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Old 10-23-2002, 07:39 AM   #1
Sven Groot
 
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Ki

Firstly, hi all.

I'm very new to Aikido, I've been doing it for 5 weeks now. I'm currently doing an introductory course, but I fully plan on joining this dojo afterwards.

Right now, with this post, I want to collect some opinions on a very difficult to answer question:
"What is Ki?"

I don't want dictionary definitions, I know those. I want to know what it is to you, how you view it and (possibly) experience it.

My knowledge about Ki is limited to reading about it here and elsewhere, and it's occurrence in Anime (like Dragonball Z or Love Hina). Of course especially Anime is bound to be dead wrong so I thought I'd get some opinions about it from people who really can know.

One of the stories that fascinates me most is the 'unbendable arm'. This is because when I was younger I would have incredible tantrums (a different story altogether, not really important for this thread) and one of primary school teachers tried to find a cause and help me find a solution with some alternative medicin she knew. I have no idea what it was called or what the origins are nor can I remember much of what she did exactly, since it's too long ago.
I do however remember that one part of it involved me lying on my back, and I had to think about stuff like events leading up to my outbursts - and I do mean really think about them, trying to relive it in my head - while sticking one of my arms straight up. If that side of my body/brain/whatever/idontknow responds good to what I was thinking about, she could lean against my arm with her full weight, yet would not be able to bring it down, even though I wasn't doing anything to keep it up there. When I responded badly to it, there was no way I could keep her from pushing my arm down without using muscles.

It's probably not exactly what she did, but it is what I remember. Btw, it didn't help in getting rid of my tantrums, but like I said, that's another story.

Any thoughts, ideas, theories?
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Old 10-23-2002, 07:50 AM   #2
SeiserL
 
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IMHO, Ki is the energy that is in everything. Ki is what happens when you align the body and the mind.

Ki made no sense to me early in my training. It makes only slightly more sense now. Its like a Zen koan that really has no answer other than the acceptance of what is.

Until again,

Lynn

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 10-23-2002, 08:13 AM   #3
ian
 
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I'd agree with Lynn - its very easy to get all esoteric about what ki is and isn't, but even though I've been training for quite a few years I'm not sure what other people mean when they talk about ki. People often mean different things such as intention, postive thought, energy binding us and the universe etc, but I don't know how helpful all this is in practise.

Best thing in my opinion is to train, and to realise that when something is effective it is usually a coordination between body, mind and the external (e.g. attacker), and maybe that could be explained by referring to ki.

Ian

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 10-23-2002, 10:05 AM   #4
ChristianBoddum
 
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Hi !

Think about this :

you originate from one cell,

when you were just this one cell did you have

a nervous system ?

so before any neural connection there was still connected activity.

By training you strive to achieve this one-cell funtion of body and mind and allow Ki to flow unhindered through you and thereby letting it work as your protection.

I once read that Ki as energy consists of the smallest form of particles - so small we have no way of measuring them and most likely never will,but Ki works through you even without any physical sensation because it is not attached to neural connection.

In traditional chinese energy-training Qi gong - Tai chi ,there is a study of it in relation to meridians and the neuralsystem,

but in aikido it's different.

Any way it is a life long study,

in Tai Chi f.ex. the older the Chi the better you become ,so the sooner you start to work on knowing Chi from your physique the better you'll be able to train in old age.

But not to confuse matters,train aikido and you will develop Ki-flow,if you get obsessed about finding out what Ki is you will probably not progress in your aikido.

When your mind focuses on one action all cells

cooperate,and the strength in that far exceeds

anything your body can come up with in terms of muscular strength/physical power.

I hope that helps.

yours - Chr.B.
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Old 10-23-2002, 10:55 AM   #5
Rev_Sully
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Does "Ki" also mean tree?

"He who knows best knows how little he knows." -Thomas Jefferson
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Old 10-23-2002, 11:32 AM   #6
Erik
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Re: Ki

Regarding the unbendable arm.

http://ofinterest.net/ua/arm2.html#1
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Old 10-23-2002, 11:33 AM   #7
tedehara
 
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Ki Symbol Portal

Take a look at our site:

The Chicago Ki Society Annex

It's a portal to various views and opinions on Ki and Ki development.

Last edited by tedehara : 10-23-2002 at 11:36 AM.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
About Ki
About You
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Old 10-23-2002, 11:58 AM   #8
opherdonchin
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Most of the words we use in our day-to-day lives were never really defined for us. Nobody 'told' us what a chair was, we just sort of learned it by encountering a lot of chairs. I think that Ki is best approached this way. Pick up examples of how the word is used and pay attention to sensations that you think might have something to do with it. Over time, a concept will evolve linking these things together. In the end, it's just a word that we use to bind together a bunch of experiences that we think are sort of similar in some way we want to keep track of. Of course, in the end that's all any word is.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 10-23-2002, 12:07 PM   #9
Greg Jennings
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Cavaet: There are a lot of views on Ki. I'm not saying that mine is better than anyone else's. It's mine and it works for me.

With that said, most of the forum members know that I'm an "Unbeliever". That is, I don't believe in ki as a mysterious seventh form of energy.

What I believe is that dealing with the many factors that go into optimum performance in a deterministic way is usually unproductive. So, we adopt a heuristic called "ki".

Through trial and error, we learn to develop "ki". Things go right and we say we had more ki. Things go wrong and we say we had less ki.

In summary, to me "ki" is roughly what we hear athletes call "the zone" or "the groove".

Take it for what it's worth.

Best Regards,

Last edited by Greg Jennings : 10-23-2002 at 12:11 PM.

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Old 10-23-2002, 12:30 PM   #10
ChristianBoddum
 
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To Rev Sully.

I'm not really sure I get the question,

but trees are great examples,

strong roots,perseverence through all kinds of weather,always growing.

You can train with trees - puches/kicks/connection/stress relief,it'll take a long time before you have the stamina to hurt a tree.Actually outdoors training will make you stronger - Ki ?

You may laugh now - I train with a tree in a park,and if I ask it's permission (onegai shimasu) it lets me connect.This is not uncommon practice in China.

To be like a tree in motion is probably not so bad.

Go figure -

yours - Chr.B.
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Old 10-23-2002, 01:09 PM   #11
Rev_Sully
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Christian,

I might be under the wrong assumption but if memorty serves me correctly, Ki is not only the word for that vital spiritual energy but also tree. As "ken" means both technique and "fist".

"He who knows best knows how little he knows." -Thomas Jefferson
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Old 10-23-2002, 01:29 PM   #12
ChristianBoddum
 
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To Rev S.

You might be right,but it also can be a grain of boiled rice,energy rises through the body,

like steam from a grain of boiled rice,

I think that is the chinese interpretation.

yours - Chr.B.
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Old 10-23-2002, 01:33 PM   #13
ChristianBoddum
 
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To Rev S.

oops ! I meant the symbol/kanji.

So you're probably right.

yours - Chr.B.
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Old 10-23-2002, 01:44 PM   #14
akiy
 
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Quote:
Eric O&#039Sullivan (Rev_Sully) wrote:
I might be under the wrong assumption but if memorty serves me correctly, Ki is not only the word for that vital spiritual energy but also tree. As "ken" means both technique and "fist".
Although they sound the same, they're two different characters, -- (tree) and C (as in aikido).

Just as homonyms in the English language may sound alike (eg sight and site), they have very different meanings.

-- Jun

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Old 10-23-2002, 02:53 PM   #15
MikeE
 
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I think Jennings San is correct in that many consider Ki as something mystical. The way I look at it is that Ki is like electricity. Just because you can't see it...doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

I respect his opinion (though i don't agree with it) that ki is just a crutch.

"Through trial and error, we learn to develop "ki". Things go right and we say we had more ki. Things go wrong and we say we had less ki." --Greg Jennings

I think that strong ki is sometimes hard to distinguish from strength. And even harder if your an "unbeliever".

All I know is that I am 6'2" 260lbs, and I couldn't move Sosa Sensei at all (he was about 5'8" 150lb), and he could toss me with ease. Not that ki is something mystical, but when you feel it, you know its there.

Just my humble opinion.

Mike Ellefson
Midwest Center
For Movement &
Aikido Bukou
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Old 10-23-2002, 08:40 PM   #16
afeinman
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To me, ki is the feeling of 'in-tune-ness' one gets when ones intentions and ones actions line up properly. In aikido, this means that I can perform techniques cleanly, correctly, and effortlessly. I feel that the visualizations surrounding "summoning ki" are helpful meditation exercises, and help bring me into a state of mind where I can focus on training properly.

As for what 'ki' is - well, the human body is a complex little device. To each scientist it looks like his little part. I'm a cognitive scientist, so I see things from a mental perspective. A biologist might talk about enzymes being released, or muscles being relaxed into a state of readiness. And so forth.

But for me, the multitude of things it might represent are adequately explained by the introduction of this rhetorical idea (which may or may not exist) of 'ki', and so I accept it as a sort of a linguistic/mental/spiritual shorthand for 'oneness of intention in mind, body, and spirit' and the myriad other uses you see for it.

I'm not a big fan of people who pretend to light things on fire with their ki. That's just muddying the waters. (Unless you can prove to me by stripping buck naked, submitting to a cavity search, and then lighting a piece of paper I provide and inspect, all while being closely scrutinized by The Amazing Randi - in which case, you might make a believer out of me).

Alex
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Old 10-24-2002, 01:58 AM   #17
aubrey bannah
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Grabing sensie has allway's felt like grabing a locomotive that was passing by. Ki is not the energy that it used to overwhelm somebody pysicaly, mentaly, or spiritually.

It is not the energy flow that may be felt after hard training.

It is not the energy you feel when joining spiritually in the technique being performed.

It is not the felt energy that flows though the body for healing or that used in healing meditation or healing groups.

It is not the energy used to perform a 1" punch.

It is not the energy used in Kododama or in sound and or colour meditations.

Ki may be being used as a general term to describe various things.

If you are going to bow to God and perform Aikido as one with God it is God's energy you are using.

Please do not assume I use the word God in any western sense at all.

Yours Aubrey

Such powers I poccess for working in the political field have been derived from the spiritual field. Mahatma Gandhi.
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Old 10-24-2002, 04:50 AM   #18
Sven Groot
 
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Thanks for all the replies. It certainly gives me somethings to think about.

To ChristianBoddum: You needn't worry, I am not obsessed in finding out what Ki is, simply curious. I realise that it will be many years, if ever, before I can get close to an understanding. An even then whatever I come up with is probably not a universal answer.
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Old 10-24-2002, 05:03 AM   #19
ChristianBoddum
 
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Hi Sven !

No sweat , I meant it more generally.

Hope see you in the air one day.

yours - Chr.B.
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Old 10-24-2002, 08:17 AM   #20
Ali B
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Hi Sven,

The reason everyone defines KI differently is that it is a different experience for everyone. Its a bit like trying to describe what something tastes like. There is no right or wrong answer.

Even asking a Sensei about KI will most likely bring an ambiguous answer. My last Sensei used to say "its just KI" like its the most natural thing in the worl, which of course it is.

The more you practice the better your feeling will become and the ki will be there. There are many exercises you can do to help.

Love and light

Ali
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Old 10-24-2002, 09:57 AM   #21
Genex
 
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Smile

Ki, before aikido and learning of Ki i didnt have a word for it, it was an essence a spirit that permeated everything around us if you can imagine that like in the film "final fantasy" everything has a spirit or Ki. this is what i see around us, learning to tune into that Ki is what we are trying to acheive tho no damn midichloriens for us it really is a force!

pete

like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick. - The hitchhikers guide to the galaxy on the Pan-galactic Gargleblaster!
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Old 10-25-2002, 11:23 AM   #22
Sven Groot
 
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Quote:
Peter Lovatt (Genex) wrote:
...tho no damn midichloriens for us it really is a force!
*waves hand*

"These are not the droids you're looking for."
Quote:
ChristianBoddum wrote:
Hope see you in the air one day.
???

Buku-futsu? (The flying technique from Dragonball Z)
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Old 10-25-2002, 03:34 PM   #23
ChristianBoddum
 
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Hi Sven !

I was thinking of a kokyunage of some sort,

and don't forget I have been known to be inside Darth vader !!

yours - Chr.B.
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Old 10-25-2002, 05:37 PM   #24
kironin
 
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Ki Symbol

Was going to reply but then came across this

in Jun's archives from a friend who says it well.

I like the title,

http://www.aikiweb.com/spiritual/lebar1.html

Craig
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Old 10-30-2002, 12:27 AM   #25
DrGazebo
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Ki, A troublesome concept

I think much of the discussion misses the mark. To simplify it too much is to ignore the reasonable questions a scientific mind wants to ask. Is it real, as a form of energy? Or does it refer to psychomotor coordination, yada, yada? To make to too scientific is ridiculous, "ki is the release of beta endorphin in the dorsal raphe", laughable.

I have been training for 15 years now and still don't know what the heck "ki" is supposed to be. But there is a feeling of unity, but not just mind and body, I get that during sex, no, its a direction of the force from the tanden, like a small circle that I can move in different vectors...yikes...see what I mean?

All in all, ki is a troublesome concept. On one hand, I think its a bunch of baloney, concocted by fighters and healers like the phlogiston theory. I teach in a University program in Oriental Medicine a bit and have worked with acupuncture educators for years. I still think there is no compelling argument for the existance of ki, shen, zhu or other oriental essences.

But when I am the dojo, everything changes. All of that stuff I just said becomes irrelevant, and I can feel something when the movements are right.

Its a paradox, what can I say?
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