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Ecosamurai
03-16-2007, 11:17 AM
Hello all

I've decided to post this thread here in this forum despite it being of direct relevance to aikido and only about aikido. I've done this because I suspect it may take on a lot of stuff from outside aikido. I'll leave it to Jun to decide where to put it, but I'd ask him to wait a week or two and see how it shapes up before moving it.

We've heard a huge amout recently about Chinese martial art internal principles, MMA training methodologies and how all of this is either 'missing' from aikido or that aikido would benefit from having it added, regardless of whether it was there in the first place or not.

I'll start with this:

From:- Book of Ki: co-ordinating Mind and Body in Daily Life
By:- Koichi Tohei
ISBN 0-87040-379-6 published 1976

Page 89-90

Tohei Sensei, referring to his return to Hawaii:
"After 10 to 15 years had passed, however, I was shocked at what had happened. Most people only practiced aikido techniques and forgot Ki Development. In Japan when Master Morihei Ueshiba was alive, he always talked about Ki, so everyone thought about Ki. But after his death, people not only became unable to understand Ki but also ceased using the word. Techniques became incorrect and if a strong man held most students, they could not move him. If it were left as it was Master Ueshiba's aikido would become merely formal techniques. I suggested establishing Ki classes at Aikido Headquarters."
.......later he writes
"My request was not granted, but I was granted permission to start Ki classes outside of Aikido Headquarters"

That was the birth of the Ki Society.

Of all the exercises practiced by the Ki Soc and those whose organisations are derived from these teachings, perhaps the most well known and also the most misunderstood is the unbendable arm.

Sorry to drag you into this again Ellis but in another thread you mentioned Tomiki doing the unbendable arm (though he didn't call it that obviously) with some judoka. Also corrected my misinterperetation of what you said later in another thread. Anyway, suffice to say, unbendable arm when done properly should be not just unbendable but immovable to anyone except its owner basically what Tomiki did to those Judoka. At a beginning level it is about people learning not to rely on physical power in order to prevent someone bending their elbow. At the higher levels it involves having people try to bend your wrist and fingers. Not only that but your arm should not move (well not much) when tested. Beginners often find that they can keep their elbow or even their wrist from being moved/bent but that their arm flies all over the place in response to the testers application of force. Later this should not happen.

I've often, during a demo I've had to give found that new guys (in one such demo it was a bunch of judo and ju jitsu guys) really try to bend the arm as hard as they possibly can. In order to do this they sometimes place my wrist/hand on their shoulder and place both hands on my bicep so that they can apply more of their body wieght. This of course does nothing to improve their chances. If I am coordinated and extending ki and have proper weight-underside then all they actually suceed in doing is pulling my (rather bony) hand or wrist harder and harder into their own shoulder/collar bone etc.. They find this position strangely uncomfortable after a while and stop doing this ;)

Koichi Tohei often said: "No unbendable arm, no aikido". Whilst his teaching methodology differs from the way the Founder taught aikido, he was nonetheless a careful observer of his teacher. He is often misconstrued as being dismissive of the Founder in an interview he gave to aikidojournal where he says (paraphrasing): 'All he ever taught me really was to relax'. When you consider what it is that Tohei Sensei has spent his life doing I cannot think of higher praise for his aikido teacher than saying that.

There are many other such exercise within the Ki Society derived training syllabus, all aimed at developing 'internal power'. I noted that in this thread:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12062
Chris Moses mentioned that he thought that Ki Soc 'tests' didn't actually teach you how to do these things but rather assesed how well you'd developed these skills without actually explaining how to do them. With the greatest of respect I don't think this is true. I think that that says more to me about the way you as an individual learn than anything else. I know because I was the same. Whilst constantly being told to 'use weight underside' I would be screaming in my mind 'BUT HOW???? YOU HAVEN'T TOLD ME HOW!' I later figured out that they had and that I just hadn't noticed because I was a product of an education system where things were spoon-fed to me more often than not rather than a place which encouraged me to look for things on my own. I'm not saying that things were the same for you Chris but your comments struck a chord with me and sounded awfully familiar. I have however seen too many people able to do these things having had no other instruction except in the usual Ki Society derived format to believe the methods to be ineffective, though I'll admit that they may not suit everyones style of learning.

I personally would hope this thread promotes careful consideration of the aforementioned 'internal skills' so much debated of late, and also that Tohei devloped them in the context of aikido training and in accordance with aikido waza AND the ascetic practices he saw his teacher doing on a regular basis.

I do not believe external principles and training methods need to be bolted on to aikido to make it the art that the founder practiced and intended us to have, I do believe that people like Dan and Mike have valuable insights into training methods and practices which may be different to regular aikido practices, and methods but may be aimed at acheiving the same ends. I noted for example on page 72 of the above mentioned book there is a picture and description of an exercise that Mike Sigman has described elsewhere around here (afraid i can't find it just now, sorry), though Mike was talking about it in a different context and as an exercise used in Chinese internal training IIRC (again, sorry I can't seem to find it). I also note that much of what has been described by Mike Sigman in concerns to developing pathways involves exercise similar to Tohei style ones, but usually (based on film footage cited and descriptions he has given) involving different aims and emphasis, I notice that the knees in the CMA stuff tend to be bent more and the feet further apart.

I would hope that people will share their thoughts here pleasantly and respectfully. I have a feeling we're all talking about the same stuff really, lets try to make this a productve discussion.

Respectfully

Mike Haft

PS - I shall mention this thread to my teacher and I hope he may participate, he has far more experience and ability with regards to this stuff than I do.

Kenji_08
03-16-2007, 11:52 PM
I know very little on the rules of making the elbow bend and I believe Ki does exist. However, (I have nothing but respect for these people) I just wanted to say it is fairly simple to lock your elbow. If you want to bend it just strike the inside of the elbow while pulling the arm. (You dont have to strike too hard)

Ecosamurai
03-17-2007, 05:13 AM
I know very little on the rules of making the elbow bend and I believe Ki does exist. However, (I have nothing but respect for these people) I just wanted to say it is fairly simple to lock your elbow. If you want to bend it just strike the inside of the elbow while pulling the arm. (You dont have to strike too hard)

Sorry but that doesn't work if you are doing unbendable arm correctly. As I said, it's a misunderstood exercise, at no time should your elbow ever be 'locked'. Striking it doesn't help in the slightest (except perhaps for beginners).

Mike

Lee Salzman
03-17-2007, 12:41 PM
Whilst constantly being told to 'use weight underside' I would be screaming in my mind 'BUT HOW???? YOU HAVEN'T TOLD ME HOW!' I later figured out that they had and that I just hadn't noticed because I was a product of an education system where things were spoon-fed to me more often than not rather than a place which encouraged me to look for things on my own.

Before I stepped outside of aikido, I would have been sympathetic to that view. But the first place I looked outside, I was seriously forced to reconsider: the method of transmission is as important, if not more important, than the content. I was just overwhelmed by how another martial skill set was systematically approaching teaching, it was:

1) student gets initial exercise which, regardless of how he interprets it, so long as he does what looks to be correct, then he has felt certain bodily sensations the teacher himself feels when doing it

2) student gets further exercises where he can, without limit and without supervision, refine those sensations/qualities and expand them over all the body and its movement, according to a set of objective criteria

3) student gets even further exercises by which he can immediately verify to himself his progression in wiring those qualities into the body

So from day 1, the student has felt what he needs to cultivate, he is given a way to cultivate it, and he is shown how to verify that he has done it correctly. The student just has to put in a ton of self-study and refinement after that. Labels as to what the concepts are are avoided in instruction: just feel it, practice it, do it.

Contrasted to being given an explanation of what he should feel - if he's lucky getting to feel what his teacher is doing from the outside - and then always second-guessing himself, "Hmm, maybe what I did felt sort of like that", for years on end, and chasing after abstract linguistic constructs which no one can seem to authoritatively define.

If it's going to be a long journey, how far can you go if you can't even take the first significant step as soon as possible? And if you're not even quite sure where you're supposed to be going?

Even if something can possibly achieve a desired result, you have to ask: how well, and for how many?

Ecosamurai
03-17-2007, 12:54 PM
If it's going to be a long journey, how far can you go if you can't even take the first significant step as soon as possible? And if you're not even quite sure where you're supposed to be going?

Even if something can possibly achieve a desired result, you have to ask: how well, and for how many?

As for how well and how many. In any large group/organization there will be varying levels of excellence. Statistically speaking if you choose to categorize people as being either good or bad, then 50% of people will be bad.

If you re-read what I said then you'll notice that I just wasn't noticing that people were telling me the things that you said they need to be told.
i.e.: "student gets initial exercise which, regardless of how he interprets it, so long as he does what looks to be correct, then he has felt certain bodily sensations the teacher himself feels when doing it"
I simply didn't properly interpret these things, but that says more about me than the methodology, and like I said, I have seen too many people able to do these things who have had only a Ki Soc derived background to accept that the methodology doesn't work. How can it not work when everyone I've met who has more than a few years experience can do it?

Mike

Ecosamurai
03-17-2007, 02:27 PM
I really should read things more carefully. "Regardless of how he interprets it". DOH. Would you please be kind enough to give me an example of what you mean? I have a feeling I know what you're talking about but it's St Patrick's Day and Guinness is good for you after all :) :) Suffice to say I'll answer while recovering from the hangover.

Mike

Lee Salzman
03-17-2007, 03:13 PM
I really should read things more carefully. "Regardless of how he interprets it". DOH. Would you please be kind enough to give me an example of what you mean? I have a feeling I know what you're talking about but it's St Patrick's Day and Guinness is good for you after all :) :) Suffice to say I'll answer while recovering from the hangover.

Mike

i.e. Someone submerses his hand in boiling water, then pulls it out quickly. You can be reasonably sure, barring some strange neurological disorders, that he felt pain, because he pulled his hand out. That was the external criteria you were looking for, to verify that he felt pain, regardless of whether pain for him feels way different than it feels for you. You never explained pain to him, but now he knows what it feels like, to him, and can build off of it. So you're basically reducing things down to the point where someone can't possibly be screwing up the subjective/"internal" aspects, so long as the objective/"external" are present.

It's nothing terribly profound, just I found it interesting how much the model of transmission was being emphasized and taught as much as the content.

MM
03-17-2007, 05:06 PM
As for how well and how many. In any large group/organization there will be varying levels of excellence. Statistically speaking if you choose to categorize people as being either good or bad, then 50% of people will be bad.

If you re-read what I said then you'll notice that I just wasn't noticing that people were telling me the things that you said they need to be told.
i.e.: "student gets initial exercise which, regardless of how he interprets it, so long as he does what looks to be correct, then he has felt certain bodily sensations the teacher himself feels when doing it"
I simply didn't properly interpret these things, but that says more about me than the methodology, and like I said, I have seen too many people able to do these things who have had only a Ki Soc derived background to accept that the methodology doesn't work. How can it not work when everyone I've met who has more than a few years experience can do it?

Mike

Mike,

Let's take the "unbendable" arm trick. Supposedly, in a few years, most can do it, right? Now, let's take Tomiki's "unmovable" arm trick. If the people who were working on exercises that enabled them to do "unbendable" arm, then it follows that they should be able to do the "unmovable" arm -- provided that the exercises do train internal skills. How many people do you know that can hold their arm out in front of them and have someone push on their wrist from a 90 degree angle, with all their strength, and their arm will remain unmovable?

If the ki exercises were the same as the internal exercises, then people should be able to do both. After all, they can grasp and do the unbendable arm thing, why would it not follow that they should be able to do the unmovable arm thing?

Mark

Ecosamurai
03-17-2007, 07:00 PM
Mike,

Let's take the "unbendable" arm trick. Supposedly, in a few years, most can do it, right? Now, let's take Tomiki's "unmovable" arm trick. If the people who were working on exercises that enabled them to do "unbendable" arm, then it follows that they should be able to do the "unmovable" arm -- provided that the exercises do train internal skills. How many people do you know that can hold their arm out in front of them and have someone push on their wrist from a 90 degree angle, with all their strength, and their arm will remain unmovable?

If the ki exercises were the same as the internal exercises, then people should be able to do both. After all, they can grasp and do the unbendable arm thing, why would it not follow that they should be able to do the unmovable arm thing?

Mark

I have yet to meet someone who, when 'correctly' (which is the key word here) performs the unbendable arm 'trick' is not also able to stop people moving their arm whilst pushing it from a 90 degree angle and/or suddenly reversing their applied force in order to do so. But since you raise the point I will try it next week at training and tell you what I find (I haven't tried it in that way for a while so I hesitate to answer confidently at present).

Regards

Mike

Ecosamurai
03-18-2007, 05:53 AM
So you're basically reducing things down to the point where someone can't possibly be screwing up the subjective/"internal" aspects, so long as the objective/"external" are present.

It's nothing terribly profound, just I found it interesting how much the model of transmission was being emphasized and taught as much as the content.

I think that transmitting the model is important too, otherwise the methods for acquiring these skills risks being lost. Do you not think however that the student has also got to do some of the work? In other words, they have to 'find' this skill with the aid of a teacher rather than sit in a big black chair and have Neo plug it in to the back of their head?

Mike

Lee Salzman
03-18-2007, 10:40 AM
I think that transmitting the model is important too, otherwise the methods for acquiring these skills risks being lost. Do you not think however that the student has also got to do some of the work? In other words, they have to 'find' this skill with the aid of a teacher rather than sit in a big black chair and have Neo plug it in to the back of their head?

Mike

I was never expected or needed to use any great amount of intellectual reasoning to find skill. Intuitive reasoning at most. I was just shown what I need to train, no more. What I was and am expected to do, though, is the repetitive daily work of training into my body what I was shown. Just by showing me what I need to train, the teacher hasn't done any real work for me. He can't train this stuff into my body for me. I've still got years of work ahead of me, mostly by myself.

It's just, instead of spending 5+ years trying to figure out even what I'm supposed to be working on, before I can devote another 5 years to actually training it into the body, I can just go straight to training it into the body. This is especially important because the subject matter is formless: just mimicking what the teacher appears to be doing externally would never teach what's going on, especially because most of the time you can't even see it. So there is a great emphasis on verifiable transmission, to make sure you're actually getting everything.

Ecosamurai
03-19-2007, 06:46 AM
This is especially important because the subject matter is formless: just mimicking what the teacher appears to be doing externally would never teach what's going on, especially because most of the time you can't even see it. So there is a great emphasis on verifiable transmission, to make sure you're actually getting everything.

I agree with the above. The subject matter is formless. that is why you need a good teacher to explain what you are supposed to be doing. As to the 'ki tests' they have two purposes not one. The first as you discussed is to assess and verify transmission of these skills. The second and most important IMHO is to help the student develop them in the first instance.

The tester at all times is helping the student to find their centre, he is giving them external feedback to help them understand what they are supposed to be doing. One reason people often 'fail' a ki test is that they see it as a test, something they need to pass or fail and this encourages the state of mind that causes them to resist and fight back. Once you learn that the tester is giving you a present, giving you ki to learn with and to understand what you are supposed to be doing with that formless aspect you described, things tend to get easier.

A part of the problem I have as the teacher is that when giving these 'tests' (which are actually just me helping them find and use their centre) people often see me as being their assessor, because I'm the guy out in the front of the class doing the teaching. I've found that the people who seem to have figured out that I'm not trying to pass or fail them when I do this stuff are the ones who see me less as 'sensei' and more as 'Mike'.

Regards

Mike Haft

Mark Freeman
03-19-2007, 03:08 PM
Let's take the "unbendable" arm trick. Supposedly, in a few years, most can do it, right?

Hi Mark,

I've never seen "unbendable" arm as a 'trick', just a mind/body state that is essential for the doing of aikido.

The term 'unbendable' itself does not correctly describe the end state that is being trained for. It is true that if someone is testing my arm using strength, then what 'they' feel is that my arm is un- bendable, but I can choose to bend it as I wish, therefore it is only 'unbendable' to them.

As for teaching it, I usually can get beginners to 'get it' within minutes. The hard part is to maintain this state under ever increasing dynamically stressfull scenarios, this does seem to take a long time to achieve.;)

I've not seen the Tomiki unmoveable arm demo, and have not tried it, I look forward to Mike's report back. It seems to go against everything that I (as an aikidoka) would naturally want to do, i.e. when being pushed at right angles at the wrist, I'd want to turn on the spot, not stay stationary.

regards,

Mark

George S. Ledyard
03-20-2007, 01:38 AM
The term 'unbendable' itself does not correctly describe the end state that is being trained for. It is true that if someone is testing my arm using strength, then what 'they' feel is that my arm is un- bendable, but I can choose to bend it as I wish, therefore it is only 'unbendable' to them.

One should not only be able to keep it unbendable under pressure from a partner but bend it and straighten it without them being able to stop you. This should be done without tensing the arm muscles at all. If one has this type of energized flexibility, one has what is needed to execute technique without either clashing or collapsing which is what many folks do.

George S. Ledyard
03-20-2007, 01:42 AM
I've not seen the Tomiki unmoveable arm demo, and have not tried it, I look forward to Mike's report back. It seems to go against everything that I (as an aikidoka) would naturally want to do, i.e. when being pushed at right angles at the wrist, I'd want to turn on the spot, not stay stationary.

This is a demonstration of proper energetics not waza. It is the energy that one has when one presents ones hand in training for the partner to grab. There should be structure there, not just a hand hanging out in the air. That is a demonstration of that structure.

Kevin Wilbanks
03-20-2007, 04:32 AM
Hi Mark,

I've never seen "unbendable" arm as a 'trick', just a mind/body state that is essential for the doing of aikido.

The term 'unbendable' itself does not correctly describe the end state that is being trained for. It is true that if someone is testing my arm using strength, then what 'they' feel is that my arm is un- bendable, but I can choose to bend it as I wish, therefore it is only 'unbendable' to them.

As for teaching it, I usually can get beginners to 'get it' within minutes. The hard part is to maintain this state under ever increasing dynamically stressfull scenarios, this does seem to take a long time to achieve.;)

I've not seen the Tomiki unmoveable arm demo, and have not tried it, I look forward to Mike's report back. It seems to go against everything that I (as an aikidoka) would naturally want to do, i.e. when being pushed at right angles at the wrist, I'd want to turn on the spot, not stay stationary.

regards,

Mark

I don't know about the Tomiki thing, but the 'unbendable arm' exercise you describe is easy for beginners because it is a trick. The action being attempted by the bender is largely being thwarted by the mechanics of the setup. In order to apply a force that will truly test the bendability of the arm, one would need to apply a force down through the elbow and simultaneously up and towards the bendee's body with the shoulder, while making sure the bendee was fixed to the ground in a horizontal plane. There is only so much pulling downward on the elbow the bender can do without also dropping his/her own weight, and hence his/her shoulder - the primary action required to bend the arm is self-limiting. Also, in order to bend the arm, the bendee's wrist, and hence the bender, is going to need to close the distance to the bendee's torso, which is being thwarted by the fact that the bender is stuck in his/her own feet at a fixed distance from the bendee, bracing to pull down and trying ineffectually to drop his/her weight.

By contrast, imagine a machine, in which the person whose arm bendability is to be tested is limited from moving in the horizontal plane by a fixed steel ring circling the middle of their ribcage - not clamped, just limited from moving more than a half inch. Now, to test their arm bendability, we'll set up two bars. One will be positioned inside the elbow set to move radially downward and toward their waist using the position of their shoulder as the rough pivot point. The other will be underneath their forearm, set to pivot roughly radially to the other bar, toward the bendee's head/torso. Each bar will be fitted with a pneumatic piston capable of exerting 5000 pounds per square inch. Do you still think any human that ever lived would be able to demonstrate "unbendable arm"?

Kevin Wilbanks
03-20-2007, 04:44 AM
One should not only be able to keep it unbendable under pressure from a partner but bend it and straighten it without them being able to stop you. This should be done without tensing the arm muscles at all. If one has this type of energized flexibility, one has what is needed to execute technique without either clashing or collapsing which is what many folks do.

It is flatly impossible to straighten or bend the arm "without tensing the arm muscles at all". Tensing the arm muscles is what makes the arm bend or straighten. This is not only true with someone providing resistance but also when one is floating freely in a non-gravity environment. The arm does not voluntarily bend without the application of muscular tension on one side of the joint sufficient to overcome the resistance to bending, no matter how small that resistance is.

Ecosamurai
03-20-2007, 05:16 AM
I've not seen the Tomiki unmoveable arm demo, and have not tried it, I look forward to Mike's report back. It seems to go against everything that I (as an aikidoka) would naturally want to do, i.e. when being pushed at right angles at the wrist, I'd want to turn on the spot, not stay stationary.

Well. It wiggled and it wobbled but it pretty much stayed put. The tester was someone who outweighs me by about one third. While it wasn't stationary nor solid as a rock it was, hmmm, well rather difficult to move as opposed to totally immovable.

I suspect this is for a few reasons. One I'm not a solidly built guy so there is slack in my tendons. I found that when the force was applied from one given direction I could handle it, it was the changes in direction that caused the wobbles. I suspect this was force being loaded into my arm and onto the tendons which then released said force when the tester changed direction.

The second reason is. I'm not really that good at this type of stuff.# and need more practice.

Regards

Mike

Ecosamurai
03-20-2007, 05:19 AM
One should not only be able to keep it unbendable under pressure from a partner but bend it and straighten it without them being able to stop you. This should be done without tensing the arm muscles at all. If one has this type of energized flexibility, one has what is needed to execute technique without either clashing or collapsing which is what many folks do.

I agree but not with the tensing part seeing as some muscles do actually have to flex in order for the arm to move. Koretoshi Maruyama Sensei teaches that you should consider what your triceps are doing in all of this. Makes sense really as if you rely on your biceps you'll be bending your own arm for them. In any case doing this exercise correctly should mean that your arm is free to move and extend as and when you like it. But not when the tester does (unless they are better at this stuff than you are in which case things start getting..... interesting).

Mike

Ecosamurai
03-20-2007, 05:25 AM
I don't know about the Tomiki thing, but the 'unbendable arm' exercise you describe is easy for beginners because it is a trick.

If by trick you mean that it is learning to use your body in a situation where it interacts with other peoples bodies directed by their intention. Yeah it's a trick. Nobody says its magic. Next you'll be asking me if I weigh the same while performing the 'weight underside trick' as I do when I'm not doing it. Of course I way the same. Nobody is suggesting that this violates the laws of physics, only that this stuff enables you to learn and visualize the proper use of your own body for correctly applying aikido techniques. If you want to tie wieghts to arms and have levels and pullies etc.. well duh. Of course my arm will bend, this was never the point of the exercise in the first place though.

Despite this I wouldn't dismiss it as a trick. It is a valuable learning tool. "No unbendable arm. No aikido"

Regards

Mike

Ecosamurai
03-20-2007, 05:31 AM
It is flatly impossible to straighten or bend the arm "without tensing the arm muscles at all". Tensing the arm muscles is what makes the arm bend or straighten. This is not only true with someone providing resistance but also when one is floating freely in a non-gravity environment. The arm does not voluntarily bend without the application of muscular tension on one side of the joint sufficient to overcome the resistance to bending, no matter how small that resistance is.

Speaking as a professional scientist I'd say that there is too much science here and not enough thought. The use of the word 'tense' in a scientific context is one thing, when using it to distinguish between relaxed and tensed in most (non scientist) peoples everyday lives it seems reasonable to work with language more easily understood by most people. If you want me to I can technobabble this stuff for you and relate it to points of anatomy, physiology etc etc. However this will likely not help you or anyone else improve your performance of this exercise.

Remember, I doubt anyone would claim that these are supernatural powers and if they do they're probably a bit strange in my book. Arguing over point so scientific technical language isn't particularly helpful either.

Speaking of science. I have to go and do some or the boss will wonder what I'm being paid for. Back in a few weeks.

Regards

Mike

Ron Tisdale
03-20-2007, 08:33 AM
Hi Mike, I've enjoyed these posts...hope you'll be back soon...

Best,
Ron

George S. Ledyard
03-20-2007, 09:43 AM
I agree but not with the tensing part seeing as some muscles do actually have to flex in order for the arm to move.

Ok, yes to this and to Kevin. It's true that muscles are doing "something". But it isn't at all what people usually are doing and it's a relaxed rather than tense movement. What I should have said is that one should be able to allow the arm to bend and then straighten it pretty much at will with a third person placing his hands on your biceps triceps and your forearm. That third person shouldn't feel any muscles firing. It's the difference between extension and what most people do which is pushing.

George S. Ledyard
03-20-2007, 09:56 AM
It is flatly impossible to straighten or bend the arm "without tensing the arm muscles at all". Tensing the arm muscles is what makes the arm bend or straighten. This is not only true with someone providing resistance but also when one is floating freely in a non-gravity environment. The arm does not voluntarily bend without the application of muscular tension on one side of the joint sufficient to overcome the resistance to bending, no matter how small that resistance is.

What I should have said is that there is no "discernible" tension. As I described in my earlier post, I can do this with a third person touching my upper and lower arm and they don't feel the muscles firing. I am not trying to upset anyone's notion of correct science, I haven't got the anatomy training to tell you what I am doing. What I am saying is that a) I can do it and do so all the time when I teach folks, so plenty of people experience it and b) the reason that I show this when I teach is that this skill, however minor, is crucial to doing any technique with "aiki". If you can't do it or don't understand it properly, your Aikido remains largely physical and strength based ie ineffective.

The whole unbendable arm demo is supposed to be showing the proper energetic state of the arms which is right in the state between pushing and pulling (or collapsing). Most of the folks who do it as beginners don't understand how to flex it, their unbendable arm is too rigid and isn't really what I am talking about nor is it what Tohei Sensei was demonstrating.

Mark Freeman
03-20-2007, 01:36 PM
By contrast, imagine a machine, in which the person whose arm bendability is to be tested is limited from moving in the horizontal plane by a fixed steel ring circling the middle of their ribcage - not clamped, just limited from moving more than a half inch. Now, to test their arm bendability, we'll set up two bars. One will be positioned inside the elbow set to move radially downward and toward their waist using the position of their shoulder as the rough pivot point. The other will be underneath their forearm, set to pivot roughly radially to the other bar, toward the bendee's head/torso. Each bar will be fitted with a pneumatic piston capable of exerting 5000 pounds per square inch. Do you still think any human that ever lived would be able to demonstrate "unbendable arm"?

No!:D

George's post's expanded on my own of what this unbendable arm 'thing' is and why it is neccessary for the correct practice of aikido. It's only a training tool to achieve a desired mind/body state. I'm not keen on the term 'unbendable' or 'trick' and your mechanical uke would no doubt prove your hypothesis. But what does that prove in itself?

regards,

Mark

Kevin Wilbanks
03-21-2007, 02:55 AM
Well, my point was that there is a lot of exaggerated fantasical language being used to describe this stuff, and I doubt it's helping anyone understand it, or enhance persuasion or credibility with anyone who is skeptical. When pressed, what was blithely described as "unbendable arm", "not a trick", and requiring "no tension at all" has been revealed to be a moderately bend-resistant arm in which the mechanics of the demo prevent more than a marginal bending force to be applied to it, requiring a low to moderate amount of muscular tension to do properly, the purpose of which has little or nothing to do with actual arm bendability.

Being a skeptical, analytical person, I have always objected to this kind of hyperbole in Aikido instruction and coaching. Someone insisting that I 'just relax' signifies to me that I should crumple into a lump on the floor. Not useful. There is the argument of the sort that 'most people are so tense that it will send them in the right direction', but this sounds like a lame excuse to me. This is essentially admitting that you are telling students something that is literally wrong and likely misleading under the assumption that they are too stupid to be reasoned with properly. This is a 'dumbing down' process that is going to retard smarter students and convolute serious discussions among more advanced people about what is really being talked about.

Aran Bright
03-21-2007, 04:12 AM
Hi Mike,

Let me first of all say I 'resonate' with what you are saying. I myself come from the same aikido background as you. And I have the same question, is what is being taught by Tohei, and in our case K Maruyama, the same as what Mike S. et al are talking about? I have no bloody idea.

They ceratinly sound very similar, they even look somewhat familiar in demonstrations, the problem is I haven't felt these guys so I can't say for sure. I can say that Mike Sigman does refrence and study a lot of what Tohei teaches and says that they are the same fundamental principles.

I guess we can go around and around in circles with this stuff as we have seen many do already in the baseline skills thread (man that gave me a headache trying to get through all that) but the important question I think is there anything that can be gained by it? The discussion I mean. Can we get some training drills, skills or principles that we can turn into real results?

I think so, I have found by looking at what has been discussed, trying some of the ideas at home and in class I have achieved some real results. After getting some idea of the groundpath principle I went to training straight away and broke my Jo. (yeah thanks guys) This to me demonstrated that I was missing something in what I am doing and that i actually have bad technique, I was over using my right arm and drove straight through the middle of the Jo consequently breaking it. But heres the thing i could feel that there was a hell of a lot more potential in my body than what I was using.

Anyway, I think that you have already discovered a new way of testing by getting someone to push and pull on your arm, why not take it a step further and get someone to push in all different areas of your body?

I guess we need to test what we are doing and see if we can meet some of these tests that have been suggested for basic internal skills. This is only if we want to. If we are then found wanting I think that there is something that can be learnt.

Just my thoughts anyway,

Aran

Ecosamurai
03-21-2007, 04:54 AM
Being a skeptical, analytical person, I have always objected to this kind of hyperbole in Aikido instruction and coaching.

That is how you prefer your teaching to be given to you. It is not hyperbole. It is terminology. Science has it's own language and terminology too. Such scientific language has a purpose when used in scientific publications but it is positively unhelpful in most aikido teaching situations. Unless of course you are teaching aikido to a group comprised entirely of scientists in which case you can commit monolithic dual avicide by engaging in science (i.e. teaching physiology) and teaching aikido concurrently.....

I think that picking apart the jargon instead of the exercise is unhelpful and, to an extent, petty. All things have their own jargonese associated with them. Including science and aikido.
Jargon is used by the group that created it in order to give the best tools for communicating principles. Think about it like this. If you've seen the film 'The Last Samurai' how many times did you hear a 'sshiiing' sound as a sword was drawn? All the time. Katana do not make these sounds when drawn. Likewise, horses to not make whinnying noises in the sorts of situations that you hear them make them in that film. But, reality is not the aim of the foley artist is it? Their aim is to convey an impression, a feeling of what's going on. Sometimes they tell little lies to do it because it can actually be helpful in communicating a bigger picture.

Mike (who needs to unsubscribe himself from this thread and get work done...) Haft

Ecosamurai
03-21-2007, 05:14 AM
After getting some idea of the groundpath principle I went to training straight away and broke my Jo. (yeah thanks guys) This to me demonstrated that I was missing something in what I am doing and that i actually have bad technique, I was over using my right arm and drove straight through the middle of the Jo consequently breaking it. But heres the thing i could feel that there was a hell of a lot more potential in my body than what I was using.

SNIP

Anyway, I think that you have already discovered a new way of testing by getting someone to push and pull on your arm, why not take it a step further and get someone to push in all different areas of your body?

With regards to the jo, I don't know exactly what you did so I won't comment except to say tell me more :D

I haven't discovered a new way of doing unbendable arm, I think that's always been there if you logically apply the principles taught. As my teacher often says. If you can do it one way and can think of other ways to do it. Do it. Why wouldn't you?

The whole point of all this is basically not to say Mike Sigman is wrong (he's not) but rather. Why do you need to do CMA exercises to develop this stuff when the exercises to do so are already in aikido? I'd bet that many of the people in aikido who don't know about these things probably do know the exercises used to develop 'internal power', I find it difficult to believe that they wouldn't, after all Tohei Sensei was the chief instructor of the aikikai for many years and the founder did this stuff all the time, they simply forgot how important they were. But it's still there if you look for it I think. But for some reason people seem to want to go elsewhere.

Mike Haft

DH
03-21-2007, 06:05 AM
Mike
Who knows? Where do I find them?
Do you know?
If you don't, how do you.. know where to look?
You said I should go to Essex to find it in your teacher. Has he read all the reports about MIke, Rob, Ark, Ushiro etc? I have outlined things I can do in a list. You said you can't do them. Have you read these reports to him? Men have traveled from all over to find this stuff. They have gone to certain men from word of mouth-just like you are doing here. They have reported back what they found. You are now telling the world that your teacher is equal to what these men have discovered.
Does he know your telling the world to come test him?

I think the dozens of men and teachers who have felt this stuff and have openly stated they were stumped would love to know they shouldn't waste their time that its already in Aikido, and maybe they can come see your teacher. Or you know where to go for them to find it.
Where Mike?


Another queston
Why haven't you, Eric, or Justin responded or replied to George L.Ron, Mark M., Murray M., Mark C., Rob, Stan, Chris, or any of the other men who have openly stated otherwise? The only thing I have read from you was to cut them up.

I find it quite odd that these things have been discussed as being quite surprising by those IN aikido. That they have been declared highly important and that they are are indeed at the core of Aiki. These men are your own.Yet, they go ignored. Now you come along and tell the whole community by implication to ignore them as well, and to go back to itself and do more kata and do the exercises only found in Aikido.

As for telling folks to ignore CMA or "other sources."
Let me aske one more question
Ueshiba had tremendous power -while- he was treaching Daito ryu.
How'd that happen?
From Aikido?
Ass-backward logic isn't a very good start, Mike.
Neither is an inability to read. Mike Sigman openly stated Ki Aikido was doing good stuff and was a good start. Where did -he- state people should leave and go do CMA?
He didn't.
But consider this.
1. He got his from CMA and research outside Aikido.
2. He has a very good reputation from teachers INSIDE Aikido.
You just reminded everyone Where he got his
and you don't have it;)

Dan

Ecosamurai
03-21-2007, 07:27 AM
You said I should go to Essex to find it in your teacher.

I said no such thing. He lives nowhere near Essex.

I said that I thought you might find it interesting if you trained with him, I know I do. I am not challenging the world to come and 'test' him. Where did you get that from? Think you're reading more into this than there is. As for my "Neither is an inability to read" I could justifiably say the same of you based on your aggressive and adversarial mis-interpretations of what I have said here.

I haven't said ignore CMA. I have said it is interesting and that people who talk about it have interesting insights. Because they do (I used to do CMA before I found aikido remember). I have said also that there is plenty of this stuff in aikido too if you look for it. I know there is because I have seen it. I also not only condone cross-training in things like this. I positively encourage it in myself and my students. But I always find myself coming back to the aikido I learnt because it was there more than anywhere else I have encountered. Maybe I just met bad teachers in the other stuff. Who knows?

I will repeat one more time. This stuff is in aikido. 'It' has never left. 'It' isn't in every dojo or every teacher, shock horror statistic: 50% of aikidoka are of 'below average ability', well duh. Learning CMA is useful stimulating interesting and complimentary to aikido, learning MMA is useful stimulating and complimentary to aikido. Seeing yourself and what you do from different perspectives is a valuable insight to gain and I would recommend it.

Please stop telling everyone who does aikido that they are not doing aiki because some of them are. Please stop telling everyone in aikido they aren't good martialartists because some of them are. Respect us and our efforts, discuss these things with us by all means (they are interesting!), do not, please attack us and the art we love and care about because you haven't been lucky enough to meet some of the really good teachers of the art. Please DO offer helpful and constuctive views on aspects of our training in a polite friendly and respectful manner. Please DO continue to teach the things you know to people whose main art is aikido and help them improve themselves and their aikido.

Koichi Tohei said:

"Even a one-inch worm has a half inch spirit. Every man respects his own ego. Do not, therefore, slight anyone, nor hurt his self-respect. Treat a man with respect, and he will respect you. Make light of him, and he will make light of you. Respect his personality and listen to his views, and he will gladly follow you."

Please do not continuously dismiss the efforts fo other people who do not necessarily share your views on the art of aikido. I'm trying hard to listen to you. Please don't let what you're trying to say get lost in the noise.

Regards

Mike

Aran Bright
03-21-2007, 07:48 AM
Dan,

Hi, if I may join the conversation at this point by asking a simple question. Where should we be looking in our aikido training for these skills? They must be there at some level at least?

I am willing to take for granted that you've got "the right stuff". Can you offer any suggestions?

Oh, the other point I wanted to make is this, as you can see Mike H. and I are georaphically challenged in terms of training with you, so the only thing that I have to go by are 'hints' where to look.

Aran

George S. Ledyard
03-21-2007, 08:46 AM
I
By contrast, imagine a machine, in which the person whose arm bendability is to be tested is limited from moving in the horizontal plane by a fixed steel ring circling the middle of their ribcage - not clamped, just limited from moving more than a half inch. Now, to test their arm bendability, we'll set up two bars. One will be positioned inside the elbow set to move radially downward and toward their waist using the position of their shoulder as the rough pivot point. The other will be underneath their forearm, set to pivot roughly radially to the other bar, toward the bendee's head/torso. Each bar will be fitted with a pneumatic piston capable of exerting 5000 pounds per square inch. Do you still think any human that ever lived would be able to demonstrate "unbendable arm"?
Kevin, I completely fail to see the point of talking what could or could not be done on a machine."Aiki" in terms of technique is about two alive energy systems. Take "grounding" for instance. You can put a bear hug on someone and lift him up. If he knows how to ground out, he can shift his energy such that he will feel vastly heavier to the person lifting. If you had him on a scale, his weight wouldn't have changed but effectively, in terms of the interaction between the two people, his weight would feel as if it did.

MM
03-21-2007, 08:46 AM
My opinion on where to start/look at internal training. These aren't in any order; I just numbered them to keep them easier to read. The most important part is to find someone and get hands on training. If that isn't possible, then these are just my suggestions for stuff to do until you get hands on training.

1. Read the threads about training the body by Rob John:

First thread:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10763

Second thread:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10764

If you're doing the ki exercises, I'd suggest trying Rob's exercises in a manner that integrates the ki exercise principles.

2. Read the baseline skillset thread here:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11629
NOTE: Do NOT read any posts by Erick Mead and Justin Smith (statisticool). This will cut your reading down immensely and you won't be sidetracked. Pay close attention to posts by Dan Harden, Mike Sigman and Rob John. (I also find posts by Ledyard, Gernot, Cady, Ignatius, Hunter, Ellis, Moses, and Fong to be helpful.)

3. Read my thread about meeting Dan Harden:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11178
It's long, but there are some posts that are worthwhile. I remember Rob talking about shiko and training in one post.

4. Search youtube for "aunkai", "akuzawa" or similar words. Study how the movements are done and try to integrate the ki exercises with them. Mike has also posted links to vids on youtube or googlevids.

5. Go over to E-Budo and Aikido Journal and search their threads for topics about internal training.

I notice that Akuzawa goes to Europe every now and then. Also, Mike has posted several names of those who know these internal skills. Dan has posted at least one name, too. Search AikiWeb for those names or ask Dan and Mike who they are. If I remember correctly, I think at least one has seminars in Europe, possibly elsewhere. Look into their seminars and see if any come close to where you are.

Mark

Ecosamurai
03-21-2007, 08:57 AM
I'd also add to this one by Mark that concerning Akuzawa. I've been watching the youtube vids of him whilst eating my lunch. They are essentially equivalent to ki-soc exercises (no surprise there then nwhen you consider lineages and all that). They are just using and practicing these skills in a different environment with different emphasis. Ki Society dojo and those related to that family of aikido should be able to teach you these things. They also teach them as separate ki classes so you would have no need to practice aikido waza to 'get it' if you don't like aikido waza. You can always use them in your preferred MA in any way you see fit.

Mike

Mike Sigman
03-21-2007, 09:19 AM
Actually.... and I've personally seen them both..... Akuzawa's exercises are radically different from the Ki Society's approach. And I say that while not commenting on the efficacy of either method or exactly what each is focused on (they actually focus on 2 different things, too, but that seems to be a discussion better suited for a forum that focuses on body-mechanics).

Regards,

Mike Sigman

MM
03-21-2007, 09:20 AM
I'd also add to this one by Mark that concerning Akuzawa. I've been watching the youtube vids of him whilst eating my lunch. They are essentially equivalent to ki-soc exercises (no surprise there then nwhen you consider lineages and all that). They are just using and practicing these skills in a different environment with different emphasis. Ki Society dojo and those related to that family of aikido should be able to teach you these things. They also teach them as separate ki classes so you would have no need to practice aikido waza to 'get it' if you don't like aikido waza. You can always use them in your preferred MA in any way you see fit.

Mike

*sigh* Mike, do you realize what you're conveying in your post?

Just as you have called Dan on lumping all Aikido people together, you have done the same thing in speaking for all Ki Society dojos. (Unless, of course, you've personally been to all of them and can vouch for them?)

Don't forget that you've watched a video of the Aunkai and determined that you know exactly what they're doing such that you can relate it to what you're doing. Eh? The Aunkai works on internal training, but from a video you can tell that "They are just using and practicing these skills in a different environment with different emphasis"?

Personally, It comes across as if you know exactly what Dan and Rob are doing without ever training with them. Not sure if that's what you are trying to convey.

Mark

Ecosamurai
03-21-2007, 09:29 AM
*sigh* Mike, do you realize what you're conveying in your post?

Just as you have called Dan on lumping all Aikido people together, you have done the same thing in speaking for all Ki Society dojos. (Unless, of course, you've personally been to all of them and can vouch for them?)

Don't forget that you've watched a video of the Aunkai and determined that you know exactly what they're doing such that you can relate it to what you're doing. Eh? The Aunkai works on internal training, but from a video you can tell that "They are just using and practicing these skills in a different environment with different emphasis"?

Personally, It comes across as if you know exactly what Dan and Rob are doing without ever training with them. Not sure if that's what you are trying to convey.

Mark

No it wasn't what I was trying to convey, thank you for pointing that out, my apologies for the confusion. I did say that a Ki Soc dojo should be able to. Not that it definitely could. Nor do I speak in anyway for the Ki Society seeing as I am not a member of that organisation.

My opinion of Aunkai was however as valid as opinions of the founder of aikido based on limited video footage. I did say however in the Aunkai review thread that I'd like to try some of the stuff they do. I'd also find it interesting to train with them I'm sure, and I would welcome the opportunity to do so if it ever arose. I'm sure I would learn a great deal.

However. In the limited amount of footage I saw here:

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

With the exception of the kicks as I do not regularly practice them (but after seeing the video am keen to try doing so again), I am quite content to say there is nothing else here that I cannot do personally myself, it is no different than Ki Soc derived internal training as I see it from my perspective, and, the most importatant point of all: I'm not very good at these things. There are many who are much better.

Mike

Ecosamurai
03-21-2007, 10:02 AM
Actually.... and I've personally seen them both..... Akuzawa's exercises are radically different from the Ki Society's approach. And I say that while not commenting on the efficacy of either method or exactly what each is focused on (they actually focus on 2 different things, too, but that seems to be a discussion better suited for a forum that focuses on body-mechanics).

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Fair enough. My comments were only based on a few videos so feel free to correct me, it'd be interesting to compare and contrast methodologies of teaching. I only know that they look similar enough to the way I do things on a regular basis to be considered if not the same then close enough to being about the same principles and uses of the body and mind. Classification of this kind however is a road to madness, I spent a year studying taxonomy and I can vouch for the pointlessness of trying to label things with any great degree of precision. Rough approximate labels tend to be more useful in most cases than those containing masses of minutiae (in my experience of course)

Mike

Ron Tisdale
03-21-2007, 10:13 AM
I guess I have no doubt that many of the exercises in question are present in many forms of aikido, daito ryu etc. Where I have questions are:

1) are the exercises taught with hands on correction from the point of view of aligning the structure to best aid in the correct development of the internal connection and power skills.

2) is the logic of building these skills taught and understood clearly and methodically.

3) are these two items above wide spread.

Personally, I have seen portions of this type of development in various places, dojo, styles etc. But rarely have I seen anything approaching the system / logic / emphasis that Rob John, Mike S., and Dan display.

I don't believe I have ever seen such dramatic results either.

I think this should change.

Best,
Ron

Ecosamurai
03-21-2007, 10:36 AM
1) are the exercises taught with hands on correction from the point of view of aligning the structure to best aid in the correct development of the internal connection and power skills.

2) is the logic of building these skills taught and understood clearly and methodically.

3) are these two items above wide spread.

Really good questions.

Personally, I have seen portions of this type of development in various places, dojo, styles etc. But rarely have I seen anything approaching the system / logic / emphasis that Rob John, Mike S., and Dan display.

I don't believe I have ever seen such dramatic results either.

I think this should change.

I'm pretty sure I've seen it but without meeting Mike or Dan in person it's pointless for me to comment on whatr I've seen compared to what they can do. Closest we could come would be a series of posts of video footage of it all and I personally have no desire to go there myself.

I've seen enough people in aikido unable to do these things correctly that I too think it should change. I've also seen plenty of people in MMA, CMA, BJJ, karate take your pick who are unable to do these thigns properly that I remain unconvinced that there is any one true great training method out there, my own preference is for aikido but thats just me. I think it's mostly if not totally about who your teacher is and how you as a person are. I think that's what counts more than anything IMHO

Regards

Mike

Tim Fong
03-21-2007, 10:50 AM
I'd also add to this one by Mark that concerning Akuzawa. I've been watching the youtube vids of him whilst eating my lunch. They are essentially equivalent to ki-soc exercises (no surprise there then nwhen you consider lineages and all that). [snip]
Mike

... what do you mean by that? Equivalent in what way?

Ecosamurai
03-21-2007, 10:55 AM
... what do you mean by that? Equivalent in what way?

I mean not the same but of equal worth in terms of internal skills. In other words the methods used to get you there are different but both are trying for the same stuff. Broadly speaking.

Mike
-C'mon computer, crunch those numbers so I can go home and get ready to go to the dojo.....

Ecosamurai
03-21-2007, 11:37 AM
Ron asks:

1) are the exercises taught with hands on correction from the point of view of aligning the structure to best aid in the correct development of the internal connection and power skills.

2) is the logic of building these skills taught and understood clearly and methodically.

3) are these two items above wide spread.

Been thinking about these. Computer is finished running the numbers and I'm off to go and get beaten about the head with bamboo sticks. But before I go, I'm gonna take a stab at answering these. Do Mike and Dan et al want to answer them too? It'd be a really good set of opinions on a really good set of questions I think. Worth adding to the mix.

1) Yes. At least that's the way I teach and am taught them.

2) Yes. At least that's the way I teach and am taught them.

3) No. Which is what it's all about I suppose. Dan and Mike et al. often say that you have to come to them and 'feel it' or something similar, they may be entirely right that this is the best and only effective way to make these things sink in in a lot of peoples training. On the other hand, have they tried going to large seminars and seeing what they are able to achieve by teaching in this sort of environment? I think it would be an interesting exercise to have them do that.

Regards

Mike

Tim Fong
03-21-2007, 12:22 PM
I mean not the same but of equal worth in terms of internal skills. In other words the methods used to get you there are different but both are trying for the same stuff. Broadly speaking.

[snip]

I strongly disagree. All roads do not lead to the same mountaintop; there are different mountain tops. Broadly, both sets of exercises develop the body. However, I think that the Aunkai exercises train a larger number of elements

In the case of the Aunkai exercises compared to the Ki Society exercises:

1. I have not seen any Ki Society people use their exercises to develop the ability to take full power shots to the body. I have seen this in Akuzawa's students.

2. I have not seen that the Ki Society exercises develop the ability to deliver disruptive kicks/punches/strikes. I have felt this from both Akuzawa and his students.

Frankly, (2) is quite obvious from the videos. Someone can chastise me here for "failing to produce proper evidence" that the strikes do what I say they do. We could have a lot of semantic nit-picking on the use of the term "disruptive." However, I'd like to remind people that nothing is settled by sterile internet debate.

This DOES NOT mean that internet forums are useless; rather, that they are useful as a GUIDE for people to track down interesting/novel training approaches. I don't post here/read here to "prove" anything, but as a means of finding hints or insights into my own training.

Mike, in case you weren't already aware, Akuzawa will be in Europe for seminars very soon. I recommend that you go check him out. I think you'll find that what he's doing is of larger and more versatile application than the Ki Society work you are doing.

If , as you have said, what he is doing is basically the same as your Aikido training, you can have the satisfaction of coming back with a big "I told you so."

If not, then you'll have learned something.

Ron Tisdale
03-21-2007, 12:27 PM
On the other hand, have they tried going to large seminars and seeing what they are able to achieve by teaching in this sort of environment? I think it would be an interesting exercise to have them do that.

Hi Mike,

I think large seminars are out...not enough hands on instruction at those. Plus, my own opinion is that we need more than one day...Mike S. has made these points several times, and now I think I agree with him...I don't think I understood before, but I'm getting a bigger picture now. Thanks for the earlier replies...

Best,
Ron

Kevin Wilbanks
03-21-2007, 12:30 PM
Kevin, I completely fail to see the point of talking what could or could not be done on a machine."Aiki" in terms of technique is about two alive energy systems. Take "grounding" for instance. You can put a bear hug on someone and lift him up. If he knows how to ground out, he can shift his energy such that he will feel vastly heavier to the person lifting. If you had him on a scale, his weight wouldn't have changed but effectively, in terms of the interaction between the two people, his weight would feel as if it did.

The point of the machine was simply counter-example to the notion that unbendable arm is 'not a trick'. I think that it is a trick unless presented with disclaimers, as people are led to think that they are applying their whole weight to the bending, or an otherwise massive amount of force. In reality, they are essentially helping to keep the arm extended with their shoulder and limiting themselves when pulling on the elbow.

I had no problem with the exercise when it was presented to me, because my teacher said outright something like - this isn't as amazing a feat as it may seem, it's just an exercise to show you to extend your arm properly.

I don't really feel qualified to say how useful it ultimately is as an Aikido drill. I just thought the jargon being used to describe it sounded excessive.

Mike Sigman
03-21-2007, 12:38 PM
Dan and Mike et al. often say that you have to come to them and 'feel it' or something similar, they may be entirely right that this is the best and only effective way to make these things sink in in a lot of peoples training. On the other hand, have they tried going to large seminars and seeing what they are able to achieve by teaching in this sort of environment? I think it would be an interesting exercise to have them do that. I've done large seminars in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, etc., for about 13 years and have developed some fairly focused methods of teaching a lot of these things to groups. The problem is that:

(1.) you can't do more than scratch the surface in a 2-day (6 hours a day) workshop. The topic tangents get away from you and you have to focus on only a few of the available tangents in a workshop or you get nothing done. Most people can only learn a little bit at first simply because the skills are new and because their bodies are not trained to use real kokyu/jin forces... so they can go but so far.

(2.) Most people also never go very far, even after a workshop, because they don't really analyse and they don't really work. I've seen "teachers" and "senior students" with "many years of experience" who couldn't find their butts with both hands because they keep playing with "forms" and rituals and never truly make the effort to change over to jin strength, etc. These people spend far too much time going to seminars and grabbing the latest fad of the month when they should just work.

The point being that even a refined teaching method isn't going to work for most people. I've finally quit beating myself up because the success ratio is so small.

Lastly, let me point out, Mike, that if your "logic" (see #2) was really that good, you should be able to logically explain how many of the things in past discussions were done. That's what many of these threads were about. You say you can do them, so why not let's see your analyses of how they word, as you teach them?

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
03-21-2007, 12:45 PM
The point of the machine was simply counter-example to the notion that unbendable arm is 'not a trick'. I think that it is a trick unless presented with disclaimers, as people are led to think that they are applying their whole weight to the bending, or an otherwise massive amount of force. In reality, they are essentially helping to keep the arm extended with their shoulder and limiting themselves when pulling on the elbow.

I had no problem with the exercise when it was presented to me, because my teacher said outright something like - this isn't as amazing a feat as it may seem, it's just an exercise to show you to extend your arm properly.

I don't really feel qualified to say how useful it ultimately is as an Aikido drill. I just thought the jargon being used to describe it sounded excessive.I have never liked the "unbendable arm" trick (I've mentioned this before) because there are too many ways to come close to doing it, so everyone I know claims to be able to do it, even though most of them are doing it quite differently from each other. Even at the Ki-Society workshop I attended in December, I could feel that different yudansha were doing it slightly differently, in many cases.

A better example of, at core, the same thing would be to take a steady push to the chest and ground it. In reality, the "unbendable arm" is just a variant of that exercise, when done correctly. In fact, ALL of the ki demonstrations are, at core, variations of either that exercise or the "unliftable" exercise.... or a combination of the two. But watch out, I said that glibly and glossed over the fact that there are some sophisticated extensions of the 2 core demo's I just mentioned.

FWIW

Mike

statisticool
03-21-2007, 05:12 PM
Well, my point was that there is a lot of exaggerated fantasical language being used to describe this stuff, and I doubt it's helping anyone understand it, or enhance persuasion or credibility with anyone who is skeptical. When pressed, what was blithely described as "unbendable arm", "not a trick", and requiring "no tension at all" has been revealed to be a moderately bend-resistant arm in which the mechanics of the demo prevent more than a marginal bending force to be applied to it, requiring a low to moderate amount of muscular tension to do properly, the purpose of which has little or nothing to do with actual arm bendability.


I found http://ofinterest.net:16080/Ua/ to be quite useful at times.

I think the same things when I hear of the common ones in the Chinese traditions, like so and so in Chen Village or wherever supposeldy touching someone lightly and sending their opponents' feet touching the ceiling, etc. It is like peoples' critical thinking heads out the window when it comes to martial arts, and physics and common sense doesn't apply, and all stories are accepted.

statisticool
03-21-2007, 05:22 PM
Where do I find them?


If you want to find anything on aikido, I'd suggesting finding a Ueshiba.


I think the dozens of men and teachers who have felt this stuff and have openly stated they were stumped..


I'm stumped by a lot of math problems, it doesn't mean that those problems are more real math than any other math problems.


Why haven't you, Eric, or Justin responded or replied to George L.Ron, Mark M., Murray M., Mark C., Rob, Stan, Chris, or any of the other men who have openly stated otherwise?


I already stated that I don't find testimony helpful, nor endless static drills, and have already met several people (though not people you recommended) and wasn't impressed they were doing anything different than regular ol' movement. And that apparently nowhere is it stated in Chinese or Japanese by any founders that there are 'hidden' skills that are the true basis for these arts as claimed, since all texts are definitely open to different interpretations. In fact, I've stated these things so many times so it is somewhat surprising when it is claimed I haven't responded.

If others have found them helpful in improving their aikido/taiji/whatever, that is good for them. I will continue to point out that their arguments do not convince a lot of people, however.

Pete Rihaczek
03-21-2007, 05:22 PM
Ki Society dojo and those related to that family of aikido should be able to teach you these things.

Bzzzt! Wrong! If that were true these threads wouldn't exist. Yours seems to be one of the most serious afflictions of "I already know that/ain't nuthin' new"-itis I've seen in a good stretch. ;) Go see Akuzawa when he comes to Europe. Until then you're saying the same things over and over in dozens of posts, all with variations of the same theme.

George S. Ledyard
03-21-2007, 05:25 PM
I don't really feel qualified to say how useful it ultimately is as an Aikido drill. I just thought the jargon being used to describe it sounded excessive.

Hi Kevin,
No question... the "jargon" was left over from a time when folks had absolutely no idea what was happening and the folks that spread Aikido had these cool things to show. They were especially effective as you could get a newbie to do it in a couple of minutes and they were really impressed.

The only reason that I mention it is that, now that Aikido has been around a lot longer, folks have tended to dismiss the exercise. As Mike says, there is actually a range of things that can be going on. I can't comment about the range, I only know what I am doing. But it is still a very good exercise to do in a seminar to let people do a quick down and dirty check to see if they understand in their bodies what they need to be doing with their arms in their waza. As I said, if they cannot both flex and then extend again while under pressure, without tensing up their lower and upper arms noticeably, they really don't have any way to do waza properly. They will either collide or collapse when they make contact with an opposing force.

It can also be a demonstration of the way the arms are integrated into the whole of the body, which I believe is what Mike also alluded to. One should be able to not only flex and extend while under pressure from the partner but also, by simply rotating the hips, move the partner around fairly effortlessly. This can help people understand that they aren't going to use their arms for power in their technique.

statisticool
03-21-2007, 05:33 PM
Bzzzt! Wrong! If that were true these threads wouldn't exist. Yours seems to be one of the most serious afflictions of "I already know that/ain't nuthin' new"-itis I've seen in a good stretch. ;) Go see Akuzawa when he comes to Europe. Until then you're saying the same things over and over in dozens of posts, all with variations of the same theme.

I saw Akuzawa on Youtube videos. It had endless static drills, that were not fighting and were in a 'play nice' environment / rule/set. The video even stated basically that. So what is one supposed to make of that?

HL1978
03-21-2007, 05:36 PM
If you want to find anything on aikido, I'd suggesting finding a Ueshiba.

I'm stumped by a lot of math problems, it doesn't mean that those problems are more real math than any other math problems.

I already stated that I don't find testimony helpful, nor endless static drills, and have already met several people (though not people you recommended) and wasn't impressed they were doing anything different than regular ol' movement. And that apparently nowhere is it stated in Chinese or Japanese by any founders that there are 'hidden' skills that are the true basis for these arts as claimed, since all texts are definitely open to different interpretations. In fact, I've stated these things so many times so it is somewhat surprising when it is claimed I haven't responded.

If others have found them helpful in improving their aikido/taiji/whatever, that is good for them. I will continue to point out that their arguments do not convince a lot of people, however.

What about the quote from Sagawa I gave you recently?

George S. Ledyard
03-21-2007, 05:43 PM
I saw Akuzawa on Youtube videos. It had endless static drills, that were not fighting and were in a 'play nice' environment / rule/set. The video even stated basically that. So what is one supposed to make of that?

Justin, I don't understand what you think you are looking for... one touch killing technique snuff videos? The videos are exactly what they purported to be, as you yourself noted. So what does one make of that? Only what ones experience has prepared them to understand I guess.

George S. Ledyard
03-21-2007, 05:46 PM
I already stated that I don't find testimony helpful,

"Fifty million Elvis fans can't be wrong!"
- oops, sorry, you're probably too young to remember that one....

Anyway, give me a break, this is a discussion forum... it's ALL testimony. If you don't find it helpful, then why participate? You are simply being selective about which testimony you choose to pay attention to.

ChrisMoses
03-21-2007, 05:52 PM
I saw Akuzawa on Youtube videos. It had endless static drills, that were not fighting and were in a 'play nice' environment / rule/set. The video even stated basically that. So what is one supposed to make of that?

Nothing, videos are one thing, feeling it is another.

Here's what I had to say on 11-1-2005 after watching some of the Aunkai videos from http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showthread.php?t=31125
"Saw these a while back when his student was pushing him as the greatest thing since sliced (crustless of course) bread. Honestly, not that impressed, if you've ever been thrown around by Don Angier or his guys, you'll see nothing new here. It's not that it's bad, but it's not exactly groundbreaking..."

And here's my post to the same thread after training with him (oddly enough, exactly one year to the day later on 11-1-2006):
"So I just got back from a trip to Japan and Ark allowed me and a training partner of mine to work into one of his classes. Huge thanks to him, Rob, Adam and the rest of his guys. So having actually had a few hours of face time and more importantly hands ON time, I thought I should follow up on this post. The short version is that I'm currently soaking my feet in a lovely wasabi-soy concoction that should make having my feet in my mouth a much more plesant experience. Ark probably is about the best thing since crustless sliced bread, and (to me at least) it most certainly felt groundbreaking. But beyond Ark's own very considerable skill, I was equally impressed with the very high level of skill of his students that had been with him for a couple years. It was clear that not only was he able to do some amazing stuff, but that he had a system for building these same internal skills in others. Further, he's able to do so in a relatively short period of time. Rob's been training with Ark for about three years (if I remember correctly) and easily had better body skills than nearly anyone I have dealt with in Aikido in the US, that list would include some 6th-8th dans who are serious mucky mucks in the seminar circuit. What they're doing is not very similar to what I've seen of Don Angier's Yanagi Ryu, but felt a bit more like what Systema might be one day. I generally call it like I see it, but when I'm wrong, I'll be the first to admit it, and I was certainly wrong on this one. Again, huge thanks to Rob for coordinating our visit and Ark for having us. My only regret is the sleep I lost that night trying desparately to wrap my head around some of the things that were done in class."

It sucks, but you just have to feel it, try it on and play around with it. Live in it for a while. I've got a total exposure time to Ark of about four hours (1/2 that over beers) and maybe another 6-10 with Rob and it's changed the way I move on a very fundamental level.

Aran Bright
03-21-2007, 06:42 PM
I've done large seminars in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, etc., for about 13 years and have developed some fairly focused methods of teaching a lot of these things to groups. Mike Sigman

Hi Mike,

You've been to Oz?

Who, where and when?

Is there anyone worth meeting? If there is, that would be great, it could save me hours of sitting on internet forums trying to peice this stuff together.

Aran

Mike Sigman
03-21-2007, 09:17 PM
You've been to Oz? I'm the guy behind the curtain, Aran. ;) Who, where and when?

Is there anyone worth meeting? If there is, that would be great, it could save me hours of sitting on internet forums trying to peice this stuff together.Sorry, it's been 8 or 9 years since I was last in Oz, mainly in the Sydney and Paramatta area, various places. I wouldn't know who to recommend because I haven't felt what anyone could do since then.

Best.

Mike

Aran Bright
03-22-2007, 04:19 AM
I'm the guy behind the curtain, Aran. ;) Sorry, it's been 8 or 9 years since I was last in Oz, mainly in the Sydney and Paramatta area, various places. I wouldn't know who to recommend because I haven't felt what anyone could do since then.

Best.

Mike

Oh well, just when I thought I was on to a solid lead there, guess I better just saving my pennies for a trip overseas.

Aran

Ecosamurai
03-22-2007, 06:09 AM
Mike, in case you weren't already aware, Akuzawa will be in Europe for seminars very soon. I recommend that you go check him out. I think you'll find that what he's doing is of larger and more versatile application than the Ki Society work you are doing.

If , as you have said, what he is doing is basically the same as your Aikido training, you can have the satisfaction of coming back with a big "I told you so."

If not, then you'll have learned something.

Many people have made me aware of this already. I am not a member of the Ki Society and do not practice their stuff in the way they do it. My teacher can often be heard saying 'If you can use ki to do this technique why not a punch or a kick? Stands to reason you can use it in many ways'. I have seen one of my sempai accidentally get punched full force in the face and he didn't move an inch nor was he bothered by it in any way, I'm not there yet but that's what I'm aiming for :)

If Akuzawa is in Europe and he has a shortcut I'd definitely be interested in seeing it :)

Regards

Mike

Ecosamurai
03-22-2007, 06:19 AM
Lastly, let me point out, Mike, that if your "logic" (see #2) was really that good, you should be able to logically explain how many of the things in past discussions were done. That's what many of these threads were about. You say you can do them, so why not let's see your analyses of how they word, as you teach them?

I say I can do some of this stuff and know others who can do it all.

Mike then said:

A better example of, at core, the same thing would be to take a steady push to the chest and ground it. In reality, the "unbendable arm" is just a variant of that exercise, when done correctly. In fact, ALL of the ki demonstrations are, at core, variations of either that exercise or the "unliftable" exercise.... or a combination of the two. But watch out, I said that glibly and glossed over the fact that there are some sophisticated extensions of the 2 core demo's I just mentioned.

The steady push to the chest is done in this manner regularly and repeatedly in every Ki Soc derived dojo I have ever visited. At the beginning of the baseline skill thread you described such an exercise. Tohei describes and identical exercise in the book I cited at the beginning of this thread. I also agree with you completely about all the ki soc exercises being at their core about those two things. Actually at their core they are about four things:

Keep one point
Keep calm and relaxed
Keep weight underside
Extend Ki

Those four things are in fact only one thing because you can't properly do any one of them without doing the other three.

With regards to the push to the chest etc (what I'd probably refer to as the standing naturally ki test), it has, as with all ki soc tests got many different levels of skill and testing difficulty. May I ask you to describe which of these levels you have seen and tried in the Ki Soc derived dojo you've visited Mike? It would be helpful in dissecting this and determining if we really are just talking about the same thing here. Otherwise we'll just be going about this at cross purposes and probably start annoying each other.

Regards

Mike

Mike Sigman
03-22-2007, 08:11 AM
With regards to the push to the chest etc (what I'd probably refer to as the standing naturally ki test), it has, as with all ki soc tests got many different levels of skill and testing difficulty. May I ask you to describe which of these levels you have seen and tried in the Ki Soc derived dojo you've visited Mike? It would be helpful in dissecting this and determining if we really are just talking about the same thing here. I discussed the levels I've encountered in Ki-Society stuff in other posts, Mike. I think we discussed this recently, IIRC, so it's pointless to re-hash it. When you say you "know others who can do it all", you either know some people who are at the extremely high levels like Chen Xiao Wang and others, or you are hyperbolizing. My inclination is to simply avoid getting into another wasted discussion once you say you teach something or already do all of it or have teachers that do it all. Either way it's a dead-end conversation... you either actually do already know everything or you're simply another of the many teachers who's sure he already knows everything. If you do know everything, it's pointless and rude to ask you again to show something indicating you do have all these skills; if you don't know everything it would be wasted time to get into a peeing contest. I say good luck to you.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Ecosamurai
03-22-2007, 08:24 AM
I discussed the levels I've encountered in Ki-Society stuff in other posts, Mike. I think we discussed this recently, IIRC, so it's pointless to re-hash it.

I respectfully disagree with that, I haven't seen you mention it anywhere (although I may have missed something so I'll go back and look again, but you do have greater than 2000 posts to your name so....).

I'll offer the first three levels of 'standing naturally' here for you to look at if you wish to, and because others may be curious too:

1) Tester gently applies pressure between shoulder blades and also places hand on the front of the shoulder applying pressure in a straight horizontal line.

2)Same as test 1, only this time there is a fake or hesitation thrown in, tester stops just before they make contact and alters the test. This is to determine if the receiver is anticipating the incoming test, it is often failed because people try to resist the pressure and fight against it. When the tester stops short they often lean forwards into where the hand would have been. For the test on the front, tester aims to test at the shoulder, stops and lowers the hand to push on the ribs instead.

3) Tester stands 3-5 paces away, in front of partner, gives a vigorous tekubi shindo undo then walks in purposefully and places hand on the shoulder pushing straight ahead. Same from the rear only pressure is applied between the shoulder blades.

For all tests receiver should be standing shoulder width apart, should be standing upright and should have the knees unlocked and the heels hovering just above the floor.

Regards

Mike Haft

PS - I agree with you about the wasted discussion.

Mike Sigman
03-22-2007, 08:39 AM
I respectfully disagree with that, I haven't seen you mention it anywhere (although I may have missed something so I'll go back and look again, but you do have greater than 2000 posts to your name so....).

I'll offer the first three levels of 'standing naturally' here for you to look at if you wish to, and because others may be curious too:

1) Tester gently applies pressure between shoulder blades and also places hand on the front of the shoulder applying pressure in a straight horizontal line.

2)Same as test 1, only this time there is a fake or hesitation thrown in, tester stops just before they make contact and alters the test. This is to determine if the receiver is anticipating the incoming test, it is often failed because people try to resist the pressure and fight against it. When the tester stops short they often lean forwards into where the hand would have been. For the test on the front, tester aims to test at the shoulder, stops and lowers the hand to push on the ribs instead.

3) Tester stands 3-5 paces away, in front of partner, gives a vigorous tekubi shindo undo then walks in purposefully and places hand on the shoulder pushing straight ahead. Same from the rear only pressure is applied between the shoulder blades.

For all tests receiver should be standing shoulder width apart, should be standing upright and should have the knees unlocked and the heels hovering just above the floor.This is sort of like the descriptions of O-Sensei's jo trick. In reality, I never saw a video of him fully pulling it off (he had to move almost immediately), the pushers appear to be pretty obviously adding a certain amount of fake to it, and so on. Yet, if you take the jo-trick and do it in some places, they're going to pull out 3 football linemen who will use all the force at their disposal. If you can't withstand this massive force, regardless of the fact that O-Sensei never could either, people will say "Oh, you can't do the jo-trick, so you're no where near the level of O-Sensei". If you see what I mean... and we're talking about things that are on videos.

In your descriptions, let me just be brief and say that I understand what you're getting at, but we might be picturing different forces. Any martial artist who uses jin/kokyu forces will get better and better. My comment to Ki-Society people was that I felt they could do better... at least the ones I felt.... and I encouraged them to keep looking. You considered that condescending.

In terms of "tests", they're good for learning. But after a certain point, you wind up with guys who can do the "tests" pretty well, but they have no other skills. That was the essence of what I've been saying to the Ki-Society people (but it's an encouragement... I think some of them are off to a good start, frankly). Just stopping at basic skills and "tests" is to leave money on the table, IMO. Instead of being able to hold a 30-pound push to the back, etc., why not start learning how to use the hara better and more articulately? Why not learn how to release power? And so on. The levels of testing ability can be limiting if that's what people focus on, IMO.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Ecosamurai
03-22-2007, 09:01 AM
This is sort of like the descriptions of O-Sensei's jo trick. In reality, I never saw a video of him fully pulling it off (he had to move almost immediately), the pushers appear to be pretty obviously adding a certain amount of fake to it, and so on. Yet, if you take the jo-trick and do it in some places, they're going to pull out 3 football linemen who will use all the force at their disposal. If you can't withstand this massive force, regardless of the fact that O-Sensei never could either, people will say "Oh, you can't do the jo-trick, so you're no where near the level of O-Sensei". If you see what I mean... and we're talking about things that are on videos.

In your descriptions, let me just be brief and say that I understand what you're getting at, but we might be picturing different forces. Any martial artist who uses jin/kokyu forces will get better and better. My comment to Ki-Society people was that I felt they could do better... at least the ones I felt.... and I encouraged them to keep looking. You considered that condescending.

In terms of "tests", they're good for learning. But after a certain point, you wind up with guys who can do the "tests" pretty well, but they have no other skills. That was the essence of what I've been saying to the Ki-Society people (but it's an encouragement... I think some of them are off to a good start, frankly). Just stopping at basic skills and "tests" is to leave money on the table, IMO. Instead of being able to hold a 30-pound push to the back, etc., why not start learning how to use the hara better and more articulately? Why not learn how to release power? And so on. The levels of testing ability can be limiting if that's what people focus on, IMO.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

I agree wholeheartedly with everything you just said. I think it's easy to collect waza and not principles. I was talking to an iaido teacher not so long ago. He told me that he and some of his friends were told by their teacher in Japan that they had now learned all the waza in the Ryu. They all seemed pleased. Then their teacher said that none of them could do them properly, they were not so pleased. It seems that some of the guys there had the mistaken impression that just knowing what these things were meant that they had learnt them. So rather than learning iaido they were waza collectors. I think that a lot of the value of the training Dan talks about a lot is that it constantly challenges you to apply principles and stops you from being just another waza collector. We make an effort to teach aikido in a similar fashion, i.e. apply the principles in as many weird and wonderful ways as you can think of.

Regards

Mike

ChrisMoses
03-22-2007, 09:33 AM
Mike (Ecosamurai) I'm curious what exercises in the Ki Society help develop the skills that the test you describe tests for?

Ecosamurai
03-22-2007, 09:41 AM
Mike (Ecosamurai) I'm curious what exercises in the Ki Society help develop the skills that the test you describe tests for?

The tests themselves are a learning tool in their own right. Trying to pass or fail them gives feedback on what you are doing, you do of course need a qualified instructor to talk to you about these things and explain to you what you need to be doing/feeling etc.. static drills aren't all that much use. My teacher said that when Tohei Sensei visitied the UK in the late 1980s someone there asked him the question: Can I ki test myself? Tohei's response was apparently to smile and say: "Of course not"

Amongst many many methods and exercises, there is also the Koichi Tohei warmup where you practice certain movements and exercises i.e. the rowing exercise and others. The tests assess your ability to do these things properly. Sadly there is no quick fix or shortcut you just have to feel it and practice it with an instructor who knows what they're doing. This is why I'm interested in the Akuzawa stuff that I've seen around lately, if he has a quicker method for teaching these things than I know of I would be fascinated to learn more about it.

Mike

Mike Sigman
03-22-2007, 09:52 AM
Mike (Ecosamurai) I'm curious what exercises in the Ki Society help develop the skills that the test you describe tests for?From what I've seen over the years, my opinion is that the Ki Society approach is somewhat murky and results in needlessly protracted run-up to any ability. Most people I work with can *do* a high percentage of the ki tests in a few hours, but of course being able to do them under light force is easy.... developing the body so that these skills are instinctive and can withstand heavier testing is a matter of practice by the student. My point, though, is that there are more direct ways to learn, particularly if what is actually happening is understood by the student.

One funny thing I've seen over the years with a *few* people is that when you lead them quickly and directly to doing the ki tests, get them to relax and sink the origin of their forces, hook up the body, etc.... they're not happy. They want it to be magic. Some of them have actually quit martial arts because what they'd thought was unachievable magic for years turned out to be something they could do. I often think they were the sort of people who wouldn't really want to join any club that would have them as a member. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Budd
03-22-2007, 09:55 AM
Mike(Ecosamurai), could you describe, with as much detail as you can give, how you are approaching/training the rowing exercise and what, specifically, you're developing by training this?

Thanks!

Ecosamurai
03-22-2007, 10:06 AM
Mike(Ecosamurai), could you describe, with as much detail as you can give, how you are approaching/training the rowing exercise and what, specifically, you're developing by training this?

Thanks!

When I do it I'm trying to feel my one point as it moves. I'm also trying to feel the ground. I dunno how to describe the feeling properly but you just kinda have to feel the ground making you powerful it isn't your arms or any kind of strength. So I suspect its pretty much what Mike talks about often and more eloquently than I do so refer to his posts.

I would also recommend trying it as often as possible with a partner or friend holding onto your wrists, their presence and weight gives you lots of feedback as to where you are moving from. I have a student who is >6' tall and about 250-260lbs and I can move him without difficulty when he holds my wrists even when he tries as hard as he possibly can to stop me. If you push through with your arms in any way it becomes impossible. The movement is: in this order: bend the knee> extend the wirsts> bend the knee> withdraw the wirsts. If you move your wrists before your knee your partner will stop you easily. If you do not keep your back straight and head up, your partner will be able to pull you off balance or push you off balance when you withdraw your wrists. If you do not have ki extension and weight underside you will find your partner smashes into your chest as your arms get pushed behind you (sometimes they collide with you anyway but this shouldn't be a problem if you are properly coordinated).

Hope that helps.

Mike

PS - I am now officially unplugging from aikiweb for a while, I hung around as long as I could this week but I've really got to work on some other stuff now.

Mike Sigman
03-22-2007, 10:09 AM
Mike(Ecosamurai), could you describe, with as much detail as you can give, how you are approaching/training the rowing exercise and what, specifically, you're developing by training this?

Thanks!Since I'm packing to leave on a trip in a couple of hours, I can't spend the time anymore today to get involved in a long discussion. Basically, people should remember this about any exercise and any technique: any exercise (including fune-kogi-undo) should contain practice for all the components you can already do. So fune-kogi-undo can be an exercise for simple back and forth using correct jin (for a beginner) or it can contain breathing, power store-and-release, condensing power, and everything else, for someone advanced.

Best.

Mike

Budd
03-22-2007, 10:15 AM
Thanks, Mike(Ecosamurai) for the description and thanks, Mike Sigman, for chiming in (have a safe and productive trip!).

Mike Sigman
03-22-2007, 10:22 AM
Thanks, Mike(Ecosamurai) for the description and thanks, Mike Sigman, for chiming in (have a safe and productive trip!).Duh.... I'm running around so fast that I was mis-reading the "Mike(Ecosamurai)" as meaning both of us. Sorry for the mis-read. I wondered what the heck anyone would ask me about Ki Society for. ;)

Mike