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Old 11-13-2005, 10:34 AM   #1
David Yap
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Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

Hi guys,

Got this urge to add on my aikido books collection:

Books nowadays are costing an arm and leg; read reviews on Carol Shifflet's books - "Ki in Aikido" and "Aikido Exercises for Training and Teaching". In terms of scarcity ($$$) and choice, which book is a better value for money? Your advice please.

Thank you.

David Y
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Old 11-13-2005, 12:05 PM   #2
SeiserL
 
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Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

IMHO, if you are looking at generalized practice I would suggest Aikido Exercises for teaching and Training. If you are looking for the four points of Ki development, I would suggest Ki in Aikido. To be truthful, get both, you won't regret 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 11-13-2005, 01:47 PM   #3
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Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

Lynn's advice, as usual, is right on. Both books are excellent, and it would be hard to choose between them, so DON'T. Right now, http://abebooks.com has them both listed, gently used, for $11-12 each, plus shipping. Get 'em... (Use the correct spelling "Shifflett" when searching.)
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Old 11-14-2005, 03:44 AM   #4
David Yap
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Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

Thanks, Lynn & Clark, for your advice.

Think I will get both but the first "Ki in Aikido" is out of stock at Amazon.com

Best training,

David Y
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Old 11-14-2005, 04:37 AM   #5
crbateman
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Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

Check Abebooks.com (they have used copies of both).
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Old 11-14-2005, 05:32 AM   #6
Chuck.Gordon
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Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

Also check www.budogu.com. Peter had a few copies last time I talked to him.

BTW, Carol's got another book on the burner, 'Surviving Martial Arts.'

Keep an eye out ...

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Old 11-14-2005, 07:36 AM   #7
ian
 
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Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

Hi David,
I must admit I've never seen Carol's book, but I always find aikido books on ki very superficial with esoteric discussion involving curly arrows and how it changes your life rather than on real exercises to develop ki so that you can feel it for yourself. I've not seen one book on the ki exercises used by Ueshiba (except for the 'rowing exercise'). Within ki aikido there also seems to be a focuse on ki 'testing' which seems pointless if there are no exercises on ki development. Personally I got sick of the discussion on ki within aikido and instead read more on ki from chinese sources as I believe they are more direct and truthful in their presentation and are far more authoritative. For example:

Chi Gung: The Way of Energy - Lam Kam Chuen (10.49)
very effective yet simple chi gung (ki development) exercises which I will guarantee will improve your aikido

Tai Chi Classics - Wai Chun Liao (12.99)
Writing about tai-chi with discussion on such things as converting chi to jing (power). Also important persepectives on tai-chi movement which is directly applicable to aikido.

I feel if you buy aikido books on ki it may make you feel better about aikido, but I don't think they will affect your aikido in any practical way.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 11-14-2005, 11:00 AM   #8
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Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

Or you can go directly to Carol: <http://www.round-earth.com/>

Jim Baker
Aikido of Norfolk
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Old 11-14-2005, 01:46 PM   #9
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Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

Quote:
Ian Dodkins wrote:
Hi David,
I must admit I've never seen Carol's book, but I always find aikido books on ki very superficial with esoteric discussion involving curly arrows and how it changes your life rather than on real exercises to develop ki so that you can feel it for yourself.

Which is too bad -- I am trying to put this as diplomatically as I can -- since then you wouldn't be passing out an uninformed opinion.

I am not saying the first book is perfect but the book is not a book of esoteric discussion, but a collection of various real exercises used in daily classes in the 1990's when George Simcox Sensei was still alive. Carol simply put a lot of his teaching material into book form and did drawings to illustrate the exercises. Simcox Sensei being the kind of person he was let her do it and never asked for any credit or anything in return other than she do her best at putting it together. She had total control of the project. The exercises are all about feeling it for yourself and put forth in an open ended exploratory sense.

The two books serve different purposes and don't cost much so I would suggest getting both.

Craig

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Old 11-14-2005, 07:04 PM   #10
David Yap
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Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

Quote:
Craig Hocker wrote:
...The exercises are all about feeling it for yourself ...
Thanks, Craig. This is exactly what I am looking for. I have come to realize that aikido is first to learn about yourself, then, swapping shoes with others will have a bigger meaning

Best training

David Y
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Old 11-23-2005, 11:53 AM   #11
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Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

Shame on your guys. What a piece of useless book!

One-point is the center of gravity. Kokyu-dosa is to relax and to hug the person behind uke.

The book is a lot of think without any substance. I paied $36 for it. Anyone want this piece of toilet paper, I'll part with $20.
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Old 11-23-2005, 11:56 AM   #12
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Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

Quote:
Ian Dodkins wrote:
Hi David,
I must admit I've never seen Carol's book, but I always find aikido books on ki very superficial with esoteric discussion involving curly arrows and how it changes your life rather than on real exercises to develop ki so that you can feel it for yourself. I've not seen one book on the ki exercises used by Ueshiba (except for the 'rowing exercise'). .
Ian, you're right on the money.

I bought it based on the recommendation here. It turned out useless book as you said.
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Old 11-23-2005, 02:17 PM   #13
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Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

Quote:
Roosvelt Freeman wrote:
Shame on your guys. What a piece of useless book!

One-point is the center of gravity. Kokyu-dosa is to relax and to hug the person behind uke.
sigh, so little understanding...

one-point is not the center of gravity, though the center of gravity is one place one-point can be. Kokyu-dosa as a practice is a lot more than just one simple visualization. The visualization you give as a defining kokyu-dosa would fail completely with a partner who DID understand one-point.

Many people have liked these books a lot, so I don't think they need defending. They are after all just books and all books are a very poor substitute for the teacher in person.

Craig

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Old 11-23-2005, 07:14 PM   #14
crbateman
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Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

Quote:
Craig Hocker wrote:
They are after all just books and all books are a very poor substitute for the teacher in person.
True to a point, Craig, but books are an excellent substitute for complete ignorance. Many people, after all, don't have the means or the opportunity to study in person with the teacher who wrote the book. And an author chooses his words carefully for a book, because he wants them to be a lasting reminder of his thoughts. Books reach across miles, time, and even death. Don't expect miracles from them, but give them their due.
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Old 11-23-2005, 08:21 PM   #15
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Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

Quote:
David Yap wrote:
Hi guys,
read reviews on Carol Shifflet's books - "Ki in Aikido" and "Aikido Exercises for Training and Teaching". In terms of scarcity ($$$) and choice, which book is a better value for money? Your advice please.
Personally I prefer "Aikido Exercises for Teaching and Training."
Includes ki exercises and mostly I love all the quotes and stories from the Aikido-L -- Jim Baker's Ultimate Martial Art, Wiley Nelson being thrown and pinned by a 3 oz fan-foot gecko, Dennis Hooker's "Climate & Geographic Superiority in Aikido" (and why holding a sword is like milking a cow) and Dr. Wendy on Wounding Energy ("The Physics of Ukemi"), but also general training, and individual practice, and rolling exercises that are in there because they aren't anywhere else -- which is why I put them in. ;-)

And . . . Awwww! You guys are so sweet! Craig and Jim and Lynn and Chuck and CR and all -- Thank you for the kind words!!
Roosevelt I'm sorry you didn't like "Ki in Aikido" and especially sorry that you had to pay $35 for a $19.95 book. (Why?!?) You're very welcome to send it back, I'll be happy to take you up on your $15 offer -- tho I might mention that it's now out of print and the last time that happened copies were going for $70+ on Amazon. Strange, VERY strange, but true. . .

Meanwhile, I'm working on 2nd edition (which will include heretical information on biofeedback and neurology. Any suggestions, corrections or additional exercises are greatly appreciated and as always will include credit to the contributor.

AND must say that it's very startling to log on and find myself a Topic. I am all a-twitter!

Cheers!
Carol Shifflett
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Old 11-23-2005, 11:35 PM   #16
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Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

Quote:
Carol Shifflett wrote:
Meanwhile, I'm working on 2nd edition (which will include heretical information on biofeedback and neurology. Any suggestions, corrections or additional exercises are greatly appreciated and as always will include credit to the contributor.
Look forward to seeing it. I'd love to put a review up for you when it's ready. Keep up the good work.
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Old 11-23-2005, 11:50 PM   #17
ald1225
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Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

Quote:
Carol Shifflett wrote:
Meanwhile, I'm working on 2nd edition (which will include heretical information on biofeedback and neurology. Any suggestions, corrections or additional exercises are greatly appreciated and as always will include credit to the contributor.
2nd Edition to the Ki in Aikido book? Does that mean that you're also going to visit our dojo (VA. Ki society) and share a talk?

Also I would like to ask you where I can find the "biofeedback. I've been looking at this ever since I discovered that a $9.95 Radio Shack.. " that you shared in this post. Tried looking for biofeedback stuff at their website but could not find it.

Thank you

Last edited by ald1225 : 11-23-2005 at 11:54 PM.
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Old 11-24-2005, 08:13 AM   #18
Carol Shifflett
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Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

Quote:
Aldrich Senar wrote:
2nd Edition to the Ki in Aikido book? Does that mean that you're also going to visit our dojo (VA. Ki society) and share a talk?
No need! :-) Just check with your Sensei Gregory et al. As Criag Hocker sensibly pointed out, all I did was record the exercises George Simcox taught us at VKS. It was originally a 2-page handout I put together for students in the county classes. It went into book form after George was diagnosed with cancer. I didn't want them lost or forgotten, but I certainly wasn't the only one and they're in good hands there. I promise to pester them for updates, but plan to add info on biofeedback that they do not do. I imagine there will be the usual indignation ("Hey! That's not Traditional!") but people learn faster with feedback, which is precisely what biofeedback is all about. And although the whole point of ki exercise partners is to serve as human biofeedback sensors, there are other ways to do it.
Quote:
Aldrich Senar wrote:
Also I would like to ask you where I can find the "biofeedback. I've been looking at this ever since I discovered that a $9.95 Radio Shack.. " that you shared in this post. Tried looking for biofeedback stuff at their website but could not find it.
I don't think Radio Shack sells it anymore. Too bad. Cheap, simple, staightforward. At the time I hooked up some VKS students and had them go through ki exercises / tests / meditations and marvelled at the results. (OTOH, it would never have been "biofeedback"; it would have been "lie detector" or whatever, that is, skin conductance / sEMG. Check their "Electronics Learning Lab" I wonder if the circuit diagram for that device mightn't be included). However, there are other aproaches and the possibilities are growing -- because this stuff works.

Currently the very best low-cost (well, about $150) system I know of is "Into the Wild Divine" It's marketed as a "game" but it's feeding back data on your heart rate and skin conductance / surface electromyography. Again, to play, you MUST learn to relax, you MUST learn to breathe abdominally, etc. etc. I have a blurb on that and ki exercises halfway down the home page on my website at http://round-earth.com with a link to Wild Divine. Or go to the Wild Divine site directly at http://wilddivine.com. Fluffy, New-Age user interface -- but with good hard science behind it.

There is also a product called "RESPeRATE" (available on Amazon.com) which is FDA-approved and marketed for its demonstrated effectiveness in lowering blood pressure. What it's doing is teaching the mechanics of ki breathing and in my opinion, experienced instructors could learn a thing or two from its approach as I did.

EEG Neurofeedback is biofeedback applied to the brain. And folks, I gotta tell you that it is now possible to repair a broken brain. For those of us who were broken, this is the path back to Life and functionality. It doesn't much matter when it happened (tho 6 months or more AFTER the injury is actually better than immediate treatment). It doesn't seem to matter whether the precipitating event was too many breakfalls, too many kicks to the head, auto accidents, high fever or too many recreational drugs in college. It especially doesn't matter whether you call the symptoms migraine or fibromyalgia or sleep apnea or a host of other monikers. Sensei seems a little wafty and confused and emotionally unpredictable and can't handle money and never seems to sleep and growing a Budhha belly and can't stand crowds? Well, it may be because "Sensi is Operating at a Higher Spiritual Plane" and all that -- or it may just be classic garden-variety brain damage. No, the electronics are not Traditional. But there are things far more important than Tradition.

Meanwhile, for more info, see http://www.neurotherapycenters.com. Dr. Mary Lee Esty has offices in Maryland and can provide references to other offices. I have seen some miracles walk out of her office. See also http://EEGinfo.com. I will be putting this in KIA updates whenever that gets done -- and I will certainly be putting it in the much-delayed (due to brain injury) but upcoming (due to brain injury repairs) "Surviving Martial Arts." If any of you should try this approach and have stories to tell, I would love to hear from you!

Cheers!
Carol Shifflett
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Old 11-24-2005, 09:46 AM   #19
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Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

Quote:
Carol Shifflett wrote:
And . . . Awwww! You guys are so sweet! Craig and Jim and Lynn and Chuck and CR and all --

Meanwhile, I'm working on 2nd edition (which will include heretical information on biofeedback and neurology. Any suggestions, corrections or additional exercises are greatly appreciated and as always will include credit to the contributor.
You are very welcomed for the well deserved credit and compliments. It is easy for some to complain when they never put their own stuff out there for public consumption, consideration, and criticism.

I look forward to your 2nd edition. There is a lot of references for biofeedback and neurological training in Neurolinguistic Programing, Ericksonian hypnosis, and sport psychology. The whole body-mind connection has some strong support far beyond the martial arts. Some great healing and energy stuff.

Wasn't there a third book in the works?

Looking forward to hearing more from you. Again, my compliments on the books.

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 11-25-2005, 09:59 AM   #20
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Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote:
I look forward to your 2nd edition. There is a lot of references for biofeedback and neurological training in Neurolinguistic Programing, Ericksonian hypnosis, and sport psychology. The whole body-mind connection has some strong support far beyond the martial arts. Some great healing and energy stuff.
Wasn't there a third book in the works?
Thank you Lynn!
There's such a wealth of info out there, outside the dojo -- an important reason for cross-training and reading / studying in various fields (cross-braining?). I hope you will comment on it further! Interesting to see that so many of the exercises that we call "ki" exercises (and inspire the most outraged cries of "fruity!" and "delusional!") are now standard in professional sports training.
KIA won't be back for another year at least -- but in its place, I highly recommend the classic "Inner Skiing" by W. Timothy Gallwey (you can buy it for pennies on Amazon.com). He also did "The Inner Game of Tennis," "The Inner Game of Golf" and has a new one out on "the Inner Game of Work" which is all of these skills applied to daily life. (And per "Blatant Commercial Plug" Book 2 "Aikido Exercises" is still available and yes, I do give wholesale prices to dojos). ;-)

Book 3 is "Surviving Martial Arts -- Mind, Body, & Spirit." I've been "about to finish" it for 3 years now. Maybe this Spring. <sigh> Meanwhile, the manuscript ranges from choosing a dojo to building a spring-loaded mat, why your hakama won't hold pleats, different rolling styles (and the why and illustrated how) for men and women and the ubiquitous female shoulder injury. It is very heavy on muscular injuries, how to fix them and prevent them. See a preview of the head & neck pain section at http://round-earth.com/HeadPainIntro.html. The first 5 muscles shown there will be in the book because:
1. Trapezius is why you get that fish-hook headache with improper jo and swordwork. (Relax the shoulders! Or else!!)
2. SCM is the muscle behind a LOT of dizziness from rolling or headlocks. Click SCM link for info
3. The Scalene pain pattern can be the painful result of too many "neck-a-nage's." The finger portion of the pattern is usually diagnosed as Carpal Tunnel or Thoracic Outlet Syndrome but it's usually merely the downstream symptom of compression of the brachial plexus (the wiring harness for arm/hand innervation) in the neck. Too often that injury is the start of multiple failed and damaging surgeries, a mighty high price for someone to pay because someone else was sloppy and careless with a neck.
4-5 Masseter & Trapezius are the pain and tinnitus you'll get if you go around clenching your teeth. How are you going to have a good class hurting like that? Relax!! Drop Weight Underside! etc., etc. ...because all of these muscles can fire off the others.

There is also a section specifically on head injury. I may post that chapter in its entirety on the website in the next couple weeks as soon as it gets back from the reviewer. Stay tuned! -- because I know all too well that I am not the only head injury in this arena. I am, however, one of the very very lucky ones -- in very large part because of Aikido-L which had EVERYTHING to do with why and how I was able to find my way back out of the dark. I hope to pass that on.
Thank you all! <BOW>

Cheers!
Carol Shifflett
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Old 11-26-2005, 11:51 AM   #21
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Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

Quote:
Craig Hocker wrote:
sigh, so little understanding...

one-point is not the center of gravity, though the center of gravity is one place one-point can be. Kokyu-dosa as a practice is a lot more than just one simple visualization. The visualization you give as a defining kokyu-dosa would fail completely with a partner who DID understand one-point.

Craig
Exactly my point.

"One-point is the center of gravity. Kokyu-dosa is to relax and to hug the person behind uke." are quoted from the book.

So you recommended your pal's book without reading it?
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Old 11-26-2005, 07:19 PM   #22
Charles Hill
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Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

Wow, Carol,

Thanks for the link to your website. There`s a lot of great stuff there. I am looking forward to the publishing of your next book.

Charles
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Old 11-27-2005, 04:03 PM   #23
Lyle Bogin
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Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

I used the "exercises" book like a manual for a year at least. Still go back to it from time to time as I like the easy to teach approach.

The collection of quotes from the generation that's teaching now, or has very recently left us, is great.
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Old 11-28-2005, 06:27 AM   #24
ian
 
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Ai symbol Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
My opinion is that "one-point" is one of those concepts that needs to be explained in a level appropriate way. So to a novice, thinking of it as the center of gravity is a good starting place. What suggestions would you offer for the next levels of understanding? (This question is open to everyone of course...)
Couldn't agree more. Maybe the difficulty is we all have different understanding of what chi/ki is because of different 'level' of understanding or possibly we are actually talking about different things (in which case ki in aikido and chi maybe are different). I completely agree with the idea of biofeedback for ki/chi development, but biofeedback can be appropriate for any method of physical development and not necessarily chi development e.g. weightliting.

My apologies Carol and (Chuck?) for making a comment - I purposely mentioned I hadn't read Carol's book because it is unfair to make a judgement about something I haven't read. I feel many of the responses in this thread are really just cheap shots with an air of I know something you don't - although I always love the free and open banter we get on aikiweb. Although I've been in aikido for many years I'm quite new to chi development. I can say that chi gung has helped my aikido, and I suppose that is what we are really after isn't it - what can we do to improve our aikido. In such a case I suppose it is wrong of me to be disparaging about exercises that (although in my mind are only indirectly related to ki) could still benefit aikido.

I personally feel that there are many excellent aikidoka out there whom I shall never in my lifetime even approach in ability. However I also believe that a large part of what Ueshiba was doing was related to CHI (and he certainly felt that yin/yang was of direct importance). When you see him doing techniques he tends to incorporate the aspects of chi development i.e. blending (sticking), holding down, raising up to cut down, extremely powerful strikes, being able to read people's intentions etc. Doing the opening practise with the spear in my mind is definately related to chi. Indeed I think it would be difficult to say he isn't expressing most if not all of the aspects of the ideals in tai-chi.

As far as I am aware, chi (internal energy) exercises were incorporated into martial arts to improve martial ability from Taoist (alchemic) practices, mostly involving breathing and visualisation to 'feel' and then control the flow of chi around the body. Thus tai-chi is far more than just the physical motions - indeed tai-chi was initially taught to the chinese ruling class AS just physical motions so they wouldn't learn the real utility of it.

Similarly, O'Sensei was a very spiritual person who did alot of ki development exercise. Have these been transferred succesfully in aikido - I would say no. The difficulty is, that now we have broadened the training of aikido we tend to just teach what we were taught in aikido (thus we use ki exercises that were made up in aikido).

I don't necessarily believe that martial arts are really different; don't we all want to be good martial artists - regardless of the martial art? I think the difference in top martial artists in any martial art are extremely superficial. If you are happy to do aikido and maybe consider ki different from chi I would say that is fine, but if you want to be a good martial artist I would say that chi (as in internal energy) is an important aspect of understanding martial arts.

Sorry for the long post. In conclusion - I think we should keep an open mind and use what works, and discard that which doesn't work (even though sometimes fuller understanding can come at a later date). I promise I'll look out for Carol's book and see if it is good/I am ready for it!

P.S. I remember reading about a buddhist and christian who were chatting about a phrase in the new testament which said 'do not give pearls to swine or they will trample them under-foot'. The buddhist understood from this - 'when people are ready for understanding they will accept it' i.e. we can only know what we know and keep enquiring with complete sincerety!

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 11-28-2005, 08:28 AM   #25
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Re: Books on Ki by Carol Shifflet

Quote:
Ian Dodkins wrote:

My apologies Carol and (Chuck?) for making a comment - I purposely mentioned I hadn't read Carol's book because it is unfair to make a judgement about something I haven't read. I feel many of the responses in this thread are really just cheap shots with an air of I know something you don't.

Ian and Rob,

You two forgot that it's Carol that wrote a book about Ki to sell for $20, and everyone else just gives out FREE advice. Since Carol is in the discussion, why don't you guys question her?

I'm the sucker who bought her book, why do guys question me? If I watched a movie, "On Deadly Ground" for example, and said "this movie sucks", do you guy think it's fair to ask me to come up with a better movie?

I don't have high hopes from Carol though, since Craig said about her frankly and to the point "sigh, so little understanding...".

Don't you notice that I didn't ask about Ki since there is no clear answer. All I wanted to know is how to do some basic exercise.

On a constructive note, I'll state how I do my standing kokyu-dosa. I have trouble with kneeling version because I'm not flexible enough to sit properly to find a good grounding point. I was hoping to pick up some pointers from the book.

Standing kokyu-dosa.

two phases: loading/receiving phase and unloading/giving phase.

1. In the loading phase, I position myself with back foot 45 degree and front foot straight (but internally inside leg facing uke). palm up with arm above my "center". If my uke pushes my hand below my center, I'll flex my kneels more and get lower internally to create the angle greater than 90 degree (the force of my leg and direction of my arm). I inhale deeply with my stomach. I stack my body to let the uke force from my wrist down to my back foot mainly down to my ball area. Of course my shoulder is down and elbow is down too with unbend able arm form.

2. In the giving phase, I just move my "center"/whole body forward as a unit. Push with my back foot and move my weight to my front foot.

The receiving phase is more important and hard to get into correct position. The giving phase is easy relatively.

Kneeling kokyu-daso.

I have trouble to find equivalent back foot to connect to the ground.

There you have it. My understanding of kokyu-dosa.

**********Carol**********************************************

I'll wait for Carol to give her better version than "hugging the person behind uke". Maybe Craig kind enough to give his version for he seemed to know about it based on his comment "Kokyu-dosa as a practice is a lot more than just one simple visualization. The visualization you give as a defining kokyu-dosa would fail completely with a partner who DID understand one-point.".

Don't' shoot the messenger and demand why it's a bad news. Ask the question directly to the author.

Regards
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