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Vera Cordwood
07-23-2001, 09:26 PM
DO YOU BELIEVE IN KI?

I am curious about Ki. I am a Christian and I am not sure I can rectify Ki with my beliefs. What do you think about Ki?

Nick
07-23-2001, 09:40 PM
I've put a lot of thought into this... though not in a mood to do a ton of research, I can give you one example...

somewhere in the gospels (don't ask me which one), there's a story of a woman who was considered "unclean" by the higher-up religious folk of that day. She snuck through the crowd, and managed to touch the end of Jesus' robe. At that point, the author notes that "energy went into the woman and she was made clean", or something like that. As far as I can see, that's the best example of ki I can see.

There's basically an example of ki in almost every culture...

ki (japanese)
chi (chinese)
prana (sanskrit)
pneuma (greek)
bioenergy (english)
"The Force" (Star Wars)

I've had my own experiences that have shown the compatibility of my faith (Christian) with martial arts, one of which is that my father is a sandan in Shito-ryu karate. What makes that relevant is that he's also an ordained minister. I've had other experiences that have helped me, but I need not go into those here.

If nothing else, ask your pastor/priest/whatever it is they're called. If practicing aikido violates your beliefs, then don't practice it, and I wish you luck on whatever path life takes you.

Nick

guest1234
07-23-2001, 09:53 PM
At my last dojo we had a shodan who also played ice hockey, and had had some hard falls in that. One night, while he was already stiff from the ice, I threw him in irmi nage. He got up wide eyed and proclaimed he'd never felt that before, I'd caused Ki to flow down his arm with the throw. It was with great reluctance I informed him it was probably an already irritated nerve in his neck being pinched with the fall and that he should rest a while. I guess Ki is in the mind of the beholder.
Seriously, I do believe and have these suggestions for your problem: can you see it not as some mystical pseudo-religious power, but perhaps a phenomena that exists, but you just don't know a lot about right now (maybe like quantum physics or car mechanics, or something that is a bit of a mystery to you and others). Nothing that is not ultimately from God, just as is quantum physics and perhaps car mechanics. There is nothing about a belief in God or Jesus that would contradict a belief in Ki as I understand it---but I don't know your beliefs, or how you see Ki. Read some books--I like 'Ki in Daily Life' by Koichi Tohei Sensei, and 'Ki, a Road That Anyone Can Walk' by William Reed Sensei. Or if you don't think it will start fireworks you're not up to facing right now, talk it over with a senior student, your sensei, or your minister.
Good luck on your journey.

PeterR
07-23-2001, 10:04 PM
My understanding is that neither the Japanese or Chinese view Ki/Chi in a religious sense. It is in fact a description of the physical just as in the west we used to talk about the various humors of the body. It is only relatively recently that the role of lungs, heart and circulation were understood by the medics, not to mention the source of disease.

Now Tomiki talks about the various powers. We here of the power of movement, breath power, etc, and the more mystical Ki. In the latter case it seems that the use of mystical refers to lack of a physical understanding as opposed to religious - remembering the level of education of this man.

At this stage of my training Ki does not play that great a role (at least at the level of particualar concern). I do not however see it in particularily religious term and as Nick pointed out it is just a word describing very similar phenomenon across cultures.

akiy
07-23-2001, 10:13 PM
Hey, I'm Japanese. Do I count?

At least amongst us "common" Japanese folks, the term and concept of "ki" is basically something along the lines of "consciousness" or "being." We hardly ever use the term in Japanese just by itself like some people do in English -- it's, more or less, just a part of our language.

For people who would like to get a feel for how we use the term, I've compiled a short list of "ki phrases" here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/language/ki_phrases.html

To answer the original question of whether or not I "believe" in ki, I think it's a useful concept just like the concepts of consiousness, awareness, and being. Is it anything supernatural? Nope -- I don't think so...

-- Jun

Nick
07-23-2001, 10:14 PM
also... the Japanese word, "Ki" is used for many things... check the language part of this website... everything from Aiki to kikaki (an automobile's carburetour)... much like our word "soul"... can be used religiously, but can also be used to describe certain kinds of food, and it's up to the person to decide...

Nick

guest1234
07-23-2001, 10:20 PM
Originally posted by akiy
Hey, I'm Japanese. Do I count?


-- Jun

Nope. Sorry. Unless you are speaking only in English or wearing ... oh, nevermind :)
thanks for the list!

jedd
07-23-2001, 11:19 PM
Hi there, I do not claim to be an expert on issues relating to "Ki" or the development of it, but I think I have something to add. I view it as the synchronicity of sentient beings with the surrounding universe. In fact, I believe it can be drawn in to the realm of all religions in the sense that it speaks to the need for beings to become actively related to their surroundings (including all social relations). This is a positive relation in the sense that it would not aim to destroy. In Aikido this may be understood as timing, flow, proper technique, etc. It may, however, go beyond this and may be experienced as true unhindered technique. I know...pretty deep stuff, but hey, it's fun to think about. To answer the original question, I think Ki is advantageous and would not go against any religious doctrines. In fact, its' development may help some develop their religous or spiritual development while maintaining their core belief systems.

Keep thinkin'

Mike Collins
07-24-2001, 12:09 AM
How much does it matter whether or not you believe in Ki?

If you believe in it and it exists, will it cease to be if you cease to believe? If you believe in it and it doesn't exist, will it cease to not exist if you cease to believe?

As to Religion, well that's kind of personal, but I don't think too many people require a belief in Ki to teach Aikido, and if the concept of Ki bothers you, speak to your concept of God, and ask that He/She/They/It use you as a conduit of their power/love to demonstrate the quality of your life as an instrument of God.

Or don't, thats okay with me too.

gadsmf@aol.com
07-24-2001, 07:08 AM
Ki is as real as thought. Thought has no mass,
cannot be quantified but is undeniably real
and is fundamental to how we exist. So it is with ki.

andrew
07-24-2001, 08:50 AM
Originally posted by Vera Cordwood
I am a Christian and I am not sure I can rectify Ki with my beliefs.

I'm a Christian too. What you should realise its that you should not try to rectify Ki with your beliefs because they're not related. Relate Ki to your standing upright or breathing well.
The notion of Ki as some kind of Star wars type occult power we can seize is a common fantasy to a lot of us- "That guy is stronger and faster and more powerful than me, but if I could just flick the magic switch in my head I'd kick his ass with my Ki..." I think perhaps people add a mystical aura to the concept of Ki as an excuse for not training hard to develop it.

andrew

Steve
07-24-2001, 09:33 AM
I've come to think of ki as a convient analogy to describe the convergence of concentration, reflex, power, and all the other things that affect our performance of a given task. Ki is not a force but it's a handy way of describing what happens within us. Ki is not The Force, either, although too many young people want to believe it is. -- Steve

andrew
07-24-2001, 09:50 AM
Originally posted by Steve
I've come to think of ki as a convient analogy to describe the convergence of concentration, reflex, power, and all the other things that affect our performance of a given task.


That's what I wanted to say, which reminds me of a joke about two sheep, but I won't tell that one here.

andrew

Brian Vickery
07-24-2001, 11:07 AM
Originally posted by Nick
I've put a lot of thought into this... though not in a mood to do a ton of research, I can give you one example...

somewhere in the gospels (don't ask me which one), there's a story of a woman who was considered "unclean" by the higher-up religious folk of that day. She snuck through the crowd, and managed to touch the end of Jesus' robe. At that point, the author notes that "energy went into the woman and she was made clean", or something like that. As far as I can see, that's the best example of ki I can see.
Nick

...that verse is found in Luke 8:45 ...just in case anyone wanted to look it up!

Regards,

Nick
07-24-2001, 11:12 AM
Thanks Brian... in all seriousness, I think Aikido is better suited to Christian beliefs than any other martial art, as far as philosophy goes... but, if it's not your path, then best of luck wherever you go...

Nick

Matt Banks
07-24-2001, 01:51 PM
Hello,

No I dont believe in Ki. I train in Yoshinkan Aikido.

For 'most' of us Yoshinkan guys we believe if you have perfect timing, distance and balance then you have ''ki''. We treat it as an adjective rather than something that flows through you etc.

I have trained with many other styles of aikido that place too much emphasis on ki rather than good form and posture, as a result their aikido becomes fake! It doesnt work, and they can hardly ever throw anyone with any real power.

In yoshinkan we only take falls if we have been thrown properly, none of this blending with kami rubbish.

thankyou, have a field day

Matt Banks

Brian Vickery
07-24-2001, 02:19 PM
Originally posted by Matt Banks
Hello,

No I dont believe in Ki. I train in Yoshinkan Aikido.

Matt Banks

...Hmmm! Not the response I would expect from someone who practices Tai Chi!!!! ...very strange!!!

[ Listed in Matt's profile: Aikido, BaGuaZhang, XingYi, TaiJiQuan, Japanese, Mandarin, etc. ]

...BUT, everybody is entitled to their opinion!

Ted Mangi
07-24-2001, 03:14 PM
A note from an English teacher's perspective RE: Jun's "Ki" phrases:

The phrases seem to be the equivilent of an English "Idiom". A grammarian would label the Ki phrases "idiomatic expressions." Examples in English:
-big- headed (self-important)
-knock out (render unconscious)
-get pissed (either angry or drunk, depending on your nationality)

Idioms lend themselves handily to poeticisms such as imagery and parallelism. OK that's my two cents.

Ted

Matt Banks
07-24-2001, 03:23 PM
im Matt Banks,

not the other numerous Matt's on this forum.

Ive never done tai chi before. Id love too though


cheers

Matt Banks

guest1234
07-24-2001, 03:28 PM
I think what he is refering to is the list of MA and languages you have in your profile (click on the index card)---perhaps one of them is a style of Tai Chi? Me, I don't recognise most of what you have listed there....

Matt Banks
07-24-2001, 03:35 PM
Jun help i just looked at my profile,

and it says under interests tai chi ,bhanu vuu and stuff.

I never wrote this stuff, ever??..?????

I talked about poetry and stuff in my profile, how has this mix up happened.

can it be fixed

Matt Banks

Brian Vickery
07-24-2001, 03:35 PM
Originally posted by Matt Banks
im Matt Banks,

not the other numerous Matt's on this forum.

Ive never done tai chi before. Id love too though


cheers

Matt Banks

...Really??!! ...hit the profile icon next to your name! ...I just did it again and those are the styles listed! ...;) must be your evil twin/clone!

...sorry for the mix up! ...I retract my 'jab' at you!

Matt Banks
07-24-2001, 03:40 PM
Originally posted by Brian Vickery


...Really??!! ...hit the profile icon next to your name! ...I just did it again and those are the styles listed! ...;) must be your evil twin/clone!

...sorry for the mix up! ...I retract my 'jab' at you!

Seriously though..Jun this is quite worrying, knowone could have accessed my computer, and I definately didnt write that profile.

Im hoping its just a mix up on the your database.

This is scary there could be some guy writing on my behalf.

jun we need to talk about this

Matt Banks

guest1234
07-24-2001, 03:42 PM
Originally posted by Matt Banks
Jun help i just looked at my profile,

and it says under interests tai chi ,bhanu vuu and stuff.

I never wrote this stuff, ever??..?????

I talked about poetry and stuff in my profile, how has this mix up happened.

can it be fixed

Matt Banks

yeah, and long midnight walks on beaches, right? ;)
I'd be believing you more, and not envisioning you chuckling as the rest of us hit the profile icon to double check what ours say, if you other current entry didn't involve a joke dealing with peeing...

Matt Banks
07-24-2001, 03:50 PM
yes my other thread involved a joke, sorry about that I forget that we cant have fun in aikido.

Without trying to be rude, please but out for a moment, while I get this sorted-this could have serious implications on whether Ill post here anymore.What is written is nothing serious but it could have been. If I was lying, id tell you. I dont need to prove myself to people over the internet. I know I can change my profile, but the fact remains that the profile I wrote is NOT the one which is shown when you click the icon.

I couldnt even spell half the things written on there. Why would I care if someone thought I did Tai chi.

Matt Banks
07-24-2001, 03:52 PM
are there any other Matt's on this forum who can own up to having the profile attached to my name?


Matt Banks

guest1234
07-24-2001, 04:17 PM
I'm sorry, I thought you were joking, since it wouldn't matter if you did Tai Chi or not. I like jokes, and it's about time people laughed around here. Good luck, Jun should be able to tell who tampered with your profile.

[Censored]
07-24-2001, 04:21 PM
Your profile is quite impressive, I'll be happy to trade with you. I've barely used mine at all, it's just like new! :)

guest1234
07-24-2001, 04:25 PM
and by the way, if you want privacy to discuss this with Jun, you can send him a private email. One reason I decided you were joking was the fact that you were doing this in the middle of this thread rather than privately. Just a suggestion.

mj
07-24-2001, 05:27 PM
Originally posted by ca
I'm sorry, I thought you were joking, since it wouldn't matter if you did Tai Chi or not. I like jokes, and it's about time people laughed around here. Good luck, Jun should be able to tell who tampered with your profile.
Wow ca... a short answer!
:D

Nick
07-24-2001, 05:50 PM
humor? on this forum? surely you jest!

Matt, it's not too big of a deal... just email Jun and it will get sorted out... if you should decide to not post here anymore, best of luck wherever you land... try E-budo, perhaps?

Nick

akiy
07-24-2001, 06:02 PM
Originally posted by Ted Mangi
A note from an English teacher's perspective RE: Jun's "Ki" phrases:

The phrases seem to be the equivilent of an English "Idiom". A grammarian would label the Ki phrases "idiomatic expressions." Examples in English:
-big- headed (self-important)
-knock out (render unconscious)
-get pissed (either angry or drunk, depending on your nationality)

Perhaps they may be idiomatic expressions, but the fact still exists that this ambiguous notion of "ki" is pretty much still retains, basically, the same meaning throughout whereas the examples you use ("headed," "knock," and "pissed") all seem to morph the meaning of the word into something that, for example, a foreigner wouldn't understand unless it were explained to them. At least to me, "the ki of the heavens" translates more easily to "the weather" than do the examples you chose.

I don't think they're quite as metaphorical as the examples you chose, but that just may be due to the fact that the Japanese language is a "part" of me...

-- Jun

akiy
07-24-2001, 06:05 PM
Originally posted by Matt Banks
Jun help i just looked at my profile,

and it says under interests tai chi ,bhanu vuu and stuff.

I never wrote this stuff, ever??..?????

I talked about poetry and stuff in my profile, how has this mix up happened.

The database might have gotten mixed up in the past. Best people check their profiles to make sure it looks OK.
Can it be fixed
Of course. Just go to your Edit Profile (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/member.php?s=&action=editprofile) option under the "User Control Panel" at the top to edit your profile.

-- Jun

Jim23
07-24-2001, 06:51 PM
Originally posted by Matt Banks

I couldnt even spell half the things written on there. Why would I care if someone thought I did Tai chi.

I agree him ... Matt can't spell. Unless he was filled with Ki. :D:D

Maybe it was sake? :D:D:D

Jim23

mj
07-24-2001, 07:16 PM
Jim, calm down on the :D :D :D man, you're developing a problem. Smiley complex, I think it's called.

Jim23
07-24-2001, 07:56 PM
I meant: I agree with him.

I agree mj (about the smiley faces)! But they seemed so appropriate in that case and I was just matching Matt's high level of emotion. :D I can't help myself! Anyway, those Yoshinkan guys can take it. ;)

Jim23

George S. Ledyard
07-25-2001, 04:24 PM
Originally posted by Vera Cordwood
DO YOU BELIEVE IN KI?

I am curious about Ki. I am a Christian and I am not sure I can rectify Ki with my beliefs. What do you think about Ki?

Talking about "Belief" in regards to Ki indicates a mistaken concept of what Ki is. Ki or Ch'i in Chinese is one of the Five Elements in the Chinese / Japanese explanation of how the universe is structured. The other elements are water, fire, earth, and metal. You don't believe or disbelieve in those.

There are all sorts of translations of Ch'i / Ki. One is "Life Force". This is essentially a religiously neutral term. What you do with the term can enter into the religious realm but the term itself is independent of any religious or spiritual meaning. It's more about explaining energy that isn't measured by mechanical devices.

That said, if you read the works of Teilhard de Chardin, the Jesuit palentologist and Christian philosopher, you can see an attempt to use the concept to reconcile Christian spirituality with modern Science. Not that he calls it Ch'i or Ki but he was part of the expedition that discovered Peking Man in China and had extensive exposure to the ideas of the east. He made Ki or Life Force into Consciousness and posited that it was that element of the Divine that ran through all Creation. Now when you do that with the concept it is definitely within the realm of the religious. But is it in conflict with Chrsitianity? He didn't think so.

mj
07-25-2001, 04:31 PM
These are gems....
Keep going, please!

Jim23
07-25-2001, 05:05 PM
Mark, I hope you're sittimg in Seiza.:p

I agree with you. George (virtual sensei?), you should post more often.

Jim23

guest1234
07-25-2001, 07:24 PM
Yes!!!
(mj, please note brevity :) )

Peter Goldsbury
07-25-2001, 11:23 PM
Originally posted by George S. Ledyard


Talking about "Belief" in regards to Ki indicates a mistaken concept of what Ki is. Ki or Ch'i in Chinese is one of the Five Elements in the Chinese / Japanese explanation of how the universe is structured. The other elements are water, fire, earth, and metal. You don't believe or disbelieve in those.

There are all sorts of translations of Ch'i / Ki. One is "Life Force". This is essentially a religiously neutral term. What you do with the term can enter into the religious realm but the term itself is independent of any religious or spiritual meaning. It's more about explaining energy that isn't measured by mechanical devices.

That said, if you read the works of Teilhard de Chardin, the Jesuit palentologist and Christian philosopher, you can see an attempt to use the concept to reconcile Christian spirituality with modern Science. Not that he calls it Ch'i or Ki but he was part of the expedition that discovered Peking Man in China and had extensive exposure to the ideas of the east. He made Ki or Life Force into Consciousness and posited that it was that element of the Divine that ran through all Creation. Now when you do that with the concept it is definitely within the realm of the religious. But is it in conflict with Chrsitianity? He didn't think so.

A few supplementary notes on George Ledyard's post.

1. One of the best discussions of ki in relation to aikido can be found in "The Spirit of Aikido", by the late Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba. It seems clear to me that there is no connection whatever between ki, as explained by Doshu, and a religion like Christianity. It is a completely different thing, for example, from grace.

Part of the problem is that there is no easy English translation and so people have to look at 'ki' in metaphorical terms. In other words, English (certainly) and other languages (possibly) process highly abstract concepts in terms of much more concrete notions. Thus we talk of ideas as if they are semi-physical things moving through space. There is an underlying view of the body as a container or a machine and of knowledge as a kind of linear movement. This concept is not without controversy and is explored in detail by George Lakoff ("Metraphors We Live By"; "Women, Fire and Dangerous Things"; "Philosophy in the Flesh").

Finally, Teilhard de Chardin took many of his ideas from Henri Bergson, especially his book "Evolution Creatrice". Teilhard took Bergson's concept of evolution and applied it to consciousness. His concept of the Noosphere, the sphere surrounding the biosphere, was the arena where consciousness also evolved to something he called the Omega Point. At this point, Teihard's idea of evolving consciousness (Bergson's elan vital) in nature (and man) seemed very much like 'chi' or 'ki'.

Teilhard's ideas were extremely controversial and what upset his fellow Jesuits and churchmen was the underlying notion that consciousness is moving willy-nilly to the Omega Point (which = Christ) and that 'life-force', consciousness and grace were all different aspects of the same thing.

This was Teilhard's response to a current of opinion in catholic France after the war that Grace and Nature, the Spiritual and the Physical, had been excessively separated. A radical Jesuit, Henri de Lubac, argued to this effect in a book called "Surnaturel" in which he argued that God was in things in a much closer way.

De Lubac was banned from teaching theology for a while. He was a close friend of Teilhard, but thought that Teilhard's ideas were dangerously confused. Teilhar's main books, not often read nowadays, are "The Phenomenon of Man" and "Le Milieu Divin".

Having read both de Lubac and Teilhard, and also studying aikido, I can see how he might have made the mistake of thinking that something like 'ki' had to be essentially spiritual. But actually, not even O Sensei thought like this.

Best regards,

Peter Goldsbury

mj
07-26-2001, 11:36 AM
So how did O-sensei think of Ki Peter?

Peter Goldsbury
07-27-2001, 06:51 PM
Originally posted by mj
So how did O-sensei think of Ki Peter?

I think he took it for granted, like the air we breathe.

In his published writings O Sensei constantly refers to 'aiki', namely, harmonising one's ki with that of other beings. That is, it is the harmonising that is the issue, not the thing itself.

I think O Sensei's intellectual framework is that of a beliuever in kami and in the ways that kami affect the world. He believed in 'tsumi', the various ways in which the workings of the kami can become impure, the cure for which was aiki training, preceded by exercises like misogi, torifune and furitama.

I think that if you had said to O Sensei, "I do not believe in ki because I am a Christian, he would have wondered what planet you were on. It would be like saying "My religion prevents me from believing in oxygen".

The problem for us is that western thought does not really have a category for things which are both physical and spiritual, so we persist in putting ki into one or other of the latter categories.

Best regards,

Peter Goldsbury

mj
07-27-2001, 07:21 PM
Originally posted by Peter Goldsbury


I think he took it for granted, like the air we breathe.


The problem for us is that western thought does not really have a category for things which are both physical and spiritual, so we persist in putting ki into one or other of the latter categories.


Too true.
Food for thought.
Thanks very much. :)

Suru
07-27-2001, 10:00 PM
Nick,

Please give credit to George Leonard Sensei's book "The Way of Aikido" if you used it in your first response. If you didn't, then, well, just a coincidence.

Drew

Steve Speicher
07-29-2001, 12:10 AM
The following is taken from The Spirit of Aikido by the late Doshu, Kisshomaru Ueshiba.
---------------------------

In recent years interest in the ancient principle of ki has increased enormously, but most accounts neglect its philosophical roots. Briefly, the essence of ki is both personal and impersonal, concrete and universal; it is the basic, creative energy or force in life, transcending time and space.

Some of O Sensei's writings on ki, taken from the same book:
------------------------------------
Through budo I trained my body thoroughly and mastered its ultimate secrets, but I also realized an even greater truth. That is, when I grasped the real nature of the universe through budo, I saw clearly that human beings must unite mind and body and the ki that connects the two and then achieve harmony with the activity of all things in the universe.

By virtue of the subtle working of ki we harmonize mind and body and the relationship between the individual and the universe. When the subtle working of ki is unhealthy, the world falls into confusion and the universe into chaos. The harmonizeing of a united ki-mind-body with the activity of the universe is critical for order and peace in the world.

The subtle working of ki is the maternal source that affects delicate changes in breath. It is also the source of martial art as love. When one unifies mind and body by virtue of ki and manifests ai-ki (harmony of ki), delicate changes in breath-power occur spontaneously and waza (proper technique) flows freely.
The change in breath, connected with the ki of the universe, interacts and interpenetrates with all of life. At the same time the delicate breath-power enters into all corners of one's body. Entering deeply, it fills one with vitality, resulting naturally in variegated, dynamic, spontaneous movements. In this way the whole body, including the internal organs, becomes united in heat, light, and power. Having accomplished unification of mind and body and being in oneness with the universe, the body moves at will offering no resistance to one's intentions.

The delicate changes in breath cause subtle movements of ki in the void. Sometimes movements are fierce and potent, at other times slow and stolid. By such changes one can discern the degree of concentration or unification of mind and body. When concentration permeates mind and body, breath-power becomes one with the universe, gently and naturally expanding to the utter limit, but at the same time the person becomes increasingly self-contained and autonomous. In this way when breath works together with the universe, the unseen spiritual essence becomes a reality within oneself, enfolding and protecting and defending the self. This is an introduction to the profound essence of ai-ki.

Aiki is the power of harmony,
Of all beings, all things working together,
Relentlessly train yourself--
Followers of the Way.

Hogan
07-29-2001, 10:03 AM
Thought I'd pass this on - this link provides a brief talk on KI from the late Toyoda Sensei, pretty interesting:
http://www.aikidocentercharlotte.com/newsletter/vol5-2.html

Nick
07-29-2001, 08:06 PM
Originally posted by Suru
Nick,

Please give credit to George Leonard Sensei's book "The Way of Aikido" if you used it in your first response. If you didn't, then, well, just a coincidence.

Drew

I've read that in there, but I've also read lists very similar to that in many other books... though I did steal the part about "The Force" from him :).

Sorry Leonard-sensei!

Nick

Richard Harnack
08-01-2001, 10:06 PM
Originally posted by Vera Cordwood
DO YOU BELIEVE IN KI?

I am curious about Ki. I am a Christian and I am not sure I can rectify Ki with my beliefs. What do you think about Ki?

Vera-
Little did you know what you were starting.

"Ki" as an oriental concept goes back some. Several of the early chinese philosophers discussed it in brief early on. It was not until later that "chi" became a more complex idea. This is most likely due to the influence of Indian Buddhism. While "ki" is often translated as "life force" or some such variant, the early chinese philosophers actually distinguished different types of "ki", something which is sometimes forgotten.

Perhaps the closest concept from the same early era is the ancient hebrew ru'ach, or "breath". However, even the ancient hebrews distinguished between "breath" and "life force", they also alluded to "life" being in the blood.

As to whether or not you can or want to attempt to reconcile christianity with "ki" and other concepts in Aikido, is really determined by what you understand your faith demands of you.

Let me give you an example. On one occasion, our instructors class was going to fall on Easter Sunday. Kobayashi, Sensei was asked if class was going to be cancelled. He answered, "I am buddhist". He then indicated to one and all that he was devoted to his beliefs, but that did not mean others had to believe the same way. If Easter was a significant event for the student, then the it was the student's responsibility to be respectful of their beliefs.

As to whether "ki" exists or not, despite all of the research to prove or disprove, we just do not know. I generally tell my students that our body works with analogies very well. "Ki", as a fully developed oriental concept, and as it has been used in acupuncture, is a descriptive concept for relating and integrating different aspects of our being. In other words, "ki" is an understanding which allows the acupuncturist to help treat a client. In certain other martial arts and yogas, "ki" is a force to be activated or "balanced" through movement and meditation.

It is not a "Christian" concept, nor could it be. However, the idea it represents is very much in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, hence my reference to "ru'ach". Some I have taught find it easier to think of "divine ki" (cf Moriehi Ueshiba) as being the "Holy Spirit" and "common ki" as being the basic spark of life.

Others who find all of this "spiritual language" overly distasteful, I ask them to behave as if "ki" was real. They do not have to "feel" anything "mysterious", they simply have to allow their body to relax so that they can move through the technique.

To make up your own mind look up a book by Yuasa on Body, Mind & Ki. He gives information and hews fairly close to traditional understandings, while at the same time avoiding many of the pit-falls of those who overly mystify "ki".

PS: to those of you who have read Teilhard (all of his works, not just Phenomenon of Man and Divine Milieu) take a look at Hans Jonas' Phenomenon of Life as an "antidote".

Good luck Vera!