View Full Version : Does Ki exist?

30th June 2000, 02:39
This was brought up in the Aikijutsu forum by another poster. I am growing more than a little frustrated in that forum, and have even resulted to sarcasm (I don't usually like to, but I've done it more than once since I've joined e-budo). I wanted to open it up to what I believe is a larger audience.

Michael Becker
30th June 2000, 11:40
What exactly do you mean by 'Ki'?

Ki just means energy so you will have to be a bit more precise in your question.

Are you refering to the idea of life force energy and the projection of it in a martial sense?

Personally I have met several people that claimed that they could project energy but they were unable to do so in my presence.

My instructor emptied a bottle of water over one individual that claimed he could defend himself using 'chi'. I didnt work for him.

I would not say that no-one can project Chi or Ki, but I have yet to meet a person that can.

2nd July 2000, 19:48
Originally posted by yamatodamashii
This was brought up in the Aikijutsu forum by another poster. I am growing more than a little frustrated in that forum, and have even resulted to sarcasm (I don't usually like to, but I've done it more than once since I've joined e-budo). I wanted to open it up to what I believe is a larger audience. I believe ki does exist and is projected in different ways, as well as types of ki. Ever sat in high school staring at someone you had a crush on, then they turned and caught you drooling well that's projection and reception of ki.

A couple of months ago in training my squad was moving up to recon an objective and we thought we were just about to leave our eyes on,personel staying to report changes, and the whole patrol was comprimised by one gung ho joe. All we heard was machine gun fire open up so we were suckin' bad!
Later in our after action review one of my joe's revealed he came up on an asleep machine gun position, so with his weapon pointed at the gunner he stealthly moved to the position and just when he was going to safety kill the crew of 3, the gunner awoke and stared him dead in the face firing on him and grazing in front of the position killing him and another joe. He then knew he screwed the pooch for a couple of reasons, mainly for looking directly at an unaware sentry or guard even though he knew the enemy was sleeping.

I could name countless examples of ki and physical manifestations but the majority of them are not just produced like magic tricks but they are tangible exercises
that lead up to understanding how it is felt and projected
on a higher level, like Kukinage most of it is just timing
but it takes a buttload of skill to mirrior or conect with your uke or even with an attacker, so having a great base in kihon will definately help with building or acknowledging ki.

That's my 2 cents or 6 sense..... LOL

Earnie Warnick

2nd July 2000, 20:16
posted by hoshizawa:

I believe ki does exist and is projected in different ways, as well as types of ki. Ever sat in high school staring at someone you had a crush on, then they turned and caught you drooling well that's projection and reception of ki.

Or she knows you have a crush on her and is looking to see the drool hit your desk.:)

OK, the not so sarcastic opinion: Ki is whatever you believe it is. It is like anything, such as air, but you can only breathe it. Ki has no real definition so is it like the belief in God? God is a kind of magic as well and ki could be God. It may be everything you know about it, but most will never attain it. Is it something every budo practitioner can reach and attain if one trains well? I wish I knew, and I hope it exists. Everyone has to believe in something which is but a mystery. Center, relax, and breathe rythmically. That is as close as most will ever get, but I hope I am wrong.

2nd July 2000, 20:50
Yes in some cultures ki does have a definition, and I agree
that it's something must wont be able to harness or relate to. As far as believing in something intangible and having faith, well that's part of it for some. In my opinion training itself is much more important than thinking about ki unless that is the study /subject of training is ki.
If I was really interested in just feeling ki and I did'nt train in martial arts I'd might go to a reiki or chi gung studio. Or even practice kiaijutsu within randori sessions.
Different arts have their representation of what ki is. What I was getting at with the story/example is that there are many times when people naturally project energy and others pick it up and they have no clue you are even there.
Looking at the phone and it rings, going around a corner and you know someone is there,little every day things that to me prove it is a part of our everyday lives and not some mystical force that when I touch my temples I can bend spoons like Uri Gellar lol. I try to look at this ki thing not being super human but more human and aware of energies.
I hope the whole kuthulu thing isnt real.... lol

2nd July 2000, 21:32
Ia! Ia! Shub-Niggurath!

3rd July 2000, 08:11
In the mood I am in right now, I really hate to do this, and I know it is just an oversight, but Hoshizawa, could you please sign your posts with your full, real name? In case my stupidty and my understanding of a foreign language is what led me to this, I am sorry.:)

Now, to your reply. I agree. I do think it is totally human in regards. I also think if more took it this way then there would be room for little argument. I describe kiai to my students this way, and I think this is the more realistic way of dealing with it: "Would you please go over to that wall and move it over for me please, about three inches? No? Oh, c'mon, I know you can do it. Just try." Whatever comes out of you is kiai. If it is a groan, then that is what it is. If it is the loudest noise you can make, then that is it. If it is nothing, but trying with the same intent, then that is kiai.

Personally, I find that approach to be far more acceptable to most people.


3rd July 2000, 09:53
Does Qi(Chi/Ki) exist?

The one question that has probably caused more heated debate than all the lineage questions put together.

I wish to start my post by reflecting on what ancient culture has to say on Ki.

In the Jewish tradition God breathes the "breath of life" (ruach) into Earth to create the first human. The breath of God (Ruach Ha Kodesh) in Hebrew, Spiritus Sancti in Latin.
In the Qur'an (Koran) the words nafas, meaning Allah's own breath and ruh, meaning Allah's own soul "are used to mean the human breath and the human soul". Shaykh Hakim Moinuddin Chishti says that "breath is not the same as air or oxygen. Rather it is divine energy that regulates human emotions and the equilibrium of the body"

In ancient Greece the vital breath was called pneuma. Cambridge professors Kirk and Raven state in Presocratic Philosophers, that "The life principle and motive force of man is, traditionally, pneuma, or the breath-soul."

To the Kung San (Bushmen) people of the Kalahari desert, life energy is num. The num is stored in the lower abdomen and at the base of the spine and is made to boil through ecstatic dance.

The Australian Aborigines concentrate on a point four inches below the navel where they believe the "Rainbow Serpent" is stored. From this center they draw heat to survive the cold desert nights.

The Navajo say that the winds (nilch'i) gave life to all of nature and to man. In the Lakota (Sioux) the word for soul waniya is derived from the word for breath, ni. In Hawai, the most powerful healers are known as Kahuna Ha "Masters of the breath." The sacred healing breath Ha can be absorbed through power places in nature, through dance and through breathing exercises.

In India it is known as prana. One of the goals of yoga is to accumulate more prana through breath control exercises (pranayama)and physical postures (asana). Bear in mind that Indian yoga is probably even older than Chinese Chi kung (Qi Gong). Qi gong techniques are thought to be about 3000
years old.

Tibetian monks practice the art of g tum-mo, where through breathing exercises and visualisation they are able to generate sufficient heat to keep them warm in the icy heights of the Himalayas.

The concept even exists in modern Western society, in the more esoteric elements of society. The Rosicrucian Order AMORC talks about a vital life force. It is absorbed through the air we breathe and the food and drink we take.
The Rosicrucian's cliam that this concept derives from Ancient Egypt. In light of the Greek ideas perhaps not such a far fetched claim. Other people to be considered are Anton Mesmer and his Mesmerism, as well as Reich and his Orgone theory.

Which brings us to China, Japan and Korea. The Chinese concept of chi is fully intergrated into their philosophy (Daoism), their medicine (Acupuncture and Chi Kung) and their martial arts. The muscle and tendon changing classics of Bodhidharma. The concept of Chi was closely parralled in the Japanese and Korean concepts of Ki.

Which brings us back to the question of wether Ki exists.

Those who say yes are usually those involved in one or other art that relies on Ki, Aikido, Tai Chi chuan etc. Various demonstrations of supposed Ki are given. Some may convince, some may not.

Those who say that there is no such thing often site that science has been unable to prove its existence. research is claimed to be inconclusive. Research in China is felt to not match up to required Western standards. Intrestingly most western pharmaceutical research and testing would not meet the rigid criteria and standards, that Western researchers demand of Ki researchers.

Let us reflect that science is much like a teenager that thinks he knows everything but still has a lot to learn. The same teenager who as a child believed that the sun rotated around the earth, then that the sun was the center of the universe, then that the idea that little things exist that make you sick was stupid. The concept of mental illness was only acknowledged at the beginning of the 20th century.Science still argues as to wether multiple personality disorder exist or not, and generally has a hard time believing things it cannot see, feel or touch. They are also funded by paymasters whose motivations may not always be noble or altruistic.

In parting I leave you with a favourite quote of mine.

Do not be guided by anything told to you, neither by tradition or
>recitation, nor logic, nor inference, nor reason, nor Doctrine, even if your
>teacher tells it,
> KNOW FOR YOURSELF : this is right and this is wrong.
> The Buddha

Practice Chi Kung (Qi Gong) or Tai Chi properly for 2 years and then decide for yourself whether or not chi exists.

Adrian Teixeira

Jason Backlund
3rd July 2000, 10:34
What is ki?
Spirit, energy, mind are all basic definitions. The word itself is as broad as single kanji come. When combined with other characters you get examples such as tenki (weather), genki (health), byoki (sickness)...
The broadness of this word in the Japanese language is what leaves it open to so much interpretation. In the past it was used to explain a host of things that lacked better, scientific explanations. Ki was the life force that was manipulated in accupuncture. Now, with a little better understanding, we know that accupuncture points work by stimulating blood flow, hormone secretion, and even interrupting nerve centers (a technique that allows Chinese surgeons to perform operations on patients that are awake, without the use of anesthesia).
In the martial arts, ki is used to describe many physical applications of technique. Most of which are actually complex applications of the laws of physics. When I teach in-yo no kata (our version of aiki and kiai), I tell students that ki is the sum total of the body's potential energy. Kiai is the bringing together of that energy into a focus point, while aiki is meeting and absorbing the kinetic energy of uke. If, once you absorb uke's kinetic energy and draw him/her off balance, you apply kiai, you are betting that your well balanced posture and leverage will beat the other persons off balance posture and lack of leverage.
Aside from some psychological aspects of martial arts training, I'd be very hesitant to talk about any of the other definitions of ki. I've trained the martial arts both in America and Japan, and although I've heard many claims as to the throwing of mystical energy balls and so forth, I have yet to experience these things for myself.

Just my opinion, and would welcome the opportunity to be shown otherwise.

BTW, anyone know where I can get boku-nagamaki for my students? I'm beginning to think that I'm the only person left alive that teaches this weapon.

Jason Backlund
Kobushin Kai
Yamagata Ryu Bujutsu, Matsubara Ryu Bujutsu

[Edited by Jason Backlund on 07-03-2000 at 05:38 AM]

4th July 2000, 11:00
Hi, Adrian,
Why would I want to "learn" ki (chi, qi,etc)? Personally, I rather like the magic and the mysteriousness of something. If I know that it exists, then the search ends, and again, I am left with no magic in my life, no where to search for it. The search is the soul in my opinion, and without that, then ki, chi, qi could not exist. I gave a little example of how difficult it is to know the answer, and how I explain inner strength, along with centering, and breathing rythmically. To do otherwise, would end the search, and that is death, and for that I am not ready. Besides, today, no one buys "spirit shout" anymore;)

There is a little saying I was taught as a child. "Do not believe anything you see or hear, nor an nth of what you read." This may be more callous but it is the same idea.

[Edited by MarkF on 07-04-2000 at 06:02 AM]

6th July 2000, 21:42
Where did you come across the spelling "Kuthulu"?

Jeff Bristol
7th July 2000, 01:28
This is alittle of topic, maybe, but I thought it would be interesting to bring it up. Is there or isn't there scientific justification for ki? How could it work scientifically?

As a scientific test this amy not be the best proof, but it is pretty good. If ki is anything like the 'psychic phenomenon' many tests prove as disprove it. The US Government enlisted the aid of psychics in order to find American hostages etc and if I am not mistaken this program lasted a decade or more. Various other tests have bene used to prove and disprove it. casey used to diagnose people's illnesses forom thousands of miles away, and he was only wrong once. One a more personal level. People can put themsleves through ordeals and come out showing very little pain or scarring. They do things that would curdle a person's skin, shoot hooks through themselves, impale themselves with swords, and a myriad of other tortures. How do they do it? Ki.

But I think to say that ki is unexplicable is an insult to the human intellect and science. Everything has an explination. Nerve and various things have already been offered up as explinations. The body is essentially a battery. Possibly ki/qi/whatever is simply a utilization of electronic body fields and applying them to benefit the body. Nothing says this cannot be done. It in no way shape or form violates the rules of physiology or physics.

Jeff Bristol
The Iconoclast and Myth Breaker ;)

7th July 2000, 10:37
The former Soviet Union spent decades and millions upon millions of Rubles to find scientific proof of such things. What came of that was one film of a now-deceased woman who could move a salt-shaker across a table by putting one hand over the shaker and one hand under the table. What they found were more questions. Today, there are few who spend h/his time on these fanciful searches. Can a person know what another is thinking? Can they project a feeling or thought to another? Probably. But I do not see how it can be proved and this is where this thread is stuck right now. I hope it does and I find "the way" of using it, though springly, to my advantage. I think the more important good is what can it do for humanity.

I have an arthritic condition in my back which is made worse by a few ruptured discs. I had one operation on one disc which had little or no long term results. I have tried just about everything allopathic physicians and surgeons had to offer, also acupuncture, shiatsu (katsu?), pharmalogical relief (this works best) and biofeedback. Of everything I did try, the one which helped the most, besides presription pain killers, was biofeedback. If anyone wants to experience and learn something which I have found to be as close to a scientific form of ki, biofeedback is it.

In my first session, I was "hooked up" to a machine which measures tension, and the first place I was attached other than two fingers, was to my forehead. What I learned, is that even in the person who seems unfazed by tension, this little test was amamzing. I was told to "play with it" for a while, while trying to relax the muscles in the forehead. After a few months of this, I learned to do it without the machine, and was able to relax myself to able me to fall asleep even though my pain was tremendous. I still practice some of this and it does help me to relax before I work out and after. I would recommend this to those who do not believe and to those who do, as this is as close as I have come to understanding what ki is. I still do not know, but I took something away from it. The other thing which gave me complete, but temporary relief from the
constant pain was accupuncture. This was administered by a DCM, a doctor of chinese medicine at the first pain control unit in the country at UCLA. What boggled my mind was that after inserting the needles (no, it does NOT hurt), he used an herb known as Moxa to heat the needles after they had been inserted. It smoked like a "joint" but even from a distance of six inches from any of the needles, the heat generated from this could be felt in my abdomen/stomach. At first, it made me a little queazy, but after a few times, the radiating heat was what seemed to relieve the pain. Again, this was only done for about six months, but I got at least a few hours of total pain relief to a few days. My thoughts on Chinese medicine was changed forever, and I am now certain we are headed in the right direciton, if people would only give it a chance. As to how it relates to ki, it probably doesn't directly, but it forever changed in how I choose and recommend to others, what the options are for these "unseen, therefore non-existant" disease processes. I am still a skeptic as the people who generally want you to believe, are the hucksters and carnival barkers, so I really needed something to open my eyes. Does ki exist? I still don't know, but I do not believe in the average ki salesman. Afer all, it costs to learn these "secrets" and that is just not provable when you inject a quantity of money.

Margaret Lo
7th July 2000, 14:34
Originally posted by Jeff Bristol
This is alittle of topic, maybe, but I thought it would be interesting to bring it up. Is there or isn't there scientific justification for ki? How could it work scientifically?

But I think to say that ki is unexplicable is an insult to the human intellect and science. Everything has an explination.

Jeff Bristol
The Iconoclast and Myth Breaker ;)

In the age before the advent of modern science, theories about chi constituted the scientific justification for functions of human life, such as illness, disease etc.... And adjustments to chi constituted ways of providing cures.
I think to treat chi as a "thing" proveable or unproveable like the effectiveness of accupuncture, which has never been successfully subjected to double blind testing, is a waste of time. Modern Chinese doctors use both western medicine and Chinese medicine based on older principles. If it works, great! If not find another approach - quick!


[Edited by Margaret Lo on 07-07-2000 at 09:36 AM]

Jeff Bristol
7th July 2000, 15:46
I think to treat chi as a "thing" proveable or unproveable like the effectiveness of accupuncture, which has never been successfully subjected to double blind testing, is a waste of time.


But ki is an important element of the human mind. To understand it we could understand so much more of ourselves. If we could understand how it works, and what it is, we could make the treatments like biofeedback and acupuncture all that much more effective.

Jeff Bristol

17th July 2000, 02:42
I have trained in, and teach, Yi Li Chuan (or Ichi Ri Ken to my Japanese speaking students) kung fu. It is an internal style that incorporates the practices of Hsing Yi Chuan (Kei I Ken), Tai Chi Chuan (Tai Kyoku Ken), and Ba Gua Zhang (Ha'Kake Sho). Qi/Chi/Ki is an integral part of our system, as it is for all internal systems.

My Sifu told us/taught us that Qi/Chi/Ki without technique was worthless. Technique alone could be sufficient, and Qi/Chi/Ki only reinforces the body. It does nothing by itself. You can project Qi/Chi/Ki, but only so far, and not in the sense that you can move something with it (i.e. cups, glasses, people) with no physical contact or exertion.

I can make my arm unbendable to the exertion of multiple people. I can keep my thumb and forefinger touching when someone tries to pull them apart (cool party tricks, and good for getting beer money at the bar!). I have been hit by internal stylists that could rupture one side of a case of juice boxes when striking the other side of the case. I can break cinder blocks through 3" worth of phone book with a slap. My senior (senpai) can break arrows on his throat. So what.

Qi/Chi/Ki, in any of its incarnations, is a catch all term for a number of exhibited phenomena. It was mentioned on the previous page of posts that Science is still trying to label everything, and finds it unacceptable when it can't nail down the mechanics of a thing. As a massage therapist, I have been taught that sometimes you don't have an answer, sometimes the body just has to heal itself. Western medicine only started in on the hand washing thing at the beginning of the last century; leeches were once "scientifically" applied to withdraw deadly "humours" from a patient; and holes were drilled in the skulls of migraine sufferers to "scientifically" release the "humours" that were causing the pain.

If you need proof, get hit. If you need proof of everything that badly, get help.

Sorry for the rant. This topic has come up on the newsgroups too many times, and I get tweaky when people start slinging around the "XYZ doesn't exist" argument. I can't prove Qi/Chi/Ki exists, but you can't prove it doesn't.

Matt Stone
Yi Li Chuan Kung Fu
Shuri-te Ha Karate-do