Thread: Ki is Kindness.
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Old 12-10-2010, 04:05 PM   #17
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,697
Re: Ki is Kindness.

Jon Reading wrote: View Post
The post is certainly interesting...

I'll set my preface with this, very little of the loose "interpretations" of what O'Sensei said are actually translations. I think we all need to take with a grain of salt any doctrine that comes down defining how O'Sensei expressed his views on the world. I am also a firm believer in self-reliance and accountability, so this perspective is difficult for me to understand given the lack of support. While I believe that we should advocate that our students responsibly use their knowledge, I do not advocate a spiritual agenda in class.

I would like to see more [any] supportive evidence for this statement. I don't know if I buy the claim that "ki" has a little conscious sitting on his shoulder telling him what to do. Ki is a tool, wielded by one who may express positive or negative attributes. Hammers are great tools too. A hammer can build a house, but it can also whack a finger. I think it may be reasonable to assert that those who train diligently in aikido are more prone to positive behavior, but I do not believe you can make an assertive claim like ki is kindness. And seriously, if you bring up midichlorians...

I believe this statement is false. Madmen are, by definition, incomprehensible as defined by their action. Madmen are not comparable to school yard bullies. People are responsible for their own decisions, good and bad. Now if you are claiming a juvenile mindset reasons that acting out in behavior will yield attention (positive or negative), I'll buy that... Heck, anyone who has children can buy that. But equating a juvenile mindset to the calculating and incomprehensible mindset of a truly evil person? Not buying...

Ki's got nothing to do with kindness. A correlation? Sure. Is there an overlap between those who practice budo and express kindness? I believe so. But there is also a correlation between those who practice aikido and wear their pajamas in public. So is ki adult undergarments?

You wanna preach about kindness, knock yourself out. You want to conform your students to a social model of philosophy as part of their training, knock yourself out. But I am not sure I'd go and start making these kinds of claims without some evidence. Maybe refine them with some concrete proof? but don't say "you have to feel it"...

There used to be a time when you were accountable for your actions and responsible for their consequences, now we get to say, "well, if someone cared enough about me, I never would have done those terrible things..."
Geico Drill Sergeant
Some people really do need help, its a shame we have chosen to bury those troubled individuals amongst the masses of self-excuse.

Thanks for spurring interesting conversation Graham.
Hi Jon.
Good response. May I a bit more about my view.

I understand how in this day and age people will equate kindness with sympathy and poor me attitudes which is why I emphasised how true kindness is definite. If you sympathise with someone or something then you become. Then you want to defend the person or thing you sympathise with. The problem here is that the sympathiser has BECOME.

On the other hand, if you EMPATHISE then you remain stable, you can now look at the pro's and cons etc. etc. etc. The difference? You are still BEING rather than becoming.

In life there are subjects, bodies of knowledge about an area or thing. ie: Biology, cosmology, physics, politics et al.

Now in Aikido there is the subject of the body, the physical aspects of the art. Katas get the body used to those movements. Repetitive movements of all kinds done in practice is to get the body used to those movements. Physios and osteopaths can tell you all kinds of other useful things about the body and mechanics thereof.

Then there is the mind aspect of Aikido. This is the body of knowledge to do with movements and techniques. As it has concepts like ma-ai, center, circles etc. in the art then part of this data, theory, has to include geometry. Further than that, as this art has a thing called Ki as part of it then it brings energy into the equasion and thus physics comes into play in it's study. This is all the mind of the art.

By applying the theory along with the physical we discover how and why and thus understand. Thus I differenciate this way:
There is a physical center of the body, the center of balance, all things physical have a center and thus we see if you spin them they turn around their center. So there is a principle involved here.

Now what is the center of the mind? Well it is understanding. When you understand then your mind feels centered, stable. So for me a student of the art obviously has to study and see how the theory and practice work together.

Then we come to the spiritual part of the art.

In life there are people and groups of people who dedicate there lives to helping people with their physical well being. Doctors for example. Then there are people who dedicate their lives to helping people with their mental well being. Teachers, psychologists etc. Then there are people who dedicate their lives to helping others with thei spiritual well being.

This third one has so many connotations nowadays that the mere mention of the word spiritual conjures up the image of weird or mystyrious or unreal. Now my view is that the area of spiritual well being originally was religion but alas it has now in this day and age been defined as the study of god or gods. O'Sensei was very spiritual I think everyone would agree and talked about spiritual principles and how they apply to Aikido. These were not physics, they were not geometry, they were of the subject of your spirit.

The avoidance of this subject leaves aikidoka wondering what he meant, it's that simple.

There is for example a physical ma-ai, a mental ma-ai and a spiritual ma-ai and when a person understands all three then they can review what O'Sensei said about ma-ai and then understand what he meant. Otherwise they can say it's all to do with the different meanings of japanese words or that it's because he was involved in some mystical group..... Wow. That's all I can say on that.

Anyway this is how I look at it and study and practice it. Ki is of the spirit so unless a person is willing to add that viewpoint to their training they will never understand it and how it works in what they are doing. You have Ki whether you like it or not for if you didn't you would be dead.

Finally, here's an interesting thought. If a person was to show how a spiritual principle applies to a physical action would that be preaching?

Good talking to you. G.
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