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Dennis Hooker
08-15-2006, 01:44 PM
These are a couple of pages from a book I did for my grandchildren a few years ago. Over the last year I have had over two hundred requests for all, or parts, of the book from people in need or representing a family member in need. I have no intent on publishing although my Sensei and several people want me to. This is a work of love to my grandchildren.

Because I teach these things at seminars and they are an integral part of my struggle with Myasthenia Gravis I have recently had a flood of requests on the breathing section. These are a few pages of it and I offer them as a catalyst for discussion in hopes of helping people. I make no claims regarding the exercises beyond what they do for me personally. This is one af many excecises.

"A Collage of Poppy's Life"
A Book to My Grandchildren
Copy Right 1999




TANDEN NO KOKYU:

The Tanden refers to the lower abdomen (hara), No is the Japanese possessive and Kokyu is breath. These various forms of deep breathing are designed to clean the internal organs, to purge them of poison and stimulate the body. This is much like sweating during a physical workout. This exercise is best done while sitting in seiza. Seiza is the traditional Japanese way of sitting with the heels under the buttocks, spine erect. However, if seiza is not possible then sitting in a chair is recommended. Sometimes they would prop me in a corner and I swear they would forget I was there for hours. The back must be straight, head erect, and the neck in line with the spine. The tanden (lower part of the abdomen) is pushed slightly forward. Hands should rest lightly on the thighs. All breathing should be abdominal. There must be strength or slight tension in the tanden (lower abdomen) at all times during these forms. For those times I found sitting erect a physical problem then I would lay flat on the floor. The thoracic cage must be kept as still as possible. The thoracic cage refers to the portion of the body between the neck and the abdomen, also the cavity in which the heart and lungs lie. The chest wall contains the muscles used for normal respiration such as the diaphragm, intercostal muscles and the rib cage. During these exercises the diaphragm and abdominal muscles will control respiration.

Since these activities are intended to cleans and heal the inner body it was necessary for me to understand a little about the repertory system. I'm big on visualization because I feel it often helps in the healing process. Also I just like to know what's going on. I developed the following as a visualization tool and it's not a detailed discussion of the pulmonary process but served as a good visualization tool for me.

Knowing something about the functions of the repertory system helped me get rid of some of excess spiritual baggage attached to the exercise. I was still having a problem reconciling some of my Christian beliefs with some of this stuff. If I was having a problem you can imagine what some of my fundamental friends were going through. They probably thought I needed daily saving. I later understood that there was really no conflict to begin with. The function of the repertory system includes gas exchange, acid-based balance, phonation, pulmonary defense and metabolism, and the handling of bioactive materials.

Gas Exchange; the exchange of carbon dioxide for oxygen takes place in the lungs. Fresh air, containing oxygen, is inspired into the lungs through the conducting airways by forces generated by the respiratory muscles, acting on commands initiated by the central nervous system. At the same time mixed venous blood from the various body tissues, which has a high content of carbon dioxide and low content of oxygen, is pumped into the lungs by the right ventricle of the heart. In the pulmonary capillaries carbon dioxide is exchanged for oxygen and the blood leaving the lungs, which now has a high oxygen content and relatively low carbon dioxide content, is distributed to the tissues of the body by the left side of the heart. During expiration, gas with a high concentration of carbon dioxide is expelled from the body." (PULMONARY PHYSIOLOGY, Michael G. Levitzky)

Tanden No Kokyu is often referred to as deep breathing exercise, or meditation. For this reason it sometimes is misunderstood. Deep breathing does not mean filling the lungs to capacity and expelling as much air as possible. Deep breathing means breathing below the normal threshold, taking the breath deep within the body. The average adult has a lung capacity of about 5700 milliliters of air. With normal inspiration we inflate to about 2800 ml. With normal expiration we deflate to about 2300 ml. of air. So during a normal cycle of inspiration and expiration we exchange about 500 ml. of gas in the lungs and airway. During the first breath of most tanden kokyu forms the maximum amount of air is expelled from the lungs. This is done by pushing the diaphragm down then pulling the abdomen in and leaning forward. It is not necessary to actually measure the amount of air exchanged during inspiration and expiration. Using the following description as a visualization aid I was able to develop a correct pattern of breathing for these exercises. It is possible to expel as much as 4500 ml. of air, leaving 1200 ml. in the lungs. This gas can not be forced out voluntarily; it is the remnant gas that prevents the lungs from collapsing. If you have ever had the breath knocked of you it is because some of the 1200 ml. was expelled and the lung partially collapsed.

Mike Sigman
08-17-2006, 06:04 PM
Thanks for sharing that, Dennis. Just for the fun of it, I'll throw in a couple of thoughts, make of them what you will:

"Tanden" is the Japanese pronunciation of "Dantien" in Chinese, meaning more or less the "area of change" (it's an obscure reference to "cinnabar", mercuric oxide, which changes from a red mineral into the silvery liquid mercury, upon heating). The term "Tanden-no Kokyu" is therefore not functionally quite the same as "Hara-no Kokyu" .. it has deeper implications. "Kokyu", as has been discussed, can mean "breath", but it also can imply a certain method of force which is essentially the "jin", the trained force skill, often referred to in China. So the meaning of "Tanden-no Kokyu" becomes moot if we look at all potential meanings; it can mean more than just "Deep Breathing".

"Tanden Breathing" (or "Dantien Breathing", your choice) means specifically a couple of things to me. First of all, it is the initial step in beginning to build the power that is so unusual that it has rated comment in Asia for many centuries. It is, as I pointed out in a quote from a website discussing Misogi-no Kyo, the "concentrating of the breath at the navel". This is the start of the 'great power' that develops from focused breathing exercises of a certain sort.

As part of these breathing exercises and great strength development, the fascia areas are developed. Interestingly enough, according to James L. Oschman and others, the strength of the fascia system(s) has a lot to do with the strength of the immune system and what it does. The constant references to the breathing exercises is not only that they produce strength, but that they also effect the "health" and immune-system functions of the body, when done correctly. Yes, it takes a while for the changes to take place, but anecdotally I have to say that (cynic and sceptic that I am), (1.) I would tend to agree that health functions are affected... (2.)personally, based on the amount of workouts per week, etc., that I do, I would definitively say that increased substantive strength increase is a shoo-in.

Insofar as sitting and doing Tanden breathing, I don't say anything against it, but I would recommend that people do it while standing. The fascia-related structures of the lower body can be trained better while standing... i.e., you can get a more complete positive effect by standing during deep-breathing than can be gained by sitting, IMO (and in the opinion of many others, as well).

To get a better feel for what the foscuses are in breathing exercises (other than the beneficial aspects mentioned in Dennis' post, of course), let me suggest a simple approach:

First stand with legs at shoulder width and arms extended out at 45-degrees between shoulder-height and the vertical. Think of your body as a sort of "balloon" with the skin of the balloon, the outer "suit" which you should feel for just under your skin, stretched out somewhat but not too tight. Inhale through the nose while pulling the stomach area in at the same time. Feel for the slight pull/tension under the skin in the fingertips, fingers, palms, maybe forearms, etc., every time you slowly inhale while pulling in the stomach-area. Hopefully you'll feel this "suit" tauten as you inhale and pull in the stomach area. The tautness happens because you're pulling this "suit" in with your stomach and also because pressure is building up inside the body, adding to the pressure within the "suit".

Two things are happening that are worth focusing your attention on: (1.) the "suit" gets a stretch during the inhale and it relaxes during the exhale. It is a slight "workout" for the myofascial area under the skin. (2.) pressure builds up within the abdominal areal... this is the "concentrating the breath in the navel area".

Anyway, it's a potential start to the "ki" side of things that can be, IMO, more helpful than just breathing deeply.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Dennis Hooker
08-18-2006, 06:32 AM
Thanks Mike, this is just the kind of conversation I wanted to happen. Would you mind if I sent you the book as a PDF file? As I said these are my experiences and were developed because of my inability to stand or walk at times and to assist me when not on a respirator. Some of the time in the hospital the exercises were accompanied by very painful blood gas tests to evaluate the Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen levels of the blood. The terms were what I was given but frankly if I had the gift of gab or if I were a literate person I would used English and not Japanese at all. Again this worked for me and I will not say it would work for others.

Dennis Hooker
08-18-2006, 06:51 AM
________________________________________________________________________________ __
Scientists discover 'second brain' in the stomach
Scientists are claiming to have discovered a second brain - in the human stomach.
The breakthrough, involving experts in the US and Germany, is believed to play a major part in the way people behave.
This 'second brain' is made up of a knot of brain nerves in the digestive tract. It is thought to involve around 100 billion nerve cells - more than held in the spinal cord.
Researchers believe this belly brain may save information on physical reactions to mental processes and give out signals to influence later decisions. It may also be responsible in the creation of reactions such as joy or sadness.
The research is outlined in the latest issue of German science magazine, Geo, in which Professor Wolfgang Prinz, of the Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research in Munich, says the discovery could give a new twist on the old phrase "gut reaction".

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_105441.html
________________________________________________________________________________ __

I have always believed the breath trains the belly and the belly trains the body and mind. I thought this as a child when I first experienced the effects of my Mother telling me to “take a few deeps breaths and calm down” it worked. It always worked. Not until much later in my life did I realize that some cultures have, for centuries, been systemically using belly control to train themselves in all manner of life from love to war. I look forward to more research on the belly brain. If true it begins to make more since from a physiological standpoint and takes a lot of the mysticism out of it.

dps
08-18-2006, 07:39 AM
________________________________________________________________________________ __
Scientists discover 'second brain' in the stomach
Scientists are claiming to have discovered a second brain - in the human stomach.
.
I knew my big belly wasn't all fat! Now I have proof. :)

Dennis Hooker
08-18-2006, 07:47 AM
I knew my big belly wasn't all fat! Now I have proof. :)

Have you ever seen O'Sensei's favorite portrait of himself? He has a sword strapped across his back and this huge Buda belly. He says it signifies power. If so I must be a powerful man too.

Mike Sigman
08-18-2006, 07:48 AM
Thanks Mike, this is just the kind of conversation I wanted to happen. Would you mind if I sent you the book as a PDF file? Sure, I'd enjoy reading it, Dennis. Best of Luck.

Mike

tedehara
08-22-2006, 09:06 AM
One of the things this type of breathing does is oxygenate the blood to a high degree. This seems similar to hyperbaric therapy, where a patient is put in a hyperbaric (pressure) chamber and given pure oxygen. It's used for treating open wounds that do not normally heal. It's also used for patients who are facing surgery. Doctors have discovered the patients recover quicker from surgery if they have this treatment first. Traditionally hyperbaric chambers have been used for divers who are suffering from the "bends", caused by coming up too fast from the ocean.

From Ki A Practical Guide for Westerners by William Reed, pg.63

"The ancient Chinese assumed that Ki entered the body through the breath, and flowed in the blood. They called this energy Kiketsu, using the characters for Ki and blood. Oketsu, meaning dirty or polluted blood, was considered to be the source of all disease. Modern medicine uses a variety of blood tests to diagnose the health of the entire body, and the presence of many specific diseases. It is common knowledge that blood is the vehicle for oxygen, nutrients, and antibodies for every cell in the body.

Yet the average person is almost literally starving for Ki at the cellular level. The reason is very simple: inadequate and shallow breathing; caused by a lack of mind and body unification. The average person takes about 16 to 20 breaths per minute; filling the lungs to about 400 cubic centimeters capacity. Yet in Ki breathing only one breath is taken per minute; filling the lungs to between 5,000 and 8,000 cubic centimeters capacity. Breathing in this way, eighteen times slower and at twelve to twenty times the capacity, an ample supply of oxygen and subsequent release of carbon dioxide is almost guaranteed.

In a square millimeter of subcutaneous tissue there are nearly 2,000 capillaries, all of which are open and circulating blood during Ki breathing, hard labor, and active sports. Yet in a state of rest, typically only about 5 of these capillaries contain blood, far less than one percent of capacity. "State of rest" is really a misnomer, because for most people this involves a state of literal collapsation; where the larger muscles may be in a state of flaccidity, but the deeper tissues are riddled with tension, due to inadequate support and poor distribution of the weight of the body. The diameter of a red blood cell is about four times that of a capillary, so that it must be squeezed though the thousands of miles of these micro-passages. All of this is accomplished quite naturally under hydraulic pressure, making one complete cycle around the body in little more than 20 seconds. In order to full oxygenate and detoxify the blood, each inhalation should require at least 25 seconds, with the same amount of time for each exhalation, or about one breath per minute. Not only do most of us breathe at a fraction of the time and capacity ideally needed to clean the blood, but unclean air also contains pollutants which may hinder respiration even further.

In Japanese the word naga-iki can be used synonymously to mean long breath and long life. An ancient story admonishes us that the number of breaths we may draw in our lifetime is pre-established; and that we should not use them up so quickly. When the mind or body are disturbed by anxiety or 'disease,' it is always reflected in shallow, inadequate breathing.

But it is not enough to simply fill the lungs to capacity through deep abdominal breathing. If the capillaries are largely closed off due to excess tension, then deep breathing has little meaning. The very effort to gulp massive amounts of air can cause the entire body to become tense. Some Oriental disciplines describe elaborate ways of "circulating" the Ki, especially as you hold your breath. This is poor advice, because holding the breath restricts the flow of Ki and introduces excess tension into the body. Ki circulates naturally when the mind and body are unified. In that natural state deep breathing has profound effect, serving to both calm the mind and clean the blood."

Mike Sigman
08-22-2006, 09:28 AM
From Ki A Practical Guide for Westerners by William Reed, pg.63

"The ancient Chinese assumed that Ki entered the body through the breath, and flowed in the blood. They called this energy Kiketsu, using the characters for Ki and blood. Oketsu, meaning dirty or polluted blood, was considered to be the source of all disease. Modern medicine uses a variety of blood tests to diagnose the health of the entire body, and the presence of many specific diseases. It is common knowledge that blood is the vehicle for oxygen, nutrients, and antibodies for every cell in the body.

Yet the average person is almost literally starving for Ki at the cellular level. "Ted, that monograph by William Reed has got nothing to do with Ki. Notice in the sentences I selected above how he talks about what the "ancient Chinese" assumed about Ki and then notice how, without any explanation or rationale, he jumpshifts into assuming that Ki is one of the chemical components contained within blood. That is simply wrong.

I'm trying to think of a short way to show you an experiment where you can feel exactly what they mean by "ki", in this sense (yes, you can feel it and I've watched people as they suddenly focus in on what it is). Unfortunately, I'd almost need to lead you through it personally. I spent some time with George Ledyard and Richard Moore and showed them this part of my perspective. If I can get someone to feel what is meant by ki in the sense that they stood there willing force directions (without moving) in 4 directions while clasping their hands in front of them. It doesn't take long to lead someone to that point. From that point (and I didn't do it because it would have taken more time than we had) you can lead someone to the stage where they can affect the blood flow and vasodilation using the mind to move this "ki" phenomenon. That's why there is a traditional belief that the ki and blood are related. William Reed is simply positing something that I can't even grudgingly say is "close"... he missed it. And I would be happy to show him, also.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

tedehara
08-22-2006, 09:48 AM
Ted, that monograph by William Reed has got nothing to do with Ki. Notice in the sentences I selected above how he talks about what the "ancient Chinese" assumed about Ki and then notice how, without any explanation or rationale, he jumpshifts into assuming that Ki is one of the chemical components contained within blood. That is simply wrong.

I'm trying to think of a short way to show you an experiment where you can feel exactly what they mean by "ki", in this sense (yes, you can feel it and I've watched people as they suddenly focus in on what it is). Unfortunately, I'd almost need to lead you through it personally. I spent some time with George Ledyard and Richard Moore and showed them this part of my perspective. If I can get someone to feel what is meant by ki in the sense that they stood there willing force directions (without moving) in 4 directions while clasping their hands in front of them. It doesn't take long to lead someone to that point. From that point (and I didn't do it because it would have taken more time than we had) you can lead someone to the stage where they can affect the blood flow and vasodilation using the mind to move this "ki" phenomenon. That's why there is a traditional belief that the ki and blood are related. William Reed is simply positing something that I can't even grudgingly say is "close"... he missed it. And I would be happy to show him, also.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
I don't necessarily agree with everything he writes either. However he does point out the fact that the blood is oxygenated to an above average level. I believe it is this factor, rather than theories of Ki, which are causing quicker healings or initiating the healing process.

Some day, we should really get together. We may still end-up disagreeing with each other, but at least we'll know exactly what we're disagreeing about.
:D

Mike Sigman
08-22-2006, 10:01 AM
I don't necessarily agree with everything he write either. However he does point out the fact that the blood is oxygenated to an above average level. I believe it is this factor, rather than theories of Ki, which are causing quicker healings or initiating the healing process.

Some day, we should really get together. We may still end-up disagreeing with each other, but at least we'll know exactly what we're disagreeing about. Well, of course deep breathing is going to oxygenate and that is helpful. Aikido provides "exercise" and that is helpful, but that isn't "ki", either. Maybe a better example are some of the bogus studies about Taiji that say it is "good for the health" because it helps old-peoples' balance, yada, yada, yada. Of course Taiji or any other low-impact, low-aerobic exercise is good for the health, but that's not the "health" the Chinese were talking about.... the low-impact stuff is ridiculous, when applied to the "health" aspect. If it was that obvious, they wouldn't even discuss it. ;)

So yes, oxygenation is something that goes on and it is helpful, but that's not what they're talking about. And sure, love to meet up.

As an aside..... Rob, this is something you might consider in the "six directions" standing training. The six-directions that someone like Wang Shu Jin did was so relaxed that the jin/ki pull brought blood into his hands, making his hands red. You see the implications about how relaxed he had to be. It's a perspective to consider. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Upyu
08-22-2006, 05:22 PM
As an aside..... Rob, this is something you might consider in the "six directions" standing training. The six-directions that someone like Wang Shu Jin did was so relaxed that the jin/ki pull brought blood into his hands, making his hands red. You see the implications about how relaxed he had to be. It's a perspective to consider. ;)

Regards,

Mike

I've noticed that the initial tension I used in the beginning stages has gone dramatically down. I'm at the point where I can keep most of the musculature relaxed and only induce slight tension at important points to keep the structure together. It's a nicer feel too in terms of feeling stuff "traveling" through the paths.
I do think the inital tension was necessary to build up my body in a certain manner. Without that foundation, I don't think I'd be able to feel the paths I feel now so concretely even when I'm relaxed.

Mike Sigman
08-22-2006, 07:30 PM
I've noticed that the initial tension I used in the beginning stages has gone dramatically down. I'm at the point where I can keep most of the musculature relaxed and only induce slight tension at important points to keep the structure together. It's a nicer feel too in terms of feeling stuff "traveling" through the paths.But, just as a suggestion, if you just think the *start* of establishing the "tensions", that is the qi and you should easily be able to feel it now, without doubt. That is what I was getting at. I do think the inital tension was necessary to build up my body in a certain manner. Without that foundation, I don't think I'd be able to feel the paths I feel now so concretely even when I'm relaxed.Absotively and Posilutely. Complete agreement.

Best.

Mike

Gernot Hassenpflug
08-22-2006, 08:32 PM
always nice to see the path mapped out by my seniors :-)

Upyu
08-22-2006, 08:54 PM
But, just as a suggestion, if you just think the *start* of establishing the "tensions", that is the qi and you should easily be able to feel it now, without doubt.

Ahhh gotcha!...I think I know exactly what you're talking about.

"#$"" Wang was pulling circulation to his hands with just that? :freaky:

I hate fat dudes, its so not fair.

<looks at the long road ahead>

Mike Sigman
08-28-2006, 08:20 PM
BTW, I found this website with all of one of Tohei's earlier books that's pretty interesting:

http://www.aikido-duisburg.de/tohei/Ki_Breathing_Book.pdf#search=%22misogi%20%2B%20navel%20%2B%20concentrate%22

davidafindlay
08-29-2006, 07:30 AM
Hi Mike,

I was just thinking today about the fascia-related structures you've mentioned, described as a "suit" over the body.

Are you familiar with bench-press-shirts or similar? Bascially very tight shirts / clothing used to support the body during exercise. The bench press shirts seem to let people push more weight, because (I believe) the muscles are better supported. Is this one of the results of training the fascia-related structures?

I don't bench press, or own said shirts, but have worn similar shorts for aikido practise over the last few years. I got them as I thought they'd help with groin strains that were quite common for me... Anyway, they always felt like they did add stability to the hip region. (And haven't had a groin strain since.)

Anyhow, it would be cool if this muscle-support kind of thing is one effect from improving the tone of the fascia.

Comments?

And by-the-by, the stuff collated in Oschman's books about connective tissue is fascinating. Thanks for the tip.

Cheers,
Dave Findlay.

Mike Sigman
08-29-2006, 08:53 AM
I was just thinking today about the fascia-related structures you've mentioned, described as a "suit" over the body.

Are you familiar with bench-press-shirts or similar? Bascially very tight shirts / clothing used to support the body during exercise. The bench press shirts seem to let people push more weight, because (I believe) the muscles are better supported. Is this one of the results of training the fascia-related structures?

I don't bench press, or own said shirts, but have worn similar shorts for aikido practise over the last few years. I got them as I thought they'd help with groin strains that were quite common for me... Anyway, they always felt like they did add stability to the hip region. (And haven't had a groin strain since.)

Anyhow, it would be cool if this muscle-support kind of thing is one effect from improving the tone of the fascia. You're on the right track, David. Think of it as such a suit that spreads over the whole body and permeates the organs. At long-term levels, the training, because of the constant extend/contract of the fascia, is also supposed to make the bones denser. The little thing I gave was my best shot at a simple "foot-in-the-door" and of course you can work various parts of the body by changing the postures to bring the tension and pressure in the optimal way to various parts of the body. But if you want suggestions for other postures to help spread this (and the other things that happen, because I'm being very simplistic in order to keep this as a "foot-in-the-door"), try looking at any good set of yoga postures or qigong postures... it's what they're for, at a basic level.And by-the-by, the stuff collated in Oschman's books about connective tissue is fascinating. Thanks for the tip.My pleasure.

Regards,

Mike

Avery Jenkins
08-29-2006, 10:33 AM
Ted, that monograph by William Reed has got nothing to do with Ki. Notice in the sentences I selected above how he talks about what the "ancient Chinese" assumed about Ki and then notice how, without any explanation or rationale, he jumpshifts into assuming that Ki is one of the chemical components contained within blood. That is simply wrong.

Actually, Reed is closer to correct than you think. In Chinese medicine, "Blood is tself a form of Qi, a very dense and material one, but Qi nevertheless." (Maciocia G. The foundations of Chinese Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone; 1989.)

Qi itself can be immaterial or material. The chinese character for qi is comprised of the characters for vapor or steam, as well as the character for uncooked rice; this suggests that qi can be either as evanescent as gas or vapor, or dense and material as rice.

regards,

Avery

Mike Sigman
08-29-2006, 10:53 AM
Actually, Reed is closer to correct than you think. In Chinese medicine, "Blood is tself a form of Qi, a very dense and material one, but Qi nevertheless." (Maciocia G. The foundations of Chinese Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone; 1989.)

Qi itself can be immaterial or material. The chinese character for qi is comprised of the characters for vapor or steam, as well as the character for uncooked rice; this suggests that qi can be either as evanescent as gas or vapor, or dense and material as rice
Hi Avery:

Well, I think we get into a fairly difficult realm when we slip over into the qi-paradigm itself, because it could be argued (in the qi-paradigm) that all things are qi. In the qi paradigm, all unknown forces become attributable to "qi" and I'm sort of sticking to a "what are the substantive, in the western-science-paradigm, explanations for the substantive phenomena called qi" argument (in the debate sense).

In the sense that I'm using it, I'm backed up by the common perception that the qi leads the blood.... i.e., they are separate things. I can show what this almost undoubtedly means, BTW, but it would take a while to lead someone there. However, it's pretty convincing and final.

In terms of diagnosing the Chinese character for "qi", different people have different interpretations. I think the simplest is best, personally and it fits the standard perception of qi in Chinese folk-understanding pretty clearly. One of the best translations (although of course it's not a complete one) for qi is "air pressure" or "pressure". If you notice my posts, I keep referring to "pressure" and tension (although the tension I mean is not something easy to describe, so that would have to wait). There is a more etheric qi (the one used in emitted qi and TCM), and I have some limited ability with that, but the useful and martially useable qi is more related to the "air pressure" concept. That's why I mention it on a martial forum. I'd suggest that the Chinese character you mention is pointing to the "pressure" aspect of qi, but I recognize that it would be a moot discussion.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Moses
08-29-2006, 09:21 PM
And by-the-by, the stuff collated in Oschman's books about connective tissue is fascinating. Thanks for the tip.

Could someone please list the title of Oschman's boook(s)?

Thank you, Moses

davidafindlay
08-30-2006, 08:47 AM
Could someone please list the title of Oschman's boook(s)?Umm, that would be:

Energy Medicine - The Scientific Basis, and
Energy Medicine in Theraputics and Human Performance

Or maybe this link (http://www.energyresearch.bizland.com/)

Cheers,
dave.

Mike Sigman
08-30-2006, 08:52 AM
Umm, that would be:

Energy Medicine - The Scientific Basis, and
Energy Medicine in Theraputics and Human Performance

Or maybe this link (http://www.energyresearch.bizland.com/) My discussion points had only to do with "Energy Medicine - The Scientific Basis", FWIW.

Regards,

Mike

davidafindlay
08-30-2006, 09:08 AM
But if you want suggestions for other postures to help spread this (and the other things that happen, because I'm being very simplistic in order to keep this as a "foot-in-the-door"), try looking at any good set of yoga postures or qigong postures... it's what they're for, at a basic level.Thank you.

I'd also like to ask about the silk reeling exercises (Chen Tai Chi) and how they fit in. I was wondering, as somewhere along the line you mentioned the connective tissue was sometimes referred to as a "silk" running through the body. I was once given the explanation that "silk reeling" was called such because it should be performed with the smoothness of trying to reel a silk thread off a cocoon... ie, the aim was to cultivate smoothness itself. But now I'm thinking that maybe its more about the use of fascia-related-structures (TM) ;) / connective tissue, and learning how manipulation (???) ("reeling") of that is used to move the body through simple movements.

Like maybe first a qi gong set is used to build ki (pressure/suit), and then the silk reeling is used to manipulate it (manifesting koyku) [should this be in another thread ;) ].

Following that, form builds function ("appliction") of kokyu (silk reeling in more complex shapes).

And alongside, push hands adds the very necessary element of feeling how kokyu / ki interacts with another partner. eg, kokyu applied as kuzushi, grounding incoming, grounding outgoing (holds-osae waza) and some aspects of ki like "listening skill" maybe (not sure about this).

Hmmm... Comments much appreciated.

Regards,
Dave.

Mike Sigman
08-30-2006, 09:29 AM
I'd also like to ask about the silk reeling exercises (Chen Tai Chi) and how they fit in. I was wondering, as somewhere along the line you mentioned the connective tissue was sometimes referred to as a "silk" running through the body. I was once given the explanation that "silk reeling" was called such because it should be performed with the smoothness of trying to reel a silk thread off a cocoon... ie, the aim was to cultivate smoothness itself. But now I'm thinking that maybe its more about the use of fascia-related-structures (TM) ;) / connective tissue, and learning how manipulation (???) ("reeling") of that is used to move the body through simple movements.

Like maybe first a qi gong set is used to build ki (pressure/suit), and then the silk reeling is used to manipulate it (manifesting koyku) [should this be in another thread ;) ]. Excellent reasoning and extrapolation. You're right. "Silk", as in "Silk Reeling", "Pulling Silk", "Eight Pieces of Silk (brocade)", etc., refer to the fascia/connective-tissue/membranes. You work them with stretches, breathing, twisting (as in 'silk reeling'), but always in a way that does it from head to toe, fingertips and toes included. As I already mentioned, this general idea is the same in martial arts, yoga, qigongs, etc. And alongside, push hands adds the very necessary element of feeling how kokyu / ki interacts with another partner. eg, kokyu applied as kuzushi, grounding incoming, grounding outgoing (holds-osae waza) and some aspects of ki like "listening skill" maybe (not sure about this). I'm impressed. However, a word of caution. Once you begin to grasp the interrelationships in the logic of these things, it's not that hard to extrapolate and figure out how some things work. Figuring them out and doing them are two different things. I've already had some disappointing experiences with some friends who grokked the logic and then whiled away their time extrapolating (correctly) to great lengths. Problem was, they forgot to practice, so in the end they didn't have much more right than the theory. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Moses
08-30-2006, 10:57 AM
fascinating stuff,

Mike, any thoughts as to why there is a magnetic sensation that appears when attention is brought to the connective tissues? Which, seems can be increased/altered by the breath?

Also, for reasons I am not totally sure, I was taught a differentiation w/ silk exercises, i.e. "reeling silk" & "pulling silk". The idea was "reeling silk" pertained to just the physical movements of the body, e.g. connecting the tip of the fingers to the tip of the toes and trying to figure out how to maintain connection while attempting various twisting, winding, etc. type postures. As for "pulling silk" its supposed to be the addition of the "yi", or "intention, awareness, mind, etc", which was to train & maintain the subtle sensation created by each pathway. That being said, I always have wondered if there is any real difference between the two. It seems that if you start w/ the movements, hopefully the mind should follow, & if I get lucky someday, then perhaps my mind will lead my body :)
Any thoughts
Thanks Moses

dps
08-30-2006, 11:27 AM
Have you ever seen O'Sensei's favorite portrait of himself? He has a sword strapped across his back and this huge Buda belly. He says it signifies power. If so I must be a powerful man too. I remember reading about the misinterpretation of the Buddha belly on statues of Buddha. It symbolizes power not fat. It is an ongoing joke with my wife about my fat belly.

I enjoyed the excerpt from your book. Could you post more from it?

The article from your link (http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_105441.html) reminds me of networked systems where less powerful microprocessors are used throughout the system to relieve the main microprocessor of smaller tasks.

Thank You

Mike Sigman
08-30-2006, 11:32 AM
Mike, any thoughts as to why there is a magnetic sensation that appears when attention is brought to the connective tissues? Which, seems can be increased/altered by the breath? I understand on a theoretical basis the causative effects outlined in Oschman's book on "Energy Medicine", but I don't do anymore than comprehend... my understanding of electro-magnetic theory is fairly good, but not in the area of bio-electricity. I assume that he's generally in the right area since a number of studies with measured results are mentioned for support. But that's about the limit I'm willing to support his contentions. Some of his book strikes me as advocacy more than evaluation. Also, for reasons I am not totally sure, I was taught a differentiation w/ silk exercises, i.e. "reeling silk" & "pulling silk". The idea was "reeling silk" pertained to just the physical movements of the body, e.g. connecting the tip of the fingers to the tip of the toes and trying to figure out how to maintain connection while attempting various twisting, winding, etc. type postures. As for "pulling silk" its supposed to be the addition of the "yi", or "intention, awareness, mind, etc", which was to train & maintain the subtle sensation created by each pathway. That being said, I always have wondered if there is any real difference between the two. It seems that if you start w/ the movements, hopefully the mind should follow, & if I get lucky someday, then perhaps my mind will lead my body :) Well, the way I've always understood the term (there is some disagreement, historically, and nowadays the Yang family swears they really do "reeling silk" and that "pulling silk" was a misunderstanding), reeling silk winds the body in the way it naturally winds as the force behind its jin; pulling silk is a linear in-out usage of jin. Theoretically, for complex reasons I'd rather not try to write out, reeling silk is the only solution to "pure" usage of the jin, so anyone who uses jin/kokyu who doesn't use winding/spiralling would technically be admitting to a lapse (a lot of this stuff is overdone, as in any other field of endeavour).

FWIW

Mike

Mike Sigman
08-30-2006, 02:49 PM
In looking at the book which is posted as I noted in post #16 on this thread, I noticed something pretty interesting. Tohei specifically says that the "one point" is not where most people think it is but is in a spot on a level with the pubic bone. I'm very interested in that comment, but out of caution, I'd like to ask if anyone has the original book in Japanese and can examine the context and meaning in order to be sure the translator had it right.

I hate to build on if-maybe's, but if he really says that, it's pretty interesting, taken in the context of what he says before and after it. There is a *big* question about "tension" in the way it's being used in the translation, also. I'd really appreciate it if someone has the original in Japanese and could comment.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Adman
08-30-2006, 04:27 PM
I hate to build on if-maybe's, but if he really says that, it's pretty interesting, taken in the context of what he says before and after it. There is a *big* question about "tension" in the way it's being used in the translation, also.
Mike, there is Shinichi Tohei's Ki Weblog (http://universalmind.way-nifty.com/universalmind_english/specialki_breathing/index.html) (in English) and this link (http://universalmind.way-nifty.com/universalmind/) with reference to Tohei's book. The latter is all in Japanese, so I'm not sure where to go from there ...

From my training, the one-point has been always described as a more-or-less location. I've heard the top of the hips location many times. Finding it in yourself is the key. What I get with ki breathing practice is tension, compression, inflation, etc. (and the occasional pleasant adjustment to my lower spine) ... all good stuff. Through all this I get the image of myself as being in the shape of something like a gel-tab, or oblong shaped balloon, while in-haling. Down low in this shape and deep within, I find the calm which is my one-point. No tension there. Sort of like the eye of a hurricane. There is more going on which I am not able to satisfactorily describe in this post. However, much of what you and Rob John have been talking about, has been giving me some "aha!" moments, as I try to apply what I've "learned" to what I "know". Just thought you wouldn't mind a viewpoint from someone who trains (although definitely not an authority) in Tohei's methods.

thanks,
Adam

Mike Sigman
08-30-2006, 04:44 PM
Mike, there is Shinichi Tohei's Ki Weblog (http://universalmind.way-nifty.com/universalmind_english/specialki_breathing/index.html) (in English) and this link (http://universalmind.way-nifty.com/universalmind/) with reference to Tohei's book. The latter is all in Japanese, so I'm not sure where to go from there ... Thanks muchly for the reference. From my training, the one-point has been always described as a more-or-less location. I've heard the top of the hips location many times. Finding it in yourself is the key. What I get with ki breathing practice is tension, compression, inflation, etc. (and the occasional pleasant adjustment to my lower spine) ... all good stuff. Through all this I get the image of myself as being in the shape of something like a gel-tab, or oblong shaped balloon, while in-haling. I use a balloon analogy a lot, but more in line with a human-figure-shaped balloon with an airtight fabric as the skin. ;) Down low in this shape and deep within, I find the calm which is my one-point. No tension there. Sort of like the eye of a hurricane. There is more going on which I am not able to satisfactorily describe in this post. However, much of what you and Rob John have been talking about, has been giving me some "aha!" moments, as I try to apply what I've "learned" to what I "know". Just thought you wouldn't mind a viewpoint from someone who trains (although definitely not an authority) in Tohei's methods. Good viewpoints, Adam. One of the problems is that ever-prevalent "slight skew" that tends to lead people off-track. A lot of my closer questioning is to get a feel for what the real track is, under peoples' buzzwords. Since there are only a limited number of buzzwords, too often everyone chimes in with "oh, we practice that stuff all the time" or "oh, my teacher talks about that all the time", when in reality the congruence simply isn't there. And I don't say that negatively... it's just one of those things to always be on the lookout for. ;)

Mike

Adman
08-30-2006, 05:23 PM
Thanks muchly for the reference. I use a balloon analogy a lot, but more in line with a human-figure-shaped balloon with an airtight fabric as the skin. ;)
Well, sure ... if you want to be reasonable. :p But I need more drastic help, so as to punch out the kinks.Since there are only a limited number of buzzwords, too often everyone chimes in with "oh, we practice that stuff all the time" or "oh, my teacher talks about that all the time", when in reality the congruence simply isn't there.Well, I don't mean to imply "been-there-done-that." My instructors do not approach "ki" training with the same methods, you and others talk about. However, I am finding the end goal near enough the same to dig deeper into what training I have been offered, and to find the gems within.And I don't say that negatively... it's just one of those things to always be on the lookout for. ;)
That's what I'm doing. :)

thanks,
Adam

Moses
08-30-2006, 08:40 PM
for curiosity sake,
Anyone have any thoughts beyond the connective tissues, beyond the breath? Is unifying the connective tissue pathways w/ the breath in a three dimensional realm spontaneously the end? I guess what I am trying to ask is this, our these conversations opening the door or are they to get everyone on the same page?
FWIW
Moses

Mike Sigman
08-30-2006, 09:04 PM
I guess what I am trying to ask is this, our these conversations opening the door or are they to get everyone on the same page?Functionally, these things are the beginning of getting there. It's just the start... and that doesn't work if a person doesn't put out persistent effort. In terms of "everyone on the same page", it will never happen. Most people are not really interested in Aikido or the other arts that much, Moses. These kinds of talks are generally meant for a small faction, but the good thing is that it's usually a faction of pretty neat people who are really interested in martial arts for the sake of martial arts. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Dennis Hooker
08-31-2006, 08:33 AM
For me it is part of a holistic approach to budo and life. This thread is doing what I had hoped by allowing me to see how other people view and define the process of deep breathing.

Physical training is misogi for the body by cleansing the skin and muscular structure, deep breathing is misogi for the internal organs and blood and meditation is misogi for the mind and prayer is misogi for the spirit. Taken all together in a serious training regiment this can lead to a lucidity.

Ron Tisdale
08-31-2006, 09:15 AM
And I'd just like to point out that the conversation was had without any animosity or sidelines. Good thread, and thanks to the participants.

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
08-31-2006, 09:33 AM
And I'd just like to point out that the conversation was had without any animosity or sidelines. Good thread, and thanks to the participants. Ack! Ron! You spoiled the thread with an off-topic comment! ;)

I've been thinking about this whole idea of "cleansing" and what it means if the various subtleties are looked at. I.e., I'm beginning to wonder if there isn't a slight skew in the idea, given some of the early connotations of the subconscious for possession, the kami for the inception of some physical functions, the general misunderstanding of "harmony" in the context of an orderly universe, and so on.

"Cleansing" may not be a totally accurate attribution for "Misogi" in other words. It may *partially* be correct, but it doesn't truly account for all the training modalities that are definitely in a Misogi regimen. Breathing is training (and a very complex training). Fune Kogi Undo is a training. Furitama is actually a form of training, too. While there may be a connotation of "spritual cleansing" based upon a philosophical view of the Misogi practices, there is a practical overlay that I think should always be searched for. If there's one thing I've found time and time again in relation to seemingly esoteric Asian practices, they usually had a practical inception, not a metaphysical one. Those people did things because they worked, not because they were exotic. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Mike Sigman
08-31-2006, 09:58 AM
BTW, just to mention a point that's been made before, the type of breathing exercise that I mentioned in the 2nd post on this thread... that's the sort of power-producing-augmenting breathing that leads to great power. When the force-directions training is augmented with this kind of breathing, you get the full (not just the "essence" part that is "jin") "Kokyu" power.

FWIW

Mike

Dennis Hooker
08-31-2006, 10:07 AM
“Because they worked” is the key element in my thinking. I read a long time ago that Miyamoto Musashi said “do nothing that is of no use”. I admit that is hard to do but I like to aim in that direction. One could replace martial arts with farming or any other hard physical labor and keep the breathing, prayer and meditation the same and achieve the proper state of being and an ideal level of Ki in the body. I guess that is one thing that separates my way of thinking from Mike. I believe, and I may be mistaken, that to Mike’s way of thinking one has to set out on a purposeful mission to develop Ki and I believe and have been taught that a proper state and balance of Ki will happen if one sees to their physical, spiritual and mental needs. There are many levels and kinds of Ki. To that end I have never sought Ki or knowingly engaged in activities that are meant solely to develop Ki. My goal was health, to keep breathing and living another day, so I engaged in activities that allowed this to happen. Since budo is one of the key elements of my training I believe over 45 years I have developed a certain amount and kind of Ki that is needed in that activity. I have neither the intellectual capacity nor eloquence of speech to say what that is or at what level it operates. It is simply there and it works to my satisfaction.

I do love to read how other people approach this path because it does give insight into the workings of activities that have been around for hundreds if not thousands of years.

James Young
08-31-2006, 10:15 AM
Fune Kogi Undo is a training. Furitama is actually a form of training, too. While there may be a connotation of "spritual cleansing" based upon a philosophical view of the Misogi practices, there is a practical overlay that I think should always be searched for.

Since I'm not really a believer in Shinto where these and other such practices originated from (and before that likely originated from China or Inida or wherever), that is something I am constantly thinking about as well. I really believe it is important to do these exercises properly, not just the form, as I think doing so will provide some significant, practical benefits for our practice in aikido.

Dennis Hooker
08-31-2006, 10:51 AM
FUNATORI -- FURUTAMA from A Collage of Poppy's Life a Book to My Grandchildren by Dennis Hooker c.r 1999

I start by taking one natural step forward with my left foot. Leaving the right in the rear position. Now I widen the distance just a little further than my normal walking gate. At first I had to experiment and find a comfort distance. I place my hands close to my side at the hip joint. They are closed as if I'm holding a boat ore , but they are not clinched. Now I move center forward bending the front knee while extending the hands out to the front of my body. I visualize lifting the ores out of water shifting to the forward position lowering the ores into the water and pulling back. I do all this with as much hip and leg motion as I can. At the apex of the extension the center begins to move back as the back knee bends and the front knee straightens. The hands are brought to the side in line with the hip joint again.

I endeavor to move the tanden (center) in a straight even line with as little bobbing up and down motion as possible. With the movement forward and the expansion of the body the breath flows into the tanden. With the movement to the rear the body contracts and the breath is forced out. Throughout all these Aikido based exercises remember body expansion requires breath in and body contraction requires breath out. Movement and breath, breath and movement are one.

As the body expands with arms extended the air flows into the lungs. As the body contracts with hands drawn to the hip joint the air is forced out of the body, this creates a harmony of motion. Each full movement of the body requires a complete cycle of breath.

Now I go through the other half of this exercise. After doing the rowing exercise for a short time I stand with my feet about shoulder with apart. I cup the left hand over the right as if covering an egg. I lift my arms over my head and then bring them down front of the tanden. I begin to shake the hands just strongly enough to feel the movement throughout the body. I continue this for about five minuets before shifting back to the first part. Remember what I said about deep breathing and that 1750 ml. of air in the bottom of the lungs that can't be voluntarily expelled? That's the residual volume if you remember. During the shaking I believe that the level of the oxygen in the bottom of the lung is increased and the level of the carbon dioxide is reduced. This improves the over all oxygen count in the blood and increases the internal body heat. I have done this with folks in the snow and we melt the snow.

Saotome Sensei recommended I do this in the morning for a minimum of 45 minuets. I have found that it builds core heat in my body and if I then step into freezing water my skin pores will close down holding the heat inside for a short time as long as I continue to shake. I guess it's much like shivering to create body heat but done much more methodically. When I step out of the water and the pores of my body open the flood of sensation is beyond belief. It's like my universe explodes into brighter colors and more sounds, the senses are amplified and flooded. Sometimes it's almost to much to stand.

I have had much the same experience in an Cherokee Sweat lodge after a hard physical challenge.

Mike Sigman
08-31-2006, 11:09 AM
Now I go through the other half of this exercise. After doing the rowing exercise for a short time I stand with my feet about shoulder with apart. I cup the left hand over the right as if covering an egg. I lift my arms over my head and then bring them down front of the tanden. I begin to shake the hands just strongly enough to feel the movement throughout the body. I continue this for about five minuets before shifting back to the first part. Just as a suggestion, Dennis, let me throw in an alternative focus on the actual shaking. You can pretend that the dantien/tanden is a ball inside your abdomen and that there is a fiberglass rod coming from that tanden/ball out to the ball/egg/sphere of your hands. Try to shake the hands only by moving the tanden/dantien up and down. The tanden/dantien movement gets its support from the floor. And yes, at first the motions are not so good, but with practice, doing the furitama by only moving the tanden/dantien will strengthen the power of the tanden area and will induce odd feelings in the body. FWIW


Best Regards,

Mike Sigman

Dennis Hooker
08-31-2006, 11:51 AM
Mike I have done it that way and without exception it produces in me the most melancholy of feelings. Nothing I can describe except perhaps a foreboding feeling. Not pleasant at all and the longer I do it that way the longer the feeling lasts, sometimes for days. Folks should know that what we are talking about are no passive exercises and should be done with someone who understands the ramifications of these activities.

Mike Sigman
08-31-2006, 12:02 PM
..it produces in me the most melancholy of feelings. . Hi Dennis:

Well, it was only a suggestion. In all the various qigongs and meditations and martial arts I was taught, the hands are moved by the tanden/dantien/hara... all the time, for every move. But, each to his own. ;)

All the Best.

Mike

Ron Tisdale
08-31-2006, 12:19 PM
Has anyone dealt with the proscriptions against some of the traditional qigongs, and / or the little details that some require to avoid pitfalls like the one Dennis just described? An example for the one above...we are always told to keep the tongue pressed firmly against the roof of the mouth.

I've heard various explanations for this, from the practical (we are supposed to do this throughout our practice actually, keeps from biting your tongue or talking to much), to the mechanistic (creates certain connections for the body work), to the quasi-spiritual (keeps the ki from rising up into your head and causing mental/spiritual problems). Does anyone have any good written sources on any of this? Or even personal anecdotes?

Best,
Ron

Alfonso
08-31-2006, 12:49 PM
My third hand info had this as a matter of "completing a circuit" between yang and yin channels. I've been meaning to ask about the tongue for a while. It was emphasized in a simple breathing trick to calm down, which I picked up from Yoga long before I got in Aikido

Mike Sigman
08-31-2006, 12:59 PM
Has anyone dealt with the proscriptions against some of the traditional qigongs, and / or the little details that some require to avoid pitfalls like the one Dennis just described? An example for the one above...we are always told to keep the tongue pressed firmly against the roof of the mouth.

I've heard various explanations for this, from the practical (we are supposed to do this throughout our practice actually, keeps from biting your tongue or talking to much), to the mechanistic (creates certain connections for the body work), to the quasi-spiritual (keeps the ki from rising up into your head and causing mental/spiritual problems). Does anyone have any good written sources on any of this? Or even personal anecdotes?Well, I used to shrug it off as one of those little idiosyncratic things that is more ritual than anything else, but once again I got bitten in the butt.

I can't really tell you the full story, Ron, but it actually does help to "complete a circuit". However, it's one of those "circuits" that you don't feel unless you do a fair amount of the breathing practice I described near the beginning of the thread and then add a little more to it.

A way to approach a more easily understood pointer to the problem (since I can't tell you directly, maybe I can point to the physical phenomenon that leads to it). There's a sort of "feeling" that goes along with the fascia training and involves a very faint "tension". The problem is that the fascia sheets get interrupted by the anus and by the mouth, if you track a circuit up the back and down the front (the so-called "microcosmic orbit"). In order to complete the circuit despite the gaps, the tongue touches the upper palate and the anus is slightly clenched.

For all practical purposes, you at least have a pointer to the problem. Feeling it would take some time and training, unfortunately.

Regards,

Mike

Ron Tisdale
08-31-2006, 01:14 PM
Thanks Mike! (and Alfonso),

Has anyone heard of the sort of problem Dennis described?

Best,
Ron

Michael McCaslin
08-31-2006, 02:44 PM
Mr. Sigman,

I was just looking more closely at the exercise you described in the second post on this thread. When you describe the pulling the stomach in with the breath, are you suggesting that we do "reverse breathing", where the dantian/hara hara expands on exhalation?

I use both this type of breathing and the "Buddhist" breathing, where the dantian/hara fills and expands with inhaling and contracts with exhaling, during standing practice. I don't really have a set pattern, sometimes one seems to do more than the other, usually I try to spend some time doing both each "session."

Would you mind describing how the execise should feel for both types of breathing (for the exercise you described)? Does the pull on the suit change quality or direction with reverse breathing, or is it augmented? Is there a benefit or detriment to regulating the exhale rather than just relaxing, maybe a "push" of the suit rather than a release?

Michael

gdandscompserv
08-31-2006, 03:04 PM
Maybe this will help.
Taoist Tranquil Sitting & Healing Methods (http://valleyspiritarts.com/Workshops1.html)

Moses
08-31-2006, 03:34 PM
FWIW, from the Daoist/TCM perspective as said before, your connecting the Du (center-line along the back) & Ren (center-line along the front) channels, as Mike mentioned, your completing the "microcosmic orbit". Personally I have had unusual experiences w/ this paired relationship. For whatever reason, during Qi Gong practices & sometimes during my forms training I can faintly feel a heat spot or little star of energy rising up my back. I loose it until it hits my brow and then I can feel it drop down to my tongue, where it can be quite ticklish. What ever it is, it is very tangible, in fact if it doesn't fall down my tongue, it will bounce back up into my nose & I will end up sneezing like crazy. Anyway when it does drop, it eventually finds its way back to my lower pelvis, where it mostly feels warm. Oddly enough this flow seems to mimic the natural breathing process, hence upon inhalation the upper back rises and upon exhalation everything seems to relax downward back into the pelvis. Personally I have noticed, Mike correct me where I am wrong, that it seems this pathway is the same for the discharging of power, i.e. by inhaling & lifting the peritoneal sack along w/ bowing the back, seems quite similar to what Mike has previous spoken about. Again I am still putting these pieces together.
Moses

Mike Sigman
08-31-2006, 04:15 PM
I was just looking more closely at the exercise you described in the second post on this thread. When you describe the pulling the stomach in with the breath, are you suggesting that we do "reverse breathing", where the dantian/hara hara expands on exhalation? I'm unclear on your usage of the word "expands". The stomach-area pulls slightly in so that the lower torso doesn't "expand", but the pressure within it goes up. The "pressure" area is the stomach on the front, the diaphragm, the lower lumbar region, the "kidney" (really the quadratus lumborum area) region, and the perineum area. That area becomes a sort of "container". Would you mind describing how the execise should feel for both types of breathing (for the exercise you described)? Does the pull on the suit change quality or direction with reverse breathing, or is it augmented? Is there a benefit or detriment to regulating the exhale rather than just relaxing, maybe a "push" of the suit rather than a release?Well, I don't do the "Buddhist" or "natural" breathing anymore. Some people do; I don't as a general rule. Different people have different beliefs (and everyone is sure their way is the best, of course). The "pull" is augmented with reverse breathing.... but it's important that these exercises be done only lightly and for a long period of time (think of a one or two year startup time). Very good comment on the exhale, but for now I just recommend that you relax on exhale. A lot of people get into trouble with the breathing if they overdo it. It's better to do it softly for a long time than to try to rush it, IMO. If someone is older, they need to be even more cautious in starting these things because the fascia and the rest of the body is not as pliable and flexible as it used to be. They need guidance at first.

Regards,

Mike

Mike Sigman
08-31-2006, 04:17 PM
Personally I have noticed, Mike correct me where I am wrong, that it seems this pathway is the same for the discharging of power, i.e. by inhaling & lifting the peritoneal sack along w/ bowing the back, seems quite similar to what Mike has previous spoken about. Good perceptions. You can be pretty sure that the theory of all this developed from the practical observations... so your noting that the functional path for pushing/hitting is the same would be, of course, exactly right.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Moses
08-31-2006, 06:26 PM
but it's important that these exercises be done only lightly and for a long period of time (think of a one or two year startup time) Mike

I have to agree

I was working w/ Xing Yi's Pi Quan & it was the first time I truly felt the connection between upper & lower body. I could feel my thighs pushing my elbows, which was generated by my lower back. I got so excited about this connection via the middle I practiced like crazy sucking up the abdomen & pumping it out, that I ended up doing something to my stomach & intestines. It was horrible, I had a general nausea feeling that lasted for several months, I ended up having to completely stop training. Mike is right about going slow. Since then I am taking the "less is more" approach & being in no hurry.
Moses

Michael McCaslin
09-01-2006, 09:09 AM
I'm unclear on your usage of the word "expands". The stomach-area pulls slightly in so that the lower torso doesn't "expand", but the pressure within it goes up. The "pressure" area is the stomach on the front, the diaphragm, the lower lumbar region, the "kidney" (really the quadratus lumborum area) region, and the perineum area. That area becomes a sort of "container".

I meant expansion of the dantian while breathing out. I have believed that in the "natural" breath, the dantian/hara fills and expands, with a visible movement, while the practitioner inhales. When the practitioner exhales, the dantian/hara "deflates", and can be seen to move as well. Reverse breathing would be, well, the reverse, where movement of the dantian "in" can be seen on the inhale and "out" on the exhale.

I get the impression from your post that this movement is not nearly so visible in the reverse breathing, but that the feeling of pressure is what we are after. I can feel the pressure clearly in the areas you described. Should the chest be allowed to expand with reverse breathing? It seems that the pressure goes away if this happens, so maybe I just answered my own question.

Thanks to you and Moses both for the health warnings-- I will take them seriously. In general, I try to pay a lot of attention to what's happening inside when I train, with the feeling of a good stretch rather than any straining or forcing.

Is 35 all that old?! Time to look into arrangements, I suppose. ;)


Michael

Mike Sigman
09-01-2006, 09:19 AM
I get the impression from your post that this movement is not nearly so visible in the reverse breathing, but that the feeling of pressure is what we are after. Sure. This is what they mean by store/breathe/condense/concentrate the ki at the navel/dantien/tanden/hara . And you feel it beginning to pull at the layers covering the rest of your body. Is 35 all that old?! Time to look into arrangements, I suppose. ;) You're just a pup. I remember a teacher I once had who mentioned that probably the best age to start a lot of the sophisticated breath/ki/whatever studies was around 40. Anyone younger has not learned to settle down and focus well enough. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Michael McCaslin
09-01-2006, 12:14 PM
You're just a pup. I remember a teacher I once had who mentioned that probably the best age to start a lot of the sophisticated breath/ki/whatever studies was around 40. Anyone younger has not learned to settle down and focus well enough.

It's probably no coincidence that this is also the about age that most of us realize that we can't count on our youthful physique to stay with us and are more open to exploring alternatives.

Periodically I decide to "get fit" (like when I used to play competitive soccer). The last time the urge struck me I went to a park, stretched for a few minutes, and took off running at a full sprint. I promptly sustained tears to both hamstrings! This was a humbling experience for me, and a turning point in the way I train for anything. The old way was just to beat the body unmercifully until I got compliance! Now I've learned to ask nicely...

At any rate, I'll be happy if I stay in the game long enough to learn something worth teaching and pass it on.

Mike Sigman
09-01-2006, 12:26 PM
The last time the urge struck me I went to a park, stretched for a few minutes, and took off running at a full sprint. I promptly sustained tears to both hamstrings! One of the interesting things that happens with these deliberate breath/slight-stretch exercises is that it begins to stabilize and strengthen your joints and muscles. The stabilization is part of the process that begins to give you strength, but there's also an aspect that is somewhat related to the intra-abdominal pressure stuff that weight-lifters use, only more widely spread (caution has to be used here and the approach slow). You don't "tear" things so much. My ability to throw a very long baseball throw came back, I don't sprain my ankles or wrist very often if at all. Of course to work the whole body, you need a whole-body regimen, not just the simple start I outlined near the start of the thread. Frankly, my opinion is that pretty much all the variety, etc., that is needed for good Aikido practice/development of these skills is right there in Aikido, when done correctly with the breathing and force manipulation. I don't suggest anyone look elsewhere than Aikido, although to be balanced I'd have to note that all sorts of qigongs, yoga routines, etc., will do the same thing when the breath and force-manipulations are used.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Michael McCaslin
09-01-2006, 02:08 PM
I don't suggest anyone look elsewhere than Aikido, although to be balanced I'd have to note that all sorts of qigongs, yoga routines, etc., will do the same thing when the breath and force-manipulations are used.

Well, in my case the dojo where I train does some judo, some hard jujitsu, and some softer "aiki" stuff that mainly comes from Hakko ryu as well as my instructor's own realizations. We don't do any internal strength training, and most there focus on balance and technique refinement. My instructor has internal training, but tends to be dismissive of it when we ask about it.

I work on the internal development for "homework" and then test what I learn in the dojo environment. I'm open to all sources, but since virtually all my work outside the dojo is solo I do mostly qigong type solo exercises and the exercises from your DVD's. I work on my breathing and repatterning my movement virtually all day every day.

I haven't been at it long, but I see significant differences in the dojo "test lab." Whether as uke or nage the way I react to and generate force is changing.