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Old 11-15-2007, 12:55 PM   #126
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

Agreed Budd.

MJ, please note that I studiously avoid the key word...

B,
R

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Old 11-15-2007, 12:55 PM   #127
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Michael Hacker wrote: View Post
If you're responding to my request, I merely asked folks to define their terms. If someone is unwilling or unable to do that, they probably shouldn't be using words.
No, sorry for the confusion, I threw myself onto my own tangential line of thought . . . . . . happens in discussions and on the mat sometimes *oof*

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Old 11-15-2007, 12:59 PM   #128
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Budd Yuhasz wrote: View Post
Ron, the argument as I see it isn't that you must "believe in ki", but more that there are valid approaches that may all be related, some describing what they do in terms of "ki", some in terms of "conditioning", etc. . . .but yielding functional results regardless of the terms that are used.
Another issue is that these body mechanics were developed under the ki-paradigm, and most people who teach them still use the ki-paradigm. So if you want to "go deep" and study all you can, you're going to need to be able to talk/understand the ki-talk to get the most out of it.

Michael, there's been loads of discussion in the "Non-Aikido" forum about "ki" and "what's really going on". There have also been a few attempts at describing exercises one can do at home to develop such skills.

--Timothy Kleinert
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Old 11-15-2007, 01:15 PM   #129
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Frankly, I don't see why it matters if they buy into them.
I concur.

I had a sempai in Japan (whom I describe as a "side of beef") who travelled to Tokyo to feel the supposed "ki" of Nishino Kozo (of Nishino-ryu Kokyu-ho fame). When Nishino's invisible power had no effect on my friend, he (my friend) was bluntly dismissed and told that he wasn't yet sensitive enough to feel Nishino's "ki" and that he needed to keep practicing.

How cool would it be to have bullets that only worked on people who believed in them?

Michael Hacker
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Old 11-15-2007, 01:20 PM   #130
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

Eh, I still don't think anyone's asking for raw belief, just maybe not to close one's mind too quickly until you've made the effort to gather enough intel.

Heck, even if I didn't believe in bullets, I'd still be leary about standing still and letting you shoot me

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Old 11-15-2007, 01:35 PM   #131
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

Not to mention that Nishino's brand of wierdness really doesn't have a thing to do with people like Dan Harden (quite a side of beef himself) Akuzawa, or Mike Sigman.

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Old 11-15-2007, 01:46 PM   #132
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Not to mention that Nishino's brand of wierdness really doesn't have a thing to do with people like Dan Harden (quite a side of beef himself) Akuzawa, or Mike Sigman.
Or my teacher. Or me.

Which was exactly my point: what's the common demominator?

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Old 11-15-2007, 02:13 PM   #133
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

I don't know...I didn't bring Nishino into this...

B,
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Old 11-15-2007, 02:28 PM   #134
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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I don't know...I didn't bring Nishino into this...
Touché.

My point was that one person's "ki" may refer to intent, while another person's "ki" may refer to magical, invisible energy. Until someone clears that up, useful communication is difficult, at best.

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Old 11-15-2007, 02:52 PM   #135
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

Which is why I don't even go there...just avoids the whole thing.

Mike S. has pretty well laid out his deffinitions in various places, Rob John as well, Dan too, all to varying degrees. Sift through for definitions, add salt, take some pop corn (you'll need it)...and let us know what you think.

B,
R (I see you lurking Peter! )

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Old 11-15-2007, 02:59 PM   #136
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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I think the word "personal" and "online" should be listed as antonyms in the dictionary.
Hey, seriously, they really should!
Somebody get Webster over here!

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Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration...

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Old 11-15-2007, 03:46 PM   #137
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Timothy Walters Kleinert wrote: View Post
Erick, your explanation [of the Daito-ryu video] sounds plausible under certain conditions, ...
[video of Akira Hino]. He does the "trick" several times, but each time his ukes are static. People don't lose their balance that easy. The answer is either a) his ukes aren't really trying (which is a real possibility), or b) he's doing "something else".
1:15-1:30 His motion is more horizontal with definite spiral component shifting his torso higher on the guy holding him and further back on one side than the other, shifting the guy holding his torso's CG slightly back and toward his rear shikaku, and holding the arm to prevent uke's lateral rotation to recover. The effect is to unload the front leg, prang the back leg locked up with all the weight and because he is driving the wavelike spiral motion, the propagation of it downward in the body sweeps the realtively unloaded front knee and leg, keeps him from reloading weight forward, and the fall happens because he cannot stop it the toppling moment created. This one is most comparable to the earlier video, even though more static, it has the "setup" I described as provided by the rhythmic motion already established in the earlier one

The set up the second time (1:49-1:58) is more subtle, initially forcing commitment to one phase of support (synchrony), and the relaxed "twitch" oscillation is plain, and is the same thing in a different orientation. The same thing that lifts your mass to your toes in tekubifuri by flinging your hands at the ground is shifting them laterally, and spirally, out of their supports with the relaxed "whip" of his mass from the center outward to his extremities.

The third time (2:06-2:12) the spiral motion is much more plain, with basically ratcheting them around with repeated eccentric rotations of his center. That is resonance driving motion. In this one the spiral of the repeated momentum kick is in one direction they cannot recover from the building resonance increasing the collective twist until the weakest position gives way and all collapse.

What he is doing in each case is EXACTLY the same principle as using your legs and and arms as a secondary pendulum to propel a swing -- by building resonance into the complex harmonic motion. In this case his motion is driven by the center with the extremities supported, instead of with the extremities with the center supported (as with a swing) In this case his rotations form a more lateral spiral of increasing angular momentum, rather than a larger and larger swing of a vertical pendulum.

Funetori is the simplified training version of the inverted swing mode of action that he is applying in a lateral 3d spiral.

Quote:
Timothy Walters Kleinert wrote: View Post
Erick, your issue is that you're focusing too much on motion. Ki can be "felt" in stillness as much as it can be in movement. Discussing the physics of motion does nothing to explain the experience of ki. And the "feeling" of ki is intimately tied to the "use" of ki. And I'm talking about bodily sensations:
No. Yes. So? A standing wave is in constant motion AND perfectly still. THAT IS KI. Across all scales of its operation.

Driven to resonance without a restorative moment (which the child's swing has) a wave will break the structure of its medium -- EVERY TIME it is tried.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 11-15-2007, 04:03 PM   #138
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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A standing wave is in constant motion AND perfectly still. THAT IS KI.
The only difference for me is, I'd probably say that what you describe is a result of Ki, not Ki per se. But at this level, it's too easy for the language to get in the way etc....

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Old 11-15-2007, 04:38 PM   #139
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

Ok, I'll try and start. If someone isn't interested in this or is violently opposed to it, do me a favor and either be civil or go somewhere else and vent.

In my own awareness and experience of Ki, it's useful for me to delineate three "levels" of perception:

1) The notion of Ki as Energy.

2) The notion of how to bring that energy into and through the body, feeling-wise and to make it "usable" - achieving a dynamic "Ki-state" if you will, that can be utilized.

3) The notion of how that is then used/applied dynamically and interactively/physically (this can be replicated mechanically but my belief is that it will simply Feel different to the person doing it, and perhaps to the recipient as well, which is the point, to me.)

The explanations of the elements and actuality of the three "levels" will take me a little more time to write out, if anyone cares. :-)

This is likely very different than how others view Ki. That doesn't invalidate their view for me, nor, in my world, invalidate mine.

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Old 11-15-2007, 06:23 PM   #140
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Michael Hacker wrote: View Post
I had a sempai in Japan (whom I describe as a "side of beef") who travelled to Tokyo to feel the supposed "ki" of Nishino Kozo (of Nishino-ryu Kokyu-ho fame). When Nishino's invisible power had no effect on my friend, he (my friend) was bluntly dismissed and told that he wasn't yet sensitive enough to feel Nishino's "ki" and that he needed to keep practicing.

How cool would it be to have bullets that only worked on people who believed in them?
You know, that's interesting. That same BS about "not being sensitive enough" seems to be fairly common in a bunch of southern Chinese arts when it doesn't work on someone. I wonder how Nishino Kozo wound up with the same line????? And I agree with your japery. I've actually asked people, "You want me to go home and make myself 'sensitive' so that someone supposedly can hurt me? Why would I want to do that????".

Mike
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Old 11-16-2007, 06:46 AM   #141
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

Mike, that was sweet!

B,
R (sensitive is one thing, but really!)

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Old 11-16-2007, 08:46 AM   #142
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Ok, I'll try and start. If someone isn't interested in this or is violently opposed to it, do me a favor and either be civil or go somewhere else and vent.
Thanks, Larry. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts, should you feel compelled to spend the time writing them down.

However, a question still remains: what energy?

Is it a literal energy that exists everywhere and can be summoned to do your bidding? Or are you talking more metaphorically about thought, intent, etc.? Is there a difference? I often hear people define "ki" as "energy," but never hear them explain exactly what the energy is or where it comes from. Just calling it "energy" is too unspecific for my mind.

Quote:
This is likely very different than how others view Ki. That doesn't invalidate their view for me, nor, in my world, invalidate mine.
As Thomas Huxley said, "The great tragedy of Science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact."

Anyone who cares about growth needs to be open to the possibility of being wrong.

My art is also a science: technical and poetic. It must be both.

Michael Hacker
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Old 11-16-2007, 09:31 AM   #143
Keith Larman
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

Just a random thought from a guy who came from a family of scientists...

First off -- no, I don't think anyone shoots ki rays. Some of the silliest things I've ever seen seem to come from the notion of ki as anime fireballs...

Remember that the usage of ki as kanji is really important. We talk about the "energy" of all sorts of things. Corollaries in English would be to say "someone has a lot of good energy today -- see how they light up the room!". No, we're not saying they're literally glowing, but we are saying that their way, their intent, their mood, their "everything" is affecting the environment. That effect is on other peoples' moods and it can significantly change the dynamics of every person in the room.

We also often talk about a pregnant woman "glowing with energy". Poetic words, but at some level we're talking about a change in look, a change in how she holds herself, a change in mood and attitude. The look of a mother to be, the awareness of life within, the protective instinct of a mother to be. All things that "change the parameters" of the larger set of things we are seeing.

I've often heard people talk about the energy of swords I've worked on. What do they mean there? The sword has an imposing, nasty, almost evil feel. Another might feel fast, light and in a sense vicious. Are these properties really something in the sword? We do impose them on some level, but on another level they are "real" in some sort of way. The way in which we interact, deal with, and handle the weapons.

Ever held an object that just "felt good"? It has good energy we might say.

So we often talk about the "energy" of things.

When we're practicing we're talking about a lot of the same things. The way the attacker is holding himself. If the attack comes in hesitant and unsure we talk about the attack having poor ki. And that's a proper usage. Here it is a complex combination of attitude, poor technique, a lack of power, and possibly also a lack of effectiveness. We say there is little ki there to blend with. Little ki to redirect and work with. When another attacker comes in with strength, power, good form, and a sincere attempt to attack strongly then we say his attack has strong ki. We're not just talking about energy coming out his fist. We're talking about the entire complex set of actions, behaviors and intentions. As well as a larger picture of his body's movement through space, it's inherent balance (or lack thereof), his inertia, his changing states. So when we talk about redirecting that "ki" we're talking about doing a lot of things with a lot of things. Intent, energy in a literal sense, mental energy in a more abstract sense, how well they conform to a "proper form", etc.

So to those who say "there's no such thing as ki" I would say that in certain senses they are correct. There is no one thing. It isn't an object or a singular force. It is an abstraction that covers a rather complex set of things. And as person who has worked as a scientist I would say the discussion we have in forums like this usually revolves around varied understandings of the term. Which leaves a lot of people saying totally different things all likely correct. Which is why discussion if often so difficult. It is easy to dismiss it if you take the position that ki is a singular force.

My work in a previous life involved a lot of work in mental skills testing. Discussing ki to me is like discussion IQ. Some folk are certainly smarter than others. A fact of life. And there is a "something" called IQ that we can detect to some extent if we look at multiple measures of mental skills -- to use sort of statistical terms a singular factor rotates out of the measures. It is very real -- it is a common factor -- but it doesn't exist in the sense of being a singular "thing". It underlies a lot of things but is itself nothing. Just a commonality of sorts. So it is a mistake to think of IQ as necessarily being a singular thing. And making judgements on people based on their IQ is rather silly. It misses so much. But at the same time we don't say IQ doesn't exist. Or there is no such thing. Of course there is, we've even come up with ways of measuring it with some degree of accuracy (no, lets not argue this point it is a question of degrees and no one argues that there is no such thing). It is an expression of a commonality but it isn't necessarily a "thing" in the sense of light or a sound wave or the keyboard I'm typing on right now. In a very real way it is an abstraction. And it "exists", just not in the same way as other "things".

We might as well be arguing whether the number 2 exists. Certainly there are instances of two things. My two hands exist. But the "two" doesn't exist itself as a physical thing -- it is descriptive of the fact that I have two hands. I would say that "two" exists, but as a concept dependant on other things to abstract from. To me ki is similar. We talk about ki as a means of understanding a whole of of disparate abstract things. And those "things" include rather fuzzy things like intention, emotion, etc. that are devilishly hard to measure and make "concrete". In part because of the nature of the phenomena but also in part due to limitations of our language abilities. But I would say that just like in the case of IQ we can talk about "ki". As long as we're talking about roughly the same things. And that's where I think some of the guys evangelizing about aiki on the various forums over the last year or two have been a great help. They're talking about more concrete examples of things like alignment, posture, movement, and the entire pictures of how the body does these things. This is again just a part of the picture but likely a very important part of the physical manifestation of it in practice. But I'd say we need to go even further to "really" understand.

So to me it is an interesting question of language, philosophy, psychology and science. And it lies at the intersection of all four. So we use "ki" as a handy concept to try to simplify a very subtle, complex set of experiences. And yes, imho many take it way too literally. But we should not toss out the concept completely just because one extreme is "way out there".

That's my ramble for the month...

Last edited by Keith Larman : 11-16-2007 at 09:32 AM. Reason: Typing too fast for my fingers...

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Old 11-16-2007, 09:58 AM   #144
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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So to me it is an interesting question of language, philosophy, psychology and science. And it lies at the intersection of all four. So we use "ki" as a handy concept to try to simplify a very subtle, complex set of experiences.
If someone sort weaves back and forth between the ancient qi/ki paradigm and western science terminology, sure it gets confusing and difficult to pin down what ki is. The problem was that "Ki" was essentially a "TOE", a Theory of Everything... so of course the relationships of terminology and cause/effect get all screwed up when you try to convert that to western-technology-speak. But that's the "pink rabbit" discussion hole that I was talking about in an earlier post.

If you want to cut to the chase, just start with Koichi Tohei's "Ki Tests". Those are physical tests. You can either pass them or you can't. To do them correctly, all of them, at will, you need to have kokyu/jin skills.... but kokyu/jin is just the physical manifestation of "ki". I.e., those are bona fide, reproducible examples of Ki. All other ki skills start from that basic level OR they are demonstrably related to complementary aspects of the body.

If someone uses ki in his aikido... really uses it and not some made up personal interpretation... he can demonstrate Tohei's ki tests easily. Tohei's ki-tests are very basic, basement-level skills. If you can't do those simple demonstrations, you can't be claiming to do unseen, sophisticated versions of ki that are beyond the ken of mortal man. Nor can you be teaching "ki", if you can't do those things.

Using ki is about physically moving differently than you do normally. It can be demonstrated and the skill can be felt in an experienced practitioner. He uses the ground as the source of any upward and outward power, not his muscles. He uses his weight (and something too complex for this paragraph to get into) as the *source* inward and downward power. All of that can be demonstrated and it's why Tohei's "ki-tests" are not "just for those outlaw Ki-Society folks; we do it different!". And it gets very sophisticated, beyond those simple physical skills, so learning a trick or two to impress newbies doesn't work as a defining badge of any sort.

I'm happy to listen to anyone drone on about "feelings" and "energy" and yada, yada, yada, but sooner or later I ask them to show me just some basic demonstrations. If you know it, you can do it.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 11-16-2007, 11:43 AM   #145
Keith Larman
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

Hey, Mike, no argument from me. Our small style came out Tohei's group originally and the various ki tests and methods of Tohei are integral to our training. We separated decades ago for a variety of reasons but the late Kobayashi-sensei was adamant about the ki tests being foundational. Everything needs to be "dialed in" right for things to work well. Otherwise things regress into purely physical attempts to overpower, twist, and pain compliance instead.

Anyway, I rather enjoy watching videos of Tohei doing demos in the 60's and 70's because the guy is such a rock solid fella. And with those who have been doing this stuff for 30-40 years, well, sometimes when I get to be uke I'm impressed with the idea that sometimes when these guys toss you down its like feeding your body into a trash compactor. Amazing focusing of power done in such a calm, matter-of-fact way. It is different from brute strength.

I've often felt that one of the great powers of what many consider "silly aikido tricks" like unbendable arm are more important heuristics for helping students feel the connection, alignment and feel of extension that allows it to happen. Obviously it isn't about having an arm that can't be bent. It is all about teaching someone how to link everything up in a powerful way. And the mental picture of "extending ki" out the fingertips allows us to "naturally" get into the proper positioning and orientation. Back to my original post -- I think the whole "ki" thing has long been more of instructional paradigm -- a method of teaching people how to move, stand, balance, and align in certain ways. And as such the mental picture is very helpful. And surely there are other means of getting to the same place, some likely vastly better than others. So anyway, we express the success of an unbendable arm test as properly extending ki out our arms and fingertips. And that "feeling" is the feeling we're looking for. And the idea is that it gives us a means to guide students to gaining the alignment to do it. Starting from their center ("keep your one-point" in our vernacular), keeping a calm mind ("unification of mind and body"), extending "ki" out the arm ("letting your ki flow"), doing it without relying on muscular tension ("controlled relaxation") and staying solidly planted to the ground in the process ("weight settled down").

It's when people start talking about the "ki" as a literally existing physical force that I get uncomfortable. I see it as more a useful heuristic device.

I remember years ago trying to teach a kid how to be solid. I told him imagine he was a rock. He looked at me and said "it's not possible for me to be a rock, I'm a person and not a rock."

"Um, yeah, of course, but I wanted you to feel solid and heavy, grounded and attached firmly to the ground."

But the kid was hopelessly confused because the first thought in his mind was that it is impossible for him to be a rock. He couldn't adopt it as a means of learning, a means of guided thinking/feeling, etc. Those who toss out ki because it isn't "real" in a literal physical sense lose out on the heuristics of the paradigm. The value is in how these paradigms help us think, visualize, and make these complex things appear real to us. They are guides. And hopefully once you "get it" it just becomes natural. So we talk about ki. We try to exhibit that ki. And in the end there is something underlying it all, just not necessarily a single force a la star wars... But a good heuristic device nonetheless.

But more than I really wanted to discuss... Gotta get some work done.

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Old 11-16-2007, 12:06 PM   #146
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

And just to be clear, everything I've written is solely my own opinion. I don't speak for any group or organization. Just my own personal ruminations...

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Old 11-16-2007, 12:10 PM   #147
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
It's when people start talking about the "ki" as a literally existing physical force that I get uncomfortable. I see it as more a useful heuristic device.
I see your point, Keith. However, in my experience and other things, I'm aware of "ki" (qi) as being more of a meta-theory that was an attempt to explain the universe, etc. Very similar to the West's ancient "humours" theory. The humours theory wasn't heuristic, in that sense, and neither is "ki".

The real problem is that there are definitive parameters of what ki is and what it does.... so it's not something that any knowledgeable person would jump into and say "here's my theory of what Ki is and it's just as valid as anyone else's theory". That would be absurd and someone with real ki skills would know it; someone who is just guessing and boffing around with fellow amateurs wouldn't realize how silly he sounds, obviously.

Tohei was easily knowledgeable enough about what aspects comprise recognized ki skills that he wouldn't make a complete idiot of himself, so what he presented as elementary "ki tests" are actually very good indicators and a substantive approach to gaining ki skills. Personally, I think he could be clearer about how it's taught in the Ki Society, etc., but heck, that's just my opinion. I don't quibble with what he's saying, by any means. And I totally agree with him that one way of seeing if someone has real Ki is to try them out on various ki tests... and there's a whole range of ability levels in those.

Best.

Mike
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Old 11-16-2007, 12:25 PM   #148
Keith Larman
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

Mike, I don't disagree. How the theory is used in any particular instance and how it can be used in a larger sense are interesting discussions as well. How far the metaphor is taken is really up to the practitioner. I think the point I was trying to make is that the paradigm can be a powerful method of teaching certain physical things even if the underlying "reality" of "ki" as being some sort of western style defined "thing" isn't really possible. The idea that "ki" doesn't exist as some sort of measurable force a la heat, electricity, etc. doesn't mean that the paradigm is therefore useless. I was mostly trying to point out that there can be great value to the paradigm in doing certain things even if you don't believe in the underlying "reality" of a singular thing called ki. Of course someone can take it vastly further. And the scope of its importance to some peoples' world view in days past is another issue entirely.

That was the reason for talking about the kid who couldn't visualize being a rock. His inability to suspend just that little bit of belief and do a little "role-playing" prevented him from experiencing something that could have been quite valuable. It was my attempt to simplify the example that we use when we talk about ki tests. They are obviously more involved but in the end we're trying to guide the person into feeling, standing, and moving in a certain way. Even if the "force" they feel isn't electricity or light. It is more subtle and complex than that.

Interesting discussion but it is back to the swords for me. Gotta pay the bills...

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Old 11-16-2007, 12:38 PM   #149
Keith Larman
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

Or to put it another way... Even if you dismiss the world view (the theory of everything as you put it) you can still use the paradigm as a heuristic device. But to me, the usefulness of the paradigm does raise some interesting questions about the validity of the world-view, neh? It is an interesting *perspective* on how the universe works. And the scientific point of view isn't necessarily the only valid point of reference...

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Old 11-16-2007, 12:42 PM   #150
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
That was the reason for talking about the kid who couldn't visualize being a rock. His inability to suspend just that little bit of belief and do a little "role-playing" prevented him ........
Maybe the visualization problem wasn't his fault, though? We're all looking for the best way to say these things, but the point is that ki skills can be functionally demonstrated. If they can be demonstrated they can be analysed. If they can be analysed they can be accurately described. Maybe the kid just needed a more accurate description to follow?

BTW, Keith, I wasn't ever really discussing you or your practices. I was only using your remarks to springboard off of.

Best.

Mike
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