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Old 08-19-2013, 09:04 PM   #44
Dojo: Torrey Pines Aiki Kai
Location: San Diego
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 101
Re: to ki or not to ki

I am sorry to come late to this thread it’s mother road me hard and put me up wet. Ki is one of those words that seem to be highly context sensitive. In the previous thread I defined it as “the skillful expression of capable intent”. I choose those words carefully because from a top down philosophical perspective it occurs to me that the expression of ki need not be martial at all. In writing this I am discerning the components of ki as, connected body, mastery of technique, and uncluttered/focused mind.

In aikido it manifests, to me, as the connected body making a one way attachment to uke’s center with efficiency, grace and with as little effort as required, while maintaining awareness of everyone else around you; in my definition it is intimately connected to no mind. No mind does not mean you turn off your mind, but rather, the mind is not required for the immediate choosing and application of technique and is thus freed up to see evolving patterns in conflict and move accordingly in a strategic manner; not so much conscience as reflexive intuitive movement. Where the boundary exists (if it does) between extending ki and no mind is up for debate, and perhaps a matter of personal definition; I’m just starting to figure this out.

It is does seem to be a progression it doesn’t click on one day. Do you think about your foot placement anymore? Mine just go where they have to in order to do the technique (most of the time), so from that perspective my feet are in no mind. To the extent that the mechanics on the throw are on autopilot, hara is maintained, the body is adaptive, unbendable arm at the ready, and the mind is able to attend to see the positive and negative spaces I think of that as extending ki. I suspect most consider ki to be just connected body, and that is likely the hardest and one of the last hurdles to loft. But I posit that connection without superior technique and an attentive undisturbed mind is incomplete.

Last weekend one person at an IP seminar said “did you see “This is It” the Michael Jackson documentary. He would sit there in rehearsal looking bedraggled, old and defeated, then he would stand up inflate and bam he would explode projecting movement and song. That was extending Ki”. I agree, hence the non martial terms the definition.

Early in my life I was an ice hockey goaltender. On rare occasions I would get into a flow state, where my body was very active but not over taxed, I was completely aware of my moving geometry relative to the net (goaltending is all about blocking angles), my perception defocused and tracking every player on the ice and the puck as well. I could sense the evolution and most likely directions of play and move accordingly; on those days little got by me. It was an extraordinary sensation and I sure as hell was extending ki.

I think I can define it, I’m not sure how well and how consistently I do it; life is a mountain.
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