PDA

View Full Version : Desperate to rehabilitate ki


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


peter martin-browning
02-28-2006, 02:42 PM
Hello everyone

I recently bought a dvd of the late Saito Sensei demonstrating aiki jo and aiki ken. In one section he says (this is a paraphrase) one should raise the bo-ken and allow the universal ki to enter the kissaki, before executing the technique. This is as clear an indication I have seen that O Sensei did include the channelling of ki as integral to aikido practice (given that Saito Sensei aimed to preserve exactly what he was taught by O Sensei). I also conclude that O Sensei did not thus conceptualise ki as the best mechanical advantage, but as an actual force.
When I began training in taiji, I was taught two techniques in my very first lesson, enabling me to exert sufficient force on another person that they were powerless to resist. I did this with a completely relaxed body, and under instruction to make no effort at all. I was able to effect these techniques within about an hour of the beginning of my first lesson. I should add that I had no martial arts or other physical training before that day.
Of course these were exercises with a partner, and not the same as taijutsu, but the principle remains, - I was immeasurably more powerful than I can be with my muscles alone, even when many of my muscles were disabled (one of them involves sweeping away one's partner with one hand while one's heels and upper back are pressed against a wall. Try it, and see how much you are immobilised in this position).
In all my study of Japanese martial arts, whether through my training or through books or forums such as this one, there remains a debate about whether ki is an actual force or is merely the best mechanical advantage that non-practitioners cannot access.
The argument usually takes the form of one person saying they have experienced ki, either through my kind of experience or through uprooting in taiji. The non-believers then say that this proves nothing and that the ki believers must therefore be deluded (this is not always stated in so many words but is the inevitable implication).
Those who think ki is best mechanical advantage (or BMA, as it is more properly known) might be enlightened by going to learn from a taiji teacher (perhaps asking him to demonstrate uprooting).
So, to those who think the believers are deluded, let me ask you a question. When you saw, for example, Saito Sensei throw a fourth dan aikidoka without actually raising his hands from his sides, did you think that was done with best mechanical advantage? Do you think that Saito Sensei or O Sensei were deluded when they spoke of ki as an actual force?
I look forward to your replies with great interest.

At your service

Peter Martin-Browning

tarik
02-28-2006, 05:14 PM
Those who think ki is best mechanical advantage (or BMA, as it is more properly known) might be enlightened by going to learn from a taiji teacher (perhaps asking him to demonstrate uprooting).

And if such a persons opinion that there is nothing mystical about ki (although plenty that is quite remarkable) does not change after such an experience?

I've experienced some interesting things in my life, viritually none of which I would call mystical, although I might use the term mysterious.

It seems like you're walking a very fine line when talking about ki as an actual force vs. best mechanical advantage. What's the difference?

So, to those who think the believers are deluded, let me ask you a question. When you saw, for example, Saito Sensei throw a fourth dan aikidoka without actually raising his hands from his sides, did you think that was done with best mechanical advantage?

No, I think that the aikidoka didn't want to to make their teacher look like bad and/or they were afraid of what would happen to them if they DIDN'T move.

Do you think that Saito Sensei or O Sensei were deluded when they spoke of ki as an actual force?

I haven't paid a lot of attention to Saito Sensei. What I've read of the Founders speech suggest that he speaks with too much alliteration to so easily know whether he spoke of ki as an actual force or not.

This should be an intriguing thread.

Regards,

Tarik

Misogi-no-Gyo
02-28-2006, 05:58 PM
Hello everyone

I recently bought a dvd of the late Saito Sensei demonstrating aiki jo and aiki ken. In one section he says (this is a paraphrase) one should raise the bo-ken and allow the universal ki to enter the kissaki, before executing the technique. This is as clear an indication I have seen that O Sensei did include the channelling of ki as integral to aikido practice (given that Saito Sensei aimed to preserve exactly what he was taught by O Sensei).
Mr. Martin-Browning,

You seem like a nice gent, so I thought I might take some time to respond to the points you have raseid. While I may not disagree with the idea that O-Sensei intended to pass along "something" outside of mere waza as the treasure to be discovered within his Aikido, the mere fact that Saito Sensei said it, does not in any way mean that O-Sensei even inferred anything as much. As it was written, I am not particularly fond of the phrase, "channeling of ki..." as it has no real value in terms of instruction or understanding what O-Sensei possibly meant, did or said.
I also conclude that O Sensei did not thus conceptualise ki as the best mechanical advantage, but as an actual force.
Nullification of your first point indicates nullification of anything based upon it. Therefore your second statement, while I am not disagreeing with it in any way, can not be viewed with any sense of accuracy based upon the process used to prove the initial observation being so flawed.
When I began training in taiji, I was taught two techniques in my very first lesson, enabling me to exert sufficient force on another person that they were powerless to resist. I did this with a completely relaxed body, and under instruction to make no effort at all. I was able to effect these techniques within about an hour of the beginning of my first lesson. I should add that I had no martial arts or other physical training before that day.
Of course these were exercises with a partner, and not the same as taijutsu, but the principle remains, - I was immeasurably more powerful than I can be with my muscles alone, even when many of my muscles were disabled (one of them involves sweeping away one's partner with one hand while one's heels and upper back are pressed against a wall. Try it, and see how much you are immobilised in this position).
Of course it is difficult to conduct any dialogue when phrases such as "Ki" or "Kokyu" have yet to be clearly defined. However, I do believe that O-Sensei may have had some issue about teaching "Ki" as a method by which to transmit his art form. Kokyu on the other hand was an integral part of his training methodology from what I understand. While Ki & Kokyu may be viewed as Heads & Tails on a coin, clearly being connected, and even molded from the same substance, I am sure you might agree that one can not make an argument that Heads is Tails, or even visa-versa.
In all my study of Japanese martial arts, whether through my training or through books or forums such as this one, there remains a debate about whether ki is an actual force or is merely the best mechanical advantage that non-practitioners cannot access.
I have recently come to realize that the argument you point to is moot. Please consider that according to Newton's Second Law of Motion force, by its very nature is a mechanical measurement of Mass(x)Acceleration. Of course, I understand what you mean when you delineate the two terms, "force" and "something mechanical" However, I don't think you will find clear evidence that "Ki" whatever it may be is anything outside of something that is produced using some method, and since it is "produced by a process" it can only be viewed as mechanical at some level.

I would like to add that when we look at Newton's Second Law of Motion F=M(A) we see that Force has two components, one that is calculated on an actual scale (weight), and one that is calculated on a relative scale (rate of increase in speed). This means that a force is made up of a physical and what I call non-physical component. Perhaps that is why there are two camps as you say, the believers and the non-believers. I would go so far as to say there are four camps, really.

Camp-1 Those that believe that KI is a spiritual, or magical force
Camp-2 Those that believe that there are only good body mechanics and that there is no "KI"
Camp-3 Those that believe that there are two components that need understanding and in which to train
Camp-4 Those who train and don't think about "KI" at all

What are your thoughts in response to what I am positing, here?
The argument usually takes the form of one person saying they have experienced ki, either through my kind of experience or through uprooting in taiji. The non-believers then say that this proves nothing and that the ki believers must therefore be deluded (this is not always stated in so many words but is the inevitable implication).
It should be noted that Taiji is not Aikido by any means. Certainly O-Sensei didn't do Taiji... did he?
Those who think ki is best mechanical advantage (or BMA, as it is more properly known) might be enlightened by going to learn from a taiji teacher (perhaps asking him to demonstrate uprooting).
Again, Ki & Kokyu are not interchangeable. O-Sensei's Aikido was partially based upon Kokyu. The delineation of Ki was something that I believe Tohei Sensei was partial to, and accordingly prompted him to break from the Aikikai in the 70's. As for enlightenment, Siddhartha Gautama, A.K.A - Shakyamuni (Buddha) sat in front of a wall and was enlightened. One doesn't need to practice Taiji, nor any art to be enlightened - especially with regards to one's own Aikido.
So, to those who think the believers are deluded, let me ask you a question.

1. When you saw, for example, Saito Sensei throw a fourth dan aikidoka without actually raising his hands from his sides, did you think that was done with best mechanical advantage?

2. Do you think that Saito Sensei or O Sensei were deluded when they spoke of ki as an actual force?


I look forward to your replies with great interest.

At your service

Peter Martin-Browning
Well, in answer to your two questions, I would have to say no one (outside of Saito Sensei and O-Sensei) can really know, now… can they? Perhaps they were simply faking it... I mean if you are going to make statements that basically state, "Well, if Saito Sensei said it, O-Sensei must have, too..." and then base your conclusions upon such methods, can you be sure of anything? Certainly we can only surmise that further review of the methods and practices employed are overdue - and in case I wasn't clear, I don't mean practicing more Taiji, either.




.

Upyu
03-01-2006, 12:53 AM
I would like to add that when we look at Newton's Second Law of Motion F=M(A) we see that Force has two components, one that is calculated on an actual scale (weight), and one that is calculated on a relative scale (rate of increase in speed). This means that a force is made up of a physical and what I call non-physical component. Perhaps that is why there are two camps as you say, the believers and the non-believers. I would go so far as to say there are four camps, really.


Just a couple of thoughts.

The MA=F equations so often spouted is a little bit more complex than it seems.

If you get into the "internal" factor then what "m" really constitutes needs to be more closely examined(If you ask me, most boxers that try to throw all their weight behind punch or kick aren't actually using their structure to maximum efficiency, and hence their weight).
Also, "a" needs to be examined to. There's a bunch of things that drive "a" within the human body.

If you want to get really technical the break down would look like

m1a1 (Mass/acceleration of tanden) + m2a2 (mass/acceleration of compression/expansion of spine) + m3a3(mass/acceleration of backbow in the case of taichi) + m4a4 (mass/acceleration of all joints held together with 6 directional contradictory force) .... and so on = F

If you don't have control over any of these factors, you take away from the overall equation and end up with less power, less efficiency. ;)


The dirty details have already been done to death here, and on several other boards(do a search for "Ki" and "kokyu". There's other teachers teaching this stuff pretty concretely without any mysticism involved.
If you ask me, most of the exercises designed to develop this kind of body skill is already in Aikido, just few actually know how to do the exercises to develop them (Just a personal opinoin, don't flame me)




It should be noted that Taiji is not Aikido by any means. Certainly O-Sensei didn't do Taiji... did he?

Yea, but to a large degree the foundation that's developed is the same(considering that the source is probably the same anyways). How you use that foundation might be a bit different, but we only have two arms, two legs and a head, so there's only going to be so many variations of the use of internal mechanics.

If you want to see grownups discussing this and flaming each other, head over to e-budo :D
There's several threads on the stuff under
"Kuzushi", "Aikido from babies" "Akuzawa" etc etc

Just my two yen :p

Amelia Smith
03-01-2006, 06:32 AM
Kanai Sensei sometimes mentioned ki, saying something to the effect that ki means intention.

Personally, I believe that ki is a real thing, going beyond physical body mechanics, and that it can be understood as a kind of mental force, for training purposes. Y'know, mind-body unity and all that.

Alec Corper
03-01-2006, 07:12 AM
Hello shaun,

Camp-1 Those that believe that KI is a spiritual, or magical force
Camp-2 Those that believe that there are only good body mechanics and that there is no "KI"
Camp-3 Those that believe that there are two components that need understanding and in which to train
Camp-4 Those who train and don't think about "KI" at all

Nice formula, and as Rob said (in a very adult way I may add ;) ) there are plenty of folks beating each other up over this on E-Budo. I guess I fall in Camp 3,5. Good body mechanics at a really high level definitely require some rearranging of the mind. Where the border line is between real mental change and spirituality falls is something that is best answered by Zen masters, neh?

There really is no need to rehabilitate ki since it has not offended anyone or anything. The endless talk about it is just that: talk. There are some things I can do sometimes with some people that could be described as good body mechanics combined with the right mental/emotional attitude, a feeling of goal-less efficiency which brooks no opposition since it perceives none.I wish I could do it always, so I'm working on just working and not wishing too much.
Doing this(effortless power) in the midst of actual combat is a whole different thing, and many exercises in Aikido (most of the tanren keiko, kihon waza, etc) including many of the so-called "warming up" practices are a way of conditioning the body/mind to cooperate in a particular way, not so dissimilar from learning Tai Chi form and then push hands.

Some people want it but don't get it
Some couldn't care less and have it abundantly
Some can talk it to death, so what?
Some know and show but it's not seen or understood

Fun, isn't it? :D

ian
03-01-2006, 08:17 AM
Mmm. Excellent thread and well phrased questions. I suppose to avoid answering I would say that everything we think of is really a 'model' of reality. Best mechanical advantage (e.g. physics) is a model which has seemed quite succesful.

Martial arts incorporate psychological and physical aspects (e.g. if you grab someone hard they tend to tense themselves - but not directly because of the power you exert).

I see ki as a model of reality, just as physics is. In many ways it is very succesful and combines aspects of psychology and physics and physiology very well. Is it real? If the model works, it is real until we find aspects of our model that don't work, then we have to rethink our model.

From personal experience I would say ki is a useful model. However, I don't believe telling someone 'use your ki' has any benefit if they have little understanding what you mean. You may as well say 'use your kireshne'. In your example, I would say relaxation is part of the mechanical advantage (using the weight of your body and limbs without excessive use of antagonistic muscles), although the 'ki' model can be easier to visualise than the combined physical/physiological/pschological model.

Qatana
03-01-2006, 10:28 AM
How come we can believe in certain invisible rays of energy and not believe in other ones?
I work with gems. People are constantly asking me which stones will do what effect. I ask, what do you mean by that? They start going on about crystal spiritual energy transmission. I tell them, well, yeah, crystals DO transmit energy, just ask anyone who wears glasses, listens to the radio (yes, in the ancient pre-digital years) or works with lasers. Anyway, that stuff that goes along electrical wires is also a mysterious invisible force, btw.
Anyway I also tell them that no spiritual advisor can tell you that a specific stone will get you a specific result. Since I am up to my elbows in them every day and didn't even have a boyfriend (one of the most desired "effects" of wearing specific stones),The stone isn't going to Do It for them. However if there happens to be a stone that they really personally groove on and can spend time with, they will possibly develop their focus to the point where they do the thing that manifests the wealth, boyfriend, whatever.
I don't know how gppd an analogy this is, other than saying that I personally believe that ki is as real as electricity or radio waves or those other magic invisible rays that let us see through things and peple, or lift extremely heavy objects, or defy gravity.We can use it without understanding it then, can't we? I sure don't understand how the internet works, isn't it also an invisible mysterious thing? But I can use it...

tarik
03-01-2006, 12:15 PM
How come we can believe in certain invisible rays of energy and not believe in other ones?

Because the ones 'we' believe in are measurable and consistently reproducible. Therefore they can be studied, understood, explained, and utilized.

I don't know how gppd an analogy this is, other than saying that I personally believe that ki is as real as electricity or radio waves or those other magic invisible rays that let us see through things and peple, or lift extremely heavy objects, or defy gravity. We can use it without understanding it then, can't we? I sure don't understand how the internet works, isn't it also an invisible mysterious thing? But I can use it...

Specific information on how electricity, radio waves, x-rays, MRI's, magnetic fields, and yes, even the internet work is readily available, understandable, and reproducible by anyone who wants to spend the time doing the research.

You'll find that the usual reason for disbelief in ki and spiritual chrystal energy as forces separate from these other phenomena is predicated on the inability of anyone to readily demonstrate that any demonstrated phenomena is already well explained by what is already known.

Just because something is mysterious to you doesn't mean it's mysterious.

So I wouldn't argue that ki is not real, but I guess my point of view puts me in the aforementioned BMA camp.

Regards,

Tarik

tarik
03-01-2006, 12:23 PM
From personal experience I would say ki is a useful model. However, I don't believe telling someone 'use your ki' has any benefit if they have little understanding what you mean.

This is as an excellent a description for ki (a model) as any I've seen. Shared models are important to being able to communicate 'how'.

Tarik

tarik
03-01-2006, 12:27 PM
Kanai Sensei sometimes mentioned ki, saying something to the effect that ki means intention.

Personally, I believe that ki is a real thing, going beyond physical body mechanics, and that it can be understood as a kind of mental force, for training purposes. Y'know, mind-body unity and all that.

So does mental force exist without physical reality (a brain)?

It certainly may, but in x thousand years, no one has been able to reliably demonstrate and prove it.

So why not use models that are clearly demonstrable and easily teachable?

Regards,

Tarik

Josh Reyer
03-01-2006, 12:59 PM
I haven't paid a lot of attention to Saito Sensei. What I've read of the Founders speech suggest that he speaks with too much alliteration to so easily know whether he spoke of ki as an actual force or not.


I'm assuming you mean allusion (http://www.webster.com/dictionary/allusion) , not alliteration (http://www.webster.com/dictionary/alliteration) . :) Sorry for the pedantry, but Old English alliterative poetry is my hobby, so your statement kinda sent my mind to weird areas. :D

I think "ki" is like "humor."

Humors, in medieval physiology, were the four fluids in the body that controlled health and temperment. Blood, phlegm, choler (yellow bile), and melancholy (black bile). Sickness was generally seen as being caused by the humors being out of whack, and temperment was thought to be decided by the natural disposition of humors in ones body. The theory of humors wasn't totally off the mark; it was based after all on scientific observation (mixed in with a good deal of speculation, and not a little superstition).

Today we have completely dispensed with humor theory in medicine. And yet, we can't stop talking about it. People have a sense of humor. A person is sanguine, or phlegmatic, choleric or melancholic, or full of bile. Indeed, the word "humor" remains in the medical vocabulary (as does phlegm and bile), even though the theory is no longer regarded as sane medicine. Things that were once explained with "humors" are now explained with new, sounder paradigms.

I think the same thing happened with ki. It basically means "energy". It was picked up and used to explain certain physiological phenomena. It was also used to explain feelings (which, when you think about are just a kind of energy), and spawned a large number of similar idioms only tenuously related to the physiological theories put forth by the traditional medicine practitioners and martial artists.

The key, I've started to think, is to unlock the idiom, and to translate it into something usable, particularly in English, which is why I like Mike Sigman's (and others') use of "groundpath", as well as their attempts to break it down into physics.

Medieval doctors were able to cure their patients, sometimes, even though they had a flawed paradigm. We can explain how we did it with newer, better paradigms. I think that's the goal with regards to "ki" and "kokyuu". Rather than importing a vaguely defined foreign word bereft of its native idiom and calquing it into a new one (e.g., "extend ki"), I think it'd be better to leave the Japanese words in Japanese, the Chinese words in Chinese, and forge a new understanding based on what they were trying to say.

But I'm linguistically minded, so of course I would say that. :cool:

tarik
03-01-2006, 01:10 PM
I'm assuming you mean allusion (http://www.webster.com/dictionary/allusion) , not alliteration (http://www.webster.com/dictionary/alliteration) . :) Sorry for the pedantry, but Old English alliterative poetry is my hobby, so your statement kinda sent my mind to weird areas. :D

Yes, thank you for the correction. Allusion was what I intended (ki?).

I think "ki" is like "humor."
...
The theory of humors wasn't totally off the mark; it was based after all on scientific observation (mixed in with a good deal of speculation, and not a little superstition).

Yes, I agree entirely with this and you've put better words to it than I could.


Medieval doctors were able to cure their patients, sometimes, even though they had a flawed paradigm. We can explain how we did it with newer, better paradigms. I think that's the goal with regards to "ki" and "kokyuu". Rather than importing a vaguely defined foreign word bereft of its native idiom and calquing it into a new one (e.g., "extend ki"), I think it'd be better to leave the Japanese words in Japanese, the Chinese words in Chinese, and forge a new understanding based on what they were trying to say.

But I'm linguistically minded, so of course I would say that. :cool:

There are quite a number of Japanese words that were deliberately chosen and remain useful however, generally by more modern educators. Careful translation of some terms that are a little more concrete than ki and kokyu can give a lot of good hints as to the intent of certain teachings.

Regards,

Tarik

Jim Simons
03-01-2006, 01:18 PM
How come we can believe in certain invisible rays of energy and not believe in other ones?
...
I don't know how gppd an analogy this is, other than saying that I personally believe that ki is as real as electricity or radio waves or those other magic invisible rays that let us see through things and peple, or lift extremely heavy objects, or defy gravity.We can use it without understanding it then, can't we?

The reason we can use electricity without personally understanding it is that someone else _does_ understand it and has wired everything correctly, not because we believe the light will come on when we throw the switch.

But I think the most important question is not whether or not the light comes on when you flip the switch, but under what circumstances? Most folks seem to agree that folks like Ueshiba and Saito and others attained a very special level of ability. What sort of training would produce more people like that? What sort of terminology could we use to talk about those abilities and that training to help make the whole thing more comprehensible and repeatable?

I knew a guy in college who for fun would translate physics problems into mythological terms, and could explain electrical engineering pretty accurately in terms of dragon spirits in the wires. As long as certain correlations are preserved, it more or less works out. But you wouldn't want to wire your house using those terms, for pretty much the same reason you wouldn't want to do your taxes using roman numerals. It might work, but there's a lot of room for error and misunderstanding.

Similarly, with ki and kokyu we're still for the most part talking in those imprecise and 'mythological' terms: wow, that guy was able to push me really hard with a really relaxed arm and very little apparent movement. How? He "channeled ki". What does that mean? Well it's sort of like when water flows through a hose. Okay, perhaps to some extent it's like that, but how is it also _not_ like that? We're apt to get too far out into the similarities and metaphors and too far removed from the topic at hand; we start reasoning based on the metaphors in their own terms rather than in terms of the experience they refer to. The flow of electricity through wires is like water flowing through the hose too, in many ways, but I wouldn't want to deduce from there that I can plug a "leak" in an electrical wire with my finger! I imagine some branch of philosophy has a technical term for this sort of error, but I don't know what it is...

Me, I guess I spend time in camps 2, 3 and 4 depending on mood, physical condition and training influences...

Larry Cuvin
03-01-2006, 02:49 PM
Peter,
As a relatively new student of Ki Aikido, I constantly check this website below:

http://universalmind.way-nifty.com/universalmind_english/

Shinichi Tohei Sensei president of Ki No Kenkyukai and son of Koichi Tohei Sensei writes and explain things regarding Ki and its application including relaxation and other topics pertaining to Ki.
Check out this website and look into the archives and you might be surprised how applicable Ki principles are.

Qatana
03-01-2006, 03:46 PM
So what I am inferring is that because we do not have the technology to measure & thereby prove ki exists, we should not believe it does?
I believe ki is. I just don't think you can use it like a super power. Just because the technology hasn't been invented to prove something is or is not, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
Of course I also believe in pixies but I don't believe in religion.

tarik
03-01-2006, 04:05 PM
So what I am inferring is that because we do not have the technology to measure & thereby prove ki exists, we should not believe it does?

I believe ki is. I just don't think you can use it like a super power. Just because the technology hasn't been invented to prove something is or is not, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

No, all I'm saying is that your arguments for ki as a separate force from the other forces you described aren't consistent. Those other forces are measurable, ki, as distinct from them, is not.

You choose to infer that means it does not exist, which is not what I said. I do belieev that the model of ki is and can be useful, but that there are other models which are better suited to most mindsets.

Mixing modern models with ancient ones is a mistake, IMO. Modern models GREW out of ancient ones, and do not set aside old ideas without reason or great deliberations. Follow one or the other of the models, but mixing them requires a great deal of thought and effort and success is more rare than pixie dust.

Of course I also believe in pixies but I don't believe in religion.

Fascinating. I can demonstrate that religions exist, but I cannot demonstrate that pixies do.

I don't follow one, but I certainly believe in religion. I also believe that pixies exist; both as a band and as mythical creatures.

Naturally, everyone chooses to believe or not believe in what they wish and I suspect what we choose to believe says a lot about ourselves.

Regards,

Tarik

Misogi-no-Gyo
03-01-2006, 04:39 PM
Mr. John,
Thank you for your comments. My post was designed more to raise some questions for the threads author as opposed to trying to really state anything definitively. In any case, please let me address some of the points you have raised with your post. Just a couple of thoughts.

The MA=F equations so often spouted is a little bit more complex than it seems.

If you get into the "internal" factor then what "m" really constitutes needs to be more closely examined(If you ask me, most boxers that try to throw all their weight behind punch or kick aren't actually using their structure to maximum efficiency, and hence their weight).
Actually it is quite a bit more complex than even you mention, below. However, I think this is what separates what I am doing from what you are doing, from what she is doing, from what they are doing. Point being and I am sure you would agree that while you may take route 45 North to the park, and I might take route 10 South to the park, and while we both end up in the same place, and both via bicycle, since North is uphill and South is downhill, you peddled very hard, while I coasted the entire way there. An observer knowing much about bicycles might boast knowing that we both traveled in the same manner, while perhaps no the same route. I would disagree completely, as I believe the two not to be the same at all, and as a matter of fact, quite different indeed. Yes, it could be said that this is only a physical difference in terms of mechanical efficiency. Again, I would disagree, but partially. I was hoping that you would have commented on something else I posited in my previous post, that being the portion related to the makeup of "F" being comprised of a physical and a non-physical component. So far on these boards I have read and been told all sorts of things telling me how Ki, Kokyu, Chi, Pranayama, Jin ...etc. are all the same things. I am told that they are all mechanically based and derived. However, common sense tells me otherwise. For if that were true, then each and every one of us would be mere equals should all other things related to size, muscle mass, training, height, and what have you be equal.

You must surely admit that such thinking is fantasy and that there is no evidence for that whatsoever. More to the point, there is quite a bit of evidence in the form of particular teachers and masters who somehow manifest much greater skills and power than those with whom they train. So once again, I will posit that there must be a non-physical component that is at play.

To speak plainly, I do not call that "Ki." I also do not think it to be mystical in any terms. I do believe that the training of this non-physical component is key to moving one's abilities into what we all see as "superhuman" at some level. As an example, take someone with a high level of CMA/JMA/Aiki (or whatever) training who is well known to exhibit a very solid release of explosive power along the lines of what you outline with your formula. Do you think that there is not some construction worker, or street corner thug who, without any training whatsoever would not look at you strangely as you hit him will all your alignment paradigm power expecting him to fly backwards and up... just before he clocks you on the top of your head and takes your cell phone, wallet and girlfriend for a spin in your new Lexus? Of course this person exists. What he has developed is just this non-physical component of which I speak. Do you care to speak to that? How about your teacher? Does he speak of it, and if so, what does he say about it?
Also, "a" needs to be examined to. There's a bunch of things that drive "a" within the human body.

If you want to get really technical the break down would look like

m1a1 (Mass/acceleration of tanden) + m2a2 (mass/acceleration of compression/expansion of spine) + m3a3(mass/acceleration of backbow in the case of taichi) + m4a4 (mass/acceleration of all joints held together with 6 directional contradictory force) .... and so on = F
Well, as I said, this too is very simplistic at best. However, I am sure it is relatively representative of your current approach. However, again there is something missing for me, and it is a glaring vacancy when it comes to O-Sensei's approach. Might you like to comment about that? Oh, lastly with regards to this section;

1. Where exactly in the body is the tanden (dantien)
2. What is its function?
3. How does it function?
4. I think I have damaged mine. Do you know a good doctor who might remove it for me…? I will pay him quite well for a replacement, if he can get his hands on one from someone who doesn't practice martial arts, and therefore doesn't need his (or hers, if they are interchangeable, that is).

If you don't have control over any of these factors, you take away from the overall equation and end up with less power, less efficiency. ;)
Agreed. However, what is the overall control mechanism which unites all of these individual aspects of the whole? Can this overlord of a mechanism be trained, and if so, how does one train it?
If you ask me, most of the exercises designed to develop this kind of body skill is already in Aikido, just few actually know how to do the exercises to develop them (Just a personal opinoin, don't flame me)
As to the first part, again, agreed. As for who knows it, I posit that you can really know, can you? I have met many people on the mat. Many times I let them grab my wrist and I simply writhe around pretending to know nothing at all - all the while making an attempt to "do" something when in fact I am doing nothing at all. Sometimes, when I really need a laugh, I ask, "Do you feel it?" I just love it when they say "Yes" My point is, just because you show up asking to see it, or feel it, and even if you get to see someone do something, or say something, or even get to feel someone do something, doesn't really mean they actually showed you anything. I spent more than a decade seeking from one teacher and was show quite a lot more than some who had been at the dojo for two or three times as long as me. I thought i knew something. In fact, the teacher never threw me even once. It was not until I was thrown with some force that I finally understood how little I had been shown, and how much less I knew than there was to learn from this person. Of course, I had been saying, "Yeah, I feel it" too, for all those years, so I guess karmicly speaking the universe got even with me.
Yea, but to a large degree the foundation that's developed is the same(considering that the source is probably the same anyways). How you use that foundation might be a bit different, but we only have two arms, two legs and a head, so there's only going to be so many variations of the use of internal mechanics.
Yeah, I know - its all the same. I keep hearing that from a few here on the internet who in the very next sentence say things like, I thought I knew how deep these things ran in Aikido, but then with all this new information I have dug up on the internet, I realized that I couldn't have been more wrong. So are they only wrong some of the time, only when it relates to what they knew yesterday, or is it more likely that they were cursed with only being able to see with their eyes and hear with their ears? You see, not everyone has two arms or two legs. And of course, we each use what is between our ears quite differently. I am sure you would agree. In fact, while most people listen with there ears, some do so with their eyes, some with their heart, and yet still some others who try to listen with their minds hear nothing at all. Where do you fall with regards to that? How do you think that relates to training in a Budo, rather than a mere self-defense system? Does it even relate?

Oh, one other thing. I keep hearing this and that about alignment, and the posture, and ground paths and what have you. I am wondering if this were all true, using your ground path paradigm how would someone without a path to the ground manifest high levels of Kokyu and separately achieve Aiki if they were to be facing an opponent let's say in a weightless environment? Would this even be possible given your current paradigm? As another example, say five people held your teacher up against the wall with his feet off the floor, one each by his two legs, two arms and lastly by his torso... how would he handle that with one manifestation of Ki, Kokyu, Chi, Pranayama, Jin ...etc.? Would he take a different approach if he were lying down on his back, on the floor, with one student each sitting on each limb and one on his torso? I would be exited to hear his answer with regards to both of these scenarios. Of course, you could simply film the demonstration and post a link to the video. He can then make his approach known via his personal narration.

If you want to see grownups discussing this and flaming each other, head over to e-budo :D
There's several threads on the stuff under
"Kuzushi", "Aikido from babies" "Akuzawa" etc etc

Just my two yen :p
Yeah, I took some time to read through it and there really wasn't anything there worth commenting on. See, when there is no flexibility of mind present, it really doesn't matter what else there is, it just isn't for me. The mere fact that someone considers completely different things to be the same shows me that they have a very simplistic view of things -- things that I find to be more detailed. See, if I go to my doctor and say, "Doc, I got this here problem, I got a pain in my…" and he answers back, "Well, all pain is basically the same, so take this here pill once a day and you should be fine…" I know he aint the Doctor for me. And from my experience, these days that is pretty much the way most doctors treat most patients. And worse, still is the fact that most patients really would prefer to take a pill a day for the rest of their life rather than change how they approach medicine. I am in the other camp. To me simpletons do not make good doctors, and while they may make great fighters, they make for what I consider to be everything bad about martial arts. Moreover, they are not even on the path of martial arts, nor towards mastery of anything at all. I tend to lose interest when I hear someone argue a point that sounds something like, "Prove to me that Apples and Tomatoes are different! See they are all the same, grown from the earth and a gift from God to his children…" and to me that is pretty much mostly what I unfortunately took a long time over there to read. I just don't even have to justify such nonsense with an answer. After all, they aren't listening anyway.



.

tarik
03-01-2006, 04:59 PM
Actually it is quite a bit more complex than even you mention, below. However, I think this is what separates what I am doing from what you are doing, from what she is doing, from what they are doing.

Shaun,

Thank you for a very thought provoking post.

Regards,

Tarik

eyrie
03-01-2006, 05:32 PM
...I am wondering if this were all true, using your ground path paradigm how would someone without a path to the ground manifest high levels of Kokyu and separately achieve Aiki if they were to be facing an opponent let's say in a weightless environment? Would this even be possible given your current paradigm?


Do you know of someone who can do that? I'm not sure that's possible unless Newton's 3rd law is somehow violated...


As another example, say five people held your teacher up against the wall with his feet off the floor, one each by his two legs, two arms and lastly by his torso... how would he handle that with one manifestation of Ki, Kokyu, Chi, Pranayama, Jin ...etc.? Would he take a different approach if he were lying down on his back, on the floor, with one student each sitting on each limb and one on his torso?.

How does someone bounce a basketball that's stationary on the ground? Just curious....

Upyu
03-02-2006, 12:08 AM
makeup of "F" being comprised of a physical and a non-physical component.


Well, there is a "non-physical" component, but it goes hand in hand with the specific physical skill that's developed. There's a reason that Ueshiba and others used the analogies they did when discussing these things.


Well, as I said, this too is very simplistic at best. However, I am sure it is relatively representative of your current approach.

Actually it isn't. The equation is more a result of the training, not the intent. Might sound small but actually it makes a huge difference ;)


were true, then each and every one of us would be mere equals should all other things related to size, muscle mass, training, height, and what have you be equal.

Well, actually even Sagawa was quoted as saying that all things being equal in terms of body skill, who was more likely to "win" in a match would boil down to bodymass, experience etc.
Maybe it is, just that simple...and exactly why he didn't want to give his stuff away to "foreigners" since he knew they'd have an inherent advantage.


You must surely admit that such thinking is fantasy and that there is no evidence for that whatsoever. More to the point, there is quite a bit of evidence in the form of particular teachers and masters who somehow manifest much greater skills and power than those with whom they train. So once again, I will posit that there must be a non-physical component that is at play.

Uh... ok, it just means that they gained greater control, and were able to intuitively understand how to control those components better than their cohorts. I see it happening on a smaller scale even at the place where I train. Basically they used their brain more than the person next to them.



lines of what you outline with your formula. Do you think that there is not some construction worker, or street corner thug who, without any training whatsoever would not look at you strangely as you hit him will all your alignment paradigm power expecting him to fly backwards and up... just before he clocks you on the top of your
head and takes your cell phone, wallet and girlfriend for a spin in your new Lexus? Of course this person exists. What he has


Just a personal opinoin, I don't get your comparison...
Of course things are possible. I never said that internal skill is the uB3r. But it can significantly enhance someone's natural abilities.


developed is just this non-physical component of which I speak. Do you care to speak to that? How about your teacher? Does he speak of it, and if so, what does he say about it?

Actually I think you're way off track on your "non-physical component" thinking... all you're describing is pure physical talent. Nothing more nothing less.
As for the "non physical component" I referred to earlier, yes he does talk about it, and it's a direct result of the training.
Moving the body conditions the mind.
"Imashime" and all that jive. In fact for the higher levels to work, you need to engage that "flip" in thinking. But it's not some kind of abstract notion that you alude to.



1. Where exactly in the body is the tanden (dantien)
2. What is its function?
3. How does it function?
4. I think I have damaged mine. Do you know a good doctor who might remove it for me…? I will pay him quite well for a replacement, if he can get his hands on one from someone who doesn't practice martial arts, and therefore doesn't need his (or hers, if they are interchangeable, that is).

1. Hard to say, can't peer "inside" me, but there is a definite push/pull rotation that occurs under the diaphram area, that can also be controlled.

2. It's just another link in the chain. Personally I think people have too much of a fetish with moving from the center and neglect other more important parts of the body. The head, base of the neck, spine, and arch in the legs that prop the body up being the main ones. Tanden means jack if you don't understand how those work together properly.

3. Tanden is just another link in the chain for me, basically power passes from the legs through it, and moving it can direct the vectors by which it's transmited from the spine out to the extremities. Easier to show by hand than words though...I don't expect anyone to just buy this upfront.


Agreed. However, what is the overall control mechanism which unites all of these individual aspects of the whole? Can this overlord of a mechanism be trained, and if so, how does one train it?

Most important part that I think people neglect is the spine, and understanding its function in the human body. And yes this overall mechanism can be trained. What do you think all the different versions of Chi Kung, Suburi etc are done for ? ;)
Granted you have to do them properly otherwise it just turns into another form of aerobic exercise.
If you do any of those exercises properly you should get tangible results within a short time. The fact that people get intangible results for the most part, just points to the low level of instruction that's generally out there, if you ask me.


As to the first part, again, agreed. As for who knows it, I posit that you can really know, can you? I have met many people on the mat. Many times I let them grab my wrist and I simply writhe around pretending to know nothing at all - all the while making an attempt to "do" something when in fact I am doing nothing at all.

Actually when I roll with BJJ people I don't even do anything like that at all. Several of them come up to me on their own, and ask me what I did, since I felt "weird" to them, or in extreme cases, where I pick up a 200lb guy with my arm (I only weigh about 150lb) while he's trying to execute a full blown arm bar on me with position and slam him back down on the matt.


their eyes and hear with their ears? You see, not everyone has two arms or two legs. And of course, we each use what is between our ears quite differently. I am sure you would agree. In fact, while most people listen with there ears, some do so with their eyes, some with their heart, and yet still some others who try to listen with their minds hear nothing at all. Where do you fall with regards to that? How do you think that relates to training in a Budo, rather than a mere self-defense system? Does it even relate?

If you ask me...way off topic. I'm just addressing the topic of "ki" which the guy was talking about.



Oh, one other thing. I keep hearing this and that about alignment, and the posture, and ground paths and what have you. I am wondering if this were all true, using your ground path paradigm how would someone without a path to the ground manifest high levels of Kokyu and separately achieve Aiki if they were to be facing an opponent let's say in a weightless environment? Would this even

Dunno, let's send Chen Xiao Wang to space and have someone recieve one of his strikes, lol. A lot of this stuff works because we have gravity working on us ;)



be possible given your current paradigm? As another example, say

But, I think a massive amount of power can still be generated, maybe not as much though. You'd have to really work the spine in order to get the max amount of power.


five people held your teacher up against the wall with his feet off the floor, one each by his two legs, two arms and lastly by his torso...

Ok, but now you have gravity working again.
Plus since there's a contact point (the people holding the person up), you now have a ground path. Ground path doesn NOT have to start from the feet. It's whatever is directly, or indirectly touching the ground. The ground -> feet -> extremeties explanation is generally given because we're standing.
I can do some weird stuff (from the perspective of some the grapplers I roll with) even with just my back touching the floor.



how would he handle that with one manifestation of Ki, Kokyu, Chi, Pranayama, Jin ...etc.? Would he take a different approach if he were lying down on his back, on the floor, with one student each sitting on each limb and one on his torso? I would be exited to hear
his answer with regards to both of these scenarios. Of course, you

It's already been discussed before, and yea its been filmed. The result doesn't "look" impressive and needs to be felt really.
If you filmed me doing it, all you'd see is someone going from being mounted, to suddenly reversing the mount by flipping the other person over, but "sticking" to him at the same time.

Besides which Takeda Soukaku did this trick reportedly when his left side was completely paralyzed. Had several students of his hold his small frame down, and then proceeded to throw them all over the place. Actually it was this incident that supposedly tipped Sagawa off as to what was "key" in the human body in making this stuff work.

Shawn, I'm not trying to say that the other component you talk about isn't important. In fact in order to grasp these physical skills you need a very flexible mind, since it goes counter to almost everything most people "know" about their bodies.
But, unless you get and develop these concrete physical skills, you can't even begin to delve into the "non physical" part of it. ;)

Let me wrap up with several quotes from Sagawa
By the way, I know I quote this guy a lot, but I'm not a DRAJJ nutrider, just to be clear. I just happen to like the quotes the old man made, and think they're clear, and cut to the chase as to what's generally missing in everyone's pursuit for the "higher" levels.

a) This isn't Ki. It's all based in physics and human phsyiology.

b) The reason none of you can reach my level is because
1) you dont train engouh
2) you dont desire enough
3) you dont use your goddamn heads enough
4) tanren (solo exercise) is the key, you must build up the body in a certain way if you want any chance in developing "aiki".



JM2Y

Mike Sigman
03-02-2006, 05:25 AM
Do you think that Saito Sensei or O Sensei were deluded when they spoke of ki as an actual force?
In the way they use the term sometimes in Japan, they do mean a force. Tohei demonstrates his "Ki" and yet is showing he can counter a force to his body; that counter, ultimately, is a tangible force. So logically, in that usage, "Ki" is a force.

Someone mentioned that Kanai Sensei called Ki an intention. In a loose usage of the term, "Ki" can be "intention" in that it is the path of force through the body that the mind sets up. For instance, just before Tohei's opponent pushes on Tohei's forearm, there is a path from the forearm to the ground. That is ki. The "intention" to set up that path and the actual path that is set up can be idiomatically interchangeable, so I wouldn't protest too much for that usage of "ki" in a casual conversation. Technically, ki is not exactly "intention", though.

I think "ki" is like "humor."

Humors, in medieval physiology, were the four fluids in the body that controlled health and temperment. This can be true, too. The Chinese and Indians (from whom this concept comes) didn't use our western science as a basis from which to explain things. They wound up grabbing this "catchall" term (prana, qi, ki) to explain how things worked; ultimately the catchall term simply failed to explain things so it was dropped as an explanation. However, the things that "qi" was used to explain are real. The same thing is exactly equivalent with the humours theory... in a time of little scientific knowledge, "humors" was used to explain real things; "humors" ultimately failed to exist or workout, but the things it attempted to explain were real.There really is no need to rehabilitate ki since it has not offended anyone or anything. The endless talk about it is just that: talk. There are some things I can do sometimes with some people that could be described as good body mechanics combined with the right mental/emotional attitude, a feeling of goal-less efficiency which brooks no opposition since it perceives none.I wish I could do it always, so I'm working on just working and not wishing too much.
Doing this(effortless power) in the midst of actual combat is a whole different thing, and many exercises in Aikido (most of the tanren keiko, kihon waza, etc) including many of the so-called "warming up" practices are a way of conditioning the body/mind to cooperate in a particular way, not so dissimilar from learning Tai Chi form and then push hands.

Some people want it but don't get it
Some couldn't care less and have it abundantly
Some can talk it to death, so what?
Some know and show but it's not seen or understood
There are a lot of people who think that "Ki" is a pesky side-topic that has trivial everyday usage in Aikido, Taiji, Karate, Xingyi, etc. In fact, in some martial-arts forums I've seen, ki-related topics are banned or shifted to the garbage heap section of the forum. I think there is a great misunderstanding about the role of "ki" in Asian martial arts when I see the topic trivialized like that.... it's like being in a seminary studying Christianity and its works, but banning or trivializing any discussions about Jesus because they get to tiresome and no one seems to really know the topic. ;)

Some fairly qualified people have said there is no "Ki". That's true in the sense of Josh's comment about "humors". In reality there is no "Ki", but the body skills people (like Shioda, Sagawa, Rob John, et al) are discussing are real skills even if technically there is no such thing as a "Universal Ki" force/energy. In the sense that there is not really any magic, the people who offer the idea that there are magic approaches to "ki" should be looked at with suspicion. When I see people offering on the internet "secret ways to get secret knowledge" I always hear in my mind, "Step into my parlour, said the spider to the fly". :)

FWIW

Mike

Luc X Saroufim
03-02-2006, 11:51 AM
let's try not to clog up this thread, guys, there's plenty of good talk about "ki" here...

Ki is energy: energy is work: work is the rate of change of power: power is directly related to force.

therefore, in my opinion, Ki indirectly comes from a force. this means that without some sort of force, Ki will not exist. this is from a scientific standpoint.

from a spiritual standpoint, you have to look at Ki differently. if someone attacks you, you have to stop seeing an opponent, and start seeing energy flowing towards you. merge with it, control it to your heart's desire, then set it free. this is how I would definte "manipulating Ki," and it's how i understand Aikido

Mike Sigman
03-02-2006, 11:55 AM
Ki is energy: In which case it would be measureable and there would not be all the discussions about whether there was such a thing as "ki".

Mike

tedehara
03-02-2006, 12:17 PM
Hello everyone

I recently bought a dvd of the late Saito Sensei demonstrating aiki jo and aiki ken<SNIP>Do you think that Saito Sensei or O Sensei were deluded when they spoke of ki as an actual force?
I look forward to your replies with great interest.

At your service

Peter Martin-Browning

I wouldn't worry too much about other people's training. The only thing that you can really do is try to perfect your own practice. Ki development training has never been a popular type of training in Asia. It's usually a highly skilled instructor with a small number of students.

You've shown an innate understanding of where ki development training ranks in the average aikido dojo, when you recommended people ask a taigi teacher. There are many points-of-views on ki development training. You can try to develop one perspective or explore them all, that is your choice.

Your experience in the martial arts will be different than an average one. You may develop axioms that are different than most other people. These can be sources of conflict or merely acknowledged points of disagreements.

This is not Christianity. You are under no theological obligation to proselytize your faith.

Good luck in your training.

Roy Dean
03-02-2006, 01:38 PM
"or in extreme cases, where I pick up a 200lb guy with my arm (I only weigh about 150lb) while he's trying to execute a full blown arm bar on me with position and slam him back down on the matt."


May I humbly suggest finding a more technical reversal? This may work sometimes, but not always, and it can result in some pretty severe damage to the person's arm (see Enson Inoue vs. Royce Alger in the UFC for a textbook example). I have seen MANY broken arms in my time from people not wanting to tap from the armlock, most of them resisting in an inefficient manner. I would not rely on this technique, for you and the safety of your partner.

Didn't mean to hijack the thread, but this is an important point for all who grapple...

Sincerely,

Roy Dean

Josh Reyer
03-02-2006, 01:52 PM
Someone mentioned that Kanai Sensei called Ki an intention. In a loose usage of the term, "Ki" can be "intention" in that it is the path of force through the body that the mind sets up. For instance, just before Tohei's opponent pushes on Tohei's forearm, there is a path from the forearm to the ground. That is ki. The "intention" to set up that path and the actual path that is set up can be idiomatically interchangeable, so I wouldn't protest too much for that usage of "ki" in a casual conversation. Technically, ki is not exactly "intention", though.


Mike, would you go as far as to say "intention is ki, but ki is not intention"?

This is really where I see the linguistic trails that illuminate and confuse.

In everyday idiomatic Japanese, "ki" can absolutely be "intention". For example, "yaru ki" やる気 is intent or desire to do something. And that can be applied to any verb. If you ask me why I didn't get to bed until late at night, I might say, 寝る気がなかった. Literally "I didn't have any ki to sleep." IOW, "I didn't feel like sleeping."

Ki is used for hunches or impressions. 彼が帰った気がする, "Kare ga kaetta ki ga suru" "I think he went home." 気にする "to make something ki" is used for active worrying. 気になる "to become ki", is used for a kind of passive worry or concern. 気をつける "attach ki", meaning to be careful. There are many other examples put together by Jun in the language section of the article section on this site.

I've mentioned before that one way of looking at this kind of usage is that feelings are a kind of energy. Let's look at English. What is "concentration"? A concentration of what? Of attention, perhaps. What is attention? Attention comes from "attend", Latin "ad" (to) and "tendere" (stretch). The Romans perceived mental energy as stretching from one place to another. A physical metaphor for a non-visual phenomenon.

From a neurological standpoint, certainly feelings create some observable, if still poorly understood, reactions in the brain. Although they are not visually observable by anybody, I doubt one would say feelings don't exist. I imagine that with the right instruments, groundpath/ki/kokyu could also be measured/seen.

One interesting thing is that very often Rob, Dan or others will talk about how it's something that needs to "felt" in order to be understood. That certainly fits in with the linguistic idiom of ki as feelings.

Just some thoughts...

Mike Sigman
03-02-2006, 02:42 PM
Mike, would you go as far as to say "intention is ki, but ki is not intention"? Well, it gets tricky because the "ki" ("qi") paradigm was used to explain things for centuries and the western-science paradigm which you and I use (so do Asians, nowadays) would not describe things in the same way which ascribed so many things to "ki". Where we get into trouble is when we try to jump back and forth linguistically between the old ki-way of describing things and the modern-science way of describing things.

In the ki paradigm, when Tohei stands and offers his forearm for his partner to push on... and he's relaxedly ready to "ground" that push... it can be said that the ready-to-be-used path is his ki which is put into place by his "intention". Or it can be said "he has brought his ki to his forearm using his intention". As soon as his partner pushes on the forearm and feels this strange solid path to the ground, some people would say that you now feel the kokyu-force. I.e., kokyu can be said to be the "physical manifestation of ki". Tohei and many others will simply call that solid path "ki power". Rob says that his teacher Akuzawa uses the term "kei", which is the Japanese pronunciation of the kanji for "jin". In everyday idiomatic Japanese, "ki" can absolutely be "intention". For example, "yaru ki" やる気 is intent or desire to do something. And that can be applied to any verb. If you ask me why I didn't get to bed until late at night, I might say, 寝る気がなかった. Literally "I didn't have any ki to sleep." IOW, "I didn't feel like sleeping."

Ki is used for hunches or impressions. 彼が帰った気がする, "Kare ga kaetta ki ga suru" "I think he went home." 気にする "to make something ki" is used for active worrying. 気になる "to become ki", is used for a kind of passive worry or concern. 気をつける "attach ki", meaning to be careful. There are many other examples put together by Jun in the language section of the article section on this site. I understand. There are also a great number of linguistic constructs in Chinese that are built around "qi", as well. Remember that "qi/ki" was used to explain any unknown force or phenomenon, including health, premonitions, momentum, lightning, the effects of Oxygen, telepathy, psychokinesis (or the appearance of such in magic tricks), strength, and so on. If you understand that last sentence, you can see where all the linguistic usages of ki/qi come from. The ki/qi we talk about in martial arts functional usage were strange mechanisms and hence were part of ki/qi, also.I've mentioned before that one way of looking at this kind of usage is that feelings are a kind of energy. Let's look at English. What is "concentration"? A concentration of what? Of attention, perhaps. What is attention? Attention comes from "attend", Latin "ad" (to) and "tendere" (stretch). The Romans perceived mental energy as stretching from one place to another. A physical metaphor for a non-visual phenomenon.

From a neurological standpoint, certainly feelings create some observable, if still poorly understood, reactions in the brain. Although they are not visually observable by anybody, I doubt one would say feelings don't exist. I imagine that with the right instruments, groundpath/ki/kokyu could also be measured/seen. I understand. I think that if you comprehend the enormity of "unexplained phenomena" which fell into the "ki" paradigm, you can get a pretty clear idea of what happened. Ki/qi was a great paradigm (it's really sort of a meta-theory.... it was not predictive in itself, but it was used explicatively) because you lumped everything into this cubicle of "Ki" and then hypothesized some unknown "force" or "energy" for it.... Voila' !!!
One interesting thing is that very often Rob, Dan or others will talk about how it's something that needs to "felt" in order to be understood. That certainly fits in with the linguistic idiom of ki as feelings. Well, there was an old phrase we used to use on the old Neijia List: IHTBS (It Has To Be Shown). ;)

Mike

Quanping
03-02-2006, 03:39 PM
Some fairly qualified people have said there is no "Ki". That's true in the sense of Josh's comment about "humors". In reality there is no "Ki", but the body skills people (like Shioda, Sagawa, Rob John, et al) are discussing are real skills even if technically there is no such thing as a "Universal Ki" force/energy. In the sense that there is not really any magic, the people who offer the idea that there are magic approaches to "ki" should be looked at with suspicion. When I see people offering on the internet "secret ways to get secret knowledge" I always hear in my mind, "Step into my parlour, said the spider to the fly". :)

FWIW

Mike

I think you're pretty much right Mike, however, ignoring the whole commercialisation aspect when I do Zhang Zhung and feel "ki" move around my body I have no way to explain it except as some sort of energy in my body.

I mean (honestly, and I'm not trying to sell anything, please believe me) if it isn't some sort of energy, then what the hell could it be?

Mike Sigman
03-02-2006, 04:41 PM
I think you're pretty much right Mike, however, ignoring the whole commercialisation aspect when I do Zhang Zhung and feel "ki" move around my body I have no way to explain it except as some sort of energy in my body. Well, if you don't know what it is and you live in a ki-paradigm world, as much of Asia did for centuries, then "Ki" would be a good description, since you're experiencing some weird unknown phenomenon. I have no idea what you feel, but I could suggest that the vascularization and innervation of the body might induce some sorts of sensations. Given that not everyone feels the same things in Zhan Zhuang, it's really sort of a subjective call. It's a puzzle. ;)

Mike

Luc X Saroufim
03-03-2006, 08:39 AM
In which case it would be measureable and there would not be all the discussions about whether there was such a thing as "ki".

Mike

Then I guess my answer is "yes".

Mike Sigman
03-03-2006, 08:54 AM
Luc, I'm not sure you understand that there is a strictured definition about "energy" and that energy is measureable and is, in a sense, a sort of accounting system that must always be in balance. We can convert between mechanical energies, electrical energies, chemical energies, etc., and if Ki is an "energy" that, for instance, effects movement, you should be able to subract all other energies from the movement of an arm (for instance) and be able to isolate the "Ki" and see what it does. People have looked for years and no measureable energy effects that can't be accounted for normally have been found.

Besides, to act like there is a "Ki" without understanding that ki is actually an amalgam of effects gets us off into New Age babble. There is no one-to-one meaing for "Ki" in English.

FWIW

Mike

tarik
03-03-2006, 10:41 AM
Besides, to act like there is a "Ki" without understanding that ki is actually an amalgam of effects gets us off into New Age babble. There is no one-to-one meaing for "Ki" in English.


Which of course leave us at either discarding the term and trying to create or find modern methods to describe the experience or else accepting the term and immersing ourselves into the ancient model.

I suspect that such cultural immersion was the only way to begin to learn this in the past. Today, I'm not so sure. :confused:

I think that it's a common mistake for people to mix the paradigms and hence create the kind of arguments that don't really further actual study of the effects.

Regards,

Tarik

Mike Sigman
03-03-2006, 11:20 AM
Which of course leave us at either discarding the term and trying to create or find modern methods to describe the experience or else accepting the term and immersing ourselves into the ancient model.

I suspect that such cultural immersion was the only way to begin to learn this in the past. Today, I'm not so sure. :confused:

I think that it's a common mistake for people to mix the paradigms and hence create the kind of arguments that don't really further actual study of the effects.That's an excellent point, Tarik. I think one of the big problems is that people automatically think there is some one-to-one understanding/term that if they could find it they would understand "Ki". Some people, on the other hand, are smart enough to see that there is no one-to-one obvious rationale for "ki" so they blow it off. "Ki" is sort of an amalgam of effects, sort of a "gestalt" or "holistic" composite of several unusual body characteristics that can be trained. None of us westerners are going to understand it by "immersing" ourselves (i.e., by "becoming Japanese") but only by finding out what it is and accepting either the amalgam or the individual parts for what they can do in the real and physical world. A good start would be to do some of the "ki tests" with someone showing how it's done. And then building from there. These things are all physical and finite. Will they make your Aikido or other martial arts better. Definitely. Will they enable you to levitate and talk with the gods. No.

;)

Mike

MaryKaye
03-03-2006, 06:09 PM
One thing that makes this whole issue much more confused is that people can talk about ki for two reasons. They may want to understand what it really is, how it works, what it is capable of, whether it's a singular thing or a composite, etc. Or they may want to prompt a student into doing a test or technique better.

For that second purpose, stories that make no literal sense are perfectly legitimate. I do not believe in a literal ray of energy extending from my fingertips to the ends of the universe when I do "unbendable arm." However, thinking of it that way has been some help in learning how to do it. Whatever it is I'm really doing, thinking of the ray is more useful than most other thoughts I've tried (thinking of my elbow, for example, is demonstrably bad).

We did an interesting experiment in ki class a few months ago. Sensei advanced the theory that thinking of being light as a feather would lead to better results in "unliftable body" than the usual trick of thinking of being heavy and grounded. We worked on this in threesomes, and at the end two threesomes agreed with sensei and the third had absolutely contradictory results. This would be pretty poor news for an explanatory theory of ki, but it's pretty much what you expect for a teaching trick. The objective is to get to a particular state of mind and body which we do not know how to directly explain or describe, though we can recognize it when we see (feel, lift) it. The teaching trick is a pragmatic way to try to get people there--we say various things and when one seems to help, we add it to the repetoire. But any given thing only helps a fraction of students. (One of my teachers is fond of "Imagine you are holding a thirty-foot-long jo", an image that never fails to discombobulate me completely. I have learned to tune him out when he says that.)

The problem arises when people hear a teaching trick (or, for that matter, invent one) and then assume that it works because it's literally true. A lot of them work despite not being literally true, or else you wouldn't get self-contradictory results like the one above. Maybe some of them are true, but you'd need more than the student's success to prove it.

Mary Kaye

Mark Freeman
03-04-2006, 06:59 AM
"Ki" is sort of an amalgam of effects, sort of a "gestalt" or "holistic" composite of several unusual body characteristics that can be trained

I agree with this, but it deals with only half the picture. For me the mind is the 'key' element in the 'ki' debate.
As Mary has described, ki developement exercises are often based around mental 'imaginings' which through partrner practice are shown to be effective or not as the case may be.

All of my aikido training has been in ki-aikido, so I only know this type of practice. A little under half of all of that time has been spent doing ki development exercises. I'm not saying this to somehow imply that I have a greater understanding of 'ki' than anyone else. Rather, just stating that more time is spent on practicing something that is difficult to 'describe', than perfecting named techniques through more refined movement.

For me mind/ki are inextricably linked, if I am trying to teach unbendable arm to a beginner I will use terms like imagine water flowing through your arm, out through your fingers and across to the wall at the end of the dojo. A mental exercise picked up in a few moments by most people. The result is their body is relaxed and their mind is extended meters ahead. Once people get used to 'extending their mind' then if asked to 'extend ki' they can and will do so. Our partner work is to test that this is so. There seem to me to be no difference from a practical point of view.

Now I realise that this does not explain what ki is and that the description above might look like it negates the 'ki' as a separate energy point of view. No neccessarily so, if ki is a separate universal energy that is just hanging around waiting to be used, it is not 'outside' of us, it will be the stuff that fills up the space between the electrons and the nucleii of every atom in existance.
So perhaps 'thought' or the 'feeling' of ki extending from our body is the trigger that sets off a quantum level change in the 'ki' stuff and that this actually happens, even though it is not at present scientifically measurable.

It is nearly unanimous in the scientific community that our understanding of the universe only holds true/together if we factor in 'dark matter' and 'dark energy' Which makes up approximately 90% of all known mass/energy in existance. At present it is not possible to physically detect this 'stuff', but they are desperately working on it ( not surprisingly ).

My conjecture is ( and let me know if youve heard this before, otherwise contribute it to me ) Dark matter / dark energy is/could be 'ki' - the stuff that makes the universe work / hold together - universal energy- the life force, call it what you will. It would explain so much. The ancient sage's intuitive understanding of invisible energy could then be seen as hard scientific fact, we are not there yet, but maybe, just maybe.

I would love this to be proven to be the case, as it will put ki firmly in the 'real world'. Until then there will be speculation, argument, discussion, and bit by bit a little understanding. Those of us who practice aikido 'know' that ki is 'something' that exists, those of us practicing ki-aikido would look a bit daft if it didn't. :D

My teacher say's "I do not know what ki is, but I know how to use it" And so I keep diligently practicing his methods to attempt to emulate his skill in the use of ki. This interests me way more than the martial aspects of aikido, which I see as a useful side effect of the practice.

Just my 2 penneth worth, over to you guys,

regards,
Mark

Lyle Bogin
03-04-2006, 06:06 PM
What if ki is belief?

eyrie
03-04-2006, 06:39 PM
Well, if it were, then where would that put 5000 years of "Traditional" Chinese Medicine?

What? The Earth is not flat? Heresy!

Misogi-no-Gyo
03-04-2006, 06:59 PM
What if ki is belief?

What if it isn't, but you really, really believe that it is? No, really!


I know, I know... you are thinking, "...but what if it is, and you really, really believe that it isn't?" Which has me ask, two questions. The first is, "If someone extends ki while alone in a forest, is their arm still unbendable?" The second is, "If a person has no elbows, how much ki do they need to do the unbendable arm trick?"


...another one of those "things that make you go hmmmmm?"


.

eyrie
03-04-2006, 07:22 PM
Hmmmm, do you need elbows to have ki? If you have elbows, does that mean you have ki? So if you don't have elbows, do you still have ki?

How's this? Strawmen have no elbows or ki... :D

Upyu
03-05-2006, 02:58 PM
"or in extreme cases, where I pick up a 200lb guy with my arm (I only weigh about 150lb) while he's trying to execute a full blown arm bar on me with position and slam him back down on the matt."


May I humbly suggest finding a more technical reversal? This may work sometimes, but not always, and it can result in some pretty severe damage to the person's arm (see Enson Inoue vs. Royce Alger in the UFC for a textbook example). I have seen MANY broken arms in my time from people not wanting to tap from the armlock, most of them resisting in an inefficient manner. I would not rely on this technique, for you and the safety of your partner.

Didn't mean to hijack the thread, but this is an important point for all who grapple...

Sincerely,

Roy Dean
Sup Roy,

Lol, no I wouldn't rely on it in a match ;)
We were more or less screwing around and I wanted to see how far I could push my body. It's funny though, the more "muscle" the guy has, the easier this kind of trick works (even when the bigger guy has several years experience on you). This doesn't work against smaller guys that rely on exact positioning/leverage and timing to pull of their stuff :D
Just goes to show that having a bigger body that some people might "advantageous" can actually work against you in certain situations because of the way the muscles are conditioned.

peter martin-browning
04-04-2006, 02:28 PM
Dear Ted

Many thanks for your reply. Of course you are right, I posted because I want others to experience what I have experienced, and their experience is their own because they are.........etc etc, you get the point. It's not for me to proselytise. One thing I am desperate to understand though, is how the words "mystical" and "spiritual" got into my post!
A force is a force!

With thanks for your kind and helpful thoughts.

At your service


Peter Martin-Browning

Ron Tisdale
04-04-2006, 03:17 PM
A force is a force!

Of course, of course...

Mr. Ed (http://petcaretips.net/mister-ed.html)

tarik
04-04-2006, 05:36 PM
For me mind/ki are inextricably linked, if I am trying to teach unbendable arm to a beginner I will use terms like imagine water flowing through your arm, out through your fingers and across to the wall at the end of the dojo.

I would phrase it as mind/body and just leave out the ill-defined term ki unless I know the person has common reference points with me to understand what I am saying.

No neccessarily so, if ki is a separate universal energy that is just hanging around waiting to be used, it is not 'outside' of us, it will be the stuff that fills up the space between the electrons and the nucleii of every atom in existance.

Interesting thought. Not yet demonstrable, of course, and I think, not a likely explanation (as I understand physics).

It is nearly unanimous in the scientific community that our understanding of the universe only holds true/together if we factor in 'dark matter' and 'dark energy' Which makes up approximately 90% of all known mass/energy in existance. At present it is not possible to physically detect this 'stuff', but they are desperately working on it ( not surprisingly ).

And the hypothesis of dark matter and dark energy are based on observable grativitc effects on the astronomical level rather than anything people on the street or in the park or in the dojo are demonstrating.

My conjecture is ( and let me know if youve heard this before, otherwise contribute it to me ) Dark matter / dark energy is/could be 'ki' - the stuff that makes the universe work / hold together - universal energy- the life force, call it what you will. It would explain so much.

That would be a nice neat little package, but even if dark matter is demonstrated by more than observable astronomical effects, it does not appear (currently) to be related to what a person can or cannot do in their training.

Those of us who practice aikido 'know' that ki is 'something' that exists, those of us practicing ki-aikido would look a bit daft if it didn't. :D

Well, we all look a bit daft, don't we, getting on the mats and laughing when someone tosses us across the dojo? It certainly is possible that there is a relationship, but I remain skeptical (and educable).

My teacher say's "I do not know what ki is, but I know how to use it" And so I keep diligently practicing his methods to attempt to emulate his skill in the use of ki. This interests me way more than the martial aspects of aikido, which I see as a useful side effect of the practice.

You are of course familiar with Tohei's demonstration of using ki to pick up something from a table when asked? He reached out and picked it up with his hand.

Sometimes, I think, in our zeal to understand the demonstrably mysterious and sometimes amazing, we all too readily accept the more fantastic suggestion.

I hope you don't misunderstand me. I think it IS fantastic. Just not fantastical.

Tarik

Mark Freeman
04-05-2006, 06:04 AM
Hi Tarik,

thanks for your response to the post I made some time ago. I have been surprised that up until now, no one had anything to say about what are to me, pretty out there theories!

Of course non of my conjectures about ki/dark energy/matter are currently proveable, and you are right to be skeptical. I just believe as I think that you do, that there is nothing 'mystical' about ki. There was a time when men looked up[ to the 'heavens' and it was all a mystery, they created sky gods to help explain what they saw ( some still hold these entities to be true ). Over time we have come to understand the universe in a different way. To me the knowledge that we have uncovered so far, is far more 'fantastic' than the explanations given by the ancient thinkers. So I wait and watch as human enquiry searches for more ways to explain the mindbogglingly brilliant life that I feel lucky to be a part of.

My thinking has just evolved in this way to give myself a framework for me to hang my own understanding onto, regarding ki and/or other energy related issues. I'm not a quantum physicist and unfortunately I don't personally know any, but I would love to get an 'insiders' view on my ponderings.

Science may or may not one day be able to measure the energy/force that we refer to as ki. It is possible that it could be seen to be 'all in the mind'. To me it doesn't really matter. It won't change my aikido practice one iota. My focus in training is to become more efficient/dynamic/powerfull, the concept of ki has helped me to get to the point that I am at now. I do use the term ki when I am teaching, but I give many mental images to use when executing a technique that help with getting the right mind/body state to perform the exercise with little effort. I'm sure I could probably do it all without using the term ki at all, and still get the same result. But I would just be substituting it for another word to describe the same thing.

Thanks again for taking the time to consider my post, I hope I haven't misunderstood you, but we are in an area rife for misunderstanding. Especially when we are discussing things that are hard enough to grasp on the mat, when all of our faculties are engaged. ;)

Cheers

Mark

Luc X Saroufim
04-07-2006, 02:03 PM
Luc, I'm not sure you understand that there is a strictured definition about "energy" and that energy is measureable and is, in a sense, a sort of accounting system that must always be in balance. We can convert between mechanical energies, electrical energies, chemical energies, etc., and if Ki is an "energy" that, for instance, effects movement, you should be able to subract all other energies from the movement of an arm (for instance) and be able to isolate the "Ki" and see what it does. People have looked for years and no measureable energy effects that can't be accounted for normally have been found.
Mike
this is going to be long but *please* bear with me...

first of all, how can i not understand that it's measurable when i mentioned that power is the derivative of energy :)

okay: back in college, i took my Structural Analysis course. one of the things we did was analyze frames. imagine a basic two dimensional frame: two vertical members, with a horizontal member connecting ( ;) ) them at the top.

if the horizontal member has a rigid connection (ie, welded, unibody, etc.) with both vertical members, the connection "absorbs" rotational forces. the horizontal member will not rotate, but simply provide a reaction force.

if the connection was not rigid (ie, it was bolted on), it will not "absorb" the rotational force, but it will literally rotate, because there is no rotational resistance.

consider the example with the rigid connection: what happens next? the rotational force gets redirected from one side of the horizontal member to the other, constantly, until it fizzles out and reaches zero. so an initial rotational force is applied on one end, then redistributed over and over and over again. without a rigid connection, the rotational force would simply rotate the horizontal member and that would be it.

this is my analogy for understanding ki: it cannot be transferred unless there is a rigid connection between two people, much like the frame. to try and "isolate it from all the other forces" is futile, because what it is (to me) are *all of these forces being redistributed*, much like what happens to the rotational forces acting on the frame.

Ron Tisdale
04-07-2006, 02:16 PM
uh, so you are saying it is a sum of the parts?

Best,
Ron

Don_Modesto
04-07-2006, 03:16 PM
Of course, of course...

(shudder) Sometimes I really hate it when I know enough to be in on the joke...

Mr. Ed (http://petcaretips.net/mister-ed.html)

Ya gotta rub it in?

Ron Tisdale
04-07-2006, 03:32 PM
Hey Don...what can I say...we're gettin old...

B,
R :)

peter martin-browning
04-11-2006, 02:23 PM
Dear Ted

Many thanks for your soothing and measured reply. Of course you are right, and I expect not to influence many people.
In respect of the fascinating processes that posts undergo, - did you notice how "spiritual" and "mystical" crept in while nobody was watching?



At your service



Peter

tedehara
04-12-2006, 11:41 AM
Everybody has their own perspective on ki.

Since most people do not teach or talk about it, the subject is usually relegated to the mystical or spiritual category of concepts. They also don't try and use it or play around with the concept in a functional manner. Like God and religion, these things aren't usually discussed, even though they form the basis for our daily activities. We spend our time talking about sports, fashion and the weather. Mundane things that appear to be important.

I know, because I do that all the time.
:)