PDA

View Full Version : My first glimpse of internal power


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


Timothy WK
06-26-2007, 09:44 AM
I've been practicing basic standing posture for a little bit now.


Feet about a foot apart. The outer edge should be straight, such that the outside of the pinky toe lines up with outside of the heel.
Knees slightly bent and slightly pushed out, such that they "point" forward.
Femur bones rotated forward in the hip socket & tail bone tucked down. Start by sticking out your butt like you're sitting on a chair, then let the tail bone drop down.
The lower back is relaxed and flat. The feeling is almost as if you're pushing the lower back out.
The chest is allowed to drop. This, along with the tail bone & lower back, should cause the spine to straighten out.
Shoulders are relaxed, but with a feeling of expanding outward.
Elbows are held back a little bit by the floating rib. Forearms are pointed forward and parallel, both to each other and the ground.
Wrists are relaxed, such that they drop. However, the wrist is held vertical, such that the palms are pointed inward. The hand/palm itself should be inline with the forearm, if viewed from above. Fingers are held slightly open.
The head is pulled back and up. The neck should be vertical, such that the head is balanced on top of the neck. You should look forward.
The head, shoulders and tail bone should be in line above your heels. The weight/balance should be on the heels with the feeling that you're about to fall backward. The feeling is almost as if you're sticking out your butt (it's farther back than you would, at first, think).
You want to relax your glutes, and load ALL your weight into your quads. You should feel it in the middle of your thighs. If done right, you will probably start trembling.
Throughout the whole exercise, you want to stay as relaxed as possible.

A while ago I noticed that if I clenched my back a certain way, I could generate a certain "lightness" in my arms. But it was subtle, and I couldn't reliably reproduce the feeling. But then, the other day, something happened. I was playing around with lifting my arms, trying to stay relaxed. I started to do it, when all of a sudden my arms just started "floating" up! The feeling came from my upper arms. As I continued to play with it, I realized my arms weren't lifting up as much as they were being pulled back and up, sorta as if my shoulders were being pulled into my neck. I also discovered that I could generate a similar feeling in my neck, such that my neck gets "pulled" back.

What a weird feeling!!! This is definitely not "normal" muscle. It doesn't feel as if I'm moving my body myself, it's as if my body is moving itself. The more I relax my muscles and concentrate on the feeling, the stronger the pull/tension becomes. Unlike normal muscle, which I can flex throughout the full range of motion, there's a certain, umm... "gravity" to this action. The more the motion pulls, the stronger it becomes. If I start with my arms forward, the motion begins slow and weak, but as my arms move backward, the motion strengthens and quickens. If I pull my arms & neck all the way back, the tension is incredibly strong. I also feel the pull both in my upper back and in my upper arms, sorta in my tricep area.

Oh, and the day after---I was so incredibly sore. You know that certain soreness you get from doing weird stuff? That whole, "I didn't know I had muscles there" soreness? Yeah, I was sore like that, but all over my upper back and shoulders.

Since then I've also discovered---or should I say, I can generate---similar sensations in other parts of my body. But nowhere is it as strong as in my arms/neck (yet). In particular, I can feel it in my hands/forearms. It's weird there, too. I can feel individual tendons or whatever tightening/moving around under the skin. I can very distinctly feel the tendons or whatever on the top and bottom of my fingers. They seem to pull the bones of my fingers together, such that they kinda "lock" in place and "click" when I try and move them (this may change as I gain better control over the action).

I'm no where near the point where I can apply this type of action to practical movement, but I'm beginning to understand what people are talking about when they talk about internal power.

Ecosamurai
06-26-2007, 10:01 AM
I'm no where near the point where I can apply this type of action to practical movement, but I'm beginning to understand what people are talking about when they talk about internal power.

I think the lightness you described in your arms might be what I would call 'weight upperside' opposite of Tohei's weight underside. The distinction in my mind being that while you are coordinated in mind and body and 'extending ki' your weight isn't sitting at it's lowest point. So of Tohei's 4 principles:

Keep 1 point
Keep Calm and relaxed
Keep weight underside
Extend ki

You're missing one or reversing it.

When you do this exercise try asking a friend to place their hand under your wrist and lift your arm. Compare and contrast what you've been doing with the feeling you get when thinking about your centre and imagining that your partner is trying to lift your centre rather than your arm. Then you might get a feel for what weight underside is if you haven't been doing it already.

Then again you might not :) no guarantees. It would all depend on whether I have interpreted what you wrote correctly :)

Best

Mike

Haowen Chan
06-26-2007, 11:27 AM
Timothy, wow, that's exciting. Can you explain your training regime? Did you have an instructor to correct you (if not, where did you get that stance / how did you correct yourself), how long have you been practicing standing, how long per session?

Timothy WK
06-26-2007, 01:15 PM
Can you explain your training regime? Did you have an instructor to correct you (if not, where did you get that stance / how did you correct yourself), how long have you been practicing standing, how long per session?
I do have a teacher. I'm not sure if you could "get" the posture on your own or not. Certain aspects are kinda tricky, the tail-bone and chest things in particular. Also, subtle differences in posture & alignment will engage different muscle groups (or whatever) differently, so it's important to be able to get corrections.

That said, it's interesting---my teacher has pointed me in certain directions, but the actual discoveries have been my own. Even with his guidance, I still have had to play around to get the proper feeling.

I hesitate to say this, but I've been doing this for only a month or so. Apparently I'm a fast learner. Actually, I think I had a certain amount of "structure" (is that what this is?) already built up in my neck/shoulders from mass amounts of cycling (from having to hold my head up).

I stand twice a day, maybe 5 days a week. I started standing for 10 minutes at a time, now I'm up to 20 minutes. The difficulty for me is my quads. The posture looks easy, but relaxing your butt and holding ALL your weight in your quads is really, really hard.

I also do alot of "playing around" with different movements. I discovered the arm thing outside of my formal standing practice. I try to pay alot of attention to what I'm feeling. I also practice zazen, which may have contributed to my quick progress. This all is on top of my Aiki training.

I'll say that trying to get this feeling is sorta like... sorta like trying to move without moving. Like, if you're trying to open your hands, relax them as much as you can. Then, apply as little muscle as you possibly can. Your fingers shouldn't move, but you can feel that you're trying. At that point I start to notice a sensation inside my palms. Maybe it's tension, maybe it's kinda electric... You have to be relaxed to get that feeling. Then try and concentrate on that feeling, try and make it grow. If you do it right, you might start noticing a tension in your palms, and then maybe a "lightness" in your fingers. If it continues to grow, your fingers may start "drifting" outward on their own. (But I'm not a teacher, so take that all with a grain of salt.)

Thomas Campbell
06-26-2007, 11:12 PM
One word: Yiquan.

Haowen Chan
06-27-2007, 07:15 AM
Thanks Timothy for the info.

I tried taking up the wuji stance on my own but immediately I had many doubts like how far to tuck the tailbone in, what angle my upper torso should be relative to the hips, etc. I guess one really does need an instructor.

One question: just to confirm, are you actually supposed to feel tension in the quads? Commonly in the literature we are exhorted to feel no tension at all in the big muscles that we can control (I'd certainly think the quads are one of those), and the body is automagically supported like on giant balloons... after a bit of this one starts getting sore in muscles that "we didn't know we had" like you said. So I'm a bit confused when you said to hold the quads.

EDIT: Maybe it's something specific to your particular stance which I've never seen before.

Timothy WK
06-27-2007, 10:53 AM
I'm not sure if the tension in the quads ever goes away. I've been meaning to ask my teacher. The more advance students still complain about their legs, so if it does go away, it won't be for a few years. The way they've talked about it, the quads seem like a special case, like it's the one place it's OK to use muscle. I'm not sure if this changes with time.

Janet Rosen
06-27-2007, 06:22 PM
The original description of the arms floating up is also, from a biomechanical point of view, what Pilates does in referring to "going down in order to go up" - why I like being able to use a variety of metaphors, from "ki" to "extensors" to "moving energy up from under the floor" to ... whatever works. Ain't it grand when it happens!? :-)

Roman Kremianski
06-27-2007, 09:12 PM
How do you move around in this stance?

eyrie
06-27-2007, 10:46 PM
How do you move around in this stance? And like so many... the point is missed. It's the other way round - how do you move with the same feeling that you get from standing in this stance... :rolleyes:

Upyu
06-28-2007, 01:17 AM
I'm not sure if the tension in the quads ever goes away. I've been meaning to ask my teacher. The more advance students still complain about their legs, so if it does go away, it won't be for a few years. The way they've talked about it, the quads seem like a special case, like it's the one place it's OK to use muscle. I'm not sure if this changes with time.

It should go away. (It shouldnt be held in the quads)
A lot of the stress should be equalized in the "crotch" area, or "kua" as they say in chinese, as well as the koshi/tanden area.

Tim: I'd practice holding the requirements for that posture at various heights and then moving between them smoothly without activating major muscle groups. "Standing with the bones" so to speak.
You need to completely rewire how you move in daily life.
Observe the properties you're learning in the stillness/stance training, then feed them back into daily activities.

Sounds like good "$%t


Ignatius: Ditto

Roman: Its for training purposes only. One major bonus of this training (and this is only one), it almost completely gets rid of telegraphing in movement. One part moves, all parts move.

M2C

HL1978
06-28-2007, 07:35 AM
Roman: Its for training purposes only. One major bonus of this training (and this is only one), it almost completely gets rid of telegraphing in movement. One part moves, all parts move.

M2C

Perhaps thats where the percieved speed increase of your movment, by your opponnet comes from?

Ecosamurai
06-28-2007, 07:42 AM
Perhaps thats where the percieved speed increase of your movment, by your opponnet comes from?

I've often thought it might be something like that. My teacher catches you unawares so easily. Being his uke it can seem like he is super fast. But watching someone else being his uke for the same technique he looks quite slow actually.

I've seen him knock a guys contacts out :eek: He didn't even have time to blink before he got hit. Jason? You reading this? :p :D

Mike

Jason Woolley
06-28-2007, 12:43 PM
It still happens:freaky:

eyrie
06-28-2007, 09:08 PM
It should go away. (It shouldnt be held in the quads) A lot of the stress should be equalized in the "crotch" area, or "kua" as they say in chinese, as well as the koshi/tanden area.... practice holding the requirements for that posture at various heights and then moving between them smoothly without activating major muscle groups. "Standing with the bones" so to speak. Perhaps this may be of interest to some. In case it's not obvious... the function of the skeletal structure is to provide structural support. So, the general idea is to offload structural support from the major muscle groups to the skeletal structure.

The pelvic girdle (formed by the 2 pelvic bones, the sacrum and the coccyx) is the key, because it supports the trunk and provides attachment for the legs. Pelvis is Latin for "basin". There's a reason why it's called "sitting in horse stance" and not "standing".

You need to completely rewire how you move in daily life. Observe the properties you're learning in the stillness/stance training, then feed them back into daily activities. Worth repeating, as this is probably the most important thing that gets glossed over.

Ecosamurai
06-29-2007, 02:01 AM
It still happens:freaky:

Yeah. But the first time I saw it always sticks in my mind :) If only you could've seen it from where I was standing bwahahaaa :eek:

Mike

Gernot Hassenpflug
07-16-2007, 11:17 PM
Haven't posted here for months now (thanks for reminding me Rob!). If "offloading into the bones" is so important, is it important also to take due care of the bones, diet-wise (given our modern penchant for crappy foods and unbalanced diets, even without knowing it)? From some of Mike Sigman's posts it appears that the training itself does something to increase bone density....

Rupert Atkinson
07-17-2007, 04:24 AM
Sounds good, is good, but also sounds like Taichi. When does 'Aikido' become not Aikido?

Anyway, for me, the feeling is heavy, yet light, and relaxed, yet concentrated.