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Mary Eastland
08-07-2013, 02:03 PM
Matthew

No need to bury this comment in a bottle in your back yard - I think this is one of the most sensible comments on this thread.
For the record I have been studying Aikido since 1957 - not the occasional week end course - but at length with the likes of Kenshiro Abbe Sensei - Nakazono Sensei - Noro Sensei - Assistant to TK Chiba Sensei.

Kind regards

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

I started a new thread with this quote because it makes me ponder the theory that I have read about that your ki will just happen if you keep training. Has that happened for people?

I notice that some people that come to train with us from other places are more centered than others. I wonder if that t is because of the individual or because of the style they come from.

I know that ki exists because I can feel it...I can also feel when people do not have it. A man who was at our seminar this Sunday has trained for many years in another style yet he was asleep at the wheel. I could see and feel how his movements were all produced by thought. How can you have mind and body co-ordination when you are thinking about every move you make?

To have ki the mind has to shut off judgement and just move with the body.

Just some random thoughts feel... free to jump in with your.

Hellis
08-07-2013, 02:28 PM
Hi Mary

Kenshiro Abbe Sensei introduced Aikido to the UK in 1955.
I recall that he only mentioned Ki once, I asked what is Ki ? - he replied " Not necessary speak of Ki, I teach it as part of each technique ".

After reading the other fred ( although it means I am old ) I feel so privileged that I studied with such great teachers that taught Aikido as a martial art. I was so fortunate that Ki was hardly ever referred to, there were no Aiki ribbons in sight - no breathing through ones toes, no woolly hats on the mat.no freezing of students - no floating with the nod of the head - no KI blasts, they were tough days - but they were great days.

Here is a quote from one of my teachers - Tadashi Abe Sensei, a student of Osensei from 1942.

"The Aikido I knew and learned with Osensei was Budo. Since my return to Japan, I realize that what we teach today has nothing to do with this martial art.

What remains of this art inherited from Samurai, which was formed by the founder for men. Today, it is a sport of women ! " Tadashi Abe Sensei

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

Gerardo Torres
08-07-2013, 02:32 PM
"How can you have mind and body co-ordination when you are thinking about every move you make?"

"To have ki the mind has to shut off judgement and just move with the body."

I have the exact opposite experience. The most compelling ki and aiki I've felt was from practitioners who used very focused thought-driven movement to perform an action. Likewise, I've had the most success in aikido when my mind is at its most focused state.

Not saying the "empty mind" approach is without merits -- I've met people who have gained various benefits this way, it's just that for this approach to work it needs more cooperation from an opponent, at least IME. Given this is Budo, it all comes down to what works, and what works better. So I'd say that it doesn't matter whether a practitioner is thinking too much or not at all, but how effective his or her stuff is.

graham christian
08-07-2013, 02:51 PM
Brilliant title...love it.:)

Straight away I can see there will be 'versions' and misunderstandings on what you meant by thinking. I agree, that mind or aspect of mind has to dissappear for correct mind and body co ordination.

Concentrated thought if you will is not the same thing as thinking.

Perspective is that in all sports the optimum is mind and body co-ordinaton.

I must admit that over the years there have been those from very physical perspective and those from a Ki oriented perspective, no problem teaching wise. Ahhh, but then we come to the great theorist, the thinker, the over intellectual.....problem.

So I have found the 'thinker' to have more to learn and less open to letting go and the discipline necessary overall.

Peace.G.

Marc Abrams
08-07-2013, 03:36 PM
Hi Mary

Kenshiro Abbe Sensei introduced Aikido to the UK in 1955.
I recall that he only mentioned Ki once, I asked what is Ki ? - he replied " Not necessary speak of Ki, I teach it as part of each technique ".

After reading the other fred ( although it means I am old ) I feel so privileged that I studied with such great teachers that taught Aikido as a martial art. I was so fortunate that Ki was hardly ever referred to, there were no Aiki ribbons in sight - no breathing through ones toes, no woolly hats on the mat.no freezing of students - no floating with the nod of the head - no KI blasts, they were tough days - but they were great days.

Here is a quote from one of my teachers - Tadashi Abe Sensei, a student of Osensei from 1942.

"The Aikido I knew and learned with Osensei was Budo. Since my return to Japan, I realize that what we teach today has nothing to do with this martial art.

What remains of this art inherited from Samurai, which was formed by the founder for men. Today, it is a sport of women ! " Tadashi Abe Sensei

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

Henry Ellis makes a point that has been spoken of by people who could do what they say. Tohei Sensei was not the chief instructor at the Aikikai because he could knock people down with "ki balls". He was simply the toughest amongst a bunch of very tough and skilled martial artists. When my teacher, who was one of Tohei's top students, came to the US for the first time in the early 70's, he was challenged by many and beaten by none. This was not an accident, nor was it a function of some mystical "Ki" abilities. The Ki that these men manifest in their techniques was tangible, irrefutable and a force to be reckoned with. The "ki" that people talked about in their Aikido in the US did not favorably impress my teacher then and now. The talk was absent of real manifest ability in what they talk about.

So much of what I read from people who allegedly have some "deep" understanding of ki fits under another quip from two of my teachers-> "Can say, but cannot do". The high level Aikido that is done by very few, here has manifest within it "Aiki" and "Ki". The end result is irrefutable. Everything else, particularly from those select few who pontificate, while running away from any "opportunity" to demonstrate such said skills, is nothing more than methane. If someone does not know what I mean by methane, feel free to send me a PM and I will discuss a most interesting of syndromes.....

Marc Abrams

Krystal Locke
08-07-2013, 03:57 PM
I think there may be a big difference between me thinking about how I am going to move my body, me thinking about how I am going to move your body, and me thinking about a dynamic physical structure I can make out of myself that will affect yourself. Hmmmmmm.

What feels different between a person doing something with ki and the same person doing the same something without ki? What is your qualitative experience of ki?

I started a new thread with this quote because it makes me ponder the theory that I have read about that your ki will just happen if you keep training. Has that happened for people?

I notice that some people that come to train with us from other places are more centered than others. I wonder if that t is because of the individual or because of the style they come from.

I know that ki exists because I can feel it...I can also feel when people do not have it. A man who was at our seminar this Sunday has trained for many years in another style yet he was asleep at the wheel. I could see and feel how his movements were all produced by thought. How can you have mind and body co-ordination when you are thinking about every move you make?

To have ki the mind has to shut off judgement and just move with the body.

Just some random thoughts feel... free to jump in with your.

Mary Eastland
08-07-2013, 06:49 PM
"What feels different between a person doing something with ki and the same person doing the same something without ki? What is your qualitative experience of ki?"

When a person has mind and body co-ordinated (has ki) and they are throwing me it feels like they are tuned in and blending with me.,..they take my balance subtly and they cause me to fall with out man handling me. If someone is throwing me and thinking about what it looks like or what they are going to do they lose connection, they rely on muscle energy and often lose their own balance.

I can see if a person has ki by that person's posture, by the speed of the throw in relation to how uke is moving, by their uke's response, by how they feel when I am testing them for one point, by the expression on their face,...I guess the real answer is by how they look and feel and how they move.

I am not sure what you mean by your second question.

Mary Eastland
08-07-2013, 06:52 PM
Hi Mary

Kenshiro Abbe Sensei introduced Aikido to the UK in 1955.
I recall that he only mentioned Ki once, I asked what is Ki ? - he replied " Not necessary speak of Ki, I teach it as part of each technique ".

After reading the other fred ( although it means I am old ) I feel so privileged that I studied with such great teachers that taught Aikido as a martial art. I was so fortunate that Ki was hardly ever referred to, there were no Aiki ribbons in sight - no breathing through ones toes, no woolly hats on the mat.no freezing of students - no floating with the nod of the head - no KI blasts, they were tough days - but they were great days.

Here is a quote from one of my teachers - Tadashi Abe Sensei, a student of Osensei from 1942.

"The Aikido I knew and learned with Osensei was Budo. Since my return to Japan, I realize that what we teach today has nothing to do with this martial art.

What remains of this art inherited from Samurai, which was formed by the founder for men. Today, it is a sport of women ! " Tadashi Abe Sensei

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

Hi Henry:

I guess that means you are going with "not to ki" Good that Tadashi Abe Sensei had such foresight as to see what Aikido could become. :)

Mary

Carsten Möllering
08-08-2013, 01:54 AM
... What is your qualitative experience of ki?
Form my point of view this question is crucial.

I am not sure what you mean by your second question.
When I read your text I stumbled at your phrase: "I know that ki exists because I can feel it...I can also feel when people do not have it."
According to my understanding of ki, every person has ki all the time throughout ones life. Someone who has no ki is dead.
As a consequence it seems that our understanding of what ki is, is different?

You then qualified your understanding of ki:
"When a person has mind and body co-ordinated (has ki) ..."
According to my understanding a precondition of the coordination of body and mind, i.e. moving through yi (intent) is a state in which ki is freely flowing. For this you need to open up the body and to clear the blockages within the meridian system of the body.
My qualitative experience of this state and as a consequence [I]my[I] qualitative experience of ki can be described as a feeling of lightness, warmth, tingling. Things like that.
According to my understanding the free flow of ki and “feeling” it is not yet a certain quality of movement. And it does not yet mean a connected body. To move the body using yi/intent is certain quality of it’s own.

Christian Tissier used to formulate:
"Ki is within us. There is Ki everywhere, either we know how to use it or we don't. The fundamental issue with Ki is its flow. ...
... the technique will unlock the body! Once you have unlocked your body and removed all fears, the gesture will be fluid and this will allow more kokyu. If you add an intention to this kokyu, the Ki will naturally occur."

As a consequence in our aikidō we nearly never talk about ki. But we try to practice in a way that opens up the body, clears the blockages and allows the ki to flow naturally.

Hellis
08-08-2013, 03:03 AM
Hi Henry:

I guess that means you are going with "not to ki" Good that Tadashi Abe Sensei had such foresight as to see what Aikido could become. :)

Mary

Hi Mary

I am afraid that Tadashi Abe Sensei would not agree that ` it was good foresight ` - It was his fear of what Aikido had become.

As for clearing blockages and allowing a good flow - I once advised the use of a good laxative - the student later told me it worked very well indeed.

Regards

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

lbb
08-08-2013, 06:57 AM
At this point, there is no instrument for measuring ki: nothing analogous to a barometer or thermometer or scale. The only measurements of ki are from human beings, self-reported, subjective and unverifiable. The phenomenon called "ki" may exist, but to say that you "know" it exists because your subjective sense perceives something that you choose to label in such a way, and that no outside source can corroborate, is a bit humpty-dumptying the definition of "know", IMO. Perhaps it's better to say that you believe it exists because you've felt something that you lack another explanation for. The problem with such beliefs is that they can become a little too firm, to the point of refusing to consider alternate explanations that are readily available.

I'm a ki agnostic, myself. I don't know if it exists; I think there's a good chance that whatever it is may well turn out to not be some mystical force after all, but simply the product of many different factors of physics and physiology, and that combine in ways so complex that they haven't yet been explained. Please note that there's a big difference between "haven't yet been explained" and "can't be explained": there are many natural phenomena that haven't yet been explained, simply because no one has expended the time and energy and resources to do so, and others that haven't been explained because of lack of the tools to fully explore them. Mars was red before we had the means to acquire evidence to explain why; the cause of its redness hasn't changed simply because we sent the Rover.

As for aikido, I don't believe in mystifying it. Every day, in and out of the dojo, I encounter phenomena for which I have no neat and tidy explanation. My reaction is not to attribute them to some mystical force, but instead to gaps in my own knowledge. I believe that these gaps will always exist, and that the quest for some "unified field theory" of aikido is doomed to failure: as soon as you think you've nailed the neat and tidy explanation that sums it all up, someone's gonna do something that doesn't fit your theory. If you need a metaphor or an explanation for what you experience in the dojo, I suppose ki does as well as anything. My only concern is its potential for becoming an "emperor's suit of clothes", where people become convinced that they have to believe in the existence of this phenomenon, and are persuaded to claim that they experience it, and to make pronouncements about its nature and where it is and isn't found, just to avoid being labeled as dolts who just don't get it. I have no problem saying that I don't see the emperor's clothes; they may exist, and I may see them some day, but I don't see them now, and I don't feel that I'm somehow not getting it if I never see them.

lbb
08-08-2013, 06:58 AM
What remains of this art inherited from Samurai, which was formed by the founder for men. Today, it is a sport of women ! " Tadashi Abe Sensei


Indeed. And what do you yourself feel about this lamentable state of affairs? Do you teach female students?

robin_jet_alt
08-08-2013, 07:04 AM
As a consequence in our aikidō we nearly never talk about ki. But we try to practice in a way that opens up the body, clears the blockages and allows the ki to flow naturally.

I think so too.

The people I have met who talk a lot about Ki seem to lack whatever it is they are talking about. The people who have something seem to talk about it very little.

Hellis
08-08-2013, 08:46 AM
Indeed. And what do you yourself feel about this lamentable state of affairs? Do you teach female students?

I have always taught both men and women since the 1950s, I do though teach the women as I teach the men ` Aikido ` I don't teach them differently, never been a problem. - I teach a lot and refrain from too much talking as my teachers did.

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

NagaBaba
08-08-2013, 10:59 AM
Hi Mary

As for clearing blockages and allowing a good flow - I once advised the use of a good laxative - the student later told me it worked very well indeed.

Regards

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

it is so funny but so true in the same time!!! Henry won the quote of the year 2013 :)
Congratulations!

Hellis
08-08-2013, 11:13 AM
it is so funny but so true in the same time!!! Henry won the quote of the year 2013 :)
Congratulations!

NagaBaba

Thank you kind sir - It has been one of my life's ambitions to win the ` NagaBaba Award ` I will treasure that highly amongst my many achievements. Greatly appreciated.

Henry Ellis
Co-author ` Positive Aikido`
http://britishaikidoboard.blogspot.com/
( British Aikido Board Exposed )

graham christian
08-08-2013, 11:37 AM
Back to topic Mary re the fella you said was asleep at the wheel. Basically it means he was introverted.

Therefor....not there.:)

Peace.G.

Mary Eastland
08-08-2013, 11:59 AM
Back to topic Mary re the fella you said was asleep at the wheel. Basically it means he was introverted.

Therefor....not there.:)

Peace.G.

He was thinking about how it looked.... not feeling it....I tapped him on his shoulder and said "Helloo, in there....wake up," and he did...there was expression on his face and he moved differently.

graham christian
08-08-2013, 04:23 PM
He was thinking about how it looked.... not feeling it....I tapped him on his shoulder and said "Helloo, in there....wake up," and he did...there was expression on his face and he moved differently.

Beautiful. Similar to when someone has done a great move and thereafter is stuck trying to repeat it.

I tell them "You're not here, you're stuck back there".

Peace.G.

robin_jet_alt
08-08-2013, 04:27 PM
Beautiful. Similar to when someone has done a great move and thereafter is stuck trying to repeat it.

I tell them "You're not here, you're stuck back there".

Peace.G.

I believe Henry's solution still applies.

graham christian
08-08-2013, 04:30 PM
I believe Henry's solution still applies.

?????:confused:

Peace.G.

robin_jet_alt
08-08-2013, 05:08 PM
Hi Mary

I once advised the use of a good laxative - the student later told me it worked very well indeed.

Regards

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

see

graham christian
08-08-2013, 05:29 PM
see

We weren't talking about clearing blockages. Hence the wondering what you were on about.

Your comment fits my post though ie: not concentrating and stuck in the past;) Just funning.

I'm not sure what the poster meant by unblocking the body. I use kiatsu for that.

Still, a good joke is a good joke:)

Peace.G.

RonRagusa
08-08-2013, 09:24 PM
At this point, there is no instrument for measuring ki: nothing analogous to a barometer or thermometer or scale. The only measurements of ki are from human beings, self-reported, subjective and unverifiable. The phenomenon called "ki" may exist, but to say that you "know" it exists because your subjective sense perceives something that you choose to label in such a way, and that no outside source can corroborate, is a bit humpty-dumptying the definition of "know", IMO. Perhaps it's better to say that you believe it exists because you've felt something that you lack another explanation for. The problem with such beliefs is that they can become a little too firm, to the point of refusing to consider alternate explanations that are readily available.

When testing a student using a simple shoulder push I can feel when she goes from active muscular resistance to being moved to a state (we call correct feeling) where the force I am applying simply has no effect on her and she is able to stand stock still with little to no effort. The state of correct feeling is achieved when the student learns how to coordinate mind and body. Ki is manifest when correct feeling is achieved as a result of coordinating mind and body. Extend Ki is shorthand for the instruction "coordinate mind and body in order to achieve correct feeling." Once the student learns how she feels when performing this simple test she can then replicate that same feeling at will with other tests or when practicing technique.

The tests themselves also double as exercises that will help the student strengthen the connection between mind and body. With time and practice the student is able to handle greater and greater force loads (to a point of course, no Chevy pickups please). We refer to that as Ki development practice.

Knowing Ki exists is a matter of being aware of demonstrable differences in performance of certain tasks that can be performed with or without mind and body coordinated. The vocabulary used to describe the phenomenon is chosen because it's what I was taught when I began my training. As you can see from reading this and many other threads on AikiWeb, other folks use other words and methods of training to arrive at roughly the same place.

Ron

Krystal Locke
08-08-2013, 10:34 PM
That sounds more like good biomechanics to me. The ability to arrange the body so that incoming force is borne by aligned skeletal structure rather than resisted by muscular contraction. Is ki just good physics?

When testing a student using a simple shoulder push I can feel when she goes from active muscular resistance to being moved to a state (we call correct feeling) where the force I am applying simply has no effect on her and she is able to stand stock still with little to no effort. The state of correct feeling is achieved when the student learns how to coordinate mind and body. Ki is manifest when correct feeling is achieved as a result of coordinating mind and body. Extend Ki is shorthand for the instruction "coordinate mind and body in order to achieve correct feeling." Once the student learns how she feels when performing this simple test she can then replicate that same feeling at will with other tests or when practicing technique.

The tests themselves also double as exercises that will help the student strengthen the connection between mind and body. With time and practice the student is able to handle greater and greater force loads (to a point of course, no Chevy pickups please). We refer to that as Ki development practice.

Knowing Ki exists is a matter of being aware of demonstrable differences in performance of certain tasks that can be performed with or without mind and body coordinated. The vocabulary used to describe the phenomenon is chosen because it's what I was taught when I began my training. As you can see from reading this and many other threads on AikiWeb, other folks use other words and methods of training to arrive at roughly the same place.

Ron

robin_jet_alt
08-08-2013, 11:41 PM
other folks use other words and methods of training to arrive at roughly the same place.

Ron

And I believe that answers the original question.

lbb
08-09-2013, 06:43 AM
I have always taught both men and women since the 1950s, I do though teach the women as I teach the men ` Aikido ` I don't teach them differently, never been a problem. - I teach a lot and refrain from too much talking as my teachers did.


Sounds good to me!

lbb
08-09-2013, 06:52 AM
He was thinking about how it looked.... not feeling it....I tapped him on his shoulder and said "Helloo, in there....wake up," and he did...there was expression on his face and he moved differently.

This makes me think of the "four styles of learning" that they taught us about during the coaching training when I was a ski instructor. Rendered simplistically, it's thinker, doer, watcher, feeler. The problem with models like that is that people have so much fun labeling themselves (and others) that they give the label a lot of power...it becomes prescriptive rather than descriptive, I guess? Anyway, our instructor in this training emphasized that the most successful learners are those who incorporate all four learning strategies. So, the guy in Mary's story is maybe a watcher, maybe a thinker, and to learn better, he needs to use the "feeler" and "doer" strategies as well.

RonRagusa
08-09-2013, 06:59 AM
That sounds more like good biomechanics to me. The ability to arrange the body so that incoming force is borne by aligned skeletal structure rather than resisted by muscular contraction. Is ki just good physics?

Ki is, in part, good physics and biomechanics. But it goes beyond both insofar as the mind plays a vital role in the development of mind/body synergy. The same exercise can be performed by the same people and yield completely different results depending on the degree of mind/body coordination of the person being tested. Some exercises require that the person being tested purposely adopt positions that are inherently unstable in order require a higher degree of mind/body coordination to deal with the incoming force.

For me, the descriptive terminology is not as important as acquiring the ability to feel what works and then be able to replicate the feeling at will. Once I can do that, I can dispense with the descriptive component altogether and trust correct feeling; cutting out the middleman, so to speak.

That said, you may have other ways of expressing what's happening and if they're helpful in moving your abilities forward then who am I to argue?

Ron

phitruong
08-09-2013, 08:35 AM
This makes me think of the "four styles of learning" that they taught us about during the coaching training when I was a ski instructor. Rendered simplistically, it's thinker, doer, watcher, feeler.

you missed one, crasher. ya, i was in the crasher group. i learned from crashing, sometimes, quite spectacular. :D

lbb
08-09-2013, 10:16 AM
When testing a student using a simple shoulder push I can feel when she goes from active muscular resistance to being moved to a state (we call correct feeling) where the force I am applying simply has no effect on her and she is able to stand stock still with little to no effort. The state of correct feeling is achieved when the student learns how to coordinate mind and body. Ki is manifest when correct feeling is achieved as a result of coordinating mind and body. Extend Ki is shorthand for the instruction "coordinate mind and body in order to achieve correct feeling." Once the student learns how she feels when performing this simple test she can then replicate that same feeling at will with other tests or when practicing technique.

That's fine, but I'm with Krystal: it sounds like mechanics to me (directed by the mind, but be sure, but aren't all volitional movements?). I'd like to thank you for clarifying your terms, though. I get the feeling that when most people use the term "ki", they don't mean what you mean...but I don't have a dog in the "what is ki" hunt at all, at all.

Carsten Möllering
08-10-2013, 02:13 AM
I get the feeling that when most people use the term "ki", they don't mean what you mean...
Yes. This is true at least for me.

Keith Larman
08-10-2013, 08:23 AM
Ki is, in part, good physics and biomechanics. But it goes beyond both insofar as the mind plays a vital role in the development of mind/body synergy. The same exercise can be performed by the same people and yield completely different results depending on the degree of mind/body coordination of the person being tested. Some exercises require that the person being tested purposely adopt positions that are inherently unstable in order require a higher degree of mind/body coordination to deal with the incoming force.

For me, the descriptive terminology is not as important as acquiring the ability to feel what works and then be able to replicate the feeling at will. Once I can do that, I can dispense with the descriptive component altogether and trust correct feeling; cutting out the middleman, so to speak.

That said, you may have other ways of expressing what's happening and if they're helpful in moving your abilities forward then who am I to argue?

Ron

I agree. So the $64 thousand dollar question is... What is this "correct feeling" you speak of? I get that if you have *that* you can cut directly to training, but I'm pretty sure the rules of this forum would rather us not start using phrases like "it has to be felt" (patent pending).

What I think is most frustrating for me is that virtually every discussion tends to devolve into this particular direction if pushed enough. Some end here saying "get out and see those who really can do this stuff rather than the gigantic herd of self-professed shaman and self-appointed guru". But that's seen as asking too much by many. And yet we tend to allow those who want to explain it in mystical, unscientific, unsupportable terms a free pass for all intents saying "Oh, that's how that's always been discussed so it's okay". Frankly I'd rather in the prior group instead of being part of the circle jerk of ultimately meaningless terminology that tends to follow the nonsense and babble dressed up in popular science tropes.

But sadly it leaves me with little to discuss here, neh? So on that note... Gotta go to a seminar and hopefully learn somethin' new. Gonna go feel some stuff. Hopefully learn more about how to get that elusive "correct feel" as you so aptly put it.

Interesting stuff...

Keith Larman
08-10-2013, 08:31 AM
I get the feeling that when most people use the term "ki", they don't mean what you mean...

That's quite evident given many of the posts here lately. And I can sit comfortably with that "definition".

But as a fella firmly entrenched in western science I don't get most of the discussions lately, but maybe my angel riding chakras aren't properly aligned in terms of quantum spin in 10-dimensional hyperspace with Jupiter so I'm just out of the loop. Or something like that.

"Mongo only pawn in game of life."

RonRagusa
08-10-2013, 11:24 AM
What is this "correct feeling" you speak of?

Correct feeling is me being aware of how I feel (not the emotional type of feelings) when I am centered, which I am when I have mind and body coordinated. You might ask, all well and good but how do you acquire all this centeredness and coordination of mind and body? We have a rather large syllabus of exercises that we practice in order to hone our awareness of how mind and body can be integrated when we are performing the exercises correctly. The exercises are based on Tohei's original Ki tests, but have been expanded to include stuff that Maruyama sensei developed as well as exercises that Mary and I have developed ourselves over the years. There are solo, partnered stationary, partnered motion and weapons exercises. So when I speak of Ki development work I'm referring to the work we do with these conditioning exercises.

And yet we tend to allow those who want to explain it in mystical, unscientific, unsupportable terms a free pass...

Yeah, well there's nothing mystical or other-worldly about our training. It's all pretty straight forward do it and keep doing it until you get it and then do it some more.

Ron

RonRagusa
08-10-2013, 11:35 AM
I'd like to thank you for clarifying your terms, though.

You're welcome.

I get the feeling that when most people use the term "ki", they don't mean what you mean...

I don't doubt it. Francis Takahashi has a blog post on Aikido Journal here (http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2013/03/06/what-is-ki-by-francis-takahashi/) that says in part: "In Japanese, the word "Ki" has many meanings, dependent on the intent or purpose of the user. By itself, it has little or no utility or significance. It is when it is used with other words that the true intent of its use is revealed." That nicely sums up my position on the "What is Ki?" question. I don't worry about what it is but, based on my working definition, I know it when I feel it.

Ron

JP3
08-10-2013, 03:13 PM
I tend to agree with the point of view that, if one is mindful of the presence of the mind, in aikido, one might miss the mark of what is going to be a true aikido technique.

I teach this by talking about the 0.2 second delay of conscious thought when the mind is "considering" a physical interaction with another person, rather than simply reacting to it at a near-reflexive level, which I think the delay is something down in the 0.015 second range - though someone will need to check that for me to get real numbers. That's the sort of time frame it looks/feels like in practice.

When people are learning, there is a LOT of those 0.2 sec delays/slowdowns in the techniques they are attempting to learn/use. Perhaps as many as there are steps to the technique, possibly more, if they happen to be a "thinker" as noted above. In my dojo, I tend to call "thinkers" Engineers, since I have such a high population of them around. Engineers overthink everything they do, and seem to always want to over-complexify AND over-simplify everything, making it harder for them to learn.

Anyway, as students progress, they get past first one, then several, and eventually all of their conscious thought delays, and now, if their principles are sound they should have a very fluid, smooth technique which can emit from them reflexively at need.

Combine the above, with many thousands of repetition so as to "know" the when a technique should "be there" but not actually have to "think" about it, and in my personal opinion, you are looking through the keyhole at Ki.

hughrbeyer
08-10-2013, 06:49 PM
That sounds more like good biomechanics to me. The ability to arrange the body so that incoming force is borne by aligned skeletal structure rather than resisted by muscular contraction. Is ki just good physics?

Take out "aligned," if by that you mean "in a line."

That's fine, but I'm with Krystal: it sounds like mechanics to me (directed by the mind, but be sure, but aren't all volitional movements?). I'd like to thank you for clarifying your terms, though. I get the feeling that when most people use the term "ki", they don't mean what you mean...but I don't have a dog in the "what is ki" hunt at all, at all.

FWIW, I didn't see anything to disagree with in Ron's post from his description of ki and ki development when compared with what I'm doing these days. I haven't been on the mat with him, but It resonates when he says you can make this stuff work from unstable positions, and that it's very practical and detailed rather than being highly esoteric. Tohei had and passed down a lot of good stuff...

Dan Richards
08-16-2013, 10:18 AM
He was thinking about how it looked.... not feeling it....I tapped him on his shoulder and said "Helloo, in there....wake up," and he did...there was expression on his face and he moved differently.

That seems to be it in a nutshell. A change/shift in the level and attention in consciousness.

The man had obviously forgotten himself and fallen asleep. A light tap and a hello from Mary was all it took. That seems to be what Ueshiba was getting at. Constantly. "Hello in there..."

Rupert Atkinson
08-16-2013, 11:55 AM
As soon as any person club falls down the ki path they have generally lost the plot completely. Ki means energy, literally it is the steam rising from cooked rice, and sure we all have energy, but chasing it is like chasing the steam. I have been training over 30 years and have been to a lot of places and that is my simple observation. Ignore it if you will. We should call what they seek aiki and realise that it is a practical learnable method, not some magical pie-in-the-sky unreachable aim. It is Aiki-do = The Way of Aiki.

RonRagusa
08-16-2013, 12:16 PM
As soon as any person club falls down the ki path they have generally lost the plot completely.

Your opinion, and based on my experience, completely off the mark.

Ki means energy...

Once again from "What is Ki" by Francis Takahashi posted here on Aikido Journal (http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2013/03/06/what-is-ki-by-francis-takahashi/) "In Japanese, the word "Ki" has many meanings, dependent on the intent or purpose of the user. By itself, it has little or no utility or significance."

I have been training over 30 years and have been to a lot of places and that is my simple observation. Ignore it if you will.

Thanks, I will. It's my hope that other Aikido practitioners will as well.

We should call what they seek aiki and realise that it is a practical learnable method, not some magical pie-in-the-sky unreachable aim.

Ya know Rupert, it seems to me that the only people who decry Ki as "some magical pie-in-the-sky unreachable aim" are the ones who continually profess disbelief in the fact that it is indeed "a practical learnable method."

It is Aiki-do = The Way of Aiki.

Or, Ai-Ki-Do = The Way to Union with Ki.

Ron

Dan Richards
08-16-2013, 12:47 PM
As soon as any person club falls down the ki path they have generally lost the plot completely. Ki means energy, literally it is the steam rising from cooked rice, and sure we all have energy, but chasing it is like chasing the steam. I have been training over 30 years and have been to a lot of places and that is my simple observation. Ignore it if you will. We should call what they seek aiki and realise that it is a practical learnable method, not some magical pie-in-the-sky unreachable aim. It is Aiki-do = The Way of Aiki.

Energy is different than power. Energy can just drift off, unused, ineffective. Power is quite different. It's applied energy focused to meet a specific aim. If it meets its aim, it's effective. And it doesn't matter whether someone uses the world ki or not to get there.

I hardly ever use the word "ki." I'm an engineer. The ki energy, which you say is the steam rising from cooked rice, but it goes quite a bit farther than that. And we sort of have to take the components and see how they're all working. The steam comes quite a bit farther down the line. There's also the heat source - too much, it burns; not enough, it doesn't cook. There's the pot, the lid, the type of rice, the type of water, season, humidity... - all of which creates "pressure." That pressure - if properly applied - is the power that achieves its aim.

Cooking rice is an excellent example of the proper use of the five elements https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_Xing Fire, metal/air, earth, water, wood. And it takes every single one of those elements to create not only the initial rice grain, but also the cooked rice.

One can either cook rice well, or they can't. How either of them chooses to talk about it is largely irrelevant.

Even within that range there are constantly-changing variables from day to day, hour to hour. One of Japan's top sushi chefs, Sukiyabashi Jiro, has days and times, I'm sure, where he, at least to himself, knows the rice didn't turn out as well as he'd hoped. Ueshiba even talked about "losing his center," he just said that he was aware of it and could get it back quicker than others would notice.

Don't throw the rice out with the finger bowl. Modalities and language are symbolic. "The map is not the territory." - Korzybski

Dan Richards
08-16-2013, 01:27 PM
Rupert, I couldn't help but notice the uke in the picture on the cover of your book has dreadful body alignment. A simple ki test with a single finger and he'd topple right over. Actually, he's already falling over. Was this something you were aware of? Does it represent what you teach?

http://discovering-aikido.com/book_cover.htm

Hilary
08-19-2013, 08:04 PM
I am sorry to come late to this thread it’s mother road me hard and put me up wet. Ki is one of those words that seem to be highly context sensitive. In the previous thread I defined it as “the skillful expression of capable intent”. I choose those words carefully because from a top down philosophical perspective it occurs to me that the expression of ki need not be martial at all. In writing this I am discerning the components of ki as, connected body, mastery of technique, and uncluttered/focused mind.

In aikido it manifests, to me, as the connected body making a one way attachment to uke’s center with efficiency, grace and with as little effort as required, while maintaining awareness of everyone else around you; in my definition it is intimately connected to no mind. No mind does not mean you turn off your mind, but rather, the mind is not required for the immediate choosing and application of technique and is thus freed up to see evolving patterns in conflict and move accordingly in a strategic manner; not so much conscience as reflexive intuitive movement. Where the boundary exists (if it does) between extending ki and no mind is up for debate, and perhaps a matter of personal definition; I’m just starting to figure this out.

It is does seem to be a progression it doesn’t click on one day. Do you think about your foot placement anymore? Mine just go where they have to in order to do the technique (most of the time), so from that perspective my feet are in no mind. To the extent that the mechanics on the throw are on autopilot, hara is maintained, the body is adaptive, unbendable arm at the ready, and the mind is able to attend to see the positive and negative spaces I think of that as extending ki. I suspect most consider ki to be just connected body, and that is likely the hardest and one of the last hurdles to loft. But I posit that connection without superior technique and an attentive undisturbed mind is incomplete.

Last weekend one person at an IP seminar said “did you see “This is It” the Michael Jackson documentary. He would sit there in rehearsal looking bedraggled, old and defeated, then he would stand up inflate and bam he would explode projecting movement and song. That was extending Ki”. I agree, hence the non martial terms the definition.

Early in my life I was an ice hockey goaltender. On rare occasions I would get into a flow state, where my body was very active but not over taxed, I was completely aware of my moving geometry relative to the net (goaltending is all about blocking angles), my perception defocused and tracking every player on the ice and the puck as well. I could sense the evolution and most likely directions of play and move accordingly; on those days little got by me. It was an extraordinary sensation and I sure as hell was extending ki.

I think I can define it, I’m not sure how well and how consistently I do it; life is a mountain.

vjw
08-20-2013, 10:45 AM
Early in my life I was an ice hockey goaltender. On rare occasions I would get into a flow state, where my body was very active but not over taxed, I was completely aware of my moving geometry relative to the net (goaltending is all about blocking angles), my perception defocused and tracking every player on the ice and the puck as well. I could sense the evolution and most likely directions of play and move accordingly; on those days little got by me. It was an extraordinary sensation and I sure as hell was extending ki.

I think I can define it, I’m not sure how well and how consistently I do it; life is a mountain.

I played full back in field hockey and often had games like this. Good awareness, good positioning, good timing, I was fast and cut out passes. I once did such a good job of keeping an international right winger out of the game that in the second half, he moved to the left wing. I moved to right back and continued the job.

The qualities you mention are all good for aikido, and there is a mind/normal body connection, but the ki and aiki I'm after as taught by DH, Bill Gleason and Howard Popkin I believe is something else.

Hilary
08-20-2013, 04:02 PM
but the ki and aiki I'm after as taught by DH, Bill Gleason and Howard Popkin I believe is something else.
These are the things I am calling connected body which is essential to the end result. Who is to say that you don't learn to pull silk before you ever set foot on the mat or perform anything vaguely martial? Your technique can suck but you can be really connected or spiraling really well, they didn't get through but you didn't hurt them. You maybe redirecting ukes intent, and they are not connecting, but they drive you off a cliff by positioning. How about a wire walker or a ballet dancer where you are looking for complete two way connection either sustained of brief? I am actually trying to teach my budding acrobat daughter to pull silk, because supple connected body seems to be a constant in advanced physicality; different application but a common thread.

Distribution of the work, over as much of the body as possible, reduces exertion of any smaller part and leads to efficiency, power and control of the center. Are fascia/tendon development the same thing as spiraling, or is one infrastructure and the other technique? I ask these questions, because we are talking about defining ki, and I am thinking that ki is a broader concept and that specific physical endeavors require application specific expressions of ki.

Dan mentions yoga a lot and, Tohei credits Nakamura as a fundamental teacher. That is why I separated the connected body from the technique, from the mental, from the no mind. Then I threw it on the wall over here so we can push around.