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Old 02-18-2005, 11:08 AM   #1
Mike Sigman
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Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Rob Liberti talking about Ki skills wrote:
I understand that there is a slow way to break through - I think it sounds an awful lot like taichi - which I'm fine with. I think it can be done in aikido class, but I agree that sempai to help show the way are highly desireable. I have a shortage of them in my location, so any ancillary exercises, drills, or katas would be very helpful. I guess it seems to me that since I know the surface level social coordination so well, I am able to set up classes to help get people there in a linear, incremental (iterative maybe?) way. It seems like someone who knows the self coordination side should have been able to set up classes to help get people there in a linear, incremental (iterative maybe?) way. I assumed that is was Tohei (and Moriama sp?) sensei's tried to do. I think that since they didn't continue to do the basic waza (to my knowledge) it didn't transfer very well to those students without any background in basic waza - this is just from my very limited experience with Ki society in my area. I keep hoping that someone comes up with a list of principles I can follow about this area to help keep me on track (and spin my wheels less). So far I haveb't seen many beyond 'relax, extend ki, weight underside, keep center' or whatever they are. Training to eventually grasp the meaning of these ideas is one (very long) way. It seems like someone who done the work who is also very articulate might be able to express these ideas in an even more helpful way and speed the procress along.
Well, as I've said before, I think that movement in Aikido, as in Taiji and many other martial arts, requires an investment in slow, mentally-directed movement at first. Rushing into fast, hakama-flowing movement or into competition is a waste of time. Cooperative movement and a lot of time practicing basic movements in order to change the basic way you move is critical.

Tohei, when he split from Hombu Dojo, wanted to be successful and he used the keystone of Aikido, "Ki", as his banner. It was a brilliant move and he supported the focus on Ki with a number of "exercises" or "tests" that point toward the basic skills. Essentially, the point I'd make is that the basic waza and exercises of traditional Aikido are more than adequate as practice media and the "tests" are sort of supplemental so that you can gauge your progress. I.e., all Aikido is the same, when done correctly, regardless of style.

I agree that Tohei's four points aren't very helpful because he never really tells you how to do anything. It's easy to say "keep your one point", but if you don't know what he's talking about you can imagine a large number of possible actions that might be called "keeping your one point"... and most of them wouldn't do more than occupy your imagination.

I'll give a shot at explaining the Four Points a little more clearly. I'll need to break in into separate posts, because some of the explanations require that I do preliminary explanations. Just give me a minute to go put on my Nomex suit.

Keep One Point:
A good way to begin understanding "keep one point" is to have someone push against your stomach/dantien area with the palm of one hand (he should keep his elbow straight and you should have one hand holding his arm behind his elbow). You relax and let your back leg absorb all the push. Relax your lower back... now and always. See how far you can move backward to where your weight is more or less directly over the back leg... it's hard, like a balancing act, but it's good practice. When you're comfortable doing this and letting his push go through you to the ground, stay relaxed and move forward, letting the relaxed force of the ground move your partner (he should only be giving you around 5-10 pounds resistance) backwards ( he just sort of allows himself to walk backwards while maintaining a steady force to you). You should be able to walk almost as naturally as going down a sidewalk.

If you can walk forward using the ground conveyed through your middle to your opponent, then you can do the same thing with a slight variation. Put one hand against the sternum of your partner (his hands are by his side; he will simply be a "dummy" offering a slight resistance) and "pretend-feel" like his hand is still against your stomach and walk him backward again, using the ground to your middle straight to your hand. I.e., your hand should feel like it is just an extension of your middle. Notice how you're beginning to get a glimpse of "keeping your mind in your hara".

If you grasp the lapel of your partner's gi-top, pull them toward you about one step. When you pull, imagine that you are pulling using your belt (obi). Practice various pushes and pulls imagining that all pushes are really the middle pushing; all pulls are the middle (or the obi) pulling; the arms and torso are simply objects through which the pushes and pulls from the middle are transmitted.

If you are going to lift something, think of it like this. Imagine a flower-pot on a table at waist height. You walk up to the table, grasp the pot on both sides, and bend your knees so that you can "get under" the pot and "push it up with your middle". Over time, you can learn to walk up to the table, grasp the pot, and make a subtle shift in your middle and stance to "get under" the pot with almost no discernible movement. All lifting is really "pushing up from the ground" ... it is never "lift with the shoulder muscles".

To apply downward force, think of it like this. You are near a tree that has various long branches coming out horizontally, starting low to the ground. You walk up to one that is about crotch height and straddle the branch. To bring the branch down, you have only to somewhat drop your weight, which is centered within the crotch area.
Next you walk over to 2 horizontal branches that are about armpit height. Let the weight of your body be in your armpits and slightly sink to move the branches downward.
Next walk over to a single horizontal branch about chest height, put the backs of your elbows down on the branch and *bring your body weight to the elbows*. Don't try to do this to heavily or your other muscles will kick in. You want to do it lightly for a few months until your body learns to bring weight without a lot of tension.
Lastly, put your hands, palm down, on a branch (not too far away from your body) and sink down with the weight of your body in your palms.

With practice, you can put the weight of your body on any underside surface of your body. That's what "keep weight underside" means. But it involves you moving the weight of your middle to where you want it with your mind, doesn't it? Like in "mind and body coordinated"?

If you think about the four directions of "power" we just discussed, push, pull, up, down, they all involve using your middle as the source of power, in each case. I.e., you must practice doing everything with your middle, so you must focus on the middle in all movements: "Keep your one point". You cannot develop this form of power from the middle if you try to move too much weight or engage your primary muscles.... you must stay relaxed so that the mind can recruit the muscles it wants. I.e., don't relax so much that you fall in a heap on the ground, but stay relaxed.

I'll discuss "Extend Ki" in another post, Rob. Does any of that help?

Mike
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Old 02-18-2005, 11:37 AM   #2
rob_liberti
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Yes it does. I'm very glad you started posting here.

Some insight ocurred to me while reading your post. Gleason sensei often talks about how we set up initial tension and then release it while we are using our body's weight. This kind of sets up a more dynamic approach to using your middle without tension while doing waza. That is a fairly big difference in the way it seems that he does aikido and the way many others do (in that I never feel them set that initial tension up - because they are so busy blending and almost avoiding my push into their center when I grab them).

Also, if you grab my wrist, and I stay relaxed yet inflated (for lack of a better term) and keep my wrist up and fnigers down and walk in a direction that is just slightly going past your front you will be lifted up by just maintaining your grab (and having to walk backwards in the same way you suggested to maintain that grab). I'm not sure how that drill exactly fits into "weight underside" or is that extend ki?! That's the problem, I can do some of these things, but I can't map a term onto the experience so the terms say a bit meaningless to me! Sorry to add more (of my) confusion...

Rob
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Old 02-18-2005, 12:14 PM   #3
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Gleason sensei often talks about how we set up initial tension and then release it while we are using our body's weight. This kind of sets up a more dynamic approach to using your middle without tension while doing waza. That is a fairly big difference in the way it seems that he does aikido and the way many others do (in that I never feel them set that initial tension up - because they are so busy blending and almost avoiding my push into their center when I grab them).
Bear in mind that I don't know Gleason Sensei or what he knows, so it's hard for me to comment intelligently on your description. Moving the middle is one thing.... connecting it to the hands at all times is another matter, as is coordinating that connection. That's what the practice is all about. Connecting the body can be thought of as having two things to worry about: a "push" using your middle can be said to more or less be transmitted from the middle by the "bones" (not totally true, but close enough for what I want to say); a "pull" using your middle can be thought of more or less as going through the skin, fascia, etc., along the outside of the body to the hara. Let's think of that outter return path as being sort of like a "suit", maybe like a Spiderman suit. You can practice by moving in the aikido exercises (notice how many of them involve large circular movements of the arms, which keeps the "suit" more or less extended and wrinkle-free). The Aikido warmup exercises are terrific for practicing this, when done slowly.

Some Chinese use standing postures to strengthen the connection of their "bones" and also to strengthen the connection power of their "suit". For instance, one old exercise to strengthen the suit's ability to convey down power from the middle to the palms was to put an inflated goat's bladder in a tub of water and stand for long periods letting the body's weight sink the bladder somewhat. There are a lot of tricks for strengthening the body to tie the middle with the rest of the body. Heck, think about the wrist exercises just about every dojo does. Think of the Sankyo one, which is said to "bring ki to the wrists and hands". The way it does that is for you to relax and allow the twist you are doing to your hand to wind all the way along the "suit" of your arm until you can feel it sort of twisting at your kidney area. And so on..... what I'm trying to get at is that I'm uncomfortable with the word "tension" except in a "stretched" sense. You have to be relaxed and develop these things over time. The "bone"/frame strengthening can be done very well with standing, too, but there are a lot of variations.
Quote:
Also, if you grab my wrist, and I stay relaxed yet inflated (for lack of a better term) and keep my wrist up and fnigers down and walk in a direction that is just slightly going past your front you will be lifted up by just maintaining your grab (and having to walk backwards in the same way you suggested to maintain that grab). I'm not sure how that drill exactly fits into "weight underside" or is that extend ki?! That's the problem, I can do some of these things, but I can't map a term onto the experience so the terms say a bit meaningless to me!
I'm not sure I can exactly picture what you're trying to say with that example you used, Rob. Your hands, arms, shoulders, whatever should always be connected to your middle at all times and you should relaxedly always be in a position to take a moderate force from the front or the rear or either side or downward at anytime.... while at the same time you should be able to generate a push or pull in any direction. Just to reinforce that thought, imagine this: I am standing in front of you holding your lapels, the backs of my fists against your chest through the gi. With no movement of my body I can will different forces to my hands so that you feel a push (at any angle) or a pull (at any angle) or a lift or a downweighting. That's how much my hands must be connected to my middle and how much the mind is involved.

A second point needs to be made that the middle is in the hands at all times during movement, not just statically. If I do let's say "Sayu Undo", but without moving my feet (to simplify). The arms go through a circle and wind up elbows-down like I'm dropping someone in a throw. If you think about that circle as you're doing it, the arms are pushed up, pushed horizontally, and then weighted down. The power of the middle must be moving the arms through every increment of the circle at all times. Learning to move like this takes a while. Making this sort of movement instinctive means applying yourself to all of your daily movements. Cooperative practice is a fine tool as long as you're analyzing each portion of your movement to be sure the middle is powering the direction of your body and the movment of your arms. Competing or too rough practice, IMO, will simply hinder development of these skills.

And hey..... we haven't even mentioned the tricky points and Ki stuff yet, have we???

Mike
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Old 02-18-2005, 12:28 PM   #4
rob_liberti
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Good explanations!

Okay, well I did a poor job with my example. I was trying to describe how I can set up shihonage and let the movement of my legs be the primary uplifting force. So in katatetori shihonage omote, I basically drive in under your center (remarkably like a sword trust to maybe just under and just in front of your center come to think about it), and because of your grab you'll start to lift up. Is that keep weight underside? Or extend ki? Both? A little bit of neither?

Rob
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Old 02-18-2005, 01:04 PM   #5
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
I was trying to describe how I can set up shihonage and let the movement of my legs be the primary uplifting force. So in katatetori shihonage omote, I basically drive in under your center (remarkably like a sword trust to maybe just under and just in front of your center come to think about it), and because of your grab you'll start to lift up. Is that keep weight underside? Or extend ki? Both? A little bit of neither?
Well think of the directions of your power while at the same time being aware of where Uke's center is (particularly in relation to his feet). You would only need "weight underside" to bring something downward, but in the interests of always being in equilibrium (a MUST!), you should always have "potential underside weight" on all the downward surfaces of the body.

When you enter into an opponent with shihonage, let's imagine that your forearm comes into contact with his forearm (this makes my description simpler because it gives me a base to imagine from). So think what direction his forearm must be move in and that is the direction of the "push" from your middle. Push it through, up, over, down with your middle pushing and pulling the hands and arms through the complete range of motion. You must always be aware of what the opponent's balance is going through at the same time. The "heavyside down" of the whole body happens at the end as you complete the throw, assuming you're just dropping him straight down to the mat.

"Extend Ki" is really the idea of being in central equilibrium with the body ready to take a push to ground from any direction of to generate a force using the middle into any direction.

It's hard to explain some of these things as they begin to involve questions like "how do you lift someones arm by 'pushing up' when his arm is at my hip level?". As you get more skilled you can "get under" things lower and lower, etc., but my point is that I'm trying to keep the descriptions simple and more at an understandable-by-all level. So if it looks like I gloss over something, someone needs to ask. Another problem I have is that I know most of this stuff, but I've never really articulated it as a "whole picture" and I tend to assume some things are obvious when they may not be. Again... someone needs to ask because things just slip by my attention.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 02-18-2005, 01:19 PM   #6
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Incidentally, Rob, if a person is careful to exaggerate and watch their push through, up, over, and down in shihonage so that the middle-powered-by-the-ground is true all the way through, they'll develop the correct power over a lot of repetitions. If, when you do it like this using the correct power, you pay attention to what your middle is doing, you'll feel also move in that circe. That is the hara turning, as it should. After a lot of repetitions, the body exaggeration is not longer needed and it looks like you just walk through shihonage, but the middle will still quietly turn.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 02-18-2005, 01:20 PM   #7
rob_liberti
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Hump... This had taken a turn I hadn't expected. Just to explain my perspective, I specifically avoid letting my forearm touch the uke's forearm (really because I am trying to avoid the uke's shoulder having any chance of getting to my shoulder) which I can do as long as they maintain that grab. (If they let go, we move right into kokyu nage land or worse.)

You are suggesting a more sophisticated internal approach to doing waza that externally looks low level. Kind of funny...

At any rate, I try to keep my concentration on listening to what the partner's body is doing, and keeping some amount of tension in my finger tips. I'm fairly certain that I use more of my whole body than just my arms to lift the uke up. I really try to drive forward to encourage them to go up so that my arms can follow them up (pretty much like I do kokyu tanden ho actually).

I still am not clear on which one or more (or none) of the ki-principles mentioned that is. Sorry If I keep trying to drive this towards something I actually do. If that's just not working for you, then I'll think about this over the weekend and maybe try to do some of the drills you suggested and then start posting again from experience.

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 02-18-2005 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 02-18-2005, 01:39 PM   #8
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Hump... This had taken a turn I hadn't expected. Just to explain my perspective, I specifically avoid letting my forearm touch the uke's forearm (really because I am trying to avoid the uke's shoulder having any chance of getting to my shoulder) which I can do as long as they maintain that grab. (If they let go, we move right into kokyu nage land or worse.)
Ack... I knew when I said that about the forearm you'd object about the purity of it, but I was afraid the directions on the wrist might be unclear, so I opted to do in a way that the direction of power would be obvious.
Quote:
You are suggesting a more sophisticated internal approach to doing waza that externally looks low level. Kind of funny...
It's a start. If I knew what your skill level was, I might have started somewhere else, but since I don't know....
Quote:
At any rate, I try to keep my concentration on listening to what the partner's body is doing, and keeping some amount of tension in my finger tips. I'm fairly certain that I use more of my whole body than just my arms to lift the uke up. I really try to drive forward to encourage them to go up so that my arms can follow them up (pretty much like I do kokyu tanden ho actually).

I still am not clear on which one or more (or none) of the ki-principles mentioned that is. Sorry If I keep trying to drive this towards something I actually do. If that's just not working for you, then I'll think about this over the weekend and maybe try to do some of the drills you suggested and then start posting again from experience.
Well, there's a difference big difference between let's say "driving with the whole body" and being able to use the path from the ground of kokyu power. It's OK to sort of start with just "drive with the body, but you need to pay attention more to the paths. A lot of these things need to be seen and shown in person for clarity.

Mike
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Old 02-18-2005, 02:06 PM   #9
rob_liberti
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Okay, well, if you do a thrust with a sword to someone's mid section, are you suggesting that you maintain a path to the ground from every point, including the tip of the sword? That'd be a new variation of the jo trick if you ask me... -Rob
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Old 02-18-2005, 03:08 PM   #10
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Okay, well, if you do a thrust with a sword to someone's mid section, are you suggesting that you maintain a path to the ground from every point, including the tip of the sword? That'd be a new variation of the jo trick if you ask me...
Well, if you stand in a relaxed stance holding a jo sort of like a rifle with the butt between your upper arm and ribs and the hand on that side holding in the trigger area and your front hand on the "forestock" area, you should be able to ground a push easily into your back leg (front hand is the same side as the front leg, BTW). Feel the push with the sole of your back foot. That's called "bringing Ki to the tip of the weapon", FWIW. You can do the same thing with a sword. Extending the tip of a weapon is like telescoping out the ground path straight to your target. Guess what.... you do the same thing in fune-kogi-undo when the hands go out. Again, it's exaggeration at first, gradually leading the to point where movement of the hara is so small as to be almost unnoticeable.

The thing I described above is sort of obvious because the tip of the sword or jo is in line with the back foot. In the case of the jo trick, the push is not in line with the grounding foot, so that "connection" of the body I was talking about has to be fairly strong.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 02-19-2005, 08:42 AM   #11
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Mark Johnston wrote:
Your functional Ki thread is inhabited by yourself and one other person, I'm sure if anyone wants to join in there they won't be too scared to give an opinion.
Well, Rob, it was a fun experiment. Looks like we got Shodokan'ed. If there's any more to be discussed on this topic, let's go to private mail.

All the Best.

Mike
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Old 02-19-2005, 11:34 PM   #12
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Concerning your discussion regarding the Ki Society basic principles, I think you would be better having a face-to-face with a Ki Society instructor. My own instructor read Tohei's description of unbendable arm. Then he would go around trying it out (unsuccessfully) on everyone he knew. After he was shown how to do unbendable arm and other ki principles, he realized that you can't just read things in a book and expect to do it correctly.

If you're interested, there are listings for both Colorado and Connecticut at Ki Society USA. I don't know if these places are easy to get to for you. However I think you could see more clearly from experiencing instruction at a dojo, rather than making assumptions from what you've read.

Ki and Chi are the same Chinese characters. But K. Tohei uses his own axioms that are different than traditional Chinese or Japanese concepts. There are also differences between writers in the Chinese and Japanese tradition, as well as differences between writers in each tradition. Ki/Chi is a concept that could go back to the Stone Age, so there are many different ideas about it. To assume that everyone is writing/talking about the "same" thing is not exact.

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Old 02-20-2005, 06:18 AM   #13
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
Concerning your discussion regarding the Ki Society basic principles, I think you would be better having a face-to-face with a Ki Society instructor. My own instructor read Tohei's description of unbendable arm. Then he would go around trying it out (unsuccessfully) on everyone he knew. After he was shown how to do unbendable arm and other ki principles, he realized that you can't just read things in a book and expect to do it correctly.

If you're interested, there are listings for both Colorado and Connecticut at Ki Society USA. I don't know if these places are easy to get to for you. However I think you could see more clearly from experiencing instruction at a dojo, rather than making assumptions from what you've read.

Ki and Chi are the same Chinese characters. But K. Tohei uses his own axioms that are different than traditional Chinese or Japanese concepts. There are also differences between writers in the Chinese and Japanese tradition, as well as differences between writers in each tradition. Ki/Chi is a concept that could go back to the Stone Age, so there are many different ideas about it. To assume that everyone is writing/talking about the "same" thing is not exact.
Hi Ted:

Well, I appreciate the pointers.

I guess I'll just accept your opinion of things and mention in the friendliest of intentions that I've been to a few Ki Society dojo's in the past and I haven't seen any of them that I thought knew much about Ki. Besides, the demonstrable aspects of Ki come from what the Japanese learned from the Chinese and the Chinese, in turn, apparently got their substantive Ki practices from early Indian Buddhist monks.... but those practices don't go back to the Stone Age, I'm afraid. It's more like a "body technology" that was developed in India some time ago.

The Japanese Ki practices and the Chinese Qi practices (bear in mind there are a lot of variants, but the basic principles are the same.... they have to be) differ only in sophistication. But, I'm not trying to convince you. When I was taking Aikido, I was fairly frustrated by the dearth of real information and I wished someone would give me some clearer directions on how to actually start. In a sense, these few posts I'm going to make on some Aiki forums are only to refresh my memory of what's going on in the Aikido world and to mention a few things that I wish I had known 20-30 years ago.... i.e., I'm talking to the few people who are intellectually curious and I honestly expect only very few people to pay attention.

All the Best.

Mike
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Old 02-20-2005, 07:09 AM   #14
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
My own instructor read Tohei's description of unbendable arm. Then he would go around trying it out (unsuccessfully) on everyone he knew. After he was shown how to do unbendable arm and other ki principles, he realized that you can't just read things in a book and expect to do it correctly.
Incidentally, Ted. Normally I avoid discussions about the "unbendable arm" because there are actually several different ways that people do it, and a few of those ways are essentially "unbendable" by most people. In my opinion, there are actually 2 legitimate ways to do it and there are several different "visualizations" that will make it happen in a satisfactory way. The best way to get it to happen is actually similar to the way some stage hypnotists get a volunteer from the audience to stretch feet-to-head between to chairs (the "iron bridge")... i.e., there is a component of the subconscious involved in good utilization of Ki skills; visualization can help you access the subconscious, BTW.

But those points aside, have you ever thought about the mechanics of what happens in the "unbendable arm"? Do you think you can explain the mechanics? Or do you think no mechanics are involved? What does your instructor think, BTW?

FWIW

Mike
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Old 02-20-2005, 10:23 PM   #15
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

If Buddhist concepts are a revision of older Hindu ideas, then the idea of prana > chi > ki would therefore be traced back to India's prehistory. However the idea of a life force can be seen in western culture. Pagans, Gnostic, New Age and alternative thinkers like Wilhelm Reich or T. Galen Hieronymus have all used a concept like the life force in their theories. You can also see this concept being used by both past and present-day shamans.

The connection between life,death and breath giving a conclusion of some kind of life force is fairly evident to a casual observer. You run out of other options, especially if you aren't "distracted" by the theories of modern medicine, like ancient man was. I don't believe any one culture can claim having "discovered" this concept, since so many people across so many centuries have re-discovered, re-tuned and re-invented this idea.

I don't know the mechanics of unbendable arm, since I'm not a physiologist. You might be better asking Craig about this. As for the human bridge, that was explained in Ki in Daily Life where K. Tohei is photographed doing it.

Speaking of Chi, I'm looking for anything about the origins of Tai Chi and Qi Gong with anything about the development of Qi Gong. Please email me if you have anything.

Thanks

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Old 02-20-2005, 10:33 PM   #16
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

All,

Interesting article.

http://www.mimagazine.com.au/02_DevelopmentKI.htm

Link courtesy of our friends at Aikido Journal.
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Old 02-21-2005, 08:56 AM   #17
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
If Buddhist concepts are a revision of older Hindu ideas, then the idea of prana > chi > ki would therefore be traced back to India's prehistory. However the idea of a life force can be seen in western culture. Pagans, Gnostic, New Age and alternative thinkers like Wilhelm Reich or T. Galen Hieronymus have all used a concept like the life force in their theories. You can also see this concept being used by both past and present-day shamans.
It's probably better to think of Ki, Prana, etc., as being catch-all terms from ancient times that are best translated as "unknown force", rather than "life force". Every unexplained force from blood sugar to electricity became "some aspect of mysterious unknown force Ki". The Japanese got the idea from the Chinese and they tend to mysticize the idea a bit (a few other and some regional groups do this to an extent, also). Just view Ki as an umbrella term because that's what it is. Start your search from there by sorting out the interesting bits.
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The connection between life,death and breath giving a conclusion of some kind of life force is fairly evident to a casual observer. You run out of other options, especially if you aren't "distracted" by the theories of modern medicine, like ancient man was. I don't believe any one culture can claim having "discovered" this concept, since so many people across so many centuries have re-discovered, re-tuned and re-invented this idea.
Basically all you're doing is re-hashing the raison d'etre that convinced early man there must be a ki.
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I don't know the mechanics of unbendable arm, since I'm not a physiologist. You might be better asking Craig about this. As for the human bridge, that was explained in Ki in Daily Life where K. Tohei is photographed doing it.
But surely you can't be interested in Ki without wanting to know how "Ki tests" work, can you? This would be a good time to think about the Law of Thermodynamics, the creation of energy, and so on.
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Speaking of Chi, I'm looking for anything about the origins of Tai Chi and Qi Gong with anything about the development of Qi Gong. Please email me if you have anything.
Well, you have to understand that qigongs have an ancient origin that has to do with the flow of strength in the body. When you push something, the flow goes *out* certain channels; when you *pull* something the power flows *in* certain channels. These were the "channels" that were the pre-cursors to the more refined "acupuncture meridians". The precursors and muscle-tendon meridians and strength/health are related to a posited "ki" flowing in the channels.

There are different kinds of qigongs. There's medical, Confucian, Taoist, Buddhist, and martial qigongs. As a martial artist, you should be most interested in learning a good martial qigong. Some of the Aikido qigongs are slightly martial; I suspect there's more to these that aren't shown outside of a small circle of people. Some of the Aikido qigongs appear to be Buddhist-derived. They are OK for qi-flow, but they won't do much for you martially. Insofar as books go, try "Qigong: The Secret of Youth" by Yang Jwing MIng... it is the translation of some of the earliest texts on qigongs, and they are martial qigongs. Try "Qigong Empowerment" by Shou-Yu Liang for a terrific overview of various qigongs in the different categories. Note that reading the descriptions won't tell you some of the important parts ... you need to find someone who knows. Another interesting book is "Anatomy Trains" by Thomas W. Myers. His book is about myofascial massage techniques, but the understanding of the fascia (which is heavily related to Ki) has gotten to the point where he has analysed the fascia planes to the point where, Lo and Behold, they look like the original muscle-tendon channels that the Chinese noticed and used!!!

FWIW

Mike
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Old 02-21-2005, 11:44 AM   #18
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

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Roy Dean wrote:
All,

Interesting article.

http://www.mimagazine.com.au/02_DevelopmentKI.htm

Link courtesy of our friends at Aikido Journal.

More like a sad example of why it's never a good practice to repeat negative hearsay or denigrate other teachers as a preface to expounding on what you think is the truth.

What purpose is served other than to make yourself look insecure ?

otherwise a decent article, though it's too bad he depended on the opinions of others and never even did some training at the ichikukai or tempukai.

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Old 02-21-2005, 12:16 PM   #19
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

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Craig Hocker wrote:
More like a sad example of why it's never a good practice to repeat negative hearsay or denigrate other teachers as a preface to expounding on what you think is the truth.

What purpose is served other than to make yourself look insecure ?

otherwise a decent article, though it's too bad he depended on the opinions of others and never even did some training at the ichikukai or tempukai.
Hmmmmm... I didn't notice anything particularly negative when I skimmed the article. All I saw was one more of thousands of articles that talk about Ki, but are vague and don't tell anyone how to do anything. Leading a simple life isn't going to develop Ki, either. You develop ki when you practice ki.

The confusing part of Ki terminology was highlighted when Auge spoke about ki and telepathy. Telepathy is indeed referred to as a Ki phonomenon in the Ki-paradigm. But we have to remember that ALL "unexplained forces" were relegated to "Ki" in the ancient times:
The energy you get from food is Ki.
The naturally-strong child has "hereditary ki".
The energy in air is Ki.
Blood sugar is Ki.
Lightning is Ki.
A horse's quivering flank is him using his ki.
Rainbows have Ki.
Prescience is from Ki.
And so on and on.

So this reliance on the old ki-paradigm (I guess it's really a meta-theory in that it's never predictive and always explicative) and oddities like denoting telepathy as Ki is somewhat aside from the body skills that are referred to as Ki. Classically, the specific group of body skills that are attributed to the certain strengths you get from breathing exercises and kokyu are:

Resistance to blows
Great strength
Marked increase in skin impenetrability
Heightened immune-system function
Attendant "magnetic field" feelings.

Those are the standard results one sees always relegated to ki phenomena, across all styles. Telepathy and the benefits of eating unsalted food are good discussion topics, but IMO they tend to just cloud the issues.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 02-21-2005, 01:46 PM   #20
kironin
 
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

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Mike Sigman wrote:
Hmmmmm... I didn't notice anything particularly negative when I skimmed the article. All I saw was one more of thousands of articles that talk about Ki, but are vague and don't tell anyone how to do anything. Leading a simple life isn't going to develop Ki, either. You develop ki when you practice ki.
Well, look again at the bottom section of the third paragraph. Perhaps it just seemed a little obnoxious to me after having trained intensively for the past 5 days with two of the best senior most students of the author mentioned.

as for the rest, well in deference to Jun, I was not going to comment, but as a scientist, I am less interested in talking about Ki than in talking about mind and body coordination. The idea that mind and body are essentially one or as Tohei Sensei now likes to express it "the oneness of mind and body" fits quite nicely with modern neuroscience. Looking at the details of how to approach that in aikido seems much more productive for training.

Telepathy seems a more appropriate topic for Penn&Teller's Showtime cable show.

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Old 02-21-2005, 02:03 PM   #21
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

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Craig Hocker wrote:
Well, look again at the bottom section of the third paragraph. Perhaps it just seemed a little obnoxious to me after having trained intensively for the past 5 days with two of the best senior most students of the author mentioned.
Ah, I see it. Actually, I saw it at first, but those kinds of political BS don't even register with me any more.
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as for the rest, well in deference to Jun, I was not going to comment, but as a scientist, I am less interested in talking about Ki than in talking about mind and body coordination. The idea that mind and body are essentially one or as Tohei Sensei now likes to express it "the oneness of mind and body" fits quite nicely with modern neuroscience. Looking at the details of how to approach that in aikido seems much more productive for training.

Telepathy seems a more appropriate topic for Penn&Teller's Showtime cable show.
Well, as I've said a number of times, "Ki" is a catch-all term related to earlier times and it was an attempt to explain the things they couldn't explain for lack of scientific knowledge. I gave a list of things that are "Ki", but which are totally unrelated in our western-science paradigm.

Incidentally, there are some books, writings, etc., out nowadays by accepted and proven experts in Chinese martial arts with a long tradition of talking about "Qi".... but you won't find a word about "Qi" in those writings. The closest you'll get are some of the discussions that discuss involvement of the cerebral cortex in the training, etc., and how mental relaxation, etc., is used to strengthen the relationship of the mind and body.

The specific area of interest to be strengthened with breathing, unifiied body practice, etc., is the same area that is involved in automatic movement that occurs in the body and limbs after, for example, extended and relaxed standing practice.

Insofar as telepathy, I put it in the same category of as reincarnation. I don't believe in it.... although I may have in a previous life.

Mike
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Old 02-21-2005, 02:25 PM   #22
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Ah, pooh, Craig. I just made an error based on my preconceptions and I apologize. As a point of information, there's more to the Ki/Qi thing in terms of "mysterious force". I can demonstrate this and I consider it to be a function of perhaps several items. I mentioned the book "Energy Medicine; The Scientific Basis" by James L. Oschman and that book covers (in what is to me a not-rigorous-enough way) some aspects of what some people "feel" as a mysterious force. I can demonstrate what he's talking about in a stronger and more detailed way than he's discussing. The second aspect that gets involved has to do with purely an *opinion* on my part that we sometimes all feel similar things because of the way we're wired. The third aspect has to do with suggestibility.... and I sometimes think the second and third things are strongly related. Anyway, I can show you some of the so-called "emitted qi" things that have had a historical impact on the general view of qi or ki. My sometimes-too-clinical mind doesn't focus on these things because I know that most experienced Chinese martial artists are aware of these phenomena but treat them as some side-effect with no great importance... and that's the way I also feel.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 02-21-2005, 03:28 PM   #23
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

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Ted Ehara wrote:
I don't know the mechanics of unbendable arm, since I'm not a physiologist. You might be better asking Craig about this. As for the human bridge, that was explained in Ki in Daily Life where K. Tohei is photographed doing it.
It just dawned on me that "Craig" must be Craig Hocker, even though he's not in your dojo (I thought you were referring perhaps to your sensei).

Craig? Since you're of a scientific bent, would you like to take a shot at explaining the physical mechanics of the "unbendable arem"? Thanks.

Mike
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Old 02-22-2005, 02:48 AM   #24
kironin
 
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

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Mike Sigman wrote:
Craig? Since you're of a scientific bent, would you like to take a shot at explaining the physical mechanics of the "unbendable arem"? Thanks.
Mike
Someone has already taken a shot at it

http://ofinterest.net/UA/arm2.html#1

If I can find time this week, I'll take a shot because the answer given is a little too simplistic.

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Old 02-22-2005, 06:52 AM   #25
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

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Craig Hocker wrote:
Someone has already taken a shot at it

http://ofinterest.net/UA/arm2.html#1

If I can find time this week, I'll take a shot because the answer given is a little too simplistic.
Ah, the notorious Stephen Goodson! I once explained to Goodson that I knew a number of people who "did the unbendable arm" and they all did it in different ways, so while his analysis might be good for some of them he wasn't analysing the entire spectrum. (Remember it was for this very reason I said I don't like the unbendable arm as a discussion point). Goodson is a member of the Washington DC area "Skeptics" and thinks of himself as a debunker. He has an article about something I ask some "teacher's" to do, when they claim they've had "umpteen years of experience". Of course, he's never seen it done, but had it described by some people who had seen me demonstrate it and show them how to get started (they had no dantien control or strength, so I showed them a rudimentary way to get started). After dozens of people told Goodson his description was totally off-base, he said he'd only take it down if I came and showed him the right way to do it. I think we all know people like this. I'd forgotten about him. Thanks for the memories.

However, let's leave his description as it is for the moment. All I'll propose is that he's offbase and has never really seen anyone do it well, as far as I can tell. I suggested once (via email) that instead of writing expose's on things he's only seen amateurs do, it might pay him to go see someone like Tohei, etc. As a Skeptic and a genius, though, Goodson, sees little sense in wasting the time.

So I'll await your thoughts with interest. This could be a good discussion.

All the Best.

Mike Sigman
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