Bryan Bowman wrote:
It seems to be very easy to produce these 'magnetic feelings' by simply standing in a relaxed stance with the spine straight and concentrating the breathing on the dan tien or hara area and moving your hands slowly together and apart. (Or by imagining 'extending ki')
Regarding the 'magnetic feelings' - what's your take on what they are?
I don't know for sure everything that's involved, but there are some western studies involved in measuring how much of an actual magnetic field humans can generate at will (the fascia is credited with doing this). That would be one factor to look at.
Another factor to look at is that the hands, face, etc., are highly vascularized and innervated... i.e., it would be easy to induce a "feeling" in these areas because they're so sensitive. Ever notice a magnetic feeling between your knees, for example?
A further consideration is that the central nervous system is complex and you may "feel" things that aren't there.... there are a number of demonstrations and tests showing how easily the CNS is fooled in relation to the hands and arms, etc.
Still another consideration is the element of psychology, which has assuredly got some relationship to the preceeding paragraphs' phenomena. The Chinese experts have a broad spectrum of beliefs, but the general consideration is that there is a strong element of "psychological power" involved in a lot of the "magnetic feelings" phenomena. I know of a number of cases of the "magnetic feelings" stuff where someone will swear that they can feel the emanations from another person somewhere nearby.... but those "feelings" never survive double-blind tests. That's why I've caveated that the feelings things have an element of suggestibility, etc., to them in previous posts.
Personally, I suspect there's something interesting there (and I know a few other aspects that are just too lengthy to write out), but my general view is that despite the presence of these feelings, their actual relationship to martial skill, strength, etc., is only tangential, so I've never spent a lot of times working on these things, except in relation to some of the training methods that use them as a side issue. Sometimes when I do workshops (rarely nowadays, since they interfere with my regular life) I'll teach a certain qigong that will bring out these "feelings" in a very focused way, but I only do it as a point of information and to show that anyone can do and feel these things.