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Old 01-13-2004, 04:13 AM   #1
destiny
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Ki Symbol Ki

There are many articles regarding KI and KI usage in Aikido.

But ,what is KI ? A matter(substance) or is it the subconscious mind over body /situation ?

Does just concentrating on my "one point" and following a systematic breathing pattern develop this KI ?

If it is a substance , what tangible effects have been seen or can be seen ?(strictly within the context of Aikido )

It would be my pleasure to hear from all of you.
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Old 01-13-2004, 04:59 AM   #2
happysod
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Ki is

a) a form of ethereal energy which can be tapped through meditation and breathing enabling the practitioner to transcend their normal physical imperfections

b) a complete load of old hokum

c) an outmoded training method which does not translate well into western society leading to confusion and a diminishment of martial applicability

d) a useful training tool which emphasises correct posture, mental attitude and approach to training

e) a route to spiritual enlightenment

f) a means of engendering robust debate on aikiweb

g) a pixie who lives at the bottom of my garden

h) all or none of the above
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Old 01-13-2004, 05:02 AM   #3
destiny
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Quote:
Ian Hurst (happysod) wrote:
Ki is

a) a form of ethereal energy which can be tapped through meditation and breathing enabling the practitioner to transcend their normal physical imperfections

b) a complete load of old hokum

c) an outmoded training method which does not translate well into western society leading to confusion and a diminishment of martial applicability

d) a useful training tool which emphasises correct posture, mental attitude and approach to training

e) a route to spiritual enlightenment

f) a means of engendering robust debate on aikiweb

g) a pixie who lives at the bottom of my garden

h) all or none of the above
Ian , oh man ,definitely not g), b) or f).

At least , that wasn't my intention.
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Old 01-13-2004, 05:06 AM   #4
Ian Upstone
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Oh yes, definitely f)! Not sure about the others though...
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Old 01-13-2004, 05:20 AM   #5
Reuben Lee
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Quote:
Ian Upstone wrote:
Oh yes, definitely f)! Not sure about the others though...
Ian ,although I agree with you (that this topic has a potential to be heated ), we (forum users) could keep a friendly discussion.

I don't think that a debate was Neil's intention. It was more for learning purposes.

Moderators, please be the judge of this thread.

Forum guys,
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Old 01-13-2004, 06:57 AM   #6
Ian Upstone
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Apologies for my flippant remark. I was merely adding my own opinion that of all the options supplied by Mr Hurst, the only one I was 100% sure of was the fact that the discussion of Ki does bring about robust debate. 'Robust' can still be friendly however!

Because many aikidoka incorporate their whole life around Ki and some may dismiss it outright as 'hokum' it has a great chance of being hotly debated. The interpretation of Ki ranges drastically from person to person and from style to style (Sorry, I hate to use that term) of aikido, depending on what they have been told/taught or what they experience and feel.

My own personal viewpoint, is that I'm a 'Ki-agnostic' (if interpreting Ki as Mr Hurst's first option) I've yet to feel 'Ki' as either uke or nage, as everything I've experienced so far could be put down to correct technique, but I certainly won't rule it out! I've read stories that have had extra speed or strength in dire circumstances attributed to Ki, when it could simply be down to an adrenaline dump or just a strong survival instinct in action. The bottom line is, from what I've read, it's very difficult to define, let alone prove, and perhaps that is why it is so hotly debated.

My experience of aikido is not lengthy enough to form a strong opinion either way, and I'm very interested to learn of others' viewpoints, especially those brave enough to not be sitting on the fence with me!
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Old 01-13-2004, 07:35 AM   #7
happysod
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Quote:
I don't think that a debate was Neil's intention. It was more for learning purposes
Ah, but isn't one major way of learning asking questions? Answers from various people with non-identical viewpoints invariably lead to debate. Also, I think there's only one mod, Jun

My off-fence opinion:" d) a useful training tool which emphasises correct posture, mental attitude and approach to training" shading to aspects of (b)hokum when too much is claimed in the name of "ki".

OT - I'm amazed my definitions have been left uncorrected so far... except (g) which is unrefutably true. Also, it's Ian (or Ianh), Mr is giving me far too much credit as an adult.
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Old 01-13-2004, 07:45 AM   #8
paw
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*sitting quietly waiting for the one true authoritative answer to be given*
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Old 01-13-2004, 08:33 AM   #9
John Boswell
 
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Okay Paul, how's about this?

Ki is the *actual* and natural flow of your spiritual energy that, when grasped and understood to SOME degree, will enable an indivdual to direct themselves and their intention in any direction one wants to go... also taking some poor unsuspecting uke along for an e-ticket ride.

I adlibed that, still waiting for the coffee to kick in, but I think it works pretty well.

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Old 01-13-2004, 09:14 AM   #10
paw
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Quote:
Okay Paul, how's about this?
Well, I don't understand.

How can I tell that "spiritual energy" was used as opposed to "something else" when I take uke for a ride?

Regards,

Paul
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Old 01-13-2004, 09:44 AM   #11
SeiserL
 
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IMHO, there is no one authoritive answer. Many definitions of Ki are offered because it is a subjective experience of energy.

I once heard that enery/ki follows intent or focus. Therefore, if Ki is on your internal mental map of reality you will be able to begin to develop an awareness of it. If it is not a part of your current map, no definition will make sense and even through it is there you will not be aware of it.

Physics tell us that fundamentally everything is energy. Energy is transformed but never created or destroyed. Change the word Ki to energy and I belive it is easier to develop an experience of it.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 01-13-2004, 10:38 AM   #12
happysod
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Quote:
Change the word Ki to energy and I belive it is easier to develop an experience of it
Had me with you until this bit. The main problem I have with it's application/existence isn't so much the energy analogy so much as how this energy is generated in the first place. I'll also have to have a carp about the "exists even if you can't feel it" - if it does exist you should be able to describe it somewhat?

Now if you're using Ki just as a metaphor for the mechanical energy produced I'm back on track, but I feel your original concept is a bit more encompassing?
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Old 01-13-2004, 04:31 PM   #13
kironin
 
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Quote:
John Boswell wrote:
Ki is the *actual* and natural flow of your spiritual energy that, when grasped and understood to SOME degree, will enable an indivdual to direct themselves and their intention in any direction one wants to go... also taking some poor unsuspecting uke along for an e-ticket ride.
I liked Ian Hurst's first reply much better. You haven't been corrected Ian because that was a damn fine response.

and my choice would also definitely be d) but leading to down the slope to b) when definitive verbal definitions like the above are attempted.

best,

Craig

Houston Ki Society
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Old 01-14-2004, 04:58 AM   #14
Reuben Lee
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Sigh ,there's no one right answer. You know what, I feel forget it.
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Old 01-14-2004, 05:25 AM   #15
L. Camejo
 
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Actually I think Lynn has a point, if it is on one's mental map of what is real, then it may more readily be perceived by that person.

The problem with the ki as energy question is how do we separate "ki" energy from other forms of energy?

Then again, if we take the qigong definition that "ki/chi exists everywhere and in all things" then maybe the reason why we can't separate and define what "ki" is as energy, is because it is the common thread that exists in all forms of energy at some level. Sort of the basic template from which different manifest forms of energy (which we can detect) originate. This may have something to do with the myriad definitions we get from different people.

Alternatively, I've heard of people refer to what may be termed as "an absence/lack of ki" in training. Often referring to lack of focus, intent, energy etc. Maybe if we can define what ki is not, then we can define what it is.

Just some thoughts.

L.C.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 01-14-2004, 05:53 AM   #16
happysod
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Quote:
Actually I think Lynn has a point, if it is on one's mental map of what is real, then it may more readily be perceived by that person
Larry, isn't there a danger of self-hypnosis with this approach? Receptiveness in a subject has been used in many areas to distort their perception of reality.

(Simple example, I'm drunk, therefore I'm sexy to the person I'm bothering. If they're also drunk, my viewpoint may be accepted as valid due to their greater receptivness through alcohol )
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Old 01-14-2004, 07:38 AM   #17
Hogan
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http://www.aikidocentercharlotte.com...er/vol5-2.html

What is Ki?

From a lecture by tha late Toyoda Shihan:

Aikido is the way of harmonizing with ki, with energy. Everyone talks about this energy, but I've never seen it! There isn't anything that you point at and say "There's ki energy, over there." During training, we don't see bright golden light coming down. Maybe some people do, but if they say so we just tell them "Shut up and train. I'm going to throw you!" So, even if you see golden light, maybe it isn't useful at that moment.

The fact is, that it's a mistake to get hung up on the idea of ki. Getting stuck on any idea is a mistake. You have to see the circumstance, and deal with what is right before you. So if you are always saying, "ki, ki", and then you can't react because your mind is stuck, this is not good.

The reality is that ki is not some energy outside of us. It isn't something different from us. Everything is ki. When we do unbendable arm, maybe some energy is going through it, maybe not. That doesn't matter; it's only a useful way to describe the feeling of unbendable arm. Really, the arm itself is ki. And so is the person testing you. How you harmonize with that situation and allow all of this energy - yourself included - to settle and flow naturally determines your success.

This mat is ki, the wall is ki. The air is ki. Physics tells us this, that everything is some kind of energy. Don't get hung up on this idea. The idea itself is also only energy. There's nothing for you to hang on to. Just train, and you will understand!
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Old 01-14-2004, 07:44 AM   #18
paw
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John,

So if I understand your post correctly, the answer would be:

d) a useful training tool which emphasises correct posture, mental attitude and approach to training ?

Regards,

Paul
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Old 01-14-2004, 08:31 AM   #19
L. Camejo
 
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Quote:
Ian Hurst (happysod) wrote:
Larry, isn't there a danger of self-hypnosis with this approach? Receptiveness in a subject has been used in many areas to distort their perception of reality.
But then that's the whole concept being posted by the "what is ki" question. Who defines what is real?

I know when I am drunk I am a lot more receptive to certain things, and I do appear more sexy to the other drunk person after a bit of self-hypnosis . Maybe its because their judgement is impaired as well, maybe its because I extend a different air about myself after I hypnotise myself (I know much of insurance sales training is built on the concept of self-hypnosis to believe in one's product in an aim to generate more confidence in the sales force and in the end, more sales); it could be that the alcohol allows one to relax more and "extend ki" better.

On the other hand, it could be because my so-called conscious mind is the block from me perceiving myself as sexy because it thinks too much and generally shelves what it can't understand. In which case the alcohol is an aid towards clarity. There are martial arts schools I know of who engage in drinking before class to "clear their perception" and help them to relax and "feel ki" - go figure.

Alternatively, some may use the concept of self hypnosis to rationalise what they do not want to believe or perceive.

Generally, I like John's post - too much fixation on ki may not help - let's just shut up and train.

L.C.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 01-14-2004, 08:50 AM   #20
thisisnotreal
 
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Greetings!

I've never met anyone who says or believes this:

a) a form of ethereal energy which can be tapped through meditation and breathing enabling the practitioner to transcend their normal physical imperfections

Except eluded to in a S. Pranin videotape of O'Sensei training with a jo hitting an old set of samurai armour, where it says (paraphrased) that "He continues to train for many hours, never getting tired, because he has tapped into Ki, the universal energy source".

Does anyone here believe (a)?

josh
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Old 01-14-2004, 09:16 AM   #21
jxa127
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John Hogan,

Thanks for posting that quote from Toyoda shihan. For those who don't know, Toyoda followed Tohei and was with the Ki Society for a long time. In time, he founded his own school (Aikido Association of America) and eventually reaffiliated with the Aikikai.

I train at an AAA dojo, and have attended seminars taught by Toyoda and his suceesor, Andy Sato sensei. I'd say our approach to ki is a middle of the road one. We have ki tests as part of our testing requirements, but we tend not to view ki as a mystical energy.

For a good discussion of ki, please read The Spirit of Aikido by Kisshomaru Ueshiba. Part of the book features a good, rational discussion of ki, the founder's concept of it, and why it's important.

Regards,

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 01-14-2004, 01:14 PM   #22
Don_Modesto
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Re: Ki

Quote:
Neil Tan (destiny) wrote:
There are many articles regarding KI and KI usage in Aikido.

But ,what is KI ?
Which of these articles have you read that you need to ask your question here?

Btw, fwiw, Tonegawa Susumu, Japanese national and 1987 Nobel prize winner in medicine, upon returning to Japan on a victory tour of sorts (he'd done his prize winning research at MIT), scolded the Japanese that if they wanted to do good science, they needed to think in English because Jpn is too vague for rigorous thought.

Last edited by Don_Modesto : 01-14-2004 at 01:18 PM.

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Old 01-15-2004, 07:18 AM   #23
George S. Ledyard
 
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Ki

There is an awful lot that could be said about "Ki". Most of it has to do with healing and the overall energetics of the body. This extends to the food we put in the body to nourish it. It is a vastly complex topic.

There are different kinds of Ki, as discussed by O-Sensei: Water Ki, Fire Ki, etc. An excellent way to get a handle on this topic as O-Sensei conceived it is by reading William Gleason Sensei's book, The Spiritual Foundations of Aikido.

But from a functional standpoint, the very complexity of the topic has led to all sorts of "abuse" if you could call it that. People with almost no background in Chinese or Japanese medicine, no Classical education in the Japanese Classics which formed the basis of O-Sensei's Spiritual world, who have read the relatively small amount of O-Sensei's writings that have been translated into English get totally enamored of O-Sensei "magic" stories, dance around the mat waving their hands doing "energy" techniques, etc. This of course has lead to the predictable counter reaction. There are folks who want to de-mystify Aikido. Who maintain that it is all just a matter of physics. Their practice comes down to being in good shape and understanding the mechanics.

Without needing to get into the topic on a technical level it is easy to demonstrate that "something" which we can call "Ki" exists. You can see this every time you are teaching and you give a visualization to a student who was stuck in a technique. Without changing anything that would visibly seen as mechanics the technique suddenly works when it hadn't before. Just because the student "saw" it differently in his Mind.

I can stand in front of a student with my sword and make a shift from a kamae in which my energy is very diffuse, my attention stops at the limit of the physical sword into a kamae (without changing the actual posture) in which my attention is focused to a point right through the student's head, in which I feel like energy streams from my sword tip at my partner's Center. I have had students involuntarily step backwards when I made that shift. I have not had a student who couldn't "feel" the difference. So I am sure that Ki is real and it is an important part of what we do. But the question is how do we use the concept for the benefit of our training and not get sucked into some morass of "wishful thinking magic waza".

Personally, I have found Gleason sensei's way of describing Ki to be of the most use in my practice. Basically, at least from the standpoint of technique, you can say that Ki is interchangeable with how you place your attention. If you place your attention on different places in the body it totally changes how a technique can feel and perform. If we allow our opponent to grab our attention with his attack, we are invariably defeated. I can reach out to an attacker with my attention and observe the effect it has when he feels it happening. None of this is magical or obscure although it certainly can feel fantastical when you are doing technique or taking ukemi.

I have trained with very strong Aikidoka who operate without any of this and their technique is simply mechanical. It can be defeated mechanically by someone who is also strong and understands the technique. I have also trained with people who are busy trying to be O-Sensei when they are at Kyu level or low Dan rank and are shooting their energy all over the mat and you simply step in and crush them like small bugs.

The great people I have trained with, Saotome Sensei, Ikeda Sensei, Tom Read Sensei, Mary Heiny Sensei and William Gleason Sensei all have something tangible that can't be seen but is felt. You can feel Saotome Sensei shift his attention as you attack and you can feel it in your hara. Tom Read sometimes feels like he has somehow crawled inside your head. You can go a whole class taking ukemi and never feel like you did a decent, focused attack. I have been "frozen" by a kiai. So there is no question, for me, that "ki" is an active and important component of what we do. It is certainly a crucial element in the kind of Aikido I am trying to do. So far, to the extent that I have been able to duplicate some of what I have been taught by my teachers, using the concept of "attention" and "ki" being interchangeable has worked well Possibly it might be if use to other people who have found more complex discussions of "ki" to be interesting but not very helpful in training.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 01-17-2004, 08:05 PM   #24
tedehara
 
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Re: Ki

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
...If we allow our opponent to grab our attention with his attack, we are invariably defeated...
"But even before he attacks our mind goes there (the area of the attack). That is because we are conceited. Not conceited as I'm so great! but conceited as being aware of one's self."

That's a paraphrase of what one of my instructors' take on this is. And yes, he also read Spiritual Foundations and went to a Gleason seminar.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 02-04-2004, 06:39 AM   #25
bogglefreak20
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A story on KI which may or may not be relevant for this topic. It was told to us, humble and undeserving aikidoka, on a yesterday's training:

On a seminar by "forgot-the-name" sensei, who talked about KI on and on for hours, an Italian aikidoka asked the sensei whether or not he could get rid of warts on his hands by using the power of KI.

The sensei said: "The best thing for you to do is to go back to your hotel after the training, sit comfortably in a cosy armchair, drink a double scotch and forget about everything."

All the best to you!

Beatus Qui Venit In Nomine Domini!
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