View Single Post
Old 04-20-2005, 05:19 AM   #53
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Alex Megann wrote:
There is an Aikido Journal interview with Inaba here:
It's a good article. Relevant to the thread topic of Ki Things, was this:
Inaba Sensei wrote:
However, even if you grasp timing, if you don't focus your power or energy you cannot do anything. In the human body the area to focus power is the lower abdomen (kafuku tanden).

Power focused here is defensive power; power going out is offensive power.

How can you put forth offensive power? The first thing you have to do is to focus the power in your center. Offensive power will naturally flow if you focus your power in the center. That is forceful power (iryoku). It is a condition of focused energy that becomes center energy. In budo, people use the terms "bui" or "iryoku", don't they? Most important in martial arts is "iwoharu," showing this powerfully focused energy. It's not good to pretend that you have energy (karaibari). Try to use the energy in the lower abdomen. You can call this energy focused "ki" energy. If you don't have center energy, you are bluffing. Really, you have to develop this energy. The energy will flow naturally if you can focus it in the lower abdomen. If you understand this point, you will understand how to develop your body and mind and how you should train.

If you forget this essential point, you'll think only about winning, and you won't have the power to keep centered. This power won't be released and you will be destroyed.
What Inaba Sensei said is another stress on the importance of the ki and kokyu components. What I think happens is that everyone gets so used to hearing these terms (often from the mouthes of people with little or no real skills), that they automatically think of it as not too important (in comparison with technique) or as something a bit separate and which they already do enough of. But... each person has to see and choose their own way. Perhaps I'm too enamored with the recent (to me, with the perspective I have) revelation that there was a stronger undercurrent and knowledge of ki things in Aikido than I had thought. With today's sources of information (Aikido Journal, books, etc.) these things become more apparent.
You do exercises to straighten up your back muscles and relax your shoulders. Drop your focus to your lower abdomen. If you do that, you'll find your center point and you will produce center energy. If your center is not developed, you won't have ki energy available to project through your fingers.

If you take excess energy from the upper body and train the lower body as in sumo wrestling, and if you train the energy of the lower abdomen, you will develop your center energy. You use that power wherever necessary.

Even though you focus the energy in your lower abdomen, you will not be able to move the energy to the area where you need it right away. You have to think about how you are going to move it. You have to think about two things, gathering and filling up the power, and then moving the power to where the opponent will attack. Also if you have a weapon, you have to project energy through the weapon. If you understand this point, you'll know how to train and what you need to develop. At the same moment you meet your opponent, you focus on your abdomen (hara) and project your ki where you need it. The result will be that you will shut down your opponent's power. I understand that as the power of "aiki."
Those last 3 sentences are interesting because they discuss our previous topic of "aiki" (the one I said that I found confusing due to the different way people were using it). IF I assume that Inaba Sensei's definition is correct (and I think it's a good working assumption) and I take into account the what I called "clever" and ""sophisticated" usages I saw Shioda do, then I know what he means and I can see a general definition that seems plausible to me. As Inaba use it, "Aiki" has to do with the use of kokyu in relation to what I called the "lightning fast feel for someone's empty spot" that Shioda demonstrates repeatedly in a segment of the DVD "Shingi Denju". And I agree... this is the essence of all good techniques when you know how to really use kokyu. Let me add one point to that last sentence... it's very common to meet a simple statement like that last one with an "Oh yeah, I know what he's talking about and I already do that", but I'm talking about a specific area of skill that I saw Shioda do that I doubt the average person knows how to do. I.e., it's probably worth the chase.

My opinion, FWIW

  Reply With Quote