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Thread: What is Ki?

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by kimiwane
    I don't think it's helpful to try to analyze or even attempt to define ki in scientific terms.

    If "ki does not exist", how do we explain the weather, which Japanese call "tenki" (same "ki").

    How do we explain electricity, which the Japanese call denki (same "ki")

    or pleasant emotions (kimochi ii) (same ki)?

    If you want to analyze something scientifically, first, be clear about just what you're analyzing.
    Um... actually I was only reffering to Ki,Qi as its defined martially.

    So I guess you could say I was "anaylyzing" those components which make up "martial" ki, which is very definable, and makes sense from a physiological standpoint. The physics behind the "martial" ki is much more complex than the ma=F that everyone tries to use.

    I think you're over analyzing the issue really.

    I never said Ki didn't exist. Ki is a word that humans created, and as such it simply describes a phenomenon observed by people, nothing more nothing less.


    And the earlier statement I made, was made in earnest. Both Chinese and Japanese would use those words to describe phenemonon they couldn't exactly explain yet. They refer to "Food Qi", "Air-Qi", Gasses as being "Qi" etc etc. Of course the understandings get revised over the years, but the name ends up sticking. 


    At this point tenki simply means weather, denki "just" means electricity, and "kimochii no ki", only refers to that particular emotion ("feelin gooood" hehe).

    あんまし深く考えるなって ;)

    Rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asura
    Um... actually I was only reffering to Ki,Qi as its defined martially.
    There's the problem. You can't separate "martial" ki from weather ki, emotion ki, health ki or anything else.

    The Western error in approaching ki is to understand it only in separated form. Belief that there is a "martial" ki that is somehow different from a baby's ki is what leads to the wild anime fantasies of what ki can do, and what its fundamental nature is.

    The fundamental nature of ki is nature. Thinking that martial arts are a manufactured, externally invented system that the human body takes on and adjusts to supports the idea that ki is a mysterious force or that it's a label to paste on things the backward Asians failed to understand.

    It's not a science and it's not a hokum pseudo-science. It can only be correctly discussed in the terms of its true nature as described by the people who have been discussing and healing with it for thousands of years.

    After all, the thread is not "What is 'martial' ki?" It's "What is ki?"

    And all the various forms are all just ki. You can't separate them from the ocean. They appear and disappear like the phenomena of the weather.

    respectfully,
    David Orange, Jr.

    -------------------------------------------------------

    "That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
    Lao Tzu

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by kimiwane
    There's the problem. You can't separate "martial" ki from weather ki, emotion ki, health ki or anything else.

    The Western error in approaching ki is to understand it only in separated form. Belief that there is a "martial" ki that is somehow different from a baby's ki is what leads to the wild anime fantasies of what ki can do, and what its fundamental nature is.
    It's interesting you say that, so I'm going to try and relate from my half asian side(having lived a good portion of my life over here in japan). I'd say that the "truth" of the matter lies somewhere in between. There's a lot of westerners out there that get mislead by the "asian" description and way of describing things, thinking perhaps like you do that they refer to some overriding energy etc.
    And while some may believe this (the taoists certainly like to take it literally, tho they're a minority) the reality is that for most of us asians, the existence of Tenki is simply weather, Denki is electricity, and sometn somten Ki is generally a gas, in essence all seperate "Things". (This is my asian side talkin, NOT my western side )

    Quote Originally Posted by kimiwane
    The fundamental nature of ki is nature. Thinking that martial arts are a manufactured, externally invented system that the human body takes on and adjusts to supports the idea that ki is a mysterious force or that it's a label to paste on things the backward Asians failed to understand.
    No, actually I'd say the fundamental "nature" of Ki is that it's a word used to describe something. Humans "created" martial arts, and there's nothing wrong with that, it doesn't mean the Asians were backward or failed to understand it either. They understood Qi within their context and mapped out the "results" so to say. (And their understanding within that context was extremely advanced and modern science is still playing catchup)

    Think of it this way, take the early earth-centric view of the solar system. To some degree it worked, and indeed the Greeks mapped out to a large degree the "result" of the real system at work.
    That doesn't mean that that was the "real" system at work.
    Of course unless you still believe everything revolves around the earth.

    Same with Ki

    Back to the martial Ki, (I'm sorry this IS the e-budo forum so let's discuss it within the martial context first )

    I've seen and felt some incredible stuff from high level people, and had in the back of my mind, a lingering thought that perhaps it was tied to the "abstract" concept of Ki that so permeates certain portions of western martial circles.

    But time and time again, I kept on being shown otherwise. In fact there's many high level Chinese "internal" masters that will (if they consider you their inner door students) NOT feed you the "Qi" explanation, and instead say, "yes, bring the 'leg strength' here!" (an extreme oversimplification tho! lol) and explain everything in very concrete terms.
    Even Sagawa of Daitoryu(Who would be a prime example I think, considering the almost inhuman skill level he had, throwing olympic judo peeps around in his late eighties) said in his book that the "ki" explanation of things were done by those that were "chuutohanpa", or only "half accomplished" and that everything he did was based within the realm of normal human phsyiology/physics, but that he just had a level of understanding of those factors that most probably wouldn't get because they didn't know how to train their body. (Oddly enough, the chinese have a similar saying about the half accomplished )

    If I wasn't able to manifest to a degree those same skills that get a blank "deer in a headlights" look from the average MAist, then maybe I'd still have the notion in the back of my head that perhaps "more" was at work.

    As it happens, it's NOT an abstract concept, but rather a bundle of separate components that you physically feel, and together as whole make up one over riding physical "feel" that you can direct. Using the western paradigm to explain concepts might only serve to confuse someone who's training to get "it", but that doesn't make it any less explainable in that format.

    If you want me to get into specifics I could, but it'd take at least 4 more pages if you wanted me to describe components involving fascia (by the way if you look into it, you'll find that the fascia covers to a T, the "Qi" meridians ), membranes, spinal movement, explanation and understanding of the effecient use of the human skeletal structure(which by the way is a corner stone of any internal martial art, wonder why that is), how the diaphram is tied to the fascia, the strengthening of said fascia and tendons through "contradictory exercises", the resulting control of subsystems that you normally wouldnt be able to control, etc etc etc.

    The fact that it CAN be described in a western manner doesn't make the body skill any less hard to gain(nor any less cool ).

    Simply put, those that can "do" can explain pretty concretely what's going on in their body. If they don't, then it means one of two things, either a) they aren't really as high level as you might think, or b) they're being a bitch and trying to pull the wool over your eyes purposely. (Both chinese and japanese are notorious for this, even among themselves )

    So I guess my question for you is, if you're going to make the statement that martial "ki" is no different from say Ten"ki" or Den"ki", then are you one of those that can "do", or are still speaking from a context where you can't yet "do" ?

    Peace! ってかそんなのグタぐタ言ってるようならなら鍛練しな、w。能書きばっかり言ってる人こそこういう事言うからな、悪いけど   現実はもっと厳しいぜぃ~

    Rob
    Last edited by Asura; 18th January 2006 at 22:58.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asura
    the reality is that for most of us asians, the existence of Tenki is simply weather, Denki is electricity, and sometn somten Ki is generally a gas, in essence all seperate "Things".
    Well, I don't want to try to out-Asian you, being from the US and with ancestors from Germany, but these things are as "separate" from one another as stalks of bamboo. Separate above the surface, but all of a single root system below.

    So I'll restate that. The many forms and appearances are separate manifestations of something unseen. Because we "see" them in separate identities does not mean that they are actually separate things. Ki is the underlying root system and tenki, denki, little girls and boys, old men and women, feelings, aiki, kiai, sakki, are all just passing manifestations of that underlying unity.

    No, actually I'd say the fundamental "nature" of Ki is that it's a word used to describe something.
    No, ki is not fundamentally a word used to describe something: it is the something that the little syllable "ki" describes. What is it describing?

    When Japanese tell each other "ki wo tsukete" ("be careful"--for those who don't speak Japanese), is it just an empty saying? Do they not actually mean "activate your ki" or "turn on your mind"? Do they mean "turn on something we don't know what it is"?

    Think of it this way, take the early earth-centric view of the solar system. To some degree it worked, and indeed the Greeks mapped out to a large degree the "result" of the real system at work.
    That doesn't mean that that was the "real" system at work.
    Of course unless you still believe everything revolves around the earth.

    Same with Ki
    I don't see the comparison at all. Unless you're saying that "ki" does not really exist...

    Back to the martial Ki, (I'm sorry this IS the e-budo forum so let's discuss it within the martial context first )
    Well, this is the Meditation forum, actually, on a budo forum. So unless you want to deal with all meditation only in "martial" terms...

    I've seen and felt some incredible stuff from high level people, and had in the back of my mind, a lingering thought that perhaps it was tied to the "abstract" concept of Ki that so permeates certain portions of western martial circles.

    But time and time again, I kept on being shown otherwise. In fact there's many high level Chinese "internal" masters that will (if they consider you their inner door students) NOT feed you the "Qi" explanation, and instead say, "yes, bring the 'leg strength' here!" (an extreme oversimplification tho! lol) and explain everything in very concrete terms.
    Mochizuki sensei never explained anything to anyone in terms of "ki", except in some occasional comments, mostly of a humorous nature. He was a direct student of Morihei Ueshiba and 10th dan in aikido. So you might think he would explain things as "ki" this and "ki" that, but he seldom did. Where he did speak of it, he said, "Ki is something very simple. It is inspiration."

    [qutoe]Even Sagawa of Daitoryu(Who would be a prime example I think, considering the almost inhuman skill level he had, throwing olympic judo peeps around in his late eighties) said in his book that the "ki" explanation of things were done by those that were "chuutohanpa", or only "half accomplished" and that everything he did was based within the realm of normal human phsyiology/physics, but that he just had a level of understanding of those factors that most probably wouldn't get because they didn't know how to train their body.[/quote]

    Mochizuki sensei would have agreed entirely. But if 'ki' is basically ignorant bs, why is the art called 'aikijujutsu'? Aiki, kiai, sakki would all become meaningless noise if they did not describe something real. Kiai is a dominating approach to the opponent. Aiki is a receptive approach to the attacker. Both approaches will take decisive control of the opponent's body. These are old methods of combat. Are they just meaningless words?

    So ki is an integral part of martial arts, but to understand it, you cannot look only at the martial forms such as aiki and kiai. If you do, you will think they're some artificially generated power like electricity, that you could somehow generate in a power plant if you only knew what it was made of.

    And there's where you find your chuutohanpa--people who think ki is something you have to generate and find from somewhere other than everyday life.

    [qutoe]As it happens, it's NOT an abstract concept, but rather a bundle of separate components that you physically feel, and together as whole make up one over riding physical "feel" that you can direct. Using the western paradigm to explain concepts might only serve to confuse someone who's training to get "it", but that doesn't make it any less explainable in that format.[/quote]

    Well, there's a lot of chuutohanpa in that field, too. How many people have come up with "scientific" explanations for all manner of things when they aren't scientists, don't understand the scientific method and DON'T understand ki.

    It would be like my trying to analyze you by studying the posts of the people who reply to you. If you don't even know what "ki" is, how can you even discuss it in "scientific" terms? We've seen mentions of string theory, electrochemical reactions and so on. But who can put chemicals and electricity into a dead body and get life? Who can mix the chemicals and electricity and produce a test tube baby? Only nature can do this and the products of nature are always full of ki.

    The Chinese and other Asian cultures have developed their knowledge of ki and qi over thousands of years. The best I have seen anyone do is try to analyze some 'aspect' of ki. And you cannot isolate any aspect of it.

    The fact that it CAN be described in a western manner doesn't make the body skill any less hard to gain(nor any less cool ).
    The western manner cannot even identify ki. Yes, you can talk about body alignment, fascia, space in the joints, etc., but you can put a dead body in those positions and nothing happens.

    Simply put, those that can "do" can explain pretty concretely what's going on in their body. If they don't, then it means one of two things, either a) they aren't really as high level as you might think, or b) they're being a bitch and trying to pull the wool over your eyes purposely.
    Again, that does apply to martial technique, but 'martial' aspects of ki are only a tiny part of it. And I reitterate, the exclusive focus on "ki" in martial technique leads to a very distorted and fanciful idea of what ki is and what it does.

    So I guess my question for you is, if you're going to make the statement that martial "ki" is no different from say Ten"ki" or Den"ki", then are you one of those that can "do", or are still speaking from a context where you can't yet "do" ?
    You seem to think that I explain martial arts in terms of ki. How is that? My repetetive statement is that the forms and manifestations are only appearances of ki and not the essence. I do not use ki to describe any martial arts technique. I use proper movement to illustrate it (to the limit of my abilities).

    I don't say tenki and denki and aiki and kiai are no different. I say all the various forms are different, like stalks of bamboo, yet all the same because they are all manifestations of the same source.

    As for "can do" or "can't do," I don't think that way.

    I just "do".

    I will let others debate the rest.

    Thank you for your earnest comments.
    David Orange, Jr.

    -------------------------------------------------------

    "That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
    Lao Tzu

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    Hi Rob,

    Quote Originally Posted by Asura
    There's a lot of westerners out there that get mislead by the "asian" description and way of describing things, thinking perhaps like you do that they refer to some overriding energy etc.
    In the interest of clear and accurate thinking, I'd have to say that it is as easy to be mislead by the "western" description of things. One example -

    Quote Originally Posted by Asura
    If you want me to get into specifics I could, but it'd take at least 4 more pages if you wanted me to describe components involving fascia (by the way if you look into it, you'll find that the fascia covers to a T, the "Qi" meridians ), membranes, spinal movement, explanation and understanding of the effecient use of the human skeletal structure(which by the way is a corner stone of any internal martial art, wonder why that is), how the diaphram is tied to the fascia, the strengthening of said fascia and tendons through "contradictory exercises", the resulting control of subsystems that you normally wouldnt be able to control, etc etc etc.

    The fact that it CAN be described in a western manner doesn't make the body skill any less hard to gain(nor any less cool ).
    The idea that internal skill is related to the fascia and tendons is very interesting, and very appealing to a western-minded audience, and used very often by people who are consciously trying to avoid talking about Qi, but it makes no sense to me at all.

    Fascia is, without a doubt, a fascinating (pun intended) organ that is much more than just a type of physiological shrink-wrap. Yes, it generates an electrical charge when pressure is applied to it, it is possibly related to both the acupuncture meridians and the San Jiao/Triple Warmer, etc. And being an acupuncturist, I have both a professional and personal interest in the subject. But talking about it as a source or conduit of internal strength is misleading and fuzzy. In what way is it related? How do you know? How are you separating the function of the fascia from the function of all the other connective and muscle tissue? Aside from vaguely equating the word "fascia" with certain body sensations that don't really correspond to what you normally considered "muscular", what is that based on?

    Use of the word "tendon" is the same. Both in Chinese and Russian systems, everyone is always talking about "strengthening the tendons." But that makes no sense. Any activity that uses muscles strengthens the tendons. As far as I know, you cannot strengthen the tendons without also strengthening the muscles, and vice-versa. If you know otherwise, please contradict me, because I find the subject fascinating and am always looking for new information.

    To say that internal strength comes from the tendons is to imply that if you tried these things without developing "tendon strength", your muscles would detach themselves from the bones. Because that is what tendons do - attach muscles to bones. If the tendons are weak, the muscles pull away from the bones. They passively transfer kinetic energy. Without the muscles pulling on them and the bones anchoring them, they do nothing. If someone has information on how internal work involves the tendons more than it does the muscles and bones, I'd be very interested to hear about it.

    I think I understand *why* people use these images - internal work involves creating certain sensations in the body that we can't correlate to muscular work as we usually think of it. So we grab on to whatever explanation feels or sounds right. I think there is also an element of expediency at work here - if you tell someone that they should be training their tendons or fascia instead of their muscles, it is a way of short-circuiting their instinctive/unconscious bias towards muscling through things. But misusing western concepts isn't any different, at least to me, than misusing Asian concepts.

    Now having said all of that, I *do* agree with the idea that everything involved in internal work is ultimately explainable using the modern physiological model. But we have to be very careful with language. For instance, Karel Koscuba, a British Yiquan teacher ( www.yiquan.org.uk ) has a few essays where he describes the purpose of standing excercises as being to train the postural muscles (aka the stabilizer muscles) as opposed to the mobilizers. The feeling of Qi, according to him, is the feeling of the stabilizers firing without the mobilizers, since the stabilizers are normally not under conscious control or awareness, when we start to control and feel them, we get that tight or tingly feeling close to the bones.

    One further side-note: a friend and I were discussing this, and we came to the conclusion that when the Chinese talk about "tendons" in this functional context, they are actually referring to the stabilizer muscles. They probably realized that there was a way to produce strength that didn't rely on normal muscular flexing, and as meat-eaters, they knew that there is this very tough stuff attached to muscles that isn't the muscle itself. And they had no reason to come up with the idea that muscles can be either postural or mobilizer, so that's probably where the idea that the tendons are a source of strength came from.

    I think this is a much better description than "tendon strength" of at least *one* aspect of internal work, but again, without actual scientific evidence that that is precisely what is going on, it remains only an appealing image. It may be a useful image, and it may turn out to be an accurate description, but it is still basically an appealing image that we use because it vaguely corresponds to the sensations we get when we practice.

    Apologies for the long post. It's been on my mind alot recently . . .
    Last edited by Joshua Lerner; 19th January 2006 at 00:14.
    Josh Lerner

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    Quote Originally Posted by kimiwane
    The western manner cannot even identify ki. Yes, you can talk about body alignment, fascia, space in the joints, etc., but you can put a dead body in those positions and nothing happens.
    That would be because he's dead and you can't move all the various components?

    That argument is a bad one since you can't either prove nor disprove your point. Giving the dead body the proverbial "shock" of life, and if you were able to control all those components in some way, I think you could get "something" to happen

    Seems like you're trying to say that Ki is the universal "essence", which is fine, whatever makes you happy right?

    What I'm trying to say is, I doubt the majority of accomplished "azians" with their 1000+ year plus involvement in these matters necessarily think like you. Especially the accomplished ones. So really you're applying only your understanding of "ki". Not the generally accepted notion (among the accomlished, not the rabble of chuutohanpa )

    Josh:

    Good point, I've been talking about the fascia related stuff for a while, and it makes sense from what I've been able to feel myself. But like you say it can't be proved, so we'll leave the conclusion of that to the otaku that would enjoy proving this stuff in a lab rather than getting out there and train

    I'll totally agree with you on the tendon thing though, that was badly worded on my part. But the intention does goto the "tendon" rather than the muscles, though that's probably more a looking at the "result" than what's actually going on. Muscles are strengthened and its not a bad thing, you just have to know "how" to strengthen them and build them up. Sagawa was a big proponent of this. Note however while he said you needed up build up muscles, he said that building them in the fashion of lifting weights etc was useless, and that you had to understand the "manner" in which you had to strengthen them.

    The stabilizer muscles I do agree...I've strained some weird "#$" around the spine (not surface muscle) during intensive tanren designed to strengthen the structure. I was out for 4 days... That certainly was a wakeup call that something very physical is used in these advanced skills, lol


    Nice post

    Rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asura
    I'll totally agree with you on the tendon thing though, that was badly worded on my part.
    Sorry if it sounded like I was directing it at you specifically, because it was really directed at everyone I've heard use that explanation over the last few years. And there have been quite a few - you are not the only one I've come across who uses that image. You just happened to be there when I finally wigged out in public.

    One of the really interesting issues in all of this is how quickly we (myself included here, by the way) go from an experience, to an expedient explanation, and then quickly forget the experience and just start relying on the explanation. It happens to me all the time in various trainings I'm involved in. Something will work, and then almost immediately I'll come up with a theory about why, and then when I go to apply that theory again, it doesn't work. Or it will kind of work, but in a way that takes me further from the *real* skill I'm trying to develop. Know what I mean?

    In terms of Qi/Ki, there is a great story I read in a book by an American acupuncturist. I think it was one of Mark Seem's books. He does alot of teaching at seminars, and he often won't allow people to use the word "Qi" when they are describing what they are feeling when they needle a patient. Maybe someone will say that they felt the Qi gather around the needle - okay, he says, say that again, without using the word Qi. What are you actually experiencing? Are the fingers in your supporting hand starting to tingle? Is the skin around the needle tightening? Are the muscles beneath the skin tightening? Is the needle feeling more resistance? Is it feeling heavy? Does it feel like there is an electric current going through the needle? What?

    As he tells it, people at these seminars get very upset with him because he makes them reflect on their actual, immediate experience, and won't let them be lazy and use words that simply allow them to tune out their experience. Neigong seems to be similar in that way.

    Thanks, by the way, for the interesting discussion.
    Josh Lerner

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Lerner
    but in a way that takes me further from the *real* skill I'm trying to develop. Know what I mean?

    What are you actually experiencing? Are the fingers in your supporting hand starting to tingle? Is the skin around the needle tightening? Are the muscles beneath the skin tightening? Is the needle feeling more resistance? Is it feeling heavy? Does it feel like there is an electric current going through the needle? What?

    As he tells it, people at these seminars get very upset with him because he makes them reflect on their actual, immediate experience, and won't let them be lazy and use words that simply allow them to tune out their experience. Neigong seems to be similar in that way.

    Thanks, by the way, for the interesting discussion.
    I totally feel you on that point. I guess to some degree I'm also guilty of wanting a valid explanation to describe the sensations I feel, the skill I manifest since it's easier to describe in that manner to other people.
    Fortunately for me (I think) I try and keep my experience/feeling seperate from whatever explanation that I adhere to at the moment, lol.

    I like the description you gave of that American accupuncturist. We need more people like him teaching the Nejia and "aiki" based arts.

    I've often felt that the japanese language (and I dont speak chinese fluently so I can really comment) has a leg up in teaching these matters since they have "sound words" such "sutooon", "doshi doshi", "pata pata", "guu guu" etc to describe "internal" feelings.

    While not exactly concrete, if you get "what" feeling you're supposed to be after (and these sound words get extremely specific in their own right), advancement in the neijia is faster I think than if you say, oh just relax the kua, round the mingmen, etc.
    I'm sure Chinese has a similar leg up in that venue.

    Sorry for going off on a tangent, that particular subject, getting the nejia concepts across has been on my mind recently.
    It's a grey area. You explain too much you lose them, you get too abstract and wishywashy about stuff "feel ki like water running through a hose" and you'll lose them. It's a fine line to walk. ^^;

    Rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asura
    Seems like you're trying to say that Ki is the universal "essence", which is fine, whatever makes you happy right?
    No. As far as I know, that's the best Western translation that can be made of it, other than "energy". And what's energy? The Universal Essence.

    But what of that? You have never defined it at all. You have said "it" can be "explained" by science, etc. But you, yourself, have never said what this "it" is. If not "energy" (the universal essence), then what is ki?

    Let's go back to your earlier analogy of the belief that the sun revolved around the earth. No "better" map of the whole "ki" system has emerged than that of Chinese medicine. Just as Einsteinian physics did not make Newtonian physics meaningless, Western science has only added another level of thinking (from the Chinese perspective. From the Western perspective, it is the only way of thinking.) So the Chinese can benefit by the best of both. But we in the West have access mainly to surgery and pharmaceutical chemicals. The Chinese know what qi is. The West debates "whether" it is without ever understanding what "it" is supposed to be.

    What I'm trying to say is, I doubt the majority of accomplished "azians" with their 1000+ year plus involvement in these matters necessarily think like you. Especially the accomplished ones.
    Well, as Joshua said above, if you "know" better, lay out the argument. What accomplished asian disagrees with me about the nature of ki? Please quote him with context.

    Have I used ki to explain any martial art technique?

    I have over thirty years of training in karate, judo, aikido and sword (through yoseikan budo), taiji and baguazhang. My deepest focus was aikido and I lived in Japan for five years. Aiki and Kiai are approaches. Technique is taijutsu. I trained with Minoru Mochizuki. I saw his approach to all the above-mentioned Japanese arts and his attitude toward ki, the Bible, Western medicine (he was a seikotsuin (bone doctor, or bone setter) and he taught me some things about koppo. But when he was sick, he went to a hospital.). I got most of my attitudes about these things from him and from my long study of Tao te Ching, I Ching and Sun Tzu.

    So really you're applying only your understanding of "ki". Not the generally accepted notion (among the accomlished, not the rabble of chuutohanpa )
    I think Mochizuki sensei was accomplished. Where ki is concerned in martial arts, I teach as he taught. All the rest that I do is showing that the linguistic use of "ki" is entirely consistent and, broadly assimilated, illustrates a clear nature for "ki", which is, as I said, "nature". Ki is a universal phenomenon that permeates personal, social and planetary life. It permeates emotions and art as well as science (in the Japanese language).

    You talk about everything coming down to bone alignment and such. But you talk as if that is exclusive to martial arts. It comes first from daily life. A natural body is naturally aligned and it expresses itself with natural power. This is called "genki" or "healthy" ("original spirit" such as a baby has).

    This "secret" is taught in martial arts classes because most people old enough to study martial arts have strayed from the natural way of standing and moving. Through social stress and the abuses of the education system, the personality learns to express itself through distorted postures of the body. These are a result of the "kimochi warui" or "bad feeling" of having the body constrained in a desk all day except for the times when the larger kids are running over it.

    Distorted body and distorted health go hand in glove. A natural body needs little instruction to learn the mere techniques of martial arts. An unnatural body has to be taught how to straighten itself out over time and takes years to assimilate very simple techniques.

    Do you suppose that all this alignment that is so good for martial arts technique just accidentally happens to be the same alignment taught by qigong masters for centuries, for nothing more than cultivating one's personal qi?

    How can you be "genki" if your body is distorted or stiff?

    The purpose of the aligned posture is first and foremost for the health of the individual. Is it an accident that healthy, well-aligned people just happen to be able to do martial arts more effectively?

    If you can find where some accomplished master of these matters contradicts me, please quote them in their context.

    best wishes.
    David Orange, Jr.

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    "That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
    Lao Tzu

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    Quote Originally Posted by kimiwane
    Well, as Joshua said above, if you "know" better, lay out the argument. What accomplished asian disagrees with me about the nature of ki? Please quote him with context.

    I have over thirty years of training in karate, judo, aikido and sword (through yoseikan budo), taiji and baguazhang. My deepest focus was aikido and I lived in Japan for five years. Aiki and Kiai are approaches. Technique is taijutsu. I trained with Minoru Mochizuki.


    I think Mochizuki sensei was accomplished. Where ki is concerned in martial arts, I teach as he taught. All the rest that I do is showing that the linguistic use of "ki" is entirely consistent and, broadly assimilated, illustrates a clear nature for "ki", which is, as I said, "nature". Ki is a universal phenomenon that permeates personal, social and planetary life. It permeates emotions and art as well as science (in the Japanese language).

    You talk about everything coming down to bone alignment and such. But you talk as if that is exclusive to martial arts. It comes first from daily life. A natural body is naturally aligned and it expresses itself with natural power. This is called "genki" or "healthy" ("original spirit" such as a baby has).


    Distorted body and distorted health go hand in glove. A natural body needs little instruction to learn the mere techniques of martial arts. An unnatural body has to be taught how to straighten itself out over time and takes years to assimilate very simple techniques.

    Do you suppose that all this alignment that is so good for martial arts technique just accidentally happens to be the same alignment taught by qigong masters for centuries, for nothing more than cultivating one's personal qi?
    Ok, first off, you assume too much

    Second, you're "katayotteru"

    I would agree with you that the proper alignments/other factors I talked about are NOT exclusive to the martial arts. Actually attaining the ability to use a power that is unimpeded results in effective martial techniques, good health etc.
    All the things you mentioned are side effects of strengthening those abilities within the body.

    "It permeates emotions and art as well as science (in the Japanese language)."

    And it will permeate all things related to "humans" because "humans" came up with that term. Personally I don't think its any mystery that high levels of caligraphy or art and dance run parallels with the high level mastery seen in martial arts. All involve the movement of the human body connected to the mind. (Especially with the regards to the "flip" in intention to make some of the higher stuff work) But I think you're grasping at straws if you try and make a more universal connection.

    The views your expressed are those coming from your teacher really, and aren't necessarily those held by the average Japanese person

    Quote Originally Posted by kimiwane
    I have over thirty years of training in karate, judo, aikido and sword (through yoseikan budo), taiji and baguazhang. My deepest focus was aikido and I lived in Japan for five years. Aiki and Kiai are approaches. Technique is taijutsu. I trained with Minoru Mochizuki.
    Um... ok. First off not to be rude but xxx amount of years in whatever or another art doesn't bring any extra weight to an argument that isn't being really substantiated on your side either. Besides which I've seen too many MAists of various backgrounds come to train and then get thrown around by a first year student at our school. I've even been to Abe sensei's class in Kyoto, a big proponent of "Ki", yet his students of xxx years can't even perform up to snuff
    Btw, even though Abe sensei is a propnent of "Ki", it only pretty much extends to using the breath to reinforce the "groundpaths" connecting the entirebody. He didn't refer to it as "Ki" in the pseudo asian sense either.

    And great you trained with such and such a teacher. Awesome. We also just recently had a student from Sagawa's dojo drop by and his skill level after training for 10 years was well... abysmal.

    Btw those body skills and health don't always necessarily go hand-in-hand.
    Wang Shu Jin's health was a doctor's nightmare. Diabetes, some kind of growth in his leg, breathing problems. Yet he could still beat the stuffing out of most people because he'd already accquired that particular body skill.

    The bodyskill I refer to, if you want me to define it extremely loosely, is a body that can absorb force without being affected. In turn when that body generates power, say in a strike or throw, it can send it in such a way that it goes unimpeded "through" someone else as a result, even when it looks like there's a force on force action going. There is a psychological "flip" in intention related to this, which is needed in order to use the muscles and body in a different way then we're normally used to. (A result of "imashime" something you can see demonstrated in the Aun Kongourikisi Statues in Nara)

    That doesn't mean that something universal is controlling/permeating it. Maybe there is, maybe there isn't. But there's no evidence either way
    It still falls back to the human factor.

    Btw, I already gave you an example... Sagawa huffed at the notion of "Ki", as well as the founder of I-Chuan. If I'm not mistaken Li Shu Wen of Baji fame was also noted for riduculing the "Qi" proponents.
    Let's see...stepping outside of the eastern paradigm for an instant, you can take a look at Vlad from Systema and you'll see similarly superb skills manifested with no mention of Ki/Qi/ether/energy either.

    I guess my take on it is, the whole "Qi" paradigm is an antiquated notion left behind by an earlier generation. The research done before isn't useless, but the bujutsu notions of "henka"/change and "adaptation" should be applied

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asura
    The views your expressed are those coming from your teacher really, and aren't necessarily those held by the average Japanese person
    Oh. I see. I thought you wanted to discuss the highly developed type of person--not the average.

    Are we having definition fuzziness again?

    Second, you're "katayotteru"
    touche

    Btw, I already gave you an example... Sagawa huffed at the notion of "Ki", as well as the founder of I-Chuan. If I'm not mistaken Li Shu Wen of Baji fame was also noted for riduculing the "Qi" proponents.
    All you are really saying is they did not explain their techniques as any kind of ki/qi "magic". Now what part of "NEITHER DO I" did you fail to understand? What part of "NEITHER DID MOCHIZUKI SENSEI" doesn't get through to you?

    But did any of these people flatly say that "ki" as a universal energy does not exist? Did an aikijujutsu master ever define his art as "jujutsu based on blending with something that doesn't exist"?

    Really, you clearly do not understand any aspect of "ki" or the broad asian meaning of it outside martial arts technique. But you also read my comments saying I don't use ki to explain martial arts techniques and reply with comments showing that you clearly think I credit miraculous striking and throwing powers to ki.

    Slow down and read every word, would you?

    As for technique, the way I explain that comes more from Moshe Feldenkrais than from a "ki" base. Feldenkrais was a judo master taught by Jigoro Kano and his senior students in the 1920s and '30s. He was a mechanical and electrical engineer by education, working with the Curies and instrumental in the creation of the Van deGraf Generator. He viewed the human body in mechanical terms and the nerve activity in electrical terms. He referred to vivisection of cats to understand the functions of the various brain centers and which were involuntary, which were voluntary and how they related.

    In my teaching, the most important thing to know is that humans have a reflex to extend the legs and spine when there is pressure on the soles of the feet. We have an instinct or reflex to push against pressure in the soles of our feet. In babies, when weight is on the feet, they straighten the legs and spine with vigorous force and stand up straight like corks popping to the surface of water.

    For adults, the most important thing is to "feel" and cooperate with the nervous impulse to push straight up in gravity and to stand as tall and erect as one's own skeleton should naturally stand. Social pressure causes us to bend that posture and lose a lot of empowering energy that we get from standing straight in gravity. Or I should say, it causes us to use energy to fight gravity that we don't have to use as long as we remain straight in gravity.

    This relates directly to the erector muscles you and Joshua were discussing earlier. Feldenkrais called these the "antigravity" muscles. But do not mistake some muscular sensations for "ki".

    Ki is not a sensation. Or, at least, it is not a "special sensation". The "sensation" of ki is the pleasurable feeling of moving a healthy body through its daily activities. Nothing more. I once knew a guy who claimed to see purple fire after doing the first five moves of tai chi. This is the kind of guy you seem to think you are addressing here.

    And you seem to have that image of "anyone who believes in ki". You're addressing every reference to "ki" as if it were among the bizarre claims of ki. The reality of "ki" is "everyday life". I am talking about the completely consistent way that the Japanese use terms with "ki". You have never shown any inconsistency in that whole system of words. Everything you have said addresses the manga version of ki--not the serious words of masters.

    Let's see...stepping outside of the eastern paradigm for an instant, you can take a look at Vlad from Systema and you'll see similarly superb skills manifested with no mention of Ki/Qi/ether/energy either.
    I don't suppose they describe it in terms of Einsteinian physics, either, do they? But does that mean they deny the existence or truth of Einstein? Does that mean that Einsteinian physics has no effect on what they do?

    I'm not that familiar with Systema but I don't think I've ever heard of any of them say that "ki" "does not exist", either. They can create an effective system without resorting to the word but that does not nullify the word or its meaning.

    But let's get back to my earlier explanation of movement in electro/mechanical terms.

    Once the body responds to the nervous impulse to push against gravity, it assumes the absolutely most efficient organization of bones, muscles and nerve energy to remain tall and upright. This is all automatic, or "natural". If the body bends or leans in any direction, it must expend its own energy in muscular effort to compensate for the resistance to gravity. Staying straight in the line of gravity, with the weight held high, there is no resistance to gravity and we develop a reservoir of potential energy in that elevated weight. This potential energy can be converted to kinetic energy in a split second simply by dropping the weight.

    Is all that clear? Any unacceptable or unclear definitions or uses of terms? Did I mention ki to explain any of that?

    Now, the upright standing body is the zero point. No one naturally remains standing in one place for long. As humans, we have things to do, so we start walking and doing things. And as we stand or move, the changing pressure on the bottoms of the feet stimulates nerve signals from the feet to the brain, telling the brain what's happening with the feet. The brain compares this to the information it receives from the inner ear and other balance-measuring structures and calculates at gigaflop rate what the foot should do in response to the total data. It sends a message back to the foot, telling it to adjust (the calf, the ankle, the foot, all together, so, in fact, many signals are sent down from the brain) and all this takes one tiny fraction of a second. The muscles make the adjustments ordered by the brain, the weight on the foot changes and the foot sends new information to the brain, which sends back new instructions to the muscles.

    And this happens hundreds or thousands of times in a single step. If we walk a mile, the brain sends and receives literally millions of messages through the nerve system, just monitoring the pressure on the feet, the information from the balance sensors and sending muscular adjustment signals to the feet. All these messages are essentially electrical in nature, so the spine is carrying active two-way current at all times.

    This current flowing through the nerves is affected by any new stimulation of any nerve ending anywhere on the body. So if your opponent is stepping and your knee contacts a "nerve point" on the side of his knee, the inormation goes to his brain and must be processed and reconciled with all the other signals from the body in the fraction of a second. The brainial calculation results in some motor response in his body within a split second, most probably to pull his knee away from the pressure, but possibly to press back into the pressure. If a standing person makes no adjustment in response to such knee pressure, a tiny amount of energy (what I call 'zero force') will cause the body to fall away from the pressure. The body can be made to fall over in this way with truly tiny forces if the opponent does nothing to prevent it. In a "live" opponent, of course, he will respond to such a force and resist falling over.

    But look at that: we have made him take on another task in his nervous system. Now, rather than simply moving upright, he has to make some adjustment to remain upright. If this zero force is applied to the knee at precisely the correct moment, the very tiny force will not only make him fall over, but the escape efforts he makes with his legs may actually cause him to shoot off the ground and land on his back several feet away. This is NOT a "ki" throw, but the result of his straightening his legs vigorously just as his body leans at such an angle that he actually ends up jumping backward as if to land on his head.

    I have seen enough Systema to know that they use some similar manipulations of the knee to produce seemingly effortless takedowns. That is the same general thing I do.

    I have explained all this mechanically and electrically, viewing the body as a structure and mechanical system. I have not used the word "ki" to describe any of it. Is that clear?

    So all of your resistance to everything else I have said has been fighting an empty jacket. You have missed what I did say and responded to things I didn't say.

    That said, none of this obviates the entire cultue of ki/qi and Chinese medicine and fighting arts or Japanese accupressure and fighting arts.

    I guess my take on it is, the whole "Qi" paradigm is an antiquated notion left behind by an earlier generation.
    My take is that you don't have a deep enough understanding of what those 'antiquated" generations were talking about to enable you to comment on it at all.

    The research done before isn't useless, but the bujutsu notions of "henka"/change and "adaptation" should be applied
    Again, you have to understand what they are talking about before you can change or adapt it. You can create a comic-book version of their system in your mind and annihilate that to show your intellectual superiority (based on the fact that you studied with great people), but it just shows you never understood what any of them have said.
    David Orange, Jr.

    -------------------------------------------------------

    "That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
    Lao Tzu

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    Quote Originally Posted by kimiwane
    your mind and annihilate that to show your intellectual superiority (based on the fact that you studied with great people), but it just shows you never understood what any of them have said.
    Never claimed to study with "great people" but, sure at this point I'd say that my own bodyskills speak as to how much I "understand"

    Quote Originally Posted by kimiwane
    But did any of these people flatly say that "ki" as a universal energy does not exist? Did an aikijujutsu master ever define his art as "jujutsu based on blending with something that doesn't exist"?
    Nope, but Sagawa still refferred to his art as Aikijutsu even though he scorned the notion of "Ki". To most people it's "just" a word

    So you believe in an overall riding notion of "ki". Which is wonderful.

    But personally I was just more interested in mapping out those things that're collectively reffered to as "ki" within the martial context.

    Btw, your description while I give you props for the detailed explanation still doesn't really cover the six directional contradictory compression expansion that's fundamental to generating that kind of "zero" power you refer to
    Maybe you'd like to elaborate?

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    As a linguistic comment, just because "ki" is a part of a lot of words, doesn't mean that those concepts are necessarily involved with ki.

    When someone says "ki wo tsukete," or be careful, they may mean activate your ki just as much as a westerner would be invoking God when saying "goodbye!" (the origin of which is God be with you) Or than they invoke God when you sneeze. Bless you was originally a frantic attempt to prevent your soul flying out your nose! Nowadays, it's just polite. God is a popular linguistic concept to westerners as much as ki is to asians.

    Be careful when using linguistic arguments. The meaning of words changes greatly over time, and just because you call everything you don't get "ki" if you're Asian, and "miracle" if you're a westerner, doesn't mean you're right. Just means you don't yet understand it.
    Trevor Johnson

    Low kicks and low puns a specialty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asura
    Btw, your description while I give you props for the detailed explanation still doesn't really cover the six directional contradictory compression expansion that's fundamental to generating that kind of "zero" power you refer to
    Maybe you'd like to elaborate?
    Hmmm...wasn't going to participate in this discussion, but I've been enjoying it emensely, at least the last few posts. Just a suggestion, take it or leave it as you will. There is a tendancy in some who discuss these matters to be snidely derogatory in their manner, and I think it would serve everyone if that would stop. All it does is bring the same out in others, even when they do their darndest to avoid it.

    Best,
    Ron (carry on...)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asura
    Never claimed to study with "great people" but, sure at this point I'd say that my own bodyskills speak as to how much I "understand"
    Well, the same as you, I can make that claim, but I didn't feel compelled to on a meditation forum, despite your earlier assumption that I could have gone where I did and trained as I did without learning anything. Still, anyone can claim anything. This does not mean you understand what you're talking about here. It sounds like you have some grip on aikijujutsu technique, but you should limit your comments to that.

    Since you've never clearly defined what you are even referring to when you use the word "ki", please explain what you think it is (this thing that you keep talking about though you insist it doesn't exist).

    Sagawa still refferred to his art as Aikijutsu even though he scorned the notion of "Ki". To most people it's "just" a word
    Yes, like the average Japanese to whom you refer. But I thought you wanted to talk about "accomplished" people. I gave you Mochizuki sensei's take but then you wanted to shift back to "average" Japanese conceptions. And it seems you're determined to cling to the average way of thinking.

    The fact is, to "most" people, "ki" is not even a word. But to people with many years of budo background it's a word with deep meaning. EVEN if they don't credit ki with any magic powers. It has meaning.

    But seriously, being able to see "ki" and any other aspects of the world--history, politics, religion or whatevr--ONLY through "martial arts" eyes tends to be the realm of young people with maybe six or seven years' experience. Maturity is being able to see the broad, subtle connections that make up the "whole" picture of human life--not just the parts where we play "samurai".

    Ki is like that. Being able to see it in ALL aspects of life puts it into its proper perspective.

    [qote]But personally I was just more interested in mapping out those things that're collectively reffered to as "ki" within the martial context. [/quote]

    Since I don't recall seeing any such attempt in your earlier posts, please resummarize those things for us.

    Btw, your description while I give you props for the detailed explanation still doesn't really cover the six directional contradictory compression expansion that's fundamental to generating that kind of "zero" power you refer to Maybe you'd like to elaborate?
    Generating "zero" power?

    What do you mean, "generating"?

    I'm afraid you may have read those bits rather quickly and have some blurry ideas about what I said. Please do quote and phrase a more precise question and I will show you the delineations.

    Thanks.
    David Orange, Jr.

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    "That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
    Lao Tzu

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