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Old 11-15-2007, 09:04 AM   #101
Budd
 
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
When people I respected started speaking about it on internet forums, it sounded different from what I was familiar with. So I didn't say "it's not true, there is no such thing as ki", or "we already do that", or "Prove it...go fight in the UFC". I got off my butt, went and felt it in a few different places, tried to be honest with myself about what I felt, and made my decisions based on how it affected me in my practice.
You know this part is critical and exactly what I try have tried to do as well.

To many people already know everything, though, so unless you can meet their criteria for proof over the internet, it may not be worth pursuing

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Old 11-15-2007, 09:14 AM   #102
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

Quote:
Samuel Clemens a.k.a. Mark Twain wrote:
It's not what you don't know that will hurt you, it's what you know that isn't so.
I have to agree.

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration...

ART! - http://birdsbeaks.blogspot.com/
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Old 11-15-2007, 09:19 AM   #103
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Ian Hurst wrote: View Post
Bit concerned that the "evidence for ki"....
The problem with almost every discussion about "ki" in the west is that no one knows what it is or what it does, so the definition they use is of some woo-woo, incorrect idea of what "ki" is. It's like saying that a plow-horse is a pink-rabbit and then instead of discussing plow-horses and their utility, the conversation goes off into arguing the existence of pink-rabbits. All it really shows is that most people don't know what ki is. Now the bad thing about that very obvious lack of knowledge is that in many cases their own martial arts is replete with mentions of ki, etc., and how it is the basis of the art. So just the fact that "what is ki" arguments get started is enough to tell any amateur logician that something is badly wrong with a number of martial arts.

Also, the number of experts who "teach ki" give away what they know and what they don't know by their own words, too. They need to understand that what ki is is not some great mystery to a lot of people and the campfire approach of "here's my take on Ki" really makes them look ridiculous. There are some demonstrable and extremely useful body skills that are ki... if you don't know what they are, you should take the fastest plane you can to wherever the information is. Information is becoming available more and more readily now (although we're still near the beginning of available information)..... if it had been there when I was starting out, I would have beat a path to where it was and saved myself 20-30 years. Trust me.

Best.

Mike
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Old 11-15-2007, 09:21 AM   #104
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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The world "works" whether we believe it or like it or not. It just is. If someone has the mechanics of a throw correct, it doesn't matter if I or they believe in ki...the throw works. If the person being thrown is honest in their attack and reception. Which is why taking the ukemi is so important.
I completely agree. At the same time, in my experience, an interesting thing is, if one knows how to "relate to Ki properly" (the.... euphemism, I suppose it would be called, would be that they are "using Ki properly") then the throw works, without having to be "thinking" (so to speak) about the mechanics. Not that they are not important, but in that process, they are not the focus. In my training, Ki works partly because in order to "use Ki properly" the body mechanics often do shift, but that's not the only reason it "works" and just shifting the body mechanics doesn't mean that the person is "using Ki." There's a lot more to it than just that.

It's the other side of the coin. And my contention and experience is, the experience will be different. That's one of the big reasons why I personally do Aikido, for the experience.

An example would be - say someone is practicing a throw and it's not working. I can tell them how to "fix it" by addressing the mechanics that are off. Sometimes I will do that, and there's nothing wrong with the to me. But, often, I will say something like "use Ki" or "bigger Ki" or any number of things down that road. When they do that, they immediately find the answer.

Now the -big- thing is, these are not vague and mystical expressions in our training, but very explicit processes that we teach from the beginning, so when I say something like that, the person either knows exactly what I mean, or I can show them exactly what I mean.

But that's just me. To me it's a matter of choice, personal inclination, and training.

Last edited by Aiki1 : 11-15-2007 at 09:29 AM.

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Old 11-15-2007, 09:36 AM   #105
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

Hi Larry,

At my poor level of understanding, I think of what you are speaking of as the "mind" component...probably mixed with other things I simply don't understand yet.

I've been in situations where someone tells me "now, pull your shoulders back and down, connect that structure to your hips", and all of a sudden the power projected into uke becomes "clearer" for lack of a better word. But then they say "now use your mind to strengthen that pathway" and suddenly there is *more* of that "clear" power.

So mind (and I guess belief) does matter. But please don't ask me how...because I really don't know.

Best,
Ron

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Old 11-15-2007, 09:47 AM   #106
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Larry Novick wrote: View Post
if one knows how to "relate to Ki properly"
If I relate to my lawn-mower correctly, it will mow the grass.

A lot of people think that Asians speak in vague, suggestive ways that relate to the cosmos, spirituality, and so forth. On the contrary, even thought the ancient Asians used different paradigms (the qi-paradigm) to explain how things worked, they actually thought and wrote extensive and detailed descriptions of how things worked, although knowledge (being power and money) wasn't publicly given away for free.

An Aikido throw is a physical thing that requires Nage to move and almost always to physically interract with Uke. Physical things can be described. The physical effects of ki can be described in reaonably accurate conversational terms. How to do things with ki or to manifest Ki can be explained in physical terms. I listened to the Ki-Society instructor, David Shaner Sensei, describe some things in some of the most god-awful vague terms imaginable, but once he got down to the nitty gritty, he explained some things with a physical clarity that was admirable. So I saw and felt what he could do. He had physical Ki skills. He also could explain it (to a reasonable degree). If someone really knows how to do these things, they can explain them.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 11-15-2007, 10:10 AM   #107
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
At my poor level of understanding, I think of what you are speaking of as the "mind" component...probably mixed with other things I simply don't understand yet.

I've been in situations where someone tells me "now, pull your shoulders back and down, connect that structure to your hips", and all of a sudden the power projected into uke becomes "clearer" for lack of a better word. But then they say "now use your mind to strengthen that pathway" and suddenly there is *more* of that "clear" power.

So mind (and I guess belief) does matter.
On the "mind" front:

I use "ki" as a paradigm for discussing and describing what I believe to be certain biomechanical processes. The issue, though, is that these biomechanical processes feel (and most likely are) different than normal muscular movement. You don't access/utilize these processes in the same way, and they don't stress or fatigue the body in the same way either. Thus it's sometimes easier to describe these processes as "mind-driven", rather than... err, "body-driven".

You can't say, "lift your arm", 'cause that means lift your arm using your normal (muscular) methods. You need to communicate the need to utilize these alternative processes, which have no real description, so you just say, "use your mind". But again, that's just a convenience since our language is lacking. When this stuff starts manifesting in your body, you immediately recognize it as something physical in your body.

Also, there probably are multiple processes at work, but in practice it often seems related, and you often need to use similar "mind tricks" to access these processes. So it's usually easier to discuss it all under the one unified banner of "using ki".

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Old 11-15-2007, 10:18 AM   #108
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
I've been in situations where someone tells me "now, pull your shoulders back and down, connect that structure to your hips", and all of a sudden the power projected into uke becomes "clearer" for lack of a better word. But then they say "now use your mind to strengthen that pathway" and suddenly there is *more* of that "clear" power.

So mind (and I guess belief) does matter.
Hey Ron - when I first learned "about Ki" I learned pretty much from a "feeling" perspective and process. The person who taught me was very good at inducting me into that "knowledge." Not so good with everyone though (some yes some no), and as I taught more, I saw that many people weren't getting it from this process alone, so I had to figure out how to teach it differently. I took the time to see what it was all about simply from a different vantage point, and now I teach it, to the best of my ability, in terms of how the individual person will best perceive, experience, and integrate it consciously into their Aikido, and beyond hopefully. This can vary greatly, but to me, it's worth it. For some it can be more physical, for some more esoteric, for some very specific, for others, vague - whatever reaches the person I think is valuable.

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Old 11-15-2007, 10:38 AM   #109
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

I think that is part of what makes this so tricky online...personal transmission is extremely difficult online.

Best,
Ron

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Old 11-15-2007, 11:05 AM   #110
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
I think that is part of what makes this so tricky online...personal transmission is extremely difficult online.
I'll call your "extremely difficult" and raise you "impossible."

I think the word "personal" and "online" should be listed as antonyms in the dictionary.

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Old 11-15-2007, 11:14 AM   #111
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Ian Hurst wrote: View Post
So, give me a bite-sized bit of Ki which demonstrates the principles you personally attribute to ki (fully explained and described please so there's no confusion) and I'll happily have a go.
How about that earlier DTR video knocking down the posse holding him up. That's a good one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4M579s8Gni0 (about 3:15)

The undulations of the demonstrator's body seen in the video to effect the "throw" are exploiting the natural rhythmic oscillations of the supporters own double pendulum balance. Because they are all focussed on supporting his weight as well as their own, his motion, if in the proper form and orientation, synchronizes their balance oscillations to him. In the video they happen to be "presynchronized" by tossing him up and down, so it is a little more straightforward than if it were otherwise. He could do the same thing by inducing similar motion, and then driving it to resonance and a chaotic cascade.

By then shifting the phase of his undulatory motion, with a sharp kick in amplitude, he "desynchronizes" them in that resonant cascade from one end to the other. The same basic principle of ki no kokyu is employed in every use of kokyu tanden ho.

That cascade shifts their individual inverted balancing pendula off their zones of support to where gravity progressively takes over, and the whole contraption racks sideways, hinged at the base. O Sensei said something about treating the many enemies as one -- illustrated clearly in that example and in others in that video in related ways.

What is being done is all physics, and explainable physically, but feeling it so as to be ABLE to surf their bodies to the ground like that -- that's all Ki. The mind and its perception of and attention to that dynamic orientation cannot be divorced from the act or the process of its occurrence, and the process of its occurrence, while mindful, is not linearly rational in its performance. You are not even consciously aware of the perpetual oscillations that have to keep occurring just to hold your bipedal mass from toppling. That is a chaotic, non linear process in which you are intervening to manipulate using your own non-linear chaotic process to do it. Physics, all physics, but by no means trivial physics, nor is it divorceable from mind.

That is what the "ki deniers" are missing. A surfboard can't surf. A surfer doesn't need a board to surf, he just needs a breaking wave. We are always riding one -- just standing there.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 11-15-2007 at 11:19 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 11-15-2007, 11:33 AM   #112
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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I meant that you probably don't believe that invisible pink unicorns living in your garden because there's no reason to do so, but for ki...
If I had actually experienced the reality of them, I would then have something to believe in. Same same. Belief for me is not blind but based on real, palpable, repeatable experience, and its ability to be referenced against other experiences so as to know the difference between them.

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Old 11-15-2007, 11:50 AM   #113
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

I'm still waiting for someone... anyone... to specifically define exactly what they mean by "ki." No bullshit. No appeals to authority. No vague references. No dancing around the mulberry bush. A detailed, explicit explanation (so far as this medium will allow).

Because so far as I can tell, I can explain/do everything that I've seen described here as "only possible with ki" via different metaphors. This, to me, is vital as a teacher. What I believe is less important than what works as an educational tool.

In my mind, that leaves only three possible explainations:

a) "Ki" means different things to the different participants in this conversation and we're comparing apples to elephants.
b) I can't really do or explain any of these things... I'm just making shit up.
c) There is no third thing.

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Old 11-15-2007, 12:09 PM   #114
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

Or . . .

d) People are only going to try so hard to explain things on the internet when an overriding maxim for explaining is "It has to be felt".

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Old 11-15-2007, 12:10 PM   #115
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Michael Hacker wrote: View Post
I'm still waiting for someone... anyone... to specifically define exactly what they mean by "ki." No bullshit. No appeals to authority. No vague references. No dancing around the mulberry bush. A detailed, explicit explanation (so far as this medium will allow).
I promise to give this a go as time allows me to write it up.

Quote:
Because so far as I can tell, I can explain/do everything that I've seen described here as "only possible with ki" via different metaphors. This, to me, is vital as a teacher. What I believe is less important than what works as an educational tool.
I agree completely - I don't advocate that there are things that can be done that are only possible with Ki - there may indeed be, but I'd have to think about that one.... that's why I talk about - experience. That's what's important to me - that's why I do Aikido as opposed to another art (have done a few) - Aikido/Aiki arts give me an arena to practice things that bring me a great experience that I can bring into te rest of my life.

Quote:
In my mind, that leaves only three possible explainations:

a) "Ki" means different things to the different participants in this conversation and we're comparing apples to elephants.
b) I can't really do or explain any of these things... I'm just making shit up.
c) There is no third thing.
a) Most definitely. :-)
b) I hope not! :-)
c) Hmmmmm

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Old 11-15-2007, 12:11 PM   #116
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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d) People are only going to try so hard to explain things on the internet when an overriding maxim for explaining is "It has to be felt".
That's the first intelligent thing I've heard yet. :-)

But my earlier opinion still stands... evidence of effect is not necessarily proof of cause.

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Old 11-15-2007, 12:11 PM   #117
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Or . . .

d) People are only going to try so hard to explain things on the internet when an overriding maxim for explaining is "It has to be felt".
True too.... :-)

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Old 11-15-2007, 12:12 PM   #118
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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That's the first intelligent thing I've heard yet. :-)

But my earlier opinion still stands... evidence of effect is not necessarily proof of cause.
.... true too..... :-)

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Old 11-15-2007, 12:21 PM   #119
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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I promise to give this a go as time allows me to write it up.
I look forward to reading your thoughts.

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Old 11-15-2007, 12:24 PM   #120
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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But my earlier opinion still stands... evidence of effect is not necessarily proof of cause.
That may depend on whether someone has something to prove . .

I think there's enough folks out and about now working on things and showing things - describing them using Asian terminology as well as Western terminology - that it's going to continue to be experiential through "effect" and "practice - until some recognized authorities (whomever the may be) are able to develop more concrete definitions in Western terms. Getting folks to then buy into them . ... oy, whatta headache . . . may be another fool's errand

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Old 11-15-2007, 12:36 PM   #121
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

And my previous post just made me think of something else. Is there any real benefit to distilling the essence of all of these things so that they're understandable to everybody?

(honest question as I tend to come down on the "make available the info" side of things)

But in every dojo/gym I've ever been, there's the folks that are just there to "belong" and then the one's training their butts off to "get it". So how far can you go to make something teachable or explainable to someone that really isn't trying hard to "get it"?

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Old 11-15-2007, 12:38 PM   #122
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

Frankly, I don't see why it matters if they buy into them. Other than the possible question of "mind" having some involvement.

I never heard anyone at Akuzawa's seminar say "you must believe in ki or this won't work". He just spoke of connecting your body, getting a straight connection to the ground through your spine, not violating these types of principles.

I fail to see why the conversation hinges on "ki", as a force or a paradigm. If someone doesn't want to use that term, there's plenty to discuss without the term.

Best,
Ron

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Old 11-15-2007, 12:38 PM   #123
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

Erick, your explanation [of the Daito-ryu video] sounds plausible under certain conditions, but I suspect it would break down in practice. More specifically---it's obvious that after one or two guys fall, everyone would follow. But the trick would be getting those first couple to fall, right?

That video with Tokimune Takeda was an "easy" example, IMO, because the group was moving around and tossing nage up in the air. But check out this [video of Akira Hino]. He does the "trick" several times, but each time his ukes are static. People don't lose their balance that easy. The answer is either a) his ukes aren't really trying (which is a real possibility), or b) he's doing "something else".

Erick, your issue is that you're focusing too much on motion. Ki can be "felt" in stillness as much as it can be in movement. Discussing the physics of motion does nothing to explain the experience of ki. And the "feeling" of ki is intimately tied to the "use" of ki. And I'm talking about bodily sensations:
  • Why do my limbs/ torso/neck/etc feel like they're (continually) stretching or growing, though I'm standing still?
  • Why does my "skin" feel like it's "inflating", such that I feel like a... um, balloon ("empty" or "hollow" on the inside and "firm" or "rigid" on the outside)?
  • How can I raise my arm when I'm relaxing---or should I say disengaging---my shoulder?
  • Why does my arm move "on its own" when I make certain movements with my hips?
Those all relate to "ki". Looking into those questions would explain a lot of what "using ki" is all about.

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Old 11-15-2007, 12:43 PM   #124
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

Ron, the argument as I see it isn't that you must "believe in ki", but more that there are valid approaches that may all be related, some describing what they do in terms of "ki", some in terms of "conditioning", etc. . . .but yielding functional results regardless of the terms that are used.

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Old 11-15-2007, 12:53 PM   #125
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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And my previous post just made me think of something else. Is there any real benefit to distilling the essence of all of these things so that they're understandable to everybody?
If you're responding to my request, I merely asked folks to define their terms. If someone is unwilling or unable to do that, they probably shouldn't be using words.

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