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Old 02-21-2005, 08:56 AM   #17
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Re: Functional Ki Skills

Ted Ehara wrote:
If Buddhist concepts are a revision of older Hindu ideas, then the idea of prana > chi > ki would therefore be traced back to India's prehistory. However the idea of a life force can be seen in western culture. Pagans, Gnostic, New Age and alternative thinkers like Wilhelm Reich or T. Galen Hieronymus have all used a concept like the life force in their theories. You can also see this concept being used by both past and present-day shamans.
It's probably better to think of Ki, Prana, etc., as being catch-all terms from ancient times that are best translated as "unknown force", rather than "life force". Every unexplained force from blood sugar to electricity became "some aspect of mysterious unknown force Ki". The Japanese got the idea from the Chinese and they tend to mysticize the idea a bit (a few other and some regional groups do this to an extent, also). Just view Ki as an umbrella term because that's what it is. Start your search from there by sorting out the interesting bits.
The connection between life,death and breath giving a conclusion of some kind of life force is fairly evident to a casual observer. You run out of other options, especially if you aren't "distracted" by the theories of modern medicine, like ancient man was. I don't believe any one culture can claim having "discovered" this concept, since so many people across so many centuries have re-discovered, re-tuned and re-invented this idea.
Basically all you're doing is re-hashing the raison d'etre that convinced early man there must be a ki.
I don't know the mechanics of unbendable arm, since I'm not a physiologist. You might be better asking Craig about this. As for the human bridge, that was explained in Ki in Daily Life where K. Tohei is photographed doing it.
But surely you can't be interested in Ki without wanting to know how "Ki tests" work, can you? This would be a good time to think about the Law of Thermodynamics, the creation of energy, and so on.
Speaking of Chi, I'm looking for anything about the origins of Tai Chi and Qi Gong with anything about the development of Qi Gong. Please email me if you have anything.
Well, you have to understand that qigongs have an ancient origin that has to do with the flow of strength in the body. When you push something, the flow goes *out* certain channels; when you *pull* something the power flows *in* certain channels. These were the "channels" that were the pre-cursors to the more refined "acupuncture meridians". The precursors and muscle-tendon meridians and strength/health are related to a posited "ki" flowing in the channels.

There are different kinds of qigongs. There's medical, Confucian, Taoist, Buddhist, and martial qigongs. As a martial artist, you should be most interested in learning a good martial qigong. Some of the Aikido qigongs are slightly martial; I suspect there's more to these that aren't shown outside of a small circle of people. Some of the Aikido qigongs appear to be Buddhist-derived. They are OK for qi-flow, but they won't do much for you martially. Insofar as books go, try "Qigong: The Secret of Youth" by Yang Jwing MIng... it is the translation of some of the earliest texts on qigongs, and they are martial qigongs. Try "Qigong Empowerment" by Shou-Yu Liang for a terrific overview of various qigongs in the different categories. Note that reading the descriptions won't tell you some of the important parts ... you need to find someone who knows. Another interesting book is "Anatomy Trains" by Thomas W. Myers. His book is about myofascial massage techniques, but the understanding of the fascia (which is heavily related to Ki) has gotten to the point where he has analysed the fascia planes to the point where, Lo and Behold, they look like the original muscle-tendon channels that the Chinese noticed and used!!!


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