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DictatorForLife
11-02-2007, 10:47 AM
I'm two months into Aikido and had a question regarding Ki.

From all the techniques I've seen so far, nage always has their feet firmly planted on the ground. For Ki energy to be used, must nage be grounded?

For example, if you were standing relaxed with your arms at your side and a taller person came up from behind and grabbed you around the waist then lifted you off the ground, could Ki energy be used in any way to assist you in getting out of that situation?

Thanks in advance for all your responses.

Paul

Janet Rosen
11-02-2007, 03:52 PM
Hmmm....this is not the answer to the question you are posing but a reply to your assumption:
I think a lot of us would disagree w/ being rooted/planted as a good thing or as synonomous w/ things like one point or weight underside. 2 reasons off the top of my head: 1. One wants the ability to move lightly, quickly and dynamically. 2. One is way more injury-prone when rooted (joints lock and then give out with disastrous results)

Christopher Gee
11-02-2007, 05:30 PM
Whats Ki?

He he

Larry Cuvin
11-03-2007, 12:49 AM
When ki is extending, you should have a light, floating feeling and should be un-liftable even with two big guys.

xuzen
11-03-2007, 01:41 AM
I'm two months into Aikido and had a question regarding Ki.

From all the techniques I've seen so far, nage always has their feet firmly planted on the ground. For Ki energy to be used, must nage be grounded?

For example, if you were standing relaxed with your arms at your side and a taller person came up from behind and grabbed you around the waist then lifted you off the ground, could Ki energy be used in any way to assist you in getting out of that situation?

Thanks in advance for all your responses.

Paul

You are in Toronto, you use the word shugyo... I guess you must be with Yoshinkan group...yesssssss?

If yes, then you will realize Ki are for Wussies.... Yoshinkan' ers believe in Body Mechanics, Angles, you know.... the boring Physical stuff.

But then I could use my KEYS to poke at uke's sensitive parts to make my escape... who knows. Not part of grading syllabus though.

Boon .

Christopher Gee
11-03-2007, 03:13 AM
When ki is extending, you should have a light, floating feeling and should be un-liftable even with two big guys.

Ki

EXTENDING
FLOATING
UN liftable.....

Incredible. Sorry I used to practice Ki myself. I think there are an awesome set of principles their, but I could never make the applications work with other Aiki brands... probably just me.

Yoroshiku onegai shimasu.

nekobaka
11-03-2007, 06:22 AM
first of all you should be aware enough that you won't get snuck up on. especially if you are small enough to get picked up, like I am. moving first is of great importance. In general you should keep your hips dropped, knees bent. it gives you a more solid position. 13 years and I still can't get this one.

Timothy WK
11-03-2007, 08:55 AM
The short answer is yes. There are many people who, like myself, believe that "ki" is really just about certain bio-mechanical functions, and has nothing to do with mystical energy you channel from the ground or air. The deal with the ground is really about being able to push off of it.

If you get lifted up, as others have said, there are ways to make yourself "heavy" and hard to manipulate. You can also "throw" your weight around to off-balance the attacker. Daito-ryu has a famous "throw" where nage is lifted up by 4-6 people, and then becomes really heavy and knocks them all down. You can see it at about 3:15 in this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4M579s8Gni0). Lastly, in such a situation, you could also use "ki strength" to help break the grip.

(But don't ask me how, I'm not that far along in my own training.)

SeiserL
11-03-2007, 01:26 PM
IMHO, remaining grounded does not necessarily mean that you have to literally physically be touching the ground, but rather your mental map receives and extends ki/energy from it and returns to it.

Aiki1
11-03-2007, 03:27 PM
There are many people who, like myself, believe that "ki" is really just about certain bio-mechanical functions

To me, approaching Ki that way is like playing music. Someone learning to play the guitar can sit down and learn an incredible solo that, say, Jimi Hendrix played. They can learn it note for note, nuance for nuance, they can replicate the timing etc. But without the special something that Jimi had, it will never feel the same, it won't be experienced the same way. It may look and sound the same, but that's it.

Knowing what Ki is and using it in Aikido properly is similar to me. You can do something in a relaxed manner, moving your bdy properly etc.... but without Ki, the -experience- of it will never be the same. The feeling will ultimately be different. That's my experience anyway.

Timothy WK
11-04-2007, 07:42 AM
Larry, you're arguing with the guy! I apologize, I should have been more thoughtful with my words. I realize my last post probably sounded dismissive, but that really wasn't my intent. Anyway, let's not muddy up this thread with that discussion.

Aiki1
11-04-2007, 08:22 AM
Larry, you're arguing with the guy! I apologize, I should have been more thoughtful with my words. I realize my last post probably sounded dismissive, but that really wasn't my intent. Anyway, let's not muddy up this thread with that discussion.

Hi Tim - I don't think there was anything wrong with your answer, and I think mine is relevant to the original question and other people's responses as well.... with these kinds of queries, people will inevitably answer with physical solutions, as they already have, so keeping a perspective about the presence of Ki from a different angle is likely to be integral to the overall discussion.... especially at the basic level that I'm bringing it up. :-)

G DiPierro
11-04-2007, 03:20 PM
From all the techniques I've seen so far, nage always has their feet firmly planted on the ground. For Ki energy to be used, must nage be grounded?

For example, if you were standing relaxed with your arms at your side and a taller person came up from behind and grabbed you around the waist then lifted you off the ground, could Ki energy be used in any way to assist you in getting out of that situation?Unless the person is floating through the air when he lifts you up, you are still grounded. Your connection to the ground is through the other person's body.

tedehara
11-05-2007, 06:09 PM
...If yes, then you will realize Ki are for Wussies.... Yoshinkan' ers believe in Body Mechanics, Angles, you know.... the boring Physical stuff....What happens if you're sick, injured or just plain old and can't rely on your strength alone to overcome an opponent? Is dying your back-up plan? ;)

It's not about the dog in the fight. It's about the fight in the dog. Therefore this is really about Mind or using the traditional terminology, about Ki development.

The Yoshinkan I've seen is about timing, balance, ki extension and doing movements in a correct manner. Maybe that's just my perspective. :o

kironin
11-06-2007, 12:06 AM
For example, if you were standing relaxed with your arms at your side and a taller person came up from behind and grabbed you around the waist then lifted you off the ground, could Ki energy be used in any way to assist you in getting out of that situation?


Yes.

kironin
11-06-2007, 12:08 AM
Ki

EXTENDING
FLOATING
UN liftable.....

Incredible. Sorry I used to practice Ki myself. I think there are an awesome set of principles their, but I could never make the applications work with other Aiki brands... probably just me.

Yoroshiku onegai shimasu.

Yes, most definitely you.
;)

xuzen
11-06-2007, 02:56 AM
What happens if you're sick, injured or just plain old and can't rely on your strength alone to overcome an opponent? Is dying your back-up plan? ;)
Ted my man, you are being highly speculative and hyperbolic. If it so happen if I am sick I just don't fight. Or is it you meant T3H R34L LIFE (TM) self defense. If I am old or just infirmed, it will be unlikely I will on the street shouting to my "theoretical opponent", " Come on mate, this grandpa is gonna show you whose ur daddy!"

Now to give you a hyperbolic answer: Should such scenario ever occur to me, you will bet I would have considered:
a) egressing from the confrontation, failing which...
b) I will ask for help, assuming none are available, then...
c) use tools to equalize the confrontation, if I so happen to be in a barren desert with no appropriate tools... then
d) I will give a fight for my opponent to remember me by...


[QUOTE]The Yoshinkan I've seen is about timing, balance, ki extension and doing movements in a correct manner. Maybe that's just my perspective. :o
The Yoshinkan that I practice also stress on the factors I highlighted. But we speak very little about ki stuff. Maybe that was just your perspective.

Ossu!

Boon.

tedehara
11-06-2007, 10:40 AM
Ted my man, you are being highly speculative and hyperbolic. If it so happen if I am sick I just don't fight. Or is it you meant T3H R34L LIFE (TM) self defense. If I am old or just infirmed, it will be unlikely I will on the street shouting to my "theoretical opponent", " Come on mate, this grandpa is gonna show you whose ur daddy!"

Now to give you a hyperbolic answer: Should such scenario ever occur to me, you will bet I would have considered:
a) egressing from the confrontation, failing which...
b) I will ask for help, assuming none are available, then...
c) use tools to equalize the confrontation, if I so happen to be in a barren desert with no appropriate tools... then
d) I will give a fight for my opponent to remember me by...
Nobody ever goes looking for confrontations. Those things just occur to the unwary. Criminals are streetwise. They will only attack if they feel they have an advantage. There will be two or more people working together. The attacker will have a weapon ready. Even if you had an RPG slung over your back, it will take time to ready it.

Budo was created by homicidal, paranoid samurai. They understood that the thread of life was fragile. It could be cut down in the middle of a heart beat. Therefore they trained to be aware 24x7. Much of this training was of the mind as well as body. One could even say that they used the body to get to the mind.

Of course I hope a confrontation like this does not happen to you. I hope it doesn't happen to any of us. However I think the training of being aware all the time is a valuable legacy. It is a goal that we can all try to achieve in our practice.

The Yoshinkan that I practice also stress on the factors I highlighted. But we speak very little about ki stuff. Maybe that was just your perspective.

Ossu!

Boon.A friend of mine studied Tai Chi with a Chinese instructor for 11 years. During that entire period, the teacher only mentioned Chi once. Many instructors believe that when the student is ready then they will understand. So there really isn't any need to mention it.

Mark Freeman
11-06-2007, 11:56 AM
Ki

EXTENDING
FLOATING
UN liftable.....

Incredible. Sorry I used to practice Ki myself. I think there are an awesome set of principles their, but I could never make the applications work with other Aiki brands... probably just me.

Yoroshiku onegai shimasu.

probably just you :sorry:

how can an 'awesome set of principles' be so ineffective?

No ki no aikido.;)

regards

Mark

Christopher Gee
11-06-2007, 02:44 PM
probably just you :sorry:

how can an 'awesome set of principles' be so ineffective?

No ki no aikido.;)

regards

Mark

Due to my past affilations and respect for those pervious Sensei I wont bite back on this particular comment. I will only bow deeply and respect your opinion to teach your Aikido how you please.

No need to be 'sorry' Mark, I train in a way much more suited to myself and I never mention such an 'undeterminable' word.

Musashi never 'extended his mind'... thats good enough for me.

Yoroshiku onegai shimasu

happysod
11-07-2007, 03:16 AM
Come on mate, this grandpa is gonna show you whose ur daddy!" when did you morph into an east-end thug Boon...?

I'm always wary of applying "real uses in situation x y z" to ki principles, mainly because my own view of using ki within my practice is more akin to correct visualisation and mental posture rather than some nebulous energy I've managed to tap into.

However, within the confines of my own take on ki, no I don't have to be in touch with the ground to "extend ki", but I do have to be centered within myself so if the large attacker who's just used me like a rag doll has taken that away from me - no I couldn't use ki (or probably anything other than spastic flailing).

Personally, I find the ideas promoted by training as though Ki exists more helpful than trying to calculate the correct vectors on the fly or some other more mechanical approach, but whatever works for you is good.

John Matsushima
11-07-2007, 07:32 AM
From my understanding, ki is not something that can be "used". Ki is always flowing, but when we do things such as having bad posture, not eating right, not sleeping right, not breathing right,etc., we block or diminish the flow. Ki exercises help to increase the "Ki power". So, with proper practice, it should always be there, not some power that you try to summon forth to enhance your technique or give you power.
In those demonstrations where people are picked up, and then force the attackers to drop them, I believe at first that are demonstrating a stiff and unnatural posture making it easy to be picked up. After that, they once again assume a natural posture and then it becomes difficult to hold them up. However, I believe terms such as "unbendable" and "unliftable" are not meant to be taken literally. Ki is part of nature, and so is bound by the laws of physics.
As for being constantly aware, well, in my opinion, if we were, we wouldn't have a need for ushiro techniques. To me, ushiro techniques reflect the unexpected, unpredictable, unpreventable, and unforeseeable parts of life. So, I accept the possibility that someone can sneak up behind me and that once I'm in that situation I'll just have to deal with it.
That was the long answer, so here is the short one; Does one have to be grounded to use Ki energy? No. If you didn't have any Ki whenever you left the ground, you'd be dead. Can you use your Ki energy to get out of a situation? You'd have better chances using the force.

Budd
11-07-2007, 07:44 AM
Well, if you have the solidity of the ground in your hands, while letting another's force pass through you back into the ground, that could be considered an application of "ki" and "grounding". And it could also be considered a conditioned response. But I don't want to send this off into a "Non-Aikido" topic . . . . ;) . . . . and not implying that I can do any of this . . . (why am I here?)

*throws smoke bomb and vanishes*

Mark Freeman
11-07-2007, 11:14 AM
Musashi never 'extended his mind'...


He didn't? my guess is that is exactly what he did do, without ever labeling it....but then we weren't there, so it will always remain an unanswered speculation.

glad you have found a way of practicing that suits you, no slight intended, but you did leave yourself open when you questioned your own ability ;)

regards,

Mark

Christopher Gee
11-07-2007, 01:49 PM
I always question my own ability, seek answers from ANY instructor willing to give them, test my technique, fittness and spiritual or mental clarity with anyone with anyone 'superior' to myself.

Chuck out the old milk, refill the bottle and all that.

Toothpaste
11-07-2007, 02:23 PM
Might come as a shock to some of you, but ki doesn't exist - there is no invisible force that can be summoned by mind-power to make you heavier than you should be.

Ki, if anything, can be used as a metaphor only - a metaphor that helps to trick the mind into only using muscle groups that are needed as opposed to trying to use everything and using excess energy. Teaching it as a physical force is venturing into the realm of delusion.

But where does that leave us? I do not throw my uke with my ki; I exploit the known mechanics of the human body in such a way as to take uke off-balance. My feet are kept firmly on the ground through good footwork and solid technique.

As for big people lifting you off the ground from behind, you're not in a very good situation - you're in a situation where everything you've learnt goes out the window because you have no footwork, you have no posture, you have no nothing. You'd be better off talking to the guy rather than extending your ki.

Peace be with you.

mjhacker
11-07-2007, 03:48 PM
From all the techniques I've seen so far, nage always has their feet firmly planted on the ground.
Not mine. I'm always moving. Even when it looks like my feet are "planted," my hips and knees are moving. When you plant your feet, you start wrestling with upper body strength.

I won't even touch the "ki" stuff.

Aiki1
11-07-2007, 04:57 PM
Might come as a shock to some of you, but ki doesn't exist - there is no invisible force that can be summoned by mind-power to make you heavier than you should be.

Ki, if anything, can be used as a metaphor only - a metaphor that helps to trick the mind into only using muscle groups that are needed as opposed to trying to use everything and using excess energy. Teaching it as a physical force is venturing into the realm of delusion.

Ok. I hesitate to get into this, and there's not any real way to respond without a negative valance.... How to proceed without turning this into a big Ki war.... I've been teaching Aikido for 25 years. I've studied or been exposed to Many different styles and approaches, from extremely physical/technical to very esoteric. One thing I've learned is embodied by this old saying:

"An interesting thing about life is, for every truth that is real for one person, somewhere in the Universe the exact opposite is likely to be true for someone else. And that somewhere may be very close at hand."

I personally accept many beliefs, many perspectives, and I have had many experiences outside of the "norm." I am known in the LA area for teaching Aikido with Ki (not Ki Society per se.) I've had old Chinese acupuncturists who I don't even know refer people to me to learn about energy. Some of them have been quite good martial artists in Krav, BJJ, etc. They all ended up studying under me.

I'm not saying this to toot my own horn, just to make a point. For you to make such definitive statements here, as if you know the ultimate truth about it and for everyone everywhere, to me, is.... well, many things but I'll just say, arrogant beyond belief.

But where does that leave us? I do not throw my uke with my ki; I exploit the known mechanics of the human body in such a way as to take uke off-balance. My feet are kept firmly on the ground through good footwork and solid technique.

As for big people lifting you off the ground from behind, you're not in a very good situation - you're in a situation where everything you've learnt goes out the window because you have no footwork, you have no posture, you have no nothing. You'd be better off talking to the guy rather than extending your ki.

Peace be with you.


The remainder of your post corroborates my previous sense of your arrogance. And real inexperience. This last scenario is one of the Best ways to practice - when thigs are Not going right - how do you still do Aikido. You do not "have no nothing" - you have a lot to work with if you have the experience and training. The real world is very different than the dojo environment.

Peace be with you as well.

Mark Freeman
11-08-2007, 03:45 AM
Might come as a shock to some of you, but ki doesn't exist -

Then why practice an art that is called Ai - Ki - Do which I believe roughly translates out to "the way of harmony with ki"? Perhaps you should rename the art you do as Aido which will then reflect more accurately reality as you see it.

regards,

Mark

happysod
11-08-2007, 04:43 AM
Oh goody, popcorn time for another ki-scuffle - right ladies, gentlemen and shodothugs lets have your bets in:


7/4 (Fav) Moderate poster with: "we should all respect each others position as we're all just students"
6/1 Dead hard with " ki, load of bollocks, just use atemi"
9/2 Fluffy bunny with "ki exists cos sensei ses so and Atlantis was next to Western Supermare"
4/1 Silent with a big stick and "ki exist, you haven't felt it, I hit you you feel it"
10/1 (outsider) Happy to be here with "I don't know much but I think... and how long does it take to get a black belt?"
3/1 (dark horse) Big Jun with "stop doing this to my threads you bastards and you're all banned anyway"
13/4 random silliness riding "aikiweb, you've gotta laugh haven't you"
2/1 Real world experience romping in with "try ki in sparring hur hur"
100/1 Never happen with "ki exists, here's the video showing it, here's a step-by step book on how to achieve it and you don't ever have to meet me in person"

Mark Freeman
11-08-2007, 05:16 AM
It's odds on that the bookie will walk away with all the money:D

DH
11-08-2007, 07:01 AM
Perhaps the trouble is many who talk about it, just don't have much to really talk about in the first place. And that is why the naysayers were and are correct.
If I were to judge KI as a reality by those I have met in Ai...Ki... do ? I wouldn't have much of anythng positive to say either....hmmm....
So in many respects it is understandable why the naysarers think they are correct-they keep meeting and feeling Budo wankers wearing fifth dan and shihan ranking who just aren't worth much.

Then again you had three folks who never met each other come here and talk about things and now about a hundred or so people from here -including some very serious nay sayers- have all gone to meet these guys. Some have now met and trained with all three
No one.....not one...has come back to say anything other than it is true, usable, and it is a powerful addition to any art to help make you a better you in what you do.

A wise Sensei once said
"Everyone talks
You, shugyo
Years go by
People are still talking
Then you get up to demonstrate
Then everyone knows the truth....."

Its a great model to keep your nose to the grindstone and do the work, so you don't end up like so many aikido dans, with essentially nothing much at all worth showing anyone in the first place

Mattias Bengtsson
11-08-2007, 09:11 AM
Oh goody, popcorn time for another ki-scuffle - right ladies, gentlemen and shodothugs lets have your bets in:


7/4 (Fav) Moderate poster with: "we should all respect each others position as we're all just students"
6/1 Dead hard with " ki, load of bollocks, just use atemi"
9/2 Fluffy bunny with "ki exists cos sensei ses so and Atlantis was next to Western Supermare"
4/1 Silent with a big stick and "ki exist, you haven't felt it, I hit you you feel it"
10/1 (outsider) Happy to be here with "I don't know much but I think... and how long does it take to get a black belt?"
3/1 (dark horse) Big Jun with "stop doing this to my threads you bastards and you're all banned anyway"
13/4 random silliness riding "aikiweb, you've gotta laugh haven't you"
2/1 Real world experience romping in with "try ki in sparring hur hur"
100/1 Never happen with "ki exists, here's the video showing it, here's a step-by step book on how to achieve it and you don't ever have to meet me in person"


Think you forgot the:
7/3 Han Solo "Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.
-You don't believe in the Force, do you?
-Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, and I've seen a lot of strange stuff. But I've never seen anything to make me believe that there's one all-powerful Force controlling everything. There's no mystical energy field that controls MY destiny."

tedehara
11-08-2007, 10:04 AM
Might come as a shock to some of you, but ki doesn't exist - there is no invisible force that can be summoned by mind-power to make you heavier than you should be.Some people do have the ability to relax themselves enough so they do feel heavier. A relaxed body is harder to lift than a tense one.

Ki, if anything, can be used as a metaphor only - a metaphor that helps to trick the mind into only using muscle groups that are needed as opposed to trying to use everything and using excess energy. Isn't learning how to use your body efficiently an important part of martial arts? If someone practices decades to learn mind and body coordination, where is the trick in that? It's not something that can be immediately realized just through a different approach. Therefore it's not a trick.

Teaching it as a physical force is venturing into the realm of delusion.Even though I disagree with traditionalists who view ki as an objective energy, I think that teaching it as a force is very effective way. The thing that stops me from seeing ki as an objective force are the findings of western science. Yet if you want to venture into what appears to be the realm of delusion, look at the current theories of quantum mechanics in physics.

But where does that leave us? I do not throw my uke with my ki; I exploit the known mechanics of the human body in such a way as to take uke off-balance. My feet are kept firmly on the ground through good footwork and solid technique. That is one analogy, but here is another:
The words of the Founder explain this clearly. He stated that once one has cultivated kokyu [breath power] and reached a level capable of harmonious connection with one's partner, there is no longer need for kata [set form]. From this point on, one reaches a state such as the Founder describes in which techniques emerge freely and form is insignificant. Enlightenment through Aikido pg. 136

As for big people lifting you off the ground from behind, you're not in a very good situation - you're in a situation where everything you've learnt goes out the window because you have no footwork, you have no posture, you have no nothing. You'd be better off talking to the guy rather than extending your ki.

Peace be with you.Performance anxiety is a big problem for many people. It doesn't matter if you're taking a test or speaking before a group of people. Even though you've studied the material or know what you plan to say, anxiety takes over and you're unable to perform as well as you should have. Within a martial context, performance anxiety could result in a wrong move or simply choking with fright.

The way to overcome anxiety is to relax. Traditionally the ability to relax is developed through ki or kokyu training. From a traditional viewpoint talking is also a form of ki extension.

Christopher Gee
11-08-2007, 12:33 PM
Ki, Aiki, Yoshki Tomiki.... they all have Ki in them!!!

Its all about the BUSHI experience, train hard and make no excuses when people dont fall down....

Christopher Gee
11-08-2007, 12:36 PM
PS Matt I'll show you my Ki on Friday.... RAHHHH!

Budd
11-08-2007, 12:46 PM
I think it's a good idea to go and see what people are doing, in general, but in the context of using/training "ki", it's critical. You can get an idea by how they describe it, but there's a reason for the saying "It has to be felt".

Timothy WK
11-08-2007, 01:17 PM
Is ki "real"? A year ago I thought this whole discussion was a pile of crap, and while I still don't believe in ki as some sort of mystical energy, I have discovered there really is something to the phenomenon of ki.

The problem with this discussion is that most people who talk about ki/chi really have no ability to manifest it in themselves, as has been said. So all you hear is empty esoteric phrases.

But if you can find a teacher who can actually manifest this stuff for real, you'll find much of what is written about ki actually does describe real, literal, practical feelings, and not just vague imagined visuals. Ki-as-simple-metaphor doesn't explain all the weird sensations you'll start experiencing if you "properly" practice the various ki-exercises (but most people don't practice them correctly).

But what causes it? That's a good question. I know it's still controversial, but I subscribe to the theory that much of the phenomenon surrounding ki/chi relates to activity of the fascia. (Look up some of threads in the "Non-Aikido Martial Traditions" forum for more information.) Even if that theory doesn't hold true, there is still something different about "using ki" that can't be explained as simple metaphor.

Christopher Gee
11-08-2007, 02:07 PM
The problem I have with it, is that you are almost engineered to show this pious attitude to this mystical energy that the bushi rarely talked about. In the whole of the Gorin no Sho, Musashi, never mentions this 'energy'. He talks purely of, posture, speed, power and psycological mind games. Now if Ki is a roll up term for all these, then it doesnt do the individual elements justice.

To fell a grown person with 'ki', no touch throws have to be engineered. The ukes, from their first lesson, are programed to give a set of responses to stimuli. I remember talking to a BJJer about newaza, and he said that Judoka would, when in a losing situation, try to get on all fours. In a Judo match matte (sp) would be called and the bout would be restarted on their feet. However, when rolling with BJJer the judoka would still give his back and get tapped out. Obviously due to the nature of Judo, the phenomal fitness and power of these gents and ladies allows them to re gig their thoughts to not give away such silly tactical errors. But back on point, to program yourself to fall over before anything has really happened is due to the social/psycological control within the dojo, not due to technical prowess.

Just some thoughts.

Timothy WK
11-08-2007, 02:59 PM
No-touch throws are an entirely different matter. Most are fake or, to be less snarky, based on conditioned responses. There are some "real" ways to do it, but that's a different discussion.

Japan seems to have a mixed relationship with ki. Though some would argue that ki skills were more widespread in the past, it appears that not everyone had them. Japanese martial arts are a weapons-based culture, and you don't need special body skills to kill with a blade or arrow. (Though they don't hurt, look up Tetsuzan Kuroda (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InlQtTMK5Ys)---the foot, pinky, and hand thing are all done with "ki" I'm pretty sure.) So it seems that most traditions tried to get their practicioners up and running with practical techniques, and reserved the ki stuff---which takes time to develop---for their "secret" teachings.

Whether Musashi had these skills I don't know. But given the secretive of Japanese martial arts, it's questionable whether he would have openly discussed them.

Ellis Amdur has written on this topic a bit, I'm not sure if it's all on his blog or if a lot of it is in forum posts.

It's worth noting that this is the reverse of many Chinese systems. It seems that many Chinese systems try and develop the ki-related body skills first, and technique second.

Something that's fairly unique about Daito-ryu, though, is that Takeda seemed to teach these skills outright, at least to his primary students. Ueshiba certainly passed on these skills to some of his students, though it's questionable how many of today's practicioners can manifest these abilities.

Erick Mead
11-08-2007, 03:14 PM
Is ki "real"? A year ago I thought this whole discussion was a pile of crap, and while I still don't believe in ki as some sort of mystical energy, I have discovered there really is something to the phenomenon of ki.
...
But what causes it? That's a good question. I know it's still controversial, but I subscribe to the theory that much of the phenomenon surrounding ki/chi relates to activity of the fascia. (Look up some of threads in the "Non-Aikido Martial Traditions" forum for more information.) Even if that theory doesn't hold true, there is still something different about "using ki" that can't be explained as simple metaphor. True, better to explain it as real physical movement. You have a point, but the fascia (even the contractile types) communicate a form of motion, and the motion does real work. Whether exceedingly small or very, very large it is the same form of motion. I dwell on various aspects of that in my blog entries.

It is the quality and type of this motion that is a physical thing and affects things physically. Through the fact that adaptive minds both perceive and anticipate certain forms of motion for purposes of stability, using this form of motion one can manipulate the mind though the body, and the body through the mind, as well. Nothing more complicated than that, which is, of course, only the beginning of much complication.

It is tensile, and yet it can both extend and contract. And unless it communicates freely (under guidance) through the structure of the body, it cannot do work. To do work properly, all the joints have to cascade with the same rotation, rather than rotating against one another (internal leverage). The problem is that internal leverage (counter-rotating joints as in ordinary press or curl in weightlifting, for instance) stops this form of motion from freely communicating. If Ki stops moving from positive to negative and back again, Ki dies. It is form stored in an unending motion, and when in form is a motion even when it appears not to be moving. (think standing waves)

It must communicate from the center of the body where it begins to the extremities and beyond (say into a weapon or an opponent) where it can do actual physical work, and back again where it does the reverse form of work.

If we had no skeletons at all we could not do internally leveraged mechanics. Our levers would be absent. But we still could do this form of work with our limbs, like the octopus has done for hundreds of millions of years.

Your attention to the fascia has some real significance in that light. But the form is just as important as the tone used to achieve it -- because we still have levers -- and if we deviate from the necessary form, they get in the way. We train both to avoid this deviation for ourselves and to learn to exploit it in others.

The deficit in people who have not trained and do not use what is termed "KI" is primarily the fact of using leveraged musculature across the joints of the limbs vice this different way of doing work. It is not the musculature that is the problem per se. Muscles are used in Aiki. Muscles are just interwoven fascial tissue, after all. But they must be used in a form that avoids the engaging of the lever mechanism (for ourselves) and exploits engagement of it in others, to break their form and make them into a mechanism. "Muscle" as is usually spoken of to be avoided, is the use of the joint leverage mechanism by the muscles, and not the use of the muscles themselves.

There seem to be three basic approaches to relieving the deficit:

One focuses on the form of the motion by relaxing the limbs and maximizing their extension, and then later finding the manner of "firming" the structure to that form in other configurations but without adding back in any internal leverage.

Second, isolating and eliminating the internal leverage in joints and across the joints in the body in a firm and definitively formed manner to begin with, and then later, once internal leverage is identified and gone, allowing for more freely formed movement (which is inherent in the nature of the movement, properly done).

Third, an approach to the principle of the movement addressing the the form and function of the motion simultaneously with refining the type of tone used to employ it more effectively. This approach has a greater emphasis on weapons, (weapons have no muscles and so the principles have to be the same between the weapons and the body work, and so one corrects the other.)

In broad strokes the first is Tohei's/Ki Society approach. The second is in more line with that of Yoshinkan, and also related to Aunkai and others in the current "internal arts" vogue. The last is, in various degrees of difference across a spectrum, that of more generic Aikikai, and under that, specifically of Saotome and Saito. I trained primarily the third way. I have no doubt that properly done, any of them can be effective, and that poorly done all of them are equally ineffective. The question is more one of convenience and fit to the needs of a given student.

That's how I see it, anyway.

Erick Mead
11-08-2007, 03:28 PM
The problem I have with it, is that you are almost engineered to show this pious attitude to this mystical energy that the bushi rarely talked about. ... But back on point, to program yourself to fall over before anything has really happened is due to the social/psycological control within the dojo, not due to technical prowess.Reversal begins in executing ukemi -- taking what is given and then taking it someplace else. That does not happen unless you first take what is given fully, and receive it without hesitation. That's why it is useful to train that way. Other things need training in different ways, but there is a powerful point to teaching and training "preemptive" ukemi and it does not lie in aggrandizing the ego of the thrower.

Once the attack is"received" by nage and technique applied with ukemi -- the training for nage then instantly shifts to proper follow-up, which is to say learning zanshin, because nothing is actually decisively over -- psychologically and logistically much more like a real encounter than a one-off attack/throw.

Toothpaste
11-08-2007, 04:09 PM
Okay, as expected, peoples' nerves have been twitched, but that's to be expected of all touchy subjects.

Larry Novick, if I came across as arrogant, forgive me - that was not my intention. I think perhaps we're not meeting eye-to-eye because of a definition of terms. I'm not claiming that I know the ultimate truth of everything, just that ki, when talked about as a physical energy force, does not exist. It'd be fairly awesome if it did, but since it doesn't, let's not delude ourselves.

Then why practice an art that is called Ai - Ki - Do which I believe roughly translates out to "the way of harmony with ki"? Perhaps you should rename the art you do as Aido which will then reflect more accurately reality as you see it.
Hi Mark. I practice aikido for three main reasons: physical development, social development and intellectual development. I don't feel I'm being hypocritical by practicing aikido and not believing in invisible, undetectable-by-science energy forces that bind the universe together, and in order to get the most out of my training, I don't feel I have to manipulate this invisible "force". I train hard, keeping my feet grounded firmly in the planes of reality.

Some people do have the ability to relax themselves enough so they do feel heavier. A relaxed body is harder to lift than a tense one.
Thanks for the reply, Ted. I think we need to understand a fundamental principle of science here. "Weight" is a phenomenon brought about by the effect of gravity on an object with mass. On this particular planet, with my particular mass, I am being pulled by gravity at a force of 1G. If we're going by Newton's laws, we can use the equation (simplified) F = mg, where F is the magnitude of the gravitational force between the two point masses, m is the object's mass, and g is the gravitational constant. Using this formula we can calculate the force at which I am being pulled to the ground (F) in Newtons. Tensing and relaxing does not change my body's mass or this planet's gravitational pull, therefore F (my weight) will remain the same.

I do agree with you that relaxing is important, though. Tensing muscles uses more energy than keeping them relaxed, relaxing while controlling one's breathing is very important in stressful situations, and relaxed muscles can be moved quicker.

But if you can find a teacher who can actually manifest this stuff for real, you'll find much of what is written about ki actually does describe real, literal, practical feelings, and not just vague imagined visuals. Ki-as-simple-metaphor doesn't explain all the weird sensations you'll start experiencing if you "properly" practice the various ki-exercises (but most people don't practice them correctly).
I'd very much be interested in witnessing a true manifestation of these forces, but until I do, I'll remain skeptical - skeptical until I see some evidence (not a youtube video).

PS Matt I'll show you my Ki on Friday.... RAHHHH!
I'm looking forward to it! :D See you on the mat.

Peace.

Mark Freeman
11-08-2007, 06:22 PM
I'm not claiming that I know the ultimate truth of everything, just that ki, when talked about as a physical energy force, does not exist. It'd be fairly awesome if it did, but since it doesn't, let's not delude ourselves.[/QUOTE}

Just a few thoughs
Dark energy and dark matter make up approximately 90+% of the known universe. Without it, the whole damn shooting match doesn't work in the way our intellects can understand. It is there, but we have as yet, not been able to quantify it by measuring instruments. This matter/energy has to have a profound effect on the remaining few percent that we and ali we can percieve make up.
Is Ki somehow a description of the early searchers understanding of some underlying enrgy that pervades all things? My guess is that those past martial arts / budo men intrinsically understood, through years of practice, some underlying energy that pervades everthying.

Religous folk believe that there is a god that is 'in everything'. Maybe the sages and see'ers did find a way of tapping into 'that which is in everything.'?

I'm not saying that ki = dark matter / dark energy,but I don't discount the possibility. Holding the known universe in place is pretty awesome in my book.;)

[QUOTE]Hi Mark. I practice aikido for three main reasons: physical development, social development and intellectual development. I don't feel I'm being hypocritical by practicing aikido and not believing in invisible, undetectable-by-science energy forces that bind the universe together, and in order to get the most out of my training, I don't feel I have to manipulate this invisible "force". I train hard, keeping my feet grounded firmly in the planes of reality.

Good for you Matthew,

I agree that aikido provides these things, however, physical developement can be found in many places, social too, and I would have thought, that the dojo is not the best place for intellectual growth either;) Aikido provides many things on many levels to many people, the three that you mention and more, once the lower levels are mastered you move on, looking for the 'real' essence of the art.

My own experience leads me to agree with something that Erik said: In broad strokes the first is Tohei's/Ki Society approach. The second is in more line with that of Yoshinkan, and also related to Aunkai and others in the current "internal arts" vogue. The last is, in various degrees of difference across a spectrum, that of more generic Aikikai, and under that, specifically of Saotome and Saito. I trained primarily the third way. I have no doubt that properly done, any of them can be effective, and that poorly done all of them are equally ineffective. The question is more one of convenience and fit to the needs of a given student
I reckon that to do 'good' aikido, the body mechanics, posture and muscle 'condition have to be 'just right' Erik put it into his customary detailed explanation of precicely how they work. The mind must be in complete accord with the body, with relaxed focus extended out into the world. Without the correct mental posture, the 'non - resistant' art of aikido is hard to make progress in. Timing is everything. And for me the terms ki/mind/feeling are all interchangable.
Most of us students struggle for many years practicing aikido but not doing aikido. We are too busy thinking about the technique, where our hands are, where our feet are, trying to protect ourselves, trying to maintain our balance and relxation in ever more dynamic situations. This is normal, and there are no real shortcuts, you just have to go through it, right guys? The top aikidoka from both ki and non ki traditions can do it, the rest are trying to learn what they do.

One of the teachers that I go to,hardly ever uses the term 'ki' he uses the term 'feeling'. Another uses the term often. They both can do what I feel is 'good' aikido. The ony way I have to measure that subjectively is that, with many of the people I practice with, I can 'stop' their technique by finding the 'holes' by very focussed non resistant ukemi. With my teachers I can't 'yet':)

Non of this proves that 'ki' exists, but for many aikidoka from O Sensei on down, acting 'as if' it is there, affected their practice on many levels.

I'd very much be interested in witnessing a true manifestation of these forces, but until I do, I'll remain skeptical - skeptical until I see some evidence (not a youtube video).
I'm looking forward to it! :D See you on the mat.
Peace.

Nothing wrong with being sceptical - I say the same thing about God, but that doesn't mean that he/she doesn't exist;)

regards,

Mark

Nikopol
11-08-2007, 07:59 PM
I'm two months into Aikido and had a question regarding Ki.

From all the techniques I've seen so far, nage always has their feet firmly planted on the ground. For Ki energy to be used, must nage be grounded?

Paul

You probably are not in Yoshinkan if you use the term nage, instead of shite, but in Yoshinkan, you as shite want to keep both feet in contact with the tatami at all times. This is the only way to have the correct stance, which is that of holding and cutting with a sword.

The idea that ki flows through the body, from the ground, to the ground, is one way to look at it. But in yoshinkan it is a matter of style, and a mechanical consideration: more surface area = more stability.

I am not sure I agree with the assertion that this makes you less mobile. Your feet are not velcro'd to the mat; your ability to move from that stance will be determined by the width and angle of your foot placement, the height of your hips.

I am less qualified to comment on Aikikai, but while the basic principle still applies I think you will not fail a test just because your back heel is off the mat after a throw.

To summarize I am saying that there are definite points of style and mechanical considerations that call for the grounding of the feet, but as to whether ki flows more efficiently when you are low and grounded... you must try it and ask yourself if it feels that way to you.

I personally think it does.

Nikopol
11-08-2007, 08:28 PM
Might come as a shock to some of you, but ki doesn't exist - there is no invisible force that can be summoned by mind-power to make you heavier than you should be.

Ki, if anything, can be used as a metaphor only - a metaphor that helps to trick the mind into only using muscle groups that are needed as opposed to trying to use everything and using excess energy. Teaching it as a physical force is venturing into the realm of delusion.


Damn. Also don't want to stir things up but ki does exist. Perhaps not understanding what it is causes people to deny it.

"An invisible force summoned by mind power"? Not sure where this definition came from.

But I suppose that definition could describe courage, honor, loyalty, intuition, love, anger , etc. I guess none of these things exist either.

Let's move away from the comic-book understanding of ki, shall we? Away from Yoda lifting X-wing fighters in a swamp.

One might as well say that 'ideas' don't exist. Yet they keep us all quite busy here.

dps
11-08-2007, 08:31 PM
"I am convinced that there are universal currents of Divine Thought vibrating the ether everywhere and that any who can feel these vibrations is inspired."

"Imagination creates reality."

”Richard Wagner 1813-1833



“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

“If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough”

Albert Einstein

David

Toothpaste
11-09-2007, 03:05 AM
Damn. Also don't want to stir things up but ki does exist. Perhaps not understanding what it is causes people to deny it.

"An invisible force summoned by mind power"? Not sure where this definition came from.

But I suppose that definition could describe courage, honor, loyalty, intuition, love, anger , etc. I guess none of these things exist either.

Let's move away from the comic-book understanding of ki, shall we? Away from Yoda lifting X-wing fighters in a swamp.

One might as well say that 'ideas' don't exist. Yet they keep us all quite busy here.
What I meant by "an invisible force summoned by mind power" is that people believe they can "extend" or manifest an energy they refer to as ki, as if it were a physical force. I've not got a problem, as I said, with people using it as metaphor for things like calmness, good posture and a good budo-face, but the idea that ki can make people heavier or can move someone without touching them, is fiction, just like Yoda fighting X-Wings in a swamp.

As for ki describing "courage, honor, loyalty, intuition, love, anger", I'm all for that. These are all very important qualities that should be manifested whilst practicing aikido, but, as I said, the some peoples' idea that ki is a physical force is what doesn't sit comfortably with me.

Just a few thoughs
Dark energy and dark matter make up approximately 90+% of the known universe. Without it, the whole damn shooting match doesn't work in the way our intellects can understand. It is there, but we have as yet, not been able to quantify it by measuring instruments. This matter/energy has to have a profound effect on the remaining few percent that we and ali we can percieve make up.
Is Ki somehow a description of the early searchers understanding of some underlying enrgy that pervades all things? My guess is that those past martial arts / budo men intrinsically understood, through years of practice, some underlying energy that pervades everthying.

Religous folk believe that there is a god that is 'in everything'. Maybe the sages and see'ers did find a way of tapping into 'that which is in everything.'?

I'm not saying that ki = dark matter / dark energy,but I don't discount the possibility. Holding the known universe in place is pretty awesome in my book.
Thanks for the reply, Mark. Dark matter is something theorised to exist to help make the universe make more sense. Unlike "ki", it cannot be "controlled" by the human mind and projected at things or used to make one become heavier or lighter at will. I very much accept the possibility that dark matter exists because of the extensive scientific research by some of the brightest minds on the planet that has been put into understanding what the universe is and how it works. Ki, on the other hand, seems only to be recognised by psuedo-scientists and practitioners of alternative healing.

The fact that "religious folk" believe in deities unrecognisable by science in no way lends any credence to the existence of ki. I'm sure someone out there believes an invisible unicorn lives in their back garden, but people can believe things as much as they want and it won't magic things into existence. Unless there is good reason to believe something, it is wise not to believe it. Nobody should believe in something simply because it can't be disproven - it's a logical fallacy.

"I am convinced that there are universal currents of Divine Thought vibrating the ether everywhere and that any who can feel these vibrations is inspired."

"Imagination creates reality."

"Richard Wagner 1813-1833

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand."

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"

Albert Einstein

David
Richard Wagner and Albert Einstein were very intelligent, creative individuals - that's for sure - and what they say is very valid. Wagner may well have believed in divine thoughts vibrating through the universe, but the fact remains that he lived in the 1800s. Aristotle lived at 350BC and had some great scientific ideas - his proposed theory of elements, for example. These are two very smart individuals indeed, and I tip my hat to them, but we can't base our current, scientific thoughts on those of eras gone by.

As for, "Imagination creates reality", I'm sure he did not mean this literally - he was talking about music; he was talking about his compositions starting as abstract thoughts before he wrote them down on paper to make them reality.

Albert Einstein has contributed so much to modern science, and I espescially admire the last quote you posted. But, as with Wagner, I don't think he meant "imagination will take you anywhere" literally. Also, I'm not sure that Einstein believed in ki.

dps
11-09-2007, 03:25 AM
Albert Einstein has contributed so much to modern science, and I espescially admire the last quote you posted. But, as with Wagner, I don't think he meant "imagination will take you anywhere" literally. Also, I'm not sure that Einstein believed in ki.

Imagination as motivation to go beyond that which you know.
If you stop at that which is known you do not learn, you do not grow.

David


Wow that rhymes without me trying,

Toothpaste
11-09-2007, 03:42 AM
Imagination as motivation to go beyond that which you know.
If you stop at that which is known you do not learn, you do not grow.

David
I wholeheartedly agree. :D

Budd
11-09-2007, 07:39 AM
Maybe the discussion is pointing out the difference between an "invisible energy" that can mean anything to anybody vs. the trained useage of gravity, the solidity of the ground and mind-directed forces utilizing the spine, tendons and connective tissue (as well as other additives).

Either way, I imagine anyone that talks about how they use "ki", "jin" and/or "kokyu" -- should be able to demonstrate what they mean in a way that can be "felt" by someone that doesn't necessarily do the same things or even believe in them.

But, yeah, anyone can talk about how they do certain things, I always figure you have to feel it to know for sure :)

Toothpaste
11-09-2007, 09:03 AM
Maybe the discussion is pointing out the difference between an "invisible energy" that can mean anything to anybody vs. the trained useage of gravity, the solidity of the ground and mind-directed forces utilizing the spine, tendons and connective tissue (as well as other additives).
Sorry, unsure what you mean by "trained usage of gravity". :confused: But, as I said, the only thing that ails me is ki being referred to as if it was something physical (as opposed to metaphor). The "mind-directed forces utilizing the spine, tendons and connective tissue" is fine, so long as we're talking about detectable, electrical nerve impulses.

But, yeah, anyone can talk about how they do certain things, I always figure you have to feel it to know for sure :)
I'll drink to that! :D

Budd
11-09-2007, 09:32 AM
The "mind-directed forces utilizing the spine, tendons and connective tissue" is fine, so long as we're talking about detectable, electrical nerve impulses.


Not sure how they're objectively measured from a transactional standpoint, but you could call it "wringing wet spaghetti from uncooked pasta" if you wanted, as long as the measurable results are there and can be taught ;)

Erick Mead
11-09-2007, 09:45 AM
Sorry, unsure what you mean by "trained usage of gravity". :confused: But, as I said, the only thing that ails me is ki being referred to as if it was something physical (as opposed to metaphor). The "mind-directed forces utilizing the spine, tendons and connective tissue" is fine, so long as we're talking about detectable, electrical nerve impulses. Ki is not a metaphor. It is a physical understanding of actual hard-biting reality. It is an empiric concept developed by the Chinese to describe observed phenomenon, but it is a synthetic, not analytic, factor. When reductionist science talks about things that have synthetic reality across defined forms of interaction, we speak of "conservation." Ki is not force, because force is not a conserved quantity. Energy and mass are conserved and polar quantities in Western physics. Ki is (in western terms) closer to a synthetic composite of them, and the closest analog I have yet found is the western idea of angular momentum, considered as a primary quantity of operation, as it is in operation everywhere from Planck scales to the furthest reaches of the universe (seems that O Sensei said that, actually) .

The mind (as it perceives energy and mass) is not outside (as in the west) but inside the conceptual operation of Ki. That makes interactions of perception important. Some choose to call that mystical, but this aspect of Ki is, in actuality simply a an empiric recognition of the composite body/mind interaction as Ki is also the composite energy/mass interaction. The "observer effect" found at the most fundamental levels of reality is fully anticipated in Chinese thought on Ki. The concept of Ki merely extends that principle to other scales -- recognizing that all things interact (thus are "aware" to some degree) to alter (to some degree) what is around and interacting with them, and does not assume that these interactions are all linear and proportional (which in fact we now know is the exception rather than the rule in any system of arbitrarily large order).

Ki also does not assume that all such interactions are strictly local. The most common example of that is the decomposition of a seemingly arbitary critical current path between two remote charged masses into a lighting bolt or spark. at that moment the two masses of charge are physically interactin (exchanging electrons). This occurs at a very poorly understood and chaotic threshold, before which the two masses of charge are not in interaction except through fields, and so the threshold has to be triggered non-locally through the field.

That does not make Ki less"real" or in any way mystical, it is just an empirical understanding of the universe that is in some ways alien to the assumptions of Western reductionist science. They can be reconciled meaningfully.

aikilouis
11-10-2007, 02:54 AM
Ki is (in western terms) closer to a synthetic composite of them, and the closest analog I have yet found is the western idea of angular momentum, considered as a primary quantity of operation, as it is in operation everywhere from Planck scales to the furthest reaches of the universe (seems that O Sensei said that, actually) .

One of the interesting analogies I found for ki has more to do with potential energy ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potential_energy ). It has corrolaries at different levels :
1- Intent can be considered as the storage of energy by shifting the mental point of equilibrium of the individual from a balanced stance (shizentai or kamae) to another at a different place, after having used energy on another individual and on one's own movement and you drive a car and positioning. Energy of intent transforms into the body's movement, which translates into an alteration of the partner's structure (atemi, throw, lock or pin).
2- Inside the body, increasing potential energy means working on the body's unity, eliminating the useless tensions (sources of energy waste) and keeping clear paths of energy transmission (from the centre of gravity to the extremities).
3a- The body as a system only works in relation to its environment, so improving awareness, perception and decision making have immediate effects on how potential energy is used, very much the same way your foot gets ready to pump the brake pedal when approach a crossing. Nothing has moved yet, but the potential is there.
3b- The body's connection with the ground and how it deals with gravity probably has something to do with what O Sensei called the ki of the earth. Now I'm interested in what he referred to as ki of heaven.

All these ideas are of course open for criticism, they are nothing but hypotheses, but I'd like your opinions on the chief idea, potential energy being one of the multiple meanings of ki.

Toothpaste
11-10-2007, 08:28 AM
Ki is not a metaphor. It is a physical understanding of actual hard-biting reality. It is an empiric concept developed by the Chinese to describe observed phenomenon, but it is a synthetic, not analytic, factor. When reductionist science talks about things that have synthetic reality across defined forms of interaction, we speak of "conservation." Ki is not force, because force is not a conserved quantity. Energy and mass are conserved and polar quantities in Western physics. Ki is (in western terms) closer to a synthetic composite of them, and the closest analog I have yet found is the western idea of angular momentum, considered as a primary quantity of operation, as it is in operation everywhere from Planck scales to the furthest reaches of the universe (seems that O Sensei said that, actually) .

The mind (as it perceives energy and mass) is not outside (as in the west) but inside the conceptual operation of Ki. That makes interactions of perception important. Some choose to call that mystical, but this aspect of Ki is, in actuality simply a an empiric recognition of the composite body/mind interaction as Ki is also the composite energy/mass interaction. The "observer effect" found at the most fundamental levels of reality is fully anticipated in Chinese thought on Ki. The concept of Ki merely extends that principle to other scales -- recognizing that all things interact (thus are "aware" to some degree) to alter (to some degree) what is around and interacting with them, and does not assume that these interactions are all linear and proportional (which in fact we now know is the exception rather than the rule in any system of arbitrarily large order).

Ki also does not assume that all such interactions are strictly local. The most common example of that is the decomposition of a seemingly arbitary critical current path between two remote charged masses into a lighting bolt or spark. at that moment the two masses of charge are physically interactin (exchanging electrons). This occurs at a very poorly understood and chaotic threshold, before which the two masses of charge are not in interaction except through fields, and so the threshold has to be triggered non-locally through the field.

That does not make Ki less"real" or in any way mystical, it is just an empirical understanding of the universe that is in some ways alien to the assumptions of Western reductionist science. They can be reconciled meaningfully.
A very interesting post and a very interesting opinion, but we must agree on a number of principles of what "ki" is proposed to be:

An existing physical/metaphysical energy
A force that can manipulated, manifested or controlled through thought
A force that can have a physical affect upon an individual that manipulates it

If you'll agree with those three assertions, then we can move forward.

Ki, under those terms, does not exist. The fact remains that its effects cannot be studied and empirically tested, whether or not you or anyone else believes in it. If its effects could be recorded in such a manner, it would change this world incredibly; people would be learning how to use it everywhere you went! Special Forces operatives, army and navy personell, policemen, bodyguards and bouncers, etc, would all be training in how to use it - it'd revolutionise the training of all people that work in environments where physical restraint, or even combat, is a likelihood - but this isn't the case and it never will be.

The fact remains that almost the entire scientific community does not believe it to have any credibility outside the area of metaphor - this is simply because its effects cannot be properly observed and recorded, and, thus, there is no reason to believe in its existence - there is no reason to believe in something that cannot be verified through means of sound theory or experiment. Any logical, thinking individual would come to the same conclusion.

Peace.

Christopher Gee
11-10-2007, 08:50 AM
I couldnt agree more with Matt, and although not a scientist myself its obvious that the recreation of 'ki' effects is essential to them being made fact.

I would like to share with you a little story. I started Aikido, with no clue (still in the same place.. nearly) believing what an instructor told me as gosble (if you believe in that sort of thing). As we grow we begin to question. When questioned I would receive a very... limited answer or a stern look much like I would get from my father when I questioned why is was my responsibility to take out the rubbish. I began to train with individuals of a similar grade to myself (comparable in skill and passion), when I was training with them my belief in my skills were shaken... violently.

The belief that thought can manifest great powers of jedi proportions is simply not reality. As I found to my regret. I remember being told my yondans that ki people could always train ata higher level than the 'others'. Sadly I couldnt even move these others and I'd like to believe that I trained hard for 4 years. By no means mastery, but then I was training with those of a similar ability.

If I may drag this back to budo. In Katori Shinto Ryu they believe in the use of 'spells' and the protection of deities. In D Skoss's books an author (cant remember the name just now) describes how these metaphysical and spiritual ideas aided the Bushi in putting them in the 'zone'... understandable seeing as what they had to do. But to say that an obes such and such a dan has great powers over the strong and fit is just a false sense of security.

Aikido without purpose is a dance for fools.

Regards,

Erick Mead
11-10-2007, 10:08 AM
One of the interesting analogies I found for ki has more to do with potential energy ...I'd like your opinions on the chief idea, potential energy being one of the multiple meanings of ki. I think it has problems. The first is the level of abstraction. The power of Western thought is in its abstractive faculty That is what makes ever closer analysis possible. Chinese thought is much more concrete, holistic and relational. "Force" is a level of abstraction above what Ki is dealing with.

Second, potential energy is for forces that are conservative (not path dependent) once they do actual work. Disregarding the path means that one disregards differing interim interactions that MUST occur in the real world on different paths (i.e. -- less than"ideal"), which Chinese thought would never disregard.

On the other hand, energy in potential and energy of work as a pairing of a unitary whole in terms of Ki are not far off the mark. What is missing is the problem of mass, inertia, and entropy -- which may be understood relativistically as energy lost to the reshaping of space by moving that mass. The quality of mass is

Angular momentum transfer can deal with all of this in terms that fit traditional understandings of ki applied to various interactions considered "different" in western terms. Even heat is vibration, and heat transferred into an object is an increase in the vibrational angular momentum of its constituent atoms. Friction similarly is the transfer of angular momentum increasing in surface vibration of atoms disturbed by the passage of another object within the range of Van der Waals and electroweak forces. Chemical potential energy is quite literally tightly compressed springs of molecular bonds ready to increase their oscillation wildly upon release (explosion of heat).

I'll try to address your specific points.

1- Intent can be considered as the storage of energy by shifting the mental point of equilibrium of the individual from a balanced stance (shizentai or kamae) to another at a different place, after having used energy on another individual and on one's own movement and you drive a car and positioning. Energy of intent transforms into the body's movement, which translates into an alteration of the partner's structure (atemi, throw, lock or pin). Clearly, intent is part of the understanding of Ki. however, intent is only active is it is received by an entity that is "aware" of that intent. Whitehead in "Process and Reality" tries to avoid the vitalism unnecessarily implied by terminology of "awareness" or "perception" by adopting an otherwise long disused word without those connotations: "prehend."

One can analogize that differing bodies of charge prehend or are "aware" of one another because of the field that develops between them. Clearly this is an electric potential. This only occurs because they are attuned by their charge to perceive or "prehend" one another via the field.

Neutral objects are neither perceived by objects forming the field, nor perceive the objects via the field, but if the field does work (saying spinning a dynamo magnetically or collapsing in a current they can still be affected by the work of the objects forming the field, while unaffected by the field itself. But unless the objects move in the field, the system does no actual work. Since an understanding of Ki would properly address the neutral as well as the charged objects ( although somewhat differently) the neutral objects do not form part of the potential and therefore potential energy is not apt as a mapping of ki in this example.

Conversely, the particular kind of oscillations of a electron, in western understanding form a negative "charge," while the kind of oscillation in protons form positive "charge." Both are defined in terms of angular momentum of oscillation. At absolute zero all particle vibrations cease, and all charge and potential ceases (apart form the zero-point vacuum energy). Ki with its inherent plus/minus quality remains proper as an understanding at this level, the offsetting plus/minus burbling of the vacuum can never be stilled, but it has zero potential since there is no lower energy level.

2- Inside the body, increasing potential energy means working on the body's unity, eliminating the useless tensions (sources of energy waste) and keeping clear paths of energy transmission (from the centre of gravity to the extremities).I am not clear on how this relates to potential energy. It seems more of an observation on minimizing entropy.

3a- The body as a system only works in relation to its environment, so improving awareness, perception and decision making have immediate effects on how potential energy is used, very much the same way your foot gets ready to pump the brake pedal when approach a crossing. Nothing has moved yet, but the potential is there. I think my points above on "awareness" or "prehension" address this.

3b- The body's connection with the ground and how it deals with gravity probably has something to do with what O Sensei called the ki of the earth. Now I'm interested in what he referred to as ki of heaven.If understood in terms of angular momentum, motion assumes a phase relationship that is easily understood in these terms, attractive or repulsive in operation. It is easily altered from one to the other at the scales in which aikido operates, and can have its "spooky" bits in the manipulation of turning limbs and bodies by off-axis conservation in precession. Even straight "linear" motion has angular momentum with regard to an off-axis point of observation, and therefore may be understood in these terms, since ki is an inherently relational concept.

Things like dropping the 6 guys holding the DTR demonstrator up off the ground (video in earlier post) are done using this principle (and you can see it if you know what you are looking for). He shifts his mass laterally with an oscillation, that takes him off their base to support it and they all topple over. The action is not "like" a dolphin kick to swim in water -- it IS that motion -- with the same effect, he moves laterally, and they fall down, because they cannot hold themselves up, much less him.

Erick Mead
11-10-2007, 10:36 AM
A very interesting post and a very interesting opinion, but we must agree on a number of principles of what "ki" is proposed to be:

An existing physical/metaphysical energy
A force that can manipulated, manifested or controlled through thought
A force that can have a physical affect upon an individual that manipulates it

If you'll agree with those three assertions, then we can move forward.

Ki, under those terms, does not exist. ... The fact remains that almost the entire scientific community does not believe it to have any credibility outside the area of metaphor - this is simply because its effects cannot be properly observed and recorded, ...Ki is not other than what can be observed and recorded, It is a different way of understanding what may be observed and recorded. It simply addresses those phenomena as the operation of one thing, vice conventions of treating different sorts interactions as different "things." Understanding in the convention of Ki is not different than selecting a convention of physical analysis for convenience. Maxwell's equations were framed on Maxwells understanding of a "sea of molecular vorticity." It just so happens that the traditional descriptions of the operation of ki map very closely onto the same physical concept of angular momentum that applies to vorticity, waves, spin, gyrodynamics and other forms of fundamentally cyclic motion/alteration across all scales of reality we know of at this time, as a singular quantity at every one of those scales of operation.

The operation of mind in this traditional system is simply an acknowledgment that aware beings affect and are affected by the transfers of motion going on all around them, whether through photons, or other physical vibrations communicating motion. Since Physics has had to wrestle with the fundamental nature of the observer problem (and to strictly police observer- bias issues in experimental efforts), the convention of Ki is not in worse shape for the systematic inclusion of the mind in its system, rather than trying to systematically exclude it.

Toothpaste
11-10-2007, 01:39 PM
If your idea of ki is "a different way of understanding what may be observed and recorded", then I think we're fumbling over definition, but I think that does make the term fall into the territory of metaphor.

It just so happens that the traditional descriptions of the operation of ki map very closely onto the same physical concept of angular momentum that applies to vorticity, waves, spin, gyrodynamics and other forms of fundamentally cyclic motion/alteration across all scales of reality we know of at this time, as a singular quantity at every one of those scales of operation.
The "traditional descriptions of the operation of ki" to which you refer may well be similar to the physical concept of angular momentum, but that doesn't mean ki exists - in order for something's existence to have any credibility, it needs to be observed. Any observable effects (that doesn't include things like floating, because that plainly doesn't happen) attributed to ki can be explained by other means without the need for inventing some far-fetched theory involving mystical energies that tie the universe together. We are living in the 21st century now - we can do without believing in things without sound reason to do so; we can do without deities, superstitions and ki.

Peace.

Budd
11-10-2007, 04:14 PM
Er . . . I think it's good to maybe look at the difference of people that explain KI as meaning everything and anything, versus people that use it functionally . . . and then go see what they are actually doing.

Centerion
11-10-2007, 07:58 PM
Hello everyone, Hi Paul, if you guys have a minute see my website at http://www.onlyoneexists.ws

It is my opinion that we westerners especially put to much of a fantasy upon ki (energy). Since we have a limited understanding as to why the easterners describe ki in such ways. For instance ki is also considered a feeling and a mood in eastern tongue. We westerners are seeing to much into star wars and into x-men like powers and not into the reality of energy itself. The entire body is compressed energy, thought is energy, movement is energy, and as far as this action in aikido, so is attention and intention energy.

I dont want to sound like a mister know it all because I dont, as the chinese say, "there is always a higher mountain".

I really posted this reply because I really admire sincere martial artist, I was raised around the martial arts and took a few classes, my old man was a 7th degree black belt or higher I dont know because he died before showing me his other certificates in ishinryu karate and I've studied many forms. My dad was alot like me, he wanted to experience the truth of his art and not just be a puppet doing forms and not realizing the secret the original masters found. It wasn't until a few years ago that my studies concerning ki and the like transformed. I think Peter Ralston (www.chenghsin.com) had alot to do with that and also I just never had a deep down good feeling about accepting a gospel truth that I personally had not experienced. This leads me in saying that ki is real, but it will never be real to the person who seeks a fantasy, first you must be real. Oh I'm sorry Paul your question concerning the bigger person lifting you up is easy to understand. Babies are always heavy and hard to lift when they don't want to be picked up, and why? The baby naturally has strong (ki) but don't fantasize ki, see what it is, I like to describe it more as attention and intention rather as to an "invisible glow or force". Though it is force, it is force just the same as the force you are using to read these words. The master has a conscious awareness of that force, this is the difference from pupil to master among other things. Back to what I was saying, techniques and trying to do as the teachers says is good, but better is the ability and experience of self discovery and personal unfolding, when one reaches the experience and not just the hearsay, ki becomes real and known and felt. I remember the first time I experienced this energy I was awed and overwhelmed, and any one who really have experienced it will tell you the same in simular, because it is a heightened awareness of something more and beyond normal perception, in fact ki actually causes that experience. It's like experiencing pure energy, and we are energy! Do you get it, it is you! Remember O Sensei saying he was the universe, that is real and true, but most of his students never EXPERIENCED that and most students and teachers today do not know of it beyond an intellectual comprehension. Please see my simple website and email me for any questions, I am here to help and training and helping others sharpens me as well so we would both benefit, "no one is really greater than the other we are all just children." Let us learn and discover together, I would like to correspond with anyone who really wants to know the true nature of ki!

http://www.onlyoneexists.ws

Thanks so much for reading,
CJ

Erick Mead
11-10-2007, 08:48 PM
If your idea of ki is "a different way of understanding what may be observed and recorded", then I think we're fumbling over definition, but I think that does make the term fall into the territory of metaphor.
The "traditional descriptions of the operation of ki" to which you refer may well be similar to the physical concept of angular momentum, but that doesn't mean ki exists - in order for something's existence to have any credibility, it needs to be observed. [ Gravity is a fictitious force, which is to say it is a consequence of the property of mass shaping space, and not a "force" mediated by quantized particles. Bloody useful though, to imagine as if it were one.
Any observable effects (that doesn't include things like floating, because that plainly doesn't happen) attributed to ki can be explained by other means without the need for inventing some far-fetched theory involving mystical energies that tie the universe together. We are living in the 21st century now - we can do without believing in things without sound reason to do so; we can do without deities, superstitions and ki. sigh. You sound more dogmatic than a Dominican cardinal. For all the triumphs of reductionist physics it has limits, hard ones. Heisenberg's not least among them. Angular momentum did not have a satisfactory definition in general relativity until 2001! There is truth that a system can posit but cannot prove or extend. It is necessary, to exceed those limits, to use a meta-system. Observer problems are among those. Incorporating mind in a systemic way is necessary to address those problems. Problem is physics is fundamentally premised on matter unmediated by mind (even though it is only observant minds that reveal physics.) A puzzlement.

We in the West do not have a monopoly on observation. For all of our analytic mastery, there are some things analysis cannot give you. It is the height of foolishness to disregard the coherent empirical observations of one of the greatest civilizations on the planet, merely because they organized and applied those observations in something other than our rubric.

The task is to make those observations available to our rubric of observation by close study and critical comparison and test them accordingly. Dismissing them out of hand is both parochial and unscientific.

Budd
11-11-2007, 09:30 AM
We in the West do not have a monopoly on observation. For all of our analytic mastery, there are some things analysis cannot give you. It is the height of foolishness to disregard the coherent empirical observations of one of the greatest civilizations on the planet, merely because they organized and applied those observations in something other than our rubric.

Wow, Erick, I am very surprised to say this, but I agree with you 100%

Well said, sir :)

Toothpaste
11-12-2007, 03:32 PM
Gravity is a fictitious force, which is to say it is a consequence of the property of mass shaping space, and not a "force" mediated by quantized particles. Bloody useful though, to imagine as if it were one.
Gravity is hardly a fictitious force. Granted, it depends how one defines "force", but to me, a force is an influence that can cause a body to accelerate. Just a couple of quotes on the subject from a couple of quick sources:

"[gravity is] the force of attraction between all masses in the universe; especially the attraction of the earth's mass for bodies near its surface" Princeton's Wordnet (http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn)
"'gravity' specifically refers to a force which all massive objects (objects with mass) are theorized to exert on each other to cause gravitation." Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity)

So unless you're saying that we're held on this planet by other means than gravity (ki, perhaps) then I don't know where you were trying to go with that.

Angular momentum did not have a satisfactory definition in general relativity until 2001! There is truth that a system can posit but cannot prove or extend. It is necessary, to exceed those limits, to use a meta-system. Observer problems are among those. Incorporating mind in a systemic way is necessary to address those problems. Problem is physics is fundamentally premised on matter unmediated by mind (even though it is only observant minds that reveal physics.) A puzzlement.
Hold on one moment - let's get down the core of what you're saying here. You're trying to compare angular momentum with ki, but they're completely different. One is a supposed esoteric energy that can be controlled by the mind and the other is a well-documented phenomenon that stands on top of tested mathematical formulae.

"Observer problems" are inherent in things that don't exist. There's no good evidence for ki's existence; all real effects attributed to ki can also be attributed to things that already have groundings in science - both physics and psychology - and very often it will make much more sense to do so, rather than conveniently attributing these things to mystical energies.

We in the West do not have a monopoly on observation. For all of our analytic mastery, there are some things analysis cannot give you. It is the height of foolishness to disregard the coherent empirical observations of one of the greatest civilizations on the planet, merely because they organized and applied those observations in something other than our rubric.
It's not disregarding coherent empirical observations; they're not coherent or empirical at all. Chinese practices like acupuncture have been around for hundreds of years, and they have a huge basis in theory about qi flowing down meridians and such, but at the end of the day, it's still placebo. There's no reason to believe that qi or ki energy is flowing through people - no reason at all. Sure, back when acupuncture was starting out, the theory could only be based on the scientific information available at the time, but now it's people making jumps in order to reinforce that which they already believe. We have a much deeper understanding of the human body now than cultures of times gone by, but many people seem to get left behind.

The task is to make those observations available to our rubric of observation by close study and critical comparison and test them accordingly. Dismissing them out of hand is both parochial and unscientific.
Of course it is, you're right, but it's not that anyone's dismissing it through lack of thought - it's that these theories are being dismissed because they don't have a solid grounding that fits in with what we already know. People have come up with some truly wild theories over the years, but only the ones that can be tested again and again whilst yielding the same results can ever have a hope of being universally accepted as science.

Erick Mead
11-12-2007, 04:53 PM
Gravity is hardly a fictitious force. You may want to consult Dr. Einstein on that one. Proving that gravity was a fictitious force caused by the warping of spacetime by incident mass was the underlayment of general relativity and the equivalence of time with space. If space is considered as a field grid, mass warps it so that near a defined mass the shape of space changes and grid lines are farther apart than where mass is not. The effect is that the same spatial grid is traversed in the same time, but because the shape of space is skewed the nearer one gets to a mass, velocity apparently increases. Einstein's point is that gravity is an effect of 3d perception of a 4d reality. The same is seen in 2d projections of 3d phenomena -- the orbit of a planet at constant velocity viewed edge-on in 2d seems to undergo differential acceleration and deceleration when its angular velocity is in fact nearly constant when viewed from a perspective that is 90 degrees out of the orbital plane.

All that aside, MY POINT was that first approximation conventions have uses even when they are premised on a misunderstanding of some fundamentals that do not substantially affect the scale of observation. Having said that, physics is reductionist in its nature of operation, seeking to isolate a unitary cause of a unitary effect among many effects and possible causes. The Chinese system of understanding of which qi/ki is a part is also a description of physical reality, but holistic, seeking to describe the operation of a unitary cause flowing through multiple patterns of possible cause and effect.

It cannot be said at this time that the one is wrong and the other a convention of convenience, properly understood. In fact, it seems that as reductionist physics continues its enterprise it brings us progressively closer and closer to diverse circumstances in the operation of an ever-reducing number of fundamental causes, and which, in the limit, appears to be = 1. They are more akin than they are different. In the one case physics assumed multiplicity and has ended up refining its way toward unity. The Chinese system assumed unity and has haltingly worked it way toward describing the multiplicity of occasions of that unity in operation.
Hold on one moment - let's get down the core of what you're saying here. You're trying to compare angular momentum with ki, but they're completely different. One is a supposed esoteric energy that can be controlled by the mind and the other is a well-documented phenomenon that stands on top of tested mathematical formulae. If you believe that is what qi/ki is -- then you do not understand how the Chinese understand the concept. It is an empiric basis for noting observation. Move past the woo-woo sales brochures and look at how the three fundamentals yi 易, qi 氣 and li 理 actually are used to describe things. If you grasp this, then consider the way in which zero-point energy is described as the minimal energy state of the universe. (i.e. -- that below which no lower energy state is possible). Between the extremities of a black hole or vacuum energy (a sea of incessant oscillations of 0/+1/-1), are nodes of concentration of various collections of +1 and -1 in variously well-defined patterns in dimensions of scale running the spectrum between, but with a fundamental similarity and operation across all those scales.

"Observer problems" are inherent in things that don't exist. There's no good evidence for ki's existence; all real effects attributed to ki can also be attributed to things that already have groundings in science ... Observer problems are inherent in anything that has observers. As Bishop Berkeley once pointed out, it was not a trivial problem, and since confirming Bell's Theorem it has proven to be a hard-biting one.

Mind is the observer. Physics does not have means to incorporate the operation of mind into its system. It keeps running up against hard boundaries defined by it, both proximate and remote, and yet also cannot seem to find a way to do away with its naughty and scandalous effects.

It's not disregarding coherent empirical observations; they're not coherent or empirical at all. Chinese practices like acupuncture have been around for hundreds of years, and they have a huge basis in theory about qi flowing down meridians and such, but at the end of the day, it's still placebo. What was it again that causes the placebo effect (ie. -- a real effect)? -- I may have missed it. Though maybe I actually just mentioned it. Of course if it is not real, then we have no need to guard against it in making our physical observations, then do we? But if it is real and we have not accounted for it, how can we say that we are describing the reality in operation IN OUR OWN EXPERIMENTS?
Of course it is, you're right, but it's not that anyone's dismissing it through lack of thought - it's that these theories are being dismissed because they don't have a solid grounding that fits in with what we already know.Let me give you the basic epistemological equation:

[what I already know] + [what I already know] = 0

If you are intent on only ever knowing things in terms you already know you will never learn anything.

... but only the ones that can be tested again and again whilst yielding the same results can ever have a hope of being universally accepted as science. Of course, the Chinese system does not follow the scientific method of observation. That is the point, there is a method to any scheme of observation. You only find what the method is set up to seek. If there are things it is not finding but cannot be disregarded in its operation, you need a different method of observation to suplement the one you have. Because they are different the one cannot be judge of the validity of the other, until you have established common terms of correspondence, and there are limits even then, especially when the topic under consideration is one the other system cannot get its hands on.

The scientific method is not the only system of coherent empiric observation. As good as it is and for all its glories, there are admitted and profound limits to its powers of observation -- which science itself has confessed from empiric observations. To say that other systems of observation have NOTHING to say to supply the lack is called hubris.
The Chinese learned that lesson the hard way -- but we seem intent on forgetting it.

For those other observations to have explanatory power in scientific terms requires first that they be understood in their own terms. Only then can principles of operation can be mapped to see what correspondences exist. I have suggested a few here. Then one may begin to attempt translating observations and conclusions from those observations into the other system.

Budd
11-12-2007, 05:44 PM
In the midst of this discussion, I think it's worth pointing out that I disagree in the description of "ki" as an esoteric mind-directed force. I believe it is a very physically trained mind-directed force. And that in order to train it, you have to learn how from people that explicitly know how to do it and can teach it.

aikilouis
11-13-2007, 01:31 AM
Is ki necessarily linked to the mind ? Can an inanimate object (in motion or not) have ki ?

happysod
11-13-2007, 03:02 AM
Eric, I cannot be anything other than laudetory over your arguments about Ki. They are always internally consistent, address a wide breadth of subjects and theories and you have an obvious knowlege of the "classical" sciences. But, and you knew there had to be one, the major problem I have with treating ki as something which is external is the lack of consistent reproducibility of the effects of ki under even the most simple of experimental conditions, such as blind test etc.

Now I'd be the first to applaud and agree when you say that science does not answer all questions. In fact any scientist who claims it does isn't a scientist, they're actually just another fan-boy cultist. However, I have great difficulty in assessing a phenomena whose definition is often as slippery as a greased eel and whose effects seem to be dependant on the hierachy of the parties involved on a par with more prosaic scientific measures. Your example of gravity, while useful, was a case in point. The theory concerning gravity was severly tested and only accepted when it consistently explained the observed facts, I've yet to see this consistency in any facet of what is termed Ki.

Having said that, I'm now going to happily shoot myself in the foot. A researcher with a passionate hatred of homeopathic medicine (one which I share I might add) did their best to disprove the effects of homeopathy using standard drug-trials. Unfortunately for us both, it did perform better than could be accounted for by the placebo effect, so yes stranger things etc.

So, I'm still happy to hold a reasonably open mind (depite myself), but you can't ever really disprove something fully and as the burden of proof normally resides in those who make the claim I'm going to stick with my more prosaic visualisations until I get hit by the true ki blast.

Dyryke
11-13-2007, 10:47 AM
You may want to consult Dr. Einstein on that one. Proving that gravity was a fictitious force caused by the warping of spacetime by incident mass was the underlayment of general relativity and the equivalence of time with space. If space is considered as a field grid, mass warps it so that near a defined mass the shape of space changes and grid lines are farther apart than where mass is not. The effect is that the same spatial grid is traversed in the same time, but because the shape of space is skewed the nearer one gets to a mass, velocity apparently increases. Einstein's point is that gravity is an effect of 3d perception of a 4d reality. The same is seen in 2d projections of 3d phenomena -- the orbit of a planet at constant velocity viewed edge-on in 2d seems to undergo differential acceleration and deceleration when its angular velocity is in fact nearly constant when viewed from a perspective that is 90 degrees out of the orbital plane.

Blah blah blah... blah blah... blah.

Blah.

Blah.

Blah blah blah blah bla'la'la;'la blah. Blah.

Dude, quoting relativity isn't going to lend heightened importance on what you think Ki is or isn't. I have a buddy that thinks quoting relativity makes him smart. It only proves he's read a Steven Hawking book once, and gotten only what a layman would from it.

It sounds to me like you DESPERATELY want Ki to be real, tangible, and eventually measurable. And you quote science to do it.

Here's some examples of other "scientists" who DESPERATELY want things they believe to be real.

1) In knowing light was a wave, and knowing waves can't travel in vacuum, scientists who DESPERATELY wanted light to be a wave created the Ether. the ether was a substance that was both infinitely dense, and had no density, all at the same time. Infinite density allowed Light to travel so very fast. No density allowed the planets to travel through the solar system without coming to a stop because the Ether was too dense to move through.

2) Global warming fruitcakes want DESPERATELY to think that we are the cause of many climatic woes on the planet. Nevermind that this isn't the first "hot cycle" the planet has seen, by far, and that historically, greater solar activity coincided with hot cycles. We are seeing a time of greater solar activity now, in fact, and sure enough, we see a bit hotter climate. Don't believe that, because Al Gore told you not to? NASA has been tracking the temperature on Mars for some 50 years now. It's getting hotter there, too. Instead, we create a Religion based on Green, where you can atone for your sins by offering a tithe in the way of Carbon Offsets.

The whole point is, we make models based on physical realities. Our models aren't always right, and we improve upon them. BUT... taking things, essences, phenomenon, feeling that we can't quite explain yet, and assigning them mystical properties such as KI is akin to witchcraft.

Dyryke

Erick Mead
11-13-2007, 10:59 AM
Is ki necessarily linked to the mind ? Can an inanimate object (in motion or not) have ki ? Good questions. First, let me address Ian's, however. ... the major problem I have with treating ki as something which is external is the lack of consistent reproducibility of the effects of ki under even the most simple of experimental conditions, such as blind test etc. Your counterexample indicating placebo and superplacebo effects is a case in point, Ki/Qi is not a thing any more than "energy" or "force" is a thing. It is a concpet used to organize the observations f reality. As such its power of observation lies its explanatory power, NOT necessarily in its predicitve power. Why? (you very reasonably ask). Quite simply because while prediction is, quite rightly the heart of the scientific paradigm and its explanatory power, there are things that paradigm has revealed to us that are not only beyond our present powers of prediction on known evidence, but are beyond the very nature of things that prediction functions to observe. Planck scale operations are beyond the realm of predictive observation, and we know this BECAUSE of predictive observations. At grosser scales but for related reasons, complex non-linear processes are too.

To a great extent, our physical understanding of discrete "things" and predictive histories is being fundamentally broken down across the board by physics already, much to the discomfort of many people. That does not mean we abandon science, it means we work to thoroughly understand other ways of thinking about matters of similar depth and seriousness of observation. That may open doors that are now closed to the tools of science. Once inside we may find a window to open that science can fit through. There may not be any, but there might be also. Of course, right now it is impossible to see unless we first find a tool to get in the door.

Now as to qi/ki and animate versus inanimate objects and mind.
The proper process of altering the quantity and quality of qi 氣 ( an images of wisps of steam curling in on one another), is yi 易"change, or exchange" ( an image of pouring water from a container). Yi is not a linear process of change, which is to say, one thing always follows another but, for example, the forty-fifth order change is not trivially reversible to the fourth order change in its history.

The characteristically complex but deterministic form of the continued operation of this process is called li 理 ("inner principle") which is also uses for the grain of wood, an image of lines of flow and periodic alteration. Phase transitions and fractal shapes are characteristic aspects of li.

A rock has qi. Fire has qi. Water has qi. Men have qi. Each have their characteristic li which is the form or shape of the operaiton of change (yi) in the nature of their (qi). The qi of a rock changes , the qi of water changes -- each according to the inner prinicple (li) of their development of the qi that each possesses. And they are composites. Rock has both yin and yang qi in a different arrangement (li). Water also has both yang and yin qi, but in a different arrangement or proportion. Water ripples or freezes or melts, rocks flake or erode or melt as circumstance and the form of the organization of their qi dictates.

Mind is recursive, that is to say the inner principle (li) of mind is to be able to alter its qi responsively rather than passively. Anything living has a degree of mind, because anything living responds to its surroundings and adapts itself to them (alters its qi). On the other hand, things like the quantum state of fundamental "particles" seem to depend on the presence of mind (observation) to make them concrete.

Conscious beings are not only adaptive to the motions of the objects around them, but are also adaptive to the motions of mind around them, their own primarily, and that of others, ultimately. This presents a further change in the (li) of mankind that is characteristic of their proper function, over the minimal recursiveness of plants, and the less complex recursiveness of of animals. Neo-Confucians would distinguish between the lesser man who is adaptive only to the changes of his own mind and the superior man who is genuinely adaptive to the changes of the minds of others (ren). This line of moral thought is played out in modern process theology and philosophy following Whitehead. In point of fact, what I am about to lay out is a Chinese way understanding of of physical reality that exactly tracks Whitehead's process thought, and to which he acknowledge a great debt.

The point of connection with Western physics is that NO REAL THING EXISTS THAT IS NOT IN MOTION. Even the nothingness of vacuum is in incessant, necessary minimum motion. This substance of motion 氣 has a characteristically dynamic and periodic nature 易, and a characteristic pattern of development in the operation of that dynamic 理.

QI is a quantitive and qualitative concept, grossly yang qi and yin qi. Qi is analogous to a substance in motion, although it is the qi or motion that forms the substance itself. As a wave is formed by water moving only only locally, so yet the wave propagates and perpetuates itself globally through many stationary local masses of water. Qi, in either quality, yin or yang exists only as a transitory phase. Qi may be gathered and transformed and transferred in the proper form, but qi is never destroyed.

Heat is oscillatory (yi) motion (qi) of atoms (li).

Electromagnetic quantities are oscillatory (yi) motion (qi) of an electromagnetic field (li).

An minimal atom is formed by the oscillatory motion of the nucleated electron. Atoms are notoriously unstable in their external electric properties and thus easily combine in various patterns (li) tending to associate (yin qi) with related or sympathetic forms of oscillatory (yi) motion (qi) (other atoms and electrons), and tend to not associate (yang qi) with non-sympathetic oscillatory bodies.

Protons and neutrons and electrons are bound by yet a different set of oscillatory matrices that we name bosons, along with the propagating aspects of the electric field (photons). Bosons have a regular beat (integer spin).

Protons, neutrons and electrons themselves represent composite complex oscillatory matrices of a particularly long-lived type, and we named these fermions. Fermions are syncopated (half-integer spin).

Fermions and Bosons have helicity (spiral mathematical description), and chirality (handedness or left/right assymetry)
In the case of fermions (which have energy but no mass) (yang qi) chirality is always matched to helicity regardless of observation, but in the the case of fermions (which have mass) (yin qi) chirality can be apparently reversed by changing one's point of reference such that the helicity changes.

The Lissajous curve image I have posted elsewhere (and below) posted has greater significance than merely depicting a characteristic harmonic motion of aikido technique.

These things all have consistent patterns from the infinitesimal scales noted -- to human scales of harmonic pendula -- and cosmic scales of observation in the internal spiralling and external grouping of galaxies. It is not inconsistent to view it all as the operation of one principal process dynamic. It is not magical or woo-woo thinking (anymore than quantum and relativistic concepts already are) to approach the problem in this manner.

Erick Mead
11-13-2007, 11:10 AM
It sounds to me like you DESPERATELY want Ki to be real, tangible, and eventually measurable. And you quote science to do it....

The whole point is, we make models based on physical realities. Our models aren't always right, and we improve upon them. BUT... taking things, essences, phenomenon, feeling that we can't quite explain yet, and assigning them mystical properties such as KI is akin to witchcraft. Well it is nice to have the balancing attack offsetting the crtiticisms I receive when making arguments that traditional concepts of Ki also have a basis for consistent descriptions in our physics.

While the ether is making a comeback into vogue in different way because of vacuum energy, global warming is and continues to be the scam that global cooling was when I was in high school.

For the bazillionth time -- Ki/Qi is not other than what we can observe -- it is a different paradigm of understanding and attempting to extend our observations. It is not a thing, it is a concept, a tool -- like gravity is a concept and tool. It is not a predictive concept, because it is not a concept developed in the predictive scientific tradition. If you attempt to understand it that way, then you have fundamentally misunderstood it.

Your statement is like saying that an airplane is useless as transportation because it is not street legal. The perspective of one mode of observation does not necessarily control nor even condition the perspective of another scheme of observation.

Like that song says "If you want to be somebody else -- change your mind."

Budd
11-13-2007, 11:10 AM
*deleted because of no substance*

Yeesh, already.

Budd
11-13-2007, 12:20 PM
Okay, my previous post was too ranty and tangenty (I swear that's a word). I see two arguments here:

1) Ki does not exist in the metaphysical sense. It's a belief system that people use to explain things they don't understand.

2) Ki does exist and is based on scientific principles that can be explained through the understanding of physics and biological principles.

I think if I had to choose a side, I'd go with the second argument, but I also think the advocates for this argument - at this point - are maybe giving too much weight to how they "think" something may work (i.e. grasping for understanding using terms that may not be apropos) and aren't really giving much input into how it's used or performed in everyday practice.

Aiki1
11-13-2007, 03:12 PM
A very interesting post and a very interesting opinion, but we must agree on a number of principles of what "ki" is proposed to be:

An existing physical/metaphysical energy
A force that can manipulated, manifested or controlled through thought
A force that can have a physical affect upon an individual that manipulates it

If you'll agree with those three assertions, then we can move forward.

Ki, under those terms, does not exist.

Well, that is the arrogance that I was referring to - the Fact that You Know that "under those terms" it "does not exist."

That is why -you- do not "move forward" - you are trapped in your own paradigm that explains everything to you, without possibility of the existance of anything you do not understand from within it. There is no discussion when that is the case, only stagnation. But I can tell you this - others have indeed "moved forward" just not to you. Good thing their reality is not exclusively defined by.... you.

The fact remains that its effects cannot be studied and empirically tested, whether or not you or anyone else believes in it.

Again - amazing that you Know this to be not only true, but the Only truth....

Snip........

Any logical, thinking individual would come to the same conclusion.

Right.

Aiki1
11-13-2007, 03:15 PM
You may want to consult Dr. Einstein on that one. Proving that gravity was a fictitious force caused by the warping of spacetime by incident mass was the underlayment of general relativity and the equivalence of time with space. If space is considered as a field grid, mass warps it so that near a defined mass the shape of space changes and grid lines are farther apart than where mass is not. The effect is that the same spatial grid is traversed in the same time, but because the shape of space is skewed the nearer one gets to a mass, velocity apparently increases.

Erick - well done - I mean it. That was a great explanation!


Let me give you the basic epistemological equation:

[what I already know] + [what I already know] = 0

If you are intent on only ever knowing things in terms you already know you will never learn anything.

And again, well said.

Erick Mead
11-13-2007, 04:20 PM
Erick - well done - I mean it. That was a great explanation!
...
And again, well said.Heck,a broke clock is right twice a day... That's my quota, boys.

mjhacker
11-13-2007, 04:36 PM
Well, that is the arrogance that I was referring to - the Fact that You Know that "under those terms" it "does not exist."
You know I love ya, Brother Larry...

But is it only arrogant when the other guy "knows" it doesn't exist, yet not when you "know" it does?

Certainly, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. But neither is evidence of effect necessarily evidence of cause. Some day, after they've figured out every other thing on their list and find themselves with a little extra time on their hands, scientists might get around to some serious study on this topic. (Don't hold your breath.) But I suspect that their discoveries will have little effect on either camp.

Maybe we're talking about completely different things here. This is precisely why I've largely given up on talking about all of this stuff with people who don't train with me. The words sound awfully similar, but their meanings couldn't be more different. Without that direct connection, I've found that words are largely useless to convey the real heart of this stuff.

I can do and teach everything I know (so far) about Aiki Budo without relying on "ki." Those things that others attribute to "ki," I can (and do) explain in different ways (i.e. physics, anatomy, kinesiology, and psychology).

Am I progressing? I hope so.

Maybe "ki" is just a poetic metaphor for "doing everything just right."

That said, I know there are untangible things that certainly seem to exist. Like Jostein Gaarder said in "Sophie's World"...

"...I've operated on many clever brains but I've never seen a single thought."

I can definitely "feel" myself think. Sometimes I can even "see" the pictures conveyed by those thoughts. I can also feel the intent of others when I'm paying attention. (Hell, some people can smell colors.)

Can I prove what I just claimed? Dunno. Depends on what constitutes "proof" to the beholder.

Is this "ki?" I have no idea.

Hell, once we get to a point where we can see/measure thought, intent, "ki," etc., they may turn out to be something completely different from what we initially assumed.

Aiki1
11-13-2007, 07:10 PM
You know I love ya, Brother Larry...

But is it only arrogant when the other guy "knows" it doesn't exist, yet not when you "know" it does?

Yo Bro - see, to me yours is an honest post, not just someone catagorically denying someone else's reality.... in answer, I had indeed thought about your point, and in my own self-interest, to avoid self-righteousness, I posted:

"An interesting thing about life is, for every truth that is real for one person, somewhere in the Universe the exact opposite is likely to be true for someone else. And that somewhere may be very close at hand."

I personally accept many beliefs, many perspectives, and I have had many experiences outside of the "norm."

My "objection" isn't that someone doesn't believe in Ki - that's none of my business. My objection, if you will, is that they completely deny anothers' reality and experience. They then try and convince others that there is no other way to look at it but how They see it. That to me is bad news.

Snip............ Can I prove what I just claimed? Dunno. Depends on what constitutes "proof" to the beholder.

Exactly. :-)

Ron Tisdale
11-14-2007, 07:10 AM
There is a reason I always had more respect for agnostics than for atheists.

Best,
Ron :D

Mato-san
11-14-2007, 07:33 AM
for the OP without the rant and etc....
Just be heavy down low when the big guy is grabbing you (or 2 guys), feet on the Tatami or not.
Just be heavy downunder and let that weight smash through the tatami and deep into the earth.
Put simple, in few words.

Will Prusner
11-14-2007, 08:23 AM
The fact remains that almost the entire scientific community does not believe it to have any credibility outside the area of metaphor - this is simply because its effects cannot be properly observed and recorded, and, thus, there is no reason to believe in its existence - there is no reason to believe in something that cannot be verified through means of sound theory or experiment. Any logical, thinking individual would come to the same conclusion.

Are these the same "logical, thinking" individuals who were the "almost entire scientific community" of their era that believed the Earth was flat for a long time (I bet they had "sound theory" to back up their belief), and became quite upset when anyone proposed otherwise?

mjhacker
11-14-2007, 08:38 AM
Yo Bro - see, to me yours is an honest post...
I'd say their posts were honest as well. (Just not as sweet and intelligent as mine.)

Has anyone taken the time to specifically define their terms in this discussion? Without that, you might as well be talking about two separate things.

X: This car is blue.
Y: No it isn't, you ^$&#! moron! The tires are obviously BLACK! What are you? BLIND or just STUPID?
X: Oh YEAH?!?!? Why I oughtta...

My "objection" isn't that someone doesn't believe in Ki - that's none of my business. My objection, if you will, is that they completely deny anothers' reality and experience. They then try and convince others that there is no other way to look at it but how They see it. That to me is bad news.
Perhaps that's just how things are in their universe.

You did, however, suggest to someone that they are not progressing because of their beliefs.

What you're talking about seems, albeit on a much smaller level, very similar to the sort of thinking that has lead to bad juju in The Bigger Society. I could name examples, but I don't suspect I really need to.

If anyone is convinced by anything I say, shame on them.

mjhacker
11-14-2007, 08:42 AM
Just be heavy downunder and let that weight smash through the tatami and deep into the earth.
Some of us are just built that way naturally.

As my high school music teacher once said to me when I caught him changing pants off-stage during a musical rehearsal, "Contrary to popular belief, all men are not created equal."

Mato-san
11-14-2007, 08:50 AM
Some of us are just built that way naturally.

As my high school music teacher once said to me when I caught him changing pants off-stage during a musical rehearsal, "Contrary to popular belief, all men are not created equal."

It has got to help.. lol Puts a whole new advantage on being grounded I guess... The onsen really explains the well grounded Aikidoka

Gernot Hassenpflug
11-14-2007, 10:16 AM
on the topic of groundedness <doffs hat to OP>, the ground has to be used to move and for contact with other things, one does not have to be visibly stuck to it in order for that to occur. So there is nothing mysterious about being "grounded" and "light" at the same time---what is not clear is how to train to be like that :-)

As for being picked up by 2 big guys (who, presumably, lack the development resplendent in oneself), it is not pleasant to hold someone who has this training---after a short brain fart, the most imperative reaction seems to be to let go before something bad happens. When one is held off the ground, there is still a connection to the person(s) holding one, which is almost as good, certainly more than enough to use.

Really (unless I am badly mistaken late at night), just two points immobile relative to one another over the period of time for the damage to occur are needed to pass a nice force vector through. Whether one point is the ground on which the other person is effectively incompressibly standing too (directly or indirectly), or part of the person themselves, is a matter of quantity not essence. The conduit (your body) needs to be trained to use this.

Aiki1
11-14-2007, 11:20 AM
I'd say their posts were honest as well. (Just not as sweet and intelligent as mine.)

I was talking about Self-honesty.... :-)

You did, however, suggest to someone that they are not progressing because of their beliefs.

Individual case because of attitude, not content.

What you're talking about seems, albeit on a much smaller level, very similar to the sort of thinking that has lead to bad juju in The Bigger Society. I could name examples, but I don't suspect I really need to.

Exactly. :-)

mjhacker
11-14-2007, 11:23 AM
I was talking about Self-honesty....
We're always honest to ourselves... especially when we're not.

Individual case because of attitude, not content.
But how do you know he isn't?

Aiki1
11-14-2007, 11:27 AM
But how do you know he isn't?

True, everything is relative....

mjhacker
11-14-2007, 11:30 AM
True, everything is relative....
Even things being relative? :-)

Aiki1
11-14-2007, 11:40 AM
Even things being relative? :-)

Answering in accord with the scientific paradigm presented: in this case, I would think that one would be learning whatever there is to learn within the limits of the imposed structure. Even then there could be other influences, but given the rigidity of the communication, the conclusion I would draw would be that the severity of the intolerance would limit the ability to willingly go outside the intellectually known universe. In this case.

Of course, anything is possible, relatively speaking.... :-)

Toothpaste
11-14-2007, 04:15 PM
My "objection" isn't that someone doesn't believe in Ki - that's none of my business. My objection, if you will, is that they completely deny anothers' reality and experience. They then try and convince others that there is no other way to look at it but how They see it. That to me is bad news.
And I'm sure you deny that invisible pink unicorns live in your back garden, but I bet you don't object to that. Why don't you believe it? Probably because, really, there's no actual evidence for it. The same goes for ki.

Are these the same "logical, thinking" individuals who were the "almost entire scientific community" of their era that believed the Earth was flat for a long time (I bet they had "sound theory" to back up their belief), and became quite upset when anyone proposed otherwise?
No, I think you'll find that the scientists were the ones proposing these new ideas (orbiting the Sun, et al), and religious authorities were suppressing them. Although, Ptolemy produced a map of a globular Earth as early as 140AD Greece.

There is a reason I always had more respect for agnostics than for atheists.

Best,
Ron :D
I'm an atheist and I think atheists, generally, believe that adding deities to the equation creates more problems than it solves. Sure, it explains how the universe started, but how did the deity get there in the first place? How has it come to have the power to create the universe? Using the existence of a deity to answer our questions is a bit of a cop out, in my opinion, espescially when there's no good reason to believe they exist in the first place. (You might say the existence of the universe is one reason, but there's equally enough evidence to suggest that it was, infact, created by a tribe of tea cosies living in the dimensional planes of Zork).

Aiki1
11-14-2007, 04:40 PM
And I'm sure you deny that invisible pink unicorns live in your back garden, but I bet you don't object to that. Why don't you believe it? Probably because, really, there's no actual evidence for it. The same goes for ki.

If I had claimed that there were pink unicorns in my garden, that example might be relevent, but since I haven't, I don't think it will be helpful to go there.

As far as Ki goes, the only present "evidence" or "proof" is experiential, as far as I can tell. That is indeed subjective, like some things in life are. In the end, in my world, everyone has the right to and should decide for themselves. Purely from reading your responses here, it seems, at least, that you think you have the right to conclusively decide for everyone, because quantifiable scientific evidence is the only and final proof of what is real.I don't agree, and my daily experience for 25 years backs that up - in my world.

All I can do is point to what was already said by someone else:

Depends on what constitutes "proof" to the beholder.

Erick Mead
11-14-2007, 10:31 PM
And I'm sure you deny that invisible pink unicorns live in your back garden, but I bet you don't object to that. Why don't you believe it? Probably because, really, there's no actual evidence for it. The same goes for ki. Let me put this more acutely. If you and I were to meet, I have no evidence that you are a conscious being, and not an automaton. But I KNOW that you are in fact a conscious being. Why? Because I have these things that are called mirror neurons that make me perceive you to be so, same as I have neurons to make me perceive certain different wavelengths of light and differential spatial parallax to discern depth of field. What a wasteful and profligate blind chance, to make me perceive a reality of you being a person that is not actually there.

Or, conversely, I could actually believe that the incidents of my perception actually tell me something about a reality beyond myself, and that my perceptions are attuned to real events that occur, or else why would I have the apparatus giving me all these perceptions to process?

There are two basic ways of perceiving the world -- the proverbial fox and hedgehog described by Archilochus, nearly three thousand years ago: the fox knows many things, the hedgehog knows one big thing. We in the West tend to have been taught by our foxes, The Chinese were taught by hedgehogs. The fox and the hedgehog look at the same thing and see it different ways. The truth lies in both perspectives.

I'm an atheist and I think atheists, generally, believe that adding deities to the equation creates more problems than it solves. Where did the Deity get into the discussion? I perceive there are issues unspoken.

Using the existence of a deity to answer our questions is a bit of a cop out, in my opinion, espescially when there's no good reason to believe they exist in the first place. (You might say the existence of the universe is one reason, but there's equally enough evidence to suggest that it was, infact, created by a tribe of tea cosies living in the dimensional planes of Zork). A notable observer recently commented on the "modern self-limitation of reason" as holding that "only the kind of certainty resulting from the interplay of mathematical and empirical elements can be considered scientific." For all its technical prowess he pointed out that it represented a real "reduction of the radius of science and reason, one which needs to be questioned." He concluded that we have to "overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically falsifiable."

But science cannot falsify the mind. It is an insoluble problem in scientific terms because that which sees, cannot be seen. It is the invisible that actually makes reality visible. To deny or falsify the mind would deny the very thing that purposes to know scientific truth. Science is inherently purposeful activity, but science has moved far from merely rigorously disregarding purpose for reasons of discipline in its inquiry (as LaPlace did). That salutary disregard was necessary to its method, but has passed into a dysfunctional contempt.

As Whitehead said: "Those who devote themselves to the purpose of proving that there is no purpose constitute an interesting object for study."

happysod
11-15-2007, 02:52 AM
Where did the Deity get into the discussion? I perceive there are issues unspoken.Blame Ron, he did one of his drive by thread shootings and opened the floodgates to a whole new level of contention (Bad Ron)

Bit concerned that the "evidence for ki" has gone down the twin highway of "you have to consider the whole" and "you can't explain everything so there must be something". Come on people, Eric has done a bang-up job of presenting his arguments with some rigor, don't let him down by aiding him with "it's obvious because... just because right" mingled in with your own belief structures.

Getting back to Eric's hedgehog, yes there is a tendency towards minutia over considering a gestalt - just look at how medical research is protrayed in the media where one crummy gene normally gets all the blame for a person's failings followed a few weeks later by an oops, not quite.

However, there are very solid, decent reasons for this approach as swallowing an entire hegehog is normally impossible and makes you feel a bit sick. With most arguments for ki as force in it's own right, there is a tendency to answer questions in two main ways
a) You haven't practiced long enough/in the right way/with such a body (delete as applicable) to properly understand
b) You can't consider ki in such a simplistic way you have to consider it "holistically" (which must be one of the must sinned against words in the English laguage these days)

So, give me a bite-sized bit of Ki which demonstrates the principles you personally attribute to ki (fully explained and described please so there's no confusion) and I'll happily have a go.

Toothpaste
11-15-2007, 06:43 AM
If I had claimed that there were pink unicorns in my garden, that example might be relevent, but since I haven't, I don't think it will be helpful to go there.
I meant that you probably don't believe that invisible pink unicorns living in your garden because there's no reason to do so, but for ki...

Let me put this more acutely. If you and I were to meet, I have no evidence that you are a conscious being, and not an automaton. But I KNOW that you are in fact a conscious being. Why? Because I have these things that are called mirror neurons that make me perceive you to be so, same as I have neurons to make me perceive certain different wavelengths of light and differential spatial parallax to discern depth of field. What a wasteful and profligate blind chance, to make me perceive a reality of you being a person that is not actually there.
Absolutely you have no evidence that I'm not an automation, but the scenario of me being an automation is far less likely than me being someone typing to you from the UK. Humans do have to make assumptions and try to take the best action depending on what is the most likely scenario - if we didn't, the French might not have even turned up to Agincourt because they might've not bothered to act on the assumption that the English wanted to seige them. However, we still need to make sure that our assumptions are based on sound reasoning.

I'm not going to comment more on the deity stuff because I think this thread's been derailed enough already. :p

Ron Tisdale
11-15-2007, 07:43 AM
I'm an atheist and I think atheists, generally, believe that adding deities to the equation creates more problems than it solves. Sure, it explains how the universe started, but how did the deity get there in the first place? How has it come to have the power to create the universe? Using the existence of a deity to answer our questions is a bit of a cop out, in my opinion, espescially when there's no good reason to believe they exist in the first place. (You might say the existence of the universe is one reason, but there's equally enough evidence to suggest that it was, infact, created by a tribe of tea cosies living in the dimensional planes of Zork).

Hmmm...I'm afraid you missed my point entirely. I was not promoting the existance of G(g)od.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
11-15-2007, 07:53 AM
Blame Ron, he did one of his drive by thread shootings and opened the floodgates to a whole new level of contention (Bad Ron)


:D Actually, as I just stated to Matthew, I was in no way promoting the existence of G(g)od. What I was doing, was highlighting the difference between

I cannot prove it, therefore it doesn't exist

and

I cannot prove it, therefore I just don't know. If further evidence should come along, I'll be willing to consider it.

Significant difference in mindset, and it has nothing to do with what I or anyone else believes relative to G(g)d, K(k)i or any particular subject.

Frankly, I'm a bit surprised that such intelligent people could miss that boat by such a wide mark. :D

Best,
Ron ('Common, everyone knows that invisible pink unicorns don't live in your back yard...they live in the dimensional planes of Zork)

happysod
11-15-2007, 08:51 AM
You're still a bad man - you know mentioning the "g" word does for discourse what myxomatosis does for rabbits. Anyway, just to add further oil to the burning waters
...I cannot prove it, therefore it doesn't exist
and
I cannot prove it, therefore I just don't know. If further evidence should come along, I'll be willing to consider it... As far as I'm aware, a central tenement concerning "g" in all its guises is that proof is wrong and even contrary to belief - it's faith thats the cornerstone.... so taking this to it's usual internet extremes - does this mean you have to believe in ki before it can work?

Ron Tisdale
11-15-2007, 08:59 AM
The world "works" whether we believe it or like it or not. It just is. If someone has the mechanics of a throw correct, it doesn't matter if I or they believe in ki...the throw works. If the person being thrown is honest in their attack and reception. Which is why taking the ukemi is so important.

I know squat all about ki. I am beginning (finally, after 14 years or so of training :() to get a small clue about body structure. When people I respected started speaking about it on internet forums, it sounded different from what I was familiar with. So I didn't say "it's not true, there is no such thing as ki", or "we already do that", or "Prove it...go fight in the UFC". I got off my butt, went and felt it in a few different places, tried to be honest with myself about what I felt, and made my decisions based on how it affected me in my practice.

I still know squat all about ki.

And again, *I* never mentioned the G word until others brought it up. I simply highlighted two different states of mind.

Best,
Ron (driving by, and out! :D)

Budd
11-15-2007, 09:04 AM
When people I respected started speaking about it on internet forums, it sounded different from what I was familiar with. So I didn't say "it's not true, there is no such thing as ki", or "we already do that", or "Prove it...go fight in the UFC". I got off my butt, went and felt it in a few different places, tried to be honest with myself about what I felt, and made my decisions based on how it affected me in my practice.


You know this part is critical and exactly what I try have tried to do as well.

To many people already know everything, though, so unless you can meet their criteria for proof over the internet, it may not be worth pursuing ;)

Will Prusner
11-15-2007, 09:14 AM
It's not what you don't know that will hurt you, it's what you know that isn't so.

I have to agree.

Mike Sigman
11-15-2007, 09:19 AM
Bit concerned that the "evidence for ki".... The problem with almost every discussion about "ki" in the west is that no one knows what it is or what it does, so the definition they use is of some woo-woo, incorrect idea of what "ki" is. It's like saying that a plow-horse is a pink-rabbit and then instead of discussing plow-horses and their utility, the conversation goes off into arguing the existence of pink-rabbits. All it really shows is that most people don't know what ki is. Now the bad thing about that very obvious lack of knowledge is that in many cases their own martial arts is replete with mentions of ki, etc., and how it is the basis of the art. So just the fact that "what is ki" arguments get started is enough to tell any amateur logician that something is badly wrong with a number of martial arts.

Also, the number of experts who "teach ki" give away what they know and what they don't know by their own words, too. They need to understand that what ki is is not some great mystery to a lot of people and the campfire approach of "here's my take on Ki" really makes them look ridiculous. There are some demonstrable and extremely useful body skills that are ki... if you don't know what they are, you should take the fastest plane you can to wherever the information is. Information is becoming available more and more readily now (although we're still near the beginning of available information)..... if it had been there when I was starting out, I would have beat a path to where it was and saved myself 20-30 years. Trust me. ;)

Best.

Mike

Aiki1
11-15-2007, 09:21 AM
The world "works" whether we believe it or like it or not. It just is. If someone has the mechanics of a throw correct, it doesn't matter if I or they believe in ki...the throw works. If the person being thrown is honest in their attack and reception. Which is why taking the ukemi is so important.


I completely agree. At the same time, in my experience, an interesting thing is, if one knows how to "relate to Ki properly" (the.... euphemism, I suppose it would be called, would be that they are "using Ki properly") then the throw works, without having to be "thinking" (so to speak) about the mechanics. Not that they are not important, but in that process, they are not the focus. In my training, Ki works partly because in order to "use Ki properly" the body mechanics often do shift, but that's not the only reason it "works" and just shifting the body mechanics doesn't mean that the person is "using Ki." There's a lot more to it than just that.

It's the other side of the coin. And my contention and experience is, the experience will be different. That's one of the big reasons why I personally do Aikido, for the experience.

An example would be - say someone is practicing a throw and it's not working. I can tell them how to "fix it" by addressing the mechanics that are off. Sometimes I will do that, and there's nothing wrong with the to me. But, often, I will say something like "use Ki" or "bigger Ki" or any number of things down that road. When they do that, they immediately find the answer.

Now the -big- thing is, these are not vague and mystical expressions in our training, but very explicit processes that we teach from the beginning, so when I say something like that, the person either knows exactly what I mean, or I can show them exactly what I mean.

But that's just me. To me it's a matter of choice, personal inclination, and training.

Ron Tisdale
11-15-2007, 09:36 AM
Hi Larry,

At my poor level of understanding, I think of what you are speaking of as the "mind" component...probably mixed with other things I simply don't understand yet.

I've been in situations where someone tells me "now, pull your shoulders back and down, connect that structure to your hips", and all of a sudden the power projected into uke becomes "clearer" for lack of a better word. But then they say "now use your mind to strengthen that pathway" and suddenly there is *more* of that "clear" power.

So mind (and I guess belief) does matter. But please don't ask me how...because I really don't know. :D

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
11-15-2007, 09:47 AM
if one knows how to "relate to Ki properly" If I relate to my lawn-mower correctly, it will mow the grass. :D

A lot of people think that Asians speak in vague, suggestive ways that relate to the cosmos, spirituality, and so forth. On the contrary, even thought the ancient Asians used different paradigms (the qi-paradigm) to explain how things worked, they actually thought and wrote extensive and detailed descriptions of how things worked, although knowledge (being power and money) wasn't publicly given away for free.

An Aikido throw is a physical thing that requires Nage to move and almost always to physically interract with Uke. Physical things can be described. The physical effects of ki can be described in reaonably accurate conversational terms. How to do things with ki or to manifest Ki can be explained in physical terms. I listened to the Ki-Society instructor, David Shaner Sensei, describe some things in some of the most god-awful vague terms imaginable, but once he got down to the nitty gritty, he explained some things with a physical clarity that was admirable. So I saw and felt what he could do. He had physical Ki skills. He also could explain it (to a reasonable degree). If someone really knows how to do these things, they can explain them.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Timothy WK
11-15-2007, 10:10 AM
At my poor level of understanding, I think of what you are speaking of as the "mind" component...probably mixed with other things I simply don't understand yet.

I've been in situations where someone tells me "now, pull your shoulders back and down, connect that structure to your hips", and all of a sudden the power projected into uke becomes "clearer" for lack of a better word. But then they say "now use your mind to strengthen that pathway" and suddenly there is *more* of that "clear" power.

So mind (and I guess belief) does matter.
On the "mind" front:

I use "ki" as a paradigm for discussing and describing what I believe to be certain biomechanical processes. The issue, though, is that these biomechanical processes feel (and most likely are) different than normal muscular movement. You don't access/utilize these processes in the same way, and they don't stress or fatigue the body in the same way either. Thus it's sometimes easier to describe these processes as "mind-driven", rather than... err, "body-driven".

You can't say, "lift your arm", 'cause that means lift your arm using your normal (muscular) methods. You need to communicate the need to utilize these alternative processes, which have no real description, so you just say, "use your mind". But again, that's just a convenience since our language is lacking. When this stuff starts manifesting in your body, you immediately recognize it as something physical in your body.

Also, there probably are multiple processes at work, but in practice it often seems related, and you often need to use similar "mind tricks" to access these processes. So it's usually easier to discuss it all under the one unified banner of "using ki".

Aiki1
11-15-2007, 10:18 AM
I've been in situations where someone tells me "now, pull your shoulders back and down, connect that structure to your hips", and all of a sudden the power projected into uke becomes "clearer" for lack of a better word. But then they say "now use your mind to strengthen that pathway" and suddenly there is *more* of that "clear" power.

So mind (and I guess belief) does matter.

Hey Ron - when I first learned "about Ki" I learned pretty much from a "feeling" perspective and process. The person who taught me was very good at inducting me into that "knowledge." Not so good with everyone though (some yes some no), and as I taught more, I saw that many people weren't getting it from this process alone, so I had to figure out how to teach it differently. I took the time to see what it was all about simply from a different vantage point, and now I teach it, to the best of my ability, in terms of how the individual person will best perceive, experience, and integrate it consciously into their Aikido, and beyond hopefully. This can vary greatly, but to me, it's worth it. For some it can be more physical, for some more esoteric, for some very specific, for others, vague - whatever reaches the person I think is valuable.

Ron Tisdale
11-15-2007, 10:38 AM
I think that is part of what makes this so tricky online...personal transmission is extremely difficult online.

Best,
Ron

mjhacker
11-15-2007, 11:05 AM
I think that is part of what makes this so tricky online...personal transmission is extremely difficult online.
I'll call your "extremely difficult" and raise you "impossible."

I think the word "personal" and "online" should be listed as antonyms in the dictionary.

Erick Mead
11-15-2007, 11:14 AM
So, give me a bite-sized bit of Ki which demonstrates the principles you personally attribute to ki (fully explained and described please so there's no confusion) and I'll happily have a go.How about that earlier DTR video knocking down the posse holding him up. That's a good one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4M579s8Gni0 (about 3:15)

The undulations of the demonstrator's body seen in the video to effect the "throw" are exploiting the natural rhythmic oscillations of the supporters own double pendulum balance. Because they are all focussed on supporting his weight as well as their own, his motion, if in the proper form and orientation, synchronizes their balance oscillations to him. In the video they happen to be "presynchronized" by tossing him up and down, so it is a little more straightforward than if it were otherwise. He could do the same thing by inducing similar motion, and then driving it to resonance and a chaotic cascade.

By then shifting the phase of his undulatory motion, with a sharp kick in amplitude, he "desynchronizes" them in that resonant cascade from one end to the other. The same basic principle of ki no kokyu is employed in every use of kokyu tanden ho.

That cascade shifts their individual inverted balancing pendula off their zones of support to where gravity progressively takes over, and the whole contraption racks sideways, hinged at the base. O Sensei said something about treating the many enemies as one -- illustrated clearly in that example and in others in that video in related ways.

What is being done is all physics, and explainable physically, but feeling it so as to be ABLE to surf their bodies to the ground like that -- that's all Ki. The mind and its perception of and attention to that dynamic orientation cannot be divorced from the act or the process of its occurrence, and the process of its occurrence, while mindful, is not linearly rational in its performance. You are not even consciously aware of the perpetual oscillations that have to keep occurring just to hold your bipedal mass from toppling. That is a chaotic, non linear process in which you are intervening to manipulate using your own non-linear chaotic process to do it. Physics, all physics, but by no means trivial physics, nor is it divorceable from mind.

That is what the "ki deniers" are missing. A surfboard can't surf. A surfer doesn't need a board to surf, he just needs a breaking wave. We are always riding one -- just standing there.

Aiki1
11-15-2007, 11:33 AM
I meant that you probably don't believe that invisible pink unicorns living in your garden because there's no reason to do so, but for ki...

If I had actually experienced the reality of them, I would then have something to believe in. Same same. Belief for me is not blind but based on real, palpable, repeatable experience, and its ability to be referenced against other experiences so as to know the difference between them.

mjhacker
11-15-2007, 11:50 AM
I'm still waiting for someone... anyone... to specifically define exactly what they mean by "ki." No bullshit. No appeals to authority. No vague references. No dancing around the mulberry bush. A detailed, explicit explanation (so far as this medium will allow).

Because so far as I can tell, I can explain/do everything that I've seen described here as "only possible with ki" via different metaphors. This, to me, is vital as a teacher. What I believe is less important than what works as an educational tool.

In my mind, that leaves only three possible explainations:

a) "Ki" means different things to the different participants in this conversation and we're comparing apples to elephants.
b) I can't really do or explain any of these things... I'm just making shit up.
c) There is no third thing.

Budd
11-15-2007, 12:09 PM
Or . . .

d) People are only going to try so hard to explain things on the internet when an overriding maxim for explaining is "It has to be felt".

Aiki1
11-15-2007, 12:10 PM
I'm still waiting for someone... anyone... to specifically define exactly what they mean by "ki." No bullshit. No appeals to authority. No vague references. No dancing around the mulberry bush. A detailed, explicit explanation (so far as this medium will allow).

I promise to give this a go as time allows me to write it up.

Because so far as I can tell, I can explain/do everything that I've seen described here as "only possible with ki" via different metaphors. This, to me, is vital as a teacher. What I believe is less important than what works as an educational tool.

I agree completely - I don't advocate that there are things that can be done that are only possible with Ki - there may indeed be, but I'd have to think about that one.... that's why I talk about - experience. That's what's important to me - that's why I do Aikido as opposed to another art (have done a few) - Aikido/Aiki arts give me an arena to practice things that bring me a great experience that I can bring into te rest of my life.

In my mind, that leaves only three possible explainations:

a) "Ki" means different things to the different participants in this conversation and we're comparing apples to elephants.
b) I can't really do or explain any of these things... I'm just making shit up.
c) There is no third thing.

a) Most definitely. :-)
b) I hope not! :-)
c) Hmmmmm

mjhacker
11-15-2007, 12:11 PM
d) People are only going to try so hard to explain things on the internet when an overriding maxim for explaining is "It has to be felt".
That's the first intelligent thing I've heard yet. :-)

But my earlier opinion still stands... evidence of effect is not necessarily proof of cause.

Aiki1
11-15-2007, 12:11 PM
Or . . .

d) People are only going to try so hard to explain things on the internet when an overriding maxim for explaining is "It has to be felt".

True too.... :-)

Aiki1
11-15-2007, 12:12 PM
That's the first intelligent thing I've heard yet. :-)

But my earlier opinion still stands... evidence of effect is not necessarily proof of cause.

.... true too..... :-)

mjhacker
11-15-2007, 12:21 PM
I promise to give this a go as time allows me to write it up.
I look forward to reading your thoughts.

Budd
11-15-2007, 12:24 PM
But my earlier opinion still stands... evidence of effect is not necessarily proof of cause.

That may depend on whether someone has something to prove . . ;)

I think there's enough folks out and about now working on things and showing things - describing them using Asian terminology as well as Western terminology - that it's going to continue to be experiential through "effect" and "practice - until some recognized authorities (whomever the may be) are able to develop more concrete definitions in Western terms. Getting folks to then buy into them . ... oy, whatta headache . . . may be another fool's errand :)

Budd
11-15-2007, 12:36 PM
And my previous post just made me think of something else. Is there any real benefit to distilling the essence of all of these things so that they're understandable to everybody?

(honest question as I tend to come down on the "make available the info" side of things)

But in every dojo/gym I've ever been, there's the folks that are just there to "belong" and then the one's training their butts off to "get it". So how far can you go to make something teachable or explainable to someone that really isn't trying hard to "get it"?

Ron Tisdale
11-15-2007, 12:38 PM
Frankly, I don't see why it matters if they buy into them. Other than the possible question of "mind" having some involvement.

I never heard anyone at Akuzawa's seminar say "you must believe in ki or this won't work". He just spoke of connecting your body, getting a straight connection to the ground through your spine, not violating these types of principles.

I fail to see why the conversation hinges on "ki", as a force or a paradigm. If someone doesn't want to use that term, there's plenty to discuss without the term.

Best,
Ron

Timothy WK
11-15-2007, 12:38 PM
Erick, your explanation [of the Daito-ryu video] sounds plausible under certain conditions, but I suspect it would break down in practice. More specifically---it's obvious that after one or two guys fall, everyone would follow. But the trick would be getting those first couple to fall, right?

That video with Tokimune Takeda was an "easy" example, IMO, because the group was moving around and tossing nage up in the air. But check out this [video of Akira Hino] (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rl0eLuvc_8Y). He does the "trick" several times, but each time his ukes are static. People don't lose their balance that easy. The answer is either a) his ukes aren't really trying (which is a real possibility), or b) he's doing "something else".

Erick, your issue is that you're focusing too much on motion. Ki can be "felt" in stillness as much as it can be in movement. Discussing the physics of motion does nothing to explain the experience of ki. And the "feeling" of ki is intimately tied to the "use" of ki. And I'm talking about bodily sensations:
Why do my limbs/ torso/neck/etc feel like they're (continually) stretching or growing, though I'm standing still?
Why does my "skin" feel like it's "inflating", such that I feel like a... um, balloon ("empty" or "hollow" on the inside and "firm" or "rigid" on the outside)?
How can I raise my arm when I'm relaxing---or should I say disengaging---my shoulder?
Why does my arm move "on its own" when I make certain movements with my hips?
Those all relate to "ki". Looking into those questions would explain a lot of what "using ki" is all about.

Budd
11-15-2007, 12:43 PM
Ron, the argument as I see it isn't that you must "believe in ki", but more that there are valid approaches that may all be related, some describing what they do in terms of "ki", some in terms of "conditioning", etc. . . .but yielding functional results regardless of the terms that are used.

mjhacker
11-15-2007, 12:53 PM
And my previous post just made me think of something else. Is there any real benefit to distilling the essence of all of these things so that they're understandable to everybody?
If you're responding to my request, I merely asked folks to define their terms. If someone is unwilling or unable to do that, they probably shouldn't be using words.

Ron Tisdale
11-15-2007, 12:55 PM
Agreed Budd.

MJ, please note that I studiously avoid the key word... :D

B,
R

Budd
11-15-2007, 12:55 PM
If you're responding to my request, I merely asked folks to define their terms. If someone is unwilling or unable to do that, they probably shouldn't be using words.

No, sorry for the confusion, I threw myself onto my own tangential line of thought . . . :) . . . happens in discussions and on the mat sometimes *oof*

Timothy WK
11-15-2007, 12:59 PM
Ron, the argument as I see it isn't that you must "believe in ki", but more that there are valid approaches that may all be related, some describing what they do in terms of "ki", some in terms of "conditioning", etc. . . .but yielding functional results regardless of the terms that are used.
Another issue is that these body mechanics were developed under the ki-paradigm, and most people who teach them still use the ki-paradigm. So if you want to "go deep" and study all you can, you're going to need to be able to talk/understand the ki-talk to get the most out of it.

Michael, there's been loads of discussion in the "Non-Aikido" forum about "ki" and "what's really going on". There have also been a few attempts at describing exercises one can do at home to develop such skills.

mjhacker
11-15-2007, 01:15 PM
Frankly, I don't see why it matters if they buy into them.
I concur.

I had a sempai in Japan (whom I describe as a "side of beef") who travelled to Tokyo to feel the supposed "ki" of Nishino Kozo (of Nishino-ryu Kokyu-ho fame). When Nishino's invisible power had no effect on my friend, he (my friend) was bluntly dismissed and told that he wasn't yet sensitive enough to feel Nishino's "ki" and that he needed to keep practicing.

How cool would it be to have bullets that only worked on people who believed in them?

Budd
11-15-2007, 01:20 PM
Eh, I still don't think anyone's asking for raw belief, just maybe not to close one's mind too quickly until you've made the effort to gather enough intel.

Heck, even if I didn't believe in bullets, I'd still be leary about standing still and letting you shoot me ;)

Ron Tisdale
11-15-2007, 01:35 PM
Not to mention that Nishino's brand of wierdness really doesn't have a thing to do with people like Dan Harden (quite a side of beef himself) Akuzawa, or Mike Sigman.

B,
R

mjhacker
11-15-2007, 01:46 PM
Not to mention that Nishino's brand of wierdness really doesn't have a thing to do with people like Dan Harden (quite a side of beef himself) Akuzawa, or Mike Sigman.
Or my teacher. Or me.

Which was exactly my point: what's the common demominator?

Ron Tisdale
11-15-2007, 02:13 PM
I don't know...I didn't bring Nishino into this... :D

B,
R

mjhacker
11-15-2007, 02:28 PM
I don't know...I didn't bring Nishino into this... :D
Touché.

My point was that one person's "ki" may refer to intent, while another person's "ki" may refer to magical, invisible energy. Until someone clears that up, useful communication is difficult, at best.

Ron Tisdale
11-15-2007, 02:52 PM
Which is why I don't even go there...just avoids the whole thing. :D

Mike S. has pretty well laid out his deffinitions in various places, Rob John as well, Dan too, all to varying degrees. Sift through for definitions, add salt, take some pop corn (you'll need it)...and let us know what you think.

B,
R (I see you lurking Peter! ;))

Will Prusner
11-15-2007, 02:59 PM
I think the word "personal" and "online" should be listed as antonyms in the dictionary.

Hey, seriously, they really should!
Somebody get Webster over here!

Erick Mead
11-15-2007, 03:46 PM
Erick, your explanation [of the Daito-ryu video] sounds plausible under certain conditions, ...
[video of Akira Hino] (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rl0eLuvc_8Y). He does the "trick" several times, but each time his ukes are static. People don't lose their balance that easy. The answer is either a) his ukes aren't really trying (which is a real possibility), or b) he's doing "something else". 1:15-1:30 His motion is more horizontal with definite spiral component shifting his torso higher on the guy holding him and further back on one side than the other, shifting the guy holding his torso's CG slightly back and toward his rear shikaku, and holding the arm to prevent uke's lateral rotation to recover. The effect is to unload the front leg, prang the back leg locked up with all the weight and because he is driving the wavelike spiral motion, the propagation of it downward in the body sweeps the realtively unloaded front knee and leg, keeps him from reloading weight forward, and the fall happens because he cannot stop it the toppling moment created. This one is most comparable to the earlier video, even though more static, it has the "setup" I described as provided by the rhythmic motion already established in the earlier one

The set up the second time (1:49-1:58) is more subtle, initially forcing commitment to one phase of support (synchrony), and the relaxed "twitch" oscillation is plain, and is the same thing in a different orientation. The same thing that lifts your mass to your toes in tekubifuri by flinging your hands at the ground is shifting them laterally, and spirally, out of their supports with the relaxed "whip" of his mass from the center outward to his extremities.

The third time (2:06-2:12) the spiral motion is much more plain, with basically ratcheting them around with repeated eccentric rotations of his center. That is resonance driving motion. In this one the spiral of the repeated momentum kick is in one direction they cannot recover from the building resonance increasing the collective twist until the weakest position gives way and all collapse.

What he is doing in each case is EXACTLY the same principle as using your legs and and arms as a secondary pendulum to propel a swing -- by building resonance into the complex harmonic motion. In this case his motion is driven by the center with the extremities supported, instead of with the extremities with the center supported (as with a swing) In this case his rotations form a more lateral spiral of increasing angular momentum, rather than a larger and larger swing of a vertical pendulum.

Funetori is the simplified training version of the inverted swing mode of action that he is applying in a lateral 3d spiral.

Erick, your issue is that you're focusing too much on motion. Ki can be "felt" in stillness as much as it can be in movement. Discussing the physics of motion does nothing to explain the experience of ki. And the "feeling" of ki is intimately tied to the "use" of ki. And I'm talking about bodily sensations: No. Yes. So? A standing wave is in constant motion AND perfectly still. THAT IS KI. Across all scales of its operation.

Driven to resonance without a restorative moment (which the child's swing has) a wave will break the structure of its medium -- EVERY TIME it is tried.

Aiki1
11-15-2007, 04:03 PM
A standing wave is in constant motion AND perfectly still. THAT IS KI.

The only difference for me is, I'd probably say that what you describe is a result of Ki, not Ki per se. But at this level, it's too easy for the language to get in the way etc....

Aiki1
11-15-2007, 04:38 PM
Ok, I'll try and start. If someone isn't interested in this or is violently opposed to it, do me a favor and either be civil or go somewhere else and vent.

In my own awareness and experience of Ki, it's useful for me to delineate three "levels" of perception:

1) The notion of Ki as Energy.

2) The notion of how to bring that energy into and through the body, feeling-wise and to make it "usable" - achieving a dynamic "Ki-state" if you will, that can be utilized.

3) The notion of how that is then used/applied dynamically and interactively/physically (this can be replicated mechanically but my belief is that it will simply Feel different to the person doing it, and perhaps to the recipient as well, which is the point, to me.)

The explanations of the elements and actuality of the three "levels" will take me a little more time to write out, if anyone cares. :-)

This is likely very different than how others view Ki. That doesn't invalidate their view for me, nor, in my world, invalidate mine.

Mike Sigman
11-15-2007, 06:23 PM
I had a sempai in Japan (whom I describe as a "side of beef") who travelled to Tokyo to feel the supposed "ki" of Nishino Kozo (of Nishino-ryu Kokyu-ho fame). When Nishino's invisible power had no effect on my friend, he (my friend) was bluntly dismissed and told that he wasn't yet sensitive enough to feel Nishino's "ki" and that he needed to keep practicing.

How cool would it be to have bullets that only worked on people who believed in them?You know, that's interesting. That same BS about "not being sensitive enough" seems to be fairly common in a bunch of southern Chinese arts when it doesn't work on someone. I wonder how Nishino Kozo wound up with the same line????? And I agree with your japery. I've actually asked people, "You want me to go home and make myself 'sensitive' so that someone supposedly can hurt me? Why would I want to do that????". ;)

Mike

Ron Tisdale
11-16-2007, 06:46 AM
Mike, that was sweet!

B,
R (sensitive is one thing, but really!)

mjhacker
11-16-2007, 08:46 AM
Ok, I'll try and start. If someone isn't interested in this or is violently opposed to it, do me a favor and either be civil or go somewhere else and vent.
Thanks, Larry. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts, should you feel compelled to spend the time writing them down.

However, a question still remains: what energy?

Is it a literal energy that exists everywhere and can be summoned to do your bidding? Or are you talking more metaphorically about thought, intent, etc.? Is there a difference? I often hear people define "ki" as "energy," but never hear them explain exactly what the energy is or where it comes from. Just calling it "energy" is too unspecific for my mind.

This is likely very different than how others view Ki. That doesn't invalidate their view for me, nor, in my world, invalidate mine.
As Thomas Huxley said, "The great tragedy of Science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact."

Anyone who cares about growth needs to be open to the possibility of being wrong.

My art is also a science: technical and poetic. It must be both.

Keith Larman
11-16-2007, 09:31 AM
Just a random thought from a guy who came from a family of scientists...

First off -- no, I don't think anyone shoots ki rays. Some of the silliest things I've ever seen seem to come from the notion of ki as anime fireballs...

Remember that the usage of ki as kanji is really important. We talk about the "energy" of all sorts of things. Corollaries in English would be to say "someone has a lot of good energy today -- see how they light up the room!". No, we're not saying they're literally glowing, but we are saying that their way, their intent, their mood, their "everything" is affecting the environment. That effect is on other peoples' moods and it can significantly change the dynamics of every person in the room.

We also often talk about a pregnant woman "glowing with energy". Poetic words, but at some level we're talking about a change in look, a change in how she holds herself, a change in mood and attitude. The look of a mother to be, the awareness of life within, the protective instinct of a mother to be. All things that "change the parameters" of the larger set of things we are seeing.

I've often heard people talk about the energy of swords I've worked on. What do they mean there? The sword has an imposing, nasty, almost evil feel. Another might feel fast, light and in a sense vicious. Are these properties really something in the sword? We do impose them on some level, but on another level they are "real" in some sort of way. The way in which we interact, deal with, and handle the weapons.

Ever held an object that just "felt good"? It has good energy we might say.

So we often talk about the "energy" of things.

When we're practicing we're talking about a lot of the same things. The way the attacker is holding himself. If the attack comes in hesitant and unsure we talk about the attack having poor ki. And that's a proper usage. Here it is a complex combination of attitude, poor technique, a lack of power, and possibly also a lack of effectiveness. We say there is little ki there to blend with. Little ki to redirect and work with. When another attacker comes in with strength, power, good form, and a sincere attempt to attack strongly then we say his attack has strong ki. We're not just talking about energy coming out his fist. We're talking about the entire complex set of actions, behaviors and intentions. As well as a larger picture of his body's movement through space, it's inherent balance (or lack thereof), his inertia, his changing states. So when we talk about redirecting that "ki" we're talking about doing a lot of things with a lot of things. Intent, energy in a literal sense, mental energy in a more abstract sense, how well they conform to a "proper form", etc.

So to those who say "there's no such thing as ki" I would say that in certain senses they are correct. There is no one thing. It isn't an object or a singular force. It is an abstraction that covers a rather complex set of things. And as person who has worked as a scientist I would say the discussion we have in forums like this usually revolves around varied understandings of the term. Which leaves a lot of people saying totally different things all likely correct. Which is why discussion if often so difficult. It is easy to dismiss it if you take the position that ki is a singular force.

My work in a previous life involved a lot of work in mental skills testing. Discussing ki to me is like discussion IQ. Some folk are certainly smarter than others. A fact of life. And there is a "something" called IQ that we can detect to some extent if we look at multiple measures of mental skills -- to use sort of statistical terms a singular factor rotates out of the measures. It is very real -- it is a common factor -- but it doesn't exist in the sense of being a singular "thing". It underlies a lot of things but is itself nothing. Just a commonality of sorts. So it is a mistake to think of IQ as necessarily being a singular thing. And making judgements on people based on their IQ is rather silly. It misses so much. But at the same time we don't say IQ doesn't exist. Or there is no such thing. Of course there is, we've even come up with ways of measuring it with some degree of accuracy (no, lets not argue this point it is a question of degrees and no one argues that there is no such thing). It is an expression of a commonality but it isn't necessarily a "thing" in the sense of light or a sound wave or the keyboard I'm typing on right now. In a very real way it is an abstraction. And it "exists", just not in the same way as other "things".

We might as well be arguing whether the number 2 exists. Certainly there are instances of two things. My two hands exist. But the "two" doesn't exist itself as a physical thing -- it is descriptive of the fact that I have two hands. I would say that "two" exists, but as a concept dependant on other things to abstract from. To me ki is similar. We talk about ki as a means of understanding a whole of of disparate abstract things. And those "things" include rather fuzzy things like intention, emotion, etc. that are devilishly hard to measure and make "concrete". In part because of the nature of the phenomena but also in part due to limitations of our language abilities. But I would say that just like in the case of IQ we can talk about "ki". As long as we're talking about roughly the same things. And that's where I think some of the guys evangelizing about aiki on the various forums over the last year or two have been a great help. They're talking about more concrete examples of things like alignment, posture, movement, and the entire pictures of how the body does these things. This is again just a part of the picture but likely a very important part of the physical manifestation of it in practice. But I'd say we need to go even further to "really" understand.

So to me it is an interesting question of language, philosophy, psychology and science. And it lies at the intersection of all four. So we use "ki" as a handy concept to try to simplify a very subtle, complex set of experiences. And yes, imho many take it way too literally. But we should not toss out the concept completely just because one extreme is "way out there".

That's my ramble for the month... ;)

Mike Sigman
11-16-2007, 09:58 AM
So to me it is an interesting question of language, philosophy, psychology and science. And it lies at the intersection of all four. So we use "ki" as a handy concept to try to simplify a very subtle, complex set of experiences. If someone sort weaves back and forth between the ancient qi/ki paradigm and western science terminology, sure it gets confusing and difficult to pin down what ki is. The problem was that "Ki" was essentially a "TOE", a Theory of Everything... so of course the relationships of terminology and cause/effect get all screwed up when you try to convert that to western-technology-speak. But that's the "pink rabbit" discussion hole that I was talking about in an earlier post.

If you want to cut to the chase, just start with Koichi Tohei's "Ki Tests". Those are physical tests. You can either pass them or you can't. To do them correctly, all of them, at will, you need to have kokyu/jin skills.... but kokyu/jin is just the physical manifestation of "ki". I.e., those are bona fide, reproducible examples of Ki. All other ki skills start from that basic level OR they are demonstrably related to complementary aspects of the body.

If someone uses ki in his aikido... really uses it and not some made up personal interpretation... he can demonstrate Tohei's ki tests easily. Tohei's ki-tests are very basic, basement-level skills. If you can't do those simple demonstrations, you can't be claiming to do unseen, sophisticated versions of ki that are beyond the ken of mortal man. Nor can you be teaching "ki", if you can't do those things.

Using ki is about physically moving differently than you do normally. It can be demonstrated and the skill can be felt in an experienced practitioner. He uses the ground as the source of any upward and outward power, not his muscles. He uses his weight (and something too complex for this paragraph to get into) as the *source* inward and downward power. All of that can be demonstrated and it's why Tohei's "ki-tests" are not "just for those outlaw Ki-Society folks; we do it different!". And it gets very sophisticated, beyond those simple physical skills, so learning a trick or two to impress newbies doesn't work as a defining badge of any sort. ;)

I'm happy to listen to anyone drone on about "feelings" and "energy" and yada, yada, yada, but sooner or later I ask them to show me just some basic demonstrations. If you know it, you can do it.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Keith Larman
11-16-2007, 11:43 AM
Hey, Mike, no argument from me. Our small style came out Tohei's group originally and the various ki tests and methods of Tohei are integral to our training. We separated decades ago for a variety of reasons but the late Kobayashi-sensei was adamant about the ki tests being foundational. Everything needs to be "dialed in" right for things to work well. Otherwise things regress into purely physical attempts to overpower, twist, and pain compliance instead.

Anyway, I rather enjoy watching videos of Tohei doing demos in the 60's and 70's because the guy is such a rock solid fella. And with those who have been doing this stuff for 30-40 years, well, sometimes when I get to be uke I'm impressed with the idea that sometimes when these guys toss you down its like feeding your body into a trash compactor. Amazing focusing of power done in such a calm, matter-of-fact way. It is different from brute strength.

I've often felt that one of the great powers of what many consider "silly aikido tricks" like unbendable arm are more important heuristics for helping students feel the connection, alignment and feel of extension that allows it to happen. Obviously it isn't about having an arm that can't be bent. It is all about teaching someone how to link everything up in a powerful way. And the mental picture of "extending ki" out the fingertips allows us to "naturally" get into the proper positioning and orientation. Back to my original post -- I think the whole "ki" thing has long been more of instructional paradigm -- a method of teaching people how to move, stand, balance, and align in certain ways. And as such the mental picture is very helpful. And surely there are other means of getting to the same place, some likely vastly better than others. So anyway, we express the success of an unbendable arm test as properly extending ki out our arms and fingertips. And that "feeling" is the feeling we're looking for. And the idea is that it gives us a means to guide students to gaining the alignment to do it. Starting from their center ("keep your one-point" in our vernacular), keeping a calm mind ("unification of mind and body"), extending "ki" out the arm ("letting your ki flow"), doing it without relying on muscular tension ("controlled relaxation") and staying solidly planted to the ground in the process ("weight settled down").

It's when people start talking about the "ki" as a literally existing physical force that I get uncomfortable. I see it as more a useful heuristic device.

I remember years ago trying to teach a kid how to be solid. I told him imagine he was a rock. He looked at me and said "it's not possible for me to be a rock, I'm a person and not a rock."

"Um, yeah, of course, but I wanted you to feel solid and heavy, grounded and attached firmly to the ground."

But the kid was hopelessly confused because the first thought in his mind was that it is impossible for him to be a rock. He couldn't adopt it as a means of learning, a means of guided thinking/feeling, etc. Those who toss out ki because it isn't "real" in a literal physical sense lose out on the heuristics of the paradigm. The value is in how these paradigms help us think, visualize, and make these complex things appear real to us. They are guides. And hopefully once you "get it" it just becomes natural. So we talk about ki. We try to exhibit that ki. And in the end there is something underlying it all, just not necessarily a single force a la star wars... But a good heuristic device nonetheless.

But more than I really wanted to discuss... Gotta get some work done.

Keith Larman
11-16-2007, 12:06 PM
And just to be clear, everything I've written is solely my own opinion. I don't speak for any group or organization. Just my own personal ruminations...

Mike Sigman
11-16-2007, 12:10 PM
It's when people start talking about the "ki" as a literally existing physical force that I get uncomfortable. I see it as more a useful heuristic device.
I see your point, Keith. However, in my experience and other things, I'm aware of "ki" (qi) as being more of a meta-theory that was an attempt to explain the universe, etc. Very similar to the West's ancient "humours" theory. The humours theory wasn't heuristic, in that sense, and neither is "ki".

The real problem is that there are definitive parameters of what ki is and what it does.... so it's not something that any knowledgeable person would jump into and say "here's my theory of what Ki is and it's just as valid as anyone else's theory". That would be absurd and someone with real ki skills would know it; someone who is just guessing and boffing around with fellow amateurs wouldn't realize how silly he sounds, obviously.

Tohei was easily knowledgeable enough about what aspects comprise recognized ki skills that he wouldn't make a complete idiot of himself, so what he presented as elementary "ki tests" are actually very good indicators and a substantive approach to gaining ki skills. Personally, I think he could be clearer about how it's taught in the Ki Society, etc., but heck, that's just my opinion. I don't quibble with what he's saying, by any means. And I totally agree with him that one way of seeing if someone has real Ki is to try them out on various ki tests... and there's a whole range of ability levels in those.

Best.

Mike

Keith Larman
11-16-2007, 12:25 PM
Mike, I don't disagree. How the theory is used in any particular instance and how it can be used in a larger sense are interesting discussions as well. How far the metaphor is taken is really up to the practitioner. I think the point I was trying to make is that the paradigm can be a powerful method of teaching certain physical things even if the underlying "reality" of "ki" as being some sort of western style defined "thing" isn't really possible. The idea that "ki" doesn't exist as some sort of measurable force a la heat, electricity, etc. doesn't mean that the paradigm is therefore useless. I was mostly trying to point out that there can be great value to the paradigm in doing certain things even if you don't believe in the underlying "reality" of a singular thing called ki. Of course someone can take it vastly further. And the scope of its importance to some peoples' world view in days past is another issue entirely.

That was the reason for talking about the kid who couldn't visualize being a rock. His inability to suspend just that little bit of belief and do a little "role-playing" prevented him from experiencing something that could have been quite valuable. It was my attempt to simplify the example that we use when we talk about ki tests. They are obviously more involved but in the end we're trying to guide the person into feeling, standing, and moving in a certain way. Even if the "force" they feel isn't electricity or light. It is more subtle and complex than that.

Interesting discussion but it is back to the swords for me. Gotta pay the bills...

Keith Larman
11-16-2007, 12:38 PM
Or to put it another way... Even if you dismiss the world view (the theory of everything as you put it) you can still use the paradigm as a heuristic device. But to me, the usefulness of the paradigm does raise some interesting questions about the validity of the world-view, neh? ;) It is an interesting *perspective* on how the universe works. And the scientific point of view isn't necessarily the only valid point of reference...

Mike Sigman
11-16-2007, 12:42 PM
That was the reason for talking about the kid who couldn't visualize being a rock. His inability to suspend just that little bit of belief and do a little "role-playing" prevented him ........Maybe the visualization problem wasn't his fault, though? We're all looking for the best way to say these things, but the point is that ki skills can be functionally demonstrated. If they can be demonstrated they can be analysed. If they can be analysed they can be accurately described. Maybe the kid just needed a more accurate description to follow?

BTW, Keith, I wasn't ever really discussing you or your practices. I was only using your remarks to springboard off of. ;)

Best.

Mike

Mike Sigman
11-16-2007, 12:44 PM
And the scientific point of view isn't necessarily the only valid point of reference...Really? What other "valid" point of reference is there? And... can you prove it? (tongue in cheek)

Best.

Mike

Aiki1
11-16-2007, 12:45 PM
I rather enjoy watching videos of Tohei doing demos in the 60's and 70's

Hi Keith - Tohei was great. Our style was originally Ki-Society based, many years ago. My original teacher was very close with both Tohei and Rod Kobayashi. We use many of the Ki exercises and tests as our beginning Ki training. We also have other training tools that take it in the direction that we feel is valuable, focusing on both the internal experience and also on the manifestation and application of Ki in actual physical interactions.

Are you in LA?

Aiki1
11-16-2007, 12:52 PM
However, a question still remains: what energy?



As MH knows, I am taking this aspect of my discussion off-list, so anyone who cares is welcome to email me privately.

Keith Larman
11-16-2007, 12:56 PM
Hi Keith - Tohei was great. Our style was originally Ki-Society based, many years ago. My original teacher was very close with both Tohei and Rod Kobayashi. We use many of the Ki exercises and tests as our beginning Ki training. We also have other training tools that take it in the direction that we feel is valuable, focusing on both the internal experience and also on the manifestation and application of Ki in actual physical interactions.

Are you in LA?

Yup, in Los Angeles. Our head dojo (AIA) is in Eagle Rock to be more precise since LA is such a large area.

Keith Larman
11-16-2007, 12:58 PM
Maybe the visualization problem wasn't his fault, though? We're all looking for the best way to say these things, but the point is that ki skills can be functionally demonstrated. If they can be demonstrated they can be analysed. If they can be analysed they can be accurately described. Maybe the kid just needed a more accurate description to follow?

BTW, Keith, I wasn't ever really discussing you or your practices. I was only using your remarks to springboard off of. ;)

Best.

Mike

No worries, didn't take it that way. I did get the kid to do it, I just had to change my approach... The issue there really was his automatic dismissal of the approach which stopped everything before it even started. So I changed approach and helped him visualize it in a way that he wasn't so quick to dismiss.

Aiki1
11-16-2007, 01:01 PM
Yup, in Los Angeles. Our head dojo (AIA) is in Eagle Rock to be more precise since LA is such a large area.

OT - I know exactly where it is - great group of people. I'm in Santa Monica. If you ever find yourself on this side of town....

Erick Mead
11-16-2007, 01:20 PM
It's when people start talking about the "ki" as a literally existing physical force that I get uncomfortable. I see it as more a useful heuristic device. That caused me heartache as well, because force is such a poor fit. Things of great power and control may be occurring and yet seemingly there are very low gross accelerations occurring -- until they suddenly do occur and becom very large. The presence of a force requires an acceleration, ergo -- ki ain't a force. The presence of ki does not require acceleration, necessarily. It also may more typically involve constantly changing or oscillating accelerations where the dynamic itself is storing energy in a conservation sense without much effort of any maintaining force, making force particularly inapt and complex to use.

So I looked for a physical quantity with a closer mapping. The "potential" aspect was also difficult in force terms because the energy storage of potential was difficult to place in force terms. There is no obvious "Ki battery" in the body, unless of course it simply IS the body.

So much of what we do is positional vice "energetic" in purely acceleration terms. "Potential" thus also had to depend primarily on realtive position. It could not merely depend on height potential from gravity (although that clearly also plays a part in the dynamic), if, for no other reason, than short people have no disdvantage in aiki. In that sense gravitational potential not something you use as much as have used on you, a collateral hazard to be both offset by and exploited by the means of the use of ki, ki being something else or at least something more general in this sense.

Position itself defines a moment from a center -- which is a potential for rotation about that center -- which when realized -- is angular momentum.

That's what took me to angular momentum. It is synthetic, like force, but of a lower order, using velocity or angular velocity, the first derivative of location (position) vice the second derivative (acceleration). It meets all the other things I have yet thrown at it for comparison with the traditional understanding of ki at all sorts of scales. "Potential" is then understood in terms of purely relative position, the root of the derivative -- that is to say -- maai, both internally and externally considered.

My understanding of it is not merely an attempt to be heuristic, approximate or analogous but an attempt to establish it as an applied concept of actual relationship between the two systems of knowledge at all levels to which the concepts pertain.

Timothy WK
11-16-2007, 02:25 PM
Well... I'll jump in and try to explain how I understand "ki". I believe all of this has been said elsewhere, though I'm not sure if it's all been put together like this. Be warned that I'm still a beginner, and that most of my knowledge is still academic. I've experienced some stuff, though my ability to demonstrate it practically is still pretty limited.

As I said, I use the word "ki" to discuss and describe various biomechanical processes. But I think to really explain what ki "is", I need to step back a touch and discuss the bigger picture of what's going on. And to that end, I think there are 5 contributors to the "ki phenomenon":

Posture and Body Alignment
So the easiest thing to discuss is posture and body alignment. We all know that our bodies depend on our skeletal system for support, and that proper posture and body alignment is necessary for the efficient transfer of energy (in the physics sense). In and of itself, not a big deal, though I think many martial artists don't spend enough time thinking about the subtleties of their "structure".

It should also be noted that proper posture and body alignment facilitates a number of other "ki"-related biomechanical processes, by allowing the body to work the way it was designed to.

Relaxation
We also all know that relaxing the body improves efficiency. But again, even though most will pay lip service to relaxation, few martial artists seem to actually practice relaxation.

When it comes to "ki", it should be noted that relaxation facilitates a couple of other relevant biomechanical processes, also by allowing the body to operate the way it should.

Blood Flow
Now we're getting into the real phenomenon of "ki". One of the things that relaxation and proper body alignment does is increase blood flow by opening up pinch points in the circulation system.

The big thing increased blood flow explains is the increased body heat one experiences from "ki". This is how monks can go meditate in the winter and melt all the snow on the ground, though they're not moving. (It's quite amazing how warm one can get from simply opening up the circulation system.) Some practitioners claim to be able to generate extreme levels of heat, particularly in the hands. I haven't experienced that, so I can't say if blood flow alone explains such abnormal levels of heat.

I think this increased circulation also helps explain some of the reported health benefits from practicing qigongs and such.

Mental Relaxation & Meditation
Many ki exercises have a meditative quality about them, and meditation has been shown to have all sorts of psychological benefits. Increased focus, awareness, peace of mind, etc. I will add, though, that being mentally relaxed allows one to notice subtle sensations in one's body, which facilitates the development of some of the other biomechanical processes I'm discussing.

And the big one, the Fascia
The above stuff I've mentioned is all pretty "normal". They have benefits, but don't seem to give people those extraordinary "ki abilities" like Ueshiba or Takeda. As I said earlier, I subscribe to the theory that "ki" skills involve the utilization of the fascia.

"Fascia" is a somewhat generic term for various types of connective tissue in the body. Tendons and ligaments are considered fascia. There's a layer of fascia under the skin that holds the muscles and organs and other internal structures in. And there's fascial tissue interwoven with muscle fibers inside the muscles.

Western medicine has found that there's various channels of muscle/ fascia/ tendons that run throughout the body. It is my belief that "body connection" & ki-based movements involve exploiting these muscle/ fascia/ tendon channels.

How exactly isn't known, though there are a couple possibilities. One is that practicioners may learn how to contract the fascia itself. Western medicine has evidence that the fascia can contract, though it doesn't normally. Another possibility is that these channels are used as "strings", such that practitioner can use one part of the body to literally move another.

(If I may make a quick aside, something that's interesting about "using ki" to power movement is that there's a distinct feeling of "expanding" or "pushing", compared with the feeling of "contracting" or "pulling" with muscle. It's like... um, using your chest to push your shoulders back, compared with pulling them with your back. I'm not sure if this is just a mind trick, or if it says something about how fascial movement works.)

Regardless of how exactly it's done, learning to "connect" the body via these channels seems to dramatically increase one's power, while simultaneously decreasing the perceived effort. My understanding is this:

When using normal muscular movement, each joint acts independent of one another. Thus you use a coordinated chain of muscles. And as we know, a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link. Or in this case, one's movement is only as strong as one's weakest muscle. Technique compensates for this with proper body alignment, but the point still stands.

Now though, if one can utilize these muscle/ tendon/ fascia channels to unilaterally "connect" each joint along the movement path, you can eliminate any weak spots. Each joint will be just as strong as the next. Further more, if the "connection" is a uniform "string" rather than a "chain", it's possible to transfer the strain from one joint/muscle down the line to a stronger joint/muscle. This means that practitioners can transfer force not just through a straight line, but also through seemingly weak or awkward lines or angles.

So the reason advanced practicioners seem to have such "effortless" and "superhuman" strength is "simply" because utilizing these channels provides more efficient support for transferring force through the skeletal system. Practitioners can more effectively put their weight into strikes or throws. Also, as Mike said, utilizing these channels allows them to re-direct force, via their skeletal system, to/from the ground. This is what makes certain individuals "unmovable."

At this point, one can begin to understand the idea of "moving with one's center". The abdomen acts as a nexus of sorts for these fascial channels, connecting the upper and lower portions of the body. This means that it's literally possible to use the muscles and other internal structures within the abdomen to power and control the movement of the limbs. Additionally, the diaphragm (aka one's "breath") can be used to "pressurize" the abdominal area and add strength to these "center"-based movements.

This helps explain the highly coordinated movement of people like Kuroda or Ushiro. Instead of simply coordinating several individual movements, they are quite literally making a single movement within their centers that's "pulling along" the limbs.

Some of more woo-woo ki stuff might also be explained with the fascia argument, I believe. As I tried saying earlier in this thread, many of the seemingly mystical stuff attributed to ki---floating, inflating, invisible ki "balls", wind/energy passing by the skin or projected from the hands, the meridian lines, etc---accurately describes the feeling one gets during ki exercises or meditation (and I've personally experienced the sensations I listed). And it should be noted that many of these sensations seem to manifest "just under the skin".

I think this potentially explains why certain individuals can "harden their skin", such as when the shaolin monks bend metal bars with their necks or bend swords pushed into their stomachs.

The fascia theory might explain the increased sensitivity of high-level martial artists. Certain Taiji teachers, for example, claim to be able to feel every bone in their bodies. One of the layers of fascia (I forget which ones) contain certain nerves or sensors that report the position of the bones. If the fascia is developed/strengthened, would these nerves/sensors also be effected? (If that's true, I wonder if there's a connection with various masters ability to make "spontaneous techniques"?)

Western science has also shown that the fascia can generate a magnetic field. Is it possible to harness and direct this ability? There are stories of ki masters lifting knives or other metal objects with their palms. Is it possible to project this force, such that others can feel it? Is it possible to develop this ability and generate electricity (like John Cheng, maybe)? Who knows what's possible, though such abilities would surely be out of reach for all but a handful of elite individuals.

Aiki1
11-16-2007, 03:33 PM
In thinking about this further, I can say that in reality, I am more into "Aiki" than purely "Ki" when it comes to my Aikido - what I mean by that is, it's how one -uses- Ki, whatever one's definition of it is, in an interaction that is more important to me personally.

Ki can be used in different ways (in Aikido and other circumstances), within the full range of having the ability to totally dominate another person (and even hurt them in some devastating ways), to being "invisible" in the process. In my experience, oftentimes at least, people "into Ki" (in Aikido and other arts) are learning about using it's power in an interaction, and thus to me, end up more towards the first "end of the spectrum" - which is about dominating someone.

I am much more into the other side, the "invisible" side, and this, for me, moves more into my sense of Aiki, and "being with" the person and not doing something "to them" - rather than exerting my power over them - because the end result is usually a very different feeling and experience for both parties.

This sense of outcome is important to me, so in my world, Aiki is a Relationship with Ki that manifests into action in accordance with Who You Are Being, not just What You Can Do (in this case, to another person.) The presumption here is that the nature of the outcome has some meaning, and who we are (being) has some relationship to that. For me, that has a lot to do with my core relationship to Aikido.

Mike Sigman
11-16-2007, 03:41 PM
In thinking about this further, I can say that in reality, I am more into "Aiki" than purely "Ki" when it comes to my Aikido - what I mean by that is, it's how one -uses- Ki, whatever one's definition of it is, in an interaction that is more important to me personally.But how can anyone ai with ki if they don't really know what ki is and how to do it? Was Tohei just wasting time teaching people via ki-tests, etc.? Was the one-time chief instructor of Hombu Dojo not as informed as Ueshiba thought?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

eyrie
11-16-2007, 06:50 PM
...You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship. :D

Mike Sigman
11-16-2007, 07:42 PM
Aikiyoda!

Michael Douglas
11-17-2007, 11:32 AM
Talking of Yoda ;
How about that earlier DTR video knocking down the posse holding him up. That's a good one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4M579s8Gni0 (about 3:15)
The undulations of the demonstrator's body seen in the video to effect the "throw" are exploiting the natural rhythmic oscillations of the supporters own double pendulum balance.
No way, he's exploiting a bunch of numptys giving him the bumps. What a crock!:cool:

And I'd like to remind Derek of his great post here, good man (yeah I know it's off topic).
2) Global warming fruitcakes want DESPERATELY to think that we are the cause of many climatic woes on the planet. Nevermind that this isn't the first "hot cycle" the planet has seen, by far...

And good one from Ian, shouldn't be forgotten ;
So, give me a bite-sized bit of Ki which demonstrates the principles you personally attribute to ki (fully explained and described please so there's no confusion) and I'll happily have a go.
Still haven't seen this realised. Anyone having a go?