View Full Version : Extending Ki?

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07-25-2005, 08:21 PM

I wondered what people perceptions are of the phrase "extending ki"...I wonder if most people have differing ideas. I've read very interesting things on this by Koichi Tohei...things like being able to look directly at the sun for extended periods by ki extension..

I must admit I have no real idea what this actually means or how to do it...any ideas anyone??

Many thanks


07-25-2005, 08:32 PM
Looking directly at the sun? Not without UV and polarized eye protection, and certainly not for extended periods - with or without ki extension!

07-25-2005, 09:17 PM
Well I read some extracts from a seminar with Tohei a few years ago...and it seemed to indicate that it was possible (the writer claimed 20 mins for himself)..there was no mention of glasses. It hinted at the fact we absorb sun rays but we could extend ki towards the sun and somehow counteract the usual harmful effect....only my interpretation though....interesting stuff eh :)

07-26-2005, 07:45 AM
I have a bridge for sale.

07-26-2005, 08:51 AM
Well I read some extracts from a seminar with Tohei a few years ago...and it seemed to indicate that it was possible (the writer claimed 20 mins for himself)..there was no mention of glasses. It hinted at the fact we absorb sun rays but we could extend ki towards the sun and somehow counteract the usual harmful effect....only my interpretation though....interesting stuff eh :)

I've seen a film where this actually happened for real.

I think it was Superman 2 or something like that!


Mike Sigman
07-26-2005, 09:38 AM
I have a bridge for sale. How much? ;)

There is an old training method of looking at the sun to strengthen the eyes, strengthen the qi from the eyes, etc., but it involves looking at the sun just as it comes up or just as it goes down. At those times, the view through the atmosphere is as long as possible so the atmosphere cuts down on the strength of the sun considerably. Not a method I would try, though. Presbyopia comes soon enough.


07-26-2005, 10:00 AM
Cheers Mike :)

Getting back to the original question though..."extension of Ki"...what is this?..is this something we do naturally if we are relaxed in training or is it something more esoteric?..because when a tenth dan like Tohei talks about things like this you have to wonder if we only have limited knowledge in comparison...well me for one anyway :)

Any constructive input always welcome


Mike Sigman
07-26-2005, 10:59 AM
Cheers Mike :)

Getting back to the original question though..."extension of Ki"...what is this?..is this something we do naturally if we are relaxed in training or is it something more esoteric?. Well, the problem with trying to give a quick answer is that "extend ki" can mean a few things and on different levels. Let me take my now favorite-but-tiresome example of Tohei standing on one foot and his partner pushing on his forearm. Technically, this is a "ki test", i.e., Tohei is "demonstrating his ki" and the fact that he has "extended his ki". But it's confusing to describe what one thing he is doing because the "ki" he is demonstrating is sort of a holistic combination of several factors.

On the physical level, Tohei is providing a "resistance" (I like to call it a path, a grounded path, and similar things) to the push of his opponent. However, you can have ki that is "extended" without being able to manifest this physical thing that is also confusingly called "ki". That's why it's not so simple to give you a short answer. But using this one posture of Tohei's, I can tell you the general factors of what he is doing in his "extend ki" for this demonstration (and most of his demonstrations):

(1.) He is providing an almost unconscious path downward toward his major supporting foot in response to any incoming force. If it is a lifting force, he is automatically providing a path from point of touch to his sunken weight. His mind is adjusted to provide such a relaxed path at any time in any direction ( up, down, away from the body, toward the body), so he is "extending ki" in all directions with this readily-available-at-any-time kokyu path. Incidentally, these paths can be used to passively absorb incoming forces or they can be used as the pure routes through which outgoing (active) forces are generated.

(2.) He is combining with the above skill a trained myofascially-involved additive skill which boosts his ability to perform his demonstrations and techniques. Since this skill is always ready (in six directions), he is always "extending ki". (The "jo-trick" is an example of kokyu being aided by one of the "six directions" training).

(3.) In training #2 there is an unavoidable increase in some sort of electro-magnetic field effect involving the fascia which increases the strength of this field (same "field" that is used and felt in Reiki, "Healing Hands", "External Qi", etc., etc.... everyone can do this with minimal training). So this "field" can be felt more and more strongly as the "ki" is trained in #2 and so you can feel the "extended ki". There are some controversial aspects to this last "extend ki", but I have "felt" what they're talking about (and can teach people how to do the same thing), even though I haven't been convinced of any personal need to pursue this subject too far.

(4.) Through one's ability to form "paths" that are "willed" into existence, as mentioned in #1, someone can focus his forces and control them (to some degree) out and along weapons they have in their hand or into an opponent's body if they are in contact with him. That is also known as "extending ki".

Because those 4 subjects have an intertwining relationship, the subject as a whole is all about "extending ki", but it could easily be argued that "extending ki" can apply to the individual components to such a degree that it's just very confusing. That's the problem with a "ki-paradigm" that lumps what would be separable topics in a "western-science paradigm" into one group. There can never be simple one-to-one explanations.

Hope that helps, Lee. :)


07-26-2005, 01:01 PM
I have my 2 cents to the thread!

I was given an explanation that I like. "If you consciously extend your fingers outwards, lets say to pick up a teacup in a cupboard, you will trigger all the synapses of your nervous system to the tip of your finger, and thus your arm will be unbendable or strong. but, If you make a fist and if you are reluctant to throw it out at an attacker, you neurons will both signal the return muscles, for a quick return, and synapses will stop at the wrist, causing resistance of movement. This resistance in movement will lesson your ki. So, perhaps "extending your ki," kinda means doing your movements/techniques with deliberation or confidence!?!? :rolleyes:

07-26-2005, 07:06 PM
Mike and Roy...many thanks for taking the time to reply to my question...very much appreciated :)

Wow...so much to learn!


Lyle Bogin
07-27-2005, 10:42 AM
The most helpful thing anyone said to me about "extending ki" was "it's just like shaking hands".

Mark Uttech
07-28-2005, 10:46 AM
extending ki can be simply explained as extending attention.

07-28-2005, 01:05 PM
"extending" attention is part of it but not nearly all of it as indicated by the excellent post by Mike Sigman.

by the way, "attention" itself is not well understood from a neuroscience perspective. It's actually a major area of research of exactly what the hell attention is. What we use the term for generally seems to be more than one process including perhaps global top down process and local bottom up processes in the neural topology underlying the mind.

Ron Tisdale
07-28-2005, 02:02 PM
Don't different senses have 'attention' processed in vastly different sections of the brain? If you focus on hearing, where is that processed, as opposed to focusing on sight?


08-14-2005, 12:18 AM
A Ki Society instructor once shared the viewpoint: Don't extend ki; let the ki extend.

I thought it was a nice summation on the wording of the popular "Extend ki" phrase. Deep implications.


08-14-2005, 01:29 AM
The way "extending ki" was explained to me was that every human body naturally has ki. When you are in a relaxed state it flows pretty freely. With mild training you can draw your ki from your hara by way of concious intent and kokyu. By extending ki in the direction you wish uke to go you can guide him and direct your energy to effect technique through ki instead of stregnth.

The version I got from some Tai Chi people I trained with a few times was basically the same but they instead used the phrase "raising awareness". Indeed, when doing ki-building exercises or conciously directing ki you seem to have a raised awareness of your proprioception (position of everything in your body) so that if you thought about it you could counciously feel the twitching of your muscles and the circulation of your blood. An easy example is just sit down calmly and concentrate on your heartbeat for a bit and you can actually feel your heart contracting and pumping and feel the way it flows around your body.

Not claiming accuracy or knowledge here, just what I have heard first hand here. Honestly I dont think you are going to get that great of an answer because even just the physiological things involved in ki are pretty complex and it could be alot like asking someone how you can tell which of your car's tires is out of alignment when you have never driven a car.

Good luck and I hope something I said helped.

Btw, great post Mike.


08-14-2005, 04:31 AM
I'm not sure these are the right words to some, but I'll use an example from my personal experience when I try to describe my take on all this. I don't talk about it much, but something tells me that this is the proper place.

A number of years ago, when halfway between consciousness and oblivion after major surgery, I was visited in the recovery room by two longtime training partners, both medical professionals with the credentials to get in to see me. The first was my Aikido teacher, who is a dynamic, high-output person. I immediately became aware of the energy he was giving off. It was like a man with a bucket, splashing it everywhere. The second was a fellow Aikido yudansha, who has been a Tai Chi instructor for many years. His energy was markedly more reserved, quiet and focused, yet irresistible, much like a river flowing ever-forward. Their presences and essences were both so supportive and bracing, yet so markedly different, that even through the drug-induced haze and the disruption to my own energy caused by the invasion of my body during the surgery, it made an indelible impression on me at every level. It awakened in me, if only for a brief time, an awareness and sensitivity that I have tried to recapture in the dojo (with only limited success) for the years following the incident. I was able to describe, in great detail, everything and everyone that entered that room during that time, to the incredulous amazement of the nursing staff, who kept pressing me for details of the experience for many days following. I am classically trained as a scientist, but I have been at a loss to explain any of it scientifically. But I can tell you this: It changed me and my perception of ki from that day forward.

Now, when I try to rationalize and explain what my concept of ki is, I say that it is energy borne of one's connection to the Earth, but reflecting each person's essence, personality and even their experiences. And I look at the extension of ki as the focus and alignment of this energy, and it's direction outward on an almost unconscious level, like a sprinkler shooting water. The sprinkler doesn't produce the water itself, nor can it really stop the water from flowing, but it can focus the water, and feed from it as the source of it's own motion. And the water is irresistible, with incalculable power (evidence the Grand Canyon). And the water doesn't disappear once it is "extended", it simply resumes it's place among all the other water, until it is used again.

It's the best analogy I can come up with, and obviously everybody's mileage may vary. I hope this weird experience strikes a chord with somebody, rather than making me sound like a raving lunatic. :freaky: