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Old 02-12-2020, 07:18 PM   #51
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: I thought ki was fake.

[quote=Peter A Goldsbury;354623]

Tohei goes on the explain the light meaning of Ki, and I will not go into such detail. For Tohei, ki is a life force, a kind of physico-mental-spiritual liquid, which one can feel. Indeed, one has to feel it, in order to use or 'extend' it. He then attempts to strengthen his point with a carefully selected group of Japanese phrases. One especially, ki wo dasu, is explained:
"If you believe that your ki is gushing forth, your Ki is really gushing out." (Ibid.)
I have checked all the bilingual and monolingual Japanese dictionaries that I possess and this phrase does not appear. I conclude that the phrase is not in common usage (but I will check this tonight in the dojo).

Well, I did check with my Japanese students about Ki wo dasu and they were unanimous that the phrase was not common Japanese.

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Old 02-16-2020, 09:02 AM   #52
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Re: I thought ki was fake.

If you're going to try to make a scientific argument, these blog posts are hardly credible. Let's take a look at some peer-reviewed research, shall we?

Acupuncture: theory, efficacy, and practice. Annals of Internal Medicine.


Ancient Chinese medicine and mechanistic evidence of acupuncture physiology. Pflügers Archiv: European Journal of Physiology.


Both of the cited articles (and the peer-reviewed research which they cite) point to the existence of qi. The latter article, in particular, provides one possible framework for understanding qi from a Western medical point of view. But that understanding is hardly necessary to employ qi. After all, we used aspirin for nearly 100 years before we figured out that it was an NSAID.

Quantitative evidence of the existence of qi, and its effects, exists.

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Bernd Lehnen wrote: View Post
Please scroll and have fun...

China, Chi, and Chicanery: Examining Traditional Chinese Medicine and Chi Theory
2 Feature
3 Peter Huston
4 Skeptical Inquirer Volume 19.5, September / October 1995

https://www.csicop.org/si/show/china..._theo#foot er
1

The Roots of Qi - CSI - Committee for Skeptical Inquiry

https://www.csicop.org/sb/show/roots_of_qi

Claims of Chi: Besting a Tai Chi Master
Investigative Files
Joe Nickell
Skeptical Inquirer Volume 41.1, January/February 2017

https://www.csicop.org/si/show/claim..._master#footer

Best,
Bernd

Avery Jenkins
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Old 02-16-2020, 12:57 PM   #53
gezznz
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Re: I thought ki was fake.

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Aiki Taiso is for developing Ki. Doing Aiki Taiso coordinates the nervous system (network of electrical signals) with the Facia ( network of mechanical signals) using the Mind (cognitive features of the brain). As the coordination progresses the cognitive features are used less and less (relaxation).
.
Indeed, aiki taiso is used as a means to practise mind-body coordination while moving (it is all too easy to do it while standing or sitting). During classes, various tests are used to ensure coordination and relaxation throughout the movements.

Thus, they are not mere physical movements, and there is little point in mimicking them off videos or books. One must also incorporate the mental element, which may consist of a visualisation of extending ki or allowing weight to settle. Ultimately, they become a feeling which one taps into.

Very importantly, aiki taiso should be seen as components of aikido movements. By learning to perform the various aiki taiso exercises - with the right feeling - aikido movements can become more relaxed, minimising effort and improving effectiveness.

For example Ude Mawashi Undo (Arm Swinging exercise) is a practice of dropping the arms using only gravity (ie not pushing down or not holding up). When applied in aikido movements like ikkyo, kokyunage or iriminage, these techniques can be quite powerful. Observe Koichi Tohei using the principle extensively in his throws.

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Old 02-16-2020, 01:54 PM   #54
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Re: I thought ki was fake.

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
I hope you are enough of a rational adult not to jump off any cliffs.

dps
I have not jumped off any cliffs lately. The point I was making is that Castaneda's books have been inspirational without having to be strictly factual. This is where one needs to acknowledge symbolic learning as a potent transformative agent used for thousands of years.

You can find out more by reading Jung and others, but briefly, symbolic learning is a form of communication using myth, symbols and stories. It is said that dreams are a similar form of communication from the unconscious to the conscious mind. My understanding is that they contain heuristic knowledge that is extra-rationally triggered in the prepared mind.

Many teachers like Morihei Ueshiba used symbolic language to convey their understanding. I am not sure why it was disregarded in Ueshiba's case, but maybe his students felt it was not in accord with the progressive ideas of a Japan that was rapidly entering a technological - and rational - age.

One of Don Juan's lessons was "Stopping the World," getting Castaneda to interrupt his continuous stream of consciousness. This stream usually consists of habitual thoughts, beliefs and self-talk that make up what we assume to be the rational mind, and forms our idea of the world. In Castaneda's case, his academic arrogance was preventing him from understanding Don Juan's deeper teachings.

Ueshiba was said to have had at least two "Stopping the World" moments in which he experienced his very "real" connection with the cosmos, in which he said he was filled with a sense of awe and love. These no doubt transformed his ideas of aikido and what he taught.

Another of Don Juan's lessons is "Erase Personal History." I had a lot of difficulty accepting this one as a teenager, but now, coming to the other end of life, I so much realise how my fixed sense of personal history has shaped my mood, my beliefs, and my achievements throughout my life. I get the sense that if I had succeeded in erasing my personal history and its baggage of limiting beliefs, I might have accomplished more in my life...

I notice a lot of people insisting on rational explanations in this forum and other aikido forums. This causes them a lot of difficulty understanding and accepting ki. However, the Tao Te Ching says, "The Tao that can be spoken of is not the Tao, the Tao that cannot be spoken of is the Tao." I believe this paradoxical statement also applies to ki.

In order to gain understanding of ki and its application, I believe we need to allow "super-fuzzy logic" to exist, to allow an integration of symbolic knowing, felt embodied knowledge, and a rational acquisition and processing of information, to work together. It is not as easy as "ok tell me the facts": it involves a commitment to be open to lifelong learning and realisation. As one has these realisations through the course of one's life, we are transformed, our World is changed. That is the basis of mastery and wisdom.

Best regards,
Gerald
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Old 02-19-2020, 03:24 PM   #55
Robert Cowham
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Re: I thought ki was fake.

I have a soft spot for Tohei sensei because "Ki in Everyday Life" (or "Il Ki nella vita quotidiana" as I was in Turin, Italy at the time) got me into Aikido. The Ialian version had a list of dojos at the back, I called up my local one and went along. Some 33 years later I am still researching many things, including some of the key "light bulb" moments I experienced in my first few months.

I switched to Aikikai when I moved to Holland and then back to London. It took me 20 years or more to start to get to grips with Tohei's 4 principles in terms of a better understanding.

My main teaching line has been via Inaba sensei at the Meiji Jingu Shiseikan - he studied with Yamaguchi sensei and also Kashima Shinryu with Kunii sensei. Relaxation has always been a key, together with tanden focus and various basic exercises includin shiko (Sumo stepping) and Ritsu Zen (Standing like a tree or Zhan Zhuang).

I was working with one of my students this morning - smaller/lighter than me - and at various points she was being effortlessly effective. This coincided with relaxation and (a big focus recently) softness/melting in the hips, combined with extension of spine. To quote Tohei: keep one point/relax completely/keep weight underside/extend ki!

I don't particularly worry about what to call it, but it is very clear to me and to my students when things come together.

Reminders of the desired body state include (while doing a techinique), having perhaps one helper pressing gently with a jo/bo on tanden, and possibly even at the same time another helper is either touching the crown of your head, or even lightly lifting your head to encourage you to drop hips and extend spine. The difference in effectiveness of techinique with/without helper(s) is usually very clear to all.
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Old 02-20-2020, 12:48 PM   #56
Bernd Lehnen
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Re: I thought ki was fake.

Quote:
Robert Cowham wrote: View Post
I have a soft spot for Tohei sensei ...

I was working with one of my students this morning - smaller/lighter than me - and at various points she was being effortlessly effective. This coincided with relaxation and (a big focus recently) softness/melting in the hips, combined with extension of spine. To quote Tohei: keep one point/relax completely/keep weight underside/extend ki!

I don't particularly worry about what to call it, but it is very clear to me and to my students when things come together.

Reminders of the desired body state include (while doing a techinique), having perhaps one helper pressing gently with a jo/bo on tanden, and possibly even at the same time another helper is either touching the crown of your head, or even lightly lifting your head to encourage you to drop hips and extend spine. The difference in effectiveness of techinique with/without helper(s) is usually very clear to all.
Hi Robert,
Good observation.
Anyone who knows what to look for in the circulated movies, might detect, that stretching the spine like letting it hang down from their head like a snake should play an important part for some key figures in aikido. Look at OSensei, Shioda and Shirata, then Tohei and Tada. Count in even the younger Steven Seagal. This tends to become even more visible with watching some true weapons experts.

But tell me - anyone - where there ki come into play. To say, we can feel it, doesn't say much.
How many feel and believe they are Napoleon, ...and they aren't.
So, where's evidence?

Best,
Bernd
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Old 02-20-2020, 06:28 PM   #57
jonreading
 
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Re: I thought ki was fake.

Maybe a sacred cow here needs to die...

Not everyone in aikido knows how to train aiki. In fact, after 20 years or so in, most people I have met don't know how to train aiki. I have met a few people who are working on it and shared what the learned. I have met a very few people who have the ability to train aiki and teach it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this - except I have met many people who claim to know what they are doing. At some point, you are responsible for your own training and we (as instructors) need to stop moving goal posts. "Sensei, I have been training aikido for 2 years, how long until I get aiki?" "Five years." --Five years later-- "Sensei, I have been training for seven years now but I don't get it yet. How much longer?" "Lifetime technique." We need to be much more honest with what is going on.

Second, I have very strong criticism for many of the aikido people who were unable to transmit the training. This teaching was lost in aikido - political reasons, personal reasons, whichever. Going back now to say, "well, sensei was doing [this stuff] all the time, he just didn't realize it." I accept this is possibly true. But, mostly I think this means that instructors were not being candid in the extent of their knowledge because the whole time he didn't realize what he was doing, he was telling you it was aikido...

I have a problem with relaxation and aiki. It's the wrong word. Moving the right muscles is completely different than not moving the wrong muscles; it is a good illustration of instruction that is designed to be misleading.
When you "relax" your hips you can see two things that always happen... First, your belly protrudes forward; second, your butt protrudes backwards. You also become more unstable because the muscles in your hips tie into your back and help stabilize you. But, we actually use the pelvis a lot in our movement - it's like a crazy universal joint that connects the lower body to the upper body and translates power from the ground. Your hips have to move freely to allow the legs to push power up into the torso from different angles while you move. Your hips also have to allow free movement of the psoas and other connector muscles that go through the pelvis. So we are doing tons of things with our hips, none of which I would describe as "relaxing". And if we are moving muscles that we shouldn't... we should not relax them (that would imply that we moved them to begin with, which is wrong). Instead, we should train them not to move in the first place.

Maybe we should just "drop hips"...? Except... How does gravity pull the backside of your hips down and not the frontside, also? It doesn't. Ohh. Wait, "tilt your pelvis" works much better, right? Except... Tilting your pelvis tilts everything above the pelvis (i.e. your spine)... We are still moving the wrong muscles... We need to be much more critical of our instruction.

Jon Reading
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Old 02-21-2020, 02:44 AM   #58
Alex Megann
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Re: I thought ki was fake.

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I have a problem with relaxation and aiki. It's the wrong word. Moving the right muscles is completely different than not moving the wrong muscles; it is a good illustration of instruction that is designed to be misleading.
I think Jon's comments are spot-on.

An illustration of this is one of my Aikido heroes, Seigo Yamaguchi. When I first started watching him on film, back in the 1970s, I could only see the softness - the way his ukes would fall with no apparent cause just looked like magic. When I actually got to get some hands-on with him in the 80s, I found him enormously impressive - something special seemed to be going on, far more subtle and complex than just relaxation. Since then, watching and feeling my own aikido teacher, Minoru Kanetsuka (who had some quite superb aiki skills, but was almost completely unable to transmit them) and attending workshops with an aiki (but not aikido) teacher, I have started to understand Yamaguchi's aikido a bit more - tiny but precise hip movements and displacements of his centre, the use of in-yo rather than linear movements, and so on. But it is rare to find someone in the aikido world who understands these things, and even fewer are able to teach and demonstrate them.

Alex
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Old 02-21-2020, 05:26 AM   #59
Bernd Lehnen
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Re: I thought ki was fake.

Quote:
Alex Megann wrote: View Post
I think Jon's comments are spot-on.

An illustration of this is one of my Aikido heroes, Seigo Yamaguchi. When I first started watching him on film, back in the 1970s, I could only see the softness - the way his ukes would fall with no apparent cause just looked like magic. When I actually got to get some hands-on with him in the 80s, I found him enormously impressive - something special seemed to be going on, far more subtle and complex than just relaxation. Since then, watching and feeling my own aikido teacher, Minoru Kanetsuka (who had some quite superb aiki skills, but was almost completely unable to transmit them) and attending workshops with an aiki (but not aikido) teacher, I have started to understand Yamaguchi's aikido a bit more - tiny but precise hip movements and displacements of his centre, the use of in-yo rather than linear movements, and so on. But it is rare to find someone in the aikido world who understands these things, and even fewer are able to teach and demonstrate them.

Alex
Well Alex,

Your teacher Kanetsuka truly had something. When once I had the short but intense opportunity to feel him, he felt like a powerful soft rock. Though, if he wasn't , according to you, too well disposed to transmit everything , he certainly provided a wonderful roll model for you to steal from. Lucky you.

Seems, this thread is going in a more fruitful direction, at last.

Relaxation per se, i.e. as a kind of noodling, surely isn't producing what I'm looking for. Noodling doesn't help in receiving or diverting incoming force - unless you were such an overwhelming mass of noodles to drown everything, but at risk of internal injury.
We should never forget, that in budo it's (all) about power. So I think, in budo we should be powerful and should reach for the most possible effective power management. Tradition has it, that it's about a balance of in-yo.
The promise is, that by reforming our body, we will reach such state of internal harmony that it will manifest itself through the skill of„Aiki".
By the way, I prefer internal management of opposing forces over the concept of in-yo. And I prefer the Sagawa coined „Transparent Power" over „Aiki".

We'll see if we ever get there.

Best,
Bernd
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Old 02-21-2020, 08:43 AM   #60
Alex Megann
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Re: I thought ki was fake.

Quote:
Bernd Lehnen wrote: View Post
By the way, I prefer internal management of opposing forces over the concept of in-yo. And I prefer the Sagawa coined „Transparent Power" over „Aiki".
Funnily enough, the "non-aikido" teacher I mentioned (Jon will know who I mean) defines aiki as "unifying opposing forces", and described what he taught as "aiki in-yo ho". And he is at least partially in the Sagawa lineage.

I like "transparent power" as a description of how it feels, but it doesn't help me, at least, to understand how to do it.

Alex

Last edited by Alex Megann : 02-21-2020 at 08:53 AM.
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Old 02-21-2020, 10:53 AM   #61
Bernd Lehnen
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Re: I thought ki was fake.

Quote:
Alex Megann wrote: View Post
.

(Jon will know who I mean)
So do I.
He is very inspirational.
And he may have set us on the right path.
As for anything else, it's up to us.

Best,
Bernd
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Old 02-22-2020, 02:07 PM   #62
gezznz
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Re: I thought ki was fake.

Quote:
Bernd Lehnen wrote: View Post

Relaxation per se, i.e. as a kind of noodling, surely isn't producing what I'm looking for. Noodling doesn't help in receiving or diverting incoming force - unless you were such an overwhelming mass of noodles to drown everything, but at risk of internal injury.
What you call "noodling" is what my teacher called "dead relaxation," and he used to say, "you can practise that when you're dead."

Dead relaxation is a floppy relaxation with no extension of ki. By "extension of ki" I mean a feeling of extending outside the physical body, of largeness that encompasses the attacker.

"Live relaxation," which is the real meaning of Tohei's principle Relax Completely, is a form of relaxation where there is a resting tone of the muscles. Following from my fascia hypothesis, this allows the body's fascial web to trigger the muscles in a coordinated and powerful way, while minimising energy expenditure.

The comparison between "Tension," "Dead Relaxation," and "Live Relaxation" is regularly explored and tested in ki development or mind-body coordination classes, and by extension, in aikido practice.

In aikido, incoming force is never fully received. The whole point is to divert it effectively and with minimum effort. For aikido practitioners trained in a mechanistic way, this is done at the point of contact (or later for those less experienced). For those trained with awareness of ki, this is ideally done before physical contact. If you closely observe Morihei Ueshiba, Koichi Tohei, and other highly experienced teachers, the uke appears to divert before completing the attack. This is the whole reason why it appears fake to the uninitiated.

How does a practitioner divert the attack before contact? I don't know of any mechanistic theory to explain this. Tohei suggested the principle of ki as a working explanation. I am sure he was aware that it didn't sit well with the western mind. But as a pedagogic method, it is highly elegant and effective.

Let us not be caught up with semantic arguments around "relaxation." Experiential practice, trying to relax more while at the same time trying to extend outwards more, will bring better results and understanding.

Best regards,
Gerald
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Old 02-22-2020, 06:12 PM   #63
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: I thought ki was fake.

Quote:
Alex Megann wrote: View Post
I think Jon's comments are spot-on.

An illustration of this is one of my Aikido heroes, Seigo Yamaguchi. When I first started watching him on film, back in the 1970s, I could only see the softness - the way his ukes would fall with no apparent cause just looked like magic. When I actually got to get some hands-on with him in the 80s, I found him enormously impressive - something special seemed to be going on, far more subtle and complex than just relaxation. Since then, watching and feeling my own aikido teacher, Minoru Kanetsuka (who had some quite superb aiki skills, but was almost completely unable to transmit them) and attending workshops with an aiki (but not aikido) teacher, I have started to understand Yamaguchi's aikido a bit more - tiny but precise hip movements and displacements of his centre, the use of in-yo rather than linear movements, and so on. But it is rare to find someone in the aikido world who understands these things, and even fewer are able to teach and demonstrate them.

Alex
Alex,

I think Masatake Sekiya had a good idea. After all, it was Sekiya who was called to the UK to smooth the transition in the BAF between Chiba and Kanatsuka.

PAG

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Old 02-23-2020, 02:13 AM   #64
Alex Megann
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Re: I thought ki was fake.

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Alex,

I think Masatake Sekiya had a good idea. After all, it was Sekiya who was called to the UK to smooth the transition in the BAF between Chiba and Kanatsuka.

PAG
Hi Peter,

Yes, I'm sorry that on the limited occasions I was able to see Sekiya Sensei back in the late 1970s I wasn't nearly experienced enough take much in. He was invited as guest instructor at a BAF Summer School a few years later, but again I think there were transmission issues, not to mention some uncomfortable interpersonal politics going on in the background.

I hadn't heard that that was the reason he was invited to the UK, though I am aware of his family connections with Chiba Sensei. I do know that his aikido was a revelation for Kanetsuka Sensei, and he provided the latter's link to Yamaguchi Sensei and the Kashima Shinryu sword work.

Alex
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Old 02-23-2020, 10:09 PM   #65
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: I thought ki was fake.

Quote:
Alex Megann wrote: View Post
Hi Peter,

Yes, I'm sorry that on the limited occasions I was able to see Sekiya Sensei back in the late 1970s I wasn't nearly experienced enough take much in. He was invited as guest instructor at a BAF Summer School a few years later, but again I think there were transmission issues, not to mention some uncomfortable interpersonal politics going on in the background.

I hadn't heard that that was the reason he was invited to the UK, though I am aware of his family connections with Chiba Sensei. I do know that his aikido was a revelation for Kanetsuka Sensei, and he provided the latter's link to Yamaguchi Sensei and the Kashima Shinryu sword work.

Alex
Hello Alex,

Yes. I had a ringside seat during the transmission issues, since Sekiya Sensei and his wife came to stay in the UK at the Kanestsuka residence, and I basically took a year off from my PhD at UCL, so that I could be otomo and drive them around in the Kanestuka minibus. We alternated between Chiba territory (at the Earls Court dojo) and Kanetsuka territory (at Ryushinkan). There was also a dojo at the Kanestuka residence on Hillfield Road where I spent many hours practicing Kashima sword work. The "uncomfortable interpersonal politics" stood me in good stead later, when I resolutely refused to take sides in aikido disputes relating to dojo membership. My dojo is now completely independent of any organization, except for Hombu recognition, but the Hombu would like me to play an active part in the Hiroshima prefectural federation that they are setting up.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 02-25-2020, 12:00 PM   #66
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Re: I thought ki was fake.

There are a couple of things that I wanted to touch on over a few of these previous threads...

1. Its all about power. energy = power. At some point, you gotta talk about making power in order to use it. I know there are some different thoughts on whether you "make" power, or simply cultivate power that is already inside you. I am mostly in the "make" power camp, but that's probably a different thread. I think in this regard, budo (or aikibudo) is very much an essay on managing power. Somewhere along the line, I think aikido people fell into Easy = Efficient. Power became a dirty word and it still is a dirty word in aikido.
One of the better examples I have heard in this regard is walking our aikido elephant... Walking through the forest, our elephant steps on a snake and kills it:
1. Did the elephant use more power than it needed when it killed the snake? No. Why? Because the elephant was walking with sufficient power to move its body.
2. Did the elephant notice the snake was squashed? No. Why? because the snakes body was not powerful enough counter-force to affect the elephant.

2. Of course you accept 100% of incoming force. This is physics. There is no magic power out there that allows you to avoid receiving energy that enters your body - the best you can do is hope to cut the force in time and move away... but now the force isn't going into you anymore. Evasion is not managing power - its avoiding power. For example, if I shoot a laser traveling the speed of light, the laser will hit its target in its entirety unless the object is moving faster than light - its the Hollywood laserblast conversation in science.
Again, I think somewhere along the line, we decided tenkan was a circle around an attack and we lost the understanding that the whole purpose of the exercise was to practice receiving and managing power (with a turn).
The affects of internal power movement (i.e. better power management, stability on which to manage power, and sensory affects that diminish the power that is put into you) are very notably related to power exchange within you, or between you and a partner. When dealing with outside forces, the problem is learning how to manage the force before it becomes a problem...

If we go back to a definition of ki as an energy component, I think it is hard to avoid a conversation about aiki as a method of managing energy. On top of that, I think it is required to first understand energy within you before we start screwing around with energy outside of your body. For example, if unbendable arm is a parlor trick of energy, why not unbendable leg? Unbendable body? Because most people that know unbendable arm are limited in the knowledge of why it works... and since we don't have triceps in our legs or back... we stick to what we know.

Jon Reading
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Old 02-26-2020, 02:24 AM   #67
Bernd Lehnen
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Re: I thought ki was fake.

Quote:
Alex Megann wrote: View Post
Funnily enough, the "non-aikido" teacher I mentioned (Jon will know who I mean) defines aiki as "unifying opposing forces", and described what he taught as "aiki in-yo ho". And he is at least partially in the Sagawa lineage.
I like "transparent power" as a description of how it feels, but it doesn't help me, at least, to understand how to do it.

Alex
That's where the „buzz-words" come in handy, that's what they are made for:

There is a double helix in your body, you have to create by acknowledging it's existence, two snakes , one rising and one descending, you have to feed , take care of and keep in good balance ( in-yo). These then may give rise to other pairs of snakes , opposing powers in your body.
Getting back down to earth while understanding this is the point, where IMHO the real work begins. Nothing we've learned before will be of help and a complete reset is on. To do this with intelligence and take the first steps into the right direction you have to rely on your „n.a." teacher, because he can walk the talk.

And here's the crux: can we forget, at least for a start, everything we've learned and done up to now? Are we willing to give up pride and prejudice?
Being creative and thinking out off the box isn't what most people usually want.
And hard work won't help either.
Honesty and consistency may…

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
There are a couple of things that I wanted to touch on over a few of these previous threads...

1. Its all about power. energy = power.

2. … This is physics. There is no magic power out there that allows you to avoid receiving energy that enters your body …….
When dealing with outside forces, the problem is learning how to manage the force before it becomes a problem...

If we go back to a definition of ki as an energy component, I think it is hard to avoid a conversation about aiki as a method of managing energy. On top of that, I think it is required to first understand energy within you before we start screwing around with energy outside of your body.

…most people that know unbendable arm are limited in the knowledge of why it works...
... we stick to what we know.
Spot on, Jon,
and we shouldn't let „them" impinge on us.

Best,
Bernd
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Old 03-09-2020, 03:40 PM   #68
gezznz
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Re: I thought ki was fake.

Here is a post I have written on the practical relationship between relaxation, power, and ki. It brings some of the threads of this discussion together, so I hope it helps:

https://mindbodyaikido.com/relaxation-in-aikido/

Best regards,
Gerald
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www.mindbodyaikido.com
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Old 03-10-2020, 01:33 PM   #69
jonreading
 
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Re: I thought ki was fake.

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Gerald Lopez wrote: View Post
Here is a post I have written on the practical relationship between relaxation, power, and ki. It brings some of the threads of this discussion together, so I hope it helps:

https://mindbodyaikido.com/relaxation-in-aikido/
Gerald, I appreciate the read. I have a couple of observations:
1. You are describing "relax" in a context that is very inconsistent with Western English definitions. I think you spend a lot of time trying to make your ideas fit into "relax". The redefinition of "relax" in aikido has largely been an unsuccessful rebranding. Especially, if you are trying to describe fascia chains you are specifically referring to learning how to fire the right muscles in coordination and refrain from firing the wrong muscles that will constrain the chain. As a matter of practice, you still must learn to fire the right muscles or not fire the wrong muscles; in either case you are never "relaxing" a muscle because it is either the correct muscle to fire, or the wrong muscle [which you must relax] and you shouldn't fire it.
2. There is nothing weak or stiff about tension. Tension physics have strength and flexibility. You are describing body mechanics that are more similar to a collection of muscles that have fired and subconsciously don't relax, like the stiffness of learning to ride a bike or drive a car. The "softening" of our body movements as we learn through experience how to use our bodies is not ki - it is jujutsu, though. This is the training of experience, right?
3. Aiki is the management of opposing forces... which inside of you creates a friction... the birthplace of aiki. You have to have tension in dueling opposing forces, this is a definition given to use by the founder himself. To not have tension in your body is the antithesis of what O Sensei said on many occasions.
4. You seem to migrate from a physical relaxation to a philosophical relaxation. While I take issue with "relaxing" the mind, I think I would rather hear more about what physically makes you express ki.

There is no energy generation system with which I am familiar that from zero energy, you make 1 energy. Most physics tells us that energy transfer usually loses energy. So at some point, we still come back to the problem that if ki=energy, how can doing nothing create energy? It can't.

What if your arm in unbendable arm was filled with a flexibility and consistency of a leaf spring... and when that spring were loaded with potential energy from a partner pushing on it your arm was somehow able to convert and store that potential energy, which could later be expressed in the form of kinetic energy... Is the leaf spring relaxed? Did it get stiff?

What about a basketball? What if you drop a basketball onto the ground and it bounces back up because the consistency and flexibility of the material allowed for a clean transmission of energy from gravity, stored in the rubber-like material, and expressed back as kinetic energy that bounced the ball... But what if we drop a tennis ball on top of the basketball...

We have Yin and Yang. O Sensei said that we need to understand both to have aiki. So what is the balance of expansion? If you are always expanding.... there is no balance. "Extending" ki... No wait, is that "expanding" ki? Are they different? How can your spine be stretched unless muscles are pulling it? But pulling muscles is not relaxing... And if your vertebrae are small bones held together by tissue, then pulling them apart against the tissue would put your spine in a state of... suspended tension. But wait, tension is weak, right?

I appreciate you taking the time to post something for us to read. I am being picky, but I am trying to point out the inconsistencies that I have seen in aikido for almost 20 years.

Jon Reading
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Old 03-17-2020, 08:00 AM   #70
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Re: I thought ki was fake.

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Benjamin Mehner wrote: View Post
Before I took Aikido I took Karate at a commercial competitive dojo. Then I took baguazhang, or however you spell it, under a skilled master with not so skilled assistants. Then one day a friend handed me "The Art of Peace" and showed me some youtube videos.

After a few months I found the right dojo and my friend gave me his dogi. After a few lessons I realized that ki was real.

After a while I began to understand how to use ki a little bit.

Recently I have become aware of my center, and I haven't even been to my dojo in a while. I've only used one point meditations and practiced with my friend on the cold hard ground outside.

First I though ki was fake then I misunderstood what my center is, I hope I gain even more insight.

Looking back I think I could have learned a thing or two about ki and my center from the baguazhong, but it didn't click until I took Aikido. Have any of you had an experience like mine?
It is not fake it is undefinable.

David

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