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Old 05-29-2003, 03:04 PM   #26
Erik
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Re: Whoa, hold on a second...

How does gravity work?

I'm still waiting for even 1/1,000,000th of this detail on ki.
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Old 05-29-2003, 03:37 PM   #27
opherdonchin
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Quote:
Erik wrote:
How does gravity work? I'm still waiting for even 1/1,000,000th of this detail on ki.
This doesn't answer the question of how gravity works. It just tells you how much gravity you will feel in different circumstances.

Of course, you might argue that a concise and accurate description of phenomeology can serve as a good proxy for understanding. That would be a limiting view on what understanding is, but it's not an entirely unreasonable one.
Quote:
Dave wrote:
As far as physics taking the mysteriousness and "magic" out of Aikido, this is exactly the same line of argument that was used against science when it came on the scene in its early days.
Really? ... I'm not sure I know what you are referring to. German philosophy, in particular, has a history of complaining that the technologically driven objectivist view of the world is undermining our connection to a more intuitive and subjective grasp of reality. I'm thinking of Nietzche, Husserl and Heidegger. I'm not a real philosopher or a real scholar, but I believe that the tradition of philosophy that followed from these thinkers is still alive and well.

This thread has posts by those who are convinced that the idea of Ki has helped them as aikidoka and in their lives, and those who are convinced that the idea is unlikely to help them. I tend to think that both groups could be right. One group has probably found the idea useful, and the other group may very well find it has little to offer. On the other hand, I have a slight tendency to find more interest when someone is offering me a path they feel brings insight. It's possible, I always think, that the others have not explored this path or have explored it but missed something fundamental.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 05-29-2003, 04:33 PM   #28
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Let's all take a step back...

Copernicus and Galileo dealt with objections to helio-centrism based on the supposed "perfection" of the cosmos with the earth at its center.

Germ theory (Pasteur) dealt with opposition from spontaneous generation based on "vital forces" that simply "caused" maggots to appear on rotting meat, etc.

The air conditioner was invented as a way to clean the "evil vapors" out of swamp air and therefore cure malaria (which is Latin for "bad air").

Today, many pre-scientific cultures still believe that diseases are caused by evil spirits that must be removed by chanting encantations and invoking magic.

I was talking some years ago to someone about how bacteria are used to manufacture vitamins. They did their best to try and convince me that ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) that was produced by an orange was somehow better than ascorbic acid produced by a bacterium. That fact that it is chemically identical didn't matter to them. There was "something that science can't detect" that made the one better than the other.

This is the kind of logic that I hear by some folks trying to say that Aikido is all about ki and that explanations based on physics are simply superfluous.

With respect to this thread, it matters little since the topic is a technique, the unbendable arm, and not necessarily how it works. If you need ki as an explanation for it, that's fine. Just allow us who don't feel a need for it to use physics as an explanation for how it works.

Last edited by Dave Miller : 05-29-2003 at 04:35 PM.

DAVE

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Old 05-29-2003, 04:43 PM   #29
Erik
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Re: Let's all take a step back...

Quote:
Dave Miller wrote:
This is the kind of logic that I hear by some folks trying to say that Aikido is all about ki and that explanations based on physics are simply superfluous.
Nicely said!
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Old 05-29-2003, 04:56 PM   #30
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at least it's from the same source

http://people.howstuffworks.com/karate6.htm


Alfonso Adriasola
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Old 05-29-2003, 06:29 PM   #31
kironin
 
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Ki Symbol

Quote:
Mel Barker wrote:
Well since I have no concept of what it means to extend ki, and since I never have heard any of the shihan I've studied under mention such a thing and since my instructors consider such language to be nonsensical and useless, I doubt I "should" be doing it. I think such notions get in the way to learning to do aikido. Others, I know, have a different perspective. I don't know what they "should" do either.

Mel
My first response is to reflect on what a sad state of affairs this is.

My second is to hope that they really are showing you how to "extend ki", just in different language or examples.

"extend ki" or "ki is extending" is really in its most basic form simply this,

physically and mentally expressing a calm, relaxed positive state of being.

the nature of the physical effects of this concept can be communicated to a beginner through simple exercises such as "unbendable arm" in a couple of minutes under controlled conditions on the mat.

applying the same while moving, being attacked on or off the mat, under stress in daily life, etc.

takes a lifetime of exploring, questioning and training.

Craig
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Old 05-29-2003, 08:22 PM   #32
otto
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The issue I have noticed with Western culture trying to grasp Eastern concepts , is that we tend to rationalize first...then do.

This I understand is not the case with modern Japanese Society..

Could someone with some empiric experience on this please elaborate on this postulate???

Plus KI.

Last edited by otto : 05-29-2003 at 08:29 PM.

"Perfection is a Process"
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Old 05-29-2003, 10:19 PM   #33
Mel Barker
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Quote:
Craig Hocker (kironin) wrote:
My first response is to reflect on what a sad state of affairs this is.
Why?
Quote:
My second is to hope that they really are showing you how to "extend ki", just in different language or examples.

"extend ki" or "ki is extending" is really in its most basic form simply this,

physically and mentally expressing a calm, relaxed positive state of being..
Why don't you say that then?

Mel
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Old 05-29-2003, 11:20 PM   #34
Peter Goldsbury
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Quote:
Ottoniel Ojeda (otto) wrote:
The issue I have noticed with Western culture trying to grasp Eastern concepts , is that we tend to rationalize first...then do.

This I understand is not the case with modern Japanese Society..

Could someone with some empiric experience on this please elaborate on this postulate???

Plus KI.
I have not taught my Japanese students the unbendable arm, but I can state with some confidence that none of them have any problem understanding the concept of ki. Nor have I ever had to use the concept to explain something (and in my dojo we tend to give more explanations than usual).

Of course, the meaning of the word is explained in the Japanese dictionary, but this explanation is based on how native speakers use the term. It is also used in many hundreds of Japanese phrases and compounds. I think if I tried to give any special explanation of the term, I would cause confusion.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 05-29-2003, 11:29 PM   #35
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Quote:
Peter Goldsbury wrote:
Of course, the meaning of the word is explained in the Japanese dictionary, but this explanation is based on how native speakers use the term. It is also used in many hundreds of Japanese phrases and compounds. I think if I tried to give any special explanation of the term, I would cause confusion.
Thanks, Peter -- I was just about to sit down and write basically the same sort of thing. The term "ki" is "understood" by Japanese folks in that it's used in everyday speech as part of phrases and compounds.

However, if you went up to most Japanese folks walking on the street and asked, "What is 'ki'?", they'd most likely either say, "Hah?" or define it as something like consciousness or life energy at most. (Any thougts on this, Peter/Peter?)

For folks who may be interested, I've listed some of these phrases here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/language/ki_phrases.html

-- Jun

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Old 05-29-2003, 11:53 PM   #36
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Quote:
Mel Barker wrote:
Why don't you say that then?
Because then it wouldn't be deep, mysterious and orriental.

I must say I also have never heard my Shihan use the word either - although a visiting Ki Society Aikidoist told me he saw an incrediable display of Ki by the deshi.

Craig is absolutely correct when he says other words are used to describe what they refer to as Ki. However, the use of a blanket term to cover everything from "power of movement" to the mystical is not only confusing but the source of a whole lot of misunderstanding.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-30-2003, 02:18 AM   #37
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Ki Symbol Re: Let's all take a step back...

[quote="Dave Miller"This is the kind of logic that I hear by some folks trying to say that Aikido is all about ki and that explanations based on physics are simply superfluous.

With respect to this thread, it matters little since the topic is a technique, the unbendable arm, and not necessarily how it works. If you need ki as an explanation for it, that's fine. Just allow us who don't feel a need for it to use physics as an explanation for how it works.[/QUOTE]Aikido is all about Ki.

Aikido is all about Physics.

Aikido is about mind and body.

Aikido is about metaphysics and physics.

As far as I am concerned there is no real conflict here. I have always found Ki training to be fairly pragmatic in it's approach and very relevant to self-defense. Ki development training in fact has been in the opinion of police officers and prison guards I have trained often the most relevant part for them in dealing with very violent people who couldn't give a rat's ass about ki.

Ki is not a scientific explanation of unbendable arm. It can be, with good training, a well-understood cultural term

within a dojo community.

Medical therapy based on Ki, now that's a really controversial topic.

Craig
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Old 05-30-2003, 02:38 AM   #38
kironin
 
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Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
Craig is absolutely correct when he says other words are used to describe what they refer to as Ki. However, the use of a blanket term to cover everything from "power of movement" to the mystical is not only confusing but the source of a whole lot of misunderstanding.
To you maybe.

To others not.

people differ, people connect to training in different ways. Just because I am a scientist doesn't mean I am going to hammer others

all the time with scientific criteria.

But if it makes you happy, you could in Ki

Society at least (I can't speak for other groups) replace the word "Ki" with the words "mind and body coordination" and be spot on 99% of the time.

after all, our Aikido rank certificates say "Aikido with Mind and Body Coordinated'

they do not say "Aikido with Ki"

Ki development is "Shin Shin Toitsu Do" and

not "Ki do"

Craig
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Old 05-30-2003, 02:43 AM   #39
kironin
 
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Talking

Quote:
Mel Barker wrote:
Why?
because when I here that sort of hostility to the using the term "Ki", I can never be sure that the baby hasn't been thrown out with the bath water. I have visited dojos where it most clearly has.
Quote:
Mel Barker wrote:
Why don't you say that then?

Mel
I did.

Craig
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Old 05-30-2003, 03:04 AM   #40
kironin
 
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Grr!

Quote:
Jun Akiyama (akiy) wrote:
Thanks, Peter -- I was just about to sit down and write basically the same sort of thing. The term "ki" is "understood" by Japanese folks in that it's used in everyday speech as part of phrases and compounds.

However, if you went up to most Japanese folks walking on the street and asked, "What is 'ki'?", they'd most likely either say, "Hah?" or define it as something like consciousness or life energy at most. (Any thougts on this, Peter/Peter?)

For folks who may be interested, I've listed some of these phrases here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/language/ki_phrases.html

-- Jun
To Peter and Jun,

So What ?

Scientific fields use common words with a specialized meaning that can be often difficult for those to appreciate outside that field of study. "mass" being an example that comes to mind. "chaos" and "point" are good examples too.

I bet if you asked many of those people on the street "what is aikido?" you would also likely hear "huh?".

Craig
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Old 05-30-2003, 03:22 AM   #41
kironin
 
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Ki Symbol

Quote:
Paul Klembeck wrote:
Both.

As a demonstration, it's a parlor trick, relax opposing muscles, you don't help defeat yourself.

As an exercise, it begins to get at fundamentals. How you visualize your body working effects how it does work.
I consider simply showing off and feeding the ego unless you make the best use of it in a demonstration by teaching it to the audience. (students wanering through audience asnwering questions helps a lot if the audience is large). They get to do something other than passively watch and also learn something about themselves. After doing it themselves they generally watch the aikido demo with much more interest especially if you point out where you are using just what they were doing while tossing two attackers.

Craig
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Old 05-30-2003, 04:56 AM   #42
Peter Goldsbury
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Quote:
Craig Hocker (kironin) wrote:
To Peter and Jun,

So What ?

Scientific fields use common words with a specialized meaning that can be often difficult for those to appreciate outside that field of study. "mass" being an example that comes to mind. "chaos" and "point" are good examples too.

I bet if you asked many of those people on the street "what is aikido?" you would also likely hear "huh?".

Craig
So what? No reason other than the observation that I do not need to explain the meaning of the term to my own students. The question whether it is a scientific term would not even arise. I am sure that many Japanese do not know what aikido is, but in telling them I would not need to give a lengthy explanation about the meaning of KI.

Yours sincerely,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 05-30-2003, 05:47 AM   #43
Greg Jennings
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Quote:
Darren Raleigh wrote:
Now that's a tough question!
Gosh, I thought someone would have read the poem and gotten my point.

http://www.duke.edu/~bis/gravity/epic_poem_by_moe.html .

Regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 05-30-2003, 07:51 AM   #44
otto
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Dear Peter G. , Jun and board.

The fact than the KI term is commonly used and understood for the Japanese , makes it easier to teach and grasp the basics of Aikido to the new student??

Does thats gives a better disposition to learn?

Could it be that the western concept of Separation between mind and body , proves to hamper aikido learning/development for us , at least on the early stages??

If that's the case....thanks Descartes

What are your thoughts?

Plus KI!

"Perfection is a Process"
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Old 05-30-2003, 09:43 AM   #45
Jeff R.
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I guess the point I was trying to make was simply this:

Do you need to know how a car's engine works in order to be a good driver?

Do you need to know human anatomy and physiology in order to walk, eat, breathe?

Can you see, hear, smell, or taste the energy that makes you alive?

In meditations, when we try and clear our minds, that act itself negates or undermines the attempt to meditate. It's something that just needs to happen on its own, maybe with a little guidance on our part, but nothing more.

When we begin to overthink and analyze things that are based on faith, we lose grasp of those things, just because when we analyze, we question, and when we question we subvert faith.

What I don't want to happen is to have what I'm illustrating mixed up with religion. I'm not suggesting that we need to embrace religion in order to understand Ki or Aikido. I'm identifying a common thread. We all live, we all breathe (and all resources I've ever studied, encountered, or heard of totally relate Ki and breathing as a co-dependent, synonymous relationship)and all living things are made of the same atoms, powered by the same energies, and in that light, we are all bound together.

So far, we can identify photons, leptons, hadrons, quarks, but there is nothing to solidly identify Ki. My understanding is that Ki is a spiritual energy. It exists on a different level of physics--one that we are not capable of practising yet.

We know it is there because it is in our actions, our emotions, the way we touch others beyond physical contact. We have heard about, and maybe even experienced spiritual connections such as deja vu, gut feelings, knowing what someone was going to say before they said it, dowsing, etc. By trying to identify it beyond faith and feeling is like trying to identify the spirit, or the Great Spirit.

As I've said, science is amazing; a language we've created to understand nature. But in the duality, the balance of living between spirit and logic, we often need to be careful to not let one overtake the other.

As to whether we agree or not, it is, regardless, an interesting topic to ponder.

That's all.

Exercise and extend your Ki with conviction; feel its awesome power--just smile.
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Old 05-30-2003, 10:18 AM   #46
Mel Barker
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Quote:
Craig Hocker (kironin) wrote:
because when I here that sort of hostility to the using the term "Ki", I can never be sure that the baby hasn't been thrown out with the bath water. I have visited dojos where it most clearly has.

Craig
Interesting. So to what do you equate the baby and to what do you equate the bath water?

Mel
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Old 05-30-2003, 10:21 AM   #47
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Ki Symbol

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury (Peter Goldsbury) wrote:
So what? No reason other than the observation that I do not need to explain the meaning of the term to my own students. The question whether it is a scientific term would not even arise. I am sure that many Japanese do not know what aikido is, but in telling them I would not need to give a lengthy explanation about the meaning of KI.

Yours sincerely,
But as you said, you don't use the term in explaining your aikido so the usual cultural understanding is good enough. On the other hand, Koichi Tohei Sensei does use the term as part of explaining his aikido and so he makes a great deal of effort to explain and teach precisely what he means when he uses the term "Ki" to both his Japanese and Foreign

students. This is the same burden required in any field. A nonlinear dynamicist is very careful to explain what he means by the term "chaos" as mathematical term and the conventional meaning of the word.

"Ki" is a specialized term in Aikido. I seriously doubt your students understand that specialized meaning without some teaching.

best regards,

Craig
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Old 05-30-2003, 10:28 AM   #48
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Hi Craig,
Quote:
Craig Hocker (kironin) wrote:
So What ?

Scientific fields use common words with a specialized meaning that can be often difficult for those to appreciate outside that field of study. "mass" being an example that comes to mind. "chaos" and "point" are good examples too.

I bet if you asked many of those people on the street "what is aikido?" you would also likely hear "huh?".
Oh dear. I seem to have hit a nerve as evidenced by your "grr" angry icon.

All I was saying is that the term "ki" is pretty much omnipresent in the Japanese language but we don't use it "out of context" very often.

Does this invalidate its study? Of course not. I was merely pointing out that although a lot of people seem to think that the study of "ki" is an everyday event for all Japanese folks, it's a misconception. I wouldn't put Japanese folks as being more "mind and body coordinated" or such moreso than any other person of any other culture/country. If they were, there'd be no need for Tohei sensei's teachings, huh?

It's very true that most Japanese folks really don't have a clue what aikido is (outside of it being some sort of budo). I remember when I remarked to a coworker in Umegaoka that I was heading over to Shinjuku to train aikido, he made chopping movements with his arms (a la bad karate)...

Regards,

-- Jun

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Old 05-30-2003, 10:44 AM   #49
Erik
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Quote:
Ottoniel Ojeda (otto) wrote:
Could it be that the western concept of Separation between mind and body , proves to hamper aikido learning/development for us , at least on the early stages??
I wasn't aware that was a Western concept.

How is it that we can successfully produce boxers, wrestlers, tennis players, golfers and everything else? You'd think we would really suck at sports with such a severe handicap.
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Old 05-30-2003, 10:54 AM   #50
Erik
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Quote:
Jun Akiyama (akiy) wrote:
It's very true that most Japanese folks really don't have a clue what aikido is (outside of it being some sort of budo). I remember when I remarked to a coworker in Umegaoka that I was heading over to Shinjuku to train aikido, he made chopping movements with his arms (a la bad karate)...
Did he do a bad imitation of Bruce Lee as well? I usually get both.
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