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Mike Sigman
06-17-2011, 07:59 PM
I found Mike's definition of "Jin as Balance, Body as Flexible Frame " particularly clear. It helped illustrate what he was doing in the accompanying video. Fair dues for putting this out for public consumption.

Incidentally, I found this extreme critique of me, my posture, movements, etc., and I realized that some people simply missed what I was showing and saying. Still it's probably worth talking about in relation to the point I made about jin and the flexible frame (see the blog about it; it's number [1.]):

http://rumsoakedfist.org/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=338

Qi and Strength always go hand in hand. In fact qi originally seems to be a perspective that included explanation for how strength works, in relation to everything else in the universe. I.e., "qi" or "ki" is at heart a sort of "Theory of Everything", much like the current Superstring Theory attempts to be.

Since qi is related to strength, postures affect the transfer of qi and a bad posture, when taken to extremes, can result in the idea of "no qi", which means there is no strength. There is a video clip of Chen Xiaowang explaining the idea fairly clearly... it's from his 3-part series on silk reeling, etc.

However, my comment about jin as balance was criticized for "posture" which is almost like criticizing water for being wet. I was attempting to show that jin needs no special postures or postural requirements, so the critic was probably unaware of the point of the baseline discussion. Good posture optimizes jin, but jin is dependent upon "intent" ("yi") to make the structure or "form" ("xing"). I.e., this is what "Xing Yi" is talking about... the mind developed form, or, as I put it, the force vectors that can be established in the "flexible frame".

The force within that flexible frame is "jin", or in other words, the basic force of "kokyu". Posture and position had nothing to do with what I was explaining with the wiggling postures, but it will probably take a while for people to learn the basics in the "Baseline Parameters", which are nothing more than an English and western physics description of traditional definitions.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

graham christian
06-20-2011, 10:06 AM
Hi Mike.
I'm not commenting here on internal strength from the view of let's discuss it's ins and outs for I am not qualified in it's nomenclature or theory.

What I would like to say is that when explained in simple terms people like me can actually get a better idea of what it's about and thus compare it to that degree with what we do. See what is similar and what is different. Nothing to do with agreement or disagreement.

I think lately your posts seem to do this better so well done to you.

Now correct me if I'm wrong here but just reading the latest couple of posts about jin balance and flexible frame up springs a concept of some old kung fu films. I'm not saying this as a put down but a descriptive analogy of 'Drunken Master'

Without being too technical with me how close purely descriptively would that be?

Regards.G.

Mike Sigman
06-20-2011, 11:36 AM
Without being too technical with me how close purely descriptively would that b?.Hi Graham:

"Drunken Fist" is a good question, although you should bear in mind that it's not a real traditional style and was made up more for contemporary wushu demonstrations.

All the real Asian arts, both "internal style" and "external style" are going to have jin and qi training methods. The "internal styles" are going to hook the body up to the dantien movement more than an "external styles" is going to do so, but other than that the differences between "external" and "internal" can be difficult to separate, if you just use general terms.

I think I mentioned once before (some time back) that there's a valid question whether Aikido would be termed an "internal style". There are points to be made either way.

When it comes to "internal strength", there are some areas that need to be cleared up and understood. Every style, internal and external, uses some forms of "internal strength". They all do "neigongs", which are "internal exercises".

What you're noting in Drunken Fist is that at some times (not always) in the form there will be instances when power is generated through what a neophyte would consider a "bad posture". But yes, he's using jin, so the posture is at best a secondary consideration. Some Drunken Fist practitioners will practice by leaning over backward and resting a hay bale on their chest in order to build up some of the jin strength.

Bear in mind that there are all sorts of level of understanding of jin, qi, and so on. Not everyone is doing the same things, even though to a beginner it appears to be all the same (and probably feels the same to a beginner).

The big difference between Drunken Fist and an internal art is going to be that the body controls in the internal art will always originate from the dantien.

Hope the clears up some of it.

Mike

Erick Mead
06-20-2011, 11:55 AM
Mike:

Your blogpost on these matters was a very worthwhile addition, as is the ensuing discussion on it. The functional, descriptive approach better allows most terminology and conceptual issues to fall more or less to the side. That approach seems a better way forward for others in other quarters as well -- if you ask me -- which you didn't. ;)

Thanks.

Mike Sigman
06-20-2011, 12:54 PM
Mike:

Your blogpost on these matters was a very worthwhile addition, as is the ensuing discussion on it. The functional, descriptive approach better allows most terminology and conceptual issues to fall more or less to the side. That approach seems a better way forward for others in other quarters as well -- if you ask me -- which you didn't. ;)
Well, if the basic concepts can be grasped, the words won't be so important and we can move forward without always getting involved in "word" discussions, I hope.

There are a couple of critical areas of the jin-path discussion which can lead people astray... hence I came up with the foot-in-the-door perspective of jin as a balance skill. IF someone focuses on that aspect, I think they can proceed OK; if someone prides themselves on "presenting a hard to move posture", I think they're ultimately going to screw themselves. If you do things a little wrong you can be strong, sure, but you limit your ultimate improvement. Anyway, that's the sort of thinking that went into the Baseline Parameters. And I'm always willing to discuss any point logically (not to be confused with some of the hopeless backbiting stuff that is being watched with some humor at the moment).

FWIW

Mike

Mike Sigman
07-01-2011, 09:42 AM
Bear in mind that there are all sorts of level of understanding of jin, qi, and so on. Not everyone is doing the same things, even though to a beginner it appears to be all the same (and probably feels the same to a beginner).


I've had a number of feedbacks, personally and otherwise, over the last couple of weeks and some of them are good and insightful, but a number of them simply devolve to assertively defending a preconceived position and not budging. I was pretty careful not to include any discussion in the Baseline Parameters that couldn't be defended in terms of:

1.) Traditional understanding
2.) Logical/sequenced reasoning in re physics and physiology
3.) Physical demonstration

A long time ago we used to debate these things on the old Neijia List and it was a general rule that a discussion went into "How does it work?". The vast majority of people never delve deeply into how things work so there never really go very far. A lot of people, OTOH, make up ad hoc reasons for why things work, but they never really dig beneath the surface to see if those rationales are true. Far too many just assert and attack. If someone knows something and 'knows' that it's correct, then they should have no fear of engaging in a deep level of analysis.

The long and short of what I'm suggesting is that people need to engage is base-level analysis of how I.S. skills work. The jin and flexible frame is the most critical foot-in-the-door, yet you'll find that many people simply don't get it. Some will never get it because they're invested in their "translations" and things some Joe Blow told them rotely at a workshop. That's always going to be the case; you have to be willing to step around the religious chanters and move on.

Analyse. You can't "steal this technique" unless you're smart. O'Sensei wasn't talking about kleptomania when he encouraged people to steal a technique... he was talking about being clever enough to analyse.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

JW
07-01-2011, 12:44 PM
I've had a number of feedbacks, personally and otherwise, over the last couple of weeks and some of them are good and insightful, but a number of them simply devolve to assertively defending a preconceived position and not budging.

I'm conflicted because I want people to say what they think publicly (like, post to these threads) so we can analyze and have discourse.. but at the same time, your feedback being not made public may just help us "step around the religious chanters."

Ultimately discourse is best though. If I could think of any disagreements with what you said I would post them.. but right now I am mostly trying to get my body caught up to my mental understanding-- "my brain is full" in the words of a Gary Larson character.

PhillyKiAikido
07-01-2011, 01:22 PM
Mike,

Thanks for sharing your knowledge. It's hard to discuss what you put here. I don't think there are many people here really have the knowledge of this topic to that level as you do. :o

Ting

Mike Sigman
07-01-2011, 01:26 PM
If I could think of any disagreements with what you said I would post them..

Exactly. If I make a claim or assertion I should be able to back it up. If you have a problem with something I've said, you should be able to say "I disagree with such and such, specifically" and we should be able to thrash it out down to fine details. This cuts out the use of arbitrary terms (ones that can't be explained also down to fine details) and bland assertions. The only caveat I make is that "questions" doesn't mean that every vaguely curious dabbler gets to waste everyone's time by demanding free lessons as a guise for 'debate'.

One of the big giveaways of forums that make no progress is that they don't really debate anything.... they give opinions and assertions and they never get down to a close examination of the physical mechanics. Take a look at most forums and you'll find that there is almost no depth to the discussions (I wouldn't call them "analyses"). You usually get a lot of posturing around "our style", "my teacher", "we use spirals" (or other ungrounded terms rather than clear explanations), etc. What I call "buzzword" discussions. And decades later, most of the people involved in forums like this really don't know much more than they did when they started. The point being that if people are going to progress they're going to have to delve a little deeper.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

graham christian
07-02-2011, 05:08 AM
Hi Graham:

"Drunken Fist" is a good question, although you should bear in mind that it's not a real traditional style and was made up more for contemporary wushu demonstrations.

All the real Asian arts, both "internal style" and "external style" are going to have jin and qi training methods. The "internal styles" are going to hook the body up to the dantien movement more than an "external styles" is going to do so, but other than that the differences between "external" and "internal" can be difficult to separate, if you just use general terms.

I think I mentioned once before (some time back) that there's a valid question whether Aikido would be termed an "internal style". There are points to be made either way.

When it comes to "internal strength", there are some areas that need to be cleared up and understood. Every style, internal and external, uses some forms of "internal strength". They all do "neigongs", which are "internal exercises".

What you're noting in Drunken Fist is that at some times (not always) in the form there will be instances when power is generated through what a neophyte would consider a "bad posture". But yes, he's using jin, so the posture is at best a secondary consideration. Some Drunken Fist practitioners will practice by leaning over backward and resting a hay bale on their chest in order to build up some of the jin strength.

Bear in mind that there are all sorts of level of understanding of jin, qi, and so on. Not everyone is doing the same things, even though to a beginner it appears to be all the same (and probably feels the same to a beginner).

The big difference between Drunken Fist and an internal art is going to be that the body controls in the internal art will always originate from the dantien.

Hope the clears up some of it.

Mike

Thank you Mike, good explanation.

I can relate to the kokyu analogy to jin and the Ki from centre or 'dantien'.

Regards.G.

Mike Sigman
07-02-2011, 08:50 PM
I can relate to the kokyu analogy to jin and the Ki from centre or 'dantien'.
Just as there's no difference between "qi" and "ki" (look at how many interrelations there are and you'll see that differences are impossible), there's really no difference between "kokyu" and "jin" except for the fact that the term "jin" delineates the core force and "kokyu" implies both the core force and the addition of the breath-trained strengths that augment the core force. "There are many jins but there is only one jin" (old saying).

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

graham christian
07-02-2011, 09:15 PM
Mike.
I'm going to take a shot in the dark here. I don't know you're understanding of Aikido and come to that others in Aikido may not have the same understanding I do. So I'm going to put something to you which I teach and am confident in and merely wonder if you have ever related it in a similar way. It's not anything other than curiosity.

I relate Kokyu, and thus jin, to universal love as O'Sensei put it, both internal and universal.

Thoughts?

Regards.G.

Mike Sigman
07-03-2011, 10:20 AM
Mike.
I'm going to take a shot in the dark here. I don't know you're understanding of Aikido and come to that others in Aikido may not have the same understanding I do. So I'm going to put something to you which I teach and am confident in and merely wonder if you have ever related it in a similar way. It's not anything other than curiosity.

I relate Kokyu, and thus jin, to universal love as O'Sensei put it, both internal and universal.

Thoughts?

Regards.G.Graham, let's back off the words "jin" and "kokyu" for a second and look at the word "ki" or "qi". Ki and Qi are the same thing and the boundaries of what they mean within Asian martial arts is pretty widely accepted (and has been for thousands of years). Many people have their own "understanding" and sometimes "definitions" of ki and qi, but that leaves everyone in a weird position because they're using well-understood terms in a way that confuses people in Asia, where the term comes from.

"Jin" is considered to be "the physical manifestation of qi", i.e., it is the force that you can actually feel once the qi/ki is in place. Jin is put into place using the will/intent; it has to do with the frame, etc., that I talked about in the original jin & flexible frame post.

You can really strengthen your ability to manifest that type of force by doing augmentive breathing/stretching exercises, and the term "kokyu" implies a bit about that additive breath aspect to the basic jin force, but it's a trivial distinction in terminology.

Using the basic jin or kokyu force brought into play by the intent/will, you can do things like combine with an incoming force and bring it to a halt or you can combine in such a way that the opponent's force results in being a major factor in doing him in. That is, his downfall is brought about by his attack. In order to do that I must blend my forces (you can say qi/ki, jin/kokyu generally) with the opponent's forces.... in other words, I "become one" with my opponent; I take him into myself. These are the ancient ways of describing how to use qi/ki/jin/kokyu... the idea of "blending" or "becoming one".

Is it "love" in the sense that we "love", say, a friend? Because of the translation problems and the idiomatic emphases that are unclear, I would just shrug and point to what I said in my first paragraph. If you use "kokyu" to mean universal love, you will be attributing an odd meaning to the term, given its already-established usage throughout Asia.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

graham christian
07-03-2011, 12:52 PM
Thanks Mike for your clear thoughts and explanation.

Regards.G.

tombuchanan
07-04-2011, 03:25 AM
Mike.
I'm going to take a shot in the dark here. I don't know you're understanding of Aikido and come to that others in Aikido may not have the same understanding I do. So I'm going to put something to you which I teach and am confident in and merely wonder if you have ever related it in a similar way. It's not anything other than curiosity.

I relate Kokyu, and thus jin, to universal love as O'Sensei put it, both internal and universal.

Thoughts?

Regards.G.


Am I correct in understanding that the assertion here is that..Kokyu and thus jin has a dependency on love (internal, universal)?

I would ask the follow up question -- what is the impact to an individual's physiological state when they are lacking in regards to this particular item/quality? Would not the quantity of internal tension increase, the number of blockages, etc.? Would this not interfere with an individual's ability to produce any sort of IP/IS (especially under pressure)?

Does this make "character" and "internal calm" some sort of prerequisite? Were some of those that "came before" actually on to something when they would talk about various codes of conduct?

Snooze..right??

graham christian
07-04-2011, 08:15 AM
Tom.
As this is a thread on Jin etc. I don't feel it's the right place to discuss my view further here, maybe on another spiritual thread.

Mike can answer with his own view here for he is the expert on jin and he has explained his view on kokyu/jin relationship thus we shared our different views.

In short, personally, in answer to your question I would say yes.

Regards.G.

Mike Sigman
07-04-2011, 11:58 AM
I would ask the follow up question -- what is the impact to an individual's physiological state when they are lacking in regards to this particular item/quality? Jin/kokyu skills cover a gamut (but there is only one core skill) and while they appear mysterious to an outsider they're still "skills". To people with moderate skills, higher skills can be mysterious, too. If you have good skills you can do things regardless of your love, hate, neutrality, or irrascibility. The general rule is to have no feelings whatsoever, so exuding "love" might be something extraneous, entirely. As in all other skills and disciplines, it's probably best to be a real master of the basic skills before branching out toward other tangents.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

john.burn
07-07-2011, 06:41 AM
I've given everyone in my dojo a copy of the baseline parameters now and most of the people who come along from other dojo's to have a look at this stuff (I'm no expert, let me state that up front). The feedback has been amazing, it just makes sense when they read it. We've got a guy who's just came back from trying out BJJ for the last year - he's pretty well built and he was a little freaked how we can move our bodies and still keep groundpath... Kind of blew his mind a little as he can bench press more than I weigh.

But the single most impressive thing I've gotten so far from all of this is that we have members from a few other dojo's who are coming along and we're all actively working on this together - it's an amazing feeling of co-operation between us and we all feed off each others ideas and enthusiasm. Nothing has peeked my interest in Aikido like this has, nothing has ever made me feel like a kid in a candy store in terms of all these new possibilities.

Ikeda sensei was my light-bulb moment in terms of Aikido 10 years ago when I first met him but Mike is the guy that unlocked it all and explained it away - some people seem to be worrying about the way Aikido is headed - I've never been so stoked about Aikido and it's future.

Mike Sigman
07-07-2011, 08:22 AM
some people seem to be worrying about the way Aikido is headed - I've never been so stoked about Aikido and it's future.That's great to hear, John, and it's the whole idea, really. If the Baseline Parameters are generally apparent, that's good. For the people who can't grasp them immediately (and some can't and are fairly vociferous in their opinions)... debate them out step by step at the basic mechanics. Like the old "groundpath" baseline-parameter, all of the current batch of B-P's should be pretty obvious if anyone knows anything at all and having a discussion basis should help everyone, not just the Aikido people, move forward. Hopefully.

Best.

Mike

JW
07-07-2011, 11:26 AM
Hi John- what you have described sounds ideal, and really exciting. Do you feel that you are doing "new" or "different" aikido now, or simply aikido as it always was in some sense supposed to be?

Oh, also, what did Ikeda do 10 years ago that was light bulb-ish? Was it things from the baseline parameters? (I haven't met him yet but I keep trying to think about how different people have different impressions of what he does/did.)

And, regarding love/feelings and Graham's point of view. It occured to me that there may be very interesting ways at getting at subsets of the skills Mike is talking about. Some of these ways may use certain visualizations to accomplish certain tasks, which is no surprise (because visualizations are a creative way of directing the yi, which will direct the qi). What I am realizing though is that one can employ "emotional visualizations" as much as any spatial/physical visualization.
It's another type of visualization and it could have useful impact of the state of one's qi. I could see "love" and "acceptance" and "confidence" as emotional visualizations that may affect the torso, and certainly will help one relax and allow connection to manifest into the extremities. This is a bit of speculation here.
It is a fascinating possibility.

I do recognize though that Mike is presenting the foundation for a very full understanding that allows one to operate independent of any elaborate visualizations once one has started to progress. So, although there is no immediately obvious philosophical potential here, I have found exploring these ideas in fact very enriching.

JW
07-07-2011, 11:50 AM
ps, Graham, I am not trying to talk down to your beliefs or reduce Universal Love to tension in the torso or anything like that. I do agree with a lot of the things you have said, in the grand scheme of things. I am just trying to think about physical mechanism of things that you say work, while I hobble along in exploring how to put my beliefs into physical practice.

john.burn
07-07-2011, 12:45 PM
Hi John- what you have described sounds ideal, and really exciting. Do you feel that you are doing "new" or "different" aikido now, or simply aikido as it always was in some sense supposed to be?

Oh, also, what did Ikeda do 10 years ago that was light bulb-ish? Was it things from the baseline parameters? (I haven't met him yet but I keep trying to think about how different people have different impressions of what he does/did.)

I do recognize though that Mike is presenting the foundation for a very full understanding that allows one to operate independent of any elaborate visualizations once one has started to progress. So, although there is no immediately obvious philosophical potential here, I have found exploring these ideas in fact very enriching.

Hi Jonathan,

Well, I feel that my Aikido has completely changed, or probably more accurately it's moving on and I can see where it will end up. New? Different? Yep, How it was supposed to be? Not sure, but I hope so.

The first time I met Ikeda sensei I had only ever seen UK Aikido - so let me put that in perspective - there were probably two or three main lineages I had been exposed to - via my own teacher Tom Moss (Murashige sensei via Thielemans in Belgium) and those who came from or through Abbe sensei / Chiba sensei and then some Ki Aikido etc. What struck me about Ikeda sensei was that he was doing things that no one else was doing that I had seen or felt - it wasn't muscling through, it wasn't just external technique and it certainly wasn't making me fall over by waving his arms around and throwing ki-balls at me ;). The light-bulb moment was realising that he was doing something quite unique that I'd never felt before and that it was to me, what Aikido should be and how it should feel - and that has never changed in 10 years or so despite having trained with a lot more teachers, Japanese or otherwise.

Everything that he was doing then is explained in the baseline parameters and that is not to take anything away from him - he's the gold standard in my eyes in terms of Aikido. And yes, you don't need to use any elaborate visualizations which is even better if you ask me.

sakumeikan
07-07-2011, 05:37 PM
Hi Jonathan,

Well, I feel that my Aikido has completely changed, or probably more accurately it's moving on and I can see where it will end up. New? Different? Yep, How it was supposed to be? Not sure, but I hope so.

The first time I met Ikeda sensei I had only ever seen UK Aikido - so let me put that in perspective - there were probably two or three main lineages I had been exposed to - via my own teacher Tom Moss (Murashige sensei via Thielemans in Belgium) and those who came from or through Abbe sensei / Chiba sensei and then some Ki Aikido etc. What struck me about Ikeda sensei was that he was doing things that no one else was doing that I had seen or felt - it wasn't muscling through, it wasn't just external technique and it certainly wasn't making me fall over by waving his arms around and throwing ki-balls at me ;). The light-bulb moment was realising that he was doing something quite unique that I'd never felt before and that it was to me, what Aikido should be and how it should feel - and that has never changed in 10 years or so despite having trained with a lot more teachers, Japanese or otherwise.

Everything that he was doing then is explained in the baseline parameters and that is not to take anything away from him - he's the gold standard in my eyes in terms of Aikido. And yes, you don't need to use any elaborate visualizations which is even better if you ask me.
Dear John,
Not having met Ikeda Sensei I cannot comment on his standard of Aikido or how he applies his waza.However in my opinion and personal experience over a fairly long aikido career
I have seen many aikidoka who I consider to exhibit excellent aikido skills which I think can be attributed to what you call i/s.i/p
skills.I hope we may have an opportunity to discuss this sometime.Another point of course if this aspect encourages people to get together to research new/renewed methods thats a positive step in my book, Cheers, Joe.

john.burn
07-08-2011, 05:42 AM
Dear John,
Not having met Ikeda Sensei I cannot comment on his standard of Aikido or how he applies his waza.However in my opinion and personal experience over a fairly long aikido career
I have seen many aikidoka who I consider to exhibit excellent aikido skills which I think can be attributed to what you call i/s.i/p
skills.I hope we may have an opportunity to discuss this sometime.Another point of course if this aspect encourages people to get together to research new/renewed methods thats a positive step in my book, Cheers, Joe.

Hi Joe,

Well, [shamless plug] Ikeda sensei is here April 20-22 next year [end of shameless plug, details on my website].

I agree a number of other teachers may well have these skills but I had not encountered them at the time I met Ikeda sensei which is why it was such an eye opener. Sadly many of the teachers who seemed to exhibit these things have long since passed on - Yamaguchi sensei etc.

As for this encouraging people to get together then absolutely - it sure does. I had to very big guys come along last night and they'll both be starting next week. The thing they asked about more than the 'external aikido' stuff? It would be those baseline parameters - they were very intrigued, slightly skeptical and after a quick push were dying to come back to start, in short, I managed to get two guys, both somewhere north of 15 / 16 stone very intrigued without having to do the usual Aikido type intro for them. The exact thing I did was jin & flexible frame as per the name of this thread.

I look forward to meeting you on or off the mat again sometime :).