Student: Conservation of energy, that energy can never be created or destroyed, only transformed?
Master Fung: Yes, that's the one. A human being of course follows this principal. In Chinese concepts we say from Shen to Yi to Chi to Li. In western concepts this means we are studying how the intent directs the potential human energy to transform into the bio-electric nervous system energy and finally into mechanical energy in the muscles. You see? Anything a human being does is a result of this energy transformation process, regardless of how you name the steps or what you call the parts.
This is not representative of any conservation of energy principle from western physics that I'm aware of. 'Potential human energy' of course needs to be more clearly defined but 'intent' has no where near energy to transform into substantial muscular motion.
If folks want to use the rules of physics then they have to follow the rules and not just make nifty sounding analogies. Of course, one does not need to know the rules of physics to follow them! Those who are familiar with the rules can see when they are not being used properly as easily and surely as ones teacher can tell when correct practice has not been done sufficiently (presuming they actually know).
I could care less is someone cannot explain things using the rules of physics but when they try and make a mess of it it does not help anyone. For all I know Shen-Yi-Chi-Li is all the explanation that is required (and may even be correct) but it ain't an example of conservation of energy.
I'm a strong advocate of a 'unification' of eastern and western practices and ideals (we call all only benefit from it) but it must be correct as viewed from both perspectives. If there is no unification on some points then one or maybe both perspectives are actually wrong (this would be a statement of principle).
Principles can be wrong as well.