Tae Kwon Do Study Guides - Red Belt Adults

“Ki Energy”


Ki is a Japanese word meaning energy, spirit, and power. In the martial arts, Ki (also known as Chi or Qui in Chinese) is thought of as being the universal energy that animates and exists in all things. Ki energy can be cultivated and controlled within one's self. When people tap into Ki, they tap into the power and balance of the universe. Ki can be directed outwardly for purposes of self-defense and attack in the martial arts, and also directed inwardly for the purposes of healing and stress reduction.


Like “The Force” in the “Star Wars” movies, the martial artist who is in tune with his or her Ki is in tune with the infinite universe, and is therefore stronger, more centered, more relaxed, and more likely to respond appropriately to different situations. On the other hand, the person who is not in tune with his or her Ki is thought to be out of tune with the universe. This person must use his or her own power or strength, which are finite, to react to the myriad of different situations that present themselves in daily life.

In the martial arts, to extend Ki means to extend energy. Ki extension is a principle of the mind that affects the body. The mind leads the body, and Ki extension is the connection between the thought in the mind and the action in the body. It does not mean to simply extend arms or legs physically. Rather, to extend Ki means to extend the energy of the mind. This aligns the body to permit movement in a unified and calmly concentrated manner.

Ki is thought to exist in two basic forms: Positive and Negative. Positive Ki incorporates the idea of a relaxed, positive, compassionate, and giving mind; therefore, positive Ki helps others in their distress and brings healing. Negative Ki, however, brings injury and pain to others, and not only to them, but also to the person who radiates this energy. Positive Ki, therefore, is more powerful than negative Ki because it generates powerful results that build up humanity, rather than tear it down.