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Old 11-16-2007, 01:44 PM   #151
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
And the scientific point of view isn't necessarily the only valid point of reference...
Really? What other "valid" point of reference is there? And... can you prove it? (tongue in cheek)

Best.

Mike
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Old 11-16-2007, 01:45 PM   #152
Aiki1
 
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
I rather enjoy watching videos of Tohei doing demos in the 60's and 70's
Hi Keith - Tohei was great. Our style was originally Ki-Society based, many years ago. My original teacher was very close with both Tohei and Rod Kobayashi. We use many of the Ki exercises and tests as our beginning Ki training. We also have other training tools that take it in the direction that we feel is valuable, focusing on both the internal experience and also on the manifestation and application of Ki in actual physical interactions.

Are you in LA?

Larry Novick
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ACE Aikido
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Old 11-16-2007, 01:52 PM   #153
Aiki1
 
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Michael Hacker wrote: View Post
However, a question still remains: what energy?
As MH knows, I am taking this aspect of my discussion off-list, so anyone who cares is welcome to email me privately.

Larry Novick
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Old 11-16-2007, 01:56 PM   #154
Keith Larman
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

Quote:
Larry Novick wrote: View Post
Hi Keith - Tohei was great. Our style was originally Ki-Society based, many years ago. My original teacher was very close with both Tohei and Rod Kobayashi. We use many of the Ki exercises and tests as our beginning Ki training. We also have other training tools that take it in the direction that we feel is valuable, focusing on both the internal experience and also on the manifestation and application of Ki in actual physical interactions.

Are you in LA?
Yup, in Los Angeles. Our head dojo (AIA) is in Eagle Rock to be more precise since LA is such a large area.

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Old 11-16-2007, 01:58 PM   #155
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Maybe the visualization problem wasn't his fault, though? We're all looking for the best way to say these things, but the point is that ki skills can be functionally demonstrated. If they can be demonstrated they can be analysed. If they can be analysed they can be accurately described. Maybe the kid just needed a more accurate description to follow?

BTW, Keith, I wasn't ever really discussing you or your practices. I was only using your remarks to springboard off of.

Best.

Mike
No worries, didn't take it that way. I did get the kid to do it, I just had to change my approach... The issue there really was his automatic dismissal of the approach which stopped everything before it even started. So I changed approach and helped him visualize it in a way that he wasn't so quick to dismiss.

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Old 11-16-2007, 02:01 PM   #156
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Yup, in Los Angeles. Our head dojo (AIA) is in Eagle Rock to be more precise since LA is such a large area.
OT - I know exactly where it is - great group of people. I'm in Santa Monica. If you ever find yourself on this side of town....

Larry Novick
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Old 11-16-2007, 02:20 PM   #157
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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It's when people start talking about the "ki" as a literally existing physical force that I get uncomfortable. I see it as more a useful heuristic device.
That caused me heartache as well, because force is such a poor fit. Things of great power and control may be occurring and yet seemingly there are very low gross accelerations occurring -- until they suddenly do occur and becom very large. The presence of a force requires an acceleration, ergo -- ki ain't a force. The presence of ki does not require acceleration, necessarily. It also may more typically involve constantly changing or oscillating accelerations where the dynamic itself is storing energy in a conservation sense without much effort of any maintaining force, making force particularly inapt and complex to use.

So I looked for a physical quantity with a closer mapping. The "potential" aspect was also difficult in force terms because the energy storage of potential was difficult to place in force terms. There is no obvious "Ki battery" in the body, unless of course it simply IS the body.

So much of what we do is positional vice "energetic" in purely acceleration terms. "Potential" thus also had to depend primarily on realtive position. It could not merely depend on height potential from gravity (although that clearly also plays a part in the dynamic), if, for no other reason, than short people have no disdvantage in aiki. In that sense gravitational potential not something you use as much as have used on you, a collateral hazard to be both offset by and exploited by the means of the use of ki, ki being something else or at least something more general in this sense.

Position itself defines a moment from a center -- which is a potential for rotation about that center -- which when realized -- is angular momentum.

That's what took me to angular momentum. It is synthetic, like force, but of a lower order, using velocity or angular velocity, the first derivative of location (position) vice the second derivative (acceleration). It meets all the other things I have yet thrown at it for comparison with the traditional understanding of ki at all sorts of scales. "Potential" is then understood in terms of purely relative position, the root of the derivative -- that is to say -- maai, both internally and externally considered.

My understanding of it is not merely an attempt to be heuristic, approximate or analogous but an attempt to establish it as an applied concept of actual relationship between the two systems of knowledge at all levels to which the concepts pertain.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 11-16-2007, 03:25 PM   #158
Timothy WK
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

Well... I'll jump in and try to explain how I understand "ki". I believe all of this has been said elsewhere, though I'm not sure if it's all been put together like this. Be warned that I'm still a beginner, and that most of my knowledge is still academic. I've experienced some stuff, though my ability to demonstrate it practically is still pretty limited.

As I said, I use the word "ki" to discuss and describe various biomechanical processes. But I think to really explain what ki "is", I need to step back a touch and discuss the bigger picture of what's going on. And to that end, I think there are 5 contributors to the "ki phenomenon":

Posture and Body Alignment
So the easiest thing to discuss is posture and body alignment. We all know that our bodies depend on our skeletal system for support, and that proper posture and body alignment is necessary for the efficient transfer of energy (in the physics sense). In and of itself, not a big deal, though I think many martial artists don't spend enough time thinking about the subtleties of their "structure".

It should also be noted that proper posture and body alignment facilitates a number of other "ki"-related biomechanical processes, by allowing the body to work the way it was designed to.

Relaxation
We also all know that relaxing the body improves efficiency. But again, even though most will pay lip service to relaxation, few martial artists seem to actually practice relaxation.

When it comes to "ki", it should be noted that relaxation facilitates a couple of other relevant biomechanical processes, also by allowing the body to operate the way it should.

Blood Flow
Now we're getting into the real phenomenon of "ki". One of the things that relaxation and proper body alignment does is increase blood flow by opening up pinch points in the circulation system.

The big thing increased blood flow explains is the increased body heat one experiences from "ki". This is how monks can go meditate in the winter and melt all the snow on the ground, though they're not moving. (It's quite amazing how warm one can get from simply opening up the circulation system.) Some practitioners claim to be able to generate extreme levels of heat, particularly in the hands. I haven't experienced that, so I can't say if blood flow alone explains such abnormal levels of heat.

I think this increased circulation also helps explain some of the reported health benefits from practicing qigongs and such.

Mental Relaxation & Meditation
Many ki exercises have a meditative quality about them, and meditation has been shown to have all sorts of psychological benefits. Increased focus, awareness, peace of mind, etc. I will add, though, that being mentally relaxed allows one to notice subtle sensations in one's body, which facilitates the development of some of the other biomechanical processes I'm discussing.

And the big one, the Fascia
The above stuff I've mentioned is all pretty "normal". They have benefits, but don't seem to give people those extraordinary "ki abilities" like Ueshiba or Takeda. As I said earlier, I subscribe to the theory that "ki" skills involve the utilization of the fascia.

"Fascia" is a somewhat generic term for various types of connective tissue in the body. Tendons and ligaments are considered fascia. There's a layer of fascia under the skin that holds the muscles and organs and other internal structures in. And there's fascial tissue interwoven with muscle fibers inside the muscles.

Western medicine has found that there's various channels of muscle/ fascia/ tendons that run throughout the body. It is my belief that "body connection" & ki-based movements involve exploiting these muscle/ fascia/ tendon channels.

How exactly isn't known, though there are a couple possibilities. One is that practicioners may learn how to contract the fascia itself. Western medicine has evidence that the fascia can contract, though it doesn't normally. Another possibility is that these channels are used as "strings", such that practitioner can use one part of the body to literally move another.

(If I may make a quick aside, something that's interesting about "using ki" to power movement is that there's a distinct feeling of "expanding" or "pushing", compared with the feeling of "contracting" or "pulling" with muscle. It's like... um, using your chest to push your shoulders back, compared with pulling them with your back. I'm not sure if this is just a mind trick, or if it says something about how fascial movement works.)

Regardless of how exactly it's done, learning to "connect" the body via these channels seems to dramatically increase one's power, while simultaneously decreasing the perceived effort. My understanding is this:

When using normal muscular movement, each joint acts independent of one another. Thus you use a coordinated chain of muscles. And as we know, a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link. Or in this case, one's movement is only as strong as one's weakest muscle. Technique compensates for this with proper body alignment, but the point still stands.

Now though, if one can utilize these muscle/ tendon/ fascia channels to unilaterally "connect" each joint along the movement path, you can eliminate any weak spots. Each joint will be just as strong as the next. Further more, if the "connection" is a uniform "string" rather than a "chain", it's possible to transfer the strain from one joint/muscle down the line to a stronger joint/muscle. This means that practitioners can transfer force not just through a straight line, but also through seemingly weak or awkward lines or angles.

So the reason advanced practicioners seem to have such "effortless" and "superhuman" strength is "simply" because utilizing these channels provides more efficient support for transferring force through the skeletal system. Practitioners can more effectively put their weight into strikes or throws. Also, as Mike said, utilizing these channels allows them to re-direct force, via their skeletal system, to/from the ground. This is what makes certain individuals "unmovable."

At this point, one can begin to understand the idea of "moving with one's center". The abdomen acts as a nexus of sorts for these fascial channels, connecting the upper and lower portions of the body. This means that it's literally possible to use the muscles and other internal structures within the abdomen to power and control the movement of the limbs. Additionally, the diaphragm (aka one's "breath") can be used to "pressurize" the abdominal area and add strength to these "center"-based movements.

This helps explain the highly coordinated movement of people like Kuroda or Ushiro. Instead of simply coordinating several individual movements, they are quite literally making a single movement within their centers that's "pulling along" the limbs.

Some of more woo-woo ki stuff might also be explained with the fascia argument, I believe. As I tried saying earlier in this thread, many of the seemingly mystical stuff attributed to ki---floating, inflating, invisible ki "balls", wind/energy passing by the skin or projected from the hands, the meridian lines, etc---accurately describes the feeling one gets during ki exercises or meditation (and I've personally experienced the sensations I listed). And it should be noted that many of these sensations seem to manifest "just under the skin".

I think this potentially explains why certain individuals can "harden their skin", such as when the shaolin monks bend metal bars with their necks or bend swords pushed into their stomachs.

The fascia theory might explain the increased sensitivity of high-level martial artists. Certain Taiji teachers, for example, claim to be able to feel every bone in their bodies. One of the layers of fascia (I forget which ones) contain certain nerves or sensors that report the position of the bones. If the fascia is developed/strengthened, would these nerves/sensors also be effected? (If that's true, I wonder if there's a connection with various masters ability to make "spontaneous techniques"?)

Western science has also shown that the fascia can generate a magnetic field. Is it possible to harness and direct this ability? There are stories of ki masters lifting knives or other metal objects with their palms. Is it possible to project this force, such that others can feel it? Is it possible to develop this ability and generate electricity (like John Cheng, maybe)? Who knows what's possible, though such abilities would surely be out of reach for all but a handful of elite individuals.

--Timothy Kleinert

Aikido & Wujifa qigongs
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Old 11-16-2007, 04:33 PM   #159
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

In thinking about this further, I can say that in reality, I am more into "Aiki" than purely "Ki" when it comes to my Aikido - what I mean by that is, it's how one -uses- Ki, whatever one's definition of it is, in an interaction that is more important to me personally.

Ki can be used in different ways (in Aikido and other circumstances), within the full range of having the ability to totally dominate another person (and even hurt them in some devastating ways), to being "invisible" in the process. In my experience, oftentimes at least, people "into Ki" (in Aikido and other arts) are learning about using it's power in an interaction, and thus to me, end up more towards the first "end of the spectrum" - which is about dominating someone.

I am much more into the other side, the "invisible" side, and this, for me, moves more into my sense of Aiki, and "being with" the person and not doing something "to them" - rather than exerting my power over them - because the end result is usually a very different feeling and experience for both parties.

This sense of outcome is important to me, so in my world, Aiki is a Relationship with Ki that manifests into action in accordance with Who You Are Being, not just What You Can Do (in this case, to another person.) The presumption here is that the nature of the outcome has some meaning, and who we are (being) has some relationship to that. For me, that has a lot to do with my core relationship to Aikido.

Larry Novick
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Old 11-16-2007, 04:41 PM   #160
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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Larry Novick wrote: View Post
In thinking about this further, I can say that in reality, I am more into "Aiki" than purely "Ki" when it comes to my Aikido - what I mean by that is, it's how one -uses- Ki, whatever one's definition of it is, in an interaction that is more important to me personally.
But how can anyone ai with ki if they don't really know what ki is and how to do it? Was Tohei just wasting time teaching people via ki-tests, etc.? Was the one-time chief instructor of Hombu Dojo not as informed as Ueshiba thought?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 11-16-2007, 07:50 PM   #161
eyrie
 
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

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...You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.

Ignatius
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Old 11-16-2007, 08:42 PM   #162
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

Aikiyoda!
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Old 11-17-2007, 12:32 PM   #163
Michael Douglas
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Re: Ki and Remaining Grounded

Talking of Yoda ;
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
How about that earlier DTR video knocking down the posse holding him up. That's a good one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4M579s8Gni0 (about 3:15)
The undulations of the demonstrator's body seen in the video to effect the "throw" are exploiting the natural rhythmic oscillations of the supporters own double pendulum balance.
No way, he's exploiting a bunch of numptys giving him the bumps. What a crock!

And I'd like to remind Derek of his great post here, good man (yeah I know it's off topic).
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2) Global warming fruitcakes want DESPERATELY to think that we are the cause of many climatic woes on the planet. Nevermind that this isn't the first "hot cycle" the planet has seen, by far...
And good one from Ian, shouldn't be forgotten ;
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Ian Hurst wrote: View Post
So, give me a bite-sized bit of Ki which demonstrates the principles you personally attribute to ki (fully explained and described please so there's no confusion) and I'll happily have a go.
Still haven't seen this realised. Anyone having a go?
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