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Old 07-27-2013, 09:40 AM   #1
kubia
Dojo: Tao Dan Dojo
Location: Ho Chi Minh City
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Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

Hi everyone, I'm new here

I just have practiced Aikido in about a month, and begin to read some book about it. I found that Ki is the essential of Aikido, but in my dojo, my sensei hasn't mentioned much about it.

Once, I asked him about practicing Ki, he said Ki is like Chi Gong - some kind of Chinese martial art focus on breathing - and danger to practice without great instructor. He also said that someone had some kind of mental damage while practicing by himself, before.

But if it's a danger thing why O' Sensei never mention about it. O Sensei said that Aikido can be practiced by anyone, why can a thing like that carry a serious danger?

I really don't know if that man who had the mental damage learn Ki from Tohei's books or elsewhere. But I have some questions still stuck in my mind. What's the different between Ki in Aikido and Chi in Chi Gong? Can I practice Ki by following Tohei's book? Because I don't think I can find someone to teach me about Ki around my place.

P/s: I am sorry about my writing. I'm really not good at english.
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:20 AM   #2
Mark Freeman
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

Quote:
Huy Pham wrote: View Post
Hi everyone, I'm new here

I just have practiced Aikido in about a month, and begin to read some book about it. I found that Ki is the essential of Aikido, but in my dojo, my sensei hasn't mentioned much about it.

Once, I asked him about practicing Ki, he said Ki is like Chi Gong - some kind of Chinese martial art focus on breathing - and danger to practice without great instructor. He also said that someone had some kind of mental damage while practicing by himself, before.

But if it's a danger thing why O' Sensei never mention about it. O Sensei said that Aikido can be practiced by anyone, why can a thing like that carry a serious danger?

I really don't know if that man who had the mental damage learn Ki from Tohei's books or elsewhere. But I have some questions still stuck in my mind. What's the different between Ki in Aikido and Chi in Chi Gong? Can I practice Ki by following Tohei's book? Because I don't think I can find someone to teach me about Ki around my place.

P/s: I am sorry about my writing. I'm really not good at english.
Hi and welcome to Aikiweb

Tohei's books are a good place to start. It was reading his "Aikido in Daily Life" that got me to start practicing aikido 21 years ago.

Following instructions from his book can lead to learning and discovery, however, this will be limited. There is nothing like finding a good teacher to help in your progress. I was lucky, I found a teacher who had spent years directly with Tohei.

I can't imagine how one could be damaged by practicing any of the methods that Tohei suggests (and nearly everything he does suggest ki-wise comes from Nakamura Tempu's Japanese Yoga).

I have however, been warned about some of the Chi Gong breathing exercises, I was also told of the negative effect they can have, if not taught/practiced correctly. So your teacher is correct to council caution.

My advice FWIW is to relax and not worry too much about ki at this point, it is going to take all of your effort just to figure out where your hands and feet go and how to fall correctly. Ki is as much about obtaining a 'correct feeling' in your practice, which is one of relaxed, dynamic concentration. It will come in time if you keep practicing.

Chi/Ki same thing.

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:50 AM   #3
Marc Abrams
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

Quote:
Huy Pham wrote: View Post
Hi everyone, I'm new here

I just have practiced Aikido in about a month, and begin to read some book about it. I found that Ki is the essential of Aikido, but in my dojo, my sensei hasn't mentioned much about it.

Once, I asked him about practicing Ki, he said Ki is like Chi Gong - some kind of Chinese martial art focus on breathing - and danger to practice without great instructor. He also said that someone had some kind of mental damage while practicing by himself, before.

But if it's a danger thing why O' Sensei never mention about it. O Sensei said that Aikido can be practiced by anyone, why can a thing like that carry a serious danger?

I really don't know if that man who had the mental damage learn Ki from Tohei's books or elsewhere. But I have some questions still stuck in my mind. What's the different between Ki in Aikido and Chi in Chi Gong? Can I practice Ki by following Tohei's book? Because I don't think I can find someone to teach me about Ki around my place.

P/s: I am sorry about my writing. I'm really not good at english.
Huy:

Some people give that same types of warning with masturbation ....... As a mental health professional and someone who integrates Ki and internal training in my martial arts, my opinion is that the person who gave you that warning was telling you the kind of story that you tell to children around a campfire to scare them.....

Marc Abrams
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:59 AM   #4
Hellis
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

Quote:
Huy Pham wrote: View Post
Hi everyone, I'm new here

I just have practiced Aikido in about a month, and begin to read some book about it. I found that Ki is the essential of Aikido, but in my dojo, my sensei hasn't mentioned much about it.

Once, I asked him about practicing Ki, he said Ki is like Chi Gong - some kind of Chinese martial art focus on breathing - and danger to practice without great instructor. He also said that someone had some kind of mental damage while practicing by himself, before.

But if it's a danger thing why O' Sensei never mention about it. O Sensei said that Aikido can be practiced by anyone, why can a thing like that carry a serious danger?

I really don't know if that man who had the mental damage learn Ki from Tohei's books or elsewhere. But I have some questions still stuck in my mind. What's the different between Ki in Aikido and Chi in Chi Gong? Can I practice Ki by following Tohei's book? Because I don't think I can find someone to teach me about Ki around my place.

P/s: I am sorry about my writing. I'm really not good at english.
Huy

You are not making a good start after only one month of study are you ?. You are reading books and questioning the advice of your teacher, you would do better to put the books in the loft and just train hard in Aikido. In the 1950s I recall the great Budo teacher Kenshiro Abbe Sensei reply to being asked about `Ki` - he said " don't speak to me about Ki in Aikido until after you are Shodan ".

You may do well to heed the first part of Marc's advice

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:44 PM   #5
KEM
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

Your english is fine, thank you for posting to AikiWeb and continue to do so! Don't be afraid of Ki and don't pursue it. It will rise up in you with authentic, regular Aikido training.
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Old 07-29-2013, 02:33 AM   #6
zargor
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
Huy

You are not making a good start after only one month of study are you ?. You are reading books and questioning the advice of your teacher, you would do better to put the books in the loft and just train hard in Aikido. In the 1950s I recall the great Budo teacher Kenshiro Abbe Sensei reply to being asked about `Ki` - he said " don't speak to me about Ki in Aikido until after you are Shodan ".

You may do well to heed the first part of Marc's advice

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/
He's not entering a cult, he is taking up a self-development practice. Kepp your mind awake, question everything and continue reading - pay respect to your teache but do not consider everything he says as gold, that's the best way to waste time and follow false prophets.
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Old 07-29-2013, 07:19 AM   #7
phitruong
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
Huy:

Some people give that same types of warning with masturbation .......

Marc Abrams
nooooo you don't say! i was wondering why my brain wasn't quite normal. on second thought, maybe third and fourth, i was wondering why our male species aren't quite right in the head.

Huy, don't worry about the ki/chi/khi stuffs. give it a bit of time and ask again. and don't worry about the warning. you aren't going to have fire shooting out your ass and evil spirit entering your head (tau hoa nhap ma - the vietnamese terms). i am trying to visualize the whole image and failing. although, i had some mexican foods the other day that has habenero pepper. the next day i sweared there were fire shot out of my ass and i was screaming my head off.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 07-29-2013, 07:31 AM   #8
SeiserL
 
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

IMHO, Ki is not dangereous, ignorance is.

BTW: Do train in a Tenshinkai Dojo? I was trained by Sensei Dang Thong Phong.

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 07-29-2013, 07:46 AM   #9
NagaBaba
 
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
Huy

You are not making a good start after only one month of study are you ?. You are reading books and questioning the advice of your teacher, you would do better to put the books in the loft and just train hard in Aikido. In the 1950s I recall the great Budo teacher Kenshiro Abbe Sensei reply to being asked about `Ki` - he said " don't speak to me about Ki in Aikido until after you are Shodan ".
That is a very good advice! Practice as hard as you can, forget about useless intelectuel divagations...
"no pain, no gain' as it is said in old wise saying from Himalaya....

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 07-29-2013, 10:27 AM   #10
Budd
 
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

I'd consider two general components (the devil will be in the details per usual, but for discussion purposes, I'm simplifying) in the ki/jin/internal strength that would come into play at basic levels with regard to being cautious. I'm going to speak from more of a Chinese-categorization approach (though by no means purist as I'd never claim any such lineage) rather than Tohei's Ki-Aikido model, even though I don't think they're necessarily mutually exclusive.

There's the jin as ground/gravity forces that you train the body to better convey as an expression of ki, which one approach might be building the frame, letting the mind direct those forces through the frame, then relying increasingly less on the frame to build the mind-directing forces skill. There are body conditioning aspects here but at least for a while, they tend to be of the "apply common sense" (i.e., don't try to do this against a ridiculous force load) while connecting the insides and relying less on local muscle groupings milieu. Definitely a combination of skill/strength/conditioning/coordination so without someone that knows how to do it, articulate it and transmit it - learning will be a challenge at best.

The the ki as breath/elasticity side of things has more dangers built into the practice, partially due to folks giving themselves health problems because of training things wrong or with the wrong idea. I'll speak even less about that here but that's probably where the things can go off course the worst from a self-harm perspective (as opposed to the more typical self-perception disorder perspective).

Anyways, thought I'd throw those nuggets into the discussion pot - I generally agree with most that you're better off just training according to the paradigm at your school as long as you feel that it's a good fit. Unlike others seemingly, I don't discourage folks from asking questions (or questioning what you're learning/training) --> There has to be a balance between "shut up and train" to "intelligently articulating what the hell it is you're doing". A danger of martial arts practice is the sometimes built-in "have faith and believe" motif is such that it can weed out the intelligent thinkers from a practice and leave the folks itching to belong without rocking the boat remaining to carry on a practice that requires some pretty robust analytic abilities (both from "how the heck do I train this in ME" let alone "how do I teach it"). As neither of those latter things will come from just doing reps .
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Old 07-30-2013, 12:28 PM   #11
Larry Feldman
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

It sounds like either your teacher does not have the experience or knowledge to teach you about Ki in Aikido, or does not feel like you are ready to begin the study after only one month of practice.

If you can raise the question again maybe you can get a better idea of what your situation is. If he does not have the knowledge - by all means read both of Tohei's books on the subject, and ultimately try to fond someone capable of teaching you directly on the subject.

If he can share some knowledge, he may feel like he wants you to invest more time in Aikido before training in Ki. Different schools and organizations approach the subject (or ignore it entirely) at different rates or times in a student's training.

Ki was an interest of mine so I sought it out when looking to train in Aikido - but your choices may be more limited.
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Old 07-31-2013, 06:35 AM   #12
lbb
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

My opinion only: esoteric subjects like ki can be approached all on their own (although finding a teacher isn't easy), but when approached through a physical practice like aikido, they need to be grounded on a foundation of physical practice. If the subject of ki interests you, then either pursue it as an esoteric practice independent of anything else, or if you choose to approach it through aikido, let the pursuit of ki go for now and focus on the physical training. Keep an open mind, do some reading or ask some questions once you've got a solid foundation in the physical practice (it will take more than just a few months), see what develops. If interest in ki is the only reason you are practicing aikido, I'd skip the aikido. If you have other reasons for practicing aikido, those reasons should be sufficient to fuel your practice for a good long while.
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Old 07-31-2013, 09:42 AM   #13
CorkyQ
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

Cross posted, please forgive:

Since my aikido training took a hard turn almost 10 years ago, I have been examining the nature of ki and have come to these conclusions.

Ki is fundamental energy. It is the energy that forms atoms out of nothing, and it flows.

Fundamental energy has different properties depending how it manifests in the material world as we know it. These are to be found among the four forces in nature: gravity, electromagnetic, strong, and weak (the last two affect matter at the subatomic level).

I propose that there is a fifth way fundamental energy expresses that is so difficult to quantify that it has been put aside as either imaginary or magical or it is ignored altogether. It is called spiritual energy.

For sake of simplicity, I will refer to spiritual energy as ki.

Ki has properties just like the other four, but since electromagnetism and gravity are easily observable in our human scale I will compare ki mostly to them.

Some gross generalizations: Gravity affects mass and is connective. Magnetism is connective also but can be repellent as well. The larger and denser the mass, the greater the gravity; the more the flow of electrons the greater the magnetism. Magnetism easily overcomes gravity in some situations (refrigerator magnet sticks to the door, doesn't drop to the floor; levitation of objects) but is weaker in others (two inches away from the refrigerator and the magnet drops to the floor).

The way Gravity and Electromagnetism become observable through their properties relative to material objects in the former and specific metals in the latter, Ki becomes observable specifically in living matter.

Ki is ordinary. That is, it is in every bit of living matter. It is the natural force that through its connectivity binds inert compounds into reproducing organisms.

All of the energetic expression of the universe starts with the big bang. In the space time continuum the big bang is happening right now as well as 13 billion years ago, but it is the radiant flow of all that energy that shows up as the cosmos.

Ki is expanding from the big bang as well. As the universe spreads itself far and wide, ki churns through it all, evolving living matter to fit the whole, subject to all the forces of nature but given life by the constant flow of this energy from its source.

We can observe this energy to be connective. As previously mentioned it binds inert compounds together to form organisms. It connects organisms together to make more organisms. It is connective between predator and prey. As this energy moves through space it gathers the inert compounds in the form of bodies that born of connection, grow, mature, age and become inert compounds again.

As our ancestors developed a neo cortex they became aware of the energy they could feel inside them making them different from the ground around them. Intuitively they understood that this energy was giving them life and without it they would go back into the ground, and though they could not explain it and could scarcely describe it, they called it, for lack of another word, "god."

The life-giving and connective properties of ki are tied together but also act independently. The life-giving aspects of ki happen automatically within living systems. The connective properties, outside of the ones chemical in nature, are expressed through intention.

Through intention we regulate the flow of ki through our bodies so that we can take action. Some actions are involuntary, but all are regulated through intention. For example, we swallow automatically, but the intention of the involuntary act is to push food and liquids through the esophagus without entering the trachea. In order to get up from a chair to get something to swallow requires that intention.

Through the mechanism of intention, we release flow through our body parts to take action. But the connective properties of this energy are also regulated through intention.

The connective properties of ki flow through us to other animate and inanimate objects. Our ancestors with their newly developed neo cortex became aware of this flow of energy between them, and though they could not explain it and could scarcely describe it, they called it, for lack of another word, "love."

The reason love feels so good is because when you love you are opening channels of this energy flow to do what it does best -- connect -- and as it is literally life-giving, it feels the best when the flow is not constricted. When we love, our systems become open conduits for this connective energy. There is a reason why perhaps the most intense physical pleasure our bodies are capable of comes from the deepest connection two people can have, and that's not a connection that is solely physical.

But because we have intention as a regulating device, we can withhold our connection from anyone or anything we choose. Unconditional love is said to be the highest form, and with it comes optimum ki flow and free expression of ki's connectivity. But as we start to withhold our love, usually out of a perception of threat, we put up barriers to that flow, our intentional "floodgates".

Putting up barriers to flow to thwart the connective properties of ki to protect the self do not stop those connective properties from needing to do what they do, and as the need to connect grows within a person the ki starts to come out constricted by fear. Similar to fluid dynamics, the ki that comes out in a constricted flow, comes out like water through a fire hose and with it a destructive connection.

In the book Aikido by Kisshomaru Ueshiba under the direction of Osensei, in the section under "Basic Knowledge" after posture, distance from one's partner, and the hand blade, comes ki no nagare, which is translated "stream of spirit." Your "stream" and your attacker's "stream" merge (harmonize). In the book it is put this way: It is the work of spirit power to involve the opponent's movement into your movement, responding naturally and unconsciously to the changes of circumstances.

Two pages later in the book, after entering and spherical movement, chikara no dashikata (extension of power). The description distinguishes between force power and spiritual power and describes releasing this spiritual power through the arms hands and fingertips.

The connective and live-giving properties of ki are the essential ingredient in aikido. Our practice is to transcend ancient lower brain defense mechanisms to release the unrestricted flow of ki of which we are capable. When we do this it becomes obvious why Osensei continually called aikido a budo of love.

Ki is only dangerous when it's connective properties are being focused into a destructive flow by constrictions born of fear.
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Old 07-31-2013, 10:55 AM   #14
Budd
 
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

All you need to know about the dangers can be found *cough* here:

http://www.dangerofchi.org/
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:16 PM   #15
graham christian
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

Practicing some nonsense is dangerous. To know Ki then you will find it is impossible for it to be dangerous. That's the problem. Those who believe or even demonstrate otherwise are not using Ki.

That's the truth one eventually will discover.

Peace.G.
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:09 PM   #16
Budd
 
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

That isn't true - there's lots of documented cases of folks in South China that would prove differently.
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:17 PM   #17
graham christian
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

Quote:
Budd Yuhasz wrote: View Post
That isn't true - there's lots of documented cases of folks in South China that would prove differently.
Prove? All they prove is that they are not using Ki. Energy? yes. Ki? no.

Peace.G.
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:18 PM   #18
Marc Abrams
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

Quote:
Budd Yuhasz wrote: View Post
That isn't true - there's lots of documented cases of folks in South China that would prove differently.
Budd-

there you go again using facts with somebody who doesn't need them to know the truth.... . I just shave the hair off of my palms after training in ki..... . Sounds like your training is working for you. Hope all else is well on your end.

Marc Abrams
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Old 07-31-2013, 08:03 PM   #19
hughrbeyer
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

Of course, as a practicing Christian, I am armored against all demons, jinn, and foul spirits, and can practice Ki with impunity. Get thee behind me, Satan.

Evolution doesn't prove God doesn't exist, any more than hammers prove carpenters don't exist.
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:19 AM   #20
Budd
 
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

Hi Marc, yup all is good, been taking a bit of a break from teaching my class and martial arts in general to focus more on my training for a bit - just did Tough Mudder last weekend, was wicked fun!

Anyways, I don't have much to say about anyone's belief system. If ki is everything, it's then also nothing. If it's everything good, then it's nothing good . . yadda yadda . . there's not really a point in that stance where I can have a productive discussion and to be honest all I see is WORDS WORDS WORDS.

I'm hopeful as more people continue to train and explore these things and people get to the point where they realize that nobody's wolfpack is the coolest and nobody's teacher has all the answers - the discussion level will continue to rise to more substantive matters regarding how ki/qi/jin/internal strength/"it" works, how it's trained, applied and how it fits into a broader practice (in this case aikido, but could be just as easily calligraphy, farming, etc.)
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Old 08-10-2013, 10:16 AM   #21
kubia
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

Thanks for your discussion!!

Budd and my teacher both said that Chi is dangerous. But I think the concept of Chi in Chi Gong has something different from Ki in Aikido. Or it is the same thing but have two different ways of approach, and the Aikido's way maybe is the more harmless. Chi Gong master mention about its danger, but Aikido master did not say Ki's danger at all. If practicing Aikido, especially Ki, is dangerous and OSensei or Tohei sensei did not mention about it, so this is a tremendous irresponsibility which nearly impossible came from people like them.

I'm practicing Tenshinkai Aikido, my teacher said he was a student of Dang Thong Phong sensei. But that make me become more concern about the fact that he mention about Ki or practicing Ki really are the way people do with Chi in Chi Gong, not in Aikido at all. <-- I don't know if you get what I mean, it hard for me to explain it in english.
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Old 08-11-2013, 06:39 AM   #22
SeiserL
 
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

[quote=Huy Pham;328769]I'm practicing Tenshinkai Aikido, my teacher said he was a student of Dang Thong Phong sensei. But that make me become more concern about the fact that he mention about Ki or practicing Ki really are the way people do with Chi in Chi Gong, not in Aikido at all.

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 08-11-2013, 12:52 PM   #23
graham christian
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

Quote:
Huy Pham wrote: View Post
Thanks for your discussion!!

Budd and my teacher both said that Chi is dangerous. But I think the concept of Chi in Chi Gong has something different from Ki in Aikido. Or it is the same thing but have two different ways of approach, and the Aikido's way maybe is the more harmless. Chi Gong master mention about its danger, but Aikido master did not say Ki's danger at all. If practicing Aikido, especially Ki, is dangerous and OSensei or Tohei sensei did not mention about it, so this is a tremendous irresponsibility which nearly impossible came from people like them.

I'm practicing Tenshinkai Aikido, my teacher said he was a student of Dang Thong Phong sensei. But that make me become more concern about the fact that he mention about Ki or practicing Ki really are the way people do with Chi in Chi Gong, not in Aikido at all. <-- I don't know if you get what I mean, it hard for me to explain it in english.
Yep, I agree. Many have gone into the chinese internal stuff and think wrongly it is to do with Ki as in Aikido. A fad, a phase, a mistake.

Peace.G.
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