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Old 08-05-2013, 05:06 PM   #13
Dojo: Kakushi Toride Aikido
Location: Los Angeles
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 109
Re: Ki energy defined

Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Since your whole analysis to follow is based on this single statement, I'll treat it as an axiom; that is I'll accept that "Ki is fundamental energy" as being self evident.

Atoms are formed from the association of electrons, protons and neutrons. Electrons are elementary particles, but protons and neutrons are composite particles formed out of combinations of differently "flavored" quarks.

This is an interesting conjecture. The implication of this is that Ki represents the grand unification of the known 4 forces as it (Ki) existed at the moment of the Big Bang. What you are implying is that the symmetry breaking that gave rise to gravity, electromagnetic, strong, and weak forces is really just different aspects of Ki that are subject to observation whereas Ki itself seems to be beyond our efforts to directly observe measure. This is actually in line with current physics. The unification of the 4 forces is quite beyond earthly experimentation and therefore not observable.

A proposition that implies another symmetry break.

Ok, far from making things simpler your statement here serves to muddy the waters of understanding. You are referring to a property subset of the thing (Ki) as the thing itself. Earlier you stated that "Fundamental energy has different properties depending how it manifests in the material world as we know it." And your axiom states that "Ki is fundamental energy." So while spiritual energy is a manifestation of certain properties of fundamental energy (Ki) it isn't the thing itself any more than gravity, electromagnetism, the strong or weak forces are Ki. Maybe you could call it spirit and leave it at that.


This is a very strong conjecture that, unless you insist that it be accepted on faith, requires experimental verification. I mean you're talking the secret of life here Dr. Frankenstein.

Are you referring to Ki the fundamental energy or ki the spiritual energy?

And its source would be?

You have some interesting stuff here Corky. While my own views regarding Ki are quite incompatible with what you have laid out here, I really appreciate that you have obviously given this subject a lot of deep thought. I'm sure that your meditations have had a profound beneficial effect on your Aikido, which has in turn, helped your views on Ki evolve. A very nice positive feedback loop.

Ron, thanks for your consideration of my postulate. Through our reflections may we both gain in our understanding of aikido's mysteries.

I used the word ki in two contexts - first as fundamental energy, the source of all observable forces of nature, then as the particular observable force, a fifth force of nature, that creates life out of non-living matter. I made this distinction because most people referring to "ki" are speaking of the latter. In this context the word ki would be synonymous with spiritual energy or spiritual force.

Quarks are observable, to those with the tools to measure their effects, as subject to all forces of nature. All the forces of nature have connective properties -- quarks combine to produce hadrons and are never found isolated. So even at the most basic level of physical reality, the quark model recognizes the fundamental principle of connection. It is when they exhibit the connective property, again common to all, that hadrons combine to become chemical elements.

An atomic nucleus blown up to the size of an baseball sitting on the pitcher's mound of a major league baseball stadium would have its closest electron the size of a pin head orbiting out past the furthest bleacher seat. Matter is mostly empty space. Think of physical reality as 3d projections of pure energy forming a holographic, tactile image that appears solid and "real" to our gross senses and yet is mostly immaterial.

The paradox in quantum physics is that particles also appear as a wave. Imagine fundamental energy radiating from its source, the central core of the big bang; broadcasting, if you will. The interference pattern created by this radiant energy throughout time space continually creates all of what we call physical reality across the entire cosmos through the mechanism of quantum physics.

Within that physicality the known forces of nature become observable by their properties. We start to see differentiations in the way compounds act in accordance with gravity, for example. Fluid mechanics as a subset of gravitational forces demonstrates how the constricted flow of liquid through a fire hose seems to defy gravity and shoots water up many stories to subdue the flames of a burning building. A fire hose hooked up to a 125' water tower will have no problem spraying water that high with gravity as its only propellant, but fill the water tank with sand and the sand won't make it out of the hose.

At the level subatomic particles become atoms, differentiation of gravitational and electromagnetic forces are already observable because those subatomic particles form atoms of cobalt, iron and nickel.

This is the level at which ki (spiritual force) differentiates also, because at the atomic level various elements come together to form molecules of amino acids.

Spiritual energy has not been recognized by the scientific community at large because it has heretofore been unquantifiable. Weight and mass and magnetic fields can be measured, but no one has come up with a way to measure a flow of love between individuals or a quantitative difference between a living being and a corpse.

As for the effects of the properties of ki (spirit force), they are easily observable if not measurable. From a purely biological perspective, that organisms exist and reproduce is the simplest observable fact. On earth the ingredients of our planetary mass acted upon by ki formed chains of the elements carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen, but on other planets perhaps the chemical building blocks of life may be specific other elements depending on the various factors of that respective planet.

Ki (spiritual force) is as ordinary and as profound as gravity and the electromagnetic spectrum, but as a force of nature it is found acting, like gravity and electromagnetic radiation, in harmony with all other observable manifestations of fundamental energy, in the creation of living beings in evolving, expanding fractal patterns.

Relevant to aikido, ki's connective properties manifest in the phenomenon known as love. Love is the name we give the feeling of ki expressing through our being that connects to someone or something else. Though no one can measure it, it is difficult to deny its existence, so it is considered esoteric. But can we really explain why and how the force gravity is in existence? No, we can only describe its existence through the effects of its properties.

Every person knows the feeling of connecting with others as joyous and life-giving. We intuitively see growth and improvement as favorable things, sickness and decay, though part of the experience of living matter, as unfavorable and a depletion of the life force (ki, spiritual force). Immeasurable but hard to deny, love and cooperation feels better to all than hatred and conflict. A simple examination reveals a simple truth: Five people who can agree on a restaurant for lunch are going to have a better time than each of the five trying to draw the rest to a restaurant of the ethnic variety of food that each prefers. Love allows us to harmonize more easily than disdain does.

What I believe to be Morihei Ueshiba's greatest discovery, through an epiphany, was that the connective properties of ki manifest physically in conflict situations between human beings.

Many memoirs of Osensei report that although the students could replicate the movements of Osensei, no one's aikido "felt" like his. He has been quoted as admonishing students to express aiki rather than do aikido techniques. This distinction, rather than being a head-scratcher and shoulder shrugger, should be observable and replicable.

The way we work in my dojo, ukes extend authentic attack energy and are free to attack any way they care to at any time, as no techniques are taught or demonstrated. Instead of an uke who is there to facilitate nage's movement through a complex formation of elemental aikido movements usually called "a technique," ukes in my dojo are there to provide an unrelenting, authentic flow of attack energy. When this is done at a particular level of intensity, there is no way for nage to wiggle out, escape or force themselves and uke through a technique. Our practice is to overcome the natural resistance or escape responses embedded in our lower central nervous system and transcend them to function at a higher level of consciousness which allows us to love our partner despite the attack.

Rather than what my teacher Don O'Bell sensei called "Pollyanna love," I am referring to the embodiment of a state of being in which this energy flows in a limitless, unobstructed way toward our partner.

This optimum flow of ki as it passes through our systems may be distinguishable at some level through variations in intention in compassion, forgiveness, acceptance, appreciation, etcetera, but the common quality in all those forms of love are that they are beneficent in nature. One's ki will flow in greatest abundance to those one wants to benefit. In other words, if you are injured in an accident, my ki will flow more toward you if I want to help you than it will if I don't want to be involved. This seems obvious, but if we really become conscious of our feelings when we withhold love from something we find it is relatively unpleasant. It's especially noticeable when compared to when we love someone.

In practice in our non-technique training, we start to see that we cannot under any circumstances fake the embodiment of some form of beneficent intention and see aiki materialize in the form of uke going to the mat. But by shifting our consciousness truly to love in one or more of its myriad forms, aikido happens immediately and in paths usually much simpler than the techniques most aikidoka practice.

Through practicing this way we have seen the literal truth of some of Osensei's "esoteric" teachings. Feeling the way it feels when someone we have grabbed or are striking responds with an intention that we benefit from our interaction is a tactile, empirical experience hard to deny.

I have been studying the nature of attack energy as it arises from intention for almost ten years, and I feel confident in saying that anyone I offer this energy to will confirm that it is both authentic and relentless, even at a reduced intensity. When I grab an unranked aikido student less than a year in training with the same energy and intention I have given to Saotome Sensei, Heiny Sensei, and Ikeda Sensei when invited to be uke for them, and this beginning student shifts from being absolutely at my mercy to moving with me as I hit the mat all from modifying his intention from defense to beneficence, it is a profound affirmation of Osensei's claim that the power of aikido comes from love.