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geisha
10-07-2003, 02:38 AM
I train for one year and my teacher is one of the non-akikai school (Kobyashi school), started to train in Poland at sensei Wysocki. I never got any mention of ki and its effects on training. I wanna know your opinions.

PeterR
10-07-2003, 03:41 AM
Not mentioned in my teachers dojo either - strange that.

deepsoup
10-07-2003, 04:41 AM
Not mentioned in my teachers dojo either - strange that.
Nor mine.

Though, as Peter's teacher taught my teacher, that's not a coincidence. :)

Sean

x

L. Camejo
10-07-2003, 07:03 AM
Nor mine.

Though, as Peter's teacher taught my teacher, that's not a coincidence. :)

Sean

x
LOL - Ditto :p

L.C.:ai::ki:

MikeE
10-07-2003, 07:38 AM
Ki is very important in our dojos. Considering our lineage is from Koichi Tohei Sensei, it stands to reason.

It's mentioned and cultivated all the time.

Paula Lydon
10-07-2003, 07:39 AM
~~Not at my dojo, either. Have we gone from O Sensei's rambling, unintelligable overkill (just for those who aren't at a level to understand him, like myself) to nothing at all? Is it still Aikido?

L. Camejo
10-07-2003, 07:45 AM
I think one needs to understand the workings of ki, not necessarily talk about it all the time in the dojo to understand Aikido.

"Without Ki there is no Aikido" does not mean "Without talking about ki in class there is no Aikido.: :)

I think Ueshiba M. (think being the operative word here :)) was the one who said that one did not need to focus specifically on cultivating ki in doing Aikido, as it's cultivation was inherent in the practice of the techniques. Of course I could be wrong. Have met sensei who could talk for hours about ki, but had terrible execution of techinque for all their talk.

Got :ki:?

Just my 2 cents.

L.C.:ai::ki:

Peter Goldsbury
10-07-2003, 08:23 AM
~~Not at my dojo, either. Have we gone from O Sensei's rambling, unintelligable overkill (just for those who aren't at a level to understand him, like myself) to nothing at all? Is it still Aikido?
Hello Paula,

Judging from your posts in this forum, your questions are always sound and to the point and, aikidowise, I think you are doing just fine. Perhaps your question was rhetorical--or you might need to talk to Mr Ikeda privately.

On the other hand, you also might need to make the effort to grasp what O Sensei was actually saying. I do not think that O Sensei was guilty of "rambling, unintelligible overkill" and if you do think this, then people like Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Stanley Pranin, John Stevens and myself are guilty of grave errors. In this case, you certainly need to talk to Mr Ikeda.

I would ask Stan Pranin to make available on the web those extracts from "Takemusu Aiki" that he published in the printed version of Aikido Journal. Perhaps copyright problems prevent him from doing this, but the translator was Sonoko Tanaka and she did a brilliant job. However, the explananatory notes, delving into the intricacies of the Kojiki, were as long as the translation.

Is this necessary for knowledge of KI and aikido training? O Sensei appears not to have mentioned KI very much, and I suspect that the emphasis was made by certain students who wanted to emphasize the aspects that they felt were important in their training, as they understood it.

I myself believe that I teach my own students the real use of the term without actually mentioning it specifically (and they are Japanese native speakers, who have it in their bones, so to speak). Or not, and I have been a member of this forum long enough to respect the opinions of some posters who might think I am misinforned.

What do you thnk?

Best regards,

Peter Goldsbury
10-07-2003, 08:32 AM
A further comment.

You used the phrase "rambing unintelligible overkill" to refer to O Sensei's sayings.

I really urge you to look at the printed version of Stan's Aikido Journal translations.

I will copy and fax you the relevant pages if you do not have them and send me a fax number.

Best,

PAG

jxa127
10-07-2003, 08:42 AM
Peter,

Kisshomaru U. had what I think is an excellent discourse on ki in "The Spirit of Aikido." If I recall it correctly, his definition of ki is that it is unity of mind, body, and intention.

You've mentioned "The Spirit of Aikido" is at least one of your essays. What do you think of this definition?

Our dojo is an Aikido Association of America dojo, founded by Fumio Toyoda, who was a student of Tohei. So, naturally, ki development and testing are built into our curriculum. We view ki as a useful concept for learning good body mechanics and developing a proper attitude. We don't belabor the point, but when it can help, we use it as a learning tool.

Regards,

-Drew

ian
10-07-2003, 10:48 AM
I don't mention ki to beginning students because they have no point of reference to understand it and so it becomes 'mystical'. I explain proper body mechanics and when they begin to get this I then may mention ki every so often. I personally do chi exercises and find it very useful to think of the way my body moves in terms of ki, however 'ki' is just a word, so if people do not experience it, using the word is just a useless abstraction.

Interestingly though, I think within aikido what people mean by 'ki', even in a limited sense, must be very different. For me it is a biomechanical property which includes aspects of feeling and intention as well as breathing, bodily and psychological health and it has observeable effects. It may be difficult to explain with conventional science, but it shouldn't be considered 'mystical' or 'magical'.

The problem with our minds is we have difficulty believing soemthing which doesn't have a word label.

Ian

ian
10-07-2003, 10:52 AM
P.S. just as Ueshiba did not present the whole of his art (having little explanaition of striking points) he also did not fully transfer his knowledge of ki. Chinese martial arts often go into far greater detail regarding ki(chi) and, although this has been desecrated somewhat by typical yang style tai-chi in the west, chinese understanding of chi is a good start. (I also think the typical chinese psyche is closer to western (European/US) psyche than japanese is).

Ian

kironin
10-07-2003, 11:27 AM
Peter,

Kisshomaru U. had what I think is an excellent discourse on ki in "The Spirit of Aikido." If I recall it correctly, his definition of ki is that it is unity of mind, body, and intention.
This is a pretty good definition. Of course one needs to find ways to communicate to students what exactly is unity of mind, body, and intention. (As a neuroscientist, I would tend to classify intention as part of "mind"). That in my experience is what Koichi Tohei Sensei's Ki development classes are really about, how to do it? what does it feel like? how to test another student so they learn to get it (grok it). I would agree that if you haven't some systematic way of teaching students to gain a personal understanding of what you mean when you say "Ki", there is no point in using the term in your classes. Then it would just be jargon or a cultural term if your native language is Japanese or if you grew up with Dragonball Z.

To the original poster...

There are certainly teachers outside of Ki Society or it's offshoots that grok Ki and those that are good teachers I am sure have found some way to transmit this understanding. However, Tohei Sensei's over riding concern, at least as I understand it, has been to come up with a pedagogy that is not so dependent on the transmission of outstanding teachers who happen to grok it. That is the real purpose of the exercises that too often are misunderstood or abused as demonstration tricks. These exercises are meant to be taught with rigor as a check of real understanding instead of believed understanding. An exercise is worth a thousand words.

The main part of the Ki exercises we do has it's roots in Tohei Sensei's long time training in Shin Shin Toitsu Do under Tempu Nakamura. That's why we do undebendable arm (Orenai Te) and a number of other exercises. Tempu Nakamura had western scientific training as well as eastern training, and it is reflected in the nature of the testing we do. We can extend this sort of testing to any aikido exercise we do.

I think it is certainly possible to use different exercises or training regimes as long as one finds an approach that is able to have the rigor sufficient to test real understanding. I am personally not aware of any teachers outside of Tohei Sensei's influence that do this. If you feel a lack of this in your training then a good start would be to pick up Carol Schifflett's book "Ki in Aikido" for a large sample of what we do. There is no better example of just doing it rather than talking about it. I would also highly recommend you pick up H.E. Davey's book "Japanese Yoga". He put a lot of work in to it and it shows. It will give a very good sense of the whole approach and some historical context. Both books in my opinion capture the sense of experimentation and self-discovery that is the part I like best about the Ki Society. I think you can't go wrong checking out these books and finding someone to experiment with but be sure to take what is said to heart and try your best to approach it with an open mind. I think it will greatly deepen your understanding of aikido.

--

If you find this really appeals to you, you might seek out a teacher. Tohei Sensei has many books that also are a good source and there is a newly English version of his classic "Ki in Daily Life" that would be worth having as a third book. It's a very good book, but I think it is easier to appreciate and put in context for those who haven't trained in the Ki Society if one goes through the two books I mention above.

Having read a lot of what Tohei Sensei has written, I am always struck when I read something O-sensei has written that discusses Ki or even mention's Ki, how much they are in aggreement.

Craig

Houston Ki Society

tedehara
10-18-2003, 11:42 PM
A further comment.

You used the phrase "rambing unintelligible overkill" to refer to O Sensei's sayings.

I really urge you to look at the printed version of Stan's Aikido Journal translations.

I will copy and fax you the relevant pages if you do not have them and send me a fax number.

Best,

PAGO Sensei was a Shinto mystic. Shinto itself is a primal belief system which can be very personal. I usually think of it as just a step above shamanism in its structure. It's that subjective.

O Sensei used his Shinto terminology to express his understanding of Aikido. It's no surprise that many people are confused by his writings/sayings. Some of the many confused people are his direct Japanese students, who honestly admit that they didn't understand what he was talking about.

I know of the scholarly efforts from the people you mentioned to explain O Sensei. However true understanding comes from the heart, not the head. That's why many people still feel disatisfied with their understanding.

giriasis
10-19-2003, 12:47 PM
I train for one year and my teacher is one of the non-akikai school (Kobyashi school), started to train in Poland at sensei Wysocki. I never got any mention of ki and its effects on training. I wanna know your opinions.
My experience is that you can train without someone saying "ki this" and "ki that". But what I hear is "move from your center," " extend," "relax," "connect from my sensei," "body/ mind coordination." These are all principles of aikido, which are ki principles. I train with a great sensei who has some very solid aikido. He is also pretty well respected. I don't think our school is any less just because the word "ki" is not mentioned.

Peter Goldsbury
10-19-2003, 04:54 PM
Peter,

Kisshomaru U. had what I think is an excellent discourse on ki in "The Spirit of Aikido." If I recall it correctly, his definition of ki is that it is unity of mind, body, and intention.

You've mentioned "The Spirit of Aikido" is at least one of your essays. What do you think of this definition?

Regards,

-Drew
Hello Drew,

Yes, I agree. Kisshomaru Ueshiba had a pretty good grasp of his father's discourses and in "The Spirit of Aikido" did his best to present the essence of these, shorn of their references to the Kojiki etc.

Nor do I think these discourses were completely impenetrable, or that their interpretation has to be entirely subjective. I know that Morihei Ueshiba's interpretation of the Kojiki myths was indeed subjective but this is due less to the subjective nature of Shinto as a religion (which it is not) than to the influence of Onisaburo Deguchi and Omoto-kyo.

Best regards,

Duarh
10-19-2003, 06:52 PM
Over my 1st 2 years of training, my sensei mentioned ki perhaps twice or thrice, but that was completely fine with me - he got the point across using other devices (as somebody else already pointed out - concentration, centredness, relaxation, breathing & so forth). I had a lot of fun training. Then I trained for 1.5 months in my college's ki aikido class, which, obviously, had a lot of ki stuff in it, and I was turned off by the constant references to 'extend your ki', 'feel the ki all around you', 'be one with the universe' and so forth, which I, being objectivist, found to be too irrational, ungrounded in reality for me to appreciate. I was bored. The problem as I saw it was that a lot of time that I could have been training I had to spend listening to discourses on ki, but even those discourses were not rational and based on the real world (and ki can, after all, be explained as an integration of very real physical & mental factors), but somewhat 'magical' and even smelled of religion. The senseis knew their ki tricks but weren't that good at the physical art of aikido. Those classes depressed me so much I almost did not want to go on with aikido anymore. Now I've found an aikikai dojo again and I'm training happily, bouncing off the walls with no talk of ki at all. . .

In other words, I say yes, it is fine to train without mentioning ki. I'm not nearly advanced enough to give absolute statements on the nature of aikido, but my rationality is enough to tell me that 50 minutes of ki talk - without rational reasoning contained therein - will give one less than 50 minutes of active training, except perhaps at very high levels of ability. On the other hand, if ki could be made clear, conceptualized rationally, then it could probably become a very effective teaching tool.

tedehara
10-20-2003, 12:16 PM
...In other words, I say yes, it is fine to train without mentioning ki. I'm not nearly advanced enough to give absolute statements on the nature of aikido, but my rationality is enough to tell me that 50 minutes of ki talk - without rational reasoning contained therein - will give one less than 50 minutes of active training, except perhaps at very high levels of ability. On the other hand, if ki could be made clear, conceptualized rationally, then it could probably become a very effective teaching tool.My curiosity over Ki/Chi made me decide to take up a martial art. However I was warned not to try Tai Chi from a certain Chinese instructor because I was "Japanese" and he had suffered from them during WWII.

Then I read about Aikido and how Ki was a central concept to it. So I decided to try this martial art to learn more about Ki. That's why I started Aikido and why I've stayed in it.

That's also why I find it strange that someone would practice Aikido for years and not mention Ki. Although, I am well aware that this is the traditonal approach to studying martial arts.

I also have to agree with Toms. Just talking about Ki is meaningless. The instructor has to show how Ki training relates to Aikido movement and technique.

"Ge-ta" is a Japanese word that has no English equivalent. It means taking theoretical knowledge and actualizing it in everyday practice. This is one of the main obstacles for a student. Although a teacher can talk about and demonstrate technique, its up to the student to understand how and why this stuff works.

giriasis
10-20-2003, 04:36 PM
I was glad when I changed dojo's (3 1/2 years ago) and discovered that my new school didn't mention ki. At first I thought that they didn't teach it, then I began to listen to what was being taught. By golly, they were teaching ki principles.

What I have found that by not mentioning "ki" but still teaching the principles gives the students room to make their aikido training what they want it to be. If they want to focus on the more physical aspects, they can. If they want to focus on the more more mental aspects, they can. If you want to focus on a combination of both, you may. We haven't been forced to fit into one point of view, but we all have one thing in common -- we train.

DCP
10-20-2003, 07:57 PM
Does one have to mention the necessity of oxygen in order to keep people breathing?

akiy
10-20-2003, 09:51 PM
As an aside, here's a poll from back in 2001:

'Do you think the concept of "ki" and how to "use" it in aikido can be taught without referring to it?'

http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=72

-- Jun

sanskara
11-17-2003, 06:31 PM
Interesting how people's experiences vary. I started in an Aikikai dojo, did well, but was bored with just the physical repetition of two-person kata. I visited a Ki Society dojo in the area, and none of my techniques worked on anyone. Keep in mind, I already had a Shodan in Karate and a strong background in Judo/Brazilian Jiujitsu back before it was trendy.

I immediately started training full-time with Shiohira and company and did so for the next ten years. So MAYBE the current Ki Society is more philosophically-oriented, but back in the 80's and early 90's it was above and beyond the Aikikai/Iwama technique I'd experienced in the same geographic region. And keep in mind that the Bay Area has always sported some of the best that Aikido has to offer--some of the worst too, if you ask me.

Thalib
11-17-2003, 10:21 PM
Same experience with me, Botswick-san. I started to learn the concept of Ki and Aiki from a Ki Society sensei currently residing in Indonesia.

I have to tell you that it really opened not only my eyes but my mind as well.

WylMorris
11-18-2003, 03:21 AM
I study under Michael Field Sensei in Australia, and while we are often told to "use more Ki", we dont really seem to do much to cultivate it. I've never had any problems developing it and using it thanks to my background in Magick, I think alot of the new students in the Dojo could do with a bit of instruction. We all could.

Dennis Hooker
11-18-2003, 07:09 AM
"Ki" is a word and only a word. You need not have ever heard the word to experience that physical and philological power the word references in Aikido. Proper training will get you there without ever talking about it. As Allen Watts said "You can't get wet by saying the word water"

sanskara
11-18-2003, 03:59 PM
"Ki" is a word and only a word. You need not have ever heard the word to experience that physical and philological power the word references in Aikido. Proper training will get you there without ever talking about it. As Allen Watts said "You can't get wet by saying the word water"
Perhaps. But if it's just a word, meaning that it doesn't really matter, then why do some have an aversion to its inclusion, utterance, and indulgence within the Aikido curriculum?

Just as it can be argued that too much emphasis can be put on Ki at the expense of other aspects of Aikido practice, so can too little. In that sense, going through great pains to avoid such a concept so rudimentary to the philosophical underpinnings of an art (note its inclusion in every manifestation of the name, Ai-KI-do, Ai-KI-jujutsu, Ai-KI-budo, etc) raises many questions.

Do some avoid the concept of Ki because they're more comfortable with gross motor kinesthetics? Or some because of the political rift between Tohei and their current organization demands it be so? Is it a fear of becoming a New Age Aikibunny that causes some to eschew investigation?

I would suspect that if Ki were just a word and that it's inclusion in the art was merely symantic or irrelevant to Aikido's practice, that there would be more indifference to it. What I see all too often in discussions, however, is strong feelings on one side of the ideological fence or the other, and very little gray area represented.

David Yap
11-19-2003, 04:36 AM
"Ki" is a word and only a word. You need not have ever heard the word to experience that physical and philological power the word references in Aikido. Proper training will get you there without ever talking about it. As Allen Watts said "You can't get wet by saying the word water"
Greetings,

ai-KI-do. How long have you been practising or how long have you been pretending to practise aikido?

KI - is just a "generic" oriental term for energy. Everything that we do requires energy no matter how big or small the effort. In other word, we can also term "effort" as "ki".

In a dojo, when a person attacks you with the intent to hit your body, the attack is sincere, he puts his mind, body & spirit behind that attack, you will feel him and act accordingly. His ki (energy) is obvious. When a person pretends to attack, you will almost feel nothing and sometimes you just don't feel like reacting at all (no attack, no defence required). Ai-ki literary means drawing in the energy.

When someone throws you in the air, you commit yourself to break the fall, when your hand touches the ground with mind, body & spirit behind it to minimise the impact - that's ki. When someone pretends to fall (giving you a charity fall), immediately you will sense it - you don't feel the energy of his fall. Funny thing - aikido begins with ukeme - the more you do it (ukeme), the more and quicker you will understand about the technique and aikido.

If you train in dojo where philosophy of the teacher is aikido is anything to any people -then the chances of you feeling ki is almost nil. Most time you are either playing at "practising" aikido or trying to find someone to do aikido with.

KI is simple, why make it complicated?

My sens at the end of a ki draining day.

Happy playing

David

Dennis Hooker
11-19-2003, 06:41 AM
"Greetings,

ai-KI-do. How long have you been practising or how long have you been pretending to practise aikido?"

David Yap

Well let's see? I have been practicing (practising?) for about 40 years! How about you?

Dose the saying "A rose by any other name" ring a bell? In fact several of the Japanese Shihan I have studied under have different ideas of what the "Ki" in ai-Ki-do stands for. You can call the art of aikido by any name as long as you practice the proper principles hell call it ai-chi-do if you want. Its just a word.

Dennis Hooker

www.shindai.com

akiy
11-19-2003, 09:59 AM
I'll also mention that the term "aikido" and others would probably be broken up by Japanese budo folks into "aiki" and "do" rather than "ai", "ki", and "do."

The phrase "aiki" has been around for many hundreds of years, long before Morihei Ueshiba was born. There are many definitions to them that are used in these classical arts including such as (paraphrased out of my memory) "utterly dominating one's enemy so they have no power to fight," "moving in such a way to negate all of your partner's strength so you can crush them," and such.

I think this is the same sort of thing where people define "ai" as "blending" or "harmony" when, in the Japanese language, it more connotes "to fit", "to match," or "to join together" (as in the context of two gears coming together rather than two liquids "blending")...

Just my thoughts,

-- Jun

sanskara
11-19-2003, 04:05 PM
I'll also mention that the term "aikido" and others would probably be broken up by Japanese budo folks into "aiki" and "do" rather than "ai", "ki", and "do."
I can't speak for anyone else, but my purpose in emphasizing the Ki in Ai-Ki-Do in my previous post was not to present an interpretation of historical symantics, but simply to make the case that someone, somewhere, at sometime, thought it would be a good idea to describe a martial concept as "the joining or fitting of two opposing forces (Ki, if you will) for the purpose of neutralizing physical conflict, attaining victory in battle, etc." In other words, somebody with martial credentials subscribed to the concept of Ki and it influenced their training and nomenclature. Why not call it ai-ryoku? Why bother with the term Ki if what is meant is chikara? So the choice in charaterization is important.

Now, we can argue as to whether or not the prefix "ai", or the same trailing as a suffix invalidates the concept of Ki as biological energy, intention, or whatever. In my mind, that's neither here nor there. What I personally find interesting, however, is the philosophical and pedagogical polarization that occurs at the mere mention of the word.

As stated earlier, I think this happens for at least two prominent reasons: 1. It's associated with Tohei, an individual who is estranged from mainstream Aikido. And since most Aikidoka are good little soldiers, they believe and do what they're told--the vertical political hierarchical structure of training ensures this. If therefore their organization is pro-Tohei, there's a good chance they're also pro-Ki; anti-Tohei, anti-Ki. 2. Our culture can't seem to get a handle on the concept of Ki. It's either supernatural (as demonstrated by the popularity of Dragonballz) or the nonsense of simpletons (as suggested by CSICOP and its subscription base), but there seems to be little room or middle ground for any other interpretation, be it derived from solid training, or wishful ideology.
I think this is the same sort of thing where people define "ai" as "blending" or "harmony" when, in the Japanese language, it more connotes "to fit", "to match," or "to join together" (as in the context of two gears coming together rather than two liquids "blending")...
A better analogy might be people's misinterpretation of the "ai" character in Aikido as the homonym meaning "love." Because if I'm reading you correctly here, you're suggesting that there's been some license taken with the Japanese language in the mainstream Aikido culture, especially in regards to Ki. I'm not sure that's necessarily at the root of the Western concept of Ki, however. I think it's clear to most that definitions of said same vary from person to person and art to art within the context of traditional Budo and Bujutsu--nevermind the Chinese influence and it's impact on Japanese arts.

Therefore, I'd suggest that most draw validity from their training experiences, or vicariously secondhand, through others in their social circle. Consequently, I'd be slow to make too many sweeping judgements about just what was in the mind of your average Yawara practitioner, circa Tokugawa or Meiji Restoration, and its disparity from the conventional martial zeitgeist as the culprit for current concepts of Ki. A fair amount of people could quite understandably care less what used to be, as it's what IS that impacts and influences their training preferences. More importantly, historical accounts will differ, leaving plenty of wiggling room in interpreting the past for present-day purposes.

David Yap
11-19-2003, 07:44 PM
"Greetings,

ai-KI-do. How long have you been practising or how long have you been pretending to practise aikido?"

David Yap

Well let's see? I have been practicing (practising?) for about 40 years! How about you?

Dennis Hooker
My apologies, Dennis sensei/sempai. I really need to honk my skills in using the icons here. My post was not meant to dispute yours in anyway. It so happened that your post was the last one on the board when I posted. I hitched a ride on it forgetting to remove quotes of your post.

In a way, my post trys to enhance yours. One should not be too concerned with the term "KI" - continue and proper training (not playing) will get one there. In my post I was also describing what one would feel in a proper training and what is not felt in a play acting of aikido - hence, I have begun the post with this line, "ai-KI-do. How long have you been practising or how long have you been pretending to practise aikido?" to those who have not come to grasp the term "KI".

To answer your question, you have a 5 years edge on me as far as MA is concerned.

Regards

David

Dennis Hooker
11-20-2003, 08:37 AM
Hay David, hope life is treating you good this fine November morning.

I really do suppose that people have to use some sort of words to communicate ideas but I think it is not always necessary. Heck, sometimes I think words muddle the learning process. Folks can set around and talk about Ki and analysis it and verbally dissect it tell the cows come home but in doing so they will never know it. An experience that will always standout in my mind is the one time I was tossed ass over end by K. Tohei Sensei. No need to discuss ki after that. Just laying hands on so many of those old boys was enough to get the idea and keep it foremost in my mind. I seen dojos where talk was the principle means by which they sought to understand Aikido and I guess I believe more in the sweat factor.

Take care friend

Dennis