Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > Spiritual

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 11-20-2000, 10:20 AM   #1
ian
 
ian's Avatar
Dojo: University of Ulster, Coleriane
Location: Northern Ireland
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,654
Offline
Following a recent aikido course I was interested by the instructor saying he did not like to use words such as 'ki' because it has so many meanings and is easily misunderstood. It definately rang a chord with me (not that I would say I fully understand it - but people use it to mean different things). Instead he used the word 'attitude', as in positive attitude.

Do you think we should shed off some of the more dubious beliefs and belief systems attatched to aikido to find the true practise? (or even translate it more effectively ot a western approach).

I understand many people do aikido for spiritual reasons, however it is an art of war (martial art) to me - and it is only through this relationship with the violent and killing aspects (of yourself or your opponent) which seems to offer this spiritual aspect to me.

Does anyone support (or refute) the view that too much spiritualisation of aikido turns it into a mystical and unreal martial art? (and also detracts from the physical realities of self-defence).

Ian
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2000, 03:11 PM   #2
aikilouis
Location: Germany
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 218
France
Offline
Your question contains its answer. If I disagreed with you, it would necesserily mean that "too much spiritualisation" would be fine to me, which is absurd.
More seriously, how can you consider eliminating Ki from Aikido ? Do you want to bend it according to your own values ? Who is qualified enough to declare some "beliefs" dubious and some others certain ? You ? No matter how long you've been practising, you'll never have as much experience as O-sensei and his disciples, who consider Ki as one of the central elements of Aikido (the Way to Unite with Ki).
If you find many aspects of our art mysterious (as I do), maybe it's because things cannot be revealed at once and some remain hard to understand for a long time.

LR Joseph
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2000, 05:30 PM   #3
akiy
 
akiy's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 5,835
Offline
Interestingly enough, some of these "disciples" of the founder have stopped using the esoteric notion of "ki" while others have embraced it. It's certainly not universal that people believe it's a central element in aikido.

Also, I'll add that the founder was hardly the first to use the term "aiki." That term has been around for hundreds of years in a martial context and has been used in arts like Daito-ryu that do not speak about "ki." If you can read Japanese, a Daito-ryu practitioner by the name of Kimura has written a book on his teacher Sagawa sensei who supposedly used this "aiki" very effectively -- people would fly off of him as though flung at just a touch.

The way I personally approach aikido is primarily through the physical. The spiritual aspect comes into play from training to refine my skill in the art. Of course, some of the concepts like relaxation and such come into play in a non-martial arena, but I can probably get to these same demons by doing another non-martial activity like sitting.

-- Jun

Please help support AikiWeb -- become an AikiWeb Contributing Member!
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2000, 08:26 PM   #4
crystalwizard
Dojo: Aikido of Dallas
Location: Dallas
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 123
Offline
yeah what what would you call it then?
Aido?

I find it interesting that people can accept without thinking about it the medical and scientific fields ascertaion that the human body has an electrical system, uses electricity as part of the function of life and yet have such a hard time with concepts dealing with directing their own energy flow.

Want a real simple demonstration of how you can direct energy to flow through you and out a specific point? go scuff your feet on the carpet then touch someone.

____________
Kelly Christiansen

A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is your mirror
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2000, 05:14 PM   #5
tedehara
 
tedehara's Avatar
Dojo: Evanston Ki-Aikido
Location: Evanston IL
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 826
Offline
Ki Symbol Ki/Chi/Qi

Quote:
ian wrote:
Following a recent aikido course I was interested by the instructor saying he did not like to use words such as 'ki' because it has so many meanings and is easily misunderstood. It definately rang a chord with me (not that I would say I fully understand it - but people use it to mean different things). Instead he used the word 'attitude', as in positive attitude.

Do you think we should shed off some of the more dubious beliefs and belief systems attatched to aikido to find the true practise? (or even translate it more effectively ot a western approach).

I understand many people do aikido for spiritual reasons, however it is an art of war (martial art) to me - and it is only through this relationship with the violent and killing aspects (of yourself or your opponent) which seems to offer this spiritual aspect to me.

Does anyone support (or refute) the view that too much spiritualisation of aikido turns it into a mystical and unreal martial art? (and also detracts from the physical realities of self-defence).

Ian
The instructor was correct, in that the word "Ki" is too ambiguous. Certainly the word "attitude" can be considered to be a good substitute if it fits the specific context that he was using.

The Japanese character "Ki" is the Chinese character for "Qi" or "Chi".
If you look at the various usages of Ki/Qi/Chi in the Chinese/Korean/Japanese cultures, the problem becomes more complex. The meaning can be used in the martial or healing arts. The term can be used in every day life or in specific religious terms. However to deny this concept is to deny the tradition and cultures that it came from.

Perhaps a more complete way to explain "Ki" in the situation you wrote about, would be to say that a person should have a correct attitude. In some cases other people would say that a person should have a positive attitude or plus ki. In this case, you explain your concept of what is happening and also explain how other people/instructors would express the situation.

Today, there are also political undertones to "Ki", since Koichi Tohei left Aikikai and used his concept of "Ki" with Aikido, as the focus of his organization, the Ki Society. Since many traditional instructors usually don't talk about Ki/Chi/Qi, but expect the student to figure out the experience for themselves, his "westernized" method of teaching is directly contrary to a traditional approach.

Various people have various reasons for practicing Aikido. Spiritual development is one reason. Developing a martial skill is another. Hopefully, whatever the reason for practice, everyone will train well.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
About Ki
About You
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-2000, 08:54 PM   #6
Richard Harnack
Dojo: Aikido Institute of Mid-America
Location: Maplewood, Missouri
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 137
Offline
Do symbol Ki/Qi

Kobayashi, Sensei, used to say that those who wanted to drop "ki" from Aikido, should be honest and call their art "Aido".

Having taught acupressure for the past 22 years, and having read one or two things on "ki" in that time, a couple salient points need to be considered.

1) There is an abstruse philosophy of Ki which developed first in China then later in Japan. This philosophy was derived in part from observation of how the body seemed to work, but mostly, it was derived from Daoism. As the discussion "progressed" the original basic understandings became increasingly esoteric, until the philosophy of "ki" was for the most part incomprehensible.

2) The part which remained focused in attempting how to understand how the human organismic body worked, however, was based upon empirical observation. Now the conclusions drawn are often faulted as being "unscientific", but the general observation remained true. Ki in this understanding is more concrete and directly related to how well the body functions. The understanding here need not be any more complicated than feeling "energetic" or "drained of energy".

When these concepts moved into the martial arts, their original introduction was based in breathing properly for the situation. In this manner extending one's awareness became a practical matter of survival. This is something which can be practiced.

There is an excellent book by Yuasa on the Body, Ki, & Spirituality (something like that) which has a very solid discussion of all these issues. I highly recommend it to you.

Suffice it to say, those who over emphasize the esotericism of the philosophy of ki and those who deny that ki has any reality or is even a part of Aikido, both are of the extremes. Practice and training is based in Chudo, the Middle Path. The extremes are interesting for discussions, but training is not a discussion.

Ki is the central character of Ai Ki Do, it cannot be excluded. Neither is it preeminent. Take a deep breath and exhale. Repeat frequently every day for the rest of your life. This is proper use of ki.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2000, 07:30 AM   #7
andrew
Dojo: NUI, Galway Aikido Club.
Location: Galway, Ireland.
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 334
Offline
Quote:
crystalwizard wrote:

I find it interesting that people can accept without thinking about it the medical and scientific fields ascertaion that the human body has an electrical system, uses electricity as part of the function of life and yet have such a hard time with concepts dealing with directing their own energy flow.
The bodys electricity can be detected or measured, but so can your heartbeat. Do you know anyone who can control their heartbeat? I don't mean stay calm- have you ever heard of anybody who can decide "I'll change the speed of my heartbeat" and consciously do it?

Aikido is full of people who line up their body, distrribute their weight, relax, and express a great deal more force than they can account for. Rather than see that they simply didn't realise what the controlled body is really capable of, people attribute ridiculous things to "Ki." Nobody ever opened a door with their "ki," they opened it with the weight of their body.

I believe fully in ki, but I also believe in simple physics, and simply put there's too many people who attribute the workings of the latter to the mystery of the former. You can't consciously direct your energy flow to improve your technique, you can only improve your technique and feel it direct your energy flow. Talk about channelling ki is, for beginners, demonstrating a lack of descriptive ability. Where many should say "I relaxed my shoulders because they were getting tired and just let the blade drop like I was told.." or "I shifted my weight to the _right_ place this time" we might hear "I CHANNELED MY KI AGAIN AND IT WILL MAKE ME INVINCIBLE!! HA HA HA!!"

Ar aon nůs,
andrew
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2000, 08:47 AM   #8
akiy
 
akiy's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 5,835
Offline
Re: Ki/Qi

Quote:
Richard Harnack wrote:
Ki is the central character of Ai Ki Do, it cannot be excluded. Neither is it preeminent.
True, but the term "aiki" in and of itself had been in use for hundreds of years prior to the "coining" of the term "aikido." Teachers in the Daito-ryu Jujutsu world (like Sokaku Takeda sensei), for example, use the term "aiki" very frequently and not as the usual aikido definition of "blending with ki" kind of thing.

I recently read a book called "The Invisible Power" ("Toumei no Chikara") which was written in Japanese by a student of Sagawa sensei. Sagawa sensei had studied with Takeda sensei for a long time and had "found" the power of "aiki." There are many interesting anecdotes of Sagawa sensei's throwing people across the room (in the opposite direction of the attack) with just lightest touch. This sort of thing (of making uke's strength disappear with any sort of contact) was what he called "aiki."

Personally, I've met plenty of people who do not use the concept of "ki" within their training and/or teaching who have, in my mind, wonderful aikido...

-- Jun

Please help support AikiWeb -- become an AikiWeb Contributing Member!
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2000, 09:25 AM   #9
REK
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 102
Offline
Quote:
andrew wrote:

The bodys electricity can be detected or measured, but so can your heartbeat. Do you know anyone who can control their heartbeat? I don't mean stay calm- have you ever heard of anybody who can decide "I'll change the speed of my heartbeat" and consciously do it?
Yes. Not only is it common to find such levels of conscious control over "involuntary processes" among the adept in yoga, it can also be found among the "psychopaths", a particular and uncommon subset of the antisocial personality.

BTW, it is also possible to train to develop conscious control over one's serum oxygen saturation, metabolism, and (gasp) breathing. These are things being done in research on chronic pain treatment, status post coronary artery bypass graft surgeries and some seizure disorders.

Rob

________________________
Mors certa, hora incerta
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2000, 10:26 AM   #10
andrew
Dojo: NUI, Galway Aikido Club.
Location: Galway, Ireland.
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 334
Offline
Quote:
REK wrote:
Quote:
andrew wrote:

The bodys electricity can be detected or measured, but so can your heartbeat. Do you know anyone who can control their heartbeat? I don't mean stay calm- have you ever heard of anybody who can decide "I'll change the speed of my heartbeat" and consciously do it?
Yes.
OK, but I think those exceptions prove my point. Luckily I have yet to encounter a genuine psychopath on the mats.... I think...
andrew
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2000, 10:34 AM   #11
akiy
 
akiy's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 5,835
Offline
Quote:
andrew wrote:
Aikido is full of people who line up their body, distrribute their weight, relax, and express a great deal more force than they can account for. Rather than see that they simply didn't realise what the controlled body is really capable of, people attribute ridiculous things to "Ki." Nobody ever opened a door with their "ki," they opened it with the weight of their body.[/b]
I remember hearing a story about Koichi Tohei sensei a while back. Tohei sensei was asked during a dinner by someone if he could move a glass of water with his ki. Tohei sensei said, "Of course!" and proceeded to pick up the glass with his hand and moved it across the table.

-- Jun

Please help support AikiWeb -- become an AikiWeb Contributing Member!
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2000, 11:22 AM   #12
BC
Location: Chicago, IL
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 432
Offline
I love that story! LOL! Another one I remember is when Koichi Tohei was interviewed and was asked if one could feel ki. His response was that if you believe you can feel ki in your body, "to go see a doctor."


Robert Cronin
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2000, 04:09 AM   #13
andrew
Dojo: NUI, Galway Aikido Club.
Location: Galway, Ireland.
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 334
Offline
Quote:
akiy wrote:
I remember hearing a story about Koichi Tohei sensei a while back. Tohei sensei was asked during a dinner by someone if he could move a glass of water with his ki. Tohei sensei said, "Of course!" and proceeded to pick up the glass with his hand and moved it across the table.

-- Jun [/b]
That's a good story, I'll have to remember it. Thanks Jun!

andrew
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2000, 06:25 PM   #14
Richard Harnack
Dojo: Aikido Institute of Mid-America
Location: Maplewood, Missouri
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 137
Offline
Circle Re: Aiki

Quote:
akiy wrote:
Quote:
Richard Harnack wrote:
Ki is the central character of Ai Ki Do, it cannot be excluded. Neither is it preeminent.
True, but the term "aiki" in and of itself had been in use for hundreds of years prior to the "coining" of the term "aikido." Teachers in the Daito-ryu Jujutsu world (like Sokaku Takeda sensei), for example, use the term "aiki" very frequently and not as the usual aikido definition of "blending with ki" kind of thing.
-- Jun
Jun -
This can become a very slippery slope of linguistic history of terms. Like many of the terms used in the martial arts, "Aiki", "Ki", etc. have come to be used in both overly specific and general ways. Your example of Sagawa's comment on "Aiki" being one which seems to refer to a particular class of techniques sharing a particular quality.

The not so simple matter is how the individual using the term understood it and what importance they assigned to it. The person who said it first does not necessarily say it best.

One of my favorite anecdotes about how tunnel visioned martial artists can become (especially, in Aikido) relates to "O' Sensei". It seems an American Aikidoka was relating to a Japanese something about O'Sensei. The Japanese stopped him and asked which "O' Sensei" was he talking about because in Japan this term is used to refer to certain persons who are perceived as master teachers. His point being, that as an accountant, he had an "O'Sensei" in accounting who meant a lot to him.

Doing linguistic history and tracing the development of a concept is great fun and very enlightening. It can also become a completely futile exercise because having explored all the possible parameters of meaning of any given term, one ultimately comes back to the meaning one gained early in training. What is added is experience. What is lost is the freshness and excitement of the first moment you achieved some understanding of the concept.

I think that we need to keep distinctions clear when speaking of terms (Aiki, etc) in the technical sense and in the broader philosophical sense.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2000, 07:33 AM   #15
aikilouis
Location: Germany
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 218
France
Offline
I use the O'Sensei writing only when refering to an Irish Aikido teacher. For me Morihei Ueshiba is O Sensei (linguistic wink).
LR Joseph
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2000, 11:25 AM   #16
ian
 
ian's Avatar
Dojo: University of Ulster, Coleriane
Location: Northern Ireland
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,654
Offline
Talking

Thanks for the interesting replies - I was slightly suprised (and also pleased) not to hear of amazing feats where people managed to project people without touching them etc.

As sceptical as I am I was shown a recent excercise for developing a 'feel' for chi flow. After doing this I could detect, with my eyes closed, peoples bodies/hands (including my own) if they were within about half a foot of my hand. I don't know the explanation. It was a tingly feeling (a bit like static electricity, but more like in your skin, than on the surface. Also, although touching stopped the feeling, once the touch was removed the feeling continued.) It didn't seem to work with trees either (!)

I've given up trying to make sense of esoteric explanations - I just have to start accepting if things work, they work; there are many things we can't yet explain, though we do experience them.

Ian
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2000, 03:45 PM   #17
torokun
Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
Location: Denver, CO
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 11
Offline
Ki Symbol Ki is Concrete.


I practiced aikido for 4 years, training _hard_, and eventually I realized that if there was anything more to ki than I was seeing, I wasn't going to be able to learn it there.

Thankfully, I found a great teacher of BaGuaZhang and XingYi who really knows what internal power is about, and how to teach it. I also found a number of first hand accounts of experience with subtle forces in the body, which convinced me beyond a doubt that Ki is much much more than most aikidoka know about or even suspect.

Esoteric Taoists in China don't think that ki is mystical, or strange, or made up. Ki is concrete the moment you begin to feel it. Until that point, it's a mystery... Actually, it's sort of like sex, in that way... or an orgasm -- you don't know what it's like until you experience it. After that, it's part of everything you feel...


--torokun
(Trevor)
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

Aikido DVDs and Video Downloads - by George Ledyard Sensei & other great teachers from AikidoDVDS.Com



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Bill Witt Shihan in Santa Fe, 4/20-4/22 AikiWeb System AikiWeb System 0 01-22-2007 11:00 AM
Santa Cruz Summer Retreat (Review) TracyHeld Seminars 1 07-11-2006 07:04 PM
Koji Yoshida Shihan in Santa Monica, CA, May 20-21 AikiWeb System AikiWeb System 1 05-02-2006 09:54 PM
Need a dojo in Santa Cruz, Bolivia HELP! jsatkin Training 2 01-14-2006 08:26 AM
North Bay Aikido becomes Aikido of Santa Cruz AikiWeb System AikiWeb System 0 10-28-2005 09:28 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:13 AM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate