Ki is Natural not Magic!


contemplation
  • (version française)
  • In the Abidharma sutra the Buddha (5th century BCE) says that “nothing is created, all is energy”.
  • At about the same period Anaxagoras, a Greek philosopher said that: “Nothing is born nor perishes, but things already existing combine and then separate again”.
  • Much later in 1789 Antoine Lavoisier, the “ father” of modern chemistry, said that “nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed”. He was beheaded (transformed?) during the Révolution Française in 1794.
  • This will lead in the 20th century to Einstein and his Theory of relativity.

But to us, martial art practitioners this is the best definition of what energy really is. It is the “thusness” of Buddhism.

Buddhists, pre socratic philosophers and scientists all agree about the endlessly recombination of everything . There is no magic here nor mysticism, only facts brought by pure observation. This “ever existent thing” is what the universe is made of. This is the “matter-energy” or “vital energy” of the universe of science and of Taoism.

is what we call “ki” or “Ch’i”; and it is “simply” the primordial emptiness or primordial existence of all things that flows infinitely and pulsates in everything. Ki is not esoteric at all and through long training we develop the eyes to see how it transforms itself and flows in order to adapt to it. I am sure that this is what sensei means when he spokes that we have to understand (or to get?) the “shinshin shingan”, the “mind and the eyes of the gods”. When the opponent attacks, our reaction must be attuned with the flow of the moment and this is why no preconceived idea must exist. The natural movement is there when the practitioner has the intuition of what to do next. Intuition or intuitus in latin means “to watch thoroughly, contemplation” it is the subtle observation of the situation that brings your body to move correctly.

There is no thinking because there is not time to think.

There is no time to think because time is relative.

During your next class try to react without thinking, you might discover a new world of possiblities.

Be happy!

7 thoughts on “Ki is Natural not Magic!

  1. I remember Sensei once saying that combat is like dancing, your partner sets the rhythm and you have to react to his tempo naturally, you should never try to anticipate the moves of combat as life is not a kata

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  2. Hi Arnaud,

    i like your text very much and i agree totaly. It fits as well very much with the still not very well known knowledge of the quantum theory. I like these theory because it is a very good alternative picture for Ki/ Chi once you are not so much in the spiritual or religious way of thinking. The ideas of quantum physics can be used to explain how heart ki is creating our reality. The energy of our thoughts (skripts, memories and explanations coming from our brain) plus the energy of our basic emotions (love and fear coming from stomach) creating our convictions. These convictions are as well only energy waves that we can measure today. The “wedding” of emotions and thoughts is placed in our heart (heart chakra) and is creating an energy wave (Ki/Chi) on a high level that we send out in the enviroment. The enviroment at least is just a big ocean that contains everything that is possible. What we see as reality is at least the possibility we choose. And how do we choose? The heart Ki is the one that communicates our decision in the ocean of possibilities – giving the quantum the signal, what reality they shall reflect. One of the basic experiments in the quantum physics proved, that results of scientific experiments are highly influenced by the expactations (logical understatement or stomach feeling) of the observer. So at least our emotions combined with our thoughts – in there smallest parts as well just energy waves – are our natural language, that we use to communicate with our enviroment. In that understanding Ki is our connection to everything. In my understanding the most natural reality is the one that exists in the zero position that means that there are no thoughts or emotions at all. It is the mode of a deep natural happieness – for me my picture of rokkon shoujou. Once we are in that condition we are one with the natural flow, open for every possibility (banpen fugyo). And as well this is the great gift of our art. In our training we are looking for that “zero point”, we become mor aware of what we think and feel and at least we find something for life by doing that. For me that is as well the reason, why Sensei is pointing out so often, that he is teaching us not a martial art but how to live a good life.😉

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  3. Hello Arnaud

    once again your deep understanding is very relevant to my practice.
    it is always very surprising for me to see how your writings make sense to a former physicist like me while you do not have a scientist education.
    This is a proof that everything is linked in a way in this universe and that there are many way to achieve our goal whatever our former education is.

    Thanks again

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  4. Arnaud,
    I understand the omote of your explanation, but not the ura!
    What would “Ki is magic” means for you? In what sense “magic” is opposed to “natural” … maybe it’s obvious for everyone here, but I’m just a monkey!

    Isn’t the sakki test a kind of magic? how could we explain what happen with just “proprioception” and “primordial emptiness”.
    It seems to me … with my “omote understanding” …

    it bothers me! Maybe I’m thinking too much!
    I pretty sure that “ki” is not a supernatural thing, but I’m still confused.
    regards, and thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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    1. Yoan,
      How twisted it is: “what would ki is magic mean to me?” It means nothing because it is not. Westerners have this tendency (sickness?) to see “magic” everywhere when they don’t accept things the way they are. We do not have to explain everything only to go with the natural flow of all things.
      The sakki 殺気 is “thurst for blood” that we explain as being the killing intent. Any monkey feels it and reacts according to it. The monkey doesn’t see it as “magic” he sees it a real threat and reacts in order to saty alive. The first kanji says it all: 殺 means “kill, murder, slice off”. Sakki then means “the energy to kill or to murder”. No magic involved here. Over the last 20 years I have seen many 4th dan taking the test and waiting to receive some kind of “magic” push. Each time they were crushed.
      But the day you wil seated in front of the sword to take it, try to wait for the “magic”… so yes, you are thinking too much my friend. See you soon on the mats, I will show you my “magic” shutô😉

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