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sbrocklebank
02-10-2007, 03:46 PM
hi
my senei has encouraged us to do the rowing exersize for 40minutes. which i have tried to do but got board! what is it that i am trying to achieve with this exersize. when i ask sensei is obscure, "you wont know till you have done it!". fair enough i suppose. but i don't even know how whether i am doing it right. i keep loosing balance slightly every 4th or 5th cycle or so. i take it i have to concentrate on moving from the centre/hips?

sim

Kevin Beyer
02-10-2007, 03:59 PM
To make a long story short: Hips then hands and maintain your center of balance.

Tinyboy344
02-10-2007, 04:39 PM
40 minutes of funakogi undo??? :eek: That's nuts!!! But hey, "practice makes perfect"

eyrie
02-10-2007, 04:49 PM
Hmmm... you might want to checkout the baseline skillset thread.... because this exercise is the one of the fundamental ways of developing kokyu power. Your "sensei" should have told you that :rolleyes:

But a quick pointer. To start, just keep your hands/fists out in front of you and do not move them. Then simply rock your weight forward and backward whilst keeping your hands/fists in place. Focus on the feeling of pressing against the ground, and of transferring your weight forward and back.

DO IT SLOWLY.

Soon you will start to feel how the feet are connected to the hips and how the hands (which are not moving) are displaced as a result. Once you feel comfortable with this, start adding the rowing motions (GENTLY), throwing your fists out as you rock forward, and pulling them back as you rock backward.

AGAIN, DO IT SLOWLY.

Mike Sigman
02-10-2007, 04:52 PM
my senei has encouraged us to do the rowing exersize for 40minutes. which i have tried to do but got board! Wooden you just know it! what is it that i am trying to achieve with this exersize. when i ask sensei is obscure, "you wont know till you have done it!". Well, then, obviously your Sensei has not done it, then, or he could have given you an answer! ;)

If you do it right, on the forward push your fists would BE your hips pushing; on the backward pull, you hands would BE your obi pulling. :)

Mike

crbateman
02-10-2007, 05:06 PM
Simon, this exercise is fundamental in developing your breathing coordination, moving from your center, and maintaining your connective posture with the ground. It's by far not the only way, but it is a very good one. You should attempt to lose yourself in the exercise, empty your thoughts, and just move and breathe. Soft and rhythmic music in the background is one way I learned to enjoy it. Have patience, Grasshopper.

Mike Sigman
02-10-2007, 05:10 PM
...empty your thoughts, ......Hmmmmm.... I wouldn't suggest that, Clark. Quite the opposite. The ki/kokyu things that are "for health" are traditionally done by emptying the mind. But the martial things are always done with "intent", quite the opposite. In order to train kokyu strength, which is a lot of what the Rowing Exercise is, you have to focus on relaxing and making your center be your arms/hands. That is actually focus, not emptying the mind. ;)

Best.

Mike

eyrie
02-10-2007, 05:26 PM
Empty mind = empty head (euphemism for "dullard")

raul rodrigo
02-10-2007, 05:40 PM
I did boat rowing ( funekogi) for years with an empty mind, scarcely paying attention, thinking it was just an interminable formality i had to get through to get to the good stuff. And then when i finally started paying attention, i began to realize that funekogi IS the good stuff, part of it anyway, and the ability to do the waza well is a byproduct of doing the basic warmups like funekogi and kokyu ho with intent and sensitivity to one's own body.

Aristeia
02-10-2007, 06:46 PM
you have to focus on relaxing
Mikethis seems like a paradox to me?

Mike Sigman
02-10-2007, 06:52 PM
this seems like a paradox to me?Why? Intention strength has to do with mentally-controlled force vectors, not normal strength. If you tense up and try to use muscle, you don't ever develop the intention (kokyu) strength. So you don't use muscle, but you have to mentally focus to learn to bring the force-vector strength to where you want it... and you have to learn how.

Ask Rob. He's begun using it in BJJ.

Mike

Aristeia
02-10-2007, 07:41 PM
that sounds more like channelling strength to the appropriate job? In my experience the more you tell people to relax the less relaxed they become - which is why "focus on relaxation" sounds a bit like "relax harder" to me....

crbateman
02-10-2007, 09:45 PM
Empty mind = empty head (euphemism for "dullard")I have, on occasion, been accused of this... http://www.websmileys.com/sm/happy/1016.gif

It seems best for me when I limit my thoughts to my breathing.

batemanb
02-11-2007, 02:21 AM
.....what is it that i am trying to achieve with this exersize.....

You might try looking at this thread

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1867&highlight=torifune

which in turn spawned this thread

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1872&highlight=torifune

Kevin Leavitt
02-11-2007, 05:47 AM
Interesting thread.

I just figured out that in BJJ we do a standing up swimming exercise where you and your partner move your arms over and underneath each others arms. The goal of this exercise is to acheive dominance in the clinch with underhooking your opponents arms. (ikkyo).

Done correctly, it is rythmic and you must breath correctly and move from your hips with balance.

We do this exercise sometime for like 15 or 20 minutes at the beginning of class.

I never really thought about it before, but it really is kind of the same thing except done with a partner. It helps you figure out how to connect your movements, breath, and move from the center...all necessary elements of kokyu.

sometimes I will have my BJJ students practice the rowing exercise as a warm up, especially when they are being external in their approach to study. It helps them find their center and attach their feet to the ground and become more aware of the source of their power.

I don't explain anything to them about it, nor do they care much...they just do the exercise for a few minutes and then we move on to other things. I think it helps them, even if they don't tacitly understand what is going on.

DonMagee
02-11-2007, 09:53 AM
15-20 minutes, man I don't think I'd be down for that. 5 minutes is enough, then lets start actually working for underhooks for another 5 minutes. It is an important skill, and very good to practice. But my classes are an hour and a half long. I wouldn't want to waste 20 minutes of my time doing an exercise I can do at home. I'd rather have my technique critiqued, or spar.

Kevin Leavitt
02-11-2007, 10:09 AM
Actually, I should have explained that we interwork it with working underhooks and taking/breaking balance. I will come back to the basic exercise though so they "reset" to using their hips again as they tend to start fighitng and trying to use strength and getting out of alignment.

It is not 15 or 20 minutes straight of pummelling/swimming...that would be alot! :)

ChrisHein
02-11-2007, 01:34 PM
Well, then, obviously your Sensei has not done it, then, or he could have given you an answer!

Some teachers like their students to figure stuff out on their own, because then they own it instead of just reciting the empty words for years on end. I had told a student to get underneath the elbow on Ikkyo for years. He would nod his head, and I even heard him tell other students this, but he never did it. Then one day I saw him and his Ikkyo was way better. I said "hey, your Ikkyo is getting good", he replied "well I figured out if I grab the underside of the elbow it works better". Then he stared at me blankly as if I had never told him that. I took it in the ego, and truly learned that the student will only get it when he gets it.

Tim Fong
02-11-2007, 02:19 PM
Kevin,
If you really think about it that pummelling exercise is alot like sumo. And its learning to pass the power of the other person, through your body to your feet, while not leaning and losing your own balance, or being pushed over.

Kevin Leavitt
02-11-2007, 03:43 PM
yeah I agree, I never saw that in sumo until just recently, all I saw in the past was a bunch of shoving and pushing. Today I see it in a whole different light!

Mike Sigman
02-11-2007, 04:35 PM
Some teachers like their students to figure stuff out on their own, because then they own it instead of just reciting the empty words for years on end. I had told a student to get underneath the elbow on Ikkyo for years. He would nod his head, and I even heard him tell other students this, but he never did it. Then one day I saw him and his Ikkyo was way better. I said "hey, your Ikkyo is getting good", he replied "well I figured out if I grab the underside of the elbow it works better". Then he stared at me blankly as if I had never told him that. I took it in the ego, and truly learned that the student will only get it when he gets it.Chris, I hope you understand that my remark you quoted was meant as a joke, not a serious remark about the poster's teacher.

Secondly, while I totally agree that "Some teachers like their students to figure stuff out on their own", I would add for clarity (just for the sake of any neophytes that read here) that a teacher is just another human being and there are a lot of them who say things cryptically (in all m.a.'s) not because they're deliberately trying to get the student to think, but because they themselves don't really know the material deeply. And I only say that to balance the statement; no inferences at all.

Best.

Mike Sigman

sbrocklebank
02-11-2007, 04:41 PM
hi thanks for the advice.
when in right stance i am really struggling with this exersize because i have a very stiff left ankle since breaking it 3 years ago so i cannot shift my weight back easily without lifting my left heel off the mat. should i change my stride length to try and keep my feet on the floor or should i try to find a way of maintaining balance and moving from the hips that takes account of my slight 'disability'.
does anyone else have an experience of trying to modify technique to accommodate physical problems?
sim

Gernot Hassenpflug
02-11-2007, 07:53 PM
Simon, if you think of your ankle's tendons, sinews, muscles as connecting to your leg and into your body, then you will be able to benefit from a lot of the leg-straightening exercises seen in Pilates or ballet. Flexing is clearly difficult for you now since the range of motion is not large enough to enable you to do rowing well. Straightening, which means both a twist out at the buttocks and knees and ankle, and a pointing of the toes (the top of the foot is curved as much as you can) and stretching of the back of the knee, will help to increase the range of motion. In that same position try flexing the ankle as much as you can, slowly. Although I said twist, the stretch is linear, the twist is only for alignment.

Tim Fong
02-12-2007, 12:25 AM
Years ago when I had a bunch of ankle problems (b/c of high school track), our coaches used to tell us to "write the alphabet in the air with your foot." So we'd sit in a chair and just flex the ankle/point the foot through all 26 letters. It worked pretty well to get range of motion back.

sbrocklebank
02-12-2007, 11:01 AM
had 24months of extensive physio, physios and orthopedic drs reckon the range of movement i have now is all i'll get... we'll see eh!?

mriehle
02-12-2007, 11:17 AM
15-20 minutes, man I don't think I'd be down for that. 5 minutes is enough, then lets start actually working for underhooks for another 5 minutes. It is an important skill, and very good to practice. But my classes are an hour and a half long. I wouldn't want to waste 20 minutes of my time doing an exercise I can do at home. I'd rather have my technique critiqued, or spar.

You know, sometimes I do 30 minutes just on step turns (tenkan). These exercises are so fundamental that I'll spend this time having students do step turns and then ciritiquing the step turns. Then we'll spend the rest of the class working on techniques where step turns are a fundamental part of them.

You can do the exercise at home, but are you doing it right? Is it helping you to build the foundations to do technique correctly? This, IMO, can be as important as working on technique directly.

DonMagee
02-12-2007, 11:29 AM
Different learning methods I guess. I personally won't do any drill for 30 minutes straight. I find 3-5 minutes, then adding resistance is enough, and like it was said previously, sometimes after you add that resistance, you have to take it away and go back to step one to correct something. But for me 30 minutes of the same thing over and over will make me become less mindful and more sloppy. I'd rather be sparing.

sbrocklebank
02-12-2007, 11:40 AM
my sensei was relating his training back in the late 60s early 70s and encouraging me to try some of the things that he did back then...eg; sitting in seiza for 40 mins with hands in prayer posture, rowing exersize for 40 mins and standing in horse stance for 40 mins, 1000 cuts with bokken.
we were talking about activities i could do at home to develop the power of my techniques...
as i said, when i asked why, he replied that i would only know when i have done it! at the moment the mental battle to keep going when it gets boring or painful is the big issue, how this will help me develop powerful technique who knows!?

sim

sim

Charlie
02-12-2007, 11:56 AM
...You can do the exercise at home, but are you doing it right? Is it helping you to build the foundations to do technique correctly? This, IMO, can be as important as working on technique directly....

Absolutely....students should be working on these drills/basic movements at home. You usually can spot the student that performs them ONLY at the dojo a mile away. Work on them at home and then be prepared for critique at the dojo.

To work on the basics ONLY at the dojo is a waste of everyone's time.

Regards,

Charlie B.

Kevin Leavitt
02-12-2007, 12:03 PM
One of my aikido instructors used to sometime spend all class walking and turning, very slowly, transistioning weight carefully and intentionally while breathing correctly. I hated it, but now see the value in what he taught us.

He usually did it because he would get pissed at us for not doing it in our pracitce on things like irimi nage.

mriehle
02-12-2007, 12:13 PM
But for me 30 minutes of the same thing over and over will make me become less mindful and more sloppy. I'd rather be sparing.

Well, therein lies the problem. If you're doing the same thing over and over again, you're not doing the drill. If it isn't significantly better at the end of those 30 minutes, you were just going through the motions.

Part of what I'm doing when I do long drills like this is stopping people and making them aware that they are just going through the motions. Or testing them as they do the movement. For rowing exercise I'll wander around and randomly grab arms. If they're doing it right, their arm keeps moving. If they are just going through the motions, their arm stops. Although, that might qualify as "adding resistance" in your view.

Still, the point is to perfect the small motions. You can't do this in every class. It would be a waste of time to try. But I'll have a class every couple of months where I will nitpick mercilessly.

mriehle
02-12-2007, 12:17 PM
Absolutely....students should be working on these drills/basic movements at home. You usually can spot the student that performs them ONLY at the dojo a mile away.

Well, there is no doubt that it's better if students do practice at home. Still, it's good to go over this stuff in class and be sure they're getting it right.

Work on them at home and then be prepared for critique at the dojo.

Presumably during the drill in class?

To work on the basics ONLY at the dojo is a waste of everyone's time.


But to not work on them at the dojo is also a waste of time. Such basics lay the foundation for everything else we do.

DonMagee
02-12-2007, 12:22 PM
I guess I just prefer to work on things a little bit at a time, everyday, then a lot at a time, but with breaks.

mriehle
02-12-2007, 12:28 PM
I hated it, but now see the value in what he taught us.

So many of the exercises I have done in Aikido I could say this same thing about. :D

He usually did it because he would get pissed at us for not doing it in our pracitce on things like irimi nage.

Okay, I'll admit it, at least some of the time when I do these long drills it's because I'm annoyed with a consistent mistake that everyone in class is making.

I always wonder who I'm annoyed with, though. If all the students in the class are making the same mistake, it probably means I've made a mistake in my teaching...

Kevin Leavitt
02-12-2007, 12:31 PM
I agree Don, there are alot of things that I don't do in our advance classes, because we only have so much time. Alot of people will do conditioning drills, I don't do them, as students can do them on there own and you only have so much time when you have people together to train. why waste your time on simple things that can be done alone.

mriehle
02-12-2007, 12:33 PM
I guess I just prefer to work on things a little bit at a time, everyday, then a lot at a time, but with breaks.

I have to say that most of the time this is exactly correct.

I do think, though, that once in a while it's good to focus on a detail and nail it down. Generally I pick on things that people are having a hard time with or things that in my experience people tend to try to short cut their practice on.

The former come as they will, the latter are often amazingly predictable.

Charlie
02-12-2007, 12:46 PM
...But to not work on them at the dojo is also a waste of time. Such basics lay the foundation for everything else we do...

Precisely....I don't believe that anywhere in my response did I advocate not teaching the basics in the dojo. Of course it has to be digested in the dojo otherwise there is no transmission.

However, with most schools typically only offering training 2-3 times a week from anywhere from 1-1 1/2 hours a class, a brunt of the work has to be done by the student in a setting outside of the dojo if there is to be a solid progression.

After all...the greats only became great because they practiced...A LOT!

The trick is to find the balance between teaching the basics AND teaching technique...because in the end they go hand-in-hand.

Either way, it is just a lot easier to practice the basics at home [after having solid instruction at the dojo]...solo...for extended periods of time....uh oh...there is that now so familiar caveat that we seem to keep seeing creep into one thread after another!!!!

FWIW

Charlie B.

Michael Douglas
02-12-2007, 02:07 PM
hi
my senei has encouraged us to do the rowing exersize for 40minutes. which i have tried to do but got board!
Wooden you just know it!

40 minutes sounds a bit overboard to me!

crbateman
02-12-2007, 04:54 PM
Perhaps break it up into tree smaller pieces...
:blush:

Upyu
02-12-2007, 05:53 PM
Absolutely....students should be working on these drills/basic movements at home. You usually can spot the student that performs them ONLY at the dojo a mile away. Work on them at home and then be prepared for critique at the dojo.

To work on the basics ONLY at the dojo is a waste of everyone's time.

Regards,

Charlie B.
Personally I don't think it's a waste of time.
Focusing too much on waza is a waste of everyone's time if you ask me (this applies to any MA)
Be interesting to see what would happen if no waza were taught, and only the fundamental exercises to some beginners for a year. :D

DH
02-12-2007, 06:19 PM
Which ties perfectly into not going to the ground-but this time, not in MMA formats for sprawls but in excellently trained ways to remain standing though structure. If we look at very real confrontations, the last place you want to end up is on the ground. Being connected and being able to both use and generate power doesn't look like normal fighting because it -isn't- normal fighting.
Its a different way tor emain on your feet that has nothing to do with Waza.
I know its hard to understand for folks, hell its hard to explain.
But in a word it is the very heart of Bujutsu. ONe could say that if you cannot feel your body changing, the way to carry your weight changing, your instant non-response response changing-you aren't doing something right.
And heres another thought. If good structure can stop most "waza?" Then why learn more waza?
Learn to have better structure and the ways to use it.
Theres nothing sadder then standing there with exterenally trained twenty-year men who can't make a damn thing they know work on you. Technique junkies are everywhere, be the few who "get it."
Cheers
Dan

Charlie
02-12-2007, 07:44 PM
Personally I don't think it's a waste of time.
Focusing too much on waza is a waste of everyone's time if you ask me (this applies to any MA)
Be interesting to see what would happen if no waza were taught, and only the fundamental exercises to some beginners for a year. :D


Well Rob…you only quoted half of what I said. In doing so changes the message that I was trying to get across.

To know me is to know how I was raised up in Aikido and that is by constantly being drilled on the basics. My teacher is relentless about going back and working on the basics.

I find that having that experience has done wonders to help me understand comments that you and people like Dan have made concerning the advent of technique driven dojos that are found in abundance these days. It's nothing I haven't heard before from my teacher.

I was not advocating more technique but instead pushing for the point that the student has to do a lot of work that will most likely be done outside the dojo.

It is a waste of time if a student doesn't have the gumption to do the work that they need to do on their own IF they keep coming once and/or twice a week and only do the basics in the short time they are actually in a class. If those 2 classes a week were only focused on the basics and not technique...who knows. But most classes are not set up that way.

Now if they want to just sign up for some type of martial social club then more power to them.

It is pretty much a given that if the average 2-3 day a week dojo concentrated most of their training time dedicated just to the basics they would most likely end up closing shop quickly. They would have very few students that would stick it out. Most schools have to find a balance between good and bad in order to keep the doors open.

That being said, I am in the process of organizing to open my own school. I already have a basic curriculum set up that will provide for 3-4 classes a week that deal solely with basics. In doing so I already expect dojo growth to be slow…fine by me! I know what kind of atmosphere I want to have in my school.

FWIW

Charlie B.

Gernot Hassenpflug
02-12-2007, 07:45 PM
Commenting on Dan's post: Since techniques are mechanical work using the body structure's strength, it's always possible to devise more complex exercises to strengthen certain parts of the structure more and more, always keeping the same principles and working those. Just being able to do such complex movements would give evidence of unusual strength, without needing a partner to demonstrate that strength on. Oh, but isn't that to a large degree what kata are for?

DonMagee
02-12-2007, 08:00 PM
This reminds me of a little game I played last week.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8573930749731121005

The first match was against a kid who was all power, no structure. I have good balance and structure and he beat himself. The second was against a former army ranger who had good technique and physique. My good structure was unable to compensate and I was beaten.

Mike Sigman
02-12-2007, 08:09 PM
This reminds me of a little game I played last week.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8573930749731121005

The first match was against a kid who was all power, no structure. I have good balance and structure and he beat himself. The second was against a former army ranger who had good technique and physique. My good structure was unable to compensate and I was beaten.Well, I see what you're saying, but essentially the strongest power using that kind of "weapon" is in the straight push that he relied on. If you had the kind of "structure" that Dan *may* be talking about (in this type of instance), then you could have still beat him. I.e., it's possible that you're thinking one type of 'structure' and we're looking at something else and also calling it "structure".

That being said, I have to agree with you and say that while these skills of ki/kokyu give you and advantage, they don't make you bulletproof, by any means. Take a worst-case comparison, for instance: put Tito Ortiz against a 105-pound person "with good ki/kokyu skills". Bet on Tito. There's a sliding-scale of reality that has to be applied to all of this. ;)

Best.

Mike

DonMagee
02-12-2007, 08:13 PM
The first kid said he felt like he was hitting an unmovable brick wall. That's the kind of structure I'm talking about. Of course I only had a platform hardly big enough for my feet to fit on. I tried to stay fully relaxed and used a lot of one point focus and attention to directing the energy given to me straight down into my feet. That was fine and dandy till the second guy parried my strike, this circular motion lifted me, and that was my downfall.

Next semester I get a rematch. The guy who beat me was the president of the college. (Everyone is trying to get me to admit I let him win. They really thought after watching my first two matches I was unbeatable.)

Upyu
02-13-2007, 12:34 AM
Well Rob…you only quoted half of what I said. In doing so changes the message that I was trying to get across.


I was not advocating more technique but instead pushing for the point that the student has to do a lot of work that will most likely be done outside the dojo.


Sorry about that, didn't mean to make it seem like I was coming down on you, I'm not.

I also agree that unless students are willing to do the bulk of the work out of class, it wastes everyone's time. Class should be a review session to go deeper into the subject. (Like every class should be... *thinks back to college when no one studies ahead of time, lol, myself included*)

A large part of how a student practices is mirrored in how he's taught though, so if say, the bulk of the class is spent on basic technique, such as ikkyo, irimi movements etc, I think a large portion of them are going to end up not focusing on the solo exercises that need to be done at home.
Or, it at least needs to be explicitly told to them that xxx exercises need to be done. Everyday. No exceptions. :D

Rupert Atkinson
02-13-2007, 03:42 AM
40 minutes of funakogi undo??? :eek: That's nuts!!! But hey, "practice makes perfect"

Not if you are doing it wrong.

And for 40 minutes ... why is it I think I know who the teacher is ... been there ... done that ...

sbrocklebank
02-13-2007, 09:59 AM
was he on about just technique or something internal as well?

Kevin Leavitt
02-13-2007, 10:09 AM
Dan wrote:

Theres nothing sadder then standing there with exterenally trained twenty-year men who can't make a damn thing they know work on you. Technique junkies are everywhere, be the few who "get it."
Cheers
Dan


AND THIS....this is what I really, really want to see, or try in person. For someone to demonstrate with a decent so-called or labeled, "externalist" with a so-called internalist...you for instance...go toe to toe in a completely, or as complete as reasonably possible...NHB situation...AND to have you demonstrate the martial superiority and the dominance that you can establish.

When I get back to the states, If you agree to the time and place, I would get together with you and work through this, as I seek a deeper understanding of the mysteries that I apparently "don't get".

Not being sarcastic, but geninuely honest and sincere desire to be shown how this works.

Kevin Leavitt
02-13-2007, 10:19 AM
Liked the video Don.

I do pugil stick training from time to time with my guys. Winning with them is realitive as you discount much of the jousting and hits because of the padding.

that said, I typically win because I understand how to move and dominate center better than most of the guys I train with.

Guess what...moving on the angles, yielding and bending in one direction and coming back around in another works. Taking center etc. all aikido skill.

Much different though than what you were doing as you are required to stand on the pedestal, much more difficult on your part because you have isolated out so many options.

I might film some of our pugil stick training as it might be interesting to look at how you move during the matches.

DonMagee
02-13-2007, 11:03 AM
That was my first time ever doing anything like that. I'd love to actually have a go at it for real though, the platform was very limiting, my feet hardly fit on it. I did have one advantage though, unlike most of the students, I had no fear of being hit.

Dennis Hooker
02-13-2007, 11:25 AM
Simon, for what its worth here is an excerpt from a book I wrote to my grandchildren. Some of text refers to other context in the book.

From A Collage of Poppy’s Life

FUNATORI – FURUTAMA

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

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

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

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

Saotome Sensei recommended I do this in the morning for a minimum of 45 minuets. I have found that it builds core heat in my body and if I then step into freezing water my skin pores will close down holding the heat inside for a short time as long as I continue to shake. I guess it’s much like shivering to create body heat but done much more methodically. When I step out of the water and the pores of my body open the flood of sensation is beyond belief. It’s like my universe explodes into brighter colors and more sounds, the senses are amplified and flooded. Sometimes it’s almost to much to stand. I want to caution both of you that this is not to be done with out proper supervision by a skilled teacher and even in Japan they are getting fewer and fewer as the old ways are being rejected by the younger generation.

I have experienced the same feeling in an American Indiana sweat lodge ceremony after long hours of demanding physical challenges.

Keith R Lee
02-13-2007, 11:45 AM
AND THIS....this is what I really, really want to see, or try in person. For someone to demonstrate with a decent so-called or labeled, "externalist" with a so-called internalist...you for instance...go toe to toe in a completely, or as complete as reasonably possible...NHB situation...AND to have you demonstrate the martial superiority and the dominance that you can establish.

When I get back to the states, If you agree to the time and place, I would get together with you and work through this, as I seek a deeper understanding of the mysteries that I apparently "don't get".

Not being sarcastic, but geninuely honest and sincere desire to be shown how this works.

I'm with Kevin on this one. I maintain doubt in the martial value of the so-called "internal" styles because I have yet to see an internal stylist provide any sort of real tangible evidence (either in person or a video) that shows why they have value in a pure, NHB, physical altercation. Every video I've ever seen where there was an internal vs. external person in a NHB the internal person doesn't just get beat, they get annihilated. Every internal stylist I've met in person and trained with have had little applicable training for a NHB setting. Furthermore, not accusing anyone here of this, many "internal" stylists will refuse a training offer in any sort of NHB setting because of the claim they are either too deadly, too spiritual, or some other poppycock; which comes across as either arrogant or scared, take your pick.

I'd actually like to be proven wrong and be shown that there is some tangible benefit to this type of practice, that it can provide some sort of extra advantage. Because if it can - I want some of it. But my experience is like all the other combat sport people on the board, no one has been able to prove it to me yet.

Michael Douglas
02-13-2007, 12:17 PM
... Every internal stylist I've met in person and trained with have had little applicable training for a NHB setting. Furthermore, not accusing anyone here of this, many "internal" stylists will refuse a training offer in any sort of NHB setting because of the claim they are either too deadly, too spiritual, or some other poppycock; which comes across as either arrogant or scared, take your pick.

It may be that the 'internal/external' styles attract a different selection of trainees and due to statistical probability you're more likely to meet external-style-bruisers and internal-style-bunnies.

So given that weighting within the proponents of styles the chances of the random externalist beating the random internalist are huge.

Kevin Leavitt
02-13-2007, 12:18 PM
Keith,

I actually make no distinction between external and internal skills. There is either things that work, or things that don't work. I think done properly using proper mechanics is what usually is called internal.

I do understand that a Straight punch down the middle hitting a head that is immobilized by a wall or ground is not necessarily considered internal...but what is the point of defining things, and what got them to this point to begin with.

Yes I sincerely want to be shown where I am wrong.

In Mike Sigman's defense, he will acknowledge that what he isolates out is simply exercises to help someone reach a deeper understanding of the internal dynamics. This I have no issue with what-so-ever. This I believe is the value of aikido.

I do have issue with those that profess they have a deeper martial understanding and proceed to say, "I don't get it". It could be that I don't..certainly I can learn and don't know everything. I don't think I am that far off though.

What I really have issue with is the realitive value of this limited and theorectical training. Even Mike concedes that Tito Ortiz would probably mop up the floor with a 105 lb China man.

So, what is the point?

Dan has pointed out in the past to me, that would I consider it if it would improve my game? Absolutely I would.

However, Did I simply misunderstand you Dan when I quoted you above. You are proposing that a internalist that "gets it" can control and externalist that doesn't get it.

Yes I'd by that in the sense that I have been with Tai Chi guys that are much better at me in Tai Chi....however, when we take down the rules, they have never been able to show me where their so called years of martial training are superior to mine.

Does it help me? yes...I have learned much from them and from aikido.

Does it mean that they get it" more than I martially...NO not at all.

My buddy and pro MMA fighter and trainer, Steve Van Fleet, is about the only guy I have ever met that has demonstrated proficiency in things like Tai Chi and can apply those skills in a full NHB situation. He does not talk in special mumbo jumbo about separating out internal from external and get into long intellectual discussion designed to distill and separate this stuff out....he simply says...dude just train and go with it.

Charlie
02-13-2007, 12:34 PM
...Sorry about that, didn't mean to make it seem like I was coming down on you, I'm not...

Sorry dude, I was crabby yesterday! Must be 'cause my birthday was on the 9th and I am moving ever closer to the "old" side [wink wink nudge nudge to those of you from the baseline thread].

Charlie B.

Mike Sigman
02-13-2007, 12:46 PM
In Mike Sigman's defense, he will acknowledge that what he isolates out is simply exercises to help someone reach a deeper understanding of the internal dynamics. This I have no issue with what-so-ever. This I believe is the value of aikido.

I do have issue with those that profess they have a deeper martial understanding and proceed to say, "I don't get it". It could be that I don't..certainly I can learn and don't know everything. I don't think I am that far off though. Hi Kevin:

Well, it remains to be seen whether you are that far off, I think. Realize on the other hand that I and a number of other martial artists have had extensive training, exposure, real fights, time on the mat, etc., and the other side of your implication is that we don't understand the "real world" as well as you do. I'd dispute that.

Also, this is kind of redundant in a way because I posted the URL pointing to Germany's biggest MMA guy's forum comment that this type of strength usage was not something he was familiar with, after all. It's on the Kampfkunst board.What I really have issue with is the realitive value of this limited and theorectical training. Even Mike concedes that Tito Ortiz would probably mop up the floor with a 105 lb China man. Sure, and my kid sister could have kicked O-Sensei's butt when he was in his mid-80's, so O-Sensei's "ki" was of no real value, right? My point was simply that this stuff is in the real world, not that it had no real value, so it was not a "concession", as you term it. However, Did I simply misunderstand you Dan when I quoted you above. You are proposing that a internalist that "gets it" can control and externalist that doesn't get it. All things else being reasonably equal, I'd agree with Dan. If there is some big disparity between the players, then you'd have to study the variables. I.e., it's common sense, not a blanket putdown, although Dan sometimes is a bit broad in his comments. ;) Yes I'd by that in the sense that I have been with Tai Chi guys that are much better at me in Tai Chi....however, when we take down the rules, they have never been able to show me where their so called years of martial training are superior to mine.

Does it help me? yes...I have learned much from them and from aikido.

Does it mean that they get it" more than I martially...NO not at all.

My buddy and pro MMA fighter and trainer, Steve Van Fleet, is about the only guy I have ever met that has demonstrated proficiency in things like Tai Chi and can apply those skills in a full NHB situation. He does not talk in special mumbo jumbo about separating out internal from external and get into long intellectual discussion designed to distill and separate this stuff out....he simply says...dude just train and go with it. Kevin... think how many westerners are doind bogus Aikido, bogus karate, bogus Tai Chi, etc., etc., etc. Finding out real "how to" information, not just forms and "applications", is extremely hard to do in Taiji and other arts. It's like a great big Scavenger Hunt. I'll bet you've never really met anyone who does real Taiji. I think I suggested before that if you want to have some fun, go to the next workshop in Germany when one of the big-boys come. It will give you an inkling of why us know-nothings have decided this ki-skills stuff is worth chasing down. ;)

Best.

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
02-13-2007, 02:35 PM
Mike never meant to imply that you that you do not understand "the real world". In fact I have had very little issue with what you have said or have proposed in the past, other than I tend to place a slightly different value on the realitive importance in terms of martial ability.

My flag or interest goes up with Dan's comments I quoted.

Fankly I don't understand what he really means by internalist or externalist. Skill is skill.

But the implication is there, and I say...this. Okay, you put it out there. So lets go!

No doubt it would be fun working with Ark from what I can see on the videos. No doubt I'd learn something. I even think Dan can, teach me somethng I don't know, as well as you.

I have no issue with KI skills, infact I talk about them daily and demonstrate how to apply them in training in my limited knowledge. I know of no other way to describe connecting your breathing, kokyu, movement of hips, using your power from your base/ground.

Maybe the issue is that I do get it, and I simply don't have the level of theorectical or descriptive knowledge that you do, or understand, or can isolate them to the degree that you do.

who knows. only way to find out is to train and through touch and feel.

However, when Dan makes some of the statements, which to me are pretty darn bold claims on occasion.

implying or illuding to some sort of elite club of people that get it, and those that don't on the outside, and people that say they do...but then can't demonstrate it, can only demonstrate it in a controlled environment....labels like internalist, externalist, I can feel it, I can tell if someone gets it just from touching them...all that...it is fine.....if it make you feel good and helps you grasp things.

Make a claim, then I say, show me the jin! :)

I can roll, grapple or fight with someone in a non-compliant manner and tell if they get it or not in a couple of minutes. it is pretty simple in my book.

That is all I am saying.

BTW, I have doubted every instructor I have ever studied under and they have demonstrated to me what they said they could do. My last one kicked my ass...repeatedly...and now I am his student.

Maybe the same thing will happen if I ever get with Dan or you :)

That is how I learn.

It isn't personal, or I try not to make it that way. I geniunely want to be shown that there is indeed something special that is above and beyond what I have been shown....AND it is of such magnitude that it warrants all the attention and concentration and isolation from a martial perspective.

Martial perspective that is. Not philosophical, not yoga perspective, or chakras, or enlightment, ki or anything else....simply martial perspective.

Kevin Leavitt
02-13-2007, 02:51 PM
Mike,

I was just thinking. I do believe that there are more people out there that get it than you guys sometimes give credit to. Many of the BJJ black belts I have rolled with get it quite a bit I think.

I think the difference lie in that concept we either love or hate...and that is aliveness.

I mean how can you really understand ki, kokyu and all this if you simply practice basic waza or the equivilant of kata all the time?

I can roll with like 40 novice students in my combatives class, one after the other for over an hour, dominating and submitting them...most of them 20 years old...21 years my younger and gassing out from using strength...yet my heart rate will barely go over 120, and I am not hardly breaking a sweat. I go with the flow, control them, move around, redirect their energy, take them down paths, influence their motion...etc..

What would you call that? It is not using strength, or speed.

I believe it is the equivilant of what you call internal.

It is something all decent BJJ advanced blue, purple, brown and blackbelts can do and demonstrate.


At the same time, I don't do very well at push hands, and you'd probably crush me in push hands as it is not something I have done much or have had a good teacher to work with on it.

Does the fact that I can't play in the realm of push hands mean I don't get it?

Or that I simply have not developed skills at that range?

I don't believe it is fair to judge someone getting it or not simply because they cannot do the exercises that you do...there is a spectrum and perspective invovled.

That said, I agree, there are many schools and teachers out there that are teaching garbage, and professing to understand things that they cannot demonstrate or do without the parameters of control and constraint that they create around themselves to protect their image or reputation.

It is easy to do this when you remove the aliveness aspect out of the training.

For those that don't understand. Aliveness is not about MMA or kicking or punching necessarily. It is about training in a way of non-compliance that is non-cooperative, yet cooperative in the spirit of learning.

In aliveness training, it quickly is apparent who knows what, and what they can teach, and where their weaknesses are in training.

Kevin Leavitt
02-13-2007, 02:54 PM
Sorry guys...just realized that myself, and the regular crowd have yet once again, hijacked a thread over this stuff.

I appologize. Mike lets split this off into a different thread okay?

Related to rowing in an indirect way...but it ain't about rowing any longer.

Mike Sigman
02-13-2007, 02:54 PM
I have no issue with KI skills, infact I talk about them daily and demonstrate how to apply them in training in my limited knowledge. I know of no other way to describe connecting your breathing, kokyu, movement of hips, using your power from your base/ground. Well, the jin thing is somewhat related to what you're talking about, but it's like the difference between a laser-beam and an Eveready flashlight. You're talking about light in both of them, but the laser is very much more focused and has more possibilities. However, if you've never seen a laser and the description sounds a lot like the flashlight you know, and all your friends have flashlights just like yours, then you're going to think the laser guy is over-hyping his flashlight. ;)However, when Dan makes some of the statements, which to me are pretty darn bold claims on occasion. That Dan... he's a caution, ain't he? ;) Martial perspective that is. Not philosophical, not yoga perspective, or chakras, or enlightment, ki or anything else....simply martial perspective.Well, if something doesn't have a practical application, I'm not interested in it. And frankly, if you really dig into the chakras, kundalini, ki, etc., stuff, it all came from something very practical that is related to the qi/ki stuff. I didn't understand that for years and I'm going to save you a little time by telling it to you. Those ancient people didn't have TV's, but they did get into body technology and it was based on some strange but *real* things the body can do. And they tossed in a lot of garbage into it, too, but that's quibbling. ;)

Mike

Mike Sigman
02-13-2007, 03:00 PM
Sorry guys...just realized that myself, and the regular crowd have yet once again, hijacked a thread over this stuff.

I appologize. Mike lets split this off into a different thread okay?

Related to rowing in an indirect way...but it ain't about rowing any longer.Up to you on the thread thing, Kevin. However, I'll bet what we're talking about, my "ki" versus what you call "ki", can be demonstrated very clearly in the rowing exercise alone. And if the guy who started the thread does the rowing exercise wrong, without using the jin/kokyu that "our side" is talking about, he's wasting his time, in terms of trying to do Aikido the way Ueshiba, Tohei, Abe, and others do/did it.

Regards,

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
02-13-2007, 03:10 PM
Good analogy on the laser thing Mike. I like that. it helps.

I am all about the chakra, yoga thing btw. Doing BJJ it has become even more apparent to me of the importance.

I have a bad back with degenerative disk disease exacerbated from burning into a DZ three years ago on a jump. I can no longer run, and I am now relegated to elipticals machines and my iPod. I run more than a couple of miles and my left leg goes lame and my foot goes numb.

I can however, do BJJ with NO issues whatsoever. Why is that? Because I can control my alignment, and I do so very keenly. I actually have begun to believe my injury is a gift as it reminds me constantly to align and move correctly.

Yes rowing done correctly is related to all this...and I agree in retrospect that the thread is really getting into the importance and criticality of doing it correctly...although very little discussion cept for Dennis Hooker's excellent post on how to do it, which I learned something I never knew about it!

DH
02-13-2007, 03:53 PM
Kevin
Its Tues. and I train. I'll have to respond later.
One of the keys to my broad statements is that I talk about two different topics-sometimes combined into one.
1. Internal skills
2. MMA skills
They are two different things in that you can; practice internal skills and really not give a hoot about fighting, you can practice MMA and not give a hoot about Internal skills.
The two together are a potent combination. Yes, I am confident. For a reason. But, try and remember I have also said repeatedfly that no one and no thing is unstoppable.and no one here is an expert. In the end internal against internal is fun but the end result can be skewed by excellent fighting skills. Fightng skills against fighting skills can be skewed by good structure. Someone may be better at the internal skills but not the fighting skills. Some may be better at fighter but still working on improving the internal skills. God bless the guys trying to do both.
Its just the way of it.
Mike's Tito Ortiz example is my argument-has been for years when I talk about MMA. What is more fun to discuss is the idea of Tito or Chuck with internal skills. Anyone who has trained in these skills who has also been mixing it up and using them has an edge.
Stop thinking I am saying who-is-better-than-who?
I am questioning whether "you can be better than you."
That's the thrust of what I have told you and others in the past. It isn't a game of one upmanship. If I meet anyone better at each individual skill set or at at combining these skills, or just in the way to use these skills in training-I'm all ears. I think its great. Its about the work not the people.
Again there are no experts here. But, fair is fair, if someone doesn't know these skills, they don't know them. I don't see saying that to anyone as demeaning. In fact why care about them at all? If folks think the'yre not important, or important to their field of study.....fine by me. Hit the ignore button. For those who have come out to meet and feel. It appears they-for some strange reason- end up agreeing WITH me not against me.
Strange isn't it?
And if I may belabor the point by saying it yet again. It isn't about me, Mike, Rob, Ark, Gernot, Ignatious or anyone esle. It's about the work and the skills.
Cheers
Dan

Alec Corper
02-14-2007, 04:04 AM
That sums it up very nicely. Its not necessary to argue "or" when the answer has to be "and". I have practiced, and still practice, what can be called internal and external arts, but these are invented terms to describe a loss of knowledge in both directions. Internal training, even if it is pure standing, demands high level exertion of the skeletal and muscular structures, as well as constant reeducation of the nervous system, very physical but monitored by the mind. External training, done properly, requires great mental attention to the subtleties of balance leverage, etc (already beaten to death in the baseline Skills thread). If these trainings converge naturally you have a superior fighter. I also believe that most of the top MMA guys have developed the internal components naturally through combat, which does not mean that most of them would not jump on anything that improved their skill.

Mike Sigman
02-14-2007, 06:46 AM
I was just thinking. I do believe that there are more people out there that get it than you guys sometimes give credit to. Many of the BJJ black belts I have rolled with get it quite a bit I think.

I think the difference lie in that concept we either love or hate...and that is aliveness.

I mean how can you really understand ki, kokyu and all this if you simply practice basic waza or the equivilant of kata all the time?

I can roll with like 40 novice students in my combatives class, one after the other for over an hour, dominating and submitting them...most of them 20 years old...21 years my younger and gassing out from using strength...yet my heart rate will barely go over 120, and I am not hardly breaking a sweat. I go with the flow, control them, move around, redirect their energy, take them down paths, influence their motion...etc..

What would you call that? It is not using strength, or speed.

I believe it is the equivilant of what you call internal.

It is something all decent BJJ advanced blue, purple, brown and blackbelts can do and demonstrate.


At the same time, I don't do very well at push hands, and you'd probably crush me in push hands as it is not something I have done much or have had a good teacher to work with on it.

Does the fact that I can't play in the realm of push hands mean I don't get it?

Or that I simply have not developed skills at that range?

I don't believe it is fair to judge someone getting it or not simply because they cannot do the exercises that you do...there is a spectrum and perspective invovled.

That said, I agree, there are many schools and teachers out there that are teaching garbage, and professing to understand things that they cannot demonstrate or do without the parameters of control and constraint that they create around themselves to protect their image or reputation.

It is easy to do this when you remove the aliveness aspect out of the training.

For those that don't understand. Aliveness is not about MMA or kicking or punching necessarily. It is about training in a way of non-compliance that is non-cooperative, yet cooperative in the spirit of learning.

In aliveness training, it quickly is apparent who knows what, and what they can teach, and where their weaknesses are in training.Hi Kevin:

Some of what you're posting and what others post boils down, IMO, to this type of statement: "I don't fully understand what you're talking about but here's my version of ki and kokyu so we are agreeing to some extent about ki and kokyu". I just don't agree and I've already posted about people who use the "buzzwords".

I simply disagree with that. Let's wait until we meet or until you meet some unquestionably bona fide "internal" style teacher like CXW, etc. Once you begin to glimpse the depths of this stuff, you begin to realize that there is an extreme difference, not some vague difference. No one who really understands the different development paths of "internal arts" versus the ki/kokyu development paths of "external arts" (which Aikido leans more toward) is going to mix up the two. Anyone who really understands the difference is not going to agree that "aliveness", "good structure", and things like that are the same things, either. It's different.

There's a logic that can't be escaped. For instance, (I'll re-tell this story) one time I met a guy in a park (I had never met him before) and he wanted to push hands. We did. He had no jin/qi, but relied on some muscle, some technique, some "rollback", whatever, and I'm sure that in a safe, restricted "push hands" format he could out-wrestle a lot of people and therefore claim that his "Tai Chi" was validated. He had not idea what jin was.

When we were done, he asked me if I'd watch his form and offer some corrections and I told him that I didn't have to because it was obvious that he was doing his forms wrong since he had no jin. If he had been doing his forms correctly, then logically he would have had some jin. It's inescapable.

Yet this guy talked about qi, jin, and all the buzzwords and he was sure that he understood them. But he had no results, did he?

This is what I meant by posting the other day that at the basic level of kokyu/jin discussion we've been having on this forum, anyone who can even do these things basically should have been able to say "aha" and easily join in. Yet look at the difficulty and debates that keep arising.... while at the same time people continue to talk about "ki" and "kokyu" as if it's meaningless that they couldn't fully grok what we were talking about.

It gets crazy. :crazy: ;)

Mike

MM
02-14-2007, 07:07 AM
I simply disagree with that. Let's wait until we meet or until you meet some unquestionably bona fide "internal" style teacher like CXW, etc. Once you begin to glimpse the depths of this stuff, you begin to realize that there is an extreme difference, not some vague difference. No one who really understands the different development paths of "internal arts" versus the ki/kokyu development paths of "external arts" (which Aikido leans more toward) is going to mix up the two. Anyone who really understands the difference is not going to agree that "aliveness", "good structure", and things like that are the same things, either. It's different.
Mike

From a personal experience, I definitely agree with this.

DH
02-14-2007, 10:20 AM
Of course, Dan's major point is that it's better not to be gotten in a technique to the point where it breaks the structure enough to force you to fall, but as Mike said somewhere, it's realistically a sliding scale. You can develop great abilities, but so can the other guy and there's a point where size and strength, combined with skill and technique, can overcome us.
David Orange....

Well, not really my major point at all.
Of course anyone can be gotten, what does that have to do with my "points?"
My points are
1. What or how are you training to avoid or greatly reduce the chances of -being- gotten?
2. What skills are you training to CHANGE the way your body reacts.......... when it IS gotten.
And those are two very different topics that tie togehter nicely.

And for what its worth, playing with someone who might be able to "move you" is whole different story than playing with someone who can't cause you to lose your feet and fall down. The difference will be a trained connected body and the way ti both carries itself and the way -it- responds to forces.
Then you can talk how that training effects everything you "are." In other words in all that you do. It is re-training your entire system. Its not about fighting. Thats just another thing you ask it to do. ;)
Cheers
Dan

Kevin Leavitt
02-14-2007, 12:16 PM
No problem Mike, I hope to link up an train with you. I also do not doubt that I can learn from you.

However, I evaluate from a martial standpoint period. I am interested in learning how these things apply in non-compliant situations and fully expect to have these skills demonstrated in this manner. I am not talking punches and kicks...we can eliminate those as I don't see the since in these things as they become a distraction to training in these situations.

I am not about buzzwords, or theory, but about doing.

Push hands is fine, and a good learning tool, just like iriminage, or kokyu tanden ho...all good tools for learning to feel these things.

Nothing wrong if your pursuit is to better understand this stuff on a practiced theory level.

I am interested in someone that can demonstrate a fairly full range of martial skill.

Not because I feel you have ANY reason or need to prove yourselves to me to validate your abilities....but it is in these situations that these skills are of value to me.

I still suspect in these situations I would probably walk away and say...mmmm no difference from anything I have felt when rolling with guys like Roberto Traven, Jacare Cavalcanti, Steve Van Fleet, Bull Shaw, or Ruddolfo Amaro. Any of the above that I have trained with and I got the WOW factor when training with them...there was definitely something there!

As you say...they only way to know is to get together and train. Not sure if you guys train the same way I do, from the same perspective in these situations.

Again, also NOT saying that I would not learn from you even if we didn't train this way.

Simply trying to communicate the criteria upon which I typically view things from.

Thanks Dan and Mike once again for your post and explainations.