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Old 05-19-2003, 12:37 PM   #1
Ghost Fox
Dojo: Jikishinkan Dojo
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Ki Symbol Gestalt

Lately, I was wondering if ki is a gestalt. That ki is composed of several physical, biological, and psychological phenomena that combine to form something greater than the sum of its parts.

If this is true, then ki is more an alignment of events, a multivariable equation, or constructive resonance, than a single measurable value (Newton, Calorie, Watts).

If this is true what components make up this equation and what weight should be assigned to each particular unit?

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Old 05-19-2003, 02:40 PM   #2
jimvance
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Quote:
Damion Lost wrote:
Lately, I was wondering if ki is a gestalt. That ki is composed of several physical, biological, and psychological phenomena that combine to form something greater than the sum of its parts.

If this is true, then ki is more an alignment of events, a multivariable equation, or constructive resonance, than a single measurable value (Newton, Calorie, Watts).

If this is true what components make up this equation and what weight should be assigned to each particular unit?
Good question. Couple of things though.

The definition of gestalt doesn't necessarily dictate that these different "phenomena" (which are really just other gestalts, but more on that later....) are GREATER than the sum, merely that they are DIFFERENT than the sum. Nuff said, do the research on that one.

I would like to make one other point. Any gestalt arises from the interaction of different factors, those factors themselves being just another network of structural relationships. Modern science has yet to pinpoint a real "essence" than cannot be reduced to another level of structural relationships. To state it another way, how we perceive the universe has nothing to do with its "actual" function, rather, we simply create those functions so that we can interact within it. Is ki real? Sure, to someone who identifies with it. The ultimate test as to its legitimacy rests on the ability to recreate its existance, i.e. to create the structural relationships in a predictable fashion.

We do the same things when we build an airplane, a nuclear reactor, or a turkey sandwich.

Cheers.

Jim Vance
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Old 05-19-2003, 04:44 PM   #3
Jeff R.
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A boat is floating at a dock, and a rope ladder is hung over the side of the boat and into the water. The distance between each rung is one foot. There are two rungs below the surface of the water and six rungs above the surface. The water level rises two feet. How many rungs are now visible above the surface of the water?

There is something to think about. Ki? Not so much. It's like unconditional love. You can't measure it; can't keep it for yourself; the more you give the more you receive; if you try to contain it, it does you no good.

Want to play with it? Try 'Hand of a Thousand Bells.' Or, have someone bury an object somewhere in your back yard, then you try and feel-find it (use your gut instead of your eyes).

Exercise and extend your Ki with conviction; feel its awesome power--just smile.
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Old 05-19-2003, 06:50 PM   #4
DCP
 
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Jeff:

0 rungs remain above the surface of the water. The boat is completely submerged because it took on water when the hull was smashed against the dock. Hope you have good insurance. j/j

A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.
- Aesop
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Old 05-21-2003, 04:52 PM   #5
jimvance
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Disgust Harmony or "Truth"? To rant or not to rant....

I really don't appreciate it when someone asks a decent question, perhaps expecting a similarly cogent answer (or at least something else to discuss), and some joker comes along and throws the whole idea into the shitter. This only stinks worse when some other mendicant comes along and takes what the joker said and moves it even farther from the subject posed initially.

If someone takes the time to ask a halfway intelligent question, please do us all a favor and reply in a manner of similar intelligence. I have seen too many threads go round and round and not get anywhere simply because people were jerking each other around. And no, don't take up any more of Jun's precious space disparaging me on a public forum, because I won't respond, as I am not interested in YOU, I am only interested in what you have to say regarding the initial question (which I thought was very interesting and pulled me out of my lurking).

A word of advice (as if it mattered): Be as cheeky as you want, or make up all sorts of logical puzzles, but don't forget that you must make a point regarding the original subject. I like this site, and it's lots of fun to be witty and goofy, but you don't barge into a physics lab and start throwing mudballs. If I insulted anyone here, or you think I am being too harsh, please leave me a private message.

Cheers.

Jim Vance
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Old 05-21-2003, 05:09 PM   #6
siwilson
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I find that Gozo Shioda Sensei's explanation of Ki works best for me - the Mastery of Uke's Balance!

This then makes it composed of time (timing), position vector (distance/position), momentum/energy, force (from Uke & Tori/Sh'te/Nage), and mind (conciousness)!

There is obviously a lot more to Ki, but this is all I can piece together.


Osu!
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Old 05-21-2003, 05:10 PM   #7
Jeff R.
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"I just love it when someone comes along to a Spiritual forum and starts taking up our precious digital space with scientific concepts that totally degrade the true essence of what spirit actually is. There's nothing like trying to pass on even the slightest hint of recognition, no matter from what frame of reference, to make a valid connection with fellow Aikidoka and then to have someone come along with a major scientific wedgie and start trashing everyone else for attempting to give people some other ways to look at things . . . . Oh, and further, don't bother responding in any way whatsoever because I'm the one who's perturbed and I'm determined to have the last word and I'm telling you outright that whatever you say will not effect me in any way no matter how much it bothers me."

Now when I look at a rant like that, I just have to sit back and smile and say, "Wow, that's some beautiful Aikido."

Good job.

Now, if we could all loosen up a little; what I was trying to convey was simply that thinking about Ki and trying to analyze it is something that negates it. It's like trying to use logic to identify intuition. My intention is to help others (who may not have as much experience as some) to understand that overthinking can be detrimental to the truth that we are all supposed to be helping one another find.

I was a physics/chem major. I'm all for scientific brainstorming, but in the realm of Spirit, there's a time to let it go.

Now, by all means, analyze to your heart's desire.

Exercise and extend your Ki with conviction; feel its awesome power--just smile.
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Old 05-21-2003, 06:04 PM   #8
siwilson
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Hi Jeff

You and Jim can get in to whatever you want on this! But this a spiritual forum? This is an "Aikido" forum!

To O'Sensei Aikido was spiritual, but to many Aikidoka it has nothing to do with Spiritualism, which is different to "spirit"!

I must say that I find Aikido as mechanical by nature. I started martial arts (Judo) at 10 (31 now), graduated university in Mathematical Science, I am an Electronic Engineer, and an Aikido instructor! I find the spiritual thing a big turn off!
Quote:
overthinking can be detrimental to the truth that we are all supposed to be helping one another find.
Thinking too much is only a problem to the Catholic Church!

All the best.

Osu!
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Old 05-21-2003, 06:25 PM   #9
Jeff R.
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Quote:
Si Wilson (siwilson) wrote:
Hi Jeff

You and Jim can get in to whatever you want on this! But this a spiritual forum? This is an "Aikido" forum!
Hey, there! Hello, Si! Hey, take a look at the forum heading for this thread!
Quote:
To O'Sensei Aikido was spiritual, but to many Aikidoka it has nothing to do with Spiritualism, which is different to "spirit"!
Wow. I think by spiritualism you might be implying religious? If so, then I'm not making the same implication. Spiritualism is about spirit. Religion, is up to anyone who decides they need to follow dogma and doctrine for worship.

But I'll tell ya', if I invented a Doogle, and I made it clear that you needed to use a Fram in order for the Doogle to work correctly, and you decided to omit the Fram and use Glub instead, then you're simply not getting the full benefit of the Doogle.
Quote:
I must say that I find Aikido as mechanical by nature.
I agree--in the basis of the movements. But they are more useful on a Spiritual level.
Quote:
I am an Electronic Engineer, and an Aikido instructor! I find the spiritual thing a big turn off!
Once again, if you mean religious, then I have no input. If you mean Spirit when you say Spiritual (as it is what Spiritual implies), then I am dreadfully sorry.


Quote:
Thinking too much is only a problem to the Catholic Church!
That may or may not be true, but thinking will also kill any intimate (unconditional, emotional, from the heart--not just good conversation like this) connection with another living being, make it superficial and open to bias, which is pretty much snuffing the intent of Aikido. In fact, someone on another thread said it beautifully: You just end up with, "neatly packaged Jiujitsu."
Quote:
All the best.
Back at you!

Exercise and extend your Ki with conviction; feel its awesome power--just smile.
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Old 05-21-2003, 06:49 PM   #10
siwilson
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Hehehe

OK! I missed that! I came to the thread from the index page!

As for the spiritualism side, spiritualism is religion which is based in blind belief - spirit is gusto, bottle, etc!

As for the rest Aikido is "neatly packaged Jiujitsu."

Osu!
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Old 05-21-2003, 07:23 PM   #11
Jeff R.
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Quote:
Si Wilson (siwilson) wrote:
Hehehe

As for the spiritualism side, spiritualism is religion which is based in blind belief - spirit is gusto, bottle, etc!

As for the rest Aikido is "neatly packaged Jiujitsu."
For conversation's sake, Religion encompasses systems of doctrine and dogma passed down by someone, or some people, who made an interpretation and found a way to worship that seemed effective for them based on that interpretation.

Spiritualism is as regarding spirit. Spirit is at the base of all religions, but it is the 'thing' that all religions strive to relate to, identify, worship, etc.

If we remove all interpretations, religions, and the like, then we are left with the simple foundation of existence.

If you have a spirit, then learning to connect with another living being is spiritual. Aikido teaches us to connect on both the physical and spiritual levels. First we learn the physical, then, as we progress, we learn that the physical was only a tool to bring us to spiritual connections. Then we may practice Aikido on the "magical" level--the truth of the universe.

Leaving spirit out of Aikido means leaving the infinite out of the Way. It means that "Neatly packaged Jiujitsu" has limited possibilities and potential.

My best to you.

Exercise and extend your Ki with conviction; feel its awesome power--just smile.
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Old 05-22-2003, 11:12 AM   #12
opherdonchin
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Isn't it amazing that no matter how interesting and thought out the original question is, we always end up having the same conversations on these forums?

Persnally, I think that gestalt may be too big a word to describe the use of ki in Aikido. I think maybe 'meme' would be closer to how I think of it. I do like the idea, though, that it binds together a variety of aspects of the experience and gives them a name.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 05-22-2003, 11:28 AM   #13
happysod
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Opher, I think I may actually be in danger of disagreeing with you on gestalt being too big a word as I find it quite a decent possibility. Mainly because within that gestalt you could also include the perceptions and personal beliefs of the person "extending ki" which would neatly side-step the spiritual/non-spritual arguments as the intensity of the belief would be one of the main weighting factors for it's successful application, whether that belief came from an innate belief in some sort of spiritual energy or adequately described body mechanics.

So Damian, my components off the top of my head would be:

(belief + confidence + relaxation)* situation

Jim, mea culpa, I have been guilty of this and you're right to remonstrate.
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Old 05-23-2003, 01:34 PM   #14
Ghost Fox
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Quote:
Opher Donchin (opherdonchin) wrote:
Isn't it amazing that no matter how interesting and thought out the original question is, we always end up having the same conversations on these forums?

Persnally, I think that gestalt may be too big a word to describe the use of ki in Aikido. I think maybe 'meme' would be closer to how I think of it. I do like the idea, though, that it binds together a variety of aspects of the experience and gives them a name.
I thought of the 'meme' concept and the funny thing is I find it too narrow. Although, for a while I was playing with the idea that the techniques in Aikido might are something like meme's. I thought that performing the techniques alone would lead to reprogramming of our baser nature, from one of confrontation to one of harmony. By reprogramming our nature in how we deal with life and death confrontation our 'higher' mental self becomes seeded with these ideals.

Although I think that the verbal reinforcement by the Sensei of the ideals of Aikido helps to futher implants these memes

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Old 05-23-2003, 01:41 PM   #15
Ghost Fox
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Quote:
Ian Hurst (happysod) wrote:
Opher, I think I may actually be in danger of disagreeing with you on gestalt being too big a word as I find it quite a decent possibility. Mainly because within that gestalt you could also include the perceptions and personal beliefs of the person "extending ki" which would neatly side-step the spiritual/non-spritual arguments as the intensity of the belief would be one of the main weighting factors for it's successful application, whether that belief came from an innate belief in some sort of spiritual energy or adequately described body mechanics.
That's exactly what I was thinking. The idea of the Gestalt provides a bridge between the two school of thought. One of the main thing is that the mental attitude that is so important in Aikido both for focus and relaxing of tension points. What is important is belief, timing and technique, etc...

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Old 05-23-2003, 04:18 PM   #16
Misogi-no-Gyo
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Quote:
Jeff Rychwa (Jeff R.) wrote:
:

In fact, someone on another thread said it beautifully: You just end up with, "neatly packaged Jiujitsu."
Thank you for quoting me from the other thread. However, what I actually said was:
Quote:
As aikidoka, our hope lies in our ability to seek, discover and nurture this individual's desire and ability to be at and act through his highest intentions. Call it what you like, but anything less is spiritually empty, new age packaged Ju-jitsu, nothing more. Call it what you like, but anything less is spiritually empty, new age packaged Ju-jitsu, nothing more.
It is important to understand that the second statement relies upon the first. However, just as important is to realize that this could take place on a totally physical level - devoid of a "spiritual" meaning or effect, altogether. The most important thing is to realize that there is nothing wrong with practicing Jujitsu, of this age, or any other. However, doing so may mean that you are not practicing aikido, regardless of what it says on the brochure, sign or website.

I did not mean to hijack the thread. I posted this here, because it relates to the discussion in that if you are going to examine the "sum of the parts" that considering the container those parts are held in may be an important part of the equation. For me, connection is the key to "KI" - and Kokyu is the method of connection. However, what I am connecting to is as complex as the connection. The person on the other end is not a simple set of mechanical actions/reactions. There is any number of other things going on, on the level of personal belief system, thought, emotions, etc. As aikidoka, we can better control a purely physical confrontation if we hold the strings tied to each of these. Our path is uncovering them within ourselves, first, then figuring out how to connect to them within another, followed by searching for other levels of interrelatedness that can be discerned, deciphered, and applied.

I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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Old 05-24-2003, 02:28 PM   #17
PhilJ
 
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Quote:
Shaun Ravens (Misogi-no-Gyo) wrote:
As aikidoka, we can better control a purely physical confrontation if we hold the strings tied to each of these. Our path is uncovering them within ourselves, first, then figuring out how to connect to them within another, followed by searching for other levels of interrelatedness that can be discerned, deciphered, and applied.
Shaun, this is a good point. It illustrates the recurring theme of aiki: walking a mile in your partner's/uke's shoes. It's why you have to be an equally good uke and nage in class, to learn your side of the coin first before you learn someone else's. O'Sensei's "True victory is..." statement also reflects training with yourself to start learning about others.

Ian has a good point too, but I think it's moot. Why isn't the equation a limitless number of factors? Are we subject to the fallacies of stereotyping and generalizing if we only include some traits and descriptors?

I say "moot" just because of my viewpoint, that's all. I believe if you worry about this in a 'situation', you will immediately constipate ki (and possibly get hurt). The situation is a multiplier, but I think it's also the outcome (the 'aftermath'), as in:
(trait1 + trait2 + ... ) * situation = situation

I prefer to strip the traits/emotions/perceptions off and just have situation = situation and go from there. I'm neither smart nor skilled enough for the other things yet.

*Phil

Last edited by PhilJ : 05-24-2003 at 02:30 PM.

Phillip Johnson
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