Taekwondo and energy

Before I started off with the Tirisula Yoga course, I often heard my husband speak about meridians, chakra’s, energy, breathing exercises … As his background lies in Martial Arts that uses internal energy for self defence and for healing purposes.
I never could imagine what he was talking about and it was strange to see the human body as a pool of energy. But since I started doing Tirisula yoga and we touched the topic about internal energy, a lot of things he so often speaks about became much clearer.

Since my husband practices taekwondo and I work for the Belgian Taekwondo Union, I decided to do some research about this philosophy. So I would like to write about the connection between meridians and chakra’s in the human body and its relation with taekwondo.

Basic substances of the body (energy, blood and body fluids) permeate the whole body. The individual meridians themselves are often described as ‘channels’ or even ‘vessels’ which reflects the notion of carrying, holding, or transporting energy, blood and body fluids around the body. There are 12 organ meridians and 2 major meridians.
The 12 organ meridians are :

  • Gall Bladder (Ligaments)
  • Liver (Tendons)
  • Lung (Intake of Prana, Qi, Life force)
  • Large Intestine (Elimination)
  • Stomach (Muscles, Logical Thinking)
  • Spleen (Derive Prana from food)
  • Heart (Blood volume)
  • Small Intestine (Abdominal Circulation)
  • Urinary Bladder (Bones, Autonomic Nervous System)
  • Kidney (Joints)
  • Pericardium (Blood constriction, Heart protection)
  • Triple Warmer (Immune System, Skin)

The 2 major meridians are:

  • Conception vessel (Genitals, Endocrine System)
  • Governing vessel (Brain, Nervous System)

Chakras are energy points that vibrate and turn to channel energy into the body and meridians. The seven main Chakras are located at various points along the spine.

  • Sahasrara (crown chakra, hypophysis)
  • Ajna (third-eye chakra, epiphysis cerebri)
  • Vishuddha (throat chakra, thyroid)
  • Anahata (heart chakra, thymus)
  • Manipura (solar plexus chakra, pancreas)
  • Svadhishthana (sacral chakra, gonads)
  • Muladhara (root chakra, adrenal medulla)

They correlate with various Meridian points flowing along the spine. The seven main Chakras are connected by three major Nadis located parallel one another. The degree of Chakra and Meridian activity in a person’s body is dependent on the person’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual state of health. If a Chakra is damaged or blocked, it stops the flow of energy that is channelized into the body through the meridians. At this point, one can not be in an optimum healthy state of being. Balance is maintained when the flow of energy is free and strong. When it is weak or blocked, illness and imbalances occur. This is when we find unhealthiness in mind, body or spirit.

Breathing and drinking/eating are major intakes of energy.
This is why breathing exercises are so important, also the choice of food and drinks are important. Our body will derive energy from the air it breaths, in the lungs. It will penetrate the lung and via meridians it will be transported through the entire body.
Same goes for food and drink, the spleen will derive energy from the food that enters our body. From here on the energy gets transported through the entire body.

This is somewhat a very brief explanation of the approach of Eastern medicine.

If we relate it back to Martial Arts, for example Taekwondo, also here energy plays a vital role.
A blockage will end up in loss of energy, which will end up in injury or defeat.
A taekwondoka who can’t suppress his emotions in a fight will have a blockage or imbalance in his body and mind which forms a potential hazard on defeat.
The reason for a taekwondoka to explosively exhale when performing a kick, during a match, will let him channelize his energy in this one single kick.
Breathing techniques will help him to relax and channelize his internal energy. This will bring his body, mind and soul in balance.
Also the choice of food before a match is very important.
In Western approach we relate it back to sugars, fats, … but it has never been related to energy.

It is still not fully clear to see the connection between human body, meridians, chakras, energy, … and it will take me more time to fully understand this topic.
But it is fascinating and it made me to believe that there is indeed much more that plays its role than first expected.

Anja, 200hr weekday – philosophy