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Mirubiri
05-14-2012, 06:24 PM
I am currently developing and testing a way to explain how I keep my center in my practice. People that have heard my explanation likes it and find it useful for his practice so i'd like to share it with you for talk about it. (I don't know if it exist and if so, please point me where to study it!!)

The mental image I'm using for this is as follows:

Imagine that you have a half-sphere filled with liquid at the place where the hara is said to be placed.
Your mission is to move your whole body in any way that you think that can makes the liquid surface to vibrate as little as possible to avoid spilling it on the floor.
Remember the experience of walking while carrying a glass full of water in our hands and how our whole body moves in order to prevent the spilling when someone step on us.

I think this mental image is useful for training several things at once:

1. To keep the body as straight as possible to avoid the water being spilled easily.
2. To deflect or absorb and integrate the uke attacks in our body without colliding. A collision makes our water vibrate and spilled on the floor.
3. To reach uke attacks an no waiting for him to come. Is easy to mantain the liquid calm if we contact uke as soon as posible where we want to be.
4. To connect to uke. I way of keep the water in place is to maintain unity with uke to sense his movements and react to keep the water in calm.
5. To avoid making extra movement when we receive uke's attack. by moving more than necessary we add more vibration to our water surface an increase the risk of spilling
6 ...

In Spain it is a little late to continue writing, i will continue tomorrow if you are interested on this. Sorry if my english is not good enought i will try to improve.

Any thoughts or comments will be appreciated.

lbb
05-15-2012, 07:55 AM
It's a good metaphor. It might be useful if you combine it with the exercise of having people walk carrying a container of water -- something bigger than a glass of water. It's a good way to really become aware of unevenness in your gait, tension in your body (which translates to the water -- I think it's possible to be "centered", in a sense at least, and also so tense that you're effectively frozen in place, because you can't move smoothly). I like it because it demystifies some terminology that, IMO, often acts as an "emperor's suit of clothes", such as "connect with uke" (which, whatever their mystical/ethereal dimensions, have a physical basis and need to be understood as such). Fun to try, anyway, and see what happens.

Mirubiri
05-15-2012, 08:29 AM
It's a good metaphor. It might be useful if you combine it with the exercise of having people walk carrying a container of water -- something bigger than a glass of water.

Yes. For me is like imagining having a semi-sphere of the size of your waist, inside you. You can play with that imagining diferent kind of liquids like oil (more difficult to spill with little vibrations), water (easyli spllled), etc.. to adjust it to your skill level. The point is trying to keep the liquid inside and the less vibrating you can.

I'm actually playing with the size an position of that imaginary semi-sphere, For example im studying how i react when i imaging having it on muy hand while uke is grabbing my wrist. I usually find easy to move freely, bending arm and walking without letting uke to displace the position of my wrist and maintaining connection.


It's a good way to really become aware of unevenness in your gait, tension in your body (which translates to the water -- I think it's possible to be "centered", in a sense at least, and also so tense that you're effectively frozen in place, because you can't move smoothly).

Agree, You have to be smooth in your movements and well grounded and with a kind of active-relaxation (the more relaxed the more options to avoid spilling moving your body and beter sense of uke actions)


I like it because it demystifies some terminology that, IMO, often acts as an "emperor's suit of clothes", such as "connect with uke" (which, whatever their mystical/ethereal dimensions, have a physical basis and need to be understood as such). Fun to try, anyway, and see what happens.

I'm glad you like it. Tell me if you try!. I would like to hear your experiences!. I really do need to know other experiences to improve this kind of "tool".

Thanks for your answer!

Walter Martindale
05-15-2012, 09:33 AM
Stuart McGill - The Ultimate Back. backfitpro.com
His DVDs on how to strengthen and stiffen the core for making best use of the body structures.
It's not "aikido specific" - it's high performance sports specific - where there's money riding on whether the (name sport here)"ist" gets it right.

lbb
05-15-2012, 12:50 PM
Yes. For me is like imagining having a semi-sphere of the size of your waist, inside you. You can play with that imagining diferent kind of liquids like oil (more difficult to spill with little vibrations), water (easyli spllled), etc.. to adjust it to your skill level. The point is trying to keep the liquid inside and the less vibrating you can.

Sure, but why stop at imagining? I think it would be worthwhile to actually carry the liquid. Otherwise, I can see a person with illusions about their "centeredness" (or whatever) imagining their imaginary liquid being perfectly still. A real liquid won't conform to your imagination; it will only answer the laws of physics.

hughrbeyer
05-15-2012, 01:15 PM
This image was used when I started Tomiki Aikido as an aid in proper movement for the basic movement exercises--the pelvis as a bowl of water, move like you don't want to spill it.

Mirubiri
05-15-2012, 01:51 PM
This image was used when I started Tomiki Aikido as an aid in proper movement for the basic movement exercises--the pelvis as a bowl of water, move like you don't want to spill it.

And was it a good influence for your practice?. Do you actually use other mental images?

Mirubiri
05-15-2012, 01:53 PM
Sure, but why stop at imagining? I think it would be worthwhile to actually carry the liquid. Otherwise, I can see a person with illusions about their "centeredness" (or whatever) imagining their imaginary liquid being perfectly still. A real liquid won't conform to your imagination; it will only answer the laws of physics.

yes, it would be a good summer fresh practice!

phitruong
05-15-2012, 03:05 PM
posted a description of an exercise last year http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=272913&postcount=34 it really is a centering exercise, at least at the beginning. the thing about this exercise is you don't have to imagining things. me, i don't care for imagining things, because i imagine i won a lottery, but it has not happen so far. wonder if i should buy a ticket though.

hughrbeyer
05-15-2012, 03:07 PM
It wasn't a bad image, but it was tremendously limited, like learning the alphabet without knowing what sounds the letters make or how to form them into words.

Mirubiri
05-15-2012, 03:34 PM
posted a description of an exercise last year http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=272913&postcount=34 it really is a centering exercise, at least at the beginning. the thing about this exercise is you don't have to imagining things. me, i don't care for imagining things, because i imagine i won a lottery, but it has not happen so far. wonder if i should buy a ticket though.

I have read your post and that is exactly what i have developed with this kind of water imagery. I feel presure on my foots trough my spine from the point of contact creating that kind of "paths". Perhaps im doing more things than those im trying to explain with this exercise.

I have a question unresolved about that. When i have that path created from a wrist grab (by ex), I move my center trying not loosing that path and the presure on my partners hand increases. Im trying to avoid that pressure but I donīt have any clues of how to do it.

I'm reading some of your post and are interesting. I will keep reading you!.

Chris Parkerson
05-15-2012, 08:22 PM
Sure, but why stop at imagining? I think it would be worthwhile to actually carry the liquid. Otherwise, I can see a person with illusions about their "centeredness" (or whatever) imagining their imaginary liquid being perfectly still. A real liquid won't conform to your imagination; it will only answer the laws of physics.

In my early martial training, I got a 4 foot rope with a 10 pound weight attached to the end. The other end of the rope was attached inside a 6 inch long PVC pipe. That was my handle. I would twirl the weight around me using my ankles, knees, and waist. Minimum use of shoulders and arms.

I kept my center stable as the forces pulled me in all directions.

phitruong
05-16-2012, 08:45 AM
I have a question unresolved about that. When i have that path created from a wrist grab (by ex), I move my center trying not loosing that path and the presure on my partners hand increases. Im trying to avoid that pressure but I donīt have any clues of how to do it.
.

you don't have what Ikeda sensei called "Unity", i.e. you and your partner becomes one unit. there are three pieces that Ikeda sensei normally mentioned: connected, unity, move your inside. they are in that order. see if you can connect to your partner spine. do not struggle at the connection point which most folks tend to do.

phitruong
05-16-2012, 09:09 AM
In my early martial training, I got a 4 foot rope with a 10 pound weight attached to the end. The other end of the rope was attached inside a 6 inch long PVC pipe. That was my handle. I would twirl the weight around me using my ankles, knees, and waist. Minimum use of shoulders and arms.

I kept my center stable as the forces pulled me in all directions.

you didn't try to hang that on your other body part, like them shaolin monks did you? :D

Mirubiri
05-16-2012, 09:13 AM
you don't have what Ikeda sensei called "Unity", i.e. you and your partner becomes one unit. there are three pieces that Ikeda sensei normally mentioned: connected, unity, move your inside. they are in that order. see if you can connect to your partner spine. do not struggle at the connection point which most folks tend to do.

What is the difference among connected and unity?

Im often feeling something like extending my ŋbalance? Like it were running throught my feet and from the inside of my arm and then to my partners shoulder. is that connection?. Sometimes, and dont ask me how, i manage to full unbalance my partner wit a little twist from my shoulder but i dont know how to move him in any directiob without increasing pressure. Any idea to practice?

phitruong
05-16-2012, 10:28 AM
What is the difference among connected and unity?

Im often feeling something like extending my ŋbalance? Like it were running throught my feet and from the inside of my arm and then to my partners shoulder. is that connection?. Sometimes, and dont ask me how, i manage to full unbalance my partner wit a little twist from my shoulder but i dont know how to move him in any directiob without increasing pressure. Any idea to practice?

you can read the discussion of connection and unity here http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19184&page=6 starting with post # 136.

I can't really tell what you are doing so it would hard to say. a few minutes of hand-on time would fix things. IHTBF. when you start to work on this, you have to do it light and work up. it will take time for your body to change. i mentioned somewhere that it took me two years to get my body to change enough for me to feel it, and longer to be able to use it. there are a number of folks over there that work on these stuffs that could help to give you the right feedback.

Mirubiri
05-16-2012, 03:56 PM
you can read the discussion of connection and unity here http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19184&page=6 starting with post # 136.

I can't really tell what you are doing so it would hard to say. a few minutes of hand-on time would fix things. IHTBF. when you start to work on this, you have to do it light and work up. it will take time for your body to change. i mentioned somewhere that it took me two years to get my body to change enough for me to feel it, and longer to be able to use it. there are a number of folks over there that work on these stuffs that could help to give you the right feedback.

I have read the entire post you linked up and the "moving your inside" thread. (missing yet the explanation of the for legged "put animal here").

I think i manage to get some sort of that you call unity. In one of your comments you said that when you sense uke you have unity. Im able to feel throught a contact point; the tense up parts of uke's body, how his structure reorganizes when he react to my movements, where uke's balance is heavy loaded, his tiredness or degree of commitment. However Im not able to take advantage of this "unity" and manipulate it correctly without some degree of disconnection when I start a movement. I have a bad feeling on this, is like having something near but something with you cannot play and enjoy.

I started to feel that two years ago and its weird, it feels like kind of holding a big snake with one hand in the air and trying to keep it vertical in place absorbing its waves by constantly adjusting your body to avoid him scape or bite your head, but not being able to put it in a bag! :D

Chris Parkerson
05-16-2012, 04:02 PM
you didn't try to hang that on your other body part, like them shaolin monks did you? :D

Actually I did do dit bu Sam in my early years. It makes for some powerful core strength and flexibility.
Make sure to use silk to tie those weights. And breath slowly or you'll be hurt.

More practical were the "human resistance" exercises. But you need to get beyond the sime pushing against erect postures (standing or seiza)

The upper torso needs to be developed as if there were a "springiness" in the spine.
The pelvic girdle is the base, the thoracic and lumbR vertebrae are the spring. If pushed in any direction, the base remains (single weighted as much as possible) and the back muscles literally spring backward (suck-in opponent) and then back at the opponent (spit-out).

We used to do this starting with 1 dimensions (depth) and then all 3 dimensions. Finally, in push hands, the receiver only defends while the attacker is mobile, trying to push him at any and all angles. The defender ultimTely has to change stances a bit but the less he changes stance, the more he learns to use this flexible torso to guard his center.

Chris Parkerson
05-16-2012, 04:05 PM
By the way, Tenkan happens via all six sides of the dice in this practice - Tenkan without stance change.

phitruong
05-16-2012, 08:27 PM
I have read the entire post you linked up and the "moving your inside" thread. (missing yet the explanation of the for legged "put animal here").

I think i manage to get some sort of that you call unity. In one of your comments you said that when you sense uke you have unity. Im able to feel throught a contact point; the tense up parts of uke's body, how his structure reorganizes when he react to my movements, where uke's balance is heavy loaded, his tiredness or degree of commitment. However Im not able to take advantage of this "unity" and manipulate it correctly without some degree of disconnection when I start a movement. I have a bad feeling on this, is like having something near but something with you cannot play and enjoy.


four-legged animal. it's a terminology i got from mike sigman. you and your partner when fully connected becomes a four-legged animal with whoever better at it will becomes the head section where you control the movement of the entire animal. sounded like you are not really connected or you are trying to overpower the connection. it has to be very subtle. don't know if you have seen Ikeda sensei or not. his approach is all about subtlety, not overpowering.

here is what i called the Ikeda 3-steps approach. you want your partner to move to the right.
1. push slightly to the right
2. then in toward your partner
3. then again to the right
so it's right-in-right and repeat in small increment. once you get used to that, then it will be just one step. however, methink, that you need to work on the internal connectivity more. i believed one of dan's mantra "aiki in me before aiki in you" and sigman has similar statement involved jin. you are trying to do the "aiki in you" portion.

phitruong
05-16-2012, 08:35 PM
Actually I did do dit bu Sam in my early years. It makes for some powerful core strength and flexibility.
Make sure to use silk to tie those weights. And breath slowly or you'll be hurt.



you meant you were working on being well hung? sheesh! i thought those monks were the ones who had inferiority complex, although i don't know why, since they took vow of celebrate. :D

Chris Parkerson
05-16-2012, 09:14 PM
you meant you were working on being well hung? sheesh! i thought those monks were the ones who had inferiority complex, although i don't know why, since they took vow of celebrate. :D

I love the Fruedian slip. Vow of celebrate. That reminds me of Ikkyu's red thread poems.

Mirubiri
05-17-2012, 05:36 AM
...it has to be very subtle. don't know if you have seen Ikeda sensei or not. his approach is all about subtlety, not overpowering.

I have seen Ikeda sensei but I havenīt been in any of his seminars. I will try to go to France where he is teaching a one week seminar.


here is what i called the Ikeda 3-steps approach. you want your partner to move to the right.
1. push slightly to the right
2. then in toward your partner
3. then again to the right
so it's right-in-right and repeat in small increment. once you get used to that, then it will be just one step. however, methink, that you need to work on the internal connectivity more. i believed one of dan's mantra "aiki in me before aiki in you" and sigman has similar statement involved jin. you are trying to do the "aiki in you" portion.

I will try those steps. I'm doing something similar but in another order i think but i will try yours.
What i do is trying to maintain the forward into my partner and at the same time push to the right without losing that forward. My forces go as an "L" (if you imagine you are watching us from the ceiling) and our connection point is where the two segments of the letter joins. By doing this i often feel a kind of "/" resultant direction where uke usually falls with his body alone.

Mirubiri
05-17-2012, 05:37 AM
Oh Phi, I miss something, who is dan's?

phitruong
05-17-2012, 07:15 AM
I will try those steps. I'm doing something similar but in another order i think but i will try yours.
What i do is trying to maintain the forward into my partner and at the same time push to the right without losing that forward. My forces go as an "L" (if you imagine you are watching us from the ceiling) and our connection point is where the two segments of the letter joins. By doing this i often feel a kind of "/" resultant direction where uke usually falls with his body alone.

the pressure at the connection shouldn't change. if it does then you either lost the ground path to the connection point and/or you are shearing the connection. one other thing, make the other person arm your own, i.e. the connection point is your elbow and the other person shoulder is your hand.

dan = dan harden

Mirubiri
05-17-2012, 07:43 AM
the pressure at the connection shouldn't change. if it does then you either lost the ground path to the connection point and/or you are shearing the connection. one other thing, make the other person arm your own, i.e. the connection point is your elbow and the other person shoulder is your hand.

dan = dan harden

Phi, that the pressure shouldn't change doesn't mean that is no pressure at all, right?. Im saying this because uke sometimes grab and make contact towards me and others only grabs and waits (incorrectly i think, but it is an option for him), so i have to create some initial presure from my feet to grabbing point to change his behaviour. If i have understand your correctly you shouldīt change (or better, you must try to keep) the initial pressure once you have unity trought it when moving, right?.

I will try make other points as connection point instead the place where im grabbed and see what happens. Thanks for the advice.

Another question:

Do you know what are those "neutral points" wich saotome sensei and ikeda sensei talk about. I have seen him explaining in some dvd but not in detail.

phitruong
05-17-2012, 08:55 AM
Phi, that the pressure shouldn't change doesn't mean that is no pressure at all, right?. Im saying this because uke sometimes grab and make contact towards me and others only grabs and waits (incorrectly i think, but it is an option for him), so i have to create some initial presure from my feet to grabbing point to change his behaviour. If i have understand your correctly you shouldīt change (or better, you must try to keep) the initial pressure once you have unity trought it when moving, right?.


initial pressure shouldn't change. when uke pushed to you, then uke closed the gap, i.e. provide a better connection to you. if uke only grabbed then you have to move in to create a good connection. Ikeda sensei called it "no space", solid connection between you and uke, i.e. no slack.


Do you know what are those "neutral points" wich saotome sensei and ikeda sensei talk about. I have seen him explaining in some dvd but not in detail.

it's the connection point, i.e. where you and uke touched. it supposed to be force neutral point. when you bring the ground to the connection point, that point should be force neutral.

Chris Parkerson
05-17-2012, 11:05 AM
Force neutral is really the key. Where do you create momentum/force from?
From relaxing and letting gravity do it. Thus the criptism "weight underside".

Unbendable arm is also key. But is often misunderstood. Consider this diagram.
If you have a vertical structure with a welded pole near it's top and pointing downward at 30 degrees.
If the structure drops downward, the pole also pushes through anything that resists it.

The bottom of the pole is a force neutral point. The dropping of the underside of the structure creates the momentum and the mass yields force.

Bit dropping like this can be efficient only if you drop straight downward ( not at angles). Angles occur as our legs prevent us from dropping straight down. We get in the way of gravity and prevent momentum from occurring. That is another key issue.

Chris Parkerson
05-17-2012, 11:23 AM
The "weld" at the connection between the structure and the pole cannot give way.
When translating this model into human terms, the weld is our "force neutral" shoulder. If you use muscle to keep the shoulder from collapsing, it is not force neutral.

Relaxation of the shoulder is also key. Here is a mental image that has worked for me.
If I am standing erect and pretend I am holding two 80 pound dumbbells, my shoulder site back and low in their sockets. Any forward positioning in the socket is muscle tension and interferes with "force neutral."

Mirubiri
05-17-2012, 03:57 PM
Force neutral is really the key. Where do you create momentum/force from?
From relaxing and letting gravity do it. Thus the criptism "weight underside".

Agree. I do so when grabbed. The feeling is like letting go the pressure from your feet and putting it where you are grabbed (I donīt know if the "where" is correct), is like having your hips floating around while playing with the contact point. Where i have a hard time is trying to guide my "floating hips" where i want to be in that situation.


Unbendable arm is also key. But is often misunderstood. Consider this diagram.
If you have a vertical structure with a welded pole near it's top and pointing downward at 30 degrees.
If the structure drops downward, the pole also pushes through anything that resists it.

The bottom of the pole is a force neutral point. The dropping of the underside of the structure creates the momentum and the mass yields force.

Bit dropping like this can be efficient only if you drop straight downward ( not at angles). Angles occur as our legs prevent us from dropping straight down. We get in the way of gravity and prevent momentum from occurring. That is another key issue.[/QUOTE]

Totally agree for me i'm experiencing what you are saying.

The "weld" at the connection between the structure and the pole cannot give way.
When translating this model into human terms, the weld is our "force neutral" shoulder. If you use muscle to keep the shoulder from collapsing, it is not force neutral.

Relaxation of the shoulder is also key. Here is a mental image that has worked for me.
If I am standing erect and pretend I am holding two 80 pound dumbbells, my shoulder site back and low in their sockets. Any forward positioning in the socket is muscle tension and interferes with "force neutral."

I have a relationship of love&hate with the words "relaxation" and "tension".

1. When you say relaxation, people interprets it as loosen his articulations and letting it without any control.

2. When you say "tension" or "muscular force" or "force neutral", people tries to go to (1) "then you have a shoulder-weld with a hinge that cannot control or transmit anything.

I think we need another word to express the kind of state we must have in our body for doing aikido effectively.

I think that i have identify three states; relaxation, tension and muscular power and for me those means:

Relaxation: Having your articulations totally free and loosen. For me this is the opossite of tension and a bad thing

Tension: Having your muscles tense withouth generating any movement of your articulations and thus locking it. For me this is the opposite of relaxation, bad thing too.

Muscular power: Using only the needed muscles in a movement to create or maintaing extension while grabbed or not, this situation lets you to move your articulations to respond to uke's changes. This is what im doing actually if i manage to.

Any thoughts on that?.

hughrbeyer
05-17-2012, 04:18 PM
I agree with you on the problems with the term "relax" but if you use "muscular power" the way you propose nobody else in the universe is going to understand you.

Furthermore, everybody who talks about this stuff talks about getting away from muscular power--the quality of movement you are looking for does not feel like using muscles, it feels like dropping muscular force, like you're not doing anything with your muscles.

The tai chi people talk about "softening" the joints instead of relaxing. I find that a useful image--if the joint is soft, it's pliable and flexible--probably not tense or rigid. And I can always work on getting it softer.

Mirubiri
05-17-2012, 04:34 PM
I agree with you on the problems with the term "relax" but if you use "muscular power" the way you propose nobody else in the universe is going to understand you.


You are right "muscular power" is not a good term without further explanation. Im trying to find a clearer wording for this. I usually explain it as pushing a rubber band from the inside wich have the other extreme attached/nailed trought your shoulder and to the spine without fully extending your arm (to avoid joint elbow lock and moving shoulder blades tu extend or contract)


Furthermore, everybody who talks about this stuff talks about getting away from muscular power--the quality of movement you are looking for does not feel like using muscles, it feels like dropping muscular force, like you're not doing anything with your muscles.

But reality is that you are using muscles (only necessary), and this confuses almost everybody.


The tai chi people talk about "softening" the joints instead of relaxing. I find that a useful image--if the joint is soft, it's pliable and flexible--probably not tense or rigid. And I can always work on getting it softer.

MMMM, you give me a good idea. Soft the rubber band but dont let it to reach his initial state!!!!

Chris Parkerson
05-17-2012, 10:13 PM
The image of rubber bands is a very useful on for me. For a while I was way too yin; thinking relaxation was like being jelly armed. Then I made a study of bone alignments and how tendons work.

When both flexors and extensors are balanced, bone alignment happens with neither muscle nor tendon working against the balance. This is often cryptically called "non-contention".

If the whole skeletal structure is balanced that way, small flexion and extension movements of the various joints, beginning with the bottom of the feet (metatarsals and plantars) work in sequence and momentum builds. As the saying goes "Good Kung Fu begins at the bottom of the feet, goes through the knees, is directed by the hips and culminates in the hands."

This cumative pattern has been described as a snake traveling through your frame.

It so can be applied in aiki throws simply because force and momentus are at play via long leverage.
A touch, a push, a punch. It is all the same from my experience. Just a question of velocity and intent.

If the leverage is short, uke feels it. If the leverage is long... (The Master's touch is lite as a feather and heavy as a mountain.)

Mirubiri
05-18-2012, 05:39 PM
The image of rubber bands is a very useful on for me. For a while I was way too yin; thinking relaxation was like being jelly armed. Then I made a study of bone alignments and how tendons work....

It is encouraging to know that things that I have "discovered" on my own personal training are being used for years. For me it is the best confirmation that a person may have to know that he is on track.