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Neil Mick
07-17-2006, 06:12 PM
OK, time to air out a pet peeve of mine. But first, a little bit of semantics.

literal (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/literal)

adj 1: being or reflecting the essential or genuine character of something; "her actual motive"; "a literal solitude like a desert"- G.K.Chesterton; "a genuine dilemma" [syn: actual, genuine, real] 2: without interpretation or embellishment; "a literal translation of the scene before him" 3: limited to the explicit meaning of a word or text; "a literal translation" [ant: figurative]

figurative (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/figurative)

Based on or making use of figures of speech; metaphorical: figurative language.
Containing many figures of speech; ornate.
Represented by a figure or resemblance; symbolic or emblematic.

OK, now that that's clear...

I have this pet peeve about the usage of the word "energy." Aikido Sensei's and many others in the holistic health field talk about "energy" in the "figurative" sense, yet they use it literally. One recent case was a movie-night where we were watching a film with O Sensei, and one viewer commented that O Sensei's "energy" "leapt" off the screen.

I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts that if I had a geiger counter or other energy recording device there: I'd have gotten the same reading from that film than if I showed a film of a potted plant (but in all fairness to the speaker: perhaps he WAS speaking figuratively).

I've heard even sillier examples in non-Aikido contexts. Perhaps the grand prize of silliness was in a work context. One co-worker complained how all Managers at the Front Desk seemed to "absorb" this "negative energy," because they all, in time, became irrational and short-tempered, no matter how good-natured they were, when they took the job.

This pasty-brained idea ignored the fact that the owner was a verbally abusive pill who often filled these poor Managers' days with earfuls of stress and headache courtesy of long-distance, several times a week. Little wonder that they all cracked, in the end: "energy" had little to do with it.

And so, I once tried an experiment: during one basics class I went on and on about how there IS no mysterious "energy" that I "absorb" from uke, etc: it was all physics and perfectly explainable. I then went on to demonstrate the technique, and left them to it. But, in attempting to practice, my students struggled harder; they seemed less joyous in what they were doing, and all in all they weren't getting the principles of what I wanted to convey.

After that, I said "OK, forget what I just said: imagine that you ARE absorbing energy from uke and transforming it into something else." My students' faces were more relaxed and generally seemed to enjoy the practice, more.

So, were my students ACTUALLY doing "energy-work?" Personally, I don't think so. But what was going on?

IMO, the use of "energy" is a "frame:" an aspect of the precognitive. That is: it evokes a picture in the mind, to help the body more effectively practice Aikido. George Lakoff talks about the use of words and framing very well, in a political context.

Simple Framing (http://www.rockridgeinstitute.org/projects/strategic/simple_framing)

An introduction to framing and its uses in politics.

Carry out the following directive:

Don't think of an elephant!

It is, of course, a directive that cannot be carried out and that is the point. In order to purposefully not think of an elephant, you have to think of an elephant. There are four morals.

Moral 1. Every word evokes a frame.

A frame is a conceptual structure used in thinking. The word elephant evokes a frame with an image of an elephant and certain knowledge: an elephant is a large animal (a mammal) with large floppy ears, a trunk that functions like both a nose and a hand, large stump-like legs, and so on.

Moral 2: Words defined within a frame evoke the frame.

The word trunk, as in the sentence "Sam picked up the peanut with his trunk," evokes the Elephant frame and suggests that "Sam" is the name of an elephant.

Moral 3: Negating a frame evokes the frame.

Moral 4: Evoking a frame reinforces that frame.

Every frame is realized in the brain by neural circuitry. Every time a neural circuit is activated, it is strengthened.

And so, by exhorting my students to "ignore the 'energy' idea; I was telling them to work at cross-purposes...I was conjuring it in their minds, and telling them to work against it.

So, what do you think? I am still exploring this idea of framing, both in political dialogue, and when I teach Aikido. IS the use of "energy" ultimately positive, or detrimental, especially when it is meant literally?

dps
07-17-2006, 09:03 PM
So, what do you think? I am still exploring this idea of framing, both in political dialogue, and when I teach Aikido. IS the use of "energy" ultimately positive, or detrimental, especially when it is meant literally?

Hey man, I think energy is like right up there with negative and positive vibes man from the sixties. So keep the vibes positive, OK.

aikidoc
07-17-2006, 09:25 PM
There is a whole society involved in the study of subtle energies. Perhaps energy terminology helps people focus their minds in a fashion that impoves the practice. Just a thought.

Neil Mick
07-17-2006, 10:57 PM
Hey man, I think energy is like right up there with negative and positive vibes man from the sixties. So keep the vibes positive, OK.

And, just like many other overrused words that try to mean much, yet say little: "vibe" doesn't describe anything, at all, IMHO.

There is a whole society involved in the study of subtle energies. Perhaps energy terminology helps people focus their minds in a fashion that impoves the practice. Just a thought.

With respect, you could file this one under the "Flat Earther's," or the wives of Pentagon officials who used to meet on the Capital steps every Wednesday during the '80s', to meditate on peace.

Did it do any good...? Well, aside from assuaging a few guilty consciences, I seriously doubt it.

Right thinking is useless, without right action, IMO.

dps
07-17-2006, 11:13 PM
And, just like many other overrused words that try to mean much, yet say little: "vibe" doesn't describe anything, at all, IMHO.. My opinion, when "energy" gets to be overused there will be a new word or phrase to describe the same old, same old.
.Right thinking is useless, without right action, IMO. My experience, right action first, right thinking follows.

Neil Mick
07-17-2006, 11:15 PM
My experience, right action first, right thinking follows.

Not exactly sure how that works; but OK...I won't quibble.

dps
07-17-2006, 11:17 PM
Not exactly sure how that works; but OK...I won't quibble.

Someone (parent, teacher, sensei) teaches you right action that influences your mind to right thinking.

Neil Mick
07-17-2006, 11:33 PM
Someone (parent, teacher, sensei) teaches you right action that influences your mind to right thinking.

Well, that certainly is one path to right action. But, to get taught, you need to have a mind open to their teaching: and so, I contend that right action begins with a mind receptive to it, in the first place.

But this is getting a bit off the track. So, let me loop back a bit...

My opinion, when "energy" gets to be overused there will be a new word or phrase to describe the same old, same old.

Sorry, but I feel that this is a cop-out. Lanaguage is supposed to define, not blur. An overused word means nothing, and conveys less.

If a teacher exhorts his students to "extend positive energy:" what is s/he telling you to do? Raise your arms higher? Breathe more deeply? Focus on the infinite?

As an Aikido instructor: I am trying to achieve realizable goals. "Fuzzy" terminology, IMO, only works to confuse and muddy the concepts.

I also noticed this when a teacher once suggested a student "move his hips" more. Now, what did that mean? What she really wanted him to do was to shift his center of gravity from one leg to the other, in the midst of a movement. But, the teacher relied upon shopworn terms that were vague.

IMO, vague terms more often hurt, than help.

dps
07-17-2006, 11:59 PM
Well, that certainly is one path to right action. But, to get taught, you need to have a mind open to their teaching: and so, I contend that right action begins with a mind receptive to it, in the first place..
Like a newborns mind is receptive to learning from its parents, so should a student's mind be receptive to learning from a teacher or sensei.


Sorry, but I feel that this is a cop-out. Lanaguage is supposed to define, not blur. An overused word means nothing, and conveys less.
Cool, more sixties terminology, I dig what you are saying.

If a teacher exhorts his students to "extend positive energy:" what is s/he telling you to do? Raise your arms higher? Breathe more deeply? Focus on the infinite?
Or the teacher does not understand what s/he is teaching or does not know how to communicate ideas well.

As an Aikido instructor: I am trying to achieve realizable goals. "Fuzzy" terminology, IMO, only works to confuse and muddy the concepts.
Or hides ignorance.
IMO, vague terms more often hurt, than help.
I'm with you dude. ( seventies and eighties terminology)

Mike Hamer
07-18-2006, 01:19 AM
I find it shocking that a Sensei refuses to acknowledge the power of Ki.

ai KI do man


Im only 1 and 3/4 a month in, but I stand my ground when I voice my opinion that Ki is a very real thing.

Neil Mick
07-18-2006, 01:44 AM
Like a newborns mind is receptive to learning from its parents, so should a student's mind be receptive to learning from a teacher or sensei.

How very glib. But, yet again, you miss the ball, in attempting to be stylish. Again, this statement neither adds, nor counters, my previous statement. Thought can preceed action; and so can the converse, be true.

So what's the point, David?

Cool, more sixties terminology, I dig what you are saying.

Glibness, thy name is Dave. :p

Or the teacher does not understand what s/he is teaching or does not know how to communicate ideas well.

I have no idea of your level of Aikido, so I have no clue as to whether or not you've taught, before. So, I'll go on the assumption that you have not.

But, in case this is true: there is not a teacher alive who completely understands Aikido. Nor have I yet to meet one who claims that they do. Even O Sensei stated as much ("Aikido is infinite"). Any teacher who claims total understanding is, IMO, a charlatan.

So, of course teachers will often fall back on vague terms used by their Sensei's before them.

Or hides ignorance.

Yes, this is also possible.

I'm with you dude. ( seventies and eighties terminology)

Look, David: it's all very well to be "cute;" but I am trying for a certain level of discourse, above and beyond the "cuteness." Do you have a point here, or are you just trying to be glib? Because from where I sit, you've so far failed to address the point of the thread.

Save the glib asides for the humor section, OK? Or, at least use it sparingly. It's OK to crack wise, but this is something I have been considering for awhile.

It took me about six months of thought to even post this thread; so I'd appreciate a little thought, in your responses, if you'd be so kind.

Neil Mick
07-18-2006, 01:48 AM
I find it shocking that a Sensei refuses to acknowledge the power of Ki.

ai KI do man

Im only 1 and 3/4 a month in, but I stand my ground when I voice my opinion that Ki is a very real thing.

Good for you. But, you might notice, from the title of the thread, that I am not talking about "ki." I'm talking about the usage of a vague, overrused term that is ill-defined.

But I encourage you to continue "standing your ground," while challenging you to find a definition of ki that suits you.

:ki:

James Kelly
07-18-2006, 01:51 AM
I find it shocking that a Sensei refuses to acknowledge the power of Ki.

ai KI do man


Im only 1 and 3/4 a month in, but I stand my ground when I voice my opinion that Ki is a very real thing.
and awwaaayyyy we go....

Neil Mick
07-18-2006, 01:55 AM
and awwaaayyyy we go....

No we don't. I, for one, refuse to divert this thread into a discussion on the reality/unreality of ki. That's not what this is about...it's why I posted it in the Language section.

If others want to try to hijack the thread into that 50-page debate, that's their business. But, that is not the point of this thread.

Peter Goldsbury
07-18-2006, 02:28 AM
Hello Neil,

I think you need something a bit more more substantial than Lakoff. Frames are very important in negotiation theory, as in Roy Lewicki Negotiation 5th edition. Try also: www.lboro.ac.uk/research/mmethods/resources/links/frames_primer.html - 17k -

Best wishes,

Mark Freeman
07-18-2006, 06:04 AM
One recent case was a movie-night where we were watching a film with O Sensei,

Hi Neil,

I'm not trying to be glib (honest) but the language used above leads me to think that O Sensei was with you at the movie, I hope you gave him the best seat in the house! ;)

Our language is full of generalisations, deletions and distortions, it's a wonder that we can make any sense at all of much of what is said. :crazy:

however,IMO, the use of "energy" is a "frame:" an aspect of the precognitive. That is: it evokes a picture in the mind, to help the body more effectively practice Aikido.

Any language used that helps the body move more effectively in aikido is well, helpfull :) I'll try to use any weird and wonderfull mental image I can to help people internalise the concept that is being practiced. If I were to rely some of them here some would think I am nuts!

I spent a fair bit of time in the 90's studying NLP, a great deal of the body of knowlege is concerned with language patterns and how we use and process them.

As you have already pointed out, the brain cannot process something 'not' happening. This can be used both positively as well as negatively, great when it is conscious and positive, not so good when it is unconscious and negative.

Hypnotherapists, refer to this as an embedded command, example; " Don't go tense when try that" If you are going to use negatives, it would be better said " Don't completely relax when you try that, you don't want to make it easy for yourself " ( this needs to be delivered with the right amount of irony in the voice ;) )

So if you were to say " Don't think that I am the font of all wisdom, I'm only a humble aikido instructor ", you may be sowing seeds... :D

It's a very interesting and wide enquiry Neil, one that I'm sure you are aware has massive political ramifications. Note most of the great historical leaders tend to use 'big chunk' artfully vauge generalisations, which get large numbers of people nodding in agreement without really understanding exactly what is being meant by what is being said.

regards,

Mark

Mike Sigman
07-18-2006, 07:08 AM
Good for you. But, you might notice, from the title of the thread, that I am not talking about "ki." I'm talking about the usage of a vague, overrused term that is ill-defined.The core of the kokyu-strength that Tohei sometimes demonstrates as "Ki" (it's a legitimate generalization) is called "jin" by the Chinese and "pengjin" specifically in Taijiquan. There's an interesting interview here where somebody runs by Jumin Chen the idea that it's an "energy":

http://www.taiji-qigong.de/info/articles/jumin_transljin_en.php


FWIW

Mike

Basia Halliop
07-18-2006, 07:32 AM
Maybe it's just me because I'm an engineer, but when I hear the word 'energy' I tend to interpret it most naturally in a literal physical way. E.g., the two most immediately obvious forms of energy in aikido being kinetic energy = 1/2*mass*(velocity squared), and gravitational potential energy = mass*height*(gravitational acceleration constant), and of course since energy is always conserved each can be transformed into the other or transferred to another mass (or ultimately dissipated into frictional heating at the end of a technique...).

Both of these seem perfectly applicable to a lot of aikido contexts, since we are after all talking about the rapid movement of large masses. As far as I can see (I'm a beginner in aikido) you do in fact 'literally' deflect uke's energy and do interesting things with it. For example you might move out of the way in such a way that their kinetic energy they intended for use in a collision with some vulnerable part of your anatomy is still there, and add a very small amount of your own energy to slightly deflect the trajectory of their mass in such a way that they didn't intend (without usually trying to actually stop them, which would require a much larger force than just deflecting them slightly off their original path), or you might do a 'throw' that isn't literally a 'throw' but rather you somehow getting uke off balance -- ie, their centre of gravity not being supported -- so that their own gravitational potential energy brings them down.

You actually are 'literally' using their own energy to bring them down, as far as I can see.

I wouldn't really say you 'absorb' their energy though unless you let them hit you really hard or something...

But then other times, in many of the quotes you guys are giving it's obviously not meant in this literal classical physics sense. But if you find using a metaphor helps you do it better, is that bad...?

dps
07-18-2006, 08:50 AM
So, what do you think? I am still exploring this idea of framing, both in political dialogue, and when I teach Aikido. IS the use of "energy" ultimately positive, or detrimental, especially when it is meant literally?Do you believe ": it was all physics and perfectly explainable".
If you believe ": it was all physics and perfectly explainable", then to teach them "you ARE absorbing energy from uke and transforming it into something else" is being dishonest with your students and detrimental to them.I have this pet peeve about the usage of the word "energy." Do you want to be surrounded by students that you taught your pet peeve to

Mike Hamer
07-18-2006, 09:48 AM
Good for you. But, you might notice, from the title of the thread, that I am not talking about "ki." I'm talking about the usage of a vague, overused term that is ill-defined.

But I encourage you to continue "standing your ground," while challenging you to find a definition of ki that suits you.

:ki:


Alright, alright, sorry, but you've gotta understand where I was coming from.

As far as "energy" go's I believe that Ki can be used to be in harmony with the forces of natures energy, aka gravity, kinetic energy, you know the works. But I do not believe in a measurable "energy" that can be used in a martial art against an opponent. Sounds like Dragon Ball Z to me..........(a Japanese anime involving spikey haired energy warriors)

Trish Greene
07-18-2006, 10:36 AM
Maybe it's just me because I'm an engineer, but when I hear the word 'energy' I tend to interpret....


Basia brings up a very valid point here. Much of our language, or any language is open to interpretation depending on that persons experience with the term being used.

You ask three artists to paint a picture of an apple and you will come up with three different apples. You ask 10 people in martial arts to define "energy" and you will get 20 different answers. Some people work better in figurative language concepts while others work better in literal language concepts. Its up to you to determine the context in how they are using the term.

Yes, energy is not literally leaping off the screen, but the experience that the person had while watching the movie of O'sensei gave him a feeling of energy leaping off the screen and that was the only word that the person could come up with to describe to you his experiences. Have patience with us figurative people.

Just my thoughts.

James Davis
07-18-2006, 10:38 AM
I have this pet peeve about the usage of the word "energy."

And so, I once tried an experiment: during one basics class I went on and on about how there IS no mysterious "energy" that I "absorb" from uke, etc: it was all physics and perfectly explainable. I then went on to demonstrate the technique, and left them to it. But, in attempting to practice, my students struggled harder; they seemed less joyous in what they were doing, and all in all they weren't getting the principles of what I wanted to convey.

After that, I said "OK, forget what I just said: imagine that you ARE absorbing energy from uke and transforming it into something else." My students' faces were more relaxed and generally seemed to enjoy the practice, more.



If my uke is moving toward me, and goes "smack" into my huge, huge belly, I've just absorbed his kinetic energy. :D

Scientists say that the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly...

...but it does.

Just be happy that your students are able to get the technique right, regardless of the teacher's method. Do what works. I agree that ki can be explained with physics, but "energy" is easier for someone to visualize than mathematical equations when someone's about to whack 'em on their cabeza. :D

George S. Ledyard
07-18-2006, 10:45 AM
IS the use of "energy" ultimately positive, or detrimental, especially when it is meant literally?

Hey Neil,
I am anything but a New Age guy but I use the term all the time.
We use "energy" largely to describe the intuitive aspect of of the human interaction. There are all sorts of areas in which we sense what are probably a whole host of complex signals, many of which we couldn't concsiously describe. "Energy" is an easy way to talk about it.

Gaven DeBaeker talks about this whole area in The Gift of Fear. He describes the messages we take in from our subliminal mind that we routinely tend to ignore because we are now modern and rational and are embarrassed to pay to much attention to feeling. Except that it's there and it's a part of our survival mechanism which we ignore at our own peril.

If you and I stood across from one another with swords, the most important elements of the fight would take place before I ever moved to cut you. I would dominate you with my spirit before anything else happened. By the time I attacked, you would not be able to effectively counter the attack. That's all done on the "energetic" level. You may not be able to measure it on some machine but it's there. And you can't do Aikido at a really high level without understanding it. The trick is to make your students aware of it and train it.

"Energy" is essentially the way O-Sensei looked at everything he did. Kototama is the study of the power of sound. It describes the various building blocks of the Universe in terms of vibration. All of the input you get from your sensory system is in terms of energy. You take in light through the eyes, sound through the ears, etc. It is a fact that the quality of what you take in effects your mindset. That's "energetic".

Our art is about Mind Body Spirit unification. Actually, our art is really about realizing that the unification is a fact already. In reality one can't separate the Mind-Body-Spirit aspects of ourselves. Our fundamental mistake is to act as if we could. Trying to remove the concept of "energy" (or whatever substitute term you wish to use) from the art would reduce the art to mere mechanics. That would take all the Aiki out of the Aikido.

I understand the reaction against the New Age types who talk about "energy" all the time and don't understand it at all in it's Aikido context. But that's just bad Budo, not a reason to ignore elements that are there in all human interactions and which are crucial to understand and utilize in the martial interaction.

Just as an aside, it's funny that all of the things which are most important to human beings are not material, measurable concepts: Love, honor, friendship, fulfillment, etc can't be touched or measured but they are some of the strongest motivating factors in human existence.

Nick Pagnucco
07-18-2006, 10:54 AM
The more I read threads like this, the more I want to re-read Rorty's Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature ....

ok, sorry; i'm done with the random academic babbling. :dead:

For me, this thread is about 2 things. How good a vocabulary one has to describe phenomenon (an analytical issue), and how effective one is at using that vocabular for instruction (a pedagogical issue).

People often use a platitude to short circuit giving a good explanation. "extend ki," and "Its just physics," and "its just human anatomy" are by themselves not descriptive, but rather generic catchwords that are almost as bad as "its smurf". It pretends to be an explanation, but it leaves the student to guess the 'real' meaning based on the context (including watching/feeling how the instructor does things).

Now, sometimes, context is enough to make a meaning clear, so its always good to have a few terms with flexible meanings (like energy)... but if one only has those, and no specific terms for fundamental basics, then there's gonna be a problem.

Basia Halliop
07-18-2006, 10:56 AM
Scientists say that the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly...

...but it does.

Just an aside, but GOOD scientists don't say that :). The joke was that the scientists in question assumed a bumblebee flew like an airplane, gliding along using lift and aerodynamics. It doesn't, of course, it flies like a helicopter, using the rapid movement of its wings to raise it up.

If you try to understand something starting from a basic assumption, and your basic assumption is wrong, all that follows will be wrong no matter how good your math is.

I don't know whether that's relevent to the discussion at hand or not, but I just had to stand up for all the poor abused physicists and mathematicians out there :).

I fully agree that there are different learning styles, based on personality and experience. For me bringing a little bit of very simple physics into an explanation is sometimes very clarifying.

Basia Halliop
07-18-2006, 11:33 AM
Hey Neil,
Gaven DeBaeker talks about this whole area in The Gift of Fear. He describes the messages we take in from our subliminal mind that we routinely tend to ignore because we are now modern and rational and are embarrassed to pay to much attention to feeling. Except that it's there and it's a part of our survival mechanism which we ignore at our own peril.

Human beings are masters of body language. We take it for granted and don't realize how many thousands of tiny signals we're reading and sending until we meet someone who doesn't get it (autism or stroke or something). It's incredible how much non-verbal communication even a one-year old child understands, but maybe since small children can do it that fools us into thinking it's no big deal.

I have heard many many times that if you're genuinely concerned about personal safety, the best 'self defense' tools are more interpersonal than physical. Especially when you consider that extremely extremely few physical conflicts happen between total strangers with no history (at least a few seconds of history, usually much more). Knowing how to surround yourself with nice non-violent people who respect you, for example, or knowing how and when to use body language and posture effectively and to be assertive but neither foolhardy nor aggressive...

Some of these things are so hard to explain "precisely and literally" I'm not sure you don't often lose something in trying. Using 'vague' terms like "energy" sometimes gives people a real incling of what you mean, doesn't it?

E.g., I don't know what you mean by "absorb uke's energy." It's not a phrase I can remember being told, and it's unclear to me personally. But if you have a picture of what they're supposed to do in your mind, you say "absorb uke's energy", and your students do what you wanted them to do, then you've communicated your idea effectively to those students, haven't you? OTOH, if many of your students get more confused rather than less, then maybe you aren't communicating, in which case repeating it many times probably won't help :rolleyes: .

jonreading
07-18-2006, 12:05 PM
"Energy" is a real concept that plays a key role in aikido. I do believe word is used improperly by definition and I believe the use of the word has degenerated to a term too broadly applied to contain meaning without reference. For example, "Cool" by definition and "Cool" used in slang are two completely different concepts; if I were to describe my grandfather's christmas present as "cool," his response would be a disapproving glare and the phrase, "Cool is the breeze when you leave your drawers unbuttoned."

The literal concept of energy has a real purpose in aikido training. Want proof? Shoot a basket from a free throw line. You brain guesses the appropriate strength, speed, and elevation by which to throw a basketball into the air to fall through a hoop within a margin of about 3 inches. A good basketball player can "guess" the correct variables required to make a basket about 80% of the time. What would happen if the ball was heavier? or lighter? What if the player moved during the shot? What if the basket was mobile? Similarly, our brains make complex calculations to judge distance, timing, and strength required to perform a technique.

Nick Pagnucco
07-18-2006, 03:57 PM
"Energy" is a real concept that plays a key role in aikido. I do believe word is used improperly by definition and I believe the use of the word has degenerated to a term too broadly applied to contain meaning without reference. For example, "Cool" by definition and "Cool" used in slang are two completely different concepts; if I were to describe my grandfather's christmas present as "cool," his response would be a disapproving glare and the phrase, "Cool is the breeze when you leave your drawers unbuttoned."

Personally, my own frustration with words like energy isn't about energy not being 'real', but rather they are over-used, often without context. I've heard energy used in vague ways where it could possibly mean inertia, intention, bio-mechanical force, or connection (which is also poorly defined, in and of itself). I agree that all of those things are important to aikido, though its the lack of rigorous terminology that sometimes gets me. As I said before, this thread to is less about whether something is real, and more about analytical categories & pedagogical techniques.

Upyu
07-18-2006, 04:09 PM
Try doing the sumo squat about 300 times over continuously, no breaks for about 3 months daily, then maybe someone here will see what the hell most of the internal/aiki/tatsujin were talking about when talking about "energy. =D

George S. Ledyard
07-18-2006, 07:05 PM
If a teacher exhorts his students to "extend positive energy:" what is s/he telling you to do? Raise your arms higher? Breathe more deeply? Focus on the infinite?

As an Aikido instructor: I am trying to achieve realizable goals.

I don't disagree with you at all. When there is something which can be described precisely, by all means do it. Your example of "move the hips" rather than a more explicit explanation is good.

The problem is that much of the interaction between two partners / opponents is on the psychological / spiritual level. There isn't much in the way of concrete terminology to describe what is going on; at least not in the sense that a description would allow someone who didn't train to understand it.

This is why the emphasis on personal transmission from teacher to student has always been so important. The teacher says "project your intention out to your partner". In itself that is a meaningless statement for most folks. To give the statement meaning for a student, I must demonstrate what I mean by that and let my student feel it. He then attempts to create the same feeling. After some repeated interaction the student should at least know what I mean when I use the phrase, even if he can't yet do it very well. In other words he knows what he is shooting for. After that, the phrase becomes a useful phrase that allows me to remind the student about the concept without having to go through the whole explanation process once again.

The way I was trained, no one used these terms. Saotome Sensei just did stuff. No one attempted to isolate the principles and explain them. For this you need to develop a terminology. In Japanese martial arts there is quite an extensive terminology for talking about this stuff that comes from sword. As Americans, Japanese terms are sometimes cumbersome so we substitute our own terminology. Sometimes this makes things easier for the student and other times it muddies the water. Often, we do best to leave the Japanese term alone and simply teach our students what the term means through direct experience.

I have been trying for some time to impress upon my students that there are no pushing or pulling movements in Aikido. In fact the arms don't generate power at all, they simply give direction to the energy generated by the hips. Anyway, I co-opted a phrase from the matrix to remind my students of this fact. If I walk by and say "There is no spoon", they all know precisely what I mean. They know that they are pushing or pulling on their partner, using their upper bodies. I don't have to spell the problem out each time, I just use that phrase and the know what I am talking about.

If you are talking about the less tangible aspects of the art, terms like "energy" can serve to describe something to the students but it is up to the teacher to make it clear what they mean by the term. If the students don't develop a clear picture of what is meant, at least being able to know when their teacher is doing it even if they can't yet do it themselves, then the term is pretty useless and only serves to mystify the process and make the teacher sound very "deep". But that is a misuse of such terminology.

James Kelly
07-18-2006, 08:09 PM
Just an aside, but GOOD scientists don't say that :). The joke was that the scientists in question assumed a bumblebee flew like an airplane, gliding along using lift and aerodynamics. It doesn't, of course, it flies like a helicopter, using the rapid movement of its wings to raise it up.
Off topic I know, but I'm sorry to say that helicopters do use lift and aerodynamics to fly. And so do bumblebees: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bumblebee

James Kelly
07-18-2006, 08:36 PM
No we don't. I, for one, refuse to divert this thread into a discussion on the reality/unreality of ki. That's not what this is about...it's why I posted it in the Language section.

If others want to try to hijack the thread into that 50-page debate, that's their business. But, that is not the point of this thread.Ok -- keeping this thread on language:

I'm the first to agree that the word energy is overused, but from your initial post, you seem to be equating the physical meanings of the word with the literal meanings. This is incorrect.

from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/energy:

1. The capacity for work or vigorous activity; vigor; power. See Synonyms at strength.
2.
--1. Exertion of vigor or power: a project requiring a great deal of time and energy.
--2. Vitality and intensity of expression: a speech delivered with energy and emotion.
3.
--1. Usable heat or power: Each year Americans consume a high percentage of the world's energy.
--2. A source of usable power, such as petroleum or coal.
4. Physics. The capacity of a physical system to do work.

Look at 2.2. -- 'Vitality and intensity of expression' is a literal meaning of the word energy. It is not a figure of speech or a metaphor. It's what the word means. It may not me measurable, as in definition 4, but it is no less valid. No less literal.

Lanaguage is supposed to define, not blur. An overused word means nothing, and conveys less.Yes, overusing a word dilutes its meaning (though to say that 'energy' has no meaning strikes me as not true), but language is NOT supposed to define. It's supposed to communicate what the speaker wants. If a speaker wants to blur an issue (for example to make you think about it on your own a bit more) then by all means, he should make vague word choices.

I'm not saying that this is what's going on most times in the dojo when people use the word energy. I agree that there's a certain amount of linguistic laziness at play. But imho, when it comes to aikido, there's very little you can say about it that will help or hinder your practice. In my experience, the language of aikido is secondary to the physical practice. Terry Dobson used to say (paraphrasing) 'I can talk at you all day, but what's most important is that I touch you. That you feel what I'm doing and take it home with you.' Or something like that. It's hard to remember everything he said. He talked a lot...

dps
07-18-2006, 09:01 PM
If a teacher exhorts his students to "extend positive energy:" what is s/he telling you to do? Raise your arms higher? Breathe more deeply? Focus on the infinite?

Without being glib,
Extend positive energy= confidence, smiling, laughter, humor.
Extend negative energy= fear, frowning, anger, too serious.

To do techniques properly you need to relax your body, to relax your body you need to relax your mind, extending positive energy ( confidence, smiling, laughter, humor) relaxes your mind.

Neil Mick
07-18-2006, 09:48 PM
Wow! The responses were awesome! Enough material to chew on for a week!

I'll try to answer each in turn, but I got to sleep at 4:30AM last night (insomnia), so it may take a bit...

Hello Neil,

I think you need something a bit more more substantial than Lakoff. Frames are very important in negotiation theory, as in Roy Lewicki Negotiation 5th edition. Try also: www.lboro.ac.uk/research/mmethods/resources/links/frames_primer.html - 17k -

Best wishes,

Thanks! Great stuff!


Any language used that helps the body move more effectively in aikido is well, helpfull :) I'll try to use any weird and wonderfull mental image I can to help people internalise the concept that is being practiced.

True enough, Mark. I often use the metaphor of a "ship," with an "anchor" (the hand placed near the head), and a "rudder" (for the shoulder-arm used to roll) to help students understand the mechanics of rolling.

It's a very interesting and wide enquiry Neil, one that I'm sure you are aware has massive political ramifications. Note most of the great historical leaders tend to use 'big chunk' artfully vauge generalisations, which get large numbers of people nodding in agreement without really understanding exactly what is being meant by what is being said.

regards,

Mark

Yes, the Republican's are masters of the frame. George Lakoff talks about Bush's intended use of frames when he talks about the "war on terror," "gay marriage," etc.


But then other times, in many of the quotes you guys are giving it's obviously not meant in this literal classical physics sense. But if you find using a metaphor helps you do it better, is that bad...?

No, not at all. I just get nonplussed when a teacher uses a metaphorical term, literally. For instance, "I sensed the attacker's negative energy" makes my eyes involuntarily go :rolleyes: , because I have yet to encounter someone who can show me that they REALLY "sense" energy.

Metaphors, as I mentioned, are fine: but I draw the line when they are expressed as physical, literal manifestations.

Neil Mick
07-18-2006, 09:49 PM
But then other times, in many of the quotes you guys are giving it's obviously not meant in this literal classical physics sense. But if you find using a metaphor helps you do it better, is that bad...?

No, not at all. I just get nonplussed when a teacher uses a metaphorical term, literally. For instance, "I sensed the attacker's negative energy" makes my eyes involuntarily go :rolleyes: , * because I have yet to encounter someone who can show me that they REALLY "sense" energy.

Metaphors, as I mentioned, are fine: but I draw the line when they are expressed as physical, literal manifestations.

*P.S.> OTOH, I try to keep an open mind, and reserve judgement when a shihan talks about energy in the midst of class. After all, what do I know?

Neil Mick
07-18-2006, 09:52 PM
Do you believe ": it was all physics and perfectly explainable".

I keep an open mind. But, I do not believe people who say that they "sense" energies; or that I am "extending positive energy," except as a metaphorical demonstration. In other words, it's a useful teaching tool, but as an explanation of some mysterious ball of force, it falls flat.

If you believe ": it was all physics and perfectly explainable", then to teach them "you ARE absorbing energy from uke and transforming it into something else" is being dishonest with your students and detrimental to them.

Why, what a judgemental statement! If I were being cheeky, I'd say that that statement is filled with negative energy! ;)

Do you want to be surrounded by students that you taught your pet peeve to

I want my students to leave my classes with a slightly better understanding of Aikido. I tend to leave my pet peeves at the door (almost none of my students know my political beliefs, for instance: unless they read it, here).

Alright, alright, sorry, but you've gotta understand where I was coming from.

My motto is: if it works for you, great.

Neil Mick
07-18-2006, 09:53 PM
Yes, energy is not literally leaping off the screen, but the experience that the person had while watching the movie of O'sensei gave him a feeling of energy leaping off the screen and that was the only word that the person could come up with to describe to you his experiences. Have patience with us figurative people.

Just my thoughts.

Sorry, but agree to disagree. Words are meant to define, not blur. What, precisely, does "watching the movie of O'sensei gave him a feeling of energy leaping off the screen" mean, exactly? That the viewers felt exhiliarated? Inspired? Overwhelmed?

And, this statement implies that O Sensei had some indirect involvement with the "energy transfer." With the deepest respect to the spirit of O Sensei, I have no evidence that his conscious/unconscious being is present, in any definable way, when we watch movies of him, or look at his picture.

We, as Aikidoists, are the physical manifestation of O Sensei's work. Once Aikido was expressed in one person; now it is blossomed to millions, and growing.

Is he still somehow around to see it? I dunno, but I look skeptically at those who claim that they know, that he is.

Neil Mick
07-18-2006, 09:56 PM
If my uke is moving toward me, and goes "smack" into my huge, huge belly, I've just absorbed his kinetic energy. :D

Scientists say that the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly...

...but it does.

Just be happy that your students are able to get the technique right, regardless of the teacher's method. Do what works. I agree that ki can be explained with physics, but "energy" is easier for someone to visualize than mathematical equations when someone's about to whack 'em on their cabeza. :D

Very cheeky, James. And sure, I have no problems with the physicist's use of "energy." In fact, I use the term in this context all the time when I teach.

But, I am talking about the more vague, fuzzier usage of the term. Different animal.

Neil Mick
07-18-2006, 10:21 PM
Hey Neil,
I am anything but a New Age guy but I use the term all the time.
We use "energy" largely to describe the intuitive aspect of of the human interaction. There are all sorts of areas in which we sense what are probably a whole host of complex signals, many of which we couldn't concsiously describe. "Energy" is an easy way to talk about it.

George,

I'm going to tread carefully, here: because I don't want to come off as critical of your usage of the term. To do so would be, IMO, disrespectful.

But, IMO, your quote above is the source of the problem, for me. "Energy" IS an easy way to talk about the host of complex signals going on. It fuzzes the dynamics of the interaction.

Perhaps I am being too nitpicky, but shouldn't we strive, as Aikido instructors, to clarify, rather than obscure?

Gaven DeBaeker talks about this whole area in The Gift of Fear. He describes the messages we take in from our subliminal mind that we routinely tend to ignore because we are now modern and rational and are embarrassed to pay to much attention to feeling. Except that it's there and it's a part of our survival mechanism which we ignore at our own peril.

Thanks for the reference. I'm going to have my reading list expanded into 2008 (right after I finish plowing through Greg Palast's "Armed Madhouse").

If you and I stood across from one another with swords, the most important elements of the fight would take place before I ever moved to cut you. I would dominate you with my spirit before anything else happened. By the time I attacked, you would not be able to effectively counter the attack. That's all done on the "energetic" level. You may not be able to measure it on some machine but it's there.

Is it? Or, are you relying on a series of subtle signals and cues--partly instinctive, partly societal--to "psyche me out...?"

You see, even my own vocabulary fails me! :blush:

And you can't do Aikido at a really high level without understanding it. The trick is to make your students aware of it and train it.

I suppose that what I am searching for is a way to more clearly verbalize this interaction.

"Energy" is essentially the way O-Sensei looked at everything he did. Kototama is the study of the power of sound. It describes the various building blocks of the Universe in terms of vibration. All of the input you get from your sensory system is in terms of energy. You take in light through the eyes, sound through the ears, etc. It is a fact that the quality of what you take in effects your mindset. That's "energetic".

I was afraid that you were going to get all Kotodama, on me. :hypno:

I have no answer, for that. From my limited understanding of Kotodama, there IS something going on. But, I don't want to get too inveigled in the discussion of the power of sound, etc, as I am not referring to this aspect, in this thread.

Does ki exist/not exist? I dunno: this is not my concern, here. What I am considering is the usage of the term, and how it sometimes (note...sometimes) gets "fuzzied" up, in vagueries.

I live in probably the fuzziest city on the planet. My partner's best friend slings the term around like hash-browns in a greasy spoon. "Good energy" this; "bad energy" that, ad nauseum.

But, when I ask her for clarification: I get a lot of dogmatic, New Age mishmash. And, I have sometimes heard the same nonsense spouted within an Aikido class, in my travels.

Now, to be fair: my dojo just hosted Clint George Sensei at the Summer Retreat, and he talked about "taking uke's energy." In one class, he had us punch, and then he (as nage) drew out uke, so that the power of his strike dropped dramatically.

And then, he entered with a powerful counterstrike. It was quite dramatic.

I suppose I'm trying to say that I have no answers. Just, there are some moments when the usage of the term is a vague, fuzzy obscurement (and I am not talking about Clint George Sensei, here).

Our art is about Mind Body Spirit unification. Actually, our art is really about realizing that the unification is a fact already. In reality one can't separate the Mind-Body-Spirit aspects of ourselves. Our fundamental mistake is to act as if we could. Trying to remove the concept of "energy" (or whatever substitute term you wish to use) from the art would reduce the art to mere mechanics. That would take all the Aiki out of the Aikido.

I understand the reaction against the New Age types who talk about "energy" all the time and don't understand it at all in it's Aikido context. But that's just bad Budo, not a reason to ignore elements that are there in all human interactions and which are crucial to understand and utilize in the martial interaction.

Yes, you may have provided the answer I'm seeking, here.

Just as an aside, it's funny that all of the things which are most important to human beings are not material, measurable concepts: Love, honor, friendship, fulfillment, etc can't be touched or measured but they are some of the strongest motivating factors in human existence.

But...

the more often a word is used, IMO, the more vague the meaning gets. "Love" is an excellent example. Once upon a time, the Greeks (http://www.iep.utm.edu/l/love.htm) had 3 distinct meanings for it. Simple, clear, direct.

Now, it's used in so many contexts, that people often get confused over the meaning, the connotations, and the contexts.

"Marriage" is another example, but I acknowledge that the Right misuses the contexts for their own narrow agenda's.

Neil Mick
07-18-2006, 10:25 PM
The more I read threads like this, the more I want to re-read Rorty's Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature ....

Ah! Another book to add to the list!

For me, this thread is about 2 things. How good a vocabulary one has to describe phenomenon (an analytical issue), and how effective one is at using that vocabular for instruction (a pedagogical issue).

Yes, exactly.

People often use a platitude to short circuit giving a good explanation. "extend ki," and "Its just physics," and "its just human anatomy" are by themselves not descriptive, but rather generic catchwords that are almost as bad as "its smurf". It pretends to be an explanation, but it leaves the student to guess the 'real' meaning based on the context (including watching/feeling how the instructor does things).

Now, sometimes, context is enough to make a meaning clear, so its always good to have a few terms with flexible meanings (like energy)... but if one only has those, and no specific terms for fundamental basics, then there's gonna be a problem.

Couldn't have said it better, myself. ;)

Neil Mick
07-18-2006, 10:37 PM
Human beings are masters of body language. We take it for granted and don't realize how many thousands of tiny signals we're reading and sending until we meet someone who doesn't get it (autism or stroke or something). It's incredible how much non-verbal communication even a one-year old child understands, but maybe since small children can do it that fools us into thinking it's no big deal.

Human beings are the masters of spoken language, perhaps...IMO, it is our greatest single invention. Animals are just as good as humans at reading body-language, if not better.

My cat likes and I enjoy a little game of "pounce the scratchy-noise," when I scratch near my chair. But, before she pounces, she takes pains to make eye-contact, just to gauge my reaction. I've tried holding a book before my face to see if she'll pounce without eye-contact, and it is comical to watch her go into contortions, to peer around the book. :cool:

I have heard many many times that if you're genuinely concerned about personal safety, the best 'self defense' tools are more interpersonal than physical. Especially when you consider that extremely extremely few physical conflicts happen between total strangers with no history (at least a few seconds of history, usually much more). Knowing how to surround yourself with nice non-violent people who respect you, for example, or knowing how and when to use body language and posture effectively and to be assertive but neither foolhardy nor aggressive...

Some of these things are so hard to explain "precisely and literally" I'm not sure you don't often lose something in trying. Using 'vague' terms like "energy" sometimes gives people a real incling of what you mean, doesn't it?

Yes, sometimes it does. But, there's a linguistic theorem (law? statement?) that states that language is thought. How you express something is directly correlated to how you think, and conceptualize the world around you. Eskimo's, for instance, have scores of terms for "snow." Conversely, if you only have, say, only a few terms for all 4-legged animals: it reveals the lack of differentiation between them, in your thinking.

Neil Mick
07-18-2006, 10:54 PM
OK, the lack of sleep is catching up...so one more, for now.

Ok -- keeping this thread on language:

--2. Vitality and intensity of expression: a speech delivered with energy and emotion.

Look at 2.2. -- 'Vitality and intensity of expression' is a literal meaning of the word energy. It is not a figure of speech or a metaphor. It's what the word means. It may not me measurable, as in definition 4, but it is no less valid. No less literal.

OK, let's take my example of the dizzy-headed co-worker complaining about the "bad energy" hovering about the front desk.

Where does this fit in definition 2.2?

Or, what if someone says that they respond well to the energy put out by Sensei So-and-So? What, exactly, does this mean?

It means nothing. It's empty words pasted onto a sentence to give emphsis.

When I was in college, I had an art teacher once describe most works with the words, "quite nice." What, exactly did that mean?? Really, in the end, I surmised that it meant "inoffensive." I sat in the back of his classes and chortled whenever he used that term (and he used it, almost all the time). Somewhat later, I was told that he came to a drawing (when I wasn't there) and he almost tripped out "quite nice" in response to a drawing. He stumbled, and strove to critique the work with some other term.

"Nice," for him; served the same purpose, as "energy" does, for some Aikido instructors...and some New Ager's.

but language is NOT supposed to define. It's supposed to communicate what the speaker wants.

Language is not supposed to define: but words are.

If a speaker wants to blur an issue (for example to make you think about it on your own a bit more) then by all means, he should make vague word choices.

But that is not the example that I am talking about. A teacher is supposed to make clear, not muddy. If someone asks me how I am feeling, and I say, "Yucky:" OK, that's fine. I am expressing a generic state of un-wellness.

But, if I am talking to a doctor/acupuncturist/etc, you can bet that they are going to ask for clarification (ESPECIALLY the acupuncturist!) "Yucky" just won't cut it!

But imho, when it comes to aikido, there's very little you can say about it that will help or hinder your practice. In my experience, the language of aikido is secondary to the physical practice.

Of course. But, the relevance of language over practice is not the issue.

George S. Ledyard
07-18-2006, 11:33 PM
Is it? Or, are you relying on a series of subtle signals and cues--partly instinctive, partly societal--to "psyche me out...?"

Sure. I am doing just that! But we have to develop our own terminology to describe what we are doing if we are to teach it (rather than the old way of simply showing it and expecting the student to "steal" it.

The very term you used "psyche me out" is just such an example. Someone, in fairly recent times, came up with that term to describe something fairly complex. Now, most people would know what you were describing if you used that term. So if you were involved in teaching someone how to "psyche someone out" you could use that term rather than having to describe all of the complex components that are the result and simply focus on the elements of how to do it. That would almost certainly involve the need to develop further unique terminology to describe what you were doing.

But, assuming that you were for real as a teacher, you would be able to show by demonstration what you meant when you used those terms nad over time your students would begin to understand the "meaning" of the terms in the way that you had taught them.

I had the experience of looking at a couple of guys who had come in to the store where I worked and having the strongest realization that these two were REALLY bad people. Like the kind of guys who would waste you and not consider it to be a noteworthy event in their lives. I couldn't tell you why I knew but I absolutely knew. That was "energy", probably the opposite of what those people meant when they commeneted on O-Sensei's "energy".

I just bought a sword from my friend David Goldberg Sensei who is a fantastic sword maker as well as an Aikido teacher. I had not intended to buy the one I did. I was at Summer Camp and David had a display of wares for sale. I tired several of the swords and then picked this one up. I drew it and I knew that I had to have it. It felt alive. There was a tangible difference between that sword and the other swords he had there. I watched all week as people looked at his swords. Over and over again they came to pick that one up. Saotome Sensei kept coming back and holding it, day after day. Now I couldn't tell you what it was that made it special. Only once before have I felt a blade that was "alive" like that way. It was tangible and other people reacted to it, often without quite knowing they were. That is "energy" of some sort...

I once had a student walk in to the dojo for class. I was on the other side of the dojo. I took one look at her and I knew something was wrong. It was tangible at a distance yet I couldn't begin to tell you how I knew.

We experience these things all the time in our lives. The martial arts have specific manifestations that we study. We need terms to describe what we are talking about in order to properly direct our training but we have to actually tarin in order to understand the meaning of the terms. They will mean something to the average person and something totally different for the person who has trained extensively. Unlike scientific terms which should have the same meaning to everyone, the terms that describe the "energetics" of the martial interaction will change in their meaining for each individual as his experience changes.

Basia Halliop
07-19-2006, 06:46 AM
Off topic I know, but I'm sorry to say that helicopters do use lift and aerodynamics to fly. And so do bumblebees: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bumblebee

They don't use it to glide like airplanes, which was my point. I have heard different versions of what the original false assumption was; maybe this one is more accurate (it sounds more likely, since I always thought it was kind of dumb that someone would assume a bee glided like an airplane).

All I meant to point out was that they fly differently than was assumed, and that the proof was wrong because the basic assumption or model used to describe how they fly was wrong, rather than because bumblebees use some kind of magic force or something. Surely you knew what I was getting at?

creinig
07-19-2006, 10:42 AM
Sorry, but agree to disagree. Words are meant to define, not blur. What, precisely, does "watching the movie of O'sensei gave him a feeling of energy leaping off the screen" mean, exactly? That the viewers felt exhiliarated? Inspired? Overwhelmed?

I doubt that person could have given a more precise description in a 2-page essay. That's why we use metaphors, figures of speech etc -- because we want to express some feeling, impression or so but don't have clear words for it. And often (between people with shared culture, experiences etc) such a metaphor can express that better than a huge thesis using only "exact" terminology.

Which isn't exact by the way. Natural language is by its nature quite fuzzy. That's why we invented mathematics, programming language and the like. ;)

Mike Sigman
07-19-2006, 10:54 AM
[[snipsky]] The way I was trained, no one used these terms. Saotome Sensei just did stuff. No one attempted to isolate the principles and explain them. For this you need to develop a terminology. In Japanese martial arts there is quite an extensive terminology for talking about this stuff that comes from sword. As Americans, Japanese terms are sometimes cumbersome so we substitute our own terminology. Sometimes this makes things easier for the student and other times it muddies the water. Often, we do best to leave the Japanese term alone and simply teach our students what the term means through direct experience.

I have been trying for some time to impress upon my students that there are no pushing or pulling movements in Aikido. In fact the arms don't generate power at all, they simply give direction to the energy generated by the hips. Anyway, I co-opted a phrase from the matrix to remind my students of this fact. If I walk by and say "There is no spoon", they all know precisely what I mean. They know that they are pushing or pulling on their partner, using their upper bodies. I don't have to spell the problem out each time, I just use that phrase and the know what I am talking about. I tend to go both ways on this. I use a lot of subjectively descriptive terms when I'm showing something... it tends to be an artform to try and convey in the quickest way the "foot-in-the-door" idea that will get someone into an area of understanding. I think that's the natural learning method of the human animal. However, some people, once they "get it", can go much further with an in-depth analysis that opens the doors further to future usages, complexities, relationships, etc.

For instance, I think the comment about the hips is a helpful start indeed, but there are potential expansions of this idea that get quite complex, so a helpful start would be, IMO, a careful analysis of exactly what is involved in powering things with hip movement. It's this sort of thinking and approach that ultimately led to the whole "move from the hara", "acupuncture meridians", "kokyu power", and so on.

Since both approaches have their plusses, it gets tricky if too-unrealistic terms are used in the subjective entre's to the teaching/showing and because of that, I tend to avoid words like "energy". Besides, many of the people I work with in martial arts tend to be in the physical sciences and they tend to take words literally, even when a subjective presentation is being made.

I liked your post, George.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

markwalsh
07-19-2006, 03:12 PM
:ai:

Ha-ha - Energy! I used to hate that word when I was in California!

:yuck: :p :D

I see it as being used to describe a broad number of very real phenomenon, but that it's often employed very loosely by those without vigorous training, or depth of understanding. That's what irks me more than the word itself. I personally try not to use it as there are usually clearer alternative. I think like most people who do aikido I feel and employ "energy." though :ki:

Re framing. I've been taught that the negative isn't "heard" by the unconscious,so positive action language is more effective. A practical example: When teaching archery classes I learnt that if I gave the instruction "Do not cross the safety line" around twice as many children would cross the line than if I said, "Stay behind the line."

Re "body language" and communication. I'm of the opinion that the majority of communication that happens between people is unconscious and expressed bodily. This communication is very quick and normally accurate (as discussed in the Gift of Fear). By learning to recognize what your body is doing one can actively develop this skill. Both Wendy Palmer and Richard Strozzi Heckler teach aspects of this. As someone who is constantly meeting new people, often in potentially dangerous situations I really value the little bits I've learnt from them. :do:

Lastly: I'd like to celebrate the fact that there is a thread on AikiWeb titled "Energy" that is being conducted in an aiki, nonflamtastci kinda way. Hope I haven't jinxed it :-)

Anyway - gotta go hug a tree. Later.

Mike Hamer
07-20-2006, 12:28 AM
I love you all

dps
07-20-2006, 06:33 AM
Anyway - gotta go hug a tree. Later.
Watch out for sap. :)