Chi/ki trick


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Sep 1, 2001
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Here's a ki/chi trick someone (a so-called 9th degree 'master') tried pulling on me long ago.

Said person goes into the kitchen and emerges with a banana. He puts the unpeeled banana between his middle and ring fingers and says he's going to slice the banana in half with his ki/chi, within the peel.

He begins making grunts of exertion. His forearm muscles are fully flexed. He writhes as if in pain. Several minutes later, and seemingly exhausted, he has someone peel the banana. Lo and behold, it's sliced in half, though the peel bears no evidence of being sliced.

It's a simple magic trick that anybody can do.

What he did when he was getting the banana from the kitchen was prepping it. He inserted a thin sewing needle into the peel, preferably under the brand sticker, but between flat sections of the peel would do. He doesn't push it all the way through, but just enough to wear the needle tip just reaches the other side. The needle is then swept back and forth, slicing the banana within the peel. Big show. Lots of grunting. Huge production. Banana is 'magically' cut in half.

Anyone else seen tricks like this? I'm not talking about 'unbendable arm' type stuff, since there is no deception with that kinda exercise. Stuff like my example, where 'miraculous' feats are achieved by chi/ki alone.

I have a specific fella in mind, but we'll see if someone else doesn't mention him first.

I walked into a local "stripmall storefront" school last year to check out the place and hopefully see some of what was being taught. It turned out the place also functioned as the instructors place of business (believe it or not he was a cable tv salesman)...yep you guessed it...his "advanced students" were also his employees. In any case, without knowing me or anything about me he asked me if I studied chi. I mentioned that I wasn't currently studying it but I had heard of it...

He walked into a back room and came back out with a 5' staff and proceded to hold it up to the front of his throat and had one of his students hold the other end. Then he released his hands and pushed forward only using his throat. He then looked at me after bending the staff and said, "see, chi is cool." His students all clapped and "oooohhhhed and aaaaaaahhhhed".

Well I noticed that the staff was a fairly small diameter rattan pole and I knew that rattan is fairly easily bent. So I walked out on the mat and respectfully asked if I could see the staff. Without waiting for an answer I took one end to my throat and flipped the other end to the same student...Well needless to say, by flexing my throat and leaning forward at the waste I was easily able to bend the staff and continue bending the staff until it cracked...

Applause rang throughout the school. They stopped however when I explained I had never done it before and had used nothing but a strength to accomplish the "impossible" feat. As I talked the instructor walked into the back room and didn't come back out again while I was there.

I wasn't intent on discrediting him, but he was scamming those people and I felt I needed to call his bluff.;)
Unfortunately people like that are very good at conning people. People believe what they want. No matter how ridiculous it seems.
since there is no deception with that kinda exercise

Relaxing of the large muscles of the arm allow the smaller muscles to work more efficiantly ;) Next time you do the unbendable arm, feel around the person's tricep may be surprised to see what you find.
Ha! I think Jay Bell just showed us the modern way to 'dojo bash'! Of course, it will only work with people claiming to teach 'chi/ki secrets', but that was great!

Thanks for sharing that with us!

haha...not at all. I love and respect Aikido and do believe in a degree. But there's a difference between anatomical physics and energy transfer :D
The other little trick to break the unbendable arm is to break their concentration. Just touch their leg with yoru foot, if they notice the foot touching them you will bend their arm.

Cool, Rob! I'll give that a shot!

My personal view of ki/chi is that it is merely an effecient visualization method used to help students get better performance/control/strength out of their bodies that would otherwise be out of their reach.

Hatsumi sensei in Essence of Ninjutsu takes a lot of "Ki" situation and disproves them with just basic physics.

For example...putting frogs to sleep while rubbing their bellies. Walking on piles of class shards (the weight of the foot is distributed to the pile....whereas walking on *a* shard of class on a flat surface will cut the foot). Having a person prone, parallel to the floor with their head in one chair, feet in the other and hold someone up sitting on their center.

There's another that a friend of mine just reminded me of. Where you pinch the skin just below the inside point of the elbow and drive a needle into it. There are no blood vessels in this area (if you find the right spot) and no nerve endings. It won't bleed, nor hurt. After doing that trick for awhile it's actually better because of the callouses that forms.

He also explains that getting out of handcuffs is very simple physics, but says that it's not a good idea to put in a book.

Hatsumi sensei does this other trick for ooo's and ahhh's. He takes a sharp katana....has someone test the blade before performing the trick. ('OUCH...YEAH IT'S SHARP') He holds the blade in one hand very tight. He has someone else grasp around his hands, pressing them into the skin of his palm, then wraps a rope around it securing it all, then pulls the sword through. He doesn't get cut.

He says that once you understand how Japanese swords are forged, it's simple physics from that point.

All Ki stuff, right? :D Hardly...

The term in Japanese for such tricks is called Genjutsu
Hmm, playing with needles and my skin. I DON'T THINK SO. My wife said we had to ge blood tests to get married, I told to punch me in the nose casue nobody was getting me with a needle. Luckily they don't do blood tests anymore.

Anyone can pierce themselves with a needle all they want, just don't show, or tell me about it.
Another trick is the ol' 'slicing a melon sitting on somebody's belly with a katana'. Sort of ties in with the 'walking on the blade edge of a katana' trick.

As I understand...and please, correct me if I'm wrong...a properly sharpened katana is designed to slice rather than cut. By this, I mean the blade is designed to be drawn across the target, not hacked into it.

A melon is relativly fragile. A dull blade could hack through it, really, but a sharp blade would leave a cleaner cut. Basically, the melon is hacked with the sword. Since it isn't being drawn across the flesh like it's supposed to, the skin under the melon isn't cut. In essence, the demonstrator is showing how well he can use a katana incorrectly :)

The same principle applies to walking on the edge of the sword. I believe Hatsumi explained this in a book as well. If you are very careful and make sure to keep your weight directly over your feet, and stepping straight up and down, you can walk up the blade with no injury. However, one slip...

Absolutely correct. Hacking doesn't work unless you're using a katana from Shinden Fudo ryu (it's huge, heavy and cuts like an ax). Other katana must slice or they don't cut at all.
That is like lying on a bed of nails. Impress me lay on one nail.
Someone should have told the moron who sliced open his partner's throat at the IKC how it should be done.
When did this happen? Curse you Gou, you're always doing
this! "Here's just enough of a story to make you BEG ME FOR MORE! MWAHAHAHAHA!" I think Gou is Vincent Price incarnate!

I vaguely remember hearing a little blurb about that incident. Clearly, the fella with the sword had no real idea of how to use the thing. Too bad his buddy had to pay for his foolishness. It's also possible it wasn't a traditionally forged and polished katana, but a cheap knockoff found in your average flea market and el cheapo MA retailer.

Vincent Price did get the chicks, even if they were all bloody...

It was at the IKC tournament where this nimrod cut open his demo partner's throat cutting watermelon on him. The guy lived though.
My iaido instructor once found out the hard way that his scabbard was getting a bit too thin from wear--he was performing a kata in a tournament and as he drew it it broke through and he cut his left palm with his equally old and worn live blade. As he tells the story, since he had very dark skin and was wearing a black gi no one noticed. After the judges gave him high scores he held up his open palm to them and showed the blood and a big smile. He had gotten away with it.

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