot more clearly expressed.

Edwin


#5

[quote=DarinHamel]How long have you studied Carol Ann?
[/quote]

About two and a half years, with some time off for illness. We study the martial and health aspects in my class, but not the spiritual ones.

I still don’t think Tai Chi has anything to do with sorcery, magic, the occult, or demons, which is what the Catechism is warning us about. :slight_smile:

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#6

[quote=CarolAnnSFO]About two and a half years, with some time off for illness. We study the martial and health aspects in my class, but not the spiritual ones.

I still don’t think Tai Chi has anything to do with sorcery, magic, the occult, or demons, which is what the Catechism is warning us about. :slight_smile:

**Crazy Internet Junkies Society
**Carrier of the Angelic Sparkles Sprinkle Bag
[/quote]

The Catechism needs to do a better job defining sorcery, magic and the occult.


#7

I posted a while ago on this forum and never really got a response. Hoping I can approach this topic again and get some answers as I have long struggled with this issue.

Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan) is based on the Yijing and the Bagua. It is a part of traditional Chinese culture and does draw influence (not all things traditionally Chinese do, but many have roots here) from these sources. Practioners who say that the art is not derived from these have not delved deeply enough into the philosophical or historical components of the art.

My question is this, is it possible to divorce the components of qi from the Taoist philosophies associated with them? Acupuncture is a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) practice that involves needle insertion to remove blockages of qi (also known as chi, ch'i) and promote better flow of it through the body. Taijiquan (although a martial art primarily) has this aspect of health preservation and restoration as a side benefit of practice. If it is wrong to practice taijiquan because it involves qi and manipulation of qi energy, then acupuncture would also be implicitly guilty of the same.

I'll also say that I have studied taijiquan for 13+ years, speak Chinese, and have lived and trained in China for an extended period of time. I also believe in my Catholic faith and have struggled for a long time (even going so far as to stop practicing martial arts for 6 years) to reconcile martial art practice with the faith. I would like to be able to practice some form of self defense that is acceptable within the Faith.

For people who say that you can just practice another martial art, this is not correct. Filipino martial arts (which I also study) at the higher levels involve the use of anting-antings, amulets which are worn to provide protection over the practitioner. Other arts involve ki (the Japanese translation of qi), and utilizing energy for executing techniques with increased power and lethality. Most of the martial arts (probably all, with the exception of kalariput in India) find their origin in Chinese arts. Although systems of boxing were in place prior to Bodidharma's entrance at Shaolin Temple, the predominant number of arts derived from this art. The art contains yogic postures, pranayama breathing exercises, and combines these tenets with rhythmic dancelike movements called the Daoyin.

Dialogue and advice would be most appreciated. Have a blessed Holy Week and Easter!


#8

Tai Chi can be viewed in different ways. Some will say that it’s a form of exercise and nothing more. Others will say that it’s a form of martial arts, as a previous poster suggested. Yet others will claim that it’s based on Taoism, which is a pseudo religion of indigenous Chinese origin.

In my opinion, if you’re doing it just for the sake of exercise, that should be fine.


#9

[quote="DarinHamel, post:1, topic:33116"]
Tai Chi trains a person to use their internal energy to heal themselves and to develop a mystical awareness of the world. I just found this in the Catechism.

"All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others -- even if this were for the sake of restoring their health -- are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritismoften implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity (CCC 2117)."

This seems to condemn Tai Chi, Yoga, and all other alternative health care and holistic practices not including herbology. Am I right?

[/quote]

In my opinion, no. I know of a Catholic who is a martial arts enthusiast. He does talk about internal energy ("qi") but he doesn't mean it in a supernatural sort of way (he has a disdain for superstition). He sees it as being part of a healthy lifestyle. I don't know how to describe it since it's rather cultural. There are a few people who give it a mystical element but from what I've seen, most martial practitioners don't. It's more like a philosophy if anything.


#10

So, I spoke with a couple of people this evening One of the issues we discussed was that there may just be a higher level that I can’t delve into. In other words, at some point, I need to just say, “yeah, I know that’s there and I can’t go any further with this”. Maybe keeping the practice to martial techniques and exercise, because quite clearly, there are practices within the art and within qigong that are in conflict with the Catholic Faith.

One person noted that I should use St. Ignatius’ guide to discernment of spirits. We also discussed the peace that the exercise itself gives me. It’s not something that I’ll solve overnight, but having some insight and hearing from you all is helpful. Thanks for people’s thoughts. Would love to hear more. I’ll continue to press on with this. Iron sharpens iron, right?

God bless!


#11

After much prayer and spiritual direction, I made the decision several months ago to leave martial arts altogether. The fruits have been the following: a renewed sacramental and prayer life, a simplicity and focus on the Lord Jesus and His Church long absent, and a movement toward interior calmness which I have not had in many, many years.

Others may disagree with my decision, but I am happy with it.


#12

I did Yang style of Tai Chi, for about 20 years. I do Chi Kung now, because I don't have the room in my house to do the full 108 forms of Tai Chi.

There was never anything mystical about it. It was a good form of soft-exercise and relaxation, but I found Yoga and other forms of exercise to be better.

Also, I studied martial arts and Tai Chi is mostly useless for self-defense, except that an older person who has studied it all of their life, will be in better shape and have better movement ability than an attacker would realize and the element of surprise from this aspect would give the Tai Chi practitioner a temporary advantage. Also, people who practice Tai Chi develop a sense of awareness of being in the present, so they remain calm and observe what is happening around them better, which is beneficial.

However, there's really nothing in it that would make it a good martial art for self-defense for that study in itself.

There are far better forms of self-defense to learn rather than trying to apply Tai Chi.

That all being said, Tai Chi has nothing to do with sorcery or the occult.

Jim


#13

And your relationship with Jesus Christ is the primary goal and using your time for this purpose instead of studying MA is a far better use of time.

MA will not help you to become the person God had in mind when he created you, only a relationship with Jesus Christ can do this.

Glad you found your path

Jim


#14

This assumes that qi is an occult element. We certainly do not know everything about the human body, but we know enough that there are electromagnetic energy fields. Qi could possibly be one of them. My attitude, and the attitude of many others, is that if it works, it works. Many people have tried acupuncture and it has worked to their benefit, yet have no understanding of qi itself.

Most of the martial arts (probably all, with the exception of kalariput in India) find their origin in Chinese arts. Although systems of boxing were in place prior to Bodidharma’s entrance at Shaolin Temple, the predominant number of arts derived from this art.

This is incorrect. What we know as Chinese martial arts had their origins in India. You’ve even unintentionally proved it in your post; Bodhidharma was not Chinese, but rather an Indian prince. He was trained in Indian martial arts, as were his two traveling companions, and brought his knowledge to Shaolin Temple.

As far as divorcing the philosophy from the art, the Chinese themselves do it. What is often Wu Shu is just that; the original Chuan Fa (the martial art with the religious philosophy) devoid of the religious element.


#15

Occult is defined as “hidden knowledge” or knowledge outside of God. If you’re participating in spirituality outside of Catholicism, you are participating in spirituality outside of God and lookig for help or knowledge outside of God too.

Occult doesn’t mean “devil worship” as most people seem to think, although by participating in outside spirituality, that’s who you are basically getting the attention of…demons.


#16

[quote="CrimsonThorn, post:15, topic:33116"]
Occult is defined as "hidden knowledge" or knowledge outside of God. If you're participating in spirituality outside of Catholicism, you are participating in spirituality outside of God and lookig for help or knowledge outside of God too.

[/quote]

This is not true. Taoism, Hinduism and Buddhism are not the occult, and the Church never defines them as such.

The Church teaches that other religions have germs of truth in them and they should not be rejected just because they are not Catholic.

Also, God reveals himself to those who seek him in a limited way, even when they are not able to know Jesus Christ or his Church.

Jim


#17

[quote="JimR-OCDS, post:16, topic:33116"]
This is not true. Taoism, Hinduism and Buddhism are not the occult, and the Church never defines them as such.

Jim

[/quote]

the vatican document "Jesus the water bearer of life" linked below, shows the problems or incompatability of new age practises and christianity.

Some of the traditions which flow into New Age are: ancient Egyptian occult practices, Cabbalism, early Christian gnosticism, Sufism, the lore of the Druids, Celtic Christianity, mediaeval alchemy, Renaissance hermeticism, Zen Buddhism, Yoga and so on.

above is a quote from the document under section 2.1

google.ie/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CB0QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.vatican.va%2Froman_curia%2Fpontifical_councils%2Finterelg%2Fdocuments%2Frc_pc_interelg_doc_20030203_new-age_en.html&ei=9ghmUKuPOJOGhQe28ICgCA&usg=AFQjCNHIm8oVnBIzWxncLINyFAUbtyKGvQ&sig2=hoRy1KNAYeukd9KME3-n7g


#18

the vatican document “Jesus the water bearer of life” linked below, shows the problems or incompatability of new age practises and christianity.

Some of the traditions which flow into New Age are: ancient Egyptian occult practices, Cabbalism, early Christian gnosticism, Sufism, the lore of the Druids, Celtic Christianity, mediaeval alchemy, Renaissance hermeticism, Zen Buddhism, Yoga and so on.

above is a quote from the document under section 2.1
also

It is difficult to separate the individual elements of New Age religiosity – innocent though they may appear – from the overarching framework which permeates the whole thought-world on the New Age movement. The gnostic nature of this movement calls us to judge it in its entirety. From the point of view of Christian faith, it is not possible to isolate some elements of New Age religiosity as acceptable to Christians, while rejecting others. Since the New Age movement makes much of a communication with nature, of cosmic knowledge of a universal good – thereby negating the revealed contents of Christian faith – it cannot be viewed as positive or innocuous

google.ie/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CB0QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.vatican.va%2Froman_curia%2Fpontifical_councils%2Finterelg%2Fdocuments%2Frc_pc_interelg_doc_20030203_new-age_en.html&ei=9ghmUKuPOJOGhQe28ICgCA&usg=AFQjCNHIm8oVnBIzWxncLINyFAUbtyKGvQ&sig2=hoRy1KNAYeukd9KME3-n7g


#19

Tai Chi isn’t New Age, it predates Christianity by 500 years.

Same is true of Yoga.

The document you’re referring to has to do with The New Age Movement, as it was happening at the time of the document’s writings.

However, this document is more in line with what is being discussed here.

From:

CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH

LETTER TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
ON SOME ASPECTS OF CHRISTIAN MEDITATION*

October 15, 1989

  1. The majority of the great religions which have sought union with God in prayer have also pointed out ways to achieve it. Just as "the Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions,"18 neither should these ways be rejected out of hand simply because they are not Christian. On the contrary, one can take from them what is useful so long as the Christian conception of prayer, its logic and requirements are never obscured. It is within the context of all of this that these bits and pieces should be taken up and expressed anew.

Jim


#20

[quote="JimR-OCDS, post:19, topic:33116"]
Tai Chi isn't New Age, it predates Christianity by 500 years.

Same is true of Yoga.

However, this document is more in line with what is being discussed here.

From:

Jim

[/quote]

your issue is with the vatican, its their document, obviously you didn't read it or you wouldn't be quoting time lines. and it quotes yoga. link the document you ref

The document you're referring to has to do with The New Age Movement, as it was happening at the time of the document's writings.

thats just a silly statement as the vatican doc is from 2003 and your ref 1989


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