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Old 11-19-2006, 01:30 AM   #1
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Poll: Is "ki" as used in aikido a metaphor for you?

AikiWeb Poll for the week of November 19, 2006:

Is "ki" as used in aikido a metaphor for you?
  • I don't do aikido
  • Yes
  • No
Here are the current results.
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Old 11-19-2006, 04:35 AM   #2
Mark Uttech
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Re: Poll: Is "ki" as used in aikido a metaphor for you?

A metaphor is like a symbol, an illustration, not to be taken literally. "ki" is living energy.

In gassho,

Mark
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Old 11-19-2006, 07:13 AM   #3
Hanna B
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Re: Poll: Is "ki" as used in aikido a metaphor for you?

Quote:
Mark Uttech wrote:
A metaphor is like a symbol, an illustration, not to be taken literally. "ki" is living energy.
And "living energy" is what, precisely? Can your ki, or mine, be measured in kilojoules (the SI unit of energy)? Or does energy in context mean something else? If so, what?

Maybe a symbol and an illustration that is not to be taken literally?
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Old 11-19-2006, 08:02 AM   #4
Mark Freeman
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Re: Poll: Is "ki" as used in aikido a metaphor for you?

Quote:
Mark Uttech wrote:
A metaphor is like a symbol,
and so the serpent swallows it's own tail

For me, I need metaphor to describe my understanding of ki, but it is not a metaphor in and of itself, there... clear as mud!

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 11-19-2006, 08:40 AM   #5
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Poll: Is "ki" as used in aikido a metaphor for you?

For me Ki development is an integral, literal part of my trainng. Ki is what makes Aikido different from other activties. Ki also enhances everything that I do in my life.
Mary
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Old 11-19-2006, 11:31 AM   #6
Neil Mick
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Re: Poll: Is "ki" as used in aikido a metaphor for you?

I cast the 2nd vote for this poll (making it Yes: 1; No: 1)! Yippee!

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote:
And "living energy" is what, precisely? Can your ki, or mine, be measured in kilojoules (the SI unit of energy)? Or does energy in context mean something else? If so, what?

Maybe a symbol and an illustration that is not to be taken literally?
I'm with you, Hanna: ki is a metaphor.

At least, AFAIC.

Clearly, ppl practicing in other styles (Ki Society) would disagree with me.

But if its not a tangible thing, then it is an abstraction. Can you describe it? Can you hold it in your hand?

A metaphor does not make it any the less powerful, even so. Ki can be everything described here (and more), and still be a metaphor, linguistically speaking.
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Old 11-19-2006, 07:54 PM   #7
Robert Jackson
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Re: Poll: Is "ki" as used in aikido a metaphor for you?

I don't see key as a metaphor. To me Ki is just short for Kinetic Energy...

I put my right foot in, I put my left foot out, I do the Aikipokey and throw you all about
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Old 11-19-2006, 11:40 PM   #8
Hanna B
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Re: Poll: Is "ki" as used in aikido a metaphor for you?

Quote:
Robert Jackson wrote:
To me Ki is just short for Kinetic Energy...
And what is qi short for? (the chinese spelling)
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Old 11-19-2006, 11:47 PM   #9
Hanna B
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Re: Poll: Is "ki" as used in aikido a metaphor for you?

I am sure ki/qi is many different things for different people. Personally, I got comfortable with the concept when I started viewing it as a model for something, like Bohr's model of the atoms with the electrons in rounds circles around it. Completely wrong, as we know today, but still helpful for understanding how things work. I had a chemistry teacher who tried to skip the Bohr model and jump straight into sp3-hybridisation. It was terribly confusing, the class did not understand anything...

So yeah, metaphor of... something. Fine with me.
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Old 11-20-2006, 12:57 AM   #10
Martin Ruedas
 
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Re: Poll: Is "ki" as used in aikido a metaphor for you?

is a term not a metaphor if it can be measured? for example, ki. if ki can be measured, then it is not considered a metaphor anymore. are all intangible things considered as metaphor?

sorry i'm just confused.
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Old 11-20-2006, 05:14 AM   #11
Joe Bowen
 
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Re: Poll: Is "ki" as used in aikido a metaphor for you?

Quote:
Neil Mick wrote:
...I'm with you, Hanna: ki is a metaphor.
At least, AFAIC...But if its not a tangible thing, then it is an abstraction. Can you describe it? Can you hold it in your hand?
A metaphor does not make it any the less powerful, even so. Ki can be everything described here (and more), and still be a metaphor, linguistically speaking.
Interesting points, can we describe or hold abstractions? Can you hold Freedom in your hand? Or the air? What would Ki be a metaphor for?

I mention freedom, because it is a conceptual abstraction which many people can readily identify. We can feel free, but cannot physically hold it in our hand nor is freedom measurable by any objective standard or device. The degree to which a person feels free is purely subjective but most (not necessarily all) people would agree that freedom exists to some degree or another.

Air we can feel on our face, but also cannot hold (although air can be contained). Air can be measured by scientists and to a degree by our body (if you don't get enough you die, very crude sort of measurement but a measurement nonetheless), but for your average joe (like me ) air is an underlying current of life which is largely taken for granted without any conscious thought or measure. Perhaps ki is the same. Just because our scientists cannot measure it doesn't necessarily preclude its existence. The Bohr model example that Hannah provides is excellent. Perhaps our understanding of Ki is similar to our understanding of the atom before whatever it is they use to understand atoms now (remember I'm just your average joe not a nuclear scientist!).

I'm just adding more questions and not providing any answers, so I'll stop my rambling with a last thought on metaphors. Metaphors are figures of speech which use a word, idea or phrase in place of another suggesting a likeness between the two possibly to help someone understand the latter word, idea or phrase. So Ki is a metaphor for what? The synergistic kinetic energy generated by bodies engaged in activity? I don't think Ki works as a metaphor in a western society, there is no frame of reference for it. In eastern society it is a widely accepted idea or belief that people grow up with, and can work as a metaphor there, but not in the west. I would be more apt to understand synergistic kinetic energy generated by bodies engaged in Aikido, then Ki.

just your average Joe
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Old 11-20-2006, 07:34 AM   #12
SeiserL
 
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Re: Poll: Is "ki" as used in aikido a metaphor for you?

IMHO, yes it is a metaphor for understanding it and no its a reality to be experienced.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 11-20-2006, 12:13 PM   #13
billybob
 
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Re: Poll: Is "ki" as used in aikido a metaphor for you?

Sensei Seiser covered it, but I'll blab anyway:

Staying out of the philosophical discussion of what can be known by humans, ki is something I can feel. It is common for people to tell me I can not feel it, because they can not. So, I don't talk about this ability too often.

On the other hand, I've heard that the Japanese use Ki as a catchall concept 'to avoid affirming tautologies', meaning keeping discussions simple.

I had occasion to have a nerve deadened by medical procedure due to a bad injury. The MD asked how my body felt. I described sensations in terms of 'chi', even though I have some medical training - because I am comfortable using that concept, and am neither a neurosurgeon, nor a pain management specialist. He rolled his eyes a little, then listened anyway. Ultimately we understood each other.

David
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Old 11-21-2006, 07:18 AM   #14
Martin Ruedas
 
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Re: Poll: Is "ki" as used in aikido a metaphor for you?

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote:
IMHO, yes it is a metaphor for understanding it and no its a reality to be experienced.
just the explanation i need

I didn't vote because I still didn't know what's the right choice. now I understand and still I won't take sides
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Old 11-21-2006, 12:22 PM   #15
DaveS
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Re: Poll: Is "ki" as used in aikido a metaphor for you?

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote:
I am sure ki/qi is many different things for different people. Personally, I got comfortable with the concept when I started viewing it as a model for something, like Bohr's model of the atoms with the electrons in rounds circles around it. Completely wrong, as we know today, but still helpful for understanding how things work. I had a chemistry teacher who tried to skip the Bohr model and jump straight into sp3-hybridisation. It was terribly confusing, the class did not understand anything...
Yeah, that's pretty much my feeling. It's a model that's comparatively easy to usefully apply to certain situations and therefore is useful in those situations.

Although it's significant that sp3-hybridisation is also (part of) a model, though - it's just a model that's more consistent with reality in a broader range of cases...
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Old 11-22-2006, 11:22 AM   #16
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Re: Poll: Is "ki" as used in aikido a metaphor for you?

David Sim wrote:
Quote:
Although it's significant that sp3-hybridisation is also (part of) a model, though - it's just a model that's more consistent with reality in a broader range of cases...
Really begging for that discussion on epistemology (study of what can be known) aren't you?



dave
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Old 11-22-2006, 12:12 PM   #17
Hanna B
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Re: Poll: Is "ki" as used in aikido a metaphor for you?

Quote:
Joseph Bowen wrote:
What would Ki be a metaphor for?
For a number of things in our body that we can not otherwise easily describe, I'd say. Some of the phenomena that is usually explained with the concept of ki can actually be descriped in pure physics. Is the exercise "the unbendeable arm" familiar? One person holds out his/her arm, and another tries to bend it. The arm gets stronger if the person is concentrenting on extending ki, than on resisting. Actually, while resisting with all one's might one tenses the muscels on both sides of the arm - the ones that bend the arm, but also those that straighten it. Thus one is fighting oneself. Just maintaining the shape of the arm, often most easily achieved by imagining something flowing through it - like ki, or water - is stronger since one only uses the muscles needed.

We could say "OK we know how this works and it isn't ki, so ki has nothing to do with it". If so, we have to adjust the definition of ki to a number of things in our body that we can not explain at all, and everything that can be explained otherwise is removed from the concept of ki. Since I can not envision tensing one particular of these muscles, or both the groups, I find the concept ki useful here and would like to include the inbendebla arm way of handling the body in things that have to do with ki.
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Old 11-22-2006, 03:56 PM   #18
rcoit
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Re: Poll: Is "ki" as used in aikido a metaphor for you?

I answered "yes" but now I'm not sure if I understood the meaning or sense of metaphor here.
As I first understood aikido and read more with more enthusiasm, I found basic precepts resonated with my experience. One precept is that of Ki or Chi. I am both a physical and biologic scientist and well aware of the material assumptions underpinning western science. However, everyone experiences the flow and presence of Ki in daily life, particularly athletes. For example, driving: new drivers may bump and scratch their cars as they learn but spacial awareness ( which I believe to be a sensory aspect of experiencing Ki) gradually improves and the chances of collision decrease. Above this, experienced drivers begin to sense subtle aspects of the car and its performance... running over a bump may cause the driver to lift a foot... or ... turning becomes 'second nature' done with minimal effort. All athletes that are well-practised begin to sense their presence in the equipment they use and/or begin to sense the equipment is an extension of themselves. In weapons training this ultimately is experienced, of course. But to have this same sharing of 'presence' or Ki between individuals is the remarkable aspect of aikido.
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Old 11-25-2006, 09:06 AM   #19
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Re: Poll: Is "ki" as used in aikido a metaphor for you?

In American culture, the term "ki" is a word that has become very muddled. i.e. A New Age person might use ki as a term to describe something used in having out of body experiences, manifesting psychic abilities, and other alleged magical powers. It's awkward when the same word ki is thus used to describe natural processes such as throwing attackers, pinning attackers, and maintaining one's own balance while causing attackers to lose theirs. It's frustrating when the word "ki" has such contradictory meanings -- as it's possible for these contradictions to become a barrier to communicating and thinking about the art that we love. One just has to practice our art mindfully, despite the fact that the vocabulary used to describe the art may be imprecise.
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Old 11-25-2006, 09:42 AM   #20
acot
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Re: Poll: Is "ki" as used in aikido a metaphor for you?

The word qi in Chinese actually is used to describe breath. The energy we get from simply breathing. With that in mind the word angry is sometimes said er qi or (hot air). It is a normal part of Eastern Language. I live in Taiwan, and I speak a fair amount of Chinese, but I am not sure about all the different meanings though out Asia. Only how the chinese use it. (qi is a very common word used in combination with many other words to adjust the meaning, but it really is used to describe energy from breath in most cases).

Ryan

Nope.... doesn't address the question at all.. sorry.

Last edited by acot : 11-25-2006 at 09:45 AM.
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