Once upon a time—on Feb. 1, to be precise—I wrote enthusiastically about the new LEGO toy series that was set in the Land of Chima, where magical water containing the raw power of nature flowed down from Mount Cavora into the Sacred Pool of Chi, where it mixed with unique minerals to form solid orbs of chi.
These chi orbs—blue plastic marbles, actually—could be used as personal power boosters by the warriors of the animal tribes that inhabited Chima or as fuel for their vehicles and machines. It was sort of a cross between caffeine and petroleum and bound to be fought over sooner or later.
At the time I thought, well, so maybe there’s some violence here—but at least LEGO is raising “qi awareness” amongst kids who may grow up to become interested in qigong (“qi,” of course, being the correct current spelling of the Chinese character that used to be written “chi.”)
Now I’m thinking I’d like to take my enthusiasm back.
The latest LEGO catalog features battle machines like Gorzan’s Gorilla Striker ($49.99) and Worriz’ Combat Lair ($69.99). Kits to build 7-inch multi-weapon monster warriors are available for a mere $14.99, or, for $119.99, you can get the 1,258-piece Lion CHI Temple. This is an edifice from which the Lion and Eagle tribes are trying to fight off greedy, bad-guy tribes to restore balance and peace to Chima.
“Slam the lion gate shut and send Cragger plummeting into the pit,” suggests the catalog brochure. “Then release the hidden lion claw bikes to intercept Crawley’s reptile raider. Deploy the agile eagle drone fighter to repel Razar’s airborne assault or aim and fire the rotating tower cannon.”
It’s all fascinating, in its way. LEGO has created a miniature world with elaborate backstories and lots of potential for imaginative play. But what values and awarenesses are being installed in kids’ psyches by the goings-on in the Land of Chima, where qi is something to be fought over rather than something to be cultivated?
Probably the same values and awarenesses being appealed to in adults in a newspaper ad I saw last week for a sneak preview of the movie “Man of Tai Chi,” directed by and featuring Keanu Reeves.
Raved the ad: “No rules. No mercy. Pure fighting.”
This is a good thing?
TEA & QI: On a completely different subject, let me note that on Sunday, Nov. 10, the Institute of Qigong & Integrative Medicine is hosting an afternoon of tea, desserts and information about Yi Ren Qigong and the doings of the Institute from 2-5 p.m. at the Northshore Health & Wellness Center, Bothell, WA. For information, go to www.iqim.org.