Can you be a Trekkie and a Jedi? Well thanks to J.J. Abrahams we can be! I love both and I think it is cool he has worked with both franchises. But this post is not about me finally seeing the film, what I thought about it, or accidentally triggering any spoilers. It is however about being a Jedi in real life!
A little background to begin. When George Lucas originally set out to make the first Trilogy, he originally wanted to make a Flash Gordon film, but couldn’t get the rights. So he made his own. Now it is very clear and no secret that he borrowed a lot of his ideas for the saber dueling, the Jedi and Sith, from Japanese culture. Specifically the Samurai, Aikido, and the modern sport Kendo. Now unless you live under a rock you will be aware that in the films our heroes and villain share a power that is called “The Force.” With training it not only allows them to be exceptional fighters, but they also can do really cool telekinesis tricks from crazy choke holds to reaching for dropped or lost lightsabers to lifting a spaceship out of a swamp. What I want to discuss here is the concept of the force, or to bring it back to Earth, and not in a galaxy far, far away, the notion of Ki/Chi.
It is a real thing! Now it can be explained via physics and relaxation. But speaking from experience, as when Ben Kenoki tells Luke he has taken his first step into a much larger world, it still feels pretty cool! There is a level of awe that comes from learning how to apply the principals of Ki into your activities. And like with a lot of journeys, despite what the true limitations gravity and the laws of physics might impose, you will have this feeling that you will only be limited by your training and skill development.
My first real introduction to Ki, aside from martial arts movies and of course Star Wars was a few years back when I took a 10 week T’ai Chi course. It was in taking the class where my instructor who weighed all of 140 lbs was able to toss me around like a rag doll and when it came to being my turn to try and push or throw him… I couldn’t budge him. So needless to say I was impress as such this led to more studying and ultimately reading Ki in Daily life by Koichi Tohei.
So what is it? Well to put it simply it is a meditation practice/exercise/technique where you focus on your center of gravity, also known as your one point. It is a little different for everyone, but it is roughly located a couple inches below your belly button and 3-4 inches inside. It is from here you learn to relax and generate movement from. There is also the idea of “extending Ki” from your one point outward through your body and beyond.
Of course it is not the scope of this short blog to rehash his entire book, but I will say in using this technique it helps build a tremendous mind body connection. As it pertains to sports performance I have found this approach remarkable in consistently achieving the ever so elusive “Zone” as what many athletes and coaches call it. Again Ben Kenobi pretty much sums up the whole philosophy of Zen and Ki and of course the force when he tells Luke to let go of his conscious thoughts and trust his feelings and act on instinct. One point Ki meditation/training has worked for me in helping that happen. Another way of stating it would as Maverick does in Tom Gun when he tells Charlie, “If you think. You’re dead!” At any rate, I have found it remarkably helpful in my athletic endeavours, as well as other pursuits, and strongly recommend the book Ki in Daily Life. You can also google/youtube it to learn a great deal more about the inspiration for George Lucas’s Jedi.