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04-17-2008, 01:49 PM
There may be a physical limit to how far you can reach with your hand.
There may be a time limit to how far your can reach with your life.
But, there is no limit to how far you can reach with your heart and mind.
Extend from there.
Yes, this is another "wherever the head goes the body will follow" type of articles. When I started to write, I studied the business of writing. I always heard to write about what you know. What I know is that if I cannot get my mind around it, I am certainly not going to get the body to do it. So, I lead with my head. I have even been known to block with it and to use it for a battering ram, but that's another topic and one I don't talk about much because the brain damage sort of clouds the memories.
Extend ki. Extend ki. Extend ki. Seems like I have heard that a lot. It's one of Tohei Sensei's four golden rules. Yet, I had no idea what it meant. I'm still not sure I have an accurate understanding. I do have some vague general hints that you may find useful. It is easier to demonstrate energy than to describe it.
The unbendable arm is a standard test of ki. If you hold your arm out in front and resist with muscle contraction, it is relatively easy to bend the arm. If you relax, breathe, and pretend you have a metal rod running from the back of the room, though your shoulder, elbow, fingers, and into the wall in front of you, it will be very hard to bend the arm. Do the same exercise without the visualization, and the arm goes down easy. Flick the fingers towards the face, atemi, and likewise, the arm falls. So, perhaps the mind, or the pictures we place in it, directs the ki.
The unliftable body is another ki test. Standing normally with your center of gravity placed well into the skull, the body is easy to lift. Relax, breathe, and extend the center of gravity beneath the feet into the ground. With the mind in the earth, it is hard to lift the body. Distract the mind by giving it a different priority (like avoiding get hit, atemi) and the body is easy to move again.
I often use applied kinesiology, or muscle testing to make a point. Hold your arm out in front and have somebody test how strong it is. This is not a power struggle (yet another topic), but a sensitivity drill to establish a base line. Now think something that is negative, a lie, or bad for you and the arm goes weak. Think something positive, true, or good for you and the arm stays strong. Many people think that anger makes them stronger, but according to the body, it makes one weak. Love makes us strong.
This exercise I borrowed from the occult sciences or metaphysics is the pendulum. Take a necklace, any chain that tangles some object. Hold it between your fingers and let it hang down towards a tabletop. Let it come to a rest. Let your mind think back and forth and the pendulum will follow. Think side to side and the pendulum will move side to side. Circle it one-way then circle it another. The pendulum follows the dictates of the mind. If we connect (musubi) to another human being the same way we connect to the pendulum, can we equally effect them? Our lives tend to follow the mental map we unconsciously identify with too.
Sit next to someone who is smiling. You can feel their energy. You want to be there. Sit next to someone who is angry or depressed and you will want to leave as soon as you can. Remember they say that everyone lights up a room; some when they enter and some when they leave. Perhaps ki, our mental/emotional intent, is the energy of that light.
All of this is easiest practiced at first standing still. If you have a good training partner, they can provide you valuable feedback. First just focus on your physical movement, the energy will stop where your hand does. Next, extend that energy as if you had a light-saber shooting from your center (or from within the earth) that follows the structural alignment of the body, traces the walls and ceilings, and directs your energy out into the universe. Relax, and breathe, let the energy extend. You cannot make it extend, you release it and let it.
I have often been kidded about thinking outside the box. To be truthful, I didn't know there was a box. The box is just another mental map that limits our hearts and our minds. Extend beyond what you thought were your limits. Let the mind and heart open. Let the energy extend from there.
Thanks for listening, for the opportunity to be of services, and for sharing the journey. Now get back to training. KWATZ!
Lynn Seiser (b. 1950 Pontiac, Michigan), Ph.D. has been a perpetual student of martial arts, CQC/H2H, FMA/JKD, and other fighting systems for 40 years. He currently holds the rank of Sandan (3rd degree Black Belt) in Tenshinkai Aikido under Sensei Dang Thong Phong at the Westminster Aikikai Dojo in Southern California. He is the co-author, with Phong Sensei, of Aikido Basics (2003), Advanced Aikido (2006), and Aikido Weapons Techniques (2006) for Tuttle Publishing. His martial art articles have appeared in Black Belt Magazine, Aikido Today Magazine, and Martial Arts and Combat Sports Magazine. He is the founder of Aiki-Solutions and IdentityTherapy and is an internationally respected psychotherapist in the clinical treatment of offenders and victims of violence, trauma, abuse, and addiction. He currently lives in Marietta, GA and trains at Roswell Budokan.
04-18-2008, 08:46 AM
The study of Ki and its application in daily life is the main reason I study Ki Aikido. It has changed my perspective in life i believe for the better. Very good article sensei! Thank you very much.
04-21-2008, 09:58 AM
I can't find the box either, Lynn, although I've discovered that as "out of the box" as I am, I still make my own boxes, which can be just as constraining as someone else's. Great article!
04-21-2008, 02:24 PM
I think I couldn't find the box because I was stuck in a barrel.
But as I got drunker on the wine in the barrel, it dawned on me that the conscious mind, emotion and the hands/eyes neurological connection are all tied together. Like the moneky who puts his hand in the gourd to get the apple the hunter left for him. He sees the hunter coming, gets emotional, his center of gravity naturally rises to aid the eyes and brain, he forgets to release the apple and simply pull his hand out of the hole in the gourd. His Ki has curled back into himself (upper torso and brain) and could not extend to be of any tactical use (frfom the soles of the feet, knees and hips).
But if I relax (limbs, mind and torso), keeping my subconscious mind everywhere without overly sticking on any one thing, the lower belly and lower body takes over and Ki is not inhibited.
In this state, it is hard for me to be moved yet I can move with ease. Of course, to do the Tohei trick with 100% success, I still have to place one foot inside the stance of uke (underneath his center of gravity). I think Isaac Newton would say that this simple act causes uke to have to pick himself up in order to pick you up.
Just the meanderings of a wino who got stuck in a barrel for a while.
12-05-2009, 03:16 AM
I find that we are completely in accord or harmony :).
Still, an enlightening article, something you could liken to a kick on the shins to remind one to transcend the realms of physical and what was and what could be and let everything flow in the present.
Thank you just for being :).
12-05-2009, 01:36 PM
I find that we are completely in accord or harmony :).
Which simply means we agree, we think alike. It doesn't mean we are right. In fact, if you agree with me, you might just want to really analyze and question yourself.
12-05-2009, 02:08 PM
I do Sensei, I question everything that i know, like a saying goes "wise men are always full of doubts". But for this moment in time, with all the little wisdom and knowledge i possess, i cannot but agree with you. And in fact, i tell this to everybody else too that do not take my word on it, think about it.
12-05-2009, 04:42 PM
Doubt is negative questioning.
Don't doubt or question, see through what is there.
Another wise person said we do not have to know the truth only see through the illusions.
12-05-2009, 05:28 PM
Hai, wakarimashita sensei
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