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Mary Eastland
04-04-2009, 08:08 AM
Mary Malmros said : Well...this is where y'all bring out the boffer bats (or the bokken) and start whaling on me and yellling, "Mary, shut UP!" But does "spirit" have anything to do with "spirituality"? I think of "spirituality" as a connection with the divine, whether that be Allah or the kami or Jesus or the god in you. The usage of "spirit" in the martial arts, OTOH, has always given me the sense that it was a translation of a word that referred to a particular attitude and that the original had no connotations of the sacred. So, am I wrong about that?

This thought made me think.

The words god and ki cause a lot of response...people get emotional and defensive when the words god and ki are used.

If we could set that defensiveness aside and continue to communicate our thoughts while listening to others the real issues might be heard.

Being in the moment and accepting what every uke offers is sacred. This experience helps me connect to others in the outside world. Both god and ki are in the now. Aikido training deepens this experience for me making my life a sacred mysterious practice. :)

Mary

Buck
04-04-2009, 10:45 AM
Mary Malmros said : Well...this is where y'all bring out the boffer bats (or the bokken) and start whaling on me and yellling, "Mary, shut UP!" But does "spirit" have anything to do with "spirituality"? I think of "spirituality" as a connection with the divine, whether that be Allah or the kami or Jesus or the god in you. The usage of "spirit" in the martial arts, OTOH, has always given me the sense that it was a translation of a word that referred to a particular attitude and that the original had no connotations of the sacred. So, am I wrong about that?

This thought made me think.

The words god and ki cause a lot of response...people get emotional and defensive when the words god and ki are used.

If we could set that defensiveness aside and continue to communicate our thoughts while listening to others the real issues might be heard.

Being in the moment and accepting what every uke offers is sacred. This experience helps me connect to others in the outside world. Both god and ki are in the now. Aikido training deepens this experience for me making my life a sacred mysterious practice. :)

Mary

Not to bust your bubble, and I appreciate where you are going on this, but these type of discussions usually don't get past the arguments of proving or defining the existence of both god and ki.

Ki and god are such abstract ideas that are suspectable to such a vast range of interpretation of tangible existance and definations and stuff.

The you have the emotional ties to the words, and people defend their views of both ki and god (mostly god) to the extreme of life and limb.

I would love to read a discussion on ki and god that goes past all that. But, it is so difficult to get past that stuff in a discussion. And I am guilty of that. :(

mathewjgano
04-04-2009, 11:36 AM
Being in the moment and accepting what every uke offers is sacred. This experience helps me connect to others in the outside world. Both god and ki are in the now. Aikido training deepens this experience for me making my life a sacred mysterious practice. :)

Mary

This is beautifully worded, Mary! Thank you!
As Buck said, these are pretty abstract concepts and that makes it very hard to discuss, but I liken them to abstract or surreal paintings. We may never understand the exact meaning behind their artists' expression (I don't think many of the artists even did), but we can still make the attempt and find a variety of possible meanings...and it is this other-regarding mode of thinking which i think is crucial to conflict resolution, the basic purpose behind Aikido.
I hope I don't come across as too ego-centric in this next bit (just ego-centric enough!evileyes :D ), but I have had a fairly wide variety of friends, many of whom never seemed able to see eye-to-eye on any number of issues, let alone spiritual ones. My perception has pretty much been that these people don't get along because they're too busy translating everything into their own terms AND nothing beyond that. It's a practical mode of behavior because it gives concrete guidelines on how to readily behave. However, the ability to suspend belief is invaluable to me because of examples like these from my own life...which I think ties into Mary's remarks about a sacred and mysterious practice. I'm rarely confident like when I say it's very hard to live in the midst of uncertainty. Mine is an extreme example, but the need to define and categorize ideas can be somewhat compulsory, and for good reason too, but considering the notion that we're all essentially ignorant of the universe at large (from macro to micro), those definitions are somewhat weak to begin with. The ultimate question in topics like these, I think, has to do with functionality: "how does it (the concept) work for you?"
Ok, I don't feel very concise right now so I'll end my bit of rambling there and hope it will have served somethin useful to the conversation. Thanks again for the food for thought!
Cheers,
Matt

Buck
04-04-2009, 11:43 AM
One more thought. In hopes of redeeming myself. Perhaps, I am guilty of being one of those who Mary talks about. But understanding the origin of these things are is important to their existence and what they mean. Where gods and created for this or that reason, as a result of this or that. I can't say for sure but I can say these things have an importance. Here is my take, on that importance.

I feel god and ki primary resulting function is to have power over others. It seems part of being us, is that as humans want power of each other. Take the concept of gods, which seem to provide that power over others, even though the original purpose might not have been that. The origin of god(s) may have been mostly to explain things what was not understood or more powerful then,us, humans. And /or for persuasion and power over others in times previous times where the concept of god(s) was much more powerfully believed in. Gods are a many as the stars, with vast definitions and conceptions of powers.

Ki, in the martial sense is an invisible power used to defeat others generally. It isn't something that can do Cupid's job. Ki is a weapon. Whether it is the application of physics or something else it too was conceived in ancient times where understanding of the sciences where not developed. This creates a problem with language, terminology, and precise universal definition. Thus, everyone then can be on the same page in a discussion. Never the less the origin of Ki is related to having power over others - what ever it its.

I think knowing the importance of or even the origin ( if possible ) of the why, what, and when may answer the ideas of gods or ki existing. It can also lead us to understand why we personally believe in them to exist, (on faith- if you like), or the lack of understanding of what we are going, or happening around us, and then explaining it (we humans have a need for that which we don't understand to be explained) as an act of god or result of ki.

A personal thing here, I think ki is terminology for many physical things that at one time in the past where observed but given the blanket term of ki. For example, Aikido. Meaning it is an art that uses the principles of physics in such away to get the job done,and it is hard to tell what is happening, and the ease of say the throw. In contrast to say brute might and strength. Western wrestling has many maneuvers that can be labeled ki, and moves that are might against might. Ki as a principle of physics, such as a simple fulcrum and lever or pulleys over come the limitations of might. Thus the purpose of the weaker (limited strength or force) overs coming the stronger (greater strength or force). Simply, use the model of tug of war. Both teams pulling against each others force and energy, until one team lowers their center of gravity or uses another principle of physics that the opposing team can't defeat. Sorry, can't even get into the topic of god in the same way.

We all want to define things in the way we see them, and resist seeing the way others do. Or in the original way such things where created. Maybe this is because, we all secretly want to be as wise and powerful over others and create the idea of gods is to reflect that what is within ourselves, and our own desires. That is way we fight so hard to defend what we believe. Yes, it boils down to power struggles that we use words like god and ki.

Buck
04-04-2009, 03:12 PM
Ki, in the martial sense is an invisible power used to defeat others generally. It isn't something that can do Cupid's job.

Thus, everyone then can be on the same page in a discussion.



Opps....

The sentences above should have read:

Ki, in the martial sense is an invisible power used to defeat others generally. It isn't something that [can't ]do Cupid's job.

This creates a problem with language, terminology, and precise universal definition. Thus, everyone then [can't] be on the same page in a discussion.

Mary Eastland
04-05-2009, 11:54 AM
Buck wrote: We all want to define things in the way we see them, and resist seeing the way others do. Or in the original way such things where created. Maybe this is because, we all secretly want to be as wise and powerful over others and create the idea of gods is to reflect that what is within ourselves, and our own desires. That is way we fight so hard to defend what we believe. Yes, it boils down to power struggles that we use words like god and ki.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Last edited by Buck : Yesterday at 04:55 PM.

That being said:

Can't we challenge oursleves to step outside of what we believe? Could we really listen and understand what another is saying?

Can't we open our minds and hearts to the bigger uke....to not have power over others but to discipline oursleves when we have a habitual response?
Instead of defending my response I can step into the question and breathe into the discomfort.

I can relax more. I can think they might have a point. Maybe I could look at their ideas and allow learning to continue.
Then I might have less to defend and more peace to feel.
Mary

mathewjgano
04-05-2009, 01:19 PM
This creates a problem with...precise universal definition. Thus, everyone then [can't] be on the same page in a discussion.

I think even with slippery concepts people can arrive upon the same page, so to speak. The trick is suspending our own metric/rubric in an attempt at "divining" that of the other. Or another way of putting it: not letting pre-existing knowledge taint the upload of new information. That's not to say at some point we shouldn't cross-reference with our pre-existing notions. Presumably, we came up with those for good reason, but information/ideas can obfuscate just as much as they can reveal.
Understanding doesn't need language. In front of Tsubaki America shrine there are two dragons (I think) one with it's mouth open, the other with it closed. They represent understanding without language and I think their archetype applies to this conversation.
I disagree that the use of ki and god (the terms, of course) necessarily bring 'power struggles'...although I might have a slightly different sense of the phrase. I think the power struggles which probably tend to arise around their use are more directly related to other things.

Joe McParland
04-05-2009, 01:57 PM
Can't we challenge oursleves to step outside of what we believe? Could we really listen and understand what another is saying?

Can't we open our minds and hearts to the bigger uke....to not have power over others but to discipline oursleves when we have a habitual response?
Instead of defending my response I can step into the question and breathe into the discomfort.

I can relax more. I can think they might have a point. Maybe I could look at their ideas and allow learning to continue.
Then I might have less to defend and more peace to feel.
Mary

Developing fudoshin / equanimity keeps you from being blown off your own position, whatever it is. Not having a position to defend (shoshin) is an entirely different matter. Using each encounter to awaken the other to that there is nothing to defend? That's one understanding of Aikido---Priceless ;)

Jonathan
04-05-2009, 03:09 PM
The words god and ki cause a lot of response...people get emotional and defensive when the words god and ki are used.

Why is that, do you think?

If we could set that defensiveness aside and continue to communicate our thoughts while listening to others the real issues might be heard.

You seem to assume here that one cannot be defensive and truly hear a person whose views differ from one's own. Might it not be that one's defensiveness arises because one understands another's viewpoint?

What "real issues" do you mean?

Being in the moment and accepting what every uke offers is sacred.

I don't know what you mean here...Perhaps your idea of "sacred" is different than mine...Could you explain a little?

This experience helps me connect to others in the outside world. Both god and ki are in the now.

How are these two statements connected, exactly? And what do you mean by "connect to others" and "are in the now"?

Aikido training deepens this experience for me making my life a sacred mysterious practice.

What do you mean by life being a "practice"? And do you think that something which makes your life more mysterious, or less clearly understood (which is what I understand "mysterious" to imply), is a positive thing? If so, why?

I hope you don't mind my questions. I come across the kinds of words and phrases you use quite often in the Aikido world and never actually fully understand what is being said. Maybe you can elucidate for me. :confused: :)

Jon.

mathewjgano
04-05-2009, 05:02 PM
The words god and ki cause a lot of response...people get emotional and defensive when the words god and ki are used.

Why is that, do you think?
I'd be curious about how you'd answer this question. Would you mind giving your opinion?

Mary Eastland
04-05-2009, 05:19 PM
Why is that, do you think?

Because people might think they have the one right answer.

JH You seem to assume here that one cannot be defensive and truly hear a person whose views differ from one's own. Might it not be that one's defensiveness arises because one understands another's viewpoint?

You could be right.

JH What "real issues" do you mean?

Issues like acceptance and compassion and understanding.

JH I don't know what you mean here...Perhaps your idea of "sacred" is different than mine...Could you explain a little?

Sacred=regarded with reverance.

JH How are these two statements connected, exactly? And what do you mean by "connect to others" and "are in the now"?

When uke attacks me I do not look to overpower him or her. I receive the attack, blend with it and throw. In the now... being present not in the past or future...now is all that exists.

JH What do you mean by life being a "practice"? And do you think that something which makes your life more mysterious, or less clearly understood (which is what I understand "mysterious" to imply), is a positive thing? If so, why?

I consider the world my dojo.
I pray, meditate, and work at changing ideas and behaviors that don't work for me. I receive help and hope from the god, nature and people. This makes life wonderful and mysterious.

Aikido training contrubutes to a large part of my meditative practice. I don't try to change my uke so I don't try to change people. I accept my uke as they are at this moment. I accept people in the world as they are at this moment. I blend with the conditions and move on.

JH I hope you don't mind my questions. I come across the kinds of words and phrases you use quite often in the Aikido world and never actually fully understand what is being said. Maybe you can elucidate for me. :confused: :)

Thanks for asking.
Mary

Kevin Karr
04-05-2009, 07:38 PM
Re: "Spirit"

Too many words. Just train!

Mary Eastland
04-05-2009, 08:06 PM
Geez Kevin..I don't really have that much to say...what do you say to the likes of George and Buck and Peter?
;o)
Mary

Jonathan
04-05-2009, 08:38 PM
Matthew:

You wrote:

I'd be curious about how you'd answer this question. Would you mind giving your opinion?

You're curious now, but perhaps by the time you finish reading my answer you'll just be disappointed. Then again, maybe not. ;)

So, why do I think the words "god" and "ki" cause defensive and emotional responses from people? Hmmm...I don't think there is a single answer I could offer that would account for everyone, of course. Generally, though, I suspect, at least when people talk about God (or god, whatever), the idea of some Thing/One being superior to us and standing in judgment upon our deeds gets people's hackles up. So long as "god" remains some amorphous entity/idea that is malleable enough to be bent to reflect the individual's own ideas of the divine (which means, essentially, that the individual is god), then god remains fairly innocuous. I guess it isn't so much, then, the idea of a God that provokes people as it is the idea that God can be clearly defined and known - especially if that God renders any sort of negative opinion on our conduct or asserts Him/Her/Its will upon us.

The idea of ki being provocative is a little strange to me. Personally, defining ki is not provocative to me in the least. Why do others find it worth getting wound up over? I expect they don't so long as (like in the situation with the term "God"), no one says dogmatically, "This is ki." I suspect this is at least somewhat connected to postmodern philosophy which has so deeply infected Western culture.

Have I satisfied your curiosity? :)

Mary:

You wrote:

If we could set that defensiveness aside and continue to communicate our thoughts while listening to others the real issues might be heard.

When I asked you what the "real issues" were you wrote:

Issues like acceptance and compassion and understanding.

How are these things "real issues," exactly? I mean, how are they more "real" than issues concerned with god or ki?

Being in the moment and accepting what every uke offers is sacred.

Sacred=regarded with reverance.

So, you revere being in the moment and accepting what every uke offers? Interesting...Why have you chosen to frame these things with religious terms?

When uke attacks me I do not look to overpower him or her. I receive the attack, blend with it and throw. In the now... being present not in the past or future...now is all that exists.

Okay. Let me ask, then: If your goal is not to overpower uke, why throw uke at all? Why do all that you must to throw uke (receive, blend, etc.) if you don't intend to overpower uke? Doing all this, it seems to me, is in an effort to exert control over uke. I suppose one could argue that controlling uke and overpowering uke are not the same thing, but I wonder if the distinction is more semantic than real. I should think that if someone attacked you on the street and you threw him/her to the ground with shihonage, he/she would feel overpowered whether or not it was your goal...

"Now is all that exists." You specifically mean in the context of dealing with uke, right? Or do you see all of life as existing only in "now"?

I consider the world my dojo.
I pray, meditate, and work at changing ideas and behaviors that don't work for me. I receive help and hope from the god, nature and people. This makes life wonderful and mysterious.

I suppose it would make life wonderful. :) Mysterious, though? I don't know what you mean by "mysterious."

Jon.

jennifer paige smith
04-05-2009, 09:34 PM
[/B] training deepens this experience for me making my life a sacred mysterious practice. :)

Mary

You and a coupla others::)

Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man's desire to understand. --Neil Armstrong

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. --Albert Einstein

We wake, if ever at all, to mystery. --Annie Dillard

As soon as man does not take his existence for granted, but beholds it as something unfathomably mysterious, thought begins. --Albert Schweitzer

God asks no man whether he will accept life. That is not the choice. You must accept it. The only choice is how. --Henry Ward Beecher

People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering. --Augustine

No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to unchartered land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.-- Helen Keller

[Consciousness] is either inexplicable illusion, or else revelation.-- C.S. Lewis

Earth's crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees, takes off his shoes - The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries. --Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.-- Johnathan Swift

He is short-sighted who looks only on the path he treads and the wall on which he leans. --Kahlil Kibran

Abasan
04-05-2009, 09:58 PM
In his private lecture to Saotome, Osensei talked of Saotome's sudden enlightenment in Aikido as spiritual and hence to keep it to himself because sadly enough most of his other students don't understand that and wouldn't want to understand it.

Osensei himself founded Aikido after achieving spiritual enlightenment and he specifically mentioned God's love. What he later term as the universal awareness and love that he knows ultimately originated from a single divine.

I've taken to reading back some of my older books and recently finished again reading Aikido and The New Warrior. A compilation of essays from various notables of the American aikido fraternity. Including people like George Ledyard, T. Dobson and etc. Without a doubt, this particular collection seems to revolve around aikidoist who are tremendously curious or focused on the learning of ki and harmony in aikido. Each essay will undoubtedly espouse the principal blending. I believe the collection of essays span the time of the 70s and probably coincides with the then wide movement of the flower power.

That these sort of people got 'into' Aikido because of their search for harmony with the world and their distaste for raw violence seems so at odds with what the newer generation of aikidoist is searching for; domination, control and power to defeat. Time and time again, questions of defeating a 'real attack', an MMA fighter and brand X martial arts becomes the prime mover.

Ostensibly, questions of Ki and Spirituality becomes persona non grata, to be quietly tolerated but given only so much leeway before the discussion is veered towards more earthly orientation. Suddenly I ask to myself, if this is what you seek, why do you learn aikido? Aren't there more arts that would fulfil those very earthly desires? Wing chun, systema, aikijutsu, silat are all very relevant arts. They have softness that can be applied to an attacker that would effectively stop a confrontation without harming the opponent just as much as what Aikido has promised to do. You can also vouch for their street effectiveness. They also have no qualms about trying it out for real? It struck me as funny. That the guys who continuously challenge Aikido's desire to be united in both mind, body and spiritual enlightenment are the guys who continue training in Aikido and hating it. They have every choice to leave and study the aforementioned arts or MMA or BJJ or name your CMA here. This I believe comes from the need to validate their theory or perhaps something even more insidious. That their spirit and mind are looking for change and enlightenment and that they wish someday Aikido would do it for them. Only their body doesn't believe it really.

I've no idea why I actually wrote this. But somehow the title of this post just seems right.

And btw, Elizabeth Browning's quote is so profound. Its even in the Quran.

mathewjgano
04-05-2009, 10:53 PM
You're curious now, but perhaps by the time you finish reading my answer you'll just be disappointed. Then again, maybe not. ;)

heheheh...one of my mottos: the unaimed arrow never misses. So, I was just curious and now I'm not any more. Thanks.

RonRagusa
04-05-2009, 10:59 PM
"Now is all that exists." You specifically mean in the context of dealing with uke, right? Or do you see all of life as existing only in "now"?

When else but in the moment can anything exist?

Ron

Erick Mead
04-05-2009, 11:47 PM
The words god and ki cause a lot of response...people get emotional and defensive when the words god and ki are used.Why is that, do you think?Because people might think they have the one right answer.

There is only one right answer: Do not treat subjects like objects. Treat all subjects with the respect you, as a subject, expect. Covers God -- and everybody else...

All the Law and the Prophets and the sages and the shamans agree.

When someone errs, (and we do err), correct them as you would like to be corrected -- and, I find, on occasions when I have been particularly unkind -- sometimes I can be very harsh with myself....

:)

What is God, but an acknowledgment that no matter how much we try conceal what we do from anyone, or even ourselves, someone is always watching and judging how we treat each other -- I know -- I am.
;)

Jonathan
04-06-2009, 10:12 AM
When else but in the moment can anything exist?

On a purely physical level I understand what you're saying. But in the mind, of course, this is not the case. Memory, desire, and imagination all move the mind across past, present and future in a constant, jumbled flow.

Jon.

C. David Henderson
04-06-2009, 11:50 AM
In the mind, memory, desire, and imagination all move in the present moment.

Jonathan
04-06-2009, 02:03 PM
In the mind, memory, desire, and imagination all move in the present moment.

Yes. But the mind can be almost completely oblivious to now as it anticipates/imagines the future, or dwells in/upon the past. In this sense, it can be quite free of "now." :)

Jon.

C. David Henderson
04-06-2009, 02:16 PM
Jon,

I certainly understand what you're saying. Your point of view provides an interesting take on "freedom-from-now;" rather than the usual "Freedom of Now." (e.g., Mr. Tolle's famous book)

I appreciate the symmetry.

I wonder if there is anything to the "now" from which one needs be freed other than the "not-now" offered up by the mind.

Of course, the orthodox answer is likely "no," but in some situations, e.g., sitting in the dentist's chair getting a root canal, I personally need to find refuge in "anything-but-now."

Probably a reflection of my need for further growth, and lack of understanding of the causes of my suffering I suppose...(other than failure to floss daily.)

regards,

cdh

mathewjgano
04-06-2009, 06:22 PM
I wonder if there is anything to the "now" from which one needs be freed other than the "not-now" offered up by the mind...e.g., sitting in the dentist's chair getting a root canal, I personally need to find refuge in "anything-but-now."
:D That's funny, not long ago I went to the dentist and prayed to god (whoever might be listening) the novocain was enough and used my ki (focused intention) to lessen the pain when it was just slightly not. The "middle of now" became the same kind of tiled ceiling I dislike installing at work while memories of why i was so intently looking up at the ceiling kept popping up.:straightf

jonreading
07-09-2009, 12:25 PM
Mary Malmros said : Well...this is where y'all bring out the boffer bats (or the bokken) and start whaling on me and yellling, "Mary, shut UP!" But does "spirit" have anything to do with "spirituality"? I think of "spirituality" as a connection with the divine, whether that be Allah or the kami or Jesus or the god in you. The usage of "spirit" in the martial arts, OTOH, has always given me the sense that it was a translation of a word that referred to a particular attitude and that the original had no connotations of the sacred. So, am I wrong about that?

This thought made me think.

The words god and ki cause a lot of response...people get emotional and defensive when the words god and ki are used.

If we could set that defensiveness aside and continue to communicate our thoughts while listening to others the real issues might be heard.

Being in the moment and accepting what every uke offers is sacred. This experience helps me connect to others in the outside world. Both god and ki are in the now. Aikido training deepens this experience for me making my life a sacred mysterious practice. :)

Mary

In social company, never discuss religion and politics...and ki. :)

Anytime you challenge beliefs, you are bound to receive a strong reaction in defense of those beliefs.To challenge a belief caullously is both disrespectful and inflammatory; whether or not the belief is accurate is irrelevant. I think we could all use a lesson in manners when we approach such sensitive topics. To a lesser degree, I believe the same circumstances surround the belief in ki; either you believe in ki or you don't.

Aristotle classifies a type of audience which no orator can persuade and advices orators not to persue discourse with that audience since it will never succeed. I think the audience is very important to successful discussion about omnipotent beings and ki energy. Unfortunately, there will always be a troll whose anger towards arguing against a belief supercedes the fact he is not the targeted audience of the conversation and he will subsequently weigh in...

aikilouis
07-09-2009, 04:10 PM
In social company, never discuss religion and politics...and ki. :)

Anytime you challenge beliefs, you are bound to receive a strong reaction in defense of those beliefs.To challenge a belief caullously is both disrespectful and inflammatory; whether or not the belief is accurate is irrelevant. I think we could all use a lesson in manners when we approach such sensitive topics. To a lesser degree, I believe the same circumstances surround the belief in ki; either you believe in ki or you don't.

Aristotle classifies a type of audience which no orator can persuade and advices orators not to persue discourse with that audience since it will never succeed. I think the audience is very important to successful discussion about omnipotent beings and ki energy. Unfortunately, there will always be a troll whose anger towards arguing against a belief supercedes the fact he is not the targeted audience of the conversation and he will subsequently weigh in...
Sometimes jumping in the middle of danger with the violence of a flamethrower is the best move, especially when it means challenging beliefs, which are nothing more than opinions in dignified clothing.

mathewjgano
07-09-2009, 06:19 PM
Aristotle classifies a type of audience which no orator can persuade and advices orators not to persue discourse with that audience since it will never succeed. I think the audience is very important to successful discussion about omnipotent beings and ki energy. Unfortunately, there will always be a troll whose anger towards arguing against a belief supercedes the fact he is not the targeted audience of the conversation and he will subsequently weigh in...

Some thoughts:
You cannot tell which people belong to that group which might never be able to be reached...assuming it really exists (I sense a self-fulfilling prophecy here).
Segregating our thinking because it's difficult seems problematic to me. It certainly deserves a high degree of caution and sensitivity, but, as I see it, where two diametrically opposed camps exist, segregated thinking allows for a festering sore to deepen; outreach, on the other hand, can promote commonality. That is to say, I completely disagree with many views, but in talking with some of those who hold those views I began to sense the same humanity me and mine have and at least a begrudging respect began to form.
For me it's been easier to write people off when I've had no contact with them.

Suru
07-09-2009, 07:09 PM
The words god and ki cause a lot of response...people get emotional and defensive when the words god and ki are used.
Mary

People get defensive because of fear. Written "holy" texts pertaining to God, most significantly the Bible and Koran, teach to love and fear God. In the movie Donnie Darko, Patrick Swayze's character speaks of fear and love as being polar opposites. Even though Jake's character disagrees and is "cool" for doing so, they in fact absolutely cannot coexist. Even after reading the entire NKJV Bible and Koran, I found myself left as a stranger to God. What we do not understand, we fear, out of one of the most basic human instincts - survival. Ki is mysterious as well, although I believe some have attained knowledge of its essence. Most people, on the other hand, who have heard of ki, fear it. It is pure fear of the unknown that results in "people get[ting] emotional and defensive when the words of god and ki are used."

For a fresh image of God, There should be no Aikidoka whom hasn't read Saotome's "Aikido and the Harmony of Nature." This ultimate wealth of Aikido knowledge as well as general wisdom just shouldn't pass anyone by.

Drew

Mary Eastland
07-09-2009, 08:37 PM
You are not going to experience ki by reading about it.
Mary

Suru
07-09-2009, 08:57 PM
You are not going to experience ki by reading about it.
Mary
True.

Drew

jonreading
07-10-2009, 01:00 PM
Some thoughts:
You cannot tell which people belong to that group which might never be able to be reached...assuming it really exists (I sense a self-fulfilling prophecy here).
Segregating our thinking because it's difficult seems problematic to me. It certainly deserves a high degree of caution and sensitivity, but, as I see it, where two diametrically opposed camps exist, segregated thinking allows for a festering sore to deepen; outreach, on the other hand, can promote commonality. That is to say, I completely disagree with many views, but in talking with some of those who hold those views I began to sense the same humanity me and mine have and at least a begrudging respect began to form.
For me it's been easier to write people off when I've had no contact with them.

Sorry, I need to clarify what Aristotle was getting at... To pursue discourse with an oppposed group is to tailor the discussion to placate the opposition, which Aristotle advises against. Instead, he advocates pursuing the argument which will appeal to the persuasive group; that is, the group which may be turned to advocate for the argument in point. The discourse actually has nothing to do with the orator picking out and segregating the audience. Rather, its about the orator choosing the substance of discussion and seeing the discussion maintains its integrity for the duration of the oration.

It is basically advice to for debators to keep focus on the issue at hand and prevent opposing debators from occluding the issue and taking control of the debate. Constructing an argument does not have anything to do with segrated thinking, it has to do with creating an argument that can resist attacks to change topics from the core of the discussion. I argee with Mary here...most threads about religion and ki do not maintain the core discussion from the original post. They derail and digress into someone calling someone else something bad and Jun kills the tread.

To which I will add a comment which I think plays a role in all belief-based arguments: A belief transcends empirical evidence. A belief is so firmly fixed in one's being that it is undeterrable. So what is the point of arguing against a belief? There is no point. Yet in my first post I argue there are trolls more interested in arguing aginst beliefs then accepting the belief and discussing their perspectives of their own belief.

For example, Matthew says:
That is to say, I completely disagree with many views, but in talking with some of those who hold those views I began to sense the same humanity me and mine have and at least a begrudging respect began to form.

I assume since we are talking about beliefs, Matthew intended to qualify his complete disagreements as relating to beliefs. His beliefs are not relevant to mine, nor can he argue to persuade me to change my beliefs. So while at best we may have discourse exchanging how we arrived at our convictions, there is no argument.

So here is the question, why are we consumed with arguing beliefs?

mathewjgano
07-10-2009, 08:36 PM
Sorry, I need to clarify what Aristotle was getting at... To pursue discourse with an oppposed group is to tailor the discussion to placate the opposition, which Aristotle advises against. Instead, he advocates pursuing the argument which will appeal to the persuasive group; that is, the group which may be turned to advocate for the argument in point.

The discourse actually has nothing to do with the orator picking out and segregating the audience. Rather, its about the orator choosing the substance of discussion and seeing the discussion maintains its integrity for the duration of the oration.
If Aristotle is simply saying, "maintain your argument; don't get side-tracked," then I agree. If he is saying, "don't tailor your arguments to placate (to any degree) your opponants' sensibilities," then I disagree. As it pertains to purely fact-based discussions I think it's pretty simple: your facts should be clear enough to support themselves and draw the support of those you are debating. Of course this requires all parties to be more interested in facts than in "winning." Where facts seem to support the opposing view, they must be worked into forming a new argument since fact-based arguments should be concerned only with the facts.

Constructing an argument does not have anything to do with segrated thinking, it has to do with creating an argument that can resist attacks to change topics from the core of the discussion.
I agree.

To which I will add a comment which I think plays a role in all belief-based arguments: A belief transcends empirical evidence.
One of the more fascinating "debates" to me has been that of global warming. I remember debating some peers who asserted it was a hoax cooked up by the leftist agenda. That was a belief which in many cases has been changed by the simple fact that on the whole, the globe has warmed a bit. So where a belief can be supported or rejected by evidence, I think it doesn't necessarily transcend the evidence. However, in cases like the spaghetti monster in the sky or the purple unicorn in the remotest of space, evidence will do no direct good, though it might force an adjustment in some other assumed corrolary.

A belief is so firmly fixed in one's being that it is undeterrable. So what is the point of arguing against a belief?
Because there are aspects of a belief which might still be shaped. I know a person who grew up believing very firmly in his family's understanding of the Bible. I have another friend who was quite antagonistic of Christianity. He was able to affect certain doubts on the part of the first friend. From the skeptic's view, it wasn't pointless. There is no right or wrong here in my opinion, but one did argue against a belief with success. I also recall a fellow on TV describe his particular bent on Christianity suddenly changing once he learned to read in the original Greek. Here's another case where evidence of some variety changed belief. Belief is often viewed as unreasonable...and it often is, but reason can still be applied with success because it still often goes into the formation of beliefs.

I assume since we are talking about beliefs, Matthew intended to qualify his complete disagreements as relating to beliefs. His beliefs are not relevant to mine, nor can he argue to persuade me to change my beliefs. So while at best we may have discourse exchanging how we arrived at our convictions, there is no argument.
I think I see what you're saying. Yes, i think we agree here, except I'd like to reiterate the idea that reason often plays a part in the formation of belief. Where there is no common ground to begin with, then there can be no argument, just an explanation.

So here is the question, why are we consumed with arguing beliefs?

I think, because they're treated as facts and I believe we're compelled to treat them with similar kinds of explanations. Also, many beliefs are ascribed such a high degree of importance that we feel compelled to assert that importance upon others: "my belief is of the highest virtue, so I feel compelled to defend that virtue against perceived onslaughts." This is why doubt was often held as being just as bad as skepticism during the Holy Roman Empire...a gateway drug of sorts, leading to the very same evil.

...As I think I understand it anyway.

JohnDavis
07-12-2009, 03:48 PM
Hi all. I've been reading through the replies to this topic and it all reminds me of the "ki wars" on the Aikido-L list. They usually begin with someone from the Ki Society like me using Ki in a post or putting "extend ki" or "ki is extending" in their signature and someone else replying "how dare you mention ki to me. It doesn't exist, I tell you! It mustn't exist I tell you! My view of reality cannot absorb something that cannot be proven to exist by dropping it." Well, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but if you read between the lines, that is what the person is saying. Defenders of the Faith form opposing ranks and the battle is begun. They can get rather humorous or dangerously personal. But they are all symptomatic of something I have noticed in society since Watergate.

We as a society in the US have become more and more spiritually devoid. Oh, there are plenty of religious folk here, but even they are very materialistic. Just look at the memberships in churches. Those that are growing the fastest are those that focus on the physical realities...These are the Baptists and the Non-denominationalists. Some mega-churches put on big shows but they criticize the very spiritual beliefs that were dominant when their denomination was founded. Jesus isn't a divine being who brings salvation, but a very human man who brings the key to wealth. While the Catholic church still holds officially that miracles and divine visitations occur and even have a few "uncorrupted" corpses on display here and there, but the average layman has no more faith in Fatima or Lourdes than they do in UFOs or Bigfoot.

What these people all have great faith in is Newtonian Physics, Money, the solidity of bricks and the Religion of Science. That's right. Most lay people are more inclined to believe that every word out of a non-quantum scientist's mouth is Holy Writ. We have come to believe that we are god and that man is man made. We have lost the sense of wonder, the sense of the miraculous in the everyday. We miss the purpose of misogi or ki breathing. We miss the clear understanding that we are just a small piece in a big puzzle. We miss the Dharma, the truth. Believe it or not, but half of what Jesus said are koans...That's right, comparable to Zen Koans and just as "easy" to understand.

Right now, scientists and doctors from around the world are making great strides to proving the existence of Subtle Energies (Ki, Chi, Pranna) and how they apply to human healing. Right now, a woman named Lynn McTaggart, a reporter turned investigator is leading a world wide Intention Experiment. Her theory is if enough people focus intention on a target, it can be effected. So far we have targeted the Civil War in Sri Lanka and effects on polluted water. The Human Consciousness Experiment (from Harvard or MIT) has located random number generators (EGGs) around the world to see if events effect the local Consciousness field. In cases of fractures that do not heal within 3 months, Orthopedists can apply an electromagnetic generator that oscillates at a particular frequency and will heal that bone. There is a lot more going on in this arena but that is not germane to the topic at hand.

All of this is happening but you will not find out about it in mainstream media. What passes for media is more interested in what is wrong than what is right. They will show you the brick, but will not tell you that it is a proven fact that bricks are made up mostly of empty space.

It is sad that so many feel it necessary to back the debunkers, the "but one study shows" experts that refuse to see the evidence that there is a God and his Universe is a wondrous place full of marvels and life all surrounded in the Living Matrix or Ki. I hope and pray that those who choose not to see this reality will allow those who do the respect they themselves demand.

mathewjgano
07-13-2009, 01:46 AM
We as a society in the US have become more and more spiritually devoid. Oh, there are plenty of religious folk here, but even they are very materialistic. Just look at the memberships in churches. Those that are growing the fastest are those that focus on the physical realities...the average layman has no more faith in Fatima or Lourdes than they do in UFOs or Bigfoot.
I'm a pretty non-materialistic fellow, but I appreciate the draw to materialism. It's comfortable; practical; you can touch it. You have something to show for yourself. God and ki are pretty ethereal.

It is sad that so many feel it necessary to back the debunkers, the "but one study shows" experts that refuse to see the evidence that there is a God and his Universe is a wondrous place full of marvels and life all surrounded in the Living Matrix or Ki. I hope and pray that those who choose not to see this reality will allow those who do the respect they themselves demand.
I see the intricacies of order and have to wonder if there is God, some meta-purpose. I don't believe there isn't; I don't believe there is. I personally back debunkers because insofaras they debunk, they provide a service toward greater understanding. The trick as I see it is remembering the difference between improbable and impossible, fact and perception; remembering that perception comes entirely (or nearly so) about through some medium and is itself shaped by that medium. I do not see evidence of God. I see evidence of a wonderous thing: existance. It is so amazing that it seems quite possibly designed (for lack of a better word), but I do not forget that for all I know, it's an amazingly vast coincidence, and thus, entirely material.

...and search with awe for the spiritual through my navigation of the material.

jonreading
07-13-2009, 12:05 PM
If Aristotle is simply saying, "maintain your argument; don't get side-tracked," then I agree. If he is saying, "don't tailor your arguments to placate (to any degree) your opponants' sensibilities," then I disagree. As it pertains to purely fact-based discussions I think it's pretty simple: your facts should be clear enough to support themselves and draw the support of those you are debating. Of course this requires all parties to be more interested in facts than in "winning." Where facts seem to support the opposing view, they must be worked into forming a new argument since fact-based arguments should be concerned only with the facts.

If the presentation of empirical evidence were wholly the realm of argumentative discussion I would argee you you. However, it is al too easy to occlude a factual point. Since we are on the subject, here is a classic example of a tanget designed to occlude the issue at hand:
Person A: I believe there is a God. Prove to me there is no God.
Person B: Prove to me there is a God.
Person A offered an issue of debate and challenged B to provide evidence to support a conclusive statement. Person B responded by first ignoring the burden of proof and second offering a counter issue to tangent the argument.
If person A chooses to tailor her argument to address person B's response, she will have lost the issue at hand which will remain undiscussed; the burden of proof now shifts to person A and the initial issue is left unconcluded.

It is a shame, but too many arguments result in occlusive tactics to distract and tagent from the issue at hand. However, the nature of an argument is to present an issue and argue the merit of a conclusion derived from the argument; there is a burden of proof required to conclude an argument. If you do not present an issue to debate and assign a burden of proof to conclude the issue, you cannot have an argument. You may have a discussion, but you cannot have an argument.

It is sad that so many feel it necessary to back the debunkers, the "but one study shows" experts that refuse to see the evidence that there is a God and his Universe is a wondrous place full of marvels and life all surrounded in the Living Matrix or Ki. I hope and pray that those who choose not to see this reality will allow those who do the respect they themselves demand.
I couldn't agree more. We (the US) are obsessed with de-constructionalism. As TMX, E and other gossip outlets can substantiate, the only thing more exciting that seeing someone succeed is seeing someone breakdown. I go so far as to say that I also think we are so envious of each other we would rather destroy those beliefs which we do not share than let them co-exist. "You can believe whatever you want as long as its what we believe too."

Debunking a fact and attacking a belief are two different concepts. Facts build truths, truths build convictions, convictions build beliefs. You want to change a belief? Re-order the fact pattern to alter the truths derived from those facts and work from the ground up.

mathewjgano
07-13-2009, 03:01 PM
If the presentation of empirical evidence were wholly the realm of argumentative discussion I would argee you you. However, it is al too easy to occlude a factual point. Since we are on the subject, here is a classic example of a tanget designed to occlude the issue at hand:
Person A: I believe there is a God. Prove to me there is no God.
Person B: Prove to me there is a God.
Person A offered an issue of debate and challenged B to provide evidence to support a conclusive statement. Person B responded by first ignoring the burden of proof and second offering a counter issue to tangent the argument.
If person A chooses to tailor her argument to address person B's response, she will have lost the issue at hand which will remain undiscussed; the burden of proof now shifts to person A and the initial issue is left unconcluded.
I agree with the overall principle and would argue that people should only stray from a given point in order to include some form of direct address to it (e.g. roundabout answers). For example, if person B expected person A to say something like, "I can't," and intended to answer the initial assertion with, "well neither can I." Also, my sense of arguments is that the burden of proof is on the assertion. In fact, the more I think about it, I'd say person A is occluding the issue by instructing person B to prove something other than the initial assertion, the opposite...never mind the fact that it's very hard to prove something doesn't exist (impossible by my reckoning, but maybe I'm not familiar with a logical argument that proves otherwise).
I couldn't agree more. We (the US) are obsessed with de-constructionalism. As TMX, E and other gossip outlets can substantiate, the only thing more exciting that seeing someone succeed is seeing someone breakdown. I go so far as to say that I also think we are so envious of each other we would rather destroy those beliefs which we do not share than let them co-exist. "You can believe whatever you want as long as its what we believe too."
I would argue this is ironic w/re: the classic American myths, but that it's something that has been around a long time and in roughly equal proportions in numerous societies. And, hey! What's this "we" stuff about envy? :p

Johann Baptista
02-12-2010, 10:19 PM
Right now, scientists and doctors from around the world are making great strides to proving the existence of Subtle Energies (Ki, Chi, Pranna) and how they apply to human healing.

Wow. I couldn't agree more. Although undoubtedly, some of them are hoaxes, I think many of them are real. You would probably enjoy reading my other thread http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17690. It talks about the work of scientist named Cleve Backster, who is a pioneer in the field of bio communication. You will see what that is.

I'm a pretty non-materialistic fellow, but I appreciate the draw to materialism. It's comfortable; practical; you can touch it. You have something to show for yourself.

Couldn't agree more. I have found, that over time, as we delve more into spirituality, we will prove for ourselves that it exists. When you actively engage in spirituality, with at least some faith, and try things outside of your comfort zone, miracles will happen. I can't emphasize this more.

To list an example: I once attended a special kind of ritual called a drum stalk. It is for those who are just beginning to listen to their heart. It involves doing nothing less that walking blindfolded through a forest, and following the sound of a drum. There are people who come through the forest (and we walk for a good 45 min) who come out without hitting a single tree. I'm not talking about 1 out of 100, I'm talking about every single person, hitting less than three trees. Everyone there, (about 30 people) reported being able to sense some kind of presence, and walking around objects.

They drugged us? No.

We could feel the temperature change from shadows? No.
(drum stalks are always done at night).

I have only done a few drum stalks, and they vary in success. Sometimes I hit two trees, sometimes it hit none. I actually find that when you are truly a beginner, its easier. After you've done it once, you develop a sense of what to expect, and that expectation interferes with listening to your heart. You later have to get rid of this expectation, and learn to listen to yourself. Although I have been getting steadily better, I have not reached this place yet.

I have shared my experience with the drum stalk, because I feel it may help to reinforce all of our under-siege beliefs. Even with the many miracles that have happened in my life, I still find myself questioning belief in the spiritual. I think this is the result of everyone telling me that I'm wrong. Active spirituality in an actively nonspiritual culture is a path of solitude sometimes, and perseverance.

So many people say that they will never believe in the spiritual until they see it with their eyes, and they challenge people who believe to show them. But they never will believe it because they will always find some way to disprove it. The only way to believe is to do it yourself. No one is going to "prove" it to you, except you.

Seek out those with spiritual knowledge; learn from them. Persevere, and you will receive undeniable proof.

By the way, if any of you would be more interested in learning about the drum stalk, ask me. The organizations that do it are widespread, and you may be surprised to find out that one may be literally an hour drive away. These Nature Philosophy Schools as I call them, teach survival, awareness, and a kind of native American philosophy. Most are non-profit, but if any aren't, someone has to eat right?:D

:ai:
:ki:
:do:

- Johann

Michael Fitzgerald
02-12-2010, 11:46 PM
You are not going to experience ki by reading about it.
Mary

ok, I AM definitely being a bit of a stirrer here- but I am not malicious.

If this is true, then does this limitation indicate that Ki is not universal?
that it cannot be ignited by a cognitive or intellectual trigger?:hypno:

lbb
02-13-2010, 03:15 PM
So many people say that they will never believe in the spiritual until they see it with their eyes, and they challenge people who believe to show them. But they never will believe it because they will always find some way to disprove it. The only way to believe is to do it yourself. No one is going to "prove" it to you, except you.

Seek out those with spiritual knowledge; learn from them. Persevere, and you will receive undeniable proof.

...but don't buy the pig in the poke, either. Until you do have the experience, neither believe nor disbelieve -- just accept what is.

danj
02-14-2010, 04:18 AM
To list an example: I once attended a special kind of ritual called a drum stalk. It is for those who are just beginning to listen to their heart. It involves doing nothing less that walking blindfolded through a forest, and following the sound of a drum. There are people who come through the forest (and we walk for a good 45 min) who come out without hitting a single tree. I'm not talking about 1 out of 100, I'm talking about every single person, hitting less than three trees. Everyone there, (about 30 people) reported being able to sense some kind of presence, and walking around objects.

They drugged us? No.

We could feel the temperature change from shadows? No.
(drum stalks are always done at night).

I have only done a few drum stalks, and they vary in success. Sometimes I hit two trees, sometimes it hit none. I actually find that when you are truly a beginner, its easier. After you've done it once, you develop a sense of what to expect, and that expectation interferes with listening to your heart. You later have to get rid of this expectation, and learn to listen to yourself. Although I have been getting steadily better, I have not reached this place yet.

I have shared my experience with the drum stalk, because I feel it may help to reinforce all of our under-siege beliefs. Even with the many miracles that have happened in my life, I still find myself questioning belief in the spiritual. I think this is the result of everyone telling me that I'm wrong. Active spirituality in an actively nonspiritual culture is a path of solitude sometimes, and perseverance.
...
- Johann

Its a good example but could be made a better example by sending people through the field without the drum to set a kind of baseline. If there is a difference then you have something to talk about. Of course you need to randomise the participants, give the control group some placebo belief and excitement etc...

best,
dan

Johann Baptista
02-14-2010, 07:18 PM
...but don't buy the pig in the poke, either. Until you do have the experience, neither believe nor disbelieve -- just accept what is.

Good point. However, in order to experience it, you must have at least a basic acceptance/belief that it could work. Even if you're not sure whether you believe or not, you must eliminate that doubt during any spiritual activity because it will interfere. I guess this means learning to be a very open-minded skeptic.:)

Its a good example but could be made a better example by sending people through the field without the drum to set a kind of baseline. If there is a difference then you have something to talk about. Of course you need to randomise the participants, give the control group some placebo belief and excitement etc...

Certainly. Many things could have been made better. Remember though, the drum is just a sound for the people to follow so they don't wander off and get lost.

Certainly we could have set it up so it conforms to the guidelines of a scientific experiment, but that would have destroyed the free spirit of the endeavor and made everyone feel like test subjects. No doubt the pressure to succeed could also have interfered with listening to their heart, after all, these people are complete beginners. The more secure they feel, the better. In the end, they're only out there to prove the spiritual to themselves, not for the skeptical onlooker. No offense intended

-Johann

Johann Baptista
02-14-2010, 07:25 PM
ok, I AM definitely being a bit of a stirrer here- but I am not malicious.

If this is true, then does this limitation indicate that Ki is not universal?
that it cannot be ignited by a cognitive or intellectual trigger?:hypno:

Certainly not! In fact, it is a part of our logical mind that guides us to seek the spiritual, otherwise, we would never have begun any kind of search. It is the same part, I believe, that tells you that there is more to life than the physical. But there is no way you can expect to gain firsthand knowledge of Ki, by imagining it while reading a book. A conscious attempt must be made to feel it and mindfully practice with it. Its like reading about an orange, as opposed to tasting it. Just my thoughts. I don't claim to understand Ki or anything.

- Johann

lbb
02-15-2010, 11:57 AM
Good point. However, in order to experience it, you must have at least a basic acceptance/belief that it could work. Even if you're not sure whether you believe or not, you must eliminate that doubt during any spiritual activity because it will interfere. I guess this means learning to be a very open-minded skeptic.:)

Bingo.

Hebrew Hammer
07-11-2010, 05:34 PM
Late to this party but a very enjoyable read...several things came to mind while reading this, particularly involve the arguments of Aristotle...reminded me of a political science book called 'Group Think' about the thought processes/group dynamics that led to the bay of pigs fiasco.

Secondly of God and Ki are really personal in nature, how they are perceived, embraced, empowered, and implemented are unique to the individual...why must you convince someone else of their existence? I don't believe in all uses of God and Ki but will not deny their ability to be a source of strength, happiness, and support to those who dabble in their uses. I think the nefarious uses of God and Ki in terms of POWER over others are a much greater danger to men and women.

I am obviously more skeptical of those who 'know' all the answers...usually the ones most likely to judge others are the most flawed themselves.

DanTesic
07-19-2010, 05:44 AM
Re: "Spirit"

Too many words. Just train!

I concur.

Buck
07-19-2010, 07:20 PM
Mary Malmros said : Well...this is where y'all bring out the boffer bats (or the bokken) and start whaling on me and yellling, "Mary, shut UP!" But does "spirit" have anything to do with "spirituality"? I think of "spirituality" as a connection with the divine, whether that be Allah or the kami or Jesus or the god in you. The usage of "spirit" in the martial arts, OTOH, has always given me the sense that it was a translation of a word that referred to a particular attitude and that the original had no connotations of the sacred. So, am I wrong about that?

This thought made me think.

The words god and ki cause a lot of response...people get emotional and defensive when the words god and ki are used.

If we could set that defensiveness aside and continue to communicate our thoughts while listening to others the real issues might be heard.

Being in the moment and accepting what every uke offers is sacred. This experience helps me connect to others in the outside world. Both god and ki are in the now. Aikido training deepens this experience for me making my life a sacred mysterious practice. :)

Mary

I think the hardest thing about Aikido especially in this area is the ambiguity of the terms spirituality, and ki which is left to interpretation. For us Westerners we want definitions and categories and such. We don't deal well with ambiguity. A older Japanese friend once told me the difference between the Japanese thinking and American thinking is the Japanese think in the opposite way Westerner's do. The Japanese see the world through a right hemisphere thinking and the Westerner's see it through the left.

I guess my point is this makes it really difficult, at least for me, to wade through the myths, symbolism, and abstraction of the Japanese and Aikido language. I want a definition too. I too can't be a piece of blank paper floating on the wind. I find that very frustrating as I believe there is no such definition of spirituality or Ki. And thus, no defined measures. That results in so many definitions and degrees of definitions.

I think the reason for the ambiguity of these terms was to be understood though experience. Once the proper experience guided by O'Sensei would result in understanding which would be more universal than now.

Benjamin Green
07-22-2010, 05:06 PM
I think a lot of the ambiguity is disinformation. When you have charlatans telling people to 'extend Ki' in order to gloss over deficits either in the movement itself or in the understanding of that movement, then it's hard to credit anyone of using the term truthfully even when they are. Especially if you don't know what the term is meant to refer to in the first place.

With physics there's proof. Someone punches you in the face then what you're being taught doesn't work - at least not as advertised. With Ki if a movement doesn't work; well you're not extending enough Ki, do it for another ten years and it will work really well, we pinky-swear. Not that I'm saying it doesn't exist or anything like that, but due to its vague meaning and largely subjective experience it's a convenient term for those who are dishonest.

C. David Henderson
07-23-2010, 06:01 AM
FWIW, I think some of the ambiguity also reflects the fact that the idea of "ki" is a broad concept that comes up in different contexts in describing how the world works empirically but non-scientifically, generating recipes for how to cultivate the earth, orient a home, cure an ailment, defeat an opponent....

An inexact analogy: If we substituted the word "energy" for "ki," the OP in another current threat would be "does sunshine have energy in it?" If a martial artist had been introduced exclusively to the concept of "kinetic energy," the answer might seem to be "no," because the concept of "energy" is being used in a different context, even though sharing a common underlying definition.

graham christian
10-28-2010, 05:28 PM
Mary Malmros said : Well...this is where y'all bring out the boffer bats (or the bokken) and start whaling on me and yellling, "Mary, shut UP!" But does "spirit" have anything to do with "spirituality"? I think of "spirituality" as a connection with the divine, whether that be Allah or the kami or Jesus or the god in you. The usage of "spirit" in the martial arts, OTOH, has always given me the sense that it was a translation of a word that referred to a particular attitude and that the original had no connotations of the sacred. So, am I wrong about that?

This thought made me think.

The words god and ki cause a lot of response...people get emotional and defensive when the words god and ki are used.

If we could set that defensiveness aside and continue to communicate our thoughts while listening to others the real issues might be heard.

Being in the moment and accepting what every uke offers is sacred. This experience helps me connect to others in the outside world. Both god and ki are in the now. Aikido training deepens this experience for me making my life a sacred mysterious practice. :)

Mary

Hi Mary, well put. May I offer my equally attackable view. For me God is GOOD and every time anyone truly feels good they are feeling God in now and Ki is that energy that results from good decisions and desires and is known to you and I KINDNESS.
This may sound crazy to some or to many but it is what I teach.

Now others may attack with a sword of hate, with a sword of fear or even with a sword of rightness but the sharpest blade of all is the sword of kindness.

George S. Ledyard
11-07-2010, 11:02 AM
Ki is basically energy. There are different kinds of ki; fire ki, water ki, etc. But it is a value neutral term. Association of ki with emotions or values like goodness, implying that lack of ki is the opposite, well that is simply something some non-Japanese person made up.

One can be a thoroughly wretched person and use ki in ones technique. One can be a zen master and a paragon of compassion and have no idea how to use ki. I am sorry there is no essential connection here.

dps
11-07-2010, 11:38 AM
I remember a high school science experiment where objects were sealed in a box. You were allowed to do anything to the box (weigh it , shake it, etc) except look inside (no x-rays, mri, catscans, etc) to figure out what was inside the box. Then you were to write a description of what you thought was in the box based on what you did to the box.

Of all the students in the science class no two people's description were the same and no body described exactly what was in the box

I look at things like God and Ki the same way. There is something there. We can't see it. We form an explanation based on what we do to the box it is in. Then we argue about what is in the box.

dps

George S. Ledyard
11-08-2010, 02:36 AM
These discussions always remind me of Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art if Motorcycle Maintenance, once of my all time favorite books. One of the several themes he investigated in the book had to do with the difference between the linear, rational, scientific outlook and the non-linear, "groovy" outlook.

Seldom does one person successfully hold both viewpoints simultaneously. So you have the "groovy" folks who talk about intangibles, impart values and emotions to concepts like "Ki" as if these ideas were just as real as material reality. They like the fact that things are mysterious and oft times actually get offended when explanations and causes are too clearly explained.

Then you have to "scientific", logical, linear folks who basically don't think anything is real unless you can measure it with a machine. They tend to suck the life out of everything by reducing it all to the level of the material, mechanical, technical, devoid of values, emotions, mystery, etc.

Aikido is an art that can contain both viewpoints simultaneously. There are parts of our practice that seem "magical" even though they are not "magic", aspects that we experience as mysterious even though they can be explained.

In Aikido, too often these two archetypal world views miss the true mark completely. Without a solid technical grounding, ideas like Ki and the more ethereal spiritual concepts are merely ideas and are easily dismissed by the linear thinking materialists. Without an understanding of the principles that exist beyond what can be measured and quantified, the art becomes mechanical, just a bunch of technique, at best a form of interesting exercise.

Too often the "groovy" folks are woefully lacking on the technical side. Everyone is too busy feeling good about how spiritual they are doing an art like Aikido to worry much about whether they can actually do what they are training to do. When confronted with this fact, they ignore it by saying "Aikido isn't about fighting anyway". These folks often haven't a clue about how the beautiful ideas they have about Aikido spirituality manifest at all in the material realm as Aikido technique.

On the other hand, the linear materialists, spend all their time doubting the existence of concepts that all the great practitioners of our art simply took for granted and which can be demonstrated empirically by any competent Aikido practitioner. Typically, these folks are stuck on the merely technical level and never get beyond the physical. They are seldom amongst the best teachers technically because they are so busy worrying about not being "taken in" by phony teachers or fake technique, that they have extremely closed minds about what works and what doesn't, what is real, and what is not. This causes them to ignore whole levels of technique that go beyond the simply physical. Their Aikido is devoid of great ideas or great anything that could really touch your heart.

A really skilled Aikido teacher is able to bring these two seemingly oppositional outlooks into a unified vision. Because they have a deep understanding of the principles that underlie the technical side of the art, they can easily actualize the spiritual / energetic aspects on the mat, in their waza. They can "walk the talk" technically but can speak to people's hearts as well, connecting the principles that underlie technique with concepts that are universal alive, and potentially trans-formative.

That's the Aikido I have been pursuing... I have little patience with the folks for whom their ideas are just wishful thinking. I have little interest in an Aikido that has been made devoid of anything beyond` the physical technique, a spiritual wasteland offering little sustenance that would justify the time and effort of training.

mathewjgano
11-08-2010, 12:21 PM
Nicely said! Although I'd say this dichotomy of personalities is readily found in most of the conversations we see...though perhaps this topic exemplifies it more somehow.
Again, i really appreciated reading that. Thank you, Sensei Ledyard.
Take care,
Matthew