9. Qi Gong
Qi gong (or Qigong) is something of an institution in China. It encompasses all the ways a person can manage their life force, or “qi.” These methods range from breathing techniques to martial arts to philosophy and medicine . . . and, of course, the paranormal. When practiced in a certain way, Qi gong seems to be able to grant supernatural powers, such as the ability to break solid steel bars with a single kick or project your life force to grant strength to other people.
One of the most famous “supernatural” Qi gong masters was Mr. Bao, a post-Mao conjurer who was neither a master of Qi gong nor even an active practitioner of the art. Even so, he appeared to be a natural, as he was able to channel his qi in many seemingly impossible ways. Bao was considered a national treasure in all of China, and his favorite trick was to make a coin that a person was holding disappear . . . and make it reappear in their stomach. Other stories of supernaturally gifted Qi gong masters tell tales of walking through walls, enhancing the taste of people’s food, and making pills pop out of closed bottles in multiple locations at once.
While it is difficult to determine how many of the many tales of supernatural Qi gong masters are true, the fact remains that the concept of qi is ingrained in the Chinese culture: Whether it’s real or not, people believe it. And isn’t that what really matters in the end?