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Mark Jakabcsin
12-13-2006, 09:45 AM
Mike Sigman wrote: One point I will make though, which I think is important to note. Tohei's approach may not be fully clear and it results in a lot of Ki-Society people missing the fine point and staying always at a fairly basic level, etc....... BUT, Tohei's approach through relaxation and softness is the correct one for the really high-level route, IMO. This is not to say that there are not exercises and explanations that are needed (and I daresay it's a certainty that Tohei used some for the in-door disciples)..... what I'm stressing is that relaxation, not tension, is the road to the higher-level stuff. So kudos for that part of the Ki-Society perspective. "From great softness comes great hardness".
_____________________________________________

The above quote is from Mike's thread concerning his recent Ki Society seminar. I think Mike is spot on with his thoughts concerning relaxation being the road to higher-level stuff. I was thinking this might be a good topic for discussion. I know it has been touched on many times in the past but with all of the new faces a new discussion might bear new fruit.

The question for the forum at large is how do you or your system teach/train an individual to become relaxed? Is there a specific method or is it simply a hope that over time the student will relax? What drills or exercises are explicitly used for the purpose of teaching relaxation and it's powers?

Take care,

Mark J.

Mike Sigman
12-13-2006, 10:33 AM
Hi Mark:

It's my experience that until someone knows how to use the kokyu/jin forces, they do not really "relax" or stop moving from the shoulders. The essence of the kokyu forces is that they derive their power from either the ground or the weight, allowing the load-bearing responsibilities to shift to the ground or weight and thus relieving the primary muscle-system of the necessity for normal muscular tension.

There is a second, equally-important part of the equation which has to do with the support of the body structure through the myofascial structures and the mind. The myofascial stuff is done through breathing, stretching, held postures like in correct standing practice and/or Akuzawa's stuff, etc. But in a way, you can look at all the breathing and postural stuff as simply being the system with strengthens and increases your abilities with the kokyu/jin stuff. Altogether, it's an extensive and complex system; more so than my summary indicates clearly.

So my answer to your question is "forget the emphasis on "relax" until the principles on using the kokyu forces (aka 'the One Point') are understood". ;) Trying to "relax" while still using normal strength modes is simply an exercise in frustration and it's about as useful as teaching a pig to sing.

Best.

Mike

billybob
12-13-2006, 11:01 AM
The question for the forum at large is how do you or your system teach/train an individual to become relaxed? Is there a specific method or is it simply a hope that over time the student will relax? What drills or exercises are explicitly used for the purpose of teaching relaxation and it's powers?

Mike. Excellent description in paragraph 1.

However, sir, you have not answered the gentleman's question quoted at top.

david

Ron Tisdale
12-13-2006, 11:09 AM
Good question...I'm going to think on it, and maybe reply after/during lunch...

Best,
Ron (Jeff says hi!)

Gwion
12-13-2006, 11:22 AM
it does seem that some styles don't teach relaxation until 'higher-level' stuff.

And Ki Aikido teaches relaxation from the beginning.

If you compare Aikido to say, piano playing....
one wonders which is better in the long run?

I would argue that learning proper relaxation from the beginning enforces those 'good habits'. As it seems that Aikido is all about letting go of 'bad habits' of tensing up and trying to force things, so I don't see why you wouldn't want to emphasis relaxation from the beginning.

As far as what we DO to emphasize relaxation....

Ki Breathing, Ki meditation, Sokushin no Gyo, and then all the ki testing we do. You can't pass ki tests unless you are relaxed and keeping one point, so you tend to learn to relax yourself.

One important note, is that it's important for general relaxation, especially to help beginners, to have a non-contentious, non-competitive atmosphere. Although Aikido always gives lip service to being a non-competitive art, you can still see it creeping up everywhere.

and btw Mike, which Aikidoka were you? I was at that seminar, the only guy in the room with a purple belt.

--WW

Mike Sigman
12-13-2006, 11:27 AM
Let me see if I can highlight the problem.

Essentially the idea is that any movement comes from the "center" (hara, tanden, dantien, "One Point", "Field of Cinnabar", whatever). So the ground, via direct vector forces up the legs, supplies the "solidity of the Earth"; the weight/gravity supplies the power in the other direction. Both of these powers reside in the middle for us to access. The trick, though, is to get these powers unhindered out to the rest of the body. It's getting these powers out to the hands, feet, or anywhere on the body that starts the discussion about "relaxation".

If you try to use jin and the strength of the muscles and joints, you will dilute your power from the Center. Yes, you can get more power than normal with this combination or muscle and kokyu forces, but if you want to aim for the higher levels, you need to follow the classical track.

The Ki Society is somewhat vague in how things are done, but generally the approach is to try to use the Center and let the mind handle the connection: it will grow over time, as they see it (this is true, but the overall effectiveness of this approach is open to discussion). Incidentally, even though I think the Ki Society approach could be clarified greatly, it is still in line with the classical approaches to these skills and if they tweaked their curriculum a bit, I think the Ki Society could wind up with an Aikido that contains good ki/kokyu skills and which is martially competent.

Other approaches than the classical soft approach generally encourage "relaxing" also, but they add different perspectives AND they add training methods that strengthen the fascia/mind connection to the Center.

{{Here I have to make a quick caveat. Misogi practices should contain methods that strengthen the connections through breathing, etc., so the Ki Society may be more explicit in the breathing technologies at the upper levels of Ki skills. I don't know.}}

The drills and exercises are all there in Aikido, it's just that they're vague or unexplained-to-the-masses or something like that.

Let me add a thought, BTW.... whether relaxed or not-completely-relaxed (say, by practicing in Sanchin Kata or some harder source of these skills), it's probably best to get something from which to start than it is to get nothing and let this important subject pass one by. So I don't object to any of the various sources of information that I presently see, even the ones that I don't consider to be relaxed enough for the full banana. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Mike Sigman
12-13-2006, 11:31 AM
it does seem that some styles don't teach relaxation until 'higher-level' stuff.

And Ki Aikido teaches relaxation from the beginning.

If you compare Aikido to say, piano playing....
one wonders which is better in the long run? If I'd understood then what I know now, Wayne, I'd say the relaxed approach, without a doubt. But with more data than just the vagaries. and btw Mike, which Aikidoka were you? I was at that seminar, the only guy in the room with a purple belt. I was the one with the classical Greek profile and the humble demeanor. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Luc X Saroufim
12-13-2006, 12:01 PM
this thread rocks!

Mike, let me ask you:

"you can't write poetry without learning grammar first".

do you think it's more efficient for beginners to learn the basic motions of the waza, *then* concentrate on the fine details?

kironin
12-13-2006, 12:08 PM
The Ki Society is somewhat vague in how things are done, but generally the approach is to try to use the Center and let the mind handle the connection: it will grow over time, as they see it (this is true, but the overall effectiveness of this approach is open to discussion). Incidentally, even though I think the Ki Society approach could be clarified greatly, it is still in line with the classical approaches to these skills and if they tweaked their curriculum a bit, I think the Ki Society could wind up with an Aikido that contains good ki/kokyu skills and which is martially competent.


This is not meant as disagreement because there can always be improvement, but my personal reaction to reading this is my experience of about 15 years is the the Ki Society it is not a monolith. I have had some wonderful teachers which I have discussed/argued/practiced with and some others which ... ah lets just say don't fill me with enthusiasm. Being pretty analytical and a scientist, I am pretty experimental in teaching and working to clairify things all the time and I am tweaking the curriculum all the time drawing on my knowledge, experience, and intuition.

best,
Craig

Mike Sigman
12-13-2006, 12:23 PM
This is not meant as disagreement because there can always be improvement, but my personal reaction to reading this is my experience of about 15 years is the the Ki Society it is not a monolith. Hi Craig:

Of course I should have caveated that my observations were based only on what I'd seen of Ki Society of the years. Although I've seen a reasonable amount of people, I can't claim to have seen what I feel is a fully-representative spectrum.

Part of my statement was based on the fact that I've seen and trained with Kashiwaya Sensei in the past and I now have something of an idea of Tohei-transmitted concepts through Shaner Sensei. In other words, I was speaking to my perspective of the *general* Ki Society approach, not each individual dojo or individual instructor, etc. And let me say unequivocably that my impressions are simply opinions subject to change.
Being pretty analytical and a scientist, I am pretty experimental in teaching and working to clairify things all the time and I am tweaking the curriculum all the time drawing on my knowledge, experience, and intuition. I'd be interested in seeing what you do while still remaining within the confines of the Ki Society dicta. In fact, I'd be interested in seeing the face of a Ki-Aikido person when I did my more-analytic discussions/demos' of what is actually going on. ;)

Frankly, I had mixed feelings about Shaner Sensei (because I was there to critically evaluate; no other reason), but overall I felt like there was a part of him that normally would have been more clinical in his analyses if he hadn't been constrained by his obligations to Tohei Sensei and the Ki Society. And don't get me wrong... in my mind, Shaner is one of the few organizational types that I would consider as a (+) plus to Aikido for his efforts to teach and research these core and difficult topics. Most of the organizational types I'm aware of don't really know much about the subject and are making no great efforts to find out for the sake of Aikido, either. So kudos to Shaner Sensei.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
12-13-2006, 12:26 PM
do you think it's more efficient for beginners to learn the basic motions of the waza, *then* concentrate on the fine details?I think the most important thing for beginners is to first get a "feel" of what the kokyu forces are and what they can do. From there they should move forward with proper waza training AND Ki training which involves clear instruction and description of exactly what is going on physically. That's my opinion. YMMV. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Mark Jakabcsin
12-13-2006, 01:14 PM
Many interesting posts, thanks to all.


It's my experience that until someone knows how to use the kokyu/jin forces, they do not really "relax" or stop moving from the shoulders. The essence of the kokyu forces is that they derive their power from either the ground or the weight, allowing the load-bearing responsibilities to shift to the ground or weight and thus relieving the primary muscle-system of the necessity for normal muscular tension.



Mike,
I am understanding that you are saying above that one learns relaxation by learning to use the kokyu/jin forces. Is that correct? Is there a method to bridge the two or does it just happen? Also if you do not mind please give the definitions of kokyu and jin that you are using so we can all stay on the same page. Thanks.


Forum,
I suppose we should also have a discussion about tension as it is the opposite of relaxation. What creates tension and/or where does it come from, seems like a good place to start. By identifying and becoming aware of what creates our tension perhaps we can work to reduce/eliminate these causes and become more relaxed. Yes/No?

Mark J.

Erick Mead
12-13-2006, 01:19 PM
The question for the forum at large is how do you or your system teach/train an individual to become relaxed? Is there a specific method or is it simply a hope that over time the student will relax? What drills or exercises are explicitly used for the purpose of teaching relaxation and it's powers? (Directed to Mike Sigman) However, sir, you have not answered the gentleman's question quoted at top. Yes he did. Mike has said it before:
... I only do seminars IF I feel like them. And only on a whimsical basis. I don't teach. http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=159804&postcount=19

Adman
12-13-2006, 01:28 PM
Relax! No, really. :cool:

Terms like "dead relaxation" and "living relaxation" might provide a clue to what's going on. Then there's "relax completely". I think something like, "relax completely in all directions" is more helpful.

Just as a relaxation starting point, here's something I learned to see if someone can shut down all muscle activity to a particular body part. Ask your partner to let you lift their arm from their side, up to their front, to a position where their hand is level to their shoulder. You can lift from their fingers or wrist. Tell your partner, that when you let go, their arm should fall naturally to their side. It is amazing how often I see their arm hesitate, upon release, before falling. Or how often I'll feel my partner assist in lifting their arm, even when they know and have been told not to. :straightf Of course, this is used primarily to illustrate the point of what one kind of relaxation can be. And how something so simple, can be difficult for someone to grasp. This can also be used as a first step to then acquiring much the same feeling in the arm, while keeping it raised.

thanks,
Adam

ChrisMoses
12-13-2006, 01:31 PM
Terms like "dead relaxation" and "living relaxation" might provide a clue to what's going on. Then there's "relax completely". I think something like, "relax completely in all directions" is more helpful.



If one were to relax completely in all directions, you would collapse to the floor. Total relaxation is not what's going on in Aikido. Selective relaxation and tone is what's actually going on.

DonMagee
12-13-2006, 01:32 PM
I went to the doctor for broken ribs. He suspected I had some dislocation so he attempted to manipulate my arms to adjust my spine/back/etc. I had to laugh. I was sitting there feeling perfectly relaxed, he couldn't lift my arms from my lap. It took an extreme effort of will to let him move me around without stopping him.

Mike Sigman
12-13-2006, 01:37 PM
I am understanding that you are saying above that one learns relaxation by learning to use the kokyu/jin forces. Is that correct? Is there a method to bridge the two or does it just happen? Also if you do not mind please give the definitions of kokyu and jin that you are using so we can all stay on the same page. Thanks.Mark, everyone uses jin forces in their daily lives. It's a skill that we all have, like many other skills, but one which can be developed to a high level and which is martially very applicable.

Notice that I said "jin" in the above paragraph and for once I didn't say "jin/kokyu" or "kokyu". There's a reason. The full definition of "kokyu" will include some of the development of the fascia/breathing stuff; for that reason I tend to say that "jin is the essence of kokyu".

We can all plunk a taut string. But it's a lot of training to go from there to playing a guitar. Same thing with jin... we can all do it, but it's a long way from there to the single-grain qi and high-level force manipulation.

Just to give you a better idea of what I'm talking about in regard to "jin" and "relaxation", try the following:

Stand upright, arms hanging by the sides, feet parallel and shoulder-width apart. Have friend come to your right side and push against your shoulder (and hold for a few seconds steadily) in the direction of the left side of the body... either he pushes horizontally or slightly downward toward your left leg. Force should not exceed 4-5 pounds. Relax your lower back and hold his push with your left leg/foot. Just a few seconds, but make sure his force is steady, his elbow is straight (to keep the force rigid).

Then have him walk around to the other side, to the left shoulder. You shouldn't move a muscle. Let him push in the same way on the left shoulder and you let the push be held purely with the right leg/foot.

Keep doing it a few times. As you get better at it, you'll notice that you need only "will" the path from your shoulder to your foot on the opposite side and your use of muscle will decrease. The path forms almost automatically with a little practice. This is the essence of what jin is, but it's the coarse beginning steps, not the "I got jin!!!!" step. ;)

Can you see how good jin and relaxation go together with that example?

Regards,

Mike

Adman
12-13-2006, 01:38 PM
If one were to relax completely in all directions, you would collapse to the floor. Total relaxation is not what's going on in Aikido. Selective relaxation and tone is what's actually going on.
And yet, I remain standing. :D

The meaning I was getting at is equitable to the "tone" you mentioned. I also didn't say "Total relaxation". Which, BTW, I do not equate with dead relaxation, which would be me collapsing to the floor.

thanks,
Adam

billybob
12-13-2006, 01:44 PM
Don Magee [/QUOTE]I went to the doctor for broken ribs. He suspected I had some dislocation so he attempted to manipulate my arms to adjust my spine/back/etc. I had to laugh. I was sitting there feeling perfectly relaxed, he couldn't lift my arms from my lap. It took an extreme effort of will to let him move me around without stopping him.[QUOTE]

My wife can not 'follow' when we dance. I have to let her lead - jokes aside about who wears the pants in our family - she is amazed that I can follow without having to stop and think about it. Lord, she has to stop and think about everything, except one time we heard a gunshot and I said 'get on the floor' and she did it. How's that for trust? :)

dave

p.s. Mike - if it is I whose claim that I learned some internal stuff bothers you sir, then you must follow your own advice to me, and read it without comment. I have to thank you for above - it is the clearest I have seen you describe the technique - and it mirrors both what I learned in judo and some specific physical therapy I had from my Rolf physical therapist last year.dk

Adman
12-13-2006, 02:17 PM
Then have him walk around to the other side, to the left shoulder. You shouldn't move a muscle. Let him push in the same way on the left shoulder and you let the push be held purely with the right leg/foot.

Keep doing it a few times. As you get better at it, you'll notice that you need only "will" the path from your shoulder to your foot on the opposite side and your use of muscle will decrease. The path forms almost automatically with a little practice. This is the essence of what jin is, but it's the coarse beginning steps, not the "I got jin!!!!" step. ;)

Can you see how good jin and relaxation go together with that example?The tester can also work on developing the same skills so that the same amount of pressure becomes a more challenging test (sounding like a 'ki test'?).

Mike, did you experience similar exercises at the Shaner, sensei workshop?

thanks,
Adam

Mark Jakabcsin
12-13-2006, 02:49 PM
Mike,
I am understanding from your post that jin is the path or connection in the body from an external force to the ground. Or perhaps connecting the entire body to the ground to dissipate a force. Is that correct?

While you haven't given your views about where tension comes from I am guessing that you would view tension as a result of not knowing how to move and connect the body properly. Good guess or not?

Take care,

Mark J.

Mike Sigman
12-13-2006, 03:03 PM
I am understanding from your post that jin is the path or connection in the body from an external force to the ground. Or perhaps connecting the entire body to the ground to dissipate a force. Is that correct?

While you haven't given your views about where tension comes from I am guessing that you would view tension as a result of not knowing how to move and connect the body properly. Good guess or not? AndThe tester can also work on developing the same skills so that the same amount of pressure becomes a more challenging test (sounding like a 'ki test'?).

Mike, did you experience similar exercises at the Shaner, sensei workshop? The essence of that particular and limited demonstration is that

(1.) The mind can arrange paths at will.
(2.) The lower body is allowed to have the load-bearing and power-generating responsibilites.

If the "paths" and load bearing are rigged (by choice; mentally) so that the lower-body and ground (in this example) are the sources of power and the upper body is simply the conduit through which the forces go, then the upper body can be "relaxed".

In the case of the Ki Society people (I didn't test them all, but this seems in my mind to be a fair general observation based on what I did get to feel), it appeared that too many of them thought the end-point of forces should be their "One Point" and what happened was that they didn't often appear to have the full solidity they would have had if they had understood that the body simply conveys the ground to their push, so that they are pushing the ground. Once that basic power is understood, it can be manipulated in all sorts of interesting ways.

I thought in general that the Ki Society people were definitely working toward the right things, but that there were a lot of problems caused by the vagueness of their descriptions and an incomplete understanding of the forces and mechanics involved.

Another point would be that if someone pushes on the upper body and you want to convey that force to the ground without using any appreciable tensions in the upper body, the body "structure" must be coherent. This is the essence of Rob's and Dan's discussions about their trainings with the body axes, etc. So it all ties into one thing... not a discussion of separate things.

Best.

Mike

ChrisMoses
12-13-2006, 03:12 PM
And yet, I remain standing. :D

The meaning I was getting at is equitable to the "tone" you mentioned. I also didn't say "Total relaxation". Which, BTW, I do not equate with dead relaxation, which would be me collapsing to the floor.

thanks,
Adam

So what would you say the distinction is between "Relax Completely" and "Total Relaxation" and how do you feel this implies active muscle tone to maintain structure? (I realize that probably comes off pretty snide, but I'm honestly curious.)

Mike Sigman
12-13-2006, 03:21 PM
In the case of the Ki Society people (I didn't test them all, but this seems in my mind to be a fair general observation based on what I did get to feel), it appeared that too many of them thought the end-point of forces should be their "One Point" and what happened was that they didn't often appear to have the full solidity they would have had if they had understood that the body simply conveys the ground to their push, so that they are pushing the ground. Once that basic power is understood, it can be manipulated in all sorts of interesting ways.Incidentally, Shaner Sensei was pretty good with his forces, etc., but a couple of times when he directed someone to push him harder he got caught out, just like all of us do at one time or another, and had to make slight compensation with his hips in order not to be pushed over. For the intellectually inclined, that should be enough to tell you that we're dealing with the laws of physics and not the Ki of the Universe... or that somehow these terms are being co-mingled.

Think. Experiment. ;)

Regards,

Mike

kironin
12-13-2006, 04:06 PM
Part of my statement was based on the fact that I've seen and trained with Kashiwaya Sensei in the past and I now have something of an idea of Tohei-transmitted concepts through Shaner Sensei.


It may not make some happy I say this but, Kashiwaya Sensei as much as I respect his abilities, is hampered in teaching open seminars by the requirement that he be KNK HQ's representative in North America. KNK's expectation that everyone get on the same page means those seminars are dumbed down quite a bit (IMO) when it comes to the internal aspects. Unless you have been at smaller more informal unofficial advanced student gatherings or closed Ki Society instructor intensives, you haven't seen Kashiwaya Sensie really loosen up as a teacher and show various exercises and stuff.

Did Shaner Sensei do any Q&A ?

Mike Sigman
12-13-2006, 04:26 PM
It may not make some happy I say this but, Kashiwaya Sensei as much as I respect his abilities, is hampered in teaching open seminars by the requirement that he be KNK HQ's representative in North America. KNK's expectation that everyone get on the same page means those seminars are dumbed down quite a bit (IMO) when it comes to the internal aspects. I can buy that as a probable scenario. And I'd like to see what an advanced instructor has been taught... but my comments were directed at the rank and file, more or less, and my suggestions for what might help them in terms of being more explicative about ki/kokyu skills. Unless you have been at smaller more informal unofficial advanced student gatherings or closed Ki Society instructor intensives, you haven't seen Kashiwaya Sensie really loosen up as a teacher and show various exercises and stuff. I was able to feel 3 instructor-level peoples' skills at the workshop, Craig. My honest opinion was that their skills were not that high and that a clearer understanding of basics would have helped them. Bear in mind that I'm trying to be constructive and I'm not trivializing them or the Ki Society personally. In general, I was fairly positive about things. Did Shaner Sensei do any Q&A ?He did some. Everytime I tried to get near him during breaks, he was getting an earful from people who were reluctant to end their conversations, so I stayed out of the way. It's my natural shyness and reluctance to be direct that got in my way. ;)

Best.

Mike

kironin
12-13-2006, 04:47 PM
So what would you say the distinction is between "Relax Completely" and "Total Relaxation" and how do you feel this implies active muscle tone to maintain structure? (I realize that probably comes off pretty snide, but I'm honestly curious.)

I personally don't think it is that helpful to talk in terms of "relax completely" or "total relaxation" or "dead relaxation" etc.

I think it is more useful to talk about "letting go of" or "releasing" any unnecessary muscle tension. In the sense of test mentioned by Adam, when someone lets go of your arm and there is a moment of hesitation, it indicates you had been tensing muscles unnecessarily.

Someone mentioned tension as the opposite of relaxation. In terms of individual muscle fibers contracting and releasing, okay. I think in terms doing aikido waza its not really about opposites, there are times when there is a lot of tension but the nage is "completely" relaxed in the sense that Nage has not added unnecessary tension, but there is tension.

kironin
12-13-2006, 05:02 PM
I think the most important thing for beginners is to first get a "feel" of what the kokyu forces are and what they can do. From there they should move forward with proper waza training AND Ki training which involves clear instruction and description of exactly what is going on physically. That's my opinion. YMMV. ;)

Regards,
Mike


Sounds good to me.

Craig

Adman
12-13-2006, 05:17 PM
So what would you say the distinction is between "Relax Completely" and "Total Relaxation" and how do you feel this implies active muscle tone to maintain structure? (I realize that probably comes off pretty snide, but I'm honestly curious.)Chris, that didn't come off snide. No worries. Actually, I don't make a distinction. Sorry, I plead guilty to a hastily written reply, that was taking into account only part of your previous comment. My distinction is between "dead" and "complete/live/total". Of course, if someone tells me to relax, I can usually assume they're not telling me to collapse and take a nap. ;)

In the system I was brought up in, whenever the phrase "relax completely" was thrown out there, it was usually followed by an "and ...". So, "relax" wasn't the end of it. The context was usually that it was not a passive thing. It involved letting the body listen, and allow it to have potential, so that if the body (or movement) was engaged, there was no visible set-up or warning. Just full mind-body involvement. All of that wrapped up (with other ingredients), is what I might use to descibe "tone". So if I'm helping to introduce this concept to a new student, I wouldn't (usually) leave it at "relax completely".

Incidently, Mike's observation of forces getting stuck at the one-point, is spot-on with what I've recognized in my self, lately.

thanks,
Adam

Mike Sigman
12-13-2006, 05:30 PM
observation of forces getting stuck at the one-point, is spot-on with what I've recognized in my self, lately.The Hara, the one-point, is the control center for the force coming from the ground, not the origin of the force. In order to move so that the power of the ground is constantly expressed throughout the movement, the one-point is needed as the control center. It is nothing more than a control center, a "nexus" of power... not the power itself.

Regards,

Mike

ChrisMoses
12-13-2006, 05:47 PM
Chris, that didn't come off snide. No worries. Actually, I don't make a distinction. Sorry, I plead guilty to a hastily written reply, that was taking into account only part of your previous comment. My distinction is between "dead" and "complete/live/total". Of course, if someone tells me to relax, I can usually assume they're not telling me to collapse and take a nap. ;)



I'm pretty familiar with that paradigm, my first Aikido school was founded by Kurita Minouru, who left the Aikikai with Tohei Sensei and then decided to go it alone. We still used a lot of the teaching methodologies and principles from the Ki Society however. My problem with the "Relax Completely" phrase is that it's misleading. Often people are indeed too tense, but a certain ammount of tension is needed to perform any technique. Personally I'm much more of a fan of, "relax correctly." That phrase carries the implication that there is more to know, and that the correct movements are not based solely on relaxation, but that it does play a very real part in the process. (pet peeve...)

Mike Sigman
12-13-2006, 07:09 PM
The Hara, the one-point, is the control center for the force coming from the ground, not the origin of the force. In order to move so that the power of the ground is constantly expressed throughout the movement, the one-point is needed as the control center. It is nothing more than a control center, a "nexus" of power... not the power itself.Oops... there's an exception to this general principle, but it's quite small. However, I need to be accurate and state that there are times when the Hara can actually be the source of the power, no matter how infrequent the usage. ;)

Mike

eyrie
12-14-2006, 12:15 AM
I personally don't think it is that helpful to talk in terms of "relax completely" or "total relaxation" or "dead relaxation" etc.

I think it is more useful to talk about "letting go of" or "releasing" any unnecessary muscle tension. In the sense of test mentioned by Adam, when someone lets go of your arm and there is a moment of hesitation, it indicates you had been tensing muscles unnecessarily.

Someone mentioned tension as the opposite of relaxation. In terms of individual muscle fibers contracting and releasing, okay. I think in terms doing aikido waza its not really about opposites, there are times when there is a lot of tension but the nage is "completely" relaxed in the sense that Nage has not added unnecessary tension, but there is tension.

Perhaps you mean somewhere between "completely tensed" and "completely relaxed"??? :D

Mark Freeman
12-14-2006, 06:42 AM
I personally don't think it is that helpful to talk in terms of "relax completely" or "total relaxation" or "dead relaxation" etc.

I think it is more useful to talk about "letting go of" or "releasing" any unnecessary muscle tension. In the sense of test mentioned by Adam, when someone lets go of your arm and there is a moment of hesitation, it indicates you had been tensing muscles unnecessarily.

Someone mentioned tension as the opposite of relaxation. In terms of individual muscle fibers contracting and releasing, okay. I think in terms doing aikido waza its not really about opposites, there are times when there is a lot of tension but the nage is "completely" relaxed in the sense that Nage has not added unnecessary tension, but there is tension.

We train using the term "completely relax" rather than "relax completely" just to confuse the issue even more :D

I agree that it is most useful to think in terms of 'letting go' of unnecessary tension, for instance if in Adam's example you can allow your arm to be lifted to horizontal, and allow it to 'float' there with no effort, than if at that point it is tested for 'unbendable', providing the body remains 'completely relaxed' the arm "cannot" be bent, this of course is only possible by muscle 'tension' but only the right amount of tension.

I don't like the term 'unbendable arm', because it fails to describe the test/state accurately, it is unbendable to the tester but not the testee, the testee can choose whether to bend it or not even under quite extreme loads, as long as a completely relaxed state is maintained ;)

Interesting thread,

regards,

Mark

Mike Sigman
12-14-2006, 08:00 AM
We train using the term "completely relax" rather than "relax completely" just to confuse the issue even more :D You have to relax, true, but it's what you're doing while you're relaxing that is important.

Think of it like this. If you're teaching someone to cast with a fly-rod, they have to relax the arm, although of course some parts of the arm are in use and there are some other skill requirements you have to know in order to cast the line. Suppose you tried to teach fly-casting by just telling everyone, "Relax". Obviously you wouldn't get much in the way of results. Same thing with the "relax" in Aikido, Taiji, and many other "soft" martial arts.... just telling people to relax, without telling them how to do the rest is fruitless. And that is exactly, IMO, what goes wrong and why there aren't so many people with good results. Worse yet, too many of the teachers don't really know how to do these things well, so they spend a lot of time saying "relax" and "you'll get it someday" when they haven't really got it themselves. ;)

Yours in abject cynicism. :p

Mike

Mark Freeman
12-14-2006, 08:14 AM
You have to relax, true, but it's what you're doing while you're relaxing that is important.

Think of it like this. If you're teaching someone to cast with a fly-rod, they have to relax the arm, although of course some parts of the arm are in use and there are some other skill requirements you have to know in order to cast the line. Suppose you tried to teach fly-casting by just telling everyone, "Relax". Obviously you wouldn't get much in the way of results. Same thing with the "relax" in Aikido, Taiji, and many other "soft" martial arts.... just telling people to relax, without telling them how to do the rest is fruitless. And that is exactly, IMO, what goes wrong and why there aren't so many people with good results. Worse yet, too many of the teachers don't really know how to do these things well, so they spend a lot of time saying "relax" and "you'll get it someday" when they haven't really got it themselves. ;)

Yours in abject cynicism. :p

Mike

Hi Mike,

I happen to know an ex French 'Casting' champion ( they compete in these things there for want of better things to do :D ) And indeed it is alot more complex than it looks, relaxation is one of the building blocks, but as in aikido, weight, balance, and mental extension comes into being able to perform at the highest levels.

I'll have to take your word for too many teachers not really knowing how to do these things well, as I have so little experience of feeling that many teachers. ;)

I do agree however, that just saying 'relax' and 'you'll get it someday' is not helpful whether you've got the skill yourself or not ;)

regards,

Mark
p.s. Being able to cast well does not mean you'll catch any fish :p

ian
12-14-2006, 08:25 AM
I'm not a ki society aikidoka (though I have trained with them for a short time).

One thing I hate is the term 'relaxation' as it is not quite descriptive enough. There is nothing more irritating than a sensei who says 'relax, relax!' and then watching the student think, how? I think in most activities repeated training produces an efficiency of movement and energy. Yes, 'relaxation' is important at high levels, but I think you need to train for a while to even achieve it without sacrificing effectiveness. Also, relaxation can be a goal (or more, efficiency), but in the short term, for positive feedback, succesful completion of the technique is necessary.

I like teaching bokken cutting, because it is a simple exercise in which beginners evidently use their shoulders, yet after only maybe 6 weeks, they start to use their hips and lower body. I tend to say 'it feels more like yawning' than say 'relax', because this conveys the feeling of extension without excessive use of antagonistic muscles.

Mike Sigman
12-14-2006, 08:53 AM
One thing I hate is the term 'relaxation' as it is not quite descriptive enough. There is nothing more irritating than a sensei who says 'relax, relax!' and then watching the student think, how? I think in most activities repeated training produces an efficiency of movement and energy. Yes, 'relaxation' is important at high levels, but I think you need to train for a while to even achieve it without sacrificing effectiveness. Also, relaxation can be a goal (or more, efficiency), but in the short term, for positive feedback, succesful completion of the technique is necessary.

I like teaching bokken cutting, because it is a simple exercise in which beginners evidently use their shoulders, yet after only maybe 6 weeks, they start to use their hips and lower body. I tend to say 'it feels more like yawning' than say 'relax', because this conveys the feeling of extension without excessive use of antagonistic muscles.Hi Ian:

Good post. I agree. I watched the newer Ki-Society people interact with the "old hands" at the workshop I attended to see what happened on some of the movement with Ki, particularly in this area of "relax, keep th one point, don't pay attention to where the person is holding onto you", etc. That approach has some results, of course, but I've been noodling to myself about exactly what I would say if I used that general approach (I use a somewhat different approach when I'm trying to teach a beginner how to move, etc.).

The essence of Shaner Sensei's approach was in the quotes in the paragraph above. Personally, I would probably show how to form and use some basic jin in its 4 basic directions, prior to shifting to the "relax" approach above. I can't get too enthusiastic about some people thinking that Ki Society is somehow "different" or "special" in their approach because ulitmately the movement is going to be the same. The body only uses kokyu/ki in one way and it will always be formed between "The Ki of Heaven" and the "Ki of Earth". ;)

I.e., most of these different ways of doing the correct power are simply someone's pet idea of the best way to convey how to do it. There is no substantive difference in the subject itself. Relax, yes. But there's more to it than that.

Best.

Mike

Ecosamurai
12-14-2006, 09:21 AM
I'm pretty familiar with that paradigm, my first Aikido school was founded by Kurita Minouru, who left the Aikikai with Tohei Sensei and then decided to go it alone. We still used a lot of the teaching methodologies and principles from the Ki Society however. My problem with the "Relax Completely" phrase is that it's misleading. Often people are indeed too tense, but a certain ammount of tension is needed to perform any technique. Personally I'm much more of a fan of, "relax correctly." That phrase carries the implication that there is more to know, and that the correct movements are not based solely on relaxation, but that it does play a very real part in the process. (pet peeve...)

Personally I think thats a limitation of language more than teaching/learning practice. But seeing as all we have to use on an internet forum is words its something that usually gets picked on. When I teach people to 'relax completely' I am able to spot where they are tense, physically and more and more lately, mentally and to inform them and help them solve this.
It matters not a bit whether I say, relax completely or relax correctly if I'm standing next to them helping them to learn. In fact if I said 'relax correctly' the first question I would be asked was 'how?' or 'what was I doing that was incorrect?', saying 'relax completely' at least gives you a rough idea that it involves the whole of your body and mind.

I do of course get some people who when told to relax completely simply go limp. My usual comment when I see that is to say: "There's a difference between relaxed and limp, as many women will tell you...." usually gets a laugh if nothing else :)

Mike

Erick Mead
12-14-2006, 09:28 AM
I happen to know an ex French 'Casting' champion ... "Ex-French"? Is that what the E.U. are calling Englishmen these days?.... :p Or, leaving aside the West country, is it just those pommies from Londontown?

Mark Freeman
12-14-2006, 09:35 AM
"Ex-French"? Is that what the E.U. are calling Englishmen these days?.... :p Or, leaving aside the West country, is it just those pommies from Londontown?

LOL :D whoops a slip of the quotations :D

Englishmen - ex French! ouch Erik that is severely below the belt :uch: evileyes ( don't start reminding us of the Norman conquests!)

just to keep our stereotypes in context and in their rightfull places - pommies are englishmen in Australia :p

regards,

Mark

ChrisMoses
12-14-2006, 09:37 AM
It matters not a bit whether I say, relax completely or relax correctly if I'm standing next to them helping them to learn. In fact if I said 'relax correctly' the first question I would be asked was 'how?' or 'what was I doing that was incorrect?', saying 'relax completely' at least gives you a rough idea that it involves the whole of your body and mind.


Why not tell them where they're tense instead of using an ambibuous statement? If they ask "How?" that's a perfect opportunity to add more clairty to what's going on. If they ask if they were doing it incorrectly, tell them, "Yup, you were..." We're constantly giving each other feedback like, you're activating your biceps, you're chest is too tense, you need to relax your lower back muscles... I realize too that the way we train isn't completely in line with the Ki Society, since we pretty much reject the idea that you must relax the entire body, so this may not apply to your training paradigm.

kironin
12-14-2006, 09:42 AM
Often people are indeed too tense, but a certain ammount of tension is needed to perform any technique. Personally I'm much more of a fan of, "relax correctly." That phrase carries the implication that there is more to know, and that the correct movements are not based solely on relaxation, but that it does play a very real part in the process. (pet peeve...)

I like it !
Okay, I am stealing that phrase. :D

Mike Sigman
12-14-2006, 09:49 AM
I happen to know an ex French 'Casting' champion ( they compete in these things there for want of better things to do :D ) And indeed it is alot more complex than it looks, relaxation is one of the building blocks, but as in aikido, weight, balance, and mental extension comes into being able to perform at the highest levels.

I'll have to take your word for too many teachers not really knowing how to do these things well, as I have so little experience of feeling that many teachers. ;)

I do agree however, that just saying 'relax' and 'you'll get it someday' is not helpful whether you've got the skill yourself or not ;)
Well, bear in mind that when we're speaking of fly-casting and how to teach it, we're essentially talking about one thing: getting the tied-fly on the end of the line to a certain point on the river so a fish will hopefully bite.

What happens in Aikido that so massively disrupts the training curricula is far more complex because the perceptions of what the goals are can be so different (I'll list some examples below). "Relax" can suddenly not only be vague, but it can apply to different areas of the perceived "correct Aikido technique", thus greatly compounding the discussion (making it moot, in most cases).

Take for instance the simple jin-descriptive example I gave in post #17 and let's use the position of Uke pushing on the right shoulder of a stationary Nage. Let's look at how "relaxation" applies in relation to some of what people would perceive for the goal of "correct Aikido". "Relax" changes quite a bit in meaning when you have different ideas of what correct Aikido really is:

(1.) Standing there and relaxedly "grounding" the push would be something that the Ki Society or I or Akuzawa or Rob or Dan or Ushiro, etc., would approve of as a training response. Erick, if I read his posts aright, would disapprove because any resistance is "Not Aikido". Note that to be relaxed and "ground" the incoming push requires something beyond the normal vagueness of "relax". It requires knowing how to let the lower-body accept the load-bearing responsibility of the incoming force, etc.

(2.) If Nage turns with the push, leading Uke off-balance and into a throw (say, Sayu Nage), this would fit into the idea of Aikido for many people, the rotational aspects would make Erick happy, not to mention the "playing tag" aspects, and the more relaxedly that Nage can perform the waza, the happier most instructors are. But note that being "relaxed" in this sense has nothing to do with the condition of sourcing the forces, etc., from the lower body of Nage. Other than an idea of getting rid of unnecessary tension, the word "relax" applies to two quite different actions and the word "relax" does nothing to tell a neophyte Nage anything about the "ki forces" involved.

(3.) If Nage turns with the push, as in example #2 above, but he maintains his "grounding" throughout the technique, he is on his way to Aikido which uses "Ki". He is doing what the Ki Society espouses, as a matter of fact. If he uses the ki-based stability (passive) throughout the technique AND he uses the ki-power (read "kokyu" here, although full kokyu is a bit more than this) to implement the active portions of the throw, then he is doing it far beyond what most Aikidoists do.

If the active use of some ki-power/kokyu involves the shoulders, it is wrong, BTW... the use of kokyu forces is rare enough, but of the people who use some kokyu force, far too many of those add shoulder power to the usage, thus making the force not true kokyu. Here the idea of "relax" has to do with several complex issues, as is obvious.

(4.) If Nage is trained well enough, he can do like O-Sensei did on some of the available videoclips and bounce Uke backward and upward, using the force of Uke's on push to do much of the work. In this type of response, Uke's incoming force can be represented as an arrow coming into Nage's shoulder; Nage accepts the incoming force, yielding quickly but very minutely before coming back up under the incoming force. The forces add or "blend" in such a way that the resulting forces (including Uke's force) throw Uke backward... this is "aiki" at a level far different from a mere technique that combines with Uke's technique. Nage and Uke have become one, at the moment of contact. This requires "relaxation", but it requires a lot of knowledge, too. What I'm getting at (obliquely) is the strong correlation relaxing because you know how to do something versus just "relaxing" without knowing how to do something.

(5.) We can take example #4 and instead of Nage "accepting" the push of Uke with the initial yielding, we imagine that Nage feels Uke's forces and directions on contact and, without moving, simply adds combining forces that result in Uke dropping himself to the ground as he applies force to Nage. This is the highest level. Technically and theoretically there is no one who is capable of being an enemy because you simply do not allow him to be.... you become one with him upon contact and his attack only becomes part of your Takemusu response.

FWIW

Regards,


Mike Sigman

Adman
12-14-2006, 09:55 AM
Personally I think thats a limitation of language more than teaching/learning practice. Relax completely, but correctly. Unbendable arm, but it can bend. "Unraisable" body, etc. Most of the caveats to these words and phrases, I would hope are introduced to a student within their first months of practice. Of course, it doesn't necesarily mean "how to" is then conveyed with an equally simple phrase.

Aren't these terms just meant to be headlines to the actual story? How often have you seen a provocative headline, that enticed you to read what it was all about? Sometimes the headlines, without punctuation, make absolutely no sense ... until you've read the whole story. Know your audience, rewrite the headline (concept) if you need to, then get to the story (instruction/training).

So, back to this thread's subject line, assuming you have chosen your favorite headline, what's your story? I know on the web you can only reveal the tip of the iceburg, but I'm anxious to hear other people's tips/tricks/training tools for relaxation.

thanks,
Adam

Erick Mead
12-14-2006, 10:11 AM
just to keep our stereotypes in context and in their rightfully places - pommies are englishmen in Australia :p Stereotypes are all about keeping people in their place. :D Mocking them is all about being firmly out of place -- and -- judging by the equally unintelligible dialects -- I thought West Countrymen WERE honorary Australians. :p

And I do apologize -- "Ex-french" would be "former wog."

kironin
12-14-2006, 10:12 AM
I realize too that the way we train isn't completely in line with the Ki Society, since we pretty much reject the idea that you must relax the entire body, so this may not apply to your training paradigm.

I think unfortunately that the phrase English speakers use in Ki Society as the 2nd ki principle "Relax Completely" is too often not understood to be esentially jargon. A short pithy phrase for something much more involved. It's practically useless unless you have had a lot of training and understand what it techincally refers to. My guess is the idea was to have something short to easily remember.

The actual phrase in Japanese that Tohei Sensei uses is much longer and translates to something like "Completely release all stress from the body" with the implication that stress here means counterproductive lines of tension from ones posture and movement. Then of course you have to work on how to do that.

Mark Freeman
12-14-2006, 10:41 AM
(1.) Standing there and relaxedly "grounding" the push would be something that the Ki Society or I or Akuzawa or Rob or Dan or Ushiro, etc., would approve of as a training response. Erick, if I read his posts aright, would disapprove because any resistance is "Not Aikido". Note that to be relaxed and "ground" the incoming push requires something beyond the normal vagueness of "relax". It requires knowing how to let the lower-body accept the load-bearing responsibility of the incoming force, etc.

(2.) If Nage turns with the push, leading Uke off-balance and into a throw (say, Sayu Nage), this would fit into the idea of Aikido for many people, the rotational aspects would make Erick happy, not to mention the "playing tag" aspects, and the more relaxedly that Nage can perform the waza, the happier most instructors are. But note that being "relaxed" in this sense has nothing to do with the condition of sourcing the forces, etc., from the lower body of Nage. Other than an idea of getting rid of unnecessary tension, the word "relax" applies to two quite different actions and the word "relax" does nothing to tell a neophyte Nage anything about the "ki forces" involved.

(3.) If Nage turns with the push, as in example #2 above, but he maintains his "grounding" throughout the technique, he is on his way to Aikido which uses "Ki". He is doing what the Ki Society espouses, as a matter of fact. If he uses the ki-based stability (passive) throughout the technique AND he uses the ki-power (read "kokyu" here, although full kokyu is a bit more than this) to implement the active portions of the throw, then he is doing it far beyond what most Aikidoists do.

If the active use of some ki-power/kokyu involves the shoulders, it is wrong, BTW... the use of kokyu forces is rare enough, but of the people who use some kokyu force, far too many of those add shoulder power to the usage, thus making the force not true kokyu. Here the idea of "relax" has to do with several complex issues, as is obvious.

(4.) If Nage is trained well enough, he can do like O-Sensei did on some of the available videoclips and bounce Uke backward and upward, using the force of Uke's on push to do much of the work. In this type of response, Uke's incoming force can be represented as an arrow coming into Nage's shoulder; Nage accepts the incoming force, yielding quickly but very minutely before coming back up under the incoming force. The forces add or "blend" in such a way that the resulting forces (including Uke's force) throw Uke backward... this is "aiki" at a level far different from a mere technique that combines with Uke's technique. Nage and Uke have become one, at the moment of contact. This requires "relaxation", but it requires a lot of knowledge, too. What I'm getting at (obliquely) is the strong correlation relaxing because you know how to do something versus just "relaxing" without knowing how to do something.

(5.) We can take example #4 and instead of Nage "accepting" the push of Uke with the initial yielding, we imagine that Nage feels Uke's forces and directions on contact and, without moving, simply adds combining forces that result in Uke dropping himself to the ground as he applies force to Nage. This is the highest level. Technically and theoretically there is no one who is capable of being an enemy because you simply do not allow him to be.... you become one with him upon contact and his attack only becomes part of your Takemusu response.


Great post Mike, maybe the most coherent view of the different levels of 'relaxation' and how it applies to aikido that I've read here, thanks.

I wonder where readers would place themselves in this hierarchy of skills, and I do see it as a hierarchy, with #1 not being aikido ( I'm with Erick on this) just a basic steppingstone to the stability needed in later dynamic movement. Working through to #5 which although you say there is no movement I assume you mean 'physical' as there has to be manipulation of 'energy/mind/ki' to get the result.

I feel comfortable at level 3 working sometimes/occasionally at 4 ( maybe I just have too complient uke's ;) ) And have felt 5 when really going for it with my own sensei :D this is only my interpretation of what is written, but I think it is a great measure of where one is at, as an individual in their own practice. I hope I am not guilty of level inflation though as I definitely don't want to be fooling myself :eek:

Levels 1 and 2 are needed, but the aikido starts at 3 and manifests itself in 4&5

am I on the right track?

regards,

Mark

kironin
12-14-2006, 10:43 AM
The Hara, the one-point, is the control center for the force coming from the ground, not the origin of the force. In order to move so that the power of the ground is constantly expressed throughout the movement, the one-point is needed as the control center. It is nothing more than a control center, a "nexus" of power... not the power itself.
Regards,
Mike


I don't see how that is any different than what Tohei Sensei is teaching.

First ki principle in Japanese is not "Keep one point" but actually a longer phrase "Calm and focus the mind at the One Point in the Lower Abdomen". (It's actually longer than that but I don't have my notes with me). To quote Will Reed Sensei from his 1986 book fresh out of the Ki Society HQ Aikido Instructor's school, "consider the One Point as a dynamic point of mental focus. The One Point acts like a miniature star: radiating Ki out or absorbing it in from all directions". In other words, it's placing your mental focus on the spot that would most strengthen your mind and body coordination which would allow you to use the contact with the ground more efficiently and also translates directly into the 3rd principle involving the "weight underside" idea or "floating" or what Tai Chi Chuan students would call "rooting".

Ron Tisdale
12-14-2006, 10:44 AM
Excellent post Mike. Thank you...
Best,
Ron

Mark Freeman
12-14-2006, 10:46 AM
Stereotypes are all about keeping people in their place. :D Mocking them is all about being firmly out of place -- and -- judging by the equally unintelligible dialects -- I thought West Countrymen WERE honorary Australians. :p



I'd be happy to be thought of as an honorary Australian. Australians are very well balanced people - they have a chip on both shoulders! :D

Uz Wescunry men rule, my ol luvver!

:p

Mike Sigman
12-14-2006, 10:50 AM
Levels 1 and 2 are needed, but the aikido starts at 3 and manifests itself in 4&5 I think we pretty much agree, Mark, although there will probably be some slight cross-perceptions until we meet, etc.

I should have noted a couple of other things, too, BTW:

(A.) In real life there are many times when the waza, as a matter of practicality, is going to be the more likely response (due to either the situation or to Nage's level of expertise). The use of the Ki forces is therefore the penultimate ideal, but common-sense and reality have to be taken into account.

(B.) Secondly, manipulating Uke's forces so that he throws himself is high-level use of the ki-forces/kokyu/whatever, but this is a good place to point out that the "ki throws" are essentially the same thing, when done correctly. I.e., instead of manipulating Uke's force/attack with jin which combines with his, you make a movement that results in his reactions making his forces take him into a throw. When viewed from that sort of perspective, the "ki throws" suddenly make more sense to a lot of people. ;)

Best.

Mike

Mike Sigman
12-14-2006, 10:55 AM
The Hara, the one-point, is the control center for the force coming from the ground, not the origin of the force. In order to move so that the power of the ground is constantly expressed throughout the movement, the one-point is needed as the control center. It is nothing more than a control center, a "nexus" of power... not the power itself.
Regards,
Mike I don't see how that is any different than what Tohei Sensei is teaching. Well, my comment was that it's apparently not clear that they're the same thing, Craig... and my comment was an opinion based on what I felt some of the people do. In a way, I'm simplifying my observation on this forum because it's difficult to express exactly what I felt was lacking... it's a more complex thing, although I tried to express the main part of it.

Regards,

Mike

kironin
12-14-2006, 11:12 AM
Well, my comment was that it's apparently not clear that they're the same thing, Craig... and my comment was an opinion based on what I felt some of the people do. In a way, I'm simplifying my observation on this forum because it's difficult to express exactly what I felt was lacking... it's a more complex thing, although I tried to express the main part of it.

Regards,
Mike


I guess I don't understand. What you expressed I don't see as being different. You expected some students perhaps to be more successful at it and since they were not you are thinking something differs ? or they simply did something qualitatively different from what you expected to feel and yet were successful at it ?

Mike Sigman
12-14-2006, 11:22 AM
I guess I don't understand. What you expressed I don't see as being different. You expected some students perhaps to be more successful at it and since they were not you are thinking something differs ? or they simply did something qualitatively different from what you expected to feel and yet were successful at it ?Heh.... what a semantics boondoggle we're in. :)

The level of success was not as high as it could have been, Craig, so I was suggesting a possible way to improve the mental approach/visualization. That's all I originally tried to say, leaving the rest alone. Qualitatively I noticed two major things... the stability was not as great as it *could* be, even though in some cases it worked OK (my thoughts were more in line with what I think beginners could use to arrive more quickly and more firmly at results... not a denigration of the current curriculum, etc.). Secondly, and more subtly, in moving correctly with Ki, a "feel" develops in the person moving because there is a subtle shift in the way the body works. Because I did not feel this aspect very much, I am positting that a slight shift in the visualization *may* help a bit. But that's an opinion that I'm offering in what's meant to be a helpful sense, nothing more.

Regards,

Mike

Mark Freeman
12-14-2006, 11:28 AM
I think we pretty much agree, Mark, although there will probably be some slight cross-perceptions until we meet, etc.

of course, ;)

(A.) In real life there are many times when the waza, as a matter of practicality, is going to be the more likely response (due to either the situation or to Nage's level of expertise). The use of the Ki forces is therefore the penultimate ideal, but common-sense and reality have to be taken into account.

of course,

(B.) Secondly, manipulating Uke's forces so that he throws himself is high-level use of the ki-forces/kokyu/whatever, but this is a good place to point out that the "ki throws" are essentially the same thing, when done correctly. I.e., instead of manipulating Uke's force/attack with jin which combines with his, you make a movement that results in his reactions making his forces take him into a throw. When viewed from that sort of perspective, the "ki throws" suddenly make more sense to a lot of people. ;)

and yet again of course, although where does that leave the non believers/naysayers of ki/no touch throws? ;)

regards,

Mark

MM
12-14-2006, 12:38 PM
Well, bear in mind that when we're speaking of fly-casting and how to teach it, we're essentially talking about one thing: getting the tied-fly on the end of the line to a certain point on the river so a fish will hopefully bite.

What happens in Aikido that so massively disrupts the training curricula is far more complex because the perceptions of what the goals are can be so different (I'll list some examples below). "Relax" can suddenly not only be vague, but it can apply to different areas of the perceived "correct Aikido technique", thus greatly compounding the discussion (making it moot, in most cases).

Take for instance the simple jin-descriptive example I gave in post #17 and let's use the position of Uke pushing on the right shoulder of a stationary Nage. Let's look at how "relaxation" applies in relation to some of what people would perceive for the goal of "correct Aikido". "Relax" changes quite a bit in meaning when you have different ideas of what correct Aikido really is:

... SNIP LOTS OF STUFF ...

Regards,

Mike Sigman

As I've said before, everything to get to level #5 is in Aikido. It's hidden in plain sight, but you'd have to be a genius to figure it out on your own.

And me, I think I'm at #1. :)

Mark

Erick Mead
12-14-2006, 02:34 PM
Thank you, Mike. Great post.Let's look at how "relaxation" applies in relation to some of what people would perceive for the goal of "correct Aikido". "Relax" changes quite a bit in meaning when you have different ideas of what correct Aikido really is:

(1.) Standing there and relaxedly "grounding" the push would be something that the Ki Society or I or Akuzawa or Rob or Dan or Ushiro, etc., would approve of as a training response. Erick, if I read his posts aright, would disapprove because any resistance is "Not Aikido". Note that to be relaxed and "ground" the incoming push requires something beyond the normal vagueness of "relax". It requires knowing how to let the lower-body accept the load-bearing responsibility of the incoming force, etc. You have me correctly. Basically, my objection flows from the premise that you do what you train to do. If you do not want to do it -- do not train to do it.
(2.) If Nage turns with the push, leading Uke off-balance and into a throw (say, Sayu Nage), this would fit into the idea of Aikido for many people, the rotational aspects would make Erick happy, not ... Not entirely, especially if Nage's response is (quite often) to take a mere turn and make it a pull, ie. -- to shift the center against a lateral load in tension. Pulling is just as bad as pushing. Again do not train to do what you do not want to do.
(3.) If Nage turns with the push, as in example #2 above, but he maintains his "grounding" throughout the technique, he is on his way to Aikido which uses "Ki". Alleluia. Amen.
If the active use of some ki-power/kokyu involves the shoulders, it is wrong, BTW... the use of kokyu forces is rare enough, but of the people who use some kokyu force, far too many of those add shoulder power to the usage, thus making the force not true kokyu. Here the idea of "relax" has to do with several complex issues, as is obvious. Say on, brother!
(4.) If Nage is trained well enough, he can do like O-Sensei did ... Nage accepts the incoming force, yielding quickly but very minutely before coming back up under the incoming force. With the caveat as to the nature of of the forces applied. Yes. Force creates centered movement vice resistance.
(5.) We can take example #4 and instead of Nage "accepting" the push of Uke with the initial yielding, we imagine that Nage feels Uke's forces and directions on contact and, without moving, simply adds combining forces that result in Uke dropping himself to the ground as he applies force to Nage. This is the highest level. Amen and Amen except as to the "without moving" part. To apply force requires some movement. Aikido applies force, but not resistant force. If the force is perpendicular to the input, it is not resistance. If there is an oppositional component of the meeting force, then it is partially resistant. By changing the quantity of perpendicular force impinging on the input, or shifting movement from one perpendicular plane of action to another -- one can guide the input anywhere.

The real difference of our approach to understanding this for training purposes comes back to the conception of the relationship between will and movement.

If it is approached from the standpoint of manipulating the input so as "not to move" there is a will to resist movement, and thus an impediment to the immediate communication of the state of the input, by partially reducing its signal with any oppositional component of force .

If the will is to move as moved, then there is no internal resistance negating or cancelling out a portion of the input attacking movement by opposing it. It is more sensitive because the whole signal is received rather than the resisted portion being cancelled.

The necessary movement simply becomes radically smaller and smaller as input sensitivity grows higher with training. Eventually it becomes "virtual movement." The distinction between this and "no movement" approached from the "not to move" paradigm is very important.

The virtual movement state is supercritical -- highyl unstable, which I think Mike recognizes. It cannot be maintained for any arbitrary period of time, which I think O Sensei's videos offered to illustrate some of these "not moving" issues, do demonstrate.

The quantity of movement achieved is equivalent from both approaches but the vector orientations at this virtual zero are precisely reversed. That matters -- even at a zero quantity of movement -- because it is not a stable zero. It is a very, very unstable zero that requires energy to achieve from either direction, and any loss of energy (or undue additional input) will cause you to depart.

The question is which way is "downhill." What orientation does the fall away from the supercritical state take? If you train from being moved to "virtual movement" your default (stability basin) on reducing energy in departing from the supercritical zero regime is back to "being moved." If you train from "not moving" toward "not moved" your stability basin in reducing energy from the supercritical virtual/no movement area is toward resisting the movement. The one causes sensitivity to remain, the other causes sensitivity to lessen.

Let me illustrate briefly what I am beginning to see as the form of "correct relaxation" from a mechanical viewpoint. There is one simple mechanical device that almost instantly communicates changed load conditions to the whole body of the structure, (i.e. -- by moving that structure, and creating and propagating internal rotations (and moments) in its articulating sub-elements.) It is the hanging chain. In pure compression it is the catenary arch.

An arch of tangent spheres has no cohesion or bending resistance at all to stop an immediate collapse under gravity (i.e. -- it is utterly relaxed) but it has one, and only one, stable shape under its own weight where it will stand erect -- where the the line of force runs exactly through the points of contact between the spheres. That is to say, where it is "correctly relaxed."

Viewed at different scales the curve may appear more flat or more pointed, but it is the always same precise shape -- always.
Kokyu is like finding the key that fits neatly into that very narrow lock at different scales of action.

All the necessary stability adjustments in the model are tangential rotations of the joints between the spheres. All components of force tangent to the spheres at the point of contact are thus perfectly perpendicular (juji) to the only stable line of force.

Actively maintain this shape in adapting to different scales of load, and you form the correct shape of kokyu expression for that load condition. It may appear relatively flatter (tegatana "hand blade") or more pointed in shape (hiji-riki or "elbow power"), depending on the load it is responding to.

Actively disrupt this shape across the joints in four places and the body is a mechanism that is unliftable by upward pushing or where the center of mass is unreachable by pulling or pushing.

This is overly simplistic as there are other slight variations in shape that depart from the catenary (at the supports for other defined loads), but the identical line of force principle holds throughout the center portions of all of these curves of whatever shape.

When uke grabs my wrist, or I meet his munetsuki on the fly, he and I form now a single chain. If I adopt the shape of the chain in that configuration -- everything that happens in that chain is communicated to every other part of the chain. If I achieve and maintain the proper shape between us, any internal joint rotations that I create now propagate to reach him, and his reach me. Those internal rotations, having an angular momentum, can be propagated to manipulate and create other and grosser rotations in other componets of the chain to concentrate (snapping the whip) or diminish perceived forces -- but that is another topic.

Lastly, the dynamic aspect of this is the question I asked David Knowlton elsewhere about the fall of one end of a folded chain.

With one end supported, the free tip falls from the same hook, with an aceleration greater than gravity. The accleration occurs becasue of the compounding of angular momentum with mass transfer (irimi), and decreasing inertial radius (as the free portion of chain shortens) (tenkan) causes the angular velocity at the end of the chain's fall to become mathematically infinite, or to be limited only by the harmonic length of the chain, or the speed of sound in air (snapping whip) whichever comes first.

The linked chain of wrist, arms, shoulder, spine and hips cannot achive that degree of compounded momentum, but they can achieve a very great deal of it by the same mechanism, and they can act in two perpendicular component planes and three dimensions, without ever opposing the input force at all.

Mike Sigman
12-14-2006, 03:18 PM
Amen and Amen except as to the "without moving" part. To apply force requires some movement. Do you understand how these directionally-variable forces are generated, Erick? That's the question I'd ask, since you seem to agree with the general premises. Aikido applies force, but not resistant force. If the force is perpendicular to the input, it is not resistance. If there is an oppositional component of the meeting force, then it is partially resistant. By changing the quantity of perpendicular force impinging on the input, or shifting movement from one perpendicular plane of action to another -- one can guide the input anywhere. Well, when O-Sensei bounced people off his chest, thigh, hit them with his back, hit them with his sword, etc., he used resistive forces, Erick, or at least large enough cosine vector components (not orthogonal) that it meets your definition of resistive. So we disagree there.

The last part of your explanation doesn't fit as a description to what I know can be done with the mind and forces, but it's pointless to try and describe what is happening. Hopefully, though, the descriptions and discussion will provide us all with adquate roughage to ruminate over. ;) Happiness is a full mind and empty bowels.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

billybob
12-14-2006, 03:41 PM
My problem with the chain analogy is this: have you ever tried to push a chain? Don't work.

Catenary arch is lovely, describes the arch of my foot perhaps - but you are missing the point of balanced tension and compression - in a vertical pole tied down with three or four lines for example. That's a better description of what makes us stand up - look at this picture: http://wwwhome.cs.utwente.nl/~jagersaa/Pictures/Icosahedron_tensegrity.jpg

Dave

btw - having a great time with this.dk

Alfonso
12-14-2006, 03:47 PM
have you seen this paper?

http://www.biotensegrity.com/index2.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=16&Itemid=29&pop=1&page=0

billybob
12-14-2006, 03:51 PM
thanks! brings tears to my eyes.

Erick Mead
12-14-2006, 04:47 PM
Do you understand how these directionally-variable forces are generated, Erick? That's the question I'd ask, since you seem to agree with the general premises. At the joints or as to uke generally? The shape is found by sensing the line of equal circumferential pressure in the joint -- that is, by elminating any hinging pressures in the joints under load. Once the input is felt -- it is modified by Incremental or continuous rotations in perpendicular plane orientations to the input vector plane.

In contact, this is like sending a wave down a rope or chain, and a wave is just translated rotation. And as I indicated above, there is one and only one way to push on a chain, and only assuming the chain wants to be pushed.

So, if in katatedori he is not pushing in the shape of a chain to begin with, he cannot push you by your arm (unless he takes the same shape). basically you progressively form the shape of the falling chain in reverse progating that shape (in compression and rotation) to him in kokyu. The wrist rotates, the elbow rotates the shoulder rotates --all in the same direction,. his shape gradually changes in the same incremental way but with different effects.

All this time he has been pushing, and you have been the "falling chain in reverse" with incremental rotations like the falling joint of the chain, he has basically pushed himself up and back, creating his own reaction (arch thrust) from his push. But his structure is progressively rotated out of alignment with the plane of his push. So he has formed his own mutally opposed offset forces, a couple, and starts to rotate further.

Instead of the fixed end of the chain hanging in tension at his shoulder as with the falling chain example, the fixed end is in compression (you form an inverted arch of your paired arms) and his shoulder pops up. As you continue the motion and rotations his shoulder cannot rise further and then his elbow buckles in the compression of his own push, and pops up, etc. etc. etc. Like a chain falling link by link off a table under its own weight -- but in reverse, his arm and torso rise and pop over from his own push.

To anticipate the objection -- I can maintain compression while moving with the impinging force -- that is not resistance.

You adapt your shape and continue the rotations of your joints to mimic the falling chain (upwards), and he rotates more, etc. etc. etc. skewing himself in three dimensions. At some point it all reverses at the top and he gets cut down in ikkyo by the reverse motion uncoiling all the above back at him.

So your cosine vector thought is not too far off the waves of rotations he is receiving, but the control methodology you advocate at the begining tends to the resistant mode, which is the problem I have with it.
Well, when O-Sensei bounced people off his chest, thigh, hit them with his back, hit them with his sword, etc., he used resistive forces O Sensei said "no resistance", not "no violence." Aikido by all means uses force ("vi"olence -- Latin: "vi et armis"= "with force and arms"), but not resistive force. The chest and thigh pushes are continuous reversals and offsets under guidance, not direct countering pushes. (think tight elliptical orbits or to continue the imagery -- a chain hung just past its midpoint over a rod and then falling off, but again -- in compression, not tension)

But seriously, I doubt they were able to resist his atemi too much ... ;)

One cannot strike or grab without rotating a limb in at least one of three planes-- it is hardly a reach that blending with and manipulating them necessarily involves rotations also.

The last part of your explanation doesn't fit as a description to what I know can be done with the mind and forces, but it's pointless to try and describe what is happening. Have you never felt that uncoiling whip in the ikkyo omote ?? The one you have to leave off of at that last moment to avoid uke's rotator cuff popping loose as his head slaps and bounces off the ground while his feet are leaving it? Particularly when you stopped trying so hard to do just that?

I've felt it and analogized it that way for years, but it took some fairly serious pondering to come to an understanding that indeed the same mechanics are operating and do operate in both the tension and compression load regimes.

Everything I have said operates equally in the classic tension chain regime, and there are many techniques that use that. The probem for training is that techniques using these principles in tension tend to awaken the hind-brain monkey pulling instinct, which destroys the classic chain shape by popping it into a tight line for which rotations (in torsion) while very possibole and powerful, are far more difficult to manipulate and to see directly.

Mike Sigman
12-14-2006, 04:53 PM
Well, I'd be interested in seeing you implement that, Erick. It's certainly not what I do and what I know of in Asian martial arts. Maybe O-Sensei was misleading us with that "Ki of Heaven" and "Ki of Earth" stuff. ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Ecosamurai
12-14-2006, 05:00 PM
Why not tell them where they're tense instead of using an ambibuous statement? If they ask "How?" that's a perfect opportunity to add more clairty to what's going on. If they ask if they were doing it incorrectly, tell them, "Yup, you were..." We're constantly giving each other feedback like, you're activating your biceps, you're chest is too tense, you need to relax your lower back muscles... I realize too that the way we train isn't completely in line with the Ki Society, since we pretty much reject the idea that you must relax the entire body, so this may not apply to your training paradigm.

I think that having a student ask me 'How?' is of course perfectly reasonable, however, a positive state of mind is vital to being able to relax confidently. Hence I would not start by saying 'relax correctly' since it implies that what the student is normally doing is incorrect, this can affect their confidence and therefore their ability to perform the exercise. A small matter but I think perhaps you'd be surprised at how much difference it can make.

Mike

Erick Mead
12-14-2006, 05:04 PM
My problem with the chain analogy is this: have you ever tried to push a chain? Don't work. Yes you can. See Coulomb's memoir on statics, and the picture I gave you. in an earlier post It works in only one shape, the chain has to be relatively rigid in compression (like the spheres or my limbs) but need not have any cohesion or bending resistance at any joint ( like my relaxed limbs). And the chain has to want to be pushed, i.e -- be adaptive, or "smart" to maintain that super critical shape. Nobody ever said kokyu just "happens."

The shape is super-critically stable and therefore it requires continual adaptive adjustment to maintain it. That is why kokyu as martial expression is so difficult for an enemy to counter, it is so variable and adaptively unstable that he can never find his line.

Catenary arch is lovely, describes the arch of my foot perhaps - but you are missing the point of balanced tension and compression - in a vertical pole tied down with three or four lines for example. That's a better description of what makes us stand up - look at this picture: http://wwwhome.cs.utwente.nl/~jagersaa/Pictures/Icosahedron_tensegrity.jpg
Nah -- try a top-heavy wobbly pole with a double eccentirc and torsional elastic joint stuck in the middle to alter the eccentircity of the toppling moment. Balancing THAT nifty bent broom stick is what keeps us upright.

Spine = tensegrity. Amen, brother.

But the mechanics of kokyu are not explained by that fasincating model of static structure. The "smart" chain does. Tensegrity does not explain either the tegatana shape as a critical element of kokyu or its flip side of Hiji-riki. The "smart" chain does.

Erick Mead
12-14-2006, 05:10 PM
Well, I'd be interested in seeing you implement that, Erick. It's certainly not what I do and what I know of in Asian martial arts. I implement it every night I am in the Dojo and will again tonight. :D I will try to make these things a bit more organized, however, in written form.

Maybe O-Sensei was misleading us with that "Ki of Heaven" and "Ki of Earth" stuff. ;) He just was not mechanically-minded. Biomechanically, an intuitive genius, but not capable or interested in Western analytical mechanics. He had great respect for it and advocated scientific approaches to his budo. He said so in Budo Renshu. He simply was not up to doing it himself.

Mike Sigman
12-14-2006, 07:19 PM
I implement it every night I am in the Dojo and will again tonight. :D I will try to make these things a bit more organized, however, in written form.

He just was not mechanically-minded. Biomechanically, an intuitive genius, but not capable or interested in Western analytical mechanics. He had great respect for it and advocated scientific approaches to his budo. He said so in Budo Renshu. He simply was not up to doing it himself.Well, I think the major error you're making is that you think the ki things are purely aspects of normal body-mechanics. I.e., there is this conceit that now in modern times we've explained everything and nothing new can come along. I believe the U.S. Patent Office once closed in the early 1900's because of that same type of conceit... everything under the sun that could be invented had been invented, so they thought.

The real problem is that there is an element of fascial structures involved in what the ki things do. It's not just the bone and muscle mechanics involved in the equation of Ki... there are some intereactions between the fascial structures, the autonomic functions, and so forth. In other words, an analysis of body mechanics in the basic kinesiology sense, isn't really accurate. So Ueshiba couldn't do such a modern analysis and even if he could, it wouldn't be accurate.

If there are factors in the equation that you don't understand, I'd suggest that your understanding of jin and kokyu is probably off.

Maybe if you attempted a simpler analysis to make your point, as a starter, and explained to some of the people who attended Ushiro Sensei's workshop what it was that they felt that was so odd in some of Ushiro's pushes, pokes, and other techniques? It would be a good start. As it is, your analysis makes no differentiation between normal body mechanics and the mechanics of "ki".

Regards,

Mike Sigman

charyuop
12-14-2006, 07:42 PM
I am new in the Aikido world, so I can just tell you what I can see in my personal "little" experience. I have done Tai Chi for some time, but not as martial art, where like in Aikido you have to be relaxed. I thought I had reached relaxation pretty well till I started Aikido. Seeing someone in fron of you who is actually trying to punch you (even tho you know he/she would stop if you miss the technique) creates a natural tension which is not easy to defeat.
Anyway I have noticed that the longer I practice a technique and the more I get confident with it and am aware of how effective it is, the more I can wait for the attack in a relaxed way and counter attack in a relaxed way. Of course reaching a complete relaxation will take a long time, it is not something you learn in a couple of days. But confidence in your knowledge helps alot. But watch out, coz too much confidence is not good either, it will naturally lower your attention to what is going on around you.

As per the use of Ki/Chi. I have read a book from a kung fu/Tai Chi Master (Dr.Yang) once. In his book he has an interesting theory in which he explains how the so called soft Martial Arts work their way through a long training to reach a harder style of fight, while the so called hard martial arts on the opposite work their way through long training to a more soft style of fight. According this theory there is a point in which all the Arts to be complete meet, losing the distinction of soft and hard.

Bronson
12-14-2006, 08:20 PM
One thing I hate is the term 'relaxation' as it is not quite descriptive enough.

In Seidokan ,which has Ki Society roots, we use "controlled relaxation"--relaxing what doesn't need to be used and using what does.

I once accidently coined a term. I was trying to say "relaxed action" but it came out "relaxtion"... it has since stuck :D

Bronson

akiy
12-14-2006, 08:58 PM
Hi folks,

Can I please request that people try to make an explicit connection in their posts to the original intent of the thread?

In this case, the original questions posed were:

The question for the forum at large is how do you or your system teach/train an individual to become relaxed? Is there a specific method or is it simply a hope that over time the student will relax? What drills or exercises are explicitly used for the purpose of teaching relaxation and it's powers?

Thank you,

-- Jun

Erick Mead
12-14-2006, 10:42 PM
Well, I think the major error you're making is that you think the ki things are purely aspects of normal body-mechanics. No one has demonstrated that they are not. Unique uses of normal body mechanics in a relaxed mode, but not abnormal body mechanics.
The real problem is that there is an element of fascial structures involved in what the ki things do. It's not just the bone and muscle mechanics involved in the equation of Ki... there are some intereactions between the fascial structures, the autonomic functions, and so forth. Your theory is outrunnning your facts. If it has a bearing on the mechanics of relaxed but dynamically active structures, that needs some mechanical description. It is not enough to observe that bones and tendons have some affinity to tensegrity structures when they also have rotary and torsional joints. A mechanical description must capture and explain those degrees of freedom in its operaiton.

You have an impression that makes sense for your training imagery, which is fine. Whatever works. I am not addressing the pysycho-somatic efficiency. There is much to do there that I cannot address.

I assume that the mechanism of relaxed adpatation is dynamic, non-linear and actively controlled. I assume it is relaxed and yet still capable of bearing loads.

I do not assume that the system is static or linear. I am working on the mechanical model that the adaptive system is actually working on to adapt. An objective mechanical description may enable other means of impoving training or explaining technique.
Maybe if you attempted a simpler analysis to make your point, as a starter, Good one. Ki -- simple analysis. Hah. You have one of those ?
... and explained to some of the people who attended Ushiro Sensei's workshop what it was that they felt that was so odd in some of Ushiro's pushes, pokes, and other techniques? It would be a good start. It is forever beyond me to explain to someone else what THEY felt. I can make a stab an objective model that explains all the forces and motions that are evident, if someone will kindly describe in detail the forces and motions that they experienced.
As it is, your analysis makes no differentiation between normal body mechanics and the mechanics of "ki". If someone would kindly provide the latter I will be happy to address differences, if any come to light. It is my working assumption that there are not any, just a very critical regime of ordinary mechanics, and an art of dynamic adaptive control.

In other words, I think the power of your methods lies, not in your assumed mechnics, but in the psycho-somatic process you use, to which any connection to actual mechanics may be completely irrelevant, as it is for singing coaches, the imagery is all you need for qualitative adjustments. I don't agree with the ends you put it to in terms of aikido, but I have no basis to contest its effectiveness in its own terms otherwise.

Gwion
12-15-2006, 02:33 AM
are you guys all too chicken to just SAY what it is?
I know you've all felt it, but maybe words fail you, and you enjoy floundering about the semantic morass with the likes of Eric Mead.

Total relaxation in Aikido equals:

let go. Let go of trying to be a separate entity, apart from the world/universe. Let go of your ego, your ego thoughts, tension created by trying to defend or protect your image or status or appearance as an aikidoka or martial artist.

let go mentally, relax, let go physically, relax, and become one with (or realize the oneness already there) the universe. You are the universe and it is you, moving, breathing, relaxed, powerful, in contention with nothing or no one. At peace in unified movement.

let go of everything, so you can be one with everything and everything can be one with you.

quote from Aikido Journal:
AJ: What was the most important thing you learned from Morihei Ueshiba?
Toihei Sensei: The way people most talk about ki these days tends toward the occultish, but I will say that I have never done anything even remotely involving the occult. Much of what Ueshiba Sensei talked about, on the other hand, did sound like the occult.

In any case, I began studying aikido because I saw that Ueshiba Sensei had truly mastered the art of relaxing. It was because he was relaxed, in fact, that he could generate so much power. I became his student with the intention of learning that from him.
__________________________________

and there you have it. Straight from the mouth of the highest ranked Aikido student in the history of the art, referring to its founder. How about instead of pontificating on how this 10th Dan must have been 'wrong' and you can't really 'totally relax', just go out and investigate for yourselves and try it.

billybob
12-15-2006, 07:38 AM
Thanks Wayne. Good advice.

Personally, all this ties together for me - the tensegrity, etc., because for years when I relaxed past a certain point I started screaming. Currently, I can relax past that point and I only get dizzy. I was very painfully injured 25 years ago, and I just don't have a normal nervous system. So, my method of training is to do 'standing like a tree' chi kung. I do physical therapy several times a year via a rolfer and a chiropractor with neurophysical training, and I use tensegrity merely as a model for understanding how 'open space' in my body, not maintaining a death grip around an old injury, is my path to healing and relaxation.

Peace

david

Mike Sigman
12-15-2006, 08:05 AM
Well, I think the major error you're making is that you think the ki things are purely aspects of normal body-mechanics. No one has demonstrated that they are not. Erick, what you mean is that no one has demonstrated to YOU that these are not normal body mechanics. However, if that's all they were, the Asians wouldn't have made such a fuss about them for thousands of years, Ueshiba wouldn't have treated them like secrets that one was supposed to "figure out for yourself", I wouldn't have spent years learning how to train these things with breathing, standing postures, practice, etc. I did an in-service (I wrote about this before) for the Physical Therapy staff at the UC Med School... *they* thought the mechanics were abnormal. I know a large number of experienced martial artists who can do so level of these things... after my years of experience and knowing all the people I know, I cannot imagine getting into a conversation about the mechanics and positing that it's unknown whether unusual body mechanics are involved.

So it's not a matter of "no one has demonstrated they are not (normal body mechanics)" .... why not just say that you yourself are unaware of any unusual body mechanics? That happens to be a point I have been making repeatedly to you for some time. You don't know this stuff.

If your analysis misses the point, then the comments about relaxation in relation to your analysis are negligible. However, to be clear, I think that any conversation about this stuff has to reach out and touch a number of issues.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

billybob
12-15-2006, 08:10 AM
Mike - you made a joke!

You described what has been called 'natural movement' by yourself and martial artists as 'abnormal' to physical therapists.

Makes one think.

dave

Mike Sigman
12-15-2006, 08:36 AM
are you guys all too chicken to just SAY what it is?
I know you've all felt it, but maybe words fail you, and you enjoy floundering about the semantic morass with the likes of Eric Mead.

Total relaxation in Aikido equals:

let go. Let go of trying to be a separate entity, apart from the world/universe. Let go of your ego, your ego thoughts, tension created by trying to defend or protect your image or status or appearance as an aikidoka or martial artist.

let go mentally, relax, let go physically, relax, and become one with (or realize the oneness already there) the universe. You are the universe and it is you, moving, breathing, relaxed, powerful, in contention with nothing or no one. At peace in unified movement.

let go of everything, so you can be one with everything and everything can be one with you. You know, Wayne, normally I would bypass your post, thinking you were out on the fringe somewhere, but after having attended Shaner Sensei's workshop, I realize that the words you're using aren't your own.

Let me see if I can get the ball rolling about "relaxation" from the Ki Society standpoint.

First of all, I don't think I worked with you (maybe I did, but there were so many people I worked with), so I'll just make general comments when I say "you". When you "relaxed", that wasn't all you did. If just "relax", not much is going to happen. So you qualify that you just "relax", but you do some sort of mental adjustment and try to become "one with the universe". Not to mention, and this is very important, you have had someone more experienced than you show you what is the desirable outcome of the "test". Let's say you're successful and someone pushing lightly on your chest suddenly can't move you.

The first question is "what do they feel" when you're "relaxed", but they feel a solidity when they push your chest? I.e., if you're relaxed, what is this solidity, this resistive force that they're feeling? A quick look at Statics analysis tells us that if they don't move you, all the forces are in equilibrium, which means that some force is countering their push. Correct? It's either a Force or it is the Ki of the Universe they're feeling, but let's assume it's a Force ... that force must have an origin somewhere, since it doesn't magically appear from an other-dimensional-outlet in your chest. What is the origin of the force? Simple to check and see that if you were on wheels your partner could move you easily, so the force must be coming from where your feet meet the ground. I.e., ultimately, when someone is doing a ki test by pushing lightly against your chest, they are being stopped by the ground.

But you're "relaxing", correct? Not using your normal mechanics to brace against the ground, so what is different?

OK, I'll stop at that point, Wayne. You've just assured us that all it takes is relaxing and becoming "one with the universe". I say it's more complex than that and I've laid out the start of the argument, which you can either respond to or ignore. But let me suggest that if you want to go very far with these sorts of skills you need to be asking questions constantly and persistently or you will always stay at a low, dues-paying level. ;)

All the Best.

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
12-15-2006, 08:37 AM
Mike - you made a joke!

You described what has been called 'natural movement' by yourself and martial artists as 'abnormal' to physical therapists.

Makes one think.Not really. This has been discussed a number of times before.... what is called "natural movement" is not instinctive and must be taught/trained.

Regards,

Mike

billybob
12-15-2006, 08:48 AM
M. Sigman: .... what is called "natural movement" is not instinctive and must be taught/trained.

It's a joke to me, only because it's ironic.

One of the judoka I trained with was talking about chimpanzees, and their being X stronger than human beings. He wanted to learn to 'pull like a chimp' so no one could defeat his judo. I've been attacked by a person who was at times an uncoordinated drunk, And at other times had that bizarre super-strength that psychopaths can have.

Makes me wonder WHY humans have to be trained to be natural.

dave

Erick Mead
12-15-2006, 09:33 AM
Erick, what you mean is that no one has demonstrated to YOU that these are not normal body mechanics. However, if that's all they were, the Asians wouldn't have made such a fuss about them for thousands of years, ...
Read what I say and not what you want to argue against. We are on the same page, basically, as to 3-5 of your progression and differ only in approach on 1&2. I am a helicopter pilot. Hovering such a machine requires a very subtle and precise regime of fine motor adaptive control and simultaneous coordination over all four limbs of the body.

It also does not work, BTW unless one is very relaxed in doing it. FWIW. The control sensitivity is critical and too much muscle input drowns out the control signals.

This kind of coordinated non-linear, and fundamentally unstable dynamic regime is not normally used to any great degree by ordinary people walking around and must be learned. But there is absolutely nothing "abnormal" about the body mechanics involved in that complex interaction with another dynamic body such a helicopter. The control processes are the special thing.

Interacting with an attacking dynamic human body is no different in priniciple -- and the mechanics are no different than ordinary bodily mehcanics. It is just the skill in exploiting them with such precision in supercritical areas of action that is not ordinary.

So it's not a matter of "no one has demonstrated they are not (normal body mechanics)" .... why not just say that you yourself are unaware of any unusual body mechanics? Why doesn't someone actually give a mechanical description of the "unusual body mechanics?" Might be a nice start for comparison.

Why don't we see if THAT model of of unusual body mechanics" just blows my failry simplistic conventional description of linked body parts as a basic chain which fits the relaxed adaptive structure (no bending stresses or torques at all) that is (I think without any dispute from anyone) the measure of the proper functional description of the dynamics that it must produce.
I can support my model in conventional mechanical terms. Let's trot out the alternative and show why mine is just not supportable in view of your hitherrto unstated superior model. Please elaborate.

Mike Sigman
12-15-2006, 09:50 AM
Read what I say and not what you want to argue against. We are on the same page, basically, as to 3-5 of your progression and differ only in approach on 1&2. I am a helicopter pilot. Hovering such a machine requires a very subtle and precise regime of fine motor adaptive control and simultaneous coordination over all four limbs of the body.

It also does not work, BTW unless one is very relaxed in doing it. FWIW. The control sensitivity is critical and too much muscle input drowns out the control signals.

This kind of coordinated non-linear, and fundamentally unstable dynamic regime is not normally used to any great degree by ordinary people walking around and must be learned. But there is absolutely nothing "abnormal" about the body mechanics involved in that complex interaction with another dynamic body such a helicopter. The control processes are the special thing.

Interacting with an attacking dynamic human body is no different in priniciple -- and the mechanics are no different than ordinary bodily mehcanics. It is just the skill in exploiting them with such precision in supercritical areas of action that is not ordinary.

[quote=Mike Sigman]So it's not a matter of "no one has demonstrated they are not (normal body mechanics)" .... why not just say that you yourself are unaware of any unusual body mechanics? [/quote} Why doesn't someone actually give a mechanical description of the "unusual body mechanics?" Might be a nice start for comparison.

Why don't we see if THAT model of of unusual body mechanics" just blows my failry simplistic conventional description of linked body parts as a basic chain which fits the relaxed adaptive structure (no bending stresses or torques at all) that is (I think without any dispute from anyone) the measure of the proper functional description of the dynamics that it must produce.
I can support my model in conventional mechanical terms. Let's trot out the alternative and show why mine is just not supportable in view of your hitherrto unstated superior model. Please elaborate.Erick... you still don't understand. I'll say it once again... notice how Rob, Dan, Ushiro, Shaner, etc., are all (from my perspective) acknowledgedly talking about the same subject, even though none of them is writing 3-page dissertaions on gyrational movement to convince me? It's pretty obvious that they know the same thing that I know, just as it has been obvious with *numerous* martial artists I've met in my career. You're trying to fit in when it's clear that you don't really understand. IF you understood, we would have had some meaningful agreement and understanding by now. It's that simple.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
12-15-2006, 12:23 PM
Erick... you still don't understand. I'll say it once again... notice how Rob, Dan, Ushiro, Shaner, etc., are all (from my perspective) acknowledgedly talking about the same subject, even though none of them is writing 3-page dissertaions on gyrational movement to convince me? It's pretty obvious that they know the same thing that I know, just as it has been obvious with *numerous* martial artists I've met in my career. O Sensei (in the pre-war period that you all seem to find more authoritative on these issues) said that we should specifically pursue the scientific line of inquiry in developing his Aikido. That's what I am doing.

"I know it's true! I have seen it! So have those guys over there!"

Great!

That's just NOT science. I even believe you, but that is still NOT science.

You take my skepticism of your statements as a failure to comprehend, or as a challenge to the validity of your experience. It is not. You are just not meeting the terms of the argument at issue when it comes to providing some sound mechanical interpretation for training in relaxed body dynamics.

You have said nothing about relaxed structures that means anything mechanically that you could use to aid training from that objective, scientific perspective. You have your perpective on progressive training for relaxation and have outlined it (admirably and clearly in common terms). But it is and will remain subjective. Not bad, not wrong necessarily (other than the resistive elements for aikido), but subjective.

That is only emphasized by your recurrent refrain of having to "feel" it in a hands-on setting from a vetted provider of "the skills." I have felt kokyu, I know what it is; I can do it; I can describe it in a host of subjective terms some poetic, some spiritual, some not.

Now, fine. You describe it in objective terms if you want to meet my objective model in argument. Springs aren't it, nor is tensegrity or any other spaceframe analysis -- none of these are relaxed structures -- they exhibit bending moment resistance under load, and none of them have rotary or torsional joints as does the human body. The closest you might come with your mention of fascial tissues approach would be some form of shear plane structure, but you have not developed that, and I cannot see how that would deal with the dynamic joint issues, either

Either stop pretending that you have a mechanical model of relaxed body behavior, or quit avoiding the point by misplaced arguments of authority or personal experience and propose something that has an objective scientific foundation.

State your point so that others can objectively test it analytically, both in concept and physically to duplicate your results -- without your hand in the experiment. That is the test. If not, then it has abslutely nothing to say on the points I am addressing.

If you don't choose to, then why are you arguing the point? Go on about what you are doing. Some people seem to like it. I have no problem with any of that (like my opinion mattered anyway.)

Mike Sigman
12-15-2006, 12:34 PM
You take my skepticism of your statements as a failure to comprehend, Not true. The people I mentioned like Rob, Dan, Ushiro, me, and MANY others, can establish a common dialogue fairly quickly, based on our descriptions of what's going on... the commonalities are very apparent. It doesn't take much and it is the basis from which a fruitful dialogue develops. You have never shown any real knowledge of that basis and your theories don't reflect it at all...even when I stretch my mind looking for ways to see a concurrence. That's where I get your failure to comprehend; not your skepticism.

Just to check, I've spoken with people that know you... it's even less assuring. As I've suggested, maybe you should meet up with someone like Rob, Ushiro, or Dan and first establish what the common dialogue is about. And go from there.

As I noted, how can we discuss relaxation if we're talking about 2 different forms of movement?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
12-15-2006, 01:52 PM
Not true. The people I mentioned like Rob, Dan, Ushiro, me, and MANY others, can establish a common dialogue fairly quickly, based on our descriptions of what's going on... the commonalities are very apparent. It doesn't take much and it is the basis from which a fruitful dialogue develops. You keeping talking past the points I've made, rather than addressing them directly, Mike, and getting way too testy into the bargain. Not aiki -- on either point.
Dialogue is not science. Consensus is not science.
Just to check, I've spoken with people that know you... it's even less assuring. Snooping and sarcastic innuendo about an unknown reputation. Also -- not science. Also -- not very Aiki. Not that I care what they woudl say if they indeed know me. And -- Reputation -- (good or bad) also not science.
As I noted, how can we discuss relaxation if we're talking about 2 different forms of movement? You have not established in any objective terms that we are. Mine is on the wing. Shoot it down. Or, propose a better one, that objectively shows I don't "get it."

And unless and until you actually give some objective description of the physical model of movement of which you are speaking, no one else will have any reason to believe that it is different either, unless they just take your word for it.

If they experience relaxed body dynamics then they can (and usually do) come up with their own ad hoc models to help them understand the training, sure, but they will still have either a subjective interpretation of what is happening or will have to derive some objective model of the action that can be tested conceptually and physically. Your approach is stillin that ad hoc vein, you all have just agreed on common terminology, it just doesn;t happen to be objective mehcnics. Which as I said before, is just fine.

Mike Sigman
12-15-2006, 02:01 PM
Go see someone that can show you, Erick. Then we can talk about modelling. You can't model something that you don't understand. ;)

Mike

Tim Fong
12-15-2006, 06:10 PM
I'm done with finals now so I can return to this discussion.

Erick, what you are doing isn't science. It's the rhetoric of science used to advance your argument, rather than figuring out what is actually happening,
This is how you argue:

The issue is...(is this aiki, is this a tensor, is this xyz)
The rule is (insert quote about aiki/tensor/some study done by human biodynamics guys)
Analysis: See? This intance matches/does not match the rule given above.
Conclusion: It's not aiki/it's a tensor/it's xyz motion.

Unfortunately at no point did you ever go out and test your theory. By testing, I mean acquire numerical data to ascertain whether your theory is true, or incorrect. You haven't done this. Science is about finding numerical data to support or falsify (depending on who you talk to ) a theory.

If we can't find numerical data, what we can do is examine a particular physical skill, then through trial and error derive a training method to accomplish it. This may not give us much from the "analytical/numerical" perspective. However, it can teach us how to throw (hopefully) like Shioda and Ueshiba. Actually this is exactly what the esoteric 'feelings talk' that you dislike so much is for. It gives us a common language to discuss how to create an objective result with the use of subjective (or difficult to measure outside of a lab) mental states. We "keep it real" by testing, either through "tricks" that are not possible without the relevant body skill, or through actual fighting.

Therefore, your argument is fundamentally empty from the perspective of helping to develop a method to train the skills which we are discussing.

Rather, you have made recourse to what you have learned in your legal education, namely, the skill of hermeneutic argumentation. That's about as far from empiricism as one can get.

Erick Mead
12-15-2006, 09:24 PM
Erick, what you are doing isn't science. It's the rhetoric of science used to advance your argument, rather than figuring out what is actually happening, It's mechanics. It is scientific. I don't have to duplicate the whole canon of experimental physics to argue those points in order to ELIMINATE untenable models. You are correct that it is noty complete yet, but who claimed it was? We are the stage of framing hypotheses. I have a tentative one I am trying to refine at the level of available data and competing conceptual models before I try to falsify and test it. Data and conceptual discussion, which I might add, are not forthcoming. I have arrived a a tentative hypthesis at this point. I have described it. Unfortunately at no point did you ever go out and test your theory. By testing, I mean acquire numerical data to ascertain whether your theory is true, or incorrect. You haven't done this. Science is about finding numerical data to support or falsify (depending on who you talk to ) a theory. You are correct. However, you are, like these other guys, jumping the gun to cut off the usefulness of this debate, becasue you assume this is idle talk. I assure you it is not.

Once I have a working hypothesis I can design a testing assumption and a data model. How does an interested neurologist and EMG sound? That's one of the reasons I am trying to get these guys to come to terms with me on the mechanics of what they do to see if there is any meaningful distinction between what we idnetify as kokyu in mechnical terms. I have some real possibilities to do this.
Actually this is exactly what the esoteric 'feelings talk' that you dislike so much is for. It gives us a common language to discuss how to create an objective result with the use of subjective (or difficult to measure outside of a lab) mental states. Yes and I value it highly in the terms of O Sensei's work. Their language of "feel" is not his, and there is a disconnect. I have spent a great deal of time and attention on the root concepts of Chinese and Japanese culture in my earlier years. I have tried very hard to understand the concepts and their "feel" as O Sensei speaks of them on their own terms, as they are the guideposts for aikido. Too many people either dismiss or are unwilling to expend the effort to work through them. The problem with the rubric used by Mike, Dan and the others, however useful to them, is that it does not map onto O Sensei's descriptions of the prinicples in important respects. I have noted some of these, and asked for explaining interpretations that would resolve the conflict. They do not want to cooperate, or cannot. What they are doing is plainly related, but troublingly dissonant in "feel" compared with O Sensei's descriptions.

... you have made recourse to what you have learned in your legal education, namely, the skill of hermeneutic argumentation. That's about as far from empiricism as one can get. Uh . Of course it is. Whatever the disagreement is about current practice, O Sensei cannot resolve it in terms of physical practice. Going back to "formula" so to speak, may be one way to do that. The only way to get from the inside of O Sensei's text to the outside of it with useful testable assumptions for empirical analysis IS the process of hermeneutics... If you have a better one?

Erick Mead
12-15-2006, 09:36 PM
Go see someone that can show you, Erick. Then we can talk about modelling. You can't model something that you don't understand. ;) Let me be clear. I am not modelling what you are doing, unless it is the same thing that I am doing. I have not resolved that with you, nor can I without your willing participation. I am not going to stop what I have been doing that I know to be useful because you assert, without knowing what I am doing, that I do not know what I am doing.

Mark Jakabcsin
12-15-2006, 09:58 PM
Ahhhh....interesting.....kinda......errrr......where does the tension come from? Babies obviously do not have tension, nor do very young children, hence it must not be natural to have tension. I.E. we learn or aquire tension. Why? I believe that finding a cure (to any problem) requires identifying and correcting the cause. Yes? Hence if one wishes to learn some degree of relaxation would it not be helpful to understand what causes the tension in the first place?

Sorry, this is not a mechanical line of thinking......but then we are not robots. Perhaps a new direction in our discussion would be helpful.

MJ

Tim Fong
12-15-2006, 10:51 PM
Erick,
When you get some numerical data and people have modeled the behavior, I'd like to see it. And I mean that. Until then, don't expect me , or anyone else, to take it very seriously.

Let me explain to you why-- I spent a number of years training with people who thought a lot like you did. They attempted to watch techinques and come up with elaborate (and untested/untestable) "physics models" to help their students understand the technique. I found it then, and find it now, pretty useless. It has nothing to do with the feeling of what happens in the moment, and how to train that awareness/proper relaxation. In fact, I'd argue that trying to "think" one's way through the technique is about the worst way to do it. For me. Maybe this technique works well with you and your student population. I've found it a needless overcomplication for me, and I wouldn't use it to explain anything to another person either.

I am not interested in a legalistic analysis of Ueshiba's writings, nor am I interested in playing the purity game, i.e. arguing over who's training is "purer" and closer in adherence to Ueshiba's writings. They're interesting to me insofar as they illustrate the journey of another person, as notes on the path. It's just a guide, in other words. I am neither an Omoto practitioner, nor a classically trained martial artist in the way that he was. I agree with you that Ueshiba can't settle anything since he is dead. The harder you try and force everything into an idealistic, legalistic framework (the rule is....the authority says...) the harder you will find this type of training, but , I don't think you're going to accept that, since you seem to think that method of thinking is the best thing since sliced bread.

Before you write everything off though, I'd strongly encourage you to meet someone like Chen Xiao Wang in person, or even some of the other people mentioned to you, such as Ushiro, etc.

Like everyone else, I'd strongly caution you that what you are doing, is very, very likely not what Mike, Dan, Rob, Gernot, etc are talking about. I could be wrong though. There's really only one way for you to find out, which is to go and touch hands yourself. It's kind of like trying to explain a bicycle to someone who has only ever seen cars and trikes. I have said in the past that I didn't have much exposure prior to making contact with Rob and MIke, but that's not the case-- I had met some very, very skilled wing chun people who had experience fighting full contact. What they do is different , but (in my beginner opinion) it's a difference of degree rather than of kind. I'll leave it at that. If I hadn't seen what they could do, and _felt it_ , I wouldn't have taken Mike or Rob seriously at all.

Anyway, it's been nice talking to you about these things, and I'm interested to see what happens when you collect some numerical data.

Charles Hill
12-15-2006, 11:22 PM
Hi Mark,

I have a 6th month old daughter and she definitely gets tense when she feels fear. And this is hard wired, I believe. For ex. when putting her into the bath, if I lower her too quickly, her arms shoot out as if to break her fall. So the answer seems to be to help people and ourselves expand what we can do without this fear reaction popping up. Tension = fear, right? As for method, I have to confess that almost everything that I have done that has been successful has come from my Systema training.:)

Charles

Erick Mead
12-15-2006, 11:51 PM
When you get some numerical data and people have modeled the behavior, I'd like to see it. And I mean that. Until then, don't expect me , or anyone else, to take it very seriously. Give me about six months. He's just geting settled into the VA and wants to work on a project that has some bearing on rehabilititave biomechanics, and happened to be already interested in Aikido practice before we met. Win-win.
I spent a number of years training with people who thought a lot like you did. They attempted to watch techinques and come up with elaborate (and untested/untestable) "physics models" to help their students understand the technique. I found it then, and find it now, pretty useless. It has nothing to do with the feeling of what happens in the moment, and how to train that awareness/proper relaxation. Amen. and Alleluia. In dynamic control of anything one cannot divorce the feel from the mechanics any more than one can divorce the mechanics from the feel. In fact a lot of my ideas on the mechanics comes from careful working through the elements of experiencing of the control rather than external observations. There is a lot of good stuff out there on working the feel, and lots of it bad. There is little at all and almost nothing good on actual mechanics. A better description of mechanics will give a better guide on where and what you ought to be feeling, to refine a given technique, or when to know to move on from that technique.
Maybe this technique works well with you and your student population. I've found it a needless overcomplication for me, and I wouldn't use it to explain anything to another person either. You mistake my purpose, but that is OK because I have not risen to Mike's bait on the teaching thing. I know better than to burden students with a work in progress. Especially of this type. And maybe not even then. One can realisitcally hope that good results will yield simplified training corrections with a basis in objective fact instead of creative imagery. That's why I hash these things out here.
The harder you try and force everything into an idealistic, legalistic framework (the rule is....the authority says...) the harder you will find this type of training, That is not a mode for training -- certainly not my mode. It is a mode for planning strategy on better training, and weighing the merits of different approaches to training.
What they do is different , but (in my beginner opinion) it's a difference of degree rather than of kind. I have assumed so, for my purposes.
Anyway, it's been nice talking to you about these things, and I'm interested to see what happens when you collect some numerical data. I'll make point of it.

Tim Fong
12-16-2006, 01:51 AM
For clarification-- I meant that what the wing chun people do is different from Ushiro etc, by degree but not by kind. It's the same basic bodyskill, just used in fewer joints in wc than in, say Okinawan karate.

John Matsushima
12-16-2006, 09:01 AM
Relax! No, really. :cool:

Terms like "dead relaxation" and "living relaxation" might provide a clue to what's going on. Then there's "relax completely". I think something like, "relax completely in all directions" is more helpful.

Just as a relaxation starting point, here's something I learned to see if someone can shut down all muscle activity to a particular body part. Ask your partner to let you lift their arm from their side, up to their front, to a position where their hand is level to their shoulder. You can lift from their fingers or wrist. Tell your partner, that when you let go, their arm should fall naturally to their side. It is amazing how often I see their arm hesitate, upon release, before falling. Or how often I'll feel my partner assist in lifting their arm, even when they know and have been told not to. :straightf Of course, this is used primarily to illustrate the point of what one kind of relaxation can be. And how something so simple, can be difficult for someone to grasp. This can also be used as a first step to then acquiring much the same feeling in the arm, while keeping it raised.

thanks,
Adam


I have done similar exercises at a Man Sei Do dojo, and yes, they work great! We must have spent about the first 30 minutes of every class doing this. Once we got to where we could relax like that, then we did pushing and pulling exercises with the same feeling. I think two important factors in learning relaxation is to first have good posture and then forget about winning. Often the desire to drive uke to the ground forces us to moves in ways that require excessive force and power.

There seems to be too much emphasis on this relaxing "power". I think that while it is important, it is only a part of the machine. There are other elements required to do Aikido. Try relaxing your arm completely and then doing tenkan. If you do it correctly, nothing will happen because you can't do anything with a limp noodle.

Mike Sigman
12-16-2006, 09:09 AM
Try relaxing your arm completely and then doing tenkan. If you do it correctly, nothing will happen because you can't do anything with a limp noodle. Yeah, but if you train with someone who is essentially defining what he means by "relax completely" as he works with you, it is easy to wind up doing something that is quite different from being "completely relaxed" and yet calling it "completely relaxed". I.e., I think you've isolated a large part of the problem beautifully.

Regards,

Mike

Mark Freeman
12-16-2006, 09:16 AM
There seems to be too much emphasis on this relaxing "power". I think that while it is important, it is only a part of the machine. There are other elements required to do Aikido. Try relaxing your arm completely and then doing tenkan. If you do it correctly, nothing will happen because you can't do anything with a limp noodle.

I'm not sure you can have too much emphasis in this relaxing power.

Tenkan with a completely relaxed arm is very different to a completely 'collapsed' ( or limp noodle ) arm. A completely relaxed arm with mind/ki extended out through the fingers is perfectly possible. In fact IMHO all aikido should be performed this way.

The only thing you can do with a limp noodle is cover it in sauce and eat it. ;)

Of course there are other elements required to do aikido, but if the basic co-ordination of mind and body (relaxation) is not present, then the other elements are being added to a structure built on sand.

regards,

Mark

Gernot Hassenpflug
12-16-2006, 09:49 AM
The dreaded baby debate seems to be entering again. Small children are often used in examples in Japanese texts on this training, because a small child can relax more than an adult: and in that state, doing the technique in the way trained through kata exercises, such a child can throw an adult with a finger. I want to emphasize here that the child also has to have the correct body training, there is nothing natural about the movements, unlike some other posters have maintained on this site.

billybob
12-16-2006, 09:54 AM
I'm busy and don't have time to catch up before I post. I started a thread in the Open Discussions forum titled 'human structure model discussion' so as to be slightly less offensive than normal to those who don't want that type of discussion in an aikido forum.

Please join the fray. It's fun as hell to argue this way!

david

billybob
12-16-2006, 02:24 PM
After a model of human structure is agreed upon, and after a discussion of why adults tense (I have post traumatic stress disorder) we may have a paradigm to begin this.

I would humbly add an idea as to why the concept 'ki' is used. I noticed in my teen years doing judo - that when the throw was 'perfect' meaning I was totally balanced and uke seemed to float over me that I felt NOTHING. Our nerves are set up to feel positive stimuli. So, doing judo well meant I had to train Reverse - meaning I was doing it right when I could NOT feel my effect on uke, but knew it was happening some other way. I suggest that this happening - moving powerfully with zero normal neural feedback led to the description 'ki' or 'kokyu'. Obviously 'something' was happening. How to describe it? As I relaxed into this 'not' feeling a more subtle feeling began to develop.

Then, I started acting like an **shole, and hurting people in school. End of my ki development.

dave

Joe Jutsu
12-16-2006, 05:18 PM
Interesting discussion, thanks everyone.

I too was at Shaner sensei's workshop and for the record had a blast. It's been rather intersting thinking about that workshop in light of this discussion. Shaner sensei was big on setting up a "scientific" experiment throughout the seminar, where we would do an exercise and change one "variable" and then discuss the results. Another point that Shaner sensei made over and over again was essentially how incomplete the English translations of Tohei sensei's ki principles are. Sensei would read the japanese paragraph and that has been condensed down to "relax completely," for example. The phrase "limp noodle" has been brought up a few times throughout this thread. In Ki
Society this type of "relaxation" is reffered to as taeshi sp?, or dead calm. Seishi is the type of relaxation strived that we strive for, or alive calmness. Nothing limp there (that's what she said.....) Sorry I couldn't help myself. :)

A better translation than "relax completely" would be more along the lines of "take all the tension from your mind and your body and throw it away." So I can see how confusing this translation can be for beginners, it most certainly has been for me. FWIW I believe Shaner sensei has been very involved in retranslating alot of Tohei sensei's writings, which is exciting for me anyway because I very much appreciate Shaner sensei's clarity. In addition to retranslating "Keep One Point, Relax Completely, etc." for us at the seminar Shaner sensei time and again made the point that these were guides for the beginner. We say keep one point, but really once you acheive a level of sophistication you should not keep one point, you should throw it away, because that's just a mental pedagogy that will eventually get in the way. For me, I'm just trying to keep one point! :) Sort of like the path that can be named is not the tao. These paradoxes can be a bit dizzying for me personally. So an observation that I'm coming to is that if the four basic principles, for instance, are there for beginners and they are somehow overly vague, we definitely have a problem, don't we?

Yo WAYNE, it was good to meet you man! I hope we'll bump shoulder's at another seminar soon! Feel free to come down to Lawrence, we'll show you a good time and analytically prove that Kansas is not all cows and cornfields. :)

And to Mr. Sigman, I can't remember if I worked with a Mike from Durango or not, but I was wondering if you had any plans or aspirations to attend the Aikido Summit in Denver in March? I've enjoyed your posts for some time now, and would enjoy talking with you in person.

Cheers everyone!
:ki:

Mike Sigman
12-16-2006, 10:05 PM
FWIW I believe Shaner sensei has been very involved in retranslating alot of Tohei sensei's writings, which is exciting for me anyway because I very much appreciate Shaner sensei's clarity. Hi Joe:

Well, I'm happy to hear that. I'd almost like to talk to him as he does it, because I have some questions which I think might help add more perspective to the translations. A lot of the things he said were (IMO) his concept of what Tohei was trying to say, but oftentimes those things were also ancient Chinese classical sayings and I got the impression he wasn't aware of that.
So an observation that I'm coming to is that if the four basic principles, for instance, are there for beginners and they are somehow overly vague, we definitely have a problem, don't we? Yes, that's true. On the other hand, the Ki Society seems (IMO) to be altogether a lot closer to the ki/kokyu skills than any other faction. Win some, lose some. And to Mr. Sigman, I can't remember if I worked with a Mike from Durango or not, but I was wondering if you had any plans or aspirations to attend the Aikido Summit in Denver in March? I've enjoyed your posts for some time now, and would enjoy talking with you in person. Heh. You were about the first person I worked with and I wasn't sure how much to show and I tried to go along with the Ki Society visualizations to some extent to see how they worked. Big, older guy. You tried to push my chest in a "test" and then you immediately switched to pushing my back with the other hand when it didn't work. Then I tried the Ki Society visualization of attention to the top of my head and I didn't fall over so easily ... but, I would suggest that the problem was mine because my instincts overrode the initial attempts; just like a beginner can't do a lot of things because their instincts are so set. It works two ways, this learning of something new, eh? ;)

I didn't realize there was an Aikido Summit in March, Joe. My curiosity, as I said, was to hear someone of Shaner's background talk and demo his interpretations of what Tohei Sensei meant and I was more than rewarded for the effort of going to the workshop. I enjoyed it. I'm not sure that I have a lot of curiosity for anything more at the moment, but I'll think about it. I enjoyed the people from your school, BTW. Seriously. Good group.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

kironin
12-17-2006, 08:31 AM
Well, I'm happy to hear that. I'd almost like to talk to him as he does it, because I have some questions which I think might help add more perspective to the translations. A lot of the things he said were (IMO) his concept of what Tohei was trying to say, but oftentimes those things were also ancient Chinese classical sayings and I got the impression he wasn't aware of that. Yes, that's true.

Mike,

You keep saying this, but looking at Shaner Sensei's bio,
http://www.easternkifederation.com/shaner_sensei.htm ,
that doesn't seem to be a good assumption. At the very least he must have academic colleagues that are steeped in the Chinese classics.

The fact that in Tohei Sensei's bios he makes explicit reference to being well versed in Chinese classics (my memory is that he talks about this particularly when in his experiences in WWII.) Also Will Reed's second book has lists of Chinese proverbs in the back with a discussion of what Tohei Sensei agrees with and what he does not agree with etc. So it would be hard to believe that Shaner Sensei who has even more academic background the Will Reed would not have a good understanding of Tohei Sensei's references to Chinese classics. Even I knew Tohei Sensei had a fondness for Chinese classics and my Japanese fluency is pitiful.

I think you would need to have had a specific conversation.

Mike Sigman
12-17-2006, 10:02 AM
You keep saying this, but looking at Shaner Sensei's bio,
http://www.easternkifederation.com/shaner_sensei.htm ,
that doesn't seem to be a good assumption. At the very least he must have academic colleagues that are steeped in the Chinese classics.

The fact that in Tohei Sensei's bios he makes explicit reference to being well versed in Chinese classics (my memory is that he talks about this particularly when in his experiences in WWII.) Also Will Reed's second book has lists of Chinese proverbs in the back with a discussion of what Tohei Sensei agrees with and what he does not agree with etc. So it would be hard to believe that Shaner Sensei who has even more academic background the Will Reed would not have a good understanding of Tohei Sensei's references to Chinese classics. Even I knew Tohei Sensei had a fondness for Chinese classics and my Japanese fluency is pitiful.

I think you would need to have had a specific conversation.I should have been more clear, Craig.. my fault. I meant classical sayings *in regard to internal strength*. I see many books in relation to Chinese martial arts and invariably the ones who include these quotes are Chinese martial artists who also have some degree of formal training. Westerners will only include a few of these sayings, etc., when they borrow them from Chinese writitngs they're sure of. I.e., there is a culture of the old sayings and it is not something I'm aware of any westerner having an in-depth knowledge of.

So yes, Shaner may have friends that know some Chinese classical sayings, but it is the specific ones that have to do with internal strength skills that I'm talking about. Unless they had these skills, had been trained in certain ways, etc., they wouldn't know what the remarks refer to.

Listening to Shaner, I felt pretty strongly that he was not aware that he was into an interesting subject matter that had to do with the things "those in the know about ki expertise will say these things". O-Sensei quite obviously did the same thing in his writings. It's a common merit-badge sort of thing to do in Asia and it has been for many centuries. Often I will toss a book aside when I realize that an author (Chinese) is doing nothing more than showing that he's part of the in-crowd by blabbing the pointer sayings while telling me nothing useable in terms of new information.

Incidentally, I've tried to make this clear in some past posts, but I don't think that Will Reed really understands the mechanics of the Ki things, based on writings of his I've seen. So as a source, I'm not all that receptive to his ideas. Sure he may be right on a number of things, but he's missed some basic ones pretty cleanly.

Regards,

Mike

Joe Jutsu
12-17-2006, 10:21 AM
Hello again Mike! :)

Well, I'm glad I did get to meet you, but am sorry I didn't realize it at the time! Maybe I should have realised it, when I encountered the very grounded "beginner" who had a tough time visualizing the top of is head! As for testing you from behind, well that's something Tsubaki sensei does to me all the time.... I wasn't trying to be obstinate, I was just making sure you were stable, and you most certainly were! :)

Craig beat me to a point that I forgot to bring up, that being that Shaner sensei is a professor of Eastern philosphy at Furman University, and he most definitely understands more about Chinese philosophy than me anyway, without being steeped in Chinese martial arts.... So I don't know, he might know more about the Chinese origins of some of the phrases that he was illustrating than he explicitly explained, but I guess we'd have to ask him. (Sensei is actually very approachable...)

Anyway, I guess it might have been by my suggestion that you attended the seminar and I'm glad that you found it worthwhile. Food for thought is never bad, no? It's unfortunate that you didn't get the opportunity to take ukemi for Shaner sensei. I read your post where you said that often times all you have to do is shake hands with someone and you can feel there presence which I agree with, but at the same time I feel the proof is in the puddin'. Something that Edgar, the Aikikai instructor at the Denver Aikido dojo and a swell dude btw, said to me kind of stuck. He was impressed that Shaner sensei didn't display what he called "sensei power." What he meant is that he was impressed with sensei's ability to really throw even when contested, and by consistently calling non-ki society folk up to be his uke he (IMO) took away any opportunity to call "bullshit"....

I'm glad that you enjoyed working with the people from my school, we all have much to learn but we are very fortunate to have Tsubaki sensei among others to help us on the path. Thanks for indulging this dreadlocked aikido beginner, and please consider that Aikido Summit. It will not be overly represented by Ki Society folk, but that's what I'm looking forward to. Just trying to make sure the "blinders" aren't permanently taking over. :)

Joe
:ki:

Mike Sigman
12-17-2006, 11:05 AM
Well, I'm glad I did get to meet you, but am sorry I didn't realize it at the time! Maybe I should have realised it, when I encountered the very grounded "beginner" who had a tough time visualizing the top of is head! As for testing you from behind, well that's something Tsubaki sensei does to me all the time.... I wasn't trying to be obstinate, I was just making sure you were stable, and you most certainly were! :) Hi Joe:

Well, I was a little surprised that you had me put my feet parallel and close together to test me... not because it bothered me, but I know from experience that no real beginner can do those sorts of things so I was thinking there must be an easier way to start out a beginner in Ki Society. Is there? If we ever meet again, remind me to show you the stages I lead a beginner through so that he can do many of these test things fairly well in just a few weeks... a trade for you showing me how you guys teach beginners.

Yeah, when you tried to sneakily catch me from behind, you jolted me because I was trying to stay incognito and I knew that my automatic stability from the back with my feet close together and parallel had probably just blown my cover. I halfway expected you to blow the whistle on me at that point. Remember, it was at the beginning of the workshop and I was antsy about staying in the role of know-nothing white-belt. You had just caught me in the opening moves of the workshop, so I was a bit bothered.

Incidentally, Tsubaki Sensei somehow knew I was a ringer. From the very first, before we did much of anything, I caught him watching me. First legitimate chance he got, and once obviously on Saturday, he came up an pushed on me to gauge me. My hat tip to him. Much sharper than he lets on. Craig beat me to a point that I forgot to bring up, that being that Shaner sensei is a professor of Eastern philosphy at Furman University, and he most definitely understands more about Chinese philosophy than me anyway, without being steeped in Chinese martial arts.... So I don't know, he might know more about the Chinese origins of some of the phrases that he was illustrating than he explicitly explained, but I guess we'd have to ask him. (Sensei is actually very approachable...) I know what you're both saying and my only response is that this is actually a somewhat complicated discussion that I only wanted to make a passing comment on as something people like you and Craig might use as a datum in your future thoughts. Anyway, I guess it might have been by my suggestion that you attended the seminar and I'm glad that you found it worthwhile. Food for thought is never bad, no? It's unfortunate that you didn't get the opportunity to take ukemi for Shaner sensei. I read your post where you said that often times all you have to do is shake hands with someone and you can feel there presence which I agree with, but at the same time I feel the proof is in the puddin'. Something that Edgar, the Aikikai instructor at the Denver Aikido dojo and a swell dude btw, said to me kind of stuck. He was impressed that Shaner sensei didn't display what he called "sensei power." What he meant is that he was impressed with sensei's ability to really throw even when contested, and by consistently calling non-ki society folk up to be his uke he (IMO) took away any opportunity to call "bullshit".... Well, I thought I mentioned that I did get to feel him when he worked briefly with me. Taking a throw wasn't needed after that. Heck, I could even gauge where you were when you were working with me, but we didn't throw each other. ;)

This thing of stopping throws has been dealt with in other threads. I don't think much of it... practice demonstrations are not real fights, so it is a meaningless discussion in terms of it being a "contest". Essentially, stopping a throw is just an adjunct of doing what you and I tested where you ran into the solid ground wherever you pushed me. Instead of just presenting you with the solid ground, I would present you with a "hole" so that you were powerless; therefore you cannot throw. Understand? If you watch some of the videos by Shioda, there is one where he demonstrates how his ki always takes someones throw into a hole. It's a very good vid. I'm glad that you enjoyed working with the people from my school, we all have much to learn but we are very fortunate to have Tsubaki sensei among others to help us on the path. Thanks for indulging this dreadlocked aikido beginner, and please consider that Aikido Summit. It will not be overly represented by Ki Society folk, but that's what I'm looking forward to. Just trying to make sure the "blinders" aren't permanently taking over. :) Well, I enjoyed just being around Tsubaki Sensei. He gave off a good aura.

BTW, when Tsubaki Sensei came up and gave me a good test as I was walking around in the wrist-exercise thing we did, he got a pretty good gauge of me but I got a pretty good gauge of him through the forces he applied (I could back-read to his center). The point is this: Do you now understand why so many Chinese martial artists give limp handshakes to people??? Everything is one thing. ;)

I haven't done much seiza sitting in many years, so the workshop was not as easy on me as it would have been at one time. It was a lot of fun. I'd enjoy something again that was very focused on the Ki Society (and other) approaches to internal strength, but I doubt I could survive another big meeting doing a lot of things that I don't practice anymore, Joe. I appreciate the recommendation for the Summit though.

BTW, it was Ted Ehara who convinced me to go. Once I looked up Sensei Shaner's background and realized the potential to get idiomatic reads on what Tohei said and meant, I sent in my check.

All the Best.

Mike

Joe Jutsu
12-17-2006, 02:11 PM
Hey Mike-

Well, I'm not much of a whistle blower, and to whom and to what purpose would I have blown it? I don't know if you caught my look of disbelief or not when we were working together, but it was there. I tested you from behind more for me than for you, but this is something that I've seen Tsubaki sensei do for years, it's not really sneaky and should be easily passed if you are standing correctly. As for having your feet close as a beginner, it has to do with keeping a natural stance. If you had "failed" the test, I may have asked you to take a slight hanmi stance. Maybe I can credit my iaido training for making me a stickler for footwork, I tend to look at things literally from the ground up. Is this the easiest path for beginners? Good question, I've been thinking about it for a bit. I think that teaching in this way helps to show the beginner the correct mindset while performing this set of skills. I'm by no means "advanced," but I've helped teach literally hundreds of beginners through my time at KU. FWIW, it's my opinion that if the beginner were allowed to take a very deep hanmi, for instance, the tendency to really brace yourself and fight the incoming test is there. But if you're in a more neutral stance, you're going to have to perform the test correctly, i.e. accepting the incoming force as opposed to fighting it. Either way, I'd love to see how your method differs, hopefully we can cross paths again so I can experience it first hand.

All that seiza really killed me by the end of the weekend as well. I didn't realize how much high school sports wreaked havoc on my body until I started aikido. But I'm all rested up and ready for more punishment! :) I hope to see you in Denver for the Summit, but more importantly I hope to see some other angles of developing internal strength as well (hopefully it's covered). And thanks again for sharing your experiences at this workshop.... You've given alot of food for thought.

Take care,

Joe

Mike Sigman
12-17-2006, 03:00 PM
Well, I'm not much of a whistle blower, and to whom and to what purpose would I have blown it? Hi Joe:

I just meant that I didn't want to be an extra variable in anyone's equation. For instance, if you had known who I was, I suspect it would have interfered with yours and my interaction. I wanted to observe the animal in its native habitat, as it were. ;)Is this the easiest path for beginners? Good question, I've been thinking about it for a bit. I think that teaching in this way helps to show the beginner the correct mindset while performing this set of skills. Ultimately, the responsibility for the push or receive must come from the ground. Relaxing and allowing the foot/leg to accept the load-bearing responsibility without any interference from the upper body is what is going on.

Transferring the push without triggering the primary muscles is the stuff that must be trained over time. Direct approaches to training this "structure" are like the exercises Rob John posted, propler Aiki Taiso, breathing exercises (when done correctly), and so on. Ideally, until the "structure"/"connection" is developed and the jin forces are developing, there should be no substantial forces used against a beginner, IMO.

"Mindset" is OK, but clinically we have to ask what is physically happening since "mindset" is not handling the force, if you see what I mean. Nor is the "Ki of the Universe" handling that force. This sort of clinical thinking is crucial to furtherance of martial skills, IMO. All that seiza really killed me by the end of the weekend as well. I didn't realize how much high school sports wreaked havoc on my body until I started aikido. But I'm all rested up and ready for more punishment! :) I hope to see you in Denver for the Summit, I doubt that I'll be there in Denver, Joe... I live about 7 hours away, by car. But maybe we'll cross paths again one day.

All the Best.

Mike

Thomas Campbell
12-17-2006, 04:22 PM
[snip] Another point that Shaner sensei made over and over again was essentially how incomplete the English translations of Tohei sensei's ki principles are. Sensei would read the japanese paragraph and that has been condensed down to "relax completely," for example. The phrase "limp noodle" has been brought up a few times throughout this thread. In Ki
Society this type of "relaxation" is reffered to as taeshi sp?, or dead calm. Seishi is the type of relaxation strived that we strive for, or alive calmness. Nothing limp there (that's what she said.....) Sorry I couldn't help myself. :)

A better translation than "relax completely" would be more along the lines of "take all the tension from your mind and your body and throw it away." So I can see how confusing this translation can be for beginners, it most certainly has been for me. [snip]

One juxtaposition of the Ki Society principles that always confused me is "Relax Completely" and "Extend Ki". The limp-noodle introspection of a common (mis)interpretation of "Relax Completely" does not accord with the projection of intent implied by "extend ki."

Clarification of Tohei's fuller meanings apparently lost by the reductionist common translation of these principles would be very helpful. I seem to remember, though, that Tohei spoke fairly good English . . . aren't the statements of principle his own translations?

Great thread topic, Mark (Jakabscin). I wished I'd been at the seminar with Shaner sensei.

Mike Sigman
12-17-2006, 04:47 PM
The idea of "relax completely" has to do with getting rid of the conscious muscle responses and let the body "naturally" do things. Not "instinctively", necessarily, but "naturally" as in the idea that it uses the laws of nature. The Ki Society's approach often involves ignoring what the opponent is doing and then "moving with the one-point". What happens is that the body "ties" itself together, to some extent (depending on experience, training, etc.). But the "One Point" draws its actual power origins from the ground or from the gravity (actually this is an oversimplification, but it'll do for the moment). It's this "tying" or "connection" that is really the essence of the Ki, as I said in another post.

So if you relax and stay "tied" or "connected" all together so that the power from the ground and the power from the weight/gravity is available at any point on the body at all times, you are effectively "extending Ki". The "One Point" can move in any direction at any time, so technically any point on the body can move as the "One Point" (assuming the connection or Ki is reasonably strong) at any time. The body moves as a unit because the mind and body are connected by the Ki. That's more or less a picture of what happens.

There are ways to strengthen the "Ki" and that's what "Kiko" (qigong) practice does. So many martial arts have their ways of practicing moving from the middle (some are *very* clever) and for strengthening the Ki/Qi.

Ushiro Sensei uses the Sanchin Kata, but if you analyse closely what is really going on, his power derives from the ground (that's why he can push so hard with 2 fingers, for example) or the weight, and he uses the breathing and stretching parts of the Sanchin Kata to build up the "Ki". Every Ki/Qi system can be looked at similarly as some variation of the forces and the Ki.

The Ki Society's method of practicing is, as I've said, a pretty good one with a lot of potential, insofar as it goes. It does not develop the ki, etc., up into the fajin stuff that so many people find cool, but it's good for what O-Sensei espoused for general Aikido. There is undoubtedly stuff in the higher levels of the Ki Society that I haven't seen, of course, so my comments are admittedly limited. The moving around always practicing "extending Ki" is a good exercise, BTW. Always moving with ki is the same "moving with kokyu and ki" that we've talked about in other discussions, BTW. Everything is the same thing. ;)

My 2 cents.

Mike Sigman

Gwion
12-17-2006, 06:27 PM
You know, Wayne, normally I would bypass your post, thinking you were out on the fringe somewhere, but after having attended Shaner Sensei's workshop, I realize that the words you're using aren't your own.

Let me see if I can get the ball rolling about "relaxation" from the Ki Society standpoint.

First of all, I don't think I worked with you (maybe I did, but there were so many people I worked with), so I'll just make general comments when I say "you". When you "relaxed", that wasn't all you did. If just "relax", not much is going to happen. So you qualify that you just "relax", but you do some sort of mental adjustment and try to become "one with the universe". Not to mention, and this is very important, you have had someone more experienced than you show you what is the desirable outcome of the "test". Let's say you're successful and someone pushing lightly on your chest suddenly can't move you.

The first question is "what do they feel" when you're "relaxed", but they feel a solidity when they push your chest? I.e., if you're relaxed, what is this solidity, this resistive force that they're feeling? A quick look at Statics analysis tells us that if they don't move you, all the forces are in equilibrium, which means that some force is countering their push. Correct? It's either a Force or it is the Ki of the Universe they're feeling, but let's assume it's a Force ... that force must have an origin somewhere, since it doesn't magically appear from an other-dimensional-outlet in your chest. What is the origin of the force? Simple to check and see that if you were on wheels your partner could move you easily, so the force must be coming from where your feet meet the ground. I.e., ultimately, when someone is doing a ki test by pushing lightly against your chest, they are being stopped by the ground.

But you're "relaxing", correct? Not using your normal mechanics to brace against the ground, so what is different?

OK, I'll stop at that point, Wayne. You've just assured us that all it takes is relaxing and becoming "one with the universe". I say it's more complex than that and I've laid out the start of the argument, which you can either respond to or ignore. But let me suggest that if you want to go very far with these sorts of skills you need to be asking questions constantly and persistently or you will always stay at a low, dues-paying level. ;)

All the Best.

Mike Sigman

Denial of the simple truth of oneness with the universe can only stem from ego. That which calls itself 'mike sigman' is convinced it is a separate creature from the rest of the universe, capable of achieving some kind of 'special force' through aikido that others don't already have.

I argue that we all already have it, and all we have to do is let our egos out of the way. insistence on the existence of overly complicated forces such as 'jin' coming through the earth that you need to 'build up' or 'work on' is the product of a mental paradigm that hasn't realized the full simplicity of the truth of ki.

if you had listened carefully at that seminar mr. sigman, you would have heard the words "dead relaxation' and 'living relaxation'. please look into these as I don't want to type out an explanation of these two ideas.

what I DO want to say is, the reason that i don't move when you push on my chest, is that if I realize the fundamental truth that we both are one, and take my stand in non-dissension and harmony of the universe, any atempt by you to push me will be conflicted. Ultimately you will feel silly for pushing on me. why? because inside you are also connected to the universe and one with me, and at the deepest level of your being, there will be a conflict between what is, and what you 'think' there is.

This is what Osensei meant by transcending sensen no sen, saying that we must have an attitude of continuous victory.

funny that you would try to dismiss my ideas as 'fringe' when they are the very teachings of the founder of aikido and his greatest student. Maybe you should look deeper into what they said in their lifetimes. If morihei ueshiba was teaching a seminar in denver, you would likely think him a 'fringe' person as well.

statisticool
12-17-2006, 06:43 PM
But the "One Point" draws its actual power origins from the ground or from the gravity...
...
So if you relax and stay "tied" or "connected" all together so that the power from the ground and the power from the weight/gravity...
...
Ushiro Sensei uses the Sanchin Kata, but if you analyse closely what is really going on, his power derives from the ground...


Why do you believe one has to "anaylse closely"? It should be obvious to anyone with a basic understanding of introductory physics, because our feet push into the ground and gravity exists.

Check out p. 48 pic. 22 in The Secrets of Judo, a judo book from 1959, that explains that feet pushing off the ground, plus gravity pulling down, creates a resultant vector that is diagrammed as the body (and hence any arm, leg, etc. attached to the body) advancing.


It does not develop the ki, etc., up into the fajin stuff that so many people find cool,


Considering Ki Society aikido is not taijiquan or any other Chinese martial arts, I'm not surprised that faijin is not on the menu.

Mike Sigman
12-17-2006, 06:44 PM
Denial of the simple truth of oneness with the universe can only stem from ego. That which calls itself 'mike sigman' is convinced it is a separate creature from the rest of the universe, capable of achieving some kind of 'special force' through aikido that others don't already have. Actually, I'm just a humble martial arts practitioner, Wayne. And the idea of "jin" predates me by thousands of year. Why not just argue the issue, instead of my poor failings? :) I argue that we all already have it, and all we have to do is let our egos out of the way. insistence on the existence of overly complicated forces such as 'jin' coming through the earth that you need to 'build up' or 'work on' is the product of a mental paradigm that hasn't realized the full simplicity of the truth of ki.

if you had listened carefully at that seminar mr. sigman, you would have heard the words "dead relaxation' and 'living relaxation'. please look into these as I don't want to type out an explanation of these two ideas.

what I DO want to say is, the reason that i don't move when you push on my chest, is that if I realize the fundamental truth that we both are one, and take my stand in non-dissension and harmony of the universe, any atempt by you to push me will be conflicted. Ultimately you will feel silly for pushing on me. why? because inside you are also connected to the universe and one with me, and at the deepest level of your being, there will be a conflict between what is, and what you 'think' there is.

This is what Osensei meant by transcending sensen no sen, saying that we must have an attitude of continuous victory.

funny that you would try to dismiss my ideas as 'fringe' when they are the very teachings of the founder of aikido and his greatest student. Maybe you should look deeper into what they said in their lifetimes. If morihei ueshiba was teaching a seminar in denver, you would likely think him a 'fringe' person as well. Er... if you read what I said, I did not try to dismiss your ideas as "fringe". Rather, I was saying that the words might normally have made me think something like that, but now I see where the words come from... so I commented in a demonstrable fashion about what is going on. I asked you to respond factually, but you've just heaped a lot of assertions and belief on me.

Take the simple act of someone pushing on your chest and let's analyze it. Let's have your feet on a furniture dolly in this example. Will you still be hard to move? If not, why not?

Regards,

Mike "Not Yet a Borg" Sigman

eyrie
12-17-2006, 10:24 PM
Take the simple act of someone pushing on your chest and let's analyze it. Let's have your feet on a furniture dolly in this example. Will you still be hard to move? If not, why not?

It'd be the same difference between getting pushed whilst sitting on a four-legged chair vs an office chair on casters.... I flunked physics, so I'm not even going to attempt to try to explain why/how.... ;)

Something to do with how the forces are grounded and friction....??? :p

Gernot Hassenpflug
12-18-2006, 12:04 AM
It's harder on a trolley, especially when it's predicated that you're not allowed to move, because a) when the trolley starts to move that means you're fairly well grounded (else you would have been pushed over on the moving trolley, end of story) but you let the person get away with pushing you without you also resting your weight on them so that they support you on their peice of ground :-) so therefore b) you now have to control both the person pushing you from one direction and the trolley moving underneath you, so you *really* need to be able to handle the kis of heaven and earth through some seriously conditioned body connections and become the center of the universe :-) :-) :-)

eyrie
12-18-2006, 12:25 AM
Wait a minute.... I assumed "being moved" meant as part of the entire setup - as opposed to falling over off a moving platform. If anything, I guess it helps with doing 'em skateboarding trickz huh??? :p :D

Mike Sigman
12-18-2006, 07:51 AM
Well, if you push on someone and they don't move, that means that all the forces are in equilibrium. If the person moves, then some force or combination of forces is prevailing. If you put the person who was not moving on a set of casters and he now moves, you can be assured that where his feet touched the ground was an important part of why he did not move.

You cannot "convert" a horizontal force into a vertical force or vice versa. A force is what it is. So if someone pushes horizontally into your chest, you may "ground" it by letting the legs and feet absorb the responsibility for the load, but you can't dispense with the horizontal component in the feet... it must be accounted for. The coefficient of friction at the feet will be a factor. If that's true... and it's very, very easy to check it and see with a set of casters on furniture dolly or even roller-skates... then all the rest of the fact that someone is stable to a push can be analyzed by simple physics, too.

Now the early Asians weren't dumb. They didn't confuse simple mechanical forces with "Ki". So if a knowledgeable Asian says someone is not moving because of "Ki", then they mean something besides the forces. What is it besides the forces? It is that "connective" thing. ;)

Best.

Mike

statisticool
12-18-2006, 04:16 PM
Now the early Asians weren't dumb. They didn't confuse simple mechanical forces with "Ki". So if a knowledgeable Asian says someone is not moving because of "Ki", then they mean something besides the forces. What is it besides the forces? It is that "connective" thing. ;)


And is the "connective thing" just mechanical forces talked about poetically, or is it actually something else?

I'm wondering what else exists besides mechanics.

Thomas Campbell
12-18-2006, 05:00 PM
The idea of "relax completely" has to do with getting rid of the conscious muscle responses and let the body "naturally" do things. Not "instinctively", necessarily, but "naturally" as in the idea that it uses the laws of nature. The Ki Society's approach often involves ignoring what the opponent is doing and then "moving with the one-point". What happens is that the body "ties" itself together, to some extent (depending on experience, training, etc.). But the "One Point" draws its actual power origins from the ground or from the gravity (actually this is an oversimplification, but it'll do for the moment). It's this "tying" or "connection" that is really the essence of the Ki, as I said in another post.

So if you relax and stay "tied" or "connected" all together so that the power from the ground and the power from the weight/gravity is available at any point on the body at all times, you are effectively "extending Ki". The "One Point" can move in any direction at any time, so technically any point on the body can move as the "One Point" (assuming the connection or Ki is reasonably strong) at any time. The body moves as a unit because the mind and body are connected by the Ki. That's more or less a picture of what happens.

[snip]

That makes sense . . . thanks for the clarification, Mike.

Erick Mead
12-19-2006, 11:05 AM
You cannot "convert" a horizontal force into a vertical force or vice versa. A force is what it is. That is only true in a linear, two dimensional model -- joints with only one degree of freedom (one plane of action). And then only if you do not allow for force couples, inertial moments (how easy it is to rotate a body in one or more axes) and rotation.

Because of the ground friction that you are addressing, a toppling moment is created from the first input of force. So you have defined a rotational problem from the get go.

Human joints have (apart from the knee) at least two, and some, three, degrees of freedom or planes of action. Human limbs inherently rotate in three dimensions. In a three-dimensional rotational framework, angular momentum can be used to convert a "horizontal" force to a "vertical" force, quite easily.

The human body can easily alter its functional inertial moment by changing the eccentricity of rotation, most simply seen in shifting weight from one hip to the other. That shift is an actual rotation, if you note how your hip girdle shifts when you do this. This shift of center can also be, in mathematical terms, equivalent to an actual additional rotation. It can have the same impact on the angular momentum (or inertial moment) as if rotating around the original center at a certain angular velocity.

Tohei illustrates this in the lecture video,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfpTU6ZiaK4&mode=related&search=

and even makes a point of showing the significance of the hip shift (4:40- 5:10).

There are two things going on 1) he is altering his own inertial moment to greater advantage by a hip shift, and then 2) exploiting the eccentricity of the attacker's shoulders and hips, stealing energy by basically rotating the fulcrum of his attacking rotation downward every time he tries to lever it against the ground to strike. Tohei does this by relaxing his weight into the forward hand (irimi).

That takes the attacker's attempted horizontal swing of his left hip to start the strike and applies vertical downward rotation (forward) to the forward arm and its center of rotation on the right hip. That causes precession of the horizontal rotation of the left hip and arm (also turning about the right hip as a center). This rotation shifts toward the vertical (down and left), in the transverse plane -- destroying the angular momentum for the strike and putting his center of gravity trajectory outside his zone of support to the left side, if he continues his attack.

You can do this to yourself if you place yourself in the attacker's position -- weighted toward the right forward foot, right arm out forward, balanced as though in mid-strike, with the back foot largely unweighted. Now begin the horizontal rotation of the hip/torso that will bring the attacking arm and rear leg forward together. At the same time, now create a small downward motion of the outstretched forward arm as you continue your slow striking motion. You will find yourself toppling toward the left, Even if you regain balance by getting the back leg forward for support on that side, you have substantially lost your line to that side.
Now the early Asians weren't dumb. They didn't confuse simple mechanical forces with "Ki". So if a knowledgeable Asian says someone is not moving because of "Ki", then they mean something besides the forces. What is it besides the forces? It is that "connective" thing. ;) Simple. And they didn't constrain themselves to two dimensional mechanics and linear forces, either.

Mike Sigman
12-19-2006, 12:58 PM
That is only true in a linear, two dimensional model -- joints with only one degree of freedom (one plane of action). And then only if you do not allow for force couples, inertial moments (how easy it is to rotate a body in one or more axes) and rotation. (snip another lengthy dissertation) Very simple to test, Erick, despite all the talk about joint rotations, 2-dimensional forces, etc. Let's put you on a furniture-dolly and push against you. If you can manipulate your joints so that there is only a vertical force going down onto the dolly, you won't move. If you cannot "convert" the horizontal push, you will move as a linear function of the horizontal force I provided. It is that simple. And you will move.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Gwion
12-19-2006, 01:59 PM
Very simple to test, Erick, despite all the talk about joint rotations, 2-dimensional forces, etc. Let's put you on a furniture-dolly and push against you. If you can manipulate your joints so that there is only a vertical force going down onto the dolly, you won't move. If you cannot "convert" the horizontal push, you will move as a linear function of the horizontal force I provided. It is that simple. And you will move.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

sorry Mike, could you restate the point you're trying to make? I'm having trouble following. You're saying that Ki is all about connection with the ground (vertical). Ok. I think Shaner Sensei made a good point in the seminar though about how there are all these different visualizations, water traveling out your arm from your one-point, the attackers ki being directed into your one-point, the attacker's ki having no effect on your one-point, and whichever conceptual model works best, is the one you should use.

So if a conceptual model that is different from yours still works, why change it?

Mike Sigman
12-19-2006, 02:20 PM
You're saying that Ki is all about connection with the ground (vertical). No, I didn't, Wayne. I said Ki was about connection... everywhere; all directions. This particular example is not what I said about Ki... this example to Erick has to do with force "conversions"... a different topic. Ok. I think Shaner Sensei made a good point in the seminar though about how there are all these different visualizations, water traveling out your arm from your one-point, the attackers ki being directed into your one-point, the attacker's ki having no effect on your one-point, and whichever conceptual model works best, is the one you should use. My comment, my observation, my opinion... was that from the level of skills that I felt in people, they could perhaps do better with more explicative and focused visualizations. But it depends on what level of "works for me" someone wants. Someone may be happy at the level of skills they have and not want to go any higher. Each to his own, no recriminations, etc. I.e., I only offered my perspective and nothing more. So if a conceptual model that is different from yours still works, why change it? Perhaps a broadening of perspective would make the point, but I was only offering an observation. I'm not trying to convert anyone to anything.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Gwion
12-19-2006, 02:32 PM
No, I didn't, Wayne. I said Ki was about connection... everywhere; all directions. This particular example is not what I said about Ki... this example to Erick has to do with force "conversions"... a different topic. My comment, my observation, my opinion... was that from the level of skills that I felt in people, they could perhaps do better with more explicative and focused visualizations. But it depends on what level of "works for me" someone wants. Someone may be happy at the level of skills they have and not want to go any higher. Each to his own, no recriminations, etc. I.e., I only offered my perspective and nothing more. Perhaps a broadening of perspective would make the point, but I was only offering an observation. I'm not trying to convert anyone to anything.

Regards,

Mike Sigman


Interesting, because I didn't think your level of 'ki development' was particularly special. At least not special enough to recall the exercises I did with you as any different from anyone else.

So please explain more about how what you know and your style of Aikido is better and why we should learn that. (not sarcastic btw)

Mike Sigman
12-19-2006, 03:28 PM
Interesting, because I didn't think your level of 'ki development' was particularly special. At least not special enough to recall the exercises I did with you as any different from anyone else.

So please explain more about how what you know and your style of Aikido is better and why we should learn that. (not sarcastic btw)I don't remember working with you, Wayne and you said you couldn't remember who I was before. Goodness..... I hope you're not just taking another petty shot at me!!! :rolleyes:

Since it's pretty clear that I made no statements about anybody's style being "better", I'll let that one pass, but let me make a suggestion, Wayne.... try to debate the issue factually without devolving to the the personal.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Gwion
12-19-2006, 03:47 PM
I don't remember working with you, Wayne and you said you couldn't remember who I was before. Goodness..... I hope you're not just taking another petty shot at me!!! :rolleyes:

Since it's pretty clear that I made no statements about anybody's style being "better", I'll let that one pass, but let me make a suggestion, Wayne.... try to debate the issue factually without devolving to the the personal.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Well I now recall only one guy from Durango, so I'm assuming that was you. I also recall no extra ki forces emanating from you. Nalawai sensei on the other hand, whew! He is either enlightened or close to it. I've never seen such a positive and wonderful Aura around someone.

I'm not attacking you Mike. I'm trying to phrase my questions in a way that won't make you get too sensitive, but I do tire of all this verbiage without getting to the point. I want the essence of your argument.

what are you trying to say? What was your purpose in your supposed 'sneaky white belt espionage' of that seminar? What is the essential point you are trying to make?

All I can get is that you are trying to say that a respected seventh Dan Aikido instructor either has a limited understanding of ki, or that his organization restricts him from talking about it, and that your understanding of ki (and jin forces yadda yadda) is more complete, and that you have the missing pieces to the puzzle that ki aikido has left out.

Give me the knowledge, tell me those missing pieces, so we can all go 'aha!' and have a wonderful realization together. It seems all you are doing is critiquing the seminar and other ki concepts without properly breaking down and explaining what you have that ki aikido doesn't.

Every time I try to make an educated guess about what you mean to say, you say 'No! that's not what I'm sayin'

so mike, as a favor to me, tell me what you are saying!

is it physics? is it jin? how does jin work? inquiring minds want to know.

and please no more copping out by pretending I am attacking you and hurting your feelings. I really just want to know the answers to these questions and wholeheartedly apologize if I'm too rough around the edges for you. I assure you I'm a kitten.


:D

Mike Sigman
12-19-2006, 04:11 PM
Well I now recall only one guy from Durango, so I'm assuming that was you. I also recall no extra ki forces emanating from you. Nalawai sensei on the other hand, whew! He is either enlightened or close to it. I've never seen such a positive and wonderful Aura around someone. Wrong guy. That was Steve Self and yes, he had a name-tag on saying he was from Durango. I had no such identifying tag on me... only a small one that said "Mike". Sort of torpedos your remarks about me, eh? I'm not attacking you Mike. I'm trying to phrase my questions in a way that won't make you get too sensitive, but I do tire of all this verbiage without getting to the point. I want the essence of your argument. Come visit sometime and I'll show you. If I thought I could just understand the essence of what Tohei had said from the written word, I'd have never gone to Shaner's workshop... I knew beyond doubt that it would have to be something I saw and experienced. Same goes for you, I'm sad to report. Other than that, I reported very clearly why I went and the extent of my personal observations pretty clearly in previous posts. What you're doing right now is, as far as I can tell, avoiding a clinical analysis of how ki/kokyu skills work using the Ki of the Universe. If you don't want to debate the issue, fine, but I was going by the tenor of your two posts where you told me that I didn't understand, etc.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
12-19-2006, 04:36 PM
Very simple to test, Erick, despite all the talk about joint rotations, 2-dimensional forces, etc. Let's put you on a furniture-dolly and push against you. If you can manipulate your joints so that there is only a vertical force going down onto the dolly, you won't move. If you cannot "convert" the horizontal push, you will move as a linear function of the horizontal force I provided. It is that simple. And you will move. So will you, if you are using ground friction to resist a lateral thrust. If you will note at the beginning of the post: Because of the ground friction that you are addressing, a toppling moment is created from the first input of force. So you have defined a rotational problem from the get go. The whole horizontal "grounding" friction force you are relying upon, opposite in direction/sign to the input force creates the toppling moment that defines this as a rotational problem:

force-at-top-positive & body free
+ force-at-feet-negative & body fixed

= moment

Moment creates rotation if not constrained. If you constrain the force by a countering moment you create a lateral thrust against the ground friction, or cause the dolly wheels to roll.

There is one static load path, and one only, that carries horizontal load at the top of the structure to ground in the vertical without any lateral thrust at the support.

Do know its name?

Gwion
12-19-2006, 04:42 PM
Wrong guy. That was Steve Self and yes, he had a name-tag on saying he was from Durango. I had no such identifying tag on me... only a small one that said "Mike". Sort of torpedos your remarks about me, eh? Come visit sometime and I'll show you. If I thought I could just understand the essence of what Tohei had said from the written word, I'd have never gone to Shaner's workshop... I knew beyond doubt that it would have to be something I saw and experienced. Same goes for you, I'm sad to report. Other than that, I reported very clearly why I went and the extent of my personal observations pretty clearly in previous posts. What you're doing right now is, as far as I can tell, avoiding a clinical analysis of how ki/kokyu skills work using the Ki of the Universe. If you don't want to debate the issue, fine, but I was going by the tenor of your two posts where you told me that I didn't understand, etc.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Got it!
You had a nametag, ripped off with just one corner that said MIKE in blue ink.
Still no enlightenment aura, but you seemed like a nice guy.

you know, I'm translating a Tohei sensei 1988 seminar right now that I'm going to post back up to You Tube, (the original had no subs). I suggest you watch that as well.

I'm fairly sure that Tohei sensei did not believe that ki traveled through the ground and into the body. That sounds like Shaolin Tai Chi ideas to me.

My understanding, is that ki is everywhere simultaneously, that the one point is an infinite point with inifite smallness or largeness depending on how you want to view it, and the idea of extend ki is a visualization to help you realize that you are already connected and in harmony with the entire universe.

the idea that ki has to 'travel' from somewhere to somewhere else, to me, is way it is explained to beginners to help them get a sense of this connected feeling.

A new thought that might solve this dissonance:
could it be that your visualization techniques and ki society's are different, but eventually lead to the same place?

or is that too optimistic? Does your way still work better, or is it just different?

as far as avoiding a clinical analysis of how ki/kokyu skills work using the Ki of the Universe, i would say that experience is the most important. Every Aikido class is an exercise in this, and especially Ki Society's classes take a clinical, empirical, testing approach to this. I really suggest you attend some regular classes, as you may find those more your style and less philosophical.

Mike Sigman
12-19-2006, 04:54 PM
Very simple to test, Erick, despite all the talk about joint rotations, 2-dimensional forces, etc. Let's put you on a furniture-dolly and push against you. If you can manipulate your joints so that there is only a vertical force going down onto the dolly, you won't move. If you cannot "convert" the horizontal push, you will move as a linear function of the horizontal force I provided. It is that simple. And you will move. So will you, if you are using ground friction to resist a lateral thrust. You know, Erick, I've noticed that when you make a mistake, you never apologize... you just try to baffle people with more bullshit. Here's what was said: You cannot "convert" a horizontal force into a vertical force or vice versa. A force is what it is.That is only true in a linear, two dimensional model... Suddenly, you realize that there is a friction consideration and that I was right that forces cannot be "converted".... elementary mechanics analysis? Stop. Just say you made a mistake, for once.


Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
12-19-2006, 04:57 PM
You had a nametag, ripped off with just one corner that said MIKE in blue ink.
Still no enlightenment aura, but you seemed like a nice guy. That's enough. I told you no more personal crap.

Mike Sigman

Gwion
12-19-2006, 05:07 PM
That's enough. I told you no more personal crap.

Mike Sigman

??

jeez louise, i said you seemed like a nice guy...
did you think you were enlightened, and my comment offended you in that regard? Actually Soto-shu buddhism claims that everyone is already enlightened, so....


GET A SENSE OF HUMOR ABOUT YOURSELF DUDE.

statisticool
12-19-2006, 05:48 PM
Wrong guy. That was Steve Self and yes, he had a name-tag on saying he was from Durango. I had no such identifying tag on me... only a small one that said "Mike". Sort of torpedos your remarks about me, eh?


I'm wondering why you can talk about your nametag, for example, but you don't want to allow others to?

If you can talk about Shaner Sensei from the seminar, why can't others talk about anyone who was at the seminar (ie. you) ?

Mark Jakabcsin
12-19-2006, 09:37 PM
When I started this thread I was concerned that the thread about the seminar in Colorado would spill over to this thread, which was never the intention, that is why I started a new thread. Heck a few pages back Jun even asked that we stay on the original topic. To bad, as I think the original topic is an interesting one and it started out fairly well. Such is forum life.

My recommendation is to lock this beast and let the interested parties fight it out on the Colorado seminar thread.

Take care and Happy Holidays,

Mark J.

Erick Mead
12-20-2006, 06:58 AM
You know, Erick, I've noticed that when you make a mistake, you never apologize... you just try to baffle people with more bullshit. Here's what was said: Suddenly, you realize that there is a friction consideration and that I was right that forces cannot be "converted".... elementary mechanics analysis? Stop. Just say you made a mistake, for once. Identify my mistake. I didn't "suddenly" realize anything. I specifically relied on your argument that you are using friction in "grounding" and analyzed the frictional component in the point that I MADE. Do you understand what a moment is? You don't address the issue of the toppling moment and its rotational potential, which comes from the fixing of the foot by friction and an impinging force at a higer point on the body -- which was my point.

If you are not using friction then there is no lateral thrust at the support and there is one compressive load path that provides that hozontal load to vertical "conversion" without bending stress ( i.e - "relaxed").

Do you know its name?

Mike Sigman
12-20-2006, 08:45 AM
Go look at what I said, Erick. Forces cannot be "converted" from horizontal to vertical because the horizontal component is still there, *even if you vector add the forces*. You're trying to equate vector-addition of forces with "converting". Forces cannot be converted, as I originally stated and which you don't seem to understand. Or if you suddenly do understand that I was being precise, you're too proud to admit your error.

Mike Sigman

DH
12-20-2006, 09:45 AM
Ya know Eric we were actually talking about you last night in my Dojo. I have had yet another person who has trained with Ark here to train. One of things that we talked about is the difficulty in writing and explaining compared to the ease of showing ....if....the teacher is willing. It is apparently thrilling for people who are begining to research this path, to have people who can *actually" do various things, then let you feel it, then explain in plain language how to do it for themselves, then bring them along with training they can do to build their bodies conections.

Mindful that you have honestly and honorably admitted you cannot do many of things outlined in my examples- what are we left with?
Formatting and discussing static engineering models to describe tangential forces and moment connections? And then arguing semanitcs for handling and allowing for a horizontal force VS "converting" it.
For most people.....these discussions are the same as training with a teacher for twenty years while they drop hints on the floor and talk to you in a different language.
It has no value. Oh.....back to discussing you. We have a guy who can't do much, but when asked, will talk you into the ground and many are left thinking he's an expert. Like at the end of another one of your overly long dissertations that go nowhere and leave folks unable to do anything meaningfull. I walk up, wake up his training partner out of his stupor and say "Here feel this, and now do that." "Stop talking so much....train" And they are on their way.
I'll take the fella who can do, and who can show and who cares enough about those who come to him to explain in plain language.

Happy holidays
Dan

Gwion
12-20-2006, 10:10 AM
Ya know Eric we were actually talking about you last night in my Dojo. I have had yet another person who has trained with Ark here to train. One of things that we talked about is the difficulty in writing and explaining compared to the ease of showing ....if....the teacher is willing. It is apparently thrilling for people who are begining to research this path, to have people who can *actually" do various things, then let you feel it, then explain in plain language how to do it for themselves, then bring them along with training they can do to build their bodies conections.

Mindful that you have honestly and honorably admitted you cannot do many of things outlined in my examples- what are we left with?
Formatting and discussing static engineering models to describe tangential forces and moment connections? And then arguing semanitcs for handling and allowing for a horizontal force VS "converting" it.
For most people.....these discussions are the same as training with a teacher for twenty years while they drop hints on the floor and talk to you in a different language.
It has no value. Oh.....back to discussing you. We have a guy who can't do much, but when asked, will talk you into the ground and many are left thinking he's an expert. Like at the end of another one of your overly long dissertations that go nowhere and leave folks unable to do anything meaningfull. I walk up, wake up his training partner out of his stupor and say "Here feel this, and now do that." "Stop talking so much....train" And they are on their way.
I'll take the fella who can do, and who can show and who cares enough about those who come to him to explain in plain language.

Happy holidays
Dan

Dan Harden is cool.

Dennis Hooker
12-20-2006, 10:23 AM
Oh my head hurts!! I been doing this budo stuff for well over 40 years and I got degrees in Sociology and Engineering from a real growed up University in Indiana but you people are driving me to drink. THANKS!!!

Sinned Rekooh

George S. Ledyard
12-20-2006, 11:08 AM
I'm pretty familiar with that paradigm, my first Aikido school was founded by Kurita Minouru, who left the Aikikai with Tohei Sensei and then decided to go it alone. We still used a lot of the teaching methodologies and principles from the Ki Society however. My problem with the "Relax Completely" phrase is that it's misleading. Often people are indeed too tense, but a certain ammount of tension is needed to perform any technique. Personally I'm much more of a fan of, "relax correctly." That phrase carries the implication that there is more to know, and that the correct movements are not based solely on relaxation, but that it does play a very real part in the process. (pet peeve...)

I agree Chris. Evere since the first Expo when I had my major epiphany about what was really going on in Aikido I have been refining my own technique. It's really interesting the levels and levels of tension in our bodies. The real issue is where that tension comes from, what is its cause? You can't really get rid of it on a deep level without understanding that.

No system I have seen is as sophisticated about dealing with this as the systema. One of my friends who is heavily into systema told me that Vlad had said that there is another word for the systema which translates as "know yourself". I think that their focus on finding and releasing the tension in the body is based on the understanding that this tension originates in the mind, Fear creates tension. They have a very systematic way of practicing that is designed to release that tension but also get at the root cause. There is a healing aspect to the practice which, I believe Michael and Vlad actually see as the central point of the systema. All that striking work they do not only serves to decondition your fear of being struck and your fear of pain but it is aslo a very sophisticated form of deep massage.

Anyway, as I have identified for myself what the various principles are that function in "aiki", I have been able to teach them fairly successfully. I am in complete agreement with Dan on this. This stuff is principle based and those principles can be taught. I would say that almost all of my students at 3rd kyu and up understand what they are "trying" to do. They have all experienced what it feels like to do a technique with "aiki", if only under a very controlled circumstance. I am coming to see that, understanding the principles isn't enough. The inability that my students have to do their technique properly on a consistent basis doesn't come so much from not understanding what they should be doing. It comes from the fact that they can't relax their minds enough to do it in their bodies. They all carry too much tension and that tension is a direct product of all of their fears.

In my opinion this is one place at which you find out why Aikido really needs to have a spiritual component. In order to function in Aikido at a high level, you have to really start to look at and deal with what the various things are that make you afraid. For many people, especially the buff boys, this isn't fear of physical pain. It can be fear of embarrassment, fear of not measuring up, fear of having others do better than they do, fear of rejection, it goes on and on. Aikido training needs to make one aware of these issues and help you progressively release that tension.

My students are now caught in the middle. They are far more relaxed than ever before, as I am. We've had some visitors comment on it who have seen these folks every year for many years and they have commented on it. But what they have not yet been able to is to relax and keep their energy flowing so that they don't collapse. In other words they still mostly relax too much and you can get inside their technique and crush them. They are at that stage where they are just about ready to make the jump to something at a much higher level but are stalled at that point where everything stops working for a while.

I see this tension issue as the central aspect of what we do. It's a lot like Enlightenment in Zen in the sense that, you can get to the point at which you start to understand how to relax the body enough to start doing technique with "aiki". But just as with kensho in Zen, it doesn't end there, it really just starts there. It has to continue, one has to go deeper. I think that if folks were to understand this aspect of practice, they would come to understand just why Aikido is primarily a spiritual pursuit. Aikido is about dealing with your ****! But in a very practical, body centered way.

Find the tension through training. Find the root cause of that tension. Release the tension. Train some more. That's how I see training at this point. The rest is just mechanics. If we start to really deal with our fears, we start to relax. When we start to relax, we start to find that place in our lives where we stop fighting everything, stop resisting. I think that is ultimately the Kannagara no Michi which O-Sensei talked about. On the mat it is this release of fear and the tension that creates Take Musus Aiki. Technique simply arises out of the state of non-resistance.

However, one doesn't deal with ones fears by hiding from them. This is why correctly done hard practice is important.The most basic form of fear, and the easiest to deal with in some ways, is simply the fear of being hit or hurt. Training must be vigorous enough that it pushes your buttons in this area. Too many Aikido people suck the energy out of the training in some misguided desire to make the practice comfortable for the students. This may be necessary to pay the bills but it isn't conducive to teaching your students to deal with their fears. Most Aikido dojos I see are busy trying to protect their students from their fears. Train like that and twenty years later you are still afraid of the same things because you have never dealt with them. Actually, if one looks at any given dojo, the structure of the training there will be a direct reflection of the fears of the Chief Instructor. But that's probably a topic for late night discussion over a beer or two. Not a good one for on-line.

Anyway, I don't know of any system that puts more emphasis on this area than systema and I would recommend that Aikido folks become familiar with how they train. There are many lessons for us in Aikido in what they do and it won't require any change in what you do, just how you go about doing it.

DH
12-20-2006, 11:20 AM
Hi George


You guys are far more elequant than I am. You just went along way round to saying....exactly....what I have been saying for years.
Severe training-in my case MMA-with pain, is a way to train men to work through it as an issue, while remaining focused and relaxed and moving. Facng it, changes you. Some (Hi, Dennis) live it.

Many, from fear, deny this to be true in their training and train in a casual non challenging environment and consider it a form of abuse. It most assuredly not and just happens to be a superior model to actually train men to live and face life-with all its fears.

I also love the model of the chief instructor. More people enter Budo "with issues." and move on up without dispensing with them. Finding a healthy mind, with substantial skiils is one thing. Finding one that can teach and get others there is even more difficult.
To have that and be able to train safe with pain and thresholds while remaining open in spirit and form is quite telling.
One, the pain is greatly reduced to the point of being incidental. Secondly, the relaxed mind reads things much faster. Third the connected body, held by the relaxed mind moves as whoile much faster, and in a joined fachion that is superior to most anything.

Last is something I have been saying on the net and to those who train with me for years. This training gives you a feeling of living "free in the world" that is hard to describe. It is THEE sense of empowerment and lack of fear and...........makes forgiveness seem easy to do, giving seem natural. Forgiving and acceptance is a very powerful tool.
Ok OK,,,I'm gonna get slammed....put the granola away. but I'd suggest there is a better way.

It's why I loved systema the moment I had it explained to me by a mutual friend of ours. Not the total training regimen but the goals and many of the methods.
Many fighters and wrestlers have a relaxed sense of acceptance and confidance born of trial. Many in BJJ as well. The Gracie family adopts a wholestic way of life also. Vlad is spiritually on that path as well...full speed.
Cheers
Dan

Dennis Hooker
12-20-2006, 11:20 AM
Hay George I agree. When I was visiting you the systema folks from next door dropped by to watch all day. After class we had a chance to talk and touch and I feel a strong kinship with those people. I would like to spend more time with them.

Dennis

DH
12-20-2006, 11:44 AM
I just wanted to tie-in what I thought pertained to Aikido.

Its why I was moved by Ueshibas "idea" or vision This single idea that once he discovered the truths of Daito ryu- Its internal power, that he didn't have to be moved to violence. Its also why I keep offering Takeda, Sagawa and Kodo as models. They discovered it as well but were of a different mindsets on how to use it. Ueshiba, being in the right place and time looked beyond to what he could do with "it." He could face, and stop, incoming forces at will without causing harm. But without that skill, born out of full resistence and trial you have...well.....aikido as it is today.

These skills, once shown, once built in the body, and trained ....are the lamp that lets you discover his foot steps. For Aikido, everything other than that is, full speed......in the wrong direction.

I gotta stop. I feel compelled to go hug a tree, and eat a granola bar
Cheers
Dan

Dennis Hooker
12-20-2006, 11:58 AM
I
I gotta stop. I feel compelled to go hug a tree, and eat a granola bar
Cheers
Dan


Well you know what they say. You are what you eat! Lets see granola = fruits, nuts and flakes. ;) ;)

Looking for red meat and 26 year old scotch here.

Dennis

DH
12-20-2006, 12:04 PM
ooooooh!!

Dan, walks into whole.... presented by Dennis. :D
Crunch crunch...munch munch.

Mark Jakabcsin
12-20-2006, 12:19 PM
Thank you George. Great post and many good things to discuss and evaluate.


Last is something I have been saying on the net and to those who train with me for years. This training gives you a feeling of living "free in the world" that is hard to describe. It is THEE sense of empowerment and lack of fear and...........makes forgiveness seem easy to do, giving seem natural. Forgiving and acceptance is a very powerful tool.
Ok OK,,,I'm gonna get slammed....put the granola away. but I'd suggest there is a better way.



Dan,
This was my favorite part of your post and it explains what I have been learning and feeling the last few years.......and I do not even like granola.

Take care,

Mark J.

Gwion
12-20-2006, 05:21 PM
Like I said before Dan rocks.

--WW

eyrie
12-20-2006, 05:56 PM
Man.... I would like to write like George does... :)

Masakatsu agatsu... when we stop "fighting" with ourselves (i.e. holding tension, fear, etc. etc.)... "fighting" against everything around us....

Hmmm.... definitely more "tree hugging". :D

Mark Jakabcsin
12-20-2006, 09:05 PM
The real issue is where that tension comes from, what is its cause? You can't really get rid of it on a deep level without understanding that.

I definitely agree with George here. This is not to take anything away from the mechanics that have been discussed as those are also vitally important for accomplishing physical tasks. If one wants to move beyond physical prowess and make fundamental improvements in ones life I believe one must look beyond the pure mechanics and strive to understand the mind and spirit that drives the machine.

There is a healing aspect to the practice which, I believe Michael and Vlad actually see as the central point of the systema. All that striking work they do not only serves to decondition your fear of being struck and your fear of pain but it is aslo a very sophisticated form of deep massage.

Spot on here as well. And there is even more to this type of training. The striking work, both striking another and being struck, has a tremendous amount to do with understanding and dealing with ones ego. The ego is a slippery thing but the strike training forces one to examine his/her own ego closely. While this is often scary the potential benefits are enormous. Likewise the deep massage George mentions above can have surprising and often scary short term affects as the body releases stored emotions but the long term benefits are extremely positive, both physically and emotionally. The strike training is also a great opportunity to train awareness as the tendency is to focus on only one sense and get drawn into the struck area. By learning to constantly switch from one sense to another, one learns to maintain vital awareness under duress and how to change ones emotions by changing their perception. All valuable skills that can be used in every day life in countless applications.

Anyway, as I have identified for myself what the various principles are that function in "aiki", I have been able to teach them fairly successfully. I am in complete agreement with Dan on this. This stuff is principle based and those principles can be taught. I would say that almost all of my students at 3rd kyu and up understand what they are "trying" to do. They have all experienced what it feels like to do a technique with "aiki", if only under a very controlled circumstance. I am coming to see that, understanding the principles isn't enough. The inability that my students have to do their technique properly on a consistent basis doesn't come so much from not understanding what they should be doing. It comes from the fact that they can't relax their minds enough to do it in their bodies. They all carry too much tension and that tension is a direct product of all of their fears.

George, if I might impose can you share with us what the principles of aiki are as you see them and how you have learned to teach them to your students? Either here or on another thread. Possibly I have missed this in another thread if so please let me know and I will look it up. Also please address how you are helping your students identify and work through their fears. This continues to be a focus at each of my classes and hearing how others deal with this topic is always interesting and helpful. Thanks.


I see this tension issue as the central aspect of what we do. It's a lot like Enlightenment in Zen in the sense that, you can get to the point at which you start to understand how to relax the body enough to start doing technique with "aiki". But just as with kensho in Zen, it doesn't end there, it really just starts there. It has to continue, one has to go deeper. I think that if folks were to understand this aspect of practice, they would come to understand just why Aikido is primarily a spiritual pursuit. Aikido is about dealing with your ****! But in a very practical, body centered way.

Great points. I believe that one can achieve tremendous physical results by avoiding the spiritual pursuits and focusing purely on the physical mechanics. The problem is if they haven't dealt with their own ****! (as George says) they are in danger of losing themselves in their own ego. To have tremendous physical ability without grounding your spiritual state is generally a recipe for disaster. One can not truly be centered without dealing with and training all aspects of the self.

However, one doesn't deal with ones fears by hiding from them. This is why correctly done hard practice is important.The most basic form of fear, and the easiest to deal with in some ways, is simply the fear of being hit or hurt. Training must be vigorous enough that it pushes your buttons in this area.

Amen!


Take care,

Mark J.

Mike Sigman
12-20-2006, 10:08 PM
I believe that one can achieve tremendous physical results by avoiding the spiritual pursuits and focusing purely on the physical mechanics. The problem is if they haven't dealt with their own ****! (as George says) they are in danger of losing themselves in their own ego. To have tremendous physical ability without grounding your spiritual state is generally a recipe for disaster. One can not truly be centered without dealing with and training all aspects of the self. I have seen variations of this type of discussion for many years in a number of martial arts. Generally, I avoid devoting much thought to it because most of the martial arts that I know of seems to have experts who pay all different amounts of attention to the "spiritual" pursuits... i.e., there never seems to be a strong correlation between someone's physical expertise and their spiritual development. Take a look at just some of the personalities in Aikido who studied at Hombu Dojo, as an example. But this type of example holds true for most of the martial arts that I know of.

I always have this question in my mind.... if someone does not do the physical aspects of Aikido, Taiji, Karate, Jiujitsu, etc., correctly... i.e., they just do an external mimicry of movement, "blending", etc... how does that affect their "spiritual" development. That is, if someone has a problem with, as Tohei once put it, "Where is his Ki?"... how does that tie to the integral whole of the physical and spiritual development? Is the "spiritual" stuff real if the physical stuff is off? If we posit that the "correct" spiritual path for Aikido (in this example) can be there even if the physical stuff is wrong... what's the point in worrying about the physical at all? It gets sort of crazy, when you start pulling this discussion apart and looking at the ramifications. That's why I've never really gotten involved, even though in all the martial arts I've been involved in, there are people who like to dissect this physical/spiritual argument. ;)

My opinion, FWIW

Mike

Mike Hamer
12-20-2006, 11:32 PM
Trying to "relax" while still using normal strength modes is simply an exercise in frustration and it's about as useful as teaching a pig to sing.

Best.

Mike


Haven't you ever seen Babe?





























sorry :/

Gernot Hassenpflug
12-21-2006, 01:31 AM
Regarding training relaxation, here a few thoughts on how Akuzawa's exercises tie in with Abe Seiseki's teachings. In my current view, it's a useful didactic tool for beginners like me and the university students with 1-3 years of aikido practice, to distinguish between the creation/realization of thin piano wires going through the body, and the movement of the limbs and body as a whole during training of a particular form.

The great thing about Akuzawa's exercises is that they give direction to what used to be a fruitless endeavour: namely relaxing but extending ki at the same time without getting tense. By utilizing an opening of the body (front) and a closing (from the back) across all the limbs, the squashing of two halves of an almond (as I think of it) forms an invisible line in the middle, while the outsides remain soft because the almond shell is powered by the whole body (from the belly sides and the spine, I think) and transferred bit by bit through the tissues, skin, ligaments, sinews, bones. As a result, individual body parts are relaxed in the sense that the muscles feel soft, especially those of the forearm, front of shoulder, and hips/buttocks.

Now that the invisible lines are created and felt, contact by a partner can be transferred to the ground and controlled by the hara. I've really noticed this effect when doing what I consider a difficult exercise such as ushiro ryo-katate-dori from movement (where the partner moves in to take the wrist in ai-hanmi).

Movement (whether a tenkan, or a more involved technique) keeps the almond shells in equilibrium to maintain the inner piano wire, while using - for didactic purposes - a different mechanism to move.

As this second mechanism, I suggest that while keeping the mind occupied with maintaining the two-way almond shells across the whole body to create and maintain the piano wires, the breath pressure is used to modulate the limbs in very gentle drawing in or extending out actions, and the other directions as well. I think this is in line with what Mike (Sigman) recommends for moving from center while feeling the "suit". This movement does not generate much force, certainly not in the beginning, but it will reduce the pressure felt on individual muscles, as individual muscles do not act alone, and there is directivity throughout the body. The division allows undisturbed and uninterfered "static" connection training and "dynamic" training (slowly!) at the same time. No more tension as the movement starts, no more realizing that one has lost something while moving, I find I can keep an eye on both the static requirements, and on the movement I want to do, separately.

Now, to actually use the piano wires and limb motions with power (assuming here that aikido uses the lower back a lot), I take the example of kokyu-dosa. Let's say both persons use the above method to hold and be held (so it is not trivial to raise the arms). Then one person may sink his lower spine slightly, and use that stretch to come back under the holder's force, along the piano wires which already connect between ground and holder's hands, and expand those lines slightly. One side of the wires moves: the holder's hands, and the piano wire directivity (holder's force to ground) ensures that the lower spine force goes to the holder's center, or at least to his/her shoulders.

I've had good success introducing shodans (that's 1-3 years aikido experience at university in Japan) to this, and then introducing Akuzawa's tenchijin exercise as a means to get their body to create the requisite piano wires after they're convinced the methodology has some merit.

The above ties in with what I perceive Abe Seiseki sensei to be espousing (at a basic level, he keeps iterating that this is the absolute basics) about sub-millimeter movement in one direction (rotation) and then back the other way (counter-rotation) without overstepping one's initial position of hand (or whichever body part one is moving), and of using the hara to send what feels like a jolt from the ground to the partner's shoulders (or taking their center out so they simply fall flat). As I've said before, Abe sensei does this with and without breath, and says it's trained muscle, so I don't think separating as I've done above is confusing, although breath can always add more once one has control of all the terms in this (basic) equation.

For me, I can see that there is "suit" training as well as the inner tension/piano wire training happening at the same time, and that there is enough room in tenchijin exercise to do loads of stuff, including using the breath. So I am getting the feeling that there is a lot more similarity between Akuzawa's exercises and basic aikido training methodology (various misogi) than I at first thought.

Hope this is useful, comments/criticism always appreciated.

George S. Ledyard
12-21-2006, 02:54 AM
George, if I might impose can you share with us what the principles of aiki are as you see them and how you have learned to teach them to your students? Either here or on another thread. Possibly I have missed this in another thread if so please let me know and I will look it up.
Have stuff to do so this is all i have time for right now:
Principles of Aiki (http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/gledyard/2006_09.html)

Mark Freeman
12-21-2006, 05:01 AM
Have stuff to do so this is all i have time for right now:
Principles of Aiki (http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/gledyard/2006_09.html)

That is a great article, thanks George. :)

Merry Xmas

Mark

Robert Cowham
12-21-2006, 05:16 AM
One set of reading that I have found useful myself in researching relaxation is Peter Ralston and his Cheng Hsin writings and teachings.

I can certainly recommend his latest book "Zen Body-Being".

A couple of quotes from Peter's book:

- Relaxation is letting go.

- Tension comes unbidden, relaxtion must be invited.

And finally something that I have been working with that is producing some results:

Once I went to my teacher Wong and asked "How do I relax?"
He responded, "Relax your mind."
"Sure," I said, "but aren't there some exercises I can do to relax my body?"
"Relax your mind," he said again.
Knowing him to be a man of few words, I decided to go site down and concentrate on relaxing my mind. As I sat there, I went from not understanding what Wong meant to discovering that relaxing my mind is the same things as feeling and relaxing my whole body. They can't be separated. So I invite you to "relax your mind." Mind is where tension comes from; relaxation cannot be accomplished without letting go in the mind.

As for my personal practice, I find solo sword suburi and practice works well for looking at shoulders and things. HAve had some success getting beginners to relax very quickly by getting them to focus on their breathing.

Robert

MM
12-21-2006, 05:40 AM
Regarding training relaxation, here a few thoughts on how Akuzawa's exercises tie in with Abe Seiseki's teachings.

Great post!

Thanks

Mark Jakabcsin
12-21-2006, 07:08 AM
I always have this question in my mind.... if someone does not do the physical aspects of Aikido, Taiji, Karate, Jiujitsu, etc., correctly... i.e., they just do an external mimicry of movement, "blending", etc... how does that affect their "spiritual" development. ......... It gets sort of crazy, when you start pulling this discussion apart and looking at the ramifications. That's why I've never really gotten involved, even though in all the martial arts I've been involved in, there are people who like to dissect this physical/spiritual argument.



Mike,
Clearly I DID NOT propose or suggest not training the physical aspects in Aikido or any other art. I train in Systema which has a very healthy dose of the physical. The gist of my post is summed up in the last sentence of my previous post.

"One can not truly be centered without dealing with and training all aspects of the self."

I.E. to become truly centered one must work on the physical, the mental and the emotional/spiritual. Focusing on one at the exculsion of the others will ultimately limit growth/potential and is building a house of cards. A good training program will focus on all three, although at times the emphasis may be weighted towards one, but this changes over time as the student's needs change. Hence a begining student's focus will be more heavily weighted towards the physical because this is the easier aspect to grasp, accept, understand and learn. A clever teacher will introduce the student to other aspects with various drills that might seem physical at first. Dealing with fear as George writes about is a good example. In the system I train I started being exposed to the mental and emotional aspects immediately, although it took awhile for me to grasp the importance. Never the less it was there and waiting for me whenever I was ready.

Take care,

Mark J.

Mark Jakabcsin
12-21-2006, 07:29 AM
Thanks George. I printed up the article and will give it a read later this morning.

Gernot, thank you for taking the time to write such an interesting post. I am very interested in Ark's methods and always enjoy reading about his training. I sure hope he comes to the USA sometime.

Robert, I agree that Peter Ralston's book, "Zen Body-Being" is a good book to read. I recommened it a few weeks ago on the thread about internal training. While I doubt the book contains anything for the highly experienced it is a good place to start for mere mortals. Plenty of individual drills and training exercises. I do caution that I felt the first 60 pages or so were rather repetitive and seemed to drag, although there are a few gems in those pages so I recommend reading it all.

Take care,

Mark J.

Mike Sigman
12-21-2006, 08:00 AM
Mike,
Clearly I DID NOT propose or suggest not training the physical aspects in Aikido or any other art. I train in Systema which has a very healthy dose of the physical. The gist of my post is summed up in the last sentence of my previous post.

"One can not truly be centered without dealing with and training all aspects of the self."

I.E. to become truly centered one must work on the physical, the mental and the emotional/spiritual. Hi Mark:

Well, don't get me wrong, because I don't particularly disagree. I know beyond a doubt that there are some people talking on this forum, just as others have done on other forums for years, about how to train correctly who don't really have much in the way of these basic skills. As we used to say on the old Neijia List, "It Has To Be Shown". And frankly, while I've seen some Systema people with skills, I haven't seen anyone who really uses "centering" in the same way that is common in the Asian martial arts. And trust me... I go look. I travel places to see somebody, something, whatever, as part of the caution of not wanting to get a wrong impression, one way or another.

What it all boils down to, for the most part, is something I've recommended before.... more people on the list need to get together and share and demonstrate. Less pontificating. This is a critical time in Aikido, I think.... and there will be a quiet struggle between those that want to move forward and those that want to maintain the status quo. That getting toether will be the best and friendliest way to thrash out the issue. Yes, you have to have physical and spiritual components, but not everybody's version of those two things is going to work out to be correct... it will often be someone simply selling his view. Let's let some air in. ;)

Best.

Mike

Mark Jakabcsin
12-21-2006, 08:25 AM
And frankly, while I've seen some Systema people with skills, I haven't seen anyone who really uses "centering" in the same way that is common in the Asian martial arts.

Agreed the centering is not the same. Nor was it designed to be. While there are undoubtly similarities there are also differences.


And trust me... I go look. I travel places to see somebody, something, whatever, as part of the caution of not wanting to get a wrong impression, one way or another.

Yes, traveling to see and experience is very important and I do a good deal myself. One potential pitfall is when one travels to see how another person/art fits into his/her view of what is right or correct. When things do not match this individuals version of correct then it is viewed as wrong and disregarded. We all do this to one degree or another. To understand the value in a difference takes more than casual observation.

What it all boils down to, for the most part, is something I've recommended before.... more people on the list need to get together and share and demonstrate. Less pontificating. This is a critical time in Aikido, I think.... and there will be a quiet struggle between those that want to move forward and those that want to maintain the status quo. That getting toether will be the best and friendliest way to thrash out the issue.

I believe this is why Stan Pranin has hosted several Aiki Expos. Correct me if I am wrong but I also seem to remember some AIkiweb get togethers. All good stuff for those with an open mind.

Yes, you have to have physical and spiritual components, but not everybody's version of those two things is going to work out to be correct... it will often be someone simply selling his view.


Agreed to a point. I do not believe there is a universal 'correct' for these two components. I think each individual needs to study, experiment, train, think and understand in his/her own time and way. Hence selling ones views, as has frequently happened on this thread/forum, is not nearly as valuable as sharing ones experiences so another can try them out for size, use what works and shelve what does not. Note I said shelve not throw away as I have frequently found things I did not understand and could not use at the time became very valuable later when I was ready.

Take care,

Mark J.

Erick Mead
12-21-2006, 08:46 AM
Go look at what I said, Erick. Forces cannot be "converted" from horizontal to vertical because the horizontal component is still there, *even if you vector add the forces*. You're trying to equate vector-addition of forces with "converting". Forces cannot be converted, as I originally stated and which you don't seem to understand. Or if you suddenly do understand that I was being precise, you're too proud to admit your error. I am not proud at all, I just understand inertial moments in a structure.You, evidently, do not. Linear inertia diminishes the quantity of a force (without effort). An inertial moment also alters its direction of effect (also without effort). They "convert" forces from one perpendicular component to the other without any active "force vector" on their part. "Juji" + , again

Even a resting object is not without inertial energy. It is the most "relaxed" form of response to force that there is. You can't even get rid of it if you wanted to.

You are disregarding the fact that we are talking about forces and reactions in different parts of the structure, which means force couples and moments of inertia in the structure between those locations. It is exceedingly rare that you can push directly in line with the center of mass -- and you have defined a problem (the chest push) where you specifically do not. Thus, there is a rotational element and a radius forming a moment of inertia about a certain axis of the structure.

In this setting, I can define the dolly problem where your push on the chest causes inertial moment to make the dolly shift toward the pusher (negative displacement). I can define the dolly problem where the same push results in the dolly shifting away from the pusher (positive displacement). This is quite obvious in iriminage (negative displacement) and kaitennage (positive displacement), for example, where I am directly manipulating those respective positive and negative rotational moments of the body.

And there is (obviously) a case in between the positive and negative regimes at which zero is attained. However, it is supercritical (top of the hill), and it takes constant energy to maintain from falling away one way or the other.

This, to me, is the antithesis of "relaxation." It is a very expensive zero.

Keeping at zero has everything to do with the shape of the load path and the conditions of support at the base, but has not a thing to do with horizontal friction. If horizontal frictional reaction would develop as a means of opposing the moment at the ground, then in frictionless setting (such as the dolly), the dolly moves one way or the other.

So if you are using ground friction, as opposed to some other means to maintain the supercritical zero displacement regime, then you will move if put on the dolly. Which was really my only point.

In the Tohei video, if he were put on a dolly, on my analysis he ought to be moved toward the attacker as he commences his attacking motion and be moved away from the attacker as he experiences kuzushi. Tohei would be moved (by the attackers own motion) through the zero regime and back again -- not be precariously maintaining himself in the middle -- not moving. It would look very much like torifune/funatori. Surprise, surprise.

I have my doubts whether maintaining this zero regime for an arbitrary length of time is of much use in aikido -- The supercritical nature of an unanticipated change of sign and the sudden downhill slide in the reverse orientation to what was expected are elements that aikido seems most readily to exploit. The load path considerations are important (which I have not really addressed). The load path defines where hinges naturally develop in either partner. Those are more important in most aikido technique than manipulating conditions of support so as "not be moved."

In other words done properly -- we move -- but always in the neighborhood of that highly critical stability area. It confounds an attack by suddenly changing the orientation of the inertial response that develops from receiving the energy of the attack at the moment of musubi or connection. If we do it perfectly, we let our body shape do the work for us, without any effort.

Mike Sigman
12-21-2006, 08:53 AM
Agreed the centering is not the same. Nor was it designed to be. While there are undoubtly similarities there are also differences.




Yes, traveling to see and experience is very important and I do a good deal myself. One potential pitfall is when one travels to see how another person/art fits into his/her view of what is right or correct. When things do not match this individuals version of correct then it is viewed as wrong and disregarded. We all do this to one degree or another. To understand the value in a difference takes more than casual observation.



I believe this is why Stan Pranin has hosted several Aiki Expos. Correct me if I am wrong but I also seem to remember some AIkiweb get togethers. All good stuff for those with an open mind. I dunno, Mark... I've now got over 45 years in doing exclusively Asian martial arts of the Japanese and Chinese varieties. The ki/qi things are the same everywhere, when you do even a simple analysis.... and that really shouldn't be much of a surprise to anyone who really has any skills in these things. I know it's pretty well an accepted "given" in every Asian martial-arts expert that I'm acquainted with. This holding out as a possibility that there are really interpretable differences in the different arts is only true in a very limited view... in the big picture, it's not a worthwhile discussion, IMO, until the bigger picture is understood and accomplished.

I saw someone begin to use the "ego" word in a previous post and I'd say there's probably ego enough to go around. At the moment, though, I'd say the first thing to question is why Aikido got to this point that there are these semi-naive discussions about how Systema, Wing Chun, MMA, etc., is just what is needed to correct the difficiencies in Aikido. The reason it got to that point is that many "name teachers" and "name students" of the western persuasion blocked discussions in the past every time the ki/kokyu discussions came up. I saw it happen. There's the original offending ego.... none could accept even the suggestion that there was something that they didn't know, so they blocked all discussion and progress. I take it as a given (I've seen this happen in several other Asian martial arts, too) that there will be resistance and ruffled feathers from some of the powers that be. It's a factor that has to be understood and taken into consideration and circumvented.

The idea of "open mind" is a good one, just as is the discussion about the physical and spiritual aspects of Aikido (and other arts). However, from a lot of experience, there is going to be a lot of false "open mind" to some of the basics. That's why I already cautioned about the "Oh Yeah... we already do that" guys, the "can you put on a 1-hour demo to explain that to us and we'll incorporate that into our already fine Aikido?" guys, and so on. Many of the comments I've seen about various martial arts and how they "add to Aikido" are completely naive in regard to what is contained in various martial arts, when you get beyond the simple forms and techniques level. As an example, think of the karate guy who "also teaches Tai Chi" and says it with a straight face, indicating that he is completely clueless about the bona fide body mechanics of either art. It's the kind of statement you can only walk away from... the guy is ignorant, yet he is convinced he is an expert. That's the sort of thing I'm cautioning against and why I'm heavily stressing that there needs to be some get-together where these things are hashed out as extensively as possible. It will help Aikido, IMO, in more ways than one.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
12-21-2006, 08:59 AM
I am not proud at all, I just understand ..SNIP!!!... You are proud. I said one thing and you still are not listening or admitting you didn't read what I said: vector forces' direction cannot be converted; the only thing you can do to effect a change in direction is to vector-add other forces, causing a different resultant direction. A singular vector force cannot have its direction changed.... it is what it is. That's what I originally said; it's a simple concept.

Mike Sigman

Mark Jakabcsin
12-21-2006, 09:52 AM
That's the sort of thing I'm cautioning against and why I'm heavily stressing that there needs to be some get-together where these things are hashed out as extensively as possible. It will help Aikido, IMO, in more ways than one.



Yes it is a good idea and I have seen such meetings happening over the past several years. The Aiki Expo probably being the largest formal gathering but there are also a number of Aikidoka that are traveling, experiencing and learning at each opportunity. The changes are a process that no single get-together can accomplish and frankly some will join in the process and some will not.

Mike,
One question I was hoping you would answer is 'Where does tension come from?' If you have given any thought to this line of questioning I would like to hear what you have to add.

Also an FYI, if you have not met Vladimir Vasiliev of Systema he will be in the Denver/Longmont area in March 07. Nothing like working with and asking questions of the guy at the top. Information can be found on his site.

Merry Christmas,

Mark J.

Mike Sigman
12-21-2006, 10:37 AM
The Aiki Expo probably being the largest formal gathering but there are also a number of Aikidoka that are traveling, experiencing and learning at each opportunity. The changes are a process that no single get-together can accomplish and frankly some will join in the process and some will not. Hi Mark:

Well, the main thing I would have against a mixed format like AikiExpo is that we're not talking about friendly-but-knowledgeable people "listening openly" while someone "presents their views for your kind consideration". The problem in Aikido and in a number of other arts (notice that I try to consistently point out that this is not just an Aikido problem) is that the basics are missing for the most part, including in the upper hierarchy of westerners. The assumption at a friendly get-together (and I've been to TONS of them) is that most of the people who don't have a clue about basics are the first to adopt this stage persona about how they are among their "brothers" and that all the "brothers" just natcherly already know this stuff. What's needed is a more serious format where the role-playing is squelched and "craft" is hashed out with clinical precision, discussion, etc. Ultimately, if something like that is not done, there are going to be some burned fingers.... and the people whose fingers are the most likely to get burned are the very people (often) who are leading the way to the finger-burning. ;)
One question I was hoping you would answer is 'Where does tension come from?' If you have given any thought to this line of questioning I would like to hear what you have to add. I thought I took a shot at it, Mark, but let me re-try:

Strength and power are needed, even if techniques attempt to borrow the other person's force, as much as possible. If someone does not have some strength/power/conditioning, they have to get it somewhere. If the only mode of movement they know is "normal" (i.e., "using muscle") movement, then they cannot avoid using some muscle, no matter how good their technique gets. Just for laughs, go around and feel the shoulder muscles of some of the teachers who talk about "don't use shoulders". Their shoulder muscles are not hypertrophied due to some genetic aberration. ;)

If you want to "relax", you first have to start to learn to move using the jin/kokyu forces.... you have to have *something* to replace your power if you relinqish the tension of normal movement. But it gets more complicated than that. Just shooting from the lip, let me say why relaxation is needed (i.e., I'll probably leave some things out, not be too clear, etc.):

1. You can't learn kokyu movement of forces manipulation if your primary muscle-system keeps overriding (tension). It has to be a studied effort, using little or no weight at first.

2. You cannot learn to control your movement with your hara if your normal mode of movement keeps overriding. To relearn, using kokyu-forces and the ki-structure, means you have to shut tension almost completele down.

3. You cannot develop the "ki" power (this is what the Ki Society is actually doing when they do the absolutely relaxed "ignore your opponent moving" and what I do with the more extensive fascia stuff) with tension, **except to a limited degree**. This is the old contention about why the Taoists disparage "Shaolin". In *some* (not all) Shaolin sects (particularly in some of the southern stuff), there is a willful coordination of muscle tension and the ki development... results are faster, pretty damned strong, etc., but it's a somewhat more limited approach in terms of the whole picture.

There was a movie called something like "The Honor of Dong Feng Xu" a few years back. In it was a lot of vignettes of training methodology and one quick thing they showed was some guys hitting sandbags on a table with their arms. The arms were relaxed like rolled-up wet towels. The reason for this is that if they tense the arms, yes, they will develop some ki, very powerful arms and hard strikes... well beyond the abilities of most people. But unless they stay relaxed, they will never fully develop the ki. This is the consideration you have to look at in the tension approaches.

On the other hand, if you've got nothing, it's better to get something, so I stay on the fence and let people make their own choices. Certainly the vast amount of what is seen in Aikido is just external technique (no matter how subtle someone thinks their grasp of that part is). It needs to move up to where the arguments are more about whose approach to Ki is best, not these "what is ki?" discussions. ;) Also an FYI, if you have not met Vladimir Vasiliev of Systema he will be in the Denver/Longmont area in March 07. Nothing like working with and asking questions of the guy at the top. Information can be found on his site.Mark, I've never met Vladimir, but I've seen videos of him and he is an accomplished martial artist. He has some build-up of ki in his body (at some levels, some ki is going to develop because ki and strength are intertwined), but he does not use it like Aikido was originally meant to use it. I've also met some of his students, seen films, etc., etc., and while I admire Systema (just as I admire many martial arts and have seen very many), I simply don't think this love affair of Aikido/Systema is much more than an acknowledgement that things are missing from within Aikido. If I thought Systema, MMA, or whatever, would help put someone on the road to the basic skills, I'd be the first to recommend it... honest. So while I'm appreciative of Systema (at the higher levels... the "move people with a wave of the hand" stuff is bothersome, though), I frankly haven't been convinced that there is enough relationship of Systema to the Ki/Kokyu studies for me to spend the time and go. I'm always open to being convinced and I always try to stay on top of what's available.... but I'm just not a believer. You'll have to pop by and show my your ki/kokyu skills and convince me. :)

All the Best.

Mike

Mark Jakabcsin
12-21-2006, 01:39 PM
Mike,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on relaxation/tension I greatly appreciate your time and effort.

As for the formal information exchange/seminar/expo you desire good luck. At best this will only happen in very small groups. However I do believe there are a number of folks in the Aikido community that have a good deal of skill and are sharing said skill, furthermore I believe there are a good number of folks that are seeking additional knowledge and sharing that as well. Will everyone partake? No but enough will that Aikido will continue to grow in it's own way in it's own time. Which is the way it should be, imo.


So while I'm appreciative of Systema (at the higher levels... the "move people with a wave of the hand" stuff is bothersome, though), I frankly haven't been convinced that there is enough relationship of Systema to the Ki/Kokyu studies for me to spend the time and go. I'm always open to being convinced and I always try to stay on top of what's available.... but I'm just not a believer. You'll have to pop by and show my your ki/kokyu skills and convince me. :)


LOL! Definitely not my responsibility or desire to convince you of anything. Nor would my meager skill level be able to impress you.

I note that in the above paragraph you write there is not enough of a relationship of Systema to the ki/kokyu studies to spend your time but earlier when I said Systema was operating differently than the Asian systems you disagreed. Not that it really matters as it is unlikely that you could really get a feel and understanding for our training methods and goals in a single seminar. Heck I have been doing it for a number of years and I'm constantly surprised what is around each corner. Best of luck.

Take care,

Mark J.

Erick Mead
12-21-2006, 03:17 PM
You know, we seem to have more disputes about things that seem pointless, only because you raise issues from a standpoint of physics, and talking about forces, vectors and friction, and then ignoring other controlling elements of the physics problem you have set up. Like inertia and inertial moments. You cannot have physical interaction that is more relaxed than plain old inertia.

I try to offer some points that may aid understanding the discussion from a physical standpoint of what may be occurring. You keep on arguing some incomplete notion of the physics, instead of sticking to whatever tradition you learned your stuff in. Do what works for you, man. I'm just trying to break this stuff down into physical terms that make sense of the actual structures, rather than their figurative (and category-overlapping) substitutes in a traditional knowledge paradigm.

You are proud. Says he, humbly...

Don't use physics as a metaphor for what you know from some other framework, and you'll get no further gibes from me. If you want to address it from a physical standpoiint that's okay, too. But do expect to be questioned.

And try not to take such offense at it. I know I don't. I'm not THAT proud....

I said one thing ... vector forces' direction cannot be converted; the only thing you can do to effect a change in direction is to vector-add other forces, causing a different resultant direction. A singular vector force cannot have its direction changed.... it is what it is. That's what I originally said; it's a simple concept.
And you were wrong. And in a gravity field, at the very least, seriously incomplete. I'm sorry, Mike but you are. Inertia is NOT a force. It is Newton's First Law of Motion (ikkyo?) for a reason. It comes one law BEFORE the law that defines a force in terms of acceleration and mass. Inertia causes no acceleration of mass, which defines a force. Inertia is a spatial quality of mass. It has no defined vector until a force interacts with it -- it is the response of a body to forces impnging on it and which causes changes in the resultant force as that interaction is occurring.

Moment of inertia is also NOT a force. It accerelates no mass. Until a force interacts with it, it has no defined sign, nor a defined inertial radius or moment arm. The length of the inertial radius and orientation of the inertial moment are defined by the radius distance of the impinging force from the center of mass and the axis of its orientation at contact. It varies -- widely.

Simplistically, it is the measure of the length of crank and the relative efficency in rotating the body in that orientation

They are simple concepts. And both of them act to alter resultant forces -- in magnitude and/or direction ... And neither of them are forces. They do that whether you do anything consciously about it or not.

Human beings can manipulate their inertial moments. Olympic skaters and divers are elegant solo examples. We aikidoka learn to alter the location and angle at which an attacking force is received and the shape of the load path that it follows through the articulations of the body. The nature of the body's inertial response to the force of attack can be adjusted by selecting a given shape and orientation at the time of contact.

We continue that modification and continue to change shape as the attacking motion begins to alter, or be "converted" from one axis to another. There are a whole a set of physics principles for this axis-shifting of forces in a rotary inertial framework, but I know you hate the word, so I won't use it.

Mike Sigman
12-21-2006, 04:07 PM
LOL! Definitely not my responsibility or desire to convince you of anything. Nor would my meager skill level be able to impress you.

I note that in the above paragraph you write there is not enough of a relationship of Systema to the ki/kokyu studies to spend your time but earlier when I said Systema was operating differently than the Asian systems you disagreed. Not that it really matters as it is unlikely that you could really get a feel and understanding for our training methods and goals in a single seminar. Heck I have been doing it for a number of years and I'm constantly surprised what is around each corner. But this is an important point, Mark. I mentioned that I'd like to see your ki/kokyu skills (in a friendly way). IF Systema had them and you were accomplished in them, that would be no big deal. I'm sure Systema has lots of surprises around the corner, but then again, so do most legitimate martial arts. The original subject had more to do with the relationship of Systema to Aikido and I frankly don't see it.... and really, I've looked. There are people who think MMA or Wing Chun is helpful to Aikido. I don't think so.... but I'm by no means putting down those arts as good, effective, etc. Frankly, I was expecting that if by now you had a glimpse/understanding of the jin/kokyu things through Systema, you would have enough to go "Bingo... I've seen those same things in Systema, too" and then we could go from there. You can extrapolate the logic from there.

But back to the topic. I didn't have any real problem demonstrating ki/kokyu skills at a Ki-Society workshop and I'm not a Ki-Society member. If I had an Aikido dojo that specialized in ki-skills (and guess what.... in Asian martial arts, that's a given) and some outsiders came in from different arts and wanted a common basis for discussion, I'd want to get an idea what they could do. Not what tests I could devise that would flummox them, but tests that anyone with real skills could do and which would give me an idea of where they were in these skills. I think that's what the other segments of Aikido need to do exactly the same thing, in terms of having basic ki tests.

I think the rest of Aikido should either join in with some of the Ki-Society basic tests or should have some similar ones. If someone wants to talk about Aikido (or Taiji, or Karate, or jujitsu or whatever), let him show his credentials.... bearing in mind that these are *basic* credentials that someone with ki skills from a *number* of different martial arts could easily do if they really have ki/kokyu skills.

The people who already have some of these skills will know when they read this that what I'm saying is true. Even though we've never met, I can tell from the conversations that Rob, Dan, Ushiro, Shaner Sensei, Abe, and many others could do a the same basic tests without any real problem.

What I'm saying is that anyone doing real Aikido should be able to do a basic set of "tests" without even thinking about it... one either has the skills or one doesn't. They can either do them relaxed or with *some* tension... but that will give away the direction of their training. And so on. Then and only then should the discussion go to the techniques and related topics.

There needs to be some sort of serious discussion about what to do and how to do it and it should be done in the near future. At the moment, things are headed just where you opined... small groups of the more interested are following the leads and many of the "old school" are hoping the topic dies away, but it's already too late (this is true in a number of other martial arts, too, BTW) to imagine that things are going to go back to the "here's my theory, tell me yours" days. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Mark Jakabcsin
12-21-2006, 04:43 PM
The original subject had more to do with the relationship of Systema to Aikido and I frankly don't see it.... and really, I've looked.

Actually the original question had nothing to do with a relationship between Aikido and Systema, some how you have read that into the discussion. The question was and is
How to teach and train relaxation'. Hence the name of the thread. Hearing and learning how other teachers and students tackle this subject, regardless of the art, is of interest to me, hence the question.


Frankly, I was expecting that if by now you had a glimpse/understanding of the jin/kokyu things through Systema, you would have enough to go "Bingo... I've seen those same things in Systema, too" and then we could go from there. You can extrapolate the logic from there.



LOL. You do tend to read into what people post or in this case do not post. You can extrapolate the logic from there. :)

Gotta go train.

Take care,

Mark J.

Mike Sigman
12-21-2006, 04:58 PM
Actually the original question had nothing to do with a relationship between Aikido and Systema, some how you have read that into the discussion. No, I just meant the Systema-Aikido part, Mark.... I know what the thread header is and the original discussion, but I wasn't talking about that.

Regards,

Mike

statisticool
12-21-2006, 08:25 PM
If the only mode of movement they know is "normal" (i.e., "using muscle") movement, then they cannot avoid using some muscle, no matter how good their technique gets.


It s far simpler than that in fact; no movement can be done without using muscle. Even though some like to fantasize that they can move without using muscle, most people know that even standing still one uses muscle.


But unless they stay relaxed, they will never fully develop the ki.


I'm wondering just how one measures ki to know if it is fully developed or not?


Certainly the vast amount of what is seen in Aikido is just external technique (no matter how subtle someone thinks their grasp of that part is).


The other side of the coin is people calling something 'internal' when they are really just waxing poetic about regular ol' external movement.

statisticool
12-21-2006, 08:33 PM
At the moment, though, I'd say the first thing to question is why Aikido got to this point that there are these semi-naive discussions about how Systema, Wing Chun, MMA, etc., is just what is needed to correct the difficiencies in Aikido.


As far as I can tell, no one is saying that aikido needs "correcting". What people are saying is that, for example, aikido doesn't focus on kicks enough, so practicing kicks, and other attacks, that are frequent in other martial arts can only be beneficial to aikido. Making aikido better is not the same as saying aikido needs "correcting".


There's the original offending ego.... none could accept even the suggestion that there was something that they didn't know, so they blocked all discussion and progress.


Most likely some practical people found discussions of theory and fixed applications of the theory, not too useful for actual real life use of martial arts techniques; especially the revelation that pushing off the ground and gravity cause one to move forward.

Mike Sigman
12-21-2006, 08:33 PM
Is there any reason other than to try to be irritating that you change my name to "Walter" when you reply/post to something of mine, Justin? It seems that you're simply stalking again and I'd like to ask Jun to at least intercede if your only purpose here is to play out some sick fantasy in your mind.

Mike Sigman

Gwion
12-21-2006, 10:35 PM
Is there any reason other than to try to be irritating that you change my name to "Walter" when you reply/post to something of mine, Justin? It seems that you're simply stalking again and I'd like to ask Jun to at least intercede if your only purpose here is to play out some sick fantasy in your mind.

Mike Sigman

paranoid much?

eyrie
12-21-2006, 10:59 PM
Back on topic...

...The question was and is
How to teach and train relaxation'. Hence the name of the thread. Hearing and learning how other teachers and students tackle this subject, regardless of the art, is of interest to me, hence the question.


Would it be presumptive of me to presume or even assume that it is the reason for the predominant focus on ukemi in most mainstream aikido? Or am I making a HUGE assumption?

I'm sure others may disagree, not to mention that the range of ukemi practice and understanding may differ from style to style. But the way I was taught, was to "soften" your ukemi (in the early learning stages at least), so that you could "sensitize" your entire body to "force" - hence the rationale for "collaborative" training.

The other reason for doing a lot of this type of ukemi (what Dan calls "catching air"), is so that as you reach the point of physical exhaustion, supposedly it suddenly dawns on you what "being relaxed" means... what "being loose but connected" means... what "moving from center" means... etc. especially when you have to get up and attack again, or have to throw someone.

Just surmising.... not saying it is right or wrong.

Cady Goldfield
12-22-2006, 09:34 AM
paranoid much?

What's up with that? :p

DH
12-22-2006, 10:07 AM
Back on topic...

But the way I was taught, was to "soften" your ukemi (in the early learning stages at least), so that you could "sensitize" your entire body to "force" - hence the rationale for "collaborative" training.

The other reason for doing a lot of this type of ukemi (what Dan calls "catching air"), is so that as you reach the point of physical exhaustion, supposedly it suddenly dawns on you what "being relaxed" means... what "being loose but connected" means... what "moving from center" means... etc. especially when you have to get up and attack again, or have to throw someone.

Just surmising.... not saying it is right or wrong.
I propose that type of training- to reach any sort of goal of relaxation is only.....a way....one way. Further that as -a way- "Being loose but connected" and "moving from center by getting up and having to attack again " is almost completely impossible as a method to achieve the desired goal. In fact I think its a fast way to lose site of the goal in its entirety. For me, it is the wrong direction.

Proposing that learning to take a throw and get exhausted doing so is a stellar means to learn connection should then be self-evident in the bodies and level of understanding of those who do it. Meaning…. many martial artist have proven the failure of that method.
You will learn better, faster standing alone in a room.
I'd probably say I've felt better "connectedness" in CMA players then I ever felt in many JMA'ers…none of whom train to fall down on a regular basis. Instead they train to stand up and listen.
And learning to "listen" can be taught without sacrifice of position. Many in the Aiki arts -it seems- just can't even conceive of absorbing without sacrificing because they were not shown. Just as the one fellow said his response to a punch was to throw himself. There are ways to absorb a punch and move within it and around it. And FWIW Systema teaches that.
As I said before watching anyone "choose" to end up on the ground as any kind of response to a hit or throw attempt is quite simply foolish. The history of throwing arts is to have folks learn to take ukemi so the student can practice throwing and also learn to take a throw. Beyond that the rest of your entire career should be about learning to listen and how N-O-T to be thrown.
Were you even to try to attain Ueshiba's goal of non violence -you do so by learning to train your body to be coonected and leave no openings. Not by commiting suicide.
Its only a view. There are means and methods to learning how to hold your structure and then how to support it in motion so contacting it is disadvantageous to an attacker. Most guys I've met in the Martial arts think they're all the same. Others know there are superior methods to doing so.

Happy holidays
Dan

Dennis Hooker
12-22-2006, 10:13 AM
The question was and is
How to teach and train relaxation'. Hence the name of the thread. Hearing and learning how other teachers and students tackle this subject, regardless of the art, is of interest to me, hence the question.


I do not believe it is taught but learned. It is a part of the process of development in budo or any of the arts. It takes time to learn and there is a process one goes through. Some folks would have you believe there are shortcuts. They would have you believe you could go to them and learn what has been denied you for twenty years. Some even say because the senior people in Aikido never knew it themselves so how could they teach it. Sure you can be taught tricks that give you a semblance of real training but they are still tricks. If you are of a cretin talent a teacher can teach you to fake a masterpiece but that does not mean you can create one on your own. The true process of budo is to help you find your own creative skills and it takes time in Aikido and other budo to do that regardless of the naysayers’. The process is Shu Ha Ri roughly speaking to keep to break and to leave. It is a process of development and I for one do not believe there are shortcuts. There are some that would have you come to the head of line. They themselves never seen the need to study over an extended and prolonged period of time with and identifiable teacher and because they possessed certain skills they got some of the more abstract concepts first and fast. I maintain there are no shortcuts to understanding the overall budo process and because of that they lack the deeper understanding and skills we can only gain over time. Budo is a lot like knightly chivalry. Martial art is but a part of the overall process. Bushi and Knights had to not only know but understand all the processes of courtliness from dancing to poetry - from artifice to artfulness. The thing we must learn is that they are all part of the same thing. One aspect influences all the others. That is the process of Shu Ha Ri. Frankly not everyone can learn to relax under stress. Not everyone is cut out for all the aspects of budo. That is OK after all some Samurai were bean counters and worker bees. Not all were made of the warrior stuff. Not all wanted to be. True relaxation in a budo since is a product of total training not a result of one component of the overall process.

Dennis

Mike Sigman
12-22-2006, 10:29 AM
I do not believe it is taught but learned. It is a part of the process of development in budo or any of the arts. It takes time to learn and there is a process one goes through. Some folks would have you believe there are shortcuts. Hi Dennis:

Well, Koichi Tohei was a 10th dan in Hombu Dojo and his approach is to have people "relax completely" and to practice a lot of "tricks", as you call them. Would your opinion be that he didn't know what he was talking about and that he should have put in 20 years the hard way? Perhaps his teachings are actually meant to be helpful and not some political ploy? It's an interesting thought, is it not?

I've had a lot of thoughts about Tohei's approaches in the last few weeks. It has been helpful. The essence of the "relax completely" that is taught in Ki-Society is, any way you want to cut it, his favored approach to developing ki/kokyu power. It is through relaxed movement. My personal opinion is that there can be a clearer way to do it, while still being relaxed, but that is opinion.

The interesting path this discussion could lead to is the difference between the "relax completely" approach of Tohei (and Ueshiba, according to Tohei's writings) and the Sanchin approach of someone like Ushiro Sensei.

But to try to trivialize the subject of ki/kokyu skills as "tricks" only would, I think, miss the point. No one says that ki/kokyu skills are the terminus of high-level skills in Aikido (or other arts), but then again no one can claim high-level skills in Aikido (or other Asian arts) without a mastery of ki/kokyu skills. "Shortcuts"? Yes.... Tohei starts out by teaching ki/kokyu skills "shortcuts" at the very beginning before the external habits become fixed.

But it's a good debate, isn't it?


Regards,

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
12-22-2006, 10:33 AM
Would it be presumptive of me to presume or even assume that it is the reason for the predominant focus on ukemi in most mainstream aikido? .... the way I was taught, was to "soften" your ukemi (in the early learning stages at least), so that you could "sensitize" your entire body to "force" - hence the rationale for "collaborative" training.

The other reason for doing a lot of this type of ukemi (what Dan calls "catching air"), is so that as you reach the point of physical exhaustion, supposedly it suddenly dawns on you what "being relaxed" means... what "being loose but connected" means... what "moving from center" means... etc. especially when you have to get up and attack again, or have to throw someone. I have considered opinions about the predominance of sword principles versus jujitsu principles in the fundamentals of aikido. Without belaboring them let me give an example of training that illustrates a useful connection and training suggestion for this topic.

On the sword side, many iai schools have a shugyo practice of one thousand cuts. At the end of this you can barely lift the sword using the muscles of your forearms, and there is virtually no way to lift your shoulders, if you wanted to. The only way to move the sword in this condition is with your center and it becomes innately more fluid and "soft." It is also more powerful with the muscular interference damped down.

There are practical reasons for the shugyo in the ryu-ha. Training for this level of muscular exhaustion mimics the conditions of the most critical stage of a day-long battle, where a man is still fighting after many hours and has cut down dozens of men, and meets someone who is fresh from a reserve. Muscle to muscle is no contest. But that is not the contest. Moving the sword without any muscular interference becomes a different affair -- and in that mode one begins to understand the Doka about treating "the cuts and thrusts of the enemy as merely seigan."

Following my own aikido teachers on both coasts, I occasionally have students do large numbers (far short of a thousand) of happo undo practice with bokken before we ever begin the tai jutsu, intending precisely to degrade the muscular capacity of the upper body before we begin actual "training."

Dennis Hooker
12-22-2006, 10:33 AM
Before anyone gets bent out of shape let me say I am thinking more about my failures as a teacher than anyone on this forum. I have a few x students that went to the head of the line and are nationally known now. I have their sempai still in the dojo and they are much superior in skill and understanding to these guys. When in the dojo these guys couldn't hold their own with their seniors and now they are teaching international seminars.

Dennis

Dennis Hooker
12-22-2006, 10:37 AM
Hi Dennis:

Well, Koichi Tohei was a 10th dan in Hombu Dojo and his approach is to have people "relax completely" and to practice a lot of "tricks", as you call them. Would your opinion be that he didn't know what he was talking about and that he should have put in 20 years the hard way? Perhaps his teachings are actually meant to be helpful and not some political ploy? It's an interesting thought, is it not?


Mike Sigman


Hello Mike, well there was and is some serious differences in the approach to teaching between Tohei and some members of Hombu dojo. There is a reason I am with Hombu Dojo. Can I let it go at that?

DH
12-22-2006, 10:41 AM
Wow, I totally dissagreee Dennis

If you think it takes twenty years to learn body skills and being connected and relaxing then I am at a loss.

Shortcuts?.......That isn't accurate or fair either and is a tacit insult.
But faster? Specific? Yes?
So far I have met and know about fifteen guys in the CMA and JMA including now, men who have trained with you as well as many other shihan level guys in Aikido who dissagree. There are ways to isolate out and teach body skills as specific methods.

Now, of course many others know this stuff. Its just that so very very few will separate it out from the twenty-year-man route and explain it.
I am convinced some never learned how to isolate it from their arts shtick, others know things particially....many not at all.

And "Tricks?".................I've no problem with taking that insult as well.
But how about acknowledging years of sweat and hard work.and training alone in trial and sweat, then years of failure in trial in free fighting...of other people beside yourself?
So far...no one....not one... has come back here after feeling Mike Rob or me and greed with anything you guys had to say.
How'd that happen?

In closing, again I'd remind those here that you are doubting, insulting, or questioning and ever-growing and widening section populace of your very own students.
To quote Ellis "that dog will no longer hunt."
It's over.
I think we can all stand to be a little more open minded.
Happy holidays
Dan

Lee Salzman
12-22-2006, 10:52 AM
Somewhat on topic, but from a student's (mine) perspective:

My teacher has been having me do the following sequence every day as part of my training, although its certainly not the entirety of it:

1) 1 hour of zhan zhuang (a.k.a post standing) in the deepest stance I can stand. Feet slightly turned in, leg meat torquing out. Spine stretched at both ends and as straight as possible. Position of the arms varies - sometimes arms parallel with palms down - sometimes palms up with forearms touching (very very very painful - hurts just thinking about it).

2) 1 hour of laying in corpse pose on a relatively hard surface (thin carpet), also with stretched spine. No moving allowed, not for anything. You just lay there until the blood pools uncomfortably, and you melt into the floor.

3) 1 hour divided over 3 swinging exercises. First one using two-legged stance, twisting weight from one leg onto the other, and allowing that to translate into up through the torso (but not twisting it) and the arms along a horizontal axis. Second variant switching from something not unlike a hanmi, but with weight only on back leg, to its mirror, over and over, by turning/folding at the kua region (not twisting the torso), but again allowing that to translate up into the arms. Third variant like the second, but moving the arms in a pendulum like up and down motion, translating the opening/closing of the kua into the swinging of the arms. The third one seems especially helpful with learning how to make the arms work with gravity and get any residual tension out.

If you don't know the meaning of relaxation before doing this, you will know it after.

Erick Mead
12-22-2006, 10:55 AM
Following my own aikido teachers on both coasts, I occasionally have students do large numbers (far short of a thousand) of happo undo practice with bokken before we ever begin the tai jutsu, intending precisely to degrade the muscular capacity of the upper body before we begin actual "training." I also meant to add that the performing the cuts seems, in addition to eliminating a large part of the muscular inputs, to help "beat " the overall structure into something more like the right shape. At least from my observations.

DH
12-22-2006, 10:57 AM
....and making someone cut one thousand times in the wrong way just to prove there is another, better way, instead of just showing the guy the right way in the first place and the why of it-is yet one more example, a short snap shot, of what is so wrong in many teaching methods. And why some smart teachers offer ..shortcuts and tricks
I guess I just call it good teaching

Thank goodness there are Koryu teachers who don't buy into that indentured servitude and actually teach in a cogent rational method

Dan

DH
12-22-2006, 10:59 AM
Argh..... Dennis you posted and clarified while I was writing.

Never mind
Dan

Adman
12-22-2006, 11:13 AM
2) 1 hour of laying in corpse pose on a relatively hard surface (thin carpet), also with stretched spine. No moving allowed, not for anything. You just lay there until the blood pools uncomfortably, and you melt into the floor.
Lee,

Is this anything like the "iron bridge" (if that description makes sense)? Your description sounds similar to something I've been practicing lately.

And more on topic... I've been playing more with doing standard hitori waza and "ki exercises," more-than-correct. That is, I've added tension to force a particular exercise past the norm of what is expected. For instance, if practicing funakogi, the shoulders should stay down and not move forward, I'll 'force' them down and bring them back. Along with keeping a 'severe' posture and 'locking' things in place, my range of movement becomes incredibly stunted. I'll do this for a while and then relax all of these parts, without 'locking' anything, but still have the idea there in the movement. Sort of like using the whole idea of using tension to find relaxation. I know it's not a new idea, but it's opening some doors for me.

thanks,
Adam

Erick Mead
12-22-2006, 11:15 AM
....and making someone cut one thousand times in the wrong way just to prove there is another, better way, ... Shugyo of this nature has nothing to do with proof. It is not an intellectual exercise, (as much as I enjoy those).

It is a means to correct technical error at a root level by temporarily eliminating one cause of it -- muscular interference. In that respect there is no possible shortcut. You just have to wear the troublesome things out so they are not able to cause trouble for a while. Then you get to feel something else working for you that all the muscular input tends to drown out.

Mike Sigman
12-22-2006, 11:23 AM
Hello Mike, well there was and is some serious differences in the approach to teaching between Tohei and some members of Hombu dojo. There is a reason I am with Hombu Dojo. Can I let it go at that?How about Abe Sensei? He also teaches, albeit less directly, the importance of the ki/kokyu skills. There are apparently a number of others who teach these things, in varying ways, that did not make it to the headlines in the earlier days before Stan Pranin helped bring a lot of this information (usually ignored because it "wasn't my style").

Although I don't agree totally with anyone's approach, including Tohei's (and I'm sure the opposite is quite true... we all have our opinions, which we should all be prepared to back up with realistic demonstrations, BTW), I recognize that this common thread of skills we're talking about is far more critical in the JMA's than any of us realized before this age of information. But we've got to be smart enough to take the clue and not think that it will go away if we ignore it and pull the covers over our heads. ;) The question is how to address it.

Best.

Mike

Mike Sigman
12-22-2006, 11:25 AM
....and making someone cut one thousand times in the wrong way just to prove there is another, better way, instead of just showing the guy the right way in the first place and the why of it-is yet one more example, a short snap shot, of what is so wrong in many teaching methods. Not my way of expressing it, but I agree. Instead of making someone tire out the upper body, why not just show them how to do it with the lower body and let them develop a correct connection using fresh muscle and mind?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Dennis Hooker
12-22-2006, 11:26 AM
removed

Dennis Hooker
12-22-2006, 11:30 AM
Dan and you posted while I was writing. can we forget this now?

Mike Sigman
12-22-2006, 11:33 AM
And more on topic... I've been playing more with doing standard hitori waza and "ki exercises," more-than-correct. That is, I've added tension to force a particular exercise past the norm of what is expected. For instance, if practicing funakogi, the shoulders should stay down and not move forward, I'll 'force' them down and bring them back. Along with keeping a 'severe' posture and 'locking' things in place, my range of movement becomes incredibly stunted. I'll do this for a while and then relax all of these parts, without 'locking' anything, but still have the idea there in the movement. Sort of like using the whole idea of using tension to find relaxation. I know it's not a new idea, but it's opening some doors for me.Hi Adam:

It's none of my business how you practice, but it sounds like what you're doing is trying to mix 2 different approaches and I'm not sure how well it will work.

Instead of "forcing" anything why not just keep doing the very relaxed movement of the Ki Society, but add 2 things:

(1.) Push your head up lightly while letting your butt drop down, lengthening the spine. Keep the limbs lightly "extended" (but not tense) so that there is a nice surface (and sub-surface) connection from the middle torso to the fingers, feet, and head.

(2.) When you push outward in funakogi, the hands should BE the middle; the middle is solidly rooted in the ground through the rear leg. When you pull, the hands are actually your obi... your obi should do the pulling.

You can do these things while staying muscularly very relaxed.

Just my 2 cents.

Mike

DH
12-22-2006, 11:36 AM
Hi Dennis

Like wise........
No one I know has anything but good to say about you.
Happy holidays
and for those who celebrate it.... Merry Christmas
Dan

Dennis Hooker
12-22-2006, 11:38 AM
How about Abe Sensei? He also teaches, albeit less directly, the importance of the ki/kokyu skills. There are apparently a number of others who teach these things, in varying ways, that did not make it to the headlines in the earlier days before Stan Pranin helped bring a lot of this information (usually ignored because it "wasn't my style").


Best.

Mike


Mike were did I say it was not important? I simply said it was part of a process. I believe Abe and Tohei senseis teach the whole process. I believe you read into it something that was not there. I never denied the importance of it.

Mike Sigman
12-22-2006, 11:44 AM
In closing, again I'd remind those here that you are doubting, insulting, or questioning and ever-growing and widening section populace of your very own students.Well, let's not anyone get insulted or claim insult too quickly. This is a lively debate, no doubt, and it's about a very unique subject in the history of western martial arts. There's going to be some friction... a bunch of martial artists get together and a fight breaks out; quelle surprise. And there will be the usual jackanapes in the peanut gallery who haven't earned the right to get familiar and make personal remarks, but that's not the case with any of the experienced crowd like Dennis, George, Ellis, and so on. When it comes to debating the issues, there shouldn't be any insults given and there shouldn't be any taken... as long as the personality aspects are not injected. ;)

Best.

Mike

DH
12-22-2006, 11:47 AM
Good point

Dan

Dennis Hooker
12-22-2006, 11:51 AM
Mike you as an engineer have probably been in situations similar to mine. I have to hire an intern or a part time worker. They have to come up with some answers for me. I give them a formula to use. I tell them where they can find the coefficients to go into the formula and I can show them how to work the formula. They get the right answerer but have no true understanding of what they did. The same is true for some aspects of budo. Without the deeper understanding of what is happening they will not know the significance of the answerer and it is doubtful they will be able to create new formulas to work out as yet undefined problems. Some folks seem tom offer short cuts and the danger is the people involved will believe they have all the knowledge they need to go out into the world.

Dennis

Mike Sigman
12-22-2006, 12:03 PM
Mike you as an engineer have probably been in situations similar to mine. I have to hire an intern or a part time worker. They have to come up with some answers for me. I give them a formula to use. I tell them where they can find the coefficients to go into the formula and I can show them how to work the formula. They get the right answerer but have no true understanding of what they did. The same is true for some aspects of budo. Without the deeper understanding of what is happening they will not know the significance of the answerer and it is doubtful they will be able to create new formulas to work out as yet undefined problems. Some folks seem tom offer short cuts and the danger is the people involved will believe they have all the knowledge they need to go out into the world.Well, I understand what you're saying, Dennis, but I don't think the analogy is apt. Showing someone quite directly how to put on their gi and hakama and how to fold them is quicker and better than letting them figure it out over 20 years, tying the wrong knots, putting on the pants backward, etc. Showing someone how to use ki and kokyu skills and *then* letting them learn Aikido is quicker and better, I think, than letting them try and learn many wrong skills, often burning in those skills so that they can never learn the right ones.

Many times at workshops I've given, the beginning students learn far more and far better than some of the "teachers" with 30 years of experience. It's sad. The teachers and many of the senior students have been doing external movement so long that they can now never learn to move with the jin/kokyu skills. I.e., there are pro's and con's to your "practice a long time and it will come".

My position (and I think many people agree with me in this) is that a person should learn to move correctly first, since these are unique skills, and then perfect the art. Tohei's approach is similar, BTW, as are a few other top instructors. In Chinese martial arts of the real (not trendy or touristy) variety require that someone spend a year or two just learning to move correctly before they start on a "form", etc. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Ron Tisdale
12-22-2006, 12:06 PM
I think this shortcut idea is not completely accurate. I have been training for over 10 years (a drop in the bucket compared to some, but more than not at all), and one thing my instructor has said repeatedly (when healthy, when sick, when injured, when hurt) is to "know your body".

I can think of very few things that would enhance the knowledge of my body more than the types of exercises that Mike, Dan, Rob and Gernot describe. And so far, my very limited experience tells me it's the sweat equity that you put into it that determines what you get out of it.

Short cut??? I don't think so...just another part of the path.

Best,
Ron

DH
12-22-2006, 12:12 PM
Its a diffcult term to embrace.
Learning a more effiecient means to do a thing may prove to enable foks a shorter learning path. The real discussion may be "Path to what?
If we had an agreed ultimate goal in the first place- a faster more effiecient way to get there would be less argumentative.
We don't even agree where we are all trying to get too.

Travelling in different circles has shown me there are indeed some startlingly common means and methods to different expressions-of individual arts. Things I had thought were proprietary, were indeed elsewhere in other cultures arts and yet missing in others. And why it is revealed in a moment.
Cheers
Dan

Ron Tisdale
12-22-2006, 12:16 PM
We don't even agree where we are all trying to get too.
The truth of that statement is widely in evidence on this very site...

Best,
Ron

Lee Salzman
12-22-2006, 12:23 PM
Is this anything like the "iron bridge" (if that description makes sense)? Your description sounds similar to something I've been practicing lately.

Only real commonality seems to be lying on one's back, there's no physically active aspect to it, unlike the preceding zhan zhuang. It, as far as I can tell, is about inhibiting the desire to move, to block out ego sensations like itching, deadness, etc. and to just be okay with doing nothing and let go.

Tim Fong
12-22-2006, 12:28 PM
Dennis,
I don't see the dedicated ki development as a shortcut, so much as it is a method with a higher degree of certainty in delivering results. The 20 year "you figure it out...maybe" method is like wandering in the dark. Maybe you get there, and maybe you fall off a cliff.

Mike Sigman
12-22-2006, 12:31 PM
(re "there's disagreement about where we're trying to get to")The truth of that statement is widely in evidence on this very site...It's a common problem. When someone tells me they're confused by all the differences in teachings by all the teachers in a given art, I tell them to ignore all those teachers and go get a glimpse of the one or two real big dogs in their art. Do what those guys do; try to feel like those guys feel; find importance in the things those guys say are important.

One of the big failings in western Aikido, Karate, Taijiquan, etc., etc., was either the deliberate attitude that "there can't be anything out there that a brilliant guy like me doesn't already know" or the "here's my take on what I think those simple-minded Japanese guys were probably talking about.... it ain't that hard for a guy of my perspicacity to figure out.". These "I'm a Yudansha... I'm King of the World!" attitudes have come back to haunt a lot of arts right about now. I can think of a number of arts that are going through this slow realization right now that there was more to the ki and kokyu stuff than just primitive superstition, as so many thought.

I posted a Youtube clip of Kuroda Sensei doing sword technique and then some eye-opening ki/kokyu "tricks". O-Sensei, in his dotage, gave a ju-dan grade to a woman dancer. The whispered titillations were usually along the lines that in his senescence, O-Sensei was flirting... but in actuality the type of ki/kokyu skills that are supposed to be in Aikido are also part of high-level dancing movement.

This stuff, this basic movement stuff, was hidden in plain sight, as Ellis noted. There can be disagreement a-plenty still about technques , variations, etc., etc., but there should not be any disagreement about these skills as a basic goal, IMO.

Regards,

Mike

Robert Rumpf
12-22-2006, 12:34 PM
....and making someone cut one thousand times in the wrong way just to prove there is another, better way, instead of just showing the guy the right way in the first place and the why of it-is yet one more example, a short snap shot, of what is so wrong in many teaching methods. And why some smart teachers offer ..shortcuts and tricks

Not my way of expressing it, but I agree. Instead of making someone tire out the upper body, why not just show them how to do it with the lower body and let them develop a correct connection using fresh muscle and mind?

To me, it is the difference between rote learning, a calculus class, a real analysis class, and trying to derive from scratch.. The material is the same, but the type of learning, the end-goal, and the application are different.

The depth of the study desired and the interests and abilities of the student and teacher dictate the approach. The level of abstraction and amount that you're willing to take for granted dictates the level of the training.

This is why I try to let my learning (in class) be directed by what is taught (and what isn't taught) rather than what I feel like learning. I have time outside of class to focus on other areas or not as I wish.

Rob

Dennis Hooker
12-22-2006, 12:40 PM
Well, My position (and I think many people agree with me in this) is that a person should learn to move correctly first, since these are unique skills, and then perfect the art. Tohei's approach is similar, BTW, as are a few other top instructors. In Chinese martial arts of the real (not trendy or touristy) variety require that someone spend a year or two just learning to move correctly before they start on a "form", etc. ;)

FWIW

Mike


A big part in the rift at Hombu Dojo after O-Snesie’s death came about as a result of the shift in the teaching paradine brought about by Tohei Sensei. What he thought ought to be brought out and emphasized through structured classes other people believed was and natural evaluation of proper training.

From your statement I assume you believe the others were right? I assume this because correct movement is what they thought would lead to a greater understanding of the concepts you spoke of. They also believed those things would happen naturally under puroper instruction.



Dennis

Mike Sigman
12-22-2006, 12:54 PM
A big part in the rift at Hombu Dojo after O-Snesie's death came about as a result of the shift in the teaching paradine brought about by Tohei Sensei. What he thought ought to be brought out and emphasized through structured classes other people believed was and natural evaluation of proper training.

From your statement I assume you believe the others were right? I assume this because correct movement is what they thought would lead to a greater understanding of the concepts you spoke of. They also believed those things would happen naturally under puroper instruction.Anyway you cut it, Tohei or other people, Aikido winds up in the present (but so do a number of other martial arts) looking frantically around for "what's missing". I.e., somebody was wrong about their approach and their teaching, or people wouldn't be trying to "fill the gaps" with Systema, MMA, Wing Chun, Karate, Tai Chi, etc., etc. The fact that somebody was wrong, but nobody is still willing to admit to anything more than a high-level and subtle understanding of true Aikido is sort of beside the point. The point is to move forward. Hi-HOoooooooooo! ;)

Mike

Dennis Hooker
12-22-2006, 01:04 PM
Wrong? No Mike, not wrong just alternative rights! I don't believe Aikido lacks anything. Some of its teachers might be lacking but that is another story.


http://www.aikiweb.com/humor/hooker2.html


Mike I believe you are a contrary by nature. Like the native American in Little Big Man you wash with dirt and dry with water.

Have a good weekend

Dennis Hooker
'I am a self made man, a product of unskilled labor"

Robert Rumpf
12-22-2006, 01:29 PM
This is why I try to let my learning (in class) be directed by what is taught (and what isn't taught) rather than what I feel like learning. I have time outside of class to focus on other areas or not as I wish.

The hard part of this, I think, is realizing what someone does and doesn't know, can and can't teach (to you), and being able to deal with the consequences and look for alternatives (and/or postpone or move up your timetable for learning it).

That is where instructors often fail in terms of communicating what they can offer to an individual in a realistic way.. but I don't think that is limited to Aikido. There is often also an unrealistically positive assumption made by both student and teacher on how much the student is willing to apply himself to the training and learn.

There is some great idea I read recently that goes something like "a good actor will take any part, while a bad actor finds no end of shortcomings."

I'm trying to learn to be the good actor, but its hard.

Rob

DH
12-22-2006, 01:41 PM
"I don't believe Aikido lacks anything."
Spoken like a true believer.
That's a hell of a boast.
I'd bet that can be disproved rather easily... in minutes in fact.

Who..........Will say they do exactly what Ueshiba was doing?
Where.......The modern equivalant of Ueshiba is currently practicing? I'd like to go meet him.
What.........Ueshiba was specifically doing?
When........It stopped being exhibited at his skill level?
Why..........We can't find anyone who can explain it and do it? Or even comes close?

Aikido, just like other arts-is a shadow of their founders. It is singular men and their vision and understanding who held the keys to their own arts.
Virtually everyone else is playing catch up. And many got lost on side paths that lead no where. And all think they're heading up the same mountain. Even, that all paths lead to the same place.


Dan

Dennis Hooker
12-22-2006, 01:59 PM
"I don't believe Aikido lacks anything."
Spoken like a true believer.
That's a hell of a boast.
I'd bet that can be disproved rather easily... in minutes in fact.

Who..........Will say they do exactly what Ueshiba was doing?
Where.......The modern equivalant of Ueshiba is currently practicing? I'd like to go meet him.
What.........Ueshiba was specifically doing?
When........It stopped being exhibited at his skill level?
Why..........We can't find anyone who can explain it and do it? Or even comes close?


Dan


Well Dan one thing is for sure. If you ever meet him it will be becasue he comes to you.
You say .........."We can't find anyone who can explain it and do it? Or even comes close?"

Not by chatting on this list you won’t anyway. And how do you know since you don't seek it. Some folks talk a hell of game. Now I am over 60 years old but I am still willing (and I do) go out into the world and try and back up my teaching and I'm not afraid to be shown up if it comes to that. I am also not afraid of learning from other people. I guess if I really believed I had nothing to learn from them I would stay in my dojo too.

Dennis

Erick Mead
12-22-2006, 02:07 PM
Not my way of expressing it, but I agree. Instead of making someone tire out the upper body, why not just show them how to do it with the lower body and let them develop a correct connection using fresh muscle and mind? First of all it is a function of the whole body not merely the lower part -- but I take your meaning. The short answer is because they are not very likely to develop it with "fresh" muscles operating normally. Most people have too many voluntary and involuntary cross-signals they are producing, largely from that muscular interference.

There is also the point about finding the naturally relaxed shape of the body. Not "making" it -- but finding it, like a toddler finds gravity. So you put the body into a condition where there are no other choices, because you have beaten tension out of the limbs and torso. It literally hurts to tense.

The legs yearn to let the weight drop to the ground rather than popping up tense, straight and stiff. The exhausted body hangs from its frame, and the arms when lifted naturally then droop in the middle with relaxed hands, as they should -- because there is no other way to lift them -- it's just too damn hard to make the effort.

More importantly --most people do not have any unlearned ability to selectively "de-tune" the perception of competing sensations in their own bodies. It is a thing that most people cannot ordinarily control or focus upon. There is a grave difficulty learning to consciously control the perception of something that one has yet to meaningfully perceive. Classic Catch-22.

This kind of shugyo is a selective de-tuning procedure. Rigorous training in suwari techniques accomplishes a similar purpose for the posture by the same principle.

Eliminating the muscular component, by exhausting it, leaves the background in higher relief. Then they can begin to perceive what they are really working on, and start to identify it even when the muscular signals have not first been damped out.

DH
12-22-2006, 02:12 PM
No no......yuck!
Not the point Dennis , and I go out plenty if we want to sling crap -lets not. Chill and trust me for a second and let me expand a bit. What meant is a totally different read on how you took it. Or my poor writing. :rolleyes:

It was your point that this single art lacks nothing. I'm not trying to be contrary or umpleasant. I hate that crap on the iternet. I was responding to a point-that I dissagree with. I just don't think any art, anywhere, that anyone does, is not "lacking in something." That's why I mentioned:

Aikido, just like other arts-is a shadow of their founders. It is singular men and their vision and understanding who held the keys to their own arts.
Virtually everyone else is playing catch up. And many got lost on side paths that lead no where. And all think they're heading up the same mountain. Even, that all paths lead to the same place.

"other arts" as well are the direct genius of their founders and they held the key.
I allow for miscommunication.
I was not singling out Aikido. It's also why I said "we" are all playing catch -up.

Where is the equal to Ueshiba M.?
Where is the equal to Takeda?
Choisai?
Teshu?
Yagyu
See what I mean?
.
I think its not forwarding the conversation for you to say one art lacks nothing. Maybe for you...but in the larger picture. It won't stand for 5 minutes. I can't think of anything, or anyone I'd say that about.
No slam meant.

Cheers
Dan

Dennis Hooker
12-22-2006, 02:19 PM
Well Dan I guess I might have overstated a bit myself after all I am 4th dan in MJERI and we teach it at the dojo along with karate, kendo, judo and another sword arts like Toyama Ryu so I kind of like that sword stuff a little better than the grist from the Aikido mill. As you might can tell I am having a freaking bad day here.

DH
12-22-2006, 02:24 PM
Well I'd hug ya if I was there. I have been told, that we'd get along real well in person. Couple a old bears.
Go find someone to hug......
I'm going Christmas Shopping with my son.... so I'm out.

Merry Christmas to all...oops
Happy holidays
Dan

Erick Mead
12-22-2006, 02:28 PM
It was your point that this single art lacks nothing. Q: "What does a duck lack?"

A: "Nothing that matters to a duck."

Dennis Hooker
12-22-2006, 02:29 PM
I will settle for a hearty handshake. I am not the huggy kind and if you kiss me we are defiantly gonna have a fight.

Hooker

Mike Sigman
12-22-2006, 02:37 PM
First of all it is a function of the whole body not merely the lower part -- but I take your meaning. >> Mike passes out cold <<

Adman
12-22-2006, 02:40 PM
... it sounds like what you're doing is trying to mix 2 different approaches and I'm not sure how well it will work.Actually, in my mind, I am still keeping it focused on a single approach. I've just taken the, "use muscle ... then test. Now, relax ... then test ..." approach to another degree. The main difference is, that I'm very specifically tensing certain areas that should already have a measure of 'tension' to them (more or less). I spend more time on the 'relaxed' version than I do on the 'tension' version.Instead of "forcing" anything why not just keep doing the very relaxed movement of the Ki Society, but add 2 things:

(1.) Push your head up lightly while letting your butt drop down, lengthening the spine. Keep the limbs lightly "extended" (but not tense) so that there is a nice surface (and sub-surface) connection from the middle torso to the fingers, feet, and head.Already doing that. ;) I'm just investigating, further.(2.) When you push outward in funakogi, the hands should BE the middle; the middle is solidly rooted in the ground through the rear leg. When you pull, the hands are actually your obi... your obi should do the pulling.I'm not sure I would have written it the same way you did, but once again ... see my previous statement.

I am working on deepening my understanding of the tools and exercises that have been taught to me. I'm trying to observe and test them from different angles. I want to keep them and make them more powerful, not abandon them.

thanks,
Adam

Mike Sigman
12-22-2006, 02:43 PM
I don't believe Aikido lacks anything. Some of its teachers might be lacking but that is another story. I agree with that, Dennis.Mike I believe you are contrary by nature. Mebbe so. Mebbe so. ;)

Mike

Erick Mead
12-22-2006, 02:48 PM
>> Mike passes out cold <<Yep... Contrary.

And now ... VERY relaxed. :p

Adman
12-22-2006, 03:28 PM
Only real commonality seems to be lying on one's back, there's no physically active aspect to it, unlike the preceding zhan zhuang. It, as far as I can tell, is about inhibiting the desire to move, to block out ego sensations like itching, deadness, etc. and to just be okay with doing nothing and let go.Thanks for the clarification, Lee.

I practice something which would seem opposite to that exercise's goal. I'll meditate to have the desire to move. In other words, have every fiber in my being intent on suddenly getting up -- to the point that I'll actually "believe" I'm about to stand -- then don't. Meditating in this way I find that I become very, very still. The meditation is over, once my body follows through with the intent.

thanks,
Adam

Cady Goldfield
12-22-2006, 04:35 PM
Dennis shook my hand once, and almost hugged me (I probably smelled bad). T'was back in '98 I think...

Mike Sigman
12-22-2006, 04:39 PM
I'll meditate to have the desire to move. In other words, have every fiber in my being intent on suddenly getting up -- to the point that I'll actually "believe" I'm about to stand -- then don't. Meditating in this way I find that I become very, very still. The meditation is over, once my body follows through with the intent.Could I ask where you learned this exercise, Adam?

Thanks.

Mike Sigman

Adman
12-22-2006, 09:05 PM
Could I ask where you learned this exercise, Adam?Ummm, sure. I'm not sure how it got started, but it was an internal game I played as a child (just pre-teen, I think). The product of a bored brain, I guess. It's a little difficult to describe the feeling. My challenge in the game was to not move anything. Not a twitch. Not even my breathing should change. In other words, don't jump the gun. I would make many "starts" and "stops" before moving. I always focused on one particular movement. I'm totally still one moment, then in action the next. Once I moved, I'd usually startle whoever was in the room. I'll still do it on occasion, just to surprise my wife. :D Otherwise, it's not something I do that often.

Thinking back, it might be one of the reasons for the hair trigger I seem to have in some things. :straightf I remember being able to explode out of the starting blocks in track, faster than the other guys (at least it felt that way). I wasn't a sprinter, though (I was a lousy long-jumper). I was toast after the first 20 yards.

thanks,
Adam

Mike Sigman
12-22-2006, 09:09 PM
OK, thanks, Adam. I thought you were doing something else... your more complete description, etc., makes me think just misunderstood.

Regards,

Mike

Joe Jutsu
12-23-2006, 03:52 AM
FWIW Kashiwaya sensei was a very talented track and field player, and one of the mental constructs that he has offered me in terms of "passing" ki tests was that one should always feel as if they were in motion, or on the verge of motion as it were.... Like a sprinter on the starting blocks. But I never ran track so I guess I don't know.... never got too into running in circles... but wait! That's what we do in these fora! And I love that conjugation btw!

Cheers!

statisticool
12-23-2006, 07:32 AM
I'm wondering where in the O'Sensei's writings did he say anything like

"no one can claim high-level skills in Aikido (or other Asian arts) without a mastery of ki/kokyu skills"

because it sounds like a load of s...tuff.

Simply because if someone is claiming to "master ki", I'd ask them just how they are measuring ki. They typically don't have a good response, which leads me to think they are just being romantic and poetic and pseudoscientific about normal old physics, muscle and bone and mechanics.

Kevin Leavitt
12-23-2006, 08:17 AM
There is nothing normal or old about physics. If you really think you can use reductionist theories to explain everything in the universe, i'd ask you to talk to some of the brightest minds in the field of quantum physics.

There is much to be learned and discovered out there, and in many different ways and interpretations.

I feel sorry for the person who thinks that they have all the answers to life and can sum it up to normal old physics. How boring and simple the rest of their life must be.

Not sure if o'sensei ever said that above, but there really is no way you can acheive a high level of understanding of aikido without understanding Ki or Kokyu, it is the basis of the art.

Yes, there are those that lecture about it but can't do, and those that can do, and those that practice physically with others to better understand it.

Where do you fit into the equation?

statisticool
12-23-2006, 08:42 AM
If you really think you can use reductionist theories to explain everything in the universe, i'd ask you to talk to some of the brightest minds in the field of quantum physics.


I don't believe one needs to resort to quantum physics to talk about martial arts though.


Not sure if o'sensei ever said that above, but there really is no way you can acheive a high level of understanding of aikido without understanding Ki or Kokyu, it is the basis of the art.


I'm wondering why a grand pronouncement on what it really takes to master aikido would mean if it didn't come from O'Sensei?

I'm still wondering how are you measuring ones' understanding of ki. If you just say 'by demonstration', I'm then wondering why it wouldn't be demonstrating just regular old physics, mechanics, efficient body movement, timing, and the like.

John Matsushima
12-23-2006, 09:18 AM
"I don't believe Aikido lacks anything."

Who..........Will say they do exactly what Ueshiba was doing?
Where.......The modern equivalent of Ueshiba is currently practicing? I'd like to go meet him.
What.........Ueshiba was specifically doing?
When........It stopped being exhibited at his skill level?
Why..........We can't find anyone who can explain it and do it? Or even comes close?

Aikido, just like other arts-is a shadow of their founders. It is singular men and their vision and understanding who held the keys to their own arts.
Virtually everyone else is playing catch up.

Dan

I can agree with this. As long as we are trying to be like sensei, the best we will ever become is a very good copy, as copies are never as good as the original. There is a zen saying that goes something like "to become the master, do not follow in his footsteps, but chase after what he chased after". When you find the master, kill him.

What is Aikido lacking? In itself, as Mr. Mead pointed out that like a duck it lacks nothing that matters to itself. However, in regards to the way, it lacks everything that is not it. It does not have the beauty of the kicking forms of Tae Kwon Do, it does not have powerful punches of boxing, nor the grappling strategies of BJJ. I am not saying that these are deficiencies, but they are not there no more that a duck has the teeth of a tiger. The same could be said for all the branches of Aikido, the Aikikai, ASU, Iwama, KI Aikido, etc. The only true way is no way.

Kevin Leavitt
12-23-2006, 09:47 AM
Justin Smith wrote:

I'm wondering why a grand pronouncement on what it really takes to master aikido would mean if it didn't come from O'Sensei?

I'm still wondering how are you measuring ones' understanding of ki. If you just say 'by demonstration', I'm then wondering why it wouldn't be demonstrating just regular old physics, mechanics, efficient body movement, timing, and the like.

Go to a good dojo and find out.

I had Saotome sensei demonstrate it to me years ago.

I have had Steve Van Fleet, a MMA fighter demonstrate it to me.

As well as a few others.

You won't know what is going on until you have experienced it for yourself.

Mike Sigman
12-23-2006, 10:41 AM
I'm still wondering how are you measuring ones' understanding of ki. If you just say 'by demonstration', I'm then wondering why it wouldn't be demonstrating just regular old physics, mechanics, efficient body movement, timing, and the like.I've demonstrated these things a great number of times and sometimes to professional physiologists, kinesiologists, doctors, etc. One of the things I can do, none of us can fully explain, but it's something I was taught how to do and I essentially only follow the mechanics to get there. There other 99% of the ki things I do are, as I have said repeatedly, "skills". I.e., they fall into into the purview of normal physical laws without question. The problem is that they're skills that take training and practice... out of the ordinary use of body mechanics... Justin doesn't have these skills, so he can't conceive of them and he thinks the way to get someone to show him is to be challenging and personally offensive. :rolleyes:


Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
12-23-2006, 10:47 AM
FWIW Kashiwaya sensei was a very talented track and field player, and one of the mental constructs that he has offered me in terms of "passing" ki tests was that one should always feel as if they were in motion, or on the verge of motion as it were.... Like a sprinter on the starting blocks. But I never ran track so I guess I don't know.... never got too into running in circles... but wait! That's what we do in these fora! And I love that conjugation btw!Hmmmmm... that's an odd one. I would never have guessed Kashiwaya would say something like that. Although I met Kashiwaya Sensei a few times in the early 80's, I didn't have the skills I have now, so I was unable to judge anything about what he could do. I'd like to see him and get a better idea of this description. I do something totally different than that. However, we all tend to use different visualizations that are often just our personal way of triggering the same basic responses. ;)

Best.

Mike

Erick Mead
12-23-2006, 11:09 AM
Simply because if someone is claiming to "master ki", I'd ask them just how they are measuring ki. They typically don't have a good response, which leads me to think they are just being romantic and poetic and pseudoscientific about normal old physics, muscle and bone and mechanics. There are two keys to Aikido.

One is finding the proper shape of techniques. The other is finding the sense of the control of the interaction.

OK -- three things: The reasons why we want to do one and two in the first place. And many more besides, but those are relevant to the discussion.

Really, whatever works to improve technique in training is fine, however metaphorical or non-reductionist in origin. I've trained my voice almost entirely by a coach talking about head voice, face voice and other images having no bearing on the sound path whatsoever.

Traditional Eastern knowledge tends to have overlapping categories where western knowledge has exclusive categories. Ki is a descriptive empirical system that has aspects of all three of the key points mentioned above, that in Western terms are treated separately. Traditional Eastern knowledge has ways of dealing with the conceptual overlap that categorical Western knowledge deals poorly with. Communicating the "feel" is one of its stronger points.

Training metaphor, actual physical mechanisms and "feel" or control dynamics are all complementary and inform one another, in the East and in the West. But they are not the same in Western terms. If we mix them up incautiously, we get bad metaphor, bad physics and bad training.

Kevin Leavitt
12-23-2006, 11:17 AM
Mike Sigman wrote:

The problem is that they're skills that take training and practice... out of the ordinary use of body mechanics... Justin doesn't have these skills, so he can't conceive of them and he thinks the way to get someone to show him is to be challenging and personally offensive.

There are many people in the DC area that could demonstrate them. In fact, I may be there soon as well! The problem I think you run into is that with a non-compliant uke, which I am more than happy to work with, There is some strength skills involved to make up the slack (at least at my level), and for someone with little or no skill at all, things would happen so fast for them, that they would not really grasp or understand what is going on to be able to identify what is happening.

I am know key master by any stretch of the imagination, frankly I suck at demonstrating it, so I would tend to leave this to others more skillful than I. I have had enough training though to tell someone when I am using good principles and when I am not. Just can't demonstrate it well to others.

I think you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. Go too easy and slow where they can feel and read it, and they say, well, that is simple physics or well it won't work on a non-compliant uke. Go too fast and they say, you are using strength, or I don't see it/feel it.

Yea I suppose it is all simple physics, but I do believe that physics is anything but simple.

statisticool
12-23-2006, 03:14 PM
You won't know what is going on until you have experienced it for yourself.

You won't respond to just how you are measuring ki and why a demonstration of it wouldn't just be demonstrating just regular old physics, mechanics, efficient body movement, timing, and the like. OK.

statisticool
12-23-2006, 03:23 PM
There are many people in the DC area that could demonstrate them.


Are these "many people" able to spar in MMA gyms using these skills?

statisticool
12-23-2006, 03:26 PM
I've demonstrated these things a great number of times and sometimes to professional physiologists, kinesiologists, doctors, etc. One of the things I can do, none of us can fully explain, but it's something I was taught how to do and I essentially only follow the mechanics to get there.


You or the unnamed others not being able to explain it doesn't mean therefore it is some incredible skill, it just means you and the unnamed others are not able to explain it. You're basically admitting an argument from ignorance, that you don't understand the physics therefore it must be beyond others.

Can you share this skill with us? Just what is it (maybe post a video), and who are these people that cannot explain it? Perhaps some of us around here could figure it out..


The problem is that they're skills that take training and practice... out of the ordinary use of body mechanics... Justin doesn't have these skills, so he can't conceive of them and he thinks the way to get someone to show him is to be challenging and personally offensive. :rolleyes:


Suggesting that one spars at an MMA gym is offensive? Well, only to someone that doesn't spar, I guess.

Considering that these skills are claimed to take years to train, no one apparently can use them in full contact and resistance sparring (ie. in real life self defense uses of a martial art), only doing fixed applications, and they are probably being talked about poetically by romanticizing normal movement and physics, they aren't really as interesting as claimed, at least the variety that some expound on.

Janet Rosen
12-23-2006, 03:28 PM
Training metaphor, actual physical mechanisms and "feel" or control dynamics are all complementary and inform one another, in the East and in the West. But they are not the same in Western terms. If we mix them up incautiously, we get bad metaphor, bad physics and bad training.
Cool thoughts, Eric. Thank you.
We often forget that metaphor is the most common form by which teachers express in words what they are trying to convey via the body. And some people respond to one metaphor, some to others.
Brings to mind a wonderful book I read that compares classical (NOT modern) Chinese and "western" (Greek mostly) medicine in terms of how they envision what the human being is. The Expressiveness of the Body and the Divergence of Greek and Chinese Medicine
by Shigehisa Kuriyama . HIGHLY recommended.

Kevin Leavitt
12-23-2006, 03:43 PM
Justin wrote:

You won't respond to just how you are measuring ki and why a demonstration of it wouldn't just be demonstrating just regular old physics, mechanics, efficient body movement, timing, and the like. OK.

I can measure it by having you go NHB with me. In such a demonstration I would control and submit you without raising my heart rate or breaking too much of a sweat while you, on the other hand would probably be gassing hard trying to use strength to control the situaiton.

Again, you'd have to define what regular old physics is. Sure, it is all the things you say above...never said it wasn't. It is absurd to think that KI is somehow above and beyond the natural order of the world. All I am saying is that things are much more complicated than you are reducing them too.

There is much to be said for kotodama, and other such things dealing with vibrational energy and such, however, I do not pretend to understand these concepts, I am simply open to the possibilities that I do not understand everything.

Kevin Leavitt
12-23-2006, 03:48 PM
Justin wrote:

Are these "many people" able to spar in MMA gyms using these skills?

Some of them are able too. I am able too (on a very rudimentary level based on my skill level in aikido), however, you would probably not say that I was using aikido, as you would be technically focused instead of principally focused.

I would not presume to say that they would go the MMA route since most of these individuals are on a different set of priorities and focus in there training and are not really in the business of proving what they are doing in the manner that you speak.

I can tell you as a MMA kinda guy, I have learned alot from these individuals and they are worth spending time with for what they can teach you.

There are many different levels and ways to understand things that don't involve MMA. MMA is not the criteria on which everything should be judged.

Kevin Leavitt
12-23-2006, 03:55 PM
On another note, go to Lloyd Irvin's school and train with some of his guys. They will more than adequately demonstrate these principles in a MMA/Grappling type of environment. Of course, they probably won't be able to discuss it using the same language as they understand it more implicitly than tacitly.

It does not take years to develop skills of this kind. It does take many, many years to perfect them to a level considered to be mastery.

Kevin Leavitt
12-23-2006, 04:01 PM
BTW, Justin...what skills exactly do you want demonstrated and in what scenario or rules, constraints do you want to employ to isolate the conditions in which one would interact with you?

DH
12-23-2006, 04:31 PM
I do Justin. So does Rob John So does Ark or used to. So does Tim Cartmell on a national level. So does two CMA guys I know. I also know of a just a few guys who are talking and training with some of the highest ranked guys in the UFC about this very topic.

You doubt it because you don't now of it or have felt anyone with skill. Anyone I know of who can "actually" do these things or has trully felt those who can- very naturally see it as a way to move and think in -any venue-. They, it appears, to a man, dissagree with you.
Wonder why that is?
It's like I said ten years ago on the net. They are undeniable- just not well known....here. But, times are changing.

To make things simple, Justin. If you could suddenly move around and forces coming into you are bouncing off and people tell you they cannot enter or find it very difficult to enter to do.....anything. Yet ....you have not done anything resembling a technique to them. I will bet that you ...just like all the men I have met say..."Thats valuable. How can I do that?
Power is power, throw resistance due to a connected body and the power naturally generated by one are just simply undeniable once felt. I am so sure of that that I'd say anyone with even a whisper of martial experience who could feel someone with these skills will have no other reaction.

Here, I soflty repeat. No one. Not one. Of anyone has felt this and came back here has said. "Naw its only limitied and static and really isn't worth the time. They, to a man talk about the practical use.
How'd that happen?

I believe in the fulness of time, everyone one who is not practiing these things or at least ackowledges them will find themsleves being measured....by them.


With any luck MMA will never be the same again either. At least there- many- like me, are not style brainwashed. They are also not stupid. They recognize power when they see it. And they are already getting ahead of the curve in that many of them STILL remain in and practice traditional arts as well and then go out and test them on those unwilling to fall over for them.

Should be an interesting decade. I'm looking forward to it.

Dan

statisticool
12-23-2006, 06:02 PM
I do Justin. So does Rob John So does Ark or used to. So does Tim Cartmell on a national level. So does two CMA guys I know. I also know of a just a few guys who are talking and training with some of the highest ranked guys in the UFC about this very topic.


How does one distinguish what you're talking about from just talking about efficient movement, timing, balance, and normal old physics?


You doubt it because you don't now of it or have felt anyone with skill.


I've felt people who've claimed this skill. What can I say, I guess I wasn't sensitive enough to distinguish it from regular ol movement.

Mike Sigman
12-23-2006, 06:27 PM
Incidentally, the answer about kokyu/ki etc., being different from normal strength was asked to Frank Burczynski, trainer of the top MMA team in Germany, after he had participated in a workshop in Berlin. He's a *very* bright guy and a very experienced fighter. His answer was "For me, yes". Post #18:
http://www.kampfkunst-board.info/forum/f52/mike-sigman-internal-strength-50964/index2.html

The interesting part (not that Justin really wants to know... his real purpose on this forum is obvious) is that his god, Cheng Man Ching, clearly differentiated between this form of strength and "li". If CMC was so wrong, why is Justin such a fanatic follower, hosting webpages in adulation of Cheng Man Ching? Weird, isn't it?

Cheng Man Ching emphasized relaxation, BTW, as the key to learning the qi skills. Cheng also did a reasonable (not great, though) dissertation on how the strength differed from normal strength, in a chapter of his book "Thirteen Treatises".

Cheng also emphasized the role of the fascia in qi/ki skills, FWIW.

Last, but not least, Cheng was sort of a crackpot who challenged famous fighters in his youth and got the crap beat out of him (his real forte was in painting). Because Cheng's popularity arrived in the US via Robert Smith at just the time the New Age was in ascendancy, Cheng became a fad with the New Age elite, in many cases. Notice that Justin's websites and comments to everything possible to indicate that he is smarter than mortal man. The perfect Cheng Man Ching'er. ;)

:rolleyes:

Mike

Cady Goldfield
12-23-2006, 08:20 PM
What is Aikido lacking? In itself, as Mr. Mead pointed out that like a duck it lacks nothing that matters to itself. However, in regards to the way, it lacks everything that is not it. It does not have the beauty of the kicking forms of Tae Kwon Do, it does not have powerful punches of boxing, nor the grappling strategies of BJJ. I am not saying that these are deficiencies, but they are not there no more that a duck has the teeth of a tiger. The same could be said for all the branches of Aikido, the Aikikai, ASU, Iwama, KI Aikido, etc. The only true way is no way.

But issue here seems to be that today's aikido is, in fact, missing an essential part of what it HAD when Ueshiba conceptualized it from both the internal and external skills Takeda gave him. The internal was lost from the mainstream, which is very evident to those who have trained in kokyu/ki/internal skills. That aikidoka believe there is "nothing missing" from their art is reminiscent of a person who has been blind from birth. He either accepts or rejects ohers' word for it what he is missing, because he can not conceptualize what he has never had. Those who have, or have experienced, what Ueshiba had, know what's missing and are saying that aikido could once again be so much more than it is now, returning to Ueshiba's vision and perhaps even recouping some of his brilliant absorption and enaction of the principles that made his aikido great.

Thomas Campbell
12-23-2006, 08:25 PM
I do Justin. So does Rob John So does Ark or used to. So does Tim Cartmell on a national level. So does two CMA guys I know. I also know of a just a few guys who are talking and training with some of the highest ranked guys in the UFC about this very topic.

You doubt it because you don't now of it or have felt anyone with skill. Anyone I know of who can "actually" do these things or has trully felt those who can- very naturally see it as a way to move and think in -any venue-. [snip]

Should be an interesting decade. I'm looking forward to it.

Dan

I don't know what Justin has experienced, but I can offer a perspective as a student of Chinese martial arts . . . and that is that what Dan Harden is talking about will change your perspective once you get hands-on experience with the sort of internal connection and internal strength skill that Dan, and Mike Sigman, have labored in great detail to present here and on other forums.

Of the folks listed by Dan, I can personally vouch for Tim Cartmell being able to demonstrate and help you experience for yourself what internal connection feels like in a relatively static setting . . . and then go on to demonstrate its use in one-on-one or two-on-one free-form application situations. Tim uses his own skills several times a year in fighting tournaments, very successfully.

The skills can be shown, exercises and drills to help train them in the student's own body can be taught . . . but to truly make them a part of you will take long, diligent, intelligent practice and continuing testing and refinement. That's not meant as a cliche . . . I'm just coming to appreciate how easy it is to go awry with "internal" training. Merely doing what the teacher says or demonstrates isn't nearly enough. You really have to move and feel what is going on inside your own body. And the testing is essential, because it is easy to delude yourself that you're getting it right.

I work with two teachers in the Chinese internal martial arts right now who both find that the ideas expressed by Akuzawa Minoru, Dan and Mike, all from different backgrounds, resonate with how they understand their own training from the Chinese martial arts. They demonstrate similar skills (though to what level I can't say, since I haven't trained with, for example, Dan). In other words, there is an understanding that crosses cultural boundaries of martial arts practice. I've just begun working with a student of a Japanese koryu whose training methods also aim to develop similar skills. He believes that such skills carry over readily into traditional weapons practice.

Dan has worked with two leading teachers of different lineages in Chenshi taijiquan, one of whom taught in Japan, including to Japanese exponents of Daito-ryu, several years ago. Dan just worked for the second time with a Yang style taiji student in the line of the late Lee Shiu Pak, who vouched for Dan's very real internal skills.

Mike has been studying and training and showing his own evolving understanding of these skills around the world for many years. He gets out and meets people from a lot of different martial arts backgrounds. These aren't dummies and dilettantes coming to Mike's seminars. They are able-bodied, serious MA practitioners who want to get an insight into what "internal skill" means and how to train it.

My point isn't to laud Dan, or Mike, or Akuzawa, or Cartmell. Their skill and their work stands on its own. My point is that these guys are not the only ones who see the value of internal skills and work hard to cultivate them. The three teachers I have the privilege of working with now have independently found merit in the ideas expressed in these discussions.

You can't learn these skills from Internet forums. But you can learn of them, learn about them, and learn some of the people who might point you in the right direction, if you enter into the discussions with an open mind.