PDA

View Full Version : What is Ki?


Please visit our sponsor:
 

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


Mohammed Akmal
01-07-2010, 02:05 PM
What is exactly is KI?
How am I supposed to feel it?
What excercises should I do?
How can I use KI in techniques?
Thanks in advance fellow aikidokas.:)

Shadowfax
01-07-2010, 05:15 PM
I found this helpful in understanding ki
http://www.designeq.com/deq/aikido/insideout/ki.html

Mohammed Akmal
01-08-2010, 02:24 AM
Thanks mate

jss
01-08-2010, 06:05 AM
These three blog entries by Mike Sigman on Aikidojournal might be of some help:
Thoughts on Putting Ki back in Aikido Practice I (http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=3821)
Thoughts on Putting Ki back in Aikido Practice II (http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=3838)
Thoughts on Putting Ki back in Aikido Practice III (http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=3884)

bulevardi
02-04-2010, 08:51 AM
I found this helpful in understanding ki
http://www.designeq.com/deq/aikido/insideout/ki.html

Interesting article... But in fact, at the end of the article, he's actually explaining there's just nothing like KI but he's just using the other one's movement.

For example, if your partner reaches for your wrist and you wait until he grabs you before you start to turn and throw, you will end up with someone's body hanging on to your arm as you try to throw. If, instead, you start the turn and throw before he actually grabs you, you will be able to lead his energy. In order to grab you, if you are already moving, your partner will have to track your movements and follow you. If he is intent on grabbing you, you will be able to lead his ki by just staying slightly ahead of his grab. Then you simply lead the movement into any convenient aikido form.

Shadowfax
02-04-2010, 01:48 PM
Some people are more naturally aware of the energy currents (ki) than others. While on a very basic level, you are correct Dirk, he is just leading the others movement, on a much deeper level he is making use of the energy currents that influence that movement.

If you watch someone in an aikido movement carefully you will begin to see where the spirals are inclined to take them. You just need to learn to see it with your inner eye. Sort of use your imagination.

The best thing I have found so far, and I am so much a beginner here, is learning to meditate and quiet the mind. When you get rid of the distractions of the materiel world and the buzz of thoughts and reasoning in your head it becomes easier to realize the existence of such intangibles as ki.

I would not be too concerned about it. As your training progresses it will come clear when the time is right for you to understand it.

JW
02-04-2010, 01:51 PM
But in fact, at the end of the article, he's actually explaining there's just nothing like KI but he's just using the other one's movement.

Hi Dirk, regarding that quote, I see what you mean. Still, I would like to point out that there is another way to interpret those words.
I couldn't read the article in detail yet but it was clear to me that the person writing it has been exposed to the same "ki" that I am talking about. Though I disagree with some things (like saying there are no exercises or techniques to bring about ki development in your body, and that less effort means more ki), I think the writer was clearly exposed to the lore surrounding correct ki usage.

So-- the quote you presented can be interpreted as correctly using ki. It is not to say it isn't physically present. Consider that "ki" is what your intent commands, and physical movement comes later. In other words ki is a physical phenomenon that occurs between intending to move and moving. Now, that quote becomes something more interesting! What the quote says is that ONE way of playing with ki is to keep making your partner change his intent (this changes his ki). I would say, after getting kuzushi, this is what you are doing in standard techniques to maintain kuzushi, causing movement that is directed by both of you, but ultimately, it is movement that is to your advantage (as nage).
--JW
ps yikes Cherie we posted at the same time, I partially echoed what you said.

Shadowfax
02-04-2010, 01:58 PM
LOL JW yes but you were able to say it in maybe a bit more easy to understand way. I have such a hard time putting into words the things I see and understand in this kind of thing.:)

eyrie
02-04-2010, 06:05 PM
There's a story floating around where Tohei was asked the same question by a student on a train trip, to which he picked up a drink can and replied "That is ki".

Terms like "life force" and "energy" are commonly used metaphors to describe ki - which is an abstract "thing", which conveys meaning within its own unique cultural context and usage. In east Asian cosmology, even inanimate things, such as rocks, rivers, mountains and sky have ki, and applying the term "life force" to such inanimate entities is incomprehensible.

If you stand "naturally', let your arms hang down beside you, and breathe naturally, you will notice that your arms will raise and drop slightly in unison with your breathing. That is but one manifestation of ki.

In physical and mechanistic terms, which, as martial artists/hobbyists, we would want to concern ourselves with, ki is primarily motive forces - i.e. that which makes us/them move, or not move (as the case maybe).

But, if "energy" helps you put concrete meaning on an abstract concept, then go for it.

dps
02-04-2010, 06:33 PM
From http://www.aikiweb.com/language/ki_phrases.html
by J. Akiyama

Home > Language > "Ki" Phrases
by J. Akiyama <Send E-mail to Author>

So, what does "ki" mean in "aikido," anyway? There's been a lot of discussion and even some heated arguments over this Japanese term.

In essence, the character ki means:

* spirit, mind, soul, heart
* intention
* bent, interest
* mood, feeling
* temper, disposition, nature
* care, attention
* air, atmosphere
* flavor
* odor
* energy, essence, air, indications
* symptoms
* taste
* touch, dash, shade, trace
* spark, flash
* suspicion

However, I think that there is some good in taking a look at how we, the Japanese people, use the term in everyday life. I think that a lot of people attribute a whole lot of esoteric meaning behind words that aren't all that esoteric; this is the reason why I chose very common Japanese words to illustrate how we use this term in our everyday life. After all, isn't that what we hope to do in the first place in aikido -- use "ai" and "ki" in our everyday lives?

Here are some contexts in which the word "ki" and some of its derivations are used in everyday Japanese.

Japanese Phrase Kanji Literal Translation Definition
Gen ki "source/foundation of ki." one's health
Byou ki "ill ki." to be sick
Ten ki "heavenly ki." the weather
Ki ga tatsu "the ki stands upright." to get angry
Ki wo tsukeru "to put on (or to have) ki" to be careful; to be attentive
Ki ga kiku "the ki is used a lot" to be empathetic
Ki ga susumanai "the ki does not go forward." to not want to do something
Ki ga sumu "the ki is finished or used up." to feel fulfilled
Ki ga tsuku "to have "ki" put onto you." to notice
Ki ga tsuyoi "the ki is strong." to be headstrong
Ki ga yowai "the ki is weak." to be like a coward
Ki ga tooku naru "the ki goes far away." to become lightheaded
Ki ga nai "to have no ki" to have no interest in something
Ki ga nukeru "the ki becomes missing." to lose hope
Ki ga mijikai "the ki is short." to be short tempered
Ki ni sawaru "something touches the ki." to find something irritating
Ki ni naru "to become ki" to have something nagging or on one's mind
Ki wo kubaru "to pass out ki (to people)" to attend to other people's wishes

and

from a Blog by Mario McKenna (http://okinawakarateblog.blogspot.com/2006_03_01_archive.html)

What is Ki?

Not that I am that old, but when I was a young karateka I concentrated on developing good, solid technique. Let's face it, the spiritual side of karate wasn't going to interest a teenager and I was hardly an exception. Sure I did my obligatory ‘mokuso', but that was as far as it went. I was much more interested in punching the makiwara, than sitting in seiza. This all didn't change that much until I entered university and came into contact with other budo groups, mostly Kendo, Judo and Aikido. Out of those three I was most struck by the Aikidoka. Sitting and talking to them gave me a whole new perspective on budo, what I labelled the "flower-child" mentality. They constantly talked about things that I considered quite esoteric, "harmonising with your opponent", "being one with the universe" and of course "ki". We discussed things and compared ideas, but compared to the Aikidoka, I suppose I had a "hammerhead" mentality because I didn't have much use for those concepts. "How were those things going to help my smash my opponent into nothing?", I thought. No real practical application, so not much use to me. At least that was how I thought. The Aikido guys would just sigh and say that I just didn't get it. After my encounter with the Aikidoka, I started to bring up the topic of "ki" with my teacher, Kinjo Sensei, a very down-to-earth Okinawan gentleman. He stated quite frankly that his teacher had never discussed the concept of "ki" with him, but he intuitively felt that it existed. "But how do you know it exits?", I asked him, "You just feel it", he would answer. Now, having been educated in a Western school setting where emphasis was placed on logical, rational and analytical thinking, this answer didn't help me very much. In fact, it just added to my confusion. Practice and I'll feel it? What exactly am I supposed to feel? The concept of "ki" again dropped to the wayside.

After I moved here to Japan where I stayed for eight years, I came into contact with all manner of budo, religion, mediation, the esoteric the mundane and the just plain weird. However, through all these encounters, the concept of "ki" started to make a little more sense. Why? Because it was everywhere. You couldn't swing a dead cat in Japan with out encountering the concept of "ki". Let me explain. "Ki" was originally written as a "vapour" and "rice", implying some sort of ethereal energy being released by an object or organism. In fact the concept of "ki" is so prevalent in the Japanese language that it is an integral part of many words and idioms. For example, genki (vigor; energy), kibun (feelings), kien (high spirits), kiomo (gloom), kikaru (light-heartedness), and the list goes on ad-nauseam. What we can see in these examples then, is that at a basic level, "ki" has quite a lot to do with the human emotional state. Now you might be saying, "what has this got to do with budo?" Everything! A budoka who cannot control his or her emotions, will never be able to apply any technique or respond appropriately when he or she absolutely needs to. Raw emotion quickly undermines and destroys any technique, no matter how much training the person has had. So, "ki" reflects our emotional state and a controlled emotional state is essential for a budoka. So how should "ki" be seen or defined from a budoka point of view.

Well, to give you an idea of "ki"'s importance and its implications, let's look at the following definition of "ki" by the late Walter Todd sensei conducted by Meik Skoss (http://koryu.com/library/mskoss10.html). In my opinion this is one of the best, no-nonsense definitions of "ki" I have read. Yes, I wanted to demystify aikido and make it simple so that anybody could understand it, at least on a lower level. Just like when they talk about ki--I have my own interpretation of what ki is--but when I ask aiki people to explain to me what ki is, 99% of them give me the old, "Well, you're just not ready to understand it. You'll understand it when you're ready." Well I say that's a cop-out. If you really understood it you could explain it. Here you are trying to teach ki and you don't even understand it. At least when I teach I can explain what ki is. I have my own little definition of ki, which is, "Ki is the spirit of the movement, from movement to movement, seeking that which is pleasurable." And most teachers would not agree because of one word: pleasurable. They say, "You're making it sound exotic or erotic or something." No. It's the feeling of the movement, going from movement to movement, seeking that which is pleasurable. So when we're working out and you catch me on a really beautiful throw, it feels good, doesn't it? Like a little "body orgasm." And those are the things that keep us in the martial arts. When the body does a good movement it feels good! And that feeling at that moment is ki at its best manifestation. Ueshiba... Tohei, they both said you're supposed to feel good when you're training. They never said you gotta get in there and kill yourself when you train. Who wants to do that and end up crippled?! That's ridiculous.

Looking at Todd sensei's definition we can see the idea and importance of a highly energised and pleasurable emotional state. For myself, after reading this, things started to make a little more sense. Especially if you compare it to studies investigating peak performance or collegially referred to as "flow". According to Goleman (1995, pp. 103) flow refers to, …a state of self-forgetfulness, the opposite of rumination and worry: instead of being lost in nervous preoccupation and worry, people in flow are so absorbed in the task at hand that they lose all self-consciousness, dropping the small preoccupations -- health, bills, even doing well -- of daily life. In this sense, movements in flow are egoless. Paradoxically, people in flow exhibit a masterly control of what they are doing, their responses perfectly attuned to the changing demands of the task. And though people perform at their peek while in flow, they are unconcerned with how they are doing, with thoughts of success or failure -- the sheer pleasure of the act itself is what motivates them.

Taken together, this would suggest that "ki" is not such an elusive concept after all. It is very much in line with the Western concept of "flow" or "peak performance". It would suggest a very real construct, one accessible to all of us, a highly energised but relaxed mental state capable of producing efficient and accurate results. Who wouldn't want to have this state of mind? The problem is developing it. So, how do we cultivate "ki" and achieve its benefits? Noted martial arts historian and Okinawan karate and kobudo teacher Murakami Katsumi gives us a hint when he replied to the following question during an interview (McKenna, 1999).

Interviewer: You have studied many different forms of martial arts. Is there any one in particular that you are fond of? Murakami: No there isn't any one in particular that I like. They are all unique. It's not like I feel, "oh it's Monday so I should practice Tai Chi Chuan" or "it's Thursday so I have to practice Shorin-ryu". Personally, no matter how hard I practice or how well I perform a technique, I never think, "oh, I'm never going to perfect this technique", that is not the focus of my training. What is important is that in each moment I am focused on that technique, I lose myself in it and enter into a state of mushin [literally "no mind"]. This type of training is a form of Zen training, more specifically the Soto Zen [ the school of Zen Buddhism founded by Dogen Zenji]. Zen Buddhism teaches that the truth [of your existence] can only come from yourself. And can only be achieved through forgetting your own self [ego]. In order to forget your own self you must have a singular concentration on the moment which requires you to remove all other distractions or obstacles. When you can achieve mushin you have removed all distractions and have perfect concentration and are able to see the truth for what it is. You have forgotten yourself. In Karate, Kobudo or Chinese Kempo, when you practice your goal should be the same; achieving that singular concentration and forgetting yourself. The Kata and movements found in Budo are Zen. Their common denominator is the elimination of the self. When you can achieve this state of forgetting yourself, it is an absolutely wonderful feeling.

Murakami sensei's answer to cultivating and benefiting from "ki" is a simple one, to focus the mind by singularly concentrating on the task at hand. Again, Western scientific research corroborates Murakami sensei's belief that argues that a sharp focused attention to the activity or task at hand is essential to entering "flow" or getting your "ki" moving (Goleman, 1995). But this is not as easy as it seems and requires quite a lot of discipline to get passed that initial hurdle. The mind has a tendency to wander and become distracted easily. If you don't believe me, try the following rudimentary exercise used in Zen.

In a quiet location, sit opposite a wall in a comfortable position either cross-legged or in seiza (you can use a zabuton or cushion). Keep your back perfectly straight and focus your gaze towards the wall, slightly downward. Your eyes should be relaxed, but not closed! Now, slowly breathe in through the nose to a count of one and slowly exhale through the nose to a count of one. Try to complete this cycle 20 times. Easy you say? Just wait. You must not have ANY distractions. If your mind starts to think about something else besides the rhythm and the counting of breaths, go back to zero and start again. If you get to five or six and start thinking, "Gee this is easy", go back to zero! You are absolutely allowed no extraneous thoughts. When I first learned this simple exercise, I thought I had a fairly good concentration level. Boy was I wrong. I spent most of the day going back to zero because my mind kept distracting me! I'd get to 19 and think, "I'm almost finished!", then I'd realise my mind is wandering again. Damn! Back to zero!

Once you can do this simple exercise, try doing it while you practice kata. You will be surprised at the results as "ki" or "flow" creates its own feedback loop and produces a state devoid of emotional baggage, save the pleasure it generates. References Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. New York: Bantam Books. McKenna, M. (1999). An Interview with Murakami Katsumi: The Heart of Ryukyu's Martial Ways. Journal of Asian Martial Arts, Vol. 8(4). Skoss, M. (2000). Walter Todd: An Interview.

David

gtaba
02-04-2010, 07:37 PM
Ki is something that few people truly understand, but almost every instructor likes to talk about. I agree with some of the posts above, especially Mr. David Skaggs, But overall, I feel that it's a topic that people talk about before they understand what Ki is.

Chris Li
02-04-2010, 09:21 PM
There's a story floating around where Tohei was asked the same question by a student on a train trip, to which he picked up a drink can and replied "That is ki".

Tohei could be quite down to earth and practical in one moment and then be talking about stunning chickens with his "ki" in the next. A lot of it depends upon which quotes you pick :)

Best,

Chris

JW
02-04-2010, 10:22 PM
I seem to have a biological imperative to define things. Ignatius, I like what you've done here:

In physical and mechanistic terms, which, as martial artists/hobbyists, we would want to concern ourselves with, ki is primarily motive forces - i.e. that which makes us/them move, or not move (as the case maybe).


But, I think as your need for the parenthetical there makes clear, it needs a tweak.
I think forces are the key thing, not motion, so how about ki = the likelihood that a body will impart a particular force?

This is a definition that fits rivers, seas, rocks, as people. Gravity is the ki of heaven because of the fact that because of it, any mass is 100% likely to be imaprted with a force equal to its mass times the gravitational constant. The ground has the ki of earth because (within reason) it is certain to impart an upward force exactly equal to any force put on it. And, humans have the capacity to do lots of movements, but when we formulate the intent (not just the plan but the real physical intent), our body makes arrangements for particular forces to be transmitted to particular points, causing the movement. How we do that is another interesting question.
But I think we can all see from our aikido practice that a body that is about to do a certain movement behaves differently than a body in a similar pose but just standing there. Isn't that the essence of the "magic" we feel when a technique goes right? We did the right things when our partner was in just the right state of intent?
(ps motion gives a body a form of ki too, under this definition. A body with a certain amount of momentum in one direction has a high likelihood of exerting a known force in that direction-- it just needs someone to hit for that to go from "intent" to fully manifested force)

mickeygelum
02-04-2010, 10:34 PM
There is no such thing.

thisisnotreal
02-04-2010, 11:17 PM
There is no such thing.

what do you mean sir? Don't they talk all about that stuff? Chi / Ki / Aiki/ Aikido. Must be some such stuff(s)?

eyrie
02-04-2010, 11:17 PM
Tohei could be quite down to earth and practical in one moment and then be talking about stunning chickens with his "ki" in the next. A lot of it depends upon which quotes you pick :) Good thing I picked the former then. ;)

eyrie
02-04-2010, 11:19 PM
There is no such thing. That's like saying it's ai-do not ai-ki-do?

thisisnotreal
02-04-2010, 11:39 PM
yeah. they're definitely talking about something.

Chris Li
02-05-2010, 12:14 AM
That's like saying it's ai-do not ai-ki-do?

Actually, it's "aiki" "do", if you ask me...

Best,

Chris

thisisnotreal
02-05-2010, 12:19 AM
Actually, it's "aiki" "do", if you ask me...

isn't it "in-yo ho"?

thisisnotreal
02-05-2010, 12:28 AM
if you stop a dogfight with a yell (kiai?); is that harder or easier than stunning a chicken with your ki? Did I stop the dogs with my ki? I don't know that I think that. But most importantly does a dog spook easier than a chicken; because they are domesticated? What if it's a polite chicken? All good questions.

Chris Li
02-05-2010, 01:08 AM
isn't it "in-yo ho"?

Not according to the Butokukai :)

Best,

Chris

eyrie
02-05-2010, 01:19 AM
Actually, it's "aiki" "do", Minor point, what I'm saying is if ki doesn't exist, then there is no such thing as aiki, since there is no ki to ai with.

Chris Li
02-05-2010, 01:46 AM
Minor point, what I'm saying is if ki doesn't exist, then there is no such thing as aiki, since there is no ki to ai with.

Does the Roman god Mars exist? But we still have "martial" arts...

Best,

Chris

jss
02-05-2010, 03:44 AM
Does the Roman god Mars exist? But we still have "martial" arts...
Science may not be able to prove the existence of ki or Mars, but that does not mean the the Japanese and the Romans respectively did not use these words to name some experiential reality. And that leads us to the question Ignatius asked: how can you practice Aikido, if you don't acknowledge the experiential reality of ki? Doesn't matter if ki has no scientific reality or if you prefer to use a different word of set of words to describe it, 'no ki, no aikido' still applies.

BTW, a more courageous (hence provocative) way to phrase your question would have been: Does God exist? But we still have Christianity...

bulevardi
02-05-2010, 06:07 AM
From what I understand:

Ki is actually "being aware in your mind" of the energy that's flowing through your body, the life-force.

When using that awareness, you can better control those physical movements in your body, or control the movements of your opponent caused by the energy flowing in his body.

To get slightly off-topic: here in Belgium they sell Aiki Noodles in our supermarkets. It's a brand of noodles containing the word aiki. So those noodles also contain life-force. You eat, you burn calories, you get energy, you can control your movements better...
http://lh6.ggpht.com/_93DRlLhQQfc/R2EbkpU2cyI/AAAAAAAAA2Q/PbFj3kat0l0/DSC00648.JPG
Thinking absurd enough, you can see ki in everything around you.

Now, coming back to this quote from my previous post:
For example, if your partner reaches for your wrist and you wait until he grabs you before you start to turn and throw, you will end up with someone's body hanging on to your arm as you try to throw. If, instead, you start the turn and throw before he actually grabs you, you will be able to lead his energy. In order to grab you, if you are already moving, your partner will have to track your movements and follow you. If he is intent on grabbing you, you will be able to lead his ki by just staying slightly ahead of his grab. Then you simply lead the movement into any convenient aikido form.

Is it as well possible to use Ki from starting in a static position. Most aikido techniques learned step by step, from the beginning in a static position while (for example) the uke holds your wrists, and then you have to start turning out of that 'lock' without trying to use your own strength. In this case, you can't start your technique using his movements or Ki.
Of course in a normal action, when already knowing the technique, you can do it more fluidly and quickly, already start turning before the uke had the chance to take your wrists and move the ki to the next direction,...

So actually, that Ki is no real "power" that is scientifically proven. Ki is in this case some movement or flow, coming from a physical movement, and not a physical movement coming from an inner power (Ki).

Can Ki be developped more by meditation? Or by breathing techniques (kokyu)?


BTW, a more courageous (hence provocative) way to phrase your question would have been: Does God exist?
We always could start a discussion around "creationism" versus "evolution".
And about science that proves Ki or can't prove Ki.
But maybe that's better to discuss in another thread, maybe in the "spirituality" forums?

dps
02-05-2010, 06:16 AM
Can we do aiki because the concept of ki exists or do we have the concept of ki because we can do aiki?

David

bulevardi
02-05-2010, 06:21 AM
But overall, I feel that it's a topic that people talk about before they understand what Ki is.
Of course. By interest lots of people want to know what it is. So they will read about it, and talk about it.
And because it's something not easily explainable, the will talk even more about it.
They have been talking about God since there was a Jesus, and God won't ever be explained (scientifically). If you want people only to talk about God when they understand what it is, only Jesus would be able to talk about it.

So what I want to say is that beginners can also talk about it (Ki), there's nothing wrong with it if they're interested and dedicated to learn about it.

jss
02-05-2010, 07:52 AM
BTW, a more courageous (hence provocative) way to phrase your question would have been: Does God exist?
We always could start a discussion around "creationism" versus "evolution".
You're quoting me a bit too selectively here. There was another sentence after the last one you quoted.

And about science that proves Ki or can't prove Ki.
But maybe that's better to discuss in another thread, maybe in the "spirituality" forums?
The question if science can help us to explore 'ki' seems (at least to me) highly relevant for a discussion about what ki is.

Can we do aiki because the concept of ki exists or do we have the concept of ki because we can do aiki?
Ki exists independently of aiki, but that's just my understanding of the matter (no pun intended).

Chris Li
02-05-2010, 08:36 AM
Science may not be able to prove the existence of ki or Mars, but that does not mean the the Japanese and the Romans respectively did not use these words to name some experiential reality. And that leads us to the question Ignatius asked: how can you practice Aikido, if you don't acknowledge the experiential reality of ki? Doesn't matter if ki has no scientific reality or if you prefer to use a different word of set of words to describe it, 'no ki, no aikido' still applies.

BTW, a more courageous (hence provocative) way to phrase your question would have been: Does God exist? But we still have Christianity...

You're missing my point. I meant that, first of all, "ki" is part of the compound term "aiki", not a stand-alone term. Secondly, whether or not a root of a compound term exists or not is not necessarily relevant to the validity of that term. For example, engineers using electricity ("denki") could care less about "ki".

Best,

Chris

dps
02-05-2010, 08:56 AM
Ki has no complete meaning?

It is a part (with an incomplete meaning) of a word. When combined with another part(s) a word is made with a complete meaning. The incomplete meaning of ki changes depending on the other part(s).

from my earlier post;

In essence, the character ki means:

* spirit, mind, soul, heart
* intention
* bent, interest
* mood, feeling
* temper, disposition, nature
* care, attention
* air, atmosphere
* flavor
* odor
* energy, essence, air, indications
* symptoms
* taste
* touch, dash, shade, trace
* spark, flash
* suspicion

Japanese Phrase Kanji Literal Translation Definition
Gen ki "source/foundation of ki." one's health
Byou ki "ill ki." to be sick
Ten ki "heavenly ki." the weather
Ki ga tatsu "the ki stands upright." to get angry
Ki wo tsukeru "to put on (or to have) ki" to be careful; to be attentive
Ki ga kiku "the ki is used a lot" to be empathetic
Ki ga susumanai "the ki does not go forward." to not want to do something
Ki ga sumu "the ki is finished or used up." to feel fulfilled
Ki ga tsuku "to have "ki" put onto you." to notice
Ki ga tsuyoi "the ki is strong." to be headstrong
Ki ga yowai "the ki is weak." to be like a coward
Ki ga tooku naru "the ki goes far away." to become lightheaded
Ki ga nai "to have no ki" to have no interest in something
Ki ga nukeru "the ki becomes missing." to lose hope
Ki ga mijikai "the ki is short." to be short tempered
Ki ni sawaru "something touches the ki." to find something irritating
Ki ni naru "to become ki" to have something nagging or on one's mind
Ki wo kubaru "to pass out ki (to people)" to attend to other people's wishes

In Aikido we have "Aiki".

Is there a similar list of meanings for 'Ai"
David

jss
02-05-2010, 08:58 AM
You're missing my point. I meant that, first of all, "ki" is part of the compound term "aiki", not a stand-alone term.
What source are you basing this on? I always thought that when O-Sensei said something about ki, that was the ki needed to perform aiki.

bulevardi
02-05-2010, 09:36 AM
It is a part (with an incomplete meaning) of a word. When combined with another part(s) a word is made with a complete meaning. The incomplete meaning of ki changes depending on the other part(s).

Ki is always a part. Everything in universe is a part of something bigger, related to each other.

I think Ki is in a partitive case, as in language you have different cases: nominative, accusative, genitive, but also partitive.
It exists in Finnish Language.
That means that you don't use the whole Ki from your body/partner/universe,... but a part of it at once.
Like: if you watch television, you watch television the partitive way: you only watch the screen, not the whole television.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partitive_case

Puhun vahan suomea ;-)

Chris Li
02-05-2010, 10:59 AM
What source are you basing this on? I always thought that when O-Sensei said something about ki, that was the ki needed to perform aiki.

He said quite a few things, but "aiki" is quite clearly a compound term that predates Morihei Ueshiba.

Best,

Chris

mickeygelum
02-05-2010, 11:30 AM
As a great sage once said, " Aluminum foil wrapped heads are the ki to understanding the universe..."...and it keeps the crap from leaking out!.:rolleyes:

Next question, "What is poop? "...:D

JW
02-05-2010, 11:38 AM
I had such high hopes for this thread. But I guess the answer to "what is ki" varies as much as do the various experiences that people have had.
Looks like there's just too much variation in what has been experienced (and what has not yet been experienced) for this to go anywhere.

There's enough posted on aikiweb and elsewhere for each reader to find that "ki" in body arts doesn't have to be a nebulous, opinion- or faith-based term. It's a specific thing, rather than being everything that has a Japanese name that uses the character "ki."

Well, I guess that's just one opinion.

bulevardi
02-05-2010, 12:26 PM
What about psychokinesis: generating the movement of an object by energy caused by the mind.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychokinesis

dps
02-05-2010, 12:43 PM
Well, to give you an idea of "ki"'s importance and its implications, let's look at the following definition of "ki" by the late Walter Todd sensei conducted by Meik Skoss (http://koryu.com/library/mskoss10.html).
David

The link should be,
http://www.koryu.com/library/mskoss10.html

David

jss
02-05-2010, 02:55 PM
He said quite a few things, but "aiki" is quite clearly a compound term that predates Morihei Ueshiba.
Sure, but that does not establish that Morihei Ueshiba didn't consider the meaning of 'ki' (highly) relevant to understand 'aiki'.

Erick Mead
02-05-2010, 03:50 PM
I had such high hopes for this thread. But I guess the answer to "what is ki" varies as much as do the various experiences that people have had.
Looks like there's just too much variation in what has been experienced (and what has not yet been experienced) for this to go anywhere. It is not nebulous or merely opinion -- but the categories typically used are ill-fittting. The traditional usages don't map into the same "boxes" of concepts that Westerners tend to use most frequently. Ki is not force, or energy, or movement -- but it has to do with force and energy and movement. It is empirical and demonstrable. Definable? -- yes, I think so, but you be the judge (http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/but-why-7854/physical-theory-of-ki-a-dialogue-3404/)

eyrie
02-05-2010, 06:40 PM
how can you practice Aikido, if you don't acknowledge the experiential reality of ki? Doesn't matter if ki has no scientific reality or if you prefer to use a different word of set of words to describe it, 'no ki, no aikido' still applies. While I understand Chris's point, I think it misses the point that the root word, in and of itself, provides contextual richness to the compound. Without the meaning assigned by the root modifier, the compound loses it's whole meaning.

As an example, 合力 hé lì is a compound meaning "cooperate". What does it mean to "cooperate" if there was no such thing/concept as "union" or "strength"?

Mars need not have been a concrete entity. What Mars represented/embodied (abstract entity) is what gives us the word martial. In the same vein, what ki represents/embodies is what gives aiki meaning. If there is no such thing (concrete or abstract) as ki, what is the meaning of aiki? Or for that matter, what is aiki, if there is no such thing as ai?

JO
02-05-2010, 09:28 PM
What about psychokinesis: generating the movement of an object by energy caused by the mind.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychokinesis

As the wikipedia article mentions, psychokinesis has never been demonstrated. It's likely all a fantasy. The association of the concept of ki with this kind of mystical nonesense is one reason I would avoid using the term when explaining anything using the English language.

As others have pointed out, the concept of ki taken outside of a specific context is far too broad to associate with one specific anything.

As for the specific concepts of ki and aiki within aikido, I'm not convinced that there is one "orthodox" take on it. There seems to be an association with internal body training (Tohei's ki exercises, aiki according to Daito-ryu ), but even there I don't think the specific definition of aiki in Daito-ryu (which seems to correspond with very specific body skills according to Internal training guys with Daito-ryu connections that post here) necessarily invalidates other takes on the term within the context of aikido. As a side note, the fact that the IT crowd here can actually discuss the ki and aiki strength without calling on mystical energies is a large part of why I don't ignore them (which I am more than happy to do with the no touch throw, shooting ki across the room types).

As for the difficulties of translating ki and ki related concepts. I think everybody who claims any knowledge should try harder. Even if you need 20 words in English for two in Japanese in order to get the context through. With a term with such a broad array of meanings, context besomes especially important. Ki, like "spirit" in English, is not one specific thing, and the various things it can represent are not necessarily that clodely related to each other (which is why tranlations in one context may use very different terms than those in another context). I liked Ignatius' definition earlier in the thread from this point of view.

As to whethwer or not "ki" exists. Ki is a word in Japanese that covers many concepts with real meaning to people and as others have shown, is a basic root in a rather large array of Japanese words. As you may have gessed from the rest of my post, there are many usages of "ki" out there that I consider as referring to forms of energy or forces that are a bunch of mystical new-age type nonesence.

thisisnotreal
02-05-2010, 11:45 PM
What is Ki?
That's like asking smurfs what they mean when they say something is smurfy.
more specifically; smurfy is akin to aiki. First you have to predefine that there is a `smurf` (i.e. `ki`), and then something can be `smurfy`(i.e. `aiki`).
for humans ki is smurfy because we are smurfs. plain and simple.

I think that maybe you could say something useful about `Ki` in that i think it's safe to say that if you know how to build power doing, for instance, San Ti standing stance that you are using your `Ki`.
In my humble maddened scrambles to try to unravel this mystery: i have to say I think It has to do with windings (i.e. the musculotendon stuffs), the effort and skill you can employ in using them (i.e. the `ki` stuff), technique, balance, coordination, packing the breath (i.e. pneuma(/tic) breath pressure pushing into mechanical suit via dantien pressure/rotation via jingluo via blood vessels / OPENING / Moving that breath pressure mechanically via posture shifting and breathing, stretching), pumping the hara, and that sort of thing. Finding connections in the body. Helping to use ki/intent to irradiate the central nervous system, correcting faulty recruitment patterns, opening and creating blood vessels and i'm sure so many other things. the body is truly wonderfully and fearfully made. Anyhoo; that is my best kick at the kan at explaining what i thought all the ki whoohaa was aboot.

danj
02-07-2010, 09:40 PM
What is Ki?
Learning aikido initially through the Ki Society, I was confronted with 'Ki' and its various manifestations through the Ki development exercises and the amazing feats of Ki such as unbendable arm, unraisable body etc.. together with the medatative disciplines. As a researcher I decided to put aside my misgivings until I found out a bit more about Ki. Eventually some understanding came though learning more about the differences in traditional scientific method in the East (observational) and the West (deductive).
The question what is Ki? brings both together quite sussincitly but to a place that neither can stand on a footing. The East doesn't tend to use 'what' or 'why' and the West doesn't have a definition of 'Ki' to start with.
Ki then seems to be a descriptor of stuff that can't be explained further or easily. In recent years i have enjoyed chipping away at some definitions of simple things which has been appreciated by some and not by others..such is life. I have written some of them up, some of it may be if intrest http://www.aikidorepublic.com/aikiphysics

best,
dan

thisisnotreal
02-07-2010, 11:52 PM
Excellent! I look forward to reading that. Thanks for posting it. Looks intriguing so far. Josh

bulevardi
02-08-2010, 07:20 AM
Anyway, I just ordered a book about Ki, just to have a better idea for exercises on that topic.

As I'm too stressed by work, I can always use those breathe methods and mediation techniques.
I guess it will be a good way to help getting my mind cleaned or to calm down.

Even if I don't experience the ultimate level of Ki-ness, it could always be worth trying new things and see what happens. Maybe it can help me in Aikido aswel some way, my posture, breathing, ...

lbb
02-08-2010, 11:02 AM
I had such high hopes for this thread. But I guess the answer to "what is ki" varies as much as do the various experiences that people have had.
Looks like there's just too much variation in what has been experienced (and what has not yet been experienced) for this to go anywhere.

You weren't seriously hoping for some kind of definitive consensus, were you? Just as well to expect a definitive answer out of a "discussion" of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. A "discussion" on the meaning of "ki", IMO, primarily serves as entertainment for those who enjoy disputation that goes nowhere.

bulevardi
02-09-2010, 02:31 AM
But you have to admit it's a suspicious topic ;)
It's a topic that can be taken serious, but it's more likely that most people won't.
We have to take it in perspective, no one has to get offended if we have a laugh with it sometimes, it's not with bad feelings.

Nikopol
02-12-2010, 05:02 AM
If one isn't experiencing ki, no definitions can help, because it is an awareness, an experience.

It simply isn't a thing but a perception, a sensation.

気 is quite a common word in Japan.

It is defined as Care, Spirit, or Mood. Spirit as in "He's in high spirits":

Ki o tsukeru; to "watch out" to stay aware.
Ki ni naru; to be bothered by something.
Kibun: mood, the way you feel at any moment.

When you have done Aikido long enough that you start feeling, "aha" ... start feeling the power in movement, start feeling rather than thinking about it... at this point ki exists.

"Who feels it knows it," and if you don't feel it it simply does not exist.

You first start to feel this sensation in the palms of your hands when you hold them in the "ten" position,when doing tenkan. There are well-known photos of Osensei, at the moment after Kokyuhou, his arms extended,

http://aikidoheyrieux.free.fr/osensei92.jpg

I believe this is the technique where one first begins to feel a curious sensation, like something very light, but substantial resting on their palms. Hold that position and weigh that feeling in your palms, as you breath. You start to feel it here.

When you feel it it becomes very real to you. And like a person who "feels it" is more powerful than a person who doesn't yet feel the flow of what he is doing, ki is the "key" to Aiki power.

Words are only words, and any definition of ki is only going to be words. Know that if you continue Aikido, you will start to perceive the power of breath, of turning, of sensitivity.

When you feel it you will know it and know that the quickest way to understand it is to continue Aikido until you feel it.

bulevardi
02-12-2010, 08:15 AM
If one isn't experiencing ki, no definitions can help, because it is an awareness, an experience.

It simply isn't a thing but a perception, a sensation.

気 is quite a common word in Japan.

It is defined as Care, Spirit, or Mood. Spirit as in "He's in high spirits":

Ki o tsukeru; to "watch out" to stay aware.
Ki ni naru; to be bothered by something.
Kibun: mood, the way you feel at any moment.

When you have done Aikido long enough that you start feeling, "aha" ... start feeling the power in movement, start feeling rather than thinking about it... at this point ki exists.

"Who feels it knows it," and if you don't feel it it simply does not exist.

You first start to feel this sensation in the palms of your hands when you hold them in the "ten" position,when doing tenkan. There are well-known photos of Osensei, at the moment after Kokyuhou, his arms extended,

http://aikidoheyrieux.free.fr/osensei92.jpg

I believe this is the technique where one first begins to feel a curious sensation, like something very light, but substantial resting on their palms. Hold that position and weigh that feeling in your palms, as you breath. You start to feel it here.

When you feel it it becomes very real to you. And like a person who "feels it" is more powerful than a person who doesn't yet feel the flow of what he is doing, ki is the "key" to Aiki power.

Words are only words, and any definition of ki is only going to be words. Know that if you continue Aikido, you will start to perceive the power of breath, of turning, of sensitivity.

When you feel it you will know it and know that the quickest way to understand it is to continue Aikido until you feel it.

So is it something like Runners High?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endorphin#Runner.27s_high

After long running or training, you come in a special mood where you get aware of a power that your mind isn't working anymore. You keep on running on the power without thinking.

lbb
02-12-2010, 08:25 AM
If one isn't experiencing ki, no definitions can help, because it is an awareness, an experience.

The thing that troubles me about statements like this, though, is that they can easily lead to an "Emperor's suit of clothes" situation. Mind you, it may well be a true statement, but it's also indistinguishable from something that a charlatan could say about some phenomenon that is equally invisible...because it's nonexistent. I don't know how we can talk about things like "ki" in terms like "if you got it, you know it; if you don't know it, you ain't got it", and still avoid charlatanry.

Nikopol
02-12-2010, 08:51 AM
Is it something like runners high?

I won't say, "no"; I can see where that would be an appropriate analogy.

I see looking back through the post that Dirk and David said much the same thing as I, understanding what the Japanese term means and understanding the pitfalls of trying to define it as if it were a concrete property.

What is sight? Here is another thing that is experienced better than it can be described, which also varies in quality and gives us power.

Mary, why be troubled by the words?

The point above all is practice Aikido to attain ki, not to attain definitions.

C. David Henderson
02-12-2010, 10:49 AM
So is it something like Runners High?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endorphin#Runner.27s_high

After long running or training, you come in a special mood where you get aware of a power that your mind isn't working anymore. You keep on running on the power without thinking.

I will, respectfully, say "No" to this analogy.

If "Ki" were merely an endorphin rush, it could not serve much of a role in martial power or effectiveness.

I don't claim to be able to hurl balls of psychic force through my fingertips or lift a car to save a trapped baby or even do the kinds of internal skill manipulations of my body discussed at length elsewhere on this form beyond some basic exercises. (I recommend you check out the archives about "ki" and "kokyu," BTW).

But I have done endurance sports for thirty years, and Aikido for a dozen and counting. The endorphin effect is pleasant, and may help someone find a "second wind" by reducing the experience of suffering. Not much else really.

To me, the question illustrates Mary's point.

YMMV

lbb
02-12-2010, 12:08 PM
Mary, why be troubled by the words?

I already explained why. Was my explanation unclear, or are you saying that I shouldn't care about such things? Hey, some people care about what "ki" is, and that's apparently okay, so why wouldn't it be okay for me to care about the dangers of charlatanry when discussing matters that many people are willing to simply take on faith?

The point above all is practice Aikido to attain ki, not to attain definitions.

That's "the point" for you, and that's fine. Others have different "points". There is no Aikido Thought Conformity Police that enforces universal agreement on this or any other matter relating to why we practice.

Nikopol
02-12-2010, 08:35 PM
Mary, Charles,

Neither of you seem to know what ki is, so why are you so vocal in insisting what it is not?

Go to the dojo and find out, obviously you are not accepting sincere attempts to answer your questions.

What is ki? You won't find it on the internet.

eyrie
02-12-2010, 11:26 PM
If one isn't experiencing ki, no definitions can help, because it is an awareness, an experience... It simply isn't a thing but a perception, a sensation.
You need to carefully read what Mary is saying, because that's exactly what's wrong with your "definition".

IMO, ki is none of the above. In contextual Chinese usage a "thing" either has qi (Jap. ki) or it doesn't.The thing is, we all have ki. If you don't have ki, you're dead - figuratively and literally.

long enough that you start feeling, "aha" ... start feeling the power in movement, start feeling rather than thinking about it... at this point ki exists. "Who feels it knows it," and if you don't feel it it simply does not exist. Certainly, it has to be felt (IHTBF), but your explanation here clearly demonstrates that you have no real idea what "it" is.

When you feel it you will know it and know that the quickest way to understand it is to continue Aikido until you feel it. Uh.. no. If it were the case, why would there still be a debate/discussion here?

Nikopol
02-13-2010, 02:43 AM
Yes, I carefully read what Mary was talking about. Trouble is, she is talking about talking and not about ki.

She says: "I already explained why. Was my explanation unclear, or are you saying that I shouldn't care about such things? Hey, some people care about what "ki" is, and that's apparently okay, so why wouldn't it be okay for me to care about the dangers of charlatanry when discussing matters that many people are willing to simply take on faith?" "

But I never said "take it on faith"
I said practice to gain direct knowledge.

That is exactly the opposite of Charlatanism.

"Some people care about ki".

Well, I care about ki. That's why I look for it through Aikido, not talk, and suggest she also try to find it through training.

I know it sounds harsh, but all of the babbling Aikidoka who insist on extending a debate about words, and words of languages they are not intimate with, sort of sours the beauty of Aikido.

I have lived in Japan for over two decades, have taken 100 percent of my Aikido training in Japanese and teach it to Japanese from the ages of 4 to 74, so what do I know, right?

The quickest ... no, the ONLY way to understand ki is to experience it. Because it IS an experience.

"Why is there still a discussion here?"

Because we Westerners don't seem to know how to quiet our minds and our mouths.

The original poster actually asked what exercises he could do to develop ki. He shames us all because that is the real question, he wants to experience ki. I suggest we end the ridiculous bickering and provide him exercises, which believe it or not, are really far more substantial than words.

If we can't demonstrate a little AIki in the forums....

JimCooper
02-13-2010, 05:21 AM
What is exactly is KI?

As you can see, there is a lot of controversy about that :-)

Let's start with what it is not. It is not a "life force" or "life energy" (we've known there is no such thing for a very long time now). It is not energy, force, power or any other quantity that a physicist would recognise. Aikido movements can be explained perfectly using very ordinary mechanical principles. Anyone who says ki is "real" in this sense is just plain wrong. If they disagree, then they can build you a ki meter, prove it exists and win the Nobel prize for physics along the way :-)

However, a theoretical understanding and an ability to actually perform the movements optimally are completely different. This is true in every field where movements of your body are required, from playing a piano to bowling a cricket ball to performing irimi-nage.

Giving you a set of differential equations for a set of movements is probably not going to help you learn any of them, for example :-) A lot of what ki is (in the martial arts, anyway), IMO, is explaining things in such a way as to help us actually do them. It's clearer to most people to explain unbendable arm as ki (or water, if you prefer) flowing out through your fingertips, than explain exactly what tension to put in each and every muscle in your arm and shoulder and body etc.

Since a lot of aikido depends on (pretty precise) timing of movements, the concept of "flow" is also often invoked in an attempt to explain how that works.

Most importantly, as any elite athlete will tell you, if your mind isn't right, your body won't work right either. So there are issues about controlling your mind (and therefore your body). Athletes talk about "being in the zone", and you'll hear similar things from martial artists. Then there's controlling fear, "flow" in the sense of moving in harmony with uke (and yourself) and many other things.

So when you talk about ki exercises, I think there are lots of different things that people tend to lump together. Some are physical or biomechanical principles, some are mental.

Be aware that there is a mystical streak in many martial artists, and it is stronger in aikido circles, than, say karate circles. I personally don't find that sort of talk very edifying, and it certainly doesn't make concepts like ki easier to understand. IMO you're better off training with someone who can teach you (as opposed to someone else) well, whether or not they talk about ki.

Ki is just a concept (or set of concepts, maybe). If it helps you, use the concept, if it doesn't, then don't :-)

Nikopol
02-13-2010, 06:40 AM
Everything you say is true.

Don't leave out one thing that's so
common its overlooked.

Breathing.

Our Aikido lives on Kokyu.
Kokyuhou, and Kokyuryoku.
Breath Power.

I believe that deep breathing creates a state of
heightened awareness and physical ability.
and this concentration is called ki.

even in English, concentration refers to a mental process
as well as a condition of mechanical energy.

:) Could you agree with this explanation?

jss
02-13-2010, 09:35 AM
I believe that deep breathing creates a state of
heightened awareness and physical ability.
and this concentration is called ki.
So all the talk about ki in the Oriental martial arts is just a way to say: do belly breathing instead of chest breathing? And how does reverse breathing then fit into this?
I suggest we end the ridiculous bickering and provide him exercises, which believe it or not, are really far more substantial than words.
And what other exercises would you suggest (besides deep breathing) to experience ki?

Nikopol
02-13-2010, 10:03 AM
Well, don't you do a lot of breathing exercises before class?
Focusing energy in your palms? These are the ki building kokyu exercises, most dojos do them.

Then you do tenkanhou. and (morotedori) kokyuhou.

http://www.aikidoatthecenter.org/Images/osenseikokyu.jpg

"Breath throw" at the moment of the throw, arms out palms up, breath in this position, and you will start to feel lots of nice tingly ki in the palms of your hands.

Next, tegatana which focuses that ki forward.

Didn't they teach you this? :)

Then shower, eat, sleep. Repeat.

jss
02-13-2010, 02:41 PM
Well, don't you do a lot of breathing exercises before class?
Focusing energy in your palms? These are the ki building kokyu exercises, most dojos do them.

Then you do tenkanhou. and (morotedori) kokyuhou.

http://www.aikidoatthecenter.org/Images/osenseikokyu.jpg

"Breath throw" at the moment of the throw, arms out palms up, breath in this position, and you will start to feel lots of nice tingly ki in the palms of your hands.

Next, tegatana which focuses that ki forward.

Didn't they teach you this? :)

Then shower, eat, sleep. Repeat.

While I was typing a reply, I realized I was posting in the way Oisin Bourke called me out on (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=251454&postcount=92) previously. So I'm just going to stop here instead of asking question after question while you most likely won't write down detailed descriptions of how you think those exercises should be done - because that's how this game usually plays out. (And if you don't think it would have: you don't need my questions to post more information, so feel free to do so.)

lbb
02-13-2010, 03:19 PM
Mary, Charles,

Neither of you seem to know what ki is, so why are you so vocal in insisting what it is not?

Show me where I "insisted" anything about "what it is not". Go ahead, show me.

Go to the dojo and find out, obviously you are not accepting sincere attempts to answer your questions.

If I ask you how much 2 and 2 is, and you say "banana", should I accept the answer just because you're sincere about it?

What is ki? You won't find it on the internet.

Why are you telling me this? I'm not the one who asked, and I think that statement is rather implied in much of what I've said. Lighten up with the preaching and lecturing, will you?

Sheesh almighty.

Nikopol
02-13-2010, 06:13 PM
Show me where I "insisted" anything about "what it is not". Go ahead, show me.

Sheesh almighty.

下らない! :eek:  Mary, this might help you:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histrionic_personality_disorder

 

C. David Henderson
02-13-2010, 07:01 PM
Hi Vincent.

Call me David, please.

I said I don't think "ki" as a concept can be explained as a "runner' high." I know what that feels like intimately. I know I've felt that during practice. And I know that experience isn't what people generally refer to when talking about how words like "ki," "Kokyu," and "jin," relate to the martial arts.

Now, if you know what "ki" is, and you disagree, tell me why.

If you can't tell me why, explain to me in what sense you believe you understand the concept of "ki" better than I.

Nikopol
02-13-2010, 07:22 PM
Hi David,

I don't think "ki" as a concept can be explained as a "runner' high." I know what that feels like intimately. I know I've felt that during practice. And I know that experience isn't what people generally refer to when talking about how words like "ki," "Kokyu," and "jin," relate to the martial arts.

But let me ask how do you know that experience people generally refer to? I am not challenging you. I don't want you to try to answer that. You would have to infer it from personal experience.

Now, if you know what "ki" is, and you disagree, tell me why.

I only disagree with telling people who are starting to see the light in their own way, "that's not ki". Sort of like Aiki is not stopping someone's strength, but leading in the right direction...

explain to me in what sense you believe you understand the concept of "ki" better than I.

I shouldn't have implied that I understand the concept better than you, or anyone. I have no knowledge of your knowledge.

But I believe that ki is an enhancement of neuromuscular response and mental perception which can be induced through breathing and movement, essentially what Yoga and Pranayama have been teaching for 3000 years.

And that this physical sensation can be experienced through Aikido training, so no-one has to take it on faith at all.

Is this a satisfactory definition for textbook purposes, or is it not?

I believe that it is. And so I enjoy Aikido with no doubts.

C. David Henderson
02-13-2010, 11:31 PM
To me, it's one thing to say an experience has to be felt first hand to be truly understood, and another to say that because the experience itself is the root of knowledge that all initial guesses as to the nature of that experience are equally valid.

I know what people generally are talking about because I communicate with them using words like "ki." I have some experiences which line up, roughly, with the topic of these communications. I'm not holding myself out to tell someone else what "ki" is because, frankly, its beyond my pay grade.

Nonetheless, I understand when I hear or read something about aikido containing the word "ki" that the other person is trying to communicate something identifiable to me.

It's okay if the picture is fuzzy, because a clear picture of a fuzzy phenomenon is a fuzzy picture.

But that doesn't make the picture arbitrary, such that any fuzzy shape is equal to another in representing the reality to which it points.

You talk about someone trying to construct their own understanding of these concepts, and I understand what you're saying.

I just think that if you take a stick and ask someone if you are pointing at the moon, it makes a difference where the stick is -- roughly -- pointing.

If its an ineffable experience, then communication is pointless. Then ideas about the experience are not simply roads all leading to Rome, but impediments on the journey.

So, I don't think you can have it both ways. Either the concept of "ki" in the context of a martial art is something we can communicate about meaningfully or its not. If it is, then some approximations are better than others; if it's not, then no formulation can suffice. In neither case are all formulations inherently useful.

C. David Henderson
02-13-2010, 11:51 PM
Oh, and Vince,

I just looked at the link from wikipedia you posted; never mind.

No need to respond.

Nikopol
02-14-2010, 01:54 AM
David,

I gave you my definition of ki, posts #66, because you seemed to ask in what sense I felt I understood ki.

I put it in bold type.

Ignoring it, you replied with :

Nonetheless,
something identifiable
a fuzzy phenomenon
any fuzzy shape
pointing at the moon
an ineffable experience
communication is pointless
impediments on the journey.
some approximations.

You insist on pushing a physical phenomenon into the realm of poetry, some mystic paradox,.

Why this resistance?

Am I to conclude that this is a passion with us, to complicate simple matters and refuse to agree, or even listen?

With all respect to the posters, and hope that you find something meaningful in Aikido, I am probably not wrong in concluding that there are thought issues that make dialogue impossible. Some find it mean to name it; the truth is a bitter pill to swallow.

I have emotions too; I want to rise above my own impatience. But if I give you a cup of water, and you spill it out on the ground, don't ask me for another. Sadly I am just the fool to give it to you.

Peace,

Nikopol
02-14-2010, 02:16 AM
By the way,

A lot of posters seem to do a lot of demanding,

Show me where I "insisted" anything about "what it is not". Go ahead, show me.

Now, if you know what "ki" is, and you disagree, tell me why.

If you can't tell me why, explain to me in what sense you believe you understand the concept of "ki" better than I.

And then they just take or ignore the answer and go right on bickering. To me that is extremely rude and childish.

You might not like my posts, but I won't make demands on you.
I asked you only one question which I hoped you to answer; that was:

Is this a satisfactory definition for textbook purposes, or is it not?

It was not meant as a challenge. I wanted to know if the answer that you requested was satisfactory to you.

eyrie
02-14-2010, 03:33 AM
I believe that ki is an enhancement of neuromuscular response and mental perception which can be induced through breathing and movement, essentially what Yoga and Pranayama have been teaching for 3000 years. If, (big IF) ki is simply that, where then, does the ki of Heaven and Earth fit into that paradigm?

Nikopol
02-14-2010, 04:36 AM
If, (big IF) ki is simply that, where then, does the ki of Heaven and Earth fit into that paradigm?

mental perception = consciousness.

What is it that unites heaven and earth but human consciousness?

bulevardi
02-14-2010, 05:44 AM
Do we all live in that same paradigm ? :straightf http://aikiweb.com/forums/images/icons/bloos.gif

C. David Henderson
02-14-2010, 08:28 AM
David,

Ignoring it, you replied:

No, I took you to task for taking the indefensible position that any way you talk about it is as valid as another -- you never really addressed that.

Now you have your own definition -- guess that means its not a runner's high, eh? Guess that means not all views are equally valid -- if they were, your definition would be meaningless. That's just logic, friend.

You insist on pushing a physical phenomenon into the realm of poetry, some mystic paradox,.

You are, I believe contradicting yourself reather badly -- if its a physical phenomenon in the sense that science addresses, there are right answes and wrong answers. Telling someone with a different hypothesis that you believe NOT to be true that you won't say "no" to their view is, in reality, withholding what you believe to be true. Why?

If it's something that "has to be learned through experience" that might make sense; if its a simple physical phenomenon your response is just misleading someone about something that can be concretely named and described. Why be coy?

By the way, I think "ki" is a concept in a participatory language -- martial arts training -- and doesn't point to one thing like "enhanced neuromuscular response." So, as to your proffered cup, no thanks.

Why this resistance?

Why not? Does that make me "histrionic" in your view too?

Am I to conclude that this is a passion with us, to complicate simple matters and refuse to agree, or even listen?

Project Much? How's that working out for you?

Fact is, I've listened to alot of hypotheses about "ki" over the years; I listened to your's too, but simply am not convinced.

With all respect to the posters, and hope that you find something meaningful in Aikido, I am probably not wrong in concluding that there are thought issues that make dialogue impossible. Some find it mean to name it; the truth is a bitter pill to swallow.

Project Much?

I have emotions too; I want to rise above my own impatience. But if I give you a cup of water, and you spill it out on the ground, don't ask me for another. Sadly I am just the fool to give it to you.

Peace

If you want to share, I would respectfully suggest you start by avoiding meaningless platitudes to people looking for answers and snarky gratuitous comments and judgments about others who try honestly to address their questions.

Peace and so long, dude.

Nikopol
02-14-2010, 11:09 PM
Thank you very much.

DH
02-15-2010, 09:53 AM
While I was typing a reply, I realized I was posting in the way Oisin Bourke called me out on (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=251454&postcount=92) previously. So I'm just going to stop here instead of asking question after question while you most likely won't write down detailed descriptions of how you think those exercises should be done - because that's how this game usually plays out. (And if you don't think it would have: you don't need my questions to post more information, so feel free to do so.)
Thats fine Joep but I think Mr. Bourke's comments were more along the lines that if you have something to offer, state it. Otherwise continuing to ask questions and then shoot down every response is perceived as a game. Example: a calculous teacher continues to ask grammar school kids questions the teachers already knows they can't answer adequately. What gets accomplished? After a while even pre-teens would get that they were being played with and talked down to.
In either case someone continually asking questions they already have the answers to is perceived as arrogant, and self-involved.
To say it another more direct way, Mr. Bourke is probably saying people should step in and help or shut up.
Cheers
Dan

jss
02-15-2010, 04:01 PM
Thats fine Joep but I think Mr. Bourke's comments were more along the lines that if you have something to offer, state it.
You're right and I did so in the thread in which Oisin Bourke made his comment.

thisisnotreal
02-16-2010, 11:16 AM
i don't know. i thought this conversation was different that the other one. The other one; the fellow was really asking questions. In this case there seemed to be a bunch of assertions. I would have liked to see some actual questions/and/answers. (e.g. "go for it Joep, let's see what shakes loose"). Especially because of Vincent's tone. In addition to that Vincent definitely changed the spirit of this discussion here. Not that lbb or cdh need me to say a darn thing; but it was kind of an internet drive by. I, for one, appreciate their point of view, and call for rational thought/discussion/physiology/etc. Of course that is needed. Naysaying or saying you don't know squat because you doubt is pretty useless, in general. Everyone should doubt it. Investigate. Then decide.
Regarding the detail: It seems that people don't like discussing actual detail...it tends to actually reveal things..that are, perhaps, best kept quiet, for one reason or another. Be it dangerous info where people can hurt themselves or others; or that it betray a festering void of ignorance underneath the saccharine platitudes; or that the information is proprietary, or i don't know what..

For instance; If anyone actually understands Ki, then I would ask of them, "Why do you think such extreme behavior tends to show up when discussing Ki?". Why so many vehement arguments? Why so much bs?
One answer I came up with: "It is a jewel; and as with anything of value; it tends to bring out the best and worst". (/misdirection/etc)
Just human nature (?)

thisisnotreal
02-16-2010, 01:15 PM
sorry. just venting. try again?
...well, since were' talking about this (:ki: ) anyway, and since everyone's getting along so well...I thought I'd post this .pdf I found on my web travels. It's sure to bring harmony to everyone's views. NOT!! Here is someone's attempt at discussing Ki (/Internal Energy) from an atypical (i.e. unabashedly Christian) viewpoint. Here< (http://www.johnofjapan.org/pdf/strength_in_the_inner_man.pdf ). Maybe it's interesting. (/maybe not). Was to me. Don't read it if you're easily offended. If you do, and you are, well...maybe, just take it as another of the many datapoints out there.

Something certainly interesting in any explanation of that word (Ki) is that it always tends to bleed outside of any boundaries that we want to put on it.
No matter the culture, or the context...it seems that the 'framework' or worldview invoked to discuss ki ..... expands.. and often without bounds. Whether Eastern or 'Western'.... and I think that's cause it ('ki') touches on aspects of what life itself is.
That's what I think. You?

gregstec
02-16-2010, 03:22 PM
sorry. just venting. try again?
...well, since were' talking about this (:ki: ) anyway, and since everyone's getting along so well...I thought I'd post this .pdf I found on my web travels. It's sure to bring harmony to everyone's views. NOT!! Here is someone's attempt at discussing Ki (/Internal Energy) from an atypical (i.e. unabashedly Christian) viewpoint. Here< (http://www.johnofjapan.org/pdf/strength_in_the_inner_man.pdf ). Maybe it's interesting. (/maybe not). Was to me. Don't read it if you're easily offended. If you do, and you are, well...maybe, just take it as another of the many datapoints out there.

Something certainly interesting in any explanation of that word (Ki) is that it always tends to bleed outside of any boundaries that we want to put on it.
No matter the culture, or the context...it seems that the 'framework' or worldview invoked to discuss ki ..... expands.. and often without bounds. Whether Eastern or 'Western'.... and I think that's cause it ('ki') touches on aspects of what life itself is.
That's what I think. You?

Discussions about Ki, religion, and politics are best conducted among people of like minds - outside that environment, all you have are one sided conversations where people only listen to themselves :)

Greg

Nikopol
02-16-2010, 04:45 PM
To everyone involved in this discussion, it was not my intention to change the tone of this thread. To Josh, I agree with you, and meant to point out that the original thread does ask questions, after which the post became full of assertions and challenges.

I wish a comment I made earlier could be un-made but that is not an option and it is unfortunate. I hope everyone will refrain from focusing on my mistakes in their posts and refer again to the individual who asked the original question. My apologies to anyone who has been offended.

bulevardi
02-17-2010, 07:38 AM
Regarding the detail: It seems that people don't like discussing actual detail...it tends to actually reveal things..that are, perhaps, best kept quiet, for one reason or another. Be it dangerous info where people can hurt themselves or others; or that it betray a festering void of ignorance underneath the saccharine platitudes; or that the information is proprietary, or i don't know what..


I guess I'll have to read the book of Koichi Tohei about Ki.
If he can't explain what Ki is about, how to achieve, develop or experience Ki, no one else will,... I guess.

And if he's just telling blablabla in his book, it means Ki is just some hyped invented paradigm.

If he explains how to achieve, develop or experience Ki in a good way through his book, I'll practice those exercises until I experience it too. And I will keep you posted right here if it worked out or not.
Until that day, no one else should post in this thread ;-)

jss
02-17-2010, 08:11 AM
I guess I'll have to read the book of Koichi Tohei about Ki.
If he can't explain what Ki is about, how to achieve, develop or experience Ki, no one else will,... I guess.
I think Koichi Tohei was quite capable of explaining this about ki at the time he wrote the book. I only doubt he was willing to explain all the key elements. It's been a while since I read a book by Tohei, but I don't remember finding them very helpful, but ymmv, of course.


Until that day, no one else should post in this thread ;-)
Sorry...:sorry:

MM
02-17-2010, 09:09 AM
Tohei is always quoted on things "ki", but has anyone researched what Shioda, Tomiki, Mochizuki, Shirata have said about "ki"? Might prove interesting.

And consider the Hawaii trip where Ueshiba told people to take Tohei down because he had a hangover. Tohei didn't seem to fall in line with the "spiritual-ness" that Ueshiba believed. So, how does that fall into line with some people's ideas that "ki" is some ethereal energy all around us, yada yada yada?

If Shioda, etc talked about ki and Tohei wasn't in line with Ueshiba's grand spiritual-ness, doesn't that seem to point to a fact that "ki" has a very definable quality that can be trained in the body?

chillzATL
02-17-2010, 04:52 PM
Tohei is always quoted on things "ki", but has anyone researched what Shioda, Tomiki, Mochizuki, Shirata have said about "ki"? Might prove interesting.

And consider the Hawaii trip where Ueshiba told people to take Tohei down because he had a hangover. Tohei didn't seem to fall in line with the "spiritual-ness" that Ueshiba believed. So, how does that fall into line with some people's ideas that "ki" is some ethereal energy all around us, yada yada yada?

If Shioda, etc talked about ki and Tohei wasn't in line with Ueshiba's grand spiritual-ness, doesn't that seem to point to a fact that "ki" has a very definable quality that can be trained in the body?

would you consider it an oversimplification to define it as intent? While there may be more components to it than that, wouldn't the general concept of "extend ki" simply be extending or focusing your intent?

Coming from a ki society offshoot, we've always worked Tohei's principles and I certainly feel they inject something, from an aikido standpoint, that make a difference. Having had the opportunity to do some "other" training with a local group, I've started to look at those things somewhat differently and on a few occasions have already had some very surprising results.

C. David Henderson
02-18-2010, 10:12 AM
That's an interesting thought.

I remember this thread and think it might also help define the topic:

http://aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15143&highlight=ki+intent

Best

David Yap
02-19-2010, 12:28 AM
Tohei is always quoted on things "ki", but has anyone researched what Shioda, Tomiki, Mochizuki, Shirata have said about "ki"? Might prove interesting...

A friend of mine, who is knowledgeable in most martial arts and who holds a nidan in Yoshinkan aikido and who I have had discussions on Ki, insisted that Gozo Shioda did not believe in Ki.

Any Yoshinkan guys here would like to share this?

Regards

David Y

gregstec
02-19-2010, 08:17 AM
A friend of mine, who is knowledgeable in most martial arts and who holds a nidan in Yoshinkan aikido and who I have had discussions on Ki, insisted that Gozo Shioda did not believe in Ki.....

I have heard that as well. Also, I believe in one of his books, he simply referred to Ki as timing.

Greg

Lonin
02-20-2010, 05:05 AM
Ki is the confluence of balance, timing and focussed power (kokyu ryoku) during execution of a technique in yoshinkan aikido terms. This I have gathered from "teh tarik" sessions with Sensei Francis remembering his training days with Gozo shioda. It may be a different perception for other aikido styles or other martial arts.