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Old 08-25-2006, 10:26 AM   #1
Mike Sigman
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Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

In order to not interrupt the other thread, I'm moving this tangent to a new thread:

Quote:
Mark Uttech wrote:
Spiritualism shouldn't bother people too much if they begin from the idea that they are a living spirit. It is not Ouija Boards and Seances and things like that. There are colorful theories with sand mandalas and prayer flags and things like that. And philosophy is tough to embody. You need a practice to do that. Irimi ho and tenkan ho. These are simple practices because anyone can do them. The aiki sword is the sword that cuts things together, for example. Every baby born is interested in movement; that is the art of aikido.
Well, hold on a sec. The Ouija board phenomenon, pendulums, "automatic writing", intuition, "psychic phenomena" like telepathy, etc., are actually considered a legitimate part of the whole "Ki" thing. I.e., you can't just dismiss those things because Ueshiba and many other traditional Asian martial artists would have considered all those things as bona fide ki things.

In a way, these "unexplainable" and mysterious phenomena are the weighty part of the reason why the whole "ki" scenario was bound up with the "gods" and was therefore legitimately part of the Shinto (animistic) religion.

In a lot of ways the debates between Ted Ehara and I have revolved around the idea of whether you just "relax" and the ability to perform 'ki tests' just happens (Ted's/Ki-Society approach) or whether you can do these things with mechanistic and explainable intent (my approach). In other words, Ted's position is more in the line of "relax and the mind/universal-ki/whatever will take over". My position would be that yes, a part of the normally autonomic functions will do things that you want to happen, but understanding the mechanics behind it will speed things up. But it's that "let the subconscious take over" that is really exactly what happens with a Ouija board or a swinging pendulum telling you answers or "automatic writing" or "intuition".

This partnership with the subconscious mind and the vivid results of physical ki phenomena, including ouija-board type effects, is the "gateway to the gods" that is the basis of so much of the religious aspects and sacredness of the "ki" things in the ancient times. I.e., don't throw the baby out with the bath-water, Mark.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-25-2006, 12:05 PM   #2
thisisnotreal
 
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

hmm ......interesting..

>>But it's that "let the subconscious take over" that is really exactly what happens with a Ouija board or a swinging pendulum telling you answers or "automatic writing" or "intuition".

The part that goes "let the XXXX take over". We/You assume that it is the subconscious that takes over. Possible. Is it possible that it is something else?

Chinkon Kishin was a process for capturing what, again?
And they stopped practice of it at Onisaburo's, why, again?

Josh
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Old 08-25-2006, 12:10 PM   #3
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

Quote:
And they stopped practice of it at Onisaburo's, why, again?
Interesting...source? I just haven't heard about that that I can remember.

Another interesting tidbit...in spite of the idea of spirit possession, Chinkon Kishin is still practiced at the Yoshinkan. Even though Shioda Kancho was decidedly agnostic about the "spiritual side of aikido".

Best,
Ron

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Old 08-25-2006, 12:45 PM   #4
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

Quote:
Josh Phillipson wrote:
The part that goes "let the XXXX take over". We/You assume that it is the subconscious that takes over. Possible. Is it possible that it is something else?
Like what? I'm open to all sorts of speculations, but the decidedly most probable "thing" taking over is some part of our brain other than our conscious, rational self. So just assume that "subconscious" means "non-conscious" for the moment. It's a point though, so thanks for bringing it up. You can see how easy it would be to suggest things like "the gods". Ueshiba attributed a lot of these things to the "gods", as a matter of fact, as this interview with Tohei shows:

From: http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=93

Sensei said of that time, "All the many divine spirits of Heaven and Earth entered my body and I became as immovable as a heavy rock." Everybody took him literally and believed it. I heard him say that kind of thing hundreds of times.

For my part, I have never had divine beings enter my body. I've never put much stock in that kind of illogical explanation.

Once when I was with Sensei in Hawaii, there was a demonstration in which two of the strong Hawaiian students were supposed to try to lift me up. They already knew they couldn't do it, so they didn't think much of it. But Sensei, who was off to the side watching, kept standing up and saying, "Stop, you can lift Tohei, you can lift him! Stop, make them stop! This demonstration's no good!"


Tohei demonstrating in Hawaii
shortly after his arrivalYou see, I had been out drinking until three o'clock in the morning the previous evening, and Sensei knew what condition I had come home in. He said, "Of course the gods aren't going to enter into a drunken sot like you! If they did they'd all get tipsy!" That's why he thought they would be able to lift me.

In reality that sort of thing has nothing to do with any gods or spirits. It's just a matter of having a low center of gravity. I know this and it's what I teach all my students. It wouldn't mean anything if only certain special people could do it. Things like that have to be accessible to everyone if they're to have any meaning.
Quote:
Chinkon Kishin was a process for capturing what, again?
And they stopped practice of it at Onisaburo's, why, again?
It's unclear what you're asking.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-25-2006, 12:52 PM   #5
tedehara
 
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

Quote:
Josh Phillipson wrote:
hmm ......interesting..

>>But it's that "let the subconscious take over" that is really exactly what happens with a Ouija board or a swinging pendulum telling you answers or "automatic writing" or "intuition".

The part that goes "let the XXXX take over". We/You assume that it is the subconscious that takes over. Possible. Is it possible that it is something else?

Chinkon Kishin was a process for capturing what, again?
And they stopped practice of it at Onisaburo's, why, again?

Josh
Click HERE and read about Chinkon Kishin.

Our modern perspective tells us it is the subconscious that takes over. However a traditionalist might say it is our connection with the gods, spirits or God, that are allowed access to our actions and thoughts.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 08-25-2006, 01:05 PM   #6
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
Click HERE and read about Chinkon Kishin.
IIRC, in regard to that webpage's claim about how the Chinkon-Kishin derives from the Kojiki, they neglect to mention that this "ancient Japanese practice" is actually a derivative of Tantric Buddhist "Shingon" practice. Chinkon => Shingon

FWIW

Mike
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Old 08-25-2006, 01:08 PM   #7
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

Quote:
Interesting...source? I just haven't heard about that that I can remember.
found a better reference

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=256

Last edited by Alfonso : 08-25-2006 at 01:12 PM.

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Old 08-25-2006, 01:09 PM   #8
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

Nice article.

Quote:
However, in later years the practice of chinkon-kishin was abandoned in Omoto Kyo because of the profound and often surprising effect it had on its practitioners. The practice was never abandoned by O Sensei and is found mixed into aikido warm-ups in dojo everywhere today.
But he doesn't provide a source for this statement.

I liked the description of Chinkon Kishin, and recognized that version from an Aikikai dojo I visit, but it is a little different from the Yoshinkan version in the details.

Best,
Ron

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Old 08-25-2006, 01:11 PM   #9
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

Quote:
Alfonso Adriasola wrote:
This was on a Omoto website..
Thanks, I'll browse around a bit.

Best,
Ron

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Old 08-25-2006, 01:16 PM   #10
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:

Another interesting tidbit...in spite of the idea of spirit possession, Chinkon Kishin is still practiced at the Yoshinkan. Even though Shioda Kancho was decidedly agnostic about the "spiritual side of aikido".

Best,
Ron

Ron,

What is Chinkon Kishin again. I'm having a bad brain day - i just can't seem to recall what it is.

Thanks,

Dan
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Old 08-25-2006, 01:21 PM   #11
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

Ted Ehara has a post about 4 or 5 up that has the link. It seems to be a good article, though it doesn't quote the source. If you read the section on Chinkon Kishin, and if you are familiar with the Yoshinkan practice at the end of warm ups where we clasp left over right with the fingers gripping, feet about shoulder width apart, butt tucked in, you'll see the similarities.

Best,
Ron

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Old 08-25-2006, 01:25 PM   #12
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
the Yoshinkan practice at the end of warm ups where we clasp left over right with the fingers gripping, feet about shoulder width apart, butt tucked in, ...
Hmmmm.... so if you're in a Yoshinkan dojo, it's safer to keep the butt tucked in???

Just kidding, but you realize that you're describing normally-described body postures for training in "nei jin" ("internal strength")? Of course, just doing the postures isn't enough, but it's interesting to have those traditions carry on so far down the road.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 08-25-2006, 01:27 PM   #13
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

Alfonso, Excellent link, thank you very much!

Best,
Ron (That puts the source question to rest, I think)

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Old 08-25-2006, 01:28 PM   #14
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

Quote:
Alfonso Adriasola wrote:
It's a good source, Alfonso, and I'm glad this topic came up. The odd relationship to the "non-conscious mind" or to the "gods" or the "spirits" is not uncommon in Japan and China. To keep it short, I'll just say that it is always considered as part of the overall "ki" relationships. A lot of the talk about "natural" this and that also refers partially to this mind-ki-body-subconscious relationship.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 08-25-2006, 01:34 PM   #15
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

Hi Mike, yes, I do realize what I'm describing, but for the life of me I couldn't tell you if I do it properly.

One of my gripes about some of the warm ups...not the ones led by the head instructor...but sometimes it seems like we speed through them to get to the 'good stuff'. To my mind, that could be a very large mistake. Also, there is fairly little instruction on them. We all know now that stretching before activity does little to prevent injury...I don't think these "warm ups" provide much in that area anyway, even though there are some stretches involved. I think the warm ups are mostly ki exercises...though of course in the yoshinkan we would NEVER call them that.

A fifth or six dan in the Ki Society, Terry Pierce, visited us at a branch dojo once. When he saw our warm ups, he said "those are ki exercises!" He seemed quite surprised at the similarities. But to do them quickly and not mindfully probably misses a large part of the purpose, and to do them without understanding some of the details is probably just as bad.

Best,
Ron

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Old 08-25-2006, 02:06 PM   #16
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

As far as warmups in training goes, I learned mine monkey-see-monkey-do style. I've tried to learn more because I don't like doing things like that, but it seems that repetitive practice is important anyway so it isn't like I feel harmed. The finer details though are important to me too.. I would like to make the practice count..

As for spirit posession..to me it looks like O-Sensei got involved in the Omoto movement in part due to the chinkon kishin being practiced there. If the phenomenom experienced of unconscious communication is related to the body development experienced by this type of training, which would also be related to the development of internal strength, it makes it part of the whole of aikido no?

This resonates with a lot of ther anecdotes about Morihei and intuition, how he conducted his life and so on.

It also makes me wonder about what he might have learned from Takeda and why he must have been so attracted to Onisaburo, why and where he departed from Daito Ryu ..

Last edited by Alfonso : 08-25-2006 at 02:09 PM.

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Old 08-25-2006, 02:28 PM   #17
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

Quote:
Alfonso Adriasola wrote:
As far as warmups in training goes, I learned mine monkey-see-monkey-do style. I've tried to learn more because I don't like doing things like that, but it seems that repetitive practice is important anyway so it isn't like I feel harmed. The finer details though are important to me too.. I would like to make the practice count..
My personal opinion is that it's probably just a waste of time to do the exercises without knowing how to do kokyu, real ki-breathing, etc. But it doesn't hurt either. It's the same thing as doing an empty Taiji form without knowing how to do jin, the breathing, etc. Nice, slow, exercise and it looks cool, but.....
Quote:
As for spirit posession..to me it looks like O-Sensei got involved in the Omoto movement in part due to the chinkon kishin being practiced there. If the phenomenom experienced of unconscious communication is related to the body development experienced by this type of training, which would also be related to the development of internal strength, it makes it part of the whole of aikido no?

This resonates with a lot of ther anecdotes about Morihei and intuition, how he conducted his life and so on.

It also makes me wonder about what he might have learned from Takeda and why he must have been so attracted to Onisaburo, why and where he departed from Daito Ryu ..
Yeah, a lot of things are becoming clearer, once I see they got into the "spirits" and "possession" side of some of the ki things. Sure, you can get ki and kokyu skills, but I think it's something most Chinese martial artists derisively shrug off, just as they do "lin kong jin" (control from a distance").

Regards,

Mike
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Old 08-25-2006, 02:41 PM   #18
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

Quote:
It also makes me wonder about what he might have learned from Takeda and why he must have been so attracted to Onisaburo, why and where he departed from Daito Ryu ..
*** Warning...Gross Speculation Alert (not to be confused with Gross ExSpectoration Alerts) ***

It seems different people use different "hooks" to achieve certain mindstates, and they also may have different ways to tie those into whatever body skills they use. I've known wrestlers who would have the coach slap them upside the head HARD to get the amped for a match. You really didn't want to be the first body they had contact with after that.

It would seem Takeda was really old school, but not of a religious bent. He was known to go to a fencing school, fight everyone there, then fight the teacher. That level of competition is going to have severe benefits if you sucseed at it on a regular basis.

I don't think Ueshiba had that sort of background for a base. His bent was more toward farming and religion. So his "hooks" were of a different nature, which might explain why the two parted ways eventually. I don't think they could approach being equals comfortably, so once the student teacher relationship began to change, they had to part.

Here endith the speculation...

Best,
Ron

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Old 08-25-2006, 03:01 PM   #19
Mark Uttech
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:

This partnership with the subconscious mind and the vivid results of physical ki phenomena, including ouija-board type effects, is the "gateway to the gods" that is the basis of so much of the religious aspects and sacredness of the "ki" things in the ancient times. I.e., don't throw the baby out with the bath-water, Mark.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
Phenomena exist, that is true. And people like to have some control in order to feel comfortable around chaos. In my post I simply returned to simple techniques such as tenkan ho and irimi ho as techniques to be practiced, simple things.
I come from an aikido background, and an american buddhist background. I also come from a small town in the middle of America. When questioned in a courtroom about the existence of "Ki" years ago, I simply raised my arm and put it back down.
"That was ki, your honor, nothing special about it..."
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Old 08-25-2006, 03:08 PM   #20
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

Quote:
Mark Uttech wrote:
When questioned in a courtroom about the existence of "Ki" years ago, I simply raised my arm and put it back down.
"That was ki, your honor, nothing special about it..."
Ummmm.... that would be considered at best some sort of ill-informed and kindergarten-level joke if you said it in front of knowledgeable Chinese/Japanese, though. It's not a telling comment about what ki is.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-25-2006, 03:10 PM   #21
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

I don't know...Tohei made much the same joke...

Best,
Ron (and no, I'm not suggesting that Mark is on the level of Tohei...though for all I really know, I suppose he could be...)

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Old 08-25-2006, 03:22 PM   #22
Mark Uttech
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

Kindergarten was a great starting dojo! It was where i learned how to get in line, and wait.
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Old 08-25-2006, 03:26 PM   #23
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
I don't know...Tohei made much the same joke...
Yeah, I remember. However, Tohei would not have done that except to a crowd where he could get away with it. A knowledgeable Asian forum would have been turned against him for such a puerile joke.

Did you notice, BTW, that quote I did earlier where Tohei derided O-Sensei for thinking it was the gods, but Tohei just "lowered his center" or something like that? I often wonder why he can be so explicit when he wants to be, but for public consumption he just says vagaries like "keep the one point".

FWIW

Mike
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Old 08-25-2006, 03:34 PM   #24
Mark Uttech
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

The way this thread is evolving, I don't think the joke is on me anymore. Whew...
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Old 08-25-2006, 03:43 PM   #25
Mark Uttech
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Re: Ouija Boards, Ki, and "Spirituality"

What is the difference in vagaries between "lowered his center" and "keep the one point" ? See, that is why a great kindergarten teaching like " stand in line and wait" is so valuable. Even dogs and cats and monkeys can't do it without training.

In gassho,
Mark
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