07-11-2002, 06:54 AM
How do the more advanced Aikidoka on this forum observe the use of KI in their fellow students at the dojo?
How does a technique look when it is being applied using KI and NOT using KI?
I am asking this because sensei sometimes comes up to me and tells me to "Do it using KI" which to a beginner like me has absolutely no meaning.
I found that when I then do the technique using correct breathing and bend my legs more he sometimes seems satisfied that I am "using KI"
What is your take on this? Is he trying to tell me to sink my weight more? Move from my hips and bend my knees more, and his use of the word KI should be seen as some kind of umbrella term for all these things?
As you can tell I am somewhat frustrated with myself about this.
07-11-2002, 11:01 AM
IMHO, I am not sure you can externally "observe" the visual cues of another's Ki. I believe that you can feel it.
In practice, relax, keep you body aligned, breath out was you execute, visualize/feel the waza extending past the physical limits of you body.
It take a while. I am still waiting.
I study an Aikikai style, so Sensei Phong stresses the technical proficiency and that Ki will come with training.
So, relax, breath, and enjoy yourself.
07-11-2002, 11:11 AM
Originally posted by drDalek
...How does a technique look when it is being applied using KI and NOT using KI?...
When someone is using Ki, the whole technique looks too easy and appears fake. People start falling down for no observable reason.
When someone is not using Ki, you can see the pulling and pushing that goes into the technique. People try to leverage and muscle their opponents into the mat. The technique looks very real and very tiring.
Originally posted by drDalek
...I found that when I then do the technique using correct breathing and bend my legs more he sometimes seems satisfied that I am "using KI"
What is your take on this? Is he trying to tell me to sink my weight more? Move from my hips and bend my knees more, and his use of the word KI should be seen as some kind of umbrella term for all these things?...
He's trying to tell you to relax completely, while you're doing the technique. If you improve your breathing, you're probably relaxing a little more.
If you're relaxed, you should be moving with mind/body coordination. Therefore your movement should be done from your center/one point/hara. That's why moving from your hips is a physical indication that you're moving from your center/one point/hara. The fact that you're bending your knees lowers your physical center of gravity and makes you feel more stable. However, the hip movement and lowering yourself, are only the physical approaches to what is actually a mental/physical state.
You might want to pick-up a book by Koichi Tohei or look at Westbrook and Ratti's Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere, to find out more about this Ki stuff.
As you indicated, Ki is a term that many people use for many different things. Much of its interpetation is personal. Corner your instructor off the mat and start asking him questions. If your teacher is from the traditional school, his answers will be very vague and poetic. What you need to do is make sure your questions are very clear and specific. If you don't understand something, don't be afraid to ask them for a definition of a term. If they start speaking Japanese or use Japanese terms, ask for their translation of that word or phrase.
Originally posted by drDalek
...As you can tell I am somewhat frustrated with myself about this.
Welcome to the Club!
07-11-2002, 11:15 AM
"As martial artists, and especially as Aikidoka, the concept of ki is of some importance to us. Visit any Aikido dojo, and you will probably hear the word ki mentioned in a variety of contexts and with many shades of meaning.
It is possible to research the history of this concept; such research would lead us from Japan to China to India and beyond in an attempt to find the original origins and meaning of what we call ki. While this might be of interest, however, our main concern is the direct experience and personal understanding of ki, especially as it applies to our Aikido arts and philosophy. I would like, therefore, to make clear the words we use to designate the levels of ki development and training. In this way, with a clearer understanding, Aikido students may progress more easily in their experience of ki.
Ki is often translated to mean "energy". Another translation might be simply "existence." This is important; we should not think of ki only as some energy or force, internal or external. Existence itself is ki. To get caught up too heavily in the question of ki or to become attached to it as a phenomenon in itself can be a serious problem in your training.
In Aikido training we have what we call "ki tests," methods to test the degree of mind-body coordination of a student. If the student at that moment starts wondering what ki is, where it resides, whether it is an internal energy or so on, he will probably fail the test. If on the other hand, the student has some recognition and actual experience of this ki state, he will pass. Of course it is up to the student how deeply he will recognize and apply this state. The instructor must give appropriate instruction to this end.
Beyond this initial recognition of ki is the second level of ki development, the level of kiai. Kiai to most martial artists is simply a yell given when executing a strike, or perhaps a type of breathing technique. For us, kiai refers specifically to the harmonization of physical action with ki energy. An example of this would be a dried out plant. Given water, the plant will manifest energy, grow strongly, and express its original livingness, its inherent oneness with nature. In the martial arts, our training is like the water; it helps us to manifest this same energy, and we train to express our true state and potential in oneness with energy. Kiai is seen in good, dynamic technique, in precision, good timing, and grace.
The next level is expressed by two words that have similar meanings: kihaku and kiroku. Kihaku means "spirit of ki"; kiroku means "power of ki." Both words carry a feeling of intensity. In Aikido and in life, kihaku and kiroku imply the transcendence of technique, timing, and space. A person at this level has a tremendous amount of spiritual power. Hie is able to draw the ki of others. This means he is able to help others.
The final level can be called hibiki - echo. When a sound is created, an echo returns immediately and precisely. No one tries consciously to make an echo. It simply happens, perfectly mirroring the original sound. Similarly, a person at this level of ki development instantly harmonizes with the energy of his surroundings, like an echo. He can react to anything, at any time in any way, completely one with existence. Without thinking or emotional confusion, his job is perfect in any circumstance, no matter what the outcome.
No matter what our level of training, we should seek in our daily Aikido practice to make the above principles our own. In this way, manifesting energy, harmony, power and spirit, we can pass our days happily.
Is our training ever done, though? Even if you could reach the highest levels of ki development, you would always be surrounded by human beings who have not. Your job can never be done because there will always be others for you to help.
And finally, there is one problem you cannot escape: your death is coming."
Fumio Toyoda, Aikido Today, Volume 8, No. 2, 1993
What is Ki?
From a lecture by Toyoda Shihan
Aikido is the way of harmonizing with ki, with energy. Everyone talks about this energy, but Iíve never seen it! There isnít anything that you point at and say "Thereís ki energy, over there." During training, we donít see bright golden light coming down. Maybe some people do, but if they say so we just tell them "Shut up and train. Iím going to throw you!" So, even if you see golden light, maybe it isnít useful at that moment.
The fact is, that itís a mistake to get hung up on the idea of ki. Getting stuck on any idea is a mistake. You have to see the circumstance, and deal with what is right before you. So if you are always saying, "ki, ki", and then you canít react because your mind is stuck, this is not good.
The reality is that ki is not some energy outside of us. It isnít something different from us. Everything is ki. When we do unbendable arm, maybe some energy is going through it, maybe not. That doesnít matter; itís only a useful way to describe the feeling of unbendable arm. Really, the arm itself is ki. And so is the person testing you. How you harmonize with that situation and allow all of this energy - yourself included - to settle and flow naturally determines your success.
This mat is ki, the wall is ki. The air is ki. Physics tells us this, that everything is some kind of energy. Donít get hung up on this idea. The idea itself is also only energy. Thereís nothing for you to hang on to. Just train, and you will understand!