“Thoughts on Ki,” from Riz’s Martial Arts Training

“The Ki/Chi debate is all over online messages boards. Personally, I’ve never bothered to comment on any but I do very much enjoy reading the arguments from both parties (believers and non-believers). The debates do tend to get unnecessarily heated and often end up with plenty of personal insults and online forum warrior-style challenges. Which is a shame because I think it is a really interesting topic!”

Click here to read entire article.

Join us on Facebook


  1. It never fails to amuse me and I know its all to do with trained body mechanics and the ability to overcome pain….
    Some or most people have weak minds and look for outside methods/ideas as a crutch to their fears and inward thoughts of inadequacy. There are those few who train their minds through hard physical effort to become mentally stronger to a degree that is unreachable by many, such as athletes in many disciplines…..
    There is no mystical ki, just hard training of the body that manifests itself and gives the impression of mystical power…
    For example, I am able to take full blows to the stomach by using muscle control, just as Houdini did, nothing mysterious about that…. Just he did it once too often and got caught out…..

  2. When you see the weirdo guy using kiai to sound the bell that’s a known scientific fact, much like a tuning fork in music….. Notice how he stamps on the deck to help it along with vibration…. The people using swords aren’t exactly going to kill him now are they!!!!!!

  3. If you create a new word-label, suddenly the concept exists and then almost immediately people will start ascribing their opinions and interpretations. In a short time it becomes “real” but only in the minds of those who buy it. And they will dress up something that always existed in the new fangled concept.

    Something that often began as a sincere metaphor, then becomes a cancerously clung to religiosity.

    This is two edged sword that can be used for good or ill. Finding out how nature’s forces work is a better proposition. One that requires experimentation, testing and a dispassionate and pragmatic, clear mind. And in the case of budo, less thinking and more doing, until the real thinking that follows experience becomes somewhat valid.

    The man who taught my uncle’s brothers grandfathers nephews nephew’s son, could fly, but there are no photos and nobody is alive who can remember. That’s no basis for believing anything. It’s sales pitch for the gullible. Put up or shut up.

    Most of these tricks can be copied by anyone. And the rest, after some practice by anyone at all.

    Science is often not because a closed mind and preconception do not in fact denote scire- Latin for “to know” but humbug. Most “scientists” are mere followers of cash. Stuff is only “real” if they can prostitute it for a buck. That is not a basis for real science, but constitutes skullduggery. Circus and showmanship can be fun. Bruce Lee knocked over the “chi master” with a simple punch. George Dillman’s stuff, whilst having some limited merit in real use, failed on the Gracie brothers. Speaks for itself. I think the wind was blowing in the wrong direction on the day and the moon was in the wrong cycle and the time of day was not just right.. and.. and.. desperation pleading for unwarranted recognition.

    Real science starts with an open mind and no preconceptions and then works at finding out, instead of merely reciting something they once read in a book that was most likely in error. Like the guy who volunteered and proved it was bullshit.

    The thing is this. An enemy won’t believe your self-hypnotized fantasies. They won’t even use the same “rules of engagement,” or weapons. Or meet any expectation at all, if they can help it. Real insight and real skill claim the day.

    Nature indeed does have some interesting things and it’s all the same thing, whatever the label.

    The best place to start is to be skeptical. Learn to discern. Then you can’t be exploited.. Which comes right back to both combat and enlightenment. Reclaim yourself. Don’t believe other people’s bullshit. If they get annoyed because you won’t buy crap, then be prepared to defend yourself with real skill, not fantasy. Don’t buy a product unless you in fact need it. You can’t get nourished by sizzle. But that could wreck the economy. What economy? The one that’s been successfully failing since it was manufactured by greedy, ignorant con men based on untruths and lack of understanding of how nature really works.

    The economy of nature has other plans and ki, chi, prana, bananas, God’s brother are as real or not as they prove themselves to be.

    Are you naturally at peace. Does your life make others happy? Or do you live in fear, misery and stress. Now, rectifying that is a good place to start. The only thing bullshit can hold up, and even that for not long, is grass. Maybe that’s chi as distinct from ki. So be careful which word you use as it can make all the difference.

    But only in your head.

    All natural phenomena do in fact exist. But simply as they exist, and in no other way. Not as a concept embellished or misconstrued in some book, nor as an expanded out of proportion superstition.

    We can have our heads as far up into the clouds as we want to, but unless our feet are firmly on the ground you won’t have a show, let alone a chance in the face of attrition.

    As the guy rightly states at the end of the article: “Don’t waste your time, go train instead!”

  4. “Are you naturally at peace. Does your life make others happy? Or do you live in fear, misery and stress. Now, rectifying that is a good place to start. The only thing bullshit can hold up, and even that for not long, is grass. Maybe that’s chi as distinct from ki. So be careful which word you use as it can make all the difference. But only in your head.”

    That’s all you needed to put in Nev, But it was nice…..

  5. The best thing about Ki is that you can explain stuff with it really easily, it makes enough sense that it can be taken on board easily and incorporated into training quickly. The worst thing about Ki is that its an eastern concept and so it is often
    a) Revered on a new-age pedestal for something its not
    b) Castigated by western minds for being a western science, which its not

    Unbendable arm is the classic and probably the simplest of examples, as an application it translates into a good arm for learning forward ukemi, soft blocking/ guiding for kata so its a good one to use.

    You can have someone doing good unbendable arm quickly but too much attention to Ki has the fluttering eyelids, expulsive bad breath etc… Analysed by biomechanics the ki doesn’t stack up as something mystic, but try teaching proprioception, muscle-tendon elasticity (insert other biomechanics concept here) to the masses in just a few minutes any other way is pretty hard.

    Ki is a great concept to be used appropriately or inappropriately by those that understand it, profess to understand it and those that don’t or profess they don’t. Somewhere within these limits lurk the Ki-o-philes, zealots, self proclaimed masters, de-bunkers, realists and disbelievers. Its unfortunately also where the self deluded or predatory charlatans and small time aikido cult leaders prey on an unsuspecting public desperate to believe in something greater than themselves in neat take home palatable package rather than something that has merit as a tool for understanding.

  6. bruce baker says:

    I have been to a number of different seminars with George Dillman and Leon Jay, and my interpretation is that .. No One thing, No one technique works on everybody.

    Just like a radio tuned to a signal and both people sending and receiving … when someone is strong against the supposed “no touch” techniques, their body is weak somewhere else.

    If George Dillman had explained this simple report he got from some undercover police fighting people high on Crack-cocaine that found that these people were nearly impervious to attacks on the upper body, but fell like a dead tree when pressure points in the legs were struck, and yeah these people were knocked out too, you the reader would be able to grasp … the simplicity of martial arts is that “you use something that works .. not some technique that does not work.”

    Pay attention to your Aikido training .. when you can read the short-hand that is the lessons for your techniques you will find a multitude of pressure point applications in them that can be adapted, but PUH-LEASE .. be aware that you can kill someone if you interrupt the body’s internal operating systems, which is what you are doing by causing pain or injury. The very reason we practice the way we do is so we don’t practice unsafely and endanger another person’s life.

    Meanwhile .. don’t get all science fiction or cartoon animation about Chi/ ki. There is some energy we can detect, and some energy we can’t. It might be the ability of some people to tune into the environment and to the signals people are either receiving or sending … but whatever it is .. when what you think works fails .. move on .. use another technique from your toolbox of knowledge and training.

    I am not gonna say that everyone is hypnotized for this “no-touch” knock-outs, but I will say .. a majority of people who can be knocked out by “no-touch” are attuned to the same signals the same as a hypnotist picking out people for their show who are susceptible to hypnotism.

    The simplicity of common sense and logic says to me … these people have something in common. As someone who trains and searches for the truth .. you should be skeptical enough to take the time to figure out what it takes to make aikido work, or not work because in finding those strengths and weaknesses you will find your ability to switch from one technique that doesn’t work to one that does .. much much easier… and that’s all pressure points are .. another technique that works on most people.

    When you train long enough .. you will figure out what works the best and what connects to people the most … and find what your Chi/ ki really is as you tune in.

    But yeah, don’t waste your time on mind games for Chi/ki training .. you will figure it out by using what works for not only you, but watching what works for others also.

  7. Well,

    to be honest, addressed to the “Ki deniers”: you are a human being, you do martial arts; if you can not do a simple exercise like shin kokyu and FEEL the Ki ….
    If you can not sense if your training partner behind you is aiming with his bokken at your head or your back or your lower back …
    If you can not sense Ki (free Ki or the Ki of your partner) …
    … then you seriously are doing the wrong martial art, regardless which it is.

    I’m not talking about how to use Ki to overpower your opponent, as I have no clue myself. But feeling Ki is such a natural thing, if you claim you can’t you must be heavy brainwashed by western school education.

    Did you never go as a child into the wood and touch a tree to feel its “Ki”? Seriously perhaps you should do that NOW …


  8. wow. don’t know that my contribution adds much, but here goes –

    the body obviously has strengths and weaknesses. the areas of strength are obvious, weakness is subtle and little known. aikido techniques cleverly apply strengths against weaknesses. both the most efficacious strengths and weaknesses might be shorthanded as “ki”.

    consciousness and ki bring up a whole different area, the question of whether there is anything more to us than our physical body. is there a “ghost in the machine”? whether or not is unlikely to be resolved by a match.

  9. Tony doesn’t know just how much he doesn’t know.

  10. Brandon Clapp says:

    Nicely said Nev.

  11. Sorry…but if you believe in George Dillman…then you think this is Real too.

  12. Daniel, thank you for that contribution. Concepts are most useful when we remember what they are, a representation of something else, that is, always incomplete. A caricature, a finger pointing to the moon.

    (((At the risk of diverting the discussion from the topic at hand, let’s pause to debunk a myth:

    “…able to take full blows to the stomach by using muscle control, just as Houdini did, nothing mysterious about that…. Just he did it once too often and got caught out…..”

    Houdini was killed by appendicitis, or more precisely, by refusing to get his appendicitis treated in timely manner. See )))

  13. Tony is a realist, loves trees as they are ascetic to look at, but is a material and makes good furniture….. Can feeeeel electricity, especially high voltage!! Have good muscle control, but still gets bruised and cut if I cock up……

  14. As for Angelo it’s pretty obvious you are a tree hugger??
    We all have electricity flowing through our bodies, that is scientific fact…. The chemicals in our bodies see to that…
    Electrons go around a neutron….. positive and negative effect and so forth….. forces of magnetic fields… we could go on, but it would be pointless as trying to prove to gullible people that father christmas does not exist as do angels…..
    It’s called a crutch….. people just love crutches, as they love the stupid religions that cause so much division in the modern world, but we won’t go there….. as that would cause a war….

Speak Your Mind