Boyé Lafayette De Mente
One of the most extraordinary sights I have ever seen in the martial arts field was a very small judo master in his seventies using the power of ki (kee) to literally blast several young judo trainees away from him as if they had been hit by a powerful gust of wind.
The move by the elderly judo master appeared to have been virtually effortless. It was not a violent act. He did not strain himself in any way, and he did not yell out like many practitioners of the martial arts…and some Western tennis players do when they make or return a shot.
As noted in my book, Japan’s Cultural Code Words, Asians, particularly practitioners of Zen in China and Japan, have long held that there is a force [think Start Wars] that infuses the cosmos and all things in it, including human beings, and that this force can be developed and directed toward specific tasks and targets.
Zen was introduced into Japan China in the 12th and 13th centuries, and became part of the training of the samurai class of warriors whose lives depended on developing their senses and their martial arts skills to an incredible degree.
From that era on, the history of Japan’s samurai class is replete with records of accomplishments and actions by individual warriors that were out of the ordinary and often astonishing.
The most famous of these warriors was Musashi Miyamoto, who was born in 1584 and died in 1645. He fought over 60 duels to the death by the time he was 30 years, the first one when he was just 13. In addition to these duels he fought in numerous wars and in hundreds of exhibition bouts without ever losing a single match or being wounded. [It is said that in one fight his opponent managed to cut a small slice in his kimono.]
The use of ki was taught by Zen monks, and eventually spread among artists, craftsmen, garden designers and others who wanted to sharpen their ordinary senses and develop an extrasensory perception.
Ki is variously translated as energy, mind-power, spirit and cosmic breath, and is now most commonly associated with aikido, karate, kendo and other martial arts. Karate masters often demonstrate its power by breaking a large number of boards and bricks with their hands or feet. The power of ki has also been associated with the cure of many ailments—and in that respect the cures would qualify as miracles in Western religious terms.
The Chinese and Japanese say that the human body is infused with ki and that it is the stimulation of ki in the body that makes acupuncture work. [Western scientists are now beginning to accept the idea that there is an invisible power than animates all life forms.]
Large numbers of Japanese businessmen are devotees of Zen and the power of ki and attribute at least some of their success to this cosmic energy. The Japanese government has been backing scientific research into the nature of ki since the 1980s.
The power of ki is developed through a combination of physical exercises and meditation—on focusing the mind to the point that it can exert a physical force on a judo opponent or any other object.
Copyright © 2007 by Boyé Lafayette De Mente
For more about ki, Zen, meditation and the training of the samurai, see the author’s books: The Japanese Samurai Code—Classic Strategies for Success; Samurai Strategies—42 Martial Arts Secrets from Musashi’s Book of Five Rings; and Samurai Principles & Practices that will Help Preteens & Teens in School, Sports, Social Activities & Choosing Careers…all available from Amazon.com, other online booksellers, and leading bookstores. For a full list of his 60-plus books on China, Japan and Korea see his personal website: www.phoenixbookspublishers.com.