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Ron Tisdale
08-27-2009, 10:01 AM
I was sorting through another thread and found what I feel was one of the best posts to focus in on ki/jin/kokyu development in Aikido. I've quoted that post below, and offer it as a seperate starting point for some specific discussions on the development exercises others are using and how they apply the product of those exercises specifcally in their Aikido.

(modified from a post on the QiJin forum)

Pretty much all the Asian martial arts use or previously used some degree of qi and jin (ki and kokyu) skills. So to call jin or suit stuff "internal" is not accurate unless you specify that it has to do with "internal strength" ("nei jin" in Chinese). Both "internal styles" (nei jia) and "external styles" (wai jia) have "nei gongs" ("internal exercises") that develop "nei jin".

When someone says that Taijiquan, Xingyquan, Baguazhang, Wujiquan, Liu He Ba Fa, etc., are "internal styles", the general inference points to the fact that they use the dantien as a major motivator of all movements and the "six harmonies" natural winding of the body is present. The problem is that there is no clear line, in many cases, where some style fully or partially or not-very-much uses the dantien.

In a case I was talking about to someone in p.m., I noted that a certain Taiji person actually had a strong Bajiquan (fairly linear, but very powerful) way of moving. But Baji is a so-called "external martial art" and Taiji is an "internal martial art", so what the crossover highlights is that the basic qi and jin skills are common. The mode of movement is different enough that just about anyone with a modicum of experience can spot the Baji dominance in a supposed Taiji expert.

In Aikido there is a similar problem. Watching Ueshiba perform some swordwork in the 1930's (on film) I could see that he had more idea of store-and-release than I would have thought. And because movements get smaller with practice over the years, it's a hard thing to pick up in later films of him. I've never seen Tohei do this sort of thing even though I've watched many films very closely; in my opinion Tohei does not know how to do them. So the point I'd make is that there is a potential disparity between Ueshiba's use of the dantien/hara and that of Tohei. It's enough of a disparity that it's similar to the "internal" versus "external" discussion in CMA's. So what's the correct mode of training for Aikido?

If my evaluation of Ueshiba's movement and knowledge is correct, then Ueshiba used backbow and dantien in a whole-body method that was different from Tohei's more linear use of qi and jin. Both Ueshiba and Tohei used the soft-repetition method of developing suit to augment their jin, but I suspect that Ueshiba's training was probably more vigorous and broad-spectrum, overall. I don't think that either of these men used any of the more Shaolin-derived methods of extended tension and "squeezing" conditioning, that I see offered as substitutes for Ueshiba's qi and jin development methods. I.e., I tend to suggest people do a little thinking about exactly the mode of training that was used originally.

There are a number of methods to train "nei jin". Traditionally, the extended postures, "structure", dynamic-tension, etc., approaches are more from the "external" modes. The softer approach of jin training accompanied with breathing/suit training are going to mark the "internal styles". Being extraordinarily strong and conditioned though isn't going to handle the question of just how "wholebody" a method is, nor does it address the question of how dominant is the control of the dantien/hara. As I've said before, there are many levels and gradations of these skills.

FWIW

Mike Sigman Post and thread available from here: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=237524&postcount=74

One technique that seems (at least to me) to have a good oppotunity to test the product of this type of training is Tenchinage. Here we have the opportunity to use sinking (aiki sage) and rising (aiki-age) power, as well as winding, splitting uke's body and power along the central axis, using the power of the in breath while connecting that to outer movement, and other things as well, I'm sure.

I would greatly appreciate any relevent additions to this topic.

Best,
Ron

thisisnotreal
08-27-2009, 10:16 AM
Hi, good idea Ron.
A lot of issues are connected here (sorry for the pun) ; so although not kokyu specifically and i'm not sure if it is outside what you were looking for; but i liked this basic description and seems to me it's relevant;



Mo Jing: In Search of Internal Strength
By Tu-Ky Lam

Do you know what to do when you practice zhan-zhuang? Many people do not. During zhan-zhuang, we do an exercise called "Mo-jing", which means feeling or searching for internal strength. Once we have found or built up our internal strength, it will accumulate and our internal strength will get stronger and stronger. Mo-jing requires that we have a correct posture with good zheng-li (which means opposite tension), use mind and not force, and move slowly with very small movements. We will discuss this in greater details in here.

ZHENG-LI
Top and bottom.

We must place our torso properly on the top of our legs, which can make our weight and energy sink to our feet, thus making us firmly planted on the ground. Then we must lift the top of our head up. So our head and our feet are going in opposite directions -- one up and the other down, and create some tension from the top of head down to our feet. This top-and-bottom zheng-li gives us strength to perform all the tasks we are required to do and so it is the most important opposite tension or zheng-li in our body. Sitting properly on our legs and lift the top of our head up is also the most important requirement for a correct posture.

In zhan-zuang, the top and bottom zheng-li mainly applies in our head and our feet, of which the opposite tension stretches our body to make it longer, and also produces strength. (In shi-li, it may apply between the hands, such as in "chang fa" meaning palm strikes where one hand is up and the other down.)

Left and right.

Left and right zheng-li applies mainly in our arms. In "Cheng bao zhuang" (Embrace-a-Balloon) or "Hunyuan zhuang" (Embrace-a-Tree) posture, we need to extend our elbows to make them go in opposite directions -- left elbow to the left and right elbow to the right, and we also need to imagine that between the thumbs and fingers of our hands there are five elastics tying them together (thumb to thumb, index finger to index finger, etc.). At the same time we move our elbows away from each other, we do the same to our thumbs and fingers (imaging our thumbs and fingers are pulling the elastics to stretch them) to produce the left and right zheng-li.

We also move our elbows and hands to the front a little bit to keep them away from our shoulders to produce the front and back zheng-li. This move can make us feel that our back is round, and "jing" from our feet can easily come out to our hands.

Front and back.

Front and back zheng-li mainly applies to our legs. (But it also applies to our hands or elbows like in the above situation) When we practice "Hunyuan zhuang" (Embrace-a-tree posture) with one foot in front and the other at the back, we sit more on our back leg (70%). We make our back hip moves slightly backwards and our front knee move slightly forwards to produce the front and back zheng-li.

These three different kinds of zheng-li stretch our whole body in six different directions, and make us feel that our body is round like a ball. We should always maintain all these kinds of zheng-li during our practice. They make our energy flow and our internal strength increase.

MO-JING MOVEMENTS

During zhan-zhuang, we always imagine that we are holding a balloon, embracing a tree, or standing in a swimming pool holding a flutter board, etc. In the case of holding a balloon or a tree, we imagine we want to move the balloon or push the tree forwards, and then we want to move them back. Our body moves slightly (about a quarter of an inch or 2 mm) forwards and backwards with our visualization.

How do we make our body move during zhan-zhuang? In "Cheng-bao zhuang" (Embrace-a-Balloon) and other standing postures, where our feet are parallel to each other, our head has to lead the move. When we imagine that we are moving a balloon forwards, our head (which lifts up all the time during training) has to move slightly forwards (2 mm) at the same time the ball of our feet must push the ground and our knees move inwards (toward each other) for 1 mili-meter to send our body forward. Our hands moves slightly inwards, downwards and forwards (also about 2 mm).

When we want to move the balloon back to the starting position, the process is reversed. Our head moves backwards, and the ball of our feet pushes backwards. Our knees move outwards (away from each other) for 1 mili-meter, and our hands move outwards, upwards and backwards for about 2 mili-meters.

When we stand in the fighting stance where one foot is at the front and the other at the back, we must remember that our back hip has to sit back (which will bring our back knee backwards) and our front knee moves slightly forwards to produce zheng-li. When we want to push a tree (or anything else in your imagination) forwards, our head will move forwards to lead the move. Our front foot must push straight into the ground and our front knee must not move forwards. In fact, our front knee moves slightly backwards, but we do not feel it. Our back leg (mainly the ball of our back foot) has to push the ground to send our body forwards (2 mm). This way, our knee moves closer to each other.

When we want to pull the tree back, our front knee must not move backwards. Instead, it has to move slightly forwards, upwards and push backwards (with the help of the ball of our front foot) to help send our torso back to the starting position before we push the tree. At the same time, our head moves back and our hip must sit back to bring back our body for about 2 mili-meters. our hands move outwards, upwards, and backwards slightly (2mm) and we are back to the starting position again. Mo jing movements will go like this during zhan-zhuang.

USE MIND AND NOT FORCE

The above section shows how our body moves slightly forwards and backwards during zhan-zhuang. The movements are very small and totally under the control of our mind and we have to relax and should not use force. This is very difficult for beginners who tend to use force to move forwards and backwards and their movement is usually big because they cannot do it small.

Beginners cannot avoid doing the movement big. But they should try to do it small later on. For example, as soon as we push the tree forwards, we pull it back immediately, and then push it forwards and pull it immediately back again. It just goes on like this. Slowly we will find that we move very little or hardly move at all. (Doing so gives us no time to tense up and use force and so helps us to relax.)

Wang Xiang-zhai, Yiquan founder, said, "Big movement is not so good as small movement, and small movement is not so good as no movement…" When we do a big move, our energy will tend to disperse and lack strength. Therefore, small movement is stronger than big movement.

No movement in zhan-zhuang does not mean absolutely motionless. It is mo-jing at its highest level where the movement is so tiny and not noticeable. Here our internal strength is placed at the best optimal position, ready for us to pounce at the enemy. That is why no movement is better than small movements.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN MO-JING

By doing mo-jing what do we try to find? We want to find internal strength, but we will not find it directly and straight away. For people who have practiced zhan-zhuang an hour a day, they will gradually find that there is a big "lump" in their body which moves forwards and backwards at the same time they move their body forward and backward. This big "lump" -- from our head down to our feet - feels like our body weight. When we have better control of it -- being able to move it forwards and backwards at will - we can apply it to our opponent. This is the first sign of our internal strength.

To find this "lump" and to be able to use it, we have to be very relaxed. If we use force which can make our whole body tense up, we will never find it. It will certainly help if we try to feel our body weight shifting forwards and backwards during zhan-zhuang. We usually feel the "outer" body weight which will slowly move inside our body to give us the feeling of a big lump.

Our internal strength is this big "lump" plus the movement of the whole body as described in the section "Mo-jing movements". As for how internal strength works, see my article "How Does Hunyuanli Works?" also posted on this website.
CONCLUSION

Our internal strength is this big "lump" plus the movement of the whole body as described in the section "Mo-jing movements". As for how internal strength works, see my article "How Does Hunyuanli Works?" also posted on this website.


From< (http://www.geocities.com/tukylam/mojing.html)

lump = dantien region
i liked the way he describes the outer body and the inner body centers of gravity.

Ron, was this okay? or too far off?

Ron Tisdale
08-27-2009, 10:40 AM
Yes, this is a good start. I think this gives an accurate description of developing the skills required that are then used in Tenchinage. Some things it did not address:

Removing slack from the partner's body.

Breathing.

Use of open/close in our body in coordination with the waza.

But I think you've handed me a foundation at least to discuss some of the things that need to go on. If someone has some Japanese terms for some of these same things, that would be good too.

Could you speak a little about how you would apply these things in Tenchinage?

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
08-27-2009, 11:03 AM
Oh, and if others feel there are other posts in that thread that will push the discussion along, please feel free to reference them here.

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
08-27-2009, 11:42 AM
Hi Ron:

Perhaps a good question or focus can be made about the use of the hara (dantien/tanden/One-Point etc.) in Aikido training (although the same principle will functionally apply in any art that seriously tries to 'move from the hara'). If you move from the hara, the hara controls the movement. In fact, the body has to develop to the point that "the hara IS the hands", in order for their to be true 'movement from the hara'.

So in effect, to cut to the chase, a lot of the various modes of training are really to build up and connect the hara to whatever point of the body is needed at a particular instant. The hara draws its power from the solidity of the ground or the down-weight of the body, the power of the legs, the hips, and the natural power of the hara, also. There's more to it than that, but the general statement is good enough.

The question becomes "how much hara control is used in Aikido?". As I noted in that post you quoted from, there's a valid question about how dominant the hara controls are in Aikido: Ueshiba appears to use more and better hara controls than I see in Tohei (this is a personal observation and is, of course, open to debate). The more dominant the use of the hara, the more a person gains actual "whole-body" controls and the purer the "mind-body" controls.

As I've said many times, there are many levels and gradations of the ki/kokyu skills and sometimes practicing one style will forever pattern you in such a way that you cannot switch over. It's a subtle but important point.

On the other hand, let's say for the sake of discussion that Tohei (and some others) indeed had a variant that was not as hara-dominant as Ueshiba's movement... how much difference did that make in their Aikido? Wasn't Tohei given a 10th dan by Ueshiba? Maybe the hara dominance is, for the purposes of Aikido, a difference without an important distinction?

If we circumvent the hara-dominance question, we still have to look at the question of hooking the hara to all parts of the body as the main (general) answer to your question, in terms of developing the skills. The parts of your question that have to do with the technique itself and handling of Uke's body are, to me, sort of separate issues. If the kokyu skills are 'pure', the handling of a given Uke will be done one way; if the kokyu skills or 'not pure' (or non-existent), the handling of Uke must be different, logically.

My 2 cents.

Best.

Mike

thisisnotreal
08-27-2009, 11:48 AM
Hi Ron,
these are some of my scattered thoughts. are they of any use to you, or anyone? I am a bag of marbles open on a table.. ;)

...opportunity to test the product of this type of training is Tenchinage. Here we have the opportunity to use
-sinking (aiki sage) and
-rising (aiki-age) power, as well as
-winding,
-splitting uke's body and power along the central axis,
-using the power of the in breath while
-connecting that to outer movement...

Well, I really do want to be corrected; if i'm wrong. i'm reluctant to talk about this cause it really shows how piss poor the understanding of internals are..but maybe, our betters will step in to help (me) floundering..
MS encouraged people to 'talk it out' so i'll give it another shot. I think the nuts and bolts is important.. but maybe useless and too difficult online. despite my better judgement... here goes ;)

Well, I hear what MS and others talking about various types of internal power methods and schemes..but I think it is a safe assumption, since aikido came from DR, that DR body methods are compatible (amongst others?) with the desired aiki of aikido. What I think it is that we are hunting for. So..let me (please) pick up on that..Dan has kindly planted many seeds throughout the webeven hereand I'll put some in this post.(hope it's okay; I apologize in advance if not)

First of all; talking about this stuff is hard. For instance From< ( http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=233467&postcount=92)

It is important to know what is connected to what and what to move to draw-in on and push against and engage
I take these words as a basis for nomenclature defining the kind of internal chaining that will result in transfer of power. I understand this (I hope) as being the underlying foundational type of 'thing' going on in both aiki age and aiki sage. agree? Underlying this is an obvious need for structure. This is a constant in all this work, and never goes away. Structure/alignment is critical and to be taken as a given.

Slack
in my humble understanding of sinking and rising energy these are powered internally by the hara region as well as knowing how what to move to draw-in on and push against and engage". First the slack has to come out of you, from your shugyo training. This is the body conditioning and 'the changed body' that is pointed to. As that happens then (it was written) smaller and smaller movements of you will have more profound effects on uke. Good basic technique of tenchi nage will have to take out the slack to get access to his center..I think this always and still remains a prerequisite to direct-center-to-center manipulation. Even at high level I assume. (agree?)

Breathing
I don't know what to say. I think that when you take the mechanical slack (i.e. joints aligned, kokyu established in uke) then you go into what MS terms the suit (I do not recall Dan using any term like/equivalent (to) that. agree?). I think that once the low-order mechanical slack is removed..then (/simultaneously) remove slack in the suit; by inflating it with breath pressure (i.e. similar to intra-abdomal pressure of valsalva maneuver, but with epiglottis open).
A part of this is the hara/dantien region. Pumping the hara region. Actually; i think this should be on from before the beginning of the encounter. (agree?). I currently think of the hara as a trim-pot (/tuning mechanism) or bridge between strictly the alignment (/kokyu or groundpath) stuff and the bodysuit stuff. It allows these two systems to 'mix' and/or communicate and/or change incoming/outgoing forces. I called that the 'Intent System' previously. My model may be faulty; buyer beware.
re: Breath pressure: This pressure can be moved by will power (via dantien rotation.. when structure is established.. this I think is moving the "ki" to where it is needed). I think in tenchinage it needs to go both upward in the aiki-age arm and down in the aiki sage arm. This points to a splitting of your power upwards and downwards. I am not sure on that. Perhaps downward is more passive; just using body-weight and kokyu connection. I do not know.

in regards to the splitting your body into aiki-age and aiki-sage.
(again talking waaay over my pay grade but hoping for correction(s) and some interesting conversation)
-I think we should consider the model of the internal-flows (/fields of influence of the body); where Dan talks about dual-helixes in the body.
again; Here< ( http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=233467&postcount=92)

"that unarmed training mode l of cross-line work, turning and drawing through the waist to leave the weight centered and non dedicated"
..
"The same paths lead to the use of spiral energy in the body in paired and solo training. It is only a part of a more complicated training involving uses from even a simple self-rotation, to spiral energy from feet to groin to waist to spine to hand along two different lines that also converge differently front and back. It is important to know what is connected to what and what to move to draw-in on and push against and engage

okay; I'm going to totally butcher it; but I hope you know what I mean (at least; and please correct me!). So; each side of the body supports the other; and you are suspended in the middle on the spine, acting like a scale. part of the ground path strength comes thru each side of the hips/groin area as you rotate around the spine. one side goes up, the other down. (inside yourself)

I think the dual-helixes of internal flowing go in different directions, simultaneously; one resulting in rising aiki-age and one resulting in falling aiki-sage. This ultimately powered by the moving of 'ki' pressure where you need it, as well as the 'moving and drawing-in' that was defined above.
This results in loading uke in both directions simultaneously.

I do not understand the relation of these to the aiki technique itself.

re: open/close
just thoughts:
-I can see a close when on the entry you close and draw uke in front of yoursef.
-I can see the open, on the rising hand; when you turn your hips on the rising hand entry
-I can see another closing of the body on the lead into and follow through of the projection.
you?

..I'm done and more than a little embarrassed hoping something good can some of this

What do you think Ron?

p.s. i'm well f*n aware that yakking and doing it are 2 different things. but you gotta know what you're after. don't ya'?

Ron Tisdale
08-27-2009, 12:01 PM
Agreed, Josh, ya gotta start where you are.

I think I follow you on just about everything you posted...let me offer a clarification on the open/close.

I think of open coordinated with the in breath and seperating the hands, to split uke. This would fit with the back bow mentioned in the article you quoted and the other things that go along with that.

I think of the close on the actual throw, the hands coming together, front knee bent, zanshin posture, breathing out. I don't mean these to be set in stone, but in general, this is what seems to occur with this particular waza.

re: Breath pressure: This pressure can be moved by will power (via dantien rotation.. when structure is established.. this I think is moving the "ki" to where it is needed). I think in tenchinage it needs to go both upward in the aiki-age arm and down in the aiki sage arm. This points to a splitting of your power upwards and downwards. I am not sure on that. Perhaps downward is more passive; just using body-weight and kokyu connection. I do not know.

Well, in my limited experience, the down hand is less passive, the higher hand more passive. But I am completely willing to entertain other ways of doing it for the sake of discussion.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
08-27-2009, 12:11 PM
Hi Mike,

Well, the differences between say, Ueshiba, Tohei, and Shioda are of particular interest to me. And how NOT to limit myself too much by choosing development methods that will basically knock me out of the ball park of all 3. :D

Do I understand this correctly:

Ueshiba, very soft training methods, hara dominant, pretty circular

Tohei, still pretty soft, more linear

Shioda, seems to be much harder, much more explosive, and sometimes extremely linear.

It would seem to me stressing either Ueshiba's methods or Tohei's methods could still lend a great deal of progress in moving in Shioda's way...but perhaps not so much in the other direction?

Best,
Ron

MM
08-27-2009, 12:24 PM
One technique that seems (at least to me) to have a good oppotunity to test the product of this type of training is Tenchinage. Here we have the opportunity to use sinking (aiki sage) and rising (aiki-age) power, as well as winding, splitting uke's body and power along the central axis, using the power of the in breath while connecting that to outer movement, and other things as well, I'm sure.

I would greatly appreciate any relevent additions to this topic.

Best,
Ron

Hi Ron,

Here's my training thoughts. From a beginner, mind you.

1. I first started learning how to build a pathway inside my body. In other words, working with a push coming into my outstretched right hand and letting that energy go into the ground under my left foot.

That didn't help with any techniques, for example tenchi nage. I needed to move to do the technique. When I moved, I lost those pathways. Never mind the fact that I still had tons of slack in my body.

2. I was also working on contradictory forces. So when working on that same push to my right hand, not only was the force going into me, but I was using intent to send energy out my arms.

That didn't help with any techniques, for example tenchi nage. I needed to move to do the technique. When I moved, I lost those pathways and that intent on contradictory forces. Never mind the fact that I still had tons of slack in my body.

3. I was working on contradictory forces in the spine. And you get the point.

4. Now, add in the shiko exercise. I'm trying to do 1-3 throughout the exercise. It's helping me to get better and I'm using simple movements with no external pressure or energy.

5. Okay, so then I start trying to learn how to send intent outwards more. Simple paired exercises, connecting to a partner helped to work on this. Light pushes to start with and focusing intent or multiple intents.

6. Add #5 into shiko exercises.

7. Progressing to trying to learn spirals. Holding multiple intents in contradictory directions. Add to shiko.

8. Working on lower cross in hip area. Trying to learn open/close of hips. Add to shiko. Failing miserably trying to keep everything going in this simple exercise.

9. Add in the spine pull as the focus to raise legs. Add to shiko.

I'll stop there. My point is that in one exercise, shiko, I have found a vehicle for all internal exercises. Not only that, but there are other exercises that I do, like shiko, that also encapsulates internal training.

Focusing on shiko, though, what does it give me? Well, I don't have to worry about outside pressures interacting with me. I don't have to worry about outside energy overloading me. I am forced to focus on me and internal mechanics.

As I progressed through those solo exercises, I also worked on paired exercises to help identify, strengthen, and work those internal areas. And this gave me a way to get outside pressure and outside energy to load my system to the point of failure and work through that.

And now, I'm working on "technique", like tenchi nage. Only I really don't work it as a technique at all. I see aikido techniques as a vehicle for training aiki. What I mean by that is now that the solo and paired exercises are coming along, I have another step in my training. Simple dynamic movement under load and pressure. Not technique. I don't want to think that I'm trying to do something to someone because that kills everything I'm training in internal skills.

The short answer to your question is, yes. Tenchi nage can be a great vehicle to use to work aiki.

For me, though, I wasn't ready to do that until after I trained in solo and paired exercises. Even now, I don't view them as techniques, but simple dynamic exercises. Once I get better, I'll try better dynamic environments ... all the while still working all previous exercises.

Everyone works and trains differently. I had trouble trying to do Aikido techniques while working solo and paired exercises. I quit doing techniques and for me, it helped exponentially. Other people are doing other things.

Ron Tisdale
08-27-2009, 12:52 PM
Thanks Mark. I understand your point about needing to work the solo, and that's kind of a given in my opinion. But I think there are enough people out there now working on that given, and I'd like to try to see **how** others are applying that solo work **now** in their waza, whether or not they have progressed beyond "doing something" to uke. Of course, this does not make the sentiments you expressed any less valid.

I'll use your mention of shiko as a spring board. One of the things that I picked up online is why the bent arm on the leg that is lifting is turned palm down. I found that when my intent was to kind of use the palm to push down into the opposite weighted leg, at the same time that I pushed up from the ground into that palm, my whole sense of balance was radiacally (for me) changed. Then I realized that I could do that same thing mentally **wherever** my hands were, in **whatever** exercise I was doing. And then **whenever** moving. Carrying that sense of what I'll call "weighting accross the body" **whenever** is mentally fatiguing, but it does seem to improve my balance quite a bit, and to enhance the develpment of structure as well.

I'm going to stop here for now...but maybe in a later post I can tie that into the technique at hand.

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
08-27-2009, 01:11 PM
Do I understand this correctly:

Ueshiba, very soft training methods, hara dominant, pretty circular

Tohei, still pretty soft, more linear

Shioda, seems to be much harder, much more explosive, and sometimes extremely linear. With a couple of minor caveats, I'd say yes, there are differences along those lines, Ron. But someone who has only learned one approach is not going to fully understand all the ramifications... and worst of all, it can lead to someone teaching/leading people down a hard-to-change path (the why is pretty easy to show).

Just to complicate matters, though, divergences can and do start anywhere. Generally, though, you can see that different approaches by Ueshiba, by Tohei, and by Shioda led to (some of the better) students of each having a noticeably different flavor to their Aikido. It's a good topic and will merit more discussion in the future times.


It would seem to me stressing either Ueshiba's methods or Tohei's methods could still lend a great deal of progress in moving in Shioda's way...but perhaps not so much in the other direction?
Oh, I agree. Everyone needs a foot-in-the-door to the basic skills, but the divergences will start at that time of foot-in-the-door, too. So it's worth thinking about. I realize that not everyone will see the problem, but it's just one more of the many "I.Q. tests" that are part of learning these skills. ;)

Best.

Mike

Jeff Scheurer
08-27-2009, 02:02 PM
Hey Ron! Here's my overly simplistic, probably erroneous take on Tenchi Nage. As far as removing slack from uke, I think If you source the two forces correctly (Aiki-sage and Aiki-age) it makes your partner unconciously "want" to hold on to your wrists. In the Aiki-sage hand you're basically leading their center into a hole behind them, which makes your wrist their main source of earth reference. Similarly, in the Aiki-age hand your center is basically driving up underneath them causing them to float which has the same basic effect of them relying on you for balance. As your arms spread out, uke's arms naturally have to spread out also, creating a connection across hos upper body?
For the breathing, as you take the first step you inhale to increase the pressure in the back bow for more power, and the pressure/connection in the arms and the upper cross. As you throw, exhaling adds more power by dropping the hara suddenly.
I think you're dead on about the open/close aspect. That's exactly how I see it, which could be bad news for you!:o
Again, just my two cents, and it may not even be that much!
Jeff

Ron Tisdale
08-27-2009, 02:10 PM
I think If you source the two forces correctly (Aiki-sage and Aiki-age) it makes your partner unconciously "want" to hold on to your wrists.

Hi Jeff! I think this making your partner *want* to maintain their grip is important. I think what Mike calls the "suit" comes into play here as well, but I'm not far enough along to describe it well. Things that can play into uke keeping the connection:

The correct amount of startle affect (this can weaken the training of the other aspects though...when training slowly to work on other aspects, you don't really have the benefit of this)

A kind of magnetic or sticky feeling for uke when they grab you...any further suggestions for how to develop that feel outside of the technique??

A feeling of where you are grasped kind of "expanding" or pressurizing to fit uke's grip.

Any others?

Best,
Ron

Jeff Scheurer
08-27-2009, 02:28 PM
Ron,
My understanding of the "suit" aspect is pretty elementary but I think it would have to do with keeping the pressure/connection in your own arms, rather than uke''s. If you're developed enough I think this pressure is what keeps your arms stable, rather than muscle.
I'm personally, not a big fan of the startle effect. It depends too much on individual response to stimuli. Some people could hold on for dear life, but others' instinct could be to retract and let go.
One thing that I was working on before my hiatus was using my intent to affect my partner. There is a tangible feeling in both parties when it's done correctly. If I could effectively direct my intent into uke through arms and touch their center with mine, I found I could make them do some interesting things. I couldn't always pull it off but when I did i definitely saw the potential for such training.

Ron Tisdale
08-27-2009, 02:36 PM
We are on the same page with the startle affect.

Yeah, I'm pretty weak in my understanding of suit still...well, weaker than all the other stuff I weakly understand... :D

One of the last things someone said to me while training was that they felt a spiraling of energy when I focused on the xbody weighting intention while doing a step in throw / kokyunage. I need to see how that can apply when working with a partner on tenchinage now...

B,
R

Keith Larman
08-27-2009, 04:37 PM
Well, one of my sensei often says that the one-point is where the power is generated - the arms, hands, etc. just direct it. Usually the point being that the controlled relaxation along with the feeling of letting the ki flow from the one-point allows the technique to happen. My experience with tenchinage is that at first students tend to focus on upsetting the balance with the high hand then dropping them with either the low or going over the top and powering them down. Eventually they start to clue in that both hands are working together but they still tend to emphasize something "out there" at the connection in the hands. But the ideal for me speaking personally is to get the connection to their center, enter by moving the center then drop both of our centers. Tenchinage just "happens" when I can get that level of "connectedness". So soft, controlled arms, enter maintaining that structure -- one goes up, the other stays low. Drop center. Person goes plop. Or kaboom if you give it a bit extra "umpphhh" along the way.

Keith Larman
08-27-2009, 04:39 PM
Oh, and fwiw after Mike's seminar I went back to my dojo and taught a class that included tenchinage because I wanted to work on that store/release feeling myself and work out how it might fit into what I do. I find it helpful for starting and finishing -- puts a new "spark" into things and I find it helps me have a better form on the initial movement.

Keith Larman
08-27-2009, 04:41 PM
And on startle and tenchinage -- I find it counterproductive. Done "softly" with a good solid structure it can be done relatively slowly with the recipient feeling like they have you right up until that moment when the bottom drops out...

Jeff Scheurer
08-27-2009, 05:47 PM
Personally, I think Tenchi Nage is one of the best traditional techniques for exploring ki and kokyu. We worked on it at my first Mike Sigman seminar and I found it to be a very useful tool for working on what was supposed to be happening internally. If it's done slowly and in a very relaxed manner that is.;)

eyrie
08-27-2009, 06:56 PM
One technique that seems (at least to me) to have a good oppotunity to test the product of this type of training is Tenchinage. Here we have the opportunity to use sinking (aiki sage) and rising (aiki-age) power, as well as winding, splitting uke's body and power along the central axis, using the power of the in breath while connecting that to outer movement, and other things as well, I'm sure.
Why tenchinage? If you can start to understand that much... why not *any* technique?

Fred Little
08-27-2009, 08:33 PM
Why tenchinage? If you can start to understand that much... why not *any* technique?

Why tenchinage? Because it's a robust catalog of multiple factors.

Why not "any" technique? Give it time and it will get there.

Best,

FL

Mike Sigman
08-27-2009, 08:40 PM
Why tenchinage? Because it's a robust catalog of multiple factors.Frankly, Fredly, I think that the multiple factors are exactly why I wouldn't recommend Tenchinage as a very beginning case study. But since you bought the last beer and may inadvertantly buy the next one, I'll let it pass. ;)

Best.

Mike

eyrie
08-27-2009, 10:35 PM
...the multiple factors are exactly why I wouldn't recommend Tenchinage as a very beginning case study... My sentiments exactly... there is already so much going on in "simple" bi-directional training exercises that you don't need the added complexities, certainly not in an initial case study, and especially not as a training product test in the early stages. Any such testing would be pointless and pretty much inconclusive, other than to confirm what you and probably everyone else already knows.... that you s... er... still have a lot of work to do. :)

And since the topic title is about kokyu development for aiki in Aikido, why not stick to the really basic stuff, like... er... kokyu-ho instead? I mean, isn't that the entire point of kokyu-ho; for kokyu development? Or am I missing the context because I wasn't at the seminar?

Mike Sigman
08-27-2009, 10:49 PM
And since the topic title is about kokyu development for aiki in Aikido, why not stick to the really basic stuff, like... er... kokyu-ho instead? I mean, isn't that the entire point of kokyu-ho; for kokyu development? Or am I missing the context because I wasn't at the seminar?

I agree. Tenchinage involves both "heaven" and "earth" at the same time. Why not just do "earth" (the groundpath, jin, Yang Qi, etc.) instead of trying to do both at once as a first start?

This is why I so often simply ask people to just "push me" as a first evaluation of what they can do. It's easy to feel the development that they have for just the one skill. If they have very good development, it's easiest to *then* jump to something else in terms of evaluation.

Speaking of development, that reminds me of one of my old favorite anecdotes (I'm sure that I've told it before, but just roll with me). One of my teachers was very well known in mainland China in martial-arts circles. When he first came to the U.S., a Chinese man from Taiwan issued a challenge to him to push-hands. My teacher was a little discomfitted because while he did push-hands OK, he admitted that it was not his specialty and that he only did it "so-so". We were all at a friend's house when the doorbell rang and my teacher was introduced to the challenger and they shook hands. After the handshake, my teacher passed by me on the way to the push-hands room and whispered to me sotto voce, "no problem". He easily and diplomatically handled his challenger.

My point is that the initial probe is always for basic skills and then work upward. If someone doesn't have the basic skills, by inference their upper-level skills are going to be lacking, no matter how "powerful" they are, how much of a push they can take, and so on. It's the purity of the skills that determines the ultimate higher levels. ;)

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Keith Larman
08-27-2009, 11:25 PM
Frankly, Fredly, I think that the multiple factors are exactly why I wouldn't recommend Tenchinage as a very beginning case study. But since you bought the last beer and may inadvertantly buy the next one, I'll let it pass. ;)

Best.

Mike

I'm not Mr. Little by any stretch of the imagination, but it happened to be a technique I was taught years ago as a case study in learning to do as little as possible with the hands and simply moving the entire body in a unified fashion -- a ki test of sorts. I remember the light bulb going on years ago on that technique on how powerful it could be while being done very, very softly. So it was a natural thing for me to explore a bit by reconfiguring some of my ways of doing it.

Teaching it (like I always teach it) was just my way of making sure I got a chance to practice so I could fiddle around a bit more in class especially with students who didn't know I was fiddling around. So it was one of those classes you teach to allow yourself room to explore and play. I had a few experienced people in the class and one of them asked me "what was that -- it felt different". I just smiled and went on with the lesson...

Exploration... I also started the class with lots of one-point testing from all sorts of angles. Including pushing on an outstretched arm bent at the elbow 90 degrees parallel to the ground... ;)

Practice, practice, practice...

eyrie
08-27-2009, 11:29 PM
Nice story! Haven't heard that one before... (not really) :p

Moral: If you can't pass the handshake test, don't bother testing your techniques... ? ;)

But we digress... what I meant to say (and I left it out before about uni-directional training) - and as you have said so yourself many times before, is that there's a logical progression to the skills development. So, maybe sticking to simple single directional exerises or "sections" of techniques in which power is expressed in one direction only, as a first start, may be better than something a little more complex as tenchinage.

Coz I think "techniques" are as far away as you can get from truly developing kokyu than other more direct methods. Sure, you might develop *some* kokyu as a result, but I feel that the focus on technique obscures that particular aspect of training and development.

Mike Sigman
08-27-2009, 11:33 PM
it happened to be a technique I was taught years ago as a case study in learning to do as little as possible with the hands and simply moving the entire body in a unified fashion -- a ki test of sorts. Hi Keith:

Well, it could be a ki-test of sorts, I guess, but the ground goes up to the upper hand in such a way that a "ki-test" by a partner would find it rock solid and a separate "ki-test" would find the lower hand impossible to lift. So the full test would be to have both of these things present at once. All I was saying was that for starters, in line with what Ron was asking, I would simply suggest a test of one of the elements rather than both at the same time. ;)

Best.

Mike

Keith Larman
08-27-2009, 11:41 PM
Hi Keith:

Well, it could be a ki-test of sorts, I guess, but the ground goes up to the upper hand in such a way that a "ki-test" by a partner would find it rock solid and a separate "ki-test" would find the lower hand impossible to lift. So the full test would be to have both of these things present at once. All I was saying was that for starters, in line with what Ron was asking, I would simply suggest a test of one of the elements rather than both at the same time. ;)

Best.

Mike

Yeah, true enough. I just got on a riff when they started talking about tenchinage as it is a favorite of mine. No, not a good starting point for something like this -- but great as an advanced application with lots to think about and resolve.

By the way, I had a kid's class working on testing one-point at the shoulder (one spot we normally do it), then moved out to the bent arm and did it again. Then added the light pull and had them focus on what was happening in their bodies and how they could ground both. Some of the the kids pick it up a faster than us old farts... ;)

Mike Sigman
08-27-2009, 11:43 PM
Moral: If you can't pass the handshake test, don't bother testing your techniques... ? ;)
Exactly. If you don't pass the simple handshake test (or the simple "push" test that I use because it's a tad more comprehensive) you can't do the higher-level stuff no matter how strong you are personally. Normal strength fades with age; this type of strength is considered an "investment for old age" as both Shioda and Ueshiba noted (actually, it's a famous statement).

Can I use just this type of strength singularly to win the Olympics power-lifting championship? No. If I did use this strength though, it would boost my ability overall, no doubt, but that's not the main point. And Aikido isn't built on just strength and power alone, anyway.

But anyway... now the reason for the famous Asian "dead-fish handshake" should be apparent. ;)

Best.

Mike

Mike Sigman
08-27-2009, 11:46 PM
By the way, I had a kid's class working on testing one-point at the shoulder (one spot we normally do it), then moved out to the bent arm and did it again. Then added the light pull and had them focus on what was happening in their bodies and how they could ground both. Some of the the kids pick it up a faster than us old farts... ;)But the kids are "tighter" and more pliable than the old guys. As a person gets older his "suit" degrades and gets leaky (and other things, but enough), etc. Hence the idea generally that we lose our qi as we get older. So a kid being naturally "tighter" than an older person... that's to be expected.

Best.

Mike

eyrie
08-27-2009, 11:49 PM
But anyway... now the reason for the famous Asian "dead-fish handshake" should be apparent. Unfortunately, that wouldn't work at a job interview... :(

Fred Little
08-27-2009, 11:55 PM
Frankly, Fredly, I think that the multiple factors are exactly why I wouldn't recommend Tenchinage as a very beginning case study. But since you bought the last beer and may inadvertantly buy the next one, I'll let it pass. ;)

Best.

Mike

Hey Mike. Whatever you do, please don't treat a mere descriptive rationale for a phenomenon as if it were a wholesale endorsement of a pedagogical method! :D

Regards,

Fred

Keith Larman
08-27-2009, 11:57 PM
Hey Mike. Whatever you do, please don't treat a mere descriptive rationale for a phenomenon as if it were a wholesale endorsement of a pedagogical method! :D

Regards,

Fred

Oh, no one on this forum would *ever* do that, right? ;)

Ron Tisdale
08-28-2009, 07:56 AM
Hey, thanks guys...we've got a good set of folks here to discuss this.

why not stick to the really basic stuff, like... er... kokyu-ho instead? I mean, isn't that the entire point of kokyu-ho; for kokyu development? Or am I missing the context because I wasn't at the seminar?

Well, the reasons I didn't pick kokyu nage are:

Too many damn versions of things called kokyu nage...especially the one where you just muscle the guy to the floor! :D

It was used in one of Mike's seminars.

I am perfectly fine with what ever waza y'all want to pick. Let's try the one handed kokyu nage form that is just the bottom hand from tenchi nage if you like. What I do want is for us to start discussing the transition from the development exercises to either a section of or a whole actual aikido waza. Waza is (in my opinion) the single worst way to **develop** these skills...but in the end, that is the finished product (in a sense) that most of us are aiming for. I don't think it hurts to start to talk about how the different exercises develop a skill, and how that skill is used in practice.

I'm totaly open to what ever direction we take as long as we discuss some frakin details... ;)

Best,
Ron

C. David Henderson
08-28-2009, 08:20 AM
If someone doesn't have the basic skills, by inference their upper-level skills are going to be lacking, no matter how "powerful" they are, how much of a push they can take, and so on. It's the purity of the skills that determines the ultimate higher levels. ;)

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Hi Mike,

In this context, when you talk about power, is it in the sense that includes "external" strength -- driven by engaging extrinsic muscle groups?

Or, going back to the quote in the OP, is it murkier than that?

Regards,

David

Mike Sigman
08-28-2009, 08:50 AM
Hi Mike,

In this context, when you talk about power, is it in the sense that includes "external" strength -- driven by engaging extrinsic muscle groups?

Or, going back to the quote in the OP, is it murkier than that?
Hi David:

Well, using a simple two-handed push as an example (probably the easiest example to use): Ideally, in terms of the Yin-Yang cosmology you'd like to utilize the power from the solidity of the ground and the power from the weight of the body to do most of the work. The contributions of the "intrinsic strengths" of body (not counting much on the normal use of muscle) would then be brought into play using the "intent" to direct the body, the support from the ground and the power of the weight, as need be and in the direction(s) that you want. Those are the ideal powers; the use of muscle is secondary and considered the 'coarser' way to go. ;) That description would be Earth, Heaven, Man, respectively.

Best.

Mike

Ron Tisdale
08-28-2009, 08:55 AM
Hi Ignatius, I just realized that you wrote kokyu ho not kokyu nage...

Kokyu ho dosa in Doshinkan has 10 different very specific variations, with very specific outer physical details. Same issue as kokyu nage really...if you'd like, pick a basic kokyu ho (say, from a static grasp and hold) and describe the basic physical parameters you'd like to limit the discusion to, and then we can get into the "inner workings" so to speak. ;)

Best,
Ron

C. David Henderson
08-28-2009, 10:11 AM
Thank you.

MM
08-28-2009, 10:31 AM
Well, let me redefine my post. :)

Instead of using shiko as an example, let me insert a technique.

So, we start working, say, cross-hand wrist grab kotegaeshi.

1. In the beginning, you're trying to just get the upper cross contradictory intent going out/in the arms. In this version of the technique, you have right hand, right foot forward. As the grab comes in, you step back with your right foot, turning. Your left hand comes across to create the kote gaeshi fit. You turn back towards uke and apply the technique. As you move, you try to keep that upper cross contradictory intent.

As a note, what I found, personally, was that I was using habits that were in direct opposition to training internals. For example, on the step back, I turned with shoulders and hips aligned. So, for me, to do that while trying to focus on cross body work was, well, not helping me at all in getting better at internals. Other people's experiences vary.

Okay, back to the technique. So, you've worked part 1. On to the next.

2. Now you focus on adding the spine up/down/together contradictory force. As uke grabs your wrist, you hold both sets of intents (upper cross and spine) and work through the technique.

As a note, I found that keeping internals going while moving was very hard in the beginning. As in near impossible hard. So, again, it wasn't helping me get better at internals.

3. Add in cross body work. Add in turning from the waist (very defined and doesn't mean just turning your upper body). So, now, uke should feel a very pronounced difference in your movements. You should be starting to keep your upper body centralized and force should be going from right hand to left foot.

As a note, I found that keeping all this going while also working on timing and exact body placement was very hard. Trying to work on the timing of moving just as uke grabbed so that I could "lead" uke was interfering with working on all those internals mentioned above. Mental intent and focus is critical and when you shift focus towards *when* you need to start your physical movement, well, it takes away from internal training. Add in that when you physically want to lead someone, you have to work not only on that timing, but also on some fairly specific body placements. Step too far and uke detaches. Don't step far enough and uke overwhelms you. Etc. So, I found that working both at this point was at odds with each other. Not to mention that when working internals, I was finding that timing didn't matter as much, nor where you stepped. :)

4. Let me shift focus here. Go back to shiko and paired exercises. Both are actually geared towards the whole range of internal exercises. They are built to house the internals. Techniques as I've seen/done them are not. There is more of an emphasis on timing, body placement, hip-driven movement, shoulder-hip being inline and together, etc. You get an idea, I hope, of what I came against trying to do both.

I found that once you have a beginning in the internal training, you don't move the same or do the techniques as you did them before. Which brings us to your question/thread. Just how do you apply that to techniques?

So, I go back to the technique above. Please note, that I am *not* doing techniques here. I am merely working internal stuff in various ways in an environment where I have energy, a load from uke, and movement.

Here are some examples of how I'm training.

Throughout everything, there are certain things that I won't add in, but I make an assumption that I'm keeping them going. Those things that I keep going are: contradictory forces in upper cross and spine, and cross line body pathways.

1. As uke grabs, my intent goes down into the ground, out under uke, and then up into uke. Sometimes I add more of this kind of intent. The effect is to "float" uke, so that when I move, uke's power base is gone and uke moves with me.

2. As uke grabs, I turn my spine to the right while sending intent out and around to the right. This, hopefully, gets uke to start moving to my right which is where the technique is going. As I fit my left hand for kote gaeshi, I switch and turn my spine to the left and send intent out and around to the left to turn uke back the other way.

3. Either of the above as a start. Then as I start to complete kote gaeshi, I send intent up, out over uke, and down into uke. This hopefully will "crush" uke downwards.

4. As uke grabs, I open my right hip and close my left hip. After I step, I switch and open my left hip and close my right.

5. As uke grabs, I use downward spirals in my right hand. After I step, I switch and use downward spirals in my left hand. Or vice versa.

6. Combine 4 and 5.

7. Combine 1-5.

8. Add in other various internal stuff... mix and match as wanted.

phitruong
08-28-2009, 10:34 AM
how about start with this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1DeDi9EU4s#t=4m26s

should be simple, no?

phitruong
08-28-2009, 11:09 AM
So, we start working, say, cross-hand wrist grab kotegaeshi.

1. In the beginning, you're trying to just get the upper cross contradictory intent going out/in the arms. In this version of the technique, you have right hand, right foot forward. As the grab comes in, you step back with your right foot, turning. Your left hand comes across to create the kote gaeshi fit. You turn back towards uke and apply the technique. As you move, you try to keep that upper cross contradictory intent.

.

how's about do that without moving your feet, yet creating the same affect as moving your feet? use uke's arm as your arm, i.e. uke's shoulder is your hand, the place where you both connect is the elbow. and in order to accomplish that you have to do what?

MM
08-28-2009, 12:03 PM
A clarification for my last post. I'm not saying that timing and body movement,etc aren't important. I only make the distinction that when I was working on internal stuff, the other parts were interfering with that kind of training - for me. I still view timing, body movement, flow, etc as important.

MM
08-28-2009, 12:06 PM
how's about do that without moving your feet, yet creating the same affect as moving your feet? use uke's arm as your arm, i.e. uke's shoulder is your hand, the place where you both connect is the elbow. and in order to accomplish that you have to do what?

If I didn't move my feet, then it wouldn't be looked at as a "normal" aikido technique for *training*. I'm sure quite a few Aikido people out there can do that technique without moving. :) I'm just viewing this as training.

But, if I did want to do that without moving, I'd still do the same things I'm doing while moving: contradictory forces, cross line body pathways, turn at waist, spirals, intent, spine turning, breath, hara, open/close, etc. All within me.

Keith Larman
08-28-2009, 01:30 PM
Well, for myself, I have notes about doing some rather simple things sometime in the future after I have a little more time to feel more comfortable with the new feelings. One would be a very simple ikkyo from kosadori -- Some of those "reeling" exercises (I think they were called) remind me very much of really basic movements to doing ikkyo in that case. On the very advanced side one for one heck of a test one could extend that into futari ikkyo.

Other things include simple hijiotoshi type techniques. Rooting into the ground then dropping everything as one integral piece.

More tools in the toolbox...

But I always harp on our aikitaiso and test them rather extensively (to the dismay of some students). I've increased my testing a bit and added a few things lately due to experiences. New ways of explaining helping the students understand what's going on.

Erick Mead
08-28-2009, 02:51 PM
how about start with this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1DeDi9EU4s#t=4m26s

should be simple, no?Yeah. So ...

C. David Henderson
08-28-2009, 03:11 PM
Mark,

Thanks for taking the time for your posts. Very detailed, specific, and informative.

thisisnotreal
08-28-2009, 03:21 PM
Mark,

Thanks for taking the time for your posts. Very detailed, specific, and informative.

Yes. Thank you!

Ron Tisdale
08-28-2009, 03:34 PM
I'm sorry I haven't been able to contribute much today...work got in the way! :(

More this weekend or Monday... :D

Best,
Ron (TGIF)

eyrie
08-28-2009, 07:08 PM
I just realized that you wrote kokyu ho not kokyu nage... Kokyu ho dosa in Doshinkan has 10 different very specific variations, with very specific outer physical details. NP Ron... I'm not familiar with how the Doshinkan does it 10 different ways, but I would suspect it comes from DR (maybe?), and it'd be in the 10 basic directions? I assume that's done in seiza? In any case, wouldn't it be variations on the same thing? I.E. at a fundamental level, expanding the groundpath in *any* direction, and using the breath to hook up the "suit"?

So, technically speaking, all those variations of kokyu-nage would essentially be variations of the same thing, would it not?

OK, maybe make it a little simpler... let's take a really basic exercise like funekogi undo where you're expanding/contracting in one plane only... same idea? How about doing funekogi without moving at all? I.E. simply stand as you would as if in preparation to do funekogi, BUT without the forward/backward rowing motion? What would you be training then? How would you be training? What is it you're working on?

Then, if you want to talk about "testing", have someone hold your wrists and push gently, straight in with a constant force, whilst in that position. Can you bounce/push/throw them off - without moving? How much arm/shoulder are you engaging? Where is your power coming from? And how is that the same/different to basic kokyu-ho where you simply throw the uke up and back, or to the side?

eyrie
08-28-2009, 07:21 PM
So, we start working, say, cross-hand wrist grab kotegaeshi... Wow... what a long post... :) See, the problem with describing the "internals" of doing a technique (whether you're training the "internals" or just "technique") is just that... it's too complicated. You kinda lost my already short attention span at the first paragraph... Imagine having to describe this to a class, much less on a forum. It simply won't work. ;)

Maybe take a very small section of the technique and try to describe what's going on. Using the example of kotegaeshi (not a good example IMHO, but worth trying as a thought experiment), perhaps just limit it to a singular aspect - either the entry, the middle, or the exit?

IOW, treat it like a problem solving exercise - break it up into smaller, more manageable chunks.

Abasan
08-28-2009, 09:40 PM
OK, maybe make it a little simpler... let's take a really basic exercise like funekogi undo where you're expanding/contracting in one plane only... same idea? How about doing funekogi without moving at all? I.E. simply stand as you would as if in preparation to do funekogi, BUT without the forward/backward rowing motion? What would you be training then? How would you be training? What is it you're working on?

Then, if you want to talk about "testing", have someone hold your wrists and push gently, straight in with a constant force, whilst in that position. Can you bounce/push/throw them off - without moving? How much arm/shoulder are you engaging? Where is your power coming from? And how is that the same/different to basic kokyu-ho where you simply throw the uke up and back, or to the side?

Interesting. I've bounced ppl off if they come to grab me in that position using intent. But I can't do it if we start from static. In the first scenario, I 'intent' an atemi into his center. It is possible that attached to this intent I do move maybe 2-3mm to the front. Perhaps that is why I find it impossible to this from static without moving at all.

Can you tell me how you do this from static?
Also can you tell me if you can draw uke in without moving your hands inwards? I've been trying to achieve this too.

Both instances happen to be 2 of the 7 characters of aiki i'm trying to train. But its pretty hard with my teacher living in another country.

eyrie
08-28-2009, 10:43 PM
Interesting. I've bounced ppl off if they come to grab me in that position using intent. But I can't do it if we start from static. In the first scenario, I 'intent' an atemi into his center. It is possible that attached to this intent I do move maybe 2-3mm to the front. Perhaps that is why I find it impossible to this from static without moving at all.

Can you tell me how you do this from static?
Also can you tell me if you can draw uke in without moving your hands inwards? I've been trying to achieve this too. It's easy to cover up any inadequacies by moving, not so easy to do so from static.... so be prepared to not be able to do this, and not for a very long time, until you gain some conditioning. Having a good uke who understands what they are meant to do, and knowing how they can help you find it is a big plus.

If you look at it the other way, from big movement to small, a static position is simply the opposite of small to big. Does that help?

Intent is obviously involved, but it's not really the intent to atemi. It's more or less about using uke's own force against himself + a little of your own. After all, it IS a purely defensive martial art isn't it??? Newton's 1st, 2nd and 3rd laws ring any bells?

A pull is a push in the opposite direction. Where are the vector forces going in a "pull", in which you're not moving your hands? Where does the power come if you don't actually move your hands inwards?

Abasan
08-29-2009, 01:24 PM
Well that's that. So the objective here is to start from static. Ok we can do that.

Now, atemi here is not what you would call a physical strike. What I mean by atemi here is that before contact, I intent to touch/take uke's center. Atemi of the mind if you will.

I don't see how I can do the bounce from funakogi undo without moving at all. Not unless I can generate energy from the mind alone to move uke back physically. The closest is ateru but even that requires movement on my part to begin with. The only difference is, it does not use physical strength really to move uke.

As for the pull, I think it would work out easier since uke is pushing in. The idea i'm trying to get here is to collapse/dissipate the energy thus uke's ki comes into that vacuum and results in him coming to you naturally without force.

Ron Tisdale
08-31-2009, 07:24 AM
Hi Ahmad,

Also can you tell me if you can draw uke in without moving your hands inwards? I've been trying to achieve this too.

If uke is pushing and you want to break their power and draw them in, don't move the hands back. Move them up and to the side a bit, kind of like tracing an omega sign in the air with your hands. Breathing in sharply from the diapram can help as well. Do not pull your hands back. That only works for me if I am stronger than the other person.
Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
08-31-2009, 07:58 AM
NP Ron... I'm not familiar with how the Doshinkan does it 10 different ways, but I would suspect it comes from DR (maybe?), and it'd be in the 10 basic directions? I assume that's done in seiza? In any case, wouldn't it be variations on the same thing? I.E. at a fundamental level, expanding the groundpath in *any* direction, and using the breath to hook up the "suit"?

Well, internally speaking (???) at least some of the same things should be happening. The first 3 are seated, from a push, a pull and a hold. I think for our purposes and simplicities sake, number 3 from a hold is the best.

So, technically speaking, all those variations of kokyu-nage would essentially be variations of the same thing, would it not?

All of them have interesting things to do...both externally and internally...but the simplest is the best for our purposes I think. One of them is tenchinanage (6 or 7 I think)...so we're back to the beginning if we chose that one! ;)

OK, maybe make it a little simpler... let's take a really basic exercise like funekogi undo where you're expanding/contracting in one plane only... same idea? How about doing funekogi without moving at all? I.E. simply stand as you would as if in preparation to do funekogi, BUT without the forward/backward rowing motion? What would you be training then? How would you be training? What is it you're working on?

This is an excellent question, something I was working on just recently. Basically I was shifting the weight in coordination with bring power up from the ground and storing when the weight was on the back leg, and sending power out when the weight went to the front leg, coordinated with breath in on back leg, breath out on front leg. I shortened the hand movements to more or less match the smaller movement from back to front.

A LOT of power...too much in fact, I pull my psoas muscle where it connects in the hip area! :grr: That hurt...couldn't walk right for 3 or four days after ward. Too much power too soon...should be doing more conditioning work.

Then, if you want to talk about "testing", have someone hold your wrists and push gently, straight in with a constant force, whilst in that position. Can you bounce/push/throw them off - without moving? How much arm/shoulder are you engaging? Where is your power coming from?

This time I spoke of was sans partner, and I was trying as best I could to source the power from the ground. I felt like the shoulder power was minimal, but I used way too much general tension (arms, too much tension in the legs). But the main power, though still "dirty" was from the ground.

And how is that the same/different to basic kokyu-ho where you simply throw the uke up and back, or to the side?

I have bounced uke in the past using this, but I need to do more conditioning so I don't hurt myself... :hypno:

Best,
Ron

Erick Mead
08-31-2009, 03:05 PM
Well that's that. So the objective here is to start from static. Ok we can do that.

Now, atemi here is not what you would call a physical strike. What I mean by atemi here is that before contact, I intent to touch/take uke's center. Atemi of the mind if you will.

I don't see how I can do the bounce from funakogi undo without moving at all. Not unless I can generate energy from the mind alone to move uke back physically. The closest is ateru but even that requires movement on my part to begin with. The only difference is, it does not use physical strength really to move uke.

As for the pull, I think it would work out easier since uke is pushing in. The idea i'm trying to get here is to collapse/dissipate the energy thus uke's ki comes into that vacuum and results in him coming to you naturally without force.Stand facing a wall. Reach out with both hands, palm outboard, thumb down, find the place to stand where you can touch the fingertips to the wall at the limit of extension. Stand up straight at maximum reach. Now just turn your hands palm up. Your fingertips are now 3-4 inches from the wall still fully extended -- but shorter. :hypno:

If you reverse this, while uke is holding your wrists, his arms do a similar torque conversion extension -- creating about 6-8 inches of cumulative displacement or -- as we like to call it-- kuzushi. My arm just rotated around its own longitudinal axis -- reversing its torsional shear stress. It is the same torque conversion in a punch -- atemi is the right mode of thinking. Also called asagao (in both extension and retraction). Variations and alternations abound but thems the basic mechanics of the upper body in aiki.

Now as with all things that involve mass and motion, if I have greater relative velocity in the motion I require less total movement of the mass for the same effect, and if I catch him zigging when I am zagging -- for a very small instant I am going many times faster relative to him (like two cars passing on the road head-on) than the fairly slow absolute rotation rate of my hand. If I do that on a right-angle plane to his action I have zero relative motion in his plane of reference but an arbitrarily large and uncompensated change in his plane of action. Juuji.

As with head-on cars, the maximum relative velocity is reached when we are located 90 degrees from one another relative to our common line of travel. When speaking of converting torque, however, cyclic rotation in timing (cyclic motion -- like funetori, or tekubi furi or furitama) is equivalent to linear or rotational movement in space. That maximum is when our two opposed rotations are 90 degrees relative to one another -- in space or in rhythm .

Additionally, it so happens that furitama is at the resonance frequency of the human body. Resonance causes sympathetic undamped vibrations throughout the body at the same amplitude of the input. This maximally uncompensated offset pulse at resonance finds ANY structurally vulnerable joint and induces a compensating rotation, creating a progressive buckle, and a collapse of the structure.

This interaction precisely done even at small amplitude results in very sharp torque reversal in him (even if very small in amplitude), and happens to trigger some nifty spinal reflex arcs in the limbs designed to protect the body from sudden uncontrolled torques that can cause such collapses. The action over-compensates the body's own recovery mechanism.

Rhythm is the lock to the body, and furitama is the key. The movements of cyclic shearing mechanisms like this-- if sharp and precise are exceedingly small -- kind of like the edge of the sword -- but the large and miniscule movements are the same though different in appearance.

Ron Tisdale
08-31-2009, 03:37 PM
Hi Erik, I ***think*** I understand what you just said. The problem with both your answer and **mine** is that it depends on hand shapes / arm movement etc. and doesn't address the real core of bringing power up from the ground. I'm thinking about how to address that portion of the question, simply because I really want to try to understand some of the things I'm feeling when I do this.

It's not that our initial answers don't address the question. It's more that I want to go a layer deeper in the answer. Don't know that I will succeed though...

Best,
Ron

phitruong
08-31-2009, 04:18 PM
All of them have interesting things to do...both externally and internally...but the simplest is the best for our purposes I think. One of them is tenchinanage (6 or 7 I think)...so we're back to the beginning if we chose that one! ;)

Ron

with tenchinage, you have to deal with both up and down at the same time, which is kinda hard for starting out. for starting out, either up or down would be ideal. easier with up than down. you can line up your body for dealing with the up better. with down, you need a decent "suit".

for the up part, start in hamni, right leg forward, not too deep. have someone push lightly to your right hip. open a path to the ground to from your right hip to your left foot with your mind. then have uke push your right shoulder and do the same thing. then push your right elbow. then right palm. you should not be moving, i.e. everything done "internally". so when uke grabs your right wrist, that same path should be there before the contact made. breath in and contract your stomach lightly so that a small tension built around your solar plexus and imagine your left hip joint and your right shoulder joints expand laterally and all your muscles expand longitudinally. the main point is to relax your body enough so that it can realign all the muscle and fascia tissues to do what need to be done. I'd say that's the starting point. at least, it's mine starting point. the first part is to absorb the "ki", then send it back; thus aiki. have not train my body for the send back yet; thus no aiki so far, only ai-arrrrggghhhh..... :)

Erick Mead
08-31-2009, 05:50 PM
Hi Erik, I ***think*** I understand what you just said. The problem with both your answer and **mine** is that it depends on hand shapes / arm movement etc. and doesn't address the real core of bringing power up from the ground. I'm thinking about how to address that portion of the question, simply because I really want to try to understand some of the things I'm feeling when I do this. No, it doesn't actually, it can be done with a merest twitch oriented properly -- as Ikeda does it -- it is just that the twitch and the grosser motions are not different, they are mechanically the same -- using the same principles. The tendency to stick with "big" action is just a partial solution to the problem, but not inherently wrong. The rest is sensitivity, shape, coordination, increasing sharpness, diminished amplitude. Mine is much grosser than Ikeda, but not bad : "Every day, in every way, I am getting better and ..... " :D

The same thing applies -- the "windings" (I believe is the term some prefer -- I would say torsional moments or shear) -- and is equally present in the lower limbs and using the same essential mechanisms. Whereas the "upper cross" brings the scapulae together in opening asagao (or retraction that opens the hands out, turned up and wider, the closing asagao "dumps the cup" and extends the hands forward and turning over downward. Two other slightly varied limb actions -- "cutting" outward and "gathering" inward complete the foursome of fundamental core driven shear actions of the limbs. but in reality they are just more planar versions of asagao, cutting being opening and gathering being closing. Complementary actions of the lower limbs also exist and may be displayed in gross action by a reaping foot sweep (gathering) and a slashing yokogeri (cutting).

The key is understanding how the orientation of the wave of planar and spiral shears occurs (if you let it) and is what matters -- without regard to the gross motion of turning the arms over. So I could equally generate opening or closing asagao with out changing the position of the hands at all, though there are slightly different effects or uses in moving or not moving to do it. It is sometimes easier to know the shapes of the actions with gross movement to guide.

The latter two actions (cutting and gathering) are propagated to the arms and to the legs by the torsion shears of the torso as a whole around its vertical axis, and in the legs in addition by the lateral tilt of the pelvis. The first two actions -- opening and closing asagao in the upper body -- are propagated from the hara by control of the curvature of the lordosis curves of the spine in the sagittal plane and through the transition of the "upper cross" to the shoulder girdles oriented in the coronal plane, and converting the fore-aft shears into more lateral or spiral orientations.

This is one reason why the shoulders lifting is destabilizing because they can no longer perform these continuous torque conversions to and from the spine/torso when they become unstuck. As a result, the inputs become a pure toppling moment or a pure racking torsion at the top of the structure -- collapsing it. The same is true in the lower limb analog to the scapular upper cross in opening and closing (the tilt or thrust line of the pelvis fore and aft), and if it is unstuck or misaligned then its function in handling the torque shear conversion is also lost and a pure toppling moment or racking torsion is created at the waist level.

eyrie
08-31-2009, 08:08 PM
I think for our purposes and simplicities sake, number 3 from a hold is the best....but the simplest is the best for our purposes I think. One of them is tenchinanage (6 or 7 I think)...so we're back to the beginning if we chose that one! ;) I have NO idea what any of these numbers mean Ron... ;) If it makes it any easier, for everyone, forget about techniques altogether. It's not about the technique anyway.

A LOT of power...too much in fact, I pull[ed] my psoas muscle where it connects in the hip area! :grr: That hurt...couldn't walk right for 3 or four days after ward. Too much power too soon...should be doing more conditioning work.... I felt like the shoulder power was minimal, but I used way too much general tension (arms, too much tension in the legs). Just a general comment... as Phi mentioned... relaxing, or rather releasing tension is a key prerequisite. In ICMA, fang song means "to loosen", which in effect means, devoid of tension - like say, a rubber band, or a spring, at rest.

The other general comment is that your lower body, and legs especially, should be doing all of the work - your hands only convey the ground from your lower body, spine and "middle". IOW, uke should feel like they're pushing against the ground, through the contact at your wrists (or whichever part of your body they happen to be in contact with). And Newton's 3rd law being as such... you get the picture.... purity over power-ability.. and I don't mean that in the spiritual sense.

Mind you, nothing I've said here hasn't already been said before... in other threads, by others. ;)

dps
08-31-2009, 08:49 PM
Just a general comment... as Phi mentioned... relaxing, or rather releasing tension is a key prerequisite. In ICMA, fang song means "to loosen", which in effect means, devoid of tension - like say, a rubber band, or a spring, at rest.

From Taijiquan: Through the Western Gate" by Rick Barrett

"The physical extension of a body part is preceded by its insubstantial correlate, called fang in Chinese. Fang is "reaching" with the mind, extending awareness before actually extending an arm or leg.
The substantial aspect of taiji power is derived from the body's tensegrity (song). It is easily triggered by pointing the index fingers and reaching (fang). Pointing and reaching establish the boundaries of the body's "tent". Relaxing into the structure that is formed keeps tense muscles from choking off the flow of qi."

David

Mike Sigman
08-31-2009, 09:04 PM
From Taijiquan: Through the Western Gate" by Rick Barrett

"The physical extension of a body part is preceded by its insubstantial correlate, called fang in Chinese. Fang is "reaching" with the mind, extending awareness before actually extending an arm or leg.
The substantial aspect of taiji power is derived from the body's tensegrity (song). It is easily triggered by pointing the index fingers and reaching (fang). Pointing and reaching establish the boundaries of the body's "tent". Relaxing into the structure that is formed keeps tense muscles from choking off the flow of qi."
I think that anyone who has been a U.S. participant in "push hands tournaments" is automatically suspect in terms of real Taiji knowledge. If you don't believe me, go look at any U.S. "taiji tournament" and watch. I've never met a U.S. tournament 'winner' who had even basic jin skills (this'll bring a few personal attacks) ... that's why I quit going to tournaments.

Here's a traditional admonishment about fangsong, but I'll say up front that like most traditional admonishments it does no good unless you already know what they're talking about; essentially it's about how to hold the body:

(Order: head to toe)1. Lightly close the chin toward the chest to relax the
neck. (Xulngdngjin)

2. Naturally open the jaw, place the tongue behind the front teeth at the upperpalate, and keep the lips closed (and relax facial muscles, especially the brow).

3. Relax the diaphragm (Hnxiong) to make the upper chest empty(
Shngx) and have a lightly rounded upper back (Bbi).Note. In general, "make the upper chest empty and the legs full (Shngx xishi) as a combination" and "relax the chest and have a rounded upper back (Hnxiongbbei)" are commonly used key sentences.

4. Relax the waist (Sngyo) and keep straight line of the back and
thebody (Lishnzhongzhng).

5. Center the coccyx and sink it downward (Wiluzhngzhng).

6. Fold and relax your hip joint (Songku).

7. Make the legs full (Xishi).

8. Maintain stability in both feet on the ground (Chngn).

9. Inhale when raising the arms and exhale while hanging them in front of chest. Keep shoulders and elbows relaxed. (Chenjinzhuizhu)

10. Finally, breathe naturally (Zirnhx) and relax deeply (Song)

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Abasan
08-31-2009, 11:52 PM
"Stand facing a wall. Reach out with both hands, palm outboard, thumb down, find the place to stand where you can touch the fingertips to the wall at the limit of extension. Stand up straight at maximum reach. Now just turn your hands palm up. Your fingertips are now 3-4 inches from the wall still fully extended -- but shorter."

I must have a different build, cause no matter how I do this, my fingers are still touching the wall. And yes, I did it fully extended. Weird huh.

I like the resonance theory. Kinda subscribes to what Systema's wave power is like.

eyrie
09-01-2009, 01:16 AM
I think that anyone who has been a U.S. participant in "push hands tournaments" is automatically suspect in terms of real Taiji knowledge Oh, never mind any real taiji knowledge... I like the way David was trying to tell me some round-eye's interpretation of what 放松 fang4 song1 is... ME.. a native Chinese-speaking Chinese! :rolleyes:

FWIW, 放 means to release, to free, to let go... 松 means loose. Together, 放松 means "loosen, relax"... or rather literally, make loose. And yes, if you don't know WTF that means, then none of the traditional admonitions mean anything... as in, "Relax? Relax! What do you mean relax??!! I AM RELAXED!!"

The other (not so detailed) admonition I heard was to stand as if your queue was suspended from the ceiling, and your spine strung like a string of pearls - which I found helpful as an imagery of the contradiction. ;)

Robert Cowham
09-01-2009, 06:02 AM
6. Fold and relax your hip joint (Songku).
Can you expand on this particular step Mike? The other steps mean something to me (even if it is at best only a partial understanding :) ), but this ones doesn't. What does "fold your hip joint mean"?

Ron Tisdale
09-01-2009, 08:10 AM
I have NO idea what any of these numbers mean Ron... ;) If it makes it any easier, for everyone, forget about techniques altogether. It's not about the technique anyway.
Ah, yeah...that was my point. ;)

Just a general comment... as Phi mentioned... relaxing, or rather releasing tension is a key prerequisite. In ICMA, fang song means "to loosen", which in effect means, devoid of tension - like say, a rubber band, or a spring, at rest.

The other general comment is that your lower body, and legs especially, should be doing all of the work - your hands only convey the ground from your lower body, spine and "middle". IOW, uke should feel like they're pushing against the ground, through the contact at your wrists (or whichever part of your body they happen to be in contact with). And Newton's 3rd law being as such... you get the picture.... purity over power-ability.. and I don't mean that in the spiritual sense.

Mind you, nothing I've said here hasn't already been said before... in other threads, by others. ;)

Completely agreed ;) I'll let you know when I get there! :D
B,
R

Robert Cowham
09-01-2009, 08:49 AM
Can you expand on this particular step Mike? The other steps mean something to me (even if it is at best only a partial understanding :) ), but this ones doesn't. What does "fold your hip joint mean"?
Perhaps I can rephrase this question into asking what more it means than allowing there to be a fold in the hip such that leg is not in the same line as the torso.

Erick Mead
09-01-2009, 08:52 AM
"Stand facing a wall. Reach out with both hands, palm outboard, thumb down, find the place to stand where you can touch the fingertips to the wall at the limit of extension. Stand up straight at maximum reach. Now just turn your hands palm up. Your fingertips are now 3-4 inches from the wall still fully extended -- but shorter."

I must have a different build, cause no matter how I do this, my fingers are still touching the wall. And yes, I did it fully extended. Weird huh. If that happened -- then you let your center shift toward the wall. In other words you committed your weight to the wall, and when you altered the extension, your weight followed. if you punched in this mode kuzushi would not be far behind.

Which suggests that you likely did not notice that your weight shifted, since the three inches is well within the normal balance "orbit" and it can shift without your head position changing. That tells me that you may be primarily relying on your vestibular and visual cues for determining your own position more than your proprioceptive sensors in the structure of the body.

We do furitama regularly, but for a long while I had little explanation of why, exactly. After much puzzling out, however, I have concluded that it accomplishes two things. One, it attunes you to the nature of resonance in the body (yours and theirs) and two, it dials up greater sensitivity to changes in position of the structure as whole, in ways that allow you to sense changes in the opponents structure in the same way you sens them in your own (essentially, through changes in the resonance signal(which certain structural sense organs are very sensitive to, and for good reason).

This is the way I can tell a student when doing kokyu tanden ho when exactly I have compromised him at the wrist, the elbow the shoulder, the spine, and his center before much of anything has even moved. I can feel the limit of that extension into him in exactly the same way I feel the position of extension of a backscratcher as I reach to scratch my back, and before making contact.

When I extend into him the limit of that extension is sensible to me, because something stops at the current limit of my extension, and when I perform a further slight change of the potential for rotation, in our connection, I go around that and on to the next junction inward. This is true in both tension and compression.

I like the resonance theory. Kinda ubscribes to what Systema's wave power is like.Like the "rubber" pencil trick -- your eye senses the shifting center of rotations, in a rigid or relatively static medium. Waves only move a water particle locally, in a vertical circle. In a lever, shear is automatically created and wants to move the fulcrum perpendicularly out of the line of the lever arm (gyroscopic precession occurs for the same reason). In curling a handweight held at arms length, your muscles have to stablilize the elbow holding it upward or else the shear would force that center of rotation downward.

That's what this stuff is, forgetting about leverage entirely and just shifting the centers of rotations (and more subtly -- potential rotations or moment) around the body using shear.

Mike Sigman
09-01-2009, 09:01 AM
Perhaps I can rephrase this question into asking what more it means than allowing there to be a fold in the hip such that leg is not in the same line as the torso.Well, generally the admonitions are about how the body is relaxed but there are no "wrinkles" along the surfaces, so that it is hung as one unit; the hips and lower back are relaxed while the legs hold all the weight. If the hips are relaxed and the shoulders are relaxed but the overall 'connection' of the body is stretched (not tensed though) so that there are no 'wrinkles', the twisting one part of the body will spread lines of force easily to other parts of the body.

To give you an example, if you stretch your right arm out in front of you so that you give it that nikyo twist (as in the 4 wrist exercises) and the 'connection' is there (not too tight and yet no 'wrinkles' in the connection), the twist should easily convey up the arm over the back and to the kidney area on the right side; an even better relaxed connection will also be felt to the feet.

So the short answer as it refers to the hip is that the hip is relaxed and not under tension because the weight is sunk into the legs, not into the hips and lower-back, thus leaving the body relaxed and pliably connected.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

thisisnotreal
09-01-2009, 11:26 AM
A LOT of power...too much in fact, I pull my psoas muscle where it connects in the hip area! :grr: That hurt...couldn't walk right for 3 or four days after ward. Too much power too soon...should be doing more conditioning work.

Ron & others, Thanks for sharing. It is very interesting.
Did I ever tell you about the time when I was younger and stupider (yes! It is possible!) that I was working on kiai...trying to figure out what fundamentally gave the sound the intensity and volume...and I figured out a way to make it waaaay louder....overworked that....and I gave myself the weirdest hiccups/flutter..that lasted for 4 days? i thought I broke myself.. That's only one reason why i repeatedly ask about the dangers of internal training.
i guess ...these are all subtle effects that have to ride upon the changed body....with conditioning implicitly assumed...as you say.

I liked your post. anyhoo..

I have an quasi-unrelated question; is this thread about conditioning exercises for kokyu development for Aiki in Aikido? If not ; what again?

also;
Is it rude to publish related text/links/etc from other people off other websites? Especially from people here on these pages? For instance; this thread: "The internal 'how-to' thread" (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12320&page=2). There is a lot in the archive but I do not know how it is perceived by others..and if it is rude to datamine and pull relevant things (/quotes/posts/ideas/etc) out of their original context. What do you, Ron, or others think? For instance regarding kokyu development there are exercises and approaches outlined (i.e. elsewhere on the interweb). Mike? You've published lots of stuff germaine to this very topic...

also;
can anyone talk about the 'seam' that you are supposed to use to do agete? (Kokyu-ho). That term was used in another thread, but I thought it carried some neat connotations or possibilities. What is it you think the "seam" is between? i can't do it properly but had some thoughts (/research areas) .. not sure where to focus. Idears?
-between the in-&-out going external forces of uke
-between the circulating internal forces of uke (jamming & disrupting between uke's hara and their intent...stopping them from being able to 'push' (e.g. not being able to 'get behind' their own push...'in their body')
-between the skeletal alignment and the 'suit' of uke
-directly along joint coupled kokyu structure of uke-nage coupling? (but then how to do the 'lift' when uke forcefully pressing down? please don't say literally moving to the outside or along the periphery of uke's sphere of influence, is it(?) that's cheating..)
-absorbing the push inside your supported in-yo self; allowing the uke's push to go to your backside/inside you (i.e. inside the contradictory tensions); re-equilibrating yourself (i.e. jin & suit); to accomodate the force... and then issuing the force back outwards (i.e. inside uke to his center) as you and uke make a unit.. (words fail...even if the idea isn't wrong...)
??
-
Any clues from someone who can do it skillfully like Sagawa describes it? (or otherwise?)

just some more thoughts.
josh

Abasan
09-01-2009, 11:44 AM
Hmm... no I'm not moving my center. I'm standing straight and centered. My spine and head is aligned and my diaphragm in flat. Weight does not shift and I've let it rest at the center of my soles. Perhaps I've got the arms positioning wrong.

After what you mentioned about me using visual clues I elected to close my eyes and try to sense a shift in weight. I did this because I know that I do have balance issues when standing on one leg with my eyes closed. So I believe that a lot of my balance does come from visual stimulus. But no, there's no change in weight even with my eyes closed.

Rob Watson
09-01-2009, 12:22 PM
Hi Erick,
Do the twist but do not move the upper arm and as the radius and ulna twist the hand moves ~1/2 inch from the wall. Does this still illustrate your point without the need to include the shoulder?
Thanks

thisisnotreal
09-01-2009, 03:04 PM
Another very relevant thread: "On Talking about Internal Training" (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15133)

Erick Mead
09-01-2009, 05:03 PM
Hmm... no I'm not moving my center. I'm standing straight and centered. My spine and head is aligned and my diaphragm in flat. Weight does not shift and I've let it rest at the center of my soles. Perhaps I've got the arms positioning wrong.

After what you mentioned about me using visual clues I elected to close my eyes and try to sense a shift in weight. I did this because I know that I do have balance issues when standing on one leg with my eyes closed. So I believe that a lot of my balance does come from visual stimulus. But no, there's no change in weight even with my eyes closed.Well, you are compensating somewhere in your structure. Find out where and you will have identified the source of a large part of whatever your concern may be, I would say.

Going from just palm up full extension to palm down full extension at this here computer screen in front of me gets me touching the screen from 2 1/2 inches out statically erect. In the past I have clipped a laser pointer to my shirt lapel to verify there was no fore-aft torso movement involved in the extension. That's why the straight punch twists in the same way, to release full structural extension of the limb. But the same is true of the whole structure.

An actuation of this structural mechanism allows expansive and contractive movement of the body without creating levers and the waste of energy and structure compensating for inherent shear . If sharply done and released it creates surprisingly fast movement of the limbs in a manner that is not "push/pull" (i.e. -- not leveraged).

It is also the manner of deep reflexive actions -- if your hand ever touched a hot stove you snatched it back -- like a weight on a wire -- by this precise mechanism, generated by a spinal reflex -- and the inverse of that is the infamous "no-inch" punch.

Sy Labthavikul
09-01-2009, 05:27 PM
The only way I can get any appreciable change from going palm down to palm up is if I completely ignore the palm, and instead focus on fully extending w/ full internal rotation (engaging pectorals, lats, subscapularis rotator cuff muscle, etc.), in which case my thumb is now pointing down; to full extension with opposing full external rotation (engaging the teres minor and infraspinatus rotator cuff muscles, and some of the deltoid), in which case now the palm is up with my thumb pointing laterally. In other words, completely ignore the hand and lower arm, and focus on the upper arm, the humerus: rotate it inward fully, then rotate it outward fully.

Doing that, my shoulder joint does basically "suck" my arm back in several inches, but how does this apply to DEVELOPING kokyu? Being able to manipulate one's biomechanical anatomy intuitively is a REPERCUSSION of understanding kokyu, i think, but just forcing body parts to move in certain ways is putting the cart before the horse, in my opinion, and might actually retard progress. I know of one taichi practitioner who was always "tucking in the tail bone" and "rounding the upper back" but was using muscular tension in his abs and pecs to force his spine into compliance, and he ended up with lower back problems for a while.

Erick Mead
09-01-2009, 05:37 PM
Hi Erick,
Do the twist but do not move the upper arm and as the radius and ulna twist the hand moves ~1/2 inch from the wall. Does this still illustrate your point without the need to include the shoulder?
ThanksYes, but as in my response to Ahmad it is more comprehensive than the arms -- it is the whole body. It seems like a very short actuation, but it sums over the whole length of the structure (to the ground, I suppose :) ) as long as there are no kinks or discontinuities. Kinks or discontinuities create points of incipient collapse. Those are often compensated by actuating a counter-leverage to stablize, which creates adverse shear, which creates the need for more counter- leverage -- well, you get the picture. Trick is to compensate by the same mechanism and NOT to let leverage come into play. Most days, most ways I get it -- but then I'll get caught out in the odd point ...

And dynamically the length of actuation is not the key -- but the reflexive sharpness and, even more critically, the sensitivity of the more guided applications of the action, Since it is tactile in sense and in action -- no mind is really involved in doing it, just a feel that is also the action being felt -- and therfore very tightly recursive in neuro-muscular terms.

Erick Mead
09-01-2009, 10:05 PM
In other words, completely ignore the hand and lower arm, and focus on the upper arm, the humerus: rotate it inward fully, then rotate it outward fully. Rob was correct, you can isolate the lower arm from the upper and the lower arm extends and retracts -- just incrementally less. Put your elbows on the desk (don't cheat and roll the flesh back and forth) . Still works. At a post-seminar dinner years ago Saotome was sitting by himself out of the way where hardly anyone was really watching him -- and he was just rotating his forearm in that waybakc and forth, and just looking at it. Might even mean something -- ya never know ;)

... but how does this apply to DEVELOPING kokyu? Being able to manipulate one's biomechanical anatomy intuitively is a REPERCUSSION of understanding kokyu, i think, but just forcing body parts to move in certain ways is putting the cart before the horse, in my opinion, and might actually retard progress. I walk with a left foot and right foot. Understanding objective mechanism AND subjective feel of using it are more useful in combination than either alone. The thing is the body parts actually WANT to move in this way. We are getting in the way of something more powerful when we isolate joints for levered action, which is a structural discontinuity precluding the free propagation of the action through the body.

These actions are not forced -- The action propagates on its own, if you understand what NOT to do which would impede it. Most of the control problem (there is a control problem to be solved, as with any mechanical action) involves accurately modulating this form of action in continuous action without creating levers. That's what the Aiki Taiso (or kokyu undo) teach.

Kokyu is a cyclic action of small amplitude, in some case barely perceptible, that is fed into by progressively larger or smaller structure (depending on the purpose of the action). This is a mechanism of action that provides the cyclic form (a spiral is just a 3D sine wave) of kokyu action that develops linear expansion and contraction (based on torsion tube mechanics -- tension and compression at right angles on the bias of the long axis). It is easily demonstrable and shows a consequential manner of movement that is NOT jointed leverage.
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=509&d=1215185239

This is a sensibly "taut" form of the action, but believe it or not, the mechanics are directly related to the "loose" actions of chains and whips (which how a pliably linked structure's "tautness" acts when released or reversed and the play in the linkages is allowed.) So this approach (http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/but-why-7854/aiki-physical-model-structure-dynamic-3259/) encompasses both "types" of aikido movement -- "loose" and "still" -- and shows they are not fundamentally different -- though they have different uses.

Adman
09-08-2009, 08:42 AM
Emphasis mine:
Well, generally the admonitions are about how the body is relaxed but there are no "wrinkles" along the surfaces, so that it is hung as one unit; the hips and lower back are relaxed while the legs hold all the weight. If the hips are relaxed and the shoulders are relaxed but the overall 'connection' of the body is stretched (not tensed though) so that there are no 'wrinkles', the twisting one part of the body will spread lines of force easily to other parts of the body.

[nikyo example snipped]

So the short answer as it refers to the hip is that the hip is relaxed and not under tension because the weight is sunk into the legs, not into the hips and lower-back, thus leaving the body relaxed and pliably connected.

Just catching up in this thread and wanted to highlight something that was staring me in the face for a long time and I didn't see it, because I thought I knew it.

Try moving (or just standing) while keeping the above requirements in place. I've found it quite difficult, eye-opening and exciting. CAUTION: your legs just might hate you for it! ;)

Thanks,
Adam

bulevardi
01-29-2010, 10:05 AM
Then, if you want to talk about "testing", have someone hold your wrists and push gently, straight in with a constant force, whilst in that position. Can you bounce/push/throw them off - without moving? How much arm/shoulder are you engaging? Where is your power coming from? And how is that the same/different to basic kokyu-ho where you simply throw the uke up and back, or to the side?

I have some questions about some magic things happening in my dojo.

The sensei is telling to work with your center. An inner power coming from your belly, I suppose.
For what I could make up, it's about breathing via your belly and from that point creating a power.
But it's totally not working with me. How can you practice this?

For example with kokyu-ho.
You have to unbalance or move your opponent from a static moment, without using your arms or forces or muscles.
Somehow, the others cn create such a power from their belly with a breath-trick.
But it isn't working as I try it.
I already asked much people, but none can explain hw to do so.

I haven't read the whole thread yet, but I have large interest in that kokyu technique that I want to read some books about it.
Maybe things about Ki in Aikido (C. M. Shifflett) or Ki in Daily Life (Koichi Tohei) or good references?

Also, for general techniques in Aikido they're always talking about 'use your center'. Don't use power, but your center has to do it. I already know now that I have to point my center to the opponent, but while doing a turn or a tai sabaki it's not always possible.
Or can someone explain me how to use my 'center' in lots of Aikido techniques?
In my dojo, no one can explain what that center is. Is it my belly? Do I have to behave my belly different while doing the same technique?

eyrie
01-29-2010, 05:52 PM
OMG, Dirk, you've resurrected a zombie thread...

I have some questions about some magic things happening in my dojo. There is no such thing as magic. Magic tricks are just that... tricks and illusions.

The sensei is telling to work with your center. An inner power coming from your belly, I suppose. For what I could make up, it's about breathing via your belly and from that point creating a power. But it's totally not working with me. How can you practice this? Ah yes, the old "use your hara" trick. Pity, it's about as helpful as breathing fire thru your nostrils and levitating. When people talk about using their center, they usually can't/won't tell you "how". For one, it takes time and directed practice to develop the hara, and secondly, if you're not told how... good luck with that. I suggest you go back thru the forum and search for various past discussions on the topic of ki/kokyu/jin - especially those posted by Mike Sigman, Rob John and Dan Harden. There are a multitude of ways to practice developing power. It's too long and complicated to describe in a single post... as there are many layers to it. But as a starting point, power development in Aikido is vastly simplified in the forms of 2 primary exercises - funekogi undo for forward/backward power, and bokken suburi for up/down power.
For example with kokyu-ho. You have to unbalance or move your opponent from a static moment, without using your arms or forces or muscles. Somehow, the others cn create such a power from their belly with a breath-trick. But it isn't working as I try it.
I already asked much people, but none can explain hw to do so. Funny that... :rolleyes: Kokyu-ho is slightly more complex, because the premise is to absorb (ground) and redirect the other person's forces, by using your weight and the ground as support, and the unity of your body connection (what Mike terms the "suit"), together with the breath, which is a power adjunct to help pressurize and maintain the cohesiveness of the "suit". There's a lot happening in kokyu-ho that is hard to understand without breaking it down and doing it statically in a limited format.

I haven't read the whole thread yet, but I have large interest in that kokyu technique that I want to read some books about it.
Maybe things about Ki in Aikido (C. M. Shifflett) or Ki in Daily Life (Koichi Tohei) or good references? Good luck with that. I wouldn't waste my time with it. You won't find anything more than the general admonitions to relax (which has already been discussed to death in this thread and others), and breathe (also covered here and elsewhere).

Also, for general techniques in Aikido they're always talking about 'use your center'. Don't use power, but your center has to do it. I already know now that I have to point my center to the opponent, but while doing a turn or a tai sabaki it's not always possible. Or can someone explain me how to use my 'center' in lots of Aikido techniques? In my dojo, no one can explain what that center is. Is it my belly? Do I have to behave my belly different while doing the same technique? That's pretty telling. It's actually the tanden no seika, or dantien (in Chinese). It's a hard, articulate muscle-like structure that's located approximately 4 fingers width below your navel and 1 fist deep in the body. Like any other "muscle" in your body - including your brain, unless you physically and consciously exercise it, it's not going to develop. Good luck with that too.

It's a lot more involved than just "use your center". If only it were that simple. Your best bet would be to search for previous discussions on this topic, particularly the baseline skillset thread. Long read, but lots of good information tidbits.

Also, find Mike Sigman's posts about jin and getting your "foot in the door". Starting anywhere else is a waste of time. Everything builds on jin and builds on everything else (See Rob John's post specifically talking about how developing one aspect develops another and feeds back into itself).

Good luck.

JO
01-29-2010, 10:12 PM
I don't know what everybody has against old threads. Resurrection is sometimes justified.

Ignatius, the brain is not a muscle. If your going to put up a post with several anatomical elements, try to get the basics right. Personally I'd like to see a diagram of the hard, articulated muscle-like dantien. Prefereably from a reliable medical source. Anything fitting that description should show up on anatomical diagrams.

Dirk, your getting in over your head discussing kokyu-ho on a thread dominated by IS/IT discussion. These people are discussing concepts and exercises your aikido instructors have probably never heard of. Personally, I've never experienced the abilities of these internal skills guys first hand, so I reserve judgement. I'm intrigued by these guys and the discussions they’ve had here on AikiWeb, much of it seems to fit with the little I know or have felt (one thing I found interesting about Ignatius’ post is that the two solo aikido exercises I do the most often at home are the rowing exercise and bokken suburi). But all I'm familiar with is mainstream Aikikai aikido. But since that, or something similar if it’s not Aikikai, is where you're operating, here's my take on your specific issues:

Using one’s center is not a mystical breathing thing. It has more to do with where your power and your movement are developing from. Working on your posture and removing tension from your body will do more than any esoteric breathing exercises. How you breathe will affect how you hold yourself, but that also works in the other direction.

Removing tension is what is meant by relaxing. It does not mean that you don’t use your muscles. If you don’t use your muscles, you collapse into an inert mass on the tatami. Try to feel “springy” rather than brittle or stiff. Try to not contract muscles more than is needed. Your going to use your muscles, but it’s sort of the opposite of the body builder poses where all the muscles are hard and bulging.

Using one’s center has nothing to do with where it is pointed. There are many reasons in many techniques that you would be told by your instructors to keep your center facing your uke. Most of these will have to do with spacing and maintaining a dominant position and have nothing to do with kokyu-ho type strength. In rear attacks, you will have to learn to “use your center” with your uke holding you from behind. It is often specifically in a turn that you will discover whether or not you are working from you center; if you are trying to work from your extremities (arms, shoulders), it will be very hard to get a resisting uke to turn with you.

Second, it seems to me from your post that you are putting too much of your own interpretation into what your instructors are saying. I find body knowledge very hard to put into words. Words usually only help if paired with actually feeling and seeing the body skill. Then trying it yourself, to feel it in your own body, preferably with feedback from somebody qualified to tell you if you’re doing it right. If you want to able to do what your teachers are doing. Pay more attention to what they do, and a little less on what they say.

jss
01-30-2010, 01:59 AM
For what I could make up, it's about breathing via your belly and from that point creating a power.
But it's totally not working with me. How can you practice this?
The belly and the breathing is only half the story. See my comment on kokyu ho.

For example with kokyu-ho.
You have to unbalance or move your opponent from a static moment, without using your arms or forces or muscles.
Somehow, the others cn create such a power from their belly with a breath-trick.
Ok, so you have power coming from your center/belly. What is supporting this power? Think physics here, Newton's third law of motion. If you push something with your center (through your upper body and arms), that something will be pushing back. So what is keeping the center from being moved?

And about the 'magic', Arthur C. Clarke once said "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." This also applies to body technology.

I haven't read the whole thread yet, but I have large interest in that kokyu technique that I want to read some books about it.
You can't learn it from a book, that's why you can hear people say "It has to be shown." so often. But by all means, read books and threads here on Aikiweb as much as you can. Reading will help you understand what's happening the moment you're shown.

Dirk, your getting in over your head discussing kokyu-ho on a thread dominated by IS/IT discussion. I wouldn't phrase it like that, but you might not get the answers from the IS/IT crowd you're looking for.
Whether that's a good thing or a bed thing, is your call. ;)

eyrie
01-31-2010, 03:59 AM
Ignatius, the brain is not a muscle. If your going to put up a post with several anatomical elements, try to get the basics right. Duh... see where I put "muscle" in double quotes? The implication is that of exercise and practice using it. Geddit?

I'm intrigued by these guys and the discussions theyve had here on AikiWeb, much of it seems to fit with the little I know or have felt (one thing I found interesting about Ignatius post is that the two solo aikido exercises I do the most often at home are the rowing exercise and bokken suburi). I'm not sure how to read this - as sarcasm or agreement? So what's so interesting about it? Enlighten me, especially since I wouldn't know my medulla oblongata from my gluteus maximus. :D

JO
01-31-2010, 09:00 AM
Hi Ignatius,

For the first part of my post that you quote, I read you better than I let on. That was sarcastic, more than was called for I guess. I'm just too much of a scientist, biologist working in the field of environmental sciences to be precise, by temperament and training to let things like that pass. I don't have much training at all in anatomy or physiology, so I tend to not pronounce myself on such topics.

As for the second part, I was writing in earnest. I decided, or discovered, several years ago, before I had ever heard of the terms Internal Training or Internal Strength, that kokyu-ho was the single most important exercise in Aikido and that everything else kind of hinged on it. From this, and under some influence of the things I've read in this thread I'll admit, I do some solo exercises at home on days I don't have aikido classes. I do breathing, stretching and warm up exercises I learned in aikido and do not claim, because of I don't have the required knowledge to do so, that what I do has any real link to the IT exercises and Internal Skills that get discussed here. But I feel they do help in the standard aikido skills of working from your center and staying relaxed that were at the heart of Dirk's questions.

Then in your post you specifically mention funegoki undo and bokken suburi, which are the two exercises that I spend the most time on in my own personal solo aikido training. So I repeat. I am intrigued by the IS/IT dicussions here and would be very curious to meet those who claim such skills so that I could feel for myself how it relates to what I have learned in traditional aikido training.

eyrie
01-31-2010, 06:09 PM
For the first part of my post that you quote, I read you better than I let on. That was sarcastic, more than was called for I guess. I'm just too much of a scientist, biologist working in the field of environmental sciences to be precise, by temperament and training to let things like that pass. I don't have much training at all in anatomy or physiology, so I tend to not pronounce myself on such topics. Perhaps, you could try sticking to the topic instead?

As for the second part, I was writing in earnest. I decided, or discovered, several years ago, before I had ever heard of the terms Internal Training or Internal Strength, that kokyu-ho was the single most important exercise in Aikido and that everything else kind of hinged on it. From this, and under some influence of the things I've read in this thread I'll admit, I do some solo exercises at home on days I don't have aikido classes. I do breathing, stretching and warm up exercises I learned in aikido and do not claim, because of I don't have the required knowledge to do so, that what I do has any real link to the IT exercises and Internal Skills that get discussed here. But I feel they do help in the standard aikido skills of working from your center and staying relaxed that were at the heart of Dirk's questions. In that case, perhaps you could enlighten us as to why kokyu-ho is *the single most important exercise*? In what way? How? Rather than simply making such a broad claim, explicate it. Let the inner scientist out. Explain how and why. Otherwise, it just comes across as "no big deal. I already do *that*" - which neither progresses the discussion, nor helps anyone (e.g. Dirk).

Then in your post you specifically mention funegoki undo and bokken suburi, which are the two exercises that I spend the most time on in my own personal solo aikido training. So I repeat. I am intrigued by the IS/IT dicussions here and would be very curious to meet those who claim such skills so that I could feel for myself how it relates to what I have learned in traditional aikido training. Well? You're evading the question. Why is it important? What is so intriguing about my mentioning these 2 exercises, and what relevance do they have to the IS/IT discussions here - if any? What do they develop? How does that work?

I'm not entirely certain how I should read your last sentence - it comes across as a "touch hands" challenge, or that you already know/have aiki, and these IS/IT discussions are irrelevant to you, or that people who "claim" such skills don't know aiki, or all of the above? BTW, repeating the same sentence, isn't the same as clarifying it.

FWIW, I don't claim any level of skill in anything. But you're most welcome to visit and "touch hands" anytime. ;)

JO
01-31-2010, 07:39 PM
In that case, perhaps you could enlighten us as to why kokyu-ho is *the single most important exercise*? In what way? How? Rather than simply making such a broad claim, explicate it. Let the inner scientist out. Explain how and why. Otherwise, it just comes across as "no big deal. I already do *that*" - which neither progresses the discussion, nor helps anyone (e.g. Dirk).

The best I've been able to put body knowledge into words, I've already put in my post to Dirk. I have trouble showing and saying what I mean in person when working one to one with my kohai, let alone in type. But here goes nothing. I consider kokyu-ho to be the most important exercise because it is the exercise we do that most singles out and focusses on that feeling of relaxed strength that I consider to be at the heart of all well executed aikido techniques. It removes worrying about position, "real world application" or other such mental distractions, so that you can focus on how you are holding yourself, removing the tension from your joints (I have the most trouble with my shoulders), generating power from your center (as opposed to muscling through with yours arms and shoulders). These things help develop a way of holding yourself and of moving. When you start to feel these things, the sensei saying things like "relax", "use your center", "keep extension" stops being gibberish and starts to make sense as you can tie it to actual body feelings you are familiar with.

Well? You're evading the question. Why is it important? What is so intriguing about my mentioning these 2 exercises, and what relevance do they have to the IS/IT discussions here - if any? What do they develop? How does that work?

I don't really know what relevance these two exercises have to IS/IT, you brought them up. I have no knowledge of the IS/IT world outside of what I've read here or in HIPS. I use these two exercises a lot because I consider that they help develop the right posture and body feeling for aikido. Much along the same lines as I mentioned above for kokyu-ho. I guess what caught my attention was someone specifically mentioning my two "favourite" solo aikido techniques as the simplified starting point for power development. Maybe you can see how this would increase my interest in the topic (see my final paragraph below).

I'm not entirely certain how I should read your last sentence - it comes across as a "touch hands" challenge, or that you already know/have aiki, and these IS/IT discussions are irrelevant to you, or that people who "claim" such skills don't know aiki, or all of the above? BTW, repeating the same sentence, isn't the same as clarifying it.

FWIW, I don't claim any level of skill in anything. But you're most welcome to visit and "touch hands" anytime. ;)

Would it help if I used curious instead of intrigued? I'm certainly not issuing any kind of challenge, nor am I claiming any ability or knowledge on the topic. Just stating a curiosity about all this IS/IT stuff, because it seems to connect to things I consider important to aikido training. I would love to feel any of those who claim these abilities to see how different, or how similar, it really is from what I've felt from various akidoka. I think "touching hands" is the only way to know.

If I saw no link to my aikido training, I would probably ignore it. I like what I do, I would like to do it better, I have limited interest in going off in another direction. For example, I could read a thread about all the hard physical training and high intesity sparring that MMA professionnals use to turn themselves into some of the most fit and strong athletes around, but I wouldn't really see the relevance to aikido. Sure I wouldn't mind being physically stronger, but I don't consider that kind of strength to be central to aikido. But seeing others discussing exercises I regularly do in an IS/IT context, makes me think that these things may actually relate to my training in ways that would make me better at aikido generally and in aspects of aikido that I take to heart specifically (such as staying centered, staying relaxed, being strong without tension or aggression). So I am intrigued, I am curious.

jss
02-01-2010, 05:40 AM
I have trouble showing and saying what I mean in person when working one to one with my kohai, let alone in type.
<snip>
I use these two exercises a lot because I consider that they help develop the right posture and body feeling for aikido.
Describing the right posture for aikido should be doable, shouldn't it? Perhaps attach a picture? When you do these exercises, how do you check your posture?

When you start to feel these things, the sensei saying things like "relax", "use your center", "keep extension" stops being gibberish and starts to make sense as you can tie it to actual body feelings you are familiar with.
How do you guarantee/verify that the sensei and you are talking about the same things? If I'm allowed a cynical interpretation: the sensei restricts himself to saying vague stuff, knowing that every student will at one time feel something of which the student will decide that it's what the sensei was trying to explain. And the students that don't experience such moments, will just think they're not good/sensitive/intelligent/etc. enough to get it.

JO
02-01-2010, 11:44 AM
Describing the right posture for aikido should be doable, shouldn't it? Perhaps attach a picture? When you do these exercises, how do you check your posture?
I do these exercises on my own late at night after putting the kids down to bed. At that moment, it is difficult for me to check myself beyond my bodies internal position feedback. A mirror would help I guess. However, I am doing exercises that are part of my regular aikido training, where I get feedback from my instructors.

As for illustrating posture. My model for bokken, and an important model of mine for posture in general, is Claude Berthiaume Shihan. He can be seen teaching bokken suburi here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulSz3QTN6nA

I especially like how straight he holds himself and how grounded he is.

Another model of mine is Harvey Konigsberg Shihan. I consider him a great example of staying relaxed and dropping the shoulders. here is an example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNgZ_EAgI9c

How do you guarantee/verify that the sensei and you are talking about the same things? If I'm allowed a cynical interpretation: the sensei restricts himself to saying vague stuff, knowing that every student will at one time feel something of which the student will decide that it's what the sensei was trying to explain. And the students that don't experience such moments, will just think they're not good/sensitive/intelligent/etc. enough to get it.

I have had instructors that tended to be on the more nitpicky side of things and that spend a lot of time trying to show and explain details. I never said they restricted themselves to vague explanations. It's just that some things are hard to communicate though words, especially when there isn't a known shared experience. When the istructor telling you to relax is the one that showed you the exercises you use to develop this, when you've been both nage and uke with the instructor for the paired exercises, it is at least possible to hope you are talking about the same thing.

Also, the sensei should be able to see/feel if you're doing it right, so that when you think you feel something, it can be paired with the sensei going "yeah, that's better". I've had my instructor demonstrate a technique while exagerating my mistakes (often posture related) to show me what I was doing wrong. Then there is the pressure test. Often, the biggest, strongest guys have the most trouble with kokyu-ho because they can muscle past most people rather than using the more relaxed integrated power that I feel the exercise aims to develop.

jss
02-01-2010, 02:37 PM
I do these exercises on my own late at night after putting the kids down to bed. At that moment, it is difficult for me to check myself beyond my bodies internal position feedback. A mirror would help I guess. However, I am doing exercises that are part of my regular aikido training, where I get feedback from my instructors.
Ok, but when you're practicing, how do you differentiate the good reps from the bad reps. Say you do one rep of funegoki undo, then you do another one and you notice the second one was better than the first one, what was it that made the second one better? What qualities were (more) present in the second one?

My model for bokken, and an important model of mine for posture in general, is Claude Berthiaume Shihan. He can be seen teaching bokken suburi here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulSz3QTN6nA

I especially like how straight he holds himself and how grounded he is.
Posture: I'd say he should relax his lower back. Check 1:30-1:40 of the video when his side is facing the camera.
Grounded: what are the cues you look for? I'd say that he's got too much isolated arm movement going on, so he can't be grounded very well.

Another model of mine is Harvey Konigsberg Shihan. I consider him a great example of staying relaxed and dropping the shoulders.
His shoulders stay down, sure, but that's not the most important thing. What are your reasons to think the shoulders should stay relaxed? (And I agree they should, but the why is more important than the what.)
And I'd like to see him with a less compliant uke. This one was doing his best to make Harvey Konigsberg look good.

When the istructor telling you to relax is the one that showed you the exercises you use to develop this, when you've been both nage and uke with the instructor for the paired exercises, it is at least possible to hope you are talking about the same thing.
Also, the sensei should be able to see/feel if you're doing it right, so that when you think you feel something, it can be paired with the sensei going "yeah, that's better".

Agreed.

eyrie
02-01-2010, 08:08 PM
As for illustrating posture. My model for bokken, and an important model of mine for posture in general, is Claude Berthiaume Shihan.... I especially like how straight he holds himself and how grounded he is. I'm not sure if you're associating posture with being grounded. But, the "straightness" of one's posture isn't the key dimension by which "grounded-ness" is determined. Neither is it necessarily an indication of how "grounded" someone is. One *could* be in an entirely awkward posture and still be "grounded". So, obviously "straightness" of posture is not a prerequisite for "grounded-ness". And if so, what is the criteria for having grounded-ness? What does being "grounded" mean? Is having the "right" posture and being "grounded" a criteria for kokyu development? And in particular kokyu-ho? If so, on what basis - since posture is not a prerequisite? If not, then what constitutes the primary elements of/for kokyu development? That is the point of this discussion.

I have had instructors that tended to be on the more nitpicky side of things and that spend a lot of time trying to show and explain details. I never said they restricted themselves to vague explanations. It's just that some things are hard to communicate though words, especially when there isn't a known shared experience. When the istructor telling you to relax is the one that showed you the exercises you use to develop this, when you've been both nage and uke with the instructor for the paired exercises, it is at least possible to hope you are talking about the same thing. Well, that's a communication issue, which is neither relevant to nor advances the discussion here.

Also, the sensei should be able to see/feel if you're doing it right, so that when you think you feel something, it can be paired with the sensei going "yeah, that's better". I've had my instructor demonstrate a technique while exagerating my mistakes (often posture related) to show me what I was doing wrong. No argument there. Any good teacher should be able to see/feel and correct the student's mistakes. That many may do the former and not the latter, leaving the student to fumble along, is the reason we are still having these discussions, one year later.

Then there is the pressure test. Often, the biggest, strongest guys have the most trouble with kokyu-ho because they can muscle past most people rather than using the more relaxed integrated power that I feel the exercise aims to develop. In the interests of averting the commonly experienced communication issues you've just described, perhaps you would care to explicate what the basis for this "relaxed", "integrated", "power" involves?

JO
02-01-2010, 09:28 PM
I think my ability to continue this discussion is waning. You are asking me to put body mechanics into words that I have yet to fully understand in my own body. The best I can do is this, I don’t suppose it’ll satisfy either Joep or Ignatius. As a warning, I don’t consider myself especially skilled in these exercises, and I’m not at all satisfied in my own abilities.

Rowing exercise: I consider it is going well when I stay balanced, back straight (as in head over hips), movement generated from the legs, always keeping at least part of my weight on each foot. Arms relaxed but controlled (not floppy and following a clearly defined path but without the feeling that the arm muscles are generating the motion). Feeling that the hands are being pushed out and brought in by the center directly. A bit of a snap at both the out and in, with the feeling of the energy going passed the hands on the out and into the hips on the in. Less of a snap and more of a bounce when I do it slowly.

Kokyu-ho: Ability to receive a push with tensing my arms or shoulders. Sometimes I’ll try this while keeping extension (which I find difficult as I have trouble with my shoulders tensing) and sometimes I’ll let my hand come back to my torso or thighs, in which case the feeling is similar to the “in” from the rowing exercise. Then try to work the connection through ukes hands to either lock up his arms (easy with stiff beginners, I don’t really manage it with more skilled ukes) or break up his posture by getting inside his push and raising his elbows. On the uke side, I try to push from my center without tensing the arms or shoulders (some similarity to the out of the rowing exercise, also similarity to tsuki with a bokken).

Relaxed: From a physical standpoint, removal of tension from the muscles.

Integrated: The whole body working as a whole. The opposite would be say grabbing and pulling with one arm mostly using one bicep.

Power: The ability to develop a force in the physics sense, allowing you to either negate an incoming force (as in receiving a push) or to accelerate an immobile object (as in pushing someone over or throwing them).

I never said straightness and groundedness were the same thing, just that I considered them two of Claude’s strengths posture wise. I’ll admit that my judgment of his groundedness has more to do with the many times he has thrown me and not so much that specific video. But to me, I see it in all his movements. Joep, if your going to critique my teacher, I’d like a counter-example. I’d also like to know what your experience is, what knowledge are you basing your judgement on.

As for Harvey Konigsberg, I don’t know if there are any public video clips out there with less cooperative ukes. But I will say this, I’ve trained with him and once I grab him I spend the rest of the time trying to regain my center, making it pretty hard to put together much resistance. On more than one occasion I have seen him teach where he asks his ukes to let go and strike him if they can. They often don’t manage the let go part, never mind making contact with the strike.

As for why I think the shoulders should stay relaxed. Pure empiricism, my techniques work better and are successful with more resistant ukes when they are relaxed. I don’t claim to have figured out the mechanics. When they are tight I tend to get disrupted and my center thrown off too easily. I get locked up, true both as uke and nage.

oisin bourke
02-01-2010, 10:23 PM
I think my ability to continue this discussion is waning. . Joep, if your going to critique my teacher, Id like a counter-example. Id also like to know what your experience is, what knowledge are you basing your judgement on.



I have to agree with Jonathan's comments. I've followed this thread and it's becoming really irritating.

Joep and Ignatius: Instead of completely dismissing videos posted, not answering direct questions and interpreting comments as "challenges", why not give simple, direct, explicable answers to Jonathan's comments? EG what's being done along the right lines in the videos? IMO asking for videos and then dismissing them without posting anything of one's own is just ignorant.

I think you guys have a lot to offer. I'm sure ye're well skilled, but your posting style comes across as rather arrogant and dismissive.

eyrie
02-02-2010, 12:03 AM
Joep and Ignatius: Instead of completely dismissing videos posted, not answering direct questions and interpreting comments as "challenges", why not give simple, direct, explicable answers to Jonathan's comments? EG what's being done along the right lines in the videos? IMO asking for videos and then dismissing them without posting anything of one's own is just ignorant. I'm 120% sure Jonathan didn't post videos of his teachers for their performance to be critiqued. And in the interests of maintaining forum etiquette, I specifically avoided critiquing his teachers, because that's exactly what I was trying to avoid. All I did was ask a bunch of clarification questions. Show me where I have dismissed said posted videos.

I didn't know I was expected to provide "direct, explicable answers" to comments. Seeing as how answers are generally responses to questions, show me where I have not answered a direct question where I am in a position to answer?

I think you guys have a lot to offer. I'm sure ye're well skilled, but your posting style comes across as rather arrogant and dismissive.Talk about "interpreting comments"... perhaps you should read less into my purported tone. Given the number of questions I've asked in my preceding post, one could reasonably surmise that I have absolutely no knowledge or skillz whatsoever. ;)

jss
02-02-2010, 01:53 AM
Instead of completely dismissing videos posted,
The first video was presented as an illustration of straightness and groundedness. I addressed those two specific points. About the second one, I said I'd like to see him with a less cooperative uke. Because of that, I had no further comments.
How is that completely dismissing the videos?

not answering direct questions
Like Ignatius said: what direct questions? If I overlooked them, I apologize and will answer them.

interpreting comments as "challenges"
That wasn't me.

EG what's being done along the right lines in the videos
And what if I don't think that those videos are very good illustrations of the points I'd like to make? Not that that necessarily means that the persons in those videos are incapable, just that that particular video is not a very good illustration of the specific point I'd like to make?

IMO asking for videos and then dismissing them without posting anything of one's own is just ignorant.
I didn't ask for videos. (I did suggest that providing a picture might advance the discussion on Jonathan's ideas on good posture.)
Secondly, I did not dismiss them, I addressed some specific points in them raised by Jonathan. Next time I'll just dismiss them by not commenting at all?
Finally, if I think it useful to link to a video to illustrate one of my points, I will do so.

..., but your posting style comes across as rather arrogant and dismissive.
I agree that these IS discussions have regularly turned to some sort of weird game in which those 'in the know' (or those who think they are) are dismissive of opinions of those deemed 'not in the know' (rightfully or not). It wasn't always pretty and occasionally it overshot its purpose. I was aware of this when I replied to Jonathan. Perhaps I made the wrong decision.

p.s.: Jonathan, I'll reply to your post when I have some more time.

Michael Douglas
02-02-2010, 07:13 AM
This puzzled me;
... It's actually the tanden no seika, or dantien (in Chinese). It's a hard, articulate muscle-like structure that's located approximately 4 fingers width below your navel and 1 fist deep in the body....

I see this wasn't a direct question;
...Personally I'd like to see a diagram of the hard, articulated muscle-like dantien. Prefereably from a reliable medical source. Anything fitting that description should show up on anatomical diagrams. ...

Here's a direct question : Ignatius please show a diagram of the hard, articulated muscle-like dantien. Preferably from a reliable medical source.

I'm with Oisin in wanting answers and illustration.

oisin bourke
02-02-2010, 07:35 AM
This puzzled me;

I see this wasn't a direct question;

Here's a direct question : Ignatius please show a diagram of the hard, articulated muscle-like dantien. Preferably from a reliable medical source.

I'm with Oisin in wanting answers and illustration.

That's the exact quote I was going to pull before Michael beat me to it.

"That's pretty telling. It's actually the tanden no seika, or dantien (in Chinese). It's a hard, articulate muscle-like structure that's located approximately 4 fingers width below your navel and 1 fist deep in the body. Like any other "muscle" in your body - including your brain, unless you physically and consciously exercise it, it's not going to develop. Good luck with that too."

1.Why not give a clear explanation in how to isolate and develop
this muscle?

2. How does this muscle come into play when your wrists are grabbed? How do you isolate and utilize this muscle in "Kokyu-Ho"
or suburi for that matter?

Jonathan made a concerted effort to explain and describe how he trained and what he understood suburi and the rowing excercise to be over a number of posts. He provided videos to illustrate his thoughts. The "Socratic Midwife" approach is fine to an extent, but
why not just give him some clear pointers on this basic thing?

jss
02-02-2010, 07:40 AM
You are asking me to put body mechanics into words that I have yet to fully understand in my own body. The best I can do is this, I don't suppose it'll satisfy either Joep or Ignatius.
There's something interesting happening here. You're posting under the assumption that if you put caveats in your post, you'll be cut some slack. I'm posting under the assumption that everything that's posted is open for discussion. I think we're both correct in our assumptions, but if we continue for too long in this way, we'll find the quality of discussion going downhill quite quickly. You'll be doing the best job you can to find the right words, only to find me critiquing everything you say. Result: we both lose.
So instead of mostly commenting on what you write, I'll focus more on adding my view on things.

Rowing exercise: I consider it is going well when I stay balanced, back straight (as in head over hips), movement generated from the legs, always keeping at least part of my weight on each foot. Arms relaxed but controlled (not floppy and following a clearly defined path but without the feeling that the arm muscles are generating the motion). Feeling that the hands are being pushed out and brought in by the center directly. A bit of a snap at both the out and in, with the feeling of the energy going passed the hands on the out and into the hips on the in. Less of a snap and more of a bounce when I do it slowly.
Something that has worked for me is not moving my arms at all, but just doing the weight shift. That way you're sure the only power that's being generated is coming from the legs and the only thing you have to worry about is how to get that power to the hands. When that's in order, one can start moving the arms.
I haven't been working on the snapping yet. Am building up to it, but at the moment it results in too much involvement of the muscles in my arms and shoulder.

Kokyu-ho: Ability to receive a push with tensing my arms or shoulders. Sometimes I'll try this while keeping extension (which I find difficult as I have trouble with my shoulders tensing) and sometimes I'll let my hand come back to my torso or thighs, in which case the feeling is similar to the "in" from the rowing exercise. Then try to work the connection through ukes hands to either lock up his arms (easy with stiff beginners, I don't really manage it with more skilled ukes) or break up his posture by getting inside his push and raising his elbows. On the uke side, I try to push from my center without tensing the arms or shoulders (some similarity to the out of the rowing exercise, also similarity to tsuki with a bokken).
What do you feel when you receive a push without tension in arms or shoulders? I'm happy with myself if I don't feel any tension anywhere in my body and I do feel more weight resting on my lower legs. (When standing up, I'd feel more weight resting on my feet.)
IMO, stage one for kokyu-ho would be to gound uke's push and then to come up and forward by unbending the legs without introducing any tension in the body. (Feeling the leg muscles do some work is unavoidable, of course.)
Stage two would be not to ground uke's push dead-on, but at an angle, so that he pushes himself away. (This will not work if uke realizes in time you're messing with the angles, btw. But that's not a big issue: it just means that it won't work when uke has more skill than you and is not allowing you to have it work.)

I never said straightness and groundedness were the same thing, just that I considered them two of Claude's strengths posture wise.
By straightness you mean head over hips, right?
I wasn't trying to imply you thought those two as the same thing. I linked the two together: straight back means relaxed lower back, which improves ones groundedness.

Joep, if your going to critique my teacher, I'd like a counter-example. I'd also like to know what your experience is, what knowledge are you basing your judgement on.
Re: the counter-example: you want a video from someone who I'd consider as someone with a relaxed lower back and little to no isolated arm movement? I can't think of one at the moment. Perhaps I can find one of an older O-Sensei doing bokken suburi, but that would be somewhat a cheap move, as videos of O-Sensei are part of the definition of Aikido.
Secondly, wouldn't it be better if I just explained why I think these things are important? See the rest of my post for this.
Thirdly, why ask for my experience? Discussing the two points I raised and seeing if I have anything meaningful to say about them seems to me more productive.
Finally, I don't think I can provide any worthwhile verifiable information on my experience or knowledge. I've practiced Aikido for about 7 years, my grade is Shodan. I've been to one Akuzawa seminar and two of Mike Sigman's. And I've been practicing Taikiken for about three years now. So what does that tell you? (I'm truly curious.)

As for why I think the shoulders should stay relaxed. Pure empiricism, my techniques work better and are successful with more resistant ukes when they are relaxed. I don't claim to have figured out the mechanics. When they are tight I tend to get disrupted and my center thrown off too easily. I get locked up, true both as uke and nage.
Tension in the shoulder creates an easy lever for the other guy to manipulate your upper body. If you can relax your whole body and let the power pass to the ground (grounding a push) or come up from the ground (pushing) through your body, there is no easy lever for the other guy to manipulate you with. Either there is no lever (you're 'stronger' than he is) or your whole body is the lever (he's 'stronger' than you are).

oisin bourke
02-02-2010, 07:41 AM
And what if I don't think that those videos are very good illustrations of the points I'd like to make? Not that that necessarily means that the persons in those videos are incapable, just that that particular video is not a very good illustration of the specific point I'd like to make?



Incapable of what ? Kokyu Ho?
Do you see anything in these videos that directly relates to the underlying principles of Kokyu Ho?

jss
02-02-2010, 07:53 AM
Incapable of what ? Kokyu Ho?
Do you see anything in these videos that directly relates to the underlying principles of Kokyu Ho?
Incapable of proper Aikido.
And I'm not going to discuss any videos posted by other people anymore, unless the poster explicitly asks for comments on it.

oisin bourke
02-02-2010, 08:52 AM
Hi Joep,

Fair dues for the explication on Kokyu ho. In terms of tension: How do you find your breathing integrates with the dispersal of tension through the body (If at all?)

Regards

Mike Sigman
02-02-2010, 09:28 AM
Here's a direct question : Ignatius please show a diagram of the hard, articulated muscle-like dantien. Preferably from a reliable medical source.
How about that picture of O-Sensei where he was portrayed as a Kami with a protuberant belly area? Would that do? Going back all the way into the murky past of India, the development of the Hara was a sign of people doing the breathing exercises and manipulations and was considered one of the hallmarks of an enlightened/cultivated man. The idea of a developed hara is fairly common and old.... it's just that most people in the West didn't understand what it meant.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
02-02-2010, 09:30 AM
Hi Joep,

Fair dues for the explication on Kokyu ho. In terms of tension: How do you find your breathing integrates with the dispersal of tension through the body (If at all?)
Very good question, Oisin. ;)

Mike

JO
02-02-2010, 11:22 AM
How about that picture of O-Sensei where he was portrayed as a Kami with a protuberant belly area? Would that do? Going back all the way into the murky past of India, the development of the Hara was a sign of people doing the breathing exercises and manipulations and was considered one of the hallmarks of an enlightened/cultivated man. The idea of a developed hara is fairly common and old.... it's just that most people in the West didn't understand what it meant.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

That may be a good illustration of the dantien or hara. I wouldn't know. But it doesn't fit Ignatius' description. Is it a specific "hard articulated muscle-like" structure, or is it a broader concept involving multiple tissues in the area of the belly. This could include several muscles, that might be hard when contracted.

JO
02-02-2010, 11:50 AM
There's something interesting happening here. You're posting under the assumption that if you put caveats in your post, you'll be cut some slack. I'm posting under the assumption that everything that's posted is open for discussion. I think we're both correct in our assumptions, but if we continue for too long in this way, we'll find the quality of discussion going downhill quite quickly. You'll be doing the best job you can to find the right words, only to find me critiquing everything you say. Result: we both lose.
So instead of mostly commenting on what you write, I'll focus more on adding my view on things.

This post of yours is more usefull as it adds information to the discussion. I put the caveats in the hope that you will get a better understanding of where I'm coming from. Context is important.

Something that has worked for me is not moving my arms at all, but just doing the weight shift. That way you're sure the only power that's being generated is coming from the legs and the only thing you have to worry about is how to get that power to the hands. When that's in order, one can start moving the arms.
I haven't been working on the snapping yet. Am building up to it, but at the moment it results in too much involvement of the muscles in my arms and shoulder.

Interesting. This matches up with my experience. These days I'm more concerned with whatb the snap/bounce at the end should feel like. I'm not quite sure what I'm aiming for.

What do you feel when you receive a push without tension in arms or shoulders? I'm happy with myself if I don't feel any tension anywhere in my body and I do feel more weight resting on my lower legs. (When standing up, I'd feel more weight resting on my feet.)
IMO, stage one for kokyu-ho would be to gound uke's push and then to come up and forward by unbending the legs without introducing any tension in the body. (Feeling the leg muscles do some work is unavoidable, of course.)
Stage two would be not to ground uke's push dead-on, but at an angle, so that he pushes himself away. (This will not work if uke realizes in time you're messing with the angles, btw. But that's not a big issue: it just means that it won't work when uke has more skill than you and is not allowing you to have it work.).

Not much to add here. I can't say I've ever really managed removing all tension. Certainly not when faced with a strong push. One difference, I rarely push up with the legs. I am more likely to try to keep my center low and raise uke's center.

By straightness you mean head over hips, right?
I wasn't trying to imply you thought those two as the same thing. I linked the two together: straight back means relaxed lower back, which improves ones groundedness.

I agree. You're very far from convincing me that Claude's not a good example though.

Re: the counter-example: you want a video from someone who I'd consider as someone with a relaxed lower back and little to no isolated arm movement? I can't think of one at the moment. Perhaps I can find one of an older O-Sensei doing bokken suburi, but that would be somewhat a cheap move, as videos of O-Sensei are part of the definition of Aikido.
Secondly, wouldn't it be better if I just explained why I think these things are important? See the rest of my post for this..)

Explain away. But I am a fan of visual aids. Feel free to use O-sensei if you want, especially if you can explain what to look for and that the thing is visible.

Thirdly, why ask for my experience? Discussing the two points I raised and seeing if I have anything meaningful to say about them seems to me more productive.
Finally, I don't think I can provide any worthwhile verifiable information on my experience or knowledge. I've practiced Aikido for about 7 years, my grade is Shodan. I've been to one Akuzawa seminar and two of Mike Sigman's. And I've been practicing Taikiken for about three years now. So what does that tell you? (I'm truly curious.)

Just to know where you are coming from. It tells me we're probably in a similar stage of learning aikido wise (I am an Aikikai (USAF) shodan with 11 years of training who should be testing for nidan soon), but that you've had direct exposure to proponents of IS/IT.

Tension in the shoulder creates an easy lever for the other guy to manipulate your upper body. If you can relax your whole body and let the power pass to the ground (grounding a push) or come up from the ground (pushing) through your body, there is no easy lever for the other guy to manipulate you with. Either there is no lever (you're 'stronger' than he is) or your whole body is the lever (he's 'stronger' than you are).

That would fit with my experience. One thing I'm trying to improve on is "grounding a push". My main problem is that I'm not quite sure how to go about it.

MM
02-02-2010, 12:38 PM
I agree. You're very far from convincing me that Claude's not a good example though.


Take this with the following cautions: I'm a beginner at IT, the video of "Claude" is a training vid, the vid is short, and I've never trained with Claude Berthiaume.

This is what I noted as sticking out. Around 4:13-4:16, especially at the 4:15 area, as he turns he does two things.
1. His shoulders move exactly with his hips
2. He appears to weight his left side right before he cuts.

NOTE!!! See cautions above. I'm not stating that Claude Berthiaume isn't capable, isn't a good instructor, etc, etc, etc. It's a training vid and he seems to be going over physical details of suburi.

I am just pointing out things that I don't do in my Internal Training. Those two things I noted are things I wouldn't do. My upper body is just a ribcage that rotates around my spine. My upper body connects to the lower "V" portion (the groin area) of my body. When I turn, I turn from the waist (which includes that lower V portion) but I don't turn with hips/shoulders as one unit.

I don't put weight all on one side. And I try to keep my spine straight in the middle. Imagine the spine being on a pivot point at the bottom of it. Spine straight but can pivot on that point. If I put more weight on one leg to turn on that leg, the pivot point tends not to move, but the spine does, which causes it to be curved or bent.


That would fit with my experience. One thing I'm trying to improve on is "grounding a push". My main problem is that I'm not quite sure how to go about it.

I started out by having a partner push on my extended hand (out to the side) and trying to let that push go into my opposite foot. It helps if the partner pushes towards that direction initially. Later, the push can go straight across the shoulders. If you tip over, you're probably using too much upper body muscle.

Then, start with contradictory forces. Have a force go out your arms/hands from your spine while at the same time, a force is coming in through your arms/hands into your spine. Getting both of those going was tough, but it definitely changes the quality of how you receive a push. Course, you have to have contradictory forces going elsewhere, too, not just the arms. :)

Think of it this way. Let the energy of the push come through your arm, into your spine, down, and into the ground under the opposite foot. Then, think of Tohei's push test where people think of the arm as a water hose and water is flowing out the arm and out the hand. Combine the two and have them going at the same time.

Mike Sigman
02-02-2010, 12:48 PM
That may be a good illustration of the dantien or hara. I wouldn't know. But it doesn't fit Ignatius' description. Is it a specific "hard articulated muscle-like" structure, or is it a broader concept involving multiple tissues in the area of the belly. This could include several muscles, that might be hard when contracted.Well, actually my point was that these probably ARE the same thing and the concept is not new.... it's been around a long time. When the dantien is used to control the whole body, it develops muscularly because it has to. You can't use a part of the body a lot without it developing in strength.

The physical development of the hara is such a recognized phenomenon in Oriental martial-arts that there are old jokes about being able to discern what a person's skills are by the way his hara is developed, and so on. The way an expert calligrapher does characters was also supposed to be an indication of his hara and interenal strength development (which is why in the movie "Hero", Jet Li wanted to see how 'Broken Sword' did a certain character with a brush).

Maybe the point is this conversation and some of the conversations over the last five years is that there's still a lot of new things to discover about Asian martial-arts that many 'ranked' teachers simply didn't know?

From an interview with Seiseki Abe
http://www.page.sannet.ne.jp/shun-q/INTERVIEW-E.html

4、INFLUENCE OF AIKIDO ON CALLIGRAPHY

What influence did practicing both misogi and aikido eventually have on your calligraphy?

The three converged into one for me. Aikido, for example, is ultimately not really about twisting wrists, causing pain, or throwing people; it is about cultivating "ki," which is something distinctly different from these things. The same is true of calligraphy. There are five or ten thousand characters we can brush in learning about form and line, but ultimately we are pursuing something beyond these, and that something is none other than "ki".So calligraphy and aikido became the exact same pursuit for me and I began to practice both as hard as I could.

 

You once remarked that "the essence of calligraphy lies in kokyu. (lit. breath)." Is this the same sort of kokyu we find in aikido?

The very same.

Mike Sigman

jss
02-02-2010, 01:39 PM
In terms of tension: How do you find your breathing integrates with the dispersal of tension through the body (If at all?)
Exhaling deeply helps relaxing the muscles and thus removing muscular tension. Getting a massage would have a similar relaxing effect, so I don't think this particular fact is very interesting.
More interesting is how breathing exercises can condition the suit, so that the suit can carry more of the load (besides the bones and a small amount of muscle). Basic idea behind these exercises is to adopt a posture that stretches the suit and then do deep abdominal breathing or reverse breathing. (Are you familiar with the concept of the 'suit'? The word has seen some use on this forum before, so I'm assuming you are.)
Of course, you can do the same thing during kokyu-ho to make as much use of the suit as possible to carry the load. Engaging the suit in this manner can be seen as a way of dispersing the tension as it makes your body better at bearing a load. Otoh, stretching the suit also results in a particular kind of tension and so does reverse breathing, although pressure might be a better word than tension when referring to the relation between the suit and breathing.
To be honest, I don't really focus on my breathing while doing kokyu-ho; there are more important things for me to focus on at this point. During solo practice I do actively work with my breathing and I have noticed there is some carry-over to partner work.
I can also imagine that you can do more complicated things with the breath, although I would be careful not to become too dependent on having to time your breathing with what you want to do. Don't know if that would be an issue.

jss
02-02-2010, 02:26 PM
I put the caveats in the hope that you will get a better understanding of where I'm coming from. Context is important.
Agreed.

I can't say I've ever really managed removing all tension. Certainly not when faced with a strong push.
It's a lot harder with a strong push. No question there. :D

I am more likely to try to keep my center low and raise uke's center.
But how does that work?
If I take the 'mess with the angle' approach, my center staying low and uke's center raising is one of the possible outcomes. It's just a matter of choosing the right angles.

Explain away. But I am a fan of visual aids. Feel free to use O-sensei if you want, especially if you can explain what to look for and that the thing is visible.
Check out the beginning of this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GBuNOrE6WY. Notice how Yamaguchi's hips are slightly tilted back, making his back form an almost straight line.

That would fit with my experience. One thing I'm trying to improve on is "grounding a push". My main problem is that I'm not quite sure how to go about it.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Have someone push gently (very important!) from the side on your hip in the direction of your opposite foot (so left foot if push comes from the right). Relax as much as possible and allow the push to go straight into your foot. The person pushing should feel as if he's pushing against the ground. Then let him push on your shoulder from the side, then on your extended elbow, then etc.

eyrie
02-02-2010, 05:39 PM
please show a diagram of the hard, articulated muscle-like dantien. Preferably from a reliable medical source. You're looking for something structurally concrete - like an anatomically identifiable "object"? Well, until such time as western medicine catches up, and an autopsy is performed on someone with a well-developed hara, I'd say, you've got Buckley's. ;)

The Taoist classics speak of the dan tien as a cavity. That, in itself should provide a big clue... (quick, dig out your 1918 1st Ed. of Henry Grey's seminal work and see if you can find it!).

For more info, see section E @ http://duversity.org/elixir/
And an enlarged diagram here:
http://www.alice-dsl.net/taijiren/neijingtu_MingLiu.htm

Look for the words 正丹田 on the diagram.

Unfortunately, that's the best I can do, since I don't have those fancy letters in front or at the end of my name. :D

eyrie
02-02-2010, 07:03 PM
Well, actually my point was that these probably ARE the same thing and the concept is not new.... it's been around a long time. When the dantien is used to control the whole body, it develops muscularly because it has to. You can't use a part of the body a lot without it developing in strength. Which was my initial point as well - you can't develop it unless you exercise it - just like any other muscle in the body.

I read somewhere on some reiki site that the hara simply refers to the "belly", and that the term "big hara" refers to someone who is spiritually developed/enlightened. Hara is sometimes used as a "shortcut" to refer to the seiki tandan/lower dantien. IOW, it is used to point to the same thing. So, by implication, a developed hara is indicative of a developed dantien - which, of course, is not to be confused with such "development" by copious consumption of the liquid amber... :p

JO
02-02-2010, 09:35 PM
Thanks Mark and Joep for the ideas on grounding exercises. Just tried a bit with my wife (an advantage of having a spouse who also trains in aikido). Also did some kokyu-ho. Lots of room for improvement, but isn't there always.

Mark, had to smile with all your caveats about Claude (I presume to make sure I or others don't get upset). I'm not that easily upset. I didn't choose a clip of Claude (it's an exerpt from a weapons seminar and not a training vid per se) because of any link to the world of IT/IS discussed here. In fact, I don't think I've ever heard him use the terms ki or aiki when instructing. But back a few posts, we were discussing posture and bokken suburi. Claude, and other students of Kanai sensei such as my direct teachers here in Quebec City, are the source of just about all my weapons work. So this is what I strive for in my training. I find the differences mentioned from those of you in the IT world (even if your not experts by your own reconning) interesting. It gives me things to think about when analysing my own movements. Which brings me to a specific question. Why would you not move your shoulders with your hips on a sword cut of the type shown? What is the down side in your opinion?

Joep, Yamaguchi also has very nice posture. I think this may be a little too subtle for my eyes.

And for all those attempting to describe the dantien, your descriptions are hard to follow (a hard, articulated, muscle-like cavity? A muscle with a cavity?)

thisisnotreal
02-02-2010, 10:33 PM
Ths.

And for all those attempting to describe the dantien, your descriptions are hard to follow (a hard, articulated, muscle-like cavity? A muscle with a cavity?)

dude. "scientist guy". it's like a 'hole' in electron-hole theory. it is a virtual construct. It is not a muscle exactly; but the absence of muscle (i.e. specifically: YOu manipulate the boundary layer of muscle) Since it is defined that way it has some weird properties. Such as the ability to create torque (/a million pounds per square inch; but in rotation: over short distance/angle; marrionette-connected to the structure + suit to all points in the body (i.e. think very heavy cannonball swallowed to the pit of the lower basin; which carries no mass (i.e. for it does not displace(etc/often)) but rather it 'rotates', 'revolves', torques or whatever. it feels. IT connects. IT couples. IT torques. it moves strong. it moves skeleton, strong. it is the answer to dan's question of why Ueshiba taught pushing (IMO; all of this is in fact just my opinion). Because; it is the essence of 'putting your body behind a push'. The specific way in which the sacrum and pelvis lock up at the SI joint in a body achieving force-closure of the joint. 'Standing Erect'. The setting of just that one alignnment of the body (posit: ) pre-defines many potentialities and eventualities. Anyhoo... The hole can 'migrate' in the theory, but it best does (/actuate) this activity in the body by connecting to the 'whole body connected changed body' in that the suit is active (e.g. "nomex on" (/suit "on"); as he said). It couples by balancing the 'structure' that many have written on; and the 'energy - suit' ;(i.e./ as mediated by flex of muscles (/posture/programmed practiced movement/leaning into the wing). It is about being able to naturally (i.e. as you do, now, but in a differen way). Float the body upon the Dantien. Some people feel that thought is best expressed as "Dantien Region", as that is more specifically what it is. I think. As a 'virtual' construct; you can change it's size. You can 'lock' the body onto the dantien. This is what you do when you see a 250lb guy's gonna hit you. Pavel Tsatsouline calls it "Zipping Up" your body. I think. He's good too.

and on and on. I should say; though I think that is my original writing on it in that way. i do not know that it is 'right' in any way; in that i have confirmed it. but anyway that' s waht I was thinking.

just for fun : ] whatduya think? i put lots of those 'etcetera's up there; just so you know's i knows what i'm talking about. Just to be clear: I don't . This was just training idears. That is alll my opinion. IMHO. And of course I would love to hear your (or anyon'es) reactions to it, thoughts, corrections, addendums, no maths erick. : ]
good luck bro; keeps coool. Check out this
< This (http://www.ycgf.org/Articles/TJ_Jin/TJ_Jin1.html), for some good ideas. It's not Aikido; but I think there are some lessons there, to be sure. I like what they said about th GrounND strength and internal and external stuffs. definition-wise.
&

http://www.ycgf.org/Articles/XY_SanTiShi/XY_SanTiShi.html (This) under the general sentiment that it's good to know what other guys, who want to be strong, are spending theirselves's time doing in training. i don't really know about all that stuffs.

http://www.ycgf.org/Articles/articles.htm (*This*, as a general resevoir of crayyzee thoughts )

good Luck; hope this helps.

My only advice; Don't get carried away. Seriously. It is something cool you can do with your body. It is a bunch of thoughts all at once and you can't figure them out; and IT is a very deep study. But it is about Intent, Effort, Flexing,Movement, Life and Spirit. I read in Ellis Amdur's book "Hidden in Plain Sight", (which is a good book *Great and you should read it), but i'll probably butcher the quote; It is about making the body into a precision slide rule of an instrument. . .. or something like that. you know that quote

p.s. speaking of books; i was looking at this (http://www.chenzhonghua.net/shop/books-by-chen-zhonghua.html). Chen Zhonghua. Looks pretty neat. good luck bud.

thisisnotreal
02-02-2010, 10:36 PM
p.s. yeah ; that was irritating. you guys should help (i.e. Actually Help) whenever you can! You coulda helped better; but whatever. i don't mean to harsh yer buz. cheers dudes. it's fun talking with other weird people that obsess about what you think. and for that i am grateful. : ]

thisisnotreal
02-02-2010, 10:55 PM
oh yeah.. and this is probably just me being silly; but 'for kokyu development' i thought this, (http://physiosupplies.com/acatalog/Swing_Stick.html), or, if you prefer this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOOFN8YAV7M&feature=PlayList&p=ABE9C42A12DDEDA5&index=0&playnext=1#t=0m31s). the visual; tactile etc/ feedback is instantaneous an unequivocal when oscillating it. http://bodyblade.com/bodyblade-home/
you have not been spammed. stand *down* : ]

thisisnotreal
02-03-2010, 12:10 AM
...the feedback is instantaneous an unequivocal when oscillating it. ...

no jokes.
that's not what I meant when I wrote that. Get your minds out of the gutter.

Michael Douglas
02-03-2010, 02:25 AM
Now I understand your description of a "hard, articulate muscle-like structure", thanks Ignatius.
In other words, it isn't?

eyrie
02-03-2010, 04:49 AM
My pointing out the tanden and the relationship to the hara was to specifically answer Dirk's question on what it means to "move from center". It was not to be drawn into a baited request for specific anatomical musculature supported by reliable medical sources.

IF it was a muscle, I would have merely referred to it as a muscle - and not "muscle-like". It's not some specific anatomical structure, despite the fact that it represents a fixed locale within the body. If it were, do you not think that Grey's Anatomy would have listed it, with a big fat red arrow pointing to it's Latin nomenclature...? And just because it isn't referenced in some authoritative (western) medical textbook, doesn't mean it doesn't exist either. After all, a cavity, or a black hole for that matter, doesn't exist in and of itself... does it?

So, you can either take the information presented prima facie, ignore it, dismiss it out of hand as pure unadulterated baloney, or try and figure it out for yourself - like everyone else who has had to.

But until you can feel your tanden, and understand how to articulate it, what purpose that articulation serves, what relationship does that have with breathing (kokyu) and pressure manipulation, etc. etc. - any further discussion is fruitless. At least for me. ;o)

MM
02-03-2010, 06:56 AM
Mark, had to smile with all your caveats about Claude (I presume to make sure I or others don't get upset). I'm not that easily upset.


You have to be very careful here on Aikiweb when discussing pictures or videos. Other people who have given critiques have been threatened with lawsuits. Sad, but true. The thread is still here somewhere.


Which brings me to a specific question. Why would you not move your shoulders with your hips on a sword cut of the type shown? What is the down side in your opinion?


This is something that you'd have to experience to really understand or believe... but I'll try to describe it. (None of this came from me, btw. I learned it from someone else, so if I butcher the idea, it's my fault.) This is only an example and not kata or a drill or any of that. Just something to try to get the idea across.

Stand with two people in front of you. Each person is 45 degrees off your center, one to the left and one to the right. Each person is within one-step cutting distance so that you only have to take one step straight forward to reach either one.

Now, go through the motions of cutting each person using your method of keeping the shoulders/hips together. Keep a very critical eye towards what your body has to do to cut the second person. You'll find that you have to actually move at least one leg a second time to cut the second person.

Now, reset the positions and try this ... step straight forward once. Leave your hips facing forward (important to keep them forward) and rotate your shoulders to the left and cut person 1. Then rotate your shoulders the opposite way (to the right) and cut person 2. You only have to take one step to cut both people.

Course, if you're like me, you'll find that you're movement is stiff and muscled and lacks power because you haven't trained that way at all. :) It doesn't "feel" natural at all. And it doesn't seem or feel effective.

But, given the right training (Internal Training) and you find that this type of movement and cutting is:

1. Very, very quick. A lot quicker than the hip/shoulder together movement.
2. Powerful. Much more power generating through a straight spine with spirals, ground, and hara.
3. Less movement.
4. Gain of time. You actually cut quicker because you don't have to reset and/or move your hips to cut a second time.

jss
02-03-2010, 07:12 AM
Now, reset the positions and try this ... step straight forward once. Leave your hips facing forward (important to keep them forward) and rotate your shoulders to the left and cut person 1. Then rotate your shoulders the opposite way (to the right) and cut person 2. You only have to take one step to cut both people.
Just wanted to add that the above makes more sense when keeping the following in mind:
My upper body is just a ribcage that rotates around my spine. My upper body connects to the lower "V" portion (the groin area) of my body. When I turn, I turn from the waist (which includes that lower V portion) but I don't turn with hips/shoulders as one unit.

bulevardi
02-03-2010, 07:57 AM
First of all, thank you all for your advices and explanations (and funny argues).
I already have tons of stuff to read for now, links provided, references to other topics on this forum etc...
So when I have further questions I'll reply, but for now I haven't read all yet (I'm running out of time).

Anyway, keep on going discussing ;-)

MM
02-03-2010, 01:17 PM
Now, reset the positions and try this ... step straight forward once. Leave your hips facing forward (important to keep them forward) and rotate your shoulders to the left and cut person 1. Then rotate your shoulders the opposite way (to the right) and cut person 2. You only have to take one step to cut both people.


Wanted to clarify the part in bold and underlined. That "one step" was the very first initial straight forward step, not more steps as you cut.

Fred Little
02-03-2010, 02:43 PM
You have to be very careful here on Aikiweb when discussing pictures or videos. Other people who have given critiques have been threatened with lawsuits. Sad, but true. The thread is still here somewhere.

Oh Mark,

That claim of threatened lawsuit was a nonsensical assertion made by a serial abuser of the English language posing as an innocent victim when it was first made, and it's no less nonsensical when you repeat such a fundamentally silly claim as if it ever had any credibility whatsoever.

FL

MM
02-03-2010, 03:36 PM
Oh Mark,

That claim of threatened lawsuit was a nonsensical assertion made by a serial abuser of the English language posing as an innocent victim when it was first made, and it's no less nonsensical when you repeat such a fundamentally silly claim as if it ever had any credibility whatsoever.

FL

I know that. :) But at the time, quite a few people took it seriously. If I remember correctly, I think there was even some "time outs" given for that little "spat". I could be wrong, though.

Still, history has a way of repeating itself, some people don't know about the incident, some don't remember it, and lastly I don't want to give the impression that I'm denigrating anyone's abilities considering I think my abilities suck. :)

Janet Rosen
02-03-2010, 04:18 PM
That may be a good illustration of the dantien or hara. I wouldn't know. But it doesn't fit Ignatius' description. Is it a specific "hard articulated muscle-like" structure, or is it a broader concept involving multiple tissues in the area of the belly. This could include several muscles, that might be hard when contracted.

The concept of hara harkens to a very different conception of what comprises a humn body then the classical Greek conception based on muscle and sinew. I would refer you to "The Expressiveness of the Body and the Divergence of Greek and Chinese Medicine" by Shigehisa Kuriyama for a very readable explanation of this. It is not a muscle or muscles.

JW
02-03-2010, 05:02 PM
Josh, that was one of your best stream-of-consciousness posts yet. I don't know if those are meant to be taken literally but they always leave me with a certain feeling.

It is not a muscle exactly; but the absence of muscle (i.e. specifically: YOu manipulate the boundary layer of muscle)

My favorite part. Again don't know how literally that should be taken.. I think of it more like poetry, and the point of view is perfect for me.
--JW

eyrie
02-03-2010, 07:37 PM
I would refer you to "The Expressiveness of the Body and the Divergence of Greek and Chinese Medicine" by Shigehisa Kuriyama. Thanks for the reference, Janet. Another book added to my Amazon wishlist. Now I need to find more shelf space.. and a bigger room...

Janet Rosen
02-03-2010, 09:41 PM
Thanks for the reference, Janet. Another book added to my Amazon wishlist. Now I need to find more shelf space.. and a bigger room...

:D

oisin bourke
02-03-2010, 10:43 PM
Exhaling deeply helps relaxing the muscles and thus removing muscular tension. Getting a massage would have a similar relaxing effect, so I don't think this particular fact is very interesting.
More interesting is how breathing exercises can condition the suit, so that the suit can carry more of the load (besides the bones and a small amount of muscle). Basic idea behind these exercises is to adopt a posture that stretches the suit and then do deep abdominal breathing or reverse breathing. (Are you familiar with the concept of the 'suit'? The word has seen some use on this forum before, so I'm assuming you are.)
Of course, you can do the same thing during kokyu-ho to make as much use of the suit as possible to carry the load. Engaging the suit in this manner can be seen as a way of dispersing the tension as it makes your body better at bearing a load. Otoh, stretching the suit also results in a particular kind of tension and so does reverse breathing, although pressure might be a better word than tension when referring to the relation between the suit and breathing.
To be honest, I don't really focus on my breathing while doing kokyu-ho; there are more important things for me to focus on at this point. During solo practice I do actively work with my breathing and I have noticed there is some carry-over to partner work.
I can also imagine that you can do more complicated things with the breath, although I would be careful not to become too dependent on having to time your breathing with what you want to do. Don't know if that would be an issue.

I'm aware of the concept of the suit. Mike Sigman allowed me to join his Qjin list where this and many other concepts are quite thoroughly explored. I haven't been there for a while, though. There's a very deep level of information that can become overwhelming to someone who doesn't know a whole lot.:)

One of the nice things about the discussions about these things on aikiweb is that the information is fairly basic and a little easier to follow.

I haven't had direct exposure to anyone who has taught this specific concept directly, so I may grasp this concept differently from you or others who have had such experience.

One concept I have of how the body works in relation to this is that "lines of force" emanate from/via the tanden region referred to by Ignatius previously. This is why it's so important to isolate this "Thing" and actively develop it. I'm currently interested in the various approaches to pressurising (ie excercising) the tanden.

I know there are many approaches (RE the Abe quote above).
The ones that are particularly pertinent to this thread MAY be via breath and certain types of grabs in seiza.

So I am particularly interested in using Kokyu (breathing) to develop this at the moment. It sounds to me like you have other approaches to this.

Regards.

jss
02-04-2010, 01:49 AM
I'm aware of the concept of the suit
<snip>
I haven't had direct exposure to anyone who has taught this specific concept directly, so I may grasp this concept differently from you or others who have had such experience
Stand with your feet at about shoulder width, arms out to the side, fingers slightly facing upwards, relax as much as possible and take a deep abdominal breath, but use your abdominal muscles to keep your stomach from expanding (i.e. reverse breathing). If you can feel something pulling in your finger (perhaps also hands, forearms, etc.) beneath your skin, that's the suit.
If you get a headache, you're trying to hard. Thinking of pushing down with the diaphragm helps me to keep the pressure from rising to my head. (So a big warning here: be very gentle with yourself, overdoing this will lead to medical problems related to high blood pressure. Proceed at your own risk.)

One concept I have of how the body works in relation to this is that "lines of force" emanate from/via the tanden region referred to by Ignatius previously.
Hmm... not how I would phrase it. The suit with the tanden as center as certain physical properties. If you exert force on it, the force will follow certain lines through it, because of its physical properties. That's where the idea of the meridians probably comes from. My intended training progression is: suit - lines - tanden. (With plenty of overlap, of course. First develop suit until aware of the lines, then allow one to inform the training of the other, etc.)

I know there are many approaches (RE the Abe quote above).
The ones that are particularly pertinent to this thread MAY be via breath and certain types of grabs in seiza.
What kinds of grabs are you thinking of?

So I am particularly interested in using Kokyu (breathing) to develop this at the moment. It sounds to me like you have other approaches to this.
The standing practice of Taikiken (aka 'ritsuzen', 'zhan zhuang' in Chinese) has helped me in developing some 'suit', but the more breathing practice I do, the more obvious it becomes how useful it is. I have the impression (don't think it's entirely correct, though) that standing works more from the outside in and breathing from the inside out. Anyhow, good breathing practice will pressurize the abdomen, so if you want to train the hara, it makes sense to do something that works that area, no? ;)

Erick Mead
02-04-2010, 08:43 AM
The suit with the tanden as center as certain physical properties. If you exert force on it, the force will follow certain lines through it, because of its physical properties. The body, in gross structure, is a series of connected tubes. Every structure is weakest in shear, and especially torsional shear. In a tube under torsion the shear strain is largest at the surface and zero at the axis of the tube. The "suit" and "lines" is simply the sensation of the torsional strains being transmitted along the fascial tissues at the periophery of the torso and limbs -- the shear stress lines -- one compressive, and one tensile (i.e -- tenchi), are at right angles to one another and both diagonal with respect to the axis of the twist, as the lines of "contradictory stress" spiral ("windings") around the tube.

Like this:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=509&d=1215185239

Deeper understanding will come to recognize that this relationship in relatively static stress of "Taut" action (rotational moments) is mathematically and physically interchangeable with and equivalent to actual periodic rotations (pendulum behavior) in more "Loose" action.

Training methods may vary, but correct understanding of the flow of stresses, strains and induced motions in the body will help what ever training you are doing.

oisin bourke
02-04-2010, 09:01 AM
Stand with your feet at about shoulder width, arms out to the side, fingers slightly facing upwards, relax as much as possible and take a deep abdominal breath, but use your abdominal muscles to keep your stomach from expanding (i.e. reverse breathing). If you can feel something pulling in your finger (perhaps also hands, forearms, etc.) beneath your skin, that's the suit.
If you get a headache, you're trying to hard. Thinking of pushing down with the diaphragm helps me to keep the pressure from rising to my head. (So a big warning here: be very gentle with yourself, overdoing this will lead to medical problems related to high blood pressure. Proceed at your own risk.)

Hmm... not how I would phrase it. The suit with the tanden as center as certain physical properties. If you exert force on it, the force will follow certain lines through it, because of its physical properties. That's where the idea of the meridians probably comes from. My intended training progression is: suit - lines - tanden. (With plenty of overlap, of course. First develop suit until aware of the lines, then allow one to inform the training of the other, etc.)

What kinds of grabs are you thinking of?

The standing practice of Taikiken (aka 'ritsuzen', 'zhan zhuang' in Chinese) has helped me in developing some 'suit', but the more breathing practice I do, the more obvious it becomes how useful it is. I have the impression (don't think it's entirely correct, though) that standing works more from the outside in and breathing from the inside out. Anyhow, good breathing practice will pressurize the abdomen, so if you want to train the hara, it makes sense to do something that works that area, no? ;)

Joep,

thanks very much for the considered post. It's very generous of you to share your knowledge.

RE: the breathing excercises: I'm actually working to take the tension out from the diapraghm especially (along with the chest/shoulders/neck) in order to create a "pure" pressure of breath upon the lower tanden. This includes mental imagery (such as opening the upper tanden areas) along with sensitivity to the physical effects of breath within the body.

I'm going to bed now. I need to mull over some stuff.

Thanks once again for your contribution.

Regards

thisisnotreal
02-05-2010, 12:21 AM
... The way an expert calligrapher does characters was also supposed to be an indication of his hara and interenal strength development (which is why in the movie "Hero", Jet Li wanted to see how 'Broken Sword' did a certain character with a brush).

Maybe the point is...[/url]

Mike Sigman
nice.
like how you flick your body
.
i really liked that movie. you know what else blew my mind was the way they showed time slow down when the mandolin player was going at it in the beginning and they had their whole fight .... in their minds. and they could play it out to know who would win...and that eventuality startled them back to consciousness at that present moment...and *actually* started the fight. yeah. that well portrayed what it was like to step outside of time. afaik.

mike - why and what do you think you could possibly learn about watching someone write a character?

thisisnotreal
02-05-2010, 12:24 AM
RE: the breathing excercises: I'm actually working to take the tension out from the diapraghm especially (along with the chest/shoulders/neck) in order to create a "pure" pressure of breath upon the lower tanden. This includes mental imagery (such as opening the upper tanden areas) along with sensitivity to the physical effects of breath within the body.


thanks for that. i was experiencing big changes by fully -relaxing- and flexing the entire are strongly...but quickly. Like once or twice each breath. Loose but intense flex; for just a split second. Developing 'quick twitch' reaction possibility then then helps to jjust let go and breathe uniform pressure later. brain trusts you... or something.

eyrie
02-05-2010, 01:16 AM
mike - why and what do you think you could possibly learn about watching someone write a character? Not Mike, but I'll offer a thought. The brush is basically an extension of your arm. In the hands of an expert, the brush is an extension of their mind and body. Watching an "expert" brush a character, a trained person can discern how much arm or mind/body connection is involved.

From there, the trained person could also gauge how good the "expert" might be at wielding a sword, because the principles of body usage are the same.

It's the same reasoning Ueshiba gave some dancer a 10th dan in Aikido after merely watching a performance.

Ron Tisdale
02-06-2010, 08:13 PM
Why not ask just that in the beginning without the charcter assasination??

Why indeed??

Yikes
Reminds me of why I've moved on so much.

Best,
Ron

That's the exact quote I was going to pull before Michael beat me to it.

"That's pretty telling. It's actually the tanden no seika, or dantien (in Chinese). It's a hard, articulate muscle-like structure that's located approximately 4 fingers width below your navel and 1 fist deep in the body. Like any other "muscle" in your body - including your brain, unless you physically and consciously exercise it, it's not going to develop. Good luck with that too."

1.Why not give a clear explanation in how to isolate and develop
this muscle?

2. How does this muscle come into play when your wrists are grabbed? How do you isolate and utilize this muscle in "Kokyu-Ho"
or suburi for that matter?

Jonathan made a concerted effort to explain and describe how he trained and what he understood suburi and the rowing excercise to be over a number of posts. He provided videos to illustrate his thoughts. The "Socratic Midwife" approach is fine to an extent, but
why not just give him some clear pointers on this basic thing?

bob_stra
02-07-2010, 10:50 AM
This puzzled me;

Here's a direct question : Ignatius please show a diagram of the hard, articulated muscle-like dantien. Preferably from a reliable medical source.


How about video?

http://tieba.56.com/v?tn=53357

Mike Sigman
02-07-2010, 02:06 PM
Well, just to interject a comment, being able to toss a weight with the belly (as in the video Bob just pointed to) is indeed an old skill that was remarked upon, but that particular skill doesn't necessarily show/demonstrate the peculiar muscular development that derives from years of manipulating the rest of the body with the dantien/hara.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Ron Tisdale
02-07-2010, 06:18 PM
And you know something else?

I owe Oisin Bourke an apology. It appears I read too quickly and was incorrect in my assumption.

Best,
Ron

oisin bourke
02-09-2010, 08:07 AM
Hi Ron,

No worries.

I understand your point about these discussions. They can get rather heated and perhaps my own language was a trifle intemperate.
Anyway, a lot of good stuff has come out over the past few pages and that can only be a good thing.

Best regards,

Oisin

thisisnotreal
02-11-2010, 08:03 AM
Not Mike, but I'll offer a thought. The brush is basically an extension of your arm. In the hands of an expert, the brush is an extension of their mind and body. Watching an "expert" brush a character, a trained person can discern how much arm or mind/body connection is involved.

From there, the trained person could also gauge how good the "expert" might be at wielding a sword, because the principles of body usage are the same.

It's the same reasoning Ueshiba gave some dancer a 10th dan in Aikido after merely watching a performance.

Hi Ignatius - Thanks. I definitely hear you. I was meaning like ... maybe a specific thing along the lines you discuss in general. Maybe it's an impossible question over the intertube.
J