Your Windsurfing Mana, Ch'i, and Personal Power
The concepts of Ch'i and Mana are two similar notions of personal power widely known throughout the world and modern culture. They are not altogether the same, the Polynesian concept of
always refers to the energy of an object, person, place, or some 'thing', whereas the Chinese concept of
refers to the life-force of living things, as well as the general (somewhat impersonal) energy flow of a
setting and the objects therein.
In sailing sports such forces are
constantly utilized, rarely does wind and water energy act directly on the
person's being as they do in windsurfing. In windsurfing, unlike most other
sailing sports, you are the rigging, you feel everything, and as a consequence,
you become hyper-aware of the natural forces acting upon you.
We often bring our ch'i and mana with us out on the water where it
is promptly churned, thrashed, and eventually unwound. We come away from the
experience with new ch'i and mana, saturated by the forces of nature in the setting that surrounds us. We are likened to supreme hunters, stalking, tracking, capturing, and harnessing power that makes us go. Like it or not, if you windsurf, this energy is a part of your life.
Let us first examine the Polynesian concept of mana. The word mana has been in use all throughout the pacific islands from Hawaii to New Zealand and almost every major island group between. The similarity of spiritual concepts and language from one side of the pacific to the other is a testament to the great sailing skill of the ancient Polynesian peoples, who used no instruments such as compasses or charts, only their intimate knowledge of the sea and sky, to navigate the vast open ocean.
Tikis like this have been used throughout the South Pacific, not just for decoration, but to store and affect Mana in various ways.
A person's mana depends on his social disposition, ability, health, possessions, and how they fit into the environment. All people are born with a certain amount of natural mana based on their genetics, ancestry, and well being. Throughout life mana can be gained or lost depending on how the person reacts to their experiences. Someone with supreme mana has social power and influence, as well as excellent physical well-being, and great ability. An example of someone with powerful mana in the windsurfing world could be Robby Naish - a man with fame, influence, ability, and excellent physical well-being for his age.
A great chief's mana is interconnected with his or her network of friends, family, and allies, which in turn spills into the environment where they operate. This becomes very apparent in windsurfing associations, windsurfing schools, and shops. A windsurfing association with good mana can push a city to provide clean, unpolluted beach access, organize beach cleanups, and pass good mana to others through local events. Windsurfing instructors often have great mana; a special connection with all their students who seek stronger mana in their lives through the sport. An honest windsurfing shop or business can also circulate great mana with good relationships between equipment distrubutors or customers, and maintain a local windsurfing community through good business alone.
Ch'i is usually not related as much as mana to how well a person fits in to environment and community, however certain aspects of ch'i are. Energy flow is first understood in the body as a network of meridians that affect internal organs, and several rivers of energy flow related to circulation, breath, and muscle tension (or the lack thereof). Chinese disciplines that deal with the manipulation of ch'i in the body include medicine, martial arts, calisthenics, and even sexual therapy. Disciplines that have to do with ch'i outside the body are architecture, interior design (feng shui), and landscaping among many others.
Tai Chi is a martial art, make no mistake, but it is proven to increase circulation and lower blood pressure. Great for
practice on the beach to really increase ch'i flow.
Andy Brandt demonstrates the art of Sail Chi, not to be confused with tai chi as it is not a martial art, but it will vastly improve your sailing and it just might lower your blood pressure
- the principles of balance and energy flow are the same.
Learning to cultivate mana and ch'i off the water will exponentially enhance one's sailing experience, creating a self-perpetuating cycle of good energy in our lives. Proper mana having to do with income, friends, family, and having command over much of our time will allow for more sailing at the place and time of our choosing, while simultaneously enhancing our relationships with others. Proper ch'i flow can improve sailing technique, endurance, ability, and health. Activities such as tai chi, playing music, dance, aerobic exercise, yoga, running, swimming, and more can enhance our sailing ch'i when we are unable to sail.
An alternate ch'i and mana building activity is Poi or Fire Staff, which was often done in polynesian culture. Rather than wind and water, the element is fire; practitioners still come away with something extra. The author is learning this stuff slowly.
The energy of windsurfing may often seem intangible, but its existence is apparent in our lives on and off the water. In all situations we can more easily proceed with a bright edge, the edge of being challenged to make the most of all energy that comes our way, whether it seems like a gust, lull, whitecap, or swell. No amount of negativity or delusion can change the pristine nature of these energy flows.