PDA

View Full Version : Ki


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


Jonshez
05-19-2007, 02:31 PM
I'm sure there are as many answers as Aikidoka to this question, but I'm curious about other people's experiences.
I'm also concious that as with many things in aikido, ki is probably something best experienced rather than reduced to words.

Despite those limitations (!) as a new aikidoka with a very 'scientific', non-spiritual approach to life coming to terms with ki is proving intriguining. I find it difficult to 'feel' energy as a real presence for example. So, for you is it cosmic energy, jedi-like force, physics, intention?

I'm not looking for an explaination, more to share others' experience of ki.

Respectfully

Jon

kironin
05-19-2007, 02:57 PM
So, for you is it cosmic energy, jedi-like force, physics, intention?


No, No, Yes, Yes.

Jonshez
05-19-2007, 03:01 PM
Oops! I didn't intend to limit the options to my suggestions! I hope you haven't set a precedent for the answer type!

Haowen Chan
05-19-2007, 03:45 PM
The problem with "Ki" is that it's very overloaded in the Japanese language, it's used to refer to air, health, attitude, atmosphere, anything goes. This makes westerners very confused about ki because one moment sensei is talking about the approaching ki of the attacker from across the room, and the next moment he's saying you must "extend ki". It's actually two completely different things!

I think within aikido, the word "ki" is most commonly used to refer to a very specific physical skill. Tohei sensei describes it very aptly as "mind and body coordinated". It involves training of the body as a single connected unit to receive, feel and issue force. You have to be careful about the context though because very often the word "ki" pops up and it has absolutely nothing to do with this skill.

Upyu
05-20-2007, 10:01 AM
Search function baby ;)

jennifer paige smith
05-20-2007, 10:10 AM
Search function baby ;)

The energy rice uses to grow, the energy rice gives you when you eat it, the energy it takes to plant it, the energy of the earth to hold it, the energy of the plants life cycle.

Many of the confusions of ki, beyond cultural linguistics infinitum, is the attemp to describe a natural process that is larger than ourselves, yet contained in ourselves. The word methods are a means to re-aquaint you with your nature. Breaking down the intellect with words is tricky business. Whatever you call it, you got it. Ki.

jennifer paige smith
05-20-2007, 10:18 AM
"So, for you is it cosmic energy, jedi-like force, physics, intention?"

In the land of Quantum Physics, cosmic energy is related to physics and jedi-force is related to intention.

Upyu
05-20-2007, 10:33 AM
I'll be more specific...O_O
Look up "ki", and "Mike Sigman" or "Dan Harden"
That should give you all the things you want to know about what Ueshiba was probably talking about when it came to "ki" in aikido.

Haowen Chan
05-20-2007, 11:09 AM
The energy rice uses to grow, the energy rice gives you when you eat it, the energy it takes to plant it, the energy of the earth to hold it, the energy of the plants life cycle.


Et voila. Jennifer is quite right, this is one of the meanings of ki. But if a student thinks this is the same "ki" we are trying to learn as a physical skill/ability in aikido then they're in for a world of confusion. The confusion not only serves as a huge impediment to learning but can cause serious doubts in the usefulness of training at all, as seen in this article here.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12548

jennifer paige smith
05-20-2007, 12:09 PM
Et voila. Jennifer is quite right, this is one of the meanings of ki. But if a student thinks this is the same "ki" we are trying to learn as a physical skill/ability in aikido then they're in for a world of confusion. The confusion not only serves as a huge impediment to learning but can cause serious doubts in the usefulness of training at all, as seen in this article here.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12548

All of this is true. The context and delivery of lesson is important. In my view, O'Sensei directed us to look to nature and I don't refute that. I am not seperate from the workings of that plant and neither is anyone in their nature. If people knew more about the workings of nature it might not be so confusing. I offer education in that dept for just that reason.If you look back at the second paragraph again you will see that I talked a little about the confusion from my observation. I take the intent variety(1st stage) of ki to be a practical develomental stage of practice. 2nd stage energetic physical connection, 3rd stage is in the realignment with universal phenomenon. Some people grasp 1st concept first, others grab 2nd, others 3rd. There is frequently inherent confusion in 're-programming' connectivity. Par for the course in my training. I've learned to love not knowing while practicing solid aiki. The onus is upon me to find better language than the confusing ways that people have mixed this stuff up. I continue to find it. Although I'm not promising quick results.

George S. Ledyard
05-20-2007, 01:28 PM
I'll be more specific...O_O
Look up "ki", and "Mike Sigman" or "Dan Harden"
That should give you all the things you want to know about what Ueshiba was probably talking about when it came to "ki" in aikido.

Hi Rob,
I would agree with you if we limit the discussion to "ki" as relevant to waza. I do not that Mike and Dan's presentation of the subject would be complete. O-Sensei's world view much broader than what I see from these guys. I think they both have a very solid understanding of what "ki" would mean in relation to two live energy systems coming together in conflict. But O-Sensei was a Shinto mystic and by all accounts and from everything I have heard from my teacher, almost never spoke about the practicalities of application, but rather used concepts like "ki" to describe the energetics of the whole world, even the whole universe. A term like "aiki" for O-Sensei describes a state of being as much as it does something to do with waza.

The Aikido world suffers from a sort of collective schizophrenia. Some folks go off into the ethereal plane with their focus on the "Big Mind" understanding of terms like "ki". Everything is all cosmic and universal... More often than not, these folks lack a good understanding of application of these principles in the real world. This gives Aikido a bad name in martial arts circles, hence the term "aiki fruities".

However, the other side of the split is the one that is trying to regain what Aikido has been losing in terms of solid, in the body, understanding of terms like "ki". Too often, these folks end up with only the "Little Mind" understanding of the concepts with a narrow focus on application.

It's rather like the way folks in applied science look at the theoretical scientists as a bunch of ivory tower dreamers and the theoretical scientists look down on the folks who do the applied work as being just a bit to mundane.

I believe that one sees in O-Sensei an example of what happens when these two streams come together. I don't think that it is an accident that of the Daito Ryu and Daito Ryu offshoots, Aikido ended up being the most well known and widely practiced. O-Sensei's ability to take the principles beyond just martial application, the level in which there were a number of others who were certainly at least his equal, by all accounts, and take them to a level that had to do with people's larger sense of their lives, was his particular genius.

There's been a certain tendency to try to de-mystify the Founder. Many of the posts I have read have tried to bring many of his ideas back to the practical realm. I think this is largely a reaction against the opposite tendency to go off in space with these ideas and lose any real sense of how they exist in physical reality. But frankly, O-Sensei really was the original "aiki fruity". His students readily admit that they had no idea most of the time what he was even talking about. What kept most of them there was his unquestionable ability to apply his understanding on the mat in ways that seemed almost magical to his students. This was a man in whom these two streams were completely integrated.

So when I read what Dan and Mike have to say about things like "ki", while acknowledging their expertise in a certain area of understanding I also see that they only take the concepts so far. I believe that O-Sensei's vision of what these terms mean is much broader, while not, in any way contradicting their understanding. That would be, in my opinion, one of the things that makes this Aikido, and not one of the other aiki arts.

tedehara
05-20-2007, 04:40 PM
No, No, Yes, Yes.It's not complicated physics. There's no string theory. Just your everyday Newtonian physics.

Bodies in motion and all that stuff.
:D

Haowen Chan
05-20-2007, 08:35 PM
I take the intent variety(1st stage) of ki to be a practical develomental stage of practice. 2nd stage energetic physical connection, 3rd stage is in the realignment with universal phenomenon. Some people grasp 1st concept first, others grab 2nd, others 3rd.

Nice way of putting it! I think number 3 has been a blind spot for me but I'm just beginning. I'll try to be mindful of it as I progress in the future. Thank you!

statisticool
05-20-2007, 09:19 PM
I'll be more specific...O_O
Look up "ki", and "Mike Sigman" or "Dan Harden"
That should give you all the things you want to know about what Ueshiba was probably talking about when it came to "ki" in aikido.

woooh, thanks, that was a good one!

Upyu
05-20-2007, 10:43 PM
H

So when I read what Dan and Mike have to say about things like "ki", while acknowledging their expertise in a certain area of understanding I also see that they only take the concepts so far. I believe that O-Sensei's vision of what these terms mean is much broader, while not, in any way contradicting their understanding. That would be, in my opinion, one of the things that makes this Aikido, and not one of the other aiki arts.

Hi George,

I definitely agree with you, the physical components that were discussed are only one aspect.
However I do feel strongly that you need them if you want to understand the other "fruitier" aspects :)
Besides, with this stuff you end up rewiring your body, so its no great leap in logic to think that you end up rewiring your mind and how you percieve the world. Some people take that "rewiring" of the mind further than others and Ueshiba was definitely someone that took it "further" lol.

Upyu
05-20-2007, 10:46 PM
woooh, thanks, that was a good one!

Why thanks Justin, that means much to me coming from you, seeing as your practical experience serves to bring a breadth of experience not often seen on this board :D

jennifer paige smith
05-26-2007, 12:00 PM
Related to George Sensei's post above I would like to say that Aikido is also very gifted with people who live in 'the gap'. They tend to train quietly. I have found some of them here and they are a brilliant gift to the art.

Jen

dps
05-27-2007, 07:11 AM
I'm sure there are as many answers as Aikidoka to this question, but I'm curious about other people's experiences.
I'm also concious that as with many things in aikido, ki is probably something best experienced rather than reduced to words.

Despite those limitations (!) as a new aikidoka with a very 'scientific', non-spiritual approach to life coming to terms with ki is proving intriguining. I find it difficult to 'feel' energy as a real presence for example. So, for you is it cosmic energy, jedi-like force, physics, intention?

I'm not looking for an explaination, more to share others' experience of ki.

Respectfully

Jon

Don't be in a hurry to understand 'Ki'. There are too many explanations of Ki for a beginner to worry about. Deal first with the physical energy of uke's attack and learn what to do with it. Understanding of Ki will come as a result of practice.

A scientific approach to the beginnings of Aikido would be to collect information. The way to collect this information is by practicing a whole lot.

David

jennifer paige smith
05-27-2007, 12:20 PM
Don't be in a hurry to understand 'Ki'. There are too many explanations of Ki for a beginner to worry about. Deal first with the physical energy of uke's attack and learn what to do with it. Understanding of Ki will come as a result of practice.

A scientific approach to the beginnings of Aikido would be to collect information. The way to collect this information is by practicing a whole lot.

David

I must say that I literally had to let go of most of my descriptions of the world and begin to replace them with aikido concepts to have the structure to frame my fuller understanding. My teachers would speak of ki in many different ways. Sometimes similar to each other, but always unique. One teacher loved to call me Gen-Ki (ecstatic Ki) so I knew that ki could relate to personality/energy type. Another talked about the ki of the universe, so I knew the universe was moving in a principle. So like a child who has to learn all of the names of all of the things in the world to create a framework for this world, I had to again become childlike in my reductions. A very courageous and humbling exercise in 'letting go' that many people cannot stomach.
As a mater of fact, I still say 'when I was 2 in the art.' or 'when I was 3..."

I encourage this approach because it allows the world of aikido to fill you and the pollution of fragmentation to be purified.

jennifer paige smith
05-27-2007, 12:24 PM
Don't be in a hurry to understand 'Ki'. There are too many explanations of Ki for a beginner to worry about. Deal first with the physical energy of uke's attack and learn what to do with it. Understanding of Ki will come as a result of practice.

A scientific approach to the beginnings of Aikido would be to collect information. The way to collect this information is by practicing a whole lot.

David
Good advice from David.
I must say that I literally had to let go of most of my descriptions of the world and begin to replace them with aikido concepts to have the structure to frame my fuller understanding. My teachers would speak of ki in many different ways. Sometimes similar to each other, but always unique. One teacher loved to call me Gen-Ki (ecstatic/friendly Ki) so I knew that ki could relate to personality/energy type. Another talked about the ki of the universe, so I knew the universe was moving in a principle. So like a child who has to learn all of the names of all of the things in the world to create a framework for this world, I had to again become childlike in my reductions. A very courageous and humbling exercise in 'letting go' that many people cannot stomach.
I encourage this approach because it allows the world of aikido to fill you and the pollution of fragmentation to be purified. Of course, it doesn't happen overnight.

Jonshez
05-27-2007, 01:54 PM
Don't be in a hurry to understand 'Ki'.
David

Thanks for your advice David, 'understanding' of Ki wasn't really my goal, I'm sure it would be impossible to fully understand without experience. I was really just curious about other people's experiences - either learning about ki themselves, or how it related to them and their experiences.

Thanks again!

Jon

guest89893
06-01-2007, 09:55 AM
I'm sure there are as many answers as Aikidoka to this question, but I'm curious about other people's experiences.
I'm also concious that as with many things in aikido, ki is probably something best experienced rather than reduced to words.

Despite those limitations (!) as a new aikidoka with a very 'scientific', non-spiritual approach to life coming to terms with ki is proving intriguining. I find it difficult to 'feel' energy as a real presence for example. So, for you is it cosmic energy, jedi-like force, physics, intention?

I'm not looking for an explaination, more to share others' experience of ki.

Respectfully

Jon

Jon,
I must admit, I'm always a bit curious and not-quite-understanding when someone writes/says they take a scientific approach and so therefore have a hard time feeling energy...Huh?! I am not making fun at you or anyone else nor am I trying to be flippant (well maybe a little). But my inability is in comprehending if you approach something from a scientific perspective, understanding and feeling energy should be the easy part - chemical, electrical ,etc. occurring from the body nerves firing , muscles moving food processed into energy and waste, body heat, Plus if you drive, then add expanding awareness in order to understand the relative position of the car to the environment around it.
You choose not to have a spiritual approach to this art and/or your life and that is fine. So is the question here: "How do you find a non-spiritual perspective to the spiritual aspect?"
Because simply relating my own experiences will not and cannot validate what you do not believe. So my suggestion is believe in physics and cosmology and allow yourself to be amazed.
Yang spirit, yin heart
(Mr. man, I am verbose) Gene
p.s. George -that was a beautifully written post and you already know I completely agree with you.

Esaemann
06-01-2007, 12:21 PM
From Jen, "The onus is upon me to find better language than the confusing ways that people have mixed this stuff up." Not to worry.
The Tao that can be spoken of is not the true Tao.

Jon,
My experience of feeling "ki", as I understand your question, is warmth and tingling in my hands, a feeling of fullness in some areas during intense concentration/intention, and being able to relieve some ailments (e.g. soreness in shoulder, or knees) through relaxing and intention/concentration. Lately, my Sensei is trying to get us to feel this fullness during stretching, at least. That helps. In the past year, my wife also has said that my arm is too heavy when I drape it across her (maybe this should go in the kinky(?) Aiki thread). I believe this is from standing meditation training (arms are held out).

What I described is more the healing type of "ki" than martial? I haven't been able to "feel the ki" when another body is introduced into the picture in Aikido. With limited success during Tai Chi push hands, this may be an easier way for me to achieve at this stage.

There are some good books on how to "feel ki" by Yang Jwing-Ming, for example (stick with the well-known names, though), but it really helps if you are able to hook up with some who are also experienced with it. I feel very fortunate in that.

Good luck, and its easier if you don't try to feel it. Just let it.

Eric

tarik
06-01-2007, 12:21 PM
I'm not looking for an explaination, more to share others' experience of ki.

My experience...

I spent a lot of time studying and trying to fit the various models and comprehension of ki to my study until I gave up. People talk about the precision of ki models, and it's true and yet not true. Ki can be used to talk about the weather, a persons intent, their energy levels.. so many varying aspects that certainly are all valid, yet vague for those who did not grow up with that world view or model (and frankly, IMO, vague even for some of those that did).

I've sat through classes where the instructor talked about drawing ki up through uke's forehead in exactly the opposite direction of where I wanted to simply relax and drop my weight DOWN through uke's spine to effect the (same) technique. That is the type of imprecision of which I speak and of which I cannot comprehend or take part although I certainly endeavored to do so for a decade. If you can, you certainly should.

IAC, my personal experience is that ki is a very nice way to talk clearly about aikido and phenomena when you are talking with someone who is already well grounded in an understanding of the model, but attempting to use it to communicate to someone who knows little of the model is perilous.

I prefer to use other, more familiar, more scientific and specific models to describe the same stuff. It's easier for me and appears to be easier for most of the people I've ever trained with. Once we have a common groundwork or level of expertise, I might let on that what we've been learning to do is 'extend ki' or some such.. but not generally to get them to do it.

Regards,

Jonshez
06-05-2007, 04:12 PM
Thanks Eric and Tarik, those were intriguing answers.
I agree in so far as experiencing is better, and Tarik, you're right about the use of 'ki' as a specific term (almost jargon). For now I'm content to use the word to be synonymous with energy, whether it be centrifugal, gravitational or inertia.

Gene, when I get a moment I'd like to try to answer your questions about my scientific world view and my spiritual understanding of aikido. It's an area that probably deserves a considered response to avoid bad explaination!

Thanks again for sharing your experiences.

Jon

guest89893
06-06-2007, 01:07 AM
Gene, when I get a moment I'd like to try to answer your questions about my scientific world view and my spiritual understanding of aikido. It's an area that probably deserves a considered response to avoid bad explaination!

Thanks again for sharing your experiences.

Jon
Jon,
Please feel free -post or pm- meanwhile have fun training.
Gene