View Full Version : Got Ki?

Derek McDonald
25th July 2001, 23:44
What is "Ki", I've gotten a different answer from most of the people I ask this question.


Derek McDonald

26th July 2001, 02:01
This could be helpful:


Steve Speicher

Derek McDonald
26th July 2001, 03:25
Thanks Steve, that helps but was not really was I was looking for. I should have been more specific. I'm talking about Ki as relates to the study of martial arts, and not so much from a semantics standpoint as from hands-on experience. I'm interested in hearing what you think it is, have you experienced it, and do you know how to access it.


Derek McDonald

26th July 2001, 04:32
There is an interesting thread on this very subject on http://www.aikiweb.com/forums

General>Do you believe in Ki

Aside from the original question (which spoke about the perceived conflict with Christianity) the discussion has evolved into how the Chinese/Japanese view Chi/Ki and how the confusion arises when westerners (us) try and fit a concept to our way of thinking. In my opinion part of the problem arises from the glee club who try and make themselves sound special with very little clue as the the actual term they are using. Not just us westerners guilty there by the way.

As is pointed out Chi is one of the five elements and could best be compared to the humors (not a joke) of old western medicine which were important for the functioning of the human body. Eventually we figured out things like the circulatory system of blood and lymph but not so long ago medicine was pretty archaic. Is there Ki (or life force) within us. Well go to the aikiweb discussion.

29th July 2001, 18:30
the style of aikido i practice is very aware of ki and the consequences of using it in technique.
I, myself have been on the receiving end of a basic kokyho nage executed with the intention of 'fire' (as opposed to earth, wood and water). It totally devastated me with about 3 throws.
The same kokyho nage was applied with water, wood and earth and the difference in feel is truly amazing. Each element harnesses and emits ki in different ways. I myselk hav been training in aikido 6 years nad am only just starting to grasp the concept. On occasion my instructor has had to ask me to stop the exercise im doing because he could see that i was tapping into ki and my uke was being flung all over the place. I couldnt control it and was carefully monitored by my sensei so as to re-align my ki without any detriment to myself or my uke. It is a truly unique experience when you 'tap' into ki. I cannot do it at will, it happens every now and then to me, as it does to a lot of my fellow aikidoka. Thats why we all feel humble and willingly accept our 'novice' status, even though some have been training for over 10 years.
Whether you believe in the power of 'ki' or not, if you experience its energy and power, you will certainly learn respect for the invisible aspects of the art and you should grow well from this.
Please let me know if this helps (or confuses) you.


Chad Bruttomesso
29th July 2001, 22:26

Welcome to the Aikido Forum here on E-Budo. Please use your full name when submitting replies or starting threads. It is the rule here on E-Budo that we all follow. You can either enter your name manually or you can configure your signature.

Thank you and have a nice day.

Derek McDonald
30th July 2001, 23:09
Thanks Jacko,

It helps, but I would love to hear your personal perception of what it is, how it works, and how you access it. Previous posters have given some excellent responses and resources but you might say that I am not looking for the "right answer", rather I am seeking to stimulate an exchange on a fascinating subject.

About four years ago I was present at an aikido demonstration in Oakland. I forget the teacherís name (Richard?) but he gave a great example of what I believe to have been Ki. He had the audience sit in chairs in a circle and asked us to play a game with him. He warned us that at random times during his presentation he would clap his hands and our job was to stand up from our seats with the goal of not being the last person up--sort of a musical chairs in reverse.

After getting us to jump up a few times during the course of the evening he tricked us by bringing his hands quickly together while stopping short of an actual clap. Some of us jumped to standing and some made it halfway up before catching the trick. He then asked everyone to describe the physical sensation they experienced during and after our response to the faked clap. Every person described basically the same sensation of energy or movement welling up from below their center of body in the an upward angle before settling back to center. He then informed us that this feeling was actually Ki, which could--through proper training--be accessed at will. After nearly 20 years of martial arts practice this was the best and most tangible example I had ever experienced. The sensation was definitely different from an adrenaline rush.

Armed with an experiential reference for Ki I have been able to identify the phenomenon several times since. One of the most concrete examples being when I received acupuncture treatments; in some instances when needles were inserted or removed I have experienced a "magnetic" sensation of energy (I canít think of a better word) drawing up to the needle.


Derek McDonald

31st July 2001, 13:01
I'm glad you changed direction slightly from asking what ki is, to actually discussing experience, because for the life of me i havent figured out how to control it fully, or explain it fully either. But for the record, here are a couple of my thoughts and experiences:

I have practised shoto kyu many times (moving the ball), almost as a gentle randori exercise. On one such occasion, I (accordingly to my instructor) tapped into my ki and, although i didnt know how, i felt an overwhelming energy surging through me and emitting from the main ki emitters in the hands. Thus whenever uke attempted any type of grasp, even a gentle kaiten or tenkan would send them reeling in all directions. I remember likening it to the feeling i get when i train at the gym and have just had some 'ultimate orange' engery drink. There is no adrenalin rush, but an immense uplift in energy, which, emiited at the right time, will send an uke flying (even through passive shoto kyu). My instructor let me experience this for about 3 mins, then gently interrupted and help me re-balance my ki as i wasnt in control of it. This power was experienced by all the uke's who were sent reeling and it gave me an unquenchable thirst for more knowledge of ki. I have also been the recipient of fairly low kyu grades who have 'tapped' into ki and flung me effortlessly to the tatami. I could actually feel the energy pass through them and when it hit me it was like a steady jolt of lightening which projected me in whichever direction was desired by tori.
I will give this more thought and post again when i can explain further my understanding of ki.

Cheers for now

Kevin Jackson:toast:

31st July 2001, 15:21
Perhaps somebody will change my mind, but I do not believe in Ki, or I should say I do not belive in the idea that Ki is some force that may be tapped at will.

I was told that Ki should be interpreted as mood or feeling for a technique and this for me feels right.

I think that most demonstrations of Ki I have seen so far may be attributed to biomechanics (i.e. perfect timing etc) or physicology (i.e. if uke BELIEVES they will be thrown forcefully, often thay fall down of their own accord anyway).

1st August 2001, 13:56

I think you hit the nail on the head with your last post :smash:

When you say you think its a case of biomechanics (perfect timing) and the uke's belief in being thrown......hasn't that just explained (albeit from a westerners point of view) the concept of ki?
Westerners (no disrespect intended, as i am one) often try to explain things scientifically, or at least break it down to 'common sense'. The eastern world always tended towards the more romantic(?) interpretation.
"Just because you can't see it....doesn't mean it aint there!"
I suppose 'ki' can be interpreted in a myriad of ways according to culture. As a universal description, i like to think of ki as 'universal energy', whether, spiritual, mental or physical. I HAVE experienced and overwhelming rush of mental and physcial energy whilst practicing aikido on several occasions (see my previous post) and i attribute this to ki!
As for the uke's throwing themselves on the floor, i have seen the opposite happen, stubborn, inexperienced aikidoka (with karate backgrounds), being thrown in all directions with a simple kokyo nage, purely to demonstrate the ki power.
I wold find it hard to accept aikido without accepting the existence of ki.

in budo
Kevin Jackson

1st August 2001, 19:11
No such thing as Ki.

Gregory Rogalsky
Director of Rogalsky Combatives International

2nd August 2001, 08:50
with the greatest of respect......that is a very narrow-minded point of view.
I see your title is Director of Rogalsky Combatives International. Does this mean you have some authority in martial/combat techniques?
I would be interested in knowing your martial arts history.
Again, with respect, the only 'martial artists' i know that have been training for more than a few years, and who DON'T believe in, or who don't acknowledge the existence of ki, are what i term as 'meatheads'......people who just want to learn a martial art so they can 'kick ass'.
I would invite you to broaden your horizons on the meaning of ki. I'm sure that you could only benefit from this.
Remember most people who believe in ki, would probably describe it as a universal energy, involving the mental, spiritual and physical. With this in mind, answer this......have you ever stared an opponent out, so that he has retreated, purely on the look that you gave him? I'm sure most people have. Well, that look you gave him told him that you were stronger than him. So he conceded. This is an almost perfect example of ki. You re-directed his energy mentally, and he lost the battle, without physical confrontation. There doesn't have to me a 'mystical' explanation for it, its just the way the eastern world interprets ki as opposed to the western world.
Think about it for a while

Yours in budo
Kevin Jackson

2nd August 2001, 19:44
JakoUk: Thank you for your very , positive, polite and informative reply. As far as being narrow minded it may be the company Im keeping. Its funny but the best martial artist I know think this whole Ki business is candy for the week minded, just like me. To each his own, I say. . If we were to meet half way on this issue, we could say "pretend as if it(Ki) exsist." Which is also fine by me . If we can't meet in the middle than my advise is to just let it go. Im not trying to convince you by any means.
As far as the "look" or gaze that you discribed. It has been my experience that a direct stare can often times be perceived as an agressive action by some mammals, two and four legged. Becasue of this reaction I tend to gaze into the stratagy of any potential oppenent and go from there.
Your question about my authority in martail/combat techniques come as close to a challenge without directly making one as I have ever read. Im Impressed, not offended at all. Or should I be? Let me tell you this , where I come from , if you want to know if someone is any good you get out on the floor and try him out. Is this what you had in mind? Not challenging you , just wondering.
So to answer your question yes I have knowledge in martail art/combat techniques. And I still say no such thing as Ki.
Gregory Rogalsky
Director Of Rogalsky Combatives International

3rd August 2001, 13:28
Another reference you might find useful, if you haven't already discovered it:


4th August 2001, 19:39
thanks for your reply. I think it epitomises true budo when 2 martial artists can discuss their differences without resorting to physicality. (Even if we were in the same place). So with that in mind I greatly appreciate and respect your views.
I certainly wasn't challenging you, or trying to offend you and i'm glad that you recognised my motive as one of pure discussion.
Its funny, when 2 differing martial worlds collide (metaphorically) that their perspectives on certain topics can be so diverse.
I suspect our own opinions on 'ki' are down to purely cultural differences (just like growning up in different towns etc).
Having trained in karate, ninjutsu, kick-thai boxing and unarmed combat, i'd never really encountered (my perception) of ki until i studied aikido. I wonder now, how i managed without this belief system. Don't get me wrong, i don't regard it as the Be-all and End-all of philosophies, but i'm glad i was introduced to it in a way that has greatly helped my martial arts.
I would still be interested in your martial background. Have you trained in aikido? I don't think i've met any aikidoka who dismiss the existence of ki......maybe its because pure aikido is very spiritual and ki lends to that spirituality, i don't know! But i crave to find out more.....

Best regards in budo

Kevin Jackson

Gil Gillespie
4th August 2001, 22:07
"I don't think I've met any aikidoka who would deny the existence of ki."

Kind of self-fulfilling. They all train in ai-KI-do, otherwise they would be training in some form of jujitsu or the many composite MAs. Those that deny its existence can be perfectly capable martial technicians. And they can be as open to the spiritual side of MA as any that DO believe in key; the two are not mutually exclusive.

All I know is that I've felt it in the hands of experienced nages over the years. More than just great technique or breath power or leverage. I can't explain the electric shocks I've received over the years either. Physicists can't explain why electrons move and generate current, only that they do. The ki argument reminds me a lot of that.

So far in my 13 years of aikido. "mastering ki" has eluded me. Yet I remain a believer simply because of the "hot aikido sockets" I've touched over the years. In the words of the old Moody Blues song, "I know you're out there somewhere. . .somewhere. . ." (I also know that the search lies within--------another story!)

5th August 2001, 00:36
JakoUk, My background in Aiki type arts goes back 15 years. Before that Free style wrestling and self-defense/streetfighting. As of late my interest have been in Knife/counter knife system of the chinese military, as well as western bowie knife meathods. My company Rogalsky Combatives International teaches knife/counter knife for everyday self defense. Im also a knife designer/maker. Anyway, this whole Ki business is a sensitive subject for you Aikido(KI) Tai-Chi(Chi) types. I can just hear you guys and girls out there "Aiki with no Ki thats crazy." :laugh: Think thats funny, just wait untill I bring up this Tanto Dori nonsense.
Yours respectfully but without Ki.
Gregory Rogalsky
Director Rogalsky Combatives International
WWW.Rogalsky Knives.COM (underconstruction)

5th August 2001, 18:40
Our two worlds of martials arts differ greatly, but i'm glad you made your point about your beliefs.....its just "2 sides of the coin" i suppose.
I look forward to your future threads with enthusiasm.
You are, by your last thread, very experienced, probably more so in the combat arts than the martial arts, but that only makes a difference to your/our beliefs, not your skill. I too trained in knives and various other weapons, but only as an extension, and more to diversify my experiences (albeit a limited experience).
I love to train with weapons and am in full respect of your dedication to your own art.
Be well.....and I/we look forward to hearing your opinions on future topics.

Yours in budo and with ki (well, the front door key at least!)

Kevin Jackson