Come along with me, hotdog children, to the mystical faraway land of California, where an ancient Chinese practitioner named Paul Dong practices the art of the Empty Force at a magical temple known as the YMCA. He has chosen to share his knowledge with all of us simply because it feeds his soul and also because I gave him five dollars.
Let’s get this out of the way right at the top of the article. Not believing that all Asian people are a little bit of magic is actually pretty racist. They put that right in the intro to the book, so take your anti-magical Asian biases elsewhere. Removing that stone from this house will collapse it.
Empty Force was co-written by Paul Dong, chi master of the YMCA, and regular guy Thomas Raffill. The idea behind the book is that the only thing cooler than kicking ass with karate is healing ass with karate, and chi can do both of those things. Paul is the main authority on this topic throughout the book, and Thomas is just sort of there as a witness. He doesn’t seem coordinated enough to co-write a karate book. His first anecdote about the healing powers of chi involves him losing a battle with his arch-nemesis, a car door.
Ok, nerd, I guess you can tag along on this karate adventure Mr. Dong is taking us on, but try to keep quiet. So, if it is possible to have magic powers, why don’t more people just try force-pushing their enemies with their minds? The answer, of course, is sex. Every cult thinks we’re either having far too much or far too little, and finding the perfect amount of orgasms will ultimately save our lives.
We could all have superpowers if only pop singers weren’t so damn hot. If only ball game images weren’t so surrounding. Luckily, in the mystical faraway land of 1996 China, they have no pop stars. Strangely, the writer talks about China as if it’s still unspoiled rural farmland just waiting to be conquered by white people, who would, of course, lose to the terrifying super soldiers roaming the countryside looking for blood. This is not an exaggeration. The next section of the book is all about assembling a super team of chi-powered X-Men with names like Demon-Foot, Tiger-Claw, and one guy from Florida with the most terror-inducing name of all, Richard.
You may not know this, but traditional legs are longer than arms, which is explained in this book. Therefore, the Demon-Foot Master has an advantage on attack because most people aren’t ready for you to river dance them into oblivion. It sounds terrifying, but the description of the Demon-Foot Master is adorable compared to Tiger-Claw, who’s something straight out of a problematic Wolverine comic.
Woah, the phrase “it was said” is doing a lot of heavy lifting in that sentence. It was said by whom? Someone on PCP? It was said the “Tiger-Claw King” trained his students by making them dig in the dirt and scratch the bark off of trees. He ate animal bones for their extra calcium and tore the flesh from horses and bulls for fun. So, like, not a chill guy at all. All Richard can do is gently tip a very frail man over, but he also has a sick dragon tattoo.
There’s even a cop with super chi powers who doesn’t have to carry a gun because he can spit people to death. This can be confirmed by the Beijing City government or police department if you’re willing to learn the Chinese phrase for, “Why is this pervert calling me about super spit?” Be sure to check out Spit Cop, the wettest AI-generated show, coming this fall to Roku. I encourage everyone to read this carefully as every inch of it rules:
Woah, an attack, which never misses, that can only be escaped by running away! That’s also how you defeat Batman. Or any man. If the super spitter ever gets super chi speed, criminals will tremble! As of right now, they’re pretty much fine.
So, you might be wondering how one develops these superhuman abilities. It’s a lot of hand swirling. You have to practice a lot of gentle swaying and swirling in order to cause the water in the hands to undergo a “nuclear-magnetic resonance.” Basically, your body becomes a magnet, controlled by your brain and also your Demonic Feet.
It takes two to four hours of swirling per day, 365 days a year without stopping, for about 4-5 years to experience these amazing results. Gaining superpowers is a lot like Duolingo. If you lose your streak, you have to start swirling all over again. If, for some reason, you don’t gain the ability to rend men’s flesh from the bones in a single stroke, did you perhaps miss a day of swirling in the past five years? What about Saint Patrick’s Day? Did you swirl then? Are you certain?
Once your skills are fully developed, the only thing that can stop chi is aluminum, a mirror, or, of course, running away. So, as long as you avoid distance runners, soda cans, and fun houses, you’re unstoppable. If you’ve got a cool four to five years to swirl, this book does include some gentle exercises for nuclear magnetizing your blood. After a mere two years, you’ll be able to do the more complicated poses, like spirit fingers and baseball umpire.
You might be thinking, who has that much time to devote to gently swaying your way to glory? The answer is nerds. That’s why our Western culture just isn’t set up to birth spit Avengers into existence. We’ve got too many lame distractions like spouses and children who want our time and attention. We can’t just say, “Sorry, kid; Mommy can’t make it to your soccer game today. She has to climb a hill and scream HA at the sun for two to three hours. You’ll appreciate this when she can kick your ass without touching you five years from now.”
So the author understands you won’t have time for all this. It’s not like the good ol’ days when we were free from distractions and duties and every village could hire a Bruce Lee. Or, if you lived in a less prosperous village, maybe a nice Bruce Le. Every old woman in the Chinese countryside was a Demon-Foot waiting to pounce.
Now, at this point, I should say I do wonder if Paul Dong is real and if he knows that his co-author wrote this book. Raffill claims that he’s simply helping dictate stories told to him by Master Dong in most cases. However, I can’t really picture Paul referring to himself as “a Chinese.”
There are photos in the book of Paul Dong teaching students, but they all seem to be taken from pretty far away. It feels more like someone with a telephoto lens knew where Paul Dong would be rather than a true artistic collaboration.
Am I saying this book was created by a man driven to madness by a gentle Tai Chi class? Legally, no. However…yes. I think this is the creation of someone who simply couldn’t handle Tai Chi. If he had taken a yoga class, this book would be about superhumans who can twist their torsos into lassos, and it would have been called Spaghetti Force: The Squeakiest Martial Fart.
This article was brought to you by our fine sponsor and Hot Dog Supreme: Josh S, also known as the Master Dong of the YMCA, funnily enough.