Dojo: Minh Sensei
Location: Allentown, PA
Join Date: May 2002
Train In Ki And Why
I'm am by no means an expert on ki. I have tasted a drop, but it springs from ocean I probably will never fully see. I can say for certain however that ki has these few attributes, firstly, ki comes in many forms (i.e. unbendable arm, the way that animals instinctively move), next, you need to utilize ki to correctly use Aikido or any other martial art correctly/most effectively (although Aikido and Tai Chi stress its importance the most), third, proper ki usage is attainable by anyone simply with effort, time, and direction, and finally, although ki is mysteriously vague, you know it when you see it.
If someone grabs you with two hands on one single hand of yours (morotote dori), and let's assume, as we should always assume in Aikido, that that person is stronger than you. You must escape without atemi, (your free hand is tied/occupied/damaged). You will be unable to use your muscle. If you have a well developed ki, escaping won't be a problem. He will find it difficult to hold on. And you will be able to throw him instantly. Remember he is the aggressor, simply take his ki!
The single best way to improve one's martial skill, whether its in dojo, in the ring, or surrounded in an ally, is to simply spend five minutes a day improving their ki/chi. Unfortunately, ki is very vague and ambiguous, so it can't ever be truly conveyed in words, written or spoken.One of the ways in which ki can be felt is though proper use of body mechanics. There are other ways for it to be experienced. It is certainly not "hogwash." And whether you believe me or not, improving one's ki is the single best way to improve one's martial ability. If a technique can be done slowly, smoothly, and constantly stable, when it needs to be done
fast, it cannot be stopped.
Arm locks, wrist locks, "arm bars," or any other type of mechanical submission, while probably proving a godsend if your unfortunate opponent knows nothing of the martial arts, would only be cumbersome and in many cases (as in if attempted on my Sensei/sempai) would be worthless. Kotegaeshi, Ikkyo, Nikyo, Sankyo, Yonkyo, and even Gokyo are among the "locks" that Ueshiba elected to train Aikido with. Although these techniques do have mechanical properties that make them quite dangerous (other martial arts sometimes train with some of these, although they often keep them mechanical), their true value is revealed when you create a connection between your center and your opponents through the technique. If a kotegaeshi is applied slowly enough, one will feel a threshold where the opponents center/ki is captured. He/she will be unable to move at all, much less attempt to apply some BJJ move or whatever. Sankyo might be the best "hold" to feel this connection on. Essentially, if the opponent can escape from a static sankyo, it is not applied correctly or should I say with the correct intention. Eventually the sensitivity develops (if done correctly, it can take less than a year to begin to feel the effects), and you become accustomed to feeling others centers/ki fields immediately. My Sensei's ki has developed to a point that, when one comes into physical contact with my Sensei, one is immediately off balance. Unless of course, your ki were stronger than his. In that case, we would probably pack up shop and follow you!
Regardless, no locks work against him, unless of course, as I had previously stated, you have a better ki. It's a sliding scale however. I cant apply anything to anyone in my dojo with a greater ki, unless they want me to. Which is good, because them letting me succeed little by little builds my ki!
I will say this though, in my experience most Aikido dojos do NOT practice Aikido correctly. We had a Sensei from a nearby dojo, come to train. The first time he grabbed me katate dori (one hand on one hand) I instantly knew that his ten years training had been an almost complete waste in terms of budo. Had I chosen I could have thrown him easily, and in any manner that I felt. His ki field was hallow. We had a two-month white belt, who although did not have the sensitivity to tell, had greater ki as well.
If your Sensei sounds like the one last mentioned, dont worry. It is never to late to develop one's ki. Never muscle through another technique again.
Thanks for reading.