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Old 02-12-2020, 08:18 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.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 02-16-2020, 10:02 AM   #52
Avery Jenkins
 
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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.

Quote:
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
Author of Dark River, to be released in Oct. 2020
www.averyjenkinsauthor.com
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Old 02-16-2020, 01:57 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, 02:54 PM   #54
gezznz
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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, 04:24 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, 01:48 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, 07:28 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.

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Old 02-21-2020, 03:44 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, 06:26 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, 09:43 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 09:53 AM.
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Old 02-21-2020, 11:53 AM   #61
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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 Yesterday, 03:07 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 Yesterday, 07:12 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

P A Goldsbury
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