“On Ki – Usage in Martial Arts Training (2nd article in series)” by Steve Kanney

“Aikido is a martial art which aims at the cultivation of ki. The aiki in aikido refers to harmonizing one’s ki or vital energy not only with a partner, but with all living beings of the universe. This harmony enables one to realize that the flow of an individual’s ki exists as part of the flow of ki of the universe..” (pg 4)

…it is often difficult to get up early for work whereas it is easy to rise early for pleasure. This is entirely due to the action of ki. It is our ki that orders the body to take some action and, therefore, it is essential to cultivate the spirit to devlop ki-power.”

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  1. bruce baker says:

    I know this is gonna rub some people the wrong way, ( I apologize in advance for what I am about to write) but I am sick and tired of cultivating ‘KI’ …. yep …. just how do you cultivate something that already exists in the world around us but you are oblivious to?

    Ki actually refers to hundreds of different things, not any one source of energy or of life-force. Ya might as well say,” .. I am cultivating the energy of the universe.” which is even more vague.

    What kind of energy? Physical as in the human body? Mental, as the mind controlling thoughts and connecting to the forces of energy all around us? Or are you causing mental subliminal signals or somehow causing your attacker to lose their mental or physical strength connection of mind and body that would overcome your own efforts to overcome them?

    Shouldn’t we just learn about the world around us?

    Shouldn’t we figure out what we are talking about instead of using a word that says “… I have no idea what it is or what it does … I will tell you how to cultivate it.”

    The other thing that annoys me .. is people who take my balance, throw off the rhythm of my movements, and then tell me their “ki” is strong, when in fact if I am quicker or stronger than them or using pressure points to disturb their “ki” generation by sending signals through their body to their brain …. their “ki” is totally useless. In fact, it is even more annoying when I practice with students from other styles of Aikido or martial arts who insist on being too far too physical, but when I do to them what they have done to me .. they complain like little girls in the schoolyard to the teacher!

    “KI” has become a code word for ” I dont’ know what it is but I think it works like this.”

    My solution is to … figure out how to neutralize your KI training so it doesn’t work, and then scientifically figure out why what I figured out why it works when I do this, and why your KI works when you do that.

    When you guys can explain why it works on some people and not on others, then I will let you go on with your cultivation of Ki … until then … keep it amongst yourselves .. stumble around some more until you figure it out. Ya know I mean it in a nice way, I really do.

    Ya want a clue? Hypnotism, science, and subliminal signals.

    Now go figure out Ki … get back to me on that when ya do … huh?

  2. bruce baker says:

    Follow up .. don’t take the way I write as mad or angry at anyone, or even insulting, because all I am doing is trying to make my thoughts known in the most concise manner possible.

    I was never good at writing … I still am not … but occasionally … I seem to get through to some people and they know exactly what I am trying to write about. Thanks to all of you who do get it.

    I am mad at myself for not figuring out the tricks sooner or how those supposed techniques worked a long time ago.

    I know we have covered the subject of Ki and it’s various meanings. Ki in driving your car, Ki in waking up in the morning, ki in your plants, Ki in the rocks, Ki in your food, Ki in the sun, Ki in your poop in the morning ( yeah I mean that literally, the stuff you flush down the toilet) .. KI can mean anything and everything in this Universe of ours!

    Yeah ki can be in everything and anything so when I see cultivating ki … what kind of skill are you attempting to cultivate with what practices?

    Yeah, it is a mixture of science and behavioral study of the human animal, but when people come up with these outrageous stories of how something works for an amazing thing they just saw …. I have to ask … alright … just how did they do what they did … and what made it work .. what will keep it from working?

    That is the secret to most things, studying both sides, not just touting how it works, how it works, how it works, but figuring out what will keep it from working and why that is?

    So really, sorry to set anyone off, I really am talking to myself, being mad at myself for not figuring some things sooner than I have, and maybe .. just a little bit annoyed that some people keep telling these stories about Ki when in fact they could probably figure out a word in English to explain what they are talking about so it wouldn’t be so vague, ya know what I mean?

    No disrepect to anyone, although it may seem like that, but we need to figure things out for as far as our brains can for this generation, and let the next generation build on what we contribute. If they don’t build on what we give them .. Oh well … we tried … and that is all ya can ask for.

  3. Louis Gonzalez-Coca says:

    You’re alright Mr. Baker.


    Louis Gonzalez-Coca

  4. Bruce,
    Brilliantly articulated with clear thinking in place. I don’t think the deceptive and obfuscatory myth of “ki” could be exposed with better wording.

  5. Personally, my favorite instruction I received on Ki was during a class on meditation: “If you notice your finger twitch, know that it is ki. Then forget about it and go back to your meditation method.” After that, I never really spent much time thinking about it. Then the next thing you know, some of the people in my dojo wanted to know about it, so I did some research on it…but I forgot what I wrote…

  6. I haven’t taken Aikido, but I’m six months into Iaido. From what I understand so far, I don’t think you can consciously work on your ki and expect it to obey you like some kind of tool. Having said that. In Iaido we have the term ‘saya no uchi’ (victory with the sword in the scabbard). Where the idea is to perfect your swordsmanship to the point where any opponent will stand down and not fight in the face of certain defeat (you’re so bad ass that nobody dares fight you). Call it ki, skill, reputation, attitude, or whatever. Instead of working on ki, maybe we should work on perfecting our art, and the ki will naturally come from experience…. after 20 or 30 years…..

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