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eyrie
01-14-2007, 05:55 PM
From the Stealing Techniques thread... http://aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11621

Notes: Topic devolved to side discussion about what constitutes a baseline skillset for (western) Aikido to move forward with, and how a comparative analysis of ethnocentrically-related MAs might be a start in that direction.


On a side note, I posted a comparison of 2 videos the other day on QiJing which I think is worth mulling over. It's a brief look at a small part of the overall skills included in the ki/kokyu area (by no means is it meant to represent all there is). The first video is of Ueshiba showing a few bits of bouncing Uke's away using kokyu and ki (he's over 80 years old, so his level is not up for discussion. Period). The second video is someone skilled in Yiquan (I-chuan) doing some of the same things. These are Asia-wide demonstrations of the same power and you'll find them in Ueshiba, Yiquan, Taiji, Japanese sword experts, Xingyi, you name it. Understanding that these skills are common to Asian arts is a big step forward:

Ueshiba Sensei demo:
http://www.neijia.com/UeshibaKokyu.wmv

Master Sum demo:
http://homepage.mac.com/thewayofyiquan/iMovieTheater24.html

Mike Sigman
01-14-2007, 09:15 PM
Oh, I didn't see that you'd initiated the new thread until just now, Ignatius.

OK, let me try to say something about baseline skills, using the two video clips of O-Sensei and Master Sum.

Let me start off using the Ki Society approach as an example. The Ki Society uses static "Ki Tests" and "Movement with Ki". That's perfect as a baseline starting point. Bearing in mind that both static and moving skills can have a wide range of achievement levels, let's just say that what Ueshiba and Sum are doing with the bounce-demo's is really sort of a glorified static example.

For instance, Tohei shows examples where someone pushes against him (let's just say someone is pushing against his chest) and he doesn't move. Essentially what Tohei is doing is "letting Uke's push be taken by his center." In reality, Tohei is not stopping that push with his center, but with the ground and the friction of his footsoles, because if Tohei didn't have the resistance from the ground, the push would move him backward.

So I could draw a line from the point on Tohei's chest where he is being pushed, down through his middle, and then down to his back leg (I'm simplifying; work with me).

While Tohei is letting the push be held with that ground going through him to Uke's hand, he can keep that solidity there while he retreats down slightly onto his back let without breaking the solidity of the ground. Then he can extent upward along that path between the ground and uke's hand. It is only a slight movement, but going down that path (without losing it!) and back up, directly replying into Uke's push... that is the essence of what both Ueshiba and Sum are doing, when you cut to the chase.

The baseline skill would be to simply be able to stand and let Uke's push go to the ground.... anything above that is an increase away from the baseline skill. Receiving and pushing along the path from the ground, for instance would be a first step above the baseline skill of just holding the push. Ueshiba added something in addition to that and Sum added even more factors.... but they based the "bounces" from the baseline skill. I know what Sum used (because I have the experience to see what he's doing) and I know a different method that is arguably (it's a moot point) more powerful in a certain respect... but it is still just an add-on to the baseline skill that is being taught in the Ki Society training. See how all of these things are just variations of the same thing?

My comment, BTW, to Ki Society people is ..... you've got a viably good start; now go further. Figure out what Sum is doing.

In terms of movement skills, you have to take the unusual power of letting the ground (or weight) go through you and make it a part of all of your movements. I like the Ki Society approach to a large extent (although I have a few quibbles that are, of course, just personal opinion). But wait a minute.... all that means is that if you start with the static skills, everything builds from that. And that's true. There's your baseline starting point.

O-Sensei's and Tohei's approach to imbuing their bodies' movement with the static power... everywhere in the body and at all times... was to relax and work with allowing that power (the "ki") develop. The relaxation is critical (this is why doing weight training or other muscular-effort exercises on the side is simply counter-productive). My personal opinion is that the "relax" approach is generally one of the best ones.... except it helps to understand what is really going on, in order to make even greater progress, in my opinion.

So that would be my comment on baseline skills.... start with static practices (I'll comment on specific ones if someone wants to discuss certain ones) and then begin to imbue via the relaxation approach into movements.

What about "standing" exercises, Akuzawa's approach, etc.? I haven't met Ark or Rob, but technically what they're doing is or can be part of a way of conditioning the same things. Used wrongly, both "standing" practices and Akuzawa's approach can lead to increased strength, but not quite the correct strength. Same as the idea that yes, you can do exactly the same looking Aikido techniques using muscle and using the correct skillset, but even though they look the same they are quite different "inside".

My 2 cents.

Mike

eyrie
01-15-2007, 02:42 AM
I see what you mean by "baseline"... you're not giving the farm away just yet... :D

So, essentially, what this "baseline" is, is a way to train and condition the body in preparation for martial use? And that such core body skills are applicable to a broad spectrum of East/South East Asian martial arts? The "master-key" so to speak...?

I have some questions, related to a different "layer", but I'll let the thread develop a bit first... ;)

Mark Freeman
01-15-2007, 04:41 AM
I completely agree with Mike's post above, and would like to add that while this explanation covers the baseline skills, the 'added extra' that is mentioned and is seen in the clips provided, is in the manipulation of the attacker/uke's ki/intent. This is done before skin touches skin.
Uke's push eminates from the mind, the body provides the 'vehicle' for this to happen. It is this intent that is 'accepted' and 'returned back to' through the medium of the completely co-ordinated mind/ body. In effect the pusher is confronted by their own ki/mind and this at the higher levels is where the seemingly effortless 'bounce' comes from.
Ueshiba, Tohei, Sum and many others have the completely co-ordinated mind body that is the basis for this to happen. When the body is completely relaxed, then the mind is free to manipulate the ki/mind of the incoming attack. If the attackers mind is lead then the body must follow, it doesn''t have alot of choice.
If Aikido practice does not have practice of these co-ordination skills built in, then reaching these higher levels is going to be erratic at best.

regards,

Mark

DonMagee
01-15-2007, 05:40 AM
There is a difference to me in the two video's. In Ueshiba's video, the movements are familiar to me, and I have experienced being unable to push your lift someone. In the second video. The uke seems to just hop away with the slightest movement, sometimes even where there is no contact.

I have never been in the presence of a man that can throw me without touching me, or knock me 6 feet back with a flinch of his leg. So I am skeptical and unable to comment on it.

Mike Sigman
01-15-2007, 07:56 AM
There is a difference to me in the two video's. In Ueshiba's video, the movements are familiar to me, and I have experienced being unable to push your lift someone. In the second video. The uke seems to just hop away with the slightest movement, sometimes even where there is no contact.

I have never been in the presence of a man that can throw me without touching me, or knock me 6 feet back with a flinch of his leg. So I am skeptical and unable to comment on it.Well, I was going to talk about that and I was waiting for an entre'.... so thanks, Don. ;)

First of all, look at the Uke's in the Ueshiba video and watch how many of them are taking a dive or responding to hand gestures, too-light movements, etc. If you show that video clip to an experienced outsider, he's going to make a rude noise. Usually someone either makes a disparaging remark or they "believe completely because it's Ueshiba". In the actual chest and thigh bounces by Ueshiba (all I'm interested in, in this clip), I watch how Ueshiba does it, how much effort he uses and I factor in how much, if any, uke appears to be over-acting. I watch Ueshiba's hips, his head, and his feet. Regardless of Uke I can judge fairly closely, IMO, Ueshiba's power. It's OK... moderate... about what I would expect from someone that used to be very powerful but his now well into his 80's.

Sum is a Hong Kong guy and Hong Kong and southern Chinese uke's have an annoying habit of over-hopping to slight pushes. Sometimes they do it prematurely (they have that same teacher-student relationship and want to be 'respectful' to the teacher). So I watch Sum and his uke together at first in order to quickly judge whether it's all acting or if Sum has some real power, I immediately see that Sum has some real power, but the full extent of it I can't get an accurate feel for except in a couple of the demo's because of Uke's over-acting and because Uke is pushing stiffly and maintaining that stiffness so that Sum can utilize that stiffness during the bounce (Ueshiba's Uke will do that too, if you watch).

So anyway, I see Sum as being fairly powerful.... in that particular setup. If you tangle with someone like Sum, it will feel like you have run into an unstoppable metal robot because of the type of power he has built up through breathing, standing, movement exercises, etc. It's very weird when you encounter one of these guys... they're like nothing you've ever felt before.

That being said, I'll tell you a few of my other personal thoughts about Sum's abilities. These guys like to practice that particular type of "bounce away" over and over. They get very skilled at it... it's sort of a set-up. Then again, to be fair, one of the problems in Aikido is that it is full of set-ups as well and to a neophyte who doesn't understand all the proscribed attacks, behaviour, and responses, Aikido "effectiveness" appears to be much more than it is, often.

So we've got Sum using a very clever set of mechanics (and yeah, Ignatius, I'm not going to say what they are on a public forum), but in some ways he's like a martial artist that also does body-building (if you'll allow me to loosely say that these kinds of strength/skill development are akin to "body building", because it's an apt analogy). If the martial artist spends most of his time building his strength and doesn't do enough training in techniques, all that strength doesn't do him much good. This, unfortunately, has been the case with too many yiquan people... they have this enormous power, but they can't use it well (most of them), so yiquan has never become famous as a truly effective martial art (I could tell stories).

So from my view, I really like Yiquan as a body-training methodology. Anyone could use aspects of Yiquan-type systemic training and get pretty powerful (if they do it right.... same problem in yiquan in that the top guys don't want to *really* tell the full training secrets).

So all that being said, I agree Don... the show is distorted by the too-willing uke's. But from experience I'd say that you'd probably be a little shocked at how strongly they can knock you backward through the air.

Great point. Thanks for bringing it up.

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
01-15-2007, 08:05 AM
Thanks for the discussion guys (Mike). Just wanted you to know I am following the thread with interest. I appreciate the candor and reality check that you run throughout the post Mike, it keeps things real.

Mary Eastland
01-15-2007, 08:14 AM
My understanding of ki testing.

Maruyami Sensei (student of Tohei Sensei and founder of Kokikai Aikido) explained this to us countless times...at every camp and seminar we spent a lot of time developing correct feeling as both the tester and testee.

The whole concept is to develop correct feeling....learning to feel and trust you center. When the tester pushes, it is not to push the testee over. It is to help him develop his center...hence the pushing is not backwards ...but more down and back...towards the the collar bone and sternum. When the tester sees that the testee is not moving...then the testor increases pressure...not with the idea of pushing the testee over but to help them really trust their center. The testers hand is cupped and the tester stands along side the testee using the hand between them to test. The emphasis is never on who can push who over....if the testee loses their balance...the process starts over with both people working toward the goal of developing correct feeling.

Mary

Mike Sigman
01-15-2007, 08:34 AM
Thanks for the discussion guys (Mike). Just wanted you to know I am following the thread with interest. I appreciate the candor and reality check that you run throughout the post Mike, it keeps things real.Well, I don't want to be the only noise-maker on the thread. One thing that helps about a lot of these discussions, from my perspective, is that it often forces me to think how to say something, which means that I have mull over exactly what's happening. I.e., it helps me clarify for *myself* and makes me critically analyse, looking for all the places where I may be bullshitting myself.

This kind of strength can be unusually strong (depending on how well-rounded you have developed it and how good your training has been) and it is the basis for a surprising number of variations and permutations that you'd never think about until you're shown. It is the "jewel" of martial arts, to that extent. It allows really powerful hitting, throwing, taking of blows (you have to experience this, but it's almost magical), your strength increases extraordinarily (mainly because you wind up blending in the fascial structures into your muscular strength), and so on. Doing the practice winds up massaging the skin, the internal organs, etc., so your health and appearance are affected. It's a real benefit to life.

On the other hand, while it will make you stronger for a given amount of muscle and conditioning, it's more like 5 or 10 % stronger, not like superman. The real part of the "strength" aspect is in the clever way of automatically accessing the ground or gravity for power... the kokyu/jin. The combined kokyu/jin and body/fascia additives are pretty good. If the overall benefits weren't so good, though, and it all boiled down to just strength, I'd have a real question about devoting all this time for a strength that I could mostly replicate at Gold's Gym. ;)

Trust me... I'm not kidding... the overall benefits are worth the effort. The trick is to find a way to get there without having to grovel all over Asia for bits and pieces of how to do it. If you can learn a fairly straight-forward and well-rounded approach to these skills, it is more than worth it. If all you can get is bits and pieces, don't spend that much time at it... go to the gym. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Erick Mead
01-15-2007, 09:17 AM
So we've got Sum using a very clever set of mechanics (and yeah, Ignatius, I'm not going to say what they are on a public forum) ... Ahh. Mechanics. The subject of any number of textbooks. Nothing secret about them. Ueshiba said that "... budo is the life of loving protection and is the source of the activities of science." He urged his students to change the paradigm of teaching and learning into an open one, like science, as he said, putting all his "secret" techniques right out there in the omote forms.

What then is the purpose of touting "baseline" skills in an aikido forum where you are never willing to discuss and speak plainly what you actually mean? If one cannot actually "know" but from feel, then what is the risk?

Budo is risk-taking. There is a risk that, in talking about something, it may not be understood. It is a risk that in speaking so obscurely one might be ignored as having no real "point" to obscure. It is a risk that, saying something, it may be critically examined. It is a risk that it might be challenged.

By what physical mechanism then, you do you say that Master Sum is transmitting the dantien/hara movements that we see in the video?

Lee Salzman
01-15-2007, 09:27 AM
Just having an external set of things that you make people do as a lithmus test isn't really much help in moving anything forward, unless your only concern is validating to yourself that someone can do X, Y, and Z. You open yourself up to the possibility that X, Y, and Z are done, but not in the way you supposed they would be. There be giants out there, who don't need more than "normal" strength to fling people away, resist a push, or eat punch and break the other guy's wrist. If your goal is just make it easy to hand out (or not) belts, okay...

If the goal is transmission, it is far more important that you are transmitting the correct internal feeling. In yiquan, this is done sometimes by having the student do an exercise that is designed for no other purpose than to easily feel an internal state that is either extremely similar or the same as an internal feeling he needs to eventually cultivate on his own. So rather than the teacher being empowered to say, "Nope, that didn't look right", the student is empowered to say, "Nope, that didn't FEEL right."

Even still, those sorts of exercises are merely ways of showing what you need to develop, not ways of developing it. Example: To introduce person A to front-back contradictory tensions, person A stands in the all-round post, but with hands overlapping, and person B pushes or pulls on A's hands or back of his neck, while A tries to not let any part of him move or collapse. Now once A succeeds in this exercises, he doesn't go off repeating the exercise over and over, nor treat it as a test where he goes off and does random things meanwhile hoping he will improve for next time he is tested. He knows now what tensions he needs to seek internally and reinforce all over his body in his pile standing when his intent says 'forward' or 'backward'. But even that is worthless without a basic methodology to go with it, showing the student how to strengthen and tune in on what he felt.

Mike Sigman
01-15-2007, 09:37 AM
By what physical mechanism then, you do you say that Master Sum is transmitting the dantien/hara movements that we see in the video?This is a thread about baseline skills, Erick. The mechanisms Master Sum are using are above that baseline and they involve conditioning the body in unusual ways (in comparison with current western sports physiology) and coordinating a couple of odd approaches. What he does will naturally conform to the laws of physics, just as all card-tricks do.... but like all card-tricks unless you know the secret you're not going to be able to replicate it very well. If you look in post #6, I said, "So we've got Sum using a very clever set of mechanics (and yeah, Ignatius, I'm not going to say what they are on a public forum)".

So Sum is using some clever mechanical and physiological tricks... on top of the baseline skills. Ueshiba is using a little bit of one himself that is on top of the baseline skills (Sum is using it, too).

I've delineated what I think would be a good starting point for a must-have skill level in all Aikido dojo's. If you want to make a side topic and try and guess what the secondary skills are, make a go at it... I'll tell you if you're right, but I'm not going to get into a comprehensive side-issue.

Other than that, I don't want to get into another argument about gyrational movement.... certainly Tohei and Ueshiba are not using gyrational movement when they do a static display of this sort of power. Even in the simple bouncing they're using, the mechanics are more adequately described by elastic potentials and vector forces (although the tricks I mentioned get too complex for that simple model).

Why not just stick to baseline skills of static and simple-movement descriptions of kokyu/ki skills for use in Aikido dojos?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
01-15-2007, 09:44 AM
Even still, those sorts of exercises are merely ways of showing what you need to develop, not ways of developing it. Example: To introduce person A to front-back contradictory tensions, Good post, Lee. The point of the thread doesn't go that far. From Ueshiba's writing he used some degree of contradictory training, but we're not really trying to do more than describe a baseline of jin and ki development in this thread. The sub-point I'd make is that while you're describing a particular approach within Yiquan, people in yiquan actually have a variety of ways that they teach some of the skills, yet, for the most part, all of them can bounce someone away, regardless of the individual approaches. The same sort of bouncing can be done in Xingyi, Taiji, Shaolin, etc., etc., and they all would have different ways of describing and teaching how to do elementary bouncing, whether contradictory training is explicitly mentioned or not. The main point I'm making is that we probably should stick to just the baseline skills and if we do go into some of the secondary skills, we all need to think exactly what is going on physically and try to avoid the jargon associated with the individual approaches we use. ;)

Best,

Mike

Erick Mead
01-15-2007, 09:56 AM
This is a thread about baseline skills, Erick. The mechanisms Master Sum are using are above that baseline...
Why not just stick to baseline skills of static and simple-movement descriptions of kokyu/ki skills for use in Aikido dojos? I do that -- in the dojo -- except of course that they are intended even at the baseline to be dynamic, and not static. But, this is not the dojo -- the mat is entirely conceptual. And I did not post the video or commence the discussion that begged the question.
I don't want to get into another argument about gyrational movement.... certainly Tohei and Ueshiba are not using gyrational movement when they do a static display of this sort of power. Then neither will I, other than to say, of course, that you are wrong about that ... :D

Lee Salzman
01-15-2007, 10:00 AM
The sub-point I'd make is that while you're describing a particular approach within Yiquan, people in yiquan actually have a variety of ways that they teach some of the skills, yet, for the most part, all of them can bounce someone away, regardless of the individual approaches. The same sort of bouncing can be done in Xingyi, Taiji, Shaolin, etc., etc., and they all would have different ways of describing and teaching how to do elementary bouncing, whether contradictory training is explicitly mentioned or not. The main point I'm making is that we probably should stick to just the baseline skills and if we do go into some of the secondary skills, we all need to think exactly what is going on physically and try to avoid the jargon associated with the individual approaches we use. ;)

Best,

Mike

I make no apologies for trying to think in terms of examples, rather than abstract terms. My point is that without setting up an example, a discussion domain, there's really no point in discussing it at all.

How can you discuss things students should be feeling or doing with certain feelings without approaching it from a particular interpretation? You can't. We have here an intuitive/subjective concept, which we have to put into words? What words, though?

The WHOLE point of yiquan was giving a set of words AND practices for discussing what students should be feeling, that can be linked to specific things that can be practiced. Otherwise yiquan would still be xingyiquan. So if I'm going to pick a jargon bias, I'll pick yiquan,, rather than sticking to loaded, abstract terms which no one can relate to.

Mike Sigman
01-15-2007, 10:11 AM
The WHOLE point of yiquan was giving a set of words AND practices for discussing what students should be feeling, that can be linked to specific things that can be practiced. Otherwise yiquan would still be xingyiquan. So if I'm going to pick a jargon bias, I'll pick yiquan,, rather than sticking to loaded, abstract terms which no one can relate to.I understand that, Lee. I was just saying that even in Yiquan the jargon and "what to feel" will vary from teacher to teacher, so we need to be very careful if we get into secondary skills. I have a copy of some notes taken by a student (English speaking) of Han Xing Yuen... the metaphors are different than a number of the others I see in Yiquan. Yet, I think we could analyse what is really happening down to a common set of terms.

If we could do that for secondary skills, we could probably do it easily for the baseline skills. The problem gets back to the old "try to describe how to ride a bicycle" example. It's not that hard to ride a bicycle, but describing the "feelings" in writing in an adequate way in order to teach someone how to ride a bicycle is difficult. I'm just trying to keep everything as simple as I can. ;)

FWIW

Mike

aikidoc
01-15-2007, 10:26 AM
I agree that a lot of O'Sensei's guys bail out in some of them but perhaps it might have something to do with how hard they are going to get hit or hit the ground if they don't pre-empt. I think during the Hell dojo days they probably develop a set of skills to keep from getting injured. I believe Saotome commented once that he was thrown so hard he broke his shoulder. Self-preservation. ONe of the uke's from Japan for my instructor says he bails because sensei is dangerous. If he doesn't, he risk getting injured.

Mike, is the bounce a form of grounding? Directing the energy to ground and then sending it back through the center?

Lee Salzman
01-15-2007, 10:31 AM
If we could do that for secondary skills, we could probably do it easily for the baseline skills. The problem gets back to the old "try to describe how to ride a bicycle" example. It's not that hard to ride a bicycle, but describing the "feelings" in writing in an adequate way in order to teach someone how to ride a bicycle is difficult. I'm just trying to keep everything as simple as I can. ;)

I can count maybe one or two of Newton's laws that are really needed to work with the yiquan stuff - equal and opposite reaction, and F=MA. Does it really get any simpler? :)

aikidoc
01-15-2007, 10:59 AM
An observation I have held for some time is that the arm position and vectors appear to be similar to the tetrahedron shape used in the geodesic dome concept-a strong structure for dissipating energy. This appears to ground the forces in my observation. Maybe Bucky was on to something.

Mike Sigman
01-15-2007, 11:20 AM
Mike, is the bounce a form of grounding? Directing the energy to ground and then sending it back through the center?Hi John:

Well, in an ideal and simple world, that's sort of true of the most common learning case. Someone pushes you and you let that push go unimpeded (as much as possible) through you to the back leg. That would be simple grounding. If you keep their push lined up with the ground while you go backward and down a couple of inches (to allow you to "store" in the leg, waist, and hopefully tanden joints) and then you return directly into their push (their push will actually add to yours if you keep them lined up with the ground).... that would be the simple case, which unfortunately morphs into something else as you begin to add more power factors. As speed and skill pick up, these bounces actually analyse out to be something a lot more complex.

The short answer is "yes", but with some big caveats because neither Ueshiba nor Sum is doing exactly that simple case, although they are generally conforming to the baseline. The baseline skill requires some manipulation of the angles of forces from the ground and middle (instead of the shoulder) and the baseline skills require some investiture in allowing the the body to "connect" from top to bottom so that it is not just the use of joints for the store and release of the potential energy.

Most of this sounds pretty simple, but there is a complex bugaboo that has to be considered. Let's say you stand in a right hanmi with your right forearm horizontally in front of you for uke to push on in order to test your rooting ability (of course in Aikido technique you'd never conflict like this; this is only about developing the "ki strength"). Essentially you allow uke's push to imaginarily be like he was pushing against your hara/tanden/dantien... i.e., you hold the push like there is a solid connection straight from the hara to the forearm, although in reality the forces go up the torso, out the shoulder, etc. If you stay fairly relaxed and keep the push at a light level, the body will automatically acquire/recruit the muscles it needs up the torso and out the shoulder and arm. If you force it, you're going to simply pit your normal use of the muscular system against the push. It's this recruitment of strength when you shift the angle of force acceptance that becomes interesting... and it's a major part of the whole "ki" thing. Someone who has trained their body to accept and deal with forces in this manner, as opposed to just using the normal muscular responses, will develop a very different "feel" and attendant skills... particularly when they learn to move with this set of altered body-force parameters. This is the baseline area we're talking about on the thread.

So to just say it's grounding and returning the push might lead some people into thinking this is something simple they're getting into. It's not. And so when you've changed the basic way the body moves and coordinates and *then* you add the secondary tricks, it's a pretty different animal. But why else would O-Sensei have made such a big deal out of it in his douka; why else would Tohei have made this the banner-skill of the Ki Society; why else would Abe and others still only give sparse information about the training methods? It's a more important skillset than most people realize at first glance. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Mike Sigman
01-15-2007, 12:01 PM
An observation I have held for some time is that the arm position and vectors appear to be similar to the tetrahedron shape used in the geodesic dome concept-a strong structure for dissipating energy. This appears to ground the forces in my observation. Maybe Bucky was on to something.That's a great observation and I've heard a number of people suggest that relationship where the body is a tensegrity structure.

If you want to look at it like that, it's not a bad example and *none* of the simple models of how this stuff works are very complete anyway. So why not use it in this discussion of baseline skills? Maybe it will lead somewhere.

The essence of a geodesic dome or a "tensegrity" structure is that it represents a number of forces that balance such that all forces involved are satisfied. There is actually a saying in Tai Chi about the body being balanced in all directions (same as our 6-directions comments) so that if a force attempts to offset a body in this kind of balance, it will automatically (take that with a grain of salt... it's a trained response) move to rebalance in all directions and throw the opponent. I.e., the opponent throws himself in his attempt to disrupt a stable tensegrity structure.

A geodesic dome is more or less spherical, which makes its ability to satisfy all forces reasonably straightforward. There are tensions across the various structural members and the panels holding the structural members together. If you start pulling out panels and struts from the overall spherical structure, you have to compensate by adjusting your tensions... i.e., the number of forces, the directions of the forces, and the magnitude of the forces.

A human figure can be thought of as a set of struts (the bones in the skeletal structure) that is cohesive if you allow the "tensions" or the "connectivity" in conjunction with the muscles to hold everything together as a whole. Most views of the body as a structure look at the skeleton and muscles as the main elements of the structure, but if you change the perspective so that it is the skeleton, muscles, AND the fascial layers that comprise the structure, you have a more complete picture. Then when you factor in the idea that the body is capable of micro-adjustments that can change the direction and magnitude of forces within the structure, you're closer to seeing what's going on.

In the two videos, both Ueshiba and Sum are taking incoming forces against a tensegrity structure, with a focus of the forces going to the base of the structure. Sum is younger and fitter and has worked more on the structure (and a couple of very cute mechanical tricks that augment his reaction)... you can see that there is more "tension" and coherence to his structure, which greatly increases his ability to bounce his uke away.

BTW.... think how much easier it is to do a forward roll with a nice tensegrity structure, rather than just strong muscles or worse, a semi-limp body.

How's that?

Best.

Mike

aikidoc
01-15-2007, 01:10 PM
Thanks. I always hated the concept of circle, triange and square in the sense the forces are thought of as one-dimensional. That's why I prefer to think of things as sphere, tetrahedron and box. That way the forces can somewhat be viewed multi-dimensionally. They also have to be thought of dynamically in the sense that a static tetrahedron is only strong to a point, but a moving tetrahedron can adjust its dynamics in response to varying forces. I agree, the tensegrity concept has some potential, even if as a way of logically discussing the concepts.

I think the dynamic element has to be there in the sense the human tensegrity unit has a lot of weaknesses. As such, points of unbalancing are easily exploited. An adapting tensegrity on the other hand has the potential to be stronger if the sensitivity of the practitioner is such that adjustments can be made.

Mike Sigman
01-15-2007, 01:29 PM
a moving tetrahedron can adjust its dynamics in response to varying forces. I agree, the tensegrity concept has some potential, even if as a way of logically discussing the concepts.

I think the dynamic element has to be there in the sense the human tensegrity unit has a lot of weaknesses. As such, points of unbalancing are easily exploited. An adapting tensegrity on the other hand has the potential to be stronger if the sensitivity of the practitioner is such that adjustments can be made.Well, try this experiment:

Stand in a balanced and relaxed right-foot-forward stance, facing forward. Have someone push with a few pounds of force against the right side of the ribcage, toward the direction the left foot is in, pushing slightly downard, but almost horizontal. Relax the lumbar-spine muscles and the knees. Let the left foot and leg try to take 100% responsibility for the force. OK then let the person walk around behind you and slowly push on the back side of the left-half of the ribcage, toward the direction of the front foot. Try to relax and let the front foot/leg take full responsibility for the push. Have then go around and push lightly and slowly a number of times until you don't have to move a hair in order to change which foot is accepting the push.

As you get more and more used to it, you can dispense with the partner and mentally change the "path to the ground" as you will it. With more practice, you can ground a push from any side. After a lot of practice, the potential to ground almost any incoming force is instantaneous. ((If you add the ability to bring weight wherever and whenever you want it instantaneously, you are effective "extending ki" at all times)).

OK, so my point is that if we look at a human as a tensegrity structure as having the ability to almost instantly manipulate forces within the structure by use of the "mind", there's less need for the "moving" part you mentioned. Adjustments, both offensive and defensive, are made by the mind-body skill. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Erick Mead
01-15-2007, 01:45 PM
That's why I prefer to think of things as sphere, tetrahedron and box. That way the forces can somewhat be viewed multi-dimensionally. Ueshiba spoke of "a limited sphere of strength" outside of which no opposition is possible. There is reason to believe he may have been speaking at a micro-level as well as a macro-level.
I think the dynamic element has to be there in the sense the human tensegrity unit has a lot of weaknesses. As such, points of unbalancing are easily exploited. An adapting tensegrity on the other hand has the potential to be stronger if the sensitivity of the practitioner is such that adjustments can be made. The questions of "what adjustment" and "what sensation triggers adjustment" are key.

For an alternative model of adaptive static equilibrium try "Colulomb's Memoir on Statics." Jacques Heyman, tr.

The principles are graphically illustrated by an inverted chain of spheres on the cover of the 1998 edition. See here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/1860940560/ref=sib_dp_pt/105-2445026-3648415#reader-link

The adaptive signal for that model is any force differential outside the center of the articulating joint.

aikidoc
01-15-2007, 02:04 PM
Well, try this experiment:
OK, so my point is that if we look at a human as a tensegrity structure as having the ability to almost instantly manipulate forces within the structure by use of the "mind", there's less need for the "moving" part you mentioned. Adjustments, both offensive and defensive, are made by the mind-body skill. ;)

FWIW

Mike

By dynamic, I meant that the movement can be subtle-almost imperceptible-sometimes with just a simple movement of the hip or wrist.

The mind aspect of it is interesting. I guess what I question there is if you think it or redirect it mentally how do you keep from having your body respond somewhat-even if it is almost imperceptible? Where the mind goes the body follows kind of thing.

When I have my students do such things, we start with bigger movements and then keep making them smaller and eventually it almost looks like a blip.

aikidoc
01-15-2007, 02:07 PM
Ueshiba spoke of "a limited sphere of strength" outside of which no opposition is possible. There is reason to believe he may have been speaking at a micro-level as well as a macro-level.
The questions of "what adjustment" and "what sensation triggers adjustment" are key.

For an alternative model of adaptive static equilibrium try "Colulomb's Memoir on Statics." Jacques Heyman, tr.

The principles are graphically illustrated by an inverted chain of spheres on the cover of the 1998 edition. See here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/1860940560/ref=sib_dp_pt/105-2445026-3648415#reader-link

The adaptive signal for that model is any force differential outside the center of the articulating joint.


Interesting-all the geometrics are there at least unidimensionally-circle triangle square.

aikidoc
01-15-2007, 02:11 PM
Mike, by the way, this all interests me since I am at a point where this becomes more important for me to move my Aikido ahead. My sensei (H. Kato) has it down like no one I've ever grabbed coupled with an amazing ability to lead one's ki. I see my lack of skill in this area a limiting factor. I also don't see much out there to help me. I started in the ki society years ago and the old relax, maintain, one point, extend ki etc. all help but I have always found them somewhat simplistic. So then what? Their exercises are useful to an extent but again somewhat limiting. It is my feeling this is not something mystical but something that can be trained and learned, if given the right information.

Mike Sigman
01-15-2007, 02:14 PM
By dynamic, I meant that the movement can be subtle-almost imperceptible-sometimes with just a simple movement of the hip or wrist.

The mind aspect of it is interesting. I guess what I question there is if you think it or redirect it mentally how do you keep from having your body respond somewhat-even if it is almost imperceptible? Where the mind goes the body follows kind of thing.

When I have my students do such things, we start with bigger movements and then keep making them smaller and eventually it almost looks like a blip.Well, I was only mentioning that in terms of stabilizing the proposed structure we were talking about... shifting force vectors without having to make even a simple movement of the hip or wrist. In other words I was offering the idea as a part of the model you suggested. Personally, I prefer a model that has the body as an inflated balloon in which forces can also be shifted by the will and in which the skin of the balloon can be tensioned in local places at will.

In terms of the body micro-adjusting when you "will" a path, etc., of course it does. If it didn't, and yet it actually changed forces, it'd be magic. ;) You can feel a slight "tingle" when you do this sort of thing. That's the "ki" setting up.

Best.

Mike

Mike Sigman
01-15-2007, 02:34 PM
Mike, by the way, this all interests me since I am at a point where this becomes more important for me to move my Aikido ahead. My sensei (H. Kato) has it down like no one I've ever grabbed coupled with an amazing ability to lead one's ki. I see my lack of skill in this area a limiting factor. I also don't see much out there to help me. I started in the ki society years ago and the old relax, maintain, one point, extend ki etc. all help but I have always found them somewhat simplistic. So then what? Their exercises are useful to an extent but again somewhat limiting. It is my feeling this is not something mystical but something that can be trained and learned, if given the right information.Well, there are a bunch of grab-bag skills tied up in all of this that can add to your martial techniques, etc., and I find them pretty interesting since martial arts is my hobby, but in reality the major advantage to these kinds of training skills is not in the martial realm but in the quality of life it gives you as you get older. Shioda said that. O-Sensei said it. And it's a common thought about "cultivating" yourself with these things, in Asian tradition.

Martially, probably the main point has to do with those mind-directed forces in a conditioned body. And you're right... if you're given the information and shown how to do it, you can go further; getting that information is a pain. Come up sometime and we'll exchange info. ;)

But back to using the mind-forces: Think of two tensegrity structures (human beings) that come together and hook up so that they are now essentially one complex, combined structure. You "will" a force through the combined structures...like it is now one single animal and you're wanting to move the hindquarters in a certain direction. That's a higher level of "aiki" than just combining someone inside of a technique after you have avoided their attack.

There is far more to powering the body than is approached by the Ki Society, etc. For instance, that video of Master Sum was somewhat about power, but there's more variations to it than what that video showed.

Still, there's a limit. It is, after all, body skills, albeit complex ones and pretty interesting ones. I know that Chen Xiao Wang's father used to be able to stand in a crowd of people and they'd lob fist-sized stones at him. With barely a twitch he'd "receive" and bounce those stones well away from him. He was considered to have skills and reactions so automatic that they were "natural" and he was at the top of the art. I heard he got shot trying to escape from prison during the cultural revolution, though.

FWIW

Mike

aikidoc
01-15-2007, 03:06 PM
Years ago, I saw Ikeda do an interesting exercise on redirecting forces. He would stand on one leg and have someone try to pull him over. He would then move them in the opposite direction.

Erick Mead
01-15-2007, 03:47 PM
Interesting-all the geometrics are there at least unidimensionally-circle triangle square. And in three dimensions you can have cube, octahedron and sphere in one figure.

The cube rectified (faces reduced to points as the points are truncated to faces) is the octahedron :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Birectified_cube_sequence.png

The resulting transformation is a dual polyhedral:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Dual_Cube-Octahedron.svg

A sphere circumscribed by a cube is inscribed by its rectified octahedron dual -- and vice versa. And all the edges of the respective duals are at right angles -- "juji" 十 字.

Changing the offset of the interaction by the precise difference between the two spheres alters the structural lines of force by 90 degrees orientation -- taking them quite literally "outside of his limited sphere of strength."

Mike Sigman
01-15-2007, 03:58 PM
Years ago, I saw Ikeda do an interesting exercise on redirecting forces. He would stand on one leg and have someone try to pull him over. He would then move them in the opposite direction.Hmmmmmm. There is a picture of Tohei standing on one leg with someone pushing on his forearm while he stands there. If he'd wanted to, it would have been a simple matter for Tohei to return into the push and push the guy away. Effectively, a pull is the same thing as a push on your opposite arm.... i.e., it's the same demonstration.

One of the problems I often run into with someone who is learning is that at first I lead them through things and there are a lot of demonstrations with them pushing me or sometimes pulling me while they gradually build up at least a beginning-level skill in how to use the ground. This is in the first hours. The weight paths take much longer to develop. Within a few hours I may be showing something and I'll say, "OK, push on me"... but suddenly, particularly with larger guys, my offhand responses may not work in some situations because they've suddenly caught on to how to "push" with a ground force. So while they may not have caught up to my experience and conditioning yet, they've quickly reached a point where I can't just blithely say "push me" and I have my way with them.

The point is that it's easy to do a lot of these demonstrations like Ikeda and Tohei did when the Uke doesn't know how to or is not using the same ground forces. When both people know how to or are using those kinds of forces, the demo's don't work so well. That's why when someone posts how people can't move him, yada, yada, it immediately tells me that either they're working with stooges or they haven't taught someone the basics that can be taught in just a few hours, in many cases (the baseline stuff). ;)

Regards,

Mike

eyrie
01-15-2007, 04:21 PM
So far, we've been discussing receiving a push from hanmi... and bouncing it back. OK, fairly straightforward - once you've found it. My question is, and if we're still within the parameters of baseline skill... if the push is against your weak line (like say against the chest in shizentai), where/how do you ground the push?

DonMagee
01-15-2007, 07:18 PM
This is a realm where I get confused easy. If a person is pushing where you have a weak balance, my not move your feet?

eyrie
01-15-2007, 07:25 PM
Sure... you can move your feet, pivot etc... but I would class that as tactical responses. I think we're talking about developing baseline body skills... in my mind, not the same thing.

Mike Sigman
01-15-2007, 07:54 PM
So far, we've been discussing receiving a push from hanmi... and bouncing it back. OK, fairly straightforward - once you've found it. My question is, and if we're still within the parameters of baseline skill... if the push is against your weak line (like say against the chest in shizentai), where/how do you ground the push?Well, this is one of those things that comes from practice, but I'll tell you the way I teach it, if it'll help anyone get started. First, though, let me say that it's a good hobby whenever you're standing around killing time to stand on one foot whenever you can. Even if you only lift one foot slightly off the ground or whatever.

OK, so taking a push into the chest while in a natural, parallel, or near parallel stance. Start off standing in either a left- or right-foot forward stance. Make sure the weight is fully on the back leg. A lot of Aikido people like to put the weight near the front foot and use the back leg as a "brace", but technically this is not a good way to develop central-balance. So the weight is over the back leg for this training exercise and the lower back *must* be relaxed (just slump like your mom told you not to do when sitting on the sofa). Have Uke push into the chest at no more than about 3-4 pounds and Uke should keep their elbow straight so that Nage is receiving a light but *rigid* and steady force to work with.

Nage should pretend for starters that Uke's hand in his/her sternum is really a shoulder and that Uke's shoulder is really Nage's hand.... that way Uke's force being right there can be alleviated. The idea is to let the push to the chest compress Nage into the back leg... do NOT lean forward in anticipation of the push. A push always compresses.

In order to make it easier for some people, I tell them to lean the torso slightly forward so that they're not so vertical. It makes all the difference for a lot of people to be slightly inclined forward at first.

OK, so the idea is to let the push be held by the back leg/foot and keep the lower back relaxed. Nage should be concentrating on relaxing and letting Uke feel the ground as purely as possible. This is one of the best things to worry about whenever practicing this stuff.... "how purely does Uke feel the ground coming through me where we're touching?".

After not too many times, absorbing Uke's push with the back leg/foot should feel comfortable. In fact, 100% of the push should be going into the ground at the back foot and if the front foot was not there and Uke slowly released the push, Nage should not lurch forward.

So if Nage is standing relaxed and mostly upright and he doesn't rely on the front foot, then we take the next step in the process. Slowly ease the front foot back while keeping the ground flowing as purely as possible from the back foot to Uke's hand. If you concentrate on not breaking the flow of the ground to Uke's hand at all times, you can move the front foot back to a parallel position, you can shift your weight from one foot to the other, or whatever... as long as you concentrate on Uke always feeling the purest possible ground through you. Uke should keep that unwavering light, steady push there for Nage to work with.

That should get you there, but it takes months of practice to get where you can do it easily and automatically from whatever stance.

I hope the description made sense. ;)

Best,

Mike

Erick Mead
01-15-2007, 08:08 PM
So far, we've been discussing receiving a push from hanmi... and bouncing it back. .... Which is, in what way, not resistance?

eyrie
01-15-2007, 09:40 PM
First, though, let me say that it's a good hobby whenever you're standing around killing time to stand on one foot whenever you can. Even if you only lift one foot slightly off the ground or whatever.

But that doesn't mean cant your hip like you're carrying a baby on the opposite hip....right?


If you concentrate on not breaking the flow of the ground to Uke's hand at all times, you can move the front foot back to a parallel position, you can shift your weight from one foot to the other, or whatever... as long as you concentrate on Uke always feeling the purest possible ground through you. Uke should keep that unwavering light, steady push there for Nage to work with.


Oh good... so I'm not "cheating" then. :D

So this is what is meant by not being double-weighted?

eyrie
01-15-2007, 09:51 PM
Which is, in what way, not resistance?

Well, if uke feels the purest possible ground and you redirect that force from the ground back into them at a different vector, it's really their force that is bouncing them off, and thus not resistance, non?

You know... link yourself to true emptiness, ebb and fow of the tide, allow Heaven and Earth to act thru you, unifiy with the activity of the universe.... spring forth from the Great Earth...billow like Great Waves... stand like a tree, sit like a rock... sort of thing? ;)

Mike Sigman
01-15-2007, 10:02 PM
But that doesn't mean cant your hip like you're carrying a baby on the opposite hip....right? Just practice balancing on one leg and building up the leg muscles. Don't worry about anything else. So this is what is meant by not being double-weighted?No "double-weighted" means weighing twice what you should weigh and that's against the Law of Gravity. :D

Don't worry about "double-weighted"... that more or less means getting locked into a corner with your own jin, so it's beyond this conversation. ;)

Mike

eyrie
01-15-2007, 10:18 PM
Sorry, I'm wearing my noob cap on this thread... so I'm asking the questions a noob would ask... ;)

I guess the obvious question is "how does this apply martially?"

Pauliina Lievonen
01-16-2007, 04:31 AM
Let's say you stand in a right hanmi with your right forearm horizontally in front of you for uke to push on in order to test your rooting ability (of course in Aikido technique you'd never conflict like this; this is only about developing the "ki strength"). Yay, something I recognize!

This is something you'd see happening at our dojo in pretty much every class. We often do this (uke pushing on tori's forearm) before practising a technique from a grab. Then the idea is to keep that connection going all through the technique. ...
If you stay fairly relaxed and keep the push at a light level, the body will automatically acquire/recruit the muscles it needs up the torso and out the shoulder and arm. If you force it, you're going to simply pit your normal use of the muscular system against the push. ...And yes, this is what happens a lot of the time.

One of the difficulties is that if two fairly inexperienced people practice together they end up just pushing against each other and if neither has the experience to feel the difference they can't tell each other that that's what's happening. So this is a tricky way to practice in a big group, like an aikido class.

kvaak
Pauliina

Pauliina Lievonen
01-16-2007, 05:07 AM
Stand in a balanced and relaxed right-foot-forward stance, facing forward. Have someone push with a few pounds of force against the right side of the ribcage, toward the direction the left foot is in, pushing slightly downard, but almost horizontal.It's funny you guys should be discussing this today.. this is exactly what we did last night in class (it was my turn to lead the class, that might have had something to do with it, lol). I was really pleased with the results.

Basically , we started class with just what Mike is describing above, pushing each other lightly from the front and back (and side, which is much more difficult, but I'm planning to keep doing this so we'll see where we get in a few months time.)

BTW, pushing my shoulder blades together and compressing my spine a la some of the exercises Akuzawa showed made a BIG difference. But I hate compressing my spine. :yuck:

Then, on a whim, I asked people to do a basic shomenuchi, while their partner kept pushing lightly from the back. IOW, raise your arm, take a step forward and cut down. We probably could have just taken a step forward without the arm swinging because people essentially forgot about the arm, taking the step was challenging enough, so the resulting shomenuchi were really wimpy, but never mind. :D Anyway, it was very interesting because at first there was a clear moment in the step where people would loose connection with the ground (about where they started to shift from one leg to the other) and be easily pushed over, but with a little practice, everybody got much more stable, and could keep a connection to their partners hand that was pushing on their back all through the movement.

We were 75 min. into the class before even attempting a technique. :) We did try gyakuhanmi shihonage and aihanmi ikkyo, trying to keep the same feeling of moving in balance and keeping a connection to the ground all through the movement, as uke as well as as tori.

The nice thing is, if uke does this as well, you don't get into the typical arguments of "uke is being mean and opposing the technique" because uke doesn't need to oppose anything. If tori looses the connection either to uke or to the ground, tori effectively opposes him/herself, all uke needs to do is to take care of their own balance. Opportunities to reverse become glaringly obvious. This is actually how we always practice in our dojo, in theory, I just tried to provide an opportunity for people to do it even more consciously and slowly. It was funny how, because people were really paying attention to how they were moving, everybody was moving at maybe 1/4 of the speed we normally practice. :D

I was really pleased with the way everybody's technique and especially ukemi looked towards the end of the evening. :)

BTW, one of the higher kyu grades and I trained a bit after class, he's bigger and stronger than me, and pretty well balanced. If i just ask him to push me, I fly. :) The only way I can deal with him is to make contact already before he grabs me, but when i manage to do that, it works like a charm, BUT only if at the same time I still manage to keep connecting to myself and to the ground and all that stuff, otherwise I still get squashed. I think that might be in the direction George Ledyard has been writing about lately... anyway, I don't think all this more static work working on how to move my body is in anyway contradictory to the other aspects of doing aikido like timing and taking the initiative etc. (dunno all the nice Japanese for those things).

Whew, long time since i went on like this here, glad if someone's still reading. .)

kvaak
Pauliina

Mike Sigman
01-16-2007, 07:02 AM
Sorry, I'm wearing my noob cap on this thread... so I'm asking the questions a noob would ask... ;)

I guess the obvious question is "how does this apply martially?"If I told you, I'd have to kill you, Ignatius. ;)

Well, it's part of your overall constant rootedness that you're building up so that you always have an advantage over a partner. Many people can do these static tests OK, but they can't move and do things while staying this rooted. And this root is the basis of the power you use and release.... and a couple of other things.

See.... you need to come over and chat. ;)

Best,

Mike

Mike Sigman
01-16-2007, 07:07 AM
We were 75 min. into the class before even attempting a technique. :) I think these things are so productive, ultimately, for all techniques, that I would probably spend several classes doing nothing but practice moving correctly. The techniques can wait. What is the point of practicing techniques with incorrect body mechanics? You're only going to have to change the whole technique later on so that you do it using the correct power to handle Uke's attack, rather than arms and external technique. :)

Best,

Mike

aikidoc
01-16-2007, 07:15 AM
The one leg stand, aka Stork Test, is one way to check for weak core stabilizing muscles in health care. Practicing standing on one leg is a simple way to strengthen the weak core muscles. Balance boards and exercises balls are other ways as well.

Erick Mead
01-16-2007, 07:20 AM
Well, if uke feels the purest possible ground and you redirect that force from the ground back into them at a different vector, it's really their force that is bouncing them off, and thus not resistance, non? And if I contrive that uke's force is not directed at my center, by controlling my structure, it cannot alter my position or lateral momentum. I may thus continue to enter his attack, all the while being turned by his tangential input -- irimi/tenkan.

My center does not oppose it, and he cannot touch ground through my center. Thus, I cannot be any source of stabilizing support for his energy, which would be to his advantage, not mine.

By this means I recieve and convert his tangential energy into atemi or technique, i.e. -- he hits himself with his own energy fed around the periphery of my center and back through my arm -- or I apply technique with that energy I "stole" from his attack, and return to him -- since he is the proper owner :D . Conservation and not dissipation. No grounding, all the force is converted in the manipulaitons of radial displacement moments -- not in reaction forces, which are by definition -- resistance: equal and opposed, and which dissipate energy, rather than conserving and using it.

My feet need not move, this occurs through small integrated motions of the hips, torso and limbs, and only a very small motion takes his attack outside of its narrow range of action and reverses it (elliptically, never directly opposing) back to him. This is basic kokyu tanden ho.

eyrie
01-16-2007, 07:20 AM
If I told you, I'd have to kill you, Ignatius. ;)
....See.... you need to come over and chat. ;)

I do... (hope that beer is cold, hope Durango is COLD and I can get to chop some wood).... but I think you didn't get it... I'm purposely wearing my noob hat.... ;) :D

Mike Sigman
01-16-2007, 07:23 AM
The one leg stand, aka Stork Test, is one way to check for weak core stabilizing muscles in health care. Practicing standing on one leg is a simple way to strengthen the weak core muscles. Balance boards and exercises balls are other ways as well.I agree, although I defer to your expertise, John. I get my mother, mother-in-law, etc., to do a little standing on one leg while one hand lightly touches a wall or kitchen-counter, etc. for balance. It has brought their balance and leg strength back to where they now walk again pretty normally.

I suggest for the first minute (or half minute) that they hold the upheld leg so that the femur is horizontal or above (preferably a couple of degrees above horizontal) and the abdomen relaxed so that the hold of the femur is done by the psoas. I'm a great believer in strengthening the psoas and in stretching the psoas (which I do with held forward lunges while slowly tucking the pelvic cage).

FWIW

Mike

eyrie
01-16-2007, 07:32 AM
And if I contrive that uke's force is not directed at my center, by controlling my structure, it cannot alter my position or lateral momentum. I may thus continue to enter his attack, all the while being turned by his tangential input -- irimi/tenkan.

Nope, we're not talking about tactical responses - of which irimi/tenkan is. This is even more BASIC than that. We're talking "kihon" in the purest sense... i.e. tanren.


By this means I recieve and convert his tangential energy into atemi or technique, i.e. -- he hits himself with his own energy fed around the periphery of my center and back through my arm -- or I apply technique with that energy I "stole" from his attack, and return to him -- since he is the proper owner :D .

In Ellis' words, uh... good response for the Art of Peace... hit them.... I think you're missing the point.

BTW... it's equal and opposite, zero sum equilibrium.... can you do kokyu ho in space?

Mike Sigman
01-16-2007, 07:40 AM
I'm purposely wearing my noob hat.... ;) :DI knew that last night, but it's early enough that I'm not thinking yet. ;)

Mike

Pauliina Lievonen
01-16-2007, 08:26 AM
I think these things are so productive, ultimately, for all techniques, that I would probably spend several classes doing nothing but practice moving correctly. The techniques can wait. What is the point of practicing techniques with incorrect body mechanics? You're only going to have to change the whole technique later on so that you do it using the correct power to handle Uke's attack, rather than arms and external technique. :)Sure, I agree... but I'm trying to make a compromise between what I think is the most important thing to do in a class, and what I'm expected to be doing when I lead a class. It's not my dojo (thank goodness!). :) I don't think people were doing all that badly in the end. We more or less treated the two techniques we did as another way of moving-while-your-partner-tests-you. Which I think is still a bit more difficult than what we should have been doing, but at least the attention wasn't on getting uke to the ground no matter what. I hope. :p

kvaak
Pauliina

Ron Tisdale
01-16-2007, 10:32 AM
Thanks everyone. Excellent thread and very usefull to me.

Best,
Ron

George S. Ledyard
01-16-2007, 11:59 AM
Years ago, I saw Ikeda do an interesting exercise on redirecting forces. He would stand on one leg and have someone try to pull him over. He would then move them in the opposite direction.
One of the things which people don't realize is that this demonstration of standing one one leg is simply showing what you need to be doing when you walk. Walking in a grounded fashion is a matter of setting up a one point base so that you can move the other foot, then the weight shifts, a new one point base is established and so on.

The best way to practice this is to get the biggest guy in the dojo to stand in hanmi and tell him to try to be immoveable. Then you walk in this fashion right through him. If you do it right he'llpop up off his base. Keep walking and have him jump back. If you are doing it right, you won't fall forward. if you are merely pushing him, you'll fall forward when he jumps away. When I am teaching we refer to this as "power walking".

(Of course you only get thios result when the other fellow doesn't know how to ground out in the fashion that Mike is talking about. Then the guy who moves is hje opne who is less good at the skill)

Mike Sigman
01-16-2007, 02:43 PM
(Of course you only get thios result when the other fellow doesn't know how to ground out in the fashion that Mike is talking about. Then the guy who moves is hje opne who is less good at the skill)I dunno, George... there is a limit to what even a grounded person can stop. :p I have one trick addendum to just being grounded, but I wouldn't bet that would be enough to stop you from walking through me if you're even moderately able to ground. After all, I am a mere stripling, at 225 pounds. :D

Mike

aikidoc
01-16-2007, 02:43 PM
I agree, although I defer to your expertise, John. I get my mother, mother-in-law, etc., to do a little standing on one leg while one hand lightly touches a wall or kitchen-counter, etc. for balance. It has brought their balance and leg strength back to where they now walk again pretty normally.

I suggest for the first minute (or half minute) that they hold the upheld leg so that the femur is horizontal or above (preferably a couple of degrees above horizontal) and the abdomen relaxed so that the hold of the femur is done by the psoas. I'm a great believer in strengthening the psoas and in stretching the psoas (which I do with held forward lunges while slowly tucking the pelvic cage). Mike

FWIW

I frequently do what you described with older patients to help restore their balance-I also recommend tai chi as well. Both help to prevent falls-a bane for the older folks.

BTW-having read some of your comments in Ellis' blog, I would also like to point out that I'm trying to figure out the power of my sensei (Kato). I have not approached him yet to ask for training tips on how to improve this or what path to take. I somewhat expect a simplistic answer-train or something like that. His power is amazing and with so little movement. He lifted (not totally off the ground) up one of my guys weighing about 325 lbs and just tossed him off like nothing off a ryotedori grab. I'm not sure how well sensei could explain what he does. I think a lot gets lost by my lack of Japanese comprehension. Sensei is getting more and more detailed in explaining little subtleties to us as time goes on. Sometimes it is just a little movement that gives me an aha! He also has an uke that travels with him that is pretty good at showing things that get lost in translation. Both have helped me at the right times. As these masters age, getting this knowledge becomes more and more important. I hope to have a chance to press sensei more for information in the fall.

Ron Tisdale
01-16-2007, 02:46 PM
Every thing I've seen of Kato Sensei tells me he's a gem. Learn as much as you can...so you can pass it on to the rest of us!

Best,
Ron

aikidoc
01-16-2007, 02:54 PM
Every thing I've seen of Kato Sensei tells me he's a gem. Learn as much as you can...so you can pass it on to the rest of us!

Best,
Ron
All his students out here in TX are trying real hard. Unfortunately we get to seem him only 1-2 times a year. I had the honor of hosting him last October and hope to do so again. We have CDs of him to help us in between and each time I watch him or the CDs I pick up something else. Slo-mo would be good.

I was surprised Ellis' comments on AJ on weapons did not refer to Kato Sensei. He has a fairly extensive weapon system-all connecting to his hand arts. (In my opinion, it is as comprehensive as Saito's).

Ron Tisdale
01-16-2007, 02:56 PM
See, I never knew Kata S. had a weapons practice too...learn something new every day. Y'all just gonna have to pony up the cash and go see him!

Best,
Ron

aikidoc
01-16-2007, 03:09 PM
Kato has: 24 kumijo, 24 kumitachi, kirikaeshi ikkyo through gokyo, misogi no jo, kiri kaeshi kushin, happo giri and these are just the ones I'm aware of-I know there is more and I'm trying to learn them. THe standard jo and tachi dori are there as well.

Michael Varin
01-16-2007, 04:07 PM
I have a question regarding the martial effectiveness of these "baseline" skills and ki/kokyu demonstrations.

If you watch the footage of "Rendezvous with Adventure" when Tohei is taking on the cameraman it looks very different. Don't get me wrong I think Tohei handled the situation fairly well considering the 60+ lbs weight disadvantage, but he was facing an untrained individual and by no means had an easy time. The result was typical of a resistive engagement. This episode was filmed in 1958, so Tohei would have had 12-18 years of aikido and judo before that. I may lack the experience with the higher level of ki and kokyu practices to say for sure, but if these offer you such an advantage and are so visually impressive why did he not use this ability?

Michael

eyrie
01-16-2007, 04:29 PM
We more or less treated the two techniques we did as another way of moving-while-your-partner-tests-you. Which I think is still a bit more difficult than what we should have been doing, but at least the attention wasn't on getting uke to the ground no matter what.

I'm going to stick my neck out and say that this is how I believe aikido *should* be trained. In other words, nage is uke....

George S. Ledyard
01-16-2007, 05:17 PM
After all, I am a mere stripling, at 225 pounds.
Well gosh, at only 225 you need to be able to ground just to keep from blowing away in a strong wind.
- George

Mike Sigman
01-16-2007, 07:41 PM
I have a question regarding the martial effectiveness of these "baseline" skills and ki/kokyu demonstrations.

If you watch the footage of "Rendezvous with Adventure" when Tohei is taking on the cameraman it looks very different. Don't get me wrong I think Tohei handled the situation fairly well considering the 60+ lbs weight disadvantage, but he was facing an untrained individual and by no means had an easy time. The result was typical of a resistive engagement. This episode was filmed in 1958, so Tohei would have had 12-18 years of aikido and judo before that. I may lack the experience with the higher level of ki and kokyu practices to say for sure, but if these offer you such an advantage and are so visually impressive why did he not use this ability?Hi Michael: I agree with you, so let me state that part first. On the other hand, this was way back in 1958 and they probably agreed to do this film because it was potentially their break into stardom if they didn't hack off these American Gaijin.

I've had another thought about Tohei at this time that is pure speculation....I don't think Tohei was all that powerful then. I also think that what became a top strategy for him was not fully developed, so that may have been a factor.

But basically, I agree with you.... he had way too hard a time with that out-of-shape American. I wouldn't have had such a hard time, I sez to myself.... but I would have to have been a lot rougher.... so maybe I'm wrong i my judgement.

Best,

Mike

Mike Sigman
01-16-2007, 08:09 PM
I frequently do what you described with older patients to help restore their balance-I also recommend tai chi as well. Both help to prevent falls-a bane for the older folks. Most Taiji being taught to old folks is just choreography becoming a low-impact, low-aerobic exercise, John. There's a study that just came out saying that balance-specific exercises are better that tai chi. I agree with that. BTW-having read some of your comments in Ellis' blog, I would also like to point out that I'm trying to figure out the power of my sensei (Kato). I have not approached him yet to ask for training tips on how to improve this or what path to take. I somewhat expect a simplistic answer-train or something like that. His power is amazing and with so little movement. He lifted (not totally off the ground) up one of my guys weighing about 325 lbs and just tossed him off like nothing off a ryotedori grab. I'm not sure how well sensei could explain what he does. I think a lot gets lost by my lack of Japanese comprehension. Sensei is getting more and more detailed in explaining little subtleties to us as time goes on.I read a bio about Kato Sensei a year or so ago in the AJ archives. I'm sure he uses weapons training to build these same strengths we're talking about as "baseline" and more.... just like I do and just like most martial artists do. Problem is you have to do the movements right to get the extraordinary strength and you can't just dabble at it. I'm quite sure that O-Sensei did the same thing with weapons and the famous cusom-made garden tools and also the kiko exercises he did. As has been discussed... O-Sensei wasn't all that forthcoming with what he was really doing, either. C'est la vie. ;)

Best,

Mike

George S. Ledyard
01-16-2007, 08:13 PM
I'm sure he uses weapons training to build these same strengths we're talking about as "baseline" and more.... just like I do and just like most martial artists do. Problem is you have to do the movements right to get the extraordinary strength and you can't just dabble at it.
Mike,
What's your take on weapons work as related to breathing? I assume that it would be your position that just doing jo, bo, or sword work without some specific type of breathing work would not have the desired result... am I right?

Jonathan Lewis
01-16-2007, 09:18 PM
Side topic but...
Most Taiji being taught to old folks is just choreography becoming a low-impact, low-aerobic exercise, John. There's a study that just came out saying that balance-specific exercises are better that tai chi. I agree with that.
I read the summary of that study too. I suspect that it is indeed the case, however there is a caveat. Most people are unlikely to do the balance-specific exercises for more than a very short time after PT appointments come to an end. Taiji, even taught as just a low-impact, low-aerobic exercise, with attendant exotic martial/philosophical fantasies, tends to keep people interested for far longer. This alone may usually make it a better recommendation for the purpose, any movement being better than no movement. (better yet, have them do the PT exercises then start taiji immediately afterwards.)

Erick Mead
01-16-2007, 09:50 PM
Nope, we're not talking about tactical responses - of which irimi/tenkan is. This is even more BASIC than that. We're talking "kihon" in the purest sense... i.e. tanren. Irimi/tenkan is a principle, not a tactic. It applies at the level of whole body dynamics or at the level of joints or at point of connection. My only objection to any of this, by the way, is the resistant training to ground out forces.
In Ellis' words, uh... good response for the Art of Peace... hit them.... I think you're missing the point. Paradox troubles you, does it? I didn't say how he would be hit or with what -- just that he would receive his energy back, as much as my art makes possible, undiminished by any resistance. Why? To resist I have to absorb a portion of the energy myself -- even if I am merely a conduit of that force to the ground. Hammer-horsehoe-anvil is not the idea of aiki I was given.
BTW... it's equal and opposite, zero sum equilibrium.... Distinction without difference. Aikido is not negation -- it is participation. It is definitely not resistance.
can you do kokyu ho in space? Yes, conceptually. But why would you want to?. We need to ask the dojo-cho for the ISS, maybe ?? Divers and gymnasts do it all the time altering orientation in three axes in midair without any reaction contact, whatsoever. If you can do it with one body properly connected, you can do it with two bodies properly connected.

Ooops, Sorry. Told Mike I wouldn'tt talk about that ....

eyrie
01-16-2007, 10:14 PM
Hmmm... Newton's 3rd Law... Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. EQUAL AND OPPOSITE. If you push on a wall with 500N of force, how much force is acting on you? If you push on someone using the same amount of force, and they stand like an inanimate object grounding the force, how much force is acting on you?

Where is the resistance?

It's not rocket science... er... wait a minute... it IS rocket science... :D

aikidoc
01-16-2007, 10:21 PM
Most Taiji being taught to old folks is just choreography becoming a low-impact, low-aerobic exercise, John. There's a study that just came out saying that balance-specific exercises are better that tai chi. I agree with that. I read a bio about Kato Sensei a year or so ago in the AJ archives. I'm sure he uses weapons training to build these same strengths we're talking about as "baseline" and more.... just like I do and just like most martial artists do. Problem is you have to do the movements right to get the extraordinary strength and you can't just dabble at it. I'm quite sure that O-Sensei did the same thing with weapons and the famous cusom-made garden tools and also the kiko exercises he did. As has been discussed... O-Sensei wasn't all that forthcoming with what he was really doing, either. C'est la vie. ;)

Best,

Mike

Several studies have suggested that Tai Chi is helpful to senior balance problems.

Kato Sensei does and did train a lot with weapons. His weapons are very sophisticated with a lot of center and hip connection. They are quite challenging to learn-at least to get him to not say dame des (that's not correct) :). I don't know if that is the source of his power but I'm sure he would say it has a lot to do with it.

Mike Sigman
01-17-2007, 07:24 AM
Mike,
What's your take on weapons work as related to breathing? I assume that it would be your position that just doing jo, bo, or sword work without some specific type of breathing work would not have the desired result... am I right?Hi George,

Well, the repetitive weapons practices with jo and bokuto are, IMO, the major "workout" aspects of most martial arts. I tend to use bokuto swinging and pole-turning and pole-shaking as my major workouts. But just taking suburi as the example:

The breathing has to be done similarly to the exercise I mentioned in that thread Dennis Hooker started on deep breathing. There's a bit more to it than that, but that's the essense. This is how the ki is really developed, in the "connection" sense.

The body has to be very relaxed but connected so that a "sheathing" develops over time where you can truly feel a head-to-toe connection where if one part of the body is moving you can feel it pull and twist in every part of the rest of the body.

The forces moving the arms and body up and down are the kokyu/jin forces of the whole body.

There are a couple of cute store-and-release tricks that are done (it's part of the reason why the strength is said to rely on the big toe).

And so on. The actual swinging will outwardly look just like someone else doing externally "correct" swinging, moving their hips, etc., but inside everything is quite different.

And incidentally, I think the best way to start learning is with a very light bokken. Until you can move in this correct manner, using weights will only trigger the use of "normal" shoulder-muscle, etc. As you develop this kind of power you can use suburitos, tanden bo's, etc.

Best,

Mike

Mike Sigman
01-17-2007, 07:34 AM
Several studies have suggested that Tai Chi is helpful to senior balance problems. Oh, it's helpful, no doubt, but in a lot of older people all the "form" (based on old martial techniques that most instructors have no idea about) is so complex that it compounds the learning process... balance exercises are simply more direct and more effective. I know a lot of seniors who have learned taiji, but most of them quit practicing it pretty soon. The last time I taught a bunch of seniors, I did a modified qigong that focused on the breathing that reinforces their "qi" strength and I did some basic-but-useful-daily exercises with jin/kokyu forces to give them greater strength almost immediately. I.e., I tried to stay simple, get results almost immediately, and give them a short routine that would help balance and strength for a long time to come. I wrapped it in "orientalism" to appeal to the ones whose motivation was "exoticism". ;) Still, most people, as always, only maintained their practice for a year or two at best.

Best,

Mike

Ron Tisdale
01-17-2007, 08:15 AM
From what I understand, he was specifically enjoined from hurting the camera man. Pretty severe limitation in my opinion.

Best,
Ron
I have a question regarding the martial effectiveness of these "baseline" skills and ki/kokyu demonstrations.

If you watch the footage of "Rendezvous with Adventure" when Tohei is taking on the cameraman it looks very different. Don't get me wrong I think Tohei handled the situation fairly well considering the 60+ lbs weight disadvantage, but he was facing an untrained individual and by no means had an easy time. The result was typical of a resistive engagement. This episode was filmed in 1958, so Tohei would have had 12-18 years of aikido and judo before that. I may lack the experience with the higher level of ki and kokyu practices to say for sure, but if these offer you such an advantage and are so visually impressive why did he not use this ability?

Michael

Erick Mead
01-17-2007, 08:19 AM
Hmmm... Newton's 3rd Law... Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. EQUAL AND OPPOSITE. If you push on a wall with 500N of force, how much force is acting on you? The same -- because the wall pushes back as you suggest. That is not the only means to balance forces, however. I rely on the Second Law to balance the force equation, not with force against force, but allowing his force to accelerate my inertial mass about my center. Second Law : F=ma. That's what he wanted to do -- induce (severe) accceleration in my body. So I allow him to do that, but not the way he envisioned. I can manipulate my inertial moment (how much force is required to induce a given angle of turn) by altering my structure -- without exerting any opposing force.

Someone pushes on me, I don't push back -- I place myself so as to allow myself to be accelerated (in the "right" way) -- around my center (tenkan) I typically arrange my structure to increase or decrease my inertial moment as needed and to alter the eccentricity of that acceleration to cause some manner of entry (irimi).

If I accept the force and convert it to some component of angular velocity, it ultimately returns (opposite) to him what sent it -- without me having to add energy to or detract from it or to move my position laterally at all, or even being moved by him, seemingly, contradictory to his intent (irimi).
If you push on someone using the same amount of force, and they stand like an inanimate object grounding the force, how much force is acting on you? ... Where is the resistance? 500N -- from two directions You are experiencing 500 N of force from the push and the inverse vector (in some component) of 500 N from the ground, net zero force, but not net zero displacement. You are experiencing compressive (crushing) stress or strain (deformation energy) in between the two, and are the conduit for both. Material stress or strain energy is not the same thing as inertia.

You are acting as horsehoe to the hammer of the blow and the anvil of the ground. You are communicating the resistance of the ground to the force of the blow - and you deform (strain energy) according to the limits of your structure. You are primarily limited by the strength of your structure in that interaction.

Conversely, receiving forces tangentially allows me to accept absolute forces of much greater magnitude, because I can control how firm my perpendicular connection is and thus how much of that energy I accept at the point of connection and convert by irimi/tenkan principles and how much of it I let pass by to conserve his momentum to use and guide back to him. I am not primarily limited in that interaction by my strength of structure (as long as I can hold myself together), but by my level of control.

The thing about overt movement in this mode is that if I accept tangential energy in the form of angular momentum at a large inertial radius (extension), I reduce its perceived kinetic energy at the connection. If deliver that angular momentum back at a far smaller radius, I exponentially (two cumulative square terms) increase the effective kinetic energy at the point of the return connection. "Movement in stillness," i.e. -- virtually zero radius of the return moment becomes nearly infinite (mathematically) and devastating, practically (think about the skater toe-spin).

eyrie
01-17-2007, 03:50 PM
...I rely on the Second Law to balance the force equation, not with force against force, but allowing his force to accelerate my inertial mass about my center. Second Law : F=ma. That's what he wanted to do -- induce (severe) accceleration in my body. .......You are acting as horsehoe to the hammer of the blow and the anvil of the ground. You are communicating the resistance of the ground to the force of the blow - and you deform (strain energy) according to the limits of your structure. You are primarily limited by the strength of your structure in that interaction.


Yes, but we're talking about a baseline exercise to develop a baseline skill.... (i.e. strength of your structure).... a constant push is hardly acceleration.

The exercises that have been mentioned thus far, Mike's lunges, Ark's body axis, shiko, etc. are all related to this - developing structural strength and integrity, as part of the baseline skillset - i.e. body conditioning - using the same basic principles common to all Asian MAs.

Erick Mead
01-17-2007, 04:20 PM
Yes, but we're talking about a baseline exercise to develop a baseline skill.... (i.e. strength of your structure).... You do what you train to do. If you train to do resistance to force, then you will resist force when your training is called upon.

... a constant push is hardly acceleration.] Only true if there is resistance to the push.
... developing structural strength and integrity, as part of the baseline skillset -- i.e. body conditioning - using the same basic principles common to all Asian MAs. You mean, like this one:
Whenever you advise a ruler in the way of Tao,
Counsel him not to use force to conquer the universe,
For this would only cause resistance.
Thorn bushes spring up wherever the army has passed.
Lean years follow in the wake of a great war.
Just do what needs to be done.
Never take advantage of power.
Or this one: Under heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water.
Yet for attacking the solid and strong, nothing is better.
It has no equal.
The weak can overcome the strong;
The supple can overcome the stiff.
Under heaven everyone knows this,
Yet no one puts it into practice.

eyrie
01-17-2007, 04:48 PM
Oh you know, that's why the exercise is done in a very relaxed manner... ;)

So you can "be like water, my friend... be like water...." :D

eyrie
01-17-2007, 05:10 PM
And incidentally, I think the best way to start learning is with a very light bokken. Until you can move in this correct manner, using weights will only trigger the use of "normal" shoulder-muscle, etc. As you develop this kind of power you can use suburitos, tanden bo's, etc.


Mike, can you comment on the length of the weapon, and what would your recommendation be for those starting learning?

raul rodrigo
01-17-2007, 05:52 PM
There are a couple of cute store-and-release tricks that are done (it's part of the reason why the strength is said to rely on the big toe).

There it is again, the "power comes from the big toe" idea that Shioda hinted at but didnt explain. Would you be willing to expound on that a little further now, Mike, or would it be too far from the theme of baseline skills?


best,


RAUL

MM
01-18-2007, 06:46 AM
There it is again, the "power comes from the big toe" idea that Shioda hinted at but didnt explain. Would you be willing to expound on that a little further now, Mike, or would it be too far from the theme of baseline skills?


best,
RAUL

I'm just rambling here and have no clue about it ... but ...

If you want to physically affect someone's balance, one of the easiest ways is to move them out over their little toe. It has the least strength and the way the feet are shaped, it doesn't have a corner to allow for strength. Rather, it sort of rolls.

So, in opposite, the big toe has the strength. If you physically want to affect balance, you do not go out over the big toe. Also, the big toe is sort of the point of a triangle in your feet. (Hmmm ... can this be the triangle from circle, square, triangle that Ueshiba talked about?)

You could view the big toe as being a connection point to the ground, I guess.

Anyway, just rambling ... I'm no expert in this by any means. Even my own inflated imagination. :)

Mark

Mike Sigman
01-18-2007, 07:17 AM
There it is again, the "power comes from the big toe" idea that Shioda hinted at but didnt explain. Would you be willing to expound on that a little further now, Mike, or would it be too far from the theme of baseline skills?Hi Raul:
I just tried to think of a quick way to explain what it is, but it's tricky without the understanding of the baseline skills that lead up to it. Let's just say that it is one of the supplemental ways to store and use power. It's one of the choices of things you want to specialize in (it's not a major thing in what I do, although I use it a little bit) and it's commonly considered a derivative of Buddhist-oriented martial training. There are even variations of how to approach it, but I feel very sure that in the case of Ueshiba he got this approach from one of the sword arts, since that's where it's normally found.

Best,

Mike

Ron Tisdale
01-18-2007, 07:52 AM
Gozo Shioda speaks of the big toe in most of his books, I think it worth while to run through them just to see what he says. Abe Sensei also speaks of this in similar ways...Gernot could probably contribute a great deal here.

Gernot? GERNOT???? ;)

Best,
Ron

raul rodrigo
01-18-2007, 08:34 AM
What Shioda says in Total Aikido. p 15, is: "The 'trick' to concentrated power is in the big toe. When we fix the big toe to the floor, power comes into the hips. To that power, you can then add the acceleration of the "spring" action of the knee. If the movements are done altogether, a very powerful force is developed. Because of this, developing the big toes through for example, kneeling techniques is very important."

So that was where I was coming from. Because of what Shioda wrote, I began to pay attention to the feeling during funekogi undo of my weight transferring from one big toe to the other. Over time it became possible to manifest some unexpected strength moving forward (eg, doing kaiten nage without stepping forward for the throw and just using the funekogi feeling to move uke) and more recently, backward.

I suppose my question is: am I completely deluded about this kind of movement meaning anything in terms of developing internal strength? Is this any part of what Shioda was referring to?

Thanks for your inputs above, Mike. Mike's answer, if I understand him correctly, seems to be that the developing of the "big toe dynamics" is a little outside of the area of baseline skills. Or else its too complicated to go into at this point.


best,


RAUL

Mike Sigman
01-18-2007, 08:49 AM
....., if I understand him correctly, seems to be that the developing of the "big toe dynamics" is a little outside of the area of baseline skills. Or else its too complicated to go into at this point.Well it's one of those things that in order to understand what's happening, you'd have to already have acquired some jin/kokyu skills and some development of the "ki" structure in the sense of the fascia. If you haven't developed that latter all over the body, you can't get the full benefit of what he's talking about. There is a somewhat incomplete, but not too shabby treatement of this kind of power in Lam Kam Chuen's book "The Way of Power". He doesn't take the power train all the way to the big toe (IIRC), but he has the major elements laid out.

But even if you read it, if you haven't developed some of the body strengths through breathing, etc., the real light-bulb won't go on. ;)

Best,

Mike

Ron Tisdale
01-18-2007, 08:50 AM
Well, I don't think it's outside of what I would consider...maybe it's not the purest or even best way though. From your description, it sounds as if you've found a good way to bring it into your practice. If you watch some of Gozo Shioda's demos, you'll notice how he sinks his weight into a very focused spot on the ground, kind of rebounding, adding in the "spring of the knees"...I think this combines the power of the ground with the gravitational weight of the body to produce a dramatic effect on his partner. By keeping the upper body relaxed, he transmits this power through to uke. Very simplified explanation by someone who can't do any of this very well yet.

I think Mike's approach is probably somewhat different, and I think Kancho's approach is probably more complicated than my explanation as well...

Best,
Ron

raul rodrigo
01-18-2007, 08:57 AM
Once again, its the old chicken and egg problem. Or what someone once said about jazz: "If you have to ask what it is, you aint never going to find out." I suppose thats the nature of the beast.

Erick Mead
01-18-2007, 09:15 AM
There it is again, the "power comes from the big toe" idea that Shioda hinted at but didnt explain. Would you be willing to expound on that a little further now, Mike, or would it be too far from the theme of baseline skills? I just tried to think of a quick way to explain what it is, but it's tricky without the understanding of the baseline skills that lead up to it. Let's just say that it is one of the supplemental ways to store and use power. ... It's one of the choices of things you want to specialize in Shioda explained it and illustrated it as shown below. He said the big toe was the key to centering power (chushin ryoku) which is the necessary prerequisite for focussed power (shuchu ryoku) or breath power (kokyu ryoku).

Mike suggested: Someone pushes you and you let that push go unimpeded (as much as possible) through you to the back leg. That would be simple grounding. If you keep their push lined up with the ground while you go backward and down a couple of inches (to allow you to "store" in the leg, waist, and hopefully tanden joints) and then you return directly into their push Mike thus advocates in his "basic skillset" exercise precisely the reverse of what Shioda was talking about with the Big Toe chushin power, which is on the front (irimi) leg.

Shioda even shows it on the back cover of Total Aikido:
http://books.google.com/books?id=1jofOYKrMM8C&printsec=backcover&dq=shioda+%22big+toe%22

He makes clear in the the illustration and text of "Dynamic Aikido" (p. 82) the centering power in the big toe is on the forward foot in the direction of the irimi, NOT in the rear "grounding" footand in the direction opposite the irimi of the technique, which as Mike suggests, is directly in-line with the attacking force .

http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0870113011&id=4dcQwX7V2dgC&pg=PA82&lpg=PA82&ots=YfMCtJo9D0&dq=shioda+%22big+toe%22&sig=MjrPTKfiO1aVKi63Cm-wB7pkWEM

The illustration and narrative specify the right (forward) big toe as the focus of power, even when performing ikkyo urawaza, as depicted.

I very often have to correct students whose irimi in their technique is incomplete because they stop with the feet about shoulder width apart in hanmi and weight fairly evenly distributed. By showing them how to, just as Shioda depicts, rotate the weight from the front heel to the ball of the front big toe (drawing the rear leg up under, as the hip pulls it forward). They gain an additional six inches of extension forward -- with a total movement of the body.

Most importantly it is performed (as Shioda illustrates) without any significant rear leg spring or push (as Mike suggests). It is a motion of the whole body (weight transfer - taijuuido) pivoting dropping (slightly) forward and then rising to center itself over the forward ball of the big toe. The rear leg merely travels sliding along the ground.

It also raises uke's connection a further two inches or so and the tanden travels in an rising, forward arc, like extending from chudan to seigan with the sword. It is the exact same mechanics for the hip and torso as is applied with the wrist and forearm in seated kokyu dosa.

Chushin weight distribution is on the rear leg big toe in situations where the rear hip is the one making the irimi. In a gyakku munetsuki iriminage, for instance, the forward leg and hip are in line with, but giving way to, the attack, while the rear hip is initially advancing in irimi Even though the rear leg may not change position at all, its weight distribution changes from heel to toe. Thus, the rear big toe is momentarily the focus as the center point of the irimi/tenkan in receiving the attack.

The rear leg is off-line and merely forms the pivot. It cannot transmit reaction force to the attack from the ground. If it were bearing the force of attack with ground reaction, the hip would have to be in-line and would not be free to turn forward in irimi. As soon as the receiving irimi/tenkan is made, the reverse irimi/tenkan begins on the forward hip and leg with the same sort of weight transfer described above. The ball of the big toe on the front (irimi) foot again becomes the focus to make the throw.

raul rodrigo
01-18-2007, 09:18 AM
Lets back up a bit. If Shioda didn't the exposure to the internal Chinese arts that Mike S and the others have, how did he develop this understanding of the big toe? Through misogi breathing? through funekogi and furitama? The eyewitness accounts of the Kobukan dojo that I know of describe years of hard physical training, and very little by way of internal development. I know that some later deshi like Tohei and Tada and a few others went to the Tempukai, so their understanding of internal power is more advanced. Did Shioda go? Did he have some internal training that we are not aware of?

RAUL

Ron Tisdale
01-18-2007, 09:27 AM
I agree (for the most part) with Erick's assesment of the forward movement, focus and weight that is a basic for Yoshinkan. Mixing that approach with some of the specifics that Mike gives is somewhat problematic...but to suggest that a difference in which foot you weight negates the connection between the skillsets is kind of silly, in my opinion. There are styles of aikido that are very powerfull that don't focus the weight in the same manner as in the Yoshinkan. Since I cannot conclude that "our" way is necessarily better than "theirs"...I must then conclude that Erick doesn't quite understand the topic.

Shioda is rumored to have had some instruction outside of Ueshiba in Daito ryu...I cannot say how much, and this is often debated. But it should be noted that his licenses from Ueshiba were in Daito ryu, and that Daito ryu and the Kobukan dojo, are said to have invested heavily in this kind of internal skill set. Hard physical training does not contradict the internal training.

Best,
Ron

ian
01-18-2007, 09:37 AM
Absolute minimum skill set for our dojo:

1. good bokken cutting (to develop ability to drop weight properly and to direct power through hands using hips)

2. ikkyo (irimi & tenkan)

3. irimi-nage

=====
I believe you can practise aikido fully, with just the above. If you want me to be more specific about the 'skills', I'd say that's difficult. Really the techniques are there to develop the skills (rather than being an end in themselves). Don't want to do into the fundamentals of balance, extension etc... (as been done before).

Ian

P.S. dynamic is a really interesting word. A previous sensei said to me years ago,'just be more dynamic' and instantly I was better ('till I forgot to be more dynamic!). I think it can be translated roughly as 'don't overthink it, just do what you want in a spontaneous and energetic way'. All this 'try to relax', 'use the one-point', 'drop your hips', 'imagine energy flow' I believe can actually stiffle the dynamism of aikido.

raul rodrigo
01-18-2007, 09:38 AM
Shioda is rumored to have had some instruction outside of Ueshiba in Daito ryu...I cannot say how much, and this is often debated. But it should be noted that his licenses from Ueshiba were in Daito ryu, and that Daito ryu and the Kobukan dojo, are said to have invested heavily in this kind of internal skill set. Hard physical training does not contradict the internal training.


I didn't assume there was a contradiction between the two, Ron. I'm just trying to find a door into learning the baseline skill set that I can walk through. Mikes answer seems to be that his version of internal power requires direct hands on contact and is strongly rooted in the Chinese arts, in ways that cant (or shouldnt?) be conveyed on this forum. So my next question is: is there another way in? Can I buy the DVDs of, say, Tetsuzan Kuroda and get ideas? Does some branch of Yoshinkan (Chida, perhaps) preserve the training methods for the big toe dynamics and so should I get myself ASAP to Yoshinkan hombu, where an acquaintance of mine is a shidoin? This is the kind of thing I am looking for.

Erick Mead
01-18-2007, 09:49 AM
I agree (for the most part) with Erick's assesment of the forward movement, focus and weight that is a basic for Yoshinkan. Mixing that approach with some of the specifics that Mike gives is somewhat problematic..... There are styles of aikido that are very powerfull that don't focus the weight in the same manner as in the Yoshinkan. Since I cannot conclude that "our" way is necessarily better than "theirs"...I must then conclude that Erick doesn't quite understand the topic.

Shioda is rumored to have had some instruction outside of Ueshiba in Daito ryu... I think you may have an exaggerated sense of the difference between "ours" "yours" or "theirs" in approaches on this point, Ron. The totality of my exposure to Yoshinkan is about six or eight classes over a two year period in Yokosuka while on periodic Navy instructor travel. Enough only to intrigue as to the distinctions of focus, really. I don't think I picked up these observations there. Shioda's teachings on this are consistent with what I did receive elsewhere.

The strongest focus in my training for the aspect of irimi I describe would have been my Iwama teacher, Bernice Tom in San Diego. Most of my training has been Iwama and ASU, with Federation Aikikai in college and thrown in here and there along the way, including about seven months (during a lawschool scheduling conflict) with Chiba back in '95-ish. Nothing was really different in terms of this aspect of irimi anywhere I trained. The only wrinkle is the focus on the irimi side of the techniques, which may be front or rear, or change several times, allowing for techniques without regard to particular kamae, which is more from the ASU side.

Hitohiro Saito still teaches this, and Bernice Sensei was uchi deshi to his father. "Your body pivots around the big toe of your front foot." Interview here (down where it asks about "fundamentals of training"): http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=95

raul rodrigo
01-18-2007, 09:57 AM
I think the real question is how do you get from the basics ("your body pivots around the big toe of your front foot") to the explosive power release that we see Morihei and Shioda doing in response to a shove from uke? They do it so sharp and hard that it's way above what you see even from a "run of the mill" 6th dan.

Mike talks about store-and-release tricks with the toe. What are those? Do Iwama ryu or ASU teach that? I am not aware of Saito making a similar statement about the big toe as power source.

Ron Tisdale
01-18-2007, 10:13 AM
I think you may have an exaggerated sense of the difference between "ours" "yours" or "theirs" in approaches on this point, Ron. The totality of my exposure to Yoshinkan is about six or eight classes over a two year period in Yokosuka while on periodic Navy instructor travel. Enough only to intrigue as to the distinctions of focus, really. I don't think I picked up these observations there.

Perhaps...some stress the difference in terms of methodology only, and I don't necessarily disagree with that. But there are differences in focus, kamae, buki waza, blocking vs no blocking (really should be thought of as yokeru, in both cases), hip posture...all kinds of things. It is a complicated subject, and not easily discussed without specific variances in mind, as well as how individual teachers, apart from "style" and organization, seek to grow their students along the specific path the instructor invisions.

I have *some* experience with Kokikai, Iwama, ASU, Mainline Daito ryu and independants in Aikido and Daito ryu. My main exposure is to Doshinkan aikido as taught by Yukio Utada. While an IYAF dojo, there is more diversity in the Yoshinkai than some might think.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
01-18-2007, 10:28 AM
Hi Raul,
didn't assume there was a contradiction between the two, Ron. I'm just trying to find a door into learning the baseline skill set that I can walk through. Mikes answer seems to be that his version of internal power requires direct hands on contact and is strongly rooted in the Chinese arts, in ways that cant (or shouldnt?) be conveyed on this forum.
As I said in the post to Erick, it's a complicated subject, and it doesn't lend itself to easy answers. Mike offers a few different viewpoints and I believe that you can use them to enhance your own, even if there are slightly different methods to bring them to fruition. My opinion only. Trying to convey these on a forum, without physical feedback, is indeed tough. I have a hard time picking stuff like this up in person, because I'm so stiff. So even in person, for some of us, it is difficult.

So my next question is: is there another way in? Can I buy the DVDs of, say, Tetsuzan Kuroda and get ideas? Does some branch of Yoshinkan (Chida, perhaps) preserve the training methods for the big toe dynamics and so should I get myself ASAP to Yoshinkan hombu, where an acquaintance of mine is a shidoin? This is the kind of thing I am looking for.
I would say DVDs and books are good supplimental material...they give good hints, things to explore, things to be aware of in your training. But without the training...not much help, in my opinion.

Kuroda Sensei, is by all accounts, an excellent resource in this area. In the Yoshinkan...again, there are more differences in movement than commonly thought. My teacher and Chida Sensei came up at the same time, and know each other quite well...but their bodies are very different, and they each have distinct differences in their body movements. What they do fits together for each of them as a whole...I could not adopt Chida Sensei's movements and structure 100 % and do Utada Sensei's waza with them per se. They are both too highly developed for that. Same with Inoue Sensei...or any of the other top instructors, in my opinion.

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
01-18-2007, 10:30 AM
Shioda explained it and illustrated it as shown below. He said the big toe was the key to centering power (chushin ryoku) which is the necessary prerequisite for focussed power (shuchu ryoku) or breath power (kokyu ryoku).

Mike suggested: Mike thus advocates in his "basic skillset" exercise precisely the reverse of what Shioda was talking about with the Big Toe chushin power, which is on the front (irimi) leg. So now you're going to confuse my discussion about learning basics with doing this thing Raul is talking about. :rolleyes: He makes clear in the the illustration and text of "Dynamic Aikido" (p. 82) the centering power in the big toe is on the forward foot in the direction of the irimi, NOT in the rear "grounding" footand in the direction opposite the irimi of the technique, which as Mike suggests, is directly in-line with the attacking force . But notice... I didn't suggest any such thing. Your problem is that you're trying to critique something, once again, about which you don't have a clue, Erick. Most importantly it is performed (as Shioda illustrates) without any significant rear leg spring or push (as Mike suggests). It is a motion of the whole body (weight transfer - taijuuido) pivoting dropping (slightly) forward and then rising to center itself over the forward ball of the big toe. The rear leg merely travels sliding along the ground. You're teaching students this and you somehow think it's what Shioda was referring to? Your real problem is that you interpret everything in terms of what you already know, assuming that it is impossible for there to be anything you don't know. You're pretty far off. Which, as I've mentioned, is your business.... the problem is that you're teaching people this stuff you're making up.

Regards,

Mike sigman

Ron Tisdale
01-18-2007, 10:35 AM
I have *some* experience with Kokikai, Iwama, ASU, Mainline Daito ryu and independants in Aikido and Daito ryu. My main exposure is to Doshinkan aikido as taught by Yukio Utada. While an IYAF dojo, there is more diversity in the Yoshinkai than some might think.

I left out USAF both Eastern and what was Western regions. As well as the tradition from Yamaguchi Sensei as taught through the AKI.

Mr. S (Staphane? I never get his name correct unless I'm looking at it) makes a good point about having too wide a base of instructors...each even within a style has a specific path in mind...mix and match can get very complicated, and completely miss the point, as well as leave gaping holes for the development of openings.

It's one reason to be very carefull with what you do where...and one reason it would be good for an understanding of this topic. You could then shape your training in this "baseline stuff" around the specific methods appropriate for your teacher's path.

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
01-18-2007, 10:36 AM
Lets back up a bit. If Shioda didn't the exposure to the internal Chinese arts that Mike S and the others have, how did he develop this understanding of the big toe? Through misogi breathing? through funekogi and furitama? The eyewitness accounts of the Kobukan dojo that I know of describe years of hard physical training, and very little by way of internal development. I know that some later deshi like Tohei and Tada and a few others went to the Tempukai, so their understanding of internal power is more advanced. Did Shioda go? Did he have some internal training that we are not aware of?That's a good question. I can't do anything but speculate, but this thing you're talking about is probably a carry-over from Japanese fencing. You can actually do it with either leg, but I suspect in the Japanese usage it originally developed as something from the forward-shifted fencing posture that keeps the sword as far forward as possible in order that the front leg, etc., can't be attacked.

In a way, what you're asking is part of the "bounce" mechanism of both Ueshiba and Master Sum in those 2 videos. As you notice in the videos, it is not leg-specific, but from experience I'd say that the smartest thing to do is start learning it with the back leg.

Regards,

Mike

Erick Mead
01-18-2007, 10:40 AM
I think the real question is how do you get from the basics ("your body pivots around the big toe of your front foot") to the explosive power release that we see Morihei and Shioda doing in response to a shove from uke? They do it so sharp and hard that it's way above what you see even from a "run of the mill" 6th dan.

Mike talks about store-and-release tricks with the toe. What are those? Do Iwama ryu or ASU teach that? I am not aware of Saito making a similar statement about the big toe as power source.The power that I have learned to generate is far more about manipulations of centering and extension per what I have learned primarily in Saito's and Saotome's lineage than the "spring" potentials that Mike speaks of. Which is one of the reasons I engage these discussions.

The primary uses of that power are precisely to dissipate his energy as much as possible without opposiing it and to return what is left to him. Obviously, the more skilled I am in doing this the less of the energy "meal" that he set out for me is left over for him to have to "eat" when I leave the party. I was taught to use the energy manipulation advantage that these prinicples give me to make my effort in technique as small as possible, rather than to make it as powerful as possible to overcome his power directly. Certainly, one can equally use these principles to oppose force on force, i.e. -- resistance, but that is not Aikido as I understand it.

The Dark Side is very inviting ... :D

Extension and centering, irimi/tenkan, are all about changing centers and altering the radius or direction of turn(s). My understanding of this in angular momentum terms shows a square term on the inertial radius for conserving angular momentum. Reducing that radius (skater-spin) is what increases angular velocity at a constant momentum. There is also a square term for angular velocity in the kinetic energy equation. Extending that radius dissipates energy, slowing the velocity by the inverse square, and slowing the vleocity reduces energy by the inverse square.

That is a huge "force multiplier" as my army buddies are wont to say. I do not know of anything based on spring potentials that can match compounded square terms for kinetic energy magnification (or dissipation), which do exist in the extension and centering mechanics of irimi/tenkan.

And you can see from this perspective that is the small stuff that is so devilishly powerful, so quick, so hard to perceive (and to control consistently), as would be expected from this mechanical perspective, and so subject to physical misinterpretation because of the inherently small scale of the most powerful actions. "Movement in stillness" is a turn shortened down to virtually zero radius and a therefore, a huge angular velocity spike (think of the moving shrinking loop of a whip going supersonic). But it is precisely the same principle and skill set (just a different scale or compounded mode of action) that operates the otehr way as well, so seemingly without effort to evaporate the energy of attack with the same basic irimi/tenkan movement.

Mike Sigman
01-18-2007, 10:50 AM
Back to the baseling stuff. Everything is going to be a function of the basic skills and how well someone can do them. If, for instance, someone is trying to do sudden-power releases like Shioda or Ueshiba and they don't have well-formed ability to take a push from all directions, etc., their power will reflect it. If someone wants to release power suddenly, but they never developed the body with drills like Akuzawa's (or other approaches), breathing, and "moving with the whole body" (like they do in the Ki-Society baseline), their power won't be well-formed either.

Sudden, crisp power is cool, but you should wait until you get the baseling skills going before you start worrying about "how to do" these more advanced things. It's not fully so much "how to do" but "how well your body has developed the new skills" that is important.

I'm watching people write about the "spring in the knee", for instance, in the Big Toe Discussion, and there's a way to train and condition the leg which is far different from what people are thinking about in the way they're mentioning the spring of the knee. It takes a while to train the body (including the knee area) to do some of these things the way they're meant to be done, so we probably should be talking more about the baseline skills since they're the road to most of these skills, not just "how do you do that trick?". ;)

Regards,

Mike

Mike Sigman
01-18-2007, 10:55 AM
The power that I have learned to generate is far more about manipulations of centering and extension per what I have learned primarily in Saito's and Saotome's lineage than the "spring" potentials that Mike speaks of. Cool. So we've all looked at the videos of Ueshiba and Master Sum bouncing an Uke away. It's a common demonstration in Asian martial arts. I can do it in a fairly offhand manner. I know how to do it. It's on film that Ueshiba is doing it in Aikido, even though you insist it can't be done in Aikido because it is "resistance". Uke is bounced away in a spring-like way. You're talking about "manipulation of centering" and "extension". How do you explain, given that it's right there on film, that your descriptions don't have anything to do with what Ueshiba and Master Sum are doing?

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
01-18-2007, 11:16 AM
So now you're going to confuse my discussion about learning basics with doing this thing Raul is talking about. :rolleyes: But notice... I didn't suggest any such thing. Really??? You were fairly clear about grounding to the back foot in direct opposition to the incoming force -- contradicting what Shioda illustrated and what Saito teaches when you contend that the back foot should be grounding the force, several times, in fact: OK, so taking a push into the chest ... Make sure the weight is fully on the back leg. A lot of Aikido people like to put the weight near the front foot and use the back leg as a "brace", but technically this is not a good way to develop central-balance. So the weight is over the back leg for this training exercise and the lower back *must* be relaxed ... he idea is to let the push to the chest compress Nage into the back leg... OK, so the idea is to let the push be held by the back leg/foot and keep the lower back relaxed.
... In fact, 100% of the push should be going into the ground at the back foot ... ... the ground flowing as purely as possible from the back foot to Uke's hand.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=165056&postcount=36
It is impossible to enter/turn around the push when the back leg has 100% of the force grounded out. Your only option is a direct push - up and out. Your exercise disables irimi/tenkan. How is that helpful to aikido?
... the problem is that you're teaching people this stuff you're making up. Stick and stones, Mike. Find a useful argument with some support next time.

Not making up anything. Take issue with Shioda or Saito,if you don't like the statement of the primacy of centering or irimi/tenkan priniciples they have taught. Ron does not differ in his understanding on the same point of the centering power being on the front or irimi side -- from a wholly different lineage. I am applying what I was taught, and I teach what I was taught, which is aikido. I apply mechanics to further comprehend the fundamentals of it.

Ron Tisdale
01-18-2007, 11:27 AM
Ron does not differ in his understanding on the same point of the centering power being on the front or irimi side -- from a wholly different lineage. I am applying what I was taught, and I teach what I was taught, which is aikido. I apply mechanics to further comprehend the fundamentals of it.

Whoa...wait a minute. If you have an issue with Mike, leave me out of it...go with your own thoughts there, please. I know plenty of high ranked instructors in various lineages that keep the weight back in aikido...I was just discussing Shioda Sensei and the Yoshinkan.

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
01-18-2007, 11:46 AM
Really??? You were fairly clear about grounding to the back foot in direct opposition to the incoming force -- contradicting what Shioda illustrated and what Saito teaches when you contend that the back foot should be grounding the force, several times, in fact:
OK, so taking a push into the chest ... Make sure the weight is fully on the back leg. A lot of Aikido people like to put the weight near the front foot and use the back leg as a "brace", but technically this is not a good way to develop central-balance. So the weight is over the back leg for this training exercise and the lower back *must* be relaxed ... he idea is to let the push to the chest compress Nage into the back leg... OK, so the idea is to let the push be held by the back leg/foot and keep the lower back relaxed.
In fact, 100% of the push should be going into the ground at the back foot ... ... the ground flowing as purely as possible from the back foot to Uke's hand. Read it again, Erick. I stated the above as a training exercise on the road to being able to sustain a push to the chest when the feet are more or less parallel (a "natural stance"). You're stating that somehow I'm "contradicting Shioda" in something quite different. OK, I've pointed it out twice now. Do you get the point?

Mike Sigman

Ron Tisdale
01-18-2007, 11:48 AM
For what it's worth Mike, what you are saying seems perfectly clear to me, and I have no issues with it whatsoever.

Best,
Ron

Erick Mead
01-18-2007, 01:26 PM
Whoa...wait a minute. If you have an issue with Mike, leave me out of it...go with your own thoughts there, please. I am simply pointing out that Mike's contetnion that my opinions on the front (irmir) leg centering are somehow outlandish is contradicted without even departing the thread. I do not mean to put words in your mouth or suggest, in any way, your support for anything else I may address that you have not expressly agreed with.
I know plenty of high ranked instructors in various lineages that keep the weight back in aikido...I was just discussing Shioda Sensei and the Yoshinkan. But, given my example of a rear irimi leg centering in at least one technique, do they really differ if you consider where the readiness for the irimi is focussed at a given point? Each initial choice of kamae (hanmi or squared-front) in movement typically passes through the other at some point of most techniques. The choice of a starting position may simply be an arbitrary training choice for consistency sake. Degrees of emphasis for training purposes more than anything, I think.

Ron Tisdale
01-18-2007, 01:37 PM
a) understood, and thanks.

b) quite possibly. But as I said earlier, these things are often more complicated than the quick (cough) treatment given here. And a whole other discussion would be training methods to build a particular skill set, and then how that skill set is integrated into the total martial package.

Best,
Ron

Erick Mead
01-18-2007, 01:41 PM
Read it again, Erick. I stated the above as a training exercise on the road to being able to sustain a push to the chest when the feet are more or less parallel (a "natural stance"). You're stating that somehow I'm "contradicting Shioda" in something quite different. OK, I've pointed it out twice now. Do you get the point? Rather than criticise further let me pose a question. Since in a "natural" parallel stance, the feet are carried directly under the body there is no "back leg" --- What are you talking about?

To make clear my position, in a natural parallel stance, with the feet underneath me and a centerline chest push I turn into and enter toward the pusher with weight on the ball of the big toe of the foot on the hip that is entering, as Shioda and Saito seem to suggest. The push is not making direct connection with my center, and I do not have to "ground" any force other than my own weight.

You seem to suggest that you would weight the foot on the side that is turning way from the push, to "ground it" or not turn at all, in which case there is no "back leg" at all, and you are directly connecting your center to oppose his force with the ground resistance. Have I got it as you intend it?

Mike Sigman
01-18-2007, 01:43 PM
I am simply pointing out that Mike's contetnion that my opinions on the front (irmir) leg centering are somehow outlandish is contradicted without even departing the thread. Except I have not voiced any opinions about front leg centering at all. I simply said that for training, it is better to learn how to acquire jin/kokyu by starting with the back leg. Your comments on *technique* are once again off the issue of the basic skills training. If you knew how to do these basic skills of Aikido, you wouldn't be constantly missing the point, Erick.... all this stuff would be obvious and you wouldn't be trying to make such and issue when there is no issue.

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
01-18-2007, 01:50 PM
Rather than criticise further let me pose a question. Since in a "natural" parallel stance, the feet are carried directly under the body there is no "back leg" --- What are you talking about? Erick.... you simply do not have any idea what we're talking about. GO SEE SOMEONE WHO CAN SHOW YOU. To make clear my position, in a natural parallel stance, with the feet underneath me and a centerline chest push I turn into and enter toward the pusher with weight on the ball of the big toe of the foot on the hip that is entering, as Shioda and Saito seem to suggest. The push is not making direct connection with my center, and I do not have to "ground" any force other than my own weight.Because you have no idea what we're talking about, you repeatedly try to substitute our discussions about basic kokyu/jin with commentary about technique. I don't know in how many threads I've repeatedly stated that we are NOT talking about techniques, but about how to build up the core strengths that are needed in order to do Aikido correctly, as opposed to using normal muscular strength.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
01-18-2007, 01:52 PM
a) understood, and thanks.

b) quite possibly. But as I said earlier, these things are often more complicated than the quick (cough) treatment given here. And a whole other discussion would be training methods to build a particular skill set, and then how that skill set is integrated into the total martial package. Resistance is the stubborn thing that I had beaten out me with some loving care, to my eternal gratitude in performance of technique. Bernice Sensei did it gently; and short though my time with Chiba Sensei was -- not so much ... And he had mellowed, by all reports. I deeply appreciated the opportunity to learn not to resist Chiba Sensei, and most especially he helped to improve my kokyu tanden ho for that reason, which is basically in the neighborhood of what we are discussing.

I find it very problematic (as you said, earlier) that there is a strong element of resistance in this training regimen, which when posited in a sense of "basics" is, was and remains very troubling to see advocated as a foundation in aikido.

Ron Tisdale
01-18-2007, 02:00 PM
I'm jealous of the time you spent with those teachers, even though I'm quite happy with my time spent with my own. ;)

I find it very problematic (as you said, earlier) that there is a strong element of resistance in this training regimen, which when posited in a sense of "basics" is, was and remains very troubling to see advocated as a foundation in aikido.

I'm sorry...I don't quite remember saying that. Perhaps you could refresh my memory? I do things in keiko in Doshinkan Aikido that I would not do in a purely martial encounter. Our training has quite a number of wrist grabs, for instance...but my teacher's very words about a martial encounter were "never let anyone grab you". In Daito ryu and Aikido, we practice ushiro waza. :) I'm sure neither you nor I are about to let any attacker behind us...period.

Keiko is one thing...Tanren is another...fighting yet a third thing...Aikido may or may not contain various portions of these or other things...depending on what floats your particular boat. That's without even mentioning our teachers' boats... ;)

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
01-18-2007, 02:31 PM
Erick, just for the fun of it, here is the Master Sum demo again. It's a somewhat more polished version that the quite old Ueshiba was doing in another video clip, but it's the same thing. It's the physical skill of the body we're looking at, not the technique per se. How do you account for Sum (and Ueshiba) bouncing people away in a "springlike" manner, using your rotational movement theory?

http://homepage.mac.com/thewayofyiquan/iMovieTheater24.html

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
01-18-2007, 02:34 PM
Your comments on *technique* are once again off the issue of the basic skills training. Irimi/tenkan, is a principle of tai sabaki (body movement) -- not a technique, according to Saotome Shihan. Argue with him if you feel that irimi/tenkan is NOT in the basic skillset of aikido. Ikeda Shihan is pretty close to you out there, ask him. He does irimi tenkan practice fairly routinely in seminars, and from my reports as fairly regular dojo training. I know he can drop me and anybody I have practiced with kokyu tanden ho and barely twitching to do it. While I do this tolerably well, I can but faintly dream of developing that principle of action to that degree.
If you knew how to do these basic skills of Aikido, you wouldn't be constantly missing the point, Erick.... all this stuff would be obvious and you wouldn't be trying to make such and issue when there is no issue. Predictably, I find things in the body of mainstream Aikido teaching that contradict your pet project and you call me names rather than try to explain the contradictions. Quit the playground sniping, Mike, and address the issue. Resistance. It is my only real issue with you, and it is also consistent throughout all of your threads on these topics. Your stated training regimen consistently relies on it.

Aikido "absolutely" does not. I have learned to do it that way, have done it successfully, teach it that way with moderate success and the supprot of MY teacher, and had it done to me since I started this road. And I know this also because the Founder put it in those terms "We adhere to the principle of absolute non-resistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker."

What you are advocating involves resistance as a first premise and it is very problematic as training for aikido.

How do you reconcile that in regards to aikido, not as you wish to reconstruct it, but as it is?

Mike Sigman
01-18-2007, 03:01 PM
Irimi/tenkan, is a principle of tai sabaki (body movement) -- not a technique, Tai sabaki can be done with or without ki-skills, just as a Tai Chi form can be done with or without qi-skills. You're still confusing the tactics and strategies of Aikido with the basic, core movement skills called "ki". Tai Chi (Taiji) without qi skills is not really Tai Chi. Aikido without the ki skills, those "baseline" skills we're discussing in this thread, is not Aikido. You can find reference to this sentiment/judgement in many places and in a number of the interviews on Aikido Journal. As Ushiro Sensei bluntly put it (you know, the teacher Ikeda is bringing in to shed light on these baseline skills???), "No kokyu, no Aikido." Argue with him if you feel that irimi/tenkan is NOT in the basic skillset of aikido. No one has said Tenkan is not a basic tactic of Aikido... it is simply not that core skillset that is in *every* movement of Aikido. The baseline skillset we're talking about is in *every* movement of Aikido at *all times*.Resistance. It is my only real issue with you, and it is also consistent throughout all of your threads on these topics. Your stated training regimen consistently relies on it. This is just foolishness. There are plenty of videos showing Ueshiba and many other shihans showing the correct usage of kokyu/ki power with a static pose. "This is the way correct power should feel". The core strength, the "ki", preceeds the basic tactics and strategies. The tactics and strategies, like Tai Sabaki, Irimi, and others are incorrect if not done with the baseline skills. Aikido "absolutely" does not. I have learned to do it that way, have done it successfully, teach it that way with moderate success and the supprot of MY teacher, and had it done to me since I started this road. And I know this also because the Founder put it in those terms "We adhere to the principle of absolute non-resistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker." Well, if you think that your missing the point goes unnoticed, more power to you. :)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
01-18-2007, 03:56 PM
Erick, just for the fun of it, here is the Master Sum demo again. ... How do you account for Sum (and Ueshiba) bouncing people away in a "springlike" manner, using your rotational movement theory?

http://homepage.mac.com/thewayofyiquan/iMovieTheater24.html
Oooh! Video analysis. I like this game. First of all, I may not have to explain it by that means becasue what he is doing is fairly low energy and he may be doing what you suggest in terms of direct resistance or without much in the way of tenkan principle (which seems so from the video).

I never said that what you are talking about is utter foolishness, or unrelated, just that it does not not seem wise practice in the context of aikido. Irimi/tenkan is inherently rotational -- I just found some mechanics to describe what it does, so far with fair consistency so -- let's see now ...

I can't see his whole body in the first couple cuts since he is cut off at the waist, so I begin with the first cut where he is being pushed from the rear. In this case, the "front" foot for irimi purposes is the one toward the push (from the rear) and it is clear that he shifts the weight in irimi fashion toward that leg nearest the attacking force, and the leg away is clearly lightened almost to the point it comes off the ground. In other words the same Taijuuido weight transfer I described earlier, just going backwards into it, instead of forwards into it. His black clothing makes it impossible to see if or how he turns or disposes his hips in the shift. Tenkan does not seem to be terribly involved, certainly not in the integrated way it combines with the irimi in aikido. Although he does use limb and torso rotations in the vertical plane to generate these forces.

The knee push is a straight forward irimi shift as I described, he just does not follow through. The side hip push is clearly weighting to the irimi side, too.

The single outstretched hand push is an irimi movement and the leg weighting and arm motions seem to be coordinated as I would expect an irimi to be, although with the "front leg" straight on it is hard to guage the shift directly toward the camera with the darkness of his pants.

The front hip push (parallel stance) is more of a sway back and "pop the pelvic bowstring" dynamic. Same with the parallel stance rear hip. If there is a turn on those I cannot see it because of his dark clothing. Definitely rotating the torso and legs in opposed rotation in the vertical plane forward or back at the hips in coordinated fashion That seems directly resistant, however, and does not answer to anything I would recognize as aikido movement. The side knee push is related to these in principle, but again, it too, seems directly resistant.

The double hand pushes are much more like typical kokyu tanden ho, but without any hip preference, the pushes go around his center and cancel one another out so there is no resistance in the way of Master Sum's direct forward entry. I have done this "frontal entry" with kokyu tanden ho both seated and standing also (granted, with far less constrained movement, and more rotary motion of the arms), although my ukes are generally not THAT compliant. But it is a training demo so exagerration of real action is alright to make it more evident.

That's what I see. Everything in the video seems consistent with irmi principle but not with non-resistant application of force. The irimi seems to use the vector offsets that Mike has talked about, so there is a certain component of resistance in all of these. The parallel stance front and rear hip pushes, and the side knee push I would not characterize as related to aikido even on the irimi principle.

All of it seems to have virtually no aspect of tenkan to it, and very little tangential connections to receive forces, except for the double arm push, perhaps. Since I see very little tenkan-type movements (other than that of the arms in the kokyu tanden motions), this does not surprise me. The mechanics that I have worked out would suggest that the tenkan element of the irimi/tenkan principle does the heavy lifting in converting incoming force from one plane or orientation by perpendicular or tangential inputs once a connection is made. Irimi puts one in a place to make or continue that necessary connection.

I would also make the point that Master Sum seems more to be generating force by the weight shifts rather than than using the force applied to him, which is a legitimate distinction between the arts. Generating force is not the same as resisting an incoming force, although it may, of course, be used to do so.

Mike Sigman
01-18-2007, 04:25 PM
It dawns on me that I can't explicatively tell you where you're missing your guesses on what he's doing, Erick, without being drawn into a needlessly off-topic discussion. I'll say this... it's a lot more complex than you realize. Just try generating appreciable forces (true, his Uke is not a model of resistance, but there are a couple of the bounces that tell you quite clearly Uke's distance was more from Sum's power than anything Uke could have done) like that on your own. In some cases, with the amount of power some of these guys can produce, it isn't just hokey to learn to "hop", particularly if Nage has his hand on your chest. Bones break.

The main point is that I doubt you could come close to generating the amount of power using your weightshifts and turns that simply weren't there. In fact, I know you couldn't. I certainly couldn't and my body is fairly well conditioned. Secondly, without a focused path from the ground that directly connects to Uke's hand, etc., the bounce would be puny indeed.

But let's say, just rhetorically, that Master Sum is somehow deriving his power from imperceptible turns. The smaller the turns, the greater the tensile stress needed to effect reasonable power. That implies some kind of conditioning that is unusually effective. Without the turns, but doing something else (I've already laid out the basics in other posts), there still is the need for some sort of unusual conditioning. The point I'm making is that one of the baseline skillsets we're talking about is the beginning of that type of conditioning (although Aikido never took it as far as Yiquan takes it).

The thing you have to look at (and the reason I used Master Sum's version of the same tricks Ueshiba is doing) is that these are powerful movements yet with almost no substantial movement of the joints. Just "weight shift" won't do it. And BTW, I will say this... the small "weight shifts" are almost side-effects of what he's actually doing, so you're focusing on the wrong thing.

In a way, this "bouncing" is a "ki trick". And voila', Ueshiba used the same ki trick because it exhibits ki strength. Your idea that the bouncing uses 'resistance' and therefore it's not part of Aikido would mean that atemi is not part of Aikido either, because it goes directly into the opponent. Real atemi, BTW, uses the type of power that Ueshiba and Sum are using, not just normal punches. We're just talking about baseline skills, remember, that apply in all movement at all times.

So just from the size of the movements, you can tell that rotation, while it can be stretched to maybe conform to a lot of situations, does not really apply here. Instead of revolving parts in a body (which, granted, are part of many techniques, but we're not talking about techniques and the forces they impart), you need to start thinking of Aikido as being a sphere from which direct forces bounce away and which indirect forces cause to turn... IMO. "Resistance" doesn't apply if things bounce away.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
01-18-2007, 04:32 PM
You're still confusing the tactics and strategies of Aikido with the basic, core movement skills called "ki". Again with the nominal and substitutionary arguments, instead of addressing the essential core of the art of "aikido" -- "Aikido" -- "Spirit in accord with the Way" -- opposes nothing, but prevails over everything. I could go on -- but you get the point.
[re: non-resistance] This is just foolishness. There are plenty of videos showing Ueshiba and many other shihans showing the correct usage of kokyu/ki power with a static pose. Insulting the fact will not make it different. Non-resistance is the name of the game of aikido- I am hardly alone or even remarkable in this assertion. Relatively static or relatively dynamic kihon waza has nothing to do with non-resistance. Master Sum was not static, his dynamics were simply very small.
"No kokyu, no Aikido." Yah. So? No air -- no aeroplanes.
No one has said Tenkan is not a basic tactic of Aikido... it is simply not that core skillset that is in *every* movement of Aikido. Not tactic. That is your mistake. Irimi/tenkan is one principle of ki that is expressed in body movement -- extension and centering, entering and turning. The spiral magatama jewel is its image.

Musubi is a priniciple of ki that is expressed in joining things and moments together as one. The sacred mirror is its image.

Kokyu is a principle of ki that is expressed in differentiating space, positive and negative, and cutting the passage of the present into "now" and "then" . It is the sword that kills or saves --

And there we are back to irimi/tenkan again.

Ki is a varied and many splendored thing, and everthing that exists has the measure and quality of ki that is proper to it. The ki of the mouse is not the same as the ki of the elephant -- although the principles of its operation are the same in their respective contexts. Ki does not exist in a vacuum but in a concrete context.

Opposition is not the ki, the spirit, of aikido. It is not "Aikido" the "Spirit in accord with the Way" in a larger sense either. There are lots of other schools of thought in China, so this is not by any means meant to be a demeaning statement on principled oppositional approahces. Opposition may be an aspect of the ki of yiquan, and on that I defer wholeheartedly, if that is your position.

raul rodrigo
01-18-2007, 06:03 PM
I have to say, Erick, that it does appear to me that you are in fact confusing the requirements of good waza (don't "resist") with the principles behind the exercises to build up ki/kokyu. In my own dojo, we do quite a bit of push exercises and "power walking," which we absorbed from a student of Yamaguchi shihan (ie, Saotome's own first teacher). In these exercises, the point is exactly as Mike S says: to send the force of uke on a path to the ground. In the process of learning this baseline skill, one builds up that involve a stronger center and new connections inside the body (the psoas muscle apparently plays a big role). At the higher level—which we haven't arrived at, but which this shihan, Shingo Nakao, demonstrated to our teacher—a kneeling tori can absorb a shove to the chest by a lunging uke and just....wait for it....bounce him away. So what Mike is saying makes sense to me. FWIW

eyrie
01-18-2007, 11:08 PM
I think it would be worthwhile noting that the baseline skills under discussion are basic body mechanics which are common to a number of SE Asian MAs. IMO, any discussion relating to principles, techniques, or tactics, i.e. irimi/tenkan, ki musubi, non-resistance, rotational dynamics etc. etc. is way off-base and is completely unproductive to the discussion. The reason being, these baseline skills are the basis for ALL techniques (which embody THE principles) - and which enable irimi/tenkan, ki musubi, non-resistance etc. etc. etc. TO BE PERFORMED CORRECTLY.

To wit, part of this discussion will entail basic exercises for people to get their "foot in the door" to these baseline skills. As such, it should be noted that these exercises are only for illustrative purposes. Once you understand the central concept of these exercises, ALL aikido (or for that matter, karate, jujitsu, taiji, yichuan, bagua etc. etc.) techniques can be viewed as an extension or application of these baseline skills.

BTW, Here's a much better video demo of bounce jin - I believe they are the same baseline skills currently under discussion, but far more sophisticated in usage than what would be considered "baseline" - for the purposes of this discussion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZdtM5p6ZkA&mode=related&search=

PS: This thread made Brian Kagen's Pick for Jan 16th on AikidoJournal... :D

eyrie
01-19-2007, 03:36 AM
At the higher level, a kneeling tori can absorb a shove to the chest by a lunging uke and just....bounce him away.

Raul, I would hesitate to say that this is a "high level" skill, BUT there are varying degrees to which people can start to develop and utilize this ability, because it is based on base level skills.

FWIW, one of my ex-students who had been training with me for a year and a half, admittedly only intermittently and at most twice a week, was able to do this to some degree. On a much larger and heavier uke, it requires far more skill...

The point is, the basic concept is simple to teach and once you understand the basic concept it's not hard - but it requires A LOT of practice.

Erick Mead
01-19-2007, 07:34 AM
requirements of good waza (don't "resist") [versus] the principles behind the exercises to build up ki/kokyu. I have never found there to be any discrepancy between them. Certainly not one that called for training that resists force. I have only ever wanted Mike to explain how to reconcile force resistance inherent in "bouncing" energy off the ground with aikido's inherent prinicple of non-resistance.

You do what you train to do. Training for resistance in Aikido is antithetical to its fundamental purpose and prinicples. That does not mean there is no force involved in the interaction.

I have personally struggled to eliminate my native resistance, at first veering toward sheer avoidance of force, wrongly, as Mike properly criticizes in some aikido training that is out there (but wrongly assumes that I do) to, finally, connected non-resistance, which has been my considered model of training since I left Hawaii. I blame it on the beer after practice.

Shioda's chosen kihon dosa, in my limited understanding, have that precise point, that these principles are in the waza. The care in performance of the shape of kihon waza in Iwama practice which I know far better, was of a similar vein. ... In these exercises, the point is exactly as Mike S says: to send the force of uke on a path to the ground. There are two routes available to you without resisting his force. You can also just as easily send the force of uke on a path to Heaven as to Earth and that energy is equally spent in the process. The kihon of the various systems all have these principles within them, if one is mindful and attentive to what is happening when you do them.

A wave is a translated rotation (irimi/tenkan).

Ever watch two dissimilar sized waves intersect in opposite directions? The smaller wave peak causes the larger wave peak to rise upward (ten) and break prematurely, while the smaller wave disappears from view for a moment and then passes on through hardly disturbed.

There is the visual sense of some sort of rebound force that "forces" the larger wave to suddenly rise up and break (like it had been "bounced" off the planet). And notably this occurs when the smaller wave is. momentarily, no longer apparent. But it is not a resistant spring rebounding from one against the other. It is really a joining of inherent form and energy together. The substance of the two waves are literally identical (ki-musubi) at the time of intersection, only their forms of motion are differnent.

Even though they are opposed in direction -- irimi/ tenkan principles allow the smaller to so exalt the greater that it moves beyond its capacity to maintain control. This sort of interaction is done all the time in kokyu tanden ho exercise.

Conversely, if the trough of the smaller wave hits the peak of the larger as it begins to break (attack), the peak of the larger wave drops down (chi=earth) and the incipient break or attack is snuffed out almost instantly, like it fell into a hole in the earth. Its energy evaporates upon contact. Both waves are resting their weight on the earth -- neither one is crushing the other by resisting against the supporting earth.

Do both -- ten-chi -- at the appropriate time. Neither one is resistant.

Mike is focussed on the ground, and in a mode of weight bearing different (i.e.- resistant) than that suggested by Shioda's explanation of chushin principle by centering on the big toe. Ground is not the only principle in play, nor do its uses require training that involves resistance to force.

Mike Sigman
01-19-2007, 07:43 AM
At the higher level, a kneeling tori can absorb a shove to the chest by a lunging uke and just....bounce him away. Raul, I would hesitate to say that this is a "high level" skill, BUT there are varying degrees to which people can start to develop and utilize this ability, because it is based on base level skills.[snip]
The point is, the basic concept is simple to teach and once you understand the basic concept it's not hard - but it requires A LOT of practice.I've tried to say there are "levels and gradations" of these skills, but the 'bounce' things are probably a good case in point. It's pretty easy to teach someone to bounce someone away, once they get even a coarse grasp of jin skill. However, there are all sorts of interesting little add-ons that can go in a bounce and there is a level of conditioning that allows someone to go from a very simple mechanical bounce with obvious forces lined up to an almost imperceptible type of force in which you can't see an obvious line-up.

As an aside, while the bounce jin can be trained as a nice demo trick, the basic power is still the power that you would use in an atemi and a kokyu throw, so this really isn't a meaningless tangent that has nothing to do with Aikido.

Remember that each joint robs a little power, so the power of a push with the shoulder is going to be stronger than a push with the hand because with a push at the hand your wrist, elbow, and shoulder-joint provide slight force losses, depending upon your conditioning. Similarly, a bounce from the torso or leg has some advantage because the losses through the joints are small.

In the case of the old Bagua man in Ignatius' clip, his arms are bent and he's still generating a certain amount of force (how much, I really can't decided... obviously the people around him are deferring to him, so all I can say is that he's generating a surprising amount of force for someone in his 90's).

His force is very high... what they would call "Hua Jing", or "mysterious power". The two levels below it would "An JIng" or "hidden power" and then the lowest form, "Ming Jing" or obvious power. So you see some people do a nice "withdraw and push forward" and even though it may be something a beginner can't do, you can see the mechanics. Ueshiba Sensei was doing it at the "hidden" level, but then again, bear in mind that this type of power is not particularly a specialty of Aikido. But that shouldn't stop anyone from trying to achieve the highest level, should it? Shoot for the moon.... if you only hit the top of the mountain, so what? ;)

Best.

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
01-19-2007, 07:49 AM
I have only ever wanted Mike to explain how to reconcile force resistance inherent in "bouncing" energy off the ground with aikido's inherent prinicple of non-resistance.
Why won't you explain why O-Sensei is using a "bounce" jin in the video clip and you're telling us that it's not Aikido to do so? Are you the person setting the standards? And I'm saying this for the last time.... a "bounce" is not a "resistance" because it is borrowing the opponent's force. You're trying to literally translate your definition of the English "resistance" in some rigid manner and then hold everyone else to your interpretation. What next? Should we all lay flaccid on the floor in order to meet your personal definition of "relax" and if we don't do it, you'll accuse us of not doing Aikido? ;)

Mike Sigman

raul rodrigo
01-19-2007, 07:59 AM
Raul, I would hesitate to say that this is a "high level" skill,

I didn't say it was the highest level. Just that it was a level higher than we are currently capable of doing. Surely there are many more levels after that. I just wanted to say to Erick that what Mike is talking about, "bounce jin," is something that is within the realm of our experience and its not a fantasy based on some misunderstanding of aikido principles.


best,

RAUL

Ron Tisdale
01-19-2007, 08:01 AM
I'd have to second Raul's statement. I've seen this type of waza in 2 vastly different styles of aikido...in the yoshinkan, and in the descendants of Yamaguchi Sensei.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
01-19-2007, 08:14 AM
By the way, I found the statement I made where I used the word "problematic".

I agree (for the most part) with Erick's assesment of the forward movement, focus and weight that is a basic for Yoshinkan. Mixing that approach with some of the specifics that Mike gives is somewhat problematic...but to suggest that a difference in which foot you weight negates the connection between the skill sets is kind of silly, in my opinion. There are styles of aikido that are very powerfull that don't focus the weight in the same manner as in the Yoshinkan.

So to be clear...I do not find the use of "resistance" in tanren, or forging of the body, to be problematic. What is problematic, is finding out how to use *some* of the methods Mike describes while maintaining *some* of the basics in the Yoshinkan stance and methodology. In all of the yoshinkan basic movements, for instance, the weight is forward. If you select a tanren method that keeps the weight generally back, you may find it difficult to bring that kind of movement into your waza at *first*. But in my opinion, it doesn't really matter in the long run. Sufficient development of the skill set will over come such minor points, and Mike did specifically address methods to move the skill set to either foot, or even shizentai.

Best,
Ron (at least that's what I've decided for now)

raul rodrigo
01-19-2007, 08:18 AM
I'd have to second Raul's statement. I've seen this type of waza in 2 vastly different styles of aikido...in the yoshinkan, and in the descendants of Yamaguchi Sensei.

Best,
Ron

It was precisely the similarity between Shioda's approach to kokyu (which we can see on YouTube and in Total Aikido) and the exercises that we got from Nakao shihan, a Yamaguchi man through and through, that led me to think that there was something here worth exploring. If two men so different in orientation arrive at a similar place, it makes you wonder whether in their overlap lies something very important.

And since Erick has cited both Chiba and Saotome's ASU as his influences, it should also be noted that both Chiba and Saotome cite Yamaguchi as an important influence on them. Different roads seem to be converging on a single spot. Which is what Ikeda and others are apparently saying.

Erick Mead
01-19-2007, 08:20 AM
I think it would be worthwhile noting that the baseline skills under discussion are basic body mechanics which are common to a number of SE Asian MAs. I don't think we necessarily disagree, but there a forms of these arts that do rely on resistance, which is fine for them, but not good for aikido training. I do not seen any resistance whatsoever in the old gentleman's demonstration.
IMO, any discussion relating to principles, techniques, or tactics, i.e. irimi/tenkan, ki musubi, non-resistance, rotational dynamics etc. etc. is way off-base and is completely unproductive to the discussion. When I began reading some while back of "six-direction springs" and other such mechnical nonsense, I had no choice but to object on mechanical grounds. As training metaphor -- no problem, but there is in fact mechanical interpretation that does make sense. Each way of observing and analyzing body mechanics has its place.

But more people here in the West have access to a simple college physics text that they do to serious works on yiquan, bagua or any other of the revered forms of related movement study in China, much less the thorough understanding of the nature of the underlying knowledge that they use to describe and anlyze their concepts.
BTW, Here's a much better video demo of bounce jin - I believe they are the same baseline skills currently under discussion, ...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZdtM5p6ZkA&mode=related&search=
Very grateful, Ignatius. Wonderful clip. I note two things.

One, toward the end he clearly exhibits that one should NOT shift weight to that back leg in response to the push (and repeatedly shows the adverse vertical body rotation that this creates). He demonstrates forward weight (in irimi) with extension (as Shioda points out). He does the same with the slight corner drop on his less elderly companion in grey. On the younger fellow. he extends that irimi in one arm and the tenkan kokyu motion of the other arm displaces the force around and away from his center, and not bearing that force to his center and then to the ground. His hip motion is barely evident, which one would expect with this degree of integrated motion.

Kokyu tanden ho. I have routinely done, in various places, the seated version of this where the arms are reversed, high to low, but the same precise dynamic is occuring. In fact, the old gentleman in the clip initally sets up in that familiar configuration and then changes as though to illustrate something.

Two, when the two younger men take both arms, he displaces them by entering forward, between them -- his chest plainly comes forward, (toe-weighted again). He then sweeps them away, out and down with both arms like parting tall weeds he is walking through. He never directly pushes back. Again irimi/tenkan priniciple is evident -- the same basic motion is used in ryotedori kokyunage, although nage gnerally chooses one side or the other and then steps though to kneel and perform the throw.

Like Saito Shihan said. "Not magic -- physics." OK, clever physics, maybe.

Ron Tisdale
01-19-2007, 08:23 AM
It should be noted Raul, that Ikeda Sensei and Utada Sensei now instruct at each other's dojo. That is an ASU instructor in the Aikikai, and a Yoshinkan instructor. If that is not convergence, I don't know what is.

And Nakao Sensei is the one from the Yamaguchi lineage that did the Shioda "bounce" to me from ryokatamochi.

Best,
Ron
It was precisely the similarity between Shioda's approach to kokyu (which we can see on YouTube and in Total Aikido) and the exercises that we got from Nakao shihan, a Yamaguchi man through and through, that led me to think that there was something here worth exploring. If two men so different in orientation arrive at a similar place, it makes you wonder whether in their overlap lies something very important.

And since Erick has cited both Chiba and Saotome's ASU as his influences, it should also be noted that both Chiba and Saotome cite Yamaguchi as an important influence on them. Different roads seem to be converging on a single spot. Which is what Ikeda and others are apparently saying.

George S. Ledyard
01-19-2007, 08:26 AM
I have only ever wanted Mike to explain how to reconcile force resistance inherent in "bouncing" energy off the ground with aikido's inherent prinicple of non-resistance.

You do what you train to do. Training for resistance in Aikido is antithetical to its fundamental purpose and prinicples. That does not mean there is no force involved in the interaction.

I have personally struggled to eliminate my native resistance, at first veering toward sheer avoidance of force, wrongly, as Mike properly criticizes in some aikido training that is out there (but wrongly assumes that I do) to, finally, connected non-resistance, which has been my considered model of training since I left Hawaii. I blame it on the beer after practice.

Shioda's chosen kihon dosa, in my limited understanding, have that precise point, that these principles are in the waza. The care in performance of the shape of kihon waza in Iwama practice which I know far better, was of a similar vein. There are two routes available to you without resisting his force. You can also just as easily send the force of uke on a path to Heaven as to Earth and that energy is equally spent in the process. The kihon of the various systems all have these principles within them, if one is mindful and attentive to what is happening when you do them.

A wave is a translated rotation (irimi/tenkan).

Ever watch two dissimilar sized waves intersect in opposite directions? The smaller wave peak causes the larger wave peak to rise upward (ten) and break prematurely, while the smaller wave disappears from view for a moment and then passes on through hardly disturbed.

There is the visual sense of some sort of rebound force that "forces" the larger wave to suddenly rise up and break (like it had been "bounced" off the planet). And notably this occurs when the smaller wave is. momentarily, no longer apparent. But it is not a resistant spring rebounding from one against the other. It is really a joining of inherent form and energy together. The substance of the two waves are literally identical (ki-musubi) at the time of intersection, only their forms of motion are differnent.

Even though they are opposed in direction -- irimi/ tenkan principles allow the smaller to so exalt the greater that it moves beyond its capacity to maintain control. This sort of interaction is done all the time in kokyu tanden ho exercise.

Conversely, if the trough of the smaller wave hits the peak of the larger as it begins to break (attack), the peak of the larger wave drops down (chi=earth) and the incipient break or attack is snuffed out almost instantly, like it fell into a hole in the earth. Its energy evaporates upon contact. Both waves are resting their weight on the earth -- neither one is crushing the other by resisting against the supporting earth.

Do both -- ten-chi -- at the appropriate time. Neither one is resistant.

Mike is focussed on the ground, and in a mode of weight bearing different (i.e.- resistant) than that suggested by Shioda's explanation of chushin principle by centering on the big toe. Ground is not the only principle in play, nor do its uses require training that involves resistance to force.
Eric,
This very much sounds to me as if you have defined Aikido only by its aspect of redirection of the force applied by the attacker. But that aspect alone is incomplete.

There are really three aspects that combine to make up our art. First is the aspect of accepting, joining with and redirecting the force of the partner / attacker. The second aspect is developing ones own power and being able to transfer it to the partner / attacker in a way that does not collide with their structure. But the third aspect is taking ones own power and applying it to the attacker in a way that it does hit the structure. This is the basis for atemi waza.

It practice, obviously one cannot do this to ones partner. So what you have is methods of practicing the energetics without any injury to ones partner. Hence, these "bouncing" type techniques. O-Sensei did them, Shioda was famous for them. Shioda once knocked a guy out when he grabbed Shioda Sensei's shoulders from behind. These are demonstrations of the power available for atemi in a real confrontation. Saotome Sensei does these kinds of tecniques frequently. He can shoot me back about five feet when I grab him with a pulse like this. He is totally relaxed when he does it. In no way is this a form of resistance, it wouldn't work if it were "resistant". But it isn't martial application either. It is a demonstration of the power done in such a way that it doesn't injure the partner. That same power applied in a martial application would be a fight ender.

I find that folks tend to get attached to one aspect or another of the art. This is usually based on what their notions of the philosophical underpinnings of the art would be. Folks really into the peace and conflict resolution ideal tend to focus almost exclusively on the soft redirection of force aspect. Almost universally they tend to not understand or even deny the existence of the power aspect. Especially in the form in which you take your power and apply it directly to the attacker as in atemi.

The folks who are more interested in the martial aspect of the art tend to focus solely on trying to be powerful without understanding that the only way to get to the power that Mike is talking about, which the Aikido greats clearly had, is by relaxing and developing the soft aspect of the art. They do everything "hard" and they never develop the kind of explosive power that Mike has been talking about.

It's as if people are apt to say "I really like Yin, I'm not interested in Yang" or visa versa.

Of course people are free to do whatever they wish in their training but if they wish to develop their Aikido using folks like O-sensei, Shioda or Saotome Sensei as a model, then one has to broaden ones focus to include all three aspects of the art.

Mike Sigman
01-19-2007, 08:29 AM
So to be clear...I do not find the use of "resistance" in tanren, or forging of the body, to be problematic. What is problematic, is finding out how to use *some* of the methods Mike describes while maintaining *some* of the basics in the Yoshinkan stance and methodology. In all of the yoshinkan basic movements, for instance, the weight is forward. If you select a tanren method that keeps the weight generally back, you may find it difficult to bring that kind of movement into your waza at *first*. But in my opinion, it doesn't really matter in the long run. Sufficient development of the skill set will over come such minor points, and Mike did specifically address methods to move the skill set to either foot, or even shizentai.Well, all of these things can be done on either foot... I never said or implied otherwise. Erick's arbitrary "proof" that I was "only talking about the rear foot", based on the one exercise I offered, is patently absurd. I'm talking about basic skills and how to develop them, not waza.

Incidentally, the idea of "jibengong" or "basic skills exercises" is commont to all Asian martial arts. The ki/kokyu skills should be developed in the Aiki Taiso, Kokyu-hu-undo, and so forth. This is part of the real problem... the Taiso, etc., have just become rituals or, worse, some competitive "technique" to work on using unnecessary focuses like "twisting the arms", etc. The Ki-Society approach is actually closer to (well, I guess I could admit that it "conforms") normal Asian martial arts in that the "ki tests", etc., are specific training for ki and kokyu skills of a certain level. Other forms of Aikido need to adjust accordingly, IMO.

Taking this conversation of "baseline skills" to a discussion of "baseline waza" is a waste of time. When it comes to Tenkan, Irimi, etc., I have opinions, but I'd have to admit that they are simple opinions and I couldn't speak with as much certainty as I can about these fairly basic skill parameters.

Best.

Mike

raul rodrigo
01-19-2007, 08:41 AM
It should be noted Raul, that Ikeda Sensei and Utada Sensei now instruct at each other's dojo. That is an ASU instructor in the Aikikai, and a Yoshinkan instructor. If that is not convergence, I don't know what is.

And Nakao Sensei is the one from the Yamaguchi lineage that did the Shioda "bounce" to me from ryokatamochi.

Best,
Ron

You've run into Nakao? I didn't know that. On this forum, I thought only Brian Bateman knew him. Nakao is relatively obscure. But for us he was a really great find. So once again, we have convergence.

Ron Tisdale
01-19-2007, 08:55 AM
:) Raul, you know how he likes to "drop in for training" wherever he goes on vacation? I was really fortunate...he "dropped in" at an AKI dojo in Pa. I was lucky enough to have heard a rumor, and I did a "drop in" too...

Spent most of my time getting up off the floor... ;)

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
01-19-2007, 09:10 AM
Incidentally, not wanting to be an evangelical, but I think that it would really pay if more dojo's set aside time to practice basic "grounding" skills, like I mentioned in post #36. Practice until a push from the horizontal or above goes automatically to the sole of the foot and the body (and lower back) stay relaxed. That's where to start. The push must take the shortest path to the ground, always, so a push to your arm should be accepted directly by the hara/tanden/dantien and THEN it goes to the foot. The weakness I felt in some of the Ki-Society members' postures was because they apparently kept thinking only "tanden" without understanding fully that the final stopping place is the foot.

For pushes from the horizontal and below (i.e., slightly upward forces that destabilize you), you have to learn to let your center of weight (think of it as the weight at your crotch if you straddled a fence rail) BE at the place where the upward push is. This should be practiced until it gets stronger and automatic.

That would be my suggestion for where to start. You'll get to where the old man is with his "bounces" quicker with these basic practices than if you just start trying to mysteriously propel your Uke in a mimicry of what's on the video clips. ;)

Best.

Mike

raul rodrigo
01-19-2007, 09:29 AM
For pushes from the horizontal and below (i.e., slightly upward forces that destabilize you), you have to learn to let your center of weight (think of it as the weight at your crotch if you straddled a fence rail) BE at the place where the upward push is. This should be practiced until it gets stronger and automatic.


Nearly every class these days, Mike, begins with the push exercises. The last set of the "power walking" exercises has uke pushing on tori's hips and tori trying to move forward. Its not easy. (Sometimes it seems to me that the "tiger walk" of tai chi is a more efficient way of moving forward under these circumstances. But I dont know anything about tai chi.)

When you say I should learn to let the center of weight BE the place where the push is, do you mean that I should visualize the force entering at that spot and then grounding that force? Or is there more to it? There usually is.


best,


RAUL

Mike Sigman
01-19-2007, 09:42 AM
The last set of the "power walking" exercises has uke pushing on tori's hips and tori trying to move forward. Its not easy. (Sometimes it seems to me that the "tiger walk" of tai chi is a more efficient way of moving forward under these circumstances. But I dont know anything really about tai chi.) Hi Raul:

I know something about Taiji, but I don't know what the "Tiger Walk" is. Different people add different things and different terminology into Taiji, just like they do into Aikido. For walking forward practice, it's good to walk into a partner whose hand is on your belly, elbow straight (to keep the force rigid and not springy), and concentrate on keeping the ground as purely and solidly as possible into his hand, with no discontinuities. IMO.
When you say I should learn to let the center of weight BE the place where the push is, do you mean that I should visualize the force entering at that spot and then grounding that force? Or is there more to it? There usually is. The weight down is harder to learn than the weight from the ground because you want to develop a connection that is NOT muscle and it takes a while to do it. In a push from the ground, you need a lot of time at first being "tested" with only a light and rigid, steady force by Uke. In learning the down forces you again need a light, rigid, and steady force (just a few pounds) and you want to have Uke hold, as purely as possible, your whole weight. Try to let your weight rest on the upward push as completely as possible without you moving, etc. This is where the "unliftable body", etc., really come from... the ability to allow your weight/center to relaxedly "connect" to any point on your body at will. ;)

FWIW

Mike

raul rodrigo
01-19-2007, 09:51 AM
Thanks for the advice. Will keep it in mind. I don't know that I really understand it, but I'll keep plugging away at the exercise and maybe the light bulb will go off at some point.

best,


RAUL

Mike Sigman
01-19-2007, 09:59 AM
Do simple upward tests at first. Like a light lift up by Uke at the armpits. Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands. If you can do it at the armpits, try it at the elbows not far from the body (i.e., bend the arms so the hands are in front of the mid-body). Try to put the relaxed weight from the crotch there. Then the wrists. Then the hands. The further you get from the body, the more difficult it is because the lever-arm increases. This skill takes some time to develop.

Every movement of the body should fully and always be powered either by the ground, the weight, or some combination of the two. To make these powers stronger, the body has to be connected. That's what Akuzawa's (and Rob's) exercises are for. The turning-point or control-point of these forces is NOT the shoulder... it's the hara.


Best.

Mike

Ron Tisdale
01-19-2007, 10:01 AM
The hardest part for me is relaxing properly...then it's keeping the upper body stable, but not using it's power. This stuff is not easy. Shortcut my @$$...
:(
B,
R

Erick Mead
01-19-2007, 12:27 PM
Saotome Sensei does these kinds of tecniques frequently. He can shoot me back about five feet when I grab him with a pulse like this. Thank you for weighing in. I know this, I have seen it -- although, more's the pity, I have not felt Saotome.

I may have been unclear or have been misunderstood -- more likely the former. I have never questioned that these things are done. I question whether they are done as Mike describes them, and should be practiced in the manner that Mike suggests -- in relation to aikido.
This very much sounds to me as if you have defined Aikido only by its aspect of redirection of the force applied by the attacker. I am hardly the peace and flowers kind of guy. To give my approach a flavor more in keeping with my native tradition, think of Nathan Bedford Forrest: "Get there first with the most." "Hit 'em from the side." "Never stand and take a charge... charge them too."

Generally speaking, I'll get there sooner if I am not letting him impede me by engaging his force directly. Also, and to be perfectly clear about my interpretation, and while it is distinctly unpeaceful, a roundhouse to the jaw is not resisting any opposing force, unless he started first with a headbutt.

I don't even try to define aikido, I just try to do it -- occasionally, with success. I know my place. I explore O Sensei's definition of aikido, and that of the lineages of his students who have taught me. I try to obtain a consistent understanding of its physical reality and of the methods of practice I have been given to learn and to teach with. I try not to fiddle with them much or give explanations that were not given to me, that are not just plainly physical observations.

The only thing I bring to the table is a critical faculty with which to make judgments based on competent authorities about propositions such as Mike's in regard to training in "basic" skillsets. And what he proposes troubles me in terms of aikido training.

I challenge two things in Mike's approach to describing and training for these things. One is physical, the other, methodological.

1) That they are not necessarily done by means of resistance -- a component of collinear force opposite in sign to the input.

2) That training which expressly develops resistance, even "ground" resistance, is not helpful to aikido training.

As to my first objection, the physical interpretation of what Mike calls "bounce" jin as "store and release" -- is resistance, but it is also not a necessary physical interpretation of the interaction. Irimi/tenkan principles viewed as manipulation of moments and radial accelerations does not require any in-line opposing forces to describe the operation of movements we all know work. It is also a mechanical model of "absolute non-resistance" that physically explains a great deal of the power the best practioners can generate and/or dissipate.

Despite Mike's protests, "bouncing" or deformation spring energy is resistant. In order to receive the strain energy by bending, torsion, or comperssion, the spring (of whatever form) necessarily decelerates the object applying the input force, which is a collinear force in opposition, i.e.-- resistant. Resistance occurs even if there is not (yet) reverse displacement. Since it is resistant, if the force is too large or the impulse too quick, the deforming structure may break before it can release that energy. Springs bounce, but they also snap; balloons bounce, but they also pop.

You demonstrated in seminar in Tallahassee (Mar. 05?) one of Ushiro Sensei's demonstrative tai sabaki movements to the wrist grab. (Ushiro is one of Mike's primary examplars of "lost" principles we should adopt.) First, weighting on the front foot without pushing or altering the grab, then stepping forward with the other foot, weighting it and then letting go the weight on the other side, causing incipient collapse, without doing a single thing to change uke's structure or his force, a simple touch (better than a roundhouse) to his shoulder dropped him . It was simple, and illustrated the problem of resistance to -- on both sides of the interaction.

There was no resistance when you performed it, and in fact you properly chided me and others for our own residual resistance in barely perceptible pushing in trying to performing it on you. Another reason to object to Mike's approach because, as you pointedly demonstrated to me, the impulse to resist force is pernicious, even when, as with me, one knows about and is consciously trying to avoid it.

Why, therefore, consciously train to do it?

It seems to me that what Mike is getting at that is useful is not new, and what is new is not terribly useful.

(And thanks again for the pointers on the No. 10 kumitachi.)

Erick Mead
01-19-2007, 12:46 PM
Erick's arbitrary "proof" that I was "only talking about the rear foot", based on the one exercise I offered, is patently absurd. I read what you say.. If you don't like that, please say something else.
The ki/kokyu skills should be developed in the Aiki Taiso, Kokyu-hu-undo, and so forth. They are in the kihon in Saito's scheme and in Saotome's as I was taught them. I see them in the 94 year old gentleman's "bounce" jin movements, and those are same movement skills that are in the kihon, as I have illustrated by drawing the parallels. I see related aspects in what I have seen of Shioda's kihon dosa, but that is territory out of my familiarity. Maybe my experience was exceptional, but I really don't think so. I've wandered around a fair bit on the west coast and over this way. Maybe your experience is the exception.
Taking this conversation of "baseline skills" to a discussion of "baseline waza" is a waste of time. Yes, semantic arguments generally are. If you really think that irimi/tenkan principle is merely waza, you really do not know what I am talking about either.

Erick Mead
01-19-2007, 12:52 PM
Incidentally, not wanting to be an evangelical, but I think that it would really pay if more dojo's set aside time to practice basic "grounding" skills, ... Aha!
I knew our arguments had a familiar ring to them -- it's just like having rounds with the street preachers back in high school. You nailed it.... :D

Mike Sigman
01-19-2007, 01:07 PM
I may have been unclear or have been misunderstood -- more likely the former. You may simply be wrong.

Interestingly enough, I've been through a lot of this before with many of the same arguments. As a lot of people begin to realize fairly quickly, the evidence for this stuff is overwhelming. Seeing everyone do the same demo's in China and Japan, using the same descriptions and admonishments about ki/qi and kokyu/jin, tanden/dantien, etc., etc., makes even the strongest denier give up in front of the evidentiary weight.

The two cop-outs that I seen favored by the ones who don't want to admit they were wrong are:

(1.) OK, but I already do that and you just misinterpretted what I mean

(2.)OK, but there is a difference in the basics in the case of "x" martial art, so while you are correct that it's needed you yourself didn't really understand the "real stuff", so now I'm back ahead of you.

I.e., it becomes a pee-ing contest or a face-saver. OK, you were just "misunderstood". Can we get back to baseline skills now?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Michael McCaslin
01-19-2007, 01:39 PM
As a beginner who has invested a lot of time in trying to understand where Mike Sigman is coming from, maybe I can shed a little light on the emphasis on holding the weight over the rear leg in the beginning.

I have seen Mike's internal strength videos, and he has been kind enough to sign me up for his mailing list so I could learn what other people who are chasing the same goals I am are doing. While I haven't yet had the opportunity for hands on time with Mike, I believe I understand the theory he bases his approach on. I make no claims to being able to put it into practice yet. My opinion on the weight over the rear leg follows-- any errors are mine. Mike has pointed out again and again that you have to feel these things in person to really figure out what is going on, so if I've missed the point it's all my fault. Shame on me for being hard headed!

Anyway, the point of keeping the weight over the rear leg is to make sure you don't end up using it as a "strut" to brace your structure. If you take a bunch of guys/girls who don't know how to do this stuff, put them in a deep front stance, and test them, they will almost all use the back leg as a brace and as a result they will almost all develop bad habits that prevent them from "getting it." So Mike came up with a stance for beginners to use in an introductory exercise that removes the potential for one of the more common errors people make when starting out.

It's not "Mike's martial method" or "the way you do it" it's just an introductory exercise that is designed to make it harder to cheat so we have a better chance of seeing the point.

I hope this helps.

Michael

Mike Sigman
01-19-2007, 01:55 PM
Anyway, the point of keeping the weight over the rear leg is to make sure you don't end up using it as a "strut" to brace your structure. If you take a bunch of guys/girls who don't know how to do this stuff, put them in a deep front stance, and test them, they will almost all use the back leg as a brace and as a result they will almost all develop bad habits that prevent them from "getting it." So Mike came up with a stance for beginners to use in an introductory exercise that removes the potential for one of the more common errors people make when starting out.Y'know, really those videos of Master Sum and O-Sensei are good to analyse in terms of the back-leg thing. Well maybe Sum's is the best one. Watch his Uke walk around and push him from all sides. The idea is that you can release power in any direction at any time. If you become dependent on only pushing, bouncing, whatever to the *front* by using the back leg as a simple brace, you can't use power in any direction. That's why it's a good idea to have a partner walk around you slowly and give slow, steady pushes from various directions (although at first it's helpful if they push only toward the leg furthest away from them until you develop elementary skills).

Watch Shioda and others and how upright they stand so that they're always balanced. Then look at a few tapes of lower level westerners and watch how dominant the "back-leg brace" has become. ;)

FWIW

Mike

George S. Ledyard
01-19-2007, 02:31 PM
Thank you for weighing in. I know this, I have seen it -- although, more's the pity, I have not felt Saotome.

I may have been unclear or have been misunderstood -- more likely the former. I have never questioned that these things are done. I question whether they are done as Mike describes them, and should be practiced in the manner that Mike suggests -- in relation to aikido.
I am hardly the peace and flowers kind of guy. To give my approach a flavor more in keeping with my native tradition, think of Nathan Bedford Forrest: "Get there first with the most." "Hit 'em from the side." "Never stand and take a charge... charge them too."

Generally speaking, I'll get there sooner if I am not letting him impede me by engaging his force directly. Also, and to be perfectly clear about my interpretation, and while it is distinctly unpeaceful, a roundhouse to the jaw is not resisting any opposing force, unless he started first with a headbutt.

I don't even try to define aikido, I just try to do it -- occasionally, with success. I know my place. I explore O Sensei's definition of aikido, and that of the lineages of his students who have taught me. I try to obtain a consistent understanding of its physical reality and of the methods of practice I have been given to learn and to teach with. I try not to fiddle with them much or give explanations that were not given to me, that are not just plainly physical observations.

The only thing I bring to the table is a critical faculty with which to make judgments based on competent authorities about propositions such as Mike's in regard to training in "basic" skillsets. And what he proposes troubles me in terms of aikido training.

I challenge two things in Mike's approach to describing and training for these things. One is physical, the other, methodological.

1) That they are not necessarily done by means of resistance -- a component of collinear force opposite in sign to the input.

2) That training which expressly develops resistance, even "ground" resistance, is not helpful to aikido training.

As to my first objection, the physical interpretation of what Mike calls "bounce" jin as "store and release" -- is resistance, but it is also not a necessary physical interpretation of the interaction. Irimi/tenkan principles viewed as manipulation of moments and radial accelerations does not require any in-line opposing forces to describe the operation of movements we all know work. It is also a mechanical model of "absolute non-resistance" that physically explains a great deal of the power the best practioners can generate and/or dissipate.

Despite Mike's protests, "bouncing" or deformation spring energy is resistant. In order to receive the strain energy by bending, torsion, or comperssion, the spring (of whatever form) necessarily decelerates the object applying the input force, which is a collinear force in opposition, i.e.-- resistant. Resistance occurs even if there is not (yet) reverse displacement. Since it is resistant, if the force is too large or the impulse too quick, the deforming structure may break before it can release that energy. Springs bounce, but they also snap; balloons bounce, but they also pop.

You demonstrated in seminar in Tallahassee (Mar. 05?) one of Ushiro Sensei's demonstrative tai sabaki movements to the wrist grab. (Ushiro is one of Mike's primary examplars of "lost" principles we should adopt.) First, weighting on the front foot without pushing or altering the grab, then stepping forward with the other foot, weighting it and then letting go the weight on the other side, causing incipient collapse, without doing a single thing to change uke's structure or his force, a simple touch (better than a roundhouse) to his shoulder dropped him . It was simple, and illustrated the problem of resistance to -- on both sides of the interaction.

There was no resistance when you performed it, and in fact you properly chided me and others for our own residual resistance in barely perceptible pushing in trying to performing it on you. Another reason to object to Mike's approach because, as you pointedly demonstrated to me, the impulse to resist force is pernicious, even when, as with me, one knows about and is consciously trying to avoid it.

Why, therefore, consciously train to do it?

It seems to me that what Mike is getting at that is useful is not new, and what is new is not terribly useful.

(And thanks again for the pointers on the No. 10 kumitachi.)

Personally, I just don't see what Mike does as somehow un-aiki; quite the opposite. I do believe that his focus encompasses one aspect of aiki and one that I have not worked in to any great extent myself. Actually, if I had access to Mike on a regular basis I would train with him. He taught me a great deal in a very short time at Rocky Mountain Camp.

What I have been focusing on myself is complete neutralization of the opponent's power via relaxation. Angier, Threadgill, Vasiliev, Kuroda, Yamaguchi, Endo, Gleason, Ikeda and Saotome Senseis are my models for this work.

I have also spent a lot of time working on how one moves the partner's mind in order to get him to move himself. I've had a lot of help on this from Ushiro Sensei whose explanations are helping me see what Saotome Sensei has been doing all along. I have come to realize that how and where one places ones attention is central to how a technique does or does not work and it is almost never mentioned by any Aikido teacher I have seen. It is so fundamental to success that I have started teaching even the beginners these concepts right from the very start.

One of the difficulties I've had with Mike's posts was that I don't have the vocabulary he does to describe what he is talking about. He was very kind in Colorado to give me a basic run down of what he is talking about. I absolutely believe that what he is talking about is an aspect of what the teachers I am emulating are doing. There are times when it is important and necessary to deliver power to the structure of the opponent. From a martial stand point it is an integral part of the art to be able to end it on a touch, at the instant of contact. The "soft" neutralization of force stuff which I have worked on extensively will only set up the opening for the application of the "hard" force. To be effective that force has to be strong enough to finish things in one blow. Mike can do this and at some point I would like to work on it.

Now there are other ways to develop this capacity as well. The top Systema people can hit you with something that looks like nothing at all and I have no doubt whatever that, if they intended it to do so, would kill you. It is so relaxed and without what we would consider proper structure that it looks fake. But if you feel it, there's no doubt whatever. I have a lot more access to this instruction than I do to Mike's. My former students have set up a Systema school right on the other side of the wall from my dojo. I have the best people in North America coming through our town. So I will probably get a chance to develop some of what they do before I figure out what Mike is talking about.

But as far as I am concerned it is all aiki. Personally I do not have any problem seeing why I would be training to do these things.

I do believe that I have probably misunderstood your explanations. Terminology in these things is difficult unless we have the chance to sit there together and show what we mean when we describe some movement or energy. Half the time when I get a chance to compare notes with folks, I find that we are talking about the same things but using a whole different way to visualize and describe it. It doesn't really matter as description is all just upaya anyway. I use a consistent set of descriptive principles to get a certain result from my students. I am sure someone else has a different way of describing the same thing which works just as well for them.

Erick Mead
01-19-2007, 04:37 PM
You may simply be wrong. Always possible. Hasn't been demonstrated on this point, yet, however. Anyone is welcome to do it. I enjoy ukemi when necessary, but I don''t take falls unless it aids in training, I have to, or it is safer to want to.
.. the evidence for this stuff is overwhelming. I don't dispute the "this stuff," I dispute your exposition of what it is --in physical terms -- and how it should be developed -- in relation to aikido. My issue is a prudential one in relation to Aikido, a technical one in relation ot the physics of it all, and not a denial of the sophisitcation of traditional Chinese arts, which I greatly respect.

Chemistry is a producer of many good things -- not all chemistry is good for a given purpose, and not all good things are necessarily good for all purposes. Fire can keep you warm or burn your house down -- best to be careful about how, when or if we choose to use it.
Can we get back to baseline skills now? Sure. I'll just have a running objection to the training use or model or any "bounce" modes of action that are actually resistant. I've made my point.

Counterforce is too tempting, even to just "train with" even if it is just ground reaction. It warps the nature of the connection in Aikido -- in my view. It blurs the sensitivity to all that information -- literally in your hands -- about what your opponent is actually doing. It is the likely cause, frankly, as I see it, of much that you complain about in the levels of training in kokyu skills. Which, if I am right about the physical basis for "this stuff," would make some sense.

Mike Sigman
01-19-2007, 04:50 PM
Counterforce is too tempting, even to just "train with" even if it is just ground reaction. It warps the nature of the connection in Aikido -- in my view. It blurs the sensitivity to all that information -- literally in your hands -- about what your opponent is actually doing. It is the likely cause, frankly, as I see it, of much that you complain about in the levels of training in kokyu skills. Which, if I am right about the physical basis for "this stuff," would make some sense.Well, let's just leave your opinions for a while. As has been recommended, because you fairly obviously don't know what we're talking about, you should go see someone who can demonstrate for you. In terms of "sensitivity", you give it away again. A person becomes even more sensitive to "reading" or "listening" to someone... I thing George Ledyard already commented to that effect after our meeting in Glenwood Springs. Using that skill, I think you'll find that you probably lose your balance very rapidly when we touch... i.e., the "training" which you so strenuously object to even though you don't understand it, results in real-world ability to do things with even less resistance than is done in most cooperative training in Aikido. You simply don't know what we're talking about.

Mike Sigman

eyrie
01-19-2007, 04:51 PM
For walking forward practice, it's good to walk into a partner whose hand is on your belly, elbow straight (to keep the force rigid and not springy), and concentrate on keeping the ground as purely and solidly as possible into his hand, with no discontinuities.

These are probably NOT the best examples, but I think they illustrate the idea.... IMO, when first starting, the amount of force your partner should be using should be LESS than what is being shown here.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to find the originals that were hosted on YouTube, but I managed to save it to an .FLV before it got jacked.

http://aikidofnq.com/images/vids/hanshado - 070107-2.flv (24MB)
http://aikidofnq.com/images/vids/hanshado - 061025-1.flv (24MB)

You'll need an FLV Video Player to view this.

Oh, and you might have to wait a while... it may still be uploading.... :p

Erick Mead
01-19-2007, 04:54 PM
Watch Shioda and others and how upright they stand so that they're always balanced. Then look at a few tapes of lower level westerners and watch how dominant the "back-leg brace" has become. Let's avoid interminable terminology debate, and deal on a point of agreement. To close up the stance forward in the irimi (as Shioda demonstrates).

I find myself regularly correcting this one and students regularly relapsing again. Three reasons to do it, from my perspective:

1) The irimi is then complete, centered and forward, and nage is fully committed to the connection, rather than "holding back."
2) The hips are more free when the feet are together to turn and convert any incoming forces in tenkan
3) The whole body has a smaller inertial radius (easier to turn), and thus is extremely responsive to any degree of offline force (thus easier to sense and exploit that inefficiency in the attack)

The "holding back" thing seem to be the cause for relapse.

Erick Mead
01-19-2007, 05:01 PM
... you fairly obviously don't know what we're talking about, ... you probably lose your balance very rapidly when we touch... you don't understand it, ... You simply don't know what we're talking about. I try very carefully to judge, Mike, by what you say, and what you describe, and try very hard also not to judge by any prescient intuition I may have about what you know or don't -- mainly because I dont have any.

You go ahead and make your judgments, as you will, on whatever basis you like. They will be as good as their foundation is.

Mike Sigman
01-19-2007, 05:14 PM
Let's avoid interminable terminology debate, and deal on a point of agreement. To close up the stance forward in the irimi (as Shioda demonstrates).

I find myself regularly correcting this one and students regularly relapsing again. Three reasons to do it, from my perspective:

1) The irimi is then complete, centered and forward, and nage is fully committed to the connection, rather than "holding back."
2) The hips are more free when the feet are together to turn and convert any incoming forces in tenkan
3) The whole body has a smaller inertial radius (easier to turn), and thus is extremely responsive to any degree of offline force (thus easier to sense and exploit that inefficiency in the attack)

The "holding back" thing seem to be the cause for relapse. Once again, you are mistaking "baseline" to mean waza and I don't want to go there.

The baseline skills we're talking about are common in Asian martial arts. That's why all the Asian martial arts talk about ki, kokyu, jin, neijin, peng jin, whatever.... all of the arts, including Aikido. That's what we're talking about. If you knew what those things were, there wouldn't be this endless obstruction to the conversation from you in the forlorn position that there is nothing you don't know. Obviously, to many people reading the thread, you just don't know what we're talking about. You're part of the group that has suffered from a dearth of information over the years, as has been discussed, and you're also part of the problem that has been discussed because you find it infathomable that someone of your omniscience could not know something basic. So, in turn, you are presenting your incomplete perspective of Aikido as the whole banana to a bunch of students. See the problem? If it was me... and it has been in the past... and I wanted to dispute something of this magnitude, I'd go find out, just to be sure, because there's too much of an indication already that you're missing something. My best suggestion to you... not just for you, but for the people you're teaching AND your teacher... is to go find out.

We're talking about ki body-skills; not waza.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
01-19-2007, 07:47 PM
If you knew what those things were, ... conversation from you in the forlorn position that there is nothing you don't know. ...Obviously, ...you just don't know what we're talking about. You're part of the group ... you're also part of the problem ... you find it infathomable that someone of your omniscience could not know something basic. .. your incomplete perspective of Aikido ... there's too much of an indication already that you're missing something. There I go trying to end a conflict -- and what do you have to do ... ??

The personal attacks speak more than I can possibly say in regards to YOUR understanding of the true principles of Aikido.

You do realize that you are trying to end an argument with someone you are calling an ignoramus, not by demonstrating your superior position, but by calling me names? I think I have heard this before from you, in fact.

Surely, I cannot be that hard to take down on principle if I am that stupid and ill-informed. A bit of advice in the area of persuasive communication -- you detract from any moral strength in your position by attacking the messenger instead of the message. Especially, when you set in to beat up on a poor stoopid fellow like me. :)

And here I thought that criticism supported by some knowledgeable authorities of certain stated positions in a discussion forum was a useful part of the advancement of knowledge. Silly me.

Have a really good day, Mike. I will go about my pathetic life and bear the ashes of my ignorance in shame.

... or not.

More likely, not

aikidoc
01-19-2007, 08:24 PM
This thread was going along nicely and was becoming informative. Now it is becoming difficult to find anything of value with the kyudo arrows flying back and forth. Agree to disagree and leave it at that-there is also a block function, or used to be, that can be used to avoid the comments of those you don't want to see. Just MHO.

Erick Mead
01-19-2007, 08:47 PM
Now it is becoming difficult to find anything of value with the kyudo arrows flying back and forth. Agree to disagree and leave it at that- Yabusame, definitely yabusame. But fair enough, for me.

Let me agree with Mike -- again -- and then focus some related questions to the panel to which I have (at least one) answer to suggest.

Many do use a rear leg "brace" which they should not. I agree this tendency needs to be addressed in training. When Mike started talking about "rear leg" weight he summoned this very image for me. Thus, my subsequent and heavy criticism of it as a training method. Mr. McCaslin was helpful to explain some why's and wherefore of what Mike may have meant by saying that. And that's all I'll say about that.

Why would you think this tendency is so widespread?

And why does it so often recur even after repeated corrections?

And the answer is not "because they don't know better body skills." I find that they keep doing it even at a point when they should "know" better, and sometimes even begin to catch themselves doing it after they have already done it, so there is a definite visceral reason why they keep doing it.

raul rodrigo
01-19-2007, 09:19 PM
A I'll just have a running objection to the training use or model or any "bounce" modes of action that are actually resistant. I've made my point. Counterforce is too tempting, even to just "train with" even if it is just ground reaction. It warps the nature of the connection in Aikido -- in my view. It blurs the sensitivity to all that information -- literally in your hands -- about what your opponent is actually doing.

Actually, Erick, what I've found is that resistance training of pushing and power walking that we got from Shingo Nakao has made me more sensitive to my partner, not less. As tori, I can find his center quickly and "attack" it. As uke, I can now offer detailed feedback to tori ("That's the shoulder you're using, not the hara." "Your biceps are clenched and stopping the flow of energy.") that I couldn't do before. It has heightened our understanding of the center to center connection that should be going on in aikido.


best,


RAUL

Mike Sigman
01-19-2007, 10:01 PM
Why would you think this tendency is so widespread?

And why does it so often recur even after repeated corrections?

And the answer is not "because they don't know better body skills." I find that they keep doing it even at a point when they should "know" better, and sometimes even begin to catch themselves doing it after they have already done it, so there is a definite visceral reason why they keep doing it.I'll say this about why they're doing it. Two things:

(1.) They really *don't* know better body skills. So they compensate. If somebody "corrects" them, but really doesn't show them how to do better body skills that compensate for the loss of that "brace", they'll go back to the brace.

(2.) They're copying a perceived difference. I deleted an earlier post that I started to make but which I thought infringed too much on something people should figure out for themselves, but it went roughly like this:
Many people see an expert do his finished product, such as a strike, and interpret it in terms of what they already know for body skills, so they wind up doing the "finished product" (let's say "fa jin" or "power releases") in a way that is really not what the expert is doing. So while someone may see a forward-weighted stance and copy it, thinking of the "forward weight", they miss the fact that what's going on is more about the kokyu-path or a way of 'releasing' that they don't know... and not so much about the weight-shift. So they build a highway where there was none, and it leads to nowhere in particular.

FWIW,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
01-19-2007, 10:05 PM
This thread was going along nicely and was becoming informative. Now it is becoming difficult to find anything of value with the kyudo arrows flying back and forth. Agree to disagree and leave it at that-there is also a block function, or used to be, that can be used to avoid the comments of those you don't want to see. Just MHO.It's a good point, John, but sometimes (and I've noticed this from years of experience, particularly on the famous old Neijia List) you just follow the bickering because it's like a path that appears to close down in the forest, but suddenly it opens up and leads to interesting places. You just never know. It's a coin toss. It's that gamble at the horse-race that sometimes you win and sometimes you waste your money. But it's better than sitting at home and not betting because you're afraid of losing 2 dollars. Assuming you know how to bet the right horses. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Erick Mead
01-19-2007, 11:58 PM
(1.) They really *don't* know better body skills. So they compensate.
(2.) They're copying a perceived difference... I think it is more fundamental and unconscious than that. People antipicating a force directed at them naturally prepare to one of two things 1) oppose it, or 2) evade it entirely. The brace is the natural posture to oppose a force.
...they miss the fact that what's going on is more about the kokyu-path or a way of 'releasing' that they don't know... and not so much about the weight-shift. On that kokyu formulation we agree, although I think we probably disagree on what we each mean by it. The weight shift merely gives energy to the form of the action already established by the kokyu "shape" in that particular interaction. "Releasing" is in your terminology set, and not in mine, nor that of most aikidoka I have known. you should elaborate that to unbundle what you mean by it. To me the feel is more of a breaking wave as the collapse of structure commences.

We all seem to be discussing the third option between opposing force and running away from it as a treatment for the underlying problem. I don't think that we necessarily have to resolve, you and I, whether the figurative "germ" theory or the "bad air" theory of the disease in question is the right one (or whose is which) to come to some useful discussions of treatments that help a mutually acknowledged problem in training.

Mike Sigman
01-20-2007, 08:52 AM
On that kokyu formulation we agree, although I think we probably disagree on what we each mean by it. That's why I keep suggesting you go find out from someone, Erick."Releasing" is in your terminology set, and not in mine, nor that of most aikidoka I have known. you should elaborate that to unbundle what you mean by it. You can see O-Sensei gather slightly and then "release" power in the bounce-away demos that he does. It doesn't need much explanation. You envision some rotational thing... it's pretty easy to see from the obvious "spring" or "bounce" that there has to be a "release" phase to the power. Just watching the videos of Sum and Ueshiba shows a clear "release", so why belabor it?
We all seem to be discussing the third option between opposing force and running away from it as a treatment for the underlying problem. I'm discussing nothing or the sort. I'm discussing how to develop that forces that are used in every movement, whether those movements are a "bounce" or a "technique" or an "atemi". I'm talking about a baseline skillset that pervades all the Asian martial arts, irrespective of the tactics and strategies of the many differences in Asian martial arts. The "baseline skillset" I'm talking about is also the one used by all legitimate movement-qigongs. That's why I'm talking about "baseline" and refusing to get into "aiki".

Regards,

Mike Sigman

aikidoc
01-20-2007, 10:38 AM
Yabusame? Can't find it in my Japanese dictionary-what does it mean?

I understand this is a difficult and controversial area and a much needed area of discussion. What I was trying to convey is that with strong personalities, the subliminal barbs detract from the discussion and result in marching in place on disagreements rather than moving the discussion ahead. Perhaps, reframing the conversation or explanation can help come up with a progressive discussion that synthesizes what we do know. Also, both points of view may have validity and often times in such discussions people are not that far off but it becomes a matter of how each is expressing their views.

As to why people keep doing things the same way over and over, I feel this is an issue of neurological conditioning-old habits die hard. The body's nervous system responds in a reactive way to what it has been trained to do or has developed as a neurological trace in response to the force. To get people to do it correctly, the pattern has to be broken and replaced by a new neurological memory. That comes with a lot of repetition, conscious awareness and patient instruction. That's why we train-if it was easy to break or develop neurological and muscle memory patterns we would all be able to master the techniques after the first showing. Yet, even after thousands of practice sessions going over the same kihon we still find ourselves learning new things and making corrections (hopefully).

JMHO.

Erick Mead
01-20-2007, 11:16 AM
Yabusame? Can't find it in my Japanese dictionary-what does it mean? Horse archery. In Kamakura at the Hachiman shrine they do it every spring. It's something to see -- successive shots at targets as they come in range with the horse running full tilt. Not a lot of reflection involved -- unlike kyudo. Worth the trip.

Erick Mead
01-20-2007, 01:41 PM
That's why I keep suggesting you go find out from someone, Erick. Fortunately, I did not read that so as to be tempted to respond. :D
You can see O-Sensei gather slightly and then "release" power in the bounce-away demos that he does. It doesn't need much explanation. You envision some rotational thing... it's pretty easy to see from the obvious "spring" or "bounce" that there has to be a "release" phase to the power. What you see as a linear "store/release" I see as parabolic or elliptical path reversal. I know you don't want to talk about "waza" but the principles of these skills as I see (and do) them are right there in the kihon. This is most obviously seen in the yokomenuchi shihonage entry and in any number of other kihon. He simply makes the parabolic or elliptical conversion very, very small the angular momentum manipulation immensely magnifies the input attacking energy that he returns whence it came.
Just watching the videos of Sum and Ueshiba shows a clear "release", so why belabor it? A release of what? Generated how? Those are the questions you raise Because the evidence on the tape supports my conclusion on a valid mechanical principle, as does my training in several lineages of aikido. He is doing what I have seen done and can do, albeit to a lesser degree of precision or power, on my part.
I'm discussing how to develop that forces that are used in every movement, whether those movements are a "bounce" or a "technique" or an "atemi". So am I. The arms, the torso, hips and legs are obligated to rotate around one or more joints in action. Several of these rotate in more than one axis. So does the connection of the feet against the ground and the connection(s) between uke and nage. The spine is a collection of small joints that transfers tiny angular righting and settling moments up and down the torso when you breathe in and out -- kokyu, which can be further channeled down the limb joints rotating in turn.

You cannot move your body without undergoing a series of progressive joint rotations. It cannot be done. That is the basic level of movement I am addressing -- and it is entirely consistent with the prinicples of the kihon in which O Sensei said the secrets of the art are to be had -- including the "bounce" issues you use as illustrations of a supposed linear action.
I'm talking about a baseline skillset that pervades all the Asian martial arts, irrespective of the tactics and strategies of the many differences in Asian martial arts. The "baseline skillset" I'm talking about is also the one used by all legitimate movement-qigongs. If you assume linear, reciprocal action in the very compressed motions you observe, it may appear that way, because of your assumption of linear reaction. In which case you have a sense that there is discontinuous "secret" skill of linear action. It also appears that the sun circles the earth, but only because of the assumption that you are not moving.

If you assume, instead that there is no discontinuity and that the principles of action in the kihon are the "secrets"also in the actions you illustrate, you can find a consistent physical explanation that explains them both, which I have done. It would merely then be a training problem in terms of correcting practice and emphasis on kihon -- as Morihiro Saito and Gozo Shioda both specifically thought, BTW.

To accept your conclusion I would also have to assume that O Sensei was incorrect when saying that the secrets are in the kihon. That is something I am not prepared to do without a heap big pile of unambiguous contradictory evidence, which is far more than you have shown, so far.

Charlie
01-20-2007, 03:28 PM
Hello all,

Thought I might throw my hat into the ring. There is a lot that I would like to address in this thread however coming in so far down the road I can probably only hit upon bits and pieces.

I have been following this thread [as far as I can understand it] as well as others like it. I feel somewhat compelled to add to the discussion about the Yoshinkan approach to Kihon dosa [basic movements] and other references to the "braced" rear leg.

1st off I would like to note that I think that Mike has hit upon an important observation as to the braced rear leg. I too share his feeling that many are emulating the "finished product" so to speak.

To me it seems that many are replicating only the final aspect for the accumulation and application of "power" that shite uses to generate and then apply in which ever manner to capture uke's center [that of course being the last stage which calls for the extension of the back leg to further shift the weight forward to the front leg].

To hopefully help further the conversation and to perhaps add a "new" angle, I am attaching a few scans from a translation of Yoshinkan Aikido Kiyoyuki Terada sensei's Aikido primer "Zukai Aikido Nyumon" [http://www.seiseikai.org/book.html].

The scans are from a translation that was made available when Terada sensei made a visit to London, Ontario back in April 2000. I particularly like this translation because:

1. It is the only one that I know of!
2. It was done by people that where not life long students of Terada sensei and as such reads as a fairly direct translation of his written words.

For the record: Victor Wagner is the copyright holder of this translation.

Also for note: Terada sensei's book is intended to be used as an introduction to Yoshinkan Aikido and as such remains focused on the "basics".

The scans are describing how to do the 6 Kihon dosa movements that comprise all the techniques of Yoshinkan Aikido. All the movements are being described as a two person exercise involving Shite and Uke.

The dosa are:
Elbow power 1 and 2 [Hi Ryoku no Yosei omote and ura]
Body change 1 and 2 [Tai no Henko omote and ura]
Fixing movements 1 and 2 [Shumatsu Dosa omote and ura]

[throughout the book Terada sensei uses the older name variations for many different techniques and sometimes differs from Modern day Yoshinkan honbu].

http://www.myaa.info/scans/page7.jpg
http://www.myaa.info/scans/page8.jpg
http://www.myaa.info/scans/page9.jpg
http://www.myaa.info/scans/page10.jpg
http://www.myaa.info/scans/page11.jpg

My immediate question to some here is what purpose do they see uke providing shite in these exercises?

My personal understanding is that shite learns to perform the movements solo with no resistance to learn the correct principles. Uke is added later to reinforce correct lines and principles learned and then add resistance to the training to help facilitate keeping relaxed with correct posture and everything else essential to maintaining correct form for "power" accumulation and application.

In all of these Kihon dosa exercises it seems clear to me that they are teaching one to shift the weight from the back foot to the forward foot [and vise versa] while maintaining posture and not to be in direct conflict with uke's center.

That being said, I don't feel that it means that there is no resistance at all. You have to learn to move uke's center around your own by utilizing correct placement of a myriad of different things. It is probably the biggest deficiency that one can see in how many perform these basic movements. In many peoples inability to correctly manipulate uke's center they resort to bracing and muscling to compensate for the lack of "power' generated from their diluted incorrect movements.

Also, when reference is made to Shioda's stances being forward based it seems that many interpret this to mean that weight is completely forward ALL the time. That is just not true. The modern day teaching is a 60/40 split with weight forward. Terada sensei writes that "the weight is not in the middle but slightly forward of middle".

Terada sensei's writings also allude to that the exercises go beyond just learning to shift weight properly but to be able to shift weight properly with the intention of coordinating the power generated from lower abdomen, feet, hip and elbows and apply it wherever needed throughout the body.


FWIW

Charlie

eyrie
01-20-2007, 04:45 PM
What you see as a linear "store/release" I see as parabolic or elliptical path reversal.
I dunno Erick, the shortest distance between 2 points is... a straight line? As Mike said before, each joint robs a little power, so it makes perfect sense to transfer the force in a straight line. Think vector forces - i.e. triangles and squares.

I wasn't going to talk about kihon or waza, but at this point it might be appropriate to discuss your favorite kihon - kokyu tanden ho....

If you start with your arms already extended, can you still off balance uke and how would you do that?

I know you don't want to talk about "waza" but the principles of these skills as I see (and do) them are right there in the kihon.
I don't think we're even talking about principles... we're talking about the basic mechanics which powers kihon movement.

Ron Tisdale
01-20-2007, 06:32 PM
Hi Charlie, excellent post. I'm on low bandwidth just now, but once I get a better connection, I'll review the material you posted.

Thanks,
Ron

Erick Mead
01-21-2007, 12:30 AM
I dunno Erick, the shortest distance between 2 points is... a straight line? As Mike said before, each joint robs a little power, so it makes perfect sense to transfer the force in a straight line. Think vector forces - i.e. triangles and squares. There are many areas of mechanics in which the most natural and efficient shape or path of force is not a straight line, and which can often be the very worst in efficiency. A falling leaf in aerodynamics, a tree, arch action, a cable, a hurricane, and there are many others. Generating or transmitting power without losses requires efficient shape for the load, not a straight line, per se.

Effective energy in a rotational mode, can be increased (or decreased) easily four or eightfold, wholly by manipulating the radius of the path taken or altering the center of the motion. The basic shomenuchi sword cut relies on this -- the radius of cut from the top of the cut to the tsuka hitting the navel is constantly decreasing. At the top the radius is the length of my arm plus the sword. At the bottom of the cut it is the length of the sword from my hara. The shape does the work for you.
... to discuss your favorite kihon - kokyu tanden ho...

If you start with your arms already extended, can you still off balance uke and how would you do that? I extend underneath with breathing in and gather him out of his sphere, and into mine. It is the same way as when my arms are closer to my body. As long as he connects within the length of my arm I can perform kokyu tanden ho.

The intake of breath begins, the fingers and then wrists turn in kokyu, in pace with the breath, gathering it in from as far away as possible. As the wrists reach a limit, the forearms begin to rotate the same way, turning together now with the wrists. They reach a limit, and the upper arms then turn together with the wrist and forearms. I have been given to understand this aspect of kokyu tanden ho as part of hiriki or hi ryoku. I just describe it in the mechanical terms as I see them.

If you pull or push with the arms, the forearms and upper arms are necessarily rotating in different directions, and kokyu will never work. Cutting with extension or gathering with extension are movements with only one direction of rotation in every limb or body segment down to the hara . this same thing is seen in cuts performed by trying to push the sword into the target at the end of the cut. If you put a bokken on uke's shoulder and try to push him with it, you will find the tsuka levering opposite the direction of your cut. If you let the sword follow the hips without arms pushing, it will not do that.

At the next limit, the torso's rotation now takes over the whole construct by the further expansion of the breath driving the righting moment of the spine, bringing the posture more erect. The hara is now rotating forward in irimi from the hips as the floor of the pelvis is taking its complementary rotation down and back at the same time. Actual breathing, only indirectly involved earlier as the motivator of the progessively altering posture of the arms in connection with the in-breathing torso is now directly engaged in the body's response.

The rotation in the same progressive direction never stops. At every limitation, the radius of the applied rotation gets shorter, closer to the center, and thus more powerful. The more strongly uke tries to limit me, the faster the kokyu gets its advantage and becomes more powerful and centered. It is the inverse of the sword cut, dissipating his energy, rather than concentrating mine. All my energy is going around his attack, and everytime he tries to stop me it just moves me progressively around him further just from a slightly different position.

By this point kuzushi is achieved, I begin to exhale with reverse extension and the rotations cascade back the other way for the throw, cut or other induced movement on uke, driven by the settling moments of the spinal column as the balloon of my breath relaxes underneath it.

eyrie
01-21-2007, 01:03 AM
Extend underneath (how?), breathing in, gather (how?) out of his sphere, connect (how?) with length of arm... tells me NOTHING. I'm afraid, if I were your student, you've lost me....

I said with your arms ALREADY extended - i.e. start from the position where uke is pushing/holding down on your already extended arms. It's really quite simple.... here's a clue... it's EXACTLY the same concept as receiving a push from the chest and grounding it in the rear leg, except you now have 3 points to ground to.

OK, I'll give you the breathing part, but I'm pretty sure you don't understand that either. Breathing is part of the power chain, but not as you described. If you understood how breath plays a role, you'll understand how it is possible to throw someone in that position, even with your arms fully extended and locked, without resorting to any torso rotation, wrist rotation, elbow power or pelvic rotation - just by simply breathing in, holding your breath, or breathing out.

raul rodrigo
01-21-2007, 06:12 AM
Tell me more about the breathing part. I was uke for that kind of kokyu tanden ho for a Hombu shihan last year and I couldn't understand it. He said to me as he was doing it: "You can resist my body, but you cannot resist my breath." There was no wrist or forearm rotation and his hara expanded as he did it. And thats all I know about it.

Mike Sigman
01-21-2007, 09:08 AM
Developing kokyu has got nothing really to do with rotating the arms (which are pretty much guaranteed to just be local-muscle rotations... i.e., "technique"). And while developing full kokyu does involve breath, used correctly, I don't think a beginner should worry about the breath at first. Not for baseline skills. From Ignatius' comments, he already understands most of this.... this is what I mean by the idea that these general-knowledge, baseline skills should be more widespread.

Kokyu development needs to start with linear. From what people are saying, they should avoid all involvement with "spiral" anything until they understand what it really means, not the obvious (and wrong) most people are talking about. O-Sensei's art was very sophisticated, not something that the campfire crowd can just guess at and have it right, IMO. And don't get me wrong... in terms of guessing wrong on a simplistic level... been there, done that.

FWIW

Mike

Tim Fong
01-21-2007, 11:17 AM
Any curve is an infinite series of infinitely small straight lines, each one at an infinitely small angle to the next.

Therefore if you can't do something linearly, you can't do it in a spiral.

Q.E.D.

Mike Sigman
01-21-2007, 12:03 PM
Tell me more about the breathing part. I was uke for that kind of kokyu tanden ho for a Hombu shihan last year and I couldn't understand it. He said to me as he was doing it: "You can resist my body, but you cannot resist my breath." There was no wrist or forearm rotation and his hara expanded as he did it. And thats all I know about it.Hi Raul:

The real problem with "Ki" as a word is that it can be translated as "breath". And you can't develop ki without using breath (breath exercises) to do it. So it's very confusing when someone says "breath" sometimes. ;)

Best.

Mike

Erick Mead
01-21-2007, 01:34 PM
Extend underneath (how?) , breathing in, gather (how?) out of his sphere, connect (how?) with length of arm... tells me NOTHING. I'm afraid, if I were your student, you've lost me.... I generally show it and do not describe it at all in class, but this forum is a different opportunity for communication, whihc is why it is so much fun. You all who are so convinced of the "lost secrets" so doubt my bona fides, I try to break it down into what I actually do in the movement. That's what the rest of the post was describing -- in specific, step by step terms what I summarized generally at the beginning. Address the specifics, please, if you have further questions.

Essentially, the progressive rotation of the limbs and ultimately the torso from the center is like letting his force roll tangentially forward over the the top of a sphere back to me, which is the necessary complement of the forward and upward rotations I am creating underneath his point of conection. Like applying backspin on the bottom of a cue ball, only more subtle. It is aiki-otoshi in miniature. I said with your arms ALREADY extended - i.e. start from the position where uke is pushing/holding down on your already extended arms. ... which is what I gave you. Admittedly you were unclearl of the poositon (straight forward, down and out, to the side, or what have you.) A step my step description of the movements of my body as I perform kokyu tanden ho -- with my arms extended out and down. It is easier in fact, if my arms are extended straight forward already since my center is engaged directly at that point, and the righting moment of the spine in breathing in is directly engaged through the extended arms. In that mode the first breath at contact can pop him up like bread from a toaster. Ryotedori kokyunage begins with this dynamic, aprticulalry eveidemnt in ki no nagare -- he grabs me already at extension. The same is true of ryokatadori kokyunage, the expansion of the breath in the righting of the spine and center extension is just shortened to the shoulders, that's all.
OK, I'll give you the breathing part, but I'm pretty sure you don't understand that either. Breathing is part of the power chain, but not as you described. Who's playing hide the ball? Fine, you describe the action from your perspective -- preferably without the nod and wink, nudge, nudge. ;)
If you understood how breath plays a role, you'll understand how it is possible to throw someone in that position, even with your arms fully extended and locked, without resorting to any torso rotation, wrist rotation, elbow power or pelvic rotation - just by simply breathing in, holding your breath, or breathing out. Yes, as I said, if my arms are already fully extended, the breath (righting of the spine and extension of the center) comes up already under him directly, wihout any "drawing in" required.

Erick Mead
01-21-2007, 03:29 PM
Tell me more about the breathing part. I was uke for that kind of kokyu tanden ho for a Hombu shihan last year and I couldn't understand it. He said to me as he was doing it: "You can resist my body, but you cannot resist my breath." There was no wrist or forearm rotation and his hara expanded as he did it. And thats all I know about it. Sit in a chair without arms. Feet underneath the chair close to you center point. Let your arms hang down at your sides. Now slump. Exceedingly bad posture, curved "C" -- chin on chest and everything. Breathe in. Let your relaxed body respond to the internal rearrangement of structure caused by the intake of breath.

The vertebrae of the spine straighten you up like some mad tower of dominoes. The normal liveness in the arms cause them to rise and move forward with the righting of the spine, the lordosis of the lower spine becomes more pronounced and the hara extends forward, rolling out from the hips. This same dynamic occurs in any arm postion you care to adopt, if the same "liveness" (not stiffness) is kept in the arms, shoulders, and torso (and undercarriage when standing.) You exhale and it the structures of the body all settle back again in reverse.

I am big on the mechanics of the isolated actions, and concrete examples of action, but when O Sensei and many of his students (particularly Saotome Sensei, in my background) write or talk about kokyu in physical "law of nature" terms they are not kidding.

There was a show on Discover last year about volcanos. It showed (with a pile of damp sand and a big inflation jack buried at its base) how the mere inflation of magma within the structure caused the static stability of the outer elements to be lost (because they lose integrity (fracture) and are rotated out of line with the required support). It collapsed in a massive landslide outward.

Through kokyu, uke is removed from his isolated center and is obliged to occupy the the outer portions of the mutual center of a joint structure. Kokyu properly applied causes the same collapse of the portions most removed from the center. They may collapse rotating outward as with the volcano -- or inwards when the kokyu support goes away. For the inverse operation in geologic terms -- think of a sinkhole. When the inflating hydraulic "breath of waters" subsides -- the structure collapses (rotating inward) to the center under its own weight.

It is a law of nature. It cannot be successfully resisted, as your teacher said, because if it is operating properly, it is a pressure operating all over at once throughout all elements of the structure, like hydraulic pressure under the soon-to-be-sinkhole or the magma under the volcano. FWIW, the exercise I described at Ignatius' request is of the "sinkhole" variety. There are kokyu tanden ho movements that cause the collapse outward, and as everyone knows, variations of all sorts..

There is consequently no particular place to "put" effective resistance. Conversely, resistance (as I have complained about) requires a point of application, and is therefore anthithetical to kokyu.

The progressiveness of the kokyu tanden ho exercise I described helps to understanding how the links of your frame can transmit that inflation/deflation power to the periphery by coordinated limb rotations responding to breath without resistance. It is a means to understand the integration of the structural rotations communicated throughout the whole body by the fundamental structural rhythm of breath.

Erick Mead
01-21-2007, 03:50 PM
Any curve is an infinite series of infinitely small straight lines, each one at an infinitely small angle to the next.

Therefore if you can't do something linearly, you can't do it in a spiral.

Q.E.D. Come now, calculus is useful to describe some aspects of reality -- but it isn''t really.

A straight line is merely a three dimensional conic section, (circle, ellipse or paraboloa) -- seen edgewise, and the only straight-line conic section is the intersection of a surface tangent to the curved surface of the conic itself. In other words, in three or more dimensions "straight lines" are derivatively defined in relation to curved surfaces, and linear curves, and are easily mistaken where there are really underlying arcs and rotations. Q.E.D.

Categories are fun things, aren't they?

Mike Sigman
01-21-2007, 03:55 PM
Conversely, resistance (as I have complained about) requires a point of application, and is therefore anthithetical to kokyu. The problem with your personal assertion of what "kokyu" is, in that resistance is antithetical to it", is that I've seen (and so have a number of others) actual Japanese shihans stop somebody cold, not moving, and say "use kokyu" to describe the kind of power that stopped others cold.

Same thing with your idea that a "bounce" is "not Aikido", even when Ueshiba demonstrates exactly that in videos on film. This stuff permeates Asian martial arts, Erick.... you can't just assert on your own what the rules and logic are.


Regards,

Mike Sigman

statisticool
01-21-2007, 04:07 PM
The problem with your personal assertion of what "kokyu" is,..


As opposed to your personal assertion of what kokyu is?

Erick Mead
01-21-2007, 04:21 PM
Same thing with your idea that a "bounce" is "not Aikido", even when Ueshiba demonstrates exactly that in videos on film. That is not what I said. I did say that a "bounce" done the way you suggest it is or should be done involves resistance, and therefore is prima facie not appropriate to aikido. I have corrected you several times in misstating what I said on this point. Argue with something I did say. There is plenty to choose from -- I hate to edit.

I have never disputed the power of kokyu to do these things. Anyone can see them. I have asserted that what is done is done by a means different from what you suggest, and is not linear and is not resistant, like your "store/release" model. Your assertion of some linear mechanism by which these things are done, with opposing component forces, and of what kokyu is, in mechanical terms, and in relation to aikido training, I have disputed.

Argue with that, maybe.

Mike Sigman
01-21-2007, 04:40 PM
That is not what I said. I did say that a "bounce" done the way you suggest it is or should be done involves resistance, and therefore is prima facie not appropriate to aikido. Well, the films are right there for anyone to view. First you said that forces had to be at right-angles or more.... then you changed it in light of the films. Then you said that "bouncing" was not Aikido, but now you've amended it so that it's OK, as long as it's not done the way I explain it. You're a pip. Then there's the convoluted explanations you have... it appears that the convolutions allow you to assert what is correct and what is not. Who needs Ueshiba on film? ;)I have asserted that what is done is done by a means different from what you suggest, and is not linear and is not resistant, like your "store/release" model. Your assertion of some linear mechanism by which these things are done, with opposing component forces, and of what kokyu is, in mechanical terms, and in relation to aikido training, I have disputed. Don't get me wrong... I'm happy for you to believe as you like. I've stated this before. Your idea that despite all the commonalities in Asian martial arts, etc., that Aikido and the "ki skills" in it are somehow radically different from all the martial arts of Asia and that only you have seen through to the rotational subtleties is interesting to watch.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

eyrie
01-21-2007, 05:47 PM
Kokyu development needs to start with linear.

As an aside, my jujitsu instructor (who has had exposure to aiki arts via Obata, who is the patron of his organization), once commented that aikido was very linear.... FWIW.

IMO, many of the aiki taiso/"warmup" exercises are linear in nature. Funekogi undo is a good example. It's essentially the same concept as what we've been discussing - vis a vis shifting weight, push from the ground etc.

One of the exercises I use to illustrate how to do this correctly, is have a partner pull on your belt, as you rock your weight forward and backward using your big toe of your rear foot and front foot respectively.

Since a pull is the same as a push, albeit in the opposite direction, you can place a tanbo/jo at your tanden and your partner pushes into your tanden as you are doing the exercise.

IMO, this basic linear exercise is applicable to many, if not all, aikido techniques, in particular all variations of kokyu nage. It is what powers the movement. Of course there are additional "add-ons" which help add power, but they are beyond the baseline level which we are currently discussing.

eyrie
01-21-2007, 06:10 PM
Admittedly you were unclearl of the poositon (straight forward, down and out, to the side, or what have you.)

I meant straight out in front of you.... elbows locked and pointing down, arms parallel to the ground. Or were you referring to WHERE uke should be off-balanced? Does it matter? If you know how, you can off-balance in any direction - up, down, left, right, forward... or even bounce them backward...OR even make it so that they cannot lift their knees or balls of their feet without breaking their structure.

I should make a point about kokyu ho in general.... it is NOT a contest of strength - there is no win or lose. Uke does not "lose" by being off-balanced, and nage does not "win" by off-balancing uke. I think this point needs to be reinforced.

Initially, uke's role should be to provide a certain level of resistance - commensurate with nage's ability to ground and redirect forces. Uke's role is to help nage feel this.

As you both progress, uke is also working on grounding and redirecting force at all times. So, even if you as uke are taken to the ground, if nage is not grounding the force correctly, you *should*, in that position, be able to off-balance nage.

Or, if nage isn't grounding the force properly, you as uke *should* be able to exploit that and off-balance nage. If nage is using muscle tension, you as uke should be able to feel where the tension is and exploit it.

PS: Even though I made an artificial delineation between uke and nage, since it is not foreign to most people's understanding, it may be helpful to NOT think of of uke/nage as two separate roles.... think of it as being the one thing - uke is nage and nage is uke.

statisticool
01-21-2007, 06:13 PM
Who needs Ueshiba on film?


There's "bouncing" on this film

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCjySZuVDkQ

But there's also a lot of questionable things as well, however, so we have to really question the worth of a snippet of film taken from a much larger demonstration.

raul rodrigo
01-21-2007, 06:19 PM
So should we then posit that another baseline skill is the ability to do kokyu tanden ho in the manner that Ignatius describes, arms extended, palm down, without the rotation of the forearm?

Or is that a higher level than than we can discuss fruitfully at the moment?

raul rodrigo
01-21-2007, 06:23 PM
As opposed to your personal assertion of what kokyu is?


The party wouldn't be complete without Justin.

Mike Sigman
01-21-2007, 06:27 PM
So should we then posit that another baseline skill is the ability to do kokyu tanden ho in the manner that Ignatius describes, arms extended, palm down, without the rotation of the forearm?I think what Ignatius is pointing out is more the core skill of Kokyu-ho, when you remove the distracting tangents. The core skill of Kokyu-ho is simply to learn to harness the power of the ground going through you. Doing a "technique", "rotating your arms", etc., etc., are all nice things, but they are not the core of what Kokyu-ho-undo really is. "Kokyu-together-practice exercise" is for developing the power that you use in all other Kokyu throws, so to make it some specific technique only limits what students can learn from the exercise.

Kokyu-ho, Reiki-no-ho, or whatever you want to call it, is an ancient traditional exercises used by many ryu and the point was to develop the kokyu power. In that vein, many of the kokyu-ho practices had Uke simply resisting and Nage simply raising and lowering his arms using kokyu power. I honestly think it would do a lot of Aikido dojo's a lot of good to implement seated and standing kokyu-ho-undo's that are very simple, as I described.

FWIW

Mike

eyrie
01-21-2007, 06:57 PM
I think what Ignatius is pointing out is more the core skill of Kokyu-ho, when you remove the distracting tangents. The core skill of Kokyu-ho is simply to learn to harness the power of the ground going through you. Doing a "technique", "rotating your arms", etc., etc., are all nice things, but they are not the core of what Kokyu-ho-undo really is. "Kokyu-together-practice exercise" is for developing the power that you use in all other Kokyu throws....

That is precisely what I'm saying... :)

To muddy the waters even further, IMO, ALL aikido "technique" is "Kokyu-together-practice exercise".... ;)

Hmmm... aikido as "tanren" - body, mind, spirit forging? :D

Mike Sigman
01-21-2007, 07:08 PM
That is precisely what I'm saying... :)

To muddy the waters even further, IMO, ALL aikido "technique" is "Kokyu-together-practice exercise".... ;)

Hmmm... aikido as "tanren" - body, mind, spirit forging? :DSo really, the "baseline skills" are pretty simple. In fact, lo and behold, Koichi Tohei has what is at heart a fairly simple approach to the baseline skills (not that I full agree with his preferred approach), the Yiquan that Master Sum practices has a preferred approach that actually boils down in its essence to the same ideas, Taiji has the same baseline skills, and so forth. But a lot of people can't see the Baseline because they see the individual Techniques. ;)

Mike

eyrie
01-21-2007, 07:18 PM
But a lot of people can't see the Baseline because they see the individual Techniques. ;)

My teacher used to admonish us to "forget technique"... yet at the same time, senior instructors in the organization were to ensure that the "shapes" of techniques were being adequately drilled.

It's not the shape or the technique that's important... well it is and it's not. What's more important is what you don't see - this must be felt. Once you feel it, the shapes and techniques don't matter. Well, they do, but they don't at the same time.

* shovels more mud into water * :D

raul rodrigo
01-21-2007, 07:37 PM
Okay, I'd like to implement your approach, Ignatius, but I'd appreciate a few more hints on what to look for. My current mental model (as we learned it from some Aikikai shihan) is still very much technique oriented. Kokyu tanden ho is commonly presented as a way of using the inhalation into the hara coupled with the rotation of the forearm to lift uke's center (to break his connection with the ground) usually by making his elbows rise and therefore making him easy to move. This is the model that we get even from an Aikikai 7th dan. And then last year I took ukemi for a different kind of kokyu ho from a couple of Hombu instructors, Ito and Kuribayashi, and it was as you describe it. Palm down, arm extended. I felt like I'd been flicked away by a "pulse" of energy that I couldn't locate. Which is radically different from my usual experience.

So how does one know if one is using the ground in kokyu tanden ho? If you tell me that "one simply has to feel it," then that doesn't leave me any more enlightened.

eyrie
01-21-2007, 08:37 PM
Raul,

I want to make one thing clear... this is not MY approach. It's Martial Arts 101... baseline skills that are common to many Asian MA.... i.e. the true meaning of 基本.

I think you're missing the point... Kokyu-ho undo is NOT a technique. It is "breath method exercise".... EXERCISE... like weight-lifting... with the "breath".... It is body conditioning, tanren-ho, which precedes, or rather, *should* precede any actual learning of technique. The difficulty is that aikido is an integrated practice...

OK, for the moment, forget about breath, or rotation of forearm/wrist and what have you, or even worrying about the hara. That's why we're talking about "baseline" skills... so for the moment, forget everything you think you know about kokyu ho, forget what some 7th dan "showed" you and work it out for yourself... from first principles. I had to work it out myself.... sensei didn't tell me everything, and neither will I. And yes, you have to feel it... work it out for yourself and OWN it.

I love seated techniques. It's a really good way to sit like a rock, feel the ground, and the triangular base is more stable. Learn to sit like a rock. Have someone push you gently from all sides (start with the front if it makes it easier). Just feel their push go to the ground. Feel where your stable points are.

Standing... same thing.... stand like a tree, feet shoulder width apart, relaxed, arms by your side. Have someone push gently from all sides (again start with the front if it helps). Feel their push go to the ground.

Have someone push gently along your weak lines, feel the push go to the ground. Find a way to remain standing even as they push.

OR... take a walk in the park or on the beach... take your shoes off... and feel the grass and sand.... feel the ki of Heaven and Earth flow thru you... :D

Erick Mead
01-21-2007, 11:01 PM
Well, the films are right there for anyone to view. First you said that forces had to be at right-angles or more.... then you changed it in light of the films. ... Then you said that "bouncing" was not Aikido, but now you've amended it so that it's OK, as long as it's not done the way I explain it. I do you the courtesy of quoting your stated contradictions. Do not invent things and then put them in my mouth. It does not advance the discussion to merely suit your ad hominem attacks. It's all there in the archive. Please oblige me.

Another bit of advice about persuasion. Opinions are typically valued only to the degree that one is first seen to be a reliable reporter of the facts.

In addition -- I've changed nothing. "Tangency." It is a concept: action at right angles to a centripetal force, when acting along a reducing radius it forms a ballistic path, and a variable radius an orbital path. Do you know what a really tight parabolic or elliptical arc looks like if you are at the wrong angle or do not look carefully when it reverses direction ? A straight line movement. The Earth is not flat either, I should mention, appearances to the contrary not withstanding.
Your idea that despite all the commonalities in Asian martial arts, etc., that Aikido and the "ki skills" in it are somehow radically different from all the martial arts of Asia... ... No, I have no such idea, nor have I voiced any such opinion. You have accused me and others in this forum of this silly strawman argument you keep throwing into these discussions, without any foundation whatsoever, at least on my part.

There are forms of Asian arts that use the same root principles for radically different purposes -- as is true for so many things. Nitroglycerin -- heart medication ... or explosive.

I am saying that the understanding of these things in the West needs a native foundation in our model of thinking for it to take root here. I am hardly alone in this idea. These ideas will remain a wilting hothouse flower in the West until they "go native." "Jin" concepts as a basis for analysis and discussion does little to aid in that, whatever other uses it may have. We have in aikido the more generally accessible ki no kokyu concept, which I do not maintain is different, just understood differently, and perhaps differently applied -- important, maybe subtle, distinctions that seem consistently to escape you. I will not assume that it is willful -- for that would be a moral judgment.

I have offered the common sense observation that elements of the limbs rotate in order to move, and so do elements of the spine. I have illustrated the connection between actual breath and the propagation of internal rotations through the frame of the relaxed body operating as an aspect of kokyu power. I have related that to the operation of hiriki or hi-ryoku, another recognized form of kokyu power. I have step by step worked through the operation of this in one of the most commonplace "body skills" exercises in most Aikido regimens readily accessible to (and therefore independently testable by) others -- kokyu tanden ho. I have given my sense of the fundamental nature of this form of movement, following authoritative teachers on this point, notably Saotome, but limiting my focus to the mechanical aspects. -- All Aikido movement is condensed in the kokyu ho training exercise. It holds all the technical secrets. Therefore, all other techniques extend from this training. -- I have illustrated kihon that contain training in some of the same underlying kokyu skills that the Chinese video examples have shown. I have given a few points in the physics of rotation to demonstrate the facility of exponential energy magnificaton and dissipation by manipulating that form of movement and the angular momentum it creates. This gives the order of magnitude of what is seen on video, and attested by others here, such as Ledyard Sensei. I have given a mechanical analysis of the application of those underlying principles that meshes with O Sensei's principle of "absolute non-resistance."

You, leaving aside the inexplicably venomous condescension, (toward someone you do not even know), and the ad hominem arguments, have not articulated a reasoned refutation of my points at all. You haven't told us how the body moves in kokyu linearly without rotating any joints, or why that should be disregarded as a fundamental point of our attention to the basic body mechanics. You cut off discussion of kokyu tanden movements as "waza" because they do not fit your Procrustean bed.

Since I, and most of those here, do have to rotate our limbs to move about, it may have some relevance to the discussion of basic body skills that you have not, so far, demonstrated to be worthless to consider. You have not shown how your "stored" energy is accomplished without deforming the structure and thus resisting applied force, and risking injury. You have even waved away O Sensei's direct statements about non-resistance as if they were of no importance.

In short, please either lay off, or argue a point or two on the merits.
Training in musubi, irimi/tenkan principles and kokyu tanden ho should be lifelong studies as important to advanced students as they are to the beginner. Those are the baseline skillsets I am exploring.

raul rodrigo
01-22-2007, 02:31 AM
yes, ignatius, i understand that its not just your approach but all Asian MA. I meant the approach that you describe. And precisely I am trying to leave behind the waza oriented approach to kokyu tanden ho. I am not arguing. I want to understand. And i will try the pointers you suggest. Thank you.

When I mentioned that the waza oriented model came from a 7th dan, i wasnt citing an authority in order to register my opposition to your idea. I was simply trying to show that this insistence on the technique oriented approach to kokyu tanden ho can come from pretty high up in the food chain, making it that much harder for junior people like me, who are interested in other, more internal approaches, to broaden their thinking.

eyrie
01-22-2007, 02:44 AM
I am saying that the understanding of these things in the West needs a native foundation in our model of thinking for it to take root here.....Mitsugi Saotome, "Aikido and the Harmony of Nature" wrote: -- All Aikido movement is condensed in the kokyu ho training exercise. It holds all the technical secrets. Therefore, all other techniques extend from this training. --


There's nothing inconsistent with what Saotome said and what Mike & I are saying here... it's just a matter of interpretation. Although the first question I would be asking is how both Mike and I can talk about something, from different paradigms, yet we both comprehend what the other is saying? How is it that Rob John, Dan Harden and others can also speak of the same things from different perspectives, yet some of us can understand and not others?

Mitsugi Saotome, "Principles of Aikido" wrote:
Training in musubi, irimi/tenkan principles and kokyu tanden ho should be lifelong studies as important to advanced students as they are to the beginner.
Those are the baseline skillsets I am exploring.

So are we... so are we... in fact, we just spoke of baseline skills in relation to kokyu-tanden-ho.... Mike and I agree on this point, but somehow you're still trying to fit your round peg joint rotation model into a square hole of linear forces.

eyrie
01-22-2007, 02:59 AM
I am not arguing. I want to understand....i wasnt citing an authority in order to register my opposition to your idea.

Hi Raul, I recognize the genuine sincerity with which the question was asked. If I came across in any way other than positive encouragement, I sincerely apologize.

There is nothing wrong with the technique oriented approach... jujitsu is largely a technique oriented approach and they can still churn out quite capable martial artists using that paradigm - more capable than many aikido schools can IMO.

I love techniques too, don't get me wrong, but understanding the principles and knowing how to apply the principles are more important. Techniques are merely the embodiment of certain principles - i.e. they illustrate principles.

But understanding the principles helps with learning techniques better and faster. Imagine learning a new technique in a much shorter time - simply by understanding the basic principle.... that's what having the baseline skillset gives you.

As for the top-down insistence on technique oriented training approach, I'm sorry I can't help you there... other than to suggest, look to the principle and the baseline skills as the "motivation" (mechanism) for doing a technique. IOW, follow the technique as best you can, but use the baseline skill to accomplish it.

In fact, all the exercises that were mentioned before - the gist of it should form your everyday movement - i.e. every waking moment movement.

eyrie
01-22-2007, 04:19 AM
Yabusame? Can't find it in my Japanese dictionary-what does it mean?

Hi John.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InKmjTJzUGs

Not quite in the same league as Mongolian mounted archery, (but then I'm biased since I have had a Mongolian blue spot), and contrary to Erick's belief that there is no great reflection involved, it takes great skill to remain seated on the horse in full gallop whilst drawing a 100-160lb recurve composite, attempting to hit a target the size of a watermelon at 80 yards.

And again we see baseline skills in action - horse riding and archery - 2 of the 3 "virile" sports.... (the 3rd being wrestling) :D

Erick Mead
01-22-2007, 06:49 AM
Erick's belief that there is no great reflection involved, it takes great skill to remain seated on the horse in full gallop whilst drawing a 100-160lb recurve composite, attempting to hit a target the size of a watermelon at 80 yards. Skill beyond doubt. Contemplation -- not so much.

Erick Mead
01-22-2007, 07:16 AM
Mongolian mounted archery, [yabusame] [kyudo] ... And again we see baseline skills in action. Reflecting further, you give something of an example of my point. Between the three forms of archery there are common skills --but very different modes in their training and employment.

Mongolian mounted archery was famed for its accuracy and distance of engagement. Yabusame was deadly for its accuracy with high rates of target aspect change in close flanking charges past a body of infantry. Kyudo is something else again, more akin, in martial terms, to the sniper's art.

Common skills, like Lao Tsu's uncarved block, only remain undffierentiated until the carving begins, and its purpose is revealed. Then there are important, sometimes antihetical, approaches and goals to training these common skills, on the one hand to cut a tight mortise joint, or on the other hand to carve a face.

Mike Sigman
01-22-2007, 07:18 AM
We have in aikido the more generally accessible ki no kokyu concept, which I do not maintain is different, just understood differently, and perhaps differently applied -- important, maybe subtle, distinctions that seem consistently to escape you. I will not assume that it is willful -- for that would be a moral judgment. Because I don't agree with your "subtle distinctions", there must be something personally wrong with me? Heh. :) I grokked your whole wild theory plus its "subtle" ramifications the first time you wrote it out, Erick. Believe it. I read it seriously to see what, if any, redeeming points it had.
You, have not articulated a reasoned refutation of my points at all. You haven't told us how the body moves in kokyu linearly without rotating any joints, or why that should be disregarded as a fundamental point of our attention to the basic body mechanics. You cut off discussion of kokyu tanden movements as "waza" because they do not fit your Procrustean bed. Why am I going to "reason" with you on these things, Erick? I do these body skills, I teach these body skills, I am friends or acquaintences with a number of world-class experts who do and teach these things.... why am I going to go through some silliness using long words and high math, just to give some dignity to a theory that is simply wrong. It's like you asking me prove that the moon is not made out of green cheese (I can't.... but I know it's not).Since I, and most of those here, do have to rotate our limbs to move about, it may have some relevance to the discussion of basic body skills that you have not, so far, demonstrated to be worthless to consider. You have not shown how your "stored" energy is accomplished without deforming the structure and thus resisting applied force, and risking injury. You have even waved away O Sensei's direct statements about non-resistance as if they were of no importance. Take a look at the videos of O-Sensei taking a push to his body.... his body deforms. He briefly "resists". Then you turn around and act like that 's totally impossible, according to the way YOU interpret Aikido, Erick.

O-Sensei, Master Sum, and many others, in static or quasi-static cases use their bodies like tensegrity structures. Yes, there is slight deformation and during that deformation, joints slightly rotate to accomodate the rotation, but you keep missing the point that I mention about mind-willed forces, pressures and tensions, and so forth. They're important points.

The real trick comes, as I have said a number of times in a number of threads, when someone begins to learn to use these forces through a tensegrity body for movement and effecting work (in the physics sense). But we're not at that level of discussion. And we're certainly not there as long as "teachers" defend exotic ad hoc theories ad infinitum.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
01-22-2007, 08:33 AM
Because I don't agree with your "subtle distinctions", there must be something personally wrong with me? Disagree with me. Heck, pummel me into the dirt, logically -- just don't misstate me. Simple request.
Why am I going to "reason" with you on these things, Erick? Why, indeed? That would be a serious philosophical question. Which I think you just answered -- clearly.
Take a look at the videos of O-Sensei taking a push to his body.... his body deforms. He briefly "resists".
Then you turn around and act like that 's totally impossible, according to the way YOU interpret Aikido, Erick. I merely apply what I have been told and shown to resolve some useful consistency between them. And I do not claim it is "impossible" to do the things done. I just think you are incorrect in asserting how they are or should be done in relation to aikido priinciples.

And thank you. For going on record, again, that O Sensei supposedly does "bounces" by resisting with kokyu. Courtesy examples, elsewhere: Ueshiba certainly displayed episodes of the exact same "resistance" (kokyu force displays) that you say he had nothing to do with. And The main purpose is to teach someone how to use kokyu force, the essential method of movement/power in Aikido and most other Asian arts when done beyond the amateur level. Anything other than that practice is extraneous to a basic Kokyu-Tanden-ho.
.... It's the same basic practice, if you cut to the heart of the exercise. ...
Is it "resistance"? Sure. O'Sensei didn't develop his great physical strength by never using resistance to train with.... that's a completely absurd and off-base interpretation of "Aikido".

Personally, I don't use kokyu-training since I do essentially the same sort of training while standing on my legs (training them at the same time) and mixing in other elements. In that same post, last quoted, { http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=163154&postcount=365 } you actually gave Friday's depiction { http://www.neijia.com/KokyuHo.jpg } of the kokyu tanden ho mvovement, you recommended there, and that I described earlier at Ignatius' request. It even shows the same orientaiton of limb rotations that I talked about.

Now one of the following must therefore be true, either:

1) "Bounces" by resisting are part of proper aikido training and he lied that aikido is a principle of "absolute non-resistance;" or

2) "Bounces" are part of aikido, and he performed them without using any resistance; or

3) "Bounces" are a related function but not part of proper aikido training, however they are performed.

I personally woudl tend toward number 2, based on the physics and O Sensei's videos and statements. Ledyard Sensei in his post seems to me to lean toward the agnostic position of number three, in his direct experience of Saotome doing these things. I'll defer to him on that, in either event.
Take a look at the videos of O-Sensei taking a push to his body.... his body deforms. He briefly "resists".
Indisputably, O Sensei's body moves, a point that I maintained and you "resisted" some while back. As a courtesy: According to your self-styled rules, the demonstrations by Ueshiba, where someone pushed on him and he did not move, are "outside the boundaries of Aikido". And Why did O-Sensei show so many demo's where he could not be moved? And: ... 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. Dan Harden was even more unequivocal in your defense: There are many videos of Ueshiba ... both absorbing force without moving, and rebounding that force back at the guy. ... His presence on tape, showing force absorption ... pretty much defines and solidifies everything Mike has been telling you. The debate is in how he moves, and more particulalrly, whether he moves to deform his structure in resisting so as to "spring" back -- or moves in such a way to keep his structure from being deformed, and to magnify the force applied back to the attacker, or to dissipate it. In other words, what mechanical principle is operating -- that is the debate, and whether the mode of action you propose is within the training purposes of aikido.
... tensegrity body for movement Ah, yes, well, that (tensegrity = discontinuous compression spaceframes) is certainly an "improvement" (cough) over angular momentum -- in terms of common knowledge :hypno: More to the point, irrelevant. Tensegrity is structural means, not a mechanical principle. Tensegrity structures obey the same mechanical dynamic principles as anything else.

Mike Sigman
01-22-2007, 09:16 AM
Take a look at the videos of O-Sensei taking a push to his body.... his body deforms. He briefly "resists".
Then you turn around and act like that 's totally impossible, according to the way YOU interpret Aikido, Erick.
I merely apply what I have been told and shown to resolve some useful consistency between them. And I do not claim it is "impossible" to do the things done. I just think you are incorrect in asserting how they are or should be done in relation to aikido priinciples.

And thank you. For going on record, again, that O Sensei supposedly does "bounces" by resisting with kokyu.

[[snipsky]]

Now one of the following must therefore be true, either:

1) "Bounces" by resisting are part of proper aikido training and he lied that aikido is a principle of "absolute non-resistance;" or

2) "Bounces" are part of aikido, and he performed them without using any resistance; or

3) "Bounces" are a related function but not part of proper aikido training, however they are performed.

I personally woudl tend toward number 2, based on the physics and O Sensei's videos and statements. Ledyard Sensei in his post seems to me to lean toward the agnostic position of number three, in his direct experience of Saotome doing these things. I'll defer to him on that, in either event. The idea of "no resistance" is common as a basic tenet of all good Asian martial arts, Erick. Not just Aikido. You're still confusing "training/conditioning the body" with "technique". And you endlessly justify this confusion with the idea that you'll do what you practice when it comes to application. Does this mean that a fighter who lifts dumbells will automatically start doing dumbell-lifting motions when he gets into a fight? No. That's absurd.

I can withstand fairly strong pushes, but when I do my martial arts, I don't use resistance to an attack. Many people just stumble as soon as they touch me because I simply work with their balance/center.... and I use these "baseline skills" to do it. The "conditioning", aka the "baseline skills" are not the techniques, Erick. That has been repeated to you numerous times, even in this thread.

If you want to talk about "techniques", then no, one shouldn't "resist". Of course not. I.e., there is not head-to-head use of brute strength. Using techniques in which Uke can't even feel your presence is good. "Borrowing" Uke's force is good, too. There are two ways to "borrow" Uke's force in a direct, face-to-face way (this is true of all Asian martial arts). One is to take his push and pull it (a coarse description, but you get the point). The other is to reflect his incoming force so that his own force helps push him away. That also is considered "borrowing" and is NOT resistance. You have built some rigid definition of what you consider "resistance" and which does not conform with the not-to-be-done "resistance" discussed in martial arts.

However, we're NOT talking about resistance in techniques, in this thread... we're talking about how to train the baseline skills. Training the baseline skills will sometimes involve resistance for testing and learning. Even Tohei and Ueshiba have demonstrated these things, so this is a rather insane discussion that seems to on ad absurdum.
The debate is in how he moves, and more particulalrly, whether he moves to deform his structure in resisting so as to "spring" back -- or moves in such a way to keep his structure from being deformed, and to magnify the force applied back to the attacker, or to dissipate it. In other words, what mechanical principle is operating -- that is the debate, and whether the mode of action you propose is within the training purposes of aikido. I'm going to keep this simplistic. It is standard to say in terms of Ki/Qi training that the strength is not in the muscle and bones but is in the sinews and connective-tissue. Think again about a tensegrity structure. For instance Buckminster Fuller's geodesic dome (or any other polyhedric tensegrity structure) has joints, edges, and vertices. You're worried about the forces that arise from manipulating those joints. The "internal strength" aspects are more concerned with the connective tensions that unite the whole structure (in addition to the force manipulations I've mentioned, which are sort of analogous to struts within the tensegrity frame which are moved at will). I.e., you're barking up the wrong tree, Erick. And it gets more complicated because the body has to learn to move with this dependence on the cohesiveness of the "connection" of the body and also on the mind's ability to learn how to move with the addition of the mind-willed force vectors... greatly different from you idea of rotational accelerations.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
01-22-2007, 10:17 AM
Ah, yes, well, that (tensegrity = discontinuous compression spaceframes) is certainly an "improvement" (cough) over angular momentum -- in terms of common knowledge :hypno: More to the point, irrelevant. Tensegrity is structural means, not a mechanical principle. Tensegrity structures obey the same mechanical dynamic principles as anything else.Your angular moment theory, as tortured as it is in its attempt to appear refined, is by no means a fully fleshed-out representation of the complexities involved in movement. I've resisted saying that in some of your past glissandos and trillings about how physically accurate you're trying to be, but let's lay the hyperbole to rest, shall we? I understand the thrust of your argument; you understand the thrust of mine. Neither "model" is exact, but at least people reading the thread can get a quick idea of what I'm getting at without having to endure a peeing contest about whose physical analysis most accurately reflects the statics and dynamics of complicated physical movement.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
01-22-2007, 11:55 AM
You're worried about the forces that arise from manipulating those joints. Not forces, per se, but moments, which depend vastly on centering, a big topic in our art. If I can increase moment by an alteration of center I can increase the force required to accelerate the structure. It is not leverage because inertial moments do not need a physical fulcrum to be effectively maniulated. Moreover, I can add moment and disrupt energy, I can reduce moment and magnify it.

When those manipulaitons are capable of energy modulation with compound square terms -- darn-tootin' I worry about them, and consider their uses. Especially, when I see (and feel) the shapes of the rotational manipulations of limbs and integrated body movement in the kihon and kokyu tanden ho exercises, as I have described, which are the repositories of the art.

Nikkyo stops a punch with the free hand not by pain or compression to hold him off, but by eliminating the torso moment of the punch by a connected shift of the shoulder nikkyo is connected to arcing forward. Both shoulders cannot rotate forward at the same time, and the rotation powering the punch dies, and also sucks his balance away, by altering his center.

Understanding this prinicple through nikkyo, I can destroy the mechanics of the punch and his balance simultaneously with the same principle from a hand grab (Tohei demonstrated this in a video) , or merely with my hand on his shoulder, or even merely with my hip in contact with his. That movement what ever you choose ot call it is a basic skill, only the circumstance of connection differs. The "internal strength" aspects are more concerned with the connective tensions that unite the whole structure ... ... greatly different from you idea of rotational accelerations. The difference is freely admitted. Can you show that such a system is less complicated than the model I support? Relaxed structural rotations in rhythm with structural breath actuation applied tangetially or perpendicular to structures and forces of concern. Is there any square term that will allow geometric magnification or dissipation of energy in your model?
... it gets more complicated because the body has to learn to move with this dependence on the cohesiveness of the "connection" of the body and also on the mind's ability to learn how to move with the addition of the mind-willed force vectors ... Saotome wrote: "Instead of separating the techniques for study, we must study to see their similarities, the same application of principle, the same philosophical result. There is no perfect ikkyo, but any ikkyo is correct if executed spontaneously, sincerely, and in harmony with a particular situation."

Doing it, I generally do not dwell at all, if I can help it. Analyzing it afterward is a different matter. In my experience it gets simpler to do, the more capable I am of seeing the complexity, if I dwell on it, contemplate what was going on, and breaking it down in to more and more fundamental elements in common with many circumstances of interaction. It is one way to see if my mind was paying full attention as I was doing something. This is the Western Way of knowledge -- reduction, and it is admittedly incomplete -- as the Eastern Way of composite wholes is also incomplete.

I am articulating a root mechanical dynamic in Western terms but that does not conflict with other Eastern mode descriptions in holistic terms. O Sensei specifcally recommended this development in the art in scientific terms.

Such an approach can be right, with out traditional jin, ki, kokyu, or musubi concepts being wrong. I may well be wrong, and maybe someone will show that. I have been wrong before, so it doesn't particularly concern me if something closer to the truth comes to light as a result of a challenge to prove me wrong.

Mechanics is hardly all there is to aikido. A root mechanical principle is something to look for in the study of aikido, especially when talking about basic skills training such as kokyu tanden ho.

Mike Sigman
01-22-2007, 12:18 PM
Not forces, per se, but moments, which depend vastly on centering, a big topic in our art. If I can increase moment by an alteration of center I can increase the force required to accelerate the structure. It is not leverage because inertial moments do not need a physical fulcrum to be effectively maniulated. Moreover, I can add moment and disrupt energy, I can reduce moment and magnify it. Fine, but you're back to "technique". I can touch someone lightly and with jin and buckle their knees or make them fall or put them off balance, yada, yada, yada, but the converstion in the thread is about the jin.... not what you can do with it. When those manipulaitons are capable of energy modulation with compound square terms... But we're talking about the baseline skills, not the "manipulation" of someone else. Hello??? Nikkyo stops a punch... We're talking about the baseline skills, not techniques. Can you show that such a system is less complicated than the model I support? Who cares, "less complicated"? Depends on how you want to describe it. There is only one jin as a basis for the Asian martial arts. Ueshiba used it. He used the standard demo's. He talked about it with the (old) traditional terms. He moved these forces from the middle because that is the "joint" between the ground/gravity and the point of application. "How complicated" has nothing to do with it. I am articulating a root mechanical dynamic in Western terms but that does not conflict with other Eastern mode descriptions in holistic terms. O Sensei specifcally recommended this development in the art in scientific terms. Yeah, you can apply an analysis to a lot of things, but that doesn't mean your analysis is correct or that its thrust is spot on. You could say that a piston engine is about rotational moment (what isn't?) or "levers and force couples" (what isn't?) and you'd be "right", but you'd miss the point.Mechanics is hardly all there is to aikido. A root mechanical principle is something to look for in the study of aikido, especially when talking about basic skills training such as kokyu tanden ho.No one said mechanics is all there is to Aikido. None of us. Nowhere. We're talking about baseline skills.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

eyrie
01-22-2007, 05:22 PM
....You're worried about the forces that arise from manipulating those joints. The "internal strength" aspects are more concerned with the connective tensions that unite the whole structure (in addition to the force manipulations I've mentioned, which are sort of analogous to struts within the tensegrity frame which are moved at will)..... And it gets more complicated because the body has to learn to move with this dependence on the cohesiveness of the "connection" of the body and also on the mind's ability to learn how to move with the addition of the mind-willed force vectors...

I've added emphasis to Mike's points above, to highlight the key (no pun intended) idea in what to look for in developing the baseline skills we are discussing.

The basic thrust of the baseline exercises is to connect your body in various ways, using this idea of the body as a tensegrity structure - i.e. the long bones are the struts, and the sinews, tendons and connective tissue being the elastic tensioning "device" that holds the struts together.

Granted, it is a simplistic (and perhaps imperfect) model, but it may help illustrate what is currently being discussed.... in simple terms.

It may also go toward explaining why some of us consider Erick's joint rotation model to be off-base in many ways...

How does that song go? The foot bone is connected to the ankle bone, the ankle bone is connected to the shin bone, the shin bone is connected to the knee bone.... Sure, they might be connected at the joint, BUT the joint is merely the point of articulation.... something else happens first before the joint can articulate.

Instead, consider.... What makes the long bones move? What causes the body to stabilize itself? What happens when the body is under load or acted upon by a (linear) external force? What difference is there, if any, if the body is relaxed/tensed in that circumstance? How do you redistribute the load/force on your body so as not to stress it structurally? How does the "unbendable arm" thing REALLY work?

Don't take anybody's word for it...mine, Mike's, Erick's, or some 7th dan shihan... ;)

eyrie
01-22-2007, 06:05 PM
Too late to edit... meant to add "What is the purpose of the unbendable arm trick? What is this trick demonstrating and why?"

Mike Sigman
01-22-2007, 06:49 PM
Instead, consider.... What makes the long bones move? What causes the body to stabilize itself? What happens when the body is under load or acted upon by a (linear) external force? What difference is there, if any, if the body is relaxed/tensed in that circumstance? How do you redistribute the load/force on your body so as not to stress it structurally? How does the "unbendable arm" thing REALLY work?When someone pushes against Tohei's (for example) forearm, his chest, his shoulder, etc., he essentially lets the lower-body/ground handle the responsibility for the push. That is, he allows the body to form a path to the ground (this is the mind-body thing), so his body musculature doesn't have to do much more than maintain the integrity of that path. As a result, Tohei's body doesn't present as much of a moment-arm (lever arm) to the push and he's very had to push over.

This path from the push to the ground or the ground to the push (depending on how you look at it), is the essence of Kokyu. Kokyu-ho-dosa, Reiki-no-ho, etc., essentially practice moving this path through the arms while trying not to use the arms.

The "Unbendable Arm" is supposed to be simply another example of bringing the ground someplace, in this case the arm. If you push down on my arm, you're going to feel the ground, as purely as I can make it. The Ki Society may say something about a hose and water, but their visualization will bring about the same "ground" effect, for the most part. [[Incidentally, I have never liked the 'unbendable arm' demo because there are 3 or 4 ways to do it wrong and still think you've got it. I tend to avoid it because it's not a very definitive demo.]]

The interesting thing to note about the Ki-Society, IMO, is that while they use different terminology and different visualizations, they use the same principles and effects. As David Shaner Sensei began to try to give more detailed descriptions of what was really happening in some of the Ki-experiments, he easily and obviously overlapped metaphors and analogies a few times.

FWIW

Mike

eyrie
01-22-2007, 07:23 PM
The "Unbendable Arm" is supposed to be simply another example of bringing the ground someplace, in this case the arm. If you push down on my arm, you're going to feel the ground, as purely as I can make it. The Ki Society may say something about a hose and water, but their visualization will bring about the same "ground" effect, for the most part. [[Incidentally, I have never liked the 'unbendable arm' demo because there are 3 or 4 ways to do it wrong and still think you've got it. I tend to avoid it because it's not a very definitive demo.]]

My bad.... I clean forgot there are several ways to do this "exercise"... wrongly. Some people have explained it (incorrectly) as the antagonistic action of the bicep and tricep. You can relax the bicep and let the tricep accept the load (which is the WRONG way), and still have an unbendable arm... up to a certain limit.

Letting the force go to ground or bringing the ground to the arm (whichever way you look at it), is, I think, THE point of the exercise. Personally, I think the imagery of hose and water detracts from the real purpose of the exercise.... not to say that mental imagery is not a key component of the exercise, just not the imagery I would use.

raul rodrigo
01-23-2007, 01:01 AM
What imagery do you use?


R

eyrie
01-23-2007, 02:26 AM
If I told you I'd have to kill you ;)

Really, you could use whatever imagery works for you.... the point is not so much what mental image you use, as long as you're not consciously focusing on someone trying to bend your arm....

Mike Sigman
01-23-2007, 07:15 AM
What imagery do you use?First you have to be able to do it to the arm, shoulder, or someplace.... reasonably well. Then you just make the same "ground" at the arm. It becomes almost unconscious... where you want it, it's there. ;)

Mike

statisticool
01-23-2007, 09:43 AM
First you have to be able to do it to the arm, shoulder, or someplace.... reasonably well. Then you just make the same "ground" at the arm. It becomes almost unconscious... where you want it, it's there.


The ground is always where I want it; right under my feet.

It is consistent like that.

Mike Sigman
01-23-2007, 01:53 PM
Raul, I was in the mood yesterday and I made a fairly lengthy dissection, as I see it, on kokyu ho, how to approach the core skillset, etc., but it turned out better than I thought it would. So, as has happened several times in the recent past, I take a look at some of the odd posters that I'd be sharing information with and I decided not to post it here.

One of the things I've thought was timely about this thread, Justin and a couple of others putting in their nonsense, etc., is that there's a good case in point about why you don't openly share information in the martial arts. There are too many people who simply don't deserve it, haven't worked for it, would abuse it, and if they knew even a little bit they'd strut it around for their own glorification. I.e., why bother?

I'll brush it up some more and post it on QiJing in a day or so.

Regards,

Mike

Erick Mead
01-23-2007, 02:41 PM
... I made a fairly lengthy dissection, as I see it, on kokyu ho, how to approach the core skillset, etc., but it turned out better than I thought it ... I decided not to post ... don't openly share information ... too many .. don't deserve it, haven't worked for it, would abuse it, ... they'd strut it around for their own glorification. I.e., why bother? Why indeed? A question that has been asked here, before:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=161177&postcount=1

The only glory I need or look for is the words "IT IS SO ORDERED" signed off at the bottom of something I prepared.

See, in my line of work (since I don't get paid a dime in aikido) we have to confront disagreements directly and persuade not merely in the face of ignorance of the merits of a dispute, but in the face of knowledgeable and committed opposition. Honorable adversaries in my arena still find a way to share time over a beer at the end of a case, sometimes even at the end of the day.

It is always easier to preach to the willing acolyte on facts provided than to persuade the critical mind with facts contested. If you are not interested in persuasion, why are you here?

This is budo, an arena of conflict, in which are supposed we make harmony, not recline in it.

Try us.

Mike Sigman
01-23-2007, 03:11 PM
Why indeed? Erick, I think you miss the point that a number of people (even more, if you count a lot of lurkers) on this forum know a fair amount about this stuff or have encountered it and therefore have an idea of what's going on. I don't want to engage in anymore fruitless "debate" with someone who doesn't know the subject; I don't want to share things above a certain baseline on a too-public forum. Why should I? Your cite didn't say anything in real argument and your stump-posting didn't either.

Mike

raul rodrigo
01-23-2007, 03:17 PM
I'll brush it up some more and post it on QiJing in a day or so.


Pardon my ignorance, but whats QiJing? Is that a public area or a mailing list?


best


RAUL

Mike Sigman
01-23-2007, 03:37 PM
I'll PM the info, Raul, rather than create a side-topic.

Best.

Mike

eyrie
01-23-2007, 04:58 PM
And thus endeth the thread... :(

Tis unfortunate that this thread didn't get as many views as the Aikido Addict thread or as many posts as the Word War 3 thread.... which kinda says something... :(

See, Mike... I told you so... :p

statisticool
01-23-2007, 06:49 PM
One of the things I've thought was timely about this thread, Justin and a couple of others putting in their nonsense, etc., is that there's a good case in point about why you don't openly share information in the martial arts. There are too many people who simply don't deserve it, haven't worked for it, would abuse it, and if they knew even a little bit they'd strut it around for their own glorification. I.e., why bother?


Please don't let me and a few others who are below you, scare you away.

We'd miss out on crucial information on internal strength, such as

"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."

Moses
01-23-2007, 11:09 PM
From the peanut gallery,
I usually don't post because I do not have much to add. While I have figured somethings out, I know I still have much to learn. Personally I enjoy reading these debates, mostly because they expand my perspective. I listen to peoples responses & I try them out, its a learning experience, It is good thing to hear these different perspectives, to hear other points, to debate, hell its how we grow & evolve. I am thankful for all those who post their opinions & discuss the reasoning behind their positions. But what I don't understand, is why do you (Justin) keep posting subtle negative comments? Of course it is ok to disagree w/ someone, & pretty much everyone gets a little hot under the collar every now & then, but please just argue your points & keep it relevant to the discussion.
Again, thanks to all who offer their opinions
Moses

eyrie
01-24-2007, 05:03 AM
Well Moses, (and everyone else in the peanut gallery), do feel free to post what you consider to be "baseline skills" for Aikido and why.... I think the Justin, Erick and Mike show is well and truly over... (BUT... I have known to be wrong occasionally... at least my wife would like to think) and it would interesting to see what others thoughts are....

Erick Mead
01-24-2007, 08:33 AM
Well Moses, (and everyone else in the peanut gallery), do feel free to post what you consider to be "baseline skills" for Aikido and why .... This forum is a place for intellectual sharing but also intellectual challenge, not to give an easy comfort in established assumptions of knowledge. It is always easier to persuade the willing follower on facts provided, than to persuade the critical mind on facts disputed. Everything has to be vetted in training, but ideas have their own power and relevance, and their own modes of conflict and resolution.

In a forum on an art about conflict and its resolution, any set of ideas is subject to challenge. Any idea or set of ideas that simply departs the field of inquiry does not end the conflict in the sense that Aikido strives to do, by reconciling the conflict. Avoidance is not aikido. Any advocate of an idea ought to accept and indeed welcome such challenge, as long as it is both honorably and appropriately stated -- even mocking silliness may be honorable if properly done. Anybody seen the Daily Show lately?

Aikido does not shrink from conflict, but neither does it relish in it for its own sake. Foundational ideas we have gleaned in coming along our own path that give us comfort in our ordinary training should be a safety net for more precarious explorations, not a hammock to recline in. But, just as foundational ideas are not sacrosanct from challenge, novel approaches, or even novel application of old concepts from other disciplines to new areas are equally subject to challenge. All ideas are potentially useful but usefulness is circumstantial, and may reasonably be questioned, if a sound basis for questions is given.

Eddie deGuzman
01-24-2007, 09:26 AM
If it's other opinions you want, I guess I'll chime in a bit.

I studied aikido about 10 years in the U.S., but never really felt it was right. I came to Japan 12 years ago and have studied aikikai style about 6 years total. I've asked a billion questions about aikido/ki/kokyu, etc. and for the most part, no one here(in my dojo) really understands it completely. There's never really time to talk to anyone here outside of class(workaholics) and even so, the language is still somewhat a barrier. And as per this thread, it's all pretty hard to put into words. Just today I was looking at a kanji that means transport and my friend said it meant haulage(must be a British thing.) and I hadn't a clue what he was talking about. It took me a while to pick out the "haul" from his accent and work it out.

So for me, it's really great to read about what/how I am/should be doing aikido. I've almost never verbalized what I do since I came to Japan so it's nice reading it in English. Nice to read about theory/philosophy/imagery AND this baseline skillset thread, even if the read is a little bumpy. So's my aikido, buh dum bump! :D I'll preface what I write with the excuse that I don't really know anything. I'm just guessing about what I do and feel in the dojo and what I think might be happening. In my dojo we usually do seated kokyu at the end of class, and I always look forward to it. Recently I read of others doing that in the beginning and I think that's a great idea. And I suppose kokyu would be a good place to start learning aikido.

It's been said before here:
Relaxation, connection, moving from one's center, maintaining balance, smooth movement, breathing. It all seems to be important to me(especially that breathing part!) I'm not sure about the back leg talk and the friction of the feet, but I certainly feel a lowering of my center, a relaxing of the muscles, slow, controlled breathing, a centering of myself. All very vague, I know, but that's what I feel. I might not know how to do it right all the time, but I definitely know when I'm doing it wrong. :blush: And that is also important.

Nothing wrong with being a rock or a tree or connected to the center of the Earth or even being in complete harmony with the universe and overflowing with the all powerful ki stuff. And heck, rotate whatever you like as long as it works for you. :)

I think I favor how Mike has been explaining things, but at the same time I don't think Eric should be faulted for believing otherwise. A lot of what Eric said made sense to me. But perhaps Eric could explain what he would think a good skillset would consist of and how to teach it using his concepts and jargon and allow Mike his beliefs.

Would like to learn more in this thread so if you all have more to say, please do. I'll soak it all up like Sponge Bob Squarepants. :cool:

Thanks all,
Eddie

Mike Sigman
01-24-2007, 09:58 AM
In a forum on an art about conflict and its resolution, any set of ideas is subject to challenge.

When you are deluded and full of doubt, even a thousand books of scripture are not enough.

When you have realized understanding, even one word is too much.

Fen-Yang

It's one thing to debate perspectives of strong ideas; it is another thing to never get to the ideas but to only argue the alphabet with which they're written.

Mike Sigman

shodan 83
01-24-2007, 11:48 AM
Mike we can only lead them to the water, you can't make anyone drink from the well. So if those of you out there who wish to discount the validity of the arguments, that is your prerogative. There are many of us who realize that there is more to this any many other arts which was there that isn't now, or more accurately for a myriad of reasons hasn't been passed down. So go along and discount it as non-valid, enjoy your training and don't worry about it.

E

Erick Mead
01-24-2007, 01:41 PM
When you are deluded and full of doubt, even a thousand books of scripture are not enough.

When you have realized understanding, even one word is too much.
Fen-Yang
It's one thing to debate perspectives of strong ideas; it is another thing to never get to the ideas but to only argue the alphabet with which they're written.Sigh.

At one time, a pertinent quotation was a measure of a good education. These days it may merely demonstrate a good browser. Still, the wisdom is there, whatever the facility that brings it out.

Niels Bohr said that the opposite of a small truth is false -- the opposite of a great truth is also true.
It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. ~ Epictetus

Erick Mead
01-24-2007, 02:26 PM
I think I favor how Mike has been explaining things, but at the same time I don't think Eric should be faulted for believing otherwise. A lot of what Eric said made sense to me. But perhaps Eric could explain what he would think a good skillset would consist of and how to teach it using his concepts and jargon and allow Mike his beliefs.

Would like to learn more in this thread so if you all have more to say, please do. If you have practiced furitama, or a related exercise tekubi furi (hand shaking) the shaking of the arms and body with it, you will feel the the cyclical rotations of your arms connecting and communicating all the way to your belly. Especially if you do it with the weight slightly forward on the toes (a la Shioda). That is the "liveness" of connection you want to feel in every movement you do -- whether you call it "waza" or exercise or anything else. But that "feel" is just a guide -- it does not get you to applied movement, or anything remotely approaching a "skill" worthy of the name. In Tekubi furi you will notice that the segments of your arms are doing little reciprocal rotations back and forth as you shake your hands over your head, and they feel sort of "taut" in a way that is different from "muscle."

The type of things that Mike talks about are, from my perspective, a mixture of his (somewhat different) approach to mechanical exploitation (internal as well as external) with the same "liveness" of the furitama exercise connecting everything together.

What I want my arms and body to feel like and do is what they do like shaking wet noodles when I do furitama, but capable of action in reverse, also, and potenitally like cold taffy - fluid but initially very viscous when performing kihon technique or partner exercises. Then everything can flows like a slow motion waterfall. And water flows into gaps, doesn't it ?

On kokyu tanden ho, your partner attempts to apply a rotation to your body, through the arm or shoulder, typically, ultimately to topple you off your base of support and collapse you. Whether this occurs by a push, a grab or a punch is really only a matter of circumstance degree, and coordination of effort.

Unless one side is fixed, rotate any object and one side of ti experiences motion in one direction and the opposing side experiences motion in the other direction. Because of the mechanism of our bodies we move by rotating our limbs around joints. (We do not have any "trombone" mechanics. And the only hydraulics, well , ... just are not polite to talk about.) Each end of a limb tends to rotate one way when the other end is rotating the other, or esle we fix one end (usually with muscular restraint) and use the resulting additonal moment to generate power at the free end. But the potential of that tendency to rotate the fixed end of the limb segment remains and cannot be done away with.

If you fix one side or the other to a support then that side receives a moment against the support, and one can apply the pinned moment into an attack at the other side of the limb that is free to swing. If you "unfix" that support, the moment is then unstuck and "pops free" uncommanded -- removing the added moment it was contributing at the attacking side -- a road to kuzushi.

Looking from the other perspective, some portion of nage is, inevitably on either side of uke's connection inducing the rotation on you thus one side going one way and one side going the other -- in other words, as O Sensei said, you are already behind him. You perhaps just have not gotten top the point of perceiving that yet. Now like the fluid glacier -- flow throught he gap and burst the dam.

Take the kokyu tanden ho wrist grab. It illustrates that you are behind him at the moment of attack. Your whole hand is already, literally, behind his point of attack. The unschooled instinct is to resist the rotation (typically being applied down and forward from the top) into your forearm, by means of the stuff on "your" side of the attack. I, early on, neglected the fact that I am also on the other side of the attack, where my hand is. (Behind enemy lines so to speak and therefore capable of much mischief.) A basic bodyskill is therefore an awareness of what part of me at any given moment is placed where in relation to his actual or potential attack. Aikido looks for potential to exploit.

By rotating your hand, in the same direction but behind his wrist, he cannot resist, as you are "helping" his rotation at the wrist. The forearm/wrist joint is also pivoting down in front as the hand pivots up behind. By also giving way on the front by entering and turning under it, you also are entering even more fully from the rear. You are shifting his point of application more within your sphere of control, than his.

Your rotation behind his wrist also affects the rotation of the forearm at the elbow, since they are connected, and counter to the rotation that is necesssary to push against you ( abut since he is trying to rotate the other end, not really opposing him at all) That further saps the moment he his trying to generate against you. If he keeps pushing, that continued rotation from behind begins to affect the connection at the shoulder, ultimately un-fixing it and then all that braced moment at the shoulder/torso "pops" out --- and it's all over but the shouting.

Yes I know it's is kihon and I know it will be called waza, but the end of all this practice is to stop feeling the difference between his arms and yours and just "shake" them out -- easily (fast or slow) --just like his arms are your arms. And just like you feel the tekubi furi or furitama exercises, shaking yourself in the belly when you shake your own arms -- you literally touch his center in this same exact way. Mike's point is about focussing on the internal so as to preclude the external influence from operating. My training has taught me to make the external itself, internal to my operation.

Ikkyo relies on these same dynamics of what is before and behind the attack at the point of connecting with the attack. The feel of that placement, of the liveness of connection at that place and a rudimentary sense of what roads are open to you from that point are part of my understanding of basic skills.

eyrie
01-24-2007, 05:33 PM
Yes I know it's is kihon and I know it will be called waza

I think it would judicious to separate the kihon from kihon waza... literally... kihon precedes waza (whether it's kihon or oyo or what-have-you waza). Kihon is fundamental bodyskills - the "mechanics" if you like - that is used to power waza.

The feel of that placement, of the liveness of connection at that place and a rudimentary sense of what roads are open to you from that point are part of my understanding of basic skills.

Well, you're still really talking about the finer points of technical application - in kihon waza... a basic skill perhaps, in applying technique, but very different to the "baseline skills" we're talking about....IMO.

raul rodrigo
01-24-2007, 09:07 PM
Erick, you're still insisting that kokyu tanden ho is about wrist rotation. How do you account for the kokyu tanden ho of Kuribayashi shihan, where there is no wrist rotation to speak of? His hands are extended palm down and they dont rotate.

Gernot Hassenpflug
01-25-2007, 07:25 AM
I think it would judicious to separate the kihon from kihon waza... literally... kihon precedes waza (whether it's kihon or oyo or what-have-you waza). Kihon is fundamental bodyskills - the "mechanics" if you like - that is used to power waza.

Not sure if this is what you you're referring to, but the fundamentals are referred to as "kiso" ( 基礎 ), and on top of that are built the "kihon" ( 基本 ) of which an example might be irimi and tenkan movements. So learning the kiso is vital but people don't openly teach that. Abe Seiseki sensei often mentions that people don't study kiso enough - I think he means that in doing kihon and kihon waza one should be studying the kiso that underlie it, not to mention doing special training to develop those kiso.

Regards, Gernot

Mike Sigman
01-25-2007, 07:28 AM
Not sure if this is what you you're referring to, but the fundamentals are referred to as "kiso" ( 基礎 ), and on top of that are built the "kihon" ( 基本 ) of which an example might be irimi and tenkan movements. So learning the kiso is vital but people don't openly teach that. Abe Seiseki sensei often mentions that people don't study kiso enough - I think he means that in doing kihon and kihon waza one should be studying the kiso that underlie it, not to mention doing special training to develop those kiso.Thanks, Gernot. That's exactly what I was looking for.

Best.

Mike

Eddie deGuzman
01-25-2007, 09:51 AM
Hi Eric,

It's obvious you have thought a great deal about this topic and I appreciate you taking the time to put those thoughts down for us all.

For the moment there seems to be the idea that the how of aikido can be separated from the what of aikido. And if I'm not mistaken, you take the more holistic approach wherein the how is embedded in the what, and therefore it becomes quite difficult to discuss one surface of a two surface slice of bread. Fair enough.

Mike, forgive me if I'm off base, but what I seem to be hearing from you is that the underlying how of aikido can be taught an easier way. And once this how of aikido is learned, it can be carried over to every technique, thus saving us all a couple of decades of frustration and mat time.(Not that we won't be on the mat anyway! :) ) Personally, I love shortcuts. Show me the way!

Eric, a couple of things I'm unclear about with your view on things...
Raul mentioned rotation so let's begin there. Am I correct in thinking that you believe all motion of the human body involves rotation? Granted, without joint manipulation there isn't much going on. But are there not different types of joints? The definition I am familiar with fits more with ball and socket movement. Pronation and supination involve rotation, yet other joints, to my knowledge, involve flexion and extension. Is this also rotation to you?

When you mention moment, are you refering to speed and not moments in time? Just trying to make it clear to myself.

As for limbs moving for opposition, it sounds very much like yin/yang, inyou principles, another subject in which I am ignorant. What I imagine here, and I may be very far off from what you have in mind, is an attack force making contact and you accept that, allowing for an opposite, perhaps equal force, remaining in balance generating more power/momentum and neutralizing the attack through redirection or perhaps ending with a pin. Am I close?

In front and behind the attacker...Sometimes, not always, working on it. Sometimes nicer when you visualize the attacker not even there.

Eric, in my dojo we do shake our hands, but I'm not sure what you mean by furitama. Tama alone means ball so I shudder to think what shaking this tama means.

Thanks again everyone for the insight. Let's keep in mind though that no matter how much we discuss water, it still won't quench our thirst. :)

Tomorrow is workout night, do I dare even broach the subject? :rolleyes:

Cheers,
Eddie

Michael Young
01-25-2007, 12:55 PM
For the moment there seems to be the idea that the how of aikido can be separated from the what of aikido. And if I'm not mistaken, you take the more holistic approach wherein the how is embedded in the what, and therefore it becomes quite difficult to discuss one surface of a two surface slice of bread. Fair enough.

Mike, forgive me if I'm off base, but what I seem to be hearing from you is that the underlying how of aikido can be taught an easier way. And once this how of aikido is learned, it can be carried over to every technique, thus saving us all a couple of decades of frustration and mat time.

Now we're talkin'. My hope when this thread was started was that the fundamental things (the "Kiso" as Gernot wrote) is what would be discussed. I would like to see Mike and some of the others that practice these things maybe write up a description of what precisely they think should be practiced (or point us to someplace where a description can be found that they've already written). Then we can discuss and clarify those actual things. Of course the problem is the usual digression that these threads tend to follow. Mike,or Dan, or John (who has actually already started a thread with some specific descriptions of what he does, etc.) whattdya think? How about submitting an article to Jun? Personally, I would like to see Mike have a continuing column. I know not everyone here agrees with what he and others always say, but the discussion of such an article could give the venue for all of that; while the column(s) itself could give an opportunity for the writer to get ac cross descriptions and ideas without the continual interruption of personal attacks and digressions for the sake of digression. Take some of the argument out of it, so that we can just read the info. Of course here I am pulling the thread off topic, sorry.

Back to lurking,

-Mike

Ron Tisdale
01-25-2007, 01:04 PM
It's an excellent suggestion!

Best,
Ron

Alec Corper
01-25-2007, 01:28 PM
If only it were that simple. After all some of us are already at least Shihans in Netdo, the amount of finger time we put into expressing our views. Not able to stay out of it, more fool me, I would say that it is virtually impossible to learn internal exercises through reading other people's descriptions. It is already incredibly hard if you find a genuine teacher. No disrespect to Mike but I have great doubt in shortcuts through explanation, my experience tells me different. Of course I may be a poor learner so my opinions are a bit biased. I watched films of Ark before I trained with him, it looked fairly obvious, but oh dear, its not.
I know many of us feel that its not fair if we don't have access to a teacher, but hey, we've got the Net. Pretty soon we can all sound like we know what we are talking about, but honestly after 30 years of training in different MA I've only felt a handful of people who made me think there was anything more going on than good bio-mechanics. Of those only a couple who could really give me some explanation, but whatever I got was skin to skin first and then mind to mind. I'm old fashioned, I still believe that body training requires body contact.

Ron Tisdale
01-25-2007, 01:37 PM
Hey Alec, no arguement there. But the flip side is that by opening our minds, and preparing the ground, we can do something as we search.

There is also the fact (in my mind anyway) that the training regimines that many of us pursue already hold many of the keys to this. It's a change in attention, focus, mind that brings about the changes in our bodies. I don't expect to learn this material in my body by reading...but I do expect to learn as much as possible, refocus my keiko, and when the hands on comes, be able to take full advantage of it.

I also laugh at the idea of this being a shortcut...everything credible that I've heard says it's not. A better way perhaps. Focusing in on this is probably better than waiting for 20 years to really get started. But a shortcut? I think not.

Best,
Ron (that's my story and I'm sticking to it)

Erick Mead
01-25-2007, 01:37 PM
Raul mentioned rotation so let's begin there. Am I correct in thinking that you believe all motion of the human body involves rotation? Granted, without joint manipulation there isn't much going on. But are there not different types of joints? The definition I am familiar with fits more with ball and socket movement. Pronation and supination involve rotation, yet other joints, to my knowledge, involve flexion and extension. Is this also rotation to you? Yes. Which is why it is counter-intuitive to many people. Try doing a push-up. You will notice that your forearm and upper arm are actually rotating, end for end, with respect ot the plane of the floor -- and in opposing directions. That is a "push" and a "pull" is just precisely the reverse set of opposed rotation. Kokyu does not use that.

Now, stand and put your right hand at your left shoulder, palm down. Now extend the arm as though cutting horizontally in front of you with a sword. All your limb segments (hand, forearm, upper arm) are rotating, end for end -- in the same direction -- clockwise viewed from above, both collectively -- and individually. This is "cutting" kokyu motion as distinct from "pushing" motion.

The inverse of "cutting" kokyu is "gathering" -- for lack off a better word. It is the most difficult to distinguish because most people instinctively "pull" the arm even after much correction. Hindbrain primate thing, I guess.

In the earlier cutting example given, gathering the right arm back to the left shoulder, all the parts are rotating counter-clockwise. The same extension outward is involved in the inward gathering kokyu motion as in the cutting kokyu motion, whihc is eye-goggling for some people at first. It is like gathering a big bale of something that you are trying to reach "around" as much as you are trying to bring it toward you. The arm as a whole and in all its parts all are rotating in the same direction -- but the reverse rotation as the cut with the same arm.

Gathering is the motion most commonly used initally in kokyu tanden ho (by no means exclusively). It is performed with the same extension as cutting. That extension is directly related to the type of differential rotations of the limbs and their parts. The shihonage entry absolutely depends on the correct use of this type of motion

When you mention moment, are you refering to speed and not moments in time? Just trying to make it clear to myself. Moment is measure of force applied to a rotating body at a distance from the axis of rotation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moment_%28physics%29

Leverage is one clever application of moment. Aikido uses some differently clever aspects of moment -- and leverage in the sense of a fixed fulcrum is not used. Rather signifcant parts of aikido are much more about "unfixing" or fiddling with the fulcrum (center or axis of rotation) that others are trying to use against us. Centers can be moved and with them the relative moments that are in play change instantaeously.

Moments can be applied and they are also inherent in the inertia of a rotating body.That inertial moment varies depending on the axis of interest. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moment_of_inertia
As for limbs moving for opposition, it sounds very much like yin/yang, inyou principles, another subject in which I am ignorant. What I imagine here, ... is an attack force making contact and you accept that, allowing for an opposite, perhaps equal force, remaining in balance generating more power/momentum and neutralizing the attack through redirection or perhaps ending with a pin. Am I close? Not exactly. Never opposing force. Apply force at a point "behind" his attack. That is to say, behind the point at which he is trying to apply the moments he has generated to create force, acceleration and injury to you. This allows you to shift the center of his rotation and destroy his leverage advantage. And in additon you aptypically apply your kokyu motion to the direction of the natural rotation of the other end of the body part you are addressing IF it were free to rotate. But for his immobilizing that joint with musculature -- it would naturally rotate oppsoite the attacking side. Youare in fact removing his "unnatural" restraint to his applied motion -- and not opposing the force he is applying with it at all.

You touch a point "behind" the attack, and assist the "pinned" part of the moment arm of his limb to become "unstuck." Essentially, you are removing his own resistance to the reciprocal tendency of rotation in his body caused by his own attacking motion. It frees that end of the attacking part to rotate naturally (like a stick rotates after being thrown) and his energy of attack feeds back to him naturally through his own body, instantaneously. At the very least, it destroys the stability of his aim - and if done well destroys his stability entirely.

For instance, shomenuchi ikkyo --- as soon as I can make the shoulder joint rise up and away away from the torso (the natural tendency of rotation if the hand is descending in a downward arc) the force of attack that he was using that point of fixture to generate disappears. He is no longer able to set his arm against the anchor of his torso for support through that joint.

But since he was already pushing the attacking hip forward, now the arm has risen away and (becasue of my irimi) is now rotating up and back. His upper torso is now being whipped uderneath by his own forward momentum at the hips carrying underneath the now detached "clothesline," if you will, of his own arm. This freely rotates him in the direction of the attacking turn to face away from nage, as he is also rotating to place his shoulder at the level of his hips. The natural rotation upon being unstuck at the shoulder reverberates his energy back through his spine/torso to his center, in the same way as the tekubi furi sensation is fetl in the hara, creating kuzushi. That is what ikkyo is.

I do this by engaging at his arm just behind his attacking hand and then progressively moving further inward from there, and gaining further connection with the other hand. That is waza.

But you can you perform the fundamental ikkyo interaction with one hand. That initial aspect of gathering and cutting is the basic bodyskill that ikkyo illustrates and that runs through nearly everything in one form or another. You can practice it statically in a kokyu tanden exercise with arms up in shomenuchi posture and hands up and the wrists back-to-back. and letting one attacka dn the other apply, and then reversing.
Eric, in my dojo we do shake our hands, but I'm not sure what you mean by furitama. Tama alone means ball so I shudder to think what shaking this tama means. Actually, one kanji for "tama" is "jewel(s)" but let's not go there ... :eek: "Tama" [ 魂 ] means soul/spirit in this context, usually pronounced "kon" or "tamashii" when seen alone. Furitama is a more general term, but the more usual exercise is seen with the hands clasped in front of the hara, shaking them the arms and the center from that point
Thanks again everyone for the insight. Let's keep in mind though that no matter how much we discuss water, it still won't quench our thirst. :) Amen to that . More beer!

Tomorrow is workout night, do I dare even broach the subject? :rolleyes: Do whatever your teacher says. This is analytical, a place to plan for and contemplate training, not a place to train. Just train.

Mike Sigman
01-25-2007, 01:38 PM
I would like to see Mike and some of the others that practice these things maybe write up a description of what precisely they think should be practiced (or point us to someplace where a description can be found that they've already written). Then we can discuss and clarify those actual things. Of course the problem is the usual digression that these threads tend to follow. Mike,or Dan, or John (who has actually already started a thread with some specific descriptions of what he does, etc.) whattdya think? How about submitting an article to Jun? Well, as has been pointed out, a discussion of basic skills is fine, but the problem is that too many of these things need to be actually felt and shown to be understood. Look at some of the posts and explanations I got into with Rob Liberti (that went from friendly to great friction). After many in-depth written descriptions but with no personal "feel", Rob got fairly outraged that the implication was the he didn't know how to do something, his teachers had taught him all that, yada, yada. Then, a couple of months ago, Rob visits Dan and gets a hands-on feeling for what some of the jin/kokyu stuff really is and suddenly he's a convert and is visiting Dan (I have no idea of Dan's skills personally, but the descriptions indicate that he's playing around with jin, for sure). So what did all those detailed writings of how to do things accomplish? Nothing much. So an extensive column wouldn't do much good until more people were on board and the discussions got around to whose approach to do such-and-such is best, what's the best way to get skill Y, etc., etc.

But, I'm fairly positive. Things have reached a critical momentum and there are enough people practicing some of these skills that I think things are just fine. ;) Anyone who wants to ignore them and stick with the more external, technique-oriented approach is essentially looking at a dead end, IMO.

Best.

Mike

Mike Sigman
01-25-2007, 01:45 PM
I also laugh at the idea of this being a shortcut...everything credible that I've heard says it's not. A better way perhaps. Focusing in on this is probably better than waiting for 20 years to really get started. But a shortcut? I think not.I agree (you guys all posted, just as I was essentially saying the same thing). The point I'd make is that the main purpose (IMO) all these internet debates have is to alert many in the upcoming generation that there is something very important they need to get information on. That's it. Anything above that is gravy. I usually write with the intention of providing an earlier me (the one who couldn't get any information even though I knew there was something important there) with the clues of where to go. Convincing an experienced martial-artist of *any style* (not just Aikido) that he needs to totally recoordinate his movement patterns is danged hard to do... for him/her to actually do it is even harder. I already knew that coming in, so the idea of "shortcuts" I'd forego for "hints". ;)

Best.

Mike

Brion Toss
01-25-2007, 02:13 PM
Wow. Just read the entire thread. Again. And aside from a certain amount of (perhaps understandable) sniping, there is a lot of meat in the respective camps' expositions. Perhaps one cause of friction/misunderstanding though, lies in our failure to define terms. The original question involved what "constitutes a baseline skillset". Skill, in my favorite dictionary is defined variously as,"1. Proficiency, facility, or dexterity that is acquired or developed through training or experience. 2a. An art, a trade, or a technique [!], particularly one requiring the use of the hands or body. 2b. A developed talent or ability..." A skillset is a group of related skills, but which meaning(s) do we use here?
"Baseline" has even more, and more varied meanings, with the usage in configuration management, "providing a basis for logical comparison", being about as close as I can get to what seems to be the subject here. Perhaps the poster meant "basic"?
"Baseline skillset", then, could mean a number of things. Throughout these pages, Mr. Sigman and others appear to have chosen the meaning, in this context, to be exercises conducive to developing the ability to generate a specific form of force, with the idea being that this force would then be available in the execution of techniques. One analogy was to train with weights, not because the lifting of them would directly inform a particular application, but because doing so would enable one to perform that application with more power. In an Aikido context, Ledyard sensei conjectured that development of ki strength could be useful in enabling more powerful atemi. In any event, the proponents of this view have repeatedly insisted upon separating principles from waza.
Mr. Mead (Mead sensei?) appears to be saying that the kihon waza embody the baseline skillset, that all of the fundamental principles and skills of Aikido are right there in front of us, embedded in the waza. He further indicates that the kind of practices that Mr. Sigman is advocating are antithetical to the practice of Aikido, that even though they produce an effect, it is not an effect consistent with good Aikido practice.
Both sides have employed mathematical justifications for their views, and it is on this level that I, personally, find the most compelling evidence one way or the other (I haven't trained with either person, so the logical arguments are what I have to work with). Mr. Sigman seems to have a working knowledge of basic geometry, but my impression is that, rather than using it to describe his practice, he uses it to rationalize it, and refuses to acknowledge other models. So he'll go on for a while talking about angular momentum and dear Mr. Newton, and then retreat to vague references of power sources and a need not to post information on a public site for people who haven't worked for it. Now I have no doubt as to the existence of those power sources, but I find this approach annoying for two reasons: the mathematical model does not appear to correspond to the phenomena being discussed; and I distrust the "it's a mystery for the initiates" schtick. Furthermore, rather than defend his calculations, or find provable flaws in competing calculations, he's inclined to attack (... why am I going to go through some silliness using long words and high math, just to give some dignity to a theory that is simply wrong. It's like you asking me prove that the moon is not made out of green cheese (I can't.... but I know it's not") ). If a theory is wrong, say why. If you can't say why, say that, rather than dismissing it as "simply wrong". And if you know the moon is not made out of green cheese, but can't say even roughly why, it rather throws doubt on your ability to explain something far more immediate.
Mead's math is more difficult to follow, but it is internally consistent, and he makes frequent and detailed references to the bases for his argument, drawing on an impressive array of engineering source material. He also responds, in like detail, to objections to his math. And of course he makes a committed, consistent effort to base his calculations on the teachings of the Founder, rather than relying on generalized references to practices found "in all Asian arts." He is attempting to provide an accurate mathematical model for the principles of Aikido.
To return to the original question, I would be inclined to say that the kihon waza do, in fact, embody the basic skillset of Aikido --- that seems to be the point of the kihon waza --- and that ki exercises bear the same relationship to Aikido as weightlifting does to baseball: possibly useful for power, but not at the heart of things.

Michael Young
01-25-2007, 02:19 PM
I absolutely agree that "netdo" ain't gonna work. Hands on transmission is really the only thing that does. As some have already pointed out above though, the exploration and description of this stuff is an important way of opening up doors for people. If it wasn't for some of the stuff I have experienced firsthand over the last year or so, I'd probably still be doing the same thing I always have. However, Ive gleaned a lot from reading all of the posts from "Aikido outsiders" over the past few months. Not only has it broadened my horizons intellectually, it has also given me a lot of direction of where to go to at least start finding some of what I have been missing. Maybe I'm the exception to the rule, I don't know. I do know that it is important that in order to improve ourselves and advance our art information is needed...information that at this point is not only hard to find, but doesn't even exists in many practitioner's minds. I think that "netdo" can definitely be a tool to change that, and I appreciated the time and effort that goes into the dissemination of this kind of info. For me, its brought me to the point where I'm actively going out to get the "hands-on", maybe it will do the same for others, and the level of everyone understanding can leap up a notch.

Mike Sigman
01-25-2007, 04:18 PM
Wow. Just read the entire thread. Again. And aside from a certain amount of (perhaps understandable) sniping, there is a lot of meat in the respective camps' expositions. Perhaps one cause of friction/misunderstanding though, lies in our failure to define terms. The original question involved what "constitutes a baseline skillset". Skill, in my favorite dictionary is defined variously as,"1. Proficiency, facility, or dexterity that is acquired or developed through training or experience. 2a. An art, a trade, or a technique [!], particularly one requiring the use of the hands or body. 2b. A developed talent or ability..." A skillset is a group of related skills, but which meaning(s) do we use here?
"Baseline" has even more, and more varied meanings, with the usage in configuration management, "providing a basis for logical comparison", being about as close as I can get to what seems to be the subject here. Perhaps the poster meant "basic"?
"Baseline skillset", then, could mean a number of things. Throughout these pages, Mr. Sigman and others appear to have chosen the meaning, in this context, to be exercises conducive to developing the ability to generate a specific form of force, with the idea being that this force would then be available in the execution of techniques. One analogy was to train with weights, not because the lifting of them would directly inform a particular application, but because doing so would enable one to perform that application with more power. In an Aikido context, Ledyard sensei conjectured that development of ki strength could be useful in enabling more powerful atemi. In any event, the proponents of this view have repeatedly insisted upon separating principles from waza.
Mr. Mead (Mead sensei?) appears to be saying that the kihon waza embody the baseline skillset, that all of the fundamental principles and skills of Aikido are right there in front of us, embedded in the waza. He further indicates that the kind of practices that Mr. Sigman is advocating are antithetical to the practice of Aikido, that even though they produce an effect, it is not an effect consistent with good Aikido practice.
Both sides have employed mathematical justifications for their views, and it is on this level that I, personally, find the most compelling evidence one way or the other (I haven't trained with either person, so the logical arguments are what I have to work with). Mr. Sigman seems to have a working knowledge of basic geometry, but my impression is that, rather than using it to describe his practice, he uses it to rationalize it, and refuses to acknowledge other models. So he'll go on for a while talking about angular momentum and dear Mr. Newton, and then retreat to vague references of power sources and a need not to post information on a public site for people who haven't worked for it. Now I have no doubt as to the existence of those power sources, but I find this approach annoying for two reasons: the mathematical model does not appear to correspond to the phenomena being discussed; and I distrust the "it's a mystery for the initiates" schtick. Furthermore, rather than defend his calculations, or find provable flaws in competing calculations, he's inclined to attack (... why am I going to go through some silliness using long words and high math, just to give some dignity to a theory that is simply wrong. It's like you asking me prove that the moon is not made out of green cheese (I can't.... but I know it's not") ). If a theory is wrong, say why. If you can't say why, say that, rather than dismissing it as "simply wrong". And if you know the moon is not made out of green cheese, but can't say even roughly why, it rather throws doubt on your ability to explain something far more immediate.
Mead's math is more difficult to follow, but it is internally consistent, and he makes frequent and detailed references to the bases for his argument, drawing on an impressive array of engineering source material. He also responds, in like detail, to objections to his math. And of course he makes a committed, consistent effort to base his calculations on the teachings of the Founder, rather than relying on generalized references to practices found "in all Asian arts." He is attempting to provide an accurate mathematical model for the principles of Aikido.
To return to the original question, I would be inclined to say that the kihon waza do, in fact, embody the basic skillset of Aikido --- that seems to be the point of the kihon waza --- and that ki exercises bear the same relationship to Aikido as weightlifting does to baseball: possibly useful for power, but not at the heart of things. Brian.... it's been a long time since you've been able to get a shot off at me. Congratulations on cloaking it in a "if I had to make a choice" post. But what do you KNOW about ki and kokyu? In the past, you've shown that you know nothing, so stop with the pseudo-judgements already. The thread is convoluted enough.

Mike

eyrie
01-25-2007, 05:35 PM
Not sure if this is what you you're referring to, but the fundamentals are referred to as "kiso" ( 基礎 ), and on top of that are built the "kihon" ( 基本 ) of which an example might be irimi and tenkan movements. So learning the kiso is vital but people don't openly teach that. Abe Seiseki sensei often mentions that people don't study kiso enough - I think he means that in doing kihon and kihon waza one should be studying the kiso that underlie it, not to mention doing special training to develop those kiso.

Regards, Gernot

Thanks Gernot... YES, 基礎 = foundation, base or basis of the fundamentals 基本. That's precisely what we're talking about. But I see Mike has already beat me to it...

eyrie
01-25-2007, 05:40 PM
....there is a lot of meat in the respective camps' expositions. Perhaps one cause of friction/misunderstanding though, lies in our failure to define terms. The original question involved what "constitutes a baseline skillset". Skill, in my favorite dictionary is defined variously as,"1. Proficiency, facility, or dexterity that is acquired or developed through training or experience. 2a. An art, a trade, or a technique [!], particularly one requiring the use of the hands or body. 2b. A developed talent or ability..." A skillset is a group of related skills, but which meaning(s) do we use here?
"Baseline" has even more, and more varied meanings, with the usage in configuration management, "providing a basis for logical comparison", being about as close as I can get to what seems to be the subject here. Perhaps the poster meant "basic"?
"Baseline skillset", then, could mean a number of things. Throughout these pages, Mr. Sigman and others appear to have chosen the meaning, in this context, to be exercises conducive to developing the ability to generate a specific form of force, with the idea being that this force would then be available in the execution of techniques.

This part was good... until the paragraph starting with "Mr Mead..."

Can we leave out the (perhaps understandable, but completely unnecessary and unproductive) sniping? Thanks in advance for your cooperation... :)

statisticool
01-25-2007, 05:45 PM
Throughout these pages, Mr. Sigman and others appear to have chosen the meaning, in this context, to be exercises conducive to developing the ability to generate a specific form of force, with the idea being that this force would then be available in the execution of techniques.
...
Both sides have employed mathematical justifications for their views, and it is on this level that I, personally, find the most compelling evidence one way or the other (I haven't trained with either person, so the logical arguments are what I have to work with). Mr. Sigman seems to have a working knowledge of basic geometry, but my impression is that, rather than using it to describe his practice, he uses it to rationalize it, and refuses to acknowledge other models. So he'll go on for a while talking about angular momentum and dear Mr. Newton, and then retreat to vague references of power sources and a need not to post information on a public site for people who haven't worked for it. Now I have no doubt as to the existence of those power sources, but I find this approach annoying for two reasons: the mathematical model does not appear to correspond to the phenomena being discussed; and I distrust the "it's a mystery for the initiates" schtick. Furthermore, rather than defend his calculations, or find provable flaws in competing calculations, he's inclined to attack (... why am I going to go through some silliness using long words and high math, just to give some dignity to a theory that is simply wrong. It's like you asking me prove that the moon is not made out of green cheese (I can't.... but I know it's not") ). If a theory is wrong, say why. If you can't say why, say that, rather than dismissing it as "simply wrong". And if you know the moon is not made out of green cheese, but can't say even roughly why, it rather throws doubt on your ability to explain something far more immediate.
...
Mead's math is more difficult to follow, but it is internally consistent, and he makes frequent and detailed references to the bases for his argument, drawing on an impressive array of engineering source material. He also responds, in like detail, to objections to his math. And of course he makes a committed, consistent effort to base his calculations on the teachings of the Founder, rather than relying on generalized references to practices found "in all Asian arts." He is attempting to provide an accurate mathematical model for the principles of Aikido.


Excellent summary Brion.

eyrie
01-25-2007, 05:58 PM
Erick, you're still insisting that kokyu tanden ho is about wrist rotation. How do you account for the kokyu tanden ho of Kuribayashi shihan, where there is no wrist rotation to speak of? His hands are extended palm down and they dont rotate.

Looks like Erick is not responding this one... so I'll take a stab (no pun intended). :p

IMO, the wrist "rotation" is the result of what sometimes happens as you try to get the right "line" to uke's center. Particularly if you're trying to form tegatana from palms down - you have to rotate the wrist outwards. BUT... if you know how to form the connection at will, you don't really need to rotate your wrists, which is what Kuribayashi may be possibly showing. Hard to tell without seeing what he's doing...so I'm just guessing here...

I'm not sure if Erick is meaning "spiral" when he's talking about rotation. IMHO, the spiral is an adjunct to add power, which I think is above the "baseline" we're talking about.

George S. Ledyard
01-25-2007, 07:58 PM
Both sides have employed mathematical justifications for their views, and it is on this level that I, personally, find the most compelling evidence one way or the other (I haven't trained with either person, so the logical arguments are what I have to work with). Mr. Sigman seems to have a working knowledge of basic geometry, but my impression is that, rather than using it to describe his practice, he uses it to rationalize it, and refuses to acknowledge other models. So he'll go on for a while talking about angular momentum and dear Mr. Newton, and then retreat to vague references of power sources and a need not to post information on a public site for people who haven't worked for it. Now I have no doubt as to the existence of those power sources, but I find this approach annoying for two reasons: the mathematical model does not appear to correspond to the phenomena being discussed; and I distrust the "it's a mystery for the initiates" schtick.

Since my own mathematical skills are abysmal to the point of practical no-existence, I don't find any of the mathematical discussion helpful at all. The question is what is happening with your body and what is happening with your mind in the training or martial interaction.

Mike can "do" what he says he can. I have felt it. He is also capable of explaining what he is doing in such a way that, in a fairly short period of time, one can begin to get the skills he is teaching into ones own body.

Erick is one of the smarter folks with whom I am familiar (and I know some pretty smart folks). I am sure that he can do what he thinks he can do. He isn't the type of fellow to content himself with what we not so fondly refer to as "wishful thinking" Aikido.

So where is the disconnect? I think that the first issue lies in trying to define some aspect of the energetics as "not Aikido". For me, as a student of Saotome Sensei, there is very little that would be described as "not Aikido". Certainly there are attitudes which O-sensei would have condemned which he would have felt were not consistent with the moral and ethical principles of the art. But he was careful to say that one should not show the techniques of the art to people of bad character. In other words, the principles which underly technique are value neutral and could be misused.

But when it comes down to describing those principles, there is very little that I was taught not to include in my Aikido. Aiki seemed to include both that which was creative and life affirming and that which was destructive and life ending. The application of these techniques would be deteremined by the aforementioned ethical and moral considerations. As far as I was taught, about the only thing that one can pretty much say "isn't" Aikido is the use of pure muscle power to overcome the strength of the opponent. Taht would not be considered 'aiki" and therefore would not be part of Aikido.

But being able to join with the intention of the opponent in order to enter intside his attack and end the confrontaion with one strike would be part of the art. the ability to neutralize the power of an attack simply by directing ones attention and intention in various ways would be part of the art. Understanding how to relax ones body completely to abosrhbg and redirect the power of the opponent would be part of the art.

The way I have been taught, it's all Aikido on some level. The art is infinite, the ways in which one can manifest the principles is not limited. So arguments which say that one very succesful way of doing a technique is Aikido but another successful way of doing a technique is not don't make much sense to me. And they don'y help me in any way learn what I want to know.

Mike Sigman
01-25-2007, 08:44 PM
Excellent summary Brion.I dunno, Erick.... the corroboration you're getting is so strong, maybe ..... Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. ;)

Erick Mead
01-25-2007, 11:48 PM
So where is the disconnect? I think that the first issue lies in trying to define some aspect of the energetics as "not Aikido". For me, as a student of Saotome Sensei, there is very little that would be described as "not Aikido".
... As far as I was taught, about the only thing that one can pretty much say "isn't" Aikido is the use of pure muscle power to overcome the strength of the opponent. Taht would not be considered 'aiki" and therefore would not be part of Aikido. That was what intrigued me about O Sensei's statement of adhering to the "principle of absolute non-resistance." Westerners look at this and may pass over it as simple hyperbole, among the many other superlatives we so carelessly lace into our own speech.

I know that you have been a student of Eastern thought long enough to recognize that "absolutes" are not a common expression of priniciples in China, and perhaps even less so in Japan. Hyperbole is not a strong note in Japanese idiom, quite the contrary. That statement is therefore somewhat startling in its context.

It is for this reason, it seems to me, important as an entry point into O Sensei's thoughts about what distinguishes his art. That is what led me down this path as means to better identify what distinguishes aikido, so as to better describe it, physically. I thought about what it would mean, mechnically, if one took him seriously to mean "absolutely no resistance."

"Non-resistance" is the only absolute I have seen or heard of in aikido. I knew from my training that it did not mean "not hitting people," because atemi is too indelibly woven into the art for that. I knew it did not mean just allowing oneself to be hit: pacificism even in a "peaceful" martial art only goes so far. It did not mean using no force. It certainly meant highly advantaged force.

So I started looking at techniques and the physical interactions of ordinary training in the dojo to see what suggested itself, and found myself observeing the differences in which power is exrpessed by the body in ways that I could intuitively see and feel as "aiki" and those that did not. At first I tried to simply descrbie the "aiki" movements in isolation without real success at a model, although some ideas came out of that..

Looking more carefully at the corrections I was typically giving to distinguish with students a proper from an improper movement gave me a set of isolated comparison of movement that lead me to my present line of thought.
But being able to join with the intention of the opponent in order to enter intside his attack and end the confrontaion with one strike would be part of the art. the ability to neutralize the power of an attack simply by directing ones attention and intention in various ways would be part of the art. Amen and Amen.Understanding how to relax ones body completely to abosrhbg and redirect the power of the opponent would be part of the art. Dead men are as relaxed as they get -- well, until rigor sets in, anyway -- but you get the point. So far as I have been able to tell, however, dead men don't practice Aikido, at least not with any degree of success, unless you count complete harmony with the earth. So something about the relaxation is not relaxation, but it is not muscular force or power as we ordinarily think of it.

It is a category-breaker in both languages, but in Japanese they simply live without the category and do fine with the holistic concepts. As do the Chinese when needed. We are Westerners. Category is our intellectual life blood, and holistic thinking is very much on the fringes of our culture. That is not a value judgment either way, it is just a fact of distinction between tendencies in the East and West.

This thing certainly exists mechanically and should have a mechnical description of its function, whatever the breakdown in categorizing it ( and therfore naming it) in common language. It occurred to me that finding a technical catergory for this class of movement might also lead me to a better common terminology in Western tongues to supplement the Japanes holistic concepts.

While I chuckle at Justin's tagline ribbing on where to locate one's crotch area, I know enougth about classical Taoist writing to say that such an expression is hardly an odd image for that body of knowledge, and indeed, they get far more graphic than that and unshamadely so. So I cut Mike slack on things like that. But such idoms, Chinese or Japanese (as in the Kojiki), are totally misunderstood by most Westerners, which is why it is, frankly, very funny. So arguments which say that one very succesful way of doing a technique is Aikido but another successful way of doing a technique is not don't make much sense to me. And they don'y help me in any way learn what I want to know.
Japanese tend to define by inclusion. It is the key to the social dynamic that exists there. Westerners tend to define by exclusion. Thus, to understand Aikido in a Western way it is important to define what it is not, in a way that may seem superfluous if one approaches it in terms of Japanese understanding. Nevertheless, O Sensei,a nd his son are said to have directed or at least encouraged students such as Saotome to come over here, both to teach and to learn some of these aspects of our ways of thinking.They did this successfully, and produced many students, and many fine works discussing and teaching Aikido in that way .

Now this body of knowledge is capable of being worked on by Westereners with a firm grounding and recognition in those Japanes econcepts, and explaining them to a wider audience in our own modes of thought. While I am far, far from it being appropriate or competent of me to do any of that for a general audicence, people like me are looking to explore possible tools within our own competence to broaden the understanding so far as we can within our bounds .

Erick Mead
01-26-2007, 12:21 AM
[re wrist rotation] Looks like Erick is not responding this one... so I'll take a stab (no pun intended). :p
if you know how to form the connection at will, you don't really need to rotate your wrists, which is what Kuribayashi may be possibly showing. Hard to tell without seeing what he's doing...so I'm just guessing here... I don't disagree. The wrist rotation commonly taught is the easiest way to allow people to visualize and feel it. It is by no means the only way. It can be done with a wrist turn out, in up or down, an arm cut down, a cut across (in or out), diagonals and many more. When a well understood kokyu path gets good, there really is no more than a twitch of adjusting the connection and away we go. Small motons barely seem like even one shake of a tekubi furi.
I'd have to see it. Kuribayashi maybe doing the double inward gather motion then cutting slightly out, and it is done all with the palms flat. It is hard to see any motion, and the grab looks still very strongly connected, but is in fact very precarious, because this allows free entry up the undefended middle.
I'm not sure if Erick is meaning "spiral" when he's talking about rotation. IMHO, the spiral is an adjunct to add power, which I think is above the "baseline" we're talking about. No. I am merely observing the motion of the limb segments in proper kokyu and describing their motion. It is not a measn of power generation perse, but the motion that occurs in both low and high energy kokyu movement.