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Old 10-07-2003, 02:38 AM   #1
geisha
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Do symbol Training without mentioning ki?

I train for one year and my teacher is one of the non-akikai school (Kobyashi school), started to train in Poland at sensei Wysocki. I never got any mention of ki and its effects on training. I wanna know your opinions.

;-)
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Old 10-07-2003, 03:41 AM   #2
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Not mentioned in my teachers dojo either - strange that.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 10-07-2003, 04:41 AM   #3
deepsoup
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Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
Not mentioned in my teachers dojo either - strange that.
Nor mine.

Though, as Peter's teacher taught my teacher, that's not a coincidence.

Sean

x
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Old 10-07-2003, 07:03 AM   #4
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Cool

Quote:
Sean Orchard (deepsoup) wrote:
Nor mine.

Though, as Peter's teacher taught my teacher, that's not a coincidence.

Sean

x
LOL - Ditto

L.C.

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Old 10-07-2003, 07:38 AM   #5
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Ki is very important in our dojos. Considering our lineage is from Koichi Tohei Sensei, it stands to reason.

It's mentioned and cultivated all the time.

Mike Ellefson
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Old 10-07-2003, 07:39 AM   #6
Paula Lydon
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~~Not at my dojo, either. Have we gone from O Sensei's rambling, unintelligable overkill (just for those who aren't at a level to understand him, like myself) to nothing at all? Is it still Aikido?

~~Paula~~
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Old 10-07-2003, 07:45 AM   #7
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I think one needs to understand the workings of ki, not necessarily talk about it all the time in the dojo to understand Aikido.

"Without Ki there is no Aikido" does not mean "Without talking about ki in class there is no Aikido.:

I think Ueshiba M. (think being the operative word here ) was the one who said that one did not need to focus specifically on cultivating ki in doing Aikido, as it's cultivation was inherent in the practice of the techniques. Of course I could be wrong. Have met sensei who could talk for hours about ki, but had terrible execution of techinque for all their talk.

Got ?

Just my 2 cents.

L.C.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 10-07-2003, 08:23 AM   #8
Peter Goldsbury
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Quote:
Paula Lydon wrote:
~~Not at my dojo, either. Have we gone from O Sensei's rambling, unintelligable overkill (just for those who aren't at a level to understand him, like myself) to nothing at all? Is it still Aikido?
Hello Paula,

Judging from your posts in this forum, your questions are always sound and to the point and, aikidowise, I think you are doing just fine. Perhaps your question was rhetorical--or you might need to talk to Mr Ikeda privately.

On the other hand, you also might need to make the effort to grasp what O Sensei was actually saying. I do not think that O Sensei was guilty of "rambling, unintelligible overkill" and if you do think this, then people like Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Stanley Pranin, John Stevens and myself are guilty of grave errors. In this case, you certainly need to talk to Mr Ikeda.

I would ask Stan Pranin to make available on the web those extracts from "Takemusu Aiki" that he published in the printed version of Aikido Journal. Perhaps copyright problems prevent him from doing this, but the translator was Sonoko Tanaka and she did a brilliant job. However, the explananatory notes, delving into the intricacies of the Kojiki, were as long as the translation.

Is this necessary for knowledge of KI and aikido training? O Sensei appears not to have mentioned KI very much, and I suspect that the emphasis was made by certain students who wanted to emphasize the aspects that they felt were important in their training, as they understood it.

I myself believe that I teach my own students the real use of the term without actually mentioning it specifically (and they are Japanese native speakers, who have it in their bones, so to speak). Or not, and I have been a member of this forum long enough to respect the opinions of some posters who might think I am misinforned.

What do you thnk?

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 10-07-2003, 08:32 AM   #9
Peter Goldsbury
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A further comment.

You used the phrase "rambing unintelligible overkill" to refer to O Sensei's sayings.

I really urge you to look at the printed version of Stan's Aikido Journal translations.

I will copy and fax you the relevant pages if you do not have them and send me a fax number.

Best,

PAG

P A Goldsbury
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Old 10-07-2003, 08:42 AM   #10
jxa127
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Peter,

Kisshomaru U. had what I think is an excellent discourse on ki in "The Spirit of Aikido." If I recall it correctly, his definition of ki is that it is unity of mind, body, and intention.

You've mentioned "The Spirit of Aikido" is at least one of your essays. What do you think of this definition?

Our dojo is an Aikido Association of America dojo, founded by Fumio Toyoda, who was a student of Tohei. So, naturally, ki development and testing are built into our curriculum. We view ki as a useful concept for learning good body mechanics and developing a proper attitude. We don't belabor the point, but when it can help, we use it as a learning tool.

Regards,

-Drew

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Old 10-07-2003, 10:48 AM   #11
ian
 
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I don't mention ki to beginning students because they have no point of reference to understand it and so it becomes 'mystical'. I explain proper body mechanics and when they begin to get this I then may mention ki every so often. I personally do chi exercises and find it very useful to think of the way my body moves in terms of ki, however 'ki' is just a word, so if people do not experience it, using the word is just a useless abstraction.

Interestingly though, I think within aikido what people mean by 'ki', even in a limited sense, must be very different. For me it is a biomechanical property which includes aspects of feeling and intention as well as breathing, bodily and psychological health and it has observeable effects. It may be difficult to explain with conventional science, but it shouldn't be considered 'mystical' or 'magical'.

The problem with our minds is we have difficulty believing soemthing which doesn't have a word label.

Ian

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 10-07-2003, 10:52 AM   #12
ian
 
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P.S. just as Ueshiba did not present the whole of his art (having little explanaition of striking points) he also did not fully transfer his knowledge of ki. Chinese martial arts often go into far greater detail regarding ki(chi) and, although this has been desecrated somewhat by typical yang style tai-chi in the west, chinese understanding of chi is a good start. (I also think the typical chinese psyche is closer to western (European/US) psyche than japanese is).

Ian

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Old 10-07-2003, 11:27 AM   #13
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Ki Symbol

Quote:
Drew Ames (jxa127) wrote:
Peter,

Kisshomaru U. had what I think is an excellent discourse on ki in "The Spirit of Aikido." If I recall it correctly, his definition of ki is that it is unity of mind, body, and intention.
This is a pretty good definition. Of course one needs to find ways to communicate to students what exactly is unity of mind, body, and intention. (As a neuroscientist, I would tend to classify intention as part of "mind"). That in my experience is what Koichi Tohei Sensei's Ki development classes are really about, how to do it? what does it feel like? how to test another student so they learn to get it (grok it). I would agree that if you haven't some systematic way of teaching students to gain a personal understanding of what you mean when you say "Ki", there is no point in using the term in your classes. Then it would just be jargon or a cultural term if your native language is Japanese or if you grew up with Dragonball Z.

To the original poster...

There are certainly teachers outside of Ki Society or it's offshoots that grok Ki and those that are good teachers I am sure have found some way to transmit this understanding. However, Tohei Sensei's over riding concern, at least as I understand it, has been to come up with a pedagogy that is not so dependent on the transmission of outstanding teachers who happen to grok it. That is the real purpose of the exercises that too often are misunderstood or abused as demonstration tricks. These exercises are meant to be taught with rigor as a check of real understanding instead of believed understanding. An exercise is worth a thousand words.

The main part of the Ki exercises we do has it's roots in Tohei Sensei's long time training in Shin Shin Toitsu Do under Tempu Nakamura. That's why we do undebendable arm (Orenai Te) and a number of other exercises. Tempu Nakamura had western scientific training as well as eastern training, and it is reflected in the nature of the testing we do. We can extend this sort of testing to any aikido exercise we do.

I think it is certainly possible to use different exercises or training regimes as long as one finds an approach that is able to have the rigor sufficient to test real understanding. I am personally not aware of any teachers outside of Tohei Sensei's influence that do this. If you feel a lack of this in your training then a good start would be to pick up Carol Schifflett's book "Ki in Aikido" for a large sample of what we do. There is no better example of just doing it rather than talking about it. I would also highly recommend you pick up H.E. Davey's book "Japanese Yoga". He put a lot of work in to it and it shows. It will give a very good sense of the whole approach and some historical context. Both books in my opinion capture the sense of experimentation and self-discovery that is the part I like best about the Ki Society. I think you can't go wrong checking out these books and finding someone to experiment with but be sure to take what is said to heart and try your best to approach it with an open mind. I think it will greatly deepen your understanding of aikido.

--

If you find this really appeals to you, you might seek out a teacher. Tohei Sensei has many books that also are a good source and there is a newly English version of his classic "Ki in Daily Life" that would be worth having as a third book. It's a very good book, but I think it is easier to appreciate and put in context for those who haven't trained in the Ki Society if one goes through the two books I mention above.

Having read a lot of what Tohei Sensei has written, I am always struck when I read something O-sensei has written that discusses Ki or even mention's Ki, how much they are in aggreement.

Craig

Houston Ki Society
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Old 10-18-2003, 11:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury (Peter Goldsbury) wrote:
A further comment.

You used the phrase "rambing unintelligible overkill" to refer to O Sensei's sayings.

I really urge you to look at the printed version of Stan's Aikido Journal translations.

I will copy and fax you the relevant pages if you do not have them and send me a fax number.

Best,

PAG
O Sensei was a Shinto mystic. Shinto itself is a primal belief system which can be very personal. I usually think of it as just a step above shamanism in its structure. It's that subjective.

O Sensei used his Shinto terminology to express his understanding of Aikido. It's no surprise that many people are confused by his writings/sayings. Some of the many confused people are his direct Japanese students, who honestly admit that they didn't understand what he was talking about.

I know of the scholarly efforts from the people you mentioned to explain O Sensei. However true understanding comes from the heart, not the head. That's why many people still feel disatisfied with their understanding.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 10-19-2003, 12:47 PM   #15
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Re: Training without mentioning ki?

Quote:
Tomas Sara (geisha) wrote:
I train for one year and my teacher is one of the non-akikai school (Kobyashi school), started to train in Poland at sensei Wysocki. I never got any mention of ki and its effects on training. I wanna know your opinions.
My experience is that you can train without someone saying "ki this" and "ki that". But what I hear is "move from your center," " extend," "relax," "connect from my sensei," "body/ mind coordination." These are all principles of aikido, which are ki principles. I train with a great sensei who has some very solid aikido. He is also pretty well respected. I don't think our school is any less just because the word "ki" is not mentioned.

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 10-19-2003, 04:54 PM   #16
Peter Goldsbury
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Quote:
Drew Ames (jxa127) wrote:
Peter,

Kisshomaru U. had what I think is an excellent discourse on ki in "The Spirit of Aikido." If I recall it correctly, his definition of ki is that it is unity of mind, body, and intention.

You've mentioned "The Spirit of Aikido" is at least one of your essays. What do you think of this definition?

Regards,

-Drew
Hello Drew,

Yes, I agree. Kisshomaru Ueshiba had a pretty good grasp of his father's discourses and in "The Spirit of Aikido" did his best to present the essence of these, shorn of their references to the Kojiki etc.

Nor do I think these discourses were completely impenetrable, or that their interpretation has to be entirely subjective. I know that Morihei Ueshiba's interpretation of the Kojiki myths was indeed subjective but this is due less to the subjective nature of Shinto as a religion (which it is not) than to the influence of Onisaburo Deguchi and Omoto-kyo.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 10-19-2003, 06:52 PM   #17
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Over my 1st 2 years of training, my sensei mentioned ki perhaps twice or thrice, but that was completely fine with me - he got the point across using other devices (as somebody else already pointed out - concentration, centredness, relaxation, breathing & so forth). I had a lot of fun training. Then I trained for 1.5 months in my college's ki aikido class, which, obviously, had a lot of ki stuff in it, and I was turned off by the constant references to 'extend your ki', 'feel the ki all around you', 'be one with the universe' and so forth, which I, being objectivist, found to be too irrational, ungrounded in reality for me to appreciate. I was bored. The problem as I saw it was that a lot of time that I could have been training I had to spend listening to discourses on ki, but even those discourses were not rational and based on the real world (and ki can, after all, be explained as an integration of very real physical & mental factors), but somewhat 'magical' and even smelled of religion. The senseis knew their ki tricks but weren't that good at the physical art of aikido. Those classes depressed me so much I almost did not want to go on with aikido anymore. Now I've found an aikikai dojo again and I'm training happily, bouncing off the walls with no talk of ki at all. . .

In other words, I say yes, it is fine to train without mentioning ki. I'm not nearly advanced enough to give absolute statements on the nature of aikido, but my rationality is enough to tell me that 50 minutes of ki talk - without rational reasoning contained therein - will give one less than 50 minutes of active training, except perhaps at very high levels of ability. On the other hand, if ki could be made clear, conceptualized rationally, then it could probably become a very effective teaching tool.
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Old 10-20-2003, 12:16 PM   #18
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Quote:
Toms Kreicbergs (Duarh) wrote:
...In other words, I say yes, it is fine to train without mentioning ki. I'm not nearly advanced enough to give absolute statements on the nature of aikido, but my rationality is enough to tell me that 50 minutes of ki talk - without rational reasoning contained therein - will give one less than 50 minutes of active training, except perhaps at very high levels of ability. On the other hand, if ki could be made clear, conceptualized rationally, then it could probably become a very effective teaching tool.
My curiosity over Ki/Chi made me decide to take up a martial art. However I was warned not to try Tai Chi from a certain Chinese instructor because I was "Japanese" and he had suffered from them during WWII.

Then I read about Aikido and how Ki was a central concept to it. So I decided to try this martial art to learn more about Ki. That's why I started Aikido and why I've stayed in it.

That's also why I find it strange that someone would practice Aikido for years and not mention Ki. Although, I am well aware that this is the traditonal approach to studying martial arts.

I also have to agree with Toms. Just talking about Ki is meaningless. The instructor has to show how Ki training relates to Aikido movement and technique.

"Ge-ta" is a Japanese word that has no English equivalent. It means taking theoretical knowledge and actualizing it in everyday practice. This is one of the main obstacles for a student. Although a teacher can talk about and demonstrate technique, its up to the student to understand how and why this stuff works.

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Old 10-20-2003, 04:36 PM   #19
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I was glad when I changed dojo's (3 1/2 years ago) and discovered that my new school didn't mention ki. At first I thought that they didn't teach it, then I began to listen to what was being taught. By golly, they were teaching ki principles.

What I have found that by not mentioning "ki" but still teaching the principles gives the students room to make their aikido training what they want it to be. If they want to focus on the more physical aspects, they can. If they want to focus on the more more mental aspects, they can. If you want to focus on a combination of both, you may. We haven't been forced to fit into one point of view, but we all have one thing in common -- we train.

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 10-20-2003, 07:57 PM   #20
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Does one have to mention the necessity of oxygen in order to keep people breathing?

A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.
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Old 10-20-2003, 09:51 PM   #21
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As an aside, here's a poll from back in 2001:

'Do you think the concept of "ki" and how to "use" it in aikido can be taught without referring to it?'

http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=72

-- Jun

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Old 11-17-2003, 06:31 PM   #22
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Interesting how people's experiences vary. I started in an Aikikai dojo, did well, but was bored with just the physical repetition of two-person kata. I visited a Ki Society dojo in the area, and none of my techniques worked on anyone. Keep in mind, I already had a Shodan in Karate and a strong background in Judo/Brazilian Jiujitsu back before it was trendy.

I immediately started training full-time with Shiohira and company and did so for the next ten years. So MAYBE the current Ki Society is more philosophically-oriented, but back in the 80's and early 90's it was above and beyond the Aikikai/Iwama technique I'd experienced in the same geographic region. And keep in mind that the Bay Area has always sported some of the best that Aikido has to offer--some of the worst too, if you ask me.

Regards,
James Bostwick
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Old 11-17-2003, 10:21 PM   #23
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Same experience with me, Botswick-san. I started to learn the concept of Ki and Aiki from a Ki Society sensei currently residing in Indonesia.

I have to tell you that it really opened not only my eyes but my mind as well.

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Old 11-18-2003, 03:21 AM   #24
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I study under Michael Field Sensei in Australia, and while we are often told to "use more Ki", we dont really seem to do much to cultivate it. I've never had any problems developing it and using it thanks to my background in Magick, I think alot of the new students in the Dojo could do with a bit of instruction. We all could.

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Old 11-18-2003, 07:09 AM   #25
Dennis Hooker
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"Ki" is a word and only a word. You need not have ever heard the word to experience that physical and philological power the word references in Aikido. Proper training will get you there without ever talking about it. As Allen Watts said "You can't get wet by saying the word water"

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