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George S. Ledyard
06-02-2009, 04:00 PM
There are three things I wish I had benn told when I started Aikido. First, there is no pushing or pulling in Aikido. The arm muscles normally associated with these actions do not fire in proper technique.

Two, the action of the pelvis, as controlled by tucking the tail bone, is central to causing a partner to "float" off his base.

Three, the ability to accept the energy of an attack and to join with it (ittai-ka or single body) physically is dependent on sliding the shoulder blades together without tensing the shoulders together.

These three elements should be the main focus of early training in the art. Acquisition of lots of techniques should take place only after theseprinciples are understood. George S Ledyard 425-802-3125 www.aikieast.comhttp://www.aikiweb.com//blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8994761102223176865-2981557939682757274?l=aikieast.blogspot.com


More... (http://aikieast.blogspot.com/2009/05/principles-of-aiki.html)

BAP
06-07-2009, 12:34 AM
George,

I was wondering if you have any opinion on "yin yoga" and its benefit as far as conditioning as part of aikido to strengthen joints, ligaments, tendons especially to help increase power generation and body connection..

Janet Rosen
06-07-2009, 01:21 AM
Three, the ability to accept the energy of an attack and to join with it (ittai-ka or single body) physically is dependent on sliding the shoulder blades together without tensing the shoulders together.
I'm fascinated because it is the first time anybody associated with aikido has mentioned it where I could read/hear it.
Many years ago my myofascial therapy guy (who appears to have vanished into the Yucatan peninsula sometime before/during their last big hurricane) taught me how to isolate and use the muscles that pull the shoulder blades down and together from below, as a posture correcting maneuver.
I do find myself doing it on the mat as part of my preparation for training; now I'll have to think about why and what role it seems to be playing.
Do you have more information about it?

George S. Ledyard
06-07-2009, 06:08 AM
I'm fascinated because it is the first time anybody associated with aikido has mentioned it where I could read/hear it.
Many years ago my myofascial therapy guy (who appears to have vanished into the Yucatan peninsula sometime before/during their last big hurricane) taught me how to isolate and use the muscles that pull the shoulder blades down and together from below, as a posture correcting maneuver.
I do find myself doing it on the mat as part of my preparation for training; now I'll have to think about why and what role it seems to be playing.
Do you have more information about it?

The first person I heard talk about it was Akuzawa Sensei when he was at our dojo. The context was slightly different... He was showing some conditioning exercises and they involved pulling the shoulder blades together. Most of his description centered around developing power by bring everything to the spine.

I was playing with a static technique shortly after his seminar and noticed that when I slid my shoulder blades together (without tightening the shoulder muscles) the partner fel slightly into my space. I started messing with it and realized that this was how you brought the power you received from the partner to your spine. It is in everything!

Ushiro Kenji was teaching at the Rocky Mountain Summer Camp the last three years and I asked him about it and his response was more less "of course"... Their guys learn it from their kata. It's part of the myriad structural details which are hidden in quite ordinary kata.

Ushiro Sensei actually had a bunch of drawings he used for class. At first I didn't quite get them... they were ovals with little dots and arrows pointing from one to another. I finally realized that the ovals were a top down view of a body and the dot was the spine. The arrows were the power of the attack and the whole thing was about how to take the power of the attack, in this case coming from two points of contact on the shoulders into a single point i.e. the spine.

This is HUGE! It is in everything, or should be. When you combine the shoulder blade element with an understanding of what happens when you tuck your tail bone, your Aikido goes to an entirely different level. The tail bone straightens the spine and allows the pelvis to rotate forward. When this happens, the energy in your arms starts aiming upwards so that when the partner grabs you he is automatically being taken up off his base. This all comes from the core without the arms tensing at all.

Normally, when folks get grabbed at two points of contact, they try to rotate the hips to turn but that merely ends up with one point pulling and the other point pushing, both are hitting the partner's structure. When you bring the shoulder blades togther, the power of the two contact points is brought to the single point of the vertical axis of the spine. At that point truning is effortless.

I think this whole thing is absolutely emblematic of the mess that is the Aikido teaching methodology, or lack thereof. These are relatively simple mechanical things that other arts are quite aware of and consider to be foundational. Yet most of us in Aikido trained for years without ever hearing a mention of these things from our teachers. No wonder we couldn't duplicate what our teachers were doing...

Janet Rosen
06-07-2009, 05:57 PM
Thank you. It DID take some doing to learn to isolate that movement - my guy started me leaning forward into a wall to get all my other arm, shoulder, and upper back muscles out of the equation and just get these little things firing under the bottom of my scapulae to slide them down and together - but since I can do both that and the tailbone thing now it's "just" (hah) a matter of integrating it into the training.

Abasan
06-07-2009, 11:00 PM
When you talk about tucking the tailbone in, do you mean sucking the perineum upwards like qi gong or the straightening the spine like systema?

Alex Megann
06-08-2009, 08:00 AM
George,

I have been following the contributions of Mike Sigman, Dan Harden and yourself on these topics from a distance but with great interest.

A few years ago I discovered that the shoulder blades were somehow crucial from a completely independent source: Scaravelli Yoga. In this way of practice (as I have learned it, at least), the arms and legs are connected very directly with the spine - not rigidly, but in a very alive way. This is quite different from the emphasis on outer form and superficial stretching that you might find in many yoga classes. As far as the shoulders go, they are not dropped (as you might instinctively try to do when told to "relax"), or "stretched" outwards, but suspended as if each shoulder blade were sitting in its own hammock, and with a little tension in towards the spine.

The two most strikingly beneficial effects of my yoga practice on my aikido are an increased awareness of my feet, and a growing sense that inner power comes from the spine, rather than primarily from the belly as we were taught in the old days. I find that when I show my students how to connect the arms through the shoulder blades to the spine, everything suddenly works (well, sometimes...) with much more power and less effort.

What you say about the tailbone is also fascinating, and again close to what is taught in the Scaravelli yoga tradition. We used to be encouraged in aikido to push the tanden forward and to tilt the front of the pelvis downward: this resulted in excessive curvature of the lumbar region, and the tailbone to be tilted up and back (and incidentally often to long-term spinal damage). My present yoga teachers, by contrast, teach that there should be a "fullness" in the lower back, and although they tend not to talk very explicitly about the tailbone or pelvis, results in the coccyx being aligned more forward, under the pelvis. Again, I have found that this has really improved my ability to relax and deliver power in aikido. The hard part of this, in my experience, is that to get this alignment of the spine to happen naturally, the front muscles of the thigh (quadriceps) need to be quite soft, and mine certainly aren't, although I'm working on this!

Interestingly, when I watch my own teacher (Kanetsuka Sensei), I notice that his lower spine is almost straight, as have many practitioners of Chinese arts, while many other senior aikido teachers have that pronounced concavity in the lower back which pushes the tailbone backwards.

Alex

mukyu
06-08-2009, 04:46 PM
Which way do we "tuck" the tailbone? Do we push the bottom part toward the front, or toward the back?

Janet Rosen
06-08-2009, 06:26 PM
I tried the shoulder and tuck thing with a little bokken work and tai sabaki this morning. An interesting thing happened: One of my former teachers in SF, Elaine Yoder, was often reminding us to have an awareness of our backs and of the fullness of the space behind our backs as we moved. With these musculoskeletal adjustments, I accomplished that feeling without having to resort to visualization/metaphor.
If I could train tonight I'd try it at the dojo w/ partners attached to self; unfortunately residual from today's dental work means I'll have a wait a couple of days...

phitruong
06-08-2009, 09:34 PM
most folks have tight lower back. by "tucking the tail bone", it stretched the lower back, the area opposite of your hara, methink the chinese called it mingmen (gate of life?), and relax it somewhat. you can rotate your hips back and forth (don't do in-front of member of opposite sex, too suggestive for that :)) there is a point where your entire body seemed to sat on top of your leg/hips bone/joints (kinda hard to describe) so that your shoulders feel like they sat on top of your feet. in that place, the power from your shoulders can pass to the ground and vice versa. what received send. hmmm gate of life, tightness = gate closed, i.e. no energy flow. by bringing the shoulders into the spine, energy flow unobtrusively from finger tips to feet, providing that you are not tensing up various places around your body. weak conduit points are hip joints, shoulder joints, ankle joints, wrists. most folks have strong muscles, but weak around the joints, thus unconsciously tighten muscle around the joints to compensate and ended up blocking the flow.

just some of my random thoughts. probably won't worth much. wonder if i could trade for a hotdog and a drink. :)

Abasan
06-09-2009, 12:33 AM
1 exercise that we do in qi gong is to tuck our perineum upwards and thereby bringing forward the tailbone a bit. But I find this comfortable to only if you slight bend the knees. It just doesn't mesh with our typical aikido stance. As I feel most of my weight not is lying on the back feet.

But doing it another way is to imagine a string pulling our spine upwards from the head up. It gently aligns the spine and makes me lighter on my feet.

As for the connectivity to the spine, although I'm doing some body work now to correct my back injury, and the exercises do shed some light on Mike's fascia work, they are pretty hard to do. I prefer just imagining the connectivity, that way when I turn my hand is felt to be more connected to the spine as opposed to be an extended limb. It ties in with taking the slack out.

I wonder if this is in anyway relevant?

Janet Rosen
06-09-2009, 10:28 AM
1 exercise that we do in qi gong is to tuck our perineum upwards and thereby bringing forward the tailbone a bit. But I find this comfortable to only if you slight bend the knees. It just doesn't mesh with our typical aikido stance. As I feel most of my weight not is lying on the back feet.

Out of curiosity: do you not keep your knees slightly bent in your aikido stance?

Ron Tisdale
06-09-2009, 11:13 AM
I'm fascinated because it is the first time anybody associated with aikido has mentioned it where I could read/hear it.


Hi Janet, I'm surprised to hear you say that...

Best,
Ron
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/search.php?searchid=491169

George S. Ledyard
06-09-2009, 11:49 AM
Hi Janet, I'm surprised to hear you say that...

Best,
Ron
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/search.php?searchid=491169
Hey Ron,
I understand Janet's comment... The folks who connected with various teachers at the Aiki Expos got their own lines into this material. Aside from that, there has been quite a bit of discussion about these things via the forums. But, the fact is, that even though the info is right here, how many folks have bothered to plow through all the "noise" to get at the good stuff. Many folks I talk to just don't read a lot of the material because the vituperation outweighs the content. They just got turned off.

Also, you really have to "feel" what these things do to understand just how central and important they are. How many folks have read or heard about these issues and then gone out of their way to experience directly what is being talked about? Out of the thousands of folks practicing Aikido and reading these forums, how many have tried to attend an event with Mike, Dan or Ark?

People generally do not want to get out of their familiar and safe social group. Training with those guys meant that you had to be on the mat with folks from all sorts of martial backgrounds... classical, mixed martial arts, aikijutsu, etc. Most folks sit and wait til one of their teachers gets out, experiences these things, digests it himself, and then starts to feed it to them.

Look at all the folks who simply couldn't see what Ushiro was doing... they just saw karate. Then Ikeda Sensei takes what he got from Ushiro and turns around and presents it all in a way folks think they recognize and it's all great.

I think it will take a while before there is a foundational shift in Aikido as a whole. There are Aikido teachers who are connecting with folks from outside our art who are incorporating very deep stuff into the art... way beyond just the internal power stuff, which is actually fairly basic once you know what you are working on. Some of the teachers I know who are seriously doing Systema or training regularly with Ushiro Sensei are working on stuff that goes way beyond the physical.

I think it will take a few Aikido teachers making this material seem accessible and comprehensible before Aikido as a whole starts to shift. And don't think it will be an easy transition. Aikido Journal had an article by Homma Sensei in which he basically said it was all physical and one simply had to get strong. Half the interview he bad mouthed Ushiro Sensei (without actually naming him). So when you have established high ranked teachers actively resisting a change to something better, you know it's an up hill battle.

I think that the folks who end up at the forefront of these changes will be women and men of smaller stature who find that suddenly they can actually throw people twice their size. Also, Aikido is an art in which we have an older demographic. The purely physical technique espoused by some people will inevitably deteriorate as they get older. I think that as people get more sophisticated, the value of actually having some "aiki" in their Aikido will be self evident. Personally, I am looking for an art which I do better at 90 than I did at 50.

It will take a while... but with folks like you out there (I never know where you might turn up) putting themselves right in the path of new experiences and teachers, it will happen eventually.

Ron Tisdale
06-09-2009, 12:33 PM
Hi George,

I think I understand what you are saying, but the thing that puzzles me is that I first mentioned this in connection with my seminar exposure to Abe Sensei, at the invitation of Shaun Ravens. Fred Little was there with me, and it was his suggestion to move the shoulder blades together during kokyu ho. I also mentioned that in relation to some other teachers as well, I believe.

Gerno H. also mentioned this in relation to Abe Sensei. I've seen mention of it by other aikidoka as well.

So...with all of the aikidoka that have given me this input, and me reporting that in my blog and postings, and aikidoka confirming that practice online....I am puzzled to hear statements like "I haven't heard this in relation to aikido" from long time aikidoka.

Perhaps you are correct, it just takes time to sink in. I can tell you that physically, it is taking a LONG time for it to sink in with me.

Best,
Ron

George S. Ledyard
06-09-2009, 01:14 PM
Hi George,

I think I understand what you are saying, but the thing that puzzles me is that I first mentioned this in connection with my seminar exposure to Abe Sensei, at the invitation of Shaun Ravens. Fred Little was there with me, and it was his suggestion to move the shoulder blades together during kokyu ho. I also mentioned that in relation to some other teachers as well, I believe.

Gerno H. also mentioned this in relation to Abe Sensei. I've seen mention of it by other aikidoka as well.

So...with all of the aikidoka that have given me this input, and me reporting that in my blog and postings, and aikidoka confirming that practice online....I am puzzled to hear statements like "I haven't heard this in relation to aikido" from long time aikidoka.

Perhaps you are correct, it just takes time to sink in. I can tell you that physically, it is taking a LONG time for it to sink in with me.

Best,
Ron

I've trained under Saotome Sensei for over thirty years... not one time did he ever talk about these body centered details. In his Aikido it is clear that he does these things but really doesn't think of them in any way except holistically. If I ask him about them, he often responds "yes" or "of course".

There are Aikido teachers who simply don't know these things, there are Aikido teachers who do them but aren't really aware that they do them (they are so ingrained), there are teachers who both do them and can explain exactly what they are doing (like Abe), and there are even teachers who are not yet able to do them but know they are there and can at least tell their students what they are "trying" to do. It's a whole range.

This isn't any different than therapy and counseling... nothing can possibly change until you know and admit you have a problem. There are plenty of folks who don't want to know about this stuff; they are quite happy doing what they have been doing for years.

Chuck Clark
06-09-2009, 01:16 PM
The use of the body in ways that have been mentioned is all contained in basic taisabaki if done properly. The shoulder blades thing comes into play, for example, in the comment I continually heard as a young judo student and in Japan from just about every Japanese teacher I was around... "open your chest", when your chest is open in the manner they wanted, the shoulder blades are doing what was described above. It's important to have teachers that are picky and precise in what they do and can see when you understand, or don't, and keep teaching in ways that are necessary to get you to understand. Oh yeah... they have to care whether you get it too.

Ron Tisdale
06-09-2009, 01:19 PM
Oh yeah... they have to care whether you get it too.

:D

There are plenty of folks who don't want to know about this stuff; they are quite happy doing what they have been doing for years.

So true. I just heard a good story along those lines, but...propriety forbids me from sharing :D

Best,
Ron

PS It's going to take teachers like yourselves hitting us over the heads with bokkens until we get it...

George S. Ledyard
06-09-2009, 01:37 PM
The use of the body in ways that have been mentioned is all contained in basic taisabaki if done properly. The shoulder blades thing comes into play, for example, in the comment I continually heard as a young judo student and in Japan from just about every Japanese teacher I was around... "open your chest", when your chest is open in the manner they wanted, the shoulder blades are doing what was described above. It's important to have teachers that are picky and precise in what they do and can see when you understand, or don't, and keep teaching in ways that are necessary to get you to understand. Oh yeah... they have to care whether you get it too.

Hi Chuck,
Judo is a good example, I think of the fact that merely having the information and the instruction available is no guarantee that the art goes in the right direction. There are a lot of other factors that come into play which determine whether or not the highest level instruction gets transmitted broadly within an art.

Chuck Clark
06-09-2009, 02:25 PM
I agree George, budo is passed on through direct transmission from those that have it to those who are hungry to learn. Whether the "highest level instruction" gets transmitted is the real question. What that highest level IS and how it's passed on has always been in question from group to group and I suspect it'll always be that way. Human stuff...

Best regards to all in the struggle to find answers to questions.

Marc Abrams
06-09-2009, 03:33 PM
George was very helpful for my students this past weekend. I have always had as a warm-up exercise a shoulder rolling routine which helps teach students how to free up the scapula and allow it to engage in a wide range of movements. We emphasize the importance of allowing the scapula to relax back into it's structure in order to allow a technique to work with better "Aiki." His description of sliding the shoulders together gave the students another visual image that allowed them to focus anew on the importance of creating this structure.

I cannot emphasize the importance of going out taking seminars with a variety of good instructors who understand the internal aspects of our arts. Looking at things from another perspective always helps to allow you to see better what your own instructor is doing. Sometimes we get use to training with only one person and our "eyes" become lazy as to what we see and understand.

Training experiences such as what George offered at my school only help me to better cue in on what my teacher is doing. This also allows my students the same opportunity to look at what I am doing from hopefully a deeper perspective.

Marc Abrams

Janet Rosen
06-09-2009, 03:54 PM
Hi Janet, I'm surprised to hear you say that...
Best,
Ron
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/search.php?searchid=491169
Ron, I couldn't get the link to work but in all honesty do you think every single one of us reads every single thread on aikiweb all the time, never missing anything?

Janet Rosen
06-09-2009, 03:56 PM
I cannot emphasize the importance of going out taking seminars with a variety of good instructors who understand the internal aspects of our arts. Looking at things from another perspective always helps to allow you to see better what your own instructor is doing. Sometimes we get use to training with only one person and our "eyes" become lazy as to what we see and understand.
Absolutely. And for many (if not most) of us, feeling is way more important the "seeing."

mevensen
06-09-2009, 04:37 PM
I have had similar instruction with regards to the shoulder blades from a Russian Kettle Bell instructor. His visualization was to try to drop the "points" of the shoulder blades into the opposite back pockets (left shoulder into right back pocket, etc.).

While he has not trained in Aikido that I know of, he is proficient in many other styles of martial arts. His assertion was that this action activated the lattisimus dorsi. This pulled the shoulders into a more secure position in the shoulder "socket" and forced the lats to acts as additional shoulder stabilizers. This would create a more secure connection of the shoulders to the axial spine, meaning that axial motion is translated more powerfully through the arms. In this sense, the arms are merely conduits and connectors to the axial body's power. He used the example of strikes, but I can see how this would also translate in much more efficiency in Aikido techniques as well.

Erick Mead
06-09-2009, 04:40 PM
The first person I heard talk about it was Akuzawa Sensei when he was at our dojo. The context was slightly different... He was showing some conditioning exercises and they involved pulling the shoulder blades together. Most of his description centered around developing power by bring everything to the spine.

I was playing with a static technique shortly after his seminar and noticed that when I slid my shoulder blades together (without tightening the shoulder muscles) the partner fell slightly into my space. I started messing with it and realized that this was how you brought the power you received from the partner to your spine. It is in everything!

This is HUGE! It is in everything, or should be. When you combine the shoulder blade element with an understanding of what happens when you tuck your tail bone, your Aikido goes to an entirely different level. The tail bone straightens the spine and allows the pelvis to rotate forward. When this happens, the energy in your arms starts aiming upwards so that when the partner grabs you he is automatically being taken up off his base. This all comes from the core without the arms tensing at all.
Hooker Sensei loved sanchin no kata, which for years I never got. Ushiro Sensei does too, I understand. The same mechanics illustrated in sanchin are in our aikido.

Basically, shoulder blades together straightens the upper lordosis in the same way that the tucking tail straightens the lower lordosis. But they are inverse curves, for a reason. and both reduced curvature (tail-tuck/shoulder blades inward) and accentuated curvature (swayback/shoulder dumped forward) are used in both the high and low spine for very specific and different purposes that can combine in different sequences and effects.

Lower spine demonstration first:

Try this, stand feet apart shoulder width and tuck the tail under to its "normal" "pelvic thrust" limit and then let shift back to "neutral" -- the weight distribution moves from midfoot to toe and back again. You will also note that the sense of torque on your feet is tending to rotate them toes out -heels in.

Now, same position, but sway the back from neutral to its "normal" swayed limit and then back to neutral. The weight distribution still moves from midfoot to toes and back again. You will note that the legs are tending to rotate opposite now -- heels out - toes in (i.e. -- sanchin dachi).

The forward movement of weight distribution is seemingly the same for both (irimi) (Remember that Shioda went on about Ki being in the "Big Toe" i.e. -- the ball of foot. This is what he was referring to.). However, the vertical plane moments and lateral plane (turning torque) moments are exactly reversed .

In tucking tail the moment is forward (irimi) but in an upward arc (aiki-age) or the bottom half of the circle. In swayback, the moment is also forward but arcing down (aiki-sage) or the top half of the circle. The former you use to detach structure from its support -- the latter to pose a teetering structure in a disadvantageously fixed spot.

Lastly, favoring one side or the other in weight distribution then, by itself (review the lower spine illustration and the torque on the feet) develops both vertical plane shear of different signs AND introduces the turning torque moment from the control of the spinal shear alone.

In other words, what Saotome always taught us as a unitary concept -- irimi-tenkan.

Of course, the sequences are not fixed, and fully developed, both of these basic movements can be played with in sequence and allowing the period of rotational development to reverse aspects of the effects, i.e.-- the initial forward-up arc resolves coming down and back; and the forward-down arc resolves coming up and back. The circles of moment are always continuous.

Line backers use the lower lordosis to directly resist toppling moments from the opposing line. That is essentially an exercise of leverage with the lower spine as a sprung lever, compressing the spinal column and stretching the belly ligaments for an increase in the force couple over that fixed moment arm between the spine and the belly.

Aiki however works off shear, not increased leverage. It shifts the center of the effective moment arm around in the structure in the same way a pencil' s center of rotation can be shifted even though there is a fixed point of contact in the "rubber pencil" "illusion." It is not an illusion -- you are seeing the center of rotation actually shifting and when the center of rotation moves your eye interprets it as bending.

Now add the upper back: The shoulder rolled forward or rolled back modulates the upper spine curvature the same way as we do with the lower back. This is also explicitly demonstrated or trained in sanchin.

Rolling the shoulders forward increases upper spine curvature and rolling back decreases curvature. Rolling the shoulders back or forward adds a further component of moment therefore to that initially generated in the lower spine. If they are used in simultaneous opposition, instead of in progression sequencing, they can help stabilize the neutral structure from different applied external moments (pushes).

The increasing curvature of the spine places shear oriented out the belly and decreasing it puts shear out the back, and at a neutral position there is no shear developed. While we displace the hips to generate the initial shear when delivering it we must not have ANY shear anywhere ( especially at the spine) when this is delivered into the target. The shear must ALL be transmitted through the body to the point of application. This is the origin of the one inch punch.

If the body is disposed to transmit it efficiently this generates a cyclic shear wave through the limbs ( like the pencil) that (if done in the correctly resonant rhythm (seen in furitama, tekubi furi) it affects the opponent's structure in ways that are at once mechanically powerful and neuromuscularly sneaky by tricking stabilizing monosynaptic reflex arcs to fire at the wrong point in the balance sway (and which are faster than the voluntary suppression pathways that are trying to recover). The dead giveaway for this "trick" action is that "head snap" seen in demonstrations where the torso moves reflexively forward from a snatch on the arm while the head bobs or snaps backward. It is the inverse of the action of the one inch punch, actually.

As most are aware, when uke grab both wrists one can either drop him or take him off his base. For the maximum forward-down shear, the lower back is swayed and then the shoulders are rolled forward to throw that cyclic shear out through the arms to generate aiki-sage -- crumpling uke in front of you. Reversing this, the lower spine is tucked in and then the upper spine is straightened and the forward-up shear is thrown out the arms resulting in aiki-age, snatching uke off his base. I cannot emphasize enough the sense of weight thrown down the length of the arms, into uke's body through his arms when I do these things.

The point of all this analysis is not to teach newcomers as such but to improve the critical eye of instructors and senior students for correction of themselves and others according to sound mechanics of proven effectiveness in the art. It has improved mine, and made it easier to help others improve because I know what I am seeing happen or not happen.

Janet Rosen
06-09-2009, 05:46 PM
His assertion was that this action activated the lattisimus dorsi.
Now that's in line with something a former teacher used to talk about a LOT - using the lats rather than the arms/shoulders to initiate arm movement - and I've been playing w/ that for some yrs now. On double checking muscle isolation now sitting here at work, the lat activation does bring the scapulae down but not necessarily inward - so something else seems to be involved there.
oh and Ron I didn't mean to sound snarky in my reply - reread it and realized it had a bit of that tone - not intended.

Abasan
06-09-2009, 09:48 PM
Out of curiosity: do you not keep your knees slightly bent in your aikido stance?

I do but not as much as I would have to to do for the tailbone tucking in. :o

Btw, I notice some sensei's have a straight spine and strong connectivity to the hands but they seem to achieve that by actually leaning forward slightly to achieve the straight spine.

Ron Tisdale
06-10-2009, 07:40 AM
oh and Ron I didn't mean to sound snarky in my reply - reread it and realized it had a bit of that tone - not intended.

I love that word snarky...:D No worries. My initial post may well have come of as snarky too, which would explain any reaction! ;)

I guess I was just surprised when I went back and saw the number of posts and threads where just I had mentioned it. Re-reading that made me realize just how much I forget when not focusing on something.

Best,
Ron

John Brockington
06-10-2009, 08:40 AM
Hi Janet-

If you are interested in getting this type of information (and a lot of it) in a web-based forum with a high signal to noise ratio, there are options out there. Should this be the case, I would suggest contacting Mike S.

Regards-

John

DH
06-10-2009, 01:35 PM
I would suggest -doing- something about it as a long term investment and deeper study in place of or as part of your aikido training, instead of continuing to just pick up pieces here and there.
The things being discussed are very, very basic structure issues and are really just a small part of that picture with all sorts of potential errors when considering them independently. I for one would never agree to a tuck in any form. In fact for most, with their musculature like it is, it does as much harm as benefit for support as they will just tighten into a tuck. A better idea is to think of stretching and opening the spine and let the sacrum drop. In fact I could make a case for certain things to do with the crotch or deep groin area (no jokes please) that would make the sacrum look like it wasn't tucking but was flat or even tilting a bit back instead!. I have some friends-one who teaches Yang Taiji and another who practices it who keep arguing with me but since they can't throw me- we agree to disagree. IMO, tucking leads to other vulnerabilities that can be eliminated with a freedom in the crotch and hips.
More importantly-neither of which has anything to do with aiki.

Building your frame, strengthening your tendons, and engaging and using the fascial system as a unit with the breath are all part of making a bujutsu or martial body. As that body is tempered and built more slack is removed. Let's call "slack" here- various means and methods whereby the normal body moves in pieces and parts, and its weight is all over the place when it does. You may note that some older teachers have a range of motion where they move just so far and their movement effects you. The reason is their structure is more developed, some of them really don't have clue how to replicate it and teach it to others. They did it themselves through kata while their peers stunk up the place. But kata has always been a gamble as a learning tool or model. From what I have seen even then some of the guys I have played with have holes in their game-all over the place.
It's not that way with someone training their body. There are specific things you can do. As you build it (with movement with intent, so in movement you remove weaknesses) and your intent becomes increasingly profound, you remove more and more slack. Your range of motion, BEFORE you start affecting your opponent, becomes less and less, finally to the point that almost even thinking about moving affects them. I have had people tell me so and so teacher feel this way only to find out. "No, no they don't." And when you show them they agree it's not the same.
So, there are ways to knit your body together; some hard some soft. As George knows from back in the aikido list days I have been telling aikido people they are too strong and muscular and do not truly understand soft. In fact from a post back in 1996 I was advocating they should be thinking more like taiji soft and learning to train and use the waist, hips, and upper body separately and then as a unit in motion, instead of their versions of the Yoshinkan, and aikikai "frame stances" with their bowed back and stuck out belly's. Which, by the way- pretty much had you screwed before you even started.

Soft
You know immediately when you are pushing, yanking, and trying to enter to throw someone and they are standing there playing with you and wiggling and moving and they feel like a steel belted radial that can turn and move all around you but you can't do anything with them and end up on your fanny for trying that there is a Martial soft that goes beyond what the majority of folks conceived of as "soft."
But look, even with that there are ways to train that are not all the same, ways to carry the body, that are not all the same in a given art. Everyone talks about moving from the center and yet there they are in all their glory; single side weighted and onece you remove technique they don't really know what to do with force.
There is a study of how to change force, but that is a discussion best left till A-F-T-E-R you start learning to knit your body together. Well, okay, during as well, but only at certain points. The reason for that is trying to accomplish certain things with a normal body is waste of time. Getting someone to stop single weighting themselves or breaking when they are standing there all by themselves is one thing, getting them to do it against a single line of force, another, getting them to do it against fast changing motion that is soft itself is another level still.
Suffice to say there are ways to change incoming or pulling or turning energy -within your own body that scapulars and sacrums don't even come close to touching. Stepping into the use of spiraling energy alone is a world of work, past basic solo frame work. And it requires years of investing, not a few weekend seminars. You can try to get it from kata, or you can start to train by yourself and become something different to the majority of players out there. But you need to find someone willing to invest in you as you work, and for many -maybe being willing to give up going to X or Y seminar this year and instead focusing on the change in building a bujutsu body to fully express a Budo art.

I am actively getting teachers involved so they and their students can focus together and make the change. It seems it will be far less frustrating for both parties as "the crucible" in which to build- will be right there in their own dojo. And the testing ground -out there against Shihan-will turn into nothing more than a playground for people who are doing the work. I think of it like a grand experiment, as well as being a hell of a lot of fun.

I think everyone needs to make a committed step and stick with it. Picking up this or that "trick" or this or that "part" isn't going to accomplish anything truly meaningful. It's what everyone has been doing for years in attending so and so's seminars or having all these teachers in with different methods. For years I have looked at certain teachers who invite all manner of Budo greats in for this or that seminar to pick up this or that. It's great to be so open minded but more than a few times I have looked at those guys-a few of whom were and are friends of mine and said.
"That's great. So what happened to you?";)

Cheers
Dan

Ron Tisdale
06-10-2009, 03:05 PM
I think Dan has it right...little pieces here and there leave you like me...physically confused! :D

I'm sure Dan will straighten that right out the next time he gets his hands on me! :D

Best,
Ron

John Brockington
06-11-2009, 08:56 AM
Dan and Janet-

I certainly agree with Dan's emphasis, and am trying to do this myself, but the problem is finding a teacher who is capable and willing to impart this type of information. In lieu of consistent and constant access to such a teacher, I think it can help to have supplementary written information about training methodologies. Key word is supplementary, though.

Speaking of which, in reading your post Dan I began to wonder, how does one know that there is sufficient built-in structure to begin training with force?

Regards-

John

thisisnotreal
06-11-2009, 09:19 AM
Hi Dan,
Is there any hope for a person to figure it out themselves?... if they cannot get access to a teacher of this high caliber?

Are there any principles that you can outline in helping to build the budo body? Is self study to *build*, a realistic possibility?

These are only some of my thoughts:
I am thinking that the body is an adaptive feedback cycle. If you can load it in new ways that build; then it will adapt and strengthen. Here I have an eye on kaizen and the fact that every movement of the body either takes money out of the bank, or puts money in the bank. I think you are talking about ways of building the body *all* the time.

Does it have anything to do with PNF used to condition to build strength over flexibility? Did you ever hear of Dara Torres? Watch the 3rd video down >here< (http://recoveryourstride.blogspot.com/2008/08/resistance-stretching-this-is-what-dara.html)

Using the breath?
Does it have anything to do with a distant cousin to the valsalva maneuver? Except instead of closing the epiglottis, finding a way to use (and move!) the intraabdominal pressure to augment intention? (/hara)

Spiral Energy?
Can you say more about this aspect? Does it have to do with sequential inter-and-inner muscular activation strengthening around skeletal frame to not only reinforce ground-path but to send a shot of energy? I guess this is offensive energy...

As always thank you kindly.
Best,
Josh

DH
06-11-2009, 09:24 AM
Speaking of which, in reading your post Dan I began to wonder, how does one know that there is sufficient built-in structure to begin training with force?

Regards-

JohnUhm...by failing when you get a little force.;)
It's a life long study. It's not like you ever finish. And its not just this pushing stuff or what to do with the upper cross, or tailbone or with just with frame work. Using it is more complex. And takes years of work. Each step is a lengthy study; of what supports what, where, why and how, what works better overall, what works better for your needs, and so on. as many are finding out though its a whole lot of fun. I have had some teachers call it grad school for Aikido teachers, or a second beginning with a twinkle in their eye and a smile on their face!
Cheers
Dan

DH
06-11-2009, 10:21 AM
Hi Dan,
Is there any hope for a person to figure it out themselves?... if they cannot get access to a teacher of this high caliber?
Learning by yourself. Lets talk about that.
1. Initial discovery by yourself?
I think its damn near impossible. Maybe a few things I dunno
2. Adding on to what was shown?
Yes. Most certainly
3. Making "advancements" all on your own?
I think that depends on what you were shown, how smart you are, where you do further research and how and how well and how often you train.
There is no doubt that the greats kept picking up stuff as they went along. They openly talked about it. But I think we need to leave those comments and the validity of them- to the established greats who can get away with it.;)

I am only speak for me Josh. There is no "establishment" out there that is in agreement of what is correct. There is agreement and disagreement on things. And I don't consider my self in terms of high or low calibur, nor do I consider myself a teacher. I do what I do and go take it out for a spin when I am able. I tell everyone to to leave and go do their own research. if they come back fine, if they find something great...show.
Go feel the best you can find and validate your own stuff.

Are there any principles that you can outline in helping to build the budo body? Is self study to *build*, a realistic possibility?
Not on the net no. I think its waste of time to do how to's. Even up close and personal it takes a lot of correcting over many practices. Personally I just feel its a better walk than doing more kata. I left traditional Budo with some very good details and principles, studied diligently and came back to find my efforts were not without merit.

I can't address all of that stuff you are talking about. For me spiral energy is there all the time its not about offensive energy. You can absorb along a path or emit along a path or carry along a path or send. There is power at every arc and it is supported by the opposite. Its why I never liked reading where people stress the idea of the single push/ ground path thing that Tohei showed as Ki or Kokyu. Power and aiki is much more than that stuff. And there's a good example of the disagreements with this stuff. Some say that stuff is the basis of power, others will say spiral energy is the basis of power.
I'd save your money and go find *someone* willing to show you some things. Then... go search out others who *strongly* disagree with whatever that *someone* says. In time you'll know where and what you want to train. I just couldn't spend the rest of my life grabbing wrists and taking Ukemi when there is so much more to be had.
Enjoy the ride.
Cheers
an

Cliff Judge
06-11-2009, 11:24 AM
George, I have been working on this the past week or so. It has added some new discombobulation but I swear I'm moving partners around without the usual arm muscles firing. It could just be self-hypnosis but I'll stick with it for awhile longer and see what I get out of it!

One thing I hope you can clarify: are you saying that you should keep your tailbone tucked, and your shoulder blades slid together, the whole time you move around the mat? Is this a static postural thing? Or is the sliding of the shoulder blades, and tucking of the tailbone, dimensions of movement that I need to learn? I.e. is it the SLIDING of the shoulder blades, and the TUCKING of the tailbone, that effects the one-body and floating of partner's center, or is it the SLID shoulder blades and TUCKED tailbone.

Anyway, this concept seems to blend nicely with what some of the Shobukan instructors took away from Gleason Sensei's recent seminar in MD, which was about opening the chest and seperating turning of the hips from the turning of the waist.

Thanks,
Cliff from DC

P.S. to Mr. Harden: when are you going to go on tour?

John Brockington
06-11-2009, 02:20 PM
Thanks for your comments Dan, I am encouraged greatly and look forward to the challenge of trying to "figure it out."

Sorry Janet for the thread appropriation, but maybe we are looking at the same thing?

John

Janet Rosen
06-11-2009, 02:29 PM
um,er, I wasn't aware this was in any way "my" (or anybody's) thread.

DH
06-12-2009, 01:50 AM
George, I have been working on this the past week or so. It has added some new discombobulation but I swear I'm moving partners around without the usual arm muscles firing. It could just be self-hypnosis but I'll stick with it for awhile longer and see what I get out of it!

One thing I hope you can clarify: are you saying that you should keep your tailbone tucked, and your shoulder blades slid together, the whole time you move around the mat? Is this a static postural thing? Or is the sliding of the shoulder blades, and tucking of the tailbone, dimensions of movement that I need to learn? I.e. is it the SLIDING of the shoulder blades, and the TUCKING of the tailbone, that effects the one-body and floating of partner's center, or is it the SLID shoulder blades and TUCKED tailbone.

Anyway, this concept seems to blend nicely with what some of the Shobukan instructors took away from Gleason Sensei's recent seminar in MD, which was about opening the chest and seperating turning of the hips from the turning of the waist.

Thanks,
Cliff from DC

P.S. to Mr. Harden: when are you going to go on tour?
Never. Not interested.:yuck:
I'm having too much fun here at home with family, and new Budo friends coming here. I am content to help you through Bill.
Cheers
Dan

George S. Ledyard
06-12-2009, 02:39 AM
Never. Not interested.:yuck:
I'm having too much fun here at home with family, and new Budo friends coming here. I am content to help you through Bill.
Cheers
Dan

Dan,
Getting the "mountain to come to Muhammad" so to speak is an achievement of some magnitude. Although I must say I do enjpy virtually all the places I travel and being a guest. But if I could get away with it I'd do more at home... it's a lot less tiring.
- George

gdandscompserv
06-12-2009, 07:31 AM
Dan,
Getting the "mountain to come to Muhammad" so to speak is an achievement of some magnitude. Although I must say I do enjpy virtually all the places I travel and being a guest. But if I could get away with it I'd do more at home... it's a lot less tiring.
- George
In this case I'm trying to figure out if Dan is the 'mountain' or 'Muhammad.':D

DH
06-12-2009, 02:35 PM
Dan,
Getting the "mountain to come to Muhammad" so to speak is an achievement of some magnitude. Although I must say I do enjpy virtually all the places I travel and being a guest. But if I could get away with it I'd do more at home... it's a lot less tiring.
- George
Hello George
Don’t know about it being so dramatic.:o
I like Meik Skoss’s idea that we are “All bums on the budo bus.” None of us invented this stuff, so none of us is any big deal, or big shot. I Can't quite capture that without Meik's personal method of delivery.
I’m not totally opposed to traveling to share, Just not in "tours" that waste my time with dog and pony shows for budo tourists who will check-off their “Internal power / aiki” card by attending a couple of weekend seminars and thinking they got it and then just going back to what they were doing. I’m not interested investing my time with someone I’ll never see again either.
Because this training takes dedicated time outside of the arts kata, it requires -by default- commitment and correction outside the normal venues. As I noted earlier a good bit of the frustration written about in these pages- and expressed to me personally- was lack of teachers and the lack of approved time back home to practice. Further people in the art having access to those that they themselves do not “perceive’ as being adversarial so they will listen when they speak.
A good case to prove my point was Janet’s post here. I think it was clear that she had trouble “hearing” some things that have been said here over and over. Maybe from disgust, disinterest, what have you. She needed to hear it in a form that would be palatable or maybe just from someone she was willing or interested in hearing…from! In direct terms, those offering the information may be too controversial, some to confrontational, or others to uninteresting for people to hear. Make sense? So, if my words and intentions were to be sincere and transparent, then my concerns to help should truly be beyond concerns for self or means to transmit. So…find a way to get the information into the hands of those who can not only be heard but who can affect a broader outcome. So, I am actually hoping for a model that better supports the directional shift many are discussing.. Trying to figure out just who to do that with might be problematic.
Interestingly enough the type of teachers who remain open enough to reach out and bring in and get a feel for so many different outside teachers are, on the other hand confused enough to never stick with one thing. I have heard people like this tell their own students how they are learning this or that to incorporate into their art to make their stuff the best, “So train here!!” I think they are actually mistaken in many ways. I’m more interested in out of the way, single minded dogged and deliberate people who really don’t care much what the other kids are playing.
Students will have a tough time in doing that. The only way to do it is to affect teachers. What I am attempting will solve the problem of not being able to a) practice in your own dojo and b) having a somewhat approved directional method for re-integrating this into each styles aikido. c) having someone who can help along the way.
That way you not affect those who are searching for it, you affect those who never, EVER heard of it, but their teacher demands it. In two styles I am currently affecting the teachers have made it known that this type of training is going to be mandatory for advancement in the art of aikido under them.
What better and more efficient way to actually DO what we all have been talking about?
So, I fully intend to find a means and method to do this with the right people. While I will never go ":on tour" I am not entirely opposed to going to them after we have built a working relationship and progress is being made.
Should be an interesting few years
Cheers
Dan

Janet Rosen
06-12-2009, 03:37 PM
A good case to prove my point was Janet’s post here. I think it was clear that she had trouble “hearing” some things that have been said here over and over. Maybe from disgust, disinterest, what have you. She needed to hear it in a form that would be palatable or maybe just from someone she was willing or interested in hearing…from!Dan
Hi, Dan

I have no disagreement w/ anything you, Mike, etc have ever posted about internal/aiki stuff. But because - as you've said since the days Cady brought you onto aikido-L - its impossible to describe this stuff in words or images, it has to be felt, I've tended to skim over or skip many of the discussion threads involving more dogmatic aikido folks arguing with you over the years.

George posted something very specific involving ahe triggering of a muscle group. Since I know this movement/trigger, it is something I know I can replicate correctly on my own.

So nope, no disgust and certainly not disinterest. Just being realistic about what I can integrate into my own practice up here in the rural left coast.