Thursday, February 11

An Introduction to Ki

Let us have a universal mind that love and protects all creation and helps all things grow and develop. To unify mind and body and become one with the universe is the ultimate purpose of my study. Four major principles to unify mind and body.
1. Keep one point
2. Relax completely
3. Keep weight underside
4. Extend ki

When you enter a Ki Society dojo for the first time you can get an introductory lesson on these four principles. I can only give you a rough idea of them in writing. Like tasting sugar, you need to experience the feeling yourself to understand the concept. So get thee to a dojo.

Our bodies are like the small visible segment of an iceberg floating on the water. There's’ a lot more under the surface, as the Titanic discovered. That part is our mind, hidden and intangible. When we coordinate our mind and body we can tap into ki- universal energy. When I explain this to most people they look at me like the RCA dog until I tell them it’s like the “force” and comprehension lights their face.

Keep one point.
When you are standing (you are standing for this aren’t you?) your natural center of gravity is a few inches below the navel and just above “the family jewels” as I like to call them. When you focus your mind at that one point (you can feel it by putting your finger on that spot) you are now centered. Another way to do this is to come up on your toes like a ballerina and come straight down gently, letting your weight settle to the tips of your toes-not the balls of your feet. To make sure you are coming straight down have someone rest their hand on your back as you do this exercise. Ok you have your center but the one point is not a not a fixed point on your body, it moves as your center of balance moves. Don’t focus on where it is physically, focus on the feeling you have as you sit, stand, walk around etc.

Relax Completely
Ah that’s easy you say, plop down in the big comfy chair with a brew, watch TV and -hold it right there. That’s not what I mean.

We tend to view relaxing as weak, as a state where the mind stops. That’s dead relaxation, when you’re dead you’ll have lots of time to practice that. While you’re alive, practice living relaxation. Living relaxation is when the body is relaxed but the mind is moving very rapidly.

Try this exercise. Stand with your hands at your side and keep them there as you shake them like you have some gooey stuff on the fingertips. Shake them faster and faster until you can’t go any faster physically then let them come to rest at your sides. In your mind imagine your hands are shaking so fast you can’t see the movement but you can feel it in the tingling at your fingertips.

Keep Weight Underside
In a natural state the weight of objects is always underside. Hold your arm out like you are opening a cupboard door or holding a steering wheel. Let it float there. Feel the weight on the underside of your arm? That’s gravity, it’s natural and it’s weight underside. Drop your arm to your side, feel the weight at your fingertips? Good.
Imagine your arm is hollow and has sand in it, the sand will settle to the lowest point. You don’t have to push down or make yourself feel heavy, in fact you should imagine you are as light as a balloon or a cloud. Perfectly balanced.

Extend ki
In other words allow ki to extend infinitely. Ki flows by itself, what is Ki? It can be translated as “universal energy”. Everything is made of ki, you, me, all the plants and animals including the annoying dog barking next door- everything.

Imagine yourself at the bottom of a flight of stairs. At the top is the dentist office, an IRS audit, something really bad- whatever. Now walk up those stairs. Hard huh? Now this time imagine there is a winning lottery ticket, a hot date with the celebrity of your choice, whatever you most desire. Now walk up the stairs. It’s a lot easier right? Nothing could stop you if they tried.

In the first case, you were not extending ki, in the second one, you were. The difference is intention. Tohei Sensei says “Mind leads body.” The sequence is ki goes first, then mind, then body.

Here’s one you can do with a friend. Hold out your arm with it bent slightly at the elbow and make a fist. As your friend put’s one hand under your wrist and the other on top of the arm just above the elbow, resist physically as they try to bend the arm. Your friend should use gently but firm strength, the object is to bend the arm not break it.

Now hold it out again and let it float there. Imagine energy flowing from your fingertips and continuing infinitely. If you continue to focus your mind on the feeling of ki extending they will not be able to bend the arm this time.

The first time I did this was in an introduction class and let me tell you was I ever surprised. My reaction was dude, you weren’t really trying to bend my arm, were you? This is the same startled reaction everyone has. There’s no intrinsic value to this trick beyond winning bar bets but it is a clear demonstration of mind and body coordinated.

Tohei sensei extended this idea further with “Chido setsu” a phrase he coined which means that ki flows infinitely in all directions. Ki doesn’t come from you but flows through you.You don’t need to make it extend and it goes in all directions like a light bulb radiating heat off your body.

Don’t try to think of all four principles at once, you’ll go crazy. Sometimes keep one point will work better than say, relax completely. Use one and you have them all, lose one and you lose them all.

In Ki class we learn how to use these principles in our daily life. The dojo is for practice, real life is for application.

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