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Riai Maori
05-26-2014, 03:30 PM
"When you try taking the strength out of your shoulders, it often happens that your ki goes with it!"

Can someone please explain this sentence to me, I read on Aikido Journal?

http://members.aikidojournal.com/public/interview-with-seishiro-endo-1/

Thanks.:)

Janet Rosen
05-26-2014, 04:52 PM
If your structure is erroneously based on shoulders being up and out and strong, it follows that if you "take the strength out" without first improving your structure, it can unwittingly lead to a collapse of extension and intent.
How you define proper structure will vary based on who you study with. For example, those coming from Tohei Sensei lineage, focusing on the four principles, then exhaling and relaxing the shoulders, should do the trick. Others use different metaphors or ways to teach it.

NagaBaba
05-26-2014, 07:51 PM
"When you try taking the strength out of your shoulders, it often happens that your ki goes with it!"

Can someone please explain this sentence to me, I read on Aikido Journal?

http://members.aikidojournal.com/public/interview-with-seishiro-endo-1/

Thanks.:)
Don't be mislead by someone from internet, ki don't exist. It is only urban legend...

AsimHanif
05-26-2014, 08:39 PM
Richard,
sometimes when people relax their upper body they make the mistake of going limp or dead. Taking the strength out of your shoulders means to use only what you need, nothing more. For example, when you lift your arm, try using your lats and keep your delts (shoulders) soft. A lot of people will squeeze their delts to lift their arm. This is overuse.

dps
05-26-2014, 08:55 PM
The secret to ki is that someone else is pulling the strings;

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=w-QQJ0E6SWA

dps

Cliff Judge
05-27-2014, 08:27 AM
"When you try taking the strength out of your shoulders, it often happens that your ki goes with it!"

Can someone please explain this sentence to me, I read on Aikido Journal?

http://members.aikidojournal.com/public/interview-with-seishiro-endo-1/

Thanks.:)

Over-engaging the shoulder muscles during martial technique tends to prevent you from engaging other muscle groups, particularly those in the lower body.

It also prevents you from applying force into your opponent.

Tension in the arms is much easier for your uke to feel, allowing them to understand what you are trying to do and to counter it.

The concept of "ki" as I understand it breaks out into these three things. if you view the technique as a circulation of energy then using your shoulders too much serves to block or choke up that energy, meaning less power for the technique and more reaction on the part of uke. If you are afraid people are going to think you are a hippy for using eastern concepts in their proper context, then you can go spend a couple of years trying to figure out how to exactly model the whole thing with western kinesiology. But please shut up about it until you have a paper published in a respected journal. :)

jonreading
05-27-2014, 09:01 AM
I walk a tight rope here...

1. Ki is real, but it is concrete and reproducible. It is not to diminish muscular strength, but to identify a predecessor energy.
2. Eastern translations can be terrible. "Relax" rates for me as one of the most terrible translation/interpretation concepts in aikido.

For me, what Endo sensei is referring is using too much muscle recruitment in aikido. Excluding those muscles your body requires to fight gravity and maintain stability, generally we are talking about the overuse of muscular strength. The best analogy for this issue I have experienced in my rock climbing. When I first started rock climbing, I fatigued easily because I recruited more muscular strength than was needed to climb; mostly, this was the result of insecurity and fear related to my bodily safety. Later, as I better understood climbing and how my body worked, I was able to reduce this particular issue by recruiting less muscle.

What Endo sensei is talking about is not new - several other shihan spoke about this topic (Yamaguchi, Tohei, Sunadomari, Mochizuki, etc.). I am not convinced that instruction wasn't lost in translation, though. Essentially, it is not that we don't use power, it is rather the method of create that power that is of issue. We are working to convert our muscle power to another power source, namely ki. "Take strength out of your shoulder," is not synonymous with "do not have strength."

phitruong
05-27-2014, 09:18 AM
"When you try taking the strength out of your shoulders, it often happens that your ki goes with it!"

Can someone please explain this sentence to me, I read on Aikido Journal?

http://members.aikidojournal.com/public/interview-with-seishiro-endo-1/

Thanks.:)

methink, this based on the asian's power sequence: power from below, control by the waist/hips (dantien really), express by the arms (including the shoulders). you can sort of equate that to the Tohei model: weight underside, keep one point, extend ki.

weight underside = power from below
keep one point = control by dantien
extend ki = express by the arms

at no point in those two models mentioned that power originated from shoulders. it's a jin or soft power model (whole body) vs hard power (pure muscular and localize). *note, me not wanting to get into the whole IS/IP/aiki war, because me are barbarians and don't care what other folks think, other than 'em make good targets for me axes*

try this article: http://members.aikidojournal.com/public/using-koichi-toheis-model-as-a-baseline-by-mike-sigman/

Janet Rosen
05-27-2014, 10:00 AM
methink, this based on the asian's power sequence: power from below, control by the waist/hips (dantien really), express by the arms (including the shoulders). you can sort of equate that to the Tohei model: weight underside, keep one point, extend ki.

weight underside = power from below
keep one point = control by dantien
extend ki = express by the arms

at no point in those two models mentioned that power originated from shoulders. it's a jin or soft power model (whole body) vs hard power (pure muscular and localize). *note, me not wanting to get into the whole IS/IP/aiki war, because me are barbarians and don't care what other folks think, other than 'em make good targets for me axes*

try this article: http://members.aikidojournal.com/public/using-koichi-toheis-model-as-a-baseline-by-mike-sigman/

Pretty much. I also relate "weight underside" to engaging the lats and extensors rather than the biceps and upper shoulders and "extend ki" as intent which includes not just express via arms but also eyes, dantien and energetically.

lbb
05-27-2014, 10:15 AM
There are a lot of "shoulder muscles"; for good aikido mechanics, the typical person needs to learn to use some of them less and others more. "Relax" is the opposite of "contract"; you cannot perform movement if everything is "relaxed". Again, mechanics: when dealing with the extremities, the mechanics are flexing and extension. A lot of aikido mechanics depend on extension, but whether you're flexing or extending, it's all being done by muscle contraction. Muscle relaxation doesn't make anything happen.

PeterR
05-27-2014, 10:24 AM
"Relax" rates for me as one of the most terrible translation/interpretation concepts in aikido.
How I hate that word. One of the great, overused, applied when you have nothing better to say, words ever.

dps
05-27-2014, 05:01 PM
How I hate that word. One of the great, overused, applied when you have nothing better to say, words ever.

''Awesome''

dps

Walter Martindale
05-27-2014, 08:50 PM
Ki is real - I use it to lock and unlock my doors...

Tension. There's a difference between unconscious "relaxed" where the body flops and is very heavy, and "athletic" (for lack of a better word) "relaxed". In the latter, there's a "connectedness" between the top bits of the body and the bottom bits of the body, whether moving or not) and when you move the wrist of someone in this position, he/she will either stand his/her ground because you have got control, or he or she will fall on their gluteus maximus each evening. "not relaxed" tension? Unconscious, of course, you're dripping "stuff" all over the patio floor...

hughrbeyer
05-27-2014, 09:02 PM
"Relax" rates for me as one of the most terrible translation/interpretation concepts in aikido.

How I hate that word. One of the great, overused, applied when you have nothing better to say, words ever.

Maybe. But it's not just a translation issue. There's no better word in English I know of to express the body feeling you're going for if you're chasing this kind of power. Endo describes somewhere how he spent two years refusing to use any kind of power at all to learn to relax. Tohei said the only thing he learned from O-Sensei was how to relax. When people start to express just a little actual internal power, they commonly say, "But I didn't do anything."

Relax. Embrace the suck.

hughrbeyer
05-28-2014, 07:31 AM
I was mulling on this overnight, and I think it's our fault for misinterpreting the word "relax."

When does "relax" ever mean "go limp?" Ever ever ever? If you say to your kid who's keyed up about an exam, does that mean "lay back, don't try hard?" If a coach says to a gymnast before the big event "relax" does that mean "noodle your way through the routine?" If a baseball coach says to a batsman "relax" does that mean "swing the bat in a lackidaisical manner?" Why would we ever interpret "relax" in an Aikido context that way?

PeterR
05-28-2014, 07:59 AM
I was mulling on this overnight, and I think it's our fault for misinterpreting the word "relax."

When does "relax" ever mean "go limp?" Ever ever ever? If you say to your kid who's keyed up about an exam, does that mean "lay back, don't try hard?" If a coach says to a gymnast before the big event "relax" does that mean "noodle your way through the routine?" If a baseball coach says to a batsman "relax" does that mean "swing the bat in a lackidaisical manner?" Why would we ever interpret "relax" in an Aikido context that way?

Well to be fair - no one who ever used it for me meant "go limp". I would not have minded it so much if they did - I could understand that. It just seemed to me that those who used the term could have found some more tangible expression of what they wanted to get across. I suspect your baseball coach is also taking the lazy way out.

jonreading
05-28-2014, 09:20 AM
I was mulling on this overnight, and I think it's our fault for misinterpreting the word "relax."

When does "relax" ever mean "go limp?" Ever ever ever? If you say to your kid who's keyed up about an exam, does that mean "lay back, don't try hard?" If a coach says to a gymnast before the big event "relax" does that mean "noodle your way through the routine?" If a baseball coach says to a batsman "relax" does that mean "swing the bat in a lackidaisical manner?" Why would we ever interpret "relax" in an Aikido context that way?

This is part of the interpretation fault. It is our fault. To answer your question, at some point in time, we allowed an authority to use the term and we did not challenge the context or require an explanation of the message. We bowed our head and said, "thank you," then proceeded to keep doing something. Before us, that authority received the same instruction from a predecessor and so on back to the original use, which meant something.

The problem is that "relax" itself is not knowledge; the phrase is a mnemonic device used to recall an inherited knowledge. When I played baseball, I never relaxed. When fielding, I assumed the athletic position. When batting, I assumed the athletic position. The athletic position was the knowledge, "relax" was just the device that allowed me to recall what I was doing. Visit a little league, you'll notice coach doesn't use mnemonic devices yet because the kids haven't inherited the knowledge. You'll still hear, "bend your knees," Keep your bottom down," "keep up your head," and "keep your bat back." These are all components of the athletic position, but the instruction is more precise.

Ultimately, the pessimist in me says that aikido chooses not to define this term, nor hold people accountable for their use of the term. I have been ranting about the deliberate absence of success metrics in aikido for a while, no need to get back on that soapbox. Relax is an adequate word to describe the education of proper body usage. But, I bet if you started a thread you could not find a consensus on what, why and how.

"Relax" is aikido's version of "Smurf." There is more variation in the usage and meaning and context of that term that you can quantify.

Smurf into your stance
Smurf when you throw
Smurf when you receive
Smurf your breathing
The secret to kokyu dosa is smurfing
Smurf your shoulders
You need to smurf
It's not like smurfing into a La-z-boy
You're not smurfing enough

See? It works.

lbb
05-28-2014, 09:40 AM
When speaking of muscle mechanics, does not "relax" mean exactly that -- go limp?

I understand that that's not generally what people mean when they tell you to "relax", but then you ask "how" and they delve into a discussion of mechanics, and then they run into the problem that this is exactly what "relax" means. It's bad vocabulary to use "relax" when you mean something much more complex, as per Jon's example.

Phil Van Treese
05-28-2014, 11:38 AM
"Don't be mislead by someone on internet...Ki don't exist. It is just urban legend"

I don't know where you learned martial arts, if you did, but ki does exist. You haven't fed your students with enough sardines yet to encourage them to learn. For you, sardines are the "ki" for them to learn.

phitruong
05-28-2014, 12:31 PM
I don't know where you learned martial arts, if you did, but ki does exist. You haven't fed your students with enough sardines yet to encourage them to learn. For you, sardines are the "ki" for them to learn.

whoa! hold on there! when did sardines the ki for aikido? i thought it was spam, not sardines. there was even a mention of vegetarian spam, but doesn't sound too good to my digestive system, since vegeterians are a bunch of ornery folks. :)

NagaBaba
05-28-2014, 01:18 PM
I don't know where you learned martial arts, if you did, but ki does exist. You haven't fed your students with enough sardines yet to encourage them to learn. For you, sardines are the "ki" for them to learn.

Now, when you mentioned sardines, I'm starting to think I could be deadly wrong...

Janet Rosen
05-28-2014, 01:32 PM
Now, when you mentioned sardines, I'm starting to think I could be deadly wrong...

Dunno, are you instructing SEALS? :D

jonreading
05-28-2014, 01:52 PM
Dunno, are you instructing SEALS? :D

Janet, that should be a time out for you. Terrible.

Janet Rosen
05-28-2014, 02:20 PM
Janet, that should be a time out for you. Terrible.

Gee, I was proud of myself for the four second turnaround from reading to writing to posting....

Riai Maori
05-29-2014, 02:34 AM
Big thanks to everyone for the clarification. "When you try taking the strength out of your shoulders, it often happens that your Ki goes with it!" Often I am told to relax in the shoulders and couldn’t comprehend what was required from me. Any more relaxed and I would need to be asleep. Sensei mentioned last night at training, if you’re sweating, its either you’re unfit or you are over using muscles that don’t need to be worked hard. The latter applies to me. After Bokken training, my front and middle deltoids are pumped to the max. Does being muscle bound affect being relaxed (bad word)? I have been told from Japanese 7th Dan Aikido practitioners I have good Ki, I thought this means strength. Talk about confused!!! And for those who don’t know I am a 3 Kyu studying for 3 years.

Phil Van Treese
05-29-2014, 05:59 AM
Well, if Ki doesen't exist then there are no sardines, spam, or vegetarian spam. This is getting deep!!!!

Mary Eastland
05-29-2014, 06:32 AM
Don't be mislead by someone from internet, ki don't exist. It is only urban legend...

Didn't someone once say that the world was flat.....

PeterR
05-29-2014, 07:22 AM
Didn't someone once say that the world was flat.....
Well at the risk of taking the un-pronounceable one's statement too seriously and of course your retort.

I would place Ki and flat earth in the same category - based on belief and at risk of being soundly debunked.

phitruong
05-29-2014, 07:31 AM
After Bokken training, my front and middle deltoids are pumped to the max. Does being muscle bound affect being relaxed (bad word)?

it meant you are using localized arm muscle in the most normal way, i.e. like everyone else (non-martial). when i train with bokken or jo or axes/hammers, my legs, hips, and middle (below my sternum) tired before my upper body and arms. something you can try. hold your bokken in chudan/seigan position. have someone push the tip of the bokken toward you. imagine your body is like a giant balloon, michelin man, and let all the power of that push to into the ground beneath your feet. if you have tension in your body, then you will know from the feedback. so every time you swing the bokken, remember that feeling. it's what we called "bring the ground to the tip of your bokken". think of unbend able arm exercise, but with your arm now as long as the bokken or whatever weapon you held.

I have been told from Japanese 7th Dan Aikido practitioners I have good Ki, I thought this means strength.

it could mean you have strong vitality, healthy, i.e. life force (doesn't mean that you know how to use it). or it could mean you have a strong feminine side in you. :)

jonreading
05-29-2014, 08:36 AM
Gee, I was proud of myself for the four second turnaround from reading to writing to posting....

Uh huh. :)

Let me answer with some negatives...

First, Ki can mean a bunch of things, vitality or energy is one, power is another. It is possible you're being complimented on a variety of things, none of which are your "strength," meaning your muscular strength.

Think about the different concepts of force management. Mechanically, you have simple machines like wheels, screws and wedges. There are a variety of ways to power those machines - a wheel and axle can move by gravity, manpower, horsepower, motorized power etc.

We (people) tend to move our limbs as a lever system (muscles contract and cause limbs to move). The source of lever-action mechanics in the body is muscular (contactors and extensors). Where all this fancy talk is going is to claim that the human body does not need to move with lever action and other methods exist that do this work. In this case, we are talking about building pressure and converting pressure into kinetic energy - the "imagine your arm is a hose filled with water" analogy is a sample of this management system. The key difference is a hose does not change its size, the pressure build is based upon pushing material (water) into a set space. The human body can create the same pressure by compressing the space around a set material (tissue). Your muscle in enclosed in a sheath of tissue (fascia) and the extension of your connective tissue compresses the muscle encased within the tissue, thus creating a potential store of energy (pressure) that can be released into a kinetic state.

IF you believe in this alternate mechanical system, then "relax" is designed to allow the muscles to be compressed by the tissue, rather than firing and resisting the compression. This is also the "fill yourself with ki," and a variety of other phrases we use. If you believe in that sort of thing. I actually have a bell that rings true for every child that believes in ki - at one time, all of my friends could hear its melodious sound but then, one by one, the bell ceased to ring for each of them. But if you believe in ki, the bell will still ring for you...

RonRagusa
05-29-2014, 03:20 PM
I would place Ki and flat earth in the same category - based on belief and at risk of being soundly debunked.

Ki that is manifest as a result of having a unified mind and body is both real and demonstrable. And I'm not referring to the woo-woo I'll knock you down from 10 feet away nonsense. It's more of the, when you walk into a kokyu nage throw and it feels like nage just dropped a house on you despite being 50 pounds lighter than you and you feel like you've barely been touched, variety.

It's a shame that the charlatans get all the play and notoriety these days and that it has taken someone from outside the art to reintroduce Ki back into mainstream Aikido, renamed and repackaged though it may be.

Ron

PeterR
05-29-2014, 04:05 PM
Relax

Mary Eastland
05-29-2014, 05:55 PM
relax the mind....

Lee Salzman
05-30-2014, 02:36 AM
relax the mind....

Relaxing the mind and relaxing the body are two entirely different things that should never be confused, regardless of how you want to interpret relaxing the body.

Mentally, you should be friggin' Atlas, lifting the heavens while still with roots burrowing deep into the earth, or like a black hole of intent with force being chewed up as it spirals in with intent shooting back out the poles. Really, your mind should be a damned force of nature to be reckoned with. Become an avatar of the kami and all that jazz... remember? Where does the mind relax?

Removing stiffness in the body, especially the shoulders, is what allows that to work through the body.

Carsten Möllering
05-30-2014, 03:12 AM
"When you try taking the strength out of your shoulders, it often happens that your ki goes with it!"
Can someone please explain this sentence to me,
When you hear Endō sensei talking about "ki" for a start don't think of it in a too mystical or esoteric way.

Try at first to get a more practical meaning or understanding of what he is refering to. Because in everyday language Endō sensei uses the term "ki" in a very broad and unspecific way, which is a common Japanese habit, I think.

So here:
When sensei injured his shoulder and thereafter tried to move his uke without using the muscular strength of the shoulders, he simply lost a tool of "transmitting something" to his uke, a tool he was accustomed to. I think this experience can be reproduced easily?

In a next step you can then ask, what does "taking the strength out of the shoulders" mean, what does "ki" mean in a more specific sense and how can something be transmitted to aite without using strength? Endō sensei has created some exercises over the time which allow to explore those questions. And he has looked for a certain way of keiko and a certain way of how to move, to answer those questions.
When you compare this demonstration about twenty years ago (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wisz8oygS0M&feature=player_detailpage)
to his demo this year at the All Japan Aikido Demonstration (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRPjqOPbF3w&feature=player_detailpage) you may get a glimpse of the direction of this development.

By now I see a lot of parallels between the aikidō of Endō sensei and the practice of qi gong:
Relaxation as a way of "opening" the joints and also the muscles to make them permeable. - This is completely different from relaxing before going to sleep. It to the contrary is a way of waking up the body, activating it.
The methods to relax which refer to the interdependence of mind/heart and body. - Relaxing the body by calming the mind. Calming the mind by relaxing the body.
The way of organizing one's body and the concept of moving by intent instead of muscular strength. - "Use yi not li."

(I've come to see Endō senseis understanding of "feeling - kimochi - 気持ち" to be equivalent to the Chinese understanding of "intent - yi - 意" in the context of his aikidō.
When you try to explore how your body changes and what you can do - first within your own body - by/when using kimochi/yi instead of "strength - jap. chikara/chin. li - 力" - here Endō sensei uses the same word - then you migth possibly get an idea of what can be meant by "qi/ki" in a more qualified sense.)

My experience with Endō senseis way of aikidō aswell as with qi gong is, that you don't need to ponder qi/ki. You just practice and maybe after a while you will experience something. And again after a while maybe you will learn to deal with it and use it in certain ways. There is no need - and what's more: no use - to think about it. It's just a matter of personal experience. - At least I think so.

Carsten Möllering
05-30-2014, 03:31 AM
Where does the mind relax?To become "a damned force of nature" (love your poetry :D) it has to let go the mundane thoughts, sorrows and considerations that overcloud and distract it. Relaxing, i.e. calming the mind does not mean to cut it off. But open it up, to free it.

Removing stiffness in the body, especially the shoulders, is what allows that to work through the body.Yes!

Lee Salzman
05-30-2014, 05:03 AM
To become "a damned force of nature" (love your poetry :D) it has to let go the mundane thoughts, sorrows and considerations that overcloud and distract it. Relaxing, i.e. calming the mind does not mean to cut it off. But open it up, to free it.

Yes!

So long as calm is interpreted maybe more as evenness, as what was that thing that crazy old man who we occasionally pay homage to before handwaving and politely dismissing said - a union of opposites? - but not as a lack of will. I have been stingingly called 'lazy' of mind in jest by a certain someone enough to know that there needs to be Herculean intent bubbling beneath the surface, and even then, it is usually never enough, all the while the body struggles to remove the roadblocks to letting it out. Always need more!

Mary Eastland
05-30-2014, 06:20 AM
...move the body guided by the mind that knows without thinking

phitruong
05-30-2014, 06:41 AM
relax the mind....

i have heard that some distilled fermented stuffs and certain type of plants/weeds/mushrooms really help relaxing the mind. Didn't O Sensei ate lots of mushrooms at Iwama? Didn't the old man talk to various kami afterward in order to get some aiki? :)

lbb
05-30-2014, 08:06 AM
Mentally, you should be friggin' Atlas, lifting the heavens while still with roots burrowing deep into the earth, or like a black hole of intent with force being chewed up as it spirals in with intent shooting back out the poles. Really, your mind should be a damned force of nature to be reckoned with. Become an avatar of the kami and all that jazz... remember? Where does the mind relax?

It depends on how you define "relax". A "black hole of intent" is more or less the opposite of the goal of many meditation practices, for example.

Carsten Möllering
05-30-2014, 09:37 AM
So long as calm is interpreted maybe more as evenness, ... a union of opposites?Yes. Exactly.
So that intent/kimochi can become clear, sharp and intense, concentrated. And not led astray by whatever thoughts are going round and round in our everworking brains.

It's like a clear sky, no clouds, just deep blue, powerfull energie. :cool: (So bright actually, that I have to wear sunglasses ...)

Be it the body or be it the heart/mind: Relaxing, letting go, releasing energizes, empowers. If it makes lazy, tired or diffuse it's not the way of relaxition the Chinese call sung. (And which we should strive for in our practice, I think.)
So mushrooms is exactly the opposite, I'm afraid. :blush: There are notices about what o sensei ate: Usually he used to take meals which did not fill the belly and did not make the brain dizzy or the body tired. No patronage here to be found I'm afraid.

NagaBaba
05-30-2014, 02:13 PM
. Really, your mind should be a damned force of nature to be reckoned with. Become an avatar of the kami and all that jazz... remember? Where does the mind relax?

Removing stiffness in the body, especially the shoulders, is what allows that to work through the body.

Woah, that a great description! Avatar of the kami - sounds right on the spot....

JP3
05-31-2014, 03:51 PM
On the whole "is ki real" thing, again, I have this one sort of concept I use to understand the eastern-style descriptions, which do sound a bit mystical to the western, scientific-method trained mind -- which is a lot of folks.

My own concept of ki is one's getting to a state of trained muscle memory where no extra effort is used to place the body - while moving in and with and sometimes against (yes, against - that's where a lot of our explosive-looking techniques live) the uke/opponent while at the same time holding the posture of the body and extremeties (if extremeties are used in the technique being examined) in the most efficient way possible. Oftentimes, I've found this to be standing up straight, keeping my hands up in front of myself arms mostly extended but not locked out, not grabbing/gripping at all (if tied up with someone grappling, using hooked fingers only, no hand clamps, like that) initiating movement from the center of the body (there's your hips, folks -- there's a LOT of muscle power working in/around/through the pelvis) and keeping that movement out of the upper torso (no leaning over).

When all those things happen in one of my people, usually good things happen, which, as stated earlier, usually ends up with an incredulous look on his/her face and a stammered... "... but I didn't really do anything."

Neat stuff. Feeling Nothing = Ki? I dunno, I just work here.

Robert Cowham
05-31-2014, 04:07 PM
When you hear Endō sensei talking about "ki" for a start don't think of it in a too mystical or esoteric way.
:
My experience with Endō senseis way of aikidō as well as with qi gong is, that you don't need to ponder qi/ki. You just practice and maybe after a while you will experience something. And again after a while maybe you will learn to deal with it and use it in certain ways. There is no need - and what's more: no use - to think about it. It's just a matter of personal experience. - At least I think so.
I am glad you "think" so :)

Personally I agree that there is a lot of just experience required. And yet in preparation for that I believe that thinking is absolutely required too. Most of my insights come during practice with others. But they are often based on thoughts during personal practice where I am thinking hard....

Carsten Möllering
06-01-2014, 01:24 AM
Personally I agree that there is a lot of just experience required. And yet in preparation for that I believe that thinking is absolutely required too. :)
Yes, I'm thinking a lot. Reading a lot. Taoist classics about neidan, qi gong ... He also did. (http://www.aikido-taiji-hamburg.de/images/osensei.gif);)
There are the discussions with my teacher, pondering the explanations of Dan, listening to the lectures of Endō sensei ...

It helps a lot to have at least an idea of what to look for. And to have at least an idea of what the old have experienced. Maybe it's impossible to get something without knowing something. Well, actually I think it is not possible.
But I also know that you get nothing from just pondering, thinking, "knowing". You have to do it, to experience it, to make it live. And very often you understand just by doing. You do, you read - it suddenly fits, the words "open up".

So we have a circle we walk, round and round, while moving on ...

Riai Maori
06-01-2014, 02:25 AM
When you hear Endō sensei talking about "ki" for a start don't think of it in a too mystical or esoteric way.

Thank you for the reply and diagnostics to my question. Greatly appreciated. Are you a student of Endo Sensei? Myself I train under the umbrella of Shihan Nadeau who visits New Zealand on a regular basis. Cheers;)

Riai Maori
06-01-2014, 02:36 AM
First, Ki can mean a bunch of things, vitality or energy is one, power is another. It is possible you're being complimented on a variety of things, none of which are your "strength," meaning your muscular strength.

Thank you Jon for this clarification and the muscle mechanics behind Kinetic energy. Hence the "inch punch". "You can ring my bell bell bell ring my my bell ding a ling" (Pointer Sisters) Cheers to you!

Carsten Möllering
06-01-2014, 02:37 AM
Are you a student of Endo Sensei?I try to follow Endō sensei for some years know. I do not belong to the group of his "official" students. My direct teacher here in Germany does.

Riai Maori
06-01-2014, 02:51 AM
it meant you are using localized arm muscle in the most normal way, i.e. like everyone else (non-martial). when i train with bokken or jo or axes/hammers, my legs, hips, and middle (below my sternum) tired before my upper body and arms. something you can try. hold your bokken in chudan/seigan position. have someone push the tip of the bokken toward you. imagine your body is like a giant balloon, michelin man, and let all the power of that push to into the ground beneath your feet. if you have tension in your body, then you will know from the feedback. so every time you swing the bokken, remember that feeling. it's what we called "bring the ground to the tip of your bokken". think of unbend able arm exercise, but with your arm now as long as the bokken or whatever weapon you held.

it could mean you have strong vitality, healthy, i.e. life force (doesn't mean that you know how to use it). or it could mean you have a strong feminine side in you. :)

A big thanks to you sir. I have taken on board your training advice for the Bokken. I hope Sensei sees the improvement, I am sure he will. As always I never repeat what is said to me here while training on the mat. Mums the word and actions speak louder than words. I would love to train with you? Why? Because you're a humorous man Daniel Boone!:D

Riai Maori
06-01-2014, 03:37 AM
I try to follow Endō sensei for some years know. I do not belong to the group of his "official" students. My direct teacher here in Germany does.

A second generation student of Endo Sensei is good for me. Thanks again.:)

Robert Cowham
06-01-2014, 04:07 PM
:)
Yes, I'm thinking a lot. Reading a lot. Taoist classics about neidan, qi gong ... He also did. (http://www.aikido-taiji-hamburg.de/images/osensei.gif);)
There are the discussions with my teacher, pondering the explanations of Dan, listening to the lectures of Endō sensei ...

It helps a lot to have at least an idea of what to look for. And to have at least an idea of what the old have experienced. Maybe it's impossible to get something without knowing something. Well, actually I think it is not possible.
But I also know that you get nothing from just pondering, thinking, "knowing". You have to do it, to experience it, to make it live. And very often you understand just by doing. You do, you read - it suddenly fits, the words "open up".

So we have a circle we walk, round and round, while moving on ...
I'm generally always in favour of reading, but together with other things!

As regards doing stuff vs thinking about it, I read (!) Peter Ralston's book The Art of Effortless Power and his description of thinking/imagining things at an incredibly detailed level, and then being able to physically reproduce an action that you hadn't previously done (or at least done successfully) physically. Some studies (http://www.llewellyn.com/encyclopedia/article/244) back this up.

In my personal experience it has an effect too - not magical - but an effect. From what you have written above, it is the "experiencing", even if that is virtually, that makes the difference.

Riai Maori
06-01-2014, 04:44 PM
As regards doing stuff vs thinking about it, I read (!) Peter Ralston's book The Art of Effortless Power and his description of thinking/imagining things at an incredibly detailed level, and then being able to physically reproduce an action that you hadn't previously done (or at least done successfully) physically.

Hello Robert.

I went on a 2 day seminar here in New Zealand with Alan Roberts Sensei http://www.aikidonz.com/alan/ who is based in Auckland.

He is a 3rd Dan Cheng Hsin student of Peter Ralston.

Astonished and amazed. "Translucent Power" .

Cheers Richard

allowedcloud
06-02-2014, 04:38 AM
Hello Robert.

I went on a 2 day seminar here in New Zealand with Alan Roberts Sensei http://www.aikidonz.com/alan/ who is based in Auckland.

He is a 3rd Dan Cheng Hsin student of Peter Ralston.

Astonished and amazed. "Translucent Power" .

Cheers Richard

Hi Richard,

This is somewhat of a plug, but Bill Gleason sensei from Boston will be giving a seminar in Auckland next weekend (June 13th - 15th) where he will be teaching internal power concepts and how they're used in Aikido. Since he's only in the country once a year you'd be a fool to miss it :)

http://www.aikido.org.nz/Main/NewsAndEvents

Riai Maori
06-02-2014, 05:01 AM
Hi Richard,

This is somewhat of a plug, but Bill Gleason sensei from Boston will be giving a seminar in Auckland next weekend (June 13th - 15th) where he will be teaching internal power concepts and how they're used in Aikido. Since he's only in the country once a year you'd be a fool to miss it :)

http://www.aikido.org.nz/Main/NewsAndEvents

Dear Joshua

Thank you for that.I cannot attend.

Regards
Richard

Chris Li
06-02-2014, 10:15 AM
Hi Richard,

This is somewhat of a plug, but Bill Gleason sensei from Boston will be giving a seminar in Auckland next weekend (June 13th - 15th) where he will be teaching internal power concepts and how they're used in Aikido. Since he's only in the country once a year you'd be a fool to miss it :)

http://www.aikido.org.nz/Main/NewsAndEvents

He's flying out from here this morning, and there's no guarantee how many more years he'll be making the trip all they way down under. Best to catch him when you have the chance, you won't regret it!

Best,

Chris

Robert Cowham
06-02-2014, 04:50 PM
I went on a 2 day seminar here in New Zealand with Alan Roberts Sensei http://www.aikidonz.com/alan/ who is based in Auckland.

He is a 3rd Dan Cheng Hsin student of Peter Ralston.

Astonished and amazed. "Translucent Power" .

It's good to experience this sort of thing. I have done a weekend with Peter Ralston himself, and also several seminars with Kevin Magee - great to work with. I didn't get hands on with Peter which is a shame. I have had a session with Jef Edwards - Peter's oldest student, and that was an incredible session.

Riai Maori
06-02-2014, 05:47 PM
He's flying out from here this morning, and there's no guarantee how many more years he'll be making the trip all they way down under. Best to catch him when you have the chance, you won't regret it!

Best,

Chris

Hello Chris.

My sensei shall be attending along with numerous other Aikidoka I know. Hopefully some one will bring back the experience.;)

Regards
Richard

Robert Cowham
06-03-2014, 02:30 PM
relax the mind....
I like Peter Ralston's story about learning to relax the body. He asked a Chinese teacher about this and the answer was, "first relax your mind". "Yes sifu, but while I am learning how to do that, do you have any advice as to practices for my body". "Relax your mind!" Over time he realised that this was indeed the answer...

Mentally, you should be friggin' Atlas, lifting the heavens while still with roots burrowing deep into the earth, or like a black hole of intent with force being chewed up as it spirals in with intent shooting back out the poles. Really, your mind should be a damned force of nature to be reckoned with. Become an avatar of the kami and all that jazz... remember? Where does the mind relax?

So inspite of the previous quote, I agree that there is a huge amount to be gained by learning to work with intent.

It depends on how you define "relax". A "black hole of intent" is more or less the opposite of the goal of many meditation practices, for example.
To this I think there is a big difference for example between contemplation practices and a variety of meditation practices. It is worth googling "enlightenment intensives" regarding this. It is related to the Zen koan methods - "holding your koan".

My own concept of ki is one's getting to a state of trained muscle memory where no extra effort is used to place the body - while moving in and with and sometimes against (yes, against - that's where a lot of our explosive-looking techniques live) the uke/opponent while at the same time holding the posture of the body and extremeties (if extremeties are used in the technique being examined) in the most efficient way possible.
I agree. For me good things happen via intent, but also continued body practices to relax more and yet still achieve results. Peter Ralston calls this "Effortless Power". I enjoyed a recent seminar with Patrick Cassidy where he introduced various exercises including intent based ones that had a major effect on people.

My first 9 months in aikido was Ki Aikido in Italy. There were a couple of experiences I had that it took me nearly 20 years to replicate! These days I am looking to work with body conditioning (huge amounts of relaxing) as well as intent/imagination. The more work I do, the more that phrases such as "Keep one point, keep weight underside" really mean something.

From work on the tanden though, I find increasingly that focus there and by that I mean intense focus there, pays benefits elsewhere. A comment elsewhere in this thread about sweating does not hold true in my experience - if you focus hard on tanden while at the same time seeking to relax elsewhere in the body - you can be sweating buckets...!

Intent etc is great, but there are physical effects and conditioning of the body that just take (hard) practice. Moving from the center starts out by being the whole pelvic region. Then it becomes more focussed and a smaller area in the abodomen which is still related in an elastic sense to the rest of the pelvis and connected with the rest of the body...

jonreading
06-05-2014, 10:33 AM
So long as calm is interpreted maybe more as evenness, as what was that thing that crazy old man who we occasionally pay homage to before handwaving and politely dismissing said - a union of opposites? - but not as a lack of will. I have been stingingly called 'lazy' of mind in jest by a certain someone enough to know that there needs to be Herculean intent bubbling beneath the surface, and even then, it is usually never enough, all the while the body struggles to remove the roadblocks to letting it out. Always need more!

I think if we are consolidating around a consensus that "relax" is referring to the process of reducing the over-use of muscles, then it stands to reason that the definition applies similarly to relaxing the mind. That is, we are not talking about the cessation of activity, only the reduction of unnecessary activity. The reduction in activity allows for greater focus on intent. I am not sure if the empty-ing mind version of meditation is what we are shooting for when we train aikido.

As an athletic comparison, Michael Jordan used to speak about "just playing" basketball. He didn't think about the fans, the boundary lines of the court, the shot clock, his opponent, whatever. Instead, he would think about playing and all those elements were simply part of playing, not warranting his focused attention. His focused attention remained on playing.

So in analogy, it is our intent that requires our full attention. Intent leads mind, mind leads ki, fill in whatever other variation of this saying you know. The other aspects of our training (our partner, our waza, our spectators, etc.) should not require our full attention as they should be part of the larger picture - moving our self with unity and support. But that would be too much like spontaneously expressing aiki... takemusu something or other...

After all, if we are doing the empty-mind thing, should every blonde have a black belt? Sorry... couldn't resist... ;)

lbb
06-05-2014, 11:07 AM
I think if we are consolidating around a consensus that "relax" is referring to the process of reducing the over-use of muscles, then it stands to reason that the definition applies similarly to relaxing the mind. That is, we are not talking about the cessation of activity, only the reduction of unnecessary activity. The reduction in activity allows for greater focus on intent. I am not sure if the empty-ing mind version of meditation is what we are shooting for when we train aikido.


Well, it's mushin, so yeah, why not?

hughrbeyer
06-05-2014, 09:07 PM
Recently heard from my teacher on the mat: "The way to relax your shoulders is to stop trying to do things that are hard." :)

fatebass21
12-19-2014, 06:43 PM
No mind...

sakumeikan
12-21-2014, 04:08 AM
Don't be mislead by someone from internet, ki don't exist. It is only urban legend...

Dear Szczepan,
Ki , an urban myth? Simply because most /some people do not believe in Ki /Chi/prana does not make it a myth.Perhaps there are forces/things we as yet have not proven?/Perhaps in time some person will explain Ki in scientific terms? I suppose its like religious faith?Did for example Christ arise from the grave?Some would say no , millions believe otherwise. Merry Xmas /Happy New Year to all, Cheers, Joe