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#234804 - 02/27/06 07:08 PM Ki Aikido
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Didn't mean to come across as you sounding accusatory, just meant that Tohei had the "stuff" that Aikido is made of.

Describing ki is a lot like trying to describe water without using the word "wet". The whole purpose of Aikido is to reach a balance of energy, technique, and spiritual blending with both your attacker and his attack. Ai (same) ki (energy) do (way) is the dictionary definition, but like anything done by the esoteric thinkers, they leave out more than they put in the definition.

Breath and timing are the two most physical elements of the techniques that have a difficulty factor of 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is most difficult. When you combine it with posture, mental clarity, and meeting the attack before it "matures", takes the difficulty factor off the charts.

Ki has several conditions... if you are extending ki, you are extremely strong and your body is totally in balance. If you are "sucking in" ki, you are almost totally at the mercy of the attack, and if you are "meeting ki" you are not blending with the attack, so it's not aikido.

I don't know if there IS a physical description of ki that is accurate, because it is like breath and timing... always changing and always in a differing condition in your practice. I've learned physical tricks to use that make what I do look like magic, but it's really just blending with the attack and then extending a little ki, but it crushes the attacker like bug.

Mind you that I use jujitsu as much or more than I use aikido in my teaching, because the art of Aikido is a pared-down version of several types and styles of jujitsu. It's main derivative is from Daito Ryu Jujitsu, but its technique is studied as a jitsu and not a "do" in that art. If that's confusing, it's because you need to understand the differences between "jitsu" and "do". Jitsus are "methods" and "do" is "way or path". One of the other tricks the esoteric thinkers play on westerners is to have multiple meanings for their words. Where "ju" is always interpreted as "soft or pliable", it also means "easy", so "jujitsu" translates into "easy method" rather than "soft method". Judo is another tricky moniker for an art, because if you try to interpret it as "easy path or way", it is certainly not that... it is a complicated and very scholarly dissection and reassembly of numerous jujitsu styles that Professor Kano used to design a competitive sport. At the time he was organizing it, many of the techniques left people permanently damaged from the practices they used. He took those elements out of his Judo to allow people to practice without being crippled for life. He did not create the actual moniker "Judo", for there were numerous "judos" out there being practiced, but he organized the techniques and dissected the techniques to make them safe for the general public to practice. His "judo" is what the public sees today.

One of my favorite ways of describing techniques in Aikido and Jujitsu, is to tell someone that "there's more than one way to skin a cat, but there's no way to make the cat like it". What that means is that there are numerous ways to accomplish the same thing... a throw for instance, can be accomplished by using "leading and ki application" like Aikido, "leverage" as in Judo, or simply blocking and driving through the opponent to make them lose their balance. In all three, you can use (or not)ki to accomplish the task, but you still end up with the same result. Some of the methods are more difficult than others, so you have to study them to figure out if you want to become a "leverage" expert, an "Aikido" expert, or just someone that has fighting abilities and uses a different arrow from their quiver depending upon the attack. In all three, breath and timing need to be in play, along with a "total body involvement" in your technique.

There's an article on my discussion group at http://groups.msn.com/munenmusoryujujitsu on ki. You can try it and see if it gives you any help.

In my 40+ years of doing martial arts, I've seen a lot of different ways to squash a bug, but in all that time, I haven't seen a bug that enjoyed it. Dojo practice is not "fighting practice", so until you see the techniques applied for real, your training partners are just "ukes", so you have to take care of them. Attackers, on the other hand, are a different matter for another discussion, but ki is important in all techniques.

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#234805 - 02/27/06 07:31 PM Re: Ki Aikido [Re: wristtwister]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Thank you for your input Mr Burchett.

I'm not denying that Tohei had the goods, nor his rank.

Quote:

Ki has several conditions... if you are extending ki, you are extremely strong and your body is totally in balance. If you are "sucking in" ki, you are almost totally at the mercy of the attack, and if you are "meeting ki" you are not blending with the attack, so it's not aikido.




Ki is subtle and by itself weak (cf. people like Chen Xiao Wang and others). In your opinion, what constitutes "strength" as implied by "extending ki"?

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#234806 - 02/27/06 08:37 PM Re: Ki Aikido [Re: eyrie]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Well, I already know I'm going to get myself in trouble here, because I'm not able to show you what I'm talking about and often there isn't a way to verbalize "ki" so that someone understands it. The way I teach people to utilize their ki is to think of it as water contained under pressure in the body. To "extend ki" is to cause that energy and "water" to flow outward... some of which can be done mentally, and some because of the physical makeup of the body.

If you shape your arm into what we use in Aikido (arm sword, Te katana) you should be able to imagine something squeezing your "water" out of your arm like a hose, allowing the ki to flow out toward the hand. If you think of the fingertips as "nozzles" you will understand the effect of the pressure stabilizing the arm and creating the "unbendable arm". In that condition and properly shaped, your muscles are in balance, the ki (water) flows outward, and creates pressure at the nozzles.

If your elbow is straight, it won't work, just like if it is bent too much... but shaping the arm like the blade of the Japanese katana will create an arm structure that is exceptionally strong. Like a fire hose becomes solid and incompressible when it's outflow is full force, the arm of an Aikido player can create a similar situation using ki.

Now, that being said... what use is there for this device you have created with your arm? Practice in an Aikido class for a short while, and it will become apparent. Most Aikido techniques are sword techniques, and the movements are taken from sword fighting. By adopting the same body mechanics as sword fighting, the empty hand art can be practiced and utilize the same tactics and methods as sword fighting. That "water" is what makes it all work.

Is that clear as mud yet?
_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#234807 - 02/27/06 11:09 PM Re: Ki Aikido [Re: wristtwister]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Quote:

Well, I already know I'm going to get myself in trouble here, because I'm not able to show you what I'm talking about and often there isn't a way to verbalize "ki" so that someone understands it.




Somehow I very much doubt it... considering that you are a hachidan in jujitsu with 20 years aikido experience... By the same token, I doubt that many would understand even if you showed it. Nonetheless, I thank you for your valuable input.

Quote:


The way I teach people to utilize their ki is to think of it as water contained under pressure in the body. To "extend ki" is to cause that energy and "water" to flow outward... some of which can be done mentally, and some because of the physical makeup of the body.

If you shape your arm into what we use in Aikido (arm sword, Te katana) you should be able to imagine something squeezing your "water" out of your arm like a hose, allowing the ki to flow out toward the hand. If you think of the fingertips as "nozzles" you will understand the effect of the pressure stabilizing the arm and creating the "unbendable arm". In that condition and properly shaped, your muscles are in balance, the ki (water) flows outward, and creates pressure at the nozzles.

If your elbow is straight, it won't work, just like if it is bent too much... but shaping the arm like the blade of the Japanese katana will create an arm structure that is exceptionally strong. Like a fire hose becomes solid and incompressible when it's outflow is full force, the arm of an Aikido player can create a similar situation using ki.





For the benefit of everyone, I have highlighted the bits in Mr Burchett's response, which I feel are the key elements of using ki. Here are those elements in summary:

1. the idea of putting something under pressure inside the body. Mr Burchett uses the idea of "water", which is not too far off, since the body is approx. 70% fluid.

2. the attendant use of mental imagery - the mind moves the ki which moves the body (consistent with the internal CMA elucidation of yi/intent moving the qi)

3. the relationship between ki and body structure, i.e. the shapes, postures, structural alignment of the body etc. I.e. if your body structure/alignment is off, the mental imagery is not going to be much use.

If Mr Burchett is open to the idea, I would like to toss around some of these things and discuss these in some detail. (Yes siree, you're definitely in trouble and on the spot!)

Let me preface the discussion by saying the "ki" is not some mystical energy/force (a la Luke Skywalker). It is intrinsic to the practice of aikido (and the internal CMAs), and is a skill that can be developed.

Perhaps Mr Burchett would like to begin by elucidating some of these finer points in greater detail?

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#234808 - 02/28/06 04:45 AM Re: Ki Aikido [Re: wristtwister]
BaguaMonk Offline
Member

Registered: 12/18/04
Posts: 404
Loc: DALLAS TX BABY
Quote:


If you shape your arm into what we use in Aikido (arm sword, Te katana) you should be able to imagine something squeezing your "water" out of your arm like a hose, allowing the ki to flow out toward the hand. If you think of the fingertips as "nozzles" you will understand the effect of the pressure stabilizing the arm and creating the "unbendable arm". In that condition and properly shaped, your muscles are in balance, the ki (water) flows outward, and creates pressure at the nozzles.

If your elbow is straight, it won't work, just like if it is bent too much... but shaping the arm like the blade of the Japanese katana will create an arm structure that is exceptionally strong.





This almost sounds exactly the same as peng (ward off force) of taijichuan.

Seems like akido (for those who don't do hollow practice), is coming along really well People exploring internal principles more

_________________________
Truth comes from the absolute stillness of the mind...

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#234809 - 02/28/06 06:15 AM Re: Ki Aikido [Re: BaguaMonk]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Dang it BaguaMonk, you pre-empted me...

The arm structure is only a small part of it. Mr Burchett hadn't mentioned the ground-path and relation to kokyu yet, but I WAS getting to it... now you gone and spoiled it by mentioning peng-force...


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#234810 - 02/28/06 06:49 PM Re: Ki Aikido [Re: eyrie]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Guys,
we could fill up the internet with discussions about ki and everyone that reads it will have a different opinion about what it is or isn't, how it's used, and what constitutes it. I know what I personally believe about ki and its effects on technique, so I'm not sure that anything I add will change what you might have as a "ki concept".

The principles of centering onself, and utilizing the entire body in your technique go a long way toward making you appear exceptionally strong, even without the use of ki in the applications. Almost every art reaches those two places in some manner and through some process of stances, movements, exercises, etc. that pass students from "awkward and bumbling" to "poised and graceful" while performing their techniques. How it's described and what words are used to groom the discussion may differ, but ultimately, we all are using our body structure to move smoothly and create powerful techniques by applying techniques while centered, on balance, and using the mechanical structure of the body to generate power.

It doesn't matter if you're throwing, punching, or kicking, the same rules apply... and it's the application that kind of dictates the amount of each that's involved in each technique. I'm not sure you can do anything without some application of ki, for once you reach toward your opponent, you are in a preliminary level of "extending ki", so once you move, your pot's off the burner.

The traditional understanding of ki is that it enters the body from the point in the foot known as Kidney 1 and runs throughout the entire body, originating in K1, but can be stored and blocked throughout the body by different methods.
Since the body is an electro-chemical makeup, it is entirely plausible to believe that you can receive some type of electrical energy through your contact with the earth, as all electrical systems have to be grounded to be functional. Not being able to see or view things on the molecular level, I wouldn't attempt to describe ki as an electrical phenomena, but there have been studies which show it does have electrical properties.

Like a bee produces honey, try as I might, I can only close my eyes, tighten my body, and produce a little ear wax, so asking someone to produce ki is a little like asking them to produce honey. I know that ki is contained within my body, because I can apply it in techniques, and I can demonstrate its power in various ways, but my take on describing ki is that no matter what you say, ki is something else as well, so you never fully get it described.

My training partner, who lived in Japan, and went there to train in Aikido once took part in a demonstration where he (being the "big" American) was called upon to push one of the Aikido instructors backward as he was seated in a chair. He was ultimately joined by two other students from the class who helped him push until the teacher finally moved... into them, and he pushed them backward. I personally have no clue how to do that, but there are lots of things I've seen over the years that have amazed me that I can't do personally.

In 1962, I was in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (USA) when I watched a zen master from the Kodokan show the abilities that could be discovered through zen training. In one "test", he put his hand into a pot of boiling water and held it there for over a minute. When he took it out, his hand was not burned and the skin was barely red. The owner of the dojo where this took place put his hand into the water and was burned almost immediately, and required first aid. Unlike a lot of people with a lot of experience in martial arts, I'll admit there are a lot of things out there that I don't have the full explanation on... but that doesn't mean I won't use it in practice.

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#234811 - 02/28/06 08:41 PM Ki in Aikido [Re: wristtwister]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
It is a rare occurrence when we have a high-ranking practitioner, with such depth of knowledge, in our midst, and when an opportunity presents for learning something off someone, it should not be taken lightly.

Hence the line of questioning I pose in order to draw out some of these things in greater detail and depth. Whilst I appreciate the issues and difficulties such medium presents, compared with hands-on learning and dojo time, such technical and academic matters are very rarely (if ever) discussed within a dojo setting, resulting in what BaguaMonk terms "hollow practice".

Whilst I also appreciate that controversial topics such as this, will engender differing opinions, I feel it is necessary for the more senior and knowledgable folk to steer the discussion towards how people ought to reflect on their training methods and practice. I believe that is what this forum (as do other forums) is for and the purpose it serves. It is by no means a substitute for dojo learning, but more as a complementary aid to thinking, prior to working on ideas and concepts within the parameters of the dojo. So, whilst some comments may serve to draw out differences in opinions, others may spark the interest and thinking, or increase the level of understanding or awareness, of others - particularly those at the initiate and "beginner" level (like myself).

My role here as moderator is merely to facilitate and moderate the discussion. So from time to time I may ask certain pertinent questions to draw out the discussion along topical lines - like a tv/radio interviewer, only I'm not as good.

You mentioned:
Quote:


The traditional understanding of ki is that it enters the body from the point in the foot known as Kidney 1 and runs throughout the entire body, originating in K1, but can be stored and blocked throughout the body by different methods.
Since the body is an electro-chemical makeup, it is entirely plausible to believe that you can receive some type of electrical energy through your contact with the earth, as all electrical systems have to be grounded to be functional. Not being able to see or view things on the molecular level, I wouldn't attempt to describe ki as an electrical phenomena, but there have been studies which show it does have electrical properties.




Generally I concur (as with the rest of your post), however, I think it is important firstly to distinguish what ki is and what the manifestations of ki phenomena is. Ki is not electrical (or other sensate) phenomena, although the presence of electrical (and other such) phenomena may indicate the presence of ki, and more likely where the "blockages" are.

I think we can generally agree that unless the body structure is in alignment (centered/balanced/whatever), and moving efficiently (whatever than means), that ki cannot be mustered thru the body. Basic exercises such as the unbendable arm serve as a starting point for the initiate to experience some sort of phenomena that can be vicariously described as ki, but as you are aware, it involves a whole lot more.

It is the details of what this "more" entails that I wish to explore. Please excuse me, if the questions are somewhat haphazard and incoherent as I attempt to work some of these things out in my mind.

1. What specifically are we training to do when we attempt to muster "ki"? I appreciate there are various elements involved and to varying extents, i.e. the mind/spirit (intent), the musculo-skeletal structure, breath (kokyu? air pressure?), the use of the "connection with the ground" etc. etc. These elements contribute to how we generate the required "power" for all tehniques (whether it be punching/kicking/throwing), and goes towards explaining why aikido can't be done in the weightlessness of space, and why having knee or rotator cuff surgery robs you of some ability to generate such power.

2. What forms of "strengthening" could be done (not necessarily within the parameters of aikido practice) in each of these aspects to in turn strengthen the overall generation of power (in a "relaxed" and "efficient" sort of way)?

3. How these methods may differ in other arts, yet the ultimate result is the same (to varying degrees), and what commonalities of approach there may be?

4. How does the "force" of "extending ki" transmit from one person to another?

Perhaps we could discuss each of these in turn?

I expect that the discussion would then highlight what aspects of aikido practice the initiate would ideally be focussing on in their practice.

I should probably spilt this topic into a new thread, but being the Luddite that I am, it'll probably happen when I figure it out.


Edited by eyrie (02/28/06 09:10 PM)

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#234812 - 02/28/06 09:57 PM Re: Ki in Aikido [Re: eyrie]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
First of all, I appreciate your thoughtfulness. I always tell my classes I'm just an old guy who was lucky enough to start when I was 18 doing something that changed my life, and when they ultimately ask "have you ever had to use it?", my answer is "every day". Martial arts are about what I'm molding myself into, not about fighting or learning ki exercises, etc. You should practice martial arts like a mechanic works on a classic car, with love and appreciation of what it becomes when you're finished.

Now, you're right that ki isn't "electrical"... but it has electrical properties. It isn't "grounding", even though it's applications are enhanced by it. It isn't quite just "centering" either, although most aikido players think that if they're centered the have "arrived" and are "doing aikido". It's all of those things, and yet none of them.

OSensei said one time "I do not remember what I said in my lectures about ki, for if I remembered them, I would not understand them myself". That being said, you can see that I realized early on in this discussion that we were headed toward trouble... and you can see why. If Ueshiba Sensei didn't understand ki, he certainly couldn't disagree with Tohei about it, and so we have aikido... where we use it, practice channeling it, and learn to generate it. As to defining it... I'll leave that up to each individual.

I can, however, attempt to answer your specific questions.

1.This has several parts.
a. When we train, we are learning to apply techniques in a meaningful manner. There is practice, and there is correct practice, and in that correct practice, we use the parts of ki that we know how to develop... correct movement, centering, correct body mechanics, timing, and ma-ai(distancing). As a newbie, you will have little of those parts working together, but as you practice and improve, you will blend more and more of them into your technique and it will become stronger. Is that change "better technique", or is it an "increase in ki"? The answer is both, for it involves all the elements of training... including cleaning up the dojo to maintain the spiritual clarity of training.


b. As someone with torn rotator cuffs in both shoulders, I can tell you that the only thing that has to do with ki is that if you raise your arms to do a technique and it hurts, you'll "pull out" ahead of the movement, which causes the "loss of ability to generate ki". It's still there, you just choose to bail out early because of pain. If you have a high pain tolerance, as I do, you learn to train with the pain and the "loss of ability to generate ki" disappears.

2. Almost any kind of arm strength and body flexibility training will work to help your perceived "ki development". I can't do pushups because of those rotator cuff injuries, but I do curls and "air grabs" with my hands, so people who are grabbed by me think I have a lot of ki whether I do or not. A few light weights and curls, and some empty handed "air grabs" (200 per warmup) and you suddenly have forearms like iron. Now, do I have a lot of ki because I have strength in my forearms, or do I have strenght in my forearms because I have "great ki"? Only my attackers know for sure.

3. I think I already answered this one. All the martial arts develop the same tactical things eventually, they just arrive at them in different ways and along different tracks of training. It goes back to "more than one way to skin a cat, you just can't get the cat to like it" type of thing. Whatever your taste for training is, you'll find your own niche and form your own likes and dislikes. I always hated to do kata when doing karate, until I learned that kata didn't really mean "forms" it meant "how one behaves". That completely changed my outlook on the practice of them. Each art has its own type of kata, and regardless of the art's theory, it's energy application in one form or another, and unfortunately, when you get to my level, it all looks alike even though you can see the differences.

4. The force of extending ki is only with you. If you're using aikido techniques, you are more interested in blending with your attacker than extending ki, and once you've accomplished the blending, your ki application is a simply matter of "going along with your opponent". Once you are "blended", its a simple thing to redirect their ki and energy forces into a direction or plane where they can't compensate for it... hence, a throw or pin.

Unfortunately, the way you asked the question, the answer is "it doesn't"... you are in a "blending mode" not a "ki application" mode. Extending ki is only accomplished after you are in harmony and moving together (except for the mechanical structure ki extension, such as arm sword). What you are actually trying to accomplish is to accelerate the person off their center. Once that's done, they're toast...

You got into a discussion with yourself about splitting the discussion, but the last question you asked was what aspects of aikido would I advise an initiate to practice. I would say, those that are hardest first. It will be different for every student.

Every aikido or jujitsu student should know how to do a front roll, back roll, breakfall, and side fall. Once they have those down, they can practice any part of aikido or jujitsu without fear of being injured.

If you read through my web forum, you see that I developed my style to make training that was available in several different arts a part of my system. It was done because there's not alway a good judo school in the area, or a karate school with a good traditional background, or a good jujitsu school. What I've learned over the past 40+ years has been learned in a number of different forums and from a lot of different training systems. They all have good and bad points, but I still learned SOMETHING from each of them, and when you put it all together, you have an old fat guy who can wind your watch for you in a skinny minute.

To get back to the list, I would advise new students to learn to do ukemi first, learn to punch and strike second, so they can give their partners good attacks, and then jump into whatever arts they want to train in to get the rest. I practice as much aikido as I do jujitsu, because they're so much the same, you can't strain one out of the other if you do it well.

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#234813 - 02/28/06 11:34 PM Re: Ki in Aikido [Re: wristtwister]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Ah, my bad... I guess I should have anticipated that when you tell someone you're a beginner, you (almost invariably) get the "beginner's response", despite the fact that we are all really beginners, no matter how long we train for, because as you say (and I wholeheartedly agree!), this is life changing, character molding, never ending work of love, not for fighting, used in daily life etc. etc. "stuff". As I recall, even O'Sensei, on his death bed, said that he was still a beginner in aikido.

So, are you suggesting that light weight training can help build ki? What about suburi practice? Or maybe even simpler... training the fundamentals (aiki-taiso) in a different way, with a different focus? Perhaps you were merely highlighting an example, but I'm thinking ki isn't merely in forearm development. It's whole body?

Joint strength is a factor in supporting ki and more specifically kokyu usage. I think you need both (ki & kokyu), at least, for power generation. In terms of kokyu usage, can you describe what is being pressurized and how that pressure is achieved? What is involved, specifically with the breath/timing?

I anticipated that my line of questioning was off... let me rephrase. Going back to the previous example of the aikido sensei not being able to be moved by people, and throwing them, (I know you said you didn't know/couldn't explain it), but what do you think is involved here? How do you think the force is being stored/transmitted/redirected there?

I think we can generally agree that there is no mystical magick involved here and that some plausible explanation exists to describe in real terms what is happening and how it works.

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#234814 - 03/01/06 07:40 PM Ki and related stuff [Re: wristtwister]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
This post was moved from the other thread.

Here's wristtwister's response in toto:
--------------------------------------------------

Quote:

So, are you suggesting that light weight training can help build ki?




What I am suggesting is that you need to get your body into the best shape you can, and yes, it will help in your ki applications. As a jujitsu player, I'd rather focus on the building of technique as a goal rather than just ki development. We're not going to sit in the corner and extend ki at our attackers, we are going to use martial arts techniques to deflect their attacks and immobilize or undo them. I have some "wave" techniques that almost look magical, but they are based on correct ma-ai more than ki development. There isn't any one facet of training that is the "magic bullet" to make everything all right in wonderland... it takes all the elements working together.

Yes, bokken and jo practice (if done well) will help in both building ki and in getting you to use your body correctly so that whatever ki you extend is maximum-effect. All martial arts are "whole body" arts, so while building the forearms will help in gripping and arm sword applications, it is no more important than doing the aiki-taisos and building correct movement and ki in those kinds of training situations.

Quote:

Joint strength is a factor in supporting ki and more specifically kokyu usage.


We'll have to agree to disagree here. Body structure and ma-ai have more to do with ki application than anything to do with joints. If that were true, we would be in a declining state of ability as our joints degenerate. That's certainly not the case, and you will find "old men" that can do miracles with aikido techniques, and not just against people who are joining them in demonstrations and fall "on command". The worst hurt I ever had put on my wrists was by a nidan in aikido with bad knees and a frame that must have weighed about 110 pounds, and SHE certainly didn't have the joint strength of any man in the room. She managed to wear me out though in applying her techniques from standing attacks, and had plenty left when doing the pins.

Quote:

I think we can generally agree that there is no mystical magick involved here...


Again, I think we have to agree to disagree. It is always mystical if I can't explain it, and extending ki can create situations that can't be explained in "mechanical" terms. I have found occasions where I "blocked without touching" someone, and had them come back and ask me "how'd you do that?" I have no explanation for them, except my breath, timing, ma-ai and movement were all in harmony, and I was extending ki from my palms. What is probably more surprising to you, is that I was startled myself that I was able to do it. I certainly won't tell you that I can repeat it "on demand" either.

In all my years of training, I've heard about every explanation of ki and chi that has grouped itself into a discussion of martial artists on the subject. The masters that I've studied with and seen in those years all had different explanations of it, and yet their emphasis was always on "doing". I would ask you if you need to know why the arrow flies through the air to understand that you need to get out of its way. Ki is one of those kinds of things that can be described mechanically for those that want to believe it is mechanical. For those that want to believe it is some mystical magic force, there's an explanation also.

My own understanding of ki is in its application, and the potentially devastating force it can generate from doing technique well... but that all involves both the physical, spiritual, and mental aspects of training.

I've watched hundreds of aikido students blame a lack of ki development on the failure of a technique, when it is merely their failure to be in proper posture or position to execute a technique. I've seen others, like that girl who crushed my wrists, that were frail and tiny, who possessed whatever kind of power ki could generate, and applied it handsomely and with great pain to the attackers.

If I had to describe ki in "layman's terms", I would say that ki is the applied force necessary to knock your opponent off balance and into a condition where they could not respond if they had to... You can pick where you think it comes from, and I'll say "Okay"... My personal feeling is that it comes from training and doing things correctly, breathing correctly, being centered, and extending that "mystical force" into your technique. Nothing mysterious there, but it's mysterious when you have to explain why you get stronger as your technique improves... because I don't think you do... I just think you apply your technique more appropriately.



Edited by eyrie (03/01/06 07:51 PM)

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#234815 - 03/01/06 08:04 PM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: eyrie]
eyrie Offline
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Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Thanks for your enlightening input. It is always interesting to hear the more down to earth opinions of someone more experienced and travelled in these matters.

Domo arigato gozaimasu.

Any parting tips for doing things "correctly"? How does one know that they're doing it "correctly"? (Or that their teacher/instructor is doing it "correctly"?)

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#234816 - 03/01/06 09:41 PM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: eyrie]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Eyrie, my friend, you are a good moderator. If someone discusses things in absolutes, you ask the questions in the abstract... and vice versa.

"Doing it correctly" has a multitude of meanings. It can be done in correct order, and be correct, while an absolutely horrid application. It can be done in proper form, and with good mechanics, and have poor timing, and still be correct. I think you can see where I'm headed...

Wisdom in the martial arts is to know when a technique is done well, and is "correct" in application, execution, and practicality. Using kote gaeshi against a gun might end up shooting the old lady waiting on the bus, so there is a "more correct" technique that can be used... Irimi techniques against a sword "thrust" may get you cut in half if your opponent is a swordsman and understands his art.

None of what we do is unrehearsed, so we devise different methods of practicing different techniques and applying them to enhance our art. Our understanding of whether we're making the right decisions is often found when the training is put into practice in randori or in an actual fighting situation. Sometimes, that's not the best time to find out that your instructor needed some more insight into what you're doing... that's why there are more than one instructor's methods out there. It goes back to that "skinning the cat" scenario again...

I know it's not a popular method to suggest that every student go see other instructors do the same thing their instructors do, but it's really good for both the students and the arts. Perceptions are gained by where you sit in the dojo, because you're looking at things from a different perspective than someone sitting on your right or left side, and believe it or not, "line of sight" makes us all see different things in techniques even when watching the same people do a technique. I wouldn't address whether the technique is correct or not, because it might be perfect in the style being practiced, but not in the style I teach.

I think that there is a fundamental understanding and cooperation between all people practicing a particular style of martial art. Some of them will understand the mechanics of the techniques, but not the applications. Others will know all the applications, but not have the correct order of doing the techniques and get pasted every time they try to do anything. Rather than discussing "correct", you might want to discuss techniques in the framework of "correct understanding" or "fundamental understanding" of technique.

I'd like to be able to perpetuate the myth that martial arts are magic, but they are simply military arts that were practiced when people fought primarily using hand to hand tactics. They knew different arts because they used the skills from one in the other, just as the techniques of aikido are basically swordfighting techniques, so the movements and skills easily translate into one another. In the film "Budo", the statement was made that "the secrets of life are within ourselves". Martial arts will help us to discover them, and if your art is Aikido, you'll be all into bokken and jo practice, where someone doing Okinawan karate would be training in sai, bo, and perhaps ikku(oar).

If you're studying White Crane kung fu, you're doing the same things being taught in Okinawan karate, just done slightly differently. I don't have a clue who's correct... but I know who does their skills well, and can train with anyone... that's why the list of people I've trained with is so prestigious. I haven't made "close friends" with all of them, but I have my share of world-class teachers that can help me if I get in a bind, and unfortunately, some have passed on, but I was honored to have spent time with them in arts that they excelled in and knew well.

Attending camp with people like Shogo Kuniba, or Fumio Toyoda is something that can't be translated into what you learn from having skilled friends to discuss techniques with. I learned as much out of class from them as in classes or seminars, and perhaps the best way to say they were "correct" is to be grateful that you were blessed to know them. It's easy to find critics, but not so easy to find friends... especially friends with international recognition of their skills. I feel a special gratitude for everyone who taught me through the years, and whether or not we were friends, I kept their knowledge and passed it on to my students.

My first karate teacher studied with Master Don Nagle, an Isshin Ryu legend in the U.S. He always told me that the way I could repay him for teaching me, was to pass it on. We saw each other a few months ago for the first time in 35 years. I hope he was satisfied with my results.

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#234817 - 03/01/06 10:21 PM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: wristtwister]
eyrie Offline
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Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Thank you for the kind words, good sir. There is much wisdom in the words you write. I feel I am a terrible moderator because I don't ask the right questions, or frame the question incorrectly, or sometimes, I either use the wrong words or am totally off base with what's being discussed. I can only hope to get better with more practice.

What I meant was how does one know that one has a grasp of the fundamental understanding, and I think you've answered the question.

So the upshot of all of this to me is that it is all the same, yet different, ki is instrinsic to everything we do, there is no one "correct" way, each way is equally valid, depending, it's all of the above and none of the above, and when it "happens", we'll know we're there, but it's not something that happens on demand, it just happens, by simply working at it and seeing things from different perspectives.

Sorry for the long sentence. Is that about right?

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#234818 - 03/02/06 06:35 AM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: eyrie]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Quote:

ki is instrinsic to everything we do?



Yes

Quote:

there is no one "correct" way



Yes, it is what is "your way" that is important to you.

Quote:

each way is equally valid?



Yes, but each technique is not. Those are tested through practice and combat. How well you do them plays a lot into whether they're valid or not.

Quote:

when it "happens", we'll know we're there, but it's not something that happens on demand




I wouldn't say that, because there is a lot that you can make happen on demand. It's the "perfection of technique" that is occasional, not the ability to execute them consistently and with skill. Like hitting a golf ball on the "sweet spot", you can hit it a thousand times, but only a few will go exactly where you want and land exactly where you want it to go... that kind of scenario...

Think of it this way. When we train, our ability and our ki grow together. As we train and age, we gather experience and increase our ki. As our physical bodies begin to deteriorate, it is our ki and our experience that makes us still superior to those without that experience and development. Mastery comes from training.

"The way is in Training"... Miyamoto Mushashi

Critique what you do, but don't be critical. Try the same thing many different ways, then pick the one that works for you. Practice without goals, because there is practice to do. Learn from teaching. Pay attention to the details. That's my way.

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#234819 - 03/02/06 05:47 PM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: wristtwister]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Good advice. Thanks for sharing.

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#234820 - 03/03/06 08:17 PM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: eyrie]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Thought you might like to share the discussion I have posted on my group board regarding Ki... it is the second part of my discussion on spiraling energy...

The most discussed and least understood force in the martial arts is ki. Called by different names, Chi, Ki, "internal energy", "universal energy", and half a dozen other names, the power of the body to resist external forces or generate almost supernatural power in techniques has been the subject of discussion at every level of martial arts.

Aikido, as an art, is defined as ai-(same) ki-(energy) do-(way), or the way of blending energy. Clearly dynamic in its applications, the actual techniques of aikido are taught in the exercises and have been pared down into six basic techniques, with an infinite number of variations. Combined with the "blending of energy", is the timing of "accepting the attack" in order to blend with the attacker’s force, and the breath control to insure that the body is generating the correct energy from the "one point" in which ki energy is centered.

Karate, jujitsu, and every other martial art also uses the application of ki. In karate, it is timed with the punch, kick, or strike. The "kiai", is no less the "same energy way" as the aikido technique, where the breath, body, and timing are meeting as one. The explosive nature of the "spirit breath" builds in kata to a point where the "finishing technique" is executed with a kiai, and is considered the "point of death" in many systems. In less sophisticated training, kiai is used all the time in an effort to teach breath timing. It begins to resemble what I refer to as "eee-yuh" training… where no one is actually defining their technique or their spiritual timing of techniques, but making sounds in an effort to "emphasize" their punches, kicks, or blocks. True "kiai" can be and is often silent, for it is as much mental as physical.

The "perfect punch" is defined as one in which the body, mind, spirit, and universe are all one. I have done few in the 41 years of my training, but when it happens, it is memorable. The dynamics of applying internal energy to the effort is the only true application of ki.

Scientific studies of ki have been instituted, and the scientific definitions range from electro-chemical designators, to psychic-power descriptions, but what is left out is the correct information. Ki is the mental and physical melding of a person at a point of energy application. The body, mind, spirit, and the mental state of the person must be in perfect harmony with their movement. While it has electro-chemical effects on the body, it is, of itself, a state of being… requiring both a specific state of mental preparation, the timing of body movements, and a purpose.

As training becomes more familiar, it is possible to increase ki by practicing specific breathing exercises, timing exercises, and mental preparations. What is viewed in many cases as "superhuman strength" is nothing more than "prepared movement", where the training has taught the student to breath, move, and execute their technique properly.

Ki is, of itself, useless. When applied, it is powerful and dynamically challenging to anyone employing it in their martial arts. To use it in blocking techniques or passive movements, the challenge is to "not do too much", for like a shotgun up close, it is powerful and can be relatively uncontrollable. Delivering the measurable effect that you want, requires much training, for ki is developed in different "strengths" depending upon how your body works on a given day. As progress is made in martial skills, the practice of movements and breath exercises, the level of ki generated becomes more stable, and more predictable in its use by each martial artist.

By viewing the development of ki as a measurement of the training of a person, it is clear that ki is not only those things it has been defined as being by scientific circles, but also those esoteric things that it is defined as in oriental philosophy. It can, and will, become as powerful as the person who trains and learns to apply it properly. Just as we learn to embrace one another to show affection, the development of ki is the martial artist’s way to embrace the universe. How much of it’s power is received back is the whole question… and the mystery of the martial arts.

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#234821 - 03/04/06 04:24 AM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: wristtwister]
eyrie Offline
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Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Hi, thanks for the invite.

Quote:

...it is possible to increase ki by practicing specific breathing exercises




I'd like to get into the specifics of this and compare it with other methods, but I'm not sure if 1).I can verbalize or explain what I understand and mean and 2).anyone else (beside you maybe) that would understand or know what I'm trying to get at...

But I'll try anyway...

From what I understand, there are several ways to arrive at the same point - to build ki. Yoga (and derived methods) is one way, and works on stretching the deep fascia and connective tissue in a relaxed, stabilized manner. Breath work is another way. The use of sounds (vibrations), hand mudras, imagery are also ways, which tend to be incorporated into both breath work and contradictory contraction/expansion work.

Perhaps if I showed you the stuff I've been working on and the people I've been discussing this with, you could provide some additional insight into what I should be looking for, or working towards...?

Or should we take this discussion to your board instead?

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#234822 - 03/04/06 09:34 AM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: eyrie]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Discussing things here is fine with me. I'm not focused on building my website group, just on martial arts.

You're getting into an area that is like a swamp when you start the "different methods" thing. It's kind of like butts... everybody's got one and everybody else's stinks... if you know what I mean.

My breathing exercises are based on the "ibuki" and "nogare" breath patterns of Okinawan Karate, since that's where I first encountered it. It's pretty simple, and if you understand when to go "hard" and when to go "soft", you have breath control for each technique that matches your movements.

Essentially, (and by no means always) I usually express breath "ibuki" when I'm exhaling to extend ki, and "nogare" when I'm backing up or "sucking in ki", for to move backward and do "ibuki breath" provides a "hole" for your opponent.

In yoga, they teach you to touch the top of your mouth with your tongue at particular cycles of breathing to connect the hara to both "middle channels" of the body. I simply keep it that way all the time so I don't have one more thing to remember to do when breathing. It isn't rocket science, and you'll find that you'll do better at breath control if you just pick a method and stick with it, rather than catching every bus passing through town that has a "different method".

My own personal feeling, is that it's better to have one method well developed, rather than practicing ten different methods and not be able to time them with your technique. I do pretty good aikido with that method, and it's really simple. I still join in "breathing exercises" during warmups or at seminars, and "do what they're doing", because I'm learning about how the other guys fight, but I'm content to use my breath method and develop my ki through it.

Most martial arts people are looking for some kind of "silver bullet" in training that will give them "an edge", but if you'll learn to pick something and train in it, you'll find it easier to make an adjustment to it rather than look for a whole different method... after all, breathing is simple. It's in or out... and nothing you can do is going to change that.

If you learn to breathe deeply, you increase the amount of lung space you're using, which increases the amount of oxygen available to your tissues. Once you've learned this, you can concentrate on timing instead of breathing, and you'll find a marked difference in your technique. Since muscle development is a part of this "extrordinary strength" using ki, it only makes sense that your muscles will be stronger with an excellent supply of oxygen.

Whether that's the true medical reason you end up stronger, or if it's that mystical "ki" thing, it works, so that's what I do. If somebody else has a different method, I'm sure that's what they do.

Anytime I get into this "ki" discussion, I ask whoever I'm discussing it with to do me a favor... describe water without using the term "wet". Ki is kind of the same thing... you can tell what it is from being exposed to it, but it's awfully hard to describe.

The methods to develop it are sort of the same thing. Pick a method of breath development and practice it. As things develop, you'll change what you're doing to make things improve. That's all the "sage" advice I can give you.

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#234823 - 03/04/06 06:58 PM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: wristtwister]
eyrie Offline
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Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
That's interesting... because ibuki breathing is also present in aikido and originates from Shinto chinkon kishin methods that were transmitted down thru Omoto-kyo spiritual practices, which has been suggested that these themselves have been derived in part from Shingon Mikkyo practices.

Quote:


Essentially, (and by no means always) I usually express breath "ibuki" when I'm exhaling to extend ki, and "nogare" when I'm backing up or "sucking in ki", for to move backward and do "ibuki breath" provides a "hole" for your opponent.




I haven't come across the term "nogare". Could you elaborate? Not sure what you mean by the last part of the sentence either.

Breathing in and out? Sure, using the diaphragm like a pump (or hey, "bellows"!), results in the use of more of one's lung capacity, and engaging the 3 "locks" to "pressurize", results in more efficient O2/CO2 exchange which results in better overall performance. Tongue to roof? It merely serves to close the epiglottis and soft palette, to engage the 3rd lock. Hey, that's why they say to swallow. Because it triggers the epiglottis reflex to shut off the trachea!

I can throw someone (admittedly if they're not as "strong") simply by breathing in and "pressurizing" - well actually, they throw themselves. I can hold someone down with one finger and they can't move, much less get up. Is that ki? Maybe... But I don't think it is.... there are a few "body" tricks involved... tricks that even my students can perform once they figure out how it "works".

But I think the "key" (pun intended), is not merely in the cursory surface practice of the training and conditioning methods, but in understanding HOW it (the training and conditioning methods) works, and what makes it work. Add to wit, what it is we are training and conditioning, that makes "it" work. I think this part is missing in most aikido practice.

How many aikidoka practice ten-no-kokyu, and chi-no-kokyu without knowing, much less understanding the specifics? How many aikido teachers actually explain what is going on or what one is meant to be doing, in any sort of detail? What do people know of jin-no-kokyu? Or how to strengthen the ten-chi-jin connection, much less know what it means?

Good advice though, regarding silver bullets and jumping buses.

Suffice to say, I'm only looking to understand what I know at a deeper level. Unfortunately, my own studies have taken me across the spectrum of various methods. What I've found is that there is a commonality of approach and training devices whether they be Yogic, Buddhist or Taoist derived methods.

I think it's easier to outline the basic common methods and work on those at a deeper level. And for me, it's merely to enhance the level of understanding of the things we already do, rather than add the auxillary aspects which add little value (well, at least at the rudimentary level).

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#234824 - 03/04/06 08:22 PM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: eyrie]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
I won't try to translate the vernacular of it, but essentially "nogare" is "soft breath". As I said, it was learned as part of Okinawan karate training and zen training that we did back in the sixties. Breathing softly as you retreat or back up is one of the methods that you control the muscles as you move backward to diffuse any hits or kicks you might receive from your attacker. Ibuki is "hard breath", much like kiai, but done with forward movement and ki extension. Where it gets confusing is when you're backing up and still attacking. I guess you have to breathe through your ears then...

Quote:

But I think the "key" (pun intended), is not merely in the cursory surface practice of the training and conditioning methods, but in understanding HOW it (the training and conditioning methods) works, and what makes it work. Add to wit, what it is we are training and conditioning, that makes "it" work. I think this part is missing in most aikido practice.





I couldn't agree with you more, and it's a good thing to have as much information as you can about everything you do, because when you get my age (63) you start forgetting a few things. I'm not sure if it's age related or from being slammed on the floor a couple of hundred thousand times. Really, I think it's all that "gettin' up" that makes your brains go soft.

Quote:

How many aikidoka practice ten-no-kokyu, and chi-no-kokyu without knowing, much less understanding the specifics? How many aikido teachers actually explain what is going on or what one is meant to be doing, in any sort of detail? What do people know of jin-no-kokyu? Or how to strengthen the ten-chi-jin connection, much less know what it means?





Probably all of them. I'd go nuts trying to remember how to breathe in Japanese and how to center in Japanese. My instructor used to tell us "We won the war, so speak English", and that would work if there were adequate words to describe the phenomena that exist in their terms.

I've always maintained that the reason the Chinese styles had such colorful terms in their training, such as "parting the horse's mane", etc. was because in a "peasant"(not disparaging them) country where there was little formal education, they described things that they did every day to explain the motions of their arts. I'm getting to the "Tai Chi" slow practice stage of my life, so I'm going to have to start reading up on all this stuff now... I'd probably do okay if I read the room full of books I already have, but I'll bet that they'll all have the same information I've already trained in, but call it by some esoteric name. I know that the Chin Na techniques are much the same, and I wouldn't expect anybody's body to be different just because they're Chinese, so the mechanics will be the same as well. (Just kidding, I've been doing temple exercises for years).

Since you seem to have a grasp on a lot of the terminology and principles, what are your thoughts on "hand positions"? Most of my jujitsu works off several sets of hand positions, and they are very common to aikido, so give me some insight into your thoughts on them.

My "esoteric names" are things like "crane's head" and "eating popcorn" to teach the students how to shape their hands from gripping attacks, but I wondered what kind of descriptions you used in teaching tenkan, etc.
I have a lot of trouble with middle level students trying to spread their fingers on every technique (I guess to "extend ki") but if they understand the hand positioning and movements accompanying each one of them, it makes aikido technique much easier.

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#234825 - 03/04/06 09:15 PM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: wristtwister]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Quote:

I won't try to translate the vernacular of it, but essentially "nogare" is "soft breath". As I said, it was learned as part of Okinawan karate training and zen training that we did back in the sixties. Breathing softly as you retreat or back up is one of the methods that you control the muscles as you move backward to diffuse any hits or kicks you might receive from your attacker. Ibuki is "hard breath", much like kiai, but done with forward movement and ki extension. Where it gets confusing is when you're backing up and still attacking. I guess you have to breathe through your ears then...




OK, I follow... well, breathing thru the "skin" is much easier to imagine since the skin covers the whole body.

Quote:


I couldn't agree with you more, and it's a good thing to have as much information as you can about everything you do, because when you get my age (63) you start forgetting a few things. I'm not sure if it's age related or from being slammed on the floor a couple of hundred thousand times. Really, I think it's all that "gettin' up" that makes your brains go soft.




LOL! Ain't that the truth. I still have a few more years to get to 60 tho...

Quote:


Probably all of them. I'd go nuts trying to remember how to breathe in Japanese and how to center in Japanese. My instructor used to tell us "We won the war, so speak English", and that would work if there were adequate words to describe the phenomena that exist in their terms.





I totally agree... unfortunately, the lack of information out there in plain English (and difficulties of translation and transliteration) is a definite issue - for me at least.

Quote:


I've always maintained that the reason the Chinese styles had such colorful terms in their training, such as "parting the horse's mane", etc. was because in a "peasant"(not disparaging them) country where there was little formal education, they described things that they did every day to explain the motions of their arts.




Agreed. But I also tend to feel that it is also mostly contextual. Being native Chinese, I can understand and appreciate the context somewhat...

Quote:


I'm getting to the "Tai Chi" slow practice stage of my life, so I'm going to have to start reading up on all this stuff now... I'd probably do okay if I read the room full of books I already have, but I'll bet that they'll all have the same information I've already trained in, but call it by some esoteric name. I know that the Chin Na techniques are much the same, and I wouldn't expect anybody's body to be different just because they're Chinese, so the mechanics will be the same as well. (Just kidding, I've been doing temple exercises for years).





I'm getting to the "Tai Chi" slow practice stage of my life too... I dunno... something about hitting 40? I agree, irrespective of the terminology used, the human body only works in so many ways. I think there needs to be some common frame of reference and terminology. Unfortunately, with something like ki (or qi or prana or whatever), it is more a holistic/synergistic effect, and you can only talk about the things which point to it, rather than about it.

Quote:


Since you seem to have a grasp on a lot of the terminology and principles, what are your thoughts on "hand positions"? Most of my jujitsu works off several sets of hand positions, and they are very common to aikido, so give me some insight into your thoughts on them.





I don't focus much on "hand positions" - aikido is open-handed movement derived from sword, no? I teach students NOT to grip (well, only if they're grabbing someone to provide an attack). My teacher never focused on the "technicalities", only the "feeling". But having done jujitsu and Ryukyu kempo, I understand what you mean. Personally, my interest in hand positions lie more with "mudras"....

Like I said before, every school and style of aikido do things differently, and focus on different things. Perhaps a function of who their teacher and instructors are?

Quote:


My "esoteric names" are things like "crane's head" and "eating popcorn" to teach the students how to shape their hands from gripping attacks, but I wondered what kind of descriptions you used in teaching tenkan, etc.





Whilst I agree that the esoteric descriptions serves as a useful memory mnemonic, I don't think it's absolutely necessary. I say tenkan is simply pivoting on the front foot to change the angle at which the body is facing. Even my 8 year old kid understands that.

Quote:


I have a lot of trouble with middle level students trying to spread their fingers on every technique (I guess to "extend ki") but if they understand the hand positioning and movements accompanying each one of them, it makes aikido technique much easier.





Heh heh, very Yoshinkan/Daito-ryu... -ish. OK, my teacher never did the spreaded fingers thing, but he had a LOT of power. In fact, he was so soft and relaxed, it was exactly like trying to grab hold of an empty jacket. When you did grab him however, it was like trying to hold on to jello - oh, you'd have a hold on him, but his wrists would feel like jello, then suddenly, when he releases/pressurizes, it feels like an iron rod had just extended from his wrist into your center and down the "hole" that suddenly opens up.

But I understand what spreading the fingers thing does, and why to do it, and how to replicate the same application, without using the finger spreading as an augmentation/mnemonic device. But I can't yet describe what is happening inside the structure (i.e. with the flexors/extensor, connective tissues, fascial sheaths etc..), but let's call it ki for now?

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#234826 - 03/04/06 09:23 PM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: wristtwister]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
I will readily admit that I only have a small piece (or several pieces) of a much larger puzzle. Just looking to fill in the bigger picture... with some help.

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#234827 - 03/04/06 11:17 PM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: eyrie]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Quote:

Heh heh, very Yoshinkan/Daito-ryu... -ish.




Come to think of it, you're right... but I practice neither Yoshinkan or Daito-ryu, just some of their techniques. I've played with some people before that were both, and enjoyed the workout very much, but like you said, it's a "thing" with both styles.

I appreciate what you said about tenkan, and I hope your eight year old becomes a teacher someday. I've had students that are either mentally deficient or their coordination gene is missing, and they couldn't do tenkan for money.

Quote:

Being native Chinese, I can understand and appreciate the context somewhat...





Being Chinese, living in Australia, and studying Japanese martial arts... that would keep my brain full just in itself. I'd probably "wig out" over translations...

From reading your comments, you show a good knowledge of the body, so I'm assuming you either work in the medical field or have done a lot of extra cirricular studies on the body, unless you teach martial arts for a living, in which case the study wouldn't be "extra cirricular". Which is it?

I'm trained as a mechanical engineer, so I understand vectors and mechanical advantage, which helps me to understand how the body works as well. I have to admit that I've spent way too much time studying the body when I should have been training, but you have to do something besides train or you'll wear your body out.

At 40, you should just be hitting your stride... not hitting the "slow lane" with us old guys. The best years I had in martial arts were when I was in my 40's, and I enjoyed them the most of any time I've trained. Now, it takes me too much time to get over training, and unless I can find a good chiropractor to put all my parts back in place, I'm only good for a few workouts at a time before I have to go in the shop for repairs.

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#234828 - 03/05/06 12:05 AM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: wristtwister]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Quote:


I appreciate what you said about tenkan, and I hope your eight year old becomes a teacher someday. I've had students that are either mentally deficient or their coordination gene is missing, and they couldn't do tenkan for money.





I think much of it is due to the modern sedentary lifestyle... X-generation = X-box, Y-generation = Why should I do this? I see MA training, (aikido is merely my preferred vehicle), as a way to re-train the body to move "naturally" and efficiently. Most kids can't stand in horse stance for 10 min, much less stand straight without slouching.

What my boys do with their life one-day I hope will be molded by what they learn from me. All I can do is share with them what I know. (Not just my own sons, but all the kids that turn up to class). What they take away is entirely up to them.

Tenkan for money? Funny, one of the ways I teach basic tenkan is pivot, so you're shoulder to shoulder (mirror image), rock forward (like fune-kogi) and pick up the "coin"...

Quote:


Being Chinese, living in Australia, and studying Japanese martial arts... that would keep my brain full just in itself. I'd probably "wig out" over translations...





Ha... long story... fill you in on it one day.

Quote:


From reading your comments, you show a good knowledge of the body, so I'm assuming you either work in the medical field or have done a lot of extra cirricular studies on the body, unless you teach martial arts for a living, in which case the study wouldn't be "extra cirricular". Which is it?





What I do can best be described as hobby/enthusiast - unfortunately, there is this thing that exists outside of MA for me - that which most people describe as "life"... I'm a business analyst/programmer by trade. What I know is mainly from extra-curricular studies/reading, mostly TCM based, tempered with Western medical knowledge. (Can't help it - mum was a nurse). (No prizes for guessing what dad did... )

Quote:


I'm trained as a mechanical engineer, so I understand vectors and mechanical advantage, which helps me to understand how the body works as well. I have to admit that I've spent way too much time studying the body when I should have been training, but you have to do something besides train or you'll wear your body out.





Cool... out of curiosity, do you/how do you describe kokyu (as in kokyu-ho) in terms of force vectors?

Quote:


At 40, you should just be hitting your stride... not hitting the "slow lane" with us old guys. The best years I had in martial arts were when I was in my 40's, and I enjoyed them the most of any time I've trained. Now, it takes me too much time to get over training, and unless I can find a good chiropractor to put all my parts back in place, I'm only good for a few workouts at a time before I have to go in the shop for repairs.




LOL! Well, I'll tell you what the prognosis is tomorrow after the arthroscopy... Unfortunately, I know the feeling... but in the last couple of years since slowing down, I've found ways to compensate for getting "older" and actually getting stronger. In many ways, it involved re-visting taiji and its training methods, standing stake (zhan zhuang) etc., doing things more slowly and deliberately.

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#234829 - 03/05/06 11:57 AM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: eyrie]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Quote:

out of curiosity, do you/how do you describe kokyu (as in kokyu-ho) in terms of force vectors?





Usually, I try to teach kokyu-ho as a big "energy ball", with the center at your center. If you break your "grip" on the ball, it disappears and you have nothing, or if you allow your body mechanics to be used to collapse your arm swords, you have nothing. How much of your "energy ball" you use or how large you make it is entirely dependent upon keeping your structure. Of course, a lot of this depends on "moving from your center", and if you do kokyu-ho from some other place, your partner will break you down (like if you let your center shift up). It's done with shoulders down and relaxed, centered at your hara, and breath correct.

I know that leaves out as much as it says, but that's all that I can do with words... the rest is practice.

Sorry to hear you're having surgery. Luckily, I've avoided that particular part of the "training experience" (except for a hernia), and usually it involves a joint (knees or shoulders), which really affect life in general and not just your practice. I truly hope it goes well for you.

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#234830 - 03/05/06 10:41 PM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: wristtwister]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Interesting...

I try to demystify a lot of this stuff. My teacher never once used the word "ki" or anything esoteric/mystical. Nor did any of my senpai. A lot of it was implied/inferred. But sensei used to use a lot of interesting analogies like "light as a feather", or "compressing air"...

I teach kokyu-ho as force vectors. Like pushing a ball (or other object) using a bent structure from center to center:
__
A __/ \__ B
--->

Arthroscopy is on the 24th. Maybe 6 weeks in a brace and on crutches and 6-9mths to mend.

The standing exercises have gone some way to building strength and supporting the joint in the meantime.

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#234831 - 03/06/06 07:38 AM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: eyrie]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Being a jujitsu-hump, I tend to do things from "structure" a lot of times rather than mystifying things. The "energy ball" is a shape that can be any size, but it puts your arms into the right structure. As you "try to hold" the ball and enlarge the size, it keeps your arms in the right attitude and shape.

Like your diagram shows, the energy moves into the attacker, and as long as they hold their center, it's child's play to handle anyone. I sometimes talk about the energy being applied as "wispy" or "whispering" rather than overpowering, so I think we're on the same page... just using different words.

My teachers studied with Sogunuma Sensei and Tohei Sensei, so it's kind of a mix of Hombu and Shin Shin Toitsu. My jujitsu comes from mixes of Okinawan karate and Japanese systems, so I'm kind of like a "kitchen milkshake" where everything is thrown in and blended. Luckily, many of the teachers I've studied with were world class, and legends in their particular arts. My training partner is an international representative of the Kyudo federation in Japan, and on the Jujitsu committee and heads up the Aikido committee of the U.S. Judo Association, so I've got "good information lines" to find out things or get training in something that comes up.

I really hope you let your surgery heal before you dive in and do it any harm. I went back after hernia surgery a little too early and paid for it dearly, so take time to heal and don't "booger up the work" by being enthusiastic. You're probably like me, though, I'm so used to being sore and injured that I don't pay too much attention to it unless it restricts my movement. Just take care of yourself. You only get one body per lifetime.

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#234832 - 03/06/06 08:06 AM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: wristtwister]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Quote:

Being a jujitsu-hump, I tend to do things from "structure" a lot of times rather than mystifying things. The "energy ball" is a shape that can be any size, but it puts your arms into the right structure. As you "try to hold" the ball and enlarge the size, it keeps your arms in the right attitude and shape.





I enjoyed jujitsu's "scientific" approach. It made many connections for me in terms of understanding structure. Do you find that certain descriptions tend to make students try to "compensate" holding the structure by using muscular tension?

Quote:


Like your diagram shows, the energy moves into the attacker, and as long as they hold their center, it's child's play to handle anyone. I sometimes talk about the energy being applied as "wispy" or "whispering" rather than overpowering, so I think we're on the same page... just using different words.





I think we're on the same page. It goes back to the "ki is subtle" idea. But it's kinda interesting that with your mechanical engineering background, why would you use a different analogy to describe it...? Is that because force vectors connotates "muscular" force? Just curious from a teaching perspective.

Quote:


My teachers studied with Sogunuma Sensei and Tohei Sensei, so it's kind of a mix of Hombu and Shin Shin Toitsu. My jujitsu comes from mixes of Okinawan karate and Japanese systems, so I'm kind of like a "kitchen milkshake" where everything is thrown in and blended. Luckily, many of the teachers I've studied with were world class, and legends in their particular arts. My training partner is an international representative of the Kyudo federation in Japan, and on the Jujitsu committee and heads up the Aikido committee of the U.S. Judo Association, so I've got "good information lines" to find out things or get training in something that comes up.





I think we are molded by who our teachers are.

Quote:


I really hope you let your surgery heal before you dive in and do it any harm. I went back after hernia surgery a little too early and paid for it dearly, so take time to heal and don't "booger up the work" by being enthusiastic. You're probably like me, though, I'm so used to being sore and injured that I don't pay too much attention to it unless it restricts my movement. Just take care of yourself. You only get one body per lifetime.





Thanks for the kind thoughts. Yep, you guessed it... training isn't going to stop for pain... it's only pain... If you can feel it, it means you're still alive.

But there's a heap of other stuff I could still do... other than suwari waza.

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