Well; I think it's time I threw my own 2 cents into the fray; but before we get on to the subject of ki; I want to address a point that has not yet been touched on.
It's the initial poster's opening remarks:
When considering how to improve any Martial System it is necessary to take inventory, and examine if what is being taught is logically consistent and beneficial to the system as a whole.
Take for example the teaching of "Ki."
Lots of Aikido people run around talking about "ki", but the fact of the matter is that the teaching of "ki" is simply a mystical/magical teaching which conjures belief in superstitious nonsense.
And indeed; the title of the thread itself:
Aikido minus mysticism: a step forward
Now; this is not simply the opening line of one who wishes to create a discussion/constructive argument. It's a deliberate; outright antagonistic statement.
I notice that mr...er..."beetle" has not responded since the initial post.
I don't know about the rest of the folks and of course I defer to Jun's judgement; but where I come from this is considered rude behaviour. I therefore charge Mr. "Beetle" to return to this thread and answer some questions.
First - by what argument and methodology do you make the claim that aikido without mysticism is a 'step forward'? Without - I might add - no clear attempt at describing your definition of mysticism?
Second - how do you - one who has no aikido training - have the ability, knowledge or moral right to not only determine aikido needs
improving; but also to identify precisely where such improvement should happen?
I am very curious - and demand answers.
Now - on to Ki.
As one who started with the ki society; I was initially extremely skeptical of the 'ki' aspect found in shin shin toitsu. With my background as a combat veteran; and as one who's been required to use physical skills on a number of occasions; I didn't see the point - not at all. Technique was what was important, right?
But as I learned; I began to understand a little of what the 'ki' aspects involve. However you wish to define ki; the common concensus is that it is a focussing of will/intent/energy along a given direction. Whether it is a spiritual matter, a physiological phenomenon, or whatever; it works, essentially, by directing your will in a specific manner.
In my experience; there are few of the techniques we practice which would be of vaalue as they are practiced
in a real-life encounter. That is not - I submit - the intent of kumi-waza. Rather; the techniques are there to teach the mind and body to move unconciously in particular ways - ways that are stable, fluid, effective and constructed of a minimum of body movements.
Ki training does the same thing in a different manner - as the techniques teach us to use the body in specific ways; so ki training teaches us to use the mind in similar ways.
The end result - assuming for the moment the student learns correctly and can apply what he learned; which is a huge
assumption - is that in a critical situation; the practicioner will be able to move his mind and body together; as a single unit in ways which are stable, smooth and effective.
In other words; the techniques and ki training are not final goals in and of themselves; they are there to teach effective defensive movement.
It's good movement - not fancy techniques - which helps someone escape a dangerous situation.
Now; obviously people sometimes go (in my opinion) overboard and start looking at aikido as something other than what it is - a defensive, internal art. They swoon over peace/love; make happytalk about spiritual happiness, feeling the ki of the little birds, etc. We occasionally get E-mails from people wanting to learn how to throw ki-balls. Lots of people want to believe in greater things and unfortunately some folks let their enthusiasm exceed their common sense - heck; just look at Yellow Bamboo.
So IMO ki training is a fascinating and integral part of my
aikido training. However anyone else feels; that's cool with me.
Eh - whatever turns their crank; IMO. IMO; they're confusing the goal with the tools needed to reach the goal but as long as they're happy, I'm happy.