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Old 12-09-2008, 12:05 AM   #5
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,616
Re: Ki, Chi, and "Energy"

Don McConnell wrote: View Post
Aw, personally I think that what the Japanese mean when they talk about in a martial sense isn't understandable by anyone who doesn't have a working knowledge of Japanses AND a working knowledge of the way a Japanese speaker thinks.
It is not THAT obscure. The modern usage of "ki" in the terms that Japanese martial arts presently refer to it, can be understood from Miura Baien's writings (18th cen.) where he developed the idea in terms quasi-physical, with relics of the mystical, that we are familiar with.

See here for his Genkiron which addresses "ki" at length. I have found it invaluable to understand a historical body of thought that underlies the modern Japanese usage of "ki" in physical contexts (it has many other and far wider connotative senses):,M1
Don McConnell wrote: View Post
... In the sense that Ki gets translated to what we say as energy, the closest it could be is kinetic energy or momentum.
Kinetic energy doesn't work physically in the ways the Chinese and Japanese use the term ki or qi. Momentum is the right idea. But with the clearly cyclical nature of ki, linear momentum also will not work, so that leaves angular momentum. Cyclic motion defined about an arbitrary center. It serves to describe motion easily in both absolute and relative terms, depending on one's choice of center from which to define the motion. Even electromagnetic and vibrational energy can be described in terms of angular momentum of oscillations. O sensei has a Doka that speaks directly to this: the "demon snake" and "the spirit of bees" -- low and high frequency oscillations, respectively.

For purpose of aikido the most fascinating attribute of this perspective on the problem is
The conservation of angular momentum is used extensively in analyzing what is called central force motion. If the net force on some body is directed always toward some fixed point, the center, then there is no torque on the body with respect to the center, and so the angular momentum of the body about the center is constant.
Or as we might say, the principle of Irimi-Tenkan.


Erick Mead
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