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Old 11-13-2006, 10:18 AM   #1
Mike Sigman
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This is Aikido, by Tohei

I was looking through my old copy of "This is Aikdio" by Tohei this weekend and once again I thought I'd recommend the book for any and all styles. If someone can get a foothold idea of how to use the jin/kokyu forces of "ki", this book by Tohei does a great job of explaining how the ki forces are used in a number of Aikido waza.

This book was published back in the late sixties before the split of Tohei from Hombu Dojo. IIRC, O-Sensei was still alive when the book was published.

When I bought the book, I thought it was cool, showed some good stuff, etc., but I didn't understand the magnitude of importance or even what the ki forces really were... so I simply missed how great this book is.

Nowadays, it's a very hard-to-find book.... mainly, I think, because the importance of it was never recognized since most westerners don't really understand the ki skills or, if they have some bits and pieces, they don't understand the excellent succinctness of the descriptions in this book for the serious Aikido practitioner.

My considered opinion, FWIW


Mike Sigman
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Old 11-13-2006, 10:27 AM   #2
Amendes
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

If I was rich i'd buy it of ebay.
Someones selling it on there for an insane amount.

Buy it now is $49.00
And bidding starts at $29.00

It must be a relly good book!

I wonder if I can find it cheaper somewhere. :-(
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Old 11-13-2006, 01:30 PM   #3
Nick Pagnucco
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

I know you've mentioned this book before, along with a few others (one by Shioda comes to mind especially).

How is this book different from the other books you like on aikido? Does it have the 'best' description of ki/kokyu? A different take? What do the other books (with more humble price tags) offer in comparison?
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Old 11-13-2006, 02:21 PM   #4
Mike Sigman
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

Quote:
Nicholas Pagnucco wrote:
How is this book different from the other books you like on aikido? Does it have the 'best' description of ki/kokyu? A different take?
Hi NIck:

Notice how I first stipulated "...If someone can get a foothold idea of how to use the jin/kokyu forces of "ki"...". What I'm saying is sort of along the lines of a comparison to something like, for instance, the 3-D video-graphics of Aikido techniques... the video analyses show the technique, but totally miss a discussion of the hidden forces, the ki/kokyu forces which are the heart of the real technique.

It gets back to our discussion about the core which is missing from so much Aikido. What Tohei's book does is include, at a reasonable but fairly basic level (i.e., he's not covering all the factors), the way the kokyu/ki forces are used by nage during the throws which are illustrated. That's why some of the explanations seem to be filled with vague and inexplicably redundant arrows, forces, etc. What I thought was just a so-so book, maybe having lost something in the translation, etc., turned out (after I understood how the kokyu-forces work) to be a quite excellent book which often tells me the exact paths of the kokyu-forces in some wazas. I could probably have a great time with some Aikidoists, looking at and discussing the why's of some of the force paths, and so on, now that I understand very clearly what Tohei was laying out (as the chief instructor at Hombu) as the preferred way of executing some of the techniques.

Great book.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 11-13-2006, 03:43 PM   #5
raul rodrigo
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

While we're on the topic of books that give you an idea of how to use the jin/kokyu forces, I'd like to asks Mike S about Shioda's Total Aikido. At some point he says the source of power in aikido is the big toe; when you fix the big toe on the ground, power flows into the leg. It was that sentence that started me thinking about what is apparently called "groundpath" and to pay attention to what happens when I do the boat rowing exercise. I'd just like to be clear: is Shioda in fact referring to the groundpath?
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Old 11-13-2006, 03:53 PM   #6
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

it is on the uk ebay for a tenner if any one fancies it well so far anyway
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Old 11-13-2006, 03:59 PM   #7
Mike Sigman
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
While we're on the topic of books that give you an idea of how to use the jin/kokyu forces, I'd like to asks Mike S about Shioda's Total Aikido. At some point he says the source of power in aikido is the big toe; when you fix the big toe on the ground, power flows into the leg. It was that sentence that started me thinking about what is apparently called "groundpath" and to pay attention to what happens when I do the boat rowing exercise. I'd just like to be clear: is Shioda in fact referring to the groundpath?
Hi Raul:

Well, that's a good question. My personal idiosyncracy is to split the wholistic/aggregate meaning of "Ki" into 2 things: the kokyu/groundpath/gravity forces and the "connectedness"/fascia forces. Technically, I'm on solid ground because the forces can be always looked at as being 2-part. Open-Close. Extend-Contract. Power through the skeleton from the hara; power returning to the hara through the "connectedness"/fascia. The last example has a lot to do with what the "ki of heaven" and the "ki of earth" are.

For an overly simple example, think of a push with one hand going straight out to the front of the body. Ideally instead of just using the muscles to push the hand out, you should channel (using body and mind coordinated) the support of the ground to the hand through the skeleton (but some use of the fascia is always there as an assist). Pulling the hand back to the body (i.e., completing the cycle of the whole movement) would involve using the forces along the "connectedness"/fascia (plus some groundpath, necessarily, for parts of the motion).

So what I'm saying is that there are always 2 components to any "natural" body-power movement... the forces through the skeleton and the forces on the body cover (to keep it simple).

The short answer, the one that will mislead you if I do it, to your question is "yes". The long answer is that it's both of the factors I mentioned above, but the fascia part is probably as important, if not more important, than just the groundpath.

Incidentally, that concept of power coming from the big toe is a pretty ancient perspective and almost undoubtedly comes to Aikido via sword training, because of the correct Aikido stance. If you want to see a telling comment that has a lot to do (not fully, though) with this concept, take a look in Lam Kam Chuen's "Way of Power" book. Surprisingly, he blabs a little bit about how this is done, although he leaves out part of it.

Best.

Mike
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Old 11-13-2006, 06:48 PM   #8
raul rodrigo
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

Thanks for the inputs, Mike. My sense (and correct me if I'm wrong) is that the kokyu/groundpath element is pretty well covered/explained in the materials available on the Internet. The fascia/connectedness part is what I am not too clear on yet. What would be a good source for some exercises in building up a feel for using the fascia correctly?

best


R
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Old 11-13-2006, 07:20 PM   #9
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

Raul, if you can't find someone to show you, or don't already know the feeling, this may get you started:

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
Extend the hands outwards on either side. When doing this draw the shoulder blades together while simultaneously dropping the shoulders. This should cause tension to drop from the shoulders, flow to the elbows and out to the fingertips. The elbows and fingertips should feel sore if this tension is held.
Elbows should be STRAIGHT.

(Excerpted from Training the Body. Part 2: Exercises)
The first place I could get that kind of feeling was in my fingers, hands, and forearms. Now I can get it across the front of my chest from fingertip to fingertip, sometimes across the back, and keep it there through a range of motion. I'm working on getting that kind of tension all throughout my body all the time while relaxing muscles as much as possible. I figure that once I've got that done my foot is firmly in a door and then the real internal skills work begins.
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Old 11-13-2006, 07:44 PM   #10
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

There are a couple of different editions of "This is Aikido". The original English-language edition came out in 1968, and was reprinted several times with practically no deviation until 1974. In 1975 came the first printing of the "Revised Edition", after Tohei Sensei had departed Aikikai for the Ki No Kenkyukai (Ki Society). The primary differences are a completely re-worded preface with more biographical background on O'Sensei, who had passed since the original edition of the book, and some re-titling and shuffling of topics in the "Fundamentals" chapter. "The Principle of Ki" comes to the forefront, and "Aikido Calisthenics" are now referred to as "Ki Development Exercises". Otherwise there is little difference in content or effectiveness, so don't worry that you need to get one edition or another.

This is a big book, selling for $10 US way back in the 60's. Like most of Tohei's older works, it's still a bit pricey in the used market, even though it was widely distributed back in the day. Some of the high pricing is made worse by the dozens of book dealers out there who simply haven't a clue as to the market value of things. There are guys listing used books that are only a couple of years old, and still in print and available from Barnes and Noble, etc. that are listing them literally for THOUSANDS of dollars! No kidding! So the other dealers see this, and think the book is worth a mint, and price theirs accordingly. It's a vicious circle. The best advice I can give you is shop around for a good deal, and ALWAYS offer a lesser amount than what is advertised. Ebay auctions can be a good source, particularly if an overpriced listing is near closing without any bids. Just message the dealer, tell him his book is obviously not worth what he thinks it is, and make him an offer. This book is a good edition to any serious Aikido library, regardless of your style. Happy hunting!
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Old 11-14-2006, 12:18 AM   #11
Michael Hackett
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

I paid $ 140 for my copy of the 1974 edition and felt lucky to get it. I found it, and continue to find it quite valuable in my study. It is one of my favorites and it was worth the price to me.

Michael
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Old 11-14-2006, 12:29 AM   #12
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

Got a copy of the book and I would like to know who is the uke of Tohei Sensei in most of the photos? Seishiro Endo Sensei?




Mel
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Old 11-14-2006, 05:58 AM   #13
ian
 
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

Try seeing if it is in the public library system. Sometimes they retain old books that do the rounds. Of course, if you do borrow it, remember you can only copy one chapter due to copyright laws

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 11-14-2006, 06:18 AM   #14
Aran Bright
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

I'm sorry but I can't help my self. I have to put in a shameless plug for my teacher. Well perhaps the master of my style if you will.

His name is Koretoshi Maruyama. I don't want to go in to the details of his background other than to say his background was as one of Tohei's students. He also has a beautiful way of explaining the kokyu forces or movement of Ki through the body. He has written a book but it was basically just reproducing Tohei's theories, I don't think he was able to give his own.

The only body of work he has produced is DVDs of his seminars. It is my hope that he one day writes a book I believe it will parallel 'This is Aikido'.

Again, please forgive my shameless plug.

As for the question on how to develop these fascial forces, take a class or look up fascial release techniques. Particularly the work of the Barnes family. Very Neat

http://brisbaneaikido.com

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Old 11-14-2006, 06:38 AM   #15
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

Quote:
Justin Thomas wrote:
it is on the uk ebay for a tenner if any one fancies it well so far anyway
Starting bid was a tenner, now upto £46 with 9 days to go.

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 11-14-2006, 09:06 AM   #16
Nick Pagnucco
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

Quote:
Bryan Bateman wrote:
Starting bid was a tenner, now upto £46 with 9 days to go.
And the longer this thread goes, the higher the price.


Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Notice how I first stipulated "...If someone can get a foothold idea of how to use the jin/kokyu forces of "ki"...". What I'm saying is sort of along the lines of a comparison to something like, for instance, the 3-D video-graphics of Aikido techniques... the video analyses show the technique, but totally miss a discussion of the hidden forces, the ki/kokyu forces which are the heart of the real technique.
I noticed you said that, and if I was to interpret that statement conservatively, you aren't recommending this book to me or many other people here, because I do not have a foothold understanding (physically or intellectually) of kokyu. The fact I don't have the ability to judge is the first of several problems.

So I'm faced with the question of if there is a point to reading any of this until I have really experienced something in person. I beleive it can be useful, so long as I don't inflate academic and experiential knowledge. But the academic knowledeg can still give me a few hints and pointers, at least in the sense of knowing what to look for (the cross of aiki concept, for example). Assuming I don't really know, I can still try and amass information from online sources. Even if I'm wrong about it being useful, its at least an interesting read.

Aside from the 'book learning', the other thing I can do is keep training at my dojo. And while its not the best place for discussions of ki and kokyu, its definitely not aiki-bunny, there definitely is stuff to learn for aikido, and its a community I like belonging to. Until my life circumstances change a bit, the best path I have is train and read, even if the two dont couple as much as I want.
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Old 11-14-2006, 09:25 AM   #17
Mike Sigman
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

Quote:
Nicholas Pagnucco wrote:
I noticed you said that, and if I was to interpret that statement conservatively, you aren't recommending this book to me or many other people here, because I do not have a foothold understanding (physically or intellectually) of kokyu. The fact I don't have the ability to judge is the first of several problems.

So I'm faced with the question of if there is a point to reading any of this until I have really experienced something in person. I beleive it can be useful, so long as I don't inflate academic and experiential knowledge. But the academic knowledeg can still give me a few hints and pointers, at least in the sense of knowing what to look for (the cross of aiki concept, for example). Assuming I don't really know, I can still try and amass information from online sources. Even if I'm wrong about it being useful, its at least an interesting read.

Aside from the 'book learning', the other thing I can do is keep training at my dojo. And while its not the best place for discussions of ki and kokyu, its definitely not aiki-bunny, there definitely is stuff to learn for aikido, and its a community I like belonging to. Until my life circumstances change a bit, the best path I have is train and read, even if the two dont couple as much as I want.
Hi Nick:

The main impetus for my recommending the book was to point out that even though we often say "no one will tell us how to do those things", there's actually a lot of literature out there (this book goes back to the late 60's) that mentions lots of things that we didn't pick up on in those days.

Frankly, my general advice is to find someone who can help you get your foot in the door before you start trying to do things you've read in books, heard about, and so on.

Best.

Mike
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Old 11-14-2006, 09:29 AM   #18
Mike Sigman
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
The fascia/connectedness part is what I am not too clear on yet. What would be a good source for some exercises in building up a feel for using the fascia correctly?
Hi Raul:

Well, it's easy to get muscular tension confused with the acquisition of the fascia (at least the superficial fascia and the myofascial layers). You need to be careful because that can be the beginning of a deviation that can make you strong, but which doesn't open other doors in your training.

I'm not absolutely sure, but I'm fairly sure that I gave a brief description of how I think it's best to start in the thread on Ki Breathing that Dennis Hooker started.

Here it is:

"Tanden" is the Japanese pronunciation of "Dantien" in Chinese, meaning more or less the "area of change" (it's an obscure reference to "cinnabar", mercuric oxide, which changes from a red mineral into the silvery liquid mercury, upon heating). The term "Tanden-no Kokyu" is therefore not functionally quite the same as "Hara-no Kokyu" .. it has deeper implications. "Kokyu", as has been discussed, can mean "breath", but it also can imply a certain method of force which is essentially the "jin", the trained force skill, often referred to in China. So the meaning of "Tanden-no Kokyu" becomes moot if we look at all potential meanings; it can mean more than just "Deep Breathing".

"Tanden Breathing" (or "Dantien Breathing", your choice) means specifically a couple of things to me. First of all, it is the initial step in beginning to build the power that is so unusual that it has rated comment in Asia for many centuries. It is, as I pointed out in a quote from a website discussing Misogi-no Kyo, the "concentrating of the breath at the navel". This is the start of the 'great power' that develops from focused breathing exercises of a certain sort.

As part of these breathing exercises and great strength development, the fascia areas are developed. Interestingly enough, according to James L. Oschman and others, the strength of the fascia system(s) has a lot to do with the strength of the immune system and what it does. The constant references to the breathing exercises is not only that they produce strength, but that they also effect the "health" and immune-system functions of the body, when done correctly. Yes, it takes a while for the changes to take place, but anecdotally I have to say that (cynic and sceptic that I am), (1.) I would tend to agree that health functions are affected... (2.)personally, based on the amount of workouts per week, etc., that I do, I would definitively say that increased substantive strength increase is a shoo-in.

Insofar as sitting and doing Tanden breathing, I don't say anything against it, but I would recommend that people do it while standing. The fascia-related structures of the lower body can be trained better while standing... i.e., you can get a more complete positive effect by standing during deep-breathing than can be gained by sitting, IMO (and in the opinion of many others, as well).

To get a better feel for what the foscuses are in breathing exercises (other than the beneficial aspects mentioned in Dennis' post, of course), let me suggest a simple approach:

First stand with legs at shoulder width and arms extended out at 45-degrees between shoulder-height and the vertical. Think of your body as a sort of "balloon" with the skin of the balloon, the outer "suit" which you should feel for just under your skin, stretched out somewhat but not too tight. Inhale through the nose while pulling the stomach area in at the same time. Feel for the slight pull/tension under the skin in the fingertips, fingers, palms, maybe forearms, etc., every time you slowly inhale while pulling in the stomach-area. Hopefully you'll feel this "suit" tauten as you inhale and pull in the stomach area. The tautness happens because you're pulling this "suit" in with your stomach and also because pressure is building up inside the body, adding to the pressure within the "suit".

Two things are happening that are worth focusing your attention on: (1.) the "suit" gets a stretch during the inhale and it relaxes during the exhale. It is a slight "workout" for the myofascial area under the skin. (2.) pressure builds up within the abdominal areal... this is the "concentrating the breath in the navel area".

Anyway, it's a potential start to the "ki" side of things that can be, IMO, more helpful than just breathing deeply.



Best,

Mike

Last edited by Mike Sigman : 11-14-2006 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 11-14-2006, 10:12 AM   #19
crbateman
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

Quote:
Aran Bright wrote:
I'm sorry but I can't help my self. I have to put in a shameless plug for my teacher. Well perhaps the master of my style if you will.

His name is Koretoshi Maruyama. I don't want to go in to the details of his background other than to say his background was as one of Tohei's students. He also has a beautiful way of explaining the kokyu forces or movement of Ki through the body. He has written a book but it was basically just reproducing Tohei's theories, I don't think he was able to give his own.

The only body of work he has produced is DVDs of his seminars. It is my hope that he one day writes a book I believe it will parallel 'This is Aikido'.

Again, please forgive my shameless plug.

As for the question on how to develop these fascial forces, take a class or look up fascial release techniques. Particularly the work of the Barnes family. Very Neat
Far be it from me to correct you about your own teacher, but Maruyama Sensei DID write a book (supervised by Tohei Sensei). It is called "Aikido with Ki" and it was first published in 1984. I would not call it a timeless classic, but it is a well thought out and useful book.
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Old 11-14-2006, 03:33 PM   #20
Aran Bright
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote:
Far be it from me to correct you about your own teacher, but Maruyama Sensei DID write a book (supervised by Tohei Sensei). It is called "Aikido with Ki" and it was first published in 1984. I would not call it a timeless classic, but it is a well thought out and useful book.
Yes you are correct and it is a good book but it was more a presentation of Tohei's work up to that point rather than sensei's own reflections.

I guess the point I wanted to make was that I agree and believe that "This is Aikido", could well be THE seminal book for aikido with a ki approach. It was written before Tohei became more focused ki development than martial technique, IMO.

It is just my hope that more like it a produced, reflections from the students of osensei that experienced the source of aikido first hand.

http://brisbaneaikido.com

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Old 11-14-2006, 03:36 PM   #21
Aran Bright
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

Is there a thread that goes into more depth on the ideas on the fascial system and how it can be used in Aikido?

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Old 11-14-2006, 07:29 PM   #22
raul rodrigo
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

Thanks Mike. Will work on this.

best

R
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Old 11-15-2006, 07:20 AM   #23
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

Mike,
Have you heard of/read the book Empty Force by Paul Dong?
If so, any comments on it?

Eric
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Old 11-15-2006, 07:49 AM   #24
Mike Sigman
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

Quote:
Eric Saemann wrote:
Have you heard of/read the book Empty Force by Paul Dong?
If so, any comments on it?
Hi Eric:

No, I haven't read it, although I think I glanced through it at a bookstore once. Dong's "empty force" relies on what is actually just called "emitted qi". I think he calls it "lin kong jin", which means empty force, but that's not what it is.

The idea of "kong jin" or "lin kong jin" is that you're able to move (and therefore throw or effect) someone from a distance; "healing" people is another touted effect.

Originally, "kong jin" simply meant that you made a certain move (or set of moves) and the opponent's reaction to those move caused him to fall or etc. It was a bona fide part of a good fighting system and was not meant to be "woo woo", at all.... more of a psychological trick like a feint. Same with a "ki throw".... it's not meant to be some "woo woo" thing, but is meant to be a small part of the whole picture of trained skills in Aikido.

So what Paul Dong and others (this is really something you run into more with the southern Chinese than you do with northerners) do is take the "emitted qi" and call it "lin kong jin". That's not really correct, though.

We all have a sort of electro-magnetic field around us and the fascia plays some role in this. The Meininger Institute and others have done a lot of experimental work on this sort of thing. James L. Oschman's book on "Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis" is a non-rigorous (and I question some of his assertions, although most look OK) book on the same phenomenon.

The general idea is that you can work with your own field and increase its strength and your control of it and then, to some extent, affect the fields of others. Reiki, "Healing Hands of Touch" and numerous other systems use this phenomenon as the basis for whatever it is that they do.

There's a real problem with this stuff that has to do with the fact that a lot of the effects tend to be the results of suggestion, if you're not careful. In fact, in my opinion this "field" is somehow entwined with what makes us suggestible, in many cases. Many people tend to reactively "move" to someone else's field, but I often think (i.e., this is opinion) that they do it for the same reason so many people who are "hypnotized" are so cooperative.

David Eisenburg, M.D., wrote a book called "Encounters with Qi" where he debunked or gave his opinion about a lot of the qi phenomena he saw in China, but in one case he admitted that he "felt something" when a qigong guy was behind him emitting qi toward Eisenburg's back.

Some people can see other peoples' fields and to some degree can manipulate or help-manipulate the fields of others. That's where the whole idea of "auras" (along with a large allocation of attendant rubbish) comes from... the electromagnetic field that we all have.

My personal thought (well, I checked with a lot of very expert martial artists and got their opinions before I formed my own) is that these things with the electromagnetic field stuff are interesting, but they aren't really of any importance in a martial sense. The "cures" that some people effect with these fields, I dunno... generally there can be some effect (sometimes startling), but it tends to mostly be transitory, in most cases that I'm aware of.

This stuff is also the area of "Ki" where all the woo-woo types invest a lot of time. All I would say is that yes, there's some phenomenon there, but it's not something you can really do a lot with. E.g., you also emit heat from your body, but that doesn't mean you can hole-up in a cave and develop your natural heat emissions into heat-rays that will destroy cities and help you in bar fights.

My opinion, FWIW.

Mike
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Old 11-15-2006, 08:03 AM   #25
Luc X Saroufim
 
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Re: This is Aikido, by Tohei

Mike,

thanks for the recommendation, i will look for this book.
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