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Old 12-02-2003, 11:27 AM   #1
Erik
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24 Fighting Chickens On Ki

http://www.24fightingchickens.com/mu/ki/index.html

A quote from the article,

Now, many years later, I have come to firmly believe that there is no such thing as ki. I have also come to believe that not only does ki not exist, but the belief in ki is inexcusable and unjustified. Rather than being a religious or spiritual idea which explains things that happen in our world where science fails, I believe ki is purely an invention of sales people used to baffle us into thinking that they know or can do something that we do not.
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Old 12-02-2003, 12:39 PM   #2
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Nice article. Interesting that it was published only a week ago. I like Rob's no-nonsense approach. Go 24FC !
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Old 12-02-2003, 06:28 PM   #3
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Re: 24 Fighting Chickens On Ki

Sounds like good advice for western karate teachers in western organizations.



it's a little different if the head of your organization is a native speaker of Japanese and resides in Japan and has very specific training to convey to students exactly what he means by the word ki in this context.

in the first part of the article, I couldn't help thinking he could of replaced the word "ki" with the word "God" and write a very similar rant.

Craig
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Old 12-02-2003, 09:00 PM   #4
Sharon Seymour
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Have just read The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine, by Ted J. Kaptchuk, and am in the process of reading The Essence of Tai Chi Chi Kung, by Yang Jwing-Ming, I am willing to use the word Ki or Chi as an indicator from a frame of reference wildly different from our Western point of view.

I highly recommend Kaptchuk's book - I picked it up in an effort to understand O-Sensei's worldview so I can better apply his teachings. It was an eye-opener. Having read about Japan and China for many years, I had not encountered any book that so well describes this aspect of Chinese (and I'm extrapolating to Japanese) culture.

Yang Jwing-Ming's book contains many exercises with breath and body for experiencing the phenomenon sometimes named "chi." The closest Western book describing this uses the idea of the body as a hydraulic system linked through the body's connective tissue (Joseph Heller, Bodywise).

With thanks to all gadflys (gadflies?) for keeping us awake and questioning,

sharon

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Old 12-02-2003, 10:26 PM   #5
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I have to agree with the author (of the article) in that some of the claims made crediting chi (or ki, or whatever) seem quite ridiculous.

To me, ki is the optimum utilization of one's mental, and physical powers, both individually as well as in combination.

History has sited ordinary people performing superhuman physical feats when called upon. To perform such acts their minds and bodies were totally focused (most likely in ways that even they didn't know they posessed).

That's what I call ki.

Chris
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Old 12-02-2003, 11:20 PM   #6
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Well, call me what you will, but that I think the author of that artical regarding ki is himself guilty of tapping the pipe of wacky tobacky... that or he's just be difficult for the sake of being so (which is more likely).

Ki can be proven. It is intention, purpose, drive and any and all energy exerted along those lines. Who can call themselves Aikidoka and not believe it or have worked so hard and never felt the use of ki?

The "chicken" author would like to defend himself by not defending himself. He puts the ball in everyone elses court for THEM to defend Ki. Guess what? He just proved its existence RIGHT THERE!

How many people will read that article and suddenly have doubts on the existence of Ki? Doubt the ability of Aikido or their own personal ability?

It would be MY contention that anyone doubting the existence of Ki or who walks away from Aikido/Martial Arts after having read that article are the unwitting uke's and victims of the author's attack.

Personally, and in summation, I know for a fact that there are electical instuments that can measure and show the existence of Ki. Confusing the HYPE surround Ki with what Ki actually is, is the fault of the student/author... and not of the practicioner or users of Ki.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Domo!

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Old 12-02-2003, 11:22 PM   #7
Lyle Bogin
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Sometimes I feel that ki actually IS belief.

"The martial arts progress from the complex to the simple."
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Old 12-02-2003, 11:28 PM   #8
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Exactlly, Lyle.

Also one other thing I wanted to mention is this: the author's argument of "prove it does exist" is a common argument dating back to the days of Socrates.

Anyone can say "prove to me that X exists" and walk away laughing.

Prove to me that there is a God!

Prove to me that Christ walked the earth!

Prove to me that this world exists and we aren't in a virtual computer generated world right now!

Nah... that guy needs to go back to Philosophy 101/Critical Thinking 101 and try again.

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Old 12-02-2003, 11:50 PM   #9
ikkainogakusei
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Re: 24 Fighting Chickens On Ki

Quote:
Erik Haselhofer (Erik) wrote:
http://www.24fightingchickens.com/mu/ki/index.html

Now, many years later, I have come to firmly believe that there is no such thing as ki. .
Or maybe some things called Ki, much like some things called 'miracle' or 'magic' are explainable. We lump the unexplainable into categories because we can't wrap our minds around them, once we -=can=- answer them, are they less miraculous? Do they cease to be Ki? I don't think so. Call it Ki, or call it hyper-neuromotor recruitment, or repression of inhibitory action potentials, or whatever floats your boat. It isn't so important to me to label something so or not, unless you have a specific individual who -=is=- defrauding students; however just because one is, does not mean all are.

If one pharmacist dilutes medication, does this make all pharmacists fraudulent? No.

If out of trial and error rather than using the scientific method, someone discovers that eating a particular boiled bark gets rid of headaches and extends life, does it mean that the benefit of the bark does not exist? No.

There are people out there who -do- legitimately attempt to hone their skill using ki. There are some changes in some of their performance. They call this an effect of ki. Well hey, alright.

If you want to research and discover what's behind the ki curtain? Great. Why label all who practice this frauds?


"To educate a man in mind, and not in morals, is to educate a menace to society." ~Theodore Roosevelt
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Old 12-03-2003, 12:19 AM   #10
Edward
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My understanding of ki as taught by many japanese instructors is that it has no metaphysical or esoterical basis. It is just the most economical use of our muscles in a relaxed way. When we exert effort, we tend to use the entire muscular system, which results in conflicting energies making this effort less efficient and more energy consuming. Learning how to relax and use the strict minimum of muscles involved in the required action results in more efficiency and less energy consumption, and that's how many japanese teachers have explained ki. I hear so often instructors saying:"use your ki, not your force" and would rather hear that than:" Use your relaxed power utilizing the least amount of muscles ......blahblahblah"
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Old 12-03-2003, 12:30 AM   #11
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Bogin-san, Ki exists, probably not in the perception of our 3 dimensional universe (4 if counting time). Believing it exists will make it true in this relative physical world.

Nice way of putting it Boswell-san, another way is try to proof things don't exist. Instead of trying to prove Ki exist, go ahead and try prove Ki doesn't exist. It will prove that it is just as difficult.

Nice comment,Tao-san. It is one of the difference between eastern culture and modern western culture. Nowadays people want to explain everything into their 3 dimensional universe.

Even physics now extend beyond the 3 dimensional universe, and the scientist also base it on faith that there are hyperdimensions. Eastern culture doesn't really need to put things into equations. Feeling/believeing/knowing its existence is just as good as any equations.

When I have to die by the sword, I will do so with honor.
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Old 12-03-2003, 01:07 AM   #12
sanosuke
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Quote:
Iriawan Kamal Thalib (Thalib) wrote:
Even physics now extend beyond the 3 dimensional universe, and the scientist also base it on faith that there are hyperdimensions. Eastern culture doesn't really need to put things into equations. Feeling/believeing/knowing its existence is just as good as any equations.
very nicely put, i must say that some aspects in aikido have to be 'felt to believe' rather than think it in logical sense.
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Old 12-03-2003, 01:29 AM   #13
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A swallow does not catch a fly without ki.

niether does a fullback mow down a linebacker with out ki, niether does the sun give us life without ki. it may not exist for you, and for that i am sad...

in Aiki
Agatsu!!
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Old 12-03-2003, 01:38 AM   #14
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oh yeah, i am directing this at the author of the anti aiki article noted.

the problem is your understanding of Ki.

Gallaleo, Newton, Einstein and Tohei would all be able to prove something to you in a matter of munutes... i may not be able to but some one please forward this to that ahotokan guy.

in loving aiki.

in Aiki
Agatsu!!
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Old 12-03-2003, 01:40 AM   #15
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Quote:
Iriawan Kamal Thalib (Thalib) wrote:
Bogin-san, Ki exists, probably not in the perception of our 3 dimensional universe (4 if counting time). Believing it exists will make it true in this relative physical world.
And you have some inside track on the workings of space and time?
Quote:
Nice way of putting it Boswell-san, another way is try to proof things don't exist. Instead of trying to prove Ki exist, go ahead and try prove Ki doesn't exist. It will prove that it is just as difficult.
Your reasoning is wrong, if I believe in something and you dont, I have to prove my belief to you, you dont have to disprove my belief, if you believe in Ki, in whichever way you define it, prove it exists in controlled, regulated, monitored, reproducible circumstances.

Its not my responsibility to prove to you that it does not exist.
Quote:
Nice comment,Tao-san. It is one of the difference between eastern culture and modern western culture. Nowadays people want to explain everything into their 3 dimensional universe.
Once again you assume that "eastern culture" has some kind of superior inside knowledge into the workings of the universe. This is false, its like the assumption that the japanese were metalurgical miracle workers because they forged swords using complicated folding and laminating processess, most of these techniques are evident in well made european swords of the same time range.
Quote:
Even physics now extend beyond the 3 dimensional universe, and the scientist also base it on faith that there are hyperdimensions.
Stupid example: assuming a human body is a solid cylindrical shape (rod) for the purposes of making a calculation simpler does not mean that I believe people are all rod shaped easily expressed mathematical constructs.
Quote:
Eastern culture doesn't really need to put things into equations. Feeling/believeing/knowing its existence is just as good as any equations.
I guess the Japanese use deeply symbolic haiku to describe how to put together a Toyota?

(Note, I am not dissing you personally, I am sure you are a fantastic person, I just want to point out the things that you said and why they dont make me a believer)
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Old 12-03-2003, 01:59 AM   #16
p00kiethebear
 
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But wait, i'm kind of confused. If believing in ki makes us feel that we're working better, moving faster and more in harmony with everything around us, then why is that bad?

Ki isn't something you prove or disprove. You can't prove it, nor can you disprove it.

It's just something you believe in, or you don't.

This is about faith. If you don't have faith in something, then you truly have nothing.

Telling all people who believe in ki that they're full of crap is like telling the 1.3 billion christians, 1.2 billion muslims and 800 million hindus that there is no god.

Or let's get more "physical". It's like telling the scientific community that string theory is BS. We can't PROVE string theory, yet the theory makes so much sense.

He sounds to me like an angst filled 14 year old who thinks he has everything figured out and is "rebelling" against his parents.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 12-03-2003, 02:14 AM   #17
p00kiethebear
 
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Also...

For those of you who practice an "aiki" art.

Keep in mind that the name of your art IS "aiki____"

If you don't believe in ki, then how could you ever hope to master that art? (yes i know not EVERYONE wants to be a "master" of their art)

If you don't believe in ki, and you're a teacher, call your art something else.

That's not ment in a condescending or bad derogatory tone. But if you've been studying aikido and teaching it, yet you don't believe in ki. then start calling what you teach "aido" (the art of harmonizing) or if you don't believe in harmonizing call it something completely different.

I had alot of hesitation about posting this.

I don't mean to offend anyone.

So please don't flame me.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 12-03-2003, 02:14 AM   #18
drDalek
 
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Quote:
Nathan gidney (p00kiethebear) wrote:
But wait, i'm kind of confused. If believing in ki makes us feel that we're working better, moving faster and more in harmony with everything around us, then why is that bad?
Its not bad, its illogical but its not bad, love is illogical but its not bad.

Its bad though when you force your students to believe in the same stuff you believe in. You are taking their freedom to draw their own conclusions away from them.
Quote:
Ki isn't something you prove or disprove. You can't prove it, nor can you disprove it.
If Ki has any effect whatsoever on the world around you its a physical phenomenon, and thus provable. Science (aka The Forces Of Logic) assume something is BS until the person who believes in it makes a solid case with ample proof for its existance.
Quote:
It's just something you believe in, or you don't.

This is about faith. If you don't have faith in something, then you truly have nothing.
Did you know that people believe that morality is a product of religion? As in: "If you dont accept some deity into your life you wont know its wrong to hit people in the head with bricks and steal their wallets!"
Quote:
Telling all people who believe in ki that they're full of crap is like telling the 1.3 billion christians, 1.2 billion muslims and 800 million hindus that there is no god.
Most logical people have a very personal definition of god and spirituality, they dont often share their personal beliefs because what makes sense for them might not make sense or comfort anyone else. Also, I dare you to tell a muslim fundamentalist that he is full of crap (wear kevlar)
Quote:
Or let's get more "physical". It's like telling the scientific community that string theory is BS. We can't PROVE string theory, yet the theory makes so much sense.
Its not necessary for something to be solid scientific canon for it to be useful in certain equations and theories, infact, many things become solid scientific fact because without them certain other solid scientific facts are illogical and dont make sense. On the other hand though, scientists that are worth their salt never stop questioning their own beliefs and always test their assumptions.
Quote:
He sounds to me like an angst filled 14 year old who thinks he has everything figured out and is "rebelling" against his parents.
You sound like a terrible judge of character.
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Old 12-03-2003, 02:30 AM   #19
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Quote:
Also, I dare you to tell a muslim fundamentalist that he is full of crap (wear kevlar)
A muslim "fundamentalist" would do no such thing. Muslim "fundamentalists" are peaceful people. A militant muslim "radical" might.
Quote:
You sound like a terrible judge of character
I'm not reffering to his character, but more to his rant. It reminded me of something my younger brother wrote in the 8th grade.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 12-03-2003, 03:33 AM   #20
Paul Klembeck
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What do you mean when you say ki?

New force unknown to physics: In Aikido the claim is that Ki effects are reproducable, hence they are in the realm of study by physics. Therefore, as the article says, prove it. (By the way, electrical instruments detect electro-magnetic forces, if you thought such instruments can detect ki (esoteric meaning), think again, they just prove that the nervous system is electrical).

Ki=generic energy/momentum: Well, we all talk that way informally and the author does have a good point that informally using a loaded term can lead to superstition.

Ki as a model in Chinese medicine: My chiropractor uses muscle testing and ki theory in diagnosis. So far, I have been impressed with the results. However, this could perhaps be explained as exploiting second order nervous system effects under a bogus theory. Don't know for sure, this is the only Ki theory I've seen that I haven't come up with explanations for, but then I haven't studied it carefully either.

Ki as visualization: Visualization does effect the body without any reference to forces unknown to science. First it supports relaxation of appropriate muscles (which explains the unbendable arm). Second, in my humble but scientifically unverified belief, it recruits the bodies balance mechanisms in support of technique, as the mind accepts a visualization of force as a gravity substitute. This allows for relaxed seeming technique, recruiting additional muscles (the so-called stabilizers) and unconcious fine control.

Ki in Aikido: Part visualization (above), part improved balance (from getting thown all the time), part skill, and part harmonization. By harmonization, I mean that our way of blending fits with the ukes body's balance mechanisms along the direction least amenable to control. Standing or lifting an object involves the balance mechanism by making corrections transverse to the direction of force. Moving parallel to the force uke exerts "confuses" the uke's underlying body control. Hence blending with the uke's energy is hard to resist.

Paul
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Old 12-03-2003, 08:51 AM   #21
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Greetings!

I have some random thoughts. I hope to give no offense, and to not give the impression i am claiming i have it all figured out...but more wood for the fire...as it were.

esoterica:

occult

wichcraft

God

PSI

subtle energies

miracle healings

gnosis

There are schools of hidden knowledge. To be an initiate is to experientially know these things. I am not but have witnessed some strange things.

O-Sensei often spoke of the hidden and the manifest.

And what is the difference? How does one manifest the hidden. O-Sensei said they are the same thing. I don't understand this.

There is a danger in employing pure logic for purposes of reason. I have a degree in engineering physics and all I know for sure is that there is MOSTLY UNDISCOVERED aspects of the universe and physics.

for instance: You've probably heard that there is a huge distance between the nucleus of an atom and the electron clouds. The distance between them is filled with nothing (or space-time) So big, that if by a mathematical excercise we shrink this distance down to zero, all of NYC and its contents would be the size of a matchbox. Now, I find this disturbing because this means that most of all of us is made of nothing (or the void, or spacetime).

Communication of one bodily system to another are mostly, if not all, electromagnetically based. Now this opens up another can of worms because when it comes down to it we really don't even know what light is (i.e. an electromagetic wave). (BTW: I have a job in the photonics industry...ironically enough). Using the scientific method and pure logic often leads us into a nonsensical physical paradox, and/or defining one thing in terms of another word or concept which is ultimately not understood.

I can rant too. yay me.

Sorry, and Thanks for reading.

What I am saying is:

1) an all consuming faith in reason and the scientific method is not the answer.

2) blind faith is not the answer

Just as you cannot prove Ki, you cannot prove the existence of God. In the case of God, in the Bible He says "Test me".

Josh
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Old 12-03-2003, 10:52 AM   #22
ranZ
 
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I read some of the shotokan guy's stories in Japan a while back. Seems like your ordinary logical American man with 'healthy skepticism as a sign of an open mind' (his own words) and a dash of humour sense.

So why are aikidokas yakidiyakyakking about 'ki' just because a karateka doesn't believe in it. Maybe we should just do what Josh says and 'test it'. ;P

*there goes my lame 2 cents*

Imho Viggo Mortensen should've played Last Samurai!
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Old 12-03-2003, 12:49 PM   #23
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Quote:
josh phillipson (thisisnotreal) wrote:
Greetings!

Communication of one bodily system to another are mostly, if not all, electromagnetically based. Now this opens up another can of worms because when it comes down to it we really don't even know what light is (i.e. an electromagetic wave). (BTW: I have a job in the photonics industry...ironically enough). Using the scientific method and pure logic often leads us into a nonsensical physical paradox, and/or defining one thing in terms of another word or concept which is ultimately not understood.

Josh
Long live the wavicle! You made some great points Josh. I've also always thought that it was strange that the ultimate expression of logic (pure mathematics) can't be found in nature. By that I mean, show me zero (or any integer for that matter). They are as elusive as purple snargs. We accept the existance of this thing called math despite the fact that it is as insubstantial as ki. We believe in it because it is useful. For some, believing in ki is just as useful.
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Old 12-03-2003, 03:31 PM   #24
Michael Young
 
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Quote:
Most logical people have a very personal definition of god and spirituality, they dont often share their personal beliefs because what makes sense for them might not make sense or comfort anyone else.
Umm...ever been to a church, or synagogue, or mosque...seems to me there are literally millions of people out there sharing their persoal definitions of God and spirituality: and please don't say these people aren't logical, I know plenty of scientist (my father being one)doctors, engineers, etc who a very rational and logical people who go to church. If you don't like the concept of Ki, pay it no mind, nobody is forcing you into the dojo (or a church for that matter)...this doesn't make it any less real or important in other's lives, nor an illegit concept to discuss and teach. I may not believe what a particular religious system teaches (just like I don't practice other martial arts systems), but I certainly won't slam others because they do...there is at least a grain of truth in all of them, nor do I think my beliefs are the end all and be all...I'm constantly questioning. We all create our own reality, and what we choose to observe, sense, and feel is up to the individual. Personally I consider Ki to be a misunderstood and highly complex concept, others in this post have done a much better job of describing it than me. As for myself, I'm going to go on "believing" in it and "redifining my definition" as time goes on. Doing this has given me a great tool to discover things about myself and develop my Ai-KI-do. If that isn't a demonstrable result, I don't know what is?

Mike
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Old 12-03-2003, 05:06 PM   #25
Lyle Bogin
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I believe in ki because my decision to believe in it has been useful and funtional in my life and practice.

I don't believe in ki because conceptualizing it is fruitless and impossible.

Oye, what an interesting problem to not think about!
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