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Old 12-03-2003, 04:20 PM   #26
Erik
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Quote:
Michael Young wrote:
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.
I'll say it. And, I'm amazed you could reach this conclusion.
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Old 12-03-2003, 05:08 PM   #27
Jim ashby
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OK, I've got to jump in here. Merely because millions of people believe in something doesn't make it true. It merely means that millions of people believe it. I think that the best definition of ki that fits with my experience is the oneness of intent, body mecanics and action.

BTW my imaginary friend is called tarquin, he's a flourescent pink flying marmot. This thought comforts me.

Vir Obesus Stola Saeptus
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Old 12-03-2003, 05:42 PM   #28
Aristeia
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The problem comes down to people using the term in wildly different ways.

If Ki is simply the most efficient use of muscles, movement, breathing etc. in harmony then it is simply a discriptor, like saying something is well done or poorly done.

If people are maintaining it is a seperate force, something that exists independently and is not just a shorthand way of referring to a bunch of other stuff, or a metaphor, then it's something that should be demonstrable as such. And it's not.

To say you cannot prove or disprove it in this case begs the question why would you believe in it? If it cannot be proven, it implies that it has no observable effects, in which case it can have no impact on us. i.e. the world with ki is the same as the world without ki, so we apply occams razor and throw the concept out.

If it does have observable effects that cannot be attributed to other things, why can they not be produced in a lab setting?

Personally I make some reference to ki in my classes. Because some people respond to that. Some people respond better to "extend ki" than to the hose analogy, or a mechanical, biophysical explanation, so I try and use both types of language. Bit I never imply that there is some unseen force beyound what we are doing with our physicality at work. And I don't think the Japanese did either. My understanding is the physical/nonphysical dichotomy that western society has placed alot of emphasis on doesn't really exist in the east to the same degree. Which means ki is much more likely to be a discriptor for a bunch of mental and physical stuff coming together in a certain way. But some people have extrapolated it into a metaphysical Force that allows you to throw people from across the room etc etc which is just plain annoying and in the worst cases preying on the weaknesses of impressionable minds.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 12-03-2003, 10:25 PM   #29
Michael Young
 
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Well put Mr. Fooks. This is what I meant in my last response when I wrote "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." Maybe I should have defined who in the post I was refering to. Sure, some people use the word Ki to describe some kind of metaphysical-magic-wonder-power...nothin' but snake-oil salesmen IMO. Like Fooks and others have said though, it's a good term to use to describe a certain visualization for body movement and response. It's a lot easier to say "extend Ki" than to say "relax your shoulders, put extension in your arms, move from your center, etc.etc." all at the same time. Also, just as when you tell a beginner to assume hanmi, their understanding will be limited as to what you mean, but becomes deeper over time and practice...the same is true when you tell someone to "extend ki". Isn't it easier to say "Katate dori Ikkyo" rather than "use the technique where you have your partner grab your left wrist with her right, then enter by sliding with your front leg to her inside while swinging your arm up...yadayadayada" Using the Japanese terms are much more succint for us, as they already have the terms in place for description of the movements and concepts. Of course, they can mean different things in different circumstances(for example, define the words "lie" or "truth" to someone sometime) I'll also grant that the words can be misused and misunderstood too, but this doesn't make them invalid words.

Mike
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Old 12-03-2003, 10:29 PM   #30
Michael Young
 
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Hey James, I think you should rename your imaginary friend...Tarquin doesn't seem manly enough for a pink marmot.

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Old 12-03-2003, 11:14 PM   #31
zachbiesanz
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Quote:
John Boswell wrote:
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!
Actually, that doesn't follow. You're confusing [his acceptance that there is a concept called "ki"] with [a belief in the existence of something that the word "ki" represents, as per a lot of arcane talk he's heard about the supernatural and such].

That's just a little pickiness about logic.

As far as his critique of ki goes, it bothers me that he considers the idea that ki is in fact something physical--for example a unity or optimization of motion--to be merely aopologistic. By the same stroke of logic, he must deny conscious experience and intensionality: two problems in philosophy of the mind that we have names for and can describe pretty well, but have a very hard time coming up with exact physical reductive explanations for.

Just because something isn't what it seems like it should have been doesn't mean it doesn't exist. If you understand the last sentence, maybe you can help me with my homework.

Aikido is the art of hitting an assailant with the planet.
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Old 12-04-2003, 06:23 AM   #32
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Like Fooks and others have said though, it's a good term to use to describe a certain visualization for body movement and response. It's a lot easier to say "extend Ki" than to say "relax your shoulders, put extension in your arms, move from your center, etc.etc." all at the same time.
It may be easier, but to me it's a sign of poor instruction and coaching. If my instructor wants me to relax my shoulders, etc, etc.... I'd appreciate it if they would simply tell me. It makes things clear, simple and concise. Using a "buzz word" or "catch phrase" that a student is supposed to guess the meaning of is wasteful, dishonest, and smacks of cultism.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 12-04-2003, 06:46 AM   #33
happysod
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Paul, wouldn't it be fair to say that if you've first adequately described a "buzzword" then continue to use it in a consistent manner, it's an acceptable abbreviation? For example, I find it easier to use the japanese names for techniques rather than describe them step-by-step each time, have I lost honesty points?
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Old 12-04-2003, 08:11 AM   #34
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Ian,
Quote:
Paul, wouldn't it be fair to say that if you've first adequately described a "buzzword" then continue to use it in a consistent manner, it's an acceptable abbreviation?
Sure. We (people in general) do that all the time.
Quote:
For example, I find it easier to use the japanese names for techniques rather than describe them step-by-step each time, have I lost honesty points?
If everyone understands that the word "ikkyo" translates into the actual ikkyo technique and the class is familar with the technique, then no, there's no loss of honesty. If the understanding is not there, then not clarifying details is being dishonest to my way of thinking.

In Michael's original example, he did not describe an entire technique, he described details of the technique that were glossed over by "extending ki". If "extending ki" has one and only one meaning, then perhaps the term could be explained up front in a complete manner and then used. I suspect that "extending ki" does not have one and only one meaning and therefore, it is a sign of poor coaching to use it as short-hand for one of several technical errors that a student may or may not making and expecting the student to correctly determine what they are doing wrong.

Does that clarify things?

Regards,

Paul
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Old 12-04-2003, 08:52 AM   #35
happysod
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Sir Paul, I grok you man, thanks
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Old 12-04-2003, 10:01 AM   #36
ikkainogakusei
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Quote:
Wynand van Dyk (drDalek) wrote:
Its not bad, its illogical but its not bad, love is illogical but its not bad.
side note: Me thinkst love is not illogical. Scientifically, it is a biochemical reaction which results in bonding. This bonding assists in making offspring, rearing the offspring, and protecting the offspring. Human-type love also creates a greater group bond to cause us to work communaly. Is it a perfect system? No, but neither are we. Logic and perfection do not have to be synonamous. The human body has many imperfect, and some might say illogical aspects, yet we exist, we survive, we thrive.
Quote:
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.
Amen. Agreed. You tell'em sister. Including the requirement of logic and reason.
Quote:
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.
{noting the correlation/suggestion that 'Forces of Logic' might = 'Forces of Good'} In fact, there is much in science that is convention or construct for the sake of progression. For example; I think it was Euclidean geometry that expressed the convention that 2 perpindicular intersecting lines make 90 degree angles, we can't prove it, so let's just agree.

As you had mentioned, in the most basic areas of science, we have quite a few occasions of convention or construct for the sake of progress. Sometimes it takes hundreds of years to prove the convention that we ran with. This should be noted when attempting to disprove Ki simply because it is not set up in line with today's logical construct.

Pythagoras was so obsessed with whole numbers and their power/beauty that he had what would today be called a cult surrounding that idea. One day one of his students said 'but what about the square root of 2?' and Pythagoras had him killed.

Though logic (the suggested force behind science) might seem to be perfect, it's practicioners are not always perfect. I won't reject the Pythagorean Theorem (note theorem, not 'law') just because he was a Looney. I'm a scientist and that simple little theory makes my day -=so=- much easier. So who am I to point a finger at a parcticioner/follower if Ki, or of Faith?

Many, many people have faith in Science. We assume that since a guy with a lab coat (a man of another cloth) tells us that bashing atoms at Cern will help us advance, we send billions of dollars. As of 2001 they've been working on creating black holes there...cool...but I must have faith that they know what they are doing with regard to the black holes.

http://www.nature.com/nsu/011004/011004-8.html

http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0523/p25s02-stss.html

If ki exists or does not, why bother to attack it? If one wants to create a nul hypothesis, the next step is action not rhetoric. Begin to study it and examine it through reason. If one hasn't the time or inclination to make it a part of their life's work, then let it be. (cheesey Beatles song plays in background)


"To educate a man in mind, and not in morals, is to educate a menace to society." ~Theodore Roosevelt
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Old 12-04-2003, 11:27 AM   #37
Aristeia
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Quote:
paul watt (paw) wrote:
It may be easier, but to me it's a sign of poor instruction and coaching. If my instructor wants me to relax my shoulders, etc, etc.... I'd appreciate it if they would simply tell me. It makes things clear, simple and concise. Using a "buzz word" or "catch phrase" that a student is supposed to guess the meaning of is wasteful, dishonest, and smacks of cultism.

Regards,

Paul
Nah depends on context. Like "unbendable arm". A phrase we use all the time because in the middle of teaching ikkyo you don't always want to have to explain it. Obviously you need to have taught it before or people won't know what your talking about, but once you have it's expedient to use the term.

You could make the same argument with tenkan. "if my instructor wants me to step slightly to the side and pivot 180 degrees on the ball of my foot whilst keeping my centre down and maintaining my posture, he should just say so" Why, when it's much easier to teach someone what a tenkan is and then just say tenkan.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 12-04-2003, 11:29 AM   #38
Aristeia
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Quote:
paul watt (paw) wrote:
Ian,



In Michael's original example, he did not describe an entire technique, he described details of the technique that were glossed over by "extending ki". If "extending ki" has one and only one meaning, then perhaps the term could be explained up front in a complete manner and then used. I suspect that "extending ki" does not have one and only one meaning and therefore, it is a sign of poor coaching to use it as short-hand for one of several technical errors that a student may or may not making and expecting the student to correctly determine what they are doing wrong.
I'm more than happy to stipulate that you need to at some stage give an explanation of what you mean by that. Talking to students using the word ki and expecting to find their own explanation is silly and asking for trouble and misunderstanding. But once you've defined the terms, where's the problem.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 12-04-2003, 12:19 PM   #39
paw
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Michael,
Quote:
Like "unbendable arm". A phrase we use all the time because in the middle of teaching ikkyo you don't always want to have to explain it.
Strongly disagree. Trained 3 years before hearing about "unbendable arm" from any aikido instructor. Didn't cause any problems for me or anyone else.
Quote:
But once you've defined the terms, where's the problem.
On having one clear meaning. "Tenkan" has one clear, and dare I say it, universal meaning in the context of aikido. "Ki" does not, at least not as far as I can tell from reading this thread.

There have been fine aikidoists who use the term, "ki" and fine aikidoists who do not. If use of the term is beneficial to the development of a student's expertise, use it. It seems clear to me from the responses on this thread and the original article that is not the case for all people.

As Wynand said:
Quote:
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.
Regards,

Paul
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Old 12-04-2003, 01:56 PM   #40
kironin
 
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Quote:
paul watt (paw) wrote:
Michael,

Strongly disagree. Trained 3 years before hearing about "unbendable arm" from any aikido instructor. Didn't cause any problems for me or anyone else.
it's part of the training process in some aikido styles and not in others, just as I am sure there are exercises in your aikido classes that I and many others don't do that we don't feel causes any problems for us.

that said, I have certainly met enough students in other styles that I personally felt could have benefited from some experience with the "unbendable arm" exercise. To be fair, they probably feel I could benefit from some of their exercises.
Quote:
On having one clear meaning. "Tenkan" has one clear, and dare I say it, universal meaning in the context of aikido.
This is simply not true either from a linguistic point or a technical interstyle point.

I bet if I say, hantai tenkan, a lot of aikido students won't have a clue about what I want them to do.

For the record, when I teach Ki Development classes students most often get specific technical corrections in English and the rest they can make their own mind up on as they compare and practice with each other.

Craig
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Old 12-04-2003, 02:29 PM   #41
fvhale
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All this talk about two dozen squabbling chickens with too much ki made me curious about chicken ki. It has been proven scientifically that you can transfer duck ki to chicken eggs and get chicken-ducks (chucks? Dickens?). I kid you not. The Web says so.

"The term 'Ki' or basic human energy had been used restrictively in some specific fields like Chinese medicine till only few years ago. It had known as an unscientific and a subtle superstitious word to the general public. In recent years, however, we say and hear the word naturally in daily conversation Scientists who study 'Ki' are also increasing all over the world.

...<cluck cluck><quack quack>...

Dr. F. A. Popp's theory that a 'bio-photon' is used as a means of information exchange among cells of living things has received great approval in the academic world. Dr. Chiang Kanzhen, who lives in Russia after fleeing from China, also attracts people's attention. He made crossbred ducks using microwaves. For the experiment, he put a duck at a microwave transmitter and 500 ready-to-hatch chicken eggs at the receiver. Among the 480 chickens born, 25% had web on their feet, 80% had wide mouth, 70% had long neck and 90% had small eyes like ducks."

http://home.donga.ac.kr/~daudh/magazine/112/hum.htm

Peace to all...
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Old 12-04-2003, 05:38 PM   #42
kironin
 
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Well, as a scientist, I found this article to be close to babbling nonsense. Some of that may be due to it being written by a non-native English speaker or bad translation from Korean. The one Nature article ... is that the infamous homeopathy article ? Nature and Science may be high profile journals but they still do publish crap too often for comfort. Sometimes you have to wonder what the reviewers were smoking.

Craig
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Old 12-04-2003, 07:31 PM   #43
Michael Young
 
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Gotta agree Craig, just more "snake oil" salesmanship covered up with bad science. Unfortunately there are a lot of people out there that will buy it (sucker born every minute)...actually I got a good chuckle out of the article...hmmm, I wonder if he ate the microwaved duck with some orange sauce afterward...maybe he could microwave an orange with some duck eggs nearby and the "bio photon" from the oarnge would transfer, eliminating the need for orange sauce completely
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Old 12-05-2003, 05:10 AM   #44
paw
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Craig,
Quote:
I bet if I say, hantai tenkan, a lot of aikido students won't have a clue about what I want them to do.
Strawman argument and I suspect you know that. Well, I'll play along....

Let's pretend a new student joins your dojo. You say "hantai tenkan". The student has no idea. Now, you explain "hantai tenkan" to the student and because you are a fine instructor the student quickly understands.

Three Years Pass.....

Your student happens to travel to, let's say, Japan. They walk into a dojo --- one not affiliated with your school or organization --- and request to train for the night. They are graciously welcome. The instructor at this dojo says "hantai tenkan". Is it the same thing you described three years prior?

In the years I've trained aikido, every dojo I went to, every seminar I attended, every camp I trained at, every rank exam I took...."tenkan" was the same thing. So was "ikkyo". So was "uke". Ran into a dojo where they used the word "tori". Found out everyone that uses the word "tori" means the same thing. Different instructors, different affiliations, different organizations....same terminology, same meaning.

Everytime I think I know what someone means when they say "ki", I find someone else saying "ki" is something else.

Does that clarify things?

Paul
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Old 12-05-2003, 07:30 AM   #45
Mikkel Berg
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Hm.

I feel like a turtle entering a leopard-race here, because I have trained aikido for a very short time. Then again, I have studied comparative religion and by other ways come to somewhat know the concept of ki - if it is at all possible to comprehend for nonjapanese: It does seem to be more of an integrated and socially omiprescent thing than "God" or other metaphysical concepts.

But even though I'm an atheist, I find no problem training something that so heavily focuses on the ki-concept. Why?

I'll admit, when the highest ranking person in the dojo talks about healing people with ki, I don't really see it as relevant to aikido as a defense-art. Such things fall under "ki as religion" in my mind, and so it doesn't really interest me...

But can't "ki" also be seen separately as a way of thinking body-movement? The way you focus mentally-physically on your hip movements, strong bodycentre, heavy/light movements, circle movements and breathing (etc, probably).

How does this way of thinking bodymovement make us religious? There's a whole lot more to the concept of ki, that makes it a religious concept, but are those other aspects necessary for aikido as a defense art?

Aikido works, even if the practicioner is a typical secular Scandinavian who thinks of ki only as a "bodythinking" excluding the other aspects.
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Old 12-05-2003, 01:05 PM   #46
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Quote:
paul watt (paw) wrote:
In the years I've trained aikido, every dojo I went to, every seminar I attended, every camp I trained at, every rank exam I took...."tenkan" was the same thing. So was "ikkyo". So was "uke". Ran into a dojo where they used the word "tori". Found out everyone that uses the word "tori" means the same thing. Different instructors, different affiliations, different organizations....same terminology, same meaning.

Everytime I think I know what someone means when they say "ki", I find someone else saying "ki" is something else.

Does that clarify things?

Paul
I understand your arguement but I don't think it's correct nor do I think my example in response was a sham.

have you been to a Yoshinkan seminar ?

would you know exactly what I mean if we were doing neck exercises and I said "tenkan" ?

I have practiced radically different ikkyos that don't move the same way and don't even use the same mechanical principles to break uke's balance. I was just in Japan at a class by a 9th dan learning a totally new way of doing ikkyo from what I was familiar (different footwork, different timing, different lead, different principle - and it worked very well -

not Ki Society by the way ;-) or Aikikai ). The sort of ikkyo done by Ikeda Sensei (ASU), I find a lot of fun but it's totally different from what we do so that I can treat it like a different technique and IMO it differs a lot from what other Aikikai groups do.

in the Ki Society, there is a precise discussion of Ki in terms on mind and body unification rooted in Tempu Nakamura's Japanese Yoga. Koichi Tohei Sensei has been working on and refining it for over 30 years. When his son visits, I know precisely what he is talking about when he speaks about ki because he doesn't just talk about it. You will find people talking about it and meaning the same thing on the east coast and west coast or in Japan or Europe.

so in my dojo lingo, ki really is no different than tenkan. In dojos that lack specific training, I can understand the confusion.

Craig
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Old 12-05-2003, 01:16 PM   #47
kironin
 
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Quote:
paul watt (paw) wrote:
Three Years Pass.....

Your student happens to travel to, let's say, Japan. They walk into a dojo --- one not affiliated with your school or organization --- and request to train for the night. They are graciously welcome. The instructor at this dojo says "hantai tenkan". Is it the same thing you described three years prior?


I bet you I have no idea what this group means by "hantai tenkan".

http://www.aikido-chch.co.nz/grading_juniors.html

----------------

Tai sabaki:

Irimi

Tenkan

Irimi tenkan

Hantai tenkan

Tenkai
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Old 12-05-2003, 01:30 PM   #48
Aristeia
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Quote:
Craig Hocker (kironin) wrote:


I bet you I have no idea what this group means by "hantai tenkan".

http://www.aikido-chch.co.nz/grading_juniors.html

----------------

Tai sabaki:

Irimi

Tenkan

Irimi tenkan

Hantai tenkan

Tenkai
Why not?

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 12-06-2003, 09:58 AM   #49
tedehara
 
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Ki is a concept that is thousands of years old. It's been defined and redefined, interpeted and reinterpeted in many eras and places.

To absolutely reject all of it seems as bad as absolutely accepting all of it.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
About Ki
About You
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Old 12-06-2003, 03:30 PM   #50
ikkainogakusei
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Quote:
Ted Ehara (tedehara) wrote:
Ki is a concept that is thousands of years old. It's been defined and redefined, interpeted and reinterpeted in many eras and places.

To absolutely reject all of it seems as bad as absolutely accepting all of it.
Amen sister!

"To educate a man in mind, and not in morals, is to educate a menace to society." ~Theodore Roosevelt
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