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Old 08-07-2013, 02:03 PM   #1
Mary Eastland
 
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to ki or not to ki

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
Matthew

No need to bury this comment in a bottle in your back yard - I think this is one of the most sensible comments on this thread.
For the record I have been studying Aikido since 1957 - not the occasional week end course - but at length with the likes of Kenshiro Abbe Sensei - Nakazono Sensei - Noro Sensei - Assistant to TK Chiba Sensei.

Kind regards

Henry Ellis
Co-author of `Positive Aikido`
http://aikido-stories.blogspot.com/
I started a new thread with this quote because it makes me ponder the theory that I have read about that your ki will just happen if you keep training. Has that happened for people?

I notice that some people that come to train with us from other places are more centered than others. I wonder if that t is because of the individual or because of the style they come from.

I know that ki exists because I can feel it...I can also feel when people do not have it. A man who was at our seminar this Sunday has trained for many years in another style yet he was asleep at the wheel. I could see and feel how his movements were all produced by thought. How can you have mind and body co-ordination when you are thinking about every move you make?

To have ki the mind has to shut off judgement and just move with the body.

Just some random thoughts feel... free to jump in with your.

Last edited by Mary Eastland : 08-07-2013 at 02:05 PM. Reason: title change

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Old 08-07-2013, 02:28 PM   #2
Hellis
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Re: to ki or not to ki

Hi Mary

Kenshiro Abbe Sensei introduced Aikido to the UK in 1955.
I recall that he only mentioned Ki once, I asked what is Ki ? - he replied " Not necessary speak of Ki, I teach it as part of each technique ".

After reading the other fred ( although it means I am old ) I feel so privileged that I studied with such great teachers that taught Aikido as a martial art. I was so fortunate that Ki was hardly ever referred to, there were no Aiki ribbons in sight - no breathing through ones toes, no woolly hats on the mat.no freezing of students - no floating with the nod of the head - no KI blasts, they were tough days - but they were great days.

Here is a quote from one of my teachers - Tadashi Abe Sensei, a student of Osensei from 1942.

"The Aikido I knew and learned with Osensei was Budo. Since my return to Japan, I realize that what we teach today has nothing to do with this martial art.

What remains of this art inherited from Samurai, which was formed by the founder for men. Today, it is a sport of women ! " Tadashi Abe Sensei

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://aikido-stories.blogspot.com/

Last edited by Hellis : 08-07-2013 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 08-07-2013, 02:32 PM   #3
Gerardo Torres
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Re: to ki or not to ki

"How can you have mind and body co-ordination when you are thinking about every move you make?"

"To have ki the mind has to shut off judgement and just move with the body."

I have the exact opposite experience. The most compelling ki and aiki I've felt was from practitioners who used very focused thought-driven movement to perform an action. Likewise, I've had the most success in aikido when my mind is at its most focused state.

Not saying the "empty mind" approach is without merits -- I've met people who have gained various benefits this way, it's just that for this approach to work it needs more cooperation from an opponent, at least IME. Given this is Budo, it all comes down to what works, and what works better. So I'd say that it doesn't matter whether a practitioner is thinking too much or not at all, but how effective his or her stuff is.
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Old 08-07-2013, 02:51 PM   #4
graham christian
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Re: to ki or not to ki

Brilliant title...love it.

Straight away I can see there will be 'versions' and misunderstandings on what you meant by thinking. I agree, that mind or aspect of mind has to dissappear for correct mind and body co ordination.

Concentrated thought if you will is not the same thing as thinking.

Perspective is that in all sports the optimum is mind and body co-ordinaton.

I must admit that over the years there have been those from very physical perspective and those from a Ki oriented perspective, no problem teaching wise. Ahhh, but then we come to the great theorist, the thinker, the over intellectual.....problem.

So I have found the 'thinker' to have more to learn and less open to letting go and the discipline necessary overall.

Peace.G.
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Old 08-07-2013, 03:36 PM   #5
Marc Abrams
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Re: to ki or not to ki

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
Hi Mary

Kenshiro Abbe Sensei introduced Aikido to the UK in 1955.
I recall that he only mentioned Ki once, I asked what is Ki ? - he replied " Not necessary speak of Ki, I teach it as part of each technique ".

After reading the other fred ( although it means I am old ) I feel so privileged that I studied with such great teachers that taught Aikido as a martial art. I was so fortunate that Ki was hardly ever referred to, there were no Aiki ribbons in sight - no breathing through ones toes, no woolly hats on the mat.no freezing of students - no floating with the nod of the head - no KI blasts, they were tough days - but they were great days.

Here is a quote from one of my teachers - Tadashi Abe Sensei, a student of Osensei from 1942.

"The Aikido I knew and learned with Osensei was Budo. Since my return to Japan, I realize that what we teach today has nothing to do with this martial art.

What remains of this art inherited from Samurai, which was formed by the founder for men. Today, it is a sport of women ! " Tadashi Abe Sensei

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://aikido-stories.blogspot.com/
Henry Ellis makes a point that has been spoken of by people who could do what they say. Tohei Sensei was not the chief instructor at the Aikikai because he could knock people down with "ki balls". He was simply the toughest amongst a bunch of very tough and skilled martial artists. When my teacher, who was one of Tohei's top students, came to the US for the first time in the early 70's, he was challenged by many and beaten by none. This was not an accident, nor was it a function of some mystical "Ki" abilities. The Ki that these men manifest in their techniques was tangible, irrefutable and a force to be reckoned with. The "ki" that people talked about in their Aikido in the US did not favorably impress my teacher then and now. The talk was absent of real manifest ability in what they talk about.

So much of what I read from people who allegedly have some "deep" understanding of ki fits under another quip from two of my teachers-> "Can say, but cannot do". The high level Aikido that is done by very few, here has manifest within it "Aiki" and "Ki". The end result is irrefutable. Everything else, particularly from those select few who pontificate, while running away from any "opportunity" to demonstrate such said skills, is nothing more than methane. If someone does not know what I mean by methane, feel free to send me a PM and I will discuss a most interesting of syndromes.....

Marc Abrams
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Old 08-07-2013, 03:57 PM   #6
Krystal Locke
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Re: to ki or not to ki

I think there may be a big difference between me thinking about how I am going to move my body, me thinking about how I am going to move your body, and me thinking about a dynamic physical structure I can make out of myself that will affect yourself. Hmmmmmm.

What feels different between a person doing something with ki and the same person doing the same something without ki? What is your qualitative experience of ki?

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
I started a new thread with this quote because it makes me ponder the theory that I have read about that your ki will just happen if you keep training. Has that happened for people?

I notice that some people that come to train with us from other places are more centered than others. I wonder if that t is because of the individual or because of the style they come from.

I know that ki exists because I can feel it...I can also feel when people do not have it. A man who was at our seminar this Sunday has trained for many years in another style yet he was asleep at the wheel. I could see and feel how his movements were all produced by thought. How can you have mind and body co-ordination when you are thinking about every move you make?

To have ki the mind has to shut off judgement and just move with the body.

Just some random thoughts feel... free to jump in with your.
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Old 08-07-2013, 06:49 PM   #7
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: to ki or not to ki

"What feels different between a person doing something with ki and the same person doing the same something without ki? What is your qualitative experience of ki?"

When a person has mind and body co-ordinated (has ki) and they are throwing me it feels like they are tuned in and blending with me.,..they take my balance subtly and they cause me to fall with out man handling me. If someone is throwing me and thinking about what it looks like or what they are going to do they lose connection, they rely on muscle energy and often lose their own balance.

I can see if a person has ki by that person's posture, by the speed of the throw in relation to how uke is moving, by their uke's response, by how they feel when I am testing them for one point, by the expression on their face,...I guess the real answer is by how they look and feel and how they move.

I am not sure what you mean by your second question.

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Old 08-07-2013, 06:52 PM   #8
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: to ki or not to ki

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
Hi Mary

Kenshiro Abbe Sensei introduced Aikido to the UK in 1955.
I recall that he only mentioned Ki once, I asked what is Ki ? - he replied " Not necessary speak of Ki, I teach it as part of each technique ".

After reading the other fred ( although it means I am old ) I feel so privileged that I studied with such great teachers that taught Aikido as a martial art. I was so fortunate that Ki was hardly ever referred to, there were no Aiki ribbons in sight - no breathing through ones toes, no woolly hats on the mat.no freezing of students - no floating with the nod of the head - no KI blasts, they were tough days - but they were great days.

Here is a quote from one of my teachers - Tadashi Abe Sensei, a student of Osensei from 1942.

"The Aikido I knew and learned with Osensei was Budo. Since my return to Japan, I realize that what we teach today has nothing to do with this martial art.

What remains of this art inherited from Samurai, which was formed by the founder for men. Today, it is a sport of women ! " Tadashi Abe Sensei

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://aikido-stories.blogspot.com/
Hi Henry:

I guess that means you are going with "not to ki" Good that Tadashi Abe Sensei had such foresight as to see what Aikido could become.

Mary

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Old 08-08-2013, 01:54 AM   #9
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: to ki or not to ki

Quote:
Krystal Locke wrote: View Post
... What is your qualitative experience of ki?
Form my point of view this question is crucial.

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
I am not sure what you mean by your second question.
When I read your text I stumbled at your phrase: "I know that ki exists because I can feel it...I can also feel when people do not have it."
According to my understanding of ki, every person has ki all the time throughout ones life. Someone who has no ki is dead.
As a consequence it seems that our understanding of what ki is, is different?

You then qualified your understanding of ki:
"When a person has mind and body co-ordinated (has ki) ..."
According to my understanding a precondition of the coordination of body and mind, i.e. moving through yi (intent) is a state in which ki is freely flowing. For this you need to open up the body and to clear the blockages within the meridian system of the body.
My qualitative experience of this state and as a consequence [i]my[i] qualitative experience of ki can be described as a feeling of lightness, warmth, tingling. Things like that.
According to my understanding the free flow of ki and “feeling” it is not yet a certain quality of movement. And it does not yet mean a connected body. To move the body using yi/intent is certain quality of it’s own.

Christian Tissier used to formulate:
"Ki is within us. There is Ki everywhere, either we know how to use it or we don't. The fundamental issue with Ki is its flow. ...
... the technique will unlock the body! Once you have unlocked your body and removed all fears, the gesture will be fluid and this will allow more kokyu. If you add an intention to this kokyu, the Ki will naturally occur."

As a consequence in our aikidō we nearly never talk about ki. But we try to practice in a way that opens up the body, clears the blockages and allows the ki to flow naturally.

Last edited by Carsten Möllering : 08-08-2013 at 02:07 AM.
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Old 08-08-2013, 03:03 AM   #10
Hellis
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Re: to ki or not to ki

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Hi Henry:

I guess that means you are going with "not to ki" Good that Tadashi Abe Sensei had such foresight as to see what Aikido could become.

Mary
Hi Mary

I am afraid that Tadashi Abe Sensei would not agree that ` it was good foresight ` - It was his fear of what Aikido had become.

As for clearing blockages and allowing a good flow - I once advised the use of a good laxative - the student later told me it worked very well indeed.

Regards

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://aikido-bracknell.blogspot.com/
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:57 AM   #11
lbb
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Re: to ki or not to ki

At this point, there is no instrument for measuring ki: nothing analogous to a barometer or thermometer or scale. The only measurements of ki are from human beings, self-reported, subjective and unverifiable. The phenomenon called "ki" may exist, but to say that you "know" it exists because your subjective sense perceives something that you choose to label in such a way, and that no outside source can corroborate, is a bit humpty-dumptying the definition of "know", IMO. Perhaps it's better to say that you believe it exists because you've felt something that you lack another explanation for. The problem with such beliefs is that they can become a little too firm, to the point of refusing to consider alternate explanations that are readily available.

I'm a ki agnostic, myself. I don't know if it exists; I think there's a good chance that whatever it is may well turn out to not be some mystical force after all, but simply the product of many different factors of physics and physiology, and that combine in ways so complex that they haven't yet been explained. Please note that there's a big difference between "haven't yet been explained" and "can't be explained": there are many natural phenomena that haven't yet been explained, simply because no one has expended the time and energy and resources to do so, and others that haven't been explained because of lack of the tools to fully explore them. Mars was red before we had the means to acquire evidence to explain why; the cause of its redness hasn't changed simply because we sent the Rover.

As for aikido, I don't believe in mystifying it. Every day, in and out of the dojo, I encounter phenomena for which I have no neat and tidy explanation. My reaction is not to attribute them to some mystical force, but instead to gaps in my own knowledge. I believe that these gaps will always exist, and that the quest for some "unified field theory" of aikido is doomed to failure: as soon as you think you've nailed the neat and tidy explanation that sums it all up, someone's gonna do something that doesn't fit your theory. If you need a metaphor or an explanation for what you experience in the dojo, I suppose ki does as well as anything. My only concern is its potential for becoming an "emperor's suit of clothes", where people become convinced that they have to believe in the existence of this phenomenon, and are persuaded to claim that they experience it, and to make pronouncements about its nature and where it is and isn't found, just to avoid being labeled as dolts who just don't get it. I have no problem saying that I don't see the emperor's clothes; they may exist, and I may see them some day, but I don't see them now, and I don't feel that I'm somehow not getting it if I never see them.
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:58 AM   #12
lbb
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Re: to ki or not to ki

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
What remains of this art inherited from Samurai, which was formed by the founder for men. Today, it is a sport of women ! " Tadashi Abe Sensei
Indeed. And what do you yourself feel about this lamentable state of affairs? Do you teach female students?
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Old 08-08-2013, 07:04 AM   #13
robin_jet_alt
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Re: to ki or not to ki

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
As a consequence in our aikidō we nearly never talk about ki. But we try to practice in a way that opens up the body, clears the blockages and allows the ki to flow naturally.
I think so too.

The people I have met who talk a lot about Ki seem to lack whatever it is they are talking about. The people who have something seem to talk about it very little.
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Old 08-08-2013, 08:46 AM   #14
Hellis
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Re: to ki or not to ki

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Indeed. And what do you yourself feel about this lamentable state of affairs? Do you teach female students?
I have always taught both men and women since the 1950s, I do though teach the women as I teach the men ` Aikido ` I don't teach them differently, never been a problem. - I teach a lot and refrain from too much talking as my teachers did.

Henry Ellis
Co-author ` Positive Aikido `
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/
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Old 08-08-2013, 10:59 AM   #15
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Re: to ki or not to ki

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
Hi Mary

As for clearing blockages and allowing a good flow - I once advised the use of a good laxative - the student later told me it worked very well indeed.

Regards

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://aikido-bracknell.blogspot.com/
it is so funny but so true in the same time!!! Henry won the quote of the year 2013
Congratulations!

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 08-08-2013, 11:13 AM   #16
Hellis
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Re: to ki or not to ki

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
it is so funny but so true in the same time!!! Henry won the quote of the year 2013
Congratulations!
NagaBaba

Thank you kind sir - It has been one of my life's ambitions to win the ` NagaBaba Award ` I will treasure that highly amongst my many achievements. Greatly appreciated.

Henry Ellis
Co-author ` Positive Aikido`
http://britishaikidoboard.blogspot.com/
( British Aikido Board Exposed )
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Old 08-08-2013, 11:37 AM   #17
graham christian
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Re: to ki or not to ki

Back to topic Mary re the fella you said was asleep at the wheel. Basically it means he was introverted.

Therefor....not there.

Peace.G.
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Old 08-08-2013, 11:59 AM   #18
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: to ki or not to ki

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Back to topic Mary re the fella you said was asleep at the wheel. Basically it means he was introverted.

Therefor....not there.

Peace.G.
He was thinking about how it looked.... not feeling it....I tapped him on his shoulder and said "Helloo, in there....wake up," and he did...there was expression on his face and he moved differently.

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Old 08-08-2013, 04:23 PM   #19
graham christian
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Re: to ki or not to ki

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
He was thinking about how it looked.... not feeling it....I tapped him on his shoulder and said "Helloo, in there....wake up," and he did...there was expression on his face and he moved differently.
Beautiful. Similar to when someone has done a great move and thereafter is stuck trying to repeat it.

I tell them "You're not here, you're stuck back there".

Peace.G.
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Old 08-08-2013, 04:27 PM   #20
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Re: to ki or not to ki

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Beautiful. Similar to when someone has done a great move and thereafter is stuck trying to repeat it.

I tell them "You're not here, you're stuck back there".

Peace.G.
I believe Henry's solution still applies.
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Old 08-08-2013, 04:30 PM   #21
graham christian
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Re: to ki or not to ki

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Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
I believe Henry's solution still applies.
?????

Peace.G.
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:08 PM   #22
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Re: to ki or not to ki

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
Hi Mary

I once advised the use of a good laxative - the student later told me it worked very well indeed.

Regards

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://aikido-bracknell.blogspot.com/
see
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:29 PM   #23
graham christian
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Re: to ki or not to ki

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
see
We weren't talking about clearing blockages. Hence the wondering what you were on about.

Your comment fits my post though ie: not concentrating and stuck in the past Just funning.

I'm not sure what the poster meant by unblocking the body. I use kiatsu for that.

Still, a good joke is a good joke

Peace.G.
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Old 08-08-2013, 09:24 PM   #24
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Re: to ki or not to ki

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
At this point, there is no instrument for measuring ki: nothing analogous to a barometer or thermometer or scale. The only measurements of ki are from human beings, self-reported, subjective and unverifiable. The phenomenon called "ki" may exist, but to say that you "know" it exists because your subjective sense perceives something that you choose to label in such a way, and that no outside source can corroborate, is a bit humpty-dumptying the definition of "know", IMO. Perhaps it's better to say that you believe it exists because you've felt something that you lack another explanation for. The problem with such beliefs is that they can become a little too firm, to the point of refusing to consider alternate explanations that are readily available.
When testing a student using a simple shoulder push I can feel when she goes from active muscular resistance to being moved to a state (we call correct feeling) where the force I am applying simply has no effect on her and she is able to stand stock still with little to no effort. The state of correct feeling is achieved when the student learns how to coordinate mind and body. Ki is manifest when correct feeling is achieved as a result of coordinating mind and body. Extend Ki is shorthand for the instruction "coordinate mind and body in order to achieve correct feeling." Once the student learns how she feels when performing this simple test she can then replicate that same feeling at will with other tests or when practicing technique.

The tests themselves also double as exercises that will help the student strengthen the connection between mind and body. With time and practice the student is able to handle greater and greater force loads (to a point of course, no Chevy pickups please). We refer to that as Ki development practice.

Knowing Ki exists is a matter of being aware of demonstrable differences in performance of certain tasks that can be performed with or without mind and body coordinated. The vocabulary used to describe the phenomenon is chosen because it's what I was taught when I began my training. As you can see from reading this and many other threads on AikiWeb, other folks use other words and methods of training to arrive at roughly the same place.

Ron

Last edited by RonRagusa : 08-08-2013 at 09:27 PM.

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Old 08-08-2013, 10:34 PM   #25
Krystal Locke
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Re: to ki or not to ki

That sounds more like good biomechanics to me. The ability to arrange the body so that incoming force is borne by aligned skeletal structure rather than resisted by muscular contraction. Is ki just good physics?

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
When testing a student using a simple shoulder push I can feel when she goes from active muscular resistance to being moved to a state (we call correct feeling) where the force I am applying simply has no effect on her and she is able to stand stock still with little to no effort. The state of correct feeling is achieved when the student learns how to coordinate mind and body. Ki is manifest when correct feeling is achieved as a result of coordinating mind and body. Extend Ki is shorthand for the instruction "coordinate mind and body in order to achieve correct feeling." Once the student learns how she feels when performing this simple test she can then replicate that same feeling at will with other tests or when practicing technique.

The tests themselves also double as exercises that will help the student strengthen the connection between mind and body. With time and practice the student is able to handle greater and greater force loads (to a point of course, no Chevy pickups please). We refer to that as Ki development practice.

Knowing Ki exists is a matter of being aware of demonstrable differences in performance of certain tasks that can be performed with or without mind and body coordinated. The vocabulary used to describe the phenomenon is chosen because it's what I was taught when I began my training. As you can see from reading this and many other threads on AikiWeb, other folks use other words and methods of training to arrive at roughly the same place.

Ron
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