The Qi Master and Acupuncturist, John Chang from Indonesia…
This series of articles ‘Encounters with Spontaneous Qi’ discusses primarily the phenomenon of spontaneous qigong. However, there are different ways that qi power can be utilised depending on the practitioner and the type of training they undergo.
This article discusses one practitioner who has the ability to combine acupuncture needling with his own “bio-energy” (or qi) resulting in strong electric-type shocks for the patient. He also had other preternatural abilities such as telekinesis (moving objects) and pyrokenisis (setting fire to objects). This person is an Indonesian acupuncturist called John Chang from Java.
I have also written a follow up article about John Chang called – Jim McMillan: The First Western Student of John Chang and Mo Pai.
John Chang’s exposure to the West
John Chang came to fame in the world in the late 1980’s. He was included as a segment in a travel documentary about Indonesia made by the film-maker brothers – Lorne and Lawrence Blair.
This documentary show was called ‘Ring of Fire: East of Krakatoa’ and was shown on mainstream TV, watched by thousands of people. In one of the episodes the brothers did a segment on John Chang, who they referred to as ‘Dynamo Jack’, as at the time, he did not want to share his identity.
Here are some extracts of the commentary from the documentary:
Ring of Fire – John Change (aka “DJ” – Dynamo Jack)
“They found him in the China town in urban Java. He didn’t want his real name and address revealed so we named him DJ (for Dynamo Jack). He was only a healer he said. But he did direct a powerful energy, generated from his own body to his patients.”
The documentary shows John Chang with a patient. He touches one point on their body and the patient’s hand jerks as though he has set off a sudden reflex reaction.
DJ stimulates an acupuncture needle. The limb the needle is inserted into starts to involuntary flex and relax.
“Sometimes he used the needles. Sometimes just his hands. He called the energy ‘qi’. And it was so strong, he usually needed a ‘grounder’ to hold his patient’s feet.
For years, we followed him around Java on his healing rounds and asked to be allowed to film him. But he always refused, saying his powers resulted from a type of meditation with an ancient tradition of secrecy. Only when my brother Lorne, was suffering from a serious eye infection, that he finally allowed us to film him in 1987.”
The documentary shows one of the brothers having a treatment with DJ. His is lying down with his arms laying on his chest. As DJ stimulates the acupuncture needle, the brother’s arms move sporadically. It is a kind of spontaneous qi movement.
“It wasn’t like any acupuncture I’ve ever had. I was getting really powerful electric shocks and couldn’t control my movements at all.
DJ explains –
“…Yin Yang – Positive and negative. My positive from here” – (gestures towards the dantian area). “My negative from him”, (gestures just below dantian). “And link them together and can get electricity”
Lorne: “…and is this because you are special. You have a special sort of body?
DJ – “I do meditation every day.”
DJ gives another demonstration by touching hands with one of the documentary makers.
“This is nothing, it might burn…” DJ says.
They touch hands and suddenly the other person pulls his hand away quickly as though touching a flame.
Narrator – “for our sound recordist, it was also a shocker” She puts her hand on DJ’s belly and immediately pulls away as though receiving an electrical shock.
Then the documentary goes into a strange direction. A classic WT-eff? moment.
“He then took our newspaper outside and showed us how qi can also be used to set things on fire.”
DJ holds his hand over a crumpled up piece of newspaper on the ground. He concentrates and then it as though he is pushing down a ball of pressure on the newspaper ball. As he does so, smokes immediately begins to come out of the ball and it comes alight.
Whilst John appeared to enjoy himself during the documentary, he was bound by a promise to his master not to show these abilities to anyone except for his students. After the documentary was released, John was not happy with the media attention. He cut off contact with the brothers Lorne and Lawrence Blair.
However, 10 years later, he made contact again with Lawrence Blair. This led to a follow-up of the documentary being made…
Lawrence Blair (narration):
“When he’d heard we’d shown this footage in public, he was very upset and refused all our future efforts to contact him. As the years passed, we sadly resigned ourselves to never seeing him again. My brother Lorne never did, as by 1997, he was already dead when I again found myself seeking DJ, now treating me for an eye problem.
But it wasn’t this that brought me back. He had tracked me down out of the blue and invited me to tell me a story. He had just returned from two years on a deep meditational journey alone in the heart of Borneo.
Amongst his revelations, he had seen, he said how history was moving on into great change. The old wisdom was vanishing. So he called me back, to film just enough of him to remind us that we all have undreamed of powers sleeping within us. And there is nothing special about him except for his training and waking of them.”
(We see DJ treating a patient on the table.)
“Grounding this patient, my cameraman Joe is having to use all his weight to keep contact. Qi is pushing him away.”
We see DJ touching the back of the knee on a patient and the ankle flexes immediately as though a reflex action is triggered. He touches another person on the shoulder and mid back and the person’s arm immediately moves up and down.
It is a classic sign of setting off a spontaneous qi movement in a patient.
Amplitude of shocks
“He seems able to control the amplitude of this qi like a dimmer switch and it causes uncontrollable responses in the patients and their grounders.
“I can barely keep my hand on you. It just flies off you, the electricity is so strong”, she says.
Stopping a pellet with qi
At this point, John starts to give more demonstrations of his abilities. There is an element of showmanship at this point.
“This qi stuff is only the surface. But the real adventure is beneath in the meditational techniques”
Next John gives a demonstration with an air rifle. DJ cups his hand and holds it at the end of the rifle. He fires and then shows the pellet in his hand. It did not hurt his hand.
Mixing yin and yang
John Chang gives a basis description of how he utilises these abilities by mixing the yin and yang energies in his body
First you begin to distinguish between yin and yang qi in your body. Then how to pool it in your naval chakra. Then how to project it, he says, and it’s the proportionate mixture between yin and yang which accounts for different effects like pulling, or pushing and igniting them.
Then he gets really strange. He says that mastering yin qi is the key to the spirit world.
Telekenisis – moving a Kriss
In the next scene we see John demonstrating on an Indonesian kriss. He sets it on a table. Suddenly it moves in a semi-circle, similar to the way the dial on a ouji board might move in horror movies.
A kriss is an Indonesian dagger (both a weapon and a spiritual object), used ceremonially or as a talisman. There is a tradition in Indonesia that the Kriss can be possessed by spirits. Some Indonesians would bring DJ their kriss’s to see their dance.
“He says he doesn’t manipulate matter by projecting mixtures of yin and yang qi. He merely creates a field of yin energy in which he says if there’s a spirit, it can manifest itself.”
Theres a popular Japanese TV series starring one of my favourite actors – Abe Hiroshi along with Yukie Nakama, called ‘Trick’. They are investigators called upon to debunk people or possible fakirs who have strange paranormal powers. It is a comical version of the X files.
Some of these abilities do seem incredulous. Even though the documentary looks real, some of these demonstrations can be faked. Indeed the website – Unexplained-mysteries.com, on the page titled ‘John Chang debunked’, does offer some plausible suggestions for why the shooting of the pellet and the moving of the kriss is fake.
They also suggest that the electric shocks administered by John Chang could be supplied by having a device attached, though, there is no plausible reason why John Chang would feel the need to electro shock every single one of his patients who comes to him for acupuncture.
Also, a device would not be able to set off spontaneous-type movements after inserting needles into a patient.
Any acupuncturist who has used a tens machine or a electro-acupuncture kit, will know that, the body absorbs the electrical energy or it gets dispersed. The charge is mild anyway and you need to attach the connectors directly to the body either directly touching the skin or through the needle. You also certainly don’t want to be passing an electrical charge through yourself.
Unless you’re some kind of sick acupuncturist with an S&M fetish. I suppose they do exist somewhere.
The most you may see is a small pulsation around the needle. You certainly won’t see any full spontaneous limb movements or bodily shaking. If you did, you would be very worried that the person wasn’t having a fit or a severe electrical shock.
The unexplained-mysteries website has no explanation for the spontaneous movement, though they probably could come up with something. If you disbelieve all things preternatural, then that becomes your filter.
As an acupuncturist, I cannot think of a more ridiculous thing to do than attaching an electro-shock device to myself and shocking my patients.
Don’t forget that we used to burn witches in the West
We are afraid in the West to accept that such things can be possible. In my opinion, the powers involving the acupuncture and spontaneous movements and bio-electric shocks look like the real thing to me. You can’t fake this. There would be no point.
Put under scientific scrutiny
Nonetheless, for the follow-up documentary, they were aware that such things would be hard to swallow in the West. So in this second documentary, the filmmaker invited a small group of scientists from America to assess if there is some kind of trickery. They used a metal detector on him to check if he is using a magnet or any device to set off the electrical charges when he touches them. They were unable to find anything. They also go to a different site away from his clinic in case there is something there that is causing these sensations. They cannot find any trickery. In fact, at one point DJ illuminates a LED bulb using his qi by holding it in his hand with another cast member holding onto it, to ‘ground it’.
A little too far
The experiments continue and things are going well until they all have a meal in a restaurant. DJ shows off another ‘trick’ with a chopstick, but in the process accidentally cuts himself and injures one of the members with a splinter. They laughed it off. However, the next day, DJ was quiet and withdrawn. He told the filmmakers:
“He said he had been visited all night by his long dead master raging that he had broken the strict taboos of his set – never to show off in public and never to cause harm”.
He felt deeply chastised and from that point on, all filming and testing was to come to an end. Never again would he submit to public scrutiny, nor accept any new students. He would sink from sight and continue his healing in obscurity. As he had done before we met him in the early 80s and had always told us it was right.”
It is a very unusual documentary and sparked a lot of interest in John Chang. It brought attention to his system of meditation and the training he does, which is called Mo Pai. Apparently there are 72 levels of training to attain.
DJ, – John Chang
In the documentary, he is referred to as DJ or ‘Dynamo Jack’. His real name was John Chang.
The videos are available on YouTube. Here are the videos:
John Chang segment
Full documentary ‘Ring of Fire: East of Krakatoa’:
Mesmerizing a generation of martial artists and qigong practitioners
These videos are really quite bizarre. Many people were mesmerised by him. Some even went as far to travel to Indonesia to track him down to ask DJ to be their teacher.
One such person that went to learn from him was an engineer and martial artist called Kosta Daneos
After watching this video Kosta travelled to Indonesia and became a student of John Chang. He took the John Chang story further along, as Kosta wrote a book about his meeting. This book was called ‘The Magus of Java‘. It was through Kosta’s book, that we learn the identity of Dynamo Jack. (Source – MartialDevlopment.com – Teachings of a Authentic Taoist Immortal)
In the next section, I will include some quotes from the book – the Magus of Java.
Quotes from ‘The Magus of Java’
Acupuncture needling infused with bio-energy (ch’i)
“John was a healer. He applied acupuncture to the traditional points, but supplemented its effect greatly by passing his ch’i, his bio-energy if you will, through the needles. He had healed hundreds of people whom Western medicine could not aid…”
Receiving a treatment from John Chang
The author then requested an acupuncture treatment for joint pain caused by over-training in the martial arts. John told him: “I’m going to have to touch you. Don’t be alarmed at what you’ll feel…”
“Imagine a powerful, continuous electrical current passing through your body. Imagine that despite its impact, you are somehow aware that this current is benevolent, not damaging. Imagine it working like a radar, searching, weighing, feeling. I gasped and almost fell over… The stream of bio-energy he was sending through me made my muscles jerk uncontrollably”.
Scanning the body internally
It appears that this bio-energy not only sent a charge through the patient’s body. It also allowed John to scan and see the internal condition of the body.
“Your heart is very good… Lungs are okay. Kidneys are good. Livers’ all right…” While he was talking, I felt like I was going through some kind of high-intensity ultrasound. I could feel his power inside me, the energy building up as he became more confident of my physical condition.
“Oh”, he said. I have it. It’s in the blood. Your blood chemistry makes you prone to calcium deposits…”
Training these abilities?
Can these powers be developed by anyone else?
It is apparent in the story of how John was picked by his own teacher – Master Liao Tsu Tong (who had even greater power), that there needs to be some latent ability or talent, present. Which in turn needs to be developed by diligent practice and long-term training. This is the same way that not everyone can be an olympic athlete. Here is an account of the young John Chang’s first meeting with his teacher:
When the young boy first saw the old man, he was not overly impressed…
“What do you want here boy?”, the old man asked the small body…
Master Liao studied the child carefully. The boy was essentially a street kid of Southeast Asia… He saw something else too, something that excited him considerably, though he did not show it, of course. The boy had the talent.
This quote – “the talent” echoes the quote from the movie ‘the Matrix when the hero Neo is referred to by the Oracle (Spiritual teacher ) as having ‘the gift‘ – albeit, not being ready to use it.
But perhaps we are not all destined to be a powerful healer like DJ. It is not in our karma, so to speak. Nonetheless, to a lesser degree, we have capabilities. we have great potentials within us. John Chang suggested that these are powers we all can have. We need only to bring out our talents as best we can. So how to do this?
Constructing and developing oneself
There is a hint in this quote from the Magus of Java, where the author attempts to define ‘kung fu’ as:
“the construction and development of one’s energy over time”.
What I take this to mean, is that a person, can bring out their best potential and capability if they are prepared to work at it. In regard to developing these kind of abilities, we are talking about energy work – healing and developed spiritual powers. A key part of training is qi gong and meditation – building our own qi. An important part of this may be finding the right teacher.
The path to attain these kinds of powers seem desirable, but there is a price. Though we may look at the TV documentary and see a man enjoying these powers and his life, we see none of the struggles he went through.
In the book- the Magus of Java, we learn of John Chang’s hardships. For example, he was forbidden by his teacher to accept payment for acupuncture or healing. This meant that even though he had this power, he could not make a living from it.
For 20 years, he had to work as a driver. His family also suffered from lack of money (he had 7 kids). As he approached his 40s, his family was going through an especially difficult financial time and in frustration and desperation, he called upon the spirit of his old teacher – what is the point of these powers, if I cannot afford to live?
His master’s spirit spoke to him to tell him to carry on and not to worry. Circumstances are going to improve. And sure enough, soon after a business opportunity materialized, which changed his fortunes from thereon-in.
Life in the jungle
Bear in mind also the training John Chang had to undergo. His wife agreed early on when he explained to her that he would have to spend all his spare time training and nothing else. I can’t imagine any woman in the West agreeing to such a thing. While she’s changing the nappies and taking the kids out, he’s training in meditation.
At one point, we hear how he even left his home for 2 years to live in the jungle and a cave, meditating and foraging for food like a kind of wild man. This was a necessary part of his development.
Can you imagine how a family, a wife, would feel if their husband left home without a word for 2 years. For most people such things are unlikely to be accepted. Consider also the physical hardship of living in the jungle.
These are reasons why few people develop these powers. The training to attain them and sacrifices one must make, are more than most people are prepared to do.
Yin and Yang
In the book ‘The Magus of Java’ mentions one important concept. It is repeated several times by John Chang and seems key to his abilities. John Chang often referred to the utilisation of Yin and Yang energy. He mentioned it briefly in the documentary.
“You understand about yang and yin? Inside our bodies, both flow in equal amounts” he continued. “These energies are opposites; they can never meet. Yin and yang normally run parallel to each other, never letting go of one another. I use my yin and yang together as one; that is why I can do what I do. By itself, yang ch’i cannot pass the limits of the body”
I have studied yin and yang at acupuncture school, but I struggle to understand what exactly he is referring to when he talks about yin and yang in the book – The Magus of Java’. Or how this is significant to these kind of abilities. I still have much learning to do.
The 72 Levels of Mo Pai
Apparently, there are 72 levels in Mo Pai – the system that John Chang trained in. The details of this training have understandably, been kept a secret and confined to students.
However, I am curious as to the number 72.
Why 72? Why not 71 or 70 or 42?
One of the reasons this number grabbed my interest, is because there are an estimated 72 Channels (Meridians), energy pathways in Traditional Oriental Medicine. (Link: ‘How many Meridians are there in Traditional Chinese Medicine? Answer 72′)
Additionally, this number 72, shows up again in Traditional Indian Medicine.
For example, in Traditional Indian Medicine (yoga), it is recorded that there are 72,000 Nadis. Nadis are energy channel pathways. (Link: 72,000 Nadis and 114 Chakras in the Human Body, Amit Ray)
Amit Ray states that the purpose of meditation is to clear the Channels, to keep them pure and clean, so that we can remain connected to our divine self.
He states that a lack of energy flow in the Nadis and Chakras, can affect the physical, spiritual, mental and emotional health of a person. He states, that to understand the Nadis, will require deep meditation.
And from what I have read about Mo Pai, a significant part of training, is hours and hours of meditation.
This number 72 does seem significant. But we can only speculate as to why this particular number 72?
The Magus of Java – John Chang
The Magus of Java is like an extension of the documentary made by the Blair Brothers made in the 1980s and which surprised the Western world. The author Kosta fills in the details that the documentary could not.
If you are curious about John Chang, then it is worth reading this book. It was also due to the authors influence, that we saw the follow-up documentary made by Lawrence Blair in 1997, where he invited the team of scientists to study John Chang.
Click here for the book on Amazon.
Jim McMillan and John Chang
For another account of John Chang, his first Western student – Jim McMillan also wrote a book called – ‘Seeking the Master of Mo Pai: Adventures with John Chang‘. This contains a more raw, account of training with John Chang.
Jim’s account of John Chang fills in a lot of details of the first stage of training of Mo Pai, but also about John Chang the man. He also discusses some of the other students.
I find Jim McMillan’s account refreshingly honest and I feel there is a lot of humility in him. His Christian beliefs did not restrict him. In fact, Jim approached Mo Pai and John Chang with an incredibly open mind.
It seems, his Christian roots likely kept him balanced, and to always act with integrity. He was not afraid to point out any contradictions about his master, who he referred to as Pak John. He saw him as human, with a human’s weakness, and did not seek to put him on a pedestal. Yet, he always respected him as his teacher. The more I read through his book, the more, I feel Jim would have been an excellent teacher. He passed away some years ago.
I have written an article about Jim McMillan. I would strongly recommend anyone interested in Mo Pai or John Chang to read his book.
Overall, it is a mysterious documentary that we are fortunate to be able to see. Such things are usually kept hidden, shown only to a few students until the Master dies. This idea of secrecy is common in the East, unlike the West, which emphasises sharing knowledge and technology for the benefit of mankind.
Whilst it is true, there are possible dangers if such powers end up in the hands of bad people, this is just the nature of life. Everything a person creates can be used for good or evil. A knife can cut a plant down for food or cut a person. Nuclear power can be used for a weapon or a source of energy so we don’t all have to live like the Middle ages. This does not mean we should keep the technology to make knives or nuclear power a secret. What is important is we learn to use it responsibly.
Qi power with acupuncture
Most people interested in John Chang are attracted to the more dramatic abilities like setting things alight or moving objects. These kind of superman actions. I would say these abilities are pretty much irrelevant. More interesting to me is his ability to transmit qi with acupuncture needling and his possible healing ability. This is more practical and useful to society.
Unless you are short of a lighter.
A unique perspective for acupuncturists and healers
This documentary should be of interest to acupuncturists to give a perspective of how the practitioner’s qi energy can be transferred through needling.
In John Chang’s case he is able to set off a charge of energy in the body just by manipulating the acupuncture needle. In the first few minutes of the clip, you can see one of the filmmakers being needled and having lots of spontaneous hand movements as a result.
The type of needle manipulation he performed is nothing unusual. The techniques are quite common practice for many acupuncturists.
However, the kind of reaction he attains are definitely not normal. Whilst in a normal acupuncture session, a person may get a peculiar ‘deqi’ type sensation – a feeling of energy running up the leg or body; what you do not get is a strong electric shock or sudden sporadic spontaneous body movement, which you cannot control.
A unique manifestation of qi power
This also differs from the kind of spontaneous qigong effects I have personally experienced. John Chang sets off a kind of electrical-type charge. He also needs a grounder – someone to hold the patient, though it is not made clear what the purpose of this is.
This differs from the spontaneous qi effect as set off by my colleague Miro Baricic and also I assume the effects as set off by Dr Skakov in Russia.
I will discuss Miro in my next article as he has some unusual qi abilities. When I received an acupuncture treatment from Miro, it resulted in lots of spontaneous and uncontrollable movements in my whole body, not just one limb. Also the experience was actually enjoyable (not painful). There were no electric shocks, and I felt charged after the treatment.
Qigong Master demonstrating the power of Qi
As we see in this documentary John Chang has a truly remarkable ability. Certainly the ability to create fire and intense heat is out of the ordinary. I can truly understand if the reader at this point find this unbelievable and probably staged.
Some of the exercises could be questioned. The stopping of the bullet pellet with his hand could easily have been faked. The way the had is cupped and held to the right end is done in a way where a fake pellet could easily have been switched. However, the reactions of the patients and film crew when receiving John’s shocks appeared realistic.
And as I mentioned above, it would be ridiculous if he was to have an electrical device in his hand dispersing electrical shocks, like a childhood trick or one of those electro hand shocking toys. The documentary looks convincing. John appears to be the real thing.
I am not affiliated with John Chang in any way
To any readers from hereon-in, don’t contact me regarding John Chang, his system of qigong or any of his students. I have nothing to do with them. I am simply writing about him as his story fits in with the theme of my series of articles – ‘Encounters with Spontaneous Qi’ and gives a different perspective of what is possible.
Due to his fame, there will many people interested in his life. Or are interested in seeking out his students. Bear in mind that this documentary was shown in 1988, nearly 30 years ago.
For readers today, also be aware that, there are other people who have developed specific healing abilities with acupuncture and qi.
For example, my friend Miro Baricic is one. There is also a Dr Skakov in Russia, (who I wrote about here and here. Both of these practitioners may be more accessible to people in the current age (circa 2018).
More information about John Chang and Mo Pai
As mentioned above, I have written a follow up article about John Chang called – Jim McMillan: The First Western Student of John Chang and Mo Pai. Click on the link to read more.
In the next article, I discuss my first experience of having Spontaneous qi activated from receiving an acupuncture treatment.
- Encounters with Spontaneous Qi: Serialisation (Part 1 of this series – Encounters with Spontaneous Qi)
- People who can set Spontaneous Qi Activation (Amended)
- About Hui Xian Chen: Spontaneous Qi Practice – Day 6
Screen shots taken from documentary – Ring of Fire
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