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Old 01-09-2011, 08:02 PM   #26
Lorel Latorilla
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Re: Ki Eureka

Hi David,

This is an interesting thread. I think a lot of your sentiments can be described in Ushiro Kenji's book "Karate and KI" (although often in terms that seem too mystical and inapplicable--could be a poor translation), and only mentions the exercises in Karate as a vehicle to explore this ki.

I think most of us had problems whether to approach this biomechanically or almost mystically by describing this stuff in terms of 'ki' or 'intent' or whatever (which is what Ushiro Kenji does a lot). I think the important think to realize is that controlling 'ki' or feeling the sensation of 'ki' in the other person is achieved through biomechanical correction--that is, the way we use our body must be first set before we can actually feel the 'sensation' of 'crushing' down our opponent to our feet. There is an actual way that that is achieved, and I think we're in an interesting period where this stuff is close to being codified and industrialised through the methods of Western science. While, the concept of 'ki' (just as consciousness can not be, and 'ki' being a 'thing' of consciousness) cannot be measured by scientists, the 'ki-body' used to achieve that sensation of 'controlling ki' can be. That is, there must be a way of moving, a way of contracting certain muscles that allows the consciousness-the mind to perceive the 'ki' that in our bodies and in the bodies of other person, and these things can be described anatomically, measured, etc.

Unless stated otherwise, all wisdom, follies, harshness, malice that may spring up from my writing are attributable only to me.
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Old 01-10-2011, 02:51 AM   #27
Lee Salzman
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Re: Landmark of Ki

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
I wanted to thank everyone who has contributed so far. I have some more points I want to sketch out, but this post is intended as a sort of landmark of where my understanding is at the moment. I think only a few people will be able to judge that, but I think if I am right, those who know will appreciate it.

So....here is the thing.

This morning, I was thinking about defense and I had the feeling of receiving an attack in such a way that I just enter and crush the other guy down by bending him backward and just crushing him down to my feet. I felt this as a ki/body movement, with powerful downward crushing ki, though not using much physical effort.

So then I thought, "That must be what they're talking about in daito ryu, bringing the attacker down right at your feet."

And I thought about that for a little while and I suddenly felt, "Oh, yeah. That's the same as pi quan (splitting fist) in xing yi."

So that's where I am now, with the impression that the daito ryu drop-at-your-feet method is the same ki usage as the xing yi splitting fist, pi quan.

So who can tell me if that is true?

Thanks.

David
What if you did pi quan with a different ki usage, so that it wasn't the same ki usage as downwards crushing in DR? Would that make it not pi quan if you defined pi quan as being that ki usage? What if the ki usage in pi quan was not the same, would that make it somehow wrong to use that same ki usage in pi quan then? And if pi quan is splitting, is down really just down, or is there also an up (to split), or can the splitting really happen along any line (or non-line), and do the two directions have to be direct opposites, or even just one or two directions?

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 01-10-2011 at 02:57 AM.
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Old 01-10-2011, 11:01 AM   #28
David Orange
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Re: Landmark of Ki

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
What if you did pi quan with a different ki usage, so that it wasn't the same ki usage as downwards crushing in DR? Would that make it not pi quan if you defined pi quan as being that ki usage? What if the ki usage in pi quan was not the same, would that make it somehow wrong to use that same ki usage in pi quan then? And if pi quan is splitting, is down really just down, or is there also an up (to split), or can the splitting really happen along any line (or non-line), and do the two directions have to be direct opposites, or even just one or two directions?
Now that's what I'm looking for, Lee. Sort of. But you do clarify more about the nature of the ki in the various usages.

About pi quan for those who don't know:

In xing yi, I learned only the five fundamental fists. My preference is probably for shuei (?), an upward punch, more or less, but I was told that pi, the splitting fist, is the foundational fist of that system.

The appearance of pi quan:

It's basically a downward hammer fist, but it goes through a circle, the hand coming down by the waist and circling up past the opposite shoulder to drop down about sternum high directly in front of you, like all these five fists.

The problem of pi quan:

It seems weak and the feeling is that it's the most arm-dependent move of the five punches. It's hard to do it with any sense of power and it begs for muscle strength.

The "solution" for pi quan:

I suddenly felt it as a movement of ki, or I directed my ki through the inner equivalent of the outer pi quan. The circle became more important than the snap down at the end. With the circle, combined with stepping and the intermingling of your own ki with the attacker's, this could put his lower body forward while bending his upper body back over, as if you were stringing a bow, bending it back into the opposite curve. And where you have the bow well back, through use of the circle, here comes the downward solid drop of ki straight down at your feet, and it can be done with a slam.

And just before I felt pi quan in that way, I had just been thinking, actually, of a no-form application of ki/body response to an attack, and it was basically the same as described above, but with a different use of the hands. I thought, you could bend him back and slam him down by making the circle with the ki, blending his movement and leading him into this backward-bent place, then dropping the ki.

And then I thought, "Hey, maybe that's what they mean in daito ryu, dropping him at your feet."

And then I thought, "Hey, that's what pi quan is about!"

The truth about pi quan:

As Lee well explains, this is a truly multiplicit thing. Pi quan is also found in tai chi and it is also done in different ways from one type of xing yi to another. In some, instead of a fist, it's done with the edge of the open hand forward, like an axe. And as Lee also points out, it doesn't have to be downward, but can also go upward or both back and forward, which is one reason it's called "splitting".

So the first answer to my question is an uqualified "mebbe".

Thanks, Lee!

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

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Old 01-10-2011, 12:45 PM   #29
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Re: Ki Eureka

Quote:
Lorel Latorilla wrote: View Post
This is an interesting thread. I think a lot of your sentiments can be described in Ushiro Kenji's book "Karate and KI" (although often in terms that seem too mystical and inapplicable--could be a poor translation), and only mentions the exercises in Karate as a vehicle to explore this ki.
Gotta get it. Gotta meet him.

Quote:
Lorel Latorilla wrote: View Post
I think most of us had problems whether to approach this biomechanically or almost mystically by describing this stuff in terms of 'ki' or 'intent' or whatever (which is what Ushiro Kenji does a lot). I think the important think to realize is that controlling 'ki' or feeling the sensation of 'ki' in the other person is achieved through biomechanical correction--that is, the way we use our body must be first set before we can actually feel the 'sensation' of 'crushing' down our opponent to our feet. There is an actual way that that is achieved...
Well, there's two sides to that. For actual life-and-death fighting, the ki stuff has to be expressed through body and method and those should be only the most serious methods. We don't want to face a bear with nothing more than a plastic spatula. And there's that really informative video of the old ki master who can drop all his students with his ki, then gets punched in the face by the MMA guy. I would expect that ki is best used to help set up a technique or lead him into a position that you couldn't get him into with sheer muscle.

But as for feeling the ki, I'm starting on the other side and paying attention to myself and ordinary people around me, trying to observe which parts of their being are performing what functions. They come into the room and move around and talk about things and do things all in a mixture of physical, mental and emotional energies. Ki is involved in how they move their bodies, how they use their hands and eyes, how they use their voices, tone and pacing of what they say...

And I think by becoming familiar with the ki of people who live regularly and rationally, I can develop a sort of baseline feel for "normal" ki and how to interact with it.

But even to have this observing kind of ki, I have to have a mind/body/ki organization that allows my ki to be so calm and attentive.

The ki is easily affected by both the mind and the body. When we wake up in the morning, we may find that our body is rather stiff and slow. At the same time, we may recognize that this whole thing of "ki" does not seem so vivid as it did in last night's wine-fueled eager discussions. Then the mind has to do some adjustments to the body, unkink it a little, maybe stretch some of this or that and next thing you know, the ki is purring again. It won't purr when it's cramped up in a bent and rigid body. So work the body to make the ki feel comfortable and it will feel at home and will play.

So it's an inter-related combination of mental and physical things that support one another, that we're dealing with. Just the ki is not enough. Just the body is not enough. Mind and body is not enough. Mind and Ki only = idiot. Body and ki only may = prison inmate....

But to have that ki/mind/body organization for best living, we have to coordinate muscle, bone, fascia, mind, ki and breath to work effectively in nature. So for martial arts, we aren't using our whole selves if we aren't using all those elements. Technique may not be necessary, if you have enough power, but excellent technique, including all of judo, also contains important information and physical conditioning for serious situations.

Anyway, the body can weaken the ki through stiffness and cramped posture or vitalize it through movement. Certain kinds of movement can stir it up into turmoil while others can condition it and cultivate it. But the ki in the body flows through all the organs and tissues and vitalizes them. So if we don't move enough, the ki can't vitalize the body. If we move in ways that disturb the ki, we'll get sick. If we move in ways that condition and cultivate the ki, the body gets strong.

The mind can hurt the ki by refusing to interact with it. The rational mind rejects it and the ki is left to behave as it will. The rational mind cannot cure diseases caused by alienation of the ki from the self. Science cannot observe these conditions if they don't accept the existence of ki. They can only diagnose the physical or psychological manifestations of the severe inner alienation of the self. And it seems likely that if the mind can harm the ki in that way, the alienated ki can seriously disturb the mind as a result.

The proper relationship is like friendship between the mind and the ki. Think how frustrating it is to work with a computer program with a bad user interface. So if you're living without a proper relationship between the mind and the ki, it's painful. If the mind realizes that it has this powerful element of its own being, the nature of which is to support the will of the mind, the synergy can be fantastic. At any rate, it gives one the feeling of wholeness within himself, which instantly gives him a strong advantage over most people.

And a big part of the harmonization of the mind and the ki is their dual participation in using the body. Also, healing the body. The mind must use the ki to explore the body and recognize stagnations and weak spots and clear them to balance the whole body, which is the prime method of Chinese medicine. So the mind and ki together explore the fascia, muscles, bones, blood vessels, organs and nerves and condition them through movement and twisting, wringing, exertion of the extremities mediated through...the hara, where the ki can curl up and purr. Its nature is to run through all the nine crooked paths of the body and to curl up in the hara and purr.

An example of healing usage, in the thread on relaxing the shoulders, I wrote about my elbows being always somewhat bent due to having endured many badly applied elbow techniques over the years. I did have the result of opening the elbows fully through attention to muscular relaxation but they have not stayed that way. They are more open and I can put attention to it and open them further with ease. But what I've realized now is that those elbows are full of ki which has been held there for literal decades. And when I put just a little attention to letting that ki flow out of there, I feel a big response through my whole nervous system and my posture adjusts to a better form.

So the conditioning of the body can waken us to ki and the ability to feel it in others, but we will do well to learn at the same time to feel it when it is small and become familiar with how it works among normal people doing normal human things, learn to use our ki connection on that level of care and mutual help. Then we can understand the abnormal ki of an attacker as a distortion of the normal ki of a regular person and we will be better able to recognize it for what it is (though their outward appearance may be ordinary) or
move in proper relation to it.

Make no mistake, though: even recognizing his ki for what it is, a dangerous person is dangerous and more than ki swishing is required to survive an encounter with him. Read The Killer of Little Shepherds to meet Joseph Vacher, the uke all aikidoka should have in mind when they practice. Then they will be doing real budo.

http://www.amazon.com/Killer-Little-.../dp/0307266192

Best to all.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 01-10-2011, 01:32 PM   #30
Lee Salzman
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Re: Landmark of Ki

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Now that's what I'm looking for, Lee. Sort of. But you do clarify more about the nature of the ki in the various usages.

About pi quan for those who don't know:

In xing yi, I learned only the five fundamental fists. My preference is probably for shuei (?), an upward punch, more or less, but I was told that pi, the splitting fist, is the foundational fist of that system.

The appearance of pi quan:

It's basically a downward hammer fist, but it goes through a circle, the hand coming down by the waist and circling up past the opposite shoulder to drop down about sternum high directly in front of you, like all these five fists.

The problem of pi quan:

It seems weak and the feeling is that it's the most arm-dependent move of the five punches. It's hard to do it with any sense of power and it begs for muscle strength.

The "solution" for pi quan:

I suddenly felt it as a movement of ki, or I directed my ki through the inner equivalent of the outer pi quan. The circle became more important than the snap down at the end. With the circle, combined with stepping and the intermingling of your own ki with the attacker's, this could put his lower body forward while bending his upper body back over, as if you were stringing a bow, bending it back into the opposite curve. And where you have the bow well back, through use of the circle, here comes the downward solid drop of ki straight down at your feet, and it can be done with a slam.

And just before I felt pi quan in that way, I had just been thinking, actually, of a no-form application of ki/body response to an attack, and it was basically the same as described above, but with a different use of the hands. I thought, you could bend him back and slam him down by making the circle with the ki, blending his movement and leading him into this backward-bent place, then dropping the ki.

And then I thought, "Hey, maybe that's what they mean in daito ryu, dropping him at your feet."

And then I thought, "Hey, that's what pi quan is about!"

The truth about pi quan:

As Lee well explains, this is a truly multiplicit thing. Pi quan is also found in tai chi and it is also done in different ways from one type of xing yi to another. In some, instead of a fist, it's done with the edge of the open hand forward, like an axe. And as Lee also points out, it doesn't have to be downward, but can also go upward or both back and forward, which is one reason it's called "splitting".

So the first answer to my question is an uqualified "mebbe".

Thanks, Lee!

David
Here's another thought about the circle you talk about... I think the significance of it could be perhaps simpler than you you are thinking, leaving even what effect it might have on an assailant out of the equation for the moment. There is you, there is the ground, and there is a direction. You are between the ground and the direction, so how do you join the two? That was actually what I was wondering about here in this thread.

It's been a long time since I messed with pi quan/xingyiquan, and that was before I got involved with my current stuff. But what I am beginning to notice is that the path of that circle, not even as a dynamic motion, is what allows power to extend smoothly between the ground and just about anywhere that is not purely straight up. Along the way it seems to be hinting at you to collect a lot of important areas of the body that one is not very aware of in daily life. In a dynamic sense, it doesn't have to be a circle anymore, since the activation is primary, the external form is secondary, i.e. going up doesn't require a circle, but should still carry along same pathway. If the connection is there, and then someone connects with you, he ain't talking to you anymore, he's just talking to the ground now regardless of which way you are coming, right?
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:23 AM   #31
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Landmark of Ki

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
About pi quan for those who don't know:

The appearance of pi quan:

It's basically a downward hammer fist, but it goes through a circle, the hand coming down by the waist and circling up past the opposite shoulder to drop down about sternum high ...

as a movement of ki, or I directed my ki through the inner equivalent of the outer pi quan. The circle became more important than the snap down at the end. With the circle, combined with stepping and the intermingling of your own ki with the attacker's, this could put his lower body forward while bending his upper body back over, as if you were stringing a bow, bending it back into the opposite curve. ... a no-form application of ki/body response to an attack, and it was basically the same as described above, but with a different use of the hands. I thought, you could bend him back and slam him down by making the circle with the ki, blending his movement and leading him into this backward-bent place, then dropping the ki.

And then I thought, "Hey, maybe that's what they mean in daito ryu, dropping him at your feet."
.... it doesn't have to be downward, but can also go upward or both back and forward, which is one reason it's called "splitting".
FWIW -- you are describing buckling. Buckling is caused by the internal stress of compressing a column with a slight off-center load. Shear stresses and bending caused by the small lateral displacement of the earth's resistance and the applied load, concentrates shear and creates bending moments in the body. A stably buckled column takes the shape of part of a sine curve, A sine curve is the path of a point on a rolling circle, e.g. -- the shape of pi quan you describe. If the load is dynamic, it is a moving sine wave of shear stress and bending moments (or rotations).

If the circle is done correctly, the two sine waves happen but dynamically at different points in the strike. One begins at the first displacement of the strike and a sine wave of buckling goes through the body, A second one begins at the maximum extension of the circle in the strike. If done in this critical way-- it results in combining the two waves, the first reflecting against the earth and returning, to double effect that causes the top and bottom parts of the body to move in opposite directions - or shear as we would call it, "splitting" in the traditional vernacular you mentioned, and the tenchi principle in terms of aiki.

If done at a critical rate ~10 Hz, (the same as tekubi furi and furitama), you get resonance in the human body which disproportionately disrupts structure relative to the applied load.

FWIW.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:46 AM   #32
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Landmark of Ki

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
... A sine curve is defined by a point moving around a circle, ...
The other I stated would be a cylcoid. Related but different.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-11-2011, 02:38 PM   #33
David Orange
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Re: Landmark of Ki

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FWIW -- you are describing buckling.
That should be clear to anyone.

We were comparing some specific body methods.

So calling "buckling" him or "collapsing" him or "shearing" him is just more words. What do you do with your body to cause the effect?

David

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Lao Tzu

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Old 01-11-2011, 04:04 PM   #34
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Re: Landmark of Ki

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That should be clear to anyone.

We were comparing some specific body methods.

So calling "buckling" him or "collapsing" him or "shearing" him is just more words. What do you do with your body to cause the effect?

David
The same thing that happens in his body when he collapses -- note the ascending and descending waves coinciding in your example -- tenchi -

I just generate it by starting my body in a poised shear and releasing it by reversing the stress profile quickly (or in other examples cyclically back and forth). This is the "spirit of bees" -- resonance. Or by slow undulation "demon snake" -- funatori/udefuri. It all depends on the application or the load being used to prompt the action.

He dissipates it by going from a state of linear equilibrium to a state of non-linear shear and hence comes apart unless he can respond in kind to the load thus given.

You said it in your post, and I agree with you:

Quote:
a movement of ki, or I directed my ki through the inner equivalent of the outer pi quan. The circle became more important than the snap down at the end. With the circle, combined with stepping and the intermingling of your own ki with the attacker's
If you are asking what I hold to be ki in this context I would point you here, As in the linked portion credit goes to Ron Ragusa and Raul Rodrigo for prompting the thought that I then expounded to tie several lines of my thinking together in one piece. Thanks again, Ron.

That's as to "what." As to "how" ? -- Practice, practice, practice ... It really is trained in the kokyu undo -- IMO -- but only if one stops thinking about "what do I move" and start thinking about "what moves me." Because what passively moves me and requires no nervous system connection to actuate movement driven from the core (hara) alone -- also moves the other guy. Then I can begin to track more voluntary, driven movements in the same manner, but only then, and then I can also begin to work in deploying active stresses in place of overt movements.

It is not only possible to go the other way -- from stresses (think "frame" and some aspects of jin) to movements, but several systems seem to take that approach. Kokyu tanden ho is an example in aikido. I think the other way -- starting with moving and then getting more still, will usually be more obvious for most folks unfamiliar with paying attention to their body and its workings.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-11-2011, 09:34 PM   #35
David Orange
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Re: Ki Eureka

Had an interesting encounter today: I met someone for the first time and tried some IT on him—a law enforcement officer at least 20 years younger than I, with a background in wrestling and boxing, with older brothers into the same thing, one of them going to UFC. This officer has trained extensively with his UFC brother and in Brazilian jujutsu. He's in pretty good shape--looks strong and like a fighter with visible scars on his face. He's maybe four inches shorter than I, but probably close to my weight--all in muscle.

After we talked awhile, I asked if he'd like to try the push-out exercise (from Aunkai). He eagerly accepted.

I wanted to see if I could tell any difference in my push-out since my recognitions about ki—and with an experienced street fighter with no prep for what I was going to do.

So we stood face to face and I pulled my hands back and let him extend his arms to me. And then I pushed out. It was very interesting. He had no idea how to source any power with all mechanical advantages removed. He leaned on me a lot and I showed him how this would be a great opening for o goshi or tai otoshi. I didn't lean into him at all and though I really went back to my heels, I still didn't lose the advantage. I was always able to push him out. I explained how I was letting all his force go right to my feet instead of letting it catch somewhere higher up my body. I even bent backward and was able to push him out. I did notice some involvement of ki, but it wasn't making any big difference in my push-out. It was making a contribution, though, and I think that little by little that contribution will increase.

I showed him this because he was complaining of injuries including cartilage and tendons. I stressed that the ability to apply this in fighting was another thing, but that it was definitely good for his cartilage, tendons and general health. He suggested starting classes.

So I'd count that as a pretty big success. The ki aspect was really mostly in that he felt like talking to me about martial arts when I hadn't mentioned it and he'd never met me before. But he felt a connection and that's what got it going.

Interesting.

Best to all.

David

Last edited by David Orange : 01-11-2011 at 09:38 PM.

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
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Old 01-14-2011, 10:00 PM   #36
David Orange
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Re: Ki Eureka

Well, it's been about nine or ten days since I had this sudden recognition and it feels as if it has changed my whole way of living. I "feel" more, almost as if I have a much larger body. And that larger mass of self buffers out a lot of stuff that previously went straight to my mind and could irritate me. Now I feel like I have a whole different way of absorbing influences from the world around me and I can stay a lot calmer.

Now, a good friend has said, "how do we apply it and condition it? That's the rub."

What I find is that you don't condition the ki the way you do the fascia, which you don't condition the same as you do muscle, which you don't condition the same as you do mind. In other words, like each of these other elements, you have to have a completely different approach to the ki, which you can learn directly from the ki itself if you remember that the exercise of it has to be conducted among the other elements, of muscle, bone, fascia, mind, etc. A really good exercise like silk reeling contains the right kind of exercise for all these elements at once. So you could do something that's "good for the ki" but it wouldn't be good for much else. So it wouldn't even be good for the ki, would it?

But apart from specific fighting condition, I think the best way to condition the ki is to really put the mind into it and pay attention to what ki is and does and what it likes. Recently, I was doing tai chi in snow and ice and a really frigid gust of wind hit me and I said, "Ooh. I don't like that." and I heard my ki say, "I do." And I was a bit taken aback and I thought, "Well, if my ki likes this, let me think again...and I eased off a lot of resistance that I was holding throughout my skin, trying to keep out the cold, I suppose. And when I released that and let the sensation of the frigid wind come on in, it almost made me feel warm, the ki responded so satisfactorily...I felt like I could come to enjoy this kind of practice.

Maybe it's not the ki that needs so much conditioning as it is our own awareness.

Now, I feel like I can't lose this awareness and it's a bit giddying because I feel like I've won the lottery. And I just read something that made me realize that what I've experienced is not trivial:

from an interview with Moshe Feldenkrais talking about ki and the hara with Denis Leri, a longtime aikido teacher and a student of Feldenkrais (slightly edited for clarityy):

""F:...you must know from your practice something, the importance of this, what they call in the language, tanden.

L: Of course, I know. And their description of it, while it may be--

F: My description of it is only in movement, I am not concerned with any of the other things.

L: But does it not come to the same thing?

F: No, it doesn't because, you see, in the one, if you say you've got chi, many people would try to be like you and do like you, and if they fail will say, "Oh, I could never get chi." To get chi, you have to possess moral courage, you have to be connected with the higher spheres of things. Therefore, you find that this is an impediment in the learning. (To a questioner) Have you chi?

L: I could not say that.

F: Oh, therefore, if you can't say it, that's what I'm talking about. You can work 20 years and you don't show it. You're not sure if you have it or you don't. Because if it's a mysterious quantity, then you must deserve it, you must be a part of an elite group, or you must be born in China. How will you get chi if it's a metaphysical thing that nobody knows what it is? Well, it's a quality like psychic healing, if you're a healer, you're a healer. If you don't heal, you are not. Now, chi is the same thing. Either you've got it or you ain't got it. If you've got it, you've got it. If you ain't got it, you ain't got it (Laughter) It's almost like EST.""

End of Segment

But the thing that struck me is that the experienced aikido man after already being a well-known teacher admits that he cannot say that he "has" ki.

Neither could I, eleven days ago, but now it is unshakeable in me because I had it long before I knew what it was. I just didn't realize that it was a permanent part of me that I could observe in action. I have inadvertently developed it somewhat over the years, but I can tell that I'm going to be "developing" it constantly for the rest of my life because it's a beautifully pleasant way to experience things and it takes a lot of mental stress away because that's one of its functions. When I say "developing" it, I mean things like learning to let it take the load it's supposed to take and quit trying to handle them with my mind. I also want to explore its capacity to allow me to interact with groups of people by interacting with their ki through me own ki (say a meeting with several people at work) to reduce my sense of separateness from the group, to make the others feel more included in the group, and to free our mental capacities for a more focused meeting, for instance.

In other words, I sense that the best conditioning of the ki is to use it for the things it's meant to do: perceive and communicate on non-mental levels.

I mentioned earlier that I get some energy from the ki of the world and I got a response from another friend. To be clear, I don't mean any kind of mystical spirit from the world, but things like air, food, drink, friendship, learning and so on, but also things like TV and radio, newspapers, the internet, music, popular culture, the government, wall street, your neighbors, your neighborhood, your work place, your work mates, and then all the old friends you still know from high school or wherever. That's a lot of force coming in and I'm beginning to see how the ki can buffer all that from the mind. Then the ki must purify itself from all that. Apparently, that is one of the functions of the hara: it's the seat of the ki, but it's also the crucible of purification of one's own ki, sort of like a liver or kidney for ki.

So when we know that many major aikido people can't say they "have" ki, I feel very fortunate that I got it even after almost forty years of seeking. But I got it by carefully considering the bones, the muscles, the fascia and how they all work together for internal power. Ki was a missing element, but even after you find it, it's not the only element for IS.

But, dang, I do feel like I've won the lottery.

Best to all.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 01-14-2011, 11:10 PM   #37
Lorel Latorilla
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Re: Ki Eureka

David,

Very interesting. I've been trying to figure this Ki stuff out when I was exploring 'Ki-ai' and had glimpses of what 'Ki' really meant. Like I'd experiment with my 'Ki' and turning it into a knife shape (I'd do this by inhaling, and put oxygen in my stomach, and ALMOST, on a liminal level, visualize a sword coming out of my my mouth from my hara) and look at people...and wow, it actually worked. People would look away from me, looking somewhat afraid. Your description of 'Ki' woke up my latent interests in ki and has made me realize that there is an unbroken connection between humans, that there is some essence that we are all a part of. It is only language and a sense of being a 'discreet self' (well 'self' comes from language, but I won't get into it now) that gives us the illusion of 'separation'--I won't get into these now. Now, I don't want to sound like a hippy and am all about results.

I work in a rough area in Osaka, and have to teach kids that come from broken homes. I get a lot of verbal abuse from the kids and it makes me want to stay away from the school to say the least. But this Thursday, I was able to connect with the teachers and the students. The lesson plan did not go as smoothly, but amid the chaos of kids not listening to me, not doing the activity, making fun of me, I felt this calm within the chaos. Like I could connect with the kids even in their rebellion. I noticed that the kids who are most fearful, would try to stay away from me--they would do that by hurling abusive words at me, or would ignore me, and not look at me. That is, if the abusive words did not work, they would ignore me. For the other kids that wanted to connect, what were 'abusive' words I perceived as words just to ridicule me in a light way--these kids I would get really physical with and wrestle and give them noogies, etc. It would be a very different feeling if I just focused on my program, focused on my educative ideology, and have it fail, and go away hating the kids. But my experience here has given me some keys on how to 'connect' with people. I'm not an expert at this stuff yet, and still get disturbed when a kid would say nasty things about foreigners, but now I know what I can work on.

Also, I think another exercise to 'condition' ki is to pour cold water on yourself. I learned it from the Russians. They do it for 'health', but now I see how it's good for awareness of 'ki'. When you do it, you will feel your body 'warming' up, like electricity. I think this sensation of physical warmth is the sensation when we are awake to our Ki and to the others of Ki.

Unless stated otherwise, all wisdom, follies, harshness, malice that may spring up from my writing are attributable only to me.
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Old 01-14-2011, 11:20 PM   #38
Lorel Latorilla
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Re: Ki Eureka

Also, I stand by my statement that there is a biomechanical standard for Ki. If you have poor posture, or don't know how to move your body well, you will never get to experience Ki. Ushiro Kenji talks about this a lot. He would often get people to sit in seiza in proper posture, have them bow, and then get someone stand on their back while they bow and do this without any strain on their back.

Unless stated otherwise, all wisdom, follies, harshness, malice that may spring up from my writing are attributable only to me.
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Old 01-15-2011, 11:17 AM   #39
Mark Freeman
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Re: Ki Eureka

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Had an interesting encounter today: I met someone for the first time and tried some IT on him—a law enforcement officer at least 20 years younger than I, with a background in wrestling and boxing, with older brothers into the same thing, one of them going to UFC. This officer has trained extensively with his UFC brother and in Brazilian jujutsu. He's in pretty good shape--looks strong and like a fighter with visible scars on his face. He's maybe four inches shorter than I, but probably close to my weight--all in muscle.

After we talked awhile, I asked if he'd like to try the push-out exercise (from Aunkai). He eagerly accepted.

I wanted to see if I could tell any difference in my push-out since my recognitions about ki—and with an experienced street fighter with no prep for what I was going to do.

So we stood face to face and I pulled my hands back and let him extend his arms to me. And then I pushed out. It was very interesting. He had no idea how to source any power with all mechanical advantages removed. He leaned on me a lot and I showed him how this would be a great opening for o goshi or tai otoshi. I didn't lean into him at all and though I really went back to my heels, I still didn't lose the advantage. I was always able to push him out. I explained how I was letting all his force go right to my feet instead of letting it catch somewhere higher up my body. I even bent backward and was able to push him out. I did notice some involvement of ki, but it wasn't making any big difference in my push-out. It was making a contribution, though, and I think that little by little that contribution will increase.

I showed him this because he was complaining of injuries including cartilage and tendons. I stressed that the ability to apply this in fighting was another thing, but that it was definitely good for his cartilage, tendons and general health. He suggested starting classes.

So I'd count that as a pretty big success. The ki aspect was really mostly in that he felt like talking to me about martial arts when I hadn't mentioned it and he'd never met me before. But he felt a connection and that's what got it going.

Interesting.

Best to all.

David
Hi David,

this is a really interesting thread you started, thanks.

The experience you describe above and your thoughts on your own personal dicovery of ki are broadly similar to my own. I used to think if ot a something 'separate', but now experience it as nothing of the sort. For me, ki and mind are inexticably linked, and unless the body is utilised correctly, ki/mind cannot be fully brought into play. So work has to be done on achieving correct posture, relaxed shoulders etc, but the real stuff starts with intent which is jenerated in the mind.

Recently I found I could describe some of this to my class in a different way than I had before. And I offer it as an opportunity for you to try out and let me know what you experience from your perspective. Let me say though, I have only done this with my own students and have not tested it out on an outsider like you describe in your post above.

I have uke hold my wrists and push them towards my body, trapping them at the top of leg groin area ( a groundpath is established of course). Then I imagine this - My arms are like two ropes and have no strength of their own. My one point/hara/dantien call it what you will is like a balloon that has pressure inside it. The pressure from the uke on the outside is eqaul to the pressure from the hara on the inside, there is equilibrium and my hands are 'trapped' between the two opposing forces. Then and this is where the interesting stuff starts, I mentally increase the pressure/ki from the inside, so the balloon starts to get bigger and bigger. At all times I feel my hands and arms are like innocent bystanders, as they remain squashed between uke and the internal pressure of the balloon. As a connection has already been made with uke at the start, I never fail to move uke backwards with surprising ease.

Similar to the exercise you describe ( I've seen it on vid). But maybe with the difference of my weird way of thinking.

I love this stuff, it is what keeps me going and looking for more effective ways of doing things.

It is good that there are people honestly searching for things that others don't believe exist or dont want to believe or can't be bothered to put the time in to discover. In reallity though if it works it works. How we describe it will be subjective and hopefully some will manage to objectify what is realy going on.

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 01-15-2011, 01:07 PM   #40
David Orange
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Re: Ki Eureka

Quote:
Lorel Latorilla wrote: View Post
Also, I stand by my statement that there is a biomechanical standard for Ki. If you have poor posture, or don't know how to move your body well, you will never get to experience Ki. Ushiro Kenji talks about this a lot. He would often get people to sit in seiza in proper posture, have them bow, and then get someone stand on their back while they bow and do this without any strain on their back.
Lorel,

It's true. Be assured that I only noticed this because I became so fascinated with the muscles, bones, fascia and how the mind works with those. I was starting to get some interesting results with those physical/mental efforts when I recognized the nature of the missing element--ki--as a part among those other parts, all of them parts of myself.

I appreciate your comments especially since I know you've been working very hard and, as you say, your interest is in results.

And the thing about working with the kids and starting to recognize their feelings behind their bad behavior, is exactly the kind of thing I mean. That's the same communication you need with a would-be attacker in order really to connect with him, but you need a more highly developed ki to use it if you have to fight him. And then ki is only an element. You don't "hit" the attacker with your ki anymore than you hit him with your eyeball. The ki helps optimize the organization of the body and also times the movement and shapes it in such a way that it will get through to him. But it's the body that actually hits him, though he may also throw himself as he subconsciously, through the ki, feels your ki coming at him like a cannonball.

It's a fascinating subject.

Thanks.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 01-15-2011, 01:15 PM   #41
David Orange
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Re: Ki Eureka

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
...I have uke hold my wrists and push them towards my body, trapping them at the top of leg groin area ( a groundpath is established of course). Then I imagine this - My arms are like two ropes and have no strength of their own. My one point/hara/dantien call it what you will is like a balloon that has pressure inside it. The pressure from the uke on the outside is eqaul to the pressure from the hara on the inside, there is equilibrium and my hands are 'trapped' between the two opposing forces. Then and this is where the interesting stuff starts, I mentally increase the pressure/ki from the inside, so the balloon starts to get bigger and bigger. At all times I feel my hands and arms are like innocent bystanders, as they remain squashed between uke and the internal pressure of the balloon. As a connection has already been made with uke at the start, I never fail to move uke backwards with surprising ease.

Similar to the exercise you describe ( I've seen it on vid). But maybe with the difference of my weird way of thinking.
That sounds like what Ark and Dan teach as "agete" except that they just raise the hands straight up. But when Rob John does it, his arms are just like you describe. I think you're onto the same thing and I'm going to try it as you describe because that agete is a key element that I'm working toward.

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
It is good that there are people honestly searching for things that others don't believe exist or dont want to believe or can't be bothered to put the time in to discover.
We're really lucky that there are people who are willing to explicitly teach this stuff. My recognition of ki stems directly from literal years of arguing with Mike, Dan and Rob, watching videos of Ark and Mike, meeting Ark and Dan, as well as Rob, doing a lot of the work they recommend and really thinking about what was happening with the body.

So hats off to those guys and thanks to you for the tip on agete.

Best to you.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 01-16-2011, 08:54 PM   #42
InternalPowerSac
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Qi or Ki

David, I have been considering qi for quite some time and I think that the fascia is the key to first experiencing qi. It is the medium for qi as it is interwoven with every system of the body. I think it is responsible for much of the "stupid jin tricks" many can do. The physical sensation is not a tangible or necessarily measurable thing but rather a connection or sensation of interaction between the various physical senses and systems (myofascial, endocrine, nervous, emotional, digestive) and your environment. If you don't already practice I would recommend trying the exercises described in the link below.

http://globalqiproject.com/

Qi training includes refining many things and bringing many things you thought of as autonomic to conscious forefront. Not just physical sensations but it is also important to resolve the psychodrama that arises as you practice. Many people say to ignore this in martial arts practice. Yes, ignore the emotion for your martial practice as your intent during practice should be martial but your goal should be holistic improvement as a person so address the emotional issues afterward or you can do it through martial practice if you so choose.

You can start applying these principles to the rest of your life too. Increased nociception is a benefit I've gained from simplifying my diet. Better pattern recognition, increased background noise recognition, situational awareness, all of these things can be trained to increase your effectiveness as a fighter and as a person.

Here is a very interesting study.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21071182

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_matter

Dietary change greatly enhances your perception of qi as well. Look into bigu practices or shamanic preparatory diets from other cultures. I recommend the Macrobiotic Diet as a good start and then going into a modified bigu or even full bigu if you have a good instructor.

Basically the idea is that you eliminate toxins in your body so your various systems can function better and you can become more conscious of them and what is good and bad for them. Listening to your qi about the cold runs throughout shamanic and martial practices from the cold water dowsings in Systema to the cave and waterfall meditations of the Taoists. If I recall correctly it has something to do with making you shift your nervous system usage.

http://www.universal-tao.com/article/science.html

Feel free to PM me and I have lots of information in my blog as well.

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Old 01-22-2011, 01:57 PM   #43
David Orange
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Re: Ki Eureka

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
I have uke hold my wrists and push them towards my body, trapping them at the top of leg groin area ( a groundpath is established of course). Then I imagine this - My arms are like two ropes and have no strength of their own. My one point/hara/dantien call it what you will is like a balloon that has pressure inside it. The pressure from the uke on the outside is eqaul to the pressure from the hara on the inside, there is equilibrium and my hands are 'trapped' between the two opposing forces. Then and this is where the interesting stuff starts, I mentally increase the pressure/ki from the inside, so the balloon starts to get bigger and bigger. At all times I feel my hands and arms are like innocent bystanders, as they remain squashed between uke and the internal pressure of the balloon. As a connection has already been made with uke at the start, I never fail to move uke backwards with surprising ease.
Mark,

I finally got to try this exercise and it's eerie how easily it works.

I tried it with a friend who is not my student and who has often surprised me with what he can do. In agete, for instance, he can often raise his hands very effortlessly before I can resist, but when I try it, he feels me moving and can lock down and seal me off.

This time, though, I did as you described and he just floated back. Time after time, he couldn't resist. Very interesting.

Then I did agete the way Dan showed me. I could never get it before: it involves letting his power go down the front of your body, into your feet, down into the ground and back up under the opponent's feet, going up into his body. At the same time, your own power goes up your back, out the top of your head and over the opponent to come down behind him. And then you just raise your hands straight up and he can't resist.

In the past, I have been unable to sustain both of these directions of intent at the same time and I've never been able to make this agete work on this particular training partner.

This time, I used my ki to direct where the force would go. If you tell me, put your mind here and also there, I couldn't do it. I could establish the power down my front and up into him, but when I tried to bring my my own power up my back, I lost the power in front. Because I was trying to put my mind in both places at once.

This time, using ki, it was like saying put one hand here and the other hand over there. The mind doesn't do it: it directs the ki to do it. I can reach into both places at once with my ki and sustain it in both places at once because, again, the ki is a part of me like my hand(s). I can put my hands in two places at once, but my mind is pretty singular. I've only been able to put it in one place at a time. But my ki is just like my hands: I can put it where I want it and keep it there while also doing something else. The mind just directs and observes.

So I was able to set up both types of intent and then I just lifted my hands straight up and my friend was unable to stop me. He could feel it and could tighten down on it, but when he did that, his feet would come off the ground and he would "float" back several inches. And I felt like I wasn't making any effort at all. It was really a blast and very satisfying.

Except for one thing: he could let go (or my hands just broke through his grip). I remember when Rob John did agete with me, his arms were spaghetti but I couldn't feel him moving, I couldn't stop him and I couldn't let go. If he had brought his hands back down, I still wouldn't have been able to let go and he would have given me whiplash.

So I've made some sudden and very interesting progress but I'm clearly still missing something subtle.

So I still have something to find.

Best to you and thanks for the tip.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:23 AM   #44
David Orange
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Re: Qi or Ki

Quote:
Matt Parsons wrote: View Post
David, I have been considering qi for quite some time and I think that the fascia is the key to first experiencing qi. It is the medium for qi as it is interwoven with every system of the body.
Exactly. It was a lot of thinking about the fascia/connective tissue in relation to the bones, muscles and mind that made me aware that one piece was missing. And then I realized what that piece was and that it was inextricably part of me.

Quote:
Matt Parsons wrote: View Post
Listening to your qi about the cold runs throughout shamanic and martial practices from the cold water dowsings in Systema to the cave and waterfall meditations of the Taoists.
I mentioned to my wife that I was working with tanren and she said, "So you're going to sit under a cold waterfall?"

And the answer is...."NO!"

I was walking several blocks between buildings at work the other day and realized that it was a lot colder than it had been when I left home that morning, and my clothes were a little inadequate. The wind was just cutting through me and I was hunching myself up and trying to shut out the cold when I remembered the experience of doing tai chi in the icy wind and I remembered, "Oh, yeah. The ki likes that coldness." So I shifted to feeling the cold with my ki and unhunched my shoulders and just stopped trying to block out the cold and accepted that I was a part of the environment and let the wind just pass through me. Like I became non-existent and then I became very relaxed and upright and even slowed down my walking and got a little warmer.

But when I decided to turn off the hot water during my shower the other day, and enjoy some pounding cold water....YIKES!

So it's not just the ki, but the body also has to be seriously prepared to do that kind of thing. I should be ready to try it again...in about August!

Thanks.

David

Last edited by akiy : 01-23-2011 at 04:06 PM. Reason: Fixed quote tag

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:44 AM   #45
Mark Freeman
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Re: Ki Eureka

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Mark,

I finally got to try this exercise and it's eerie how easily it works.

I tried it with a friend who is not my student and who has often surprised me with what he can do. In agete, for instance, he can often raise his hands very effortlessly before I can resist, but when I try it, he feels me moving and can lock down and seal me off.

This time, though, I did as you described and he just floated back. Time after time, he couldn't resist. Very interesting.
Good, it's not just me imagining things then!

One of the many things that I have discovered in my aikido journey is this: Aikido is hard to master, because it is so easy to do!

The effortlessness that can be achieved, usually isn't, because of the effort being employed in trying.

Quote:
Then I did agete the way Dan showed me. I could never get it before: it involves letting his power go down the front of your body, into your feet, down into the ground and back up under the opponent's feet, going up into his body. At the same time, your own power goes up your back, out the top of your head and over the opponent to come down behind him. And then you just raise your hands straight up and he can't resist.

In the past, I have been unable to sustain both of these directions of intent at the same time and I've never been able to make this agete work on this particular training partner.

This time, I used my ki to direct where the force would go. If you tell me, put your mind here and also there, I couldn't do it. I could establish the power down my front and up into him, but when I tried to bring my my own power up my back, I lost the power in front. Because I was trying to put my mind in both places at once.

This time, using ki, it was like saying put one hand here and the other hand over there. The mind doesn't do it: it directs the ki to do it. I can reach into both places at once with my ki and sustain it in both places at once because, again, the ki is a part of me like my hand(s). I can put my hands in two places at once, but my mind is pretty singular. I've only been able to put it in one place at a time. But my ki is just like my hands: I can put it where I want it and keep it there while also doing something else. The mind just directs and observes.

So I was able to set up both types of intent and then I just lifted my hands straight up and my friend was unable to stop me. He could feel it and could tighten down on it, but when he did that, his feet would come off the ground and he would "float" back several inches. And I felt like I wasn't making any effort at all. It was really a blast and very satisfying.
I may have to experiment with some more of this at practice this evening. I do a similar hand raising exercise, but with different imagary, similar results though.

Quote:
Except for one thing: he could let go (or my hands just broke through his grip). I remember when Rob John did agete with me, his arms were spaghetti but I couldn't feel him moving, I couldn't stop him and I couldn't let go. If he had brought his hands back down, I still wouldn't have been able to let go and he would have given me whiplash.
I like the spaghetti description of the arms, rope or spaghetti(cooked of course). It seem the only way to get this feeling in the arms is to disengage the shoulders. Uke always has the option to let go and escape the exercise, unless his mind has been captured in his grip by the person doing the 'proper' practice.

Quote:
So I've made some sudden and very interesting progress but I'm clearly still missing something subtle.

So I still have something to find.
You and the rest of us David, keep searching.

regards

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:03 AM   #46
David Orange
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Re: Qi or Ki

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David Orange wrote: View Post
...I shifted to feeling the cold with my ki and unhunched my shoulders and just stopped trying to block out the cold and accepted that I was a part of the environment...
I got a PM concerning my use of the term "the ki of the world" in my first post on this thread and I wanted to get back to that idea and clarify it a bit.

By "the ki of the world," I don't mean a spirit that I get from the world, and especially not an individual spiritual entity (like the Devil) but more things like just the food I eat and the things I drink. But this also includes things I see and hear. When you take in things from the world, you also get the spirit behind them. TV may be the worst. But there is also....the...ahem....internet...that doesn't always give us the best input. And politics. And financial self-interest. For instance, I saw a clip the other day of a prominent broadcaster talking about "other" Americans who want to take everything from "good" Americans. He said, very emphatically, "You have to shoot them in the head!" He is definitely kichigai, but he's gotten money and a hero status for saying such things and the broadcast airwaves are full of that. One woman--actually, about three different ones--sound like Nazis taunting people just before they murder them. The sickness just oozes from them, but they see themselves as just good, patriotic Americans. And they are adored by people with similar minds.

Those are the extreme examples, but there is a whole spectrum of sickness from accepting anything as "all good" all the way to murdering anyone who stands in your way.

And then there's a lot of good spirit that comes to us from good relationships and honesty and good food and drink and spectacular beauty of the sunrise and sunset, the caring of teachers for our children, and things like that.

All these things are included in "the ki of the world" and we are immersed in them. If we try to work them out or deal with them purely with the mind, as most of us do, it will pull the mind in and it can shred the mind--as in the case of Jared Loughner, or the aforementioned broadcaster who seems either to want to be Jared Loughner or to incite more people like him.

So most people, in an attempt not to have their mind shredded by this maelstrom of insane spirit of the world, choose a side and simply harden their views on every subject so that their mind becomes "unshreddable." Then, they can't hear a word without it's triggering an entire set of mental, intellectual and physical responses. It's no wonder we have such poor communications now.

Anyway, that's what I mean by "the ki of the world"--not an individual spirit or entity (devil) but just the general influences of living among human beings who, by and large, are driven by fear and animal instincts lightly covered by a veneer of intellectual reasoning that, nonetheless, is thick enough to keep them convinced of its reality and substance.

The art of haragei is to "stomach" those things by not resisting them or intellectually trying to reconcile or understand them. You just accept them into your ki and let the ki process them on its non-intellectual level in the hara, where it always returns. So if you're in a meeting with five people and four of them are fighting one another, but you just "stomach" everything that's said, the other four will grow more opposed to one another, but each of them will feel like you are on their side because you don't resist or fight them. All four of the opposing viewpoints will feel that you agree with them, so all four of the others will agree with you because they all trust you and will accept what you say.

But even that takes the body and mind working together with the ki. This is called utsuwa, which is like a serving bowl or vessel. If you have the personal totality and development to "stomach" all the opposing views, you're said to have the "vessel" (utsuwa) to hold the various points. If you don't have that, you're said to have "no vessel" for it (utsuwa ga nai). And an utsuwa ga nai person cannot do haragei.

And it's the same for internal power, I now understand: without the proper development and coordination of mind, ki, bone, muscle, fascia and breath, you don't have the utsuwa required to use internal power. In fact, you can seriously injure yourself (think cerebral aneurysm) by attempting IP methods without the properly developed utsuwa. And I think this is why Mochizuki Sensei focused on the development of the mind and body without mentioning the ki. And I think that Aunkai's focus on developing the "frame" also amounts to developing utsuwa to contain the tremendous power that can be developed with internal methods.

And now I have to stomach some fresh banana nut bread my wife just made. So that's enough of this for a Sunday morning.

Best to all.

David

Last edited by David Orange : 01-23-2011 at 11:14 AM.

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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