Kung Fu Girl - Chi Art painting by Chi Jen Liu

In martial arts, the first line of defense against an opponent is to keep your balance.  Be observant of your opponent’s actions and figure out how to work with, rather than against their energy to bring success.  This usually does not come naturally, for it is instinctual to pull away when you are being attacked or grabbed.  However, pulling away only sends a message to your attacker to use more force.

The correct technique is to use your opponent's pulling energy by allowing yourself to be pulled towards them and then using your weight to throw them off balance.  The element of surprise and your opponent’s vulnerability from being off balance provide the opening in which you can defend yourself or escape.

Being a martial artist myself, I have learned the principle of being balanced in a very physical way.  Any time you lose your balance executing a martial arts technique, you invariably end up doing it wrong. If you continue in this unbalanced manner, you waste energy, misalign your body, and ultimately end up hurting yourself.  Similarly, if you walk, sit, or stand favoring one side of your body on a daily basis, you place pressures on your body that create imbalance.  Over time, this stress on your skeletal-muscular system, spine, and internal organs can cause bodily pain and ailments.

This principle of working with someone’s energy can be applied to many experiences in life.  Suppose someone attacks you with criticism.  If your energy is unbalanced and vulnerable, it is human nature to get defensive and point out the criticizer’s faults, which typically escalates the problem.

However, if your energy is balanced and focused and you are clear about who you are, instead of expending your energy by fighting back, you will be able to handle the criticism – taking from it that which benefits you and discarding the rest.  You have now used the attacking energy for your benefit and not your demise.  You have also avoided provoking the criticizer to further attack you.

If your job or daily schedule does not promote balance, your purpose in life becomes unclear.  You may end up working against yourself by burning out or falling ill with chronic ailments.  Working hard from 9 AM to 5 PM five or more days a week is not necessarily the most efficient way to achieve goals and be successful in life.  Find the balance between working hard and recharging your energy, for running on empty can have devastating effects.

Mental training and meditation techniques using Chi Art help you cultivate the balance you need to face life's challenges with positive results.  Just as it is necessary to undergo years of training to master martial art techniques, it takes time to understand energy principles and to adjust your perspective so that you can see the bigger picture and take effective action.

This article's featured Chi Art, is "Kung Fu Girl."  As you look upon the martial artist in the center of the painting, you absorb the high energy of her powerful technique.  She reminds you that success is attained with both physical and mental prowess.  Success does take energy, however, if you are poised with the right attitude and are well balanced, the work to achieve success will feel effortless.