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OwlMatt
07-02-2012, 04:28 PM
If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.
- Confucius, Analects

A few days ago, someone on Facebook's Aikido group had the gall to make a post saying that ki power does not exist. The responses that followed this assertion were condescending and not particularly friendly. I'll post the first three here:


"Then why are you here?" (3 Likes)
"If you do not believe in the existence of ki power, you have not understood the real power of aikido... all techniques depend on ki power: without that, there is only physical strength." (5 Likes)
"ki is everywhere, a vital force; the spirit of aikido; if you don't trust in this, you're lost" (1 Like)


I decided not to come to this guy's defense because I think he was being unnecessarily confrontational. But my opinion on this matter is a very strong one: there is no such thing as ki, and we in the martial arts should stop using the word ki (and its Chinese counterpart, chi) altogether.

There, I said it. Everyone take a breath.

Now I'll move on.

There are a lot of problems with the concept of ki, the foremost being that no two people can agree on what ki actually is. In my few short years in aikido, I've heard more definitions of ki than I could possibly count, ranging from things as mundane as "momentum" and "intention" to such wild ideas as "spiritual energy" and "the power of the universe". There are, in short, as many definitions of ki as there are people talking about it.

Some people embrace this amorphousness, deciding that ki is like God or the Dao: something that defies definition and can only be experienced for oneself. The problem with this is that ki, unlike God or the Dao, is supposed to be something we can cultivate and manipulate to produce measurable effects in the physical world (I suppose there are a few, like Pat Robertson, who believe they can do the same with God, but let's not get into that here). The moment we start dealing with clearly-defined physical realities, we give up the luxury of being able to chalk things up to mysterious, inexplicable forces. If something works in a concrete, measurable way, we ought to be able to explain it in a concrete, measurable way.

And by the way, we can explain it in a concrete, measurable way.

I have worked with some amazing people during my time in aikido and they have shown me some amazing things. But I've never seen any of them, including even the great Hiroshi Ikeda, do something that couldn't be explained by physics. No doubt, things like the "unbendable arm" must have looked supernatural to people who lacked a modern understanding of biomechanics, but we know better now. The second Facebook comment above notwithstanding, we no longer need ki to explain how good technique can overcome sheer physical strength. Royce Gracie proved that many times over in the early days of the UFC.

So, nobody can agree on what ki is and there is nothing in the martial arts that requires ki as an explanation. That ought to be evidence enough that ki is nonsense, but there is something much worse than nonsense.

Those of you who read my April post "We're the Problem" (http://yghmartialarts.blogspot.com/2012/04/were-problem.html) will remember a video of Jim Green, a karate instructor who is in the business of teaching children to take falls when he throws his ki at them. No doubt some see this as harmless silliness and consider confronting it with the truth more trouble than it's worth. But consider the case of Yanagi Ryuken.

Ryuken's name has become synonymous in the martial arts community with the worst martial arts delusions. His story was introduced to me by neuroscientist and secularist writer Sam Harris, whose recent interest in self-defense and Brazilian jiu-jitsu has resulted in some very interesting writing on the martial arts (http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-pleasures-of-drowning). Harris, as one might expect, is keenly interested in the debunking of unscientific martial arts myths. He presentes Ryuken as an example of what happens when masters and their methods go untested and unquestioned.

Ryuken is a master of no-touch throws: rather than striking or grabbing his opponents, he repels them with his ki. Here's a video of him in action with some of his students.

VIDEO (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNAWff9Daqg&feature=player_embedded)

And here's a video of what happened when he challenged a martial artist from another school.

VIDEO (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=oMgVmFzBrus)

The website where I found this video (http://www.yachigusaryu.com/blog/2007/02/no-touch-knockout-fraud-exposed.html) said that Ryuken ended up with several broken teeth and cuts all over his mouth and nose. Delusion, in the case of the martial arts, isn't just funny; it's sometimes very dangerous.

None of what I've written so far addresses the more pragmatic users of the word ki: the ones who believe (correctly, I think) that what used to be called ki is in fact a combination of breathing, biomechanics, and visualization, and who assert (incorrectly, I think) that there's nothing wrong with continuing to use the word so long as we understand that there's nothing mystical or supernatural about it. I used to be in this crowd myself, but I think this stance was a bit hypocritical of me.

I am a real jerk about words. When we start deciding that words can mean whatever we want them to mean, words begin to lose their meaning altogether. We already have words for breathing, biomechanics, and visualization. Adding ki to that mix only obfuscates things.

For instance, when an instructor tells me to extend my ki outward as I throw, what he means is that if I think outward rather than downward my muscles will follow suit and my throw will go where it is supposed to go. He is telling me to visualize. I got similar advice from my singing coach in college, and he didn't need any mysterious foreign words for it. The best aikido instructors I've ever had just skip the ki middleman and say, "Think out, not down." It gets the same results and makes a lot more sense to most of us.

So to recap:

There is no agreed-upon definition of ki.
None of the martial arts phenomena attributed to ki need more explaining than can be provided by simple physics.
Belief in ki leads some people into ridiculous and dangerous delusions.
Use of the word ki complicates and obfuscates things that could be better explained with simple English (or German, or Portuguese, or Hindi, or whatever).


In closing, I must, as always, remind people that I'm no authority on anything. I am not even three years into my martial arts journey, and have no business telling a sandan how to run her class. She can use whatever words she wants. But I, for the reasons above, will never use the word ki in reference to any part of my martial arts training, and will have a little difficulty taking those people seriously who do.

Mary Eastland
07-02-2012, 07:52 PM
Never say never. Unless it is about thinking during technique.

lbb
07-02-2012, 09:18 PM
I'm a ki agnostic, myself. I don't know if it exists, I don't need for it to exist, I don't need to prove that it doesn't exist, I don't need to get into a debate with every person who uses the word "ki" to mean something that I think can be described quite well with more prosaic terms. Seems like too much wasted energy all around.

phitruong
07-02-2012, 09:39 PM
ki in my language it spelled "khi". we are between the chinese "chi" and japanese "ki". it meant the same thing - GAS! so aikido meant the way of loving gas, i.e. having gas while loving or the way of blending gas. :D

OwlMatt
07-02-2012, 11:00 PM
I'm a ki agnostic, myself. I don't know if it exists, I don't need for it to exist, I don't need to prove that it doesn't exist, I don't need to get into a debate with every person who uses the word "ki" to mean something that I think can be described quite well with more prosaic terms. Seems like too much wasted energy all around.

Well, I don't get into debates, either. I just smile and nod. But since my blog is all about me, I'm laying my feelings on the subject all out here.

MM
07-03-2012, 07:59 AM
I am a real jerk about words. When we start deciding that words can mean whatever we want them to mean, words begin to lose their meaning altogether. We already have words for breathing, biomechanics, and visualization. Adding ki to that mix only obfuscates things.

For instance, when an instructor tells me to extend my ki outward as I throw, what he means is that if I think outward rather than downward my muscles will follow suit and my throw will go where it is supposed to go. He is telling me to visualize. I got similar advice from my singing coach in college, and he didn't need any mysterious foreign words for it. The best aikido instructors I've ever had just skip the ki middleman and say, "Think out, not down." It gets the same results and makes a lot more sense to most of us.

So to recap:

There is no agreed-upon definition of ki.
None of the martial arts phenomena attributed to ki need more explaining than can be provided by simple physics.
Belief in ki leads some people into ridiculous and dangerous delusions.
Use of the word ki complicates and obfuscates things that could be better explained with simple English (or German, or Portuguese, or Hindi, or whatever).


In closing, I must, as always, remind people that I'm no authority on anything. I am not even three years into my martial arts journey, and have no business telling a sandan how to run her class. She can use whatever words she wants. But I, for the reasons above, will never use the word ki in reference to any part of my martial arts training, and will have a little difficulty taking those people seriously who do.

I think you might want to consider history before you toss out everything "ki" related.

Why did Ueshiba and Shioda (to name two top martial artists) use "ki" in their descriptions? They certainly could demonstrate their martial validity. How many of history's martial masters/grandmasters used ki/chi/jin in their vocabulary and yet could still martially prove their skills and abilities?

(NOTE: It's been stated somewhere that in Chinese, the kanji for ji and chi were different. Ji meant yin/yang while chi was more life energy. But, I'm not entirely sure how accurate or true that is.)

Historically, you have to state that there was something "valid" in those martial artists usage of the word "ki".

Skip to modern day. Why keep an ancient, old word? Well, for one, if you start reading the old texts, you can at least have an idea of what they might be talking about. But, you say, how can you do that when no one has a definition for "ki"? Which brings me to your list of 4 points.

1. Yes, there is an agreed upon definition. Those who think there is no agreed upon definition, those who say it means everything to everyone, etc do not know and most likely have never experienced it. Why do you think most martial artists who had 20-40 years of training wanted to study with Ueshiba, Shioda, Horikawa, Sagawa, Takeda, Chen Fake, etc? Why did they all say that what they experienced was beyond their comprehension?

Do you truly think it is valid to equate "Ryuken the Ki Master" with "Ueshiba the Ki Master"? Yet both used ki to explain their skills. Obviously, throughout history, there have been very talented and skilled martial masters who have used ki/chi/ji to describe what they are doing. Are you willing to toss all that out just because 99% of the world thinks of ki like some magical, mystical energy? What would you be missing in that 1%?

2. Simple physics can never cover what the human body is capable of. If you want simple physics, most judo and aikido can give you that. But, then ask yourself why all those hardened judo men couldn't stand up to Takeda, Sagawa, Ueshiba, Horikawa? Within Judo itself, why was Mifune so different than all the rest? If you want to use simple physics to explain "ki" like 99% of all the rest of the martial artists, what are you missing in that 1% which includes Takeda, Ueshiba, Sagawa, Horikawa, Chen Fake, etc who did not use simple physics but instead used ancient, old, known martial definitions which included the word "ki"?

3. LOL, oh, how true. 99% true.

4. Well, yes and no. Yeah, we can do better at explaining things. If you want to understand the martial classics, you still have to understand their wording and usage, including "ki".

If I had met Ueshiba or Shioda or any of them, and they had talked about "ki" as meaning something to them, I certainly would have listened. I would have no difficulty taking them seriously. I may have been with all the rest of the students standing there confused and dazed, not understanding him, but I would never have taken it lightly. Yeah, 99% of the rest of the martial world isn't like them, but isn't that what budo is all about? Getting to that 1%? Otherwise, why not yoga or sports or meditation? So, why are you listening to the 99% who can't do and not trying to find those 1% who can?

Standing over 6 feet tall and weighing in around/above 200 pounds with known record. Recognized name by many. Won quite a few matches. Great guy and confident in his abilities. One of the 99%. Very good in what he could do. Yet, when he met one of the 1%, he could do nothing and couldn't understand how he was rendered powerless. Know what the funny thing is about that description? It matches certain people who are now dead and certain people who are now living, all of whom have pointed to the martial classics and "ki". :D

gregstec
07-03-2012, 10:15 AM
If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.
- Confucius, Analects

A few days ago, someone on Facebook's Aikido group had the gall to make a post saying that ki power does not exist. The responses that followed this assertion were condescending and not particularly friendly. I'll post the first three here:
"Then why are you here?" (3 Likes)
"If you do not believe in the existence of ki power, you have not understood the real power of aikido... all techniques depend on ki power: without that, there is only physical strength." (5 Likes)
"ki is everywhere, a vital force; the spirit of aikido; if you don't trust in this, you're lost" (1 Like)I decided not to come to this guy's defense because I think he was being unnecessarily confrontational. But my opinion on this matter is a very strong one: there is no such thing as ki, and we in the martial arts should stop using the word ki (and its Chinese counterpart, chi) altogether.

There, I said it. Everyone take a breath.

Now I'll move on.

There are a lot of problems with the concept of ki, the foremost being that no two people can agree on what ki actually is. In my few short years in aikido, I've heard more definitions of ki than I could possibly count, ranging from things as mundane as "momentum" and "intention" to such wild ideas as "spiritual energy" and "the power of the universe". There are, in short, as many definitions of ki as there are people talking about it.

Some people embrace this amorphousness, deciding that ki is like God or the Dao: something that defies definition and can only be experienced for oneself. The problem with this is that ki, unlike God or the Dao, is supposed to be something we can cultivate and manipulate to produce measurable effects in the physical world (I suppose there are a few, like Pat Robertson, who believe they can do the same with God, but let's not get into that here). The moment we start dealing with clearly-defined physical realities, we give up the luxury of being able to chalk things up to mysterious, inexplicable forces. If something works in a concrete, measurable way, we ought to be able to explain it in a concrete, measurable way.

And by the way, we can explain it in a concrete, measurable way.

I have worked with some amazing people during my time in aikido and they have shown me some amazing things. But I've never seen any of them, including even the great Hiroshi Ikeda, do something that couldn't be explained by physics. No doubt, things like the "unbendable arm" must have looked supernatural to people who lacked a modern understanding of biomechanics, but we know better now. The second Facebook comment above notwithstanding, we no longer need ki to explain how good technique can overcome sheer physical strength. Royce Gracie proved that many times over in the early days of the UFC.

So, nobody can agree on what ki is and there is nothing in the martial arts that requires ki as an explanation. That ought to be evidence enough that ki is nonsense, but there is something much worse than nonsense.

Those of you who read my April post "We're the Problem" (http://yghmartialarts.blogspot.com/2012/04/were-problem.html) will remember a video of Jim Green, a karate instructor who is in the business of teaching children to take falls when he throws his ki at them. No doubt some see this as harmless silliness and consider confronting it with the truth more trouble than it's worth. But consider the case of Yanagi Ryuken.

Ryuken's name has become synonymous in the martial arts community with the worst martial arts delusions. His story was introduced to me by neuroscientist and secularist writer Sam Harris, whose recent interest in self-defense and Brazilian jiu-jitsu has resulted in some very interesting writing on the martial arts (http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-pleasures-of-drowning). Harris, as one might expect, is keenly interested in the debunking of unscientific martial arts myths. He presentes Ryuken as an example of what happens when masters and their methods go untested and unquestioned.

Ryuken is a master of no-touch throws: rather than striking or grabbing his opponents, he repels them with his ki. Here's a video of him in action with some of his students.

VIDEO (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNAWff9Daqg&feature=player_embedded)

And here's a video of what happened when he challenged a martial artist from another school.

VIDEO (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=oMgVmFzBrus)

The website where I found this video (http://www.yachigusaryu.com/blog/2007/02/no-touch-knockout-fraud-exposed.html) said that Ryuken ended up with several broken teeth and cuts all over his mouth and nose. Delusion, in the case of the martial arts, isn't just funny; it's sometimes very dangerous.

None of what I've written so far addresses the more pragmatic users of the word ki: the ones who believe (correctly, I think) that what used to be called ki is in fact a combination of breathing, biomechanics, and visualization, and who assert (incorrectly, I think) that there's nothing wrong with continuing to use the word so long as we understand that there's nothing mystical or supernatural about it. I used to be in this crowd myself, but I think this stance was a bit hypocritical of me.

I am a real jerk about words. When we start deciding that words can mean whatever we want them to mean, words begin to lose their meaning altogether. We already have words for breathing, biomechanics, and visualization. Adding ki to that mix only obfuscates things.

For instance, when an instructor tells me to extend my ki outward as I throw, what he means is that if I think outward rather than downward my muscles will follow suit and my throw will go where it is supposed to go. He is telling me to visualize. I got similar advice from my singing coach in college, and he didn't need any mysterious foreign words for it. The best aikido instructors I've ever had just skip the ki middleman and say, "Think out, not down." It gets the same results and makes a lot more sense to most of us.

So to recap:
There is no agreed-upon definition of ki.
None of the martial arts phenomena attributed to ki need more explaining than can be provided by simple physics.
Belief in ki leads some people into ridiculous and dangerous delusions.
Use of the word ki complicates and obfuscates things that could be better explained with simple English (or German, or Portuguese, or Hindi, or whatever).In closing, I must, as always, remind people that I'm no authority on anything. I am not even three years into my martial arts journey, and have no business telling a sandan how to run her class. She can use whatever words she wants. But I, for the reasons above, will never use the word ki in reference to any part of my martial arts training, and will have a little difficulty taking those people seriously who do.

Granted, there are a lot of wacky ideas about ki/chi out there (the 99%) but as Mark mentioned, there is the 1% out there as well and you would really be doing yourself a disservice to ignore it altogether. About 35 years ago I came back to the states after studying Ki Society Aikido over in Guam and I was a firm believer in ki as taught by Tohei at that time. However, I ran firmly into the Western agnostic mindset of ki as you describe in you post. So being a young naive person, I thought they were all right and I was wrong so I discarded what I was taught and went off searching for the real thing that caused those techniques to feel like magic - after all, if it had nothing to do with ki, it had to be something. Well, 35 years later I have came full circle when I met this guy up in Massachusetts who told me to use my intent to extend energy out in a certain direction and all I did was extend ki as taught by Tohei and he said, yes, that is it - I realized I essentially wasted 35 years ignoring something I could have been developing better simply because most Western minds could not grasp an Eastern mindset on certain concepts and principles.

Today, I look at ki/chi like the Chinese: " heart leads mind, mind leads intent, intent leads ki/chi, and ki/chi leads body." After all, a million Chinese could not all be wrong for thousands of years :) - If you look at the above as a process, even your viewpoint of thought and visualization fits into that model.

Greg

OwlMatt
07-03-2012, 10:18 AM
I think you might want to consider history before you toss out everything "ki" related.

Why did Ueshiba and Shioda (to name two top martial artists) use "ki" in their descriptions? They certainly could demonstrate their martial validity. How many of history's martial masters/grandmasters used ki/chi/jin in their vocabulary and yet could still martially prove their skills and abilities?

(NOTE: It's been stated somewhere that in Chinese, the kanji for ji and chi were different. Ji meant yin/yang while chi was more life energy. But, I'm not entirely sure how accurate or true that is.)

Historically, you have to state that there was something "valid" in those martial artists usage of the word "ki".
No I don't. The fact that their skills and abilities were real does not make ki real, and does not make ki a useful word.

1. Yes, there is an agreed upon definition. Those who think there is no agreed upon definition, those who say it means everything to everyone, etc do not know and most likely have never experienced it.
Then what is that definition?

Why do you think most martial artists who had 20-40 years of training wanted to study with Ueshiba, Shioda, Horikawa, Sagawa, Takeda, Chen Fake, etc?
Because they were martial artists of great skill with a unique take on the martial arts.

Why did they all say that what they experienced was beyond their comprehension?
Because the physics of aikido are not always transparent. It's not always easy to explain how technique can overcome strength. But it can be explained.

Do you truly think it is valid to equate "Ryuken the Ki Master" with "Ueshiba the Ki Master"?
Of course not. Ueshiba was an aikido master, not a ki master. He used ki as an explanation for some things in aikido, but that doesn't change the reality of aikido.

Yet both used ki to explain their skills. Obviously, throughout history, there have been very talented and skilled martial masters who have used ki/chi/ji to describe what they are doing. Are you willing to toss all that out just because 99% of the world thinks of ki like some magical, mystical energy? What would you be missing in that 1%?
I'm not advocating tossing all that out. I'm advocating tossing one word out.

2. Simple physics can never cover what the human body is capable of. If you want simple physics, most judo and aikido can give you that. But, then ask yourself why all those hardened judo men couldn't stand up to Takeda, Sagawa, Ueshiba, Horikawa? Within Judo itself, why was Mifune so different than all the rest? If you want to use simple physics to explain "ki" like 99% of all the rest of the martial artists, what are you missing in that 1% which includes Takeda, Ueshiba, Sagawa, Horikawa, Chen Fake, etc who did not use simple physics but instead used ancient, old, known martial definitions which included the word "ki"?
Are you suggesting that there are some things in the martial arts that cannot be explained by physics? I'd like to see some evidence of that.

4. Well, yes and no. Yeah, we can do better at explaining things. If you want to understand the martial classics, you still have to understand their wording and usage, including "ki".
Absolutely. If we are going to understand the history of our art (and history is key to understanding anything), then we are going to have to understand what our forbears meant when they used the word ki. That doesn't mean we have to use it, and it certainly doesn't mean we have to believe in mysterious invisible forces.

If I had met Ueshiba or Shioda or any of them, and they had talked about "ki" as meaning something to them, I certainly would have listened. I would have no difficulty taking them seriously. I may have been with all the rest of the students standing there confused and dazed, not understanding him, but I would never have taken it lightly. Yeah, 99% of the rest of the martial world isn't like them, but isn't that what budo is all about? Getting to that 1%? Otherwise, why not yoga or sports or meditation? So, why are you listening to the 99% who can't do and not trying to find those 1% who can?
Not believing in ki doesn't mean I think Ueshiba, Shioda, etc. were frivolous morons. If that were true, I wouldn't train aikido. I think you're drawing a false dichotomy here. One can find truth and art in the ways of the old masters without believing everything they believed and without using all the same terminology they used.

Ueshiba once said that his understanding of aikido came to him in a spiritual awakening when "a golden spirit sprang up from the ground, veiled my body, and changed my body into a golden one". So does it mean that we are not following the ways of the founder if we don't believe in golden spirits?

Ueshiba also said that "the source of budo is God's love". Does that mean that atheists cannot follow the way of the founder?

Standing over 6 feet tall and weighing in around/above 200 pounds with known record. Recognized name by many. Won quite a few matches. Great guy and confident in his abilities. One of the 99%. Very good in what he could do. Yet, when he met one of the 1%, he could do nothing and couldn't understand how he was rendered powerless. Know what the funny thing is about that description? It matches certain people who are now dead and certain people who are now living, all of whom have pointed to the martial classics and "ki". :D
Many accomplished martial artists tell the same story about the first time they got out on the mat with an expert in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. They found that all their strength and skill came to nothing, and realized they had a world more to learn. Other than the absence of the word ki, how is that any different from your story? How is it less valid (and it must be less valid for your point about ki to stand--otherwise people are having the same revelation without ki that they are having with it)?

OwlMatt
07-03-2012, 10:25 AM
Granted, there are a lot of wacky ideas about ki/chi out there (the 99%) but as Mark mentioned, there is the 1% out there as well and you would really be doing yourself a disservice to ignore it altogether. About 35 years ago I came back to the states after studying Ki Society Aikido over in Guam and I was a firm believer in ki as taught by Tohei at that time. However, I ran firmly into the Western agnostic mindset of ki as you describe in you post. So being a young naive person, I thought they were all right and I was wrong so I discarded what I was taught and went off searching for the real thing that caused those techniques to feel like magic - after all, if it had nothing to do with ki, it had to be something. Well, 35 years later I have came full circle when I met this guy up in Massachusetts who told me to use my intent to extend energy out in a certain direction and all I did was extend ki as taught by Tohei and he said, yes, that is it - I realized I essentially wasted 35 years ignoring something I could have been developing better simply because most Western minds could not grasp an Eastern mindset on certain concepts and principles.
But isn't that intent the same thing if you don't call it ki and you don't believe there's anything supernatural about it?

Today, I look at ki/chi like the Chinese: " heart leads mind, mind leads intent, intent leads ki/chi, and ki/chi leads body."
Why do we need that third step? Heart (emotion) leads mind, mind leads intent, intent leads body. Practically, what's the difference?

After all, a million Chinese could not all be wrong for thousands of years :)
The Chinese were wrong about many things for thousands of years. For thousands of years the Chinese believed in mountain and river spirits and sacrificed to them. Were they right about that?

If you look at the above as a process, even your viewpoint of thought and visualization fits into that model.
Sure it does. But if the model works without ki, then why insert it into the model?

gregstec
07-03-2012, 12:17 PM
But isn't that intent the same thing if you don't call it ki and you don't believe there's anything supernatural about it?

Why do we need that third step? Heart (emotion) leads mind, mind leads intent, intent leads body. Practically, what's the difference?
Intent is not the same as ki - intent is purely of the mind and ki is the energy that bridges the mental to the physical; so, it has mental and physical qualities.

The Chinese were wrong about many things for thousands of years. For thousands of years the Chinese believed in mountain and river spirits and sacrificed to them. Were they right about that? this is just not a good analogy - no comment

Sure it does. But if the model works without ki, then why insert it into the model?

Who said the model works without ki - I just said your components of the process are included in the model. The model with just your components in it will work only within yourself and not be able to affect what is going on with an opponent that contacts you other than using brute force or some form of jujutsu leverage - there is much more to an interaction than that. If it is just your mental thought at work, how can you explain the difference in what your opponent feels when you project a thought just to his center or when you project that thought through and beyond his center?

Greg

MM
07-03-2012, 12:42 PM
You have some good points. I won't reply to them all as I don't have the time...

No I don't. The fact that their skills and abilities were real does not make ki real, and does not make ki a useful word.


Logically, one can infer that because you have A (skills and abilities), then that does not equate to B (ki being real) or C (useful). However, in the manner in which those martial artists used the word, "ki", it was real. Granted, it may not be useful to us to use it as they did. There are better training methods. In that, I agree.


Because they were martial artists of great skill with a unique take on the martial arts.


Think about it for a second.

People who had trained in jujutsu for 20 + years. People who had trained in Judo for 20 + years. People who had trained in kenjutsu. Kendo. Sumo. These people were seasoned martial artists who had seen, trained, and felt thousands of techniques done thousands of ways. Yet, when meeting Takeda, Sagawa, Horikawa, and Ueshiba, they nearly all said ... that's mysterious, that's impossible, I don't know what he's doing, I've never experienced anything like that, etc.

Read the recorded interviews and articles. It wasn't just some new way of doing techniques (the aiki greats all said their art was formless). It wasn't some unique take on a martial art (the aiki arts do not look like jujutsu, judo, etc). It was something completely outside all of that.


Of course not. Ueshiba was an aikido master, not a ki master. He used ki as an explanation for some things in aikido, but that doesn't change the reality of aikido.


LOL, okay, you have me there. He was an aiki master.


I'm not advocating tossing all that out. I'm advocating tossing one word out.


What if in that 1%, their usage of the word "ki" was an important concept that the other 99% didn't get? If you toss it out completely, you might miss an important concept.


Are you suggesting that there are some things in the martial arts that cannot be explained by physics? I'd like to see some evidence of that.


No, I'm not suggesting it at all. I'm outright stating it as a fact. Sort of like 99% of the people once thought the earth was flat and 1% said it was round. Just because 99% of the people believe something, doesn't always make it a fact. :)


Absolutely. If we are going to understand the history of our art (and history is key to understanding anything), then we are going to have to understand what our forbears meant when they used the word ki. That doesn't mean we have to use it, and it certainly doesn't mean we have to believe in mysterious invisible forces.


Yep, I think we're in agreement on a good bit of this.


Not believing in ki doesn't mean I think Ueshiba, Shioda, etc. were frivolous morons. If that were true, I wouldn't train aikido. I think you're drawing a false dichotomy here. One can find truth and art in the ways of the old masters without believing everything they believed and without using all the same terminology they used.

Ueshiba once said that his understanding of aikido came to him in a spiritual awakening when "a golden spirit sprang up from the ground, veiled my body, and changed my body into a golden one". So does it mean that we are not following the ways of the founder if we don't believe in golden spirits?

Ueshiba also said that "the source of budo is God's love". Does that mean that atheists cannot follow the way of the founder?


Regarding Ueshiba's golden light ... some of the Chinese grandmasters talked about a golden light/ball as part of their training. These were the very martially skilled Chinese grandmasters, not the flaky ones. So, Ueshiba was following in a long line of classic martial art progressions. Because we (plural for the 99% of us) didn't know that, we attributed it to something flaky and otherworldly.

Regarding the second Ueshiba quote ... have you read Chris Li's blog posts? Ueshiba was talking about solid, classical martial theory. What *we* got in translation was: A) Kisshomaru's changed views of a worldwide aikido and B) words that would appeal to a world wide audience. Neither A nor B were what Ueshiba was actually talking about.

RonRagusa
07-03-2012, 03:22 PM
Are you suggesting that there are some things in the martial arts that cannot be explained by physics? I'd like to see some evidence of that.

No, I'm not suggesting it at all. I'm outright stating it as a fact.

Aah... a clear line of demarcation.

Matthew's proposition - There are no things in the martial arts that cannot be explained by physics.

Mark's proposition - It is a fact that some things in the martial arts cannot be explained by physics.

It's at this point that the experimental physicist would devise an experiment to test which of the above propositions is supported by experimental data. Anyone care to contribute to the design of said experiment? Thought experiments welcomed.

Ron

Dave de Vos
07-03-2012, 03:43 PM
Aah... a clear line of demarcation.

Matthew's proposition - There are no things in the martial arts that cannot be explained by physics.

Mark's proposition - It is a fact that some things in the martial arts cannot be explained by physics.

It's at this point that the experimental physicist would devise an experiment to test which of the above propositions is supported by experimental data. Anyone care to contribute to the design of said experiment? Thought experiments welcomed.

Ron

This is tricky. What exactly comprises a physical explanation? For example: I believe that in principle, the workings of the human mind can be explained by physics (I think in principle the mind is a huge number of fairly simple interconnected processing units exchanging and processing signals), but does that mean that all psychological phenomena can be explained by physics?

Body mechanics is probably simpler than the workings of the mind, but it is still a complex subject, that also involves the mind.

vjw
07-03-2012, 03:46 PM
Aah... a clear line of demarcation.

Matthew's proposition - There are no things in the martial arts that cannot be explained by physics.

Mark's proposition - It is a fact that some things in the martial arts cannot be explained by physics.

It's at this point that the experimental physicist would devise an experiment to test which of the above propositions is supported by experimental data. Anyone care to contribute to the design of said experiment? Thought experiments welcomed.

Ron

Can't be explained by anyone in physics at this time anyway. How about you and Mary meeting up with Dan to experiment and test the above propositions? :)

Hellis
07-03-2012, 03:59 PM
Can't be explained by anyone in physics at this time anyway. How about you and Mary meeting up with Dan to experiment and test the above propositions? :)

Now that is a good answer :straightf

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://aikido-bracknell.blogspot.com/

MM
07-03-2012, 04:00 PM
Aah... a clear line of demarcation.

Matthew's proposition - There are no things in the martial arts that cannot be explained by physics.

Mark's proposition - It is a fact that some things in the martial arts cannot be explained by physics.

It's at this point that the experimental physicist would devise an experiment to test which of the above propositions is supported by experimental data. Anyone care to contribute to the design of said experiment? Thought experiments welcomed.

Ron

No experiments needed. Let's step back from the martial arts world for a moment. If we look at physics overall in the entire world by the best and brightest physicists out there -- there is no known way to describe via physics how the human body goes from a walk cycle to a run cycle. Can't be done. This simple thing that the human body does on a subconscious level can not be derived in the physics world.

Now, to expand on that, let's look at the robotics area in the entire world by the best and brightest engineers and programmers out there. There is no known way to create and program a robot derived from a human model. Can't be done. Simple things we take for granted in our bodies have yet to be revealed in either physics, robotics, or programming.

Now, let's go back to the martial arts world. Many people like to use simple physics to explain jujutsu principles. The fact is that they are not using physics at all, but are creating a picture in a person's mind of the principles they are trying to get across.

Human beings are a self contained collaboration of a multitude of complex operational systems that do not work the same from person to person. They do not have to respond like simple physics models. That they do, is only because they have been programmed to.

RonRagusa
07-03-2012, 04:01 PM
How about you and Mary meeting up with Dan to experiment and test the above propositions? :)

Your statement presupposes that we're on opposite sides of the question; a presupposition that I do not subscribe to.

Ron

Tom Verhoeven
07-03-2012, 04:04 PM
Why did Ueshiba and Shioda (to name two top martial artists) use "ki" in their descriptions? They certainly could demonstrate their martial validity. How many of history's martial masters/grandmasters used ki/chi/jin in their vocabulary and yet could still martially prove their skills and abilities?

(NOTE: It's been stated somewhere that in Chinese, the kanji for ji and chi were different. Ji meant yin/yang while chi was more life energy. But, I'm not entirely sure how accurate or true that is.)

. :D

Is it ki/chi/jin or ki/chi/ji ?
Ji being a Chinese or a Japanese pronociation?
Wish you knew which the kanji was!

Tom

RonRagusa
07-03-2012, 04:05 PM
Now that is a good answer :straightf

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://aikido-bracknell.blogspot.com/

Reference post #17.

Ron

vjw
07-03-2012, 04:06 PM
Your statement presupposes that we're on opposite sides of the question; a presupposition that I do not subscribe to.

Ron

No it does not. Do you need physicists from opposite points of view to create test?

Tom Verhoeven
07-03-2012, 04:31 PM
Aah... a clear line of demarcation.

Matthew's proposition - There are no things in the martial arts that cannot be explained by physics.

Mark's proposition - It is a fact that some things in the martial arts cannot be explained by physics.

It's at this point that the experimental physicist would devise an experiment to test which of the above propositions is supported by experimental data. Anyone care to contribute to the design of said experiment? Thought experiments welcomed.

Ron

Dr.Rupert Sheldrake has suggested several experiments on similar phenomena. Several of his suggested experiments have been done, as a result of which some long-time accepted scientific ideas had to make way for a completely different understanding of natural phenomena. One of his most wellknown books: Seven experiments that could change the world.

Tom

graham christian
07-03-2012, 04:33 PM
So life force isn't real???

Peace.G.

Tom Verhoeven
07-03-2012, 04:48 PM
Suppose we would no longer use the word Ki, as it can be confusing and leading to complicated discussions - could we replace the word Ki for a word or concept that will explain it to satisfaction for western people? If so, what would be that word; intent, sensing, visualisation, spirit or ...?
Tom

RonRagusa
07-03-2012, 04:56 PM
Dr.Rupert Sheldrake has suggested several experiments on similar phenomena. Several of his suggested experiments have been done, as a result of which some long-time accepted scientific ideas had to make way for a completely different understanding of natural phenomena. One of his most wellknown books: Seven experiments that could change the world.

Tom

Thanks Tom.

Ron

graham christian
07-03-2012, 05:10 PM
Suppose we would no longer use the word Ki, as it can be confusing and leading to complicated discussions - could we replace the word Ki for a word or concept that will explain it to satisfaction for western people? If so, what would be that word; intent, sensing, visualisation, spirit or ...?
Tom

Probably been done already. Problem is "satisfying" . Don't the french call it elan vital? Much the same as prana.

Prana is known in yoga as 'vital' energy and there in elan vital with have vital again. So? Vital energy.

All are related to life, life supporting, life giving, etc. So there you are, a pretty straightforward concept.

You will find the same basic concept in the word vitamin. Life supporting minerals.

Emphasis in all? Vital.

Of course you could always leave out that which is vital;)

Peace.G.

phitruong
07-03-2012, 05:33 PM
Suppose we would no longer use the word Ki, as it can be confusing and leading to complicated discussions - could we replace the word Ki for a word or concept that will explain it to satisfaction for western people? If so, what would be that word; intent, sensing, visualisation, spirit or ...?
Tom

GAS!

Dave de Vos
07-03-2012, 05:51 PM
I think spirit is a fairly accurate translation of ki. It has a lot of meanings and connotations in common with ki. To name a few:

- the vital principle or animating force within living beings
- the mind, will, feelings, mood (though the latter are more japanese meanings of ki than chinese)
- courage, liveliness, vigour, energy
- intent
- firmness
- original meaning in Latin is breath, which is fairly close to the meaning of gas, as is the meaning of distilled alcohol, which is acquired from alcohol vapor

Just about the only meaning that's clearly a mismatch would be:
- a supernatural being

Tom Verhoeven
07-03-2012, 06:05 PM
GAS!

I completely agree !!!

A Dutch professor in Greek philosophy always gave the same text to translate by his first year students;
translated it goes; One should not eat to many beans, for they contain a lot of psyche. Psyche meaning wind ! (and breath, life, soul, spirit).

Psyche is a good translation of ki.

But gas is more profound! :)

Tom

Tom Verhoeven
07-03-2012, 06:18 PM
I think spirit is a fairly accurate translation of ki. It has a lot of meanings and connotations in common with ki. To name a few:

- the vital principle or animating force within living beings
- the mind, will, feelings, mood (though the latter are more japanese meanings of ki than chinese)
- courage, liveliness, vigour, energy
- intent
- firmness
- original meaning in Latin is breath, which is fairly close to the meaning of gas, as is the meaning of distilled alcohol, which is acquired from alcohol vapor

Just about the only meaning that's clearly a mismatch would be:
- a supernatural being

There is a lot more to be said about the meaning and origins of the word spirit, and how much of its original meaning got lost in our times. The closer we stay with its original meaning the more a translation of Ki into Spirit becomes correct and understandable.

However, since we have lost much of its original meaning, spirit has become a word that shares similar problems of interpretation as the word ki has.

So I wonder if it would solve the problem as put forward by the OP?

But in itself I agree, spirit is a good translation.

I never got that supernatural stuff...

Tom

Dave de Vos
07-03-2012, 06:21 PM
I completely agree !!!

A Dutch professor in Greek philosophy always gave the same text to translate by his first year students;
translated it goes; One should not eat to many beans, for they contain a lot of psyche. Psyche meaning wind ! (and breath, life, soul, spirit).

Psyche is a good translation of ki.

But gas is more profound! :)

Tom

So then we can translate aikido as synthesis gas path!

danj
07-03-2012, 06:30 PM
The question is not so much testing which is the superior theory/model Ki or Physics because they are entirely different but acknowledging they are tools for understanding and using the right tool when required.

As a generalisation the historical scientific traditions in the East are based on observation, where as Western Science is deductive. Got a new phenomena to explain, just call it 'Ki' and the Eastern model is satisfied, or in the West design a reductive experiment to test only that phenomena to come up with wether its explainable or not.

The two traditions can collide (deductive vs. observational) when they meet and so Western science says - hey I can explain unbendable arm therefore Ki doesn't exist, whereas the Eastern tradition says OK but thats just unbendable arm but what about unraisable body, intent etc.... The physicist says you can't do that its a wandering argument, the Ki-ster says yeah but if you can't explain all of it then physics doesn't explain it all.

I think western science has had a pretty good crack at explaining most of the phenomena you are likely to see in Aikido, but there are gaps - cause this stuff is really hard to understand, explain or devise an experiment for. Reduction of complex systems means eliminating variables... but there are just so many damn variables and in complex psycho-physical interaction elimination is nigh on impossible

As an aside on complexity, just because we can explain chemistry through atomic level interactions doesn't mean its always convenient to do so. Ssee this link (http://www2.ufp.pt/~pedros/bq/integration.htm) for metabolic pathways in a cell - thats a whole lot of equations if the abstraction of chemistry isn't used, and still damn complicated when chemistry, as a model, is used ).

In a like (though perhaps not scientificTM) way in the dojo 'extend Ki' is a simplified abstraction that works well as a conceptual tool for a whole host of phenomena (momentum, collisions, biomechanics, intent, perception, conscious/sub conscious training, dual mental tasking etc...) wether or not it is acknowledged as a 'mysterious phenenoma' it works and can be useful.

Tom Verhoeven
07-03-2012, 06:48 PM
Probably been done already. Problem is "satisfying" . Don't the french call it elan vital? Much the same as prana.

Prana is known in yoga as 'vital' energy and there in elan vital with have vital again. So? Vital energy.

All are related to life, life supporting, life giving, etc. So there you are, a pretty straightforward concept.

You will find the same basic concept in the word vitamin. Life supporting minerals.

Emphasis in all? Vital.

Of course you could always leave out that which is vital;)

Peace.G.

Really Graham, you have sometimes a curious way of knitting things together.

Vital comes from the latin vita - life.
Elan means "spirited" or "enthusiastic". It can also refer to someone who is in motion. Elan vital is the main subject of philosophy of Bergson, one of the more wellknown and important French philosophers.

Did you not already suggest life force as a translation? Comes close to elan vital.:)

Tom

Tom Verhoeven
07-03-2012, 06:52 PM
So then we can translate aikido as synthesis gas path!

Perfect !:)

In all seriousness, synthesis is much better then harmony!

Tom

danj
07-03-2012, 07:18 PM
Aah... a clear line of demarcation.

Matthew's proposition - There are no things in the martial arts that cannot be explained by physics.

Mark's proposition - It is a fact that some things in the martial arts cannot be explained by physics.

It's at this point that the experimental physicist would devise an experiment to test which of the above propositions is supported by experimental data. Anyone care to contribute to the design of said experiment? Thought experiments welcomed.

Ron

There have been some really neat thought experiments done! Its not physics per se. Ulitmately it is physics, cause neurology and perception is just event potentials in the brain, but its easier to work at the abstracted level.

The question of what makes athletes in skill based sports react faster than others has been examined quite a bit (and also highly relevant to MA) Turns out the P300 type reaction times (300mS) to visual stimulus are pretty much the limit but what can be messed with is looking at perception of movement to make decisions earlier than an event (probably nothing new to aikiweb-ka). For example some neat stuff has been done in cricket when videos of bowlers have had the arms, ball, body alternately occlude (hidden) to look at how batters are making decisions. Turns out that getting up the much misquoted 10,000 hrs to expertise as a batter by using a bowling machine is probably training the wrong kind of perceptual skills as the cues in the bowlers run up and predelivery activity aren't being trained (though the physical skills in swinging a bat obviously are )

best,
dan

hughrbeyer
07-03-2012, 09:46 PM
Why is chemistry a different different discipline than quantum dynamics? All chemistry can be derived from quantum dynamics--except the parts that chemistry gets wrong, because there are results from quantum dynamics which chemistry treats as a rounding error.

Why is biology different from chemistry? All biology can be derived from chemistry, except the parts biology gets wrong, because biology simplifies chemistry's results.

So sure, "ki" is a higher-level concept, like biology or chemistry, that simplifies out the lower-level detail. But utility in the real world is often driven by abstracting out lower-level concepts so as to reveal and address the higher-level unifying principles. "Ki" is one such concept.

Yeah, we could replace it with something that would make our western cerebellums hurt less. But we throw out 2000 years of martial arts' experience at our peril.

And by the way... prove that the ancient Chinese were "wrong" in worshiping mountain and river spirits. Account for the difference between what they were doing and what "worship" implies in our western monotheistic context. Define what you mean by "wrong", spiritually, culturally, socially.

OwlMatt
07-03-2012, 09:46 PM
Intent is not the same as ki - intent is purely of the mind and ki is the energy that bridges the mental to the physical; so, it has mental and physical qualities.
We have a nervous system that bridges the mental to the physical. So what does ki do that the nervous system doesn't do?
this is just not a good analogy - no comment
It's a perfectly good analogy. The claim that "millions of people over thousands of years can't be wrong" has been disproved thousands of times over. Millions of people over thousands of years were wrong about the solar system, about gravity, about human rights, etc., etc., etc. So why can't they be wrong about chi?
Who said the model works without ki - I just said your components of the process are included in the model.
I said the model works without ki. And in order for you to prove that wrong, you're going to have to do two things: (1) define what ki actually is, and (2) explain what someone can do with ki that someone else cannot do without ki.

The model with just your components in it will work only within yourself and not be able to affect what is going on with an opponent that contacts you other than using brute force or some form of jujutsu leverage - there is much more to an interaction than that. If it is just your mental thought at work, how can you explain the difference in what your opponent feels when you project a thought just to his center or when you project that thought through and beyond his center?

Greg
The change in thinking changes the action. When I think through my opponent rather than into him, my muscles respond with more forward energy than before.

Aikido is not unique in this. When you're learning to do a jump shot in basketball, the coach will tell you to see the ball in the basket before you shoot. When you're learning to sing opera, the voice teacher will tell you to imagine your voice filling up your face or travelling to the far end of the room. It works because the brain controls the muscles, and therefore changing what your brain is doing changes what your muscles are doing.

OwlMatt
07-03-2012, 09:53 PM
Suppose we would no longer use the word Ki, as it can be confusing and leading to complicated discussions - could we replace the word Ki for a word or concept that will explain it to satisfaction for western people? If so, what would be that word; intent, sensing, visualisation, spirit or ...?
Tom
Now THAT is a good question.

The problem with giving it a straight answer is that so many different people use the word ki to mean so many different things in so many different situations. I don't think there is a one-to-one switch to be made here.

Let me use another word as an analogy: magic. Humans used to ascribe many different phenomena to magic. When we stopped believing in magic, there was no one word to replace it. We had to find different words for different phenomena. I think we have to do the same with ki, and I think most of us, consciously or not, are already doing this to some degree.

OwlMatt
07-03-2012, 10:01 PM
A couple of you have asserted that there are things in aikido that cannot be explained by physics, or at least by physics as we currently understand it. Can anyone point to a specific instance of this? That, I think, would hit the proverbial nail on the head and make this thread into a single coherent conversation.

I apologize to those of you two whom I have not replied specifically. There are so many responses here that I'd be up all night if I tried to quote them all and reply point-by-point.

Upyu
07-03-2012, 10:36 PM
A couple of you have asserted that there are things in aikido that cannot be explained by physics, or at least by physics as we currently understand it. Can anyone point to a specific instance of this? That, I think, would hit the proverbial nail on the head and make this thread into a single coherent conversation.

I apologize to those of you two whom I have not replied specifically. There are so many responses here that I'd be up all night if I tried to quote them all and reply point-by-point.

Personally I think it'd be a great exercise.
It's all too easy to chalk a lot of this stuff as being "too complex" therefore...etc (though I agree, there are parts, especially with regards to breath pressure, tissue elasticity etc that would be much more complex to model accurately)
But there are some aspects of say, "Jin" or "Kokyu force" that can be explained using simple physics, and contrasted against how say maybe someone typically uses a force.

Maybe a good place to start would be how a typical person handles a push, versus how someone else with skills handles a push.

Just to get the ball rolling, I'd say the human body is designed to handle vertical loads efficiently. It tends to be uneconomical when a horizontal load is brought into play.
So one question would be, how do you efficiently deal with an incoming horizontal force (assuming its coming from a person).

mathewjgano
07-04-2012, 01:37 AM
There are a lot of problems with the concept of ki, the foremost being that no two people can agree on what ki actually is.
Well, actually plenty of people agree on how to define it, even if many people (not all) have a vague sense of what it represents or have diverging definitions. Particularly, people who share the same phenominological experiences, will share understanding of their given conceptualization.

None of what I've written so far addresses the more pragmatic users of the word ki: the ones who believe (correctly, I think) that what used to be called ki is in fact a combination of breathing, biomechanics, and visualization, and who assert (incorrectly, I think) that there's nothing wrong with continuing to use the word so long as we understand that there's nothing mystical or supernatural about it.
To me it's not unlike saying 1+1+x=y
I may not have all the values pinned down, but it's a start. The semantics of a lot of words strike me as being similar in nature...particularly the ones denoting more abstract concepts.
I am a real jerk about words. When we start deciding that words can mean whatever we want them to mean, words begin to lose their meaning altogether. We already have words for breathing, biomechanics, and visualization. Adding ki to that mix only obfuscates things.

Well, we already have words to describe the different aspects of biomechanics, why do we need a term which references them all at once? Why have synonyms for that matter? Just more clutter, if I'm understanding your reasoning here.

PaulF
07-04-2012, 05:08 AM
Hello, I'm new here, and to aikido, but this topic is something I've been giving quite a lot of thought to so it's prompted me to post my take, FWIW.

I don't think everything we see in aikido can be explained by physics, but I do suspect that, in theory, it's explicable by physics, neurophysiology, bio-mechanics and a number of other "hard science" disciplines working in conjunction. AFAIK this hasn't been done very comprehensively so far though. Big piece of work.

However, just because it's explicable within that paradigm doesn't mean there's no place for the use of the terms ki/chi or that they're not helpful. I see them as shorthand, metaphorical, poetic. Poetry condenses meaning and content in a more potent application of language than prose. If I say to my kids "weight underside" they get a lot harder to lift off the ground. If I had to explain to them what I meant in biomechanical and neurological terms they'd be "eh?" (and to be fair I wouldn't have much of an idea where to start).

There is a well-recognised paradox in that by deconstructing and analysing something we can also lose something of its essence whilst gaining understanding.

"oh! what a beautiful rainbow"

"oh, what an interesting splitting of white light into the spectrum through the refraction of sunlight by water droplets at the correct angle relative to me as an observer to produce this phenomenon"

Similarly, deconstructing a dance track into ABABAA structure in a major key with a 4/4 beat etc. doesn't help if you want to boogie your pants off.

Apparently there's been a resurgence of interest in metaphysics in the anglo-american tradition in the last couple of decades, not least amongst hard-nosed scientists and philosophers of science. I suppose physics is pretty damn weird when you really get into it and as a consequence people are growing more comfortable with questions along the lines of "what kind of stuff is there and what's it like?". An old friend from uni days who now teaches aikido and runs a philosophy faculty takes the line that "aikido is physics" but also that upon deep consideration all manifestation of physical existence in terms of "things" is illusory, there are no independent objects at all, everything comes down to structure and interrelationships. I don't understand this, or how it might be relevant, but offer it up because it sounds pretty cool.

:)

Mary Eastland
07-04-2012, 07:33 AM
Here is a thought: There are two students: both are very experienced and pretty much the same size. One throws most ukes easily... another has problems with most ukes. Their movements look pretty much the same. The only difference and it is a huge one, is that one understands about ki and the other doesn't.

gates
07-04-2012, 07:48 AM
A couple of you have asserted that there are things in aikido that cannot be explained by physics, or at least by physics as we currently understand it. Can anyone point to a specific instance of this? That, I think, would hit the proverbial nail on the head and make this thread into a single coherent conversation.

I apologize to those of you two whom I have not replied specifically. There are so many responses here that I'd be up all night if I tried to quote them all and reply point-by-point.

The old footage of O Sensei with Terry Dobson. At one point O Sensei appears to discuss and apply "ki" and send Dobson very sleepy. Compliant, faking, hypnosis, something else explainable by physics?

OwlMatt
07-04-2012, 07:49 AM
Well, actually plenty of people agree on how to define it, even if many people (not all) have a vague sense of what it represents or have diverging definitions. Particularly, people who share the same phenominological experiences, will share understanding of their given conceptualization.
Then what is that definition?

To me it's not unlike saying 1+1+x=y
I may not have all the values pinned down, but it's a start. The semantics of a lot of words strike me as being similar in nature...particularly the ones denoting more abstract concepts.
But aikido is not abstract. An aikido technique, when performed correctly, produces a specific, measurable, physical result. What place has abstraction in there?

Well, we already have words to describe the different aspects of biomechanics, why do we need a term which references them all at once?
It is sometimes useful to reference them all at once. The reason that logic doesn't extend to ki is that the word ki doesn't explain itself. The Greek roots of biomechanics make it abundantly clear to anyone who speaks a language that makes a lot of use of Greek (like English and most Slavic and Romance languages). I can simply say the word and everyone knows what I'm talking about and, just as importantly, what I'm not talking about. Not so with ki.

Why have synonyms for that matter? Just more clutter, if I'm understanding your reasoning here.
Specificity and clarity are not clutter. The subtle differences between synonyms allow us to convey nuance.

The problem with ki isn't that it is a word for something else. The problem with ki is that, when used, it makes things less clear; it is a stumbling block to communication rather than an aid to it. (Note here that I am referring specifically to ki as we use it in the martial arts, not the many ways it is used in the Japanese language.)

OwlMatt
07-04-2012, 07:55 AM
The old footage of O Sensei with Terry Dobson. At one point O Sensei appears to discuss and apply "ki" and send Dobson very sleepy. Compliant, faking, hypnosis, something else explainable by physics?
I haven't seen the video, so I can't comment specifically.

But that doesn't sound like a martial arts technique to me, so I think the question of its validity falls outside the scope of this conversation, unless it can be convincingly asserted that what makes O Sensei's hypnosis work is the same thing that makes a kotegaeshi work.

Carsten Möllering
07-04-2012, 08:22 AM
I got a much clearer view about what qi is and how qi can be "practiced" and experienced when I started to read about the Chinese internal arts like nei gong or tai chi.
There is a clear nomenclature, definitions, a coherent system which connects the understanding of qi with the human body and the human mind. qi is not something mystique or esoteric here, but something "down to earth". (... or up to heaven ...)
And by using the forms of qi gong for example, there can be experienced certain effects and develpment.

For me it is important that qi is not something supernatural or esoteric or non-physical ... but is somthing that is part of our body, our mind, connects both of them.

Tom Verhoeven
07-04-2012, 09:25 AM
Then what is that definition?

The problem with ki isn't that it is a word for something else. The problem with ki is that, when used, it makes things less clear; it is a stumbling block to communication rather than an aid to it. (Note here that I am referring specifically to ki as we use it in the martial arts, not the many ways it is used in the Japanese language.)

Yes, what is that definition of Ki that everybody seems to agree upon?

Part of the problem is that we in the western part of the world, have disconnected the original meaning of ki, and have given it a limited meaning that we apply only to the martial arts. This limited version of ki leans too often towards something magical. Some think that some have it and others do not. As there is no solid definition of this limited version of ki and there is no longer a connection with the original way of thinking we unwillingly create our own vague ideas about ki.
The Japanese teachers that I have met don't have any problems with the idea of ki, as it is a common word in the Japanese language. Even without giving it much thought they naturally associate it with a mood, a feeling, a thought, the mind, life (if people do not have ki, they are deceased), etc.
Ki is like spirit with its Latin - Greek history, a word rich in associations, interpretations - a word with a very long philosophical history.
We tend to associate ki as only having to do with the application of a technique. But in Chinese/Japanese philosophy, as has been taught to the samurai for many centuries, ki not only refers to martial skills but ki is the "carrier" of ethics and esthetics. This explains why in Japan even today budo grading is not just given based on being successful in throwing (our Western idea of objective results), but just as much based on ethical behaviour and esthetics.

Without its original context ki has become a rather poor, meager word and it is this limited version of ki that is creating much of the confusions.

In day to day life we already use different words to explain ki to people unfamiliar with the word. In that sense we do not really need the word ki.
Personally I use the word ki in my Aikido lessons in reference to the classic Chinese/Japanese philosophical context and try to avoid any debate on the modern interpretations or limited versions of ki.

Tom

Tom Verhoeven
07-04-2012, 10:08 AM
Hello, I'm new here, and to aikido, but this topic is something I've been giving quite a lot of thought to so it's prompted me to post my take, FWIW.

I don't think everything we see in aikido can be explained by physics, but I do suspect that, in theory, it's explicable by physics, neurophysiology, bio-mechanics and a number of other "hard science" disciplines working in conjunction. AFAIK this hasn't been done very comprehensively so far though. Big piece of work.

However, just because it's explicable within that paradigm doesn't mean there's no place for the use of the terms ki/chi or that they're not helpful. I see them as shorthand, metaphorical, poetic. Poetry condenses meaning and content in a more potent application of language than prose. If I say to my kids "weight underside" they get a lot harder to lift off the ground. If I had to explain to them what I meant in biomechanical and neurological terms they'd be "eh?" (and to be fair I wouldn't have much of an idea where to start).

There is a well-recognised paradox in that by deconstructing and analysing something we can also lose something of its essence whilst gaining understanding.

"oh! what a beautiful rainbow"

"oh, what an interesting splitting of white light into the spectrum through the refraction of sunlight by water droplets at the correct angle relative to me as an observer to produce this phenomenon"

Similarly, deconstructing a dance track into ABABAA structure in a major key with a 4/4 beat etc. doesn't help if you want to boogie your pants off.

Apparently there's been a resurgence of interest in metaphysics in the anglo-american tradition in the last couple of decades, not least amongst hard-nosed scientists and philosophers of science. I suppose physics is pretty damn weird when you really get into it and as a consequence people are growing more comfortable with questions along the lines of "what kind of stuff is there and what's it like?". An old friend from uni days who now teaches aikido and runs a philosophy faculty takes the line that "aikido is physics" but also that upon deep consideration all manifestation of physical existence in terms of "things" is illusory, there are no independent objects at all, everything comes down to structure and interrelationships. I don't understand this, or how it might be relevant, but offer it up because it sounds pretty cool.

:)
According to some philosophers and scientists science does not explain anything at all, it gives a description of reality. Much like a recipe for an apple-pie. The recipe does not tell you anything about the sensation of eating the apple-pie or the taste of it. It only gives one description out of many of how you could make it.

There are still a lot of things that we cannot describe in a scientific way. Of many of these things we are totally unaware. Of some of it we are aware, but we find it hard to find words for it.

That is were poetry, metaphor, myths and stories come in. They have value to us in many different ways and can give us at times more comfort then science.

Being connected to nature is an important aspect of most budo. To me, living in the forests, this means in a very practical sense being aware of all the things that are happening in these forests, in other words being aware of the structure and the connectedness of everything.

I am surprised that your uni friend separates teaching Aikido from his understanding of how nature works? Combining these are for me the challenge.

Tom

gregstec
07-04-2012, 10:12 AM
We have a nervous system that bridges the mental to the physical. So what does ki do that the nervous system doesn't do?

It's a perfectly good analogy. The claim that "millions of people over thousands of years can't be wrong" has been disproved thousands of times over. Millions of people over thousands of years were wrong about the solar system, about gravity, about human rights, etc., etc., etc. So why can't they be wrong about chi?

I said the model works without ki. And in order for you to prove that wrong, you're going to have to do two things: (1) define what ki actually is, and (2) explain what someone can do with ki that someone else cannot do without ki.

The change in thinking changes the action. When I think through my opponent rather than into him, my muscles respond with more forward energy than before.

Aikido is not unique in this. When you're learning to do a jump shot in basketball, the coach will tell you to see the ball in the basket before you shoot. When you're learning to sing opera, the voice teacher will tell you to imagine your voice filling up your face or travelling to the far end of the room. It works because the brain controls the muscles, and therefore changing what your brain is doing changes what your muscles are doing.

The nervous system is not of the mind, it is physical and it is controlled by the mind - the bridge is the ki.

Who ever said the sacrifice of people to the gods was wrong? at the time I sure it served a purpose and had functions in the society - today they have found other solutions for those functions - ki/chi belief is still very much alive within the Eastern cultures - and until someone comes along with a better solution to the functions it serves, it will stay that way.

To me, ki is a form of energy much like electrical, magnetic, and other forms of energy within the electro-magnetic spectrum that resides in both the mental and physical domains of all living things as well as in the atomic structure of inanimate objects. It can be felt, developed, and controlled by all sentient beings within themselves as well as in others with the proper connection - in a nut shell, I see ki as how Tohei taught it. This model of ki can explain why an opponent can feel energy movement within themselves that is being controlled by someone else that is simply connected to them with no physical movement - how does your model explain that?

Greg

DH
07-04-2012, 10:48 AM
The nervous system is not of the mind, it is physical and it is controlled by the mind - the bridge is the ki.
To me, ki is a form of energy much like electrical, magnetic, and other forms of energy within the electro-magnetic spectrum that resides in both the mental and physical domains of all living things as well as in the atomic structure of inanimate objects. It can be felt, developed, and controlled by all sentient beings within themselves as well as in others with the proper connection - in a nut shell, I see ki as how Tohei taught it. This model of ki can explain why an opponent can feel energy movement within themselves that is being controlled by someone else that is simply connected to them with no physical movement - how does your model explain that?
Greg
I completely disagree. Ki is not a form of energy it is controlled use of the body systems through intent. It's effects -on the body- are palpable so people incorrectly assign it to an "energy" all it's own.
Think ki will not produce anything real
Managing your body systems to think "lead ki" in certain described manners produces real results in a health system of moving your bodies energy and in a martial system to produce power.

I really don't care what most people in Budo think about it. What they have written about is mostly guess work and regurgitated nonsense tatamount to a "belief system," Japanese and Westerners alike.They fail in producing anything other than fairy tale cooperative nonsense. In so doing they give a very real technology a bad name.

Others use it to make some progress and while doing *some* correct things that organize the body, they mistakenly assign it to woo woo energy.

Some famous teachers have waaay overplayed their hand, conning people into thinking they are producing an "energy" outside of themselves that controls their environment and others.
There's nothing much to be done. People WANT to believe this nonsense, so much so, that even in the face of it failing...over and over, they still allow themselves to get sucked and enthralled by an otherwise not so spectacular methodology. In fact, when pressed, the big shots don't really....have.....a way to teach it.
Why?
Because it isn't real.

I very politely avoid shaking that tree and completely taking apart these manufactured cons. There are practical and real methods to explore power generation through the correct use of six harmonies. People following the real methods will forever own the charlatans and the earnest ner-do-wells with their belief systems.

My best suggestion is for everyone to avoid each other. On contact it is not going to go very well. And some, coming face to face with their beliefs falling apart, and others with seeing a famous teachers fail against a nobody, will resent it and resent you for doing it. In the mean time they go about throwing themselves and twisting up in knots in front of some Asian guy!! Always and always an Asian guy... huh boys and girls?" Oh well. People will come to the natural end results in time. There is going to be an inescapable conclusion as in the end they themselves have and got nothing....while others learn to produce power using the real ki methods that were discussed for ages. :rolleyes:
Dan

mathewjgano
07-04-2012, 11:05 AM
Then what is that definition?
"That" definition would be based on whatever the common experience is. My point was that meaning is developed over time, based on experiences. I personally like "intent" for providing a functional definition, but (I think) that's beside the point. My being able to form a discrete definition desn't give me any real understanding, and it's that understanding which I think is most important when dealing with terms, not country of origin.

It is sometimes useful to reference them all at once. The reason that logic doesn't extend to ki is that the word ki doesn't explain itself. The Greek roots of biomechanics make it abundantly clear to anyone who speaks a language that makes a lot of use of Greek (like English and most Slavic and Romance languages). I can simply say the word and everyone knows what I'm talking about and, just as importantly, what I'm not talking about. Not so with ki.
Only because of the familiarity/interaction with those composite terms. Furthermore, knowing the roots doesn't tell you anything other than it has to do with biology and mechanics. It doesn't tell you how to apply it in any meaingful way; it just gives you a ball-park idea. If you want to apply it meaningflly, you still have to do some kind of research.

The problem with ki is that, when used, it makes things less clear; it is a stumbling block to communication rather than an aid to it. (Note here that I am referring specifically to ki as we use it in the martial arts, not the many ways it is used in the Japanese language.)
Until commonality can be established, just as with all terms. This is why I suggested the problem isn't with the term so much as with the research/study that informs it. The term means whatever peopl want it to mean but that's the way all terms work. The problem is that people are content to not question its meaning past the point of convenience; to assume they understand it sufficiently; or to assume the othr person automatically understands the sense in which it's being used.

PaulF
07-04-2012, 11:22 AM
According to some philosophers and scientists science does not explain anything at all, it gives a description of reality. Much like a recipe for an apple-pie. The recipe does not tell you anything about the sensation of eating the apple-pie or the taste of it. It only gives one description out of many of how you could make it.

There are still a lot of things that we cannot describe in a scientific way. Of many of these things we are totally unaware. Of some of it we are aware, but we find it hard to find words for it.

That is were poetry, metaphor, myths and stories come in. They have value to us in many different ways and can give us at times more comfort then science.

Being connected to nature is an important aspect of most budo. To me, living in the forests, this means in a very practical sense being aware of all the things that are happening in these forests, in other words being aware of the structure and the connectedness of everything.

I am surprised that your uni friend separates teaching Aikido from his understanding of how nature works? Combining these are for me the challenge.

Tom

Hi Tom

I know what you're saying but in a sense the hard sciences explain lots of things, e.g. how planes stay up in the air, what's going on in the ecosystems of the forests where you live, or the mountains where I live, and ecosystems (and planes) are very much about structure and connectedness for sure. However, whether these explanations encompass values and meaning as well as matters of fact is one of the big areas of philosophical contention. I'm not sure what I think about that stuff as I try to avoid doing that sort of philosophy these days, it makes my head hurt :o

I'm loathe to speak for my friend about this stuff as he does that sort of philosophy on a daily basis but I suspect he'd say that his approach to aikido is entirely congruent with his understanding of how nature works, since he's a metaphysical naturalist, but then he'd probably get into a long discussion about what exactly we think we mean by nature. :)

In this I go along with him - I don't hold with supernatural stuff, be that deities, ghosts, souls, etc. so to that extent we agree with Matthew's OP. Where I differ is that I don't see why ki/chi shouldn't be useful shorthand. I guess what I think of as ki/chi is pretty much synonymous with IS/IP, the choice of terms is a matter of tradition (I prefer "shomen-uchi" to "overhead strike to head" for the same reason). Visualising my breath going down to my hara and coming up from there is useful, and interesting, and effective, even though I know it stops at my lungs and the effects are probably to do with relaxation, increased oxygen uptake, meditative effects from concentrated focus, etc. not the permeation of a mysterious universal force through ever expanding and diminishing concentric circles or something. :hypno:

Cheers :)

Paul

gregstec
07-04-2012, 11:25 AM
I completely disagree. Ki is not a form of energy it is controlled use of the body systems through intent. It's effects -on the body- are palpable so people incorrectly assign it to an "energy" all it's own.
Think ki will not produce anything real
Managing your body systems to think "lead ki" in certain described manners produces real results in a health system of moving your bodies energy and in a martial system to produce power.

Dan

Damn, if you agreed with everything I said, I would start to wonder about you ;)

Whether ki is an energy or not is not important; no one really knows for sure - However, I like to look at it like that because it supports how I understand to lead ki with my intent to produces real results as you mention above and in what you teach - it also helps in how I understand to control the energies of those I connect with. Until someone can actually show exactly what it is or is not, this works very well for me.

I agree with you on all your other points in how ki in and of itself is not the answer - but how it is used as part of the process of heart leads mind, mind leads intent, intent leads ki, and ki leads body, is effective. For something to exist, it has to consist of either energy or matter - ki as matter is a real stretch, even for those wackos out there, so that just leaves energy :)

Greg

Marc Abrams
07-04-2012, 11:28 AM
I completely disagree. Ki is not a form of energy it is controlled use of the body systems through intent. It's effects -on the body- are palpable so people incorrectly assign it to an "energy" all it's own.
Think ki will not produce anything real
Managing your body systems to think "lead ki" in certain described manners produces real results in a health system of moving your bodies energy and in a martial system to produce power.

I really don't care what most people in Budo think about it. What they have written about is mostly guess work and regurgitated nonsense tatamount to a "belief system," Japanese and Westerners alike.They fail in producing anything other than fairy tale cooperative nonsense. In so doing they give a very real technology a bad name.

Others use it to make some progress and while doing *some* correct things that organize the body, they mistakenly assign it to woo woo energy.

Some famous teachers have waaay overplayed their hand, conning people into thinking they are producing an "energy" outside of themselves that controls their environment and others.
There's nothing much to be done. People WANT to believe this nonsense, so much so, that even in the face of it failing...over and over, they still allow themselves to get sucked and enthralled by an otherwise not so spectacular methodology. In fact, when pressed, the big shots don't really....have.....a way to teach it.
Why?
Because it isn't real.

I very politely avoid shaking that tree and completely taking apart these manufactured cons. There are practical and real methods to explore power generation through the correct use of six harmonies. People following the real methods will forever own the charlatans and the earnest ner-do-wells with their belief systems.

My best suggestion is for everyone to avoid each other. On contact it is not going to go very well. And some, coming face to face with their beliefs falling apart, and others with seeing a famous teachers fail against a nobody, will resent it and resent you for doing it. In the mean time they go about throwing themselves and twisting up in knots in front of some Asian guy!! Always and always an Asian guy... huh boys and girls?" Oh well. People will come to the natural end results in time. There is going to be an inescapable conclusion as in the end they themselves have and got nothing....while others learn to produce power using the real ki methods that were discussed for ages. :rolleyes:
Dan

Dan:

I disagree with this position. When a negative (angry, depressed, etc) person approaches an infant, why does that child begin to get upset and cry? When you are driving and turn your head to see the person staring at you, what were you responding too? You walk into a room filled with people whom you never met before and you know instantly what the "vibe" in the room is and who you want to approach and who you don't want to approach-> what is happening? Most communication is non-verbal. There are countless examples of similar experiences. What is so hard to believe that this non-verbal communication is energy-based. I view this energy as "Ki"-> life energy. How this "Ki" can be used in a martial paradigm is a valid question. I think that you are simply tossing the baby out with the bath water. I would suspect that you do believe in this type of energy as existing. I would also suspect that you are doing your own personal experimentation with gaining some awareness of it's role in your training paradigms. Then again, I could be wrong........

Marc Abrams

graham christian
07-04-2012, 11:32 AM
Really Graham, you have sometimes a curious way of knitting things together.

Vital comes from the latin vita - life.
Elan means "spirited" or "enthusiastic". It can also refer to someone who is in motion. Elan vital is the main subject of philosophy of Bergson, one of the more wellknown and important French philosophers.

Did you not already suggest life force as a translation? Comes close to elan vital.:)

Tom

Much the same as what I said no? I add vital as a word because it too has the same root and shows that Ki is vital. Vital life energy.

As is prana, qi, chi, etc.

Peace.G.

graham christian
07-04-2012, 11:37 AM
Yes, what is that definition of Ki that everybody seems to agree upon?

Part of the problem is that we in the western part of the world, have disconnected the original meaning of ki, and have given it a limited meaning that we apply only to the martial arts. This limited version of ki leans too often towards something magical. Some think that some have it and others do not. As there is no solid definition of this limited version of ki and there is no longer a connection with the original way of thinking we unwillingly create our own vague ideas about ki.
The Japanese teachers that I have met don't have any problems with the idea of ki, as it is a common word in the Japanese language. Even without giving it much thought they naturally associate it with a mood, a feeling, a thought, the mind, life (if people do not have ki, they are deceased), etc.
Ki is like spirit with its Latin - Greek history, a word rich in associations, interpretations - a word with a very long philosophical history.
We tend to associate ki as only having to do with the application of a technique. But in Chinese/Japanese philosophy, as has been taught to the samurai for many centuries, ki not only refers to martial skills but ki is the "carrier" of ethics and esthetics. This explains why in Japan even today budo grading is not just given based on being successful in throwing (our Western idea of objective results), but just as much based on ethical behaviour and esthetics.

Without its original context ki has become a rather poor, meager word and it is this limited version of ki that is creating much of the confusions.

In day to day life we already use different words to explain ki to people unfamiliar with the word. In that sense we do not really need the word ki.
Personally I use the word ki in my Aikido lessons in reference to the classic Chinese/Japanese philosophical context and try to avoid any debate on the modern interpretations or limited versions of ki.

Tom

I like this. Nice.

Peace.G.

gregstec
07-04-2012, 11:42 AM
Dan:

I disagree with this position. When a negative (angry, depressed, etc) person approaches an infant, why does that child begin to get upset and cry? When you are driving and turn your head to see the person staring at you, what were you responding too? You walk into a room filled with people whom you never met before and you know instantly what the "vibe" in the room is and who you want to approach and who you don't want to approach-> what is happening? Most communication is non-verbal. There are countless examples of similar experiences. What is so hard to believe that this non-verbal communication is energy-based. I view this energy as "Ki"-> life energy. How this "Ki" can be used in a martial paradigm is a valid question. I think that you are simply tossing the baby out with the bath water. I would suspect that you do believe in this type of energy as existing. I would also suspect that you are doing your own personal experimentation with gaining some awareness of it's role in your training paradigms. Then again, I could be wrong........

Marc Abrams

+1 - all very good points on ki outside the martial environment that fall within my model as well. :D

Greg

Dave de Vos
07-04-2012, 01:12 PM
Then what is that definition?

But aikido is not abstract. An aikido technique, when performed correctly, produces a specific, measurable, physical result. What place has abstraction in there?

It is sometimes useful to reference them all at once. The reason that logic doesn't extend to ki is that the word ki doesn't explain itself. The Greek roots of biomechanics make it abundantly clear to anyone who speaks a language that makes a lot of use of Greek (like English and most Slavic and Romance languages). I can simply say the word and everyone knows what I'm talking about and, just as importantly, what I'm not talking about. Not so with ki.

Specificity and clarity are not clutter. The subtle differences between synonyms allow us to convey nuance.

The problem with ki isn't that it is a word for something else. The problem with ki is that, when used, it makes things less clear; it is a stumbling block to communication rather than an aid to it. (Note here that I am referring specifically to ki as we use it in the martial arts, not the many ways it is used in the Japanese language.)

You are saying that you'd rather not use the term ki, because its meaning is not clear enough to be helpful for learning how to use your body.

That may be true, but why do you expect explanations from physics to be more helpful? Explaining about gravity, friction and mechanics in general will not help me much either when I want to learn to ride a bike, become a ballet dance or a martial artist.

Garth
07-04-2012, 01:20 PM
I think that this has something to do with Ki
http://news.yahoo.com/closer-look-higgs-boson-164427722.html
As I tryed to expostulate on another thread/blog. It is an energy and why we assign positive and negative attractions to basically all things and experiences. The energy.
This is the thing that gives the molecules the attraction (so far they think) to combine into living beings.
Doesnt explain sentient beings, just the forms they take. Earth, man, woman, the heavens.
Intent leads Ki within the body systems. Connecting on a universal level is a whole other level.
Right now most of us are bound by the physical form and its limitations.
A partial physical explanation , very partial, anyway.:)

Dave de Vos
07-04-2012, 01:30 PM
A couple of you have asserted that there are things in aikido that cannot be explained by physics, or at least by physics as we currently understand it. Can anyone point to a specific instance of this? That, I think, would hit the proverbial nail on the head and make this thread into a single coherent conversation.

Some things cannot be explained in detail by physics. That means that the phenomenon is just too complicated to explain in detail from first principles (in such detail that you would be able to write a computer program that calculates a simulation of the process). This does not mean that the phenomenon is supernatural.
Turbulence is an example from physics itself. Richard Feynman called it "the most important unsolved problem of classical physics". It's still unsolved.
Even though we can't explain it fully, the concept is not useless. We can still use it when describing the flow of gasses and fluids on a more abstract level, like in propellor design or meteorology.

The workings of a living body are also far from being fully understood. It's much less understood than the workings of a star for example. Not because supernatural things are happening, at least I don't think so. It's just that the living body has not yet been researched as exhaustively as astrophysics, because a living body is far more complex than a star.
If it hasn't been researched exhaustively, we don't even know what we don't know.

Alister Gillies
07-04-2012, 04:45 PM
First off, I am not an authority on Ki. I have written about it, but that does not make me an expert - http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2012/07/04/arising-naturally-part-2-by-alister-gillies/#more-20054.

What I can say is that in my own experience, for what it's worth, understanding Ki is as difficult or as easy as you want to make it, that there is no 'catch all' definition for it and that it is virtually impossible to separate the 'use of it' from the 'user'. Physical people have physical Ki, spiritual people have spiritual Ki, happy people have happy Ki and depressed people have a tough time. Sceptical people have...let's hear it.

People are capable of change: a physical person can learn to relax, a relaxed person can build up their muscles and a depressed person can even learn to become happy in time. The Ki that each of us has, at any given moment in time, is a reflection of our existential condition. Ki is not static, and it is not an object in some imaginary martial arsenal.

Ki is a coin of two sides, mind and body. Sure we can now measure alpha, beta, delta and theta waves that reflect back how happy, depressed or tranquil we are and there is a clear correlation between physical states and mind states, but so what? This is an intellectual approach, and all that stuff is 'about' Ki - it is just feedback, not the thing in itself.

And this is IMO points to the central problem with Ki and many other concepts that come from Chinese culture: as long as we think about Ki as an object then we will have difficulties. Without reference to yin and yang - the unification of opposites - Ki does not make much sense. But, at the same time, you don't have to be a Taoist scholar to understand Ki.

Having spent over two decades (but no longer) practicing Ki Aikido, and never learning anything about yin and yang, I now understand what was missing. To some extent the principles are built into the practice (mind body coordination, weight underside, etc) but the full value and significance is understated and not developed. But this is not only in Ki Aikido, it is true of Aikikai Aikido as well.

While some individuals have managed to 'catch on' to something as a result of their own efforts, more by accident than design, many have not and continue to practice until they hit a ceiling and can't improve. Most people in Aikido cannot get better than their teachers, and their teachers cannot improve much because they have no one to help them move forward - apart from their students who are often treated as lab rats.

But to get back to the point. Ki is not an object, and if we are able to unify mind and body (yin and yang) and access whole body power (rather than isolated muscle groups) and therefore get closer to what 'aiki' is all about, we will understand Ki and perhaps understand too that we are as likely to see ourselves 'mind bodying', as we are able to taste our tongue tasting, or see our eyes seeing or hear our ears hearing. There is always bio-feedback, but I prefer to cut out the middle man. For those looking for the absolutely definitive in a relative world, good luck.

Tom Verhoeven
07-04-2012, 05:22 PM
Much the same as what I said no? I add vital as a word because it too has the same root and shows that Ki is vital. Vital life energy.

As is prana, qi, chi, etc.

Peace.G.

Sure, prana, pneuma, chi, ki, almost every culture has this similar concept. Only modern western languages seem to lack this concept.

I just made a small comment on your way of associating words, I sometimes struggle with your English language. Much like I sometimes struggle with some of the words that posters from the u.s use. :)

Tom

lbb
07-04-2012, 05:41 PM
...Asian guy? The whatnow?

gregstec
07-04-2012, 06:04 PM
First off, I am not an authority on Ki. I have written about it, but that does not make me an expert - http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2012/07/04/arising-naturally-part-2-by-alister-gillies/#more-20054.

What I can say is that in my own experience, for what it's worth, understanding Ki is as difficult or as easy as you want to make it, that there is no 'catch all' definition for it and that it is virtually impossible to separate the 'use of it' from the 'user'. Physical people have physical Ki, spiritual people have spiritual Ki, happy people have happy Ki and depressed people have a tough time. Sceptical people have...let's hear it.

People are capable of change: a physical person can learn to relax, a relaxed person can build up their muscles and a depressed person can even learn to become happy in time. The Ki that each of us has, at any given moment in time, is a reflection of our existential condition. Ki is not static, and it is not an object in some imaginary martial arsenal.

Ki is a coin of two sides, mind and body. Sure we can now measure alpha, beta, delta and theta waves that reflect back how happy, depressed or tranquil we are and there is a clear correlation between physical states and mind states, but so what? This is an intellectual approach, and all that stuff is 'about' Ki - it is just feedback, not the thing in itself.

And this is IMO points to the central problem with Ki and many other concepts that come from Chinese culture: as long as we think about Ki as an object then we will have difficulties. Without reference to yin and yang - the unification of opposites - Ki does not make much sense. But, at the same time, you don't have to be a Taoist scholar to understand Ki.

Having spent over two decades (but no longer) practicing Ki Aikido, and never learning anything about yin and yang, I now understand what was missing. To some extent the principles are built into the practice (mind body coordination, weight underside, etc) but the full value and significance is understated and not developed. But this is not only in Ki Aikido, it is true of Aikikai Aikido as well.

While some individuals have managed to 'catch on' to something as a result of their own efforts, more by accident than design, many have not and continue to practice until they hit a ceiling and can't improve. Most people in Aikido cannot get better than their teachers, and their teachers cannot improve much because they have no one to help them move forward - apart from their students who are often treated as lab rats.

But to get back to the point. Ki is not an object, and if we are able to unify mind and body (yin and yang) and access whole body power (rather than isolated muscle groups) and therefore get closer to what 'aiki' is all about, we will understand Ki and perhaps understand too that we are as likely to see ourselves 'mind bodying', as we are able to taste our tongue tasting, or see our eyes seeing or hear our ears hearing. There is always bio-feedback, but I prefer to cut out the middle man. For those looking for the absolutely definitive in a relative world, good luck.

Very good post - it says a lot and it says nothing definitive at the same time; simply due to the fact that there really is no definitive thing to say about the subject. I like your article over at Aikido Journal as well. :)

I think the most important thing you said is that you cannot separate the use of ki from the user - it really is a personal thing and will remain so until there can be a definitive answer to exactly what it is. To me knowing what the end result of your process that includes ki is where people need to focus - as long as the end result is true, whatever you do or believe in that process is what is right for you. Case in point is my story of that guy in Massecusetes that told me to extent my intent - I simply complied by extending ki as I believed it to achieve the end result that he could feel as correct. That guy does not have to agree with me on how I view that process ( and he has already said he does not :) ) but the thing is, I had the result he was looking for in that exchange; simple as that. So, the lesson is to know what it is you want to accomplish and make it your own without the delusion of self nor the distraction of others.

Greg

graham christian
07-04-2012, 06:05 PM
Sure, prana, pneuma, chi, ki, almost every culture has this similar concept. Only modern western languages seem to lack this concept.

I just made a small comment on your way of associating words, I sometimes struggle with your English language. Much like I sometimes struggle with some of the words that posters from the u.s use. :)

Tom

I think it's good to look at it generally from the view of eastern way of looking at things and western wat, culturally. I emphasize general, rather than specific.

The eastern views inherent in their philosophies and culturally accepted had these words and concepts as you say and so even those not interested in the higher realms and disciplines to do with them were fully cognizant of them.

Here in the west it was a different story. "I think therefor I am" was more the philosophy. Thinking and intellectualism looked upon as more the 'higher realms'. (especially in the modern ages)

So in the east wisdom and enlightenment closely associated with such things, in the west, mind.

In the east, zen, buddhism, etc. 'getting rid' of the mind, thus seeing the importance of self realization and spirit and life connection. In the west emphasizing the mind and denying the spirit, thus no words culturally and seen as strange.

In the east......"I think therefor I am not";)

Peace, G.

stan baker
07-04-2012, 07:02 PM
The Buddha said above and below I am the only one

stan

phitruong
07-04-2012, 09:30 PM
...Asian guy? The whatnow?

he was talking about me. don't worry about it. it's all about stuffs that drove westerners mad for generations. it keeps them occupied while the asians go about owning the world. once we owned the world we would just tell them that it was all a big joke really, and they were the punch line. :)

OwlMatt
07-05-2012, 01:54 AM
The nervous system is not of the mind, it is physical and it is controlled by the mind - the bridge is the ki.
If the mind can control the body, why does it need a bridge?

Who ever said the sacrifice of people to the gods was wrong? at the time I sure it served a purpose and had functions in the society - today they have found other solutions for those functions
They have found other solutions because that one was wrong. I'm not having a conversation here about whether or not human sacrifice is wrong.

- ki/chi belief is still very much alive within the Eastern cultures - and until someone comes along with a better solution to the functions it serves, it will stay that way.
The point of the blog post is that I think we do have better solutions. We have physics.

To me, ki is a form of energy much like electrical, magnetic, and other forms of energy within the electro-magnetic spectrum that resides in both the mental and physical domains of all living things as well as in the atomic structure of inanimate objects.
How come physicists have never found ki on the electromagnetic spectrum, then?

It can be felt, developed, and controlled by all sentient beings within themselves as well as in others with the proper connection - in a nut shell, I see ki as how Tohei taught it. This model of ki can explain why an opponent can feel energy movement within themselves that is being controlled by someone else that is simply connected to them with no physical movement - how does your model explain that?

Greg
Are you saying that I should be able to stand still, make no physical movement at all, and make you feel "energy movement", just with the use of my mind and will? That sounds like a magic trick, not martial art.

OwlMatt
07-05-2012, 02:03 AM
"That" definition would be based on whatever the common experience is.
I don't think we can say conclusively that there is a common experience. How is there any way to know that five different people who say they are feeling ki aren't feeling five different things?

My point was that meaning is developed over time, based on experiences. I personally like "intent" for providing a functional definition, but (I think) that's beside the point. My being able to form a discrete definition desn't give me any real understanding, and it's that understanding which I think is most important when dealing with terms, not country of origin.
First of all, I question how complete an understanding can be that does not produce a definition. Second of all, what good is that understanding to a conversation like this if it cannot be conveyed to someone else?

Only because of the familiarity/interaction with those composite terms. Furthermore, knowing the roots doesn't tell you anything other than it has to do with biology and mechanics. It doesn't tell you how to apply it in any meaingful way; it just gives you a ball-park idea. If you want to apply it meaningflly, you still have to do some kind of research.
I guess you're right, but it's still a far cry better defined at the outset than ki.

Until commonality can be established, just as with all terms. This is why I suggested the problem isn't with the term so much as with the research/study that informs it. The term means whatever peopl want it to mean but that's the way all terms work. The problem is that people are content to not question its meaning past the point of convenience; to assume they understand it sufficiently; or to assume the othr person automatically understands the sense in which it's being used.
You are more optimistic than I. I'm not convinced commonality can be established.

Carsten Möllering
07-05-2012, 02:30 AM
... I view this energy as "Ki" ...
Why?
As far as I see it, Daoist texts about qi are more specific about what qi is? And they fit much more to what I understand to be Dan's view of ki? ("Managing your body systems to think "lead ki" in certain described manners produces real results in a health system of moving your bodies energy and in a martial system to produce power.")

Where do you "anchor" this wide, open view of qi in the tradition or historical heritage of the knowledge of ki? Where does it come from?
Even when referred to as something like energy, isn't it allways connected to certain "bodily/physical" aspects?

I'm still thinking about a conversation I had recently: Talking to two german teachers of Ki-Aikido they clearly stated that what is called "qi" in qi gong, tai chi, ... is something different than what is called "Ki" in Ki-Aikido. Not a different aspect or view of the same thing. But a different thing.

DH
07-05-2012, 03:37 AM
Why?
As far as I see it, Daoist texts about qi are more specific about what qi is? And they fit much more to what I understand to be Dan's view of ki? ("Managing your body systems to think "lead ki" in certain described manners produces real results in a health system of moving your bodies energy and in a martial system to produce power.")

Where do you "anchor" this wide, open view of qi in the tradition or historical heritage of the knowledge of ki?
Where does it come from?
Even when referred to as something like energy, isn't it allways connected to certain "bodily/physical" aspects?

I'm still thinking about a conversation I had recently: Talking to two german teachers of Ki-Aikido they clearly stated that what is called "qi" in qi gong, tai chi, ... is something different than what is called "Ki" in Ki-Aikido. Not a different aspect or view of the same thing. But a different thing.
+1
And to address the last item
Talking to two german teachers of Ki-Aikido they clearly stated that what is called "qi" in qi gong, tai chi, ... is something different than what is called "Ki" in Ki-Aikido. Not a different aspect or view of the same thing. But a different thing.
Yes, the first one works...the other doesn't.
Which is why we had the ki wars in the first place. From what I heard, read and felt, the ki aikido people couldn't produce much. Well, they still can't against people who know what they're doing and how to train it. People are making up stuff as they go along, and if you are a Japanese teacher in a Western setting , you can make up quite a lot of stuff in the right rooms.
Get them all on a mat. Just do it...all will be known, and that right quick.

They NEVER....EVER will.
Dan

Tom Verhoeven
07-05-2012, 07:26 AM
I think it's good to look at it generally from the view of eastern way of looking at things and western wat, culturally. I emphasize general, rather than specific.

The eastern views inherent in their philosophies and culturally accepted had these words and concepts as you say and so even those not interested in the higher realms and disciplines to do with them were fully cognizant of them.

Here in the west it was a different story. "I think therefor I am" was more the philosophy. Thinking and intellectualism looked upon as more the 'higher realms'. (especially in the modern ages)

So in the east wisdom and enlightenment closely associated with such things, in the west, mind.

In the east, zen, buddhism, etc. 'getting rid' of the mind, thus seeing the importance of self realization and spirit and life connection. In the west emphasizing the mind and denying the spirit, thus no words culturally and seen as strange.

In the east......"I think therefor I am not";)

Peace, G.

Sounds like the start of a new thread ...:)
Tom

gregstec
07-05-2012, 08:19 AM
I'm still thinking about a conversation I had recently: Talking to two german teachers of Ki-Aikido they clearly stated that what is called "qi" in qi gong, tai chi, ... is something different than what is called "Ki" in Ki-Aikido. Not a different aspect or view of the same thing. But a different thing.

Well, I am from the old Ki Society and I do not see them as different; just different in application - Maybe those guys missed something along the way - if ki is some form of energy, as I like to look at it, they can be the same and simply applied in different processes to effect different results. I really think the answer to all these questions is in how one looks at the components of the heart leads mind, mind leads intent, intent leads ki, and ki leads body. If there really is no thing as ki, then why is it listed in that process? why not just skip it and say intent leads body? - all parts of a process have a function, so what is the function of ki in that application?

Greg

HL1978
07-05-2012, 08:36 AM
Maybe a good place to start would be how a typical person handles a push, versus how someone else with skills handles a push.

Just to get the ball rolling, I'd say the human body is designed to handle vertical loads efficiently. It tends to be uneconomical when a horizontal load is brought into play.
So one question would be, how do you efficiently deal with an incoming horizontal force (assuming its coming from a person).

I would argue that the typical person meets a horizontal force with another horizontal force in the same direction, typically by using their arms and shoulder, or maybe if they're "good", using their hips and relaxed arms to push along the same horizontal direction.

Someone with skill isn't going to push along the same direction (a vector is really the proper term). Pushing "upwards" or vertically works well to to deal with an incoming force, but you don't really push upwards with your arms, or legs (or anything) as in that case you are actively pushing against the incoming force.

You would have to figure out how to take the horizontal force within you and convert it into a vertical force that goes down into the ground and then goes upwards

Mike Sigman's ground path exercises are a foot in the door for this stuff, since they initially teach you to relax and not try and add anything to push back. You do have to transition though, as the initial bringing it to the back foot seems to allow you to "push back" with the pushers force, but along the same direction. You have to figure out how to convert that push to a vertical component, as the more "vertical" the component, the harder it is for the pusher to exert force on you as they have nothing to push back with.

Strangely, the more vertical your reflection of the push from your partner is, the less you feel your partner and the less they feel you too..........

MM
07-05-2012, 08:44 AM
Dan:

I disagree with this position. When a negative (angry, depressed, etc) person approaches an infant, why does that child begin to get upset and cry? When you are driving and turn your head to see the person staring at you, what were you responding too? You walk into a room filled with people whom you never met before and you know instantly what the "vibe" in the room is and who you want to approach and who you don't want to approach-> what is happening? Most communication is non-verbal. There are countless examples of similar experiences. What is so hard to believe that this non-verbal communication is energy-based.


Hi Marc,
I don't discount what you write above. And most things are energy-based. Physics tells us so. :)

However ...


I view this energy as "Ki"-> life energy.


I don't view that energy as the "ki" from martial arts. If that "ki" was "life energy" which is all around us all the time, why did Ueshiba state at specific moments in training to "fill yourself with ki"? Wouldn't you already be filled with life energy? We want more life energy? It's like saying stand in six directions meaning stand in hanmi at a 60 degree angle. :)

As we've come to see with Chris Li's translations, Ueshiba meant some fairly specific martial training methods/concepts. I don't think this example of fill yourself with ki would be any different, but it isn't the overall "ki" definition everyone gives.

Actually, I wonder if some of what you stated above can't be tied into a collective consciousness theory. :)

Mark

HL1978
07-05-2012, 08:46 AM
I would argue that the typical person meets a horizontal force with another horizontal force in the same direction, typically by using their arms and shoulder, or maybe if they're "good", using their hips and relaxed arms to push along the same horizontal direction.

Someone with skill isn't going to push along the same direction (a vector is really the proper term). Pushing "upwards" or vertically works well to to deal with an incoming force, but you don't really push upwards with your arms, or legs (or anything) as in that case you are actively pushing against the incoming force.

You would have to figure out how to take the horizontal force within you and convert it into a vertical force that goes down into the ground and then goes upwards

Mike Sigman's ground path exercises are a foot in the door for this stuff, since they initially teach you to relax and not try and add anything to push back. You do have to transition though, as the initial bringing it to the back foot seems to allow you to "push back" with the pushers force, but along the same direction. You have to figure out how to convert that push to a vertical component, as the more "vertical" the component, the harder it is for the pusher to exert force on you as they have nothing to push back with.

Strangely, the more vertical your reflection of the push from your partner is, the less you feel your partner and the less they feel you too..........

Actually, following up myself...

You would need not only to convert someone else's push into a vertical component, but actively having an upwards component without yourself at all times (really a downwards component within yourself than creates a resultant upwards component). Trying to establish a vertical component upon contact is really really hard to do unless you don't already have one set up.

gregstec
07-05-2012, 08:54 AM
If the mind can control the body, why does it need a bridge?

All interconnection of dissimilar objects, energies, or systems need some form of interface that can convert, translate, or bridge the basic protocols of each side to the other - to me, ki serves that purpose between mind and body.

They have found other solutions because that one was wrong. I'm not having a conversation here about whether or not human sacrifice is wrong.
You brought up the sacrifice thing not me - I just did not see it as a good analogy because ki/qi is still believed in by most Chinese.

The point of the blog post is that I think we do have better solutions. We have physics.
Physics is a science and they had their sciences as well - there is nothing as constant as change, and physics today is different than the physics of yesterday as well as be different tomorrow.

How come physicists have never found ki on the electromagnetic spectrum, then?

Not all things in that spectrum were identified from day one - as new things are discovered, they are added - to me, ki could very easily be added in the future.

Are you saying that I should be able to stand still, make no physical movement at all, and make you feel "energy movement", just with the use of my mind and will? That sounds like a magic trick, not martial art.

Absolutely, with the proper physical connection - but not just with your mind and will, ki plays a crucial role in that process - been there done that.

Greg

gregstec
07-05-2012, 09:06 AM
Hi Marc,
I don't discount what you write above. And most things are energy-based. Physics tells us so. :)

However ...

I don't view that energy as the "ki" from martial arts. If that "ki" was "life energy" which is all around us all the time, why did Ueshiba state at specific moments in training to "fill yourself with ki"? Wouldn't you already be filled with life energy? We want more life energy? It's like saying stand in six directions meaning stand in hanmi at a 60 degree angle. :)

As we've come to see with Chris Li's translations, Ueshiba meant some fairly specific martial training methods/concepts. I don't think this example of fill yourself with ki would be any different, but it isn't the overall "ki" definition everyone gives.

Actually, I wonder if some of what you stated above can't be tied into a collective consciousness theory. :)

Mark

Good point, and what is the glue that binds that collective together? maybe an application of non-martial ki? :)

Greg

gregstec
07-05-2012, 09:36 AM
An important point I like to make here is that regardless of what anyone's position on ki is, we are ALL just guessing because none of us know for sure what it is - the best we can do is come up with opinions that mean something to us personally that enables us to function in obtaining the true objectives of developing whatever skill it is that ki is supposed to be part of. As long as you keep focused on that, and are sure of what the results should be, you will be fine and it does not matter if you look at it as a western physics process, an eastern ki process, or some other wacky off-world Astral plane magic process - just as long as your personal model can produce the proper results.

The key of course is knowing what the proper results should be :)

Greg

RonRagusa
07-05-2012, 10:02 AM
The key of course is knowing what the proper results should be :)

The proper results should be in line with whatever your training goals are. And as training goals vary from student to student, proper results will necessarily not conform to a single categorical framework.

Ron

gregstec
07-05-2012, 10:32 AM
The proper results should be in line with whatever your training goals are. And as training goals vary from student to student, proper results will necessarily not conform to a single categorical framework.

Ron

Very good point - problem is that some folks think their objectives are the same, however their results are different - so, who is correct? :)

Greg

MM
07-05-2012, 10:37 AM
Let's take, for example, when Ueshiba wrote to stand in six directions. Now, people came along and decided that it meant to stand in hanmi of 60 degrees angle. They came up with opinions that meant something to them personally and enable them to function in obtaining true objectives of developing aikido skills and abilities.

Now, did that help them, in any way whatsoever, in replicating Ueshiba's skills and abilities? The answer is not just no, but emphatically no.

Let's overlay "ki" with "stand in six directions". Ueshiba meant something specific when talking about these concepts. Turns out, many of these specific concepts can be found in martial classics and there, they have specific meanings. How can you tell? Fairly easy. You take all those people who came up with opinions that meant something to them and see if they have the same skills and abilities of those martial masters who all talked about the same thing in the same way. 99% will fail that test. Those martial masters weren't guessing. They knew the concepts and when tested, showed those concepts in a martial environment.

That is what people in budo should be looking for. Not their own opinion of what something should be, but what the classics actually meant in regards to martial arts. What those men in budo meant when they talked about concepts.

When climbing a mountain, all those people at the very bottom look up and say, hey, there's all kinds of paths to the top. But those few who are 3/4 of the way up know that there are very few paths to the top. And those paths are well known by the few who have made it. They can be described by those few. And those few all look at the people and their opinions at the bottom, smile, and say, show me the truth of your opinion.

Just because all those people at the bottom get together and form a general concensus on an opinion doesn't mean that their opinion is right, true, or worthy. They can all stand at the bottom in hanmi at 60 degree angles and repeat that mantra for 20 to 40 years ... oh wait, they have ... and yet they are no closer to Ueshiba's skills and abilities. Meanwhile, men like Chen Fake, Hong Jungshen, Sagawa, Ueshiba, all talk about the same concepts and martial classics ... from the top of the mountain.

All IMO but what do I know? I'm :crazy:
Mark

Mary Eastland
07-05-2012, 10:40 AM
Why fill yourself with what you already have? You can learn how to use what you have. You can decide to be centered and Ki full. I have seen people have all the methods available and still try to muscle, muscle, muscle....

Marc Abrams
07-05-2012, 10:58 AM
Hi Marc,
I don't discount what you write above. And most things are energy-based. Physics tells us so. :)

However ...

I don't view that energy as the "ki" from martial arts. If that "ki" was "life energy" which is all around us all the time, why did Ueshiba state at specific moments in training to "fill yourself with ki"? Wouldn't you already be filled with life energy? We want more life energy? It's like saying stand in six directions meaning stand in hanmi at a 60 degree angle. :)

As we've come to see with Chris Li's translations, Ueshiba meant some fairly specific martial training methods/concepts. I don't think this example of fill yourself with ki would be any different, but it isn't the overall "ki" definition everyone gives.

Actually, I wonder if some of what you stated above can't be tied into a collective consciousness theory. :)

Mark

Mark:

I agree with what you, Dan and some other people are saying to a point. It seems to be, that what we are addressing is how this "energy" can be utilized and to what purpose. You have some people who can use their "ki" in a therapeutic manner which can be measured by infra-red sensors. These people can be completely incompetent in any kind of martial setting. Does that negate the use of their energy? Should we call that energy something other than "ki"? We have people who claim to be able to utilize ki in a martial setting and are completely incompetent. Does that mean that they do have any ki in them? There are prescribed ways of training and using your body to manifest Ki in a remarkably effective martial manner. I think that people would like to "localize" Ki in this thread to one single manifestation of it's expression. Maybe I am simply full of fecal material, but I believe that there are other, equally valid expressions of ki.

Marc Abrams

gregstec
07-05-2012, 11:10 AM
Let's take, for example, when Ueshiba wrote to stand in six directions. Now, people came along and decided that it meant to stand in hanmi of 60 degrees angle. They came up with opinions that meant something to them personally and enable them to function in obtaining true objectives of developing aikido skills and abilities.

Now, did that help them, in any way whatsoever, in replicating Ueshiba's skills and abilities? The answer is not just no, but emphatically no.

Let's overlay "ki" with "stand in six directions". Ueshiba meant something specific when talking about these concepts. Turns out, many of these specific concepts can be found in martial classics and there, they have specific meanings. How can you tell? Fairly easy. You take all those people who came up with opinions that meant something to them and see if they have the same skills and abilities of those martial masters who all talked about the same thing in the same way. 99% will fail that test. Those martial masters weren't guessing. They knew the concepts and when tested, showed those concepts in a martial environment.

That is what people in budo should be looking for. Not their own opinion of what something should be, but what the classics actually meant in regards to martial arts. What those men in budo meant when they talked about concepts.

When climbing a mountain, all those people at the very bottom look up and say, hey, there's all kinds of paths to the top. But those few who are 3/4 of the way up know that there are very few paths to the top. And those paths are well known by the few who have made it. They can be described by those few. And those few all look at the people and their opinions at the bottom, smile, and say, show me the truth of your opinion.

Just because all those people at the bottom get together and form a general concensus on an opinion doesn't mean that their opinion is right, true, or worthy. They can all stand at the bottom in hanmi at 60 degree angles and repeat that mantra for 20 to 40 years ... oh wait, they have ... and yet they are no closer to Ueshiba's skills and abilities. Meanwhile, men like Chen Fake, Hong Jungshen, Sagawa, Ueshiba, all talk about the same concepts and martial classics ... from the top of the mountain.

All IMO but what do I know? I'm :crazy:
Mark

You make my point very well - I said as long as you know what your true results should be it does not matter what you call your process, or the science behind how your process actually works, and as long as the true results are obtained, your process works for you. The point you bring out is that they thought they knew what they were looking for but they were wrong and actually followed a wrong process regardless of what that process was called. In this case, the ends justify the means. If you can duplicate Ueshiba's skill, chances are you followed his process of development very closely - you just may have called it something different. In other words, you made that process personal by forming opinions and conclusions that you could relate to and still produce the proper results.

I think absolutely too much effort is made in trying to understand what someone meant and then trying to duplicate things based on that person's viewpoint. I think you need to look at what that person could produce and then find what works in you that will produce they same thing - chances are it will be very similar to what the other person was doing, but it also is a good chance that you and that other person would look at the process differently to some extent because no two people are the same.

Greg

mathewjgano
07-05-2012, 11:53 AM
I don't think we can say conclusively that there is a common experience. How is there any way to know that five different people who say they are feeling ki aren't feeling five different things?
I agree. There might be a lot of overlap which makes it seem like we're having the same experience, but I think each of us exeriences things in slightly different ways. When it comes to describing similar experiences all we can do is hope they're close enough to get something useful from it.

First of all, I question how complete an understanding can be that does not produce a definition. Second of all, what good is that understanding to a conversation like this if it cannot be conveyed to someone else?
My guess is that (1) some concepts are more problematic than others, like "spirit," for example. I'm not sure we can have a complete definition and that's what makes certain conversations more problmatic than others. We can talk about the blue chair much more easily than spirit...unless one of us is colorblind and isn't aware of it. Perception rules the day. (2) Not much, if at all, but I think it's a good exercise to try.

I guess you're right, but it's still a far cry better defined at the outset than ki.
It's certainly a bit more familiar to more native English-speakers.

You are more optimistic than I.
:D Depends on which day you catch me.
Take care,
Matt

OwlMatt
07-05-2012, 11:58 AM
All interconnection of dissimilar objects, energies, or systems need some form of interface that can convert, translate, or bridge the basic protocols of each side to the other - to me, ki serves that purpose between mind and body.
How come biologists don't talk about ki then? Are their explanations of how the mind moves the body incomplete?
You brought up the sacrifice thing not me - I just did not see it as a good analogy because ki/qi is still believed in by most Chinese.
First of all, you made it human sacrifices, not me. Second of all, a lot of people believing in something does not make it true. It is widely believed in Korea that leaving a box fan on all night will chill a room to sub-zero temperatures and cause hypothermia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_common_misconceptions).

Physics is a science and they had their sciences as well - there is nothing as constant as change, and physics today is different than the physics of yesterday as well as be different tomorrow. Not all things in that spectrum were identified from day one - as new things are discovered, they are added - to me, ki could very easily be added in the future.
So what? You're saying that scientist may discover something in the future. Scientists may discover invisible elephants in the future. That doesn't mean it makes sense to believe in them now.

Absolutely, with the proper physical connection
Let me put it to you this way: why shouldn't I believe that changing the thought changes the action, and that therefore what my partner is feeling is a change in action brought about by a change in thought? What evidence is there that my explanation (which is much simpler, much cleaner, and much more consistent with what we know of science) needs ki to be complete?

but not just with your mind and will, ki plays a crucial role in that process - been there done that.

Greg
How do you use ki, if not with the mind and/or will?

mathewjgano
07-05-2012, 12:00 PM
If that "ki" was "life energy" which is all around us all the time, why did Ueshiba state at specific moments in training to "fill yourself with ki"? Wouldn't you already be filled with life energy? We want more life energy?
You seem to be saying you have some fixed amount of life energy or you're dead, but why couldn't we have more or less "life energy," comparatively speaking? If we look at light as a possible analogy: sure it's either light or it's isn't, but you can certainly have more light in some places than in others. Some folks do seem to burn brighter than others...at least, I've heard this from enough different people to consider it a compelling idea.

OwlMatt
07-05-2012, 12:01 PM
Some things cannot be explained in detail by physics. That means that the phenomenon is just too complicated to explain in detail from first principles (in such detail that you would be able to write a computer program that calculates a simulation of the process). This does not mean that the phenomenon is supernatural.
Turbulence is an example from physics itself. Richard Feynman called it "the most important unsolved problem of classical physics". It's still unsolved.
Even though we can't explain it fully, the concept is not useless. We can still use it when describing the flow of gasses and fluids on a more abstract level, like in propellor design or meteorology.

The workings of a living body are also far from being fully understood. It's much less understood than the workings of a star for example. Not because supernatural things are happening, at least I don't think so. It's just that the living body has not yet been researched as exhaustively as astrophysics, because a living body is far more complex than a star.
If it hasn't been researched exhaustively, we don't even know what we don't know.
You're still not answering the question, though. All this might mean something if anyone could provide a concrete example of something in the martial arts that can't be explained by what we know of physics. You make a case here that such a thing could conceivably exist, but what I'm saying is that it doesn't, not that it can't.

OwlMatt
07-05-2012, 12:03 PM
You seem to be saying you have some fixed amount of life energy or you're dead, but why couldn't we have more or less "life energy," comparatively speaking? If we look at light as a possible analogy: sure it's either light or it's isn't, but you can certainly have more light in some places than in others. Some folks do seem to burn brighter than others...at least, I've heard this from enough different people to consider it a compelling idea.
We know from physics that energy cannot be created or destroyed. So if we are increasing our life energy, where is is coming from? And if we are decreasing our life energy, where is it going?

RonRagusa
07-05-2012, 12:07 PM
Very good point - problem is that some folks think their objectives are the same, however their results are different - so, who is correct? :)

Greg

Why does the answer have to be in binary format? There are always variations of success when it comes to meeting objectives, especially when trying to measure results of human performance in specific areas. Humans are all tailored differently and performance measurements related to specific common objectives will be affected by more variables than one's training methods. So it's not surprising that different people will achieve different results even though they have the same objectives and train in the same manner.

Ron

mathewjgano
07-05-2012, 12:18 PM
We know from physics that energy cannot be created or destroyed. So if we are increasing our life energy, where is is coming from? And if we are decreasing our life energy, where is it going?

Good questions! http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-higgs-boson-new-particle-20120705,0,6326048.story
I'm not saying this is an example of "life energy," but its elusive nature points to a potential similarity in nature. There is much theorizing on dark/invisible "things."
Coincidentally I heard on NPR the other day that the term "God Particle" was the product of a publisher not liking the more matter-of-fact title chosen by the author.

Marc Abrams
07-05-2012, 12:29 PM
So what? You're saying that scientist may discover something in the future. Scientists may discover invisible elephants in the future. That doesn't mean it makes sense to believe in them now.



Matthew:

Science is based upon the null hypothesis. Nothing is science is based upon 100% certainty, but upon degrees of probability. It is very common for scientists to conveniently forget this point and try and frame their understandings as being "fact".

Major advances in science have taken place because scientists formulate alternative understandings of events. Low and behold, when they develop means and methods for determining that this "new" understanding has a high probability of explaining things, other people change their minds and accept the new "facts."

Strident assertions of understandings should be balanced by keeping an open mind to alternative explanations. I like to say that I am the first to put my ideas out there and the first to admit that they are wrong when presented with information that leads me to rethink my current position.

Marc Abrams

gregstec
07-05-2012, 12:56 PM
How come biologists don't talk about ki then? Are their explanations of how the mind moves the body incomplete?

Please share with us the details of those explanations

First of all, you made it human sacrifices, not me. Second of all, a lot of people believing in something does not make it true. It is widely believed in Korea that leaving a box fan on all night will chill a room to sub-zero temperatures and cause hypothermia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_common_misconceptions).

This whole section of the discussion is out context and is going nowhere on both sides, so how about dropping it.

So what? You're saying that scientist may discover something in the future. Scientists may discover invisible elephants in the future. That doesn't mean it makes sense to believe in them now.

The concept of ki provides answers to questions current physics cannot totally explain - to not to believe in ki would require belief in something else that does provide all the answers - to say something does not exist because it cannot be totally explained by the science of the day is essentially having the same mindset of those that believed the world was flat - people need to question, dream, imagine, and explore; that is how we grow, learn, and develop new technologies.

Let me put it to you this way: why shouldn't I believe that changing the thought changes the action, and that therefore what my partner is feeling is a change in action brought about by a change in thought? What evidence is there that my explanation (which is much simpler, much cleaner, and much more consistent with what we know of science) needs ki to be complete?

What action are you talking about? in your simple model, is the other person feeling your thoughts or reading your mind? I am talking about two people standing still with one physical connection between them that can be anywhere on either body; and one person will simply use mental intent to send energy out into the other person and have it move in that person in an up, down, sideways, or circular direction with absolutely no physical movement by either party. In my ki model, it is my ki controlling the other persons ki just like I can control the flow of ki energy in my own body. How can your thought model control the other person's thoughts or will?

How do you use ki, if not with the mind and/or will?

Never said ki was not used or controlled in my body without intent. As I said in my #79 post, none of us know for sure exactly what ki is and we are all guessing. However, I have been refining my model of it for 35 years to keep answering questions that physics fail to do; and believe it or not, I am a very practical technologist that relies on physics for most things. However, physics just does provide me all the answers that my model of ki can - so, until someone can prove where my model is wrong, I am sticking with it.

Greg

OwlMatt
07-05-2012, 01:22 PM
Matthew:

Science is based upon the null hypothesis. Nothing is science is based upon 100% certainty, but upon degrees of probability. It is very common for scientists to conveniently forget this point and try and frame their understandings as being "fact".

Major advances in science have taken place because scientists formulate alternative understandings of events. Low and behold, when they develop means and methods for determining that this "new" understanding has a high probability of explaining things, other people change their minds and accept the new "facts."

Strident assertions of understandings should be balanced by keeping an open mind to alternative explanations. I like to say that I am the first to put my ideas out there and the first to admit that they are wrong when presented with information that leads me to rethink my current position.

Marc Abrams
I am always open to new ideas; I just have never heard a really good reason to believe in ki. So until I hear one, I'm going to go on being an unbeliever.

OwlMatt
07-05-2012, 01:38 PM
Please share with us the details of those explanations
You have me there; I'm not a biologist. But as I see it, the burden of proof is on the believer and not the non-believer. We all learned in high school biology that the brain sends electric signals to the muscles by way of the nervous system and the muscles respond; I think it's up to the ki believer to explain why that's not good enough.

whole section of the discussion is out context and is going nowhere on both sides, so how about dropping it.
It's going nowhere because, on this particular point, you're wrong and you either can't see it or won't admit it. I'm sorry to sound harsh, and I mean no disrespect, but history is clear about this. The assertion that something must be correct because lots of people have believed it over a long period of time is just plain wrong. It has been disproved over and over again.

The concept of ki provides answers to questions current physics cannot totally explain - to not to believe in ki would require belief in something else that does provide all the answers - to say something does not exist because it cannot be totally explained by the science of the day is essentially having the same mindset of those that believed the world was flat - people need to question, dream, imagine, and explore; that is how we grow, learn, and develop new technologies.
You are seeing a gap that I don't see. What in the martial arts needs explaining and cannot be explained by physics?

What action are you talking about? in your simple model, is the other person feeling your thoughts or reading your mind? I am talking about two people standing still with one physical connection between them that can be anywhere on either body; and one person will simply use mental intent to send energy out into the other person and have it move in that person in an up, down, sideways, or circular direction with absolutely no physical movement by either party.
I simply don't believe that happens.

I think what you are describing is actually the effect of subtle changes in what our muscles are doing and how they are asserting themselves. The reason that sometimes we don't see much of it externally is that our muscles aren't visible from the outside, especially in a gi. There are some guys (like the aforementioned Ikeda) that have gotten very good at doing this very subtly--and that kind of skill is an amazing thing and should not be scoffed at--but they're still using physics.

In my ki model, it is my ki controlling the other persons ki just like I can control the flow of ki energy in my own body. How can your thought model control the other person's thoughts or will?
It can't. But I question your belief that controlling someone else's will is possible.

Never said ki was not used or controlled in my body without intent. As I said in my #79 post, none of us know for sure exactly what ki is and we are all guessing.
Which I consider strong evidence that it doesn't really exist.

However, I have been refining my model of it for 35 years to keep answering questions that physics fail to do; and believe it or not, I am a very practical technologist that relies on physics for most things. However, physics just does provide me all the answers that my model of ki can - so, until someone can prove where my model is wrong, I am sticking with it.
Once again, I've never heard such a question (at least in terms of how the martial arts work), and once again, the burden of proof is on the believer and not the non-believer.

gregstec
07-05-2012, 02:09 PM
You have me there; I'm not a biologist. But as I see it, the burden of proof is on the believer and not the non-believer. We all learned in high school biology that the brain sends electric signals to the muscles by way of the nervous system and the muscles respond; I think it's up to the ki believer to explain why that's not good enough.

I just see another layer there that helps explain what is happening with fascia and not muscle. I don't see the nervous system doing much with fascia - but as I said, who knows for sure.

It's going nowhere because, on this particular point, you're wrong and you either can't see it or won't admit it. I'm sorry to sound harsh, and I mean no disrespect, but history is clear about this. The assertion that something must be correct because lots of people have believed it over a long period of time is just plain wrong. It has been disproved over and over again.
Simple qualitative analysis - the larger the sample of data, the higher probability of a true outcome - of course, not a guarantee.

You are seeing a gap that I don't see. What in the martial arts needs explaining and cannot be explained by physics? some of the things like I talked about at the bottom

I simply don't believe that happens. no one is trying to convert you to believe anything - just sharing thoughts and experiences.

I think what you are describing is actually the effect of subtle changes in what our muscles are doing and how they are asserting themselves. The reason that sometimes we don't see much of it externally is that our muscles aren't visible from the outside, especially in a gi. There are some guys (like the aforementioned Ikeda) that have gotten very good at doing this very subtly--and that kind of skill is an amazing thing and should not be scoffed at--but they're still using physics.

How can a subtle change in my muscles present a feeling of an energy moving and changing directions in someone else? especially when muscle contractions inhibits the flow of energy.
I
It can't. But I question your belief that controlling someone else's will is possible. who said I was controlling their will? I said their ki :)

Which I consider strong evidence that it doesn't really exist. there is no evidience that it does not exist nor is there real evidence that it does - all we have are beliefs based on opinion and experience.

Once again, I've never heard such a question (at least in terms of how the martial arts work), and once again, the burden of proof is on the believer and not the non-believer.

There is no burden of proof for anyone here since I am not trying to prove anything - as I said, just sharing some beliefs based on opinion and experiences. As you progress though your martial life and gain more experiences, you will change things as well, and you may even revisit things you were told did not exist because you may have come across some stuff that may point in a different direction.

Good luck in your journey

Greg

OwlMatt
07-05-2012, 02:31 PM
I just see another layer there that helps explain what is happening with fascia and not muscle. I don't see the nervous system doing much with fascia - but as I said, who knows for sure.
Scientists know for sure.
http://brainconnection.positscience.com/topics/?main=anat/motor-anat
Simple qualitative analysis - the larger the sample of data, the higher probability of a true outcome - of course, not a guarantee.
Not only is it not a guarantee, but popular sentiment has been wrong in the case of nearly every major scientific discovery in history. If popular sentiment had been right, there would have been nothing to discover. Popular sentiment, in short, provides no meaningful evidence for anything except popular sentiment.
no one is trying to convert you to believe anything - just sharing thoughts and experiences.
I understand that, but we are on opposite sides of an argument, right? In order for that to continue, each of us must be asserting that the other is wrong.
How can a subtle change in my muscles present a feeling of an energy moving and changing directions in someone else?
You don't think muscles can cause someone to feel they're changing direction? Other people's muscles change my direction in the dojo all the time. I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here.

especially when muscle contractions inhibits the flow of energy.
Citation needed.

who said I was controlling their will? I said their ki :)
"How can your thought model control the other person's thoughts or will?"
I assumed that's what you were saying in the above sentence. Am I misunderstanding you?

there is no evidience that it does not exist nor is there real evidence that it does - all we have are beliefs based on opinion and experience.
Non-belief doesn't need evidence. I have no evidence that there isn't a ghost named Norman flying around putting ideas into people's heads, but I choose not to believe in Norman because of the absence of evidence. It is up to the Normanist to prove that Norman does exist; it's not up to me to prove that he doesn't.
There is no burden of proof for anyone here since I am not trying to prove anything - as I said, just sharing some beliefs based on opinion and experiences.[.quote]
Again, this discussion dies unless you're asserting that I'm wrong. Are you or aren't you? If not, then there's no point in continuing. If so, then back to that burden of proof.

[quote]As you progress though your martial life and gain more experiences, you will change things as well, and you may even revisit things you were told did not exist because you may have come across some stuff that may point in a different direction.
We certainly do change as we learn, and I do like to keep an open mind. But let me ask you this: have you ever heard of anyone "discovering" ki, that is, coming to believe in ki on their own without being taught about ki by an instructor? I think the answer to that question is a clue to the likelihood that I'll ever have such an experience.
Good luck in your journey

Greg
Thank you, honestly.

chillzATL
07-05-2012, 02:32 PM
The solution is simple... stuff an aikidoka into the LHC. We'll get our answers on way or another!

phitruong
07-05-2012, 02:33 PM
and once again, the burden of proof is on the believer and not the non-believer.

why would the burden of the proof be on the believer? if because of my belief, i can get my stuffs to work and you don't believe and can't get it to work. why would it me to prove it to you? for example, if the fire walker that can walk across the burning coals and doesn't get burn, but you can't. why would the fire walker has to prove in some physics/chemistry/biology/whatever to you? take something closer to home, taking Ikeda sensei when he said "i moved my inside", is it his burden to prove to you that his techniques worked and your couldn't because he actually either moved his inside or not?

phitruong
07-05-2012, 02:45 PM
The solution is simple... stuff an aikidoka into the LHC. We'll get our answers on way or another!

LHC = large house of coffee? little hot chick? large home charger? light house chemise?

OwlMatt
07-05-2012, 02:47 PM
why would the burden of the proof be on the believer? if because of my belief, i can get my stuffs to work and you don't believe and can't get it to work. why would it me to prove it to you? for example, if the fire walker that can walk across the burning coals and doesn't get burn, but you can't. why would the fire walker has to prove in some physics/chemistry/biology/whatever to you? take something closer to home, taking Ikeda sensei when he said "i moved my inside", is it his burden to prove to you that his techniques worked and your couldn't because he actually either moved his inside or not?
Of course, no proof is required for anyone to believe what they want to believe. If all you have to say is, "I believe X, and you can't prove otherwise," then of course you are correct.

But If I say (as I did) that there is no such thing as ki, anyone who wants to dispute that is burdened with evidencing the existence of ki. You can't dispute my disbelief by saying that I can't prove it. In a contest between belief and non-belief, the burden of proof is on belief.

phitruong
07-05-2012, 03:04 PM
In a contest between belief and non-belief, the burden of proof is on belief.

why would there even be a contest between belief and non-belief? belief isn't science, why would you want to use science to prove or disprove a thing that's not science? i remembered reading something that stated "you should believe in god." the logic is, if god doesn't exist, then you have nothing to lose. but if he/she/it exists and you don't, then you are screw.

so if you don't want to use the word "ki", and say you have to teach the native, how would you explain some of the stuffs that part of the language. i mentioned that "khi" in my language is the same as "ki" or "chi". khi hau = weather (the states of the air outside). if i don't use khi, then the word "hau" meant your rear-end. kinda hard to talk about your rear-end. :)

PaulF
07-05-2012, 04:25 PM
why would there even be a contest between belief and non-belief? belief isn't science, why would you want to use science to prove or disprove a thing that's not science?

Spot on, ships that pass in the night. If you're going to be a believer go for fideism not some half arsed attempt to give reasons for belief. ;)

i remembered reading something that stated "you should believe in god." the logic is, if god doesn't exist, then you have nothing to lose. but if he/she/it exists and you don't, then you are screw. )

Pascal's wager. Thing is for it to be compelling we have to agree that there's a roughly equal probability to god's existence vs non-existence and that the payback on infinite paradise hugely outweighs the payback on having a good time right here right now. I know where my money is (on a bottle of single malt).

OwlMatt
07-05-2012, 05:58 PM
why would there even be a contest between belief and non-belief?
As I keep saying, the contest starts when someone disputes my claim that ki doesn't exist.
belief isn't science, why would you want to use science to prove or disprove a thing that's not science?
What makes a martial arts technique work is science. If we're talking about people being physically affected in observable, measurable ways, we are talking about science. When you throw someone in the dojo, the question of what makes it work is a scientific one. You can't take science out of a discussion of ki unless you abandon the assertion that ki does things (like moving someone) that are observable and measurable in a scientific way.
i remembered reading something that stated "you should believe in god." the logic is, if god doesn't exist, then you have nothing to lose. but if he/she/it exists and you don't, then you are screw.
Pascal's Wager. I'm not really a fan, because it doesn't address the problem of deciding which God to believe in. But I'm not sure how it applies here.
so if you don't want to use the word "ki", and say you have to teach the native, how would you explain some of the stuffs that part of the language. i mentioned that "khi" in my language is the same as "ki" or "chi". khi hau = weather (the states of the air outside). if i don't use khi, then the word "hau" meant your rear-end. kinda hard to talk about your rear-end. :)
The problem with ki isn't that it's in another language. Kotegaeshi is in another language. The problem with ki is that it's a vague, mysterious word with no agreed-upon definition that is used to explain things that don't need explaining.

danj
07-05-2012, 06:40 PM
Actually, following up myself...

You would need not only to convert someone else's push into a vertical component, but actively having an upwards component without yourself at all times (really a downwards component within yourself than creates a resultant upwards component). Trying to establish a vertical component upon contact is really really hard to do unless you don't already have one set up.

How one is grounding a push is half the answer, the other half is changing how the other person is generating their power, as they have the same biomechanics problems with horizontal power. (Maybe this is why you are saying too?)

Vertical power into the ground is great as the ground can 'push back' with effectively infinite power (it holds up sky scrappers and mountains with little effort) or alternatively redirection into the up direction can store energy (as a raised mass = potential energy)

best,
dan

Dave de Vos
07-05-2012, 07:18 PM
Everything that exists is inside the realm of physics, more or less by definition. But that's not the same as saying that everything can be explained very well using only the language and concepts of physics. I can't explain beauty using only the language of physics. Does that mean that beauty is a useless term?

I think "martial ki" refers to a special coordination between mind and body that can be learned. I don't think it's beyond scientific measurement. The difference can be physically felt by other people, so I think that, in principle, scientists should be able to measure its external effect in terms of force and motion. But it's probably quite hard to scientifically describe and quantify the difference between "normal" body mechanics and body mechanics with "martial ki" in a way that is of practical use for martial arts training.

The problem is a mismatch between information and learning. For example, how would you scientifically distinguish a good dancer from a bad one? Surely the difference could be measured by collecting physical data from sensors and video and analyzing it, but this still leaves the problem of translating the measurements to training guidance for those aspiring to become good dancers. I think a dancing teacher would do a much better job using language and concepts that have little to do with science. Ki is such a concept.

BTW: I think initially the term aikido was intended to specifically refer to this special coordination between mind and body. I know that the founder himself added more meanings as the years went by and many translations / explanations have been given by countless other people, but I'm thinking something like synthesis spirit way, or more explicitly the way of using spirit for synthesis [of mind and body]

gregstec
07-05-2012, 07:45 PM
Scientists know for sure.
http://brainconnection.positscience.com/topics/?main=anat/motor-anat
science will never know all things for sure - things change all the time - up unto a few years ago, medical science did not know that the fascia in the body was interconnected into one piece - today that is becoming evident and that is at the core of developing internal martial art skills.

Not only is it not a guarantee, but popular sentiment has been wrong in the case of nearly every major scientific discovery in history. If popular sentiment had been right, there would have been nothing to discover. Popular sentiment, in short, provides no meaningful evidence for anything except popular sentiment.
You are looking at what I said from a history perspective - I made the original comment from the laws of probability perspective - keep in mind that in all myth, there is some basis of truth; things just get morphed over the years to suit changing needs.

I understand that, but we are on opposite sides of an argument, right? In order for that to continue, each of us must be asserting that the other is wrong. there is no argument here - I believe you believe there is no such thing as ki and all I am telling you are reasons why I believe there is.

You don't think muscles can cause someone to feel they're changing direction? Other people's muscles change my direction in the dojo all the time. I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here. never said muscle can't do that - you are looking at things from an external martial perspective of movement in technique; I am not - I am coming from the internal perspective of energy movement; which of course leads to physical movement, but I am not talking about that part of the process at this time.

Citation needed. no citation needed - it is pretty common knowledge within the internal MA circles that tensed muscles stop the flow of internal energies at that point.


"How can your thought model control the other person's thoughts or will?"
I assumed that's what you were saying in the above sentence. Am I misunderstanding you? yes, you are - I don't have a thought model - I have a ki model, and that is where the interchange of control take place at the ki step in my model - that is one area where ki provides an answer to me in my model that a model without ki does not - it you have a model that can do that, I am all ears.

Non-belief doesn't need evidence. I have no evidence that there isn't a ghost named Norman flying around putting ideas into people's heads, but I choose not to believe in Norman because of the absence of evidence. It is up to the Normanist to prove that Norman does exist; it's not up to me to prove that he doesn't.

Again, this discussion dies unless you're asserting that I'm wrong. Are you or aren't you? If not, then there's no point in continuing. If so, then back to that burden of proof.

I am not saying you are wrong in the fact that you do not believe ki exist - all I am saying is that I do and giving you some reasons as to why - as I said, no argument here :)

We certainly do change as we learn, and I do like to keep an open mind. But let me ask you this: have you ever heard of anyone "discovering" ki, that is, coming to believe in ki on their own without being taught about ki by an instructor? I think the answer to that question is a clue to the likelihood that I'll ever have such an experience. Yes, the first person that came up with it :)

Greg

Tom Verhoeven
07-05-2012, 08:53 PM
Everything that exists is inside the realm of physics, more or less by definition. But that's not the same as saying that everything can be explained very well using only the language and concepts of physics. I can't explain beauty using only the language of physics. Does that mean that beauty is a useless term?

I think "martial ki" refers to a special coordination between mind and body that can be learned. I don't think it's beyond scientific measurement. The difference can be physically felt by other people, so I think that, in principle, scientists should be able to measure its external effect in terms of force and motion. But it's probably quite hard to scientifically describe and quantify the difference between "normal" body mechanics and body mechanics with "martial ki" in a way that is of practical use for martial arts training.

The problem is a mismatch between information and learning. For example, how would you scientifically distinguish a good dancer from a bad one? Surely the difference could be measured by collecting physical data from sensors and video and analyzing it, but this still leaves the problem of translating the measurements to training guidance for those aspiring to become good dancers. I think a dancing teacher would do a much better job using language and concepts that have little to do with science. Ki is such a concept.

BTW: I think initially the term aikido was intended to specifically refer to this special coordination between mind and body. I know that the founder himself added more meanings as the years went by and many translations / explanations have been given by countless other people, but I'm thinking something like synthesis spirit way, or more explicitly the way of using spirit for synthesis [of mind and body]

For a number of years I taught Aikido to professional dancers. Most of them trained in different styles of modern dance. One of these methods involved the notion of dancing from ones organs. They would start a class with very small deliberate movements, movements that at first could hardly be seen by a person watching. They imagined that their organs were initiating the movement. Normally we are hardly conscious of our organs and the last thing that we would want is that our kidneys are moving around in our body. The teachers and dancers knew this very well. They used it strictly as an image, as a metaphor (I would not even call it a concept) to improve their way of movement and to physically and mentally understand their movements better.
There really would have been no point in doing medical tests to find out if their kidneys or liver, etc were really moving.

To add to this; a better scientific understanding of something does not always lead to an improvement in body movement or in a healing process. Images, phantasy, metaphor, myths, even reading a book, watching a movie or listening to music may bring better or quicker results.
The Tour de France has begun this week and that reminds me of Lance Armstrong who won the Tour by using music.

Tom

OwlMatt
07-06-2012, 12:28 AM
yes, you are - I don't have a thought model - I have a ki model, and that is where the interchange of control take place at the ki step in my model - that is one area where ki provides an answer to me in my model that a model without ki does not - it you have a model that can do that, I am all ears.
My model doesn't need to do that unless you've got some good evidence that this "ki step" exists and is necessary. I think you are artificially inserting ki into a process that works just fine without it.

mathewjgano
07-06-2012, 02:16 AM
The problem with ki is that it's a vague, mysterious word with no agreed-upon definition that is used to explain things that don't need explaining.
I'm not sure I agree. I can buy it being a mysterious word with loose definitions ("intelligence" comes to mind as another, perhaps lesser, example), but it's used to describe things that I think do need explaining, but the mystery of it is perhaps accepted too readily as an excuse to stop thinking about it.
Perhaps the ambiguity of the term is a little like "mind."
Whatever its relation to the physical body it is generally agreed that mind is that which enables a being to have subjective awareness and intentionality towards their environment, to perceive and respond to stimuli with some kind of agency, and to have a consciousness, including thinking and feeling.
Sounds like the brain to me. Clearly "mind" detracts from learning about brain function...except that it doesn't always; sometimes it provides a new lense which inspires new understanding.
If mind can be described as an amalgamation of certain neurological functions (which are not agreed upon within different schools of thought as to which ones comprise it), perhaps ki can be described as an amagamation of mind and body functions. So here we would have two terms used to loosely describe some sets of phenomina with no agreed-upon definition.
The example you gave of the guy moving kids with his ki seems rather dubious and reminicent of Dillman and his knockout punches that only work on his own students (i.e. classic conditioning). These don't disprove anything, of course. People do get knocked out all the time...I was knocked out a few minutes after I dislocated my patela (I'm a sissy though). That's an obvious example that "odd" knock-outs can exist, but perhaps ki isn't so obvious...kinda of like the potential varieties of Higgs-Boson particles (LHC = Large Hadron Collider...or possibly Left-Handed Corn, which is much tastier than Right-Handed Corn:D ).
When it comes to evidence-based approaches I'm not sure you can assert there is no flying spaghetti monster; all you can do is describe what model seems to help you understand phenomina the best and draw correlations. Asserting there is no Ki is the same as asserting there is no God: maybe; impossible to know given our current resources. I see assertions in either case as belief, not disbelief.

Carsten Möllering
07-06-2012, 04:18 AM
I think you are artificially inserting ki into a process that works just fine without it.
As I wrote above:

It is very very interesting, to practice qi gong the way I learn it, to practice aikidō the way I learned it:
No talking of ki/qi. Not at all. Just bodywork. Aligning the body, becoming what we call "permeable", searching for the "perfect" movement. Getting aware of the body. (The body, nothing else.) ... I am not able and don't want to describe our whole training process. No talking of ki/qi. Never. It works just fine without it. Just bodywork. Doing this for over 18 years now. In different ways.

It is certain forms of body work that lead to certain ways of understanding qi/ki. Not the other way round. You use your body. You use your intent. And maybe you come to find, what is called qi/ki. And if so it will strike you that your personal experience is identical with a lot of things that are to read in old texts. (Or good modern ones ...)
You will understand from personal experience. You will not get anything from "artificially inserting" it. And you will also come to know, that qi is not defined as "what can not be caught by modern science". It is just something that is very complex.

Dave de Vos
07-06-2012, 06:53 AM
It is very very interesting, to practice qi gong the way I learn it, to practice aikidō the way I learned it:
No talking of ki/qi. Not at all. Just bodywork. Aligning the body, becoming what we call "permeable", searching for the "perfect" movement. Getting aware of the body. (The body, nothing else.) ... I am not able and don't want to describe our whole training process. No talking of ki/qi. Never. It works just fine without it. Just bodywork. Doing this for over 18 years now. In different ways.


So you avoid usage of the term like Matthew Story, but your motivation is different. You don't deny its existence.
Your policy partly acknowledges Matthews position, in that understanding its meaning does not help to acquire this specific body quality. Only specific body work does.
I mostly agree with that, but I do think that knowing the term could help a little to guide one's training. In this thread (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21252) for example this small exchange was helpful to me:


I also feel sensations in my tissue when training, which over time has gradually expanded from the outside of my lower arms to my torso. This is not very useful (that I know of) but I think it is a part of the process.

I think my connections are getting better and I think I'm making some progress in developing and using dantien, but again, this is very gradual. Sometimes in aikido I try to consciously use my body the way I train, but that's not easy. I guess I have to solo train more until it becomes like second nature. Also, I'm only 4 kyu in aikido (since last month) so aikido by itself is already quite a challenge.


just my opinion, but the connection you mention in the first sentence above is hugely important, huge! As it relates to what you said in the second in regards to using your body that way when you do aikido, you should be working to feel that sensation or connection in everything you do, before, during and after. IMO, the whole second nature stuff will never happen until you start feeling those things outside of solo exercises doing every day life stuff. So work what you have, what you can feel and just continue to build.

While ki was not mentioned here, I think of these sensations as ki effects, side effects of training this body quality. I think that identifying it like that helps a bit to guide my training and motivate me to keep going.


It is certain forms of body work that lead to certain ways of understanding qi/ki. Not the other way round. You use your body. You use your intent. And maybe you come to find, what is called qi/ki. And if so it will strike you that your personal experience is identical with a lot of things that are to read in old texts. (Or good modern ones ...)

+1

chillzATL
07-06-2012, 09:09 AM
The problem with ki isn't that it's in another language. Kotegaeshi is in another language. The problem with ki is that it's a vague, mysterious word with no agreed-upon definition that is used to explain things that don't need explaining.

I can get that you don't like the ki model or whatever, but to say that it doesn't need explaining? Really? There are plenty of examples, both in and out of martial arts, where mental visualizations produce physical results. Whether it's someone visualizing water flowing from their arm which makes it harder for someone to bend, a guy taking a cannonball to the gut while visualizing a furnace and bellows in his stomach or someone lifting an object off another person in an emergency that they couldn't budge in any other situation, the mind plays an interesting and not completely understood role in the coordination of the bodies systems. That we can, to some degree, condition and train this and have it produce physical results is pretty interesting stuff to me, regardless of whether or not I know exactly how it works. I don't think ki/chi/intent/etc are attempts to explain why this thing happens, it's just a way to get someone else to feel it too and at that point why is still interesting, but not entirely needed.

OwlMatt
07-06-2012, 09:09 AM
I'm not sure I agree. I can buy it being a mysterious word with loose definitions ("intelligence" comes to mind as another, perhaps lesser, example), but it's used to describe things that I think do need explaining, but the mystery of it is perhaps accepted too readily as an excuse to stop thinking about it.
Perhaps the ambiguity of the term is a little like "mind."
I agree that there is sometimes a usefulness to ambiguous terms, but I've never seen anything in aikido that needed more explanation than science could provide. Can you give an example?

Sounds like the brain to me. Clearly "mind" detracts from learning about brain function...except that it doesn't always; sometimes it provides a new lense which inspires new understanding.
If mind can be described as an amalgamation of certain neurological functions (which are not agreed upon within different schools of thought as to which ones comprise it), perhaps ki can be described as an amagamation of mind and body functions. So here we would have two terms used to loosely describe some sets of phenomina with no agreed-upon definition.
I think mind is a philosophical concept which works because it stays on its own philosophical and psychological plane. The reason ki stumbles where mind doesn't is that ki crosses over into the realm of physics, a world of measurable math.
The example you gave of the guy moving kids with his ki seems rather dubious and reminicent of Dillman and his knockout punches that only work on his own students (i.e. classic conditioning). These don't disprove anything, of course.
You're right. It's not intended so much to disprove as to illustrate the dangers of leaving supernatural beliefs unquestioned. When someone tells us they can do something with ki, we need to be wondering what this ki is and how it works. And if there are no answers, then we ought to be questioning the reasoning behind bringing it up at all.
People do get knocked out all the time...I was knocked out a few minutes after I dislocated my patela (I'm a sissy though). That's an obvious example that "odd" knock-outs can exist, but perhaps ki isn't so obvious...kinda of like the potential varieties of Higgs-Boson particles (LHC = Large Hadron Collider...or possibly Left-Handed Corn, which is much tastier than Right-Handed Corn:D ).
Odd knockouts can exist. I certainly don't dispute that.
When it comes to evidence-based approaches I'm not sure you can assert there is no flying spaghetti monster; all you can do is describe what model seems to help you understand phenomina the best and draw correlations. Asserting there is no Ki is the same as asserting there is no God: maybe; impossible to know given our current resources. I see assertions in either case as belief, not disbelief.
And here I have to disagree. It's like my example from earlier: I assert that there is an invisible ghost named Norman who puts ideas in your head. It's impossible to know that I'm wrong, and our science of how the brain formulates ideas is certainly incomplete, so why don't you believe in Norman? The obvious answer is that you have no reason to believe in Norman. It is not an assertion of belief to say that Norman doesn't exist; it's a reasonable conclusion based on the available evidence.

In all things, the absence of a reason to believe is reason enough not to believe. Otherwise, UFOs, Bigfoot, astrology, 9/11 conspiracy theories, and Jim Green's telekinesis are all of inherently equal value to the science and history they dispute. It is not an assertion of belief to say these things aren't real; it's a reasonable conclusion based on evidence. And I think the same can be said of ki.

OwlMatt
07-06-2012, 09:20 AM
I can get that you don't like the ki model or whatever, but to say that it doesn't need explaining? Really? There are plenty of examples, both in and out of martial arts, where mental visualizations produce physical results. Whether it's someone visualizing water flowing from their arm which makes it harder for someone to bend, a guy taking a cannonball to the gut while visualizing a furnace and bellows in his stomach or someone lifting an object off another person in an emergency that they couldn't budge in any other situation, the mind plays an interesting and not completely understood role in the coordination of the bodies systems. That we can, to some degree, condition and train this and have it produce physical results is pretty interesting stuff to me, regardless of whether or not I know exactly how it works.
I think you misunderstand me. I'm not saying that these things don't need to be explained at all. I'm saying that what we know of science explains them without resort to a belief in ki. It absolutely is interesting stuff, amazing stuff, and I think it is a privilege to study it and practice it.
I don't think ki/chi/intent/etc are attempts to explain why this thing happens, it's just a way to get someone else to feel it too and at that point why is still interesting, but not entirely needed.
Even though this kind of use of the word ki is certainly a lesser offense than talking about mysterious supernatural forces, I still think it unnecessarily muddies the water. In the training I've done with Ikeda Shihan, he's always been able to convey that feeling you're talking about without falling back on so vague a word as ki, and his English isn't nearly as good as ours. If he doesn't need ki to explain himself, then I don't see how any of us do.

chillzATL
07-06-2012, 10:01 AM
I think you misunderstand me. I'm not saying that these things don't need to be explained at all. I'm saying that what we know of science explains them without resort to a belief in ki. It absolutely is interesting stuff, amazing stuff, and I think it is a privilege to study it and practice it.

Even though this kind of use of the word ki is certainly a lesser offense than talking about mysterious supernatural forces, I still think it unnecessarily muddies the water. In the training I've done with Ikeda Shihan, he's always been able to convey that feeling you're talking about without falling back on so vague a word as ki, and his English isn't nearly as good as ours. If he doesn't need ki to explain himself, then I don't see how any of us do.

Except that science doesn't explain it, not the how and why.

and I disagree completely about Ikeda sensei. I've been to his seminars and I enjoyed it, he has strong aikido, but the one thing that disappointed me was his inability to explain what he wanted people to do without using vague feelings. How is "move inside" any better than "extend ki" or "bring chi here"? At the seminar I attended there was only one of his students there who could replicate what he was doing to any degree, physically, and that student is involved in outside training that revolves around the ki/chi/intent model. Nobody else (of his students) could do what he was doing, most had no clue what he was even asking of them and the few that seemed to have a grasp of it weren't given anything to work on outside of doing techniques to help them develop that grasp into something physical.

IMO the chi/intent model could have filled in that gap for them and as esoteric as it may seem on the surface, with practice and conditioning could have produced physical connection in them that they could use to make sense out of what he does. It's only mystical until you can produce something physical with those visualizations. I no longer subscribe to any other version of ki.

phitruong
07-06-2012, 10:10 AM
In the training I've done with Ikeda Shihan, he's always been able to convey that feeling you're talking about without falling back on so vague a word as ki, and his English isn't nearly as good as ours. If he doesn't need ki to explain himself, then I don't see how any of us do.

what he shown and discussed are the how-to do things in his system. his system has a name, but you won't get him to say it.

here is a question or two..or maybe even two and a half and could even be three. if i remembered correctly (losing grey matter by the pound), Takeda called his system aikijujutsu. He used the word "ki" in it. then Ueshiba the senior, called it aiki budo. damn, there's that "ki" word again! then modern day, it called aikido. crap! that's word ki again. i suggested somewhere on aikiweb that we should just called it aido, the art of love, with the karma sutra as the core student manual. of course folks would say that we are deviants. so i think we should just call it "do". that's way we can just do do. :)

gregstec
07-06-2012, 10:41 AM
Below are some excerpts on the subject from various sources on the internet. In general, I am very much aligned with the Taoist view on things as qi being a life force energy - where I vary a little is on the types of of qi. I agree with the differences in what they are saying, I just like to look at that as different applications or uses of qi where qi is fundamentally the same in all. The other area that is personal is just the way I like to classify the qi energy flow as another form of energy yet to be defined.

Enjoy! :)

Within the framework of Chinese thought, no notion may attain such a degree of abstraction from empirical data as to correspond perfectly to one of our modern universal concepts. Nevertheless, the term qi comes as close as possible to constituting a generic designation equivalent to our word "energy". When Chinese thinkers are unwilling or unable to fix the quality of an energetic phenomenon, the character qi inevitably flows from their brushes. "
—Manfred Porkert,



Mencius (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mencius) described a kind of qi that might be characterized as an individual's vital energies. This qi was necessary to activity, and it could be controlled by a well-integrated willpower.[17] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qi#cite_note-Mencius.2C_2A:2-16) When properly nurtured, this qi was said to be capable of extending beyond the human body to reach throughout the universe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universe).[17] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qi#cite_note-Mencius.2C_2A:2-16) It could also be augmented by means of careful exercise of one's moral capacities.[17] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qi#cite_note-Mencius.2C_2A:2-16) On the other hand, the qi of an individual could be degraded by adverse external forces that succeed in operating on that individual.[18] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qi#cite_note-17)

Not only human beings and animals were believed to have qi. Zhuangzi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhuangzi) indicated that wind (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind) is the qi of the Earth (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth).[19] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qi#cite_note-18) Moreover, cosmic yin and yang (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yin_and_yang) "are the greatest of qi."[20] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qi#cite_note-19) He described qi as "issuing forth" and creating profound effects.[21] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qi#cite_note-20) He said "Human beings are born the accumulation of qi. When it accumulates there is life. When it dissipates there is death... There is one qi that connects and pervades everything in the world."[22] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qi#cite_note-21)

Central to Taoist world-view and practice is qi (chi). Qi is life-force -- that which animates the forms of the world. It is the vibratory nature of phenomena -- the flow and tremoring that is happening continuously at molecular, atomic and sub-atomic levels. In Japan it is called "ki," and in India, "prana" or "shakti." The ancient Egyptians referred to it as "ka," and the ancient Greeks as "pneuma." For Native Americans it is the "Great Spirit" and for Christians, the "Holy Spirit." In Africa it's known as "ashe" and in Hawaii as "ha" or "mana."
In China, the understanding of qi is inherent in the very language. For instance: The literal translation of the Chinese character meaning "health" is "original qi." The literal translation of the character for "vitality" is "high quality qi." The literal translation of the character meaning "friendly" is "peaceful qi."

The capacity to perceive the flow of qi directly -- to actually see or feel it -- is something that can be cultivated through training in qigong or acupuncture. Like any skill, some people are better at it than others: for some it seems to come "naturally," for others it's more of a challenge. Even if it's not consciously cultivated or acknowledged, most of us can tell the difference between someone who has "great energy" and someone from whom we feel a "bad vibe." And most of us are able to notice, when we enter a room, whether the atmosphere seems relaxed and uplifted, or tense and heavy. To the extent that we notice such things, we are tuning into the level of qi.

We might be in the habit of perceiving our world in terms of solid shapes and forms. What Taoism teaches is that we can train ourselves to perceive in other ways; and a good place to start is with our own human body. Though we may now experience our body as being rather solid, at a molecular level it is comprised mostly of water -- a very fluid substance! And at an atomic level it is 99.99% space -- a vast (and infinitely intelligent) emptiness.
[B]
Taoism and Experiencing Qi or Chi Power

Taoism beliefs and philosophies have had a huge influence on ancient Chinese healing practices. These practices, therefore, focus on the patient as a whole and the body's ability to self-heal. tai chi is the set of easy to do stretching and extension exercises with many health and meditative benefits.
According to, tai chi is gentle, adaptable to all ages and capabilities and has a history of treating ailments such as arthritis, hypertension and body pains.

Taoism is indeed, fascinating and intriguing for the Western world and the concept of chi has led to many interesting discussions, debates and books. Essentially, chi is life force and Taoism believes that it is possible to channel this life force using gentle exercises and meditative practices such as those of tai chi.


Basic Qigong Axiom: Energy Follows Attention

In spite of their differences, there are basic mechanisms that are common to all forms of qigong. The primary axiom of qigong practice is "energy follows attention." Where we place our awareness -- our conscious attention -- is where will flow and gather. You can experiment with this right now by closing your eyes, taking a couple of deep breaths, and then putting your attention, your mental focus, into one of your hands. Hold your attention there for thirty seconds to a minute, and notice what happens.

You may have noticed sensations of warmth, or fullness, or a tingling or magnetic feeling, or a sense of heaviness in your fingers or palm. These are common sensations associated with a gathering of qi in a particular place in our body. Each person's experience, however, is unique. What's most important is simply to notice what it is that you are experiencing, and to develop some kind of confidence in this basic principle of qigong practice: energy follows attention. In the Hindu systems this axiom is rendered, with the Sanskrit terms, as: prana (life-force energy) follows citta (mind).

Breath As A Conduit For Linking Energy & Awareness

What is the mechanism by which "energy follows attention"? In the initial stages of practice, this has a lot to do with the physical breathing process. By learning to rest our attention on the cycling of the inhalations and the exhalations -- merging our mind with the movement of the breath -- we activate a capacity for our mental focus to be able to guide the movement of qi.

The Chinese word "qi" is sometimes translated into English as "breath" -- but this is not, in my opinion, the best choice. It's more useful to think of qi as energy plus awareness. The physical breathing process is used to guide awareness into a union with life-force energy -- the offspring being what is pointed to by the word "qi." As this union of life-force energy with awareness is stabilized within the bodymind of the practitioner, the physical breath becomes (over years of practice) more and more subtle, until it is absorbed into what is called embryonic breathing.Greg

MM
07-06-2012, 11:06 AM
what he shown and discussed are the how-to do things in his system. his system has a name, but you won't get him to say it.

here is a question or two..or maybe even two and a half and could even be three. if i remembered correctly (losing grey matter by the pound), Takeda called his system aikijujutsu. He used the word "ki" in it. then Ueshiba the senior, called it aiki budo. damn, there's that "ki" word again! then modern day, it called aikido. crap! that's word ki again. i suggested somewhere on aikiweb that we should just called it aido, the art of love, with the karma sutra as the core student manual. of course folks would say that we are deviants. so i think we should just call it "do". that's way we can just do do. :)

Phi, you have to go back even further. Back to when the heavens and the earth formed that started it all. What was man to do? He couldn't move heaven and he couldn't move earth. He just stood there dumbfounded going, Gee, what do I do? Gee ... and then the lightning hit him, caught him on fire, and he screamed "Gee!" (which at the time was written "ji"). He started dancing around, slapping his body, screaming until the rain put out the fire. This started the worship of the gods. Ka was fire and Mi was water. You see, he was screaming kami while he was on fire, hoping that someone would understand and help him put out the fire. No one did. They all thought it was some new ritual dance for a new god. That's how Shinto started.

This madman realized that he had to make heaven and earth one. 1+1=3 (that was also the beginning of math) and man was the bridge between heaven and earth. Heaven plus Earth with Man in the center was three. The madman realized that you have fire and water ji, ethereal and congealed ji, etc. The eight ji become one. So, then you have 8+8=3. Math didn't really take off too well back then.

Now, some illiterate simpleton comes along and listens to this rambling madman. The simpleton hears qi this and qi that, heavens, universes, and earth and decides that this madman must mean qi is all life energy in all living things. But when the Simpleton tries to test the madman, Simpleton finds that the madman has some mad skillz. Thus the beginning of the martial arts. Other men came along and wanted to learn these cool, new skillz.

So, you see, because of one madman and a lightning strike, we have religion, math, God, spirits, and martial arts.

Now, the qi spreads like wildfire. Not many have the skillz the madman had, but that's okay, because everyone has chi. Yes, it changed again. Then, it landed on Japan's shores. Of course, nothing outside Japan could be holy or right, so the Japanese created "ki". Except a rare few students had survived through the ages and still had mad skillz. These few tossed around the chi-heads as if they were rag dolls. Laughing all the way to the bank, these few mad skillzers agreed whole heartedly that their skills were ki influenced. After all, way back in the beginning it was the "Gee", written "ji" that had started it all.

By the time Takeda had actually gone past his Oh Gee moment, he came full circle with Deguchi. Deguchi was a chi-head of a new sort but his views were taken from the old ways. The old ways could be traced back to the madman, the simpleton, and ji/qi/chi/ki. So, when Deguchi suggested a name change to aiki, Takeda could only agree. The harmony of all the contradictory ki was exactly what he was doing. Earth Martial Gee met Heaven Simpleton Qi in Takeda and Deguchi. Ueshiba was the bridge between the two. Their meeting was what drove Ueshiba nearly crazy and he had had enough of both of them after that. Besides, he was going to be a Budo Sensei, that illustrious and famous career in Japan at that time.

Well, we know the rest after that. History was made. Ueshiba became the famous Golden Cloud Farting Buddha Sensei. The actual reason for WWII was because of this, but that's another story...

Mark

MM
07-06-2012, 11:33 AM
Phi, you have to go back even further. Back to when the heavens and the earth formed that started it all. What was man to do? He couldn't move heaven and he couldn't move earth. He just stood there dumbfounded going, Gee, what do I do? Gee ... and then the lightning hit him, caught him on fire, and he screamed "Gee!" (which at the time was written "ji"). He started dancing around, slapping his body, screaming until the rain put out the fire. This started the worship of the gods. Ka was fire and Mi was water. You see, he was screaming kami while he was on fire, hoping that someone would understand and help him put out the fire. No one did. They all thought it was some new ritual dance for a new god. That's how Shinto started.



Just a quick note here. The new religion which brought forth Christians wanted to have their own, special take on how everything was formed. So, when they first started, they told people that what the madman really said after getting hit with lightning was, "Jesus" not Gee. Then, when he caught fire, it was "Save me", not kami. He was screaming so people didn't really understand his gibberish clearly. He was really saying, Jesus Save Me. Men should pray to Jesus for divine inspiration and grace.

That wasn't going very well for them, so they decided to chuck it all and create their own Genesis. One that had to do with a garden. That was boring, so ... well, that's another story ... :D

phitruong
07-06-2012, 12:00 PM
That wasn't going very well for them, so they decided to chuck it all and create their own Genesis. One that had to do with a garden. That was boring, so ... well, that's another story ... :D

so where does the Glee stuffs come about from the origin of Oh Gee? which resulted in the movie Magic Mike which my wife wants to check out.... i meant protesting with her friends. :)

MM
07-06-2012, 12:17 PM
so where does the Glee stuffs come about from the origin of Oh Gee? which resulted in the movie Magic Mike which my wife wants to check out.... i meant protesting with her friends. :)

Oh! You want the female version? We all know it was the men who came to mess everything up from the beginning. While the illiterate simpletons - just to clarify, in the woman's views, all men are illiterate and simple - were watching the madman dance around on fire, they saw him trying to rip off his flaming clothes.

So bewildered and bedazzled was this act that the women thought it was dancing. Many mumbled, "Oh, that's so hot". Some women thought the madman was shouting, "Glee" and was ecstatic at his prancing and preening before them. Others watched as strong, muscled (yet illiterate and simple) men aped the actions of the madman, without the catching on fire part, of course.

Naturally, what followed after that were acts of a different sort and all involved were filled with qi. The women wanted the performance to be reenacted. The men, well, they were rewarded afterwards, so they went along with it.

Now you have movies like Magic Mike which harken back to the days of old when one crazed madman was struck with lightning. They eventually named the madman as "Dale". His primary follower was so much like him that they said he was just a "Chip" off the old madman. The act of Chip-N-Dale was born. Women swooned. It is so still today.

mathewjgano
07-06-2012, 02:26 PM
I agree that there is sometimes a usefulness to ambiguous terms, but I've never seen anything in aikido that needed more explanation than science could provide. Can you give an example?
I don't think it's about "needing" more explanation; it's about a choice in conceptual terms. The main reason it's present is because it's part of the original terminology used by the founder and other subsequent Japanese techers. It remains partly out of a sense of tradition, but I've been prefering to frame it in terms of choice (or trying to) because I think it ultimately comes down to that, particularly when we're talking about non-Japanese interactions.
I agree with the purposes behind a "no-nonsense" approach to learning, whether it's the internal or the external aspect of Aikido, but I see a potential purpose/value to a more roundabout method as well and leave it to the individual to judge according to personal taste and applicability. I personally am very attracted to poetic and/or vague language because I believe the emotional and abstract processes of brain are powerful tools for generating creative and visceral learning.

I think mind is a philosophical concept which works because it stays on its own philosophical and psychological plane. The reason ki stumbles where mind doesn't is that ki crosses over into the realm of physics, a world of measurable math.
I'm not sure I understand your meaning. Both philosophy and math are abstractions of reality; they cross over to the realm of physics any time someone applies them to behavior. Do you mean to say that they employ more logic-based processes of directly assertaining validation? I would agree, but only insofaras we're looking at "mind" in terms of the scientific processes of psychology and related fields. Most people don't have that background to apply to their understanding of mind, but they use the word commonly because it's a convention of language. "Ki" is also a convention of language, albeit one which has a much more limited context for semantic development for non-Japanese speakers, let alone non-Japanese language speakers.

You're right. It's not intended so much to disprove as to illustrate the dangers of leaving supernatural beliefs unquestioned. When someone tells us they can do something with ki, we need to be wondering what this ki is and how it works. And if there are no answers, then we ought to be questioning the reasoning behind bringing it up at all.
Agreed.

And here I have to disagree. It's like my example from earlier: I assert that there is an invisible ghost named Norman who puts ideas in your head. It's impossible to know that I'm wrong, and our science of how the brain formulates ideas is certainly incomplete, so why don't you believe in Norman? The obvious answer is that you have no reason to believe in Norman. It is not an assertion of belief to say that Norman doesn't exist; it's a reasonable conclusion based on the available evidence.
Belief is the absence of knowledge. If it is impossible to know, any assertions made are a belief. I'm not saying all beliefs are equally reasonable. I'm saying they're all unknown. I believe deeply in the importance of suspending belief in order to evaluate things. It creates massive cognitive dissonance, but it's the only way I know how to authentically evaluate my role in understanding the world around me. It leaves everything on VERY uncertain terms, despite my also having a strong sense for various degrees of probability. The only thing I know is I know nothing...which I guess means I don't know I don't know...ya know?:D
Take care,
Matt

graham christian
07-06-2012, 03:32 PM
Ki or spiritual cannot be measured until you enter quantum mechanics and then you cannot measure it but only the effect of it.

Simply put by yours truly....there is physical and thus quantity. Then there is non physical and thus quality.

Peace.G.

Hellis
07-06-2012, 04:19 PM
Then there is thus

Ki Response a Punch
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNFjAq6V64g

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://aikido-bracknell.blogspot.com/

chillzATL
07-06-2012, 05:12 PM
Then there is thus

Ki Response a Punch
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNFjAq6V64g

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://aikido-bracknell.blogspot.com/

you're just not accepting enough! You have to first accept the absurdity of this video into your heart and then you will understand =P

gregstec
07-06-2012, 06:51 PM
Then there is thus

Ki Response a Punch
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNFjAq6V64g

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://aikido-bracknell.blogspot.com/

Is ki at play in the proper exchange of what the instructor is trying to teach ? yes, IMO, but not in the way nor at the level of importance the instructor is giving it. There is much more at play in that exchange that he does not mention or is just dancing around in with his verbiage. For example, he mentions proper connection, but he does not elaborate and he does not talk at all about proper body structure and extension of energy; his primary focus is on acceptance - granted, that is part of the process, but there is much more - this, IMO, is the type of ki instruction that is not practical and just leads to why so many serious budoka view the ki folks as woo woo.

Greg

graham christian
07-06-2012, 07:08 PM
Is ki at play in the proper exchange of what the instructor is trying to teach ? yes, IMO, but not in the way nor at the level of importance the instructor is giving it. There is much more at play in that exchange that he does not mention or is just dancing around in with his verbiage. For example, he mentions proper connection, but he does not elaborate and he does not talk at all about proper body structure and extension of energy; his primary focus is on acceptance - granted, that is part of the process, but there is much more - this, IMO, is the type of ki instruction that is not practical and just leads to why so many serious budoka view the ki folks as woo woo.

Greg

That don't make sense. You say Ki is at play then go on to say about level of import. It's just a drill.

There is no dancing of verbiage. Why doesn't he elaborate? Because it's a drill on one aspect obviously.

Why do you want or expect everything in one video?

Peace.G.

gregstec
07-06-2012, 07:15 PM
That don't make sense. You say Ki is at play then go on to say about level of import. It's just a drill.

There is no dancing of verbiage. Why doesn't he elaborate? Because it's a drill on one aspect obviously.

Why do you want or expect everything in one video?

Peace.G.

No, but his sole emphasis on ki is way overstated - there are things at play in that exercise that he totally ignores; to me, some of those things are more important then the ki energy involvement.

Greg

graham christian
07-06-2012, 07:35 PM
No, but his sole emphasis on ki is way overstated - there are things at play in that exercise that he totally ignores; to me, some of those things are more important then the ki energy involvement.

Greg

It's not a drill on importance it's on one aspect. How can you say about ignoring when it's a drill on one thing?

Peace.G.

gregstec
07-06-2012, 08:25 PM
It's not a drill on importance it's on one aspect. How can you say about ignoring when it's a drill on one thing?

Peace.G.

Sorry, the drill is focused on a start to a finish - attack to a throw - there are more than one thing going on in that process, and if you are going to show the whole process in the drill, you need to explain all steps in that process - he does not.

Greg

graham christian
07-07-2012, 01:29 AM
Sorry, the drill is focused on a start to a finish - attack to a throw - there are more than one thing going on in that process, and if you are going to show the whole process in the drill, you need to explain all steps in that process - he does not.

Greg

Interesting. If that's your view then maybe you haven't ever experienced focused training on one thing.

In fact given one thing to do with Ki and a person made to focus on it and carry on until they could apply it would end the debate on this thread.

Peace.G.

gregstec
07-07-2012, 08:28 AM
Interesting. If that's your view then maybe you haven't ever experienced focused training on one thing.

In fact given one thing to do with Ki and a person made to focus on it and carry on until they could apply it would end the debate on this thread.

Peace.G.

Thanks for the reply - I generally know I am on the right track with something when you disagree with it :D

Greg

Hellis
07-07-2012, 09:19 AM
Ki Response with Punch ?

I really didn't know what to make of the video - My son Rik did - he thought it was another Jim Carey sppof.

So we are now well informed it is `focused training` - I never experienced anything like that in the past 55 years of training.

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://aikido-bracknell.blogspot.com/

dps
07-07-2012, 10:32 AM
This video clip made me smile.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CzgDX9lGc0

Maybe the ki would not flow so nicely if he was punching fast and hard at his face instead of slowly at his hand.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNFjAq6V64g

dps

Marc Abrams
07-07-2012, 12:42 PM
Ki Response with Punch ?

I really didn't know what to make of the video - My son Rik did - he thought it was another Jim Carey sppof.

So we are now well informed it is `focused training` - I never experienced anything like that in the past 55 years of training.

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://aikido-bracknell.blogspot.com/

Henry:

People can focus as intensely on stupid training as they can on useful training. I think that it is so sad that people can take some meaningful construct (such as "ki") and find a way to muck it up so bad, that reasonable people will look at a video clip like that and dismiss the construct outright. It is kind of like washing a hand-blown, crystal wine glass with a hammer and as a result of that experience, believe that hammers are useless....

Regards,

Marc Abrams

RonRagusa
07-07-2012, 01:27 PM
This video clip made me smile.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CzgDX9lGc0

If it's all body mechanics then why bother telling her to "drive it through his head"? Why say anything at all? If it's all the work of muscle groups working together why does he need to direct her to perform any mental gymnastics?

Also, the idea behind unbendable is to perform it with a relaxed arm and focused intent (coordination of and and body, a.k.a. correct feeling or as Dan posted in #50 "controlled use of the body systems through intent"). When performed correctly unbendable arm can be held for an indefinite period of time. Reliance on muscles alone will eventually lead to the arm bending as the muscles holding the position relax on their own when they become exhausted.

Ron

Hellis
07-08-2012, 04:04 AM
Henry:

People can focus as intensely on stupid training as they can on useful training. I think that it is so sad that people can take some meaningful construct (such as "ki") and find a way to muck it up so bad, that reasonable people will look at a video clip like that and dismiss the construct outright. It is kind of like washing a hand-blown, crystal wine glass with a hammer and as a result of that experience, believe that hammers are useless....

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Marc

William Tell Sensei

Talking of stupid training, I received an email from a student who told me that his teacher had instructed every student to bring an apple to the next class where the students were instructed to place an apple on their heads - after some concentration they were told to knock the apples off each others heads with the power of their Ki :crazy: The student said he never went back.
Its anyones guess who will be heading down to the dojo with a bag of Granny Smiths after reading this.

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://aikido-bracknell.blogspot.com/

OwlMatt
07-08-2012, 08:01 AM
Henry:

People can focus as intensely on stupid training as they can on useful training. I think that it is so sad that people can take some meaningful construct (such as "ki") and find a way to muck it up so bad, that reasonable people will look at a video clip like that and dismiss the construct outright. It is kind of like washing a hand-blown, crystal wine glass with a hammer and as a result of that experience, believe that hammers are useless....

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Marc, my disbelief in ki isn't because of the wackjob outliers. I bring them up in the post as one of four reasons why I don't mess with ki, but only one of four. The fact that something is often misused is not reason enough, in and of itself, to dismiss it outright. I question the usefulness of ki because I've never seen a need for it. My instructors who use ki as an explanation are no better than those who don't, and I've never seen anything in the dojo that can't be explained without ki. So what do I need ki for?

Let me revise your analogy. Say you've seen the hammer misused with the wine glass, and you've seen the claw end of the hammer used for jobs a crowbar could do just as well or better, but you've never seen any evidence that nails really exist. What usefulness would you find in that hammer then?

OwlMatt
07-08-2012, 08:08 AM
If it's all body mechanics then why bother telling her to "drive it through his head"? Why say anything at all? If it's all the work of muscle groups working together why does he need to direct her to perform any mental gymnastics?
Because, as with many things, visualization helps. It helps because we can't mentally single out every muscle in our body (for instance, imagine how unhelpful it would be for an instructor to say, "Use your latissimus dorsae."). Visualization is a useful tool for complex muscular actions. Only in aikido, though, do we consider these visualizations evidence of ki. In everything else (singing, shot put, flyfishing, whatever), they just are what they are. What makes aikido different?

Also, the idea behind unbendable is to perform it with a relaxed arm and focused intent (coordination of and and body, a.k.a. correct feeling or as Dan posted in #50 "controlled use of the body systems through intent"). When performed correctly unbendable arm can be held for an indefinite period of time. Reliance on muscles alone will eventually lead to the arm bending as the muscles holding the position relax on their own when they become exhausted.

Ron
I think you've got a false dichotomy here. You seem to be assuming that one can either (a) use his muscles or (b) relax his arms. I'm not sure that is biologically sound. Even with a relaxed arm, there can still be lot of muscle and bone structure at work.

RonRagusa
07-08-2012, 08:39 AM
Because, as with many things, visualization helps.

So it seems that it's the term ki that you object to. Replacing the word ki with visualization doesn't alter the procedure, which in this case, is coordinating mind and body in order to improve performance of a certain task. And that's what ki is, a unified mind and body, no woo woo mysterious energy source, but a synergy that amplifies one's power in a way that can't be achieved by mechanics alone.

If coordination of mind and body strikes you as a little to Ki Aikido-y try Dan's definition again which is pretty non-denominational: "controlled use of the body systems through intent".

Ron

graham christian
07-08-2012, 08:59 AM
So it seems that it's the term ki that you object to. Replacing the word ki with visualization doesn't alter the procedure, which in this case, is coordinating mind and body in order to improve performance of a certain task. And that's what ki is, a unified mind and body, no woo woo mysterious energy source, but a synergy that amplifies one's power in a way that can't be achieved by mechanics alone.

If coordination of mind and body strikes you as a little to Ki Aikido-y try Dan's definition again which is pretty non-denominational: "controlled use of the body systems through intent".

Ron

Who is visualizing?

Peace.G.

OwlMatt
07-08-2012, 09:12 AM
So it seems that it's the term ki that you object to. Replacing the word ki with visualization doesn't alter the procedure, which in this case, is coordinating mind and body in order to improve performance of a certain task. And that's what ki is, a unified mind and body, no woo woo mysterious energy source, but a synergy that amplifies one's power in a way that can't be achieved by mechanics alone.

If coordination of mind and body strikes you as a little to Ki Aikido-y try Dan's definition again which is pretty non-denominational: "controlled use of the body systems through intent".

Ron
Okay, then why do we need the word ki at all?

Marc Abrams
07-08-2012, 09:30 AM
Marc, my disbelief in ki isn't because of the wackjob outliers. I bring them up in the post as one of four reasons why I don't mess with ki, but only one of four. The fact that something is often misused is not reason enough, in and of itself, to dismiss it outright. I question the usefulness of ki because I've never seen a need for it. My instructors who use ki as an explanation are no better than those who don't, and I've never seen anything in the dojo that can't be explained without ki. So what do I need ki for?

Let me revise your analogy. Say you've seen the hammer misused with the wine glass, and you've seen the claw end of the hammer used for jobs a crowbar could do just as well or better, but you've never seen any evidence that nails really exist. What usefulness would you find in that hammer then?

Matthew:

I am happy that after only three years into Aikido, you have figured everything out! I have not been responding back because of where you are in your Aikido development.

I frankly would like to hear to response to your own posts five years, ten years, fifteen years into the future. Maybe you should step back and look at the experience base of some of the posters. Many have decades of experience with direct students of the founder. Many are very intelligent, successful people in other endeavors in their lives. We are not talking about the kind of people who fall for common or uncommon ruse. It is so "comforting" to know that you are so much wiser and more advanced than all of us :eek: . You can remain where you are in your thinking and your Aikido will reflect that in the years to come. Hopefully, your thinking and your Aikido will evolve nicely. A hint along the way AI KI Do.

Good Luck!

marc abrams

Ps- If you are ever in the area, stop by and try a class.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
07-08-2012, 09:37 AM
There are quite a number of words that denote an important domain of our experience in spite of our inability to say what it is exactly they refer to. Some would argue "Death" is one. Or the everyday uses of "Energy".

Many find them very useful in spite of not being able to (and maybe not seeing a need to) define their meaning precisely. They will be replaced if something more useful turns up. I would suspect that is a practical matter, really.

Mary Eastland
07-08-2012, 09:51 AM
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15970
This relates.

graham christian
07-08-2012, 10:39 AM
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15970
This relates.

So that would be God and true self. ;)

Peace.G.

OwlMatt
07-08-2012, 12:57 PM
Matthew:

I am happy that after only three years into Aikido, you have figured everything out! I have not been responding back because of where you are in your Aikido development.

I frankly would like to hear to response to your own posts five years, ten years, fifteen years into the future. Maybe you should step back and look at the experience base of some of the posters. Many have decades of experience with direct students of the founder. Many are very intelligent, successful people in other endeavors in their lives. We are not talking about the kind of people who fall for common or uncommon ruse. It is so "comforting" to know that you are so much wiser and more advanced than all of us :eek: . You can remain where you are in your thinking and your Aikido will reflect that in the years to come. Hopefully, your thinking and your Aikido will evolve nicely. A hint along the way AI KI Do.

Good Luck!

marc abrams

Ps- If you are ever in the area, stop by and try a class.
Mark:

You've basically just finished telling me that none of what I've written and none of the questions I've asked matter enough even to warrant a response, simply because I haven't been training as long as you have. However good your intentions are, it's hard to see that as anything but insulting and evasive.

If you'd like to continue our conversation courteously, you can begin by trying to show me where you find the nails that need your hammer. I'll listen.

But if, as you seem to be suggesting, my words are not worthy of your attention, please go back to ignoring them.

OwlMatt
07-08-2012, 12:58 PM
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15970
This relates.

Thanks, Mary. I'll have to start digging through this.

dps
07-08-2012, 03:17 PM
If it's all body mechanics then why bother telling her to "drive it through his head"? Why say anything at all? If it's all the work of muscle groups working together why does he need to direct her to perform any mental gymnastics?

Also, the idea behind unbendable is to perform it with a relaxed arm and focused intent (coordination of and and body, a.k.a. correct feeling or as Dan posted in #50 "controlled use of the body systems through intent"). When performed correctly unbendable arm can be held for an indefinite period of time. Reliance on muscles alone will eventually lead to the arm bending as the muscles holding the position relax on their own when they become exhausted.

Ron
Yes it is body mechanics but the body can't do anything without the mind telling it what to do, the mind leading the body. The mental gymnastics are to let the unconscious part of your mind coordinate the body systems, lead the body. A lot of limitations are put on the body when the conscious mind coordinates body activity.

dps

RonRagusa
07-08-2012, 03:21 PM
Okay, then why do we need the word ki at all?

Actually, that's a very good question.

From The Laws of Form by G. Spencer Brown:

"If a content is of value, a name can be taken to indicate this value. Thus the calling of the name can be identified with the value of the content."

We name things in order to be able to refer to them without having to explicitly state their characteristics and the nature of their interactions with other things in the world around them. If you are conversant in Special Relativity, I can jot down E=MC**2 and you will know that I'm referring to the fact that a given quantity of matter contains a potential amount of energy that's equal to the mass of the matter times the square of the speed of light in a vacuum.

So having explained the nature of the unification of mind and body via words, exercises and practical demonstrations, and named it ki, I can tell a student to "extend ki" and she will immediately know what I am looking for and how to do what I am asking her to do without me having to explain it every time.

Ron

dps
07-08-2012, 03:28 PM
Actually, that's a very good question.

From The Laws of Form by G. Spencer Brown:

"If a content is of value, a name can be taken to indicate this value. Thus the calling of the name can be identified with the value of the content."

We name things in order to be able to refer to them without having to explicitly state their characteristics and the nature of their interactions with other things in the world around them. If you are conversant in Special Relativity, I can jot down E=MC**2 and you will know that I'm referring to the fact that a given quantity of matter contains a potential amount of energy that's equal to the mass of the matter times the square of the speed of light in a vacuum.

So having explained the nature of the unification of mind and body via words, exercises and practical demonstrations, and named it ki, I can tell a student to "extend ki" and she will immediately know what I am looking for and how to do what I am asking her to do without me having to explain it every time.

Ron

It would be better not to use an ambiguous word like ki.

dps

Marc Abrams
07-08-2012, 03:39 PM
Mark:

You've basically just finished telling me that none of what I've written and none of the questions I've asked matter enough even to warrant a response, simply because I haven't been training as long as you have. However good your intentions are, it's hard to see that as anything but insulting and evasive.

If you'd like to continue our conversation courteously, you can begin by trying to show me where you find the nails that need your hammer. I'll listen.

But if, as you seem to be suggesting, my words are not worthy of your attention, please go back to ignoring them.

Matthew:

If I really felt the way you mistranslated what I had said, I would not have invited you to stop by and train. Your questions are valid, but your seeming unwillingness to keep open to the perspectives of others who have been down similar paths is problematic. In summary, hammers do not require nails in order to be useful tools.

Offer still stands.

Marc Abrams

OwlMatt
07-08-2012, 06:05 PM
Matthew:

If I really felt the way you mistranslated what I had said, I would not have invited you to stop by and train. Your questions are valid, but your seeming unwillingness to keep open to the perspectives of others who have been down similar paths is problematic. In summary, hammers do not require nails in order to be useful tools.

Offer still stands.

Marc Abrams

Thank you, Marc. I genuinely do appreciate the offer to train, and I will stop by if I am ever in NY. I like to think that I am open to the perspectives of others--but I think it would kill the conversation if I left those perspective unchallenged.

You make a fair point about the hammer.

Marc Abrams
07-08-2012, 07:33 PM
Thank you, Marc. I genuinely do appreciate the offer to train, and I will stop by if I am ever in NY. I like to think that I am open to the perspectives of others--but I think it would kill the conversation if I left those perspective unchallenged.

You make a fair point about the hammer.

Matthew:

I am not asking you to not leave those perspectives unchallenged. Many of us who came to the Aiki Expo came to challenge what we experienced and left with a painful awareness as to things way beyond what we thought we knew. That same process is alive and well with me in my continued training with Imaizumi Sensei, Ushiro Sensei and Dan Harden. As much as I would have liked to have disproved much of what I have experienced and gone through, I am left with an awareness as to how much more there is to discover. Ushiro Sensei, in his profound book "Ki and Karate", points out that the major impediment in what we can learn is what we think that we know. I have come to the point where I don't have to possess a complete paradigm of understanding for what I am experiencing to recognize that with patience and hard practice, I will gain a much better understanding of things that I am currently experiencing. I think that many of the more seasoned people here have been trying to help you to recognize this arena.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

gregstec
07-08-2012, 09:22 PM
A lot of limitations are put on the body when the conscious mind coordinates body activity.

dps

Why and how?

Greg

gregstec
07-08-2012, 09:31 PM
Actually, that's a very good question.

From The Laws of Form by G. Spencer Brown:

"If a content is of value, a name can be taken to indicate this value. Thus the calling of the name can be identified with the value of the content."

We name things in order to be able to refer to them without having to explicitly state their characteristics and the nature of their interactions with other things in the world around them. If you are conversant in Special Relativity, I can jot down E=MC**2 and you will know that I'm referring to the fact that a given quantity of matter contains a potential amount of energy that's equal to the mass of the matter times the square of the speed of light in a vacuum.

So having explained the nature of the unification of mind and body via words, exercises and practical demonstrations, and named it ki, I can tell a student to "extend ki" and she will immediately know what I am looking for and how to do what I am asking her to do without me having to explain it every time.

Ron

OK, so the term ki/qi is just a label that represents a part of a process that leads to a specific physical result initiated by mind? If so, it appears to me to be a very appropriate transition or bridge from mental to physical :)

Greg

gregstec
07-08-2012, 09:51 PM
Matthew:

I am not asking you to not leave those perspectives unchallenged. Many of us who came to the Aiki Expo came to challenge what we experienced and left with a painful awareness as to things way beyond what we thought we knew. That same process is alive and well with me in my continued training with Imaizumi Sensei, Ushiro Sensei and Dan Harden. As much as I would have liked to have disproved much of what I have experienced and gone through, I am left with an awareness as to how much more there is to discover. Ushiro Sensei, in his profound book "Ki and Karate", points out that the major impediment in what we can learn is what we think that we know. I have come to the point where I don't have to possess a complete paradigm of understanding for what I am experiencing to recognize that with patience and hard practice, I will gain a much better understanding of things that I am currently experiencing. I think that many of the more seasoned people here have been trying to help you to recognize this arena.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Matthew, Marc is a very eloquent guy and very direct at the same time, and he knows what he is talking about (he is also a little goofy, but we won't go into that at this time :) ) the point is (and this is not negative in any way) is that you are young and have a lot of opportunities ahead of you to grow and learn - do not shut off potential avenues of knowledge by discounting things at this early age simply because you do not understand exactly what is going on - I did that many years ago and essentially found out out later that I wasted 35 years of opportunity because I thought I had the right answer at that time. Things change and you change - get out and explore more if this is what you are interested in - IMO, if you maintain your current position on aspects of ki, you will not be in Aikido, or any internal art much past a few years from now.

Greg

dps
07-09-2012, 07:03 AM
Why and how?

Greg

Conscious processes are slower than unconscious ones due to the increase amount of neural activity required for conscious thought to action.

"Reflexes require a minimum of two neurons, an sensory neuron (input) and a motor neuron (output) (see Figure 1) The sensory neuron (such as a pain receptor in the skin) detects the stimuli and sends a signal towards the CNS. This sensory neuron synapses with a motor neuron which innervates the effector tissue (such as skeletal muscle to pull away from the painful stimuli). This type of reflex is the "withdrawal" reflex and is monosynaptic, meaning only one synapse has to be crossed between the sensory neuron and the motor neuron. It is the simplest reflex arc and the integration center is the synapse itself. Polysynaptic reflexes are more complex and more common. They involve interneurons which are found in the CNS. More complex reflexes may have their integration center in the spinal cord, in the brainstem, or in the cerebrum where conscious thoughts are initiated.

Many people conider only the simplest types of responses as "reflexes", those that are always identical and do not allow conscious actions. We must not confuse these with "reactions", which are different from reflexes in that they are voluntary responses to a stimulus from the environment. For example, while the body has various subconscious physiological responses to mitigate cold, as humans we can simply choose to put on more clothes. This is a conscious order made by the cerebrum, not an involuntary response to a stimulus. This is a very complex response involving millions of neurons and some time to process the voluntary response. In contrast, spinal reflexes occur much faster, not only because they involve fewer neurons, but also becuase the electrical signal does not have to travel to the brain and back. Spinal reflexes only travel to the spinal cord and back which is a much shorter distance. Because of this and the complexity of conscious reactions, they take more time to complete than a reflex. On average, humans have a reaction time of 0.25 seconds to a visual stimulus, 0.17 for an audio stimulus, and 0.15 seconds for a touch stimulus (2). Reaction times vary from individual to individual. Because of the higher degree of neural processing, reaction times can be influenced by a variety of factors. Reaction times can decrease with practice, as often times athletes have faster reaction times than non-athletes. Sleepiness, emotional distress, or consumption of alcohol can also impact reaction time."

From http://csm.jmu.edu/biology/danie2jc/reflex.htm


dps

RonRagusa
07-09-2012, 07:28 AM
OK, so the term ki/qi is just a label that represents a part of a process that leads to a specific physical result initiated by mind?

The unified mind/body doesn't require conscious thought to operate. They aren't standing side by side with the mind leading the body in any conscious way. Mind/body is an integrated, single thing. And while the word "ki" is a label it's also the thing itself. We all have minds, we all have bodies. But without having mind and body coordinated ki is not manifest.

Ron

gregstec
07-09-2012, 08:33 AM
Conscious processes are slower than unconscious ones due to the increase amount of neural activity required for conscious thought to action.

"Reflexes require a minimum of two neurons, an sensory neuron (input) and a motor neuron (output) (see Figure 1) The sensory neuron (such as a pain receptor in the skin) detects the stimuli and sends a signal towards the CNS. This sensory neuron synapses with a motor neuron which innervates the effector tissue (such as skeletal muscle to pull away from the painful stimuli). This type of reflex is the "withdrawal" reflex and is monosynaptic, meaning only one synapse has to be crossed between the sensory neuron and the motor neuron. It is the simplest reflex arc and the integration center is the synapse itself. Polysynaptic reflexes are more complex and more common. They involve interneurons which are found in the CNS. More complex reflexes may have their integration center in the spinal cord, in the brainstem, or in the cerebrum where conscious thoughts are initiated.

Many people conider only the simplest types of responses as "reflexes", those that are always identical and do not allow conscious actions. We must not confuse these with "reactions", which are different from reflexes in that they are voluntary responses to a stimulus from the environment. For example, while the body has various subconscious physiological responses to mitigate cold, as humans we can simply choose to put on more clothes. This is a conscious order made by the cerebrum, not an involuntary response to a stimulus. This is a very complex response involving millions of neurons and some time to process the voluntary response. In contrast, spinal reflexes occur much faster, not only because they involve fewer neurons, but also becuase the electrical signal does not have to travel to the brain and back. Spinal reflexes only travel to the spinal cord and back which is a much shorter distance. Because of this and the complexity of conscious reactions, they take more time to complete than a reflex. On average, humans have a reaction time of 0.25 seconds to a visual stimulus, 0.17 for an audio stimulus, and 0.15 seconds for a touch stimulus (2). Reaction times vary from individual to individual. Because of the higher degree of neural processing, reaction times can be influenced by a variety of factors. Reaction times can decrease with practice, as often times athletes have faster reaction times than non-athletes. Sleepiness, emotional distress, or consumption of alcohol can also impact reaction time."

From http://csm.jmu.edu/biology/danie2jc/reflex.htm

dps

OK, so the more we train conscious movements, we condition them to be more unconscious - makes sense.

gregstec
07-09-2012, 08:45 AM
The unified mind/body doesn't require conscious thought to operate. They aren't standing side by side with the mind leading the body in any conscious way. Mind/body is an integrated, single thing. And while the word "ki" is a label it's also the thing itself. We all have minds, we all have bodies. But without having mind and body coordinated ki is not manifest.

Ron

I think ki is the thing that binds mind and body and is present at all times to various degrees of intensity or awareness - what really gets the mind/body connection clicking along well is the level of ki cultivation development within the body - at first, most need to make this a conscious effort and eventually it gets conditioned to be unconscious and more natural in all your activities. - just my opinion based on my ki/qi model.

Greg

phitruong
07-09-2012, 09:33 AM
at first, most need to make this a conscious effort and eventually it gets conditioned to be unconscious and more natural in all your activities. - just my opinion based on my ki/qi model.

Greg

i thought the way to condition to be unconscious involving lots of spirits and co-ed. :D

gregstec
07-09-2012, 10:11 AM
i thought the way to condition to be unconscious involving lots of spirits and co-ed. :D

Yes, yes, that model works too - but this is not a spiritual nor co-ed thread :D

Greg

Marc Abrams
07-09-2012, 10:38 AM
i thought the way to condition to be unconscious involving lots of spirits and co-ed. :D

Phi:

I think that you are on to something very important here! Please tell us more.......:D

Marc Abrams

OwlMatt
07-13-2012, 02:12 PM
Actually, that's a very good question.

From The Laws of Form by G. Spencer Brown:

"If a content is of value, a name can be taken to indicate this value. Thus the calling of the name can be identified with the value of the content."

We name things in order to be able to refer to them without having to explicitly state their characteristics and the nature of their interactions with other things in the world around them. If you are conversant in Special Relativity, I can jot down E=MC**2 and you will know that I'm referring to the fact that a given quantity of matter contains a potential amount of energy that's equal to the mass of the matter times the square of the speed of light in a vacuum.

So having explained the nature of the unification of mind and body via words, exercises and practical demonstrations, and named it ki, I can tell a student to "extend ki" and she will immediately know what I am looking for and how to do what I am asking her to do without me having to explain it every time.

Ron

It would be better not to use an ambiguous word like ki.

dps
It is clear from what I've written, David, that I agree with you (although Ron makes a strong point); what other words/phrases might we use?

dps
07-14-2012, 08:35 AM
It is clear from what I've written, David, that I agree with you (although Ron makes a strong point); what other words/phrases might we use?

Actually, that's a very good question.

From The Laws of Form by G. Spencer Brown:

"If a content is of value, a name can be taken to indicate this value. Thus the calling of the name can be identified with the value of the content."


If you pick a word that is already obscure in its meaning the content or value is obscured to.

Intent is better understood by the western mind.

dps

Gary David
07-14-2012, 09:19 AM
If you pick a word that is already obscure in its meaning the content or value is obscured to.

Intent is better understood by the western mind.

dps

Folks
This I agree with........

One of the issues I have had since I had been in training long enough and had trained often enough with folks outside my local group to realize we didn't share common definitions and approaches was to ask "how do you teach extend ki......how to keep weigh under or down.....how do you transfer momentum....all of that....... The problem as I see it is there are fundamental exercises and methods for doing this though, like aiki taiso, sets of exercises like those from Allen Beebe's teacher, other sets that some folks have developed during the course of their training and sets from folks coming in from the outside like Dan Harden. The problem is that most don't want to spent the time to recalibrate bodies and minds to different approaches, feel that they "already do that or this what they already do" (maybe so...) or have developed enough work arounds during 20 plus years of training to see no value in exploring what they don't really know........

So maybe it was better before the internet.......back when we were isolated locally or regionally, separated by association, by style, by teacher.......because it still seems this is the case today.....then we didn't know what we didn't know and didn't have to deny what we didn't know and our exploring was limited.......

Gary

Mary Eastland
07-15-2012, 08:11 PM
The word Ki is not obscure to me. Aikido, in my opinion, cannot be separated from it. When nage lacks Ki, they depend overly on muscle which makes their technique undependable.

RonRagusa
07-16-2012, 09:55 PM
If you pick a word that is already obscure in its meaning the content or value is obscured to.

The word "ki" is a homonym. I believe (though I'm speculating here) that it's a homonym in Japanese as well as its adopted usage in English. Like all homonyms, the meaning of the word ki is derived from the context in which it is used.

To insist that ki have one and only one correct meaning is like asking what is the one correct meaning of the word "bank". Is a bank a raised ridge or shelf, or is a bank a place where financial transactions are conducted? Obviously a bank is both but the meaning of the word bank can only be known when it is used in a sentence.

Greg and I recently had a side discussion of this topic wherein we each related our views and experiences regarding the nature of ki. Though our views are diametrically opposed, we had an informative,cordial and fruitful discussion because neither of us insisted that the word ki had to conform to one and only one meaning. There was no obscurity or ambiguity because we each clearly defined the value of the content to which our individual use of the word ki referred.

Ron

Chris Li
07-16-2012, 10:45 PM
The word "ki" is a homonym. I believe (though I'm speculating here) that it's a homonym in Japanese as well as its adopted usage in English. Like all homonyms, the meaning of the word ki is derived from the context in which it is used.

To insist that ki have one and only one correct meaning is like asking what is the one correct meaning of the word "bank". Is a bank a raised ridge or shelf, or is a bank a place where financial transactions are conducted? Obviously a bank is both but the meaning of the word bank can only be known when it is used in a sentence.

Greg and I recently had a side discussion of this topic wherein we each related our views and experiences regarding the nature of ki. Though our views are diametrically opposed, we had an informative,cordial and fruitful discussion because neither of us insisted that the word ki had to conform to one and only one meaning. There was no obscurity or ambiguity because we each clearly defined the value of the content to which our individual use of the word ki referred.

Ron

Well, there are a relatively small number of sounds in Japanese - so everything's a homonym to something, in a manner of speaking. OTOH, the kanji for "ki" is specific, as is the usage in certain martially related compounds - you wouldn't mistake if for a bookshelf, for example. :D

Best,

Chris

RonRagusa
07-16-2012, 11:00 PM
...the kanji for "ki" is specific, as is the usage in certain martially related compounds...

Thanks Chris. It's pretty obvious I'm not versed in Japanese, but what's a "martially related compound"? Can you provide a couple of examples that relate to the usage of ki?

Appreciated,

Ron

Chris Li
07-17-2012, 01:28 AM
Thanks Chris. It's pretty obvious I'm not versed in Japanese, but what's a "martially related compound"? Can you provide a couple of examples that relate to the usage of ki?

Appreciated,

Ron

Well, the two most obvious would be --- "kiai" and "aiki". "Kikou" might be another...

Best,

Chris

Chris Evans
09-07-2012, 12:36 PM
are people 'hiding" behind "ki" (chi/qi) to avoid hard and practical training? Ki is like love or "life force", must be felt in action and in devotion.