I can feel something. A kind of fullness. As I move, the feeling changes. It almost feels as if something is moving me. I hear my daughter crying and it's gone.
Qi is like a badger, it's very shy.
If you look too hard it seems to evaporate. It is something that can be felt but not measured which leads materialists to conclude that it doesn't exist.
Often disagreements come down to semantics. What do you think Qi is? Qi in the context of martial arts or Chinese medicine is merely a convenient label for a phenomenon that can be felt. If you have acupuncture you'll probably experience strong feelings of energy coursing through your body. Western Science doesn't seem to provide a satisfactory explanation for what's going on here and so we call it Qi.
What animates your body? What is life or consciousness? Within the current scientific paradigm, these are difficult questions to answer. If all matter is essentially dead stuff then how is anything living? Taoist philosophers described the life force that permeates the universe as Qi.
It's understandable that people are sceptical. Qi is a much-abused word. So many Tai Chi teachers play up the magical, ethereal and intangible aspects of the art which gives the majority of people a very mistaken impression of what it's all about.
In my experience people often fall into two camps: Those that think any talk of internal energy is bullshit and those that can see, feel and exchange Qi with trees, the universe and extraterrestrials with little or no practice.
But whilst Qi itself might be elusive it is possible to scientifically test the effects of Acupuncture, Qigong and Tai Chi on a person's health. There are numerous studies showing that Qi practices are very effective for many different problems and it is widely accepted that they work. Is there a materialist explanation of WHY they work? Maybe but it's probably deeply unsatisfactory.
The Chinese are practical people and have been historically less concerned with WHY things work than IF they work. Meanwhile, in the West we have been steadily dissecting, reducing and questioning everything. Scepticism is healthy, in my opinion, but if something is proven to work and WHY it works doesn't fit into your model of reality then it could be that your model needs to change. I can feel something. Is it Qi? I'll say.....yes I'm happy with that term because I can't find a better one.