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Dave Miller
05-21-2003, 07:28 PM
I have heard this spoken of in varying degrees from just an Aikido "parlor trick" to one of the most fundamental principles of Aikido.

What think ye?

Jeff R.
05-21-2003, 08:30 PM
Have you tried it? It's a pretty cool exercise in Ki extension. Of course, if one doesn't believe in Ki, it might not work well. Regardless, it's a good way to center oneself and practice visualization, extending [ki] beyond the surface of and into/through or beyond the other person.

Mel Barker
05-21-2003, 09:11 PM
We don't talk about Ki much in our dojo, and we teach unbendable arm to beginners in two minutes without having them visualize anything or mentioning the work ki.

The importance of it lies in one's ability to use the effect while doing aikido I think. Otherwise, it's a nice party trick.

Mel

Erik
05-21-2003, 11:06 PM
They laughed when I stood up and straightened my arm

But when they couldn't bend it!

"Can he really keep his arm straight?" a girl whispered. "Heavens no!" Arthur exclaimed. "He never kept his arm straight in his life."

I decided to make the most of the situation. With mock dignity I adjusted my gi. Then I stood tall and made a quarter turn, just as I had seen our aikido shihan do.

"What do you think of his execution?" called a voice from the rear.

"We're in favor of it!" came back the answer, and the crowd rocked with laughter.

Then I Started to extend....

Not that, you sick bastards.

Instantly a tense silence fell on the guests. The laughter died on their lips as if by magic. I extended ki and I heard gasps of amazement. My friends sat breathless -- spellbound!

I extended ki and I forgot the people around me. I forgot the hour, the place, the breathless listeners. The little world I lived in seemed to fade -- seemed to grow dim -- unreal. Only the unbendableness was real. Only the unbendableness and visions it brought me. Visions as beautiful and as changing as the wind blown clouds and drifting moonlight that long ago inspired the master composer. It seemed as if O'Sensei himself were speaking to me -- speaking through the medium of ki -- not in words but in energy. Not in sentences but in exquisite melodies!

A Complete Triumph!

As the last bit of unbending died away, the room resounded with a sudden roar of applause. I found myself surrounded by excited faces. How my friends carried on! Men shook my hand -- wildly congratulated me -- pounded me on the back in their enthusiasm! Everybody was exclaiming with delight -- plying me with rapid questions... "Jack! Why didn't you tell us you could do that?"... "Where did you learn?" -- "How long have you studied?" -- "Who was your teacher?"

"Just a short while ago I couldn't straighten my pinkie."

"Quit your kidding," laughed Arthur, himself an accomplished aikidoist. "You've been studying for years. I can tell."

"I have been studying only a short while," I insisted. "I decided to keep it a secret so that I could surprise all you folks."

Then I told them the whole story.

Have you ever heard of the Aikido School of Aikido?" I asked.

A few of my friends nodded. "That's an aikido school, isn't it?" they exclaimed.

"Exactly," I replied. "They have a new simplified method that can teach you to use ki in just a few months."

Then I explained how for years I had longed to have an unbendable arm.

"A few months ago," I continued, "I saw an interesting ad for the Aikido school of Aikido -- a new method of learning to use ki which only cost a few cents a day! The ad told how a woman had mastered ki! Best of all, the wonderful new method she used, required no laborious scales -- no heartless exercises -- no tiresome practising. It sounded so convincing that I filled out the coupon requesting the Free Demonstration Lesson.

"I was amazed to see how easy it was to extend ki".

"After the first classes, nothing stopped me. I could keep my arm straight in all kinds of circumstances."

Thousands of successful students never dreamed they could keep their arm straight until it was revealed to them by a remarkable "Ki Test".

If you are in earnest about wanting to keep your arm straight -- if you really want to gain happiness and increase your popularity -- take a class at the Aikido School of Aikido. No cost -- no obligation. Right now we are making a Special offer for a limited number of new students. Sign and send the convenient coupon now -- before it's too late to gain the benefits of a straight arm.

If you are in earnest about wanting to keep your arm straight -- if you really want to gain happiness and increase your popularity -- send at once for the free booklet and Demonstration Lesson. No cost -- no obligation. Right now we are making a Special offer for a limited number of new students. Sign and send the convenient coupon now -- before it's too late to gain the benefits of this offer. Kokken and jo supplied when needed, cash or credit. Aikido School Of Aikido, 1031 Some Bldg., Some City, Some State.

Thalib
05-22-2003, 01:02 AM
What the???

Paul Klembeck
05-22-2003, 01:18 AM
Both.

As a demonstration, it's a parlor trick, relax opposing muscles, you don't help defeat yourself.

As an exercise, it begins to get at fundamentals. How you visualize your body working effects how it does work.

adwelly
05-22-2003, 02:00 AM
As an exercise I've noticed that because the bicep is relaxed its not working with the uke's effort to bend the arm, making the arm much harder to bend.

But here's the odd thing, I've also noticed that on really cold days when I'm out on a run - the same mental effort for unbendable arm make the blood flow into my hands so they don't feel cold any more. I think there's a bit more going on than just relaxed muscles.

They don't talk much about ki in my dojo either. But they do talk about relaxation, extension, and visulisation.

PeterR
05-22-2003, 02:36 AM
Brilliant Erik :D

Much vigorous back slapping.

jk
05-22-2003, 03:06 AM
Erik's been smoking that Yellow Bamboo again... :D

happysod
05-22-2003, 04:36 AM
As an exercise, yes it's a parlour trick. As part of an entering move, very useful, mainly because of the effect on your upper body rather than anything to do with the arm itself. If you're extending "unbendable arm" properly, your shoulders and neck are relaxed and you're not fighting yourself during the technique. Simplest application I can think of to show this is a basic nikkyo with a cross-handed attack (from static).

Erik, I want the training video (do you do VHS?)

tedehara
05-22-2003, 07:51 AM
We don't talk about Ki much in our dojo, and we teach unbendable arm to beginners in two minutes without having them visualize anything or mentioning the work ki.

The importance of it lies in one's ability to use the effect while doing aikido I think. Otherwise, it's a nice party trick.

MelWhat about the rest of the day when you're off the mat? Shouldn't you be extending ki during the other 23 hours of the day? :eek:

Unbendable arm is a simple demonstration of ki extension. BTY the Ki Society has changed it's understanding from "Extend Ki" to add "Ki is Extended". This means that your arm should always be unbendable. That your natural state of being is extending ki, you shouldn't have to do or think of anything special. :cool:

Dave Miller
05-22-2003, 08:47 AM
Have you tried it? It's a pretty cool exercise in Ki extension. Of course, if one doesn't believe in Ki, it might not work well. Regardless, it's a good way to center oneself and practice visualization, extending [ki] beyond the surface of and into/through or beyond the other person.Not only have I tried it, I consider it to be foundational to many of the techniques of Aikido. (That's part of what my signature is talking about.) Perhaps the simplist and most direct form of this is shomen ate. I believe the explanation for how it works can be found as much in physics as Ki. One of my senseis is a yondan who can pile several people onto his unbendable arm and yet he doesn't give the notion of Ki much creedance at all, hence my contention that physics explains the technique as well as Ki.

Mel Barker
05-22-2003, 10:27 AM
What about the rest of the day when you're off the mat? Shouldn't you be extending ki during the other 23 hours of the day? :eek:
Well since I have no concept of what it means to extend ki, and since I never have heard any of the shihan I've studied under mention such a thing and since my instructors consider such language to be nonsensical and useless, I doubt I "should" be doing it. I think such notions get in the way to learning to do aikido. Others, I know, have a different perspective. I don't know what they "should" do either.

Mel

Erik
05-23-2003, 01:34 AM
I'm glad a few of you got it. I was worried.

I should probably leave this as a mystery and let you all think I'm a great copywriter but with the exception of about 30 words I borrowed the piece verbatim from what is perhaps the single most famous piece of advertising ever written. You can see it at

http://www.passaicparc.com/killer/caples.html

Anyone doing any copywriting/advertising should read this guys book.

PeterR
05-23-2003, 03:18 AM
Erik you just lost a life long fan - I mean I was really really impressed. And like all disappointed fans .....
I'm glad a few of you got it. I was worried.

I should probably leave this as a mystery and let you all think I'm a great copywriter but with the exception of about 30 words I borrowed the piece verbatim from what is perhaps the single most famous piece of advertising ever written. You can see it at

http://www.passaicparc.com/killer/caples.html

Anyone doing any copywriting/advertising should read this guys book.

tedehara
05-24-2003, 10:54 AM
Well since I have no concept of what it means to extend ki, and since I never have heard any of the shihan I've studied under mention such a thing and since my instructors consider such language to be nonsensical and useless, I doubt I "should" be doing it. I think such notions get in the way to learning to do aikido. Others, I know, have a different perspective. I don't know what they "should" do either.

MelWhile most people practice a form for a technique, the style I practice changes things around every year. As the years go by, these small changes add up and the techniques takes on completely different physical motions. But while the physical forms change, this idea of extending ki remains the same.

What is extending ki? It's being calm and moving in a relaxed, natural motion. Someone asked K. Tohei how to pass the advanced ki tests. His reply was, "Do Nothing." i.e. don't get in the way of yourself.

I threw in the faces :eek: :cool: partly to indicate that I wasn't really getting on your case specifically. You saw the possiblity that this approach might help improve a person's aikido. Most people don't even get that far. Because they don't understand it, they deride it and call unbendable arm a "cheap parlor trick".

However the other observation is also valid. If being calm and moving in a relaxed manner is good for your aikido, imagine how that approach could improve your life! If you look at top athletes, they are always playing in a calm manner. How many times have you taken an exam and your mind freezes up because you're too tense? Any type of performance situation usually brings on the possibility of subconscious tension rising. How would your life change if you could avoid that?

This is one approach to aikido. There are others.

Jeff R.
05-24-2003, 01:56 PM
I believe the explanation for how it works can be found as much in physics as Ki.
I'm sure it's true, but why bother? I was a physics major, and I love solving scientific mysteries, but some things are better left to just knowing with your heart rather than understanding with your brain. In fact, it's that incessant desire to understand, to figure out, that leads us toward conquering, overcoming and losing the spiritual essence that makes the magic happen.

One of my senseis is a yondan who can pile several people onto his unbendable arm and yet he doesn't give the notion of Ki much creedance at all, hence my contention that physics explains the technique as well as Ki.

Well since I have no concept of what it means to extend ki, and since I never have heard any of the shihan I've studied under mention such a thing and since my instructors consider such language to be nonsensical and useless, I doubt I "should" be doing it. I think such notions get in the way to learning to do aikido. Others, I know, have a different perspective. I don't know what they "should" do either.

Mel


We don't give breathing, or seeing, or any of the senses much notion at all either. We take them for granted--until we lose one. If he'd rather call a tomato an onion, whatever. People used to believe the world was flat, and that atoms were only an idea. Many of us are stuck in the empirical mode, but it is a very limited way to experience the Universe. With all due respect, we should all be learning from as many sources as possible. Unless a teacher is enlightened, then I would consider their information carefully and respectfully, but I could not accept it as the end-all be-all. Heck, even an enlightened teacher is only a guide. We may have very different paths to enlightenment. Some don't desire to be enlightened at all--and they are the ones with whom I have a concern.

Thalib
05-24-2003, 07:25 PM
Nicely put Rychwa-san...

Mel Barker
05-26-2003, 01:40 PM
What is extending ki? It's being calm and moving in a relaxed, natural motion. Someone asked K. Tohei how to pass the advanced ki tests. His reply was, "Do Nothing." i.e. don't get in the way of yourself.
Ah! I see. Now that you've defined the term. I see that we are in agreement. :D

Dave Miller
05-29-2003, 11:46 AM
In fact, it's that incessant desire to understand, to figure out, that leads us toward conquering, overcoming and losing the spiritual essence that makes the magic happen...

With all due respect, we should all be learning from as many sources as possible. Unless a teacher is enlightened, then I would consider their information carefully and respectfully, but I could not accept it as the end-all be-all. Heck, even an enlightened teacher is only a guide. We may have very different paths to enlightenment. Some don't desire to be enlightened at all--and they are the ones with whom I have a concern.
Ah yes, the old "you just can't understand because you're not 'enlightened'" argument.

First off, I never said that I only experience the universe emperically. It is a statement of fact that Empericism is an indefensible position. That having been said, it doesn't follow that every non-emperical explanation for how things work is true.

For example, I could argue that rings of mushrooms are caused by fairies dancing in a circle. You might counter with the proper scientific explanation, specifically that they are simply growing on the edge of the circular mass of the fungus. If I chose to, as you did, counter that with "I'm sure it's true, but why bother?... [the]incessant desire to understand, to figure out, that leads us toward conquering, overcoming and losing the spiritual essence that makes the magic happen.", that doesn't suddenly make it true that fairies cause "fairy rings" of mushrooms to appear.

In the same fashion, the fact that you have chosen to reject science at some level doesn't mean that physics doesn't explain Aikido. Nor does it mean that the rest of us are somehow on a lesser plane of understanding because we don't hold to the same ideas about ki as you do.

You seem to have this habit of comparing ki with breathing and seeing and other essential bodily functions and yet these are all things well explained by science. There's nothing magical or mysterious about breathing or seeing, these are simply the results of how our bodies were made and how we were designed to interact with our world. The notion of ki is a very different sort of thing altogether.

Darren Raleigh
05-29-2003, 01:23 PM
...In the same fashion, the fact that you have chosen to reject science at some level doesn't mean that physics doesn't explain Aikido. Nor does it mean that the rest of us are somehow on a lesser plane of understanding because we don't hold to the same ideas about ki as you do...Please don't use such rudeness in my presence.

First of all, is Jeff's rejection of science a "fact?" You say that it is, but I don't think I read in Jeff's post that he utterly, completely, rejects science.

Second, your (unfounded) assertion that he claims to be on a greater plane of understanding is simply insulting.

Science has, at it's very core, the willing acceptance of new ideas based on new, provable data. Science never stops. It accepts every single "fact" only as long as it takes new information to modify that fact. Some take a very long time, but that doesn't mean that science has closed the book on them. The book doesn't close.

I do get tired of hearing the phrase "Oh, it's just physics," used to mean, "There's nothing mysterious or magical about it." Really? Gravity is just physics, too. How does it work, please?

In the end, someone may find out that ki is fully explainable using the terminology of physics. That won't lessen it one bit. But if you're uncomfortable with the idea of ki, at least don't be so rude about it.

Given that you started this thread, and then jumped on Jeff the way you did, begins to read a little bit like trolling.

Jeff's aikido is not your aikido is not my aikido. You will never change that fact, and you're making unpleasant noises while you try.

Greg Jennings
05-29-2003, 01:53 PM
Maybe the question is what does gravity smell like?

Cheers!

Darren Raleigh
05-29-2003, 02:03 PM
Now that's a tough question!

Cheers!

Darren

Dave Miller
05-29-2003, 02:09 PM
First off, I wasn't "jumping on Jeff". If that's the impression I gave, then I'm truly sorry.

Second, I never said that Jeff had totally rejected science as fact, I said that he had rejected it on some level. I based that on:I was a physics major, and I love solving scientific mysteries, but some things are better left to just knowing with your heart rather than understanding with your brain.I took this to mean that although Jeff had studied science, he had since come to accept other sources of knowledge as being more reliable in certain circumstances.

As for the "greater plane of understanding" argument being insulting, he's the one to made distinction between teachers who were or were not "enlightened":Unless a teacher is enlightened, then I would consider their information carefully and respectfully, but I could not accept it as the end-all be-all.
As far as physics taking the mysteriousness and "magic" out of Aikido, this is exactly the same line of argument that was used against science when it came on the scene in its early days. Personally, I don't have a great need for Aikido to be mysterious and magical. If you do, then that's cool but don't berate others of us who are comfortable explaining it in terms of science.

As far as Jeff's Aikido being different from mine, I stated that plainly in my post. I would like to know why I'm considered rude for countering his arguments with my own logical assertions. That's part of what a message board is for, to make points and offer counter-points. My intent was never to be rude nor was it to be a troll. I deeply apologize to Jeff if he felt that I was being rude to him.

Mel Barker
05-29-2003, 02:58 PM
I hadn't detected any rudeness, just engaging dialog.

Mel

Erik
05-29-2003, 03:04 PM
How does gravity work? (http://www.howstuffworks.com/question232.htm)

I'm still waiting for even 1/1,000,000th of this detail on ki.

opherdonchin
05-29-2003, 03:37 PM
How does gravity work? I'm still waiting for even 1/1,000,000th of this detail on ki.This doesn't answer the question of how gravity works. It just tells you how much gravity you will feel in different circumstances.

Of course, you might argue that a concise and accurate description of phenomeology can serve as a good proxy for understanding. That would be a limiting view on what understanding is, but it's not an entirely unreasonable one.
As far as physics taking the mysteriousness and "magic" out of Aikido, this is exactly the same line of argument that was used against science when it came on the scene in its early days.Really? ... I'm not sure I know what you are referring to. German philosophy, in particular, has a history of complaining that the technologically driven objectivist view of the world is undermining our connection to a more intuitive and subjective grasp of reality. I'm thinking of Nietzche, Husserl and Heidegger. I'm not a real philosopher or a real scholar, but I believe that the tradition of philosophy that followed from these thinkers is still alive and well.

This thread has posts by those who are convinced that the idea of Ki has helped them as aikidoka and in their lives, and those who are convinced that the idea is unlikely to help them. I tend to think that both groups could be right. One group has probably found the idea useful, and the other group may very well find it has little to offer. On the other hand, I have a slight tendency to find more interest when someone is offering me a path they feel brings insight. It's possible, I always think, that the others have not explored this path or have explored it but missed something fundamental.

Dave Miller
05-29-2003, 04:33 PM
Copernicus and Galileo dealt with objections to helio-centrism based on the supposed "perfection" of the cosmos with the earth at its center.

Germ theory (Pasteur) dealt with opposition from spontaneous generation based on "vital forces" that simply "caused" maggots to appear on rotting meat, etc.

The air conditioner was invented as a way to clean the "evil vapors" out of swamp air and therefore cure malaria (which is Latin for "bad air").

Today, many pre-scientific cultures still believe that diseases are caused by evil spirits that must be removed by chanting encantations and invoking magic.

I was talking some years ago to someone about how bacteria are used to manufacture vitamins. They did their best to try and convince me that ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) that was produced by an orange was somehow better than ascorbic acid produced by a bacterium. That fact that it is chemically identical didn't matter to them. There was "something that science can't detect" that made the one better than the other.

This is the kind of logic that I hear by some folks trying to say that Aikido is all about ki and that explanations based on physics are simply superfluous.

With respect to this thread, it matters little since the topic is a technique, the unbendable arm, and not necessarily how it works. If you need ki as an explanation for it, that's fine. Just allow us who don't feel a need for it to use physics as an explanation for how it works.

Erik
05-29-2003, 04:43 PM
This is the kind of logic that I hear by some folks trying to say that Aikido is all about ki and that explanations based on physics are simply superfluous.
Nicely said!

Alfonso
05-29-2003, 04:56 PM
http://people.howstuffworks.com/karate6.htm

:D

kironin
05-29-2003, 06:29 PM
Well since I have no concept of what it means to extend ki, and since I never have heard any of the shihan I've studied under mention such a thing and since my instructors consider such language to be nonsensical and useless, I doubt I "should" be doing it. I think such notions get in the way to learning to do aikido. Others, I know, have a different perspective. I don't know what they "should" do either.

Mel
My first response is to reflect on what a sad state of affairs this is.

My second is to hope that they really are showing you how to "extend ki", just in different language or examples.

"extend ki" or "ki is extending" is really in its most basic form simply this,

physically and mentally expressing a calm, relaxed positive state of being.

the nature of the physical effects of this concept can be communicated to a beginner through simple exercises such as "unbendable arm" in a couple of minutes under controlled conditions on the mat.

applying the same while moving, being attacked on or off the mat, under stress in daily life, etc.

takes a lifetime of exploring, questioning and training.

Craig

otto
05-29-2003, 08:22 PM
The issue I have noticed with Western culture trying to grasp Eastern concepts , is that we tend to rationalize first...then do.

This I understand is not the case with modern Japanese Society..

Could someone with some empiric experience on this please elaborate on this postulate???

Plus KI.

Mel Barker
05-29-2003, 10:19 PM
My first response is to reflect on what a sad state of affairs this is.
Why?
My second is to hope that they really are showing you how to "extend ki", just in different language or examples.

"extend ki" or "ki is extending" is really in its most basic form simply this,

physically and mentally expressing a calm, relaxed positive state of being..
Why don't you say that then?

Mel

Peter Goldsbury
05-29-2003, 11:20 PM
The issue I have noticed with Western culture trying to grasp Eastern concepts , is that we tend to rationalize first...then do.

This I understand is not the case with modern Japanese Society..

Could someone with some empiric experience on this please elaborate on this postulate???

Plus KI.
I have not taught my Japanese students the unbendable arm, but I can state with some confidence that none of them have any problem understanding the concept of ki. Nor have I ever had to use the concept to explain something (and in my dojo we tend to give more explanations than usual).

Of course, the meaning of the word is explained in the Japanese dictionary, but this explanation is based on how native speakers use the term. It is also used in many hundreds of Japanese phrases and compounds. I think if I tried to give any special explanation of the term, I would cause confusion.

Best regards,

akiy
05-29-2003, 11:29 PM
Of course, the meaning of the word is explained in the Japanese dictionary, but this explanation is based on how native speakers use the term. It is also used in many hundreds of Japanese phrases and compounds. I think if I tried to give any special explanation of the term, I would cause confusion.
Thanks, Peter -- I was just about to sit down and write basically the same sort of thing. The term "ki" is "understood" by Japanese folks in that it's used in everyday speech as part of phrases and compounds.

However, if you went up to most Japanese folks walking on the street and asked, "What is 'ki'?", they'd most likely either say, "Hah?" or define it as something like consciousness or life energy at most. (Any thougts on this, Peter/Peter?)

For folks who may be interested, I've listed some of these phrases here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/language/ki_phrases.html

-- Jun

PeterR
05-29-2003, 11:53 PM
Why don't you say that then?
Because then it wouldn't be deep, mysterious and orriental. :p

I must say I also have never heard my Shihan use the word either - although a visiting Ki Society Aikidoist told me he saw an incrediable display of Ki by the deshi.

Craig is absolutely correct when he says other words are used to describe what they refer to as Ki. However, the use of a blanket term to cover everything from "power of movement" to the mystical is not only confusing but the source of a whole lot of misunderstanding.

kironin
05-30-2003, 02:18 AM
[QUOTE="Dave Miller"This is the kind of logic that I hear by some folks trying to say that Aikido is all about ki and that explanations based on physics are simply superfluous.

With respect to this thread, it matters little since the topic is a technique, the unbendable arm, and not necessarily how it works. If you need ki as an explanation for it, that's fine. Just allow us who don't feel a need for it to use physics as an explanation for how it works.[/QUOTE]Aikido is all about Ki.

Aikido is all about Physics.

Aikido is about mind and body.

Aikido is about metaphysics and physics.

As far as I am concerned there is no real conflict here. I have always found Ki training to be fairly pragmatic in it's approach and very relevant to self-defense. Ki development training in fact has been in the opinion of police officers and prison guards I have trained often the most relevant part for them in dealing with very violent people who couldn't give a rat's ass about ki.

Ki is not a scientific explanation of unbendable arm. It can be, with good training, a well-understood cultural term

within a dojo community.

Medical therapy based on Ki, now that's a really controversial topic.

Craig

kironin
05-30-2003, 02:38 AM
Craig is absolutely correct when he says other words are used to describe what they refer to as Ki. However, the use of a blanket term to cover everything from "power of movement" to the mystical is not only confusing but the source of a whole lot of misunderstanding.
To you maybe.

To others not.

people differ, people connect to training in different ways. Just because I am a scientist doesn't mean I am going to hammer others

all the time with scientific criteria.

But if it makes you happy, you could in Ki

Society at least (I can't speak for other groups) replace the word "Ki" with the words "mind and body coordination" and be spot on 99% of the time.

after all, our Aikido rank certificates say "Aikido with Mind and Body Coordinated'

they do not say "Aikido with Ki"

Ki development is "Shin Shin Toitsu Do" and

not "Ki do"

Craig

kironin
05-30-2003, 02:43 AM
Why?
because when I here that sort of hostility to the using the term "Ki", I can never be sure that the baby hasn't been thrown out with the bath water. I have visited dojos where it most clearly has.
Why don't you say that then?

Mel
I did.

Craig

kironin
05-30-2003, 03:04 AM
Thanks, Peter -- I was just about to sit down and write basically the same sort of thing. The term "ki" is "understood" by Japanese folks in that it's used in everyday speech as part of phrases and compounds.

However, if you went up to most Japanese folks walking on the street and asked, "What is 'ki'?", they'd most likely either say, "Hah?" or define it as something like consciousness or life energy at most. (Any thougts on this, Peter/Peter?)

For folks who may be interested, I've listed some of these phrases here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/language/ki_phrases.html

-- Jun
To Peter and Jun,

So What ?

Scientific fields use common words with a specialized meaning that can be often difficult for those to appreciate outside that field of study. "mass" being an example that comes to mind. "chaos" and "point" are good examples too.

I bet if you asked many of those people on the street "what is aikido?" you would also likely hear "huh?".

Craig

kironin
05-30-2003, 03:22 AM
Both.

As a demonstration, it's a parlor trick, relax opposing muscles, you don't help defeat yourself.

As an exercise, it begins to get at fundamentals. How you visualize your body working effects how it does work.
I consider simply showing off and feeding the ego unless you make the best use of it in a demonstration by teaching it to the audience. (students wanering through audience asnwering questions helps a lot if the audience is large). They get to do something other than passively watch and also learn something about themselves. After doing it themselves they generally watch the aikido demo with much more interest especially if you point out where you are using just what they were doing while tossing two attackers.

Craig

Peter Goldsbury
05-30-2003, 04:56 AM
To Peter and Jun,

So What ?

Scientific fields use common words with a specialized meaning that can be often difficult for those to appreciate outside that field of study. "mass" being an example that comes to mind. "chaos" and "point" are good examples too.

I bet if you asked many of those people on the street "what is aikido?" you would also likely hear "huh?".

Craig
So what? No reason other than the observation that I do not need to explain the meaning of the term to my own students. The question whether it is a scientific term would not even arise. I am sure that many Japanese do not know what aikido is, but in telling them I would not need to give a lengthy explanation about the meaning of KI.

Yours sincerely,

Greg Jennings
05-30-2003, 05:47 AM
Now that's a tough question!
Gosh, I thought someone would have read the poem and gotten my point.

http://www.duke.edu/~bis/gravity/epic_poem_by_moe.html .

Regards,

otto
05-30-2003, 07:51 AM
Dear Peter G. , Jun and board.

The fact than the KI term is commonly used and understood for the Japanese , makes it easier to teach and grasp the basics of Aikido to the new student??

Does thats gives a better disposition to learn?

Could it be that the western concept of Separation between mind and body , proves to hamper aikido learning/development for us , at least on the early stages??

If that's the case....thanks Descartes :disgust:

What are your thoughts?

Plus KI!

Jeff R.
05-30-2003, 09:43 AM
I guess the point I was trying to make was simply this:

Do you need to know how a car's engine works in order to be a good driver?

Do you need to know human anatomy and physiology in order to walk, eat, breathe?

Can you see, hear, smell, or taste the energy that makes you alive?

In meditations, when we try and clear our minds, that act itself negates or undermines the attempt to meditate. It's something that just needs to happen on its own, maybe with a little guidance on our part, but nothing more.

When we begin to overthink and analyze things that are based on faith, we lose grasp of those things, just because when we analyze, we question, and when we question we subvert faith.

What I don't want to happen is to have what I'm illustrating mixed up with religion. I'm not suggesting that we need to embrace religion in order to understand Ki or Aikido. I'm identifying a common thread. We all live, we all breathe (and all resources I've ever studied, encountered, or heard of totally relate Ki and breathing as a co-dependent, synonymous relationship)and all living things are made of the same atoms, powered by the same energies, and in that light, we are all bound together.

So far, we can identify photons, leptons, hadrons, quarks, but there is nothing to solidly identify Ki. My understanding is that Ki is a spiritual energy. It exists on a different level of physics--one that we are not capable of practising yet.

We know it is there because it is in our actions, our emotions, the way we touch others beyond physical contact. We have heard about, and maybe even experienced spiritual connections such as deja vu, gut feelings, knowing what someone was going to say before they said it, dowsing, etc. By trying to identify it beyond faith and feeling is like trying to identify the spirit, or the Great Spirit.

As I've said, science is amazing; a language we've created to understand nature. But in the duality, the balance of living between spirit and logic, we often need to be careful to not let one overtake the other.

As to whether we agree or not, it is, regardless, an interesting topic to ponder.

That's all.

Mel Barker
05-30-2003, 10:18 AM
because when I here that sort of hostility to the using the term "Ki", I can never be sure that the baby hasn't been thrown out with the bath water. I have visited dojos where it most clearly has.

Craig
Interesting. So to what do you equate the baby and to what do you equate the bath water?

Mel

kironin
05-30-2003, 10:21 AM
So what? No reason other than the observation that I do not need to explain the meaning of the term to my own students. The question whether it is a scientific term would not even arise. I am sure that many Japanese do not know what aikido is, but in telling them I would not need to give a lengthy explanation about the meaning of KI.

Yours sincerely,
But as you said, you don't use the term in explaining your aikido so the usual cultural understanding is good enough. On the other hand, Koichi Tohei Sensei does use the term as part of explaining his aikido and so he makes a great deal of effort to explain and teach precisely what he means when he uses the term "Ki" to both his Japanese and Foreign

students. This is the same burden required in any field. A nonlinear dynamicist is very careful to explain what he means by the term "chaos" as mathematical term and the conventional meaning of the word.

"Ki" is a specialized term in Aikido. I seriously doubt your students understand that specialized meaning without some teaching.

best regards,

Craig

akiy
05-30-2003, 10:28 AM
Hi Craig,
So What ?

Scientific fields use common words with a specialized meaning that can be often difficult for those to appreciate outside that field of study. "mass" being an example that comes to mind. "chaos" and "point" are good examples too.

I bet if you asked many of those people on the street "what is aikido?" you would also likely hear "huh?".
Oh dear. I seem to have hit a nerve as evidenced by your "grr" angry icon.

All I was saying is that the term "ki" is pretty much omnipresent in the Japanese language but we don't use it "out of context" very often.

Does this invalidate its study? Of course not. I was merely pointing out that although a lot of people seem to think that the study of "ki" is an everyday event for all Japanese folks, it's a misconception. I wouldn't put Japanese folks as being more "mind and body coordinated" or such moreso than any other person of any other culture/country. If they were, there'd be no need for Tohei sensei's teachings, huh?

It's very true that most Japanese folks really don't have a clue what aikido is (outside of it being some sort of budo). I remember when I remarked to a coworker in Umegaoka that I was heading over to Shinjuku to train aikido, he made chopping movements with his arms (a la bad karate)...

Regards,

-- Jun

Erik
05-30-2003, 10:44 AM
Could it be that the western concept of Separation between mind and body , proves to hamper aikido learning/development for us , at least on the early stages??
I wasn't aware that was a Western concept.

How is it that we can successfully produce boxers, wrestlers, tennis players, golfers and everything else? You'd think we would really suck at sports with such a severe handicap.

Erik
05-30-2003, 10:54 AM
It's very true that most Japanese folks really don't have a clue what aikido is (outside of it being some sort of budo). I remember when I remarked to a coworker in Umegaoka that I was heading over to Shinjuku to train aikido, he made chopping movements with his arms (a la bad karate)...
Did he do a bad imitation of Bruce Lee as well? I usually get both. :)

George S. Ledyard
05-30-2003, 11:01 AM
I wasn't aware that was a Western concept.

How is it that we can successfully produce boxers, wrestlers, tennis players, golfers and everything else? You'd think we would really suck at sports with such a severe handicap.
Well, actually we didn't have any sense of these things being integrally connected. The biggest thing that has happened in the last 25 years or so in world class competitive sports is the introduction of techniques that came out of the human potential movement of the sixties and seventies. The use of techniques which originally came from Eastern spiritual traditions has given birth to the whole field of Sports Psychology. At this point very few, if any, athletes at the very top of international competition do not use techniques which came out of this movement which first introduced the radical notion that things need to be dealt with holistically.

Don_Modesto
05-30-2003, 11:54 AM
techniques that came out of the human potential movement of the sixties and seventies....the whole field of Sports Psychology
I get Timothy Gallwey on the Inner Game of Tennis, George Leonard, of course, and maybe Susan A. Jackson and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's Flow in Sports. What are some other names here, George? And concepts? (I'm not so up on this stuff that I can separate out the "human potential" stuff from its forebears.)

Thanks.

George S. Ledyard
05-30-2003, 12:21 PM
I get Timothy Gallwey on the Inner Game of Tennis, George Leonard, of course, and maybe Susan A. Jackson and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's Flow in Sports. What are some other names here, George? And concepts? (I'm not so up on this stuff that I can separate out the "human potential" stuff from its forebears.)

Thanks.
Other than what I have picked up over the years by watching the profiles of the athletes and their training on TV, I can't say that I know much about the specifics. I am sure that there are people who are considered to be at the top of this field that most of us have never heard of.

Erik
05-30-2003, 01:07 PM
I'm argumentative this morning so I might be prompted to say weight training has done more but I won't do that. ;)

Just kidding, really! :)

Seriously, I don't mean to devalue this stuff. I've read a ton of books on the subject and it's a longstanding study of mine, but it's not so cut and dried as many make it seem. Every top athlete from just about anytime probably had a sense of the value of mind body integration. They just didn't know it was mind body integration, nor, did they have any methods to structure or verbalize it in the way we think of it. So, in one sense, it was new as these guys came along and structured, codified, created terminology, found converts and brought it out into the open. The concept, however, goes back as long as sports have been around.

It's not really Eastern in that sense.

I've also found that a lot of what passes as Eastern mind/body integration is very much a head game and artificial as well. Aliveness just is.

Erik
05-30-2003, 01:09 PM
Don, you might check out Thomas Tutko as well. He's kind of mundane by today's standards but he was one of the first sports psychologists that I know of.

opherdonchin
05-30-2003, 03:47 PM
They just didn't know it was mind body integration, nor, did they have any methods to structure or verbalize it in the way we think of it.And here we get to the root of the 'science' issue. The value of a word (like Ki) is in the power it gives us to structure and verbalize (sigh) our thinking. Much of the power of science is in the development of structures for codifying and generalizing the vague understandings of different individuals. By introducing a consistent, reproducible terminology that is more-or-less the same across practitioners, we do more than just label. We allow for the development of a field, for improvement of technique, and standardization of teaching.

Erik
05-30-2003, 06:04 PM
By introducing a consistent, reproducible terminology that is more-or-less the same across practitioners, we do more than just label.
If I respond to this in a discussion on ki all hell is going to break loose. :)

Peter Goldsbury
05-30-2003, 06:45 PM
"Ki" is a specialized term in Aikido. I seriously doubt your students understand that specialized meaning without some teaching.

best regards,

Craig
Yes, I suspect this is where we differ. I have read some of what Mr Tohei has written on the subject in English and also what Morihei Ueshiba and his son Kisshomaru have written in Japanese.

I do not believe the term is specialized in aikido, in the sense that it is used with any other meaning than those given in, say, the Kojien or Kokugo Daijiten. This is why I do not think I need to explain it to my Japanese students.

Best regards,

otto
05-30-2003, 06:48 PM
I wasn't aware that was a Western concept.

How is it that we can successfully produce boxers, wrestlers, tennis players, golfers and everything else? You'd think we would really suck at sports with such a severe handicap."

Dear Erik..

First of all i associated this thought of mind-body separation to western culture basically because if originated from the French Philosopher/Mathematician Rene Descartes , as I remember.

And more than its roots or origin , is western in application as i understand this way of thinking about your own being is basically a Western thing.

a Misconception of mine??..please enlighten me.

In any case i just posed a couple of questions not did i made any statements on the subject.

Do i think we're handicapped by this on the sport arena??..well there is certainly little space to think there , with all the sports competitions worldwide that takes places today matching man against man from any conceivable origin...i would say we're even on that field.

But why take my post out context and just question me about what i think of the products of western culture on the sports?..what about our performance in the arts?? or sex??

I would say we're even too...althought that would be a long and fruitless discertion i'm pretty sure.

By keeping my questions circunscribed to the Teaching/Learning of the martial Art of Aikido i was hoping to get some thoughts on a fact i've clashed with while I walk that path...and that is that sometimes you're much better just forgetting about excesive rationalization or trying to find logical explanations to everything...and just DO.

Why better in "my experience"??..because you waste a precious time on a search of answers that most of the time wouldnt make your experience any better , assuming your reach a aconclusion at all.

I guess in this matter , i'm on the same sidewalk with Jeff R.

Now everybody WAKE UP! , and have my apologies for the long ramble..

Plus KI!.

Thalib
05-30-2003, 07:14 PM
Well actually, I just remembered this quote:

"I do not need you to believe in order for me to believe."

I wonder who said that...

Peter Goldsbury
05-30-2003, 07:34 PM
Dear Peter G. , Jun and board.

The fact than the KI term is commonly used and understood for the Japanese , makes it easier to teach and grasp the basics of Aikido to the new student??

Does thats gives a better disposition to learn?

Could it be that the western concept of Separation between mind and body , proves to hamper aikido learning/development for us , at least on the early stages??

If that's the case....thanks Descartes :disgust:

What are your thoughts?

Plus KI!
Well, if you express it as a bald separation between mind and body, the distinction goes back a lot further than Descartes, in 'western' thought probably to Plato and early Greek ideas of the soul.

But, when I speak of a 'bald' separation, I am implicitly suggesting other ways of describing it. Much of English assumes what Reddy called the 'conduit metaphor' and I would not be surprised if much of how we express dynamic mind-body relationships made implicit use of similar structural metaphors.

This talkof structural metaphors can be found in Lakoff's writings and one question is whether the way we express a dynamic relationship metaphorically has any effect on actual performances which assume this relationship.

Another interesting thing for me is to see whether whether Japanese language has similar structural metaphor categories to English. From what I have discovered so far, it would seem not and this might well be of some relvance in considering Japanese concepts like KI, used in English.

Best regards,

opherdonchin
05-30-2003, 10:42 PM
Hey Peter,

That sounded interesting, but I think I only understood about half of it. Could you elaborate a little more?

Peter Goldsbury
05-31-2003, 12:07 AM
Hey Peter,

That sounded interesting, but I think I only understood about half of it. Could you elaborate a little more?
Well, for the past ten years or so I have been teaching a seminar here on metaphor. Metaphors are difficult to deal with in linguistics and tend to be relegated to literature: they are important when writing poems etc. I think this is due to a misreading of Aristotle's "Poetics" & "Rhetoric". In any case, both linguistics and literature tend to treat metaphors as being essentially language based.

This view has been countered by a number of people like Reddy, and also Lakoff & Johnson in "Metaphors We Live By" and other subsequent works. Basically, they argue that we speak in metaphors because we think in metaphors, which they regard as categories implicit in thought. Thus, the sense of a sentence like, "His anger exploded in a stream of expletives", for Lakoff, relies on a complex metaphor which regards emotions as objects moving in a kind of space. In fact, the whole distinction between the literal meaning of a word and the metaphorical meaning is itself based on a theory of naming which is also a metaphor: that names are labels for physical objects.

Lakoff bases his thesis on English and gives hundreds of examples taken from English, but he argues that his thesis is universal: humans think in metaphors because they are embodied minds. Now the interesting thing for me is that my course here is taught bilingually, in English and Japanese, with a Japanese translation of Lakoff's book, as well as the English original. Many of his examples do not work in Japanese.

This does not necessarily mean that his thesis is wrong, only that it is more difficult to specify truly 'universal' categories of metaphor.

You might ask what practical relevance this has. Well, some work has been done with patients suffering from cancer, AIDS and other incurable diseases, to see whether the metaphor framework in which they see their disease has any effect on how they react to it—and it does.

Now you can apply Lakoff's ideas to the discourse of martial arts, especially aikido, which has retained Japanese for its central concepts. Of course, the reference point for any discussion of the metaphorical categories underlying aikido discourse in Japan has to be Japanese. When you do this cross-culturally, as with a discussion of ki in English, problems can arise.

Best regards,

opherdonchin
05-31-2003, 12:31 AM
Thanks, that was very helpful.

George S. Ledyard
05-31-2003, 06:13 AM
Now you can apply Lakoff's ideas to the discourse of martial arts, especially aikido, which has retained Japanese for its central concepts. Of course, the reference point for any discussion of the metaphorical categories underlying aikido discourse in Japan has to be Japanese. When you do this cross-culturally, as with a discussion of ki in English, problems can arise.

Best regards,
Hi Peter!

If you take a group of students in Japan and one in the US, do you think that many years of essentially the same physical practice begins to develop a shared sense of a word like Ki?

In other words, your Japanese students begin with a sense of the meaning of Ki as it is part of the language. I would imagine that their real understanding of the term in an Aikido context changes as they train over the years. When I started Aikido Ki was a foreign term for which I was given a rather simplistic definition. Now, after almost thirty years, I have a very different "sense" of it.

So does the shared experience of the physical practice begin to develop a kind of shared metaphor despite the cultural differences? Or is that common Japanese belief that a foreigner can never understand Aikido (as they do) perhaps really true unless one immerses oneself in the language and culture.

Peter Goldsbury
05-31-2003, 07:32 AM
George S. Ledyard wrote:

Hi Peter!

If you take a group of students in Japan and one in the US, do you think that many years of essentially the same physical practice begins to develop a shared sense of a word like Ki?

PAG. Only in the sense that both groups could well develop a set of shared values in training which, other things being equal, could be construed as a shared sense of ki. I think this is somewhat different from understanding the word in the same way.

----------

In other words, your Japanese students begin with a sense of the meaning of ki as it is part of the language. I would imagine that their real understanding of the term in an Aikido context changes as they train over the years.

PAG. Now why would this be? Do you think it is because the term really is used in aikido in a different sense from its ‘ordinary’ Japanese meaning? I can see no reason why their understanding would need to change, because in aikido ‘ki’ is being used in its ordinary Japanese meaning. They might feel their ‘basic’ understanding is ‘deepened’ or validated in some ways from training, but I do not see this understanding as being different.

----------

When I started Aikido Ki was a foreign term for which I was given a rather simplistic definition. Now, after almost thirty years, I have a very different "sense" of it.

PAG. Yes, when I started aikido, ki was explained to me along with all the other terms we use. However, my understanding of the word has changed, not from 30+ years of aikido training, but from living here and seeing the concept as it works in daily life, so to speak. My understanding has been given depth and a certain validation. I am not joking when I state that in my entire aikido career to date, the only major discussions of ki I have taken part in have happened in the past couple of years, in web forums such as Aikiweb, AJ and E-Budo. And the discussions in this forum lead me to feel I am an orc among elves.

----------

So does the shared experience of the physical practice begin to develop a kind of shared metaphor despite the cultural differences?

PAG. I do not know, but this is a very interesting line of thinking. But I would think that the shared metaphor would be shaped by a shared language.

----------

Or is that common Japanese belief that a foreigner can never understand Aikido (as they do) perhaps really true unless one immerses oneself in the language and culture.

PAG. Well, in Hiroshima, some Japanese probably have a hard time with the idea that foreigners cannot understand aikido because there are several on their own doorstep teaching aikido to Japanese students, who appear to be making the same progress as they would be with Japanese teachers.

I remember a training course in Boston in 1975 (I think) with Kisaburo Osawa. After training, we had a party and were allowed to ask questions. I asked Osawa Sensei if it was easier for Japanese people than non-Japanese to learn aikido, because Japanese had an established conceptual framework available. There was much private discussion among the Japanese shihans present, but after 10 minutes Osawa Sensei answered No: the important point for aikido was daily training, which was important for Japanese and non-Japanese alike. In the circumstances, a gathering of non-Japanese aikidoists in Boston, it was a good answer. Osawa Sensei was a hardened aikido politician, a close friend and ally of Kisshomaru Doshu from before the war, like Koichi Tohei.

I think the common Japanese belief that a foreigner can never understand aikido rests on a different set of assumptions than shared/unshared metaphors. The belief is usually reinforced, not changed, as a result of immersion in language and culture on the part of foreigners.

I think the only way you could make a comparison is if you yourself in your own dojo taught Japanese students about ki, as expressed in English, and studied if this process changed their own understanding of the term.

So it seems to me,

Best regards,

opherdonchin
05-31-2003, 09:43 AM
Now why would this be? Do you think it is because the term really is used in aikido in a different sense from its ‘ordinary’ Japanese meaning? I can see no reason why their understanding would need to change, because in aikido ‘ki’ is being used in its ordinary Japanese meaning.I guess that I would think it were possible simply because for the Japanese students the central metaphor for this ordinary meaning might become the physical metaphor for Aikido. For instance, I don't think we use the word 'relaxation' differently in Aikido than we do in standard English. On the other hand, after years of Aikido, the physical sensations of Aikido are the first that spring to mind when I think of relaxation. In a sense, Aikido has sort of taken over my metaphor for relaxation. If a similar thing happened to Japanese students and the 'meaning' of Ki (where meaning is understood to be the central metaphors we use to understand something) and those physical experiences are also my central metaphor for Ki, then perhaps they would really get closer.

Erik
05-31-2003, 11:32 AM
I am not joking when I state that in my entire aikido career to date, the only major discussions of ki I have taken part in have happened in the past couple of years, in web forums such as Aikiweb, AJ and E-Budo. And the discussions in this forum lead me to feel I am an orc among elves.

It sounds like I heard more about ki in my first 2 weeks on the mat. :)

Erik
05-31-2003, 11:48 AM
Ottoneil, I read your post as a statement on the superiority of the East over the West. It's kind of implied in the statement, or, at least by most who say that sort of thing. If it wasn't then I misunderstood your post.

It's also a misperception, in my opinion, to say that Western athletes (and I used athletes because it's the closest model to us) didn't have any concept of mind body integration. Athletes have understood, as long as there have been athletes the value of 'being focused', 'having their head in the game', 'not letting the other guy get inside their head','playing their game', etc. Someone else might say things like 'lead their ki','keep one point', 'take their ki' or 'extend ki'.

Same understanding, different words.

kironin
05-31-2003, 07:38 PM
Yes, I suspect this is where we differ. I have read some of what Mr Tohei has written on the subject in English and also what Morihei Ueshiba and his son Kisshomaru have written in Japanese.
I suspect so, because my knowledge does not rely on reading the books but on the direct training of Tohei Sensei and his son Shinichi and those of his senior teachers some of who also trained under Morihei Ueshiba. That is what shapes my understanding of the term "Ki" as it is used in Aikido (Ki Society anyway).

I have all the books old and new too. I am not a big fan of the English versions except with a few choice paragraphs that seem to get it right. Some stuff is left out. Not surprising as most martial arts text fail in some way.

May sound presumptious, but it's pretty common for science texts to not quite succeed either even though the author might be quite at the top of the field.
I do not believe the term is specialized in aikido, in the sense that it is used with any other meaning than those given in, say, the Kojien or Kokugo Daijiten. This is why I do not think I need to explain it to my Japanese students.

Best regards,
and since I think you are wrong in your belief,

I guess it is best that we just respectfully agree to disagree. I am not hear to tell you what to teach your students but just to offer a different perspective.

I do think probably it is not a specialized term in the Aikikai, but the Aikikai is not the whole world of aikido. For many groups that do use the term, there is a specialized meaning that does require explanation regardless of nationality.

best regards,

Craig

kironin
05-31-2003, 08:04 PM
Dear Erik..

First of all i associated this thought of mind-body separation to western culture basically because if originated from the French Philosopher/Mathematician Rene Descartes , as I remember.

And more than its roots or origin , is western in application as i understand this way of thinking about your own being is basically a Western thing.

a Misconception of mine??..please enlighten me.

...Plus KI!.
As part of the neuroscience community, I might interject that western science in the 20th century flushed any lingering notions of a mind-body dichotomy as the nervous system became better understood.

This has certainly filtered into sports. In the 1970's competitive swimmers such as myself were using techniques for peaking performance based on science before I ever heard of eastern/wholistic approaches. The latter not being in vogue till later except in perhaps in some isolated cases on the east and west coast.

The judeo-christian western culture does retain this dichotomy in the general language and religious beliefs. However, top athletes

will use anything that gets them an edge.

Craig

HKS

PeterR
06-01-2003, 01:54 AM
I am not joking when I state that in my entire aikido career to date, the only major discussions of ki I have taken part in have happened in the past couple of years, in web forums such as Aikiweb, AJ and E-Budo. And the discussions in this forum lead me to feel I am an orc among elves.
Nah Peter - there are a few proud orcs running around keeping things interesting. You are not alone.

PeterR
06-01-2003, 04:15 AM
After that last little quip (slightly over the 15 minute time limit for edits) I started musing and then wishing I could draw.

Orcs in a gi - not the uber-orcs seen in the recent Lord of the Rings movies but the kind I have in one copy of the hobbit. Clumsy, out of place, slightly comical - even though they are nasty, cruel and enjoy Hobbits for breakfast.

Craig - I am sure you didn't mean it that way - but I have found Peter G. to be extremely fair to points of view outside of his particular affiliation. What he has to say might not make comfortable hearing but I would never make the but the Aikikai is not the whole world of aikido cop out with him. Trust me, as a Shodokan heathen, I've learnt much about my own heresy from him..