"(After doing sumo exercises for 14 years)... I realised I wasn't training my muscles, but rather something inside my body...something very near the core of the body that was not the physical body was being strengthened by the exercise....these are conscious techniques...not muscular power or Ki. However, since the conscious world is non-material, it usually has no influence over the physical world. Aiki is like a key to combine them."
Thanks for that!
Earlier, I would have said it makes sense, but that would have been in an intellectual way. Now it makes sense in a physical way. But what he says here is a lot more than what I've noticed.
I'm not sure if Discovering Aiki
is the book I read. I did read Kimura's recently translated book on Sagawa and aiki but I've loaned it out and haven't seen it in a while. In that book, Sagawa is quoted as saying that aiki is a battle between souls.
And that's another part of this topic. It's sort of like a forensic dissection of martial arts conducted by martial artists. For years we've been taking apart the muscles and the bones and nervous system and it was like a new age when fascia was recognized—even though the Chinese had been telling us about it. And once we had fascia to consider, it was "how do you make the fascia contract?" thinking that the only way to use it was like you use muscles.
And now we've got the body pretty well illuminated, but until now, my thinking has really been that the brain controls the body via the nerves, like a robot with electrical circuits running through the extremities to operate servos and make it walk and move its arms, etc.
And that brings us finally to the interface between mind and body. And seeing that as ki....that has always been there, when I thought it was something I had to somehow make or get....
It's like someone telling you "Your car must have an alternator to work," so you search everywhere for years to find an "alternator" and travel and spend tons of money in the search for an "alternator" until one day...
But we also have the tradition of "soul" and "spirit," and it's not uncommon for ki to be understood as "spirit". Which may be the best, really, for the functions I understand ki to fulfill. However, last night, discussing this with a biologist and a doctor from India, we were comparing it to the concept of pran, which the Indians understand as "soul". And the biologist believed that there is too much physical aspect for ki to be "spirit". The thing is, in the Western tradition, the soul lives forever as a discrete individual, whereas a person's ki seems to have the identity it has as long as it is between the mind and body it powers. I do think that ki is the life in the body, or the "power" of life in the body. And it's the life, or power of life, in the world.
Anyway, I'm finding it very instructive to examine how ki interacts among people and observe it in action in people's daily work and activity.
As a martial arts application, I've been thinking about agete, where the opponent grips your wrists and you raise your hands straight up, like Sagawa, or Okamoto. Rob John did it to me with completely soft arms and no effort or feeling of strength, but I couldn't feel him do it and I couldn't resist or let go.
Now, my thinking, without having experimented, is that you're already mingling your ki with the opponent's before he grabs your wrists. And with your ki fully blended with his, you direct your mind straight up: your ki goes straight up and his ki follows. And in that moment, you effortlessly raise your hands. In theory.
Or do you direct the ki up the opponent's arms? It seems like that would have a different effect...
And there are just all kinds of other things and other ways to use it.
So as I try just to get feel for ki working in myself, I'm starting with how it relates to the dantien and how that relates to the arms and legs.
But now, though I know this is going to take a lot of training and practice, if someone tells me to do something with my ki, it's going to be as if they say to do something with my hand.