"What is "Ki" anyway?"

“What is “Ki” anyway?

To say I’ve been asked this on more than one occasion would be an understatement to say the least. My usual reply is that if you had two identical clones, one alive and one dead, the difference would be ki.

Ki is, put simply, life force. It is the essence of universal energy. Ki is the life force that is in and all around us. It is the consciousness of nature. It is in all aspects of our lives and it is central to the understanding of aikido. It is often referred to as “spirit” which can also be taken in a religious sense, with ki being the spirit of God.

In chinese philosophy it is known as qi (sometimes “chi”). The circulating life energy that in is thought to be inherent in all things; in traditional Chinese medicine the balance of negative and positive forms in the body (Ying & Yang) is believed to be essential for good health. Often, the “storage” area for this energy is said to be placed just below the navel.

The late Doshu, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, is quoted as saying “Ki power that emerges naturally and directly enables us daily to experience the joy, power, freedom, and flexibility of existence. Living vibrantly with true vigor, we can meet any challenge and accommodate ourselves to any contingency. The practice of Aikido can make this all possible, and this emphasis on harmonization and accommodation accounts for its worldwide popularity.”


5 Responses to "What is "Ki" anyway?"

  1. Andrew says:

    So what do you think of the Ki exersise that we do in the insitute sometimes? Do you think they demonstrate ki?


    I don’t think that we really focus on ki “exercises” per se; the only reason they are ever demonstrated is just “so that people are aware of them”. Sensei Foster always says that if you practice Jo, and especially bokken regularly and with the correct mindset, coordinating breath, posture and intent, Ki development comes as part of the deal.

  3. Andrew says:

    Its seems to me some of the things that that are used as ki exersise or to demonstrate ki come times have a straight forward physcial explination. That does not mean that ki isnt involved, but it does not seem necessary to explain some of the stuff done.


    I agree – If you view Ki as “energy” most of what we do in a physical sense to demonstrate Ki relies upon either relaxation, centre of balance, dropping our weight or extention… ALL of these of course need energy to exist! Always a great topic, and one of my favourite demonstrations is to give someone a peice of A4 folded twice lengthways and then use it to break a chopstick. YES it can be done, but requires a combination of relaxation, focus, timing and accuracy – in my mind all aspect of the physical manifestation of KI.

  5. Dale says:

    Cool, maybe your next video should be of “Chopstick breaking”? 🙂

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