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Old 11-20-2006, 04:14 AM   #11
Joe Bowen
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Dojo: Yongsan Aikikai
Location: But now I'm in the UK
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 210
South Korea
Re: Poll: Is "ki" as used in aikido a metaphor for you?

Neil Mick wrote:
...I'm with you, Hanna: ki is a metaphor.
At least, AFAIC...But if its not a tangible thing, then it is an abstraction. Can you describe it? Can you hold it in your hand?
A metaphor does not make it any the less powerful, even so. Ki can be everything described here (and more), and still be a metaphor, linguistically speaking.
Interesting points, can we describe or hold abstractions? Can you hold Freedom in your hand? Or the air? What would Ki be a metaphor for?

I mention freedom, because it is a conceptual abstraction which many people can readily identify. We can feel free, but cannot physically hold it in our hand nor is freedom measurable by any objective standard or device. The degree to which a person feels free is purely subjective but most (not necessarily all) people would agree that freedom exists to some degree or another.

Air we can feel on our face, but also cannot hold (although air can be contained). Air can be measured by scientists and to a degree by our body (if you don't get enough you die, very crude sort of measurement but a measurement nonetheless), but for your average joe (like me ) air is an underlying current of life which is largely taken for granted without any conscious thought or measure. Perhaps ki is the same. Just because our scientists cannot measure it doesn't necessarily preclude its existence. The Bohr model example that Hannah provides is excellent. Perhaps our understanding of Ki is similar to our understanding of the atom before whatever it is they use to understand atoms now (remember I'm just your average joe not a nuclear scientist!).

I'm just adding more questions and not providing any answers, so I'll stop my rambling with a last thought on metaphors. Metaphors are figures of speech which use a word, idea or phrase in place of another suggesting a likeness between the two possibly to help someone understand the latter word, idea or phrase. So Ki is a metaphor for what? The synergistic kinetic energy generated by bodies engaged in activity? I don't think Ki works as a metaphor in a western society, there is no frame of reference for it. In eastern society it is a widely accepted idea or belief that people grow up with, and can work as a metaphor there, but not in the west. I would be more apt to understand synergistic kinetic energy generated by bodies engaged in Aikido, then Ki.

just your average Joe
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