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“The High Cost of Externalizing “Internal” Energy,” by Nev Sagiba

“As with money, ki is easiest to direct when it has been earned and when it resides in your own account.. You can waste years searching for the ki that does not exist, or you can daily make your acquaintance with real ki, as it is, and explore its nuances in the dojo daily.”

The grand delusion of all time is the superstition of unnatural “magic,” this being something which it is imagined, can happen outside of the simplicity that forms the fabric of nature, as it is. The illusion of “power” is often sought instead of the refinement of common-sense.

Presenting the impossible as if plausible is the realm of con men and cheats. The lure of a facile means to achieve more than is possible without work appeals to infantile greedy fantasies. Ockham’s Razor is a good yardstick: If it sounds too good to be true then it is unlikely to be true. Notwithstanding the fact that we all well understand the nature of dishonesty and fraud, people still go back for more. The lure of the lottery is strongest in the complacent who continue to subsidize those who exploit. I don’t know if anyone has noticed yet, but our “economies” have come to resemble little more than Ponzi schemes and humanity is not better off for it.

Similarly with the concept of “internal energy.” The presupposition of some kind of short cut which will enable the avoidance of necessary work, has done no-one any favors. As the attached video clip below reveals, many even succeed in deceiving themselves! (Ki Master or Deluded – The Litmus Test?) “There’s magic out there in them thar hills, I got some, and for a special price, only today, just for you I’ll give away my secrets. And you will be powerful above others!” But that’s not the way it pans out in the end, is it? Predictable irrationality may well be the science of cheating, and it can be milked for a breif while, but it always has severe repercussions.

How many times have we heard the spiels promising hope but stealing your hard earned cash? How many times have we invested in such schemes that in the end sell only disappointment? Did you become a “master” in six weeks or six months? Why not? Then can’t you recognize a lie and move on instead of continuing to chase the same shortcut which by now has become a really long way around avoiding simple practice?

If you want hope, it is free of charge to just sit on a rock and hope. Better still is acquiring real skill through regular practice.

Is it possible to extend “internal energy” externally? This is what superstitious thinking deemed the wizards of old to be able to do. Some Russian experiments in the 50s and 60s added to this delusion when some talented test subjects allegedly moved ping pong balls using mental energy. The results were negligible. After each episode they collapsed with exhaustion it taking them weeks to recover. Such outcomes are obvious really, but not to wishful thinkers wanting to avoid work.

It gives rise to the question: Whatever for?

In the fiction movie adapted from the Mark Twain Classic, “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,” the protagonist in the tale was mistaken for a sorcerer. Having gone back in time and then displaying the “magic” of modern techno gadgetry, the fear riddled, bloodthirsty pundits of the day had decided it was the, “devil’s” magic and not any “god’s,” and so he was sentenced to be burnt at the stake. It came about that following some astronomical calculations, he threatened to “put out the sun and cast the world into darkness,” if they proceeded.

He managed to stall the execution date until the same day of the eclipse of the sun and then took his chance to capitalize on it by making a proclamation as they were about to ignite the pyre he was tied to. Sure enough the sun started to go out and that created the impression he wanted.

This incident sured up his “power” in their primitive minds and he was able to regain his freedom thereby.

Twain, in his wisdom used this allegory, woven into the story to make a valid point. The guy in the story had simply recalled the date of an historic eclipse and maneuvered to get the two events to coincide. Understanding and timing did the trick. Not manipulation of the cosmos.

In the dark age minds of then, just as in the dark age minds of now, the attribution of cause and effect can get mixed up by a skewed interpreting of appearances.

The ability to notice and adapt is the oldest principle of nature which drives evolution itself. To the superstitious mind however, it is more comfortable to indulge the fantasy that some “superior being” or “beings” somehow zapped it all together in a way that is impossible, irrational and unprovable. Then by subjugating to a perceived “superior mortal,” who is somehow believed to be associated with these deities, this mythological ability will somehow be transferred in exchange for a profusion of obsequiousness. As witnessed in many dojos. Sadly it is often too late by the time a victim finds out that thus compromising one’s integrity will end up in loss not gain. Getting exploited is not the way.

There is no secret to “ki” and all its connotations.

It takes neither 50 years in a monastery nor convoluted breathing, not loss of cash nor subjugation to any guru figure to acquire ki, because you already are ki, have ki, are held together by ki. All it takes is the mental effort of intention followed by the relevant action to express ki.

In today’s world, compared to our ancient ancestors, we have distanced ourselves from interaction with the natural world and daily intense activity. As a consequence we are considerably weaker physically and our modes of thinking have become confused. To our detriment, not only have excess of artificial environments changed us, but we still retain the old instincts, the “old operating system” the physical habits of using force, stressing and devious means. Unbalanced with natural activity our lives tend to detour or become susceptible to various diseases.

Here before us is a valuable opportunity to learn to relax and use leverage, gearing, efficiency of motion in interaction and the right use of our body and mind in the practices of noticing and intention in concert, otherwise synergistically referred to as “ki.”

No opportunity greater for this research of ourselves exists than through the practice of Aikido.

There is no mystical “energy” that does all the work for you. Well, there may be, but that is already doing the work it needs to do to maintain your form and function. Anything beyond that is your own jurisdiction to refine and perfect.

The myth of controlling things remotely may be fun to watch at the movies but is not real. As with money, ki is easiest to direct when it has been earned and when it resides in your own account. The ki of others is not easy to reach without diminishing returns causing too great a loss. Cheating carries consequences.

It is in the relationship of energy or the harmonization of it that the magic of Ai-Ki is to be discovered. To achieve that mastery requires work, refining skill through practice. There are no short cuts.

As for moving ping pong balls or lifting tables, you have arms for that. Why waste time glaring and stressing like Sheldon Cooper trying to zap (from “Big Bang Theory – a TV comedy series), when you can simply and honestly pick them up?

In other words you already “have it.” Nature’s laws dictate that if you don’t use it you will lose it.

This whole “internal energy” thing has too often become a con and a money spinner for cunning shysters. Snake oil with no substance. A fool and his money are soon parted. Yes ki exists. But not as the snake oil salesmen have been misrepresenting it in order to get their clutches on your dollar. Ki is free. Wasting money will not augment it. Practice will.

Medicine, both Eastern and Western have already defined it to some extent within the limitations of each understanding. “Ki” is bound by the immutable Laws of Nature and the Universe.

If you want to make progress and discover internal energy and all its ramifications, you need to move, practice, explore and draw your own conclusions. And then the step up to Ai-ki is a quantum leap well worth investigating. The ki of Aikido and the Universe is linked to Deai.

In the Universe, everything has a price and must be earned by effort, expenditure of energy. Nothing for nothing. The price for cheating in seeking lazy shortcuts results is the squandering of time fraught with guaranteed setbacks. You can waste years searching for the ki that does not exist, or you can daily make your acquaintance with real ki, as it is, and explore its nuances in the dojo daily.

The cure for the immense superstitious ignorance of impossible ki is simple: It is to be found in regular practice.

For as long as you bank on Masakatsu Agatsu you will be in credit, no matter what life all around you is doing!

‘When the wind of change blows, some people build walls and other people build windmills.’ Chinese Proverb.

Postscript: Research suggests that: The terms “ki” or “chi” are generic terms and as used by native speakers may refer to any of a number of natural functions or conditions such as mood, ambience, intensity, will, etc.. Parallel to the legal definition of intent, the ki of budo is nothing more that the use of the faculty of intention which precedes action and goes ahead of it. The various phenomena that may either participate or arise as a result, often combine synergistically to create any of several illusions which are also nonspecific and where the term “ki” often used inclusively and conceptually “interpreted” by the experience of each individual. This ambiguity leaves “ki” wide open to improper exploitation by the ignorant and unscrupulous and often difficult to impart by the sincere. Ki can mean any of a number of things to any of a number of people, depending on their own interpretation of it. As an entity, ki does not exist and there is no such “thing” as “ki” per se, it being the synergy of a number of entirely natural phenomena which may give the appearance of an intangible phenomenon existing. Or a combination of these. Much as with the double spilt experiment of physics, there remains ambiguity as to whether what is being witnessed is “particles” or “waves” or “both.” In this case one phenomenon or many. Ki is more of an “attribute” than it is a “thing.” Most known “research” into ki-like expressions has been anecdotal and attempts by empirical sciences have tended to stray into associated byways or agendas not denoting pure science with pure intent. Ki has remained elusive, yet the experience of it, according to each individual interpretation is claimed as real. Various “discoverers” of ki-like attributes tend to insert their own bias and labels to this elusive subject in their research.

The most ancient texts on the subject are Eastern. Possibly the earliest texts are Vedantin, where it is claimed to date back over 5000 years in written texts and 40, 000 years by oral traditions where multiple strata and substrata were accorded a variety of names making it a seriously complex subject. This was later inserted in a more simplified manner into many of the latter day yogas. Such terminology as “pranas”, “kundalini”, “fohat” etc. Some of these “forces” could be manipulated by humans, some by machines and others only by “the gods,” whatever that is intended to mean.

Later, China developed a complex system of medicine revolving around the variables of what was then named “Qi” or “Chi”, most is valid but from an entirely different perspective than Western medicine’s more mechanical and profiteering blunt chemical approach. Some is entirely mythical and superstitious. Valid meridian points (pin ying) were identified and treated with acupuncture to successfully treat disease. This vast panoply included cupping as well as herbal and other materia. The theory revolves around the natural polarity of all things they named “Yin” and “Yang,” Five Phases theory expressing the phenomenal qualities of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. Presented here extremely briefly, Xue, Jinye and Zang fu, blood, body fluids and organs are a complex study.

Various tribal communities from Melanesia to the Amazon, Mongolia to Australian aboriginal, North America to the Pacific Basin, Africa and the Middle East, all identify and successfully use corresponding means within their cultural context and mythical framework with entire success in most cases. This is a long and arduous research.

The ancient Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians, Nordics, Celts and others each had their similar but uniquely expressed renditions.

The Egyptians also had complex studies on the subject to include the “soul” and after death processes. These included: Ib (heart), Sheut (shadow), Ren (name), Ba (soul), Ka (vital spark), In this case the Ka or vital spark more closely corresponds to modern conceptualities of “ki” and was associated with breath. The Ka was the Egyptian concept of vital essence, that which distinguishes the difference between a living and a dead person, associated with the “breath of life” which at death left the body. Akh (meaning effective one’) associated with thought and intention. These last two when combined would suggest a “ki,” similar to modern interpretation. As you can see it is not the entire story.

In the more recent Western world Franz Mesmer, labelled attributes of the phenomenon he found “Magnetic Fluid,” or “Cosmic Fluid,” and as with Ueshiba understood it to be somehow associated with Gravitation.

Wilhelm Reich labelled attributes of his viewpoint of the phenomenon as “Orgone.”

Others called it “Animal Magnetism.”

These are by no means the only individuals to give consideration to the subject.

Whilst the phenomena do have validity, they are mostly discredited because of ambiguity, bias, showmanship, self deceit and lack of understanding. But more so because of blind scepticism which stifles further research. The subtlety of most attributes of the phenomena and gross misunderstanding also tend to sway opinion on the subject. This combined with mostly a lack of empirical scientific investigation that is sincere and authentic, the jury is still out on the subject.

There are numerous cases in both East and West, the Eastern going back into far antiquity more than mentioned above.

Attempted militarisation of many such subtle attributes under the umbrella of “psychology” have invariably been discontinued following the “blowback” effect, an innate recoil of nature restoring balance long ago discovered by the ancients already known as “karma.”

From medical studies it is known that some attributes of human composition and function are fundamentally electromagnetic. Technological methods have also been trialled as for example the use of extra low frequency waves (ELF) for purposes of mass mind control. These failed because of the limited understanding of the researchers. Aside from causing disruption, no definitive results were obtained other than severe damage recoiled on participants. It is hoped something was learned from this. Notwithstanding most of these old sciences have been plagiarized from readily available sources, they are reportedly considered as “classified” in some circles. The misuse of natural energies contributing unnatural stressors may in part explain the rising statistics of mental illness.

After all that, Ki ~ is also known as “The Energy of the Universe.” This is is a broad and vast subject.

The intellectual rejecting of the Great Harmony by small specs of dust which are effects of It’s processes, will not make It go way. Acting counter to It’s accord is not intelligent and the consequences are precise and unstoppable. Every atom and sub-atomic particle is accounted for in the restoring of balance.

With understanding comes great responsibility. The first step is attaining the clarity that there is no significant “power” humans can wield. Being subject to a Greater Power, when trust is misused, much as with the monster of Frankenstein, the natural propensities innate in the nature of the Universe itself, will return to hunt down and devour its abuser. This reminiscent of Morihei Ueshiba’s, “I don’t need to defend myself. I am at one with the universe, nothing more. When the attacker’s discordant ki is sent to me, the universe itself, it will recoil to destroy him. All I have to do is stand like this and do nothing…”

Whatever “ki” may be, if through adding “ai” to it we can fulfill:“The ultimate purpose of budo.. to produce custodians dedicated to caring, nurturing and protecting all life and our life supporting environments..” also Morihei Ueshiba, then there is hope for a sustainable future for humanity. Even a lasting and happier one..”

Nev Sagiba