One of the 'mystical' aspects of the martial arts has always been the ability to feel another persons intention.
Sensing intention gives a person the ability to be in instant control of a potentially violent encounter, and it's one of the ways we use the martial arts to test our energy work and meditation skills in Hoshin.
A simple explanation of 'intention'.
When a person intends to hit you, that intention carries with it a very subtle vibration. Since most people are unaware of this they put off a variety of these subtle vibrations constantly.
Have you ever come home to an angry spouse and felt the entire house vibrate with the bad energy? This is exactly the same.
When a person tries to hit you they put off a vibration that you can feel, even with your eyes closed. With training a person can distinguish between the intention to strike and the strike itself as there are subtle differences in the feel of the energy vibrations emanating from the attacker.
In Hoshin class we have a student stand with their eyes closed and then, very slowly, send a punch towards their face with the full intention to make contact.
Almost invariably the student will feel the difference in the subtle energies that surround them and their body, seemingly of it's own accord, will dodge out of the way.
It's fun to see the look of shock on a persons face when they realize what happened and what they felt.
Another exercise is to have a student stand with his back to you, then walk slowly (and silently) forward. The student is to raise a hand when they feel you coming up behind them.
You can vary this by thinking angry thoughts and happy thoughts and watch the distance at which you become 'noticed' by the student.
The purpose of teaching a student to feel intention is to empower them in situations that most people find daunting. When you KNOW that another person has ill intentions towards you, then you are in control. Depending on the situation you can leave, you can seek a diplomatic solution or you can wait till the future attackers back is turned and hit him with a chair.
While some of these solutions are better than others (Chair Fu should always be the absolute last resort) what's important here is that because of your heightened awareness you weren't taken by surprise when someone attacked you.
For an interesting illustration of using intention and feeling the difference between the intent to strike and the actual strike read Chapter 6 of Dr. Glenn Morris' book "Pathnotes of an American Ninja Master".
Robert Morgen is a Reiki Master who currently holds a
Black Belt in Hoshin Roshi Ryu. He's the founder of
the Kundalini Awakening Discussion Group, the Druids
Circle Discussion Group and the (offline) Druids
Circle in Lakewood, CO. You can find more info on all
these at; www.druidscircle.info
He's also the founder and Executive Director of the Windhaven Foundation for Sustainable Living.
He writes a regular column on subtle energy for Fight Times Magazine and a twice monthly column on Kundalini Awakening at Alumbo.com.
In addition to teaching about energy work and Kundalini Awakening he donates time to teach about Renewable Energy, Alternative Building and Creating Sustainable Lifestyles in various Public Schools.
He travels and teaches as much as possible and you can find out how to attend one of his Kundalini Awakening seminars at his website at; www.windhavenco.org
His new book "Personal Mastery: Develop Your True Inner Power By Awakening Your Kundalini" is now available at http://www.lulu.com/RobertMorgen.