I have studied Hapkido, as well as Dan-ki-gong which is a qigong system, for over twenty years with the same instructor who is one of the great masters of his Martial Art. Master Chong S. Kim studied qigong, a Korean breathing art for energy and strength. Learning qigong from him has given me a foundation for understanding the relationship between energy and strength. From my training in qigong, I have developed a Western understanding of chi or energy in relation to strength for physical activity in everyday life. Qigong understanding of breath and energy is the foundation for my “Bartley energy coach” concepts and techniques for physical performance enhancement.
Understanding and experiencing energy in a qigong form has taken me many years and many hours of physical as well as mental work. Then understanding the qigong system in a Western way made it possible for me to apply it to my everyday life.
Understanding how the breath and energy are connected and the relationship breath has to the mind and body has given me an understanding of how to change different parts of the mind, body and breath relationship. That lets me be healthier and be positive about life and do things one would never a think a man of my age could do physically.
Learning the Korean form of qigong as a foundation and other ideas about energy or chi, I developed an understanding of energy circulation and how energy and strength go together. In learning about the circulation of energy, I found what lessens and even blocks energy or chi circulation which affects physical strength in the hands and feet.
With the relationship between the abdominal muscles, as the source of strength for the hand and feet, and how shoulder stress lessens energy or chi to the hands and feet, thereby making them weaker, is one of the greatest understandings of my life. In my Western view, qigong is about how to create energy or chi circulation to charge up muscles to do an activity with the hands and feet.
To understand the effects of qigong is to feel the power of breath developing and forming in the abdominal muscles, then connecting it to physical movement of the body.
To get the best Western understanding of the value of the qigong systems, I have mixed many schools of thought from neuroplasticity psychology to Pilates and Yoga to chiropractic ideas of the body, so when I teach I draw from Western and Eastern ideas about energy and strength. Using concepts coming from the different schools helps one to understand the powerful force that is within qigong systems to develop health, strength and energy for physical high performance.
Understanding stress in the shoulders and tension in the body and how to change it has taken many years of study with help from many schools of thought. Simplifying it in a Western way has created a very fast method of reducing stress in the shoulders and increasing abdominal muscle strength. By using the right words and sentences, a person can connect to his energy or chi which focuses on the breath and on overcoming stress in the shoulders.
One of the programs using the concepts, techniques and methods based on breathing and stress reduction in the shoulders is the Art of Walking and the Way of the Breath. It has been taught in a San Diego drug rehabilitation program called CRASH for over 3 years. This class has been taught to a group of 30 to 50 males every Monday night. The age of the males ranges from 18 up to 60. The goal of learning the Art of Walking and the Way of the Breath is to reduce the stress in their shoulders and tension in their bodies, thereby lessening their impulsive behavior and anger.
The Art of Walking and the Way of the Breath as a program has physical and mental effects on a person’s emotional feeling change which changes him. These are simple ideas and concepts, but implementation of the techniques is ongoing. In the view of this program, to recover from longer term drug use is to undo damage that causes a person not to feel his physical being (energy) in his everyday life.
Being an energy coach for performance enhancement, my job is to help a person connect to his energy and strength source in the abdominal muscles and transform that connection into a more powerful force in whatever sports activity he wants to do. As a coach, I give concepts and techniques as a foundation for a client to connect the source of his energy and strength to his hands and feet while lessening his shoulder stress. I have evolved into becoming an energy coach over many years of working with people doing sports and other physical activities.
My golf swing techniques were developed from working with a golfer who wanted to get more force in his swing. I am happy to say he is very impressed with his enjoyment of the swing itself, and the increased distance he hits now. I have worked with other golfers on how to put power into their swings, and they all still use my techniques even after many years. As a coach, I work with a person who likes to sing opera. I showed him how his shoulder stress was preventing him from expressing his singing force. In a few hours, I had him feeling the relationship between the shoulder stress and the lessening of his ability to develop his breath and to control his voice. I get great satisfaction seeing a client’s performance enhanced by using the concepts and techniques I have put together from years of work.
On a personal note, I was born in 1946 and have a BA degree. As a child I did not play sports very well and had to work extra hard at doing things physically. There were reasons why my physical ability to do sports was so limited as a child and as a young adult. Looking back, I realize what limited my ability to do sports the most, as a single impediment, was my habit of bringing my shoulders up to my head and tightening them when doing physical activity. I did not realize the relationship between shoulder stress and the abdominal muscles or core for strength in hitting a baseball. It was a slow process realizing this relationship while doing qigong exercises, and once I felt this relationship, then I could change the development of my strength.
Now in my late 50’s, I can do things physically I never thought possible earlier in my life. For example, I could not go up and down on one leg until after I was 50. Learning how to create the breath, as I go about my daily routine, has helped my health so much over the years. Given my age, I have far more physical abilities then would be expected because of learning qigong. Learning qigong and experiencing the power of breath has let me develop my walking classes for drug rehabilitation, for increasing the power of the golf swing and for relieve a client’s daily stress. Learning what makes a person physically weak has been one of the greatest joys to me. It has given me an understanding of energy and the body.
Learning martial arts Sydney was the beginning of a major change for me, for I had to work very hard. Others around me seemed to be able move faster and to do physical things easier then I could. I started Martial Arts after I was 26 years old. What changed my whole experience in feeling good at Martial Arts was when I started to learn breathing within the qigong system. As I learned qigong and connecting physical strength to the abdominal muscles, and felt how much I tightened and used my shoulders for physical activity, and not my abdominal muscles, then I changed from shoulder to abdominal focus. The effect on my ability to do physical activity in my 50’s has been greater then at any time in the past.
It was a slow process of understanding and development to undo and change the way I moved and connected to the core or abdominal muscles. Connecting to the abdominal muscles and energy from the breath, while doing Martial Arts or kids martial arts gave me the experience of force greater than my muscle size would normally generate.
I teach classes in two areas. One is in the San Diego area on Coronado and the other is in the Los Angeles area inAlhambra. I do personal as well as group classes on energy, stress in the shoulders and how to discharge energy out of the shoulders to lessen physical stress. My walking class is a good example. I give lectures to small businesses on how to reduce shoulder stress in the office while sitting, standing and walking around the office. I can give group classes on how to reduce stress in the golf swing. My classes are about how to physically reduce stress in the shoulders by giving a clear view of what stress is from an energy point of view.