July 18, 2007

cool ki tricks, mind & body training

The best thing about mind/body training is how it makes you feel inside. But maybe the second best thing is, it lets you do impressive stuff you couldn't do otherwise. Like make it impossible for someone much bigger than yourself to bend your arm. Or make your body feel so heavy that two people can't lift you off the ground - even though they could a moment before. These Cool Ki Tricks are certainly cool, but they also teach you a lot about your mind/body state.


The classic (yet always impressive) Cool Ki Trick.

What Happens.

Someone tries to bend your arm when it's stiff, and succeeds. But when your arm is very relaxed, it becomes impossible to bend. This feels very strange. And it's probably one of the best first ways to get a feeling for the correct mind/body state. We try to always teach this to beginners the very first time they come to Aikido class. I remember coming home after my first class and trying to show this idea to my wife. I couldn't do it, but she could. It bugged me for weeks.


A subtle test of ki which shows that size and strength really aren't that important.

What Happens.

Two people sit in seiza facing each other. You extend your wrists, and your friend holds onto them. Though your friend holds tight and uses all her muscle, you find it easy to push her over. Yet when she tries to push you, you're immoveable. This is probably the most fascinating of all the Cool Ki Tricks, but it's also the most subtle. Being able to push over someone who's bigger and stronger than you is certainly fun, but you may not be able to do it at first. Don't feel bad! In fact, it is an advantage to train with people that you find difficult to push over. And take heart in knowing that many Aikido students never succeed at pushing over their instructors, even after decades of practice. (You've got to figure, the instructors are practicing, too.)


Master this Cool Ki Trick, and you'll be able to freak people out at will.

What Happens.

This one is hard to believe. And the scary thing is, we have no idea how it works. You hold your arms at your sides and have two people grasp your forearms - one person on each side. On the count of three, they lift you in the air. It's easy. Then, you have them try it again. This time, they can't lift you.


Like super-gluing your thumb to your index finger, only you won't need to have them surgically separated.

What Happens.

You make a ring with your thumb and forefinger. Then you ask a friend to pry them apart. He sweats and strains, but he can't do it. An ideal way to introduce the idea of mind/body training to someone at a casual gathering. You know, the kind of occasion where having people attack you and then throwing them across the room might be frowned upon.

see also:

13 strange body & mind afflictions

strange health advices