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Erik
12-02-2003, 11:27 AM
http://www.24fightingchickens.com/mu/ki/index.html

A quote from the article,

Now, many years later, I have come to firmly believe that there is no such thing as ki. I have also come to believe that not only does ki not exist, but the belief in ki is inexcusable and unjustified. Rather than being a religious or spiritual idea which explains things that happen in our world where science fails, I believe ki is purely an invention of sales people used to baffle us into thinking that they know or can do something that we do not.

Pasha
12-02-2003, 12:39 PM
Nice article. Interesting that it was published only a week ago. I like Rob's no-nonsense approach. Go 24FC !

kironin
12-02-2003, 06:28 PM
Sounds like good advice for western karate teachers in western organizations.

;)

it's a little different if the head of your organization is a native speaker of Japanese and resides in Japan and has very specific training to convey to students exactly what he means by the word ki in this context.

in the first part of the article, I couldn't help thinking he could of replaced the word "ki" with the word "God" and write a very similar rant.

Craig

Sharon Seymour
12-02-2003, 09:00 PM
Have just read The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine, by Ted J. Kaptchuk, and am in the process of reading The Essence of Tai Chi Chi Kung, by Yang Jwing-Ming, I am willing to use the word Ki or Chi as an indicator from a frame of reference wildly different from our Western point of view.

I highly recommend Kaptchuk's book - I picked it up in an effort to understand O-Sensei's worldview so I can better apply his teachings. It was an eye-opener. Having read about Japan and China for many years, I had not encountered any book that so well describes this aspect of Chinese (and I'm extrapolating to Japanese) culture.

Yang Jwing-Ming's book contains many exercises with breath and body for experiencing the phenomenon sometimes named "chi." The closest Western book describing this uses the idea of the body as a hydraulic system linked through the body's connective tissue (Joseph Heller, Bodywise).

With thanks to all gadflys (gadflies?) for keeping us awake and questioning,

sharon

Chris Raywood
12-02-2003, 10:26 PM
I have to agree with the author (of the article) in that some of the claims made crediting chi (or ki, or whatever) seem quite ridiculous.

To me, ki is the optimum utilization of one's mental, and physical powers, both individually as well as in combination.

History has sited ordinary people performing superhuman physical feats when called upon. To perform such acts their minds and bodies were totally focused (most likely in ways that even they didn't know they posessed).

That's what I call ki.

Chris

John Boswell
12-02-2003, 11:20 PM
Well, call me what you will, but that I think the author of that artical regarding ki is himself guilty of tapping the pipe of wacky tobacky... that or he's just be difficult for the sake of being so (which is more likely).

Ki can be proven. It is intention, purpose, drive and any and all energy exerted along those lines. Who can call themselves Aikidoka and not believe it or have worked so hard and never felt the use of ki?

The "chicken" author would like to defend himself by not defending himself. He puts the ball in everyone elses court for THEM to defend Ki. Guess what? He just proved its existence RIGHT THERE!

How many people will read that article and suddenly have doubts on the existence of Ki? Doubt the ability of Aikido or their own personal ability?

It would be MY contention that anyone doubting the existence of Ki or who walks away from Aikido/Martial Arts after having read that article are the unwitting uke's and victims of the author's attack.

Personally, and in summation, I know for a fact that there are electical instuments that can measure and show the existence of Ki. Confusing the HYPE surround Ki with what Ki actually is, is the fault of the student/author... and not of the practicioner or users of Ki.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it. ;)

Domo! :D

Lyle Bogin
12-02-2003, 11:22 PM
Sometimes I feel that ki actually IS belief.

John Boswell
12-02-2003, 11:28 PM
Exactlly, Lyle.

Also one other thing I wanted to mention is this: the author's argument of "prove it does exist" is a common argument dating back to the days of Socrates.

Anyone can say "prove to me that X exists" and walk away laughing.

Prove to me that there is a God!

Prove to me that Christ walked the earth!

Prove to me that this world exists and we aren't in a virtual computer generated world right now!

Nah... that guy needs to go back to Philosophy 101/Critical Thinking 101 and try again.

ikkainogakusei
12-02-2003, 11:50 PM
http://www.24fightingchickens.com/mu/ki/index.html

Now, many years later, I have come to firmly believe that there is no such thing as ki. .
Or maybe some things called Ki, much like some things called 'miracle' or 'magic' are explainable. We lump the unexplainable into categories because we can't wrap our minds around them, once we -=can=- answer them, are they less miraculous? Do they cease to be Ki? I don't think so. Call it Ki, or call it hyper-neuromotor recruitment, or repression of inhibitory action potentials, or whatever floats your boat. It isn't so important to me to label something so or not, unless you have a specific individual who -=is=- defrauding students; however just because one is, does not mean all are.

If one pharmacist dilutes medication, does this make all pharmacists fraudulent? No.

If out of trial and error rather than using the scientific method, someone discovers that eating a particular boiled bark gets rid of headaches and extends life, does it mean that the benefit of the bark does not exist? No.

There are people out there who -do- legitimately attempt to hone their skill using ki. There are some changes in some of their performance. They call this an effect of ki. Well hey, alright.

If you want to research and discover what's behind the ki curtain? Great. Why label all who practice this frauds?

:ai:

Edward
12-03-2003, 12:19 AM
My understanding of ki as taught by many japanese instructors is that it has no metaphysical or esoterical basis. It is just the most economical use of our muscles in a relaxed way. When we exert effort, we tend to use the entire muscular system, which results in conflicting energies making this effort less efficient and more energy consuming. Learning how to relax and use the strict minimum of muscles involved in the required action results in more efficiency and less energy consumption, and that's how many japanese teachers have explained ki. I hear so often instructors saying:"use your ki, not your force" and would rather hear that than:" Use your relaxed power utilizing the least amount of muscles ......blahblahblah"

Thalib
12-03-2003, 12:30 AM
Bogin-san, Ki exists, probably not in the perception of our 3 dimensional universe (4 if counting time). Believing it exists will make it true in this relative physical world.

Nice way of putting it Boswell-san, another way is try to proof things don't exist. Instead of trying to prove Ki exist, go ahead and try prove Ki doesn't exist. It will prove that it is just as difficult.

Nice comment,Tao-san. It is one of the difference between eastern culture and modern western culture. Nowadays people want to explain everything into their 3 dimensional universe.

Even physics now extend beyond the 3 dimensional universe, and the scientist also base it on faith that there are hyperdimensions. Eastern culture doesn't really need to put things into equations. Feeling/believeing/knowing its existence is just as good as any equations.

sanosuke
12-03-2003, 01:07 AM
Even physics now extend beyond the 3 dimensional universe, and the scientist also base it on faith that there are hyperdimensions. Eastern culture doesn't really need to put things into equations. Feeling/believeing/knowing its existence is just as good as any equations.
very nicely put, i must say that some aspects in aikido have to be 'felt to believe' rather than think it in logical sense.

Williamross77
12-03-2003, 01:29 AM
A swallow does not catch a fly without ki.

niether does a fullback mow down a linebacker with out ki, niether does the sun give us life without ki. it may not exist for you, and for that i am sad...

Williamross77
12-03-2003, 01:38 AM
oh yeah, i am directing this at the author of the anti aiki article noted.

the problem is your understanding of Ki.

Gallaleo, Newton, Einstein and Tohei would all be able to prove something to you in a matter of munutes... i may not be able to but some one please forward this to that ahotokan guy.

in loving aiki.

drDalek
12-03-2003, 01:40 AM
Bogin-san, Ki exists, probably not in the perception of our 3 dimensional universe (4 if counting time). Believing it exists will make it true in this relative physical world.
And you have some inside track on the workings of space and time?
Nice way of putting it Boswell-san, another way is try to proof things don't exist. Instead of trying to prove Ki exist, go ahead and try prove Ki doesn't exist. It will prove that it is just as difficult.
Your reasoning is wrong, if I believe in something and you dont, I have to prove my belief to you, you dont have to disprove my belief, if you believe in Ki, in whichever way you define it, prove it exists in controlled, regulated, monitored, reproducible circumstances.

Its not my responsibility to prove to you that it does not exist.
Nice comment,Tao-san. It is one of the difference between eastern culture and modern western culture. Nowadays people want to explain everything into their 3 dimensional universe.
Once again you assume that "eastern culture" has some kind of superior inside knowledge into the workings of the universe. This is false, its like the assumption that the japanese were metalurgical miracle workers because they forged swords using complicated folding and laminating processess, most of these techniques are evident in well made european swords of the same time range.
Even physics now extend beyond the 3 dimensional universe, and the scientist also base it on faith that there are hyperdimensions.
Stupid example: assuming a human body is a solid cylindrical shape (rod) for the purposes of making a calculation simpler does not mean that I believe people are all rod shaped easily expressed mathematical constructs.
Eastern culture doesn't really need to put things into equations. Feeling/believeing/knowing its existence is just as good as any equations.
I guess the Japanese use deeply symbolic haiku to describe how to put together a Toyota?

(Note, I am not dissing you personally, I am sure you are a fantastic person, I just want to point out the things that you said and why they dont make me a believer)

p00kiethebear
12-03-2003, 01:59 AM
But wait, i'm kind of confused. If believing in ki makes us feel that we're working better, moving faster and more in harmony with everything around us, then why is that bad?

Ki isn't something you prove or disprove. You can't prove it, nor can you disprove it.

It's just something you believe in, or you don't.

This is about faith. If you don't have faith in something, then you truly have nothing.

Telling all people who believe in ki that they're full of crap is like telling the 1.3 billion christians, 1.2 billion muslims and 800 million hindus that there is no god.

Or let's get more "physical". It's like telling the scientific community that string theory is BS. We can't PROVE string theory, yet the theory makes so much sense.

He sounds to me like an angst filled 14 year old who thinks he has everything figured out and is "rebelling" against his parents.

p00kiethebear
12-03-2003, 02:14 AM
Also...

For those of you who practice an "aiki" art.

Keep in mind that the name of your art IS "aiki____"

If you don't believe in ki, then how could you ever hope to master that art? (yes i know not EVERYONE wants to be a "master" of their art)

If you don't believe in ki, and you're a teacher, call your art something else.

That's not ment in a condescending or bad derogatory tone. But if you've been studying aikido and teaching it, yet you don't believe in ki. then start calling what you teach "aido" (the art of harmonizing) or if you don't believe in harmonizing call it something completely different.

I had alot of hesitation about posting this.

I don't mean to offend anyone.

So please don't flame me.

drDalek
12-03-2003, 02:14 AM
But wait, i'm kind of confused. If believing in ki makes us feel that we're working better, moving faster and more in harmony with everything around us, then why is that bad?
Its not bad, its illogical but its not bad, love is illogical but its not bad.

Its bad though when you force your students to believe in the same stuff you believe in. You are taking their freedom to draw their own conclusions away from them.
Ki isn't something you prove or disprove. You can't prove it, nor can you disprove it.
If Ki has any effect whatsoever on the world around you its a physical phenomenon, and thus provable. Science (aka The Forces Of Logic) assume something is BS until the person who believes in it makes a solid case with ample proof for its existance.
It's just something you believe in, or you don't.

This is about faith. If you don't have faith in something, then you truly have nothing.
Did you know that people believe that morality is a product of religion? As in: "If you dont accept some deity into your life you wont know its wrong to hit people in the head with bricks and steal their wallets!"
Telling all people who believe in ki that they're full of crap is like telling the 1.3 billion christians, 1.2 billion muslims and 800 million hindus that there is no god.
Most logical people have a very personal definition of god and spirituality, they dont often share their personal beliefs because what makes sense for them might not make sense or comfort anyone else. Also, I dare you to tell a muslim fundamentalist that he is full of crap (wear kevlar)
Or let's get more "physical". It's like telling the scientific community that string theory is BS. We can't PROVE string theory, yet the theory makes so much sense.
Its not necessary for something to be solid scientific canon for it to be useful in certain equations and theories, infact, many things become solid scientific fact because without them certain other solid scientific facts are illogical and dont make sense. On the other hand though, scientists that are worth their salt never stop questioning their own beliefs and always test their assumptions.
He sounds to me like an angst filled 14 year old who thinks he has everything figured out and is "rebelling" against his parents.
You sound like a terrible judge of character.

p00kiethebear
12-03-2003, 02:30 AM
Also, I dare you to tell a muslim fundamentalist that he is full of crap (wear kevlar)

A muslim "fundamentalist" would do no such thing. Muslim "fundamentalists" are peaceful people. A militant muslim "radical" might.
You sound like a terrible judge of character

I'm not reffering to his character, but more to his rant. It reminded me of something my younger brother wrote in the 8th grade.

Paul Klembeck
12-03-2003, 03:33 AM
What do you mean when you say ki?

New force unknown to physics: In Aikido the claim is that Ki effects are reproducable, hence they are in the realm of study by physics. Therefore, as the article says, prove it. (By the way, electrical instruments detect electro-magnetic forces, if you thought such instruments can detect ki (esoteric meaning), think again, they just prove that the nervous system is electrical).

Ki=generic energy/momentum: Well, we all talk that way informally and the author does have a good point that informally using a loaded term can lead to superstition.

Ki as a model in Chinese medicine: My chiropractor uses muscle testing and ki theory in diagnosis. So far, I have been impressed with the results. However, this could perhaps be explained as exploiting second order nervous system effects under a bogus theory. Don't know for sure, this is the only Ki theory I've seen that I haven't come up with explanations for, but then I haven't studied it carefully either.

Ki as visualization: Visualization does effect the body without any reference to forces unknown to science. First it supports relaxation of appropriate muscles (which explains the unbendable arm). Second, in my humble but scientifically unverified belief, it recruits the bodies balance mechanisms in support of technique, as the mind accepts a visualization of force as a gravity substitute. This allows for relaxed seeming technique, recruiting additional muscles (the so-called stabilizers) and unconcious fine control.

Ki in Aikido: Part visualization (above), part improved balance (from getting thown all the time), part skill, and part harmonization. By harmonization, I mean that our way of blending fits with the ukes body's balance mechanisms along the direction least amenable to control. Standing or lifting an object involves the balance mechanism by making corrections transverse to the direction of force. Moving parallel to the force uke exerts "confuses" the uke's underlying body control. Hence blending with the uke's energy is hard to resist.

Paul

thisisnotreal
12-03-2003, 08:51 AM
Greetings!

I have some random thoughts. I hope to give no offense, and to not give the impression i am claiming i have it all figured out...but more wood for the fire...as it were.

esoterica:

occult

wichcraft

God

PSI

subtle energies

miracle healings

gnosis

There are schools of hidden knowledge. To be an initiate is to experientially know these things. I am not but have witnessed some strange things.

O-Sensei often spoke of the hidden and the manifest.

And what is the difference? How does one manifest the hidden. O-Sensei said they are the same thing. I don't understand this.

There is a danger in employing pure logic for purposes of reason. I have a degree in engineering physics and all I know for sure is that there is MOSTLY UNDISCOVERED aspects of the universe and physics.

for instance: You've probably heard that there is a huge distance between the nucleus of an atom and the electron clouds. The distance between them is filled with nothing (or space-time) So big, that if by a mathematical excercise we shrink this distance down to zero, all of NYC and its contents would be the size of a matchbox. Now, I find this disturbing because this means that most of all of us is made of nothing (or the void, or spacetime).

Communication of one bodily system to another are mostly, if not all, electromagnetically based. Now this opens up another can of worms because when it comes down to it we really don't even know what light is (i.e. an electromagetic wave). (BTW: I have a job in the photonics industry...ironically enough). Using the scientific method and pure logic often leads us into a nonsensical physical paradox, and/or defining one thing in terms of another word or concept which is ultimately not understood.

I can rant too. yay me.

Sorry, and Thanks for reading.

What I am saying is:

1) an all consuming faith in reason and the scientific method is not the answer.

2) blind faith is not the answer

Just as you cannot prove Ki, you cannot prove the existence of God. In the case of God, in the Bible He says "Test me".

Josh

ranZ
12-03-2003, 10:52 AM
I read some of the shotokan guy's stories in Japan a while back. Seems like your ordinary logical American man with 'healthy skepticism as a sign of an open mind' (his own words) and a dash of humour sense.

So why are aikidokas yakidiyakyakking about 'ki' just because a karateka doesn't believe in it. Maybe we should just do what Josh says and 'test it'. ;P

*there goes my lame 2 cents*

kensparrow
12-03-2003, 12:49 PM
Greetings!

Communication of one bodily system to another are mostly, if not all, electromagnetically based. Now this opens up another can of worms because when it comes down to it we really don't even know what light is (i.e. an electromagetic wave). (BTW: I have a job in the photonics industry...ironically enough). Using the scientific method and pure logic often leads us into a nonsensical physical paradox, and/or defining one thing in terms of another word or concept which is ultimately not understood.

Josh
Long live the wavicle! You made some great points Josh. I've also always thought that it was strange that the ultimate expression of logic (pure mathematics) can't be found in nature. By that I mean, show me zero (or any integer for that matter). They are as elusive as purple snargs. We accept the existance of this thing called math despite the fact that it is as insubstantial as ki. We believe in it because it is useful. For some, believing in ki is just as useful.

Michael Young
12-03-2003, 03:31 PM
Most logical people have a very personal definition of god and spirituality, they dont often share their personal beliefs because what makes sense for them might not make sense or comfort anyone else.

Umm...ever been to a church, or synagogue, or mosque...seems to me there are literally millions of people out there sharing their persoal definitions of God and spirituality: and please don't say these people aren't logical, I know plenty of scientist (my father being one)doctors, engineers, etc who a very rational and logical people who go to church. If you don't like the concept of Ki, pay it no mind, nobody is forcing you into the dojo (or a church for that matter)...this doesn't make it any less real or important in other's lives, nor an illegit concept to discuss and teach. I may not believe what a particular religious system teaches (just like I don't practice other martial arts systems), but I certainly won't slam others because they do...there is at least a grain of truth in all of them, nor do I think my beliefs are the end all and be all...I'm constantly questioning. We all create our own reality, and what we choose to observe, sense, and feel is up to the individual. Personally I consider Ki to be a misunderstood and highly complex concept, others in this post have done a much better job of describing it than me. As for myself, I'm going to go on "believing" in it and "redifining my definition" as time goes on. Doing this has given me a great tool to discover things about myself and develop my Ai-KI-do. If that isn't a demonstrable result, I don't know what is?

Mike

Lyle Bogin
12-03-2003, 05:06 PM
I believe in ki because my decision to believe in it has been useful and funtional in my life and practice.

I don't believe in ki because conceptualizing it is fruitless and impossible.

Oye, what an interesting problem to not think about!

Erik
12-03-2003, 05:20 PM
Umm...ever been to a church, or synagogue, or mosque...seems to me there are literally millions of people out there sharing their persoal definitions of God and spirituality: and please don't say these people aren't logical, I know plenty of scientist (my father being one)doctors, engineers, etc who a very rational and logical people who go to church.
I'll say it. :) And, I'm amazed you could reach this conclusion.

Jim ashby
12-03-2003, 06:08 PM
OK, I've got to jump in here. Merely because millions of people believe in something doesn't make it true. It merely means that millions of people believe it. I think that the best definition of ki that fits with my experience is the oneness of intent, body mecanics and action.

BTW my imaginary friend is called tarquin, he's a flourescent pink flying marmot. This thought comforts me.

Aristeia
12-03-2003, 06:42 PM
The problem comes down to people using the term in wildly different ways.

If Ki is simply the most efficient use of muscles, movement, breathing etc. in harmony then it is simply a discriptor, like saying something is well done or poorly done.

If people are maintaining it is a seperate force, something that exists independently and is not just a shorthand way of referring to a bunch of other stuff, or a metaphor, then it's something that should be demonstrable as such. And it's not.

To say you cannot prove or disprove it in this case begs the question why would you believe in it? If it cannot be proven, it implies that it has no observable effects, in which case it can have no impact on us. i.e. the world with ki is the same as the world without ki, so we apply occams razor and throw the concept out.

If it does have observable effects that cannot be attributed to other things, why can they not be produced in a lab setting?

Personally I make some reference to ki in my classes. Because some people respond to that. Some people respond better to "extend ki" than to the hose analogy, or a mechanical, biophysical explanation, so I try and use both types of language. Bit I never imply that there is some unseen force beyound what we are doing with our physicality at work. And I don't think the Japanese did either. My understanding is the physical/nonphysical dichotomy that western society has placed alot of emphasis on doesn't really exist in the east to the same degree. Which means ki is much more likely to be a discriptor for a bunch of mental and physical stuff coming together in a certain way. But some people have extrapolated it into a metaphysical Force that allows you to throw people from across the room etc etc which is just plain annoying and in the worst cases preying on the weaknesses of impressionable minds.

Michael Young
12-03-2003, 11:25 PM
Well put Mr. Fooks. This is what I meant in my last response when I wrote "Personally I consider Ki to be a misunderstood and highly complex concept, others in this post have done a much better job of describing it than me." Maybe I should have defined who in the post I was refering to. Sure, some people use the word Ki to describe some kind of metaphysical-magic-wonder-power...nothin' but snake-oil salesmen IMO. Like Fooks and others have said though, it's a good term to use to describe a certain visualization for body movement and response. It's a lot easier to say "extend Ki" than to say "relax your shoulders, put extension in your arms, move from your center, etc.etc." all at the same time. Also, just as when you tell a beginner to assume hanmi, their understanding will be limited as to what you mean, but becomes deeper over time and practice...the same is true when you tell someone to "extend ki". Isn't it easier to say "Katate dori Ikkyo" rather than "use the technique where you have your partner grab your left wrist with her right, then enter by sliding with your front leg to her inside while swinging your arm up...yadayadayada" Using the Japanese terms are much more succint for us, as they already have the terms in place for description of the movements and concepts. Of course, they can mean different things in different circumstances(for example, define the words "lie" or "truth" to someone sometime) I'll also grant that the words can be misused and misunderstood too, but this doesn't make them invalid words.

Mike

Michael Young
12-03-2003, 11:29 PM
Hey James, I think you should rename your imaginary friend...Tarquin doesn't seem manly enough for a pink marmot.

:)

zachbiesanz
12-04-2003, 12:14 AM
The "chicken" author would like to defend himself by not defending himself. He puts the ball in everyone elses court for THEM to defend Ki. Guess what? He just proved its existence RIGHT THERE!
Actually, that doesn't follow. You're confusing [his acceptance that there is a concept called "ki"] with [a belief in the existence of something that the word "ki" represents, as per a lot of arcane talk he's heard about the supernatural and such].

That's just a little pickiness about logic.

As far as his critique of ki goes, it bothers me that he considers the idea that ki is in fact something physical--for example a unity or optimization of motion--to be merely aopologistic. By the same stroke of logic, he must deny conscious experience and intensionality: two problems in philosophy of the mind that we have names for and can describe pretty well, but have a very hard time coming up with exact physical reductive explanations for.

Just because something isn't what it seems like it should have been doesn't mean it doesn't exist. If you understand the last sentence, maybe you can help me with my homework.

paw
12-04-2003, 07:23 AM
Like Fooks and others have said though, it's a good term to use to describe a certain visualization for body movement and response. It's a lot easier to say "extend Ki" than to say "relax your shoulders, put extension in your arms, move from your center, etc.etc." all at the same time.

It may be easier, but to me it's a sign of poor instruction and coaching. If my instructor wants me to relax my shoulders, etc, etc.... I'd appreciate it if they would simply tell me. It makes things clear, simple and concise. Using a "buzz word" or "catch phrase" that a student is supposed to guess the meaning of is wasteful, dishonest, and smacks of cultism.

Regards,

Paul

happysod
12-04-2003, 07:46 AM
Paul, wouldn't it be fair to say that if you've first adequately described a "buzzword" then continue to use it in a consistent manner, it's an acceptable abbreviation? For example, I find it easier to use the japanese names for techniques rather than describe them step-by-step each time, have I lost honesty points? :D

paw
12-04-2003, 09:11 AM
Ian,
Paul, wouldn't it be fair to say that if you've first adequately described a "buzzword" then continue to use it in a consistent manner, it's an acceptable abbreviation?

Sure. We (people in general) do that all the time.
For example, I find it easier to use the japanese names for techniques rather than describe them step-by-step each time, have I lost honesty points?
If everyone understands that the word "ikkyo" translates into the actual ikkyo technique and the class is familar with the technique, then no, there's no loss of honesty. If the understanding is not there, then not clarifying details is being dishonest to my way of thinking.

In Michael's original example, he did not describe an entire technique, he described details of the technique that were glossed over by "extending ki". If "extending ki" has one and only one meaning, then perhaps the term could be explained up front in a complete manner and then used. I suspect that "extending ki" does not have one and only one meaning and therefore, it is a sign of poor coaching to use it as short-hand for one of several technical errors that a student may or may not making and expecting the student to correctly determine what they are doing wrong.

Does that clarify things?

Regards,

Paul

happysod
12-04-2003, 09:52 AM
Sir Paul, I grok you man, thanks

ikkainogakusei
12-04-2003, 11:01 AM
Its not bad, its illogical but its not bad, love is illogical but its not bad.
side note: Me thinkst love is not illogical. Scientifically, it is a biochemical reaction which results in bonding. This bonding assists in making offspring, rearing the offspring, and protecting the offspring. Human-type love also creates a greater group bond to cause us to work communaly. Is it a perfect system? No, but neither are we. Logic and perfection do not have to be synonamous. The human body has many imperfect, and some might say illogical aspects, yet we exist, we survive, we thrive.
Its bad though when you force your students to believe in the same stuff you believe in. You are taking their freedom to draw their own conclusions away from them.
Amen. Agreed. You tell'em sister. Including the requirement of logic and reason.
If Ki has any effect whatsoever on the world around you its a physical phenomenon, and thus provable. Science (aka The Forces Of Logic) assume something is BS until the person who believes in it makes a solid case with ample proof for its existance.
{noting the correlation/suggestion that 'Forces of Logic' might = 'Forces of Good'} In fact, there is much in science that is convention or construct for the sake of progression. For example; I think it was Euclidean geometry that expressed the convention that 2 perpindicular intersecting lines make 90 degree angles, we can't prove it, so let's just agree.

As you had mentioned, in the most basic areas of science, we have quite a few occasions of convention or construct for the sake of progress. Sometimes it takes hundreds of years to prove the convention that we ran with. This should be noted when attempting to disprove Ki simply because it is not set up in line with today's logical construct.

Pythagoras was so obsessed with whole numbers and their power/beauty that he had what would today be called a cult surrounding that idea. One day one of his students said 'but what about the square root of 2?' and Pythagoras had him killed.

Though logic (the suggested force behind science) might seem to be perfect, it's practicioners are not always perfect. I won't reject the Pythagorean Theorem (note theorem, not 'law') just because he was a Looney. I'm a scientist and that simple little theory makes my day -=so=- much easier. So who am I to point a finger at a parcticioner/follower if Ki, or of Faith?

Many, many people have faith in Science. We assume that since a guy with a lab coat (a man of another cloth) tells us that bashing atoms at Cern will help us advance, we send billions of dollars. As of 2001 they've been working on creating black holes there...cool...but I must have faith that they know what they are doing with regard to the black holes.

http://www.nature.com/nsu/011004/011004-8.html

http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0523/p25s02-stss.html

If ki exists or does not, why bother to attack it? If one wants to create a nul hypothesis, the next step is action not rhetoric. Begin to study it and examine it through reason. If one hasn't the time or inclination to make it a part of their life's work, then let it be. (cheesey Beatles song plays in background)

:ai:

Aristeia
12-04-2003, 12:27 PM
It may be easier, but to me it's a sign of poor instruction and coaching. If my instructor wants me to relax my shoulders, etc, etc.... I'd appreciate it if they would simply tell me. It makes things clear, simple and concise. Using a "buzz word" or "catch phrase" that a student is supposed to guess the meaning of is wasteful, dishonest, and smacks of cultism.

Regards,

Paul
Nah depends on context. Like "unbendable arm". A phrase we use all the time because in the middle of teaching ikkyo you don't always want to have to explain it. Obviously you need to have taught it before or people won't know what your talking about, but once you have it's expedient to use the term.

You could make the same argument with tenkan. "if my instructor wants me to step slightly to the side and pivot 180 degrees on the ball of my foot whilst keeping my centre down and maintaining my posture, he should just say so" Why, when it's much easier to teach someone what a tenkan is and then just say tenkan.

Aristeia
12-04-2003, 12:29 PM
Ian,



In Michael's original example, he did not describe an entire technique, he described details of the technique that were glossed over by "extending ki". If "extending ki" has one and only one meaning, then perhaps the term could be explained up front in a complete manner and then used. I suspect that "extending ki" does not have one and only one meaning and therefore, it is a sign of poor coaching to use it as short-hand for one of several technical errors that a student may or may not making and expecting the student to correctly determine what they are doing wrong.
I'm more than happy to stipulate that you need to at some stage give an explanation of what you mean by that. Talking to students using the word ki and expecting to find their own explanation is silly and asking for trouble and misunderstanding. But once you've defined the terms, where's the problem.

paw
12-04-2003, 01:19 PM
Michael,
Like "unbendable arm". A phrase we use all the time because in the middle of teaching ikkyo you don't always want to have to explain it.

Strongly disagree. Trained 3 years before hearing about "unbendable arm" from any aikido instructor. Didn't cause any problems for me or anyone else.
But once you've defined the terms, where's the problem.

On having one clear meaning. "Tenkan" has one clear, and dare I say it, universal meaning in the context of aikido. "Ki" does not, at least not as far as I can tell from reading this thread.

There have been fine aikidoists who use the term, "ki" and fine aikidoists who do not. If use of the term is beneficial to the development of a student's expertise, use it. It seems clear to me from the responses on this thread and the original article that is not the case for all people.

As Wynand said:
Its bad though when you force your students to believe in the same stuff you believe in. You are taking their freedom to draw their own conclusions away from them.
Regards,

Paul

kironin
12-04-2003, 02:56 PM
Michael,

Strongly disagree. Trained 3 years before hearing about "unbendable arm" from any aikido instructor. Didn't cause any problems for me or anyone else.
it's part of the training process in some aikido styles and not in others, just as I am sure there are exercises in your aikido classes that I and many others don't do that we don't feel causes any problems for us.

that said, I have certainly met enough students in other styles that I personally felt could have benefited from some experience with the "unbendable arm" exercise. To be fair, they probably feel I could benefit from some of their exercises.
On having one clear meaning. "Tenkan" has one clear, and dare I say it, universal meaning in the context of aikido.
This is simply not true either from a linguistic point or a technical interstyle point.

I bet if I say, hantai tenkan, a lot of aikido students won't have a clue about what I want them to do.

For the record, when I teach Ki Development classes students most often get specific technical corrections in English and the rest they can make their own mind up on as they compare and practice with each other.

Craig

fvhale
12-04-2003, 03:29 PM
All this talk about two dozen squabbling chickens with too much ki made me curious about chicken ki. It has been proven scientifically that you can transfer duck ki to chicken eggs and get chicken-ducks (chucks? Dickens?). I kid you not. The Web says so.

"The term 'Ki' or basic human energy had been used restrictively in some specific fields like Chinese medicine till only few years ago. It had known as an unscientific and a subtle superstitious word to the general public. In recent years, however, we say and hear the word naturally in daily conversation Scientists who study 'Ki' are also increasing all over the world.

...<cluck cluck><quack quack>...

Dr. F. A. Popp's theory that a 'bio-photon' is used as a means of information exchange among cells of living things has received great approval in the academic world. Dr. Chiang Kanzhen, who lives in Russia after fleeing from China, also attracts people's attention. He made crossbred ducks using microwaves. For the experiment, he put a duck at a microwave transmitter and 500 ready-to-hatch chicken eggs at the receiver. Among the 480 chickens born, 25% had web on their feet, 80% had wide mouth, 70% had long neck and 90% had small eyes like ducks."

http://home.donga.ac.kr/~daudh/magazine/112/hum.htm

Peace to all...

kironin
12-04-2003, 06:38 PM
http://home.donga.ac.kr/~daudh/magazine/112/hum.htm

Peace to all...
Well, as a scientist, I found this article to be close to babbling nonsense. Some of that may be due to it being written by a non-native English speaker or bad translation from Korean. The one Nature article ... is that the infamous homeopathy article ? Nature and Science may be high profile journals but they still do publish crap too often for comfort. Sometimes you have to wonder what the reviewers were smoking.

Craig

Michael Young
12-04-2003, 08:31 PM
Gotta agree Craig, just more "snake oil" salesmanship covered up with bad science. Unfortunately there are a lot of people out there that will buy it (sucker born every minute)...actually I got a good chuckle out of the article...hmmm, I wonder if he ate the microwaved duck with some orange sauce afterward...maybe he could microwave an orange with some duck eggs nearby and the "bio photon" from the oarnge would transfer, eliminating the need for orange sauce completely :)

paw
12-05-2003, 06:10 AM
Craig,
I bet if I say, hantai tenkan, a lot of aikido students won't have a clue about what I want them to do.

Strawman argument and I suspect you know that. Well, I'll play along....

Let's pretend a new student joins your dojo. You say "hantai tenkan". The student has no idea. Now, you explain "hantai tenkan" to the student and because you are a fine instructor the student quickly understands.

Three Years Pass.....

Your student happens to travel to, let's say, Japan. They walk into a dojo --- one not affiliated with your school or organization --- and request to train for the night. They are graciously welcome. The instructor at this dojo says "hantai tenkan". Is it the same thing you described three years prior?

In the years I've trained aikido, every dojo I went to, every seminar I attended, every camp I trained at, every rank exam I took...."tenkan" was the same thing. So was "ikkyo". So was "uke". Ran into a dojo where they used the word "tori". Found out everyone that uses the word "tori" means the same thing. Different instructors, different affiliations, different organizations....same terminology, same meaning.

Everytime I think I know what someone means when they say "ki", I find someone else saying "ki" is something else.

Does that clarify things?

Paul

Mikkel Berg
12-05-2003, 08:30 AM
Hm.

I feel like a turtle entering a leopard-race here, because I have trained aikido for a very short time. Then again, I have studied comparative religion and by other ways come to somewhat know the concept of ki - if it is at all possible to comprehend for nonjapanese: It does seem to be more of an integrated and socially omiprescent thing than "God" or other metaphysical concepts.

But even though I'm an atheist, I find no problem training something that so heavily focuses on the ki-concept. Why?

I'll admit, when the highest ranking person in the dojo talks about healing people with ki, I don't really see it as relevant to aikido as a defense-art. Such things fall under "ki as religion" in my mind, and so it doesn't really interest me...

But can't "ki" also be seen separately as a way of thinking body-movement? The way you focus mentally-physically on your hip movements, strong bodycentre, heavy/light movements, circle movements and breathing (etc, probably).

How does this way of thinking bodymovement make us religious? There's a whole lot more to the concept of ki, that makes it a religious concept, but are those other aspects necessary for aikido as a defense art?

Aikido works, even if the practicioner is a typical secular Scandinavian who thinks of ki only as a "bodythinking" excluding the other aspects.

kironin
12-05-2003, 02:05 PM
In the years I've trained aikido, every dojo I went to, every seminar I attended, every camp I trained at, every rank exam I took...."tenkan" was the same thing. So was "ikkyo". So was "uke". Ran into a dojo where they used the word "tori". Found out everyone that uses the word "tori" means the same thing. Different instructors, different affiliations, different organizations....same terminology, same meaning.

Everytime I think I know what someone means when they say "ki", I find someone else saying "ki" is something else.

Does that clarify things?

Paul
I understand your arguement but I don't think it's correct nor do I think my example in response was a sham.

have you been to a Yoshinkan seminar ?

would you know exactly what I mean if we were doing neck exercises and I said "tenkan" ?

I have practiced radically different ikkyos that don't move the same way and don't even use the same mechanical principles to break uke's balance. I was just in Japan at a class by a 9th dan learning a totally new way of doing ikkyo from what I was familiar (different footwork, different timing, different lead, different principle - and it worked very well -

not Ki Society by the way ;-) or Aikikai ). The sort of ikkyo done by Ikeda Sensei (ASU), I find a lot of fun but it's totally different from what we do so that I can treat it like a different technique and IMO it differs a lot from what other Aikikai groups do.

in the Ki Society, there is a precise discussion of Ki in terms on mind and body unification rooted in Tempu Nakamura's Japanese Yoga. Koichi Tohei Sensei has been working on and refining it for over 30 years. When his son visits, I know precisely what he is talking about when he speaks about ki because he doesn't just talk about it. You will find people talking about it and meaning the same thing on the east coast and west coast or in Japan or Europe.

so in my dojo lingo, ki really is no different than tenkan. In dojos that lack specific training, I can understand the confusion.

Craig

kironin
12-05-2003, 02:16 PM
Three Years Pass.....

Your student happens to travel to, let's say, Japan. They walk into a dojo --- one not affiliated with your school or organization --- and request to train for the night. They are graciously welcome. The instructor at this dojo says "hantai tenkan". Is it the same thing you described three years prior?
:D

I bet you I have no idea what this group means by "hantai tenkan".

http://www.aikido-chch.co.nz/grading_juniors.html

----------------

Tai sabaki:

Irimi

Tenkan

Irimi tenkan

Hantai tenkan

Tenkai

Aristeia
12-05-2003, 02:30 PM
:D

I bet you I have no idea what this group means by "hantai tenkan".

http://www.aikido-chch.co.nz/grading_juniors.html

----------------

Tai sabaki:

Irimi

Tenkan

Irimi tenkan

Hantai tenkan

Tenkai
Why not?

tedehara
12-06-2003, 10:58 AM
Ki is a concept that is thousands of years old. It's been defined and redefined, interpeted and reinterpeted in many eras and places.

To absolutely reject all of it seems as bad as absolutely accepting all of it.

ikkainogakusei
12-06-2003, 04:30 PM
Ki is a concept that is thousands of years old. It's been defined and redefined, interpeted and reinterpeted in many eras and places.

To absolutely reject all of it seems as bad as absolutely accepting all of it.
Amen sister!

cindy perkins
12-11-2003, 11:03 PM
For a long time, no one scientific seemed to be willing to tolerate the idea that the body might be radiating any kind of electro-magnetic energy, or any energy other than heat. Kirilian (sp?) photography demonstrated that it was there and recordable. Perhaps we are just waiting for the right technology to come along so we can detect and measure the flow of Ki.

That said, I would love to see some master use ki-force alone to hold a person down or throw them, in a lab with controlled conditions, electronic meters reading different forms of energy, neutral observers, etc. Isn't it the Amazing Randi who will pay a million bucks for a real demonstration of anything paranormal? Even if the master doesn't want the money, I'm sure some dojos could use new equipment! And I personally would be pleased that another anomaly had been introduced into the scientists' puzzlebox.

afwen
12-12-2003, 01:15 PM
Of course ki exists. How else could you possibly explain the techniques performed at the end of this clip? (Beyond the Physical) (http://www.rochesteraikido.com/media/short.mpg)

kironin
12-12-2003, 06:56 PM
Of course ki exists. How else could you possibly explain the techniques performed at the end of this clip? (Beyond the Physical) (http://www.rochesteraikido.com/media/short.mpg)
easy

the key... here is in the last few words of the video clip:

"skillfully works with human psychology"

Craig

afwen
12-12-2003, 07:05 PM
easy

...

"skillfully works with human psychology"For the record, Craig said that, not me.

Just in case there was any confusion.

kironin
12-12-2003, 07:51 PM
For a long time, no one scientific seemed to be willing to tolerate the idea that the body might be radiating any kind of electro-magnetic energy, or any energy other than heat. Kirilian (sp?) photography demonstrated that it was there and recordable.

huh?

My understanding is that the professional scientific community is in pretty strong aggreement that Kirilian photography is not proof of anything except perhaps that sometimes bad science can generate pretty pictures.
http://www.pupman.com/listarchives/1998/September/msg00293.html

if you want to see serious study of animals radiating electromagnetic fields check this out.
http://www.fiu.edu/~stoddard/efish/field_movies.html

or

see how scientists study the very weak electromagnetic fields that humans do generate http://neuroimage.usc.edu/megproject.html#MEG

interesting history indicating just long scientists have been interested in the idea of human bodies generating electromagnetic fields. http://www.ecglibrary.com/ecghist.html

given this, I am not sure what the point of your second paragraph is. This is not the Star Trek universe where every civilization seems able to discover their own unique kind of energy.

Craig

kironin
12-12-2003, 07:59 PM
For the record, Craig said that, not me.

Just in case there was any confusion.
:p

for the record that's what the narrator of the video clip said (who I believe is Vladimir's wife).

and by the way Systema is a lot of fun and I highly recommend it for any Aikido student interested in cross-training in another martial art.

Craig

afwen
12-12-2003, 08:31 PM
and by the way Systema is a lot of fun and I highly recommend it for any Aikido student interested in cross-training in another martial art.One of the most interesting things to me about Systema is that practitioners move completely unlike "good" ukes are supposed to move. It is very, very difficult to lock up a Systema practitioner, because they refuse to privde resistance to any of your movements.

kironin
12-12-2003, 08:52 PM
One of the most interesting things to me about Systema is that practitioners move completely unlike "good" ukes are supposed to move. It is very, very difficult to lock up a Systema practitioner, because they refuse to privde resistance to any of your movements.

I am not sure what you mean by "good" uke because to me being a good uke in aikido can mean doing vastly different things in different contexts. Being a good uke is more of a contiuum. Refusing to provide resistance isn't the same thing as succeeding in NOT providing resistance and to my way of thinking just means nage has to up their game so to speak. One can do aikido so that one promotes the development of tension in the uke's body even if uke is trying to avoid it. In that regard I find Systema practice quite interesting in reflecting back on my aikido practice.

and actually this issue is not at all new for aikido. I have seen an old video of a aikido black belt attempting to apply any lock to Cheng Mang Ching's arm in New York City in the mid-1960's. He effortlessly slithered out of everything they did.

best regards,
Craig

afwen
12-12-2003, 09:02 PM
I am not sure what you mean by "good" uke because to me being a good uke in aikido can mean doing vastly different things in different contexts.Perhaps I haven't practiced at the right places, but everywhere I've been, when you're doing shomenuchi and they're doing ikkyo, you're "supposed to" provide a reasonable connection from your center to your arm. Floppy arms are definitely frowned upon. Whereas the last time I tried to do ikkyo to a Systema practitioner, he actively tried to prevent me from reaching his center through his arm.

How do you do shomenuchi where you practice?

afwen
12-12-2003, 10:13 PM
and actually this issue is not at all new for aikido. I have seen an old video of a aikido black belt attempting to apply any lock to Cheng Mang Ching's arm in New York City in the mid-1960's. He effortlessly slithered out of everything they did.Did I say it was new? I don't think I said it was new. Anyway, while it's not new for aikido, it's certainly new for me. And cool.