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Conrad Gus
01-14-2013, 12:12 AM
I couldn't resist grabbing the first post in the new ghetto -- ahem -- forum. This is a serious post.

For fun, I managed to get some lessons with a respected bagua teacher over the last two Sundays. What is really surprising me is how sophisticated the ground awareness is in even the most basic practice taught to beginners. I have always tried to maintain an awareness of my feet connected to the ground in aikido, but the details that I was challenged to perceive and control were on another level.

As a newbie to bagua, I can't really predict what it will do with my aikido practice, but it would impossible to not bring the feeling into the way I do aikido techniques and exercises. The assertion from bagua is that by concentrating on and steadfastly developing the lower part of your body (knees on down) it is possible to develop significant improvement in internal strength. To be clear, it's not just developing an awareness, but an ability.

Some detail on the basic practice is available here (http://maguibagua.ca/fundamental_skills/1_circle-walking_basics.html).

Are there any other aikido people that have experimented with this kind of internal training? I would love to hear your experiences.

Chris Li
01-14-2013, 01:03 AM
I couldn't resist grabbing the first post in the new ghetto -- ahem -- forum. This is a serious post.

For fun, I managed to get some lessons with a respected bagua teacher over the last two Sundays. What is really surprising me is how sophisticated the ground awareness is in even the most basic practice taught to beginners. I have always tried to maintain an awareness of my feet connected to the ground in aikido, but the details that I was challenged to perceive and control were on another level.

As a newbie to bagua, I can't really predict what it will do with my aikido practice, but it would impossible to not bring the feeling into the way I do aikido techniques and exercises. The assertion from bagua is that by concentrating on and steadfastly developing the lower part of your body (knees on down) it is possible to develop significant improvement in internal strength. To be clear, it's not just developing an awareness, but an ability.

Some detail on the basic practice is available here (http://maguibagua.ca/fundamental_skills/1_circle-walking_basics.html).

Are there any other aikido people that have experimented with this kind of internal training? I would love to hear your experiences.

Bagua specifically? Never, although working with the ground is pretty basic in a lot of Chinese arts. There are various kinds of standing practices which can help a lot with getting the ground path - and the more you get it the easier it is to feel when other people don't have it (which is quite common). My experience has been that it's not that hard to get the basic sensation, but of course things tend to fall apart when things get moving - it takes some time. :)

Shioda talked about it a lot, and quite clearly, as in "In order to generate Kokyu you must stand as if you are making your big toe sink into the surface of the ground." - he often spoke about the importance of bringing power from the ground. There's a video clip somewhere where he says it straight out, hesitates, and then changes the subject. ;)

Ueshiba spoke about it in very classical Chinese terms, Heaven, Earth and Man. The basic model, using the same terms that Chinese arts to describe power from the ground, in the same contexts.

Daito-ryu folks talk about it too, as Keisetsu Yoshimaru points out in this article (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2012-12-30/yukiyoshi-sagawa-on-bujutsu-and-ki-ryoku), so I guess we know how it got to Ueshiba.

Yukiyoshi Sagawa, of course, thought that building the lower body and the legs particularly was important.

I've heard two of the senior Japanese students of Seigo Yamaguchi talk about the importance of keeping your intent on the bottom of your feet, for the same reasons.

But...here's an interesting story as kind of a thought experiment:

Mayor General Masatoshi Matsunaga asked Sokaku Takeda at a seminar "Is Aiki possible if there is nothing (like the ground, or the floor) supporting your body?".

Takeda has 5 or 6 soldiers lift him on their shoulders - you've probably seen similar demonstrations, this is the one where the people lifting all collapse and end up pinned. in the case of this story, the person on the body apparently ended up fainting.

So...the ground power is an important thing, but not the only thing. Of course, it's still nothing to sneeze at. :D

Best,

Chris

Michael Varin
01-14-2013, 02:50 AM
But...here's an interesting story as kind of a thought experiment:

Mayor General Masatoshi Matsunaga asked Sokaku Takeda at a seminar "Is Aiki possible if there is nothing (like the ground, or the floor) supporting your body?".

Takeda has 5 or 6 soldiers lift him on their shoulders - you've probably seen similar demonstrations, this is the one where the people lifting all collapse and end up pinned. in the case of this story, the person on the body apparently ended up fainting.

Yeah. . .

I don't believe it.

Not without some sort of collusion, conscious or unconscious.

Chris, what do you think would be occurring in such a situation?

gregstec
01-14-2013, 08:23 AM
Bagua specifically? Never, although working with the ground is pretty basic in a lot of Chinese arts. There are various kinds of standing practices which can help a lot with getting the ground path - and the more you get it the easier it is to feel when other people don't have it (which is quite common). My experience has been that it's not that hard to get the basic sensation, but of course things tend to fall apart when things get moving - it takes some time. :)

Shioda talked about it a lot, and quite clearly, as in "In order to generate Kokyu you must stand as if you are making your big toe sink into the surface of the ground." - he often spoke about the importance of bringing power from the ground. There's a video clip somewhere where he says it straight out, hesitates, and then changes the subject. ;)

Ueshiba spoke about it in very classical Chinese terms, Heaven, Earth and Man. The basic model, using the same terms that Chinese arts to describe power from the ground, in the same contexts.

Daito-ryu folks talk about it too, as Keisetsu Yoshimaru points out in this article (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2012-12-30/yukiyoshi-sagawa-on-bujutsu-and-ki-ryoku), so I guess we know how it got to Ueshiba.

Yukiyoshi Sagawa, of course, thought that building the lower body and the legs particularly was important.

I've heard two of the senior Japanese students of Seigo Yamaguchi talk about the importance of keeping your intent on the bottom of your feet, for the same reasons.

But...here's an interesting story as kind of a thought experiment:

Mayor General Masatoshi Matsunaga asked Sokaku Takeda at a seminar "Is Aiki possible if there is nothing (like the ground, or the floor) supporting your body?".

Takeda has 5 or 6 soldiers lift him on their shoulders - you've probably seen similar demonstrations, this is the one where the people lifting all collapse and end up pinned. in the case of this story, the person on the body apparently ended up fainting.

So...the ground power is an important thing, but not the only thing. Of course, it's still nothing to sneeze at. :D

Best,

Chris

Core to aiki is Heaven/Earth/Man where there is up energy from the ground, down energy from gravity, and with man manipulating those forces is some fashion - in the above example there are all three components; but maybe not in the normal relationship you would imagine :)

Greg

Cady Goldfield
01-14-2013, 09:07 AM
I have met a number of aikido people who are currently incorporating the internal work of I Liq Chuan, which stresses the concept of power from the ground. Students start working with that from the get-go, and learn how to manage it through the kuas (don't know the Japanese term for "kua"), tanden and meimon.
If I am not mistaken, I Liq Chuan has an ancestral connection to a version of Bagua/Pakua.

Chris Li
01-14-2013, 09:23 AM
Yeah. . .

I don't believe it.

Not without some sort of collusion, conscious or unconscious.

Chris, what do you think would be occurring in such a situation?

This talk about the ground reminded me of Matsunaga's question.

It's one of those things that's done, IMO, because it looks good for demonstrations, and because it shows something specific (nothing wrong with with that). I wouldn't take it for a practical combat method, but that doesn't mean that it's "fake" either.

Anyway, he's showing (IMO) what happens when forces come into contact with a body conditioned for Aiki, and a somewhat more sophisticated relationship with the ground.

Cady - IIRC correctly the connection between ILC (which comes mostly from Southern arts) and Bagua (which is more of a Northern art) is kind of hazy, one of those things that may or may not have happened.

Best,

Chris

Cady Goldfield
01-14-2013, 10:57 AM
Thanks, Chris. Even the ILC "bio" states that its history is cryptic. :)
Check out the ninth post, in particular, on this thread on Rum Soaked Fist:
http://rumsoakedfist.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=12702

That's probably about as much as is known about a bagua connection.

Budd
01-14-2013, 11:59 AM
Some of the very basic tai sabaki in aikido are great methods for practicing the fundamentals of "ground awareness" if you have been shown how to train the ground/gravity/you components (there's more considerations, but those are important to start with).

For example - in funekogi undo, how you are opening and closing your body, how purely you have a connection inside your body from the feet through the fingers (and up out the top of your head, for that matter), how you manage the external forces acting on you (ground/gravity) as you move through the shape of the exercise - these will all impact 1) How you express these considerations as you move 2) How you feel to someone else when they touch you.

I've recently started to look at irimi-tenkan with renewed interest from a training/expression perspective and there's some interesting stuff there. But that said, I think you have to understand how the very basics work before you can get the benefit of doing them through an aikido form or technique.

Conrad Gus
01-14-2013, 12:07 PM
Shioda talked about it a lot, and quite clearly, as in "In order to generate Kokyu you must stand as if you are making your big toe sink into the surface of the ground." - he often spoke about the importance of bringing power from the ground. There's a video clip somewhere where he says it straight out, hesitates, and then changes the subject. ;)


I was lucky enough to get the "big toe" instruction right at the beginning of my aikido training and it became the default. This was different. The instruction for bagua was to make a connection right from the end of your leg, as if your leg bone was rooting into the ground. The whole foot is placed as a unit, and the front part of the food has a "sticking" or "grabbing" feel to it. Of course the toes and the heels are connected as well, but the primary intention goes to the middle of the foot and grabbing part at the metatarsus (could be wrong on the terminology - I'm not a kinesiologist or an art student). ;)

Bernd Lehnen
01-14-2013, 12:08 PM
Hello Chris,
It's one of those things that's done, IMO, because it looks good for demonstrations, and because it shows something specific (nothing wrong with with that). I wouldn't take it for a practical combat method, but that doesn't mean that it's "fake" either.

Anyway, he's showing (IMO) what happens when forces come into contact with a body conditioned for Aiki, and a somewhat more sophisticated relationship with the ground.



May be, here we can trace all the difference between what can be achieved by Tohei's Ki method (more linear, as I understand it) and S.Takeda's or Sagawa's body-education method with spiralling, whatever this may be. Anyway, I suppose Tohei wouldn't have been able to do that. I've seen him resisting several people pushing in a line but not doing this. And although there exists a video where Tokimune Takeda did apparently demonstrate this with his disciples, here some vague doubts creep in….

Could you or perhaps anyone else, please, correct me or elaborate on this?

More than curious,
Bernd

Chris Li
01-14-2013, 12:14 PM
Hello Chris,

May be, here we can trace all the difference between what can be achieved by Tohei's Ki method (more linear, as I understand it) and S.Takeda's or Sagawa's body-education method with spiralling, whatever this may be. Anyway, I suppose Tohei wouldn't have been able to do that. I've seen him resisting several people pushing in a line but not doing this. And although there exists a video where Tokimune Takeda did apparently demonstrate this with his disciples, here some vague doubts creep in….

Could you or perhaps anyone else, please, correct me or elaborate on this?

More than curious,
Bernd

An interesting note here is that Kenji Tomiki is known to have given the same demonstration...

Best,

Chris

Bernd Lehnen
01-14-2013, 01:09 PM
An interesting note here is that Kenji Tomiki is known to have given the same demonstration...

Best,

Chris

Well, I don’t doubt that it’s possible. It’s rather about whether you can do it, because your body has been trained the right way and your supporters can’t but go down with you on top or whether you have to resort on “cheap tricks” or at least have to create the right settings before you are able to accomplish this.
If you and your supporters have agreed they won’t let go and you can one of them get to fall down, for example, the others might follow up (down) quite easily. But that’s not what I am at here.

Best
Bernd

Mert Gambito
01-14-2013, 01:26 PM
Thanks, Chris. Even the ILC "bio" states that its history is cryptic. :)
Check out the ninth post, in particular, on this thread on Rum Soaked Fist:
http://rumsoakedfist.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=12702

That's probably about as much as is known about a bagua connection.

Cady,

Sam Chin, in various media and in person, talks about how ILC has significantly evolved since his move to the U.S. He acknowledges the art's history and connection to more traditional Chinese arts through his father, but puts a premium on presenting ILC as a modern, well-codified IP/IS system that does not directly owe its existence to any given predecessor art.

Mert Gambito
01-14-2013, 01:37 PM
Takeda has 5 or 6 soldiers lift him on their shoulders - you've probably seen similar demonstrations, this is the one where the people lifting all collapse and end up pinned. in the case of this story, the person on the body apparently ended up fainting. . . .

Anyway, he's showing (IMO) what happens when forces come into contact with a body conditioned for Aiki, and a somewhat more sophisticated relationship with the ground.

Yeah, still a connection to the ground: just happens to be through a half-dozen uke vs. a through a tatami mat, 6-inch-high geta / heels or a soapbox. Maybe those uke knows what it's like to become one of the bows supporting nage's center when IP/IS is in play, and they're just not up to the demands such a role requires. :D

Chris Li
01-14-2013, 01:51 PM
Well, I don’t doubt that it’s possible. It’s rather about whether you can do it, because your body has been trained the right way and your supporters can’t but go down with you on top or whether you have to resort on “cheap tricks” or at least have to create the right settings before you are able to accomplish this.
If you and your supporters have agreed they won’t let go and you can one of them get to fall down, for example, the others might follow up (down) quite easily. But that’s not what I am at here.

Best
Bernd

Of course you have to create the right settings. It's really not a question of whether it's artificial - of course it's artificial, and so is every Aikido class that everybody here participates in. The question (to my mind) is the demonstration of the principle.

Best,

Chris

Bernd Lehnen
01-14-2013, 03:36 PM
Of course you have to create the right settings. It's really not a question of whether it's artificial - of course it's artificial, and so is every Aikido class that everybody here participates in. The question (to my mind) is the demonstration of the principle.

Best,

Chris

Chris,
then it would be useless in a surprise attack like is hypnosis and I couldnt see it as a good example to show a worthy principle of inner power.
Have you ever trained on ice? Its a difficult thingand its certainly of advantage to feel your weight in the downside of your feet.
But lets take on a little idealistic view. Lets suppose you trained your body in the right manner to the limits and you had gained that great (inner) power. Equally, because of your good training in in-yo, you were able to balance this with utmost responsibility. Then aikido, as the expression of your aiki , probably would become a wonderful way not to injure your partners but rather give them excellent workout and a healthy exercise. You wouldnt have to create any further settings or do anything artificial, you would just be like that, except (and in common with) that you had to be very careful with your partners.

Problems occur IMO as soon as we take aikido as the road to aiki. Then naturally, things tend to become more or less artificial, of course, because the difficult thing then is to do it without tricks

Best,
Bernd

Chris Li
01-14-2013, 04:10 PM
Chris,
then it would be useless in a surprise attack like is hypnosis and I couldn't see it as a good example to show a worthy principle of inner power.
Have you ever trained on ice? It's a difficult thing�and it's certainly of advantage to feel your weight in the downside of your feet.
But lets take on a little idealistic view. Lets suppose you trained your body in the right manner to the limits and you had gained that great (inner) power. Equally, because of your good training in in-yo, you were able to balance this with utmost responsibility. Then aikido, as the expression of your aiki , probably would become a wonderful way not to injure your partners but rather give them excellent workout and a healthy exercise. You wouldn't have to create any further settings or do anything artificial, you would just be like that, except (and in common with) that you had to be very careful with your partners.

Problems occur IMO as soon as we take aikido as the road to aiki. Then naturally, things tend to become more or less artificial, of course, because the difficult thing then is to do it without tricks

Best,
Bernd

I don't think that I mentioned anything about hypnosis. Every training method I've ever seen in an Aikido dojo (or any other dojo) is artificial to some extent (including training your body for Aiki), so I'm not sure what you're getting at.

Best,

Chris

Cady Goldfield
01-14-2013, 04:33 PM
Cady,

Sam Chin, in various media and in person, talks about how ILC has significantly evolved since his move to the U.S. He acknowledges the art's history and connection to more traditional Chinese arts through his father, but puts a premium on presenting ILC as a modern, well-codified IP/IS system that does not directly owe its existence to any given predecessor art.

Hi Mert,
Yes, that is certainly true. I was only casually mentioning the historic references themselves, because the OP mentioned that he is pursuing IP via bagua.

Cady Goldfield
01-14-2013, 04:43 PM
Yeah, still a connection to the ground: just happens to be through a half-dozen uke vs. a through a tatami mat, 6-inch-high geta / heels or a soapbox. Maybe those uke knows what it's like to become one of the bows supporting nage's center when IP/IS is in play, and they're just not up to the demands such a role requires. :D

Audiences are impressed by multiple ukes, of course. If one's good, abunch is better, right? It's always a crowd-pleaser. :)

A couple of years ago, a local museum staged an Asian arts extravaganza that included a kungfu troupe whose piece de resistance was having 20 audience members line up to push on one of the troupe performers.You know... each guy pushes against the shoulders of the guy in front of him, and the one in the front of the line actually has his hands on the kungfu guy. They couldn't budge him. The crowd loved it! Would they have been as impressed to see one guy pushing? ;)

Mert Gambito
01-14-2013, 05:41 PM
Audiences are impressed by multiple ukes, of course. If one's good, abunch is better, right? It's always a crowd-pleaser. :)

A couple of years ago, a local museum staged an Asian arts extravaganza that included a kungfu troupe whose piece de resistance was having 20 audience members line up to push on one of the troupe performers.You know... each guy pushes against the shoulders of the guy in front of him, and the one in the front of the line actually has his hands on the kungfu guy. They couldn't budge him. The crowd loved it! Would they have been as impressed to see one guy pushing? ;)

True! On a less flashy level, this makes me wonder if any branches of Daito-ryu teach a counter to Kata Guruma (since multiple branches include the demo of a nage being lifted by multiple uke).

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y213/aradian/sokakutakeda.bmp

Erick Mead
01-14-2013, 07:29 PM
Yeah. . .

I don't believe it.

Not without some sort of collusion, conscious or unconscious.

Chris, what do you think would be occurring in such a situation?
Not Chris :) -- but not collusion either... Structurally, this is exploiting racking instability (https://docs.google.com/viewer?pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESha6ELVXSjT9zqjUJpdvlWAMaqkMP5RhbTMkUAjUYNY92negseA8M_6KT--fb0Yn4Yo__anOu_uMsFDIFmD6-BsLypKWLebBE7fH8aOxaQYx3bpbuIbZ5tKvLBur5X-7caftCNR&q=cache%3AA-_P1kYOnNMJ%3Awww.umassk12.net%2Fsess%2FBrena%2FStructures.ppt%20&docid=b82812b1756442080e44920da337d002&a=bi&pagenumber=36&w=800) -- I've seen videos (of Okamoto I think), doing this one.

In the case of the man held up by several others -- it works in two distinct ways I have seen. One works by driving a spiral moment -- altering his point of support to drive a spiral wave around their support base and a resulting torque that eventually racks them twisting off their collective support bases. The other uses a more linear oscillation that -- like sloshing water back and forth in a shallow basin -- eventually overruns the containing boundary of their support. The man above just drives the top of the supports in resonance against their fixed bases -- just like pumping a child's swing -- but inverted - They have no inherent limit boundary for dynamic stability like the swing does (the suspending ropes or chains) .

Same basic principle is in play in the jo "trick".. ,, instances of applied shear across the perpendicular of the line of support and the inability of the supporters to actively coordinate their resisting support. In the case of the jo trick it is relatively linear projection and retraction oscillation that results in a driven torque oscillation (like ude furi) applied to the base support of the men holding the jo, which also builds in successive waves - at least as Ueshiba is seen doing it.

FWIW.

chillzATL
01-14-2013, 07:35 PM
Hello Chris,

May be, here we can trace all the difference between what can be achieved by Tohei's Ki method (more linear, as I understand it) and S.Takeda's or Sagawa's body-education method with spiralling, whatever this may be. Anyway, I suppose Tohei wouldn't have been able to do that. I've seen him resisting several people pushing in a line but not doing this. And although there exists a video where Tokimune Takeda did apparently demonstrate this with his disciples, here some vague doubts creep in….

Could you or perhaps anyone else, please, correct me or elaborate on this?

More than curious,
Bernd

IMO it's not much different than his "unliftable body" thing, in reverse. In a lot of ways, having all those uke's makes it easier because only one of them has to shift. Since they're all bunched up if one moves, the all move. If it were real... IMO. Ark does a demo where he squats and lets two people push down into shoulders and he just stands up that is, IMO, also similar under the hood.

DH
01-14-2013, 08:14 PM
Delete

Bernd Lehnen
01-15-2013, 04:56 AM
I don't think that I mentioned anything about hypnosis. Every training method I've ever seen in an Aikido dojo (or any other dojo) is artificial to some extent (including training your body for Aiki), so I'm not sure what you're getting at.

Best,

Chris
Im fully aware that you didn't say anything about hypnosis and everything what you have said so far is very down to earth, as I see it. I appreciate very much that, to me, you are one of the people who exactly know what they are saying or writing about.

I mentioned hypnosis to express more explicitly the degree of uselessness I attribute to those multiple Uke demonstrations (to my pursuit of inner power) in the context of budo. I tried to express a personal opinion.

And I tried to point to the difference in the approach to inner power between Tohei in his aikido compared to Ueshiba M. or may be Sagawa or Takeda S. in Daito Ryu

Then I tried to express that in my opinion the curriculum of aikido probably is not the road to aiki, but that aikido nevertheless can be a wonderful tool to express inner power.

I may have been carried away a bit here. I'm but a bloody newbie in his very first attempts --ever - to try and take part in these discussions. All that may be well over my head.

So please, bear with me. Feel free to correct me, whenever my choice of words, the tone or the content may be inappropriate or not to the point, so that I can learn and grow.

Thank you for your patience.
Bernd

Demetrio Cereijo
01-15-2013, 07:18 AM
Im fully aware that you didn't say anything about hypnosis and everything what you have said so far is very down to earth, as I see it. I appreciate very much that, to me, you are one of the people who exactly know what they are saying or writing about.

I mentioned hypnosis to express more explicitly the degree of uselessness I attribute to those multiple Uke demonstrations (to my pursuit of inner power) in the context of budo. I tried to express a personal opinion.


I don't think this kind of demos are useless. They build in the minds of many spectators they are watching a very powerful person.

This attracts the ones seeking to have power and keeps away the ones looking for a fight, so it has some "martial" value.

BTW, there's a clip (http://youtu.be/7UDt2xlpXN4) of Ryusei Saigusa (Yoshinkan) performing various of these "tricks", including being raised by various uke and the group collapsing under him.

Jim Sorrentino
01-15-2013, 07:35 AM
http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y213/aradian/sokakutakeda.bmp

But see http://members.aikidojournal.com/public/sokaku-takeda-is-this-photo-faked-by-stanley-pranin/

Chris Li
01-15-2013, 09:06 AM
I�m fully aware that you didn't say anything about hypnosis and everything what you have said so far is very down to earth, as I see it. I appreciate very much that, to me, you are one of the people who exactly know what they are saying or writing about.

I mentioned hypnosis to express more explicitly the degree of uselessness I attribute to those multiple Uke demonstrations (to my pursuit of inner power) in the context of budo. I tried to express a personal opinion.

And I tried to point to the difference in the approach to inner power between Tohei in his aikido compared to Ueshiba M. or may be Sagawa or Takeda S. in Daito Ryu

Then I tried to express that in my opinion the curriculum of aikido probably is not the road to aiki, but that aikido nevertheless can be a wonderful tool to express inner power.

I may have been carried away a bit here. I'm but a bloody newbie in his very first attempts --ever - to try and take part in these discussions. All that may be well over my head.

So please, bear with me. Feel free to correct me, whenever my choice of words, the tone or the content may be inappropriate or not to the point, so that I can learn and grow.

Thank you for your patience.
Bernd

No worries, I just didn't understand what you were getting at!

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
01-15-2013, 09:14 AM
But see http://members.aikidojournal.com/public/sokaku-takeda-is-this-photo-faked-by-stanley-pranin/

I think that Oisin Bourke gave a counter example in that thread - there's another example by Youichi Shiosaka in this post (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2013-01-06/yukiyoshi-sagawa-on-bujutsu-and-ki-ryoku-part-2).

Sagawa did make some comments in this post (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2012-12-30/yukiyoshi-sagawa-on-bujutsu-and-ki-ryoku) about that picture, which suggests to me that the picture was probably staged.

Nothing unusual about that, most pictures from that time were posed - Stan posted a comment from Toby to that effect on the discussion of that article in response to my comment that it looked posed rather than faked.

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
01-15-2013, 09:17 AM
I don't think this kind of demos are useless. They build in the minds of many spectators they are watching a very powerful person.

This attracts the ones seeking to have power and keeps away the ones looking for a fight, so it has some "martial" value.

BTW, there's a clip (http://youtu.be/7UDt2xlpXN4) of Ryusei Saigusa (Yoshinkan) performing various of these "tricks", including being raised by various uke and the group collapsing under him.

I agree with you, pretty much, about the usefulness of this kind of demonstration - although it is a great show! Still, it was an interesting response from Takeda in the light of the current conversation.

Best,

Chris

Mert Gambito
01-15-2013, 01:29 PM
I think that Oisin Bourke gave a counter example in that thread - there's another example by Youichi Shiosaka in this post (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2013-01-06/yukiyoshi-sagawa-on-bujutsu-and-ki-ryoku-part-2).

Sagawa did make some comments in this post (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2012-12-30/yukiyoshi-sagawa-on-bujutsu-and-ki-ryoku) about that picture, which suggests to me that the picture was probably staged.

Nothing unusual about that, most pictures from that time were posed - Stan posted a comment from Toby to that effect on the discussion of that article in response to my comment that it looked posed rather than faked.

Best,

Chris

Thanks Chris.

Jim --- I used that photo, staged or not, because it's so iconic. Regardless, there's no doubt Kata Guruma (whether by that name or another) is in Daito-ryu. I'm just curious if reversals to it are taught, and if so, how the various branches teach them (more of a rhetorical question / curiosity than anything else).

Bernd Lehnen
01-15-2013, 03:55 PM
IMO it's not much different than his "unliftable body" thing, in reverse. In a lot of ways, having all those uke's makes it easier because only one of them has to shift. Since they're all bunched up if one moves, the all move. If it were real... IMO. Ark does a demo where he squats and lets two people push down into shoulders and he just stands up that is, IMO, also similar under the hood.

That's about the way I see it, too.

No worries, I just didn't understand what you were getting at!

Best,

Chris

Fine. :) I hope, now you do.

Back to: Increasing Ground Awareness for Internal Strength.
I used to stand in a city bus, hands tight on the body, feet shoulderwidth apart, trying to not lose my balance without moving feet.
How about that?

Take care
Bernd

hughrbeyer
01-15-2013, 03:56 PM
I don't view "parlor tricks" as being entirely negative. They're quick, showy demonstrations of skills that are clearly unusual. As long as they are in fact showing the interesting skill--having a dozen people push on you isn't quite as hard as it looks, but does demonstrate that you're hard to push over. If all they're doing is demonstrating that you've trained your ukes to fall over when you look at them, they become less interesting.

Cady Goldfield
01-15-2013, 04:42 PM
I don't view "parlor tricks" as being entirely negative. They're quick, showy demonstrations of skills that are clearly unusual. As long as they are in fact showing the interesting skill--having a dozen people push on you isn't quite as hard as it looks, but does demonstrate that you're hard to push over. If all they're doing is demonstrating that you've trained your ukes to fall over when you look at them, they become less interesting.

I don't disagree with that point, as long as the "parlor tricks" with multiple ukes are for show, not teaching.
Adding ukes where one will suffice to teach a particular body skill, is an embellishment that distracts from the core practice. I'm pretty sure that the kungfu troupe didn't train their individual skills by having 20 guys push on them. They just did a lot of solo and paired practice.

Mary Eastland
01-16-2013, 09:04 AM
We call them Ki development exercises. A progression can be followed so that each participant is challenged by how that person is developing.

Bernd Lehnen
01-28-2013, 05:10 AM
Shioda talked about it a lot, and quite clearly, as in "In order to generate Kokyu you must stand as if you are making your big toe sink into the surface of the ground." - he often spoke about the importance of bringing power from the ground. There's a video clip somewhere where he says it straight out, hesitates, and then changes the subject. ;)

Ueshiba spoke about it in very classical Chinese terms, Heaven, Earth and Man. The basic model, using the same terms that Chinese arts to describe power from the ground, in the same contexts.

Daito-ryu folks talk about it too, as Keisetsu Yoshimaru points out in this article (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2012-12-30/yukiyoshi-sagawa-on-bujutsu-and-ki-ryoku), so I guess we know how it got to Ueshiba.

Yukiyoshi Sagawa, of course, thought that building the lower body and the legs particularly was important.

I've heard two of the senior Japanese students of Seigo Yamaguchi talk about the importance of keeping your intent on the bottom of your feet, for the same reasons.

So...the ground power is an important thing, but not the only thing. Of course, it's still nothing to sneeze at. :D

Best,

Chris

The first picture in Chris's new blog post (Morihei Ueshiba, Bruce Frantzis and Bagua) shows a typical bagua posture, where apparently "the knees are held together and the body is sitting while walking". In addition to that, to my mind, people in the chinese arts set the heels first on the ground.
In karate exist movements, where the knees tend to be held together but the body is not "sitting while walking" , both of the feet are turned to the inside and the bodyweight seems to be equally distributed over the soles of the feet.
The second aikido doshu tended to glide as much as possible on the balls of his feet.

Non of them, although all keep their bodies very much in good balance, seem to glide like Ueshiba Morihei, who, to my eyes, moves more like a traditional japanese dancer but even more freely, without posturing and nevertheless excellently balanced. Some people would describe his as natural movement but there I wouldn't agree either.

All have awareness of the ground.
Where is the difference? Degree? Zanshin? Is awareness of the ground increased for internal strength or is it the other way round?

Bernd Lehnen
01-28-2013, 10:45 AM
Excuse me for an afterthought to my last post here:

Tohei, keeping the one point, and Shioda, this time not sinking the big toe into the surface of the ground, were frequently hopping around, both feet in the air. Both were in good balance, though, because they were throwing their partners without too much effort and, as a rule, were not unbalanced by them.
So, even if awareness of the ground here may be more the equivalent to a trained and now automatic awareness of the situation of your body in relation to the earth, i.e. the centre of gravity, both of them have awareness of the ground.

But both feet in the air, I suppose neither Tohei nor Shioda can bring the ground through their feet into their body nor to any effect. So ground path and structure may here be of less importance.

So, where is here internal strength to be found? Is it the equivalent to the ability to keep automatic balance?

Cady Goldfield
01-28-2013, 09:06 PM
Bernd,
It doesn't appear to me, watching the many Shioda demos on YouTube, that Shioda sacrifices his ground connection when he is making serious contact with his uke. If you watch the clips, I think you will find that when he's doing his "Shioda Bounce"(TM) and is off the ground while his uke is also not grounded, he is just "helping" uke to complete an arc uke is already circumscribing in the air -- having already been off-balanced. Also, do not discount the very strong possibility that, besides the generous serving of "ham" Shioda often dished out in his public demos, his demonstration ukes did not always wait for Shioda to touch them before taking ukemi for that kind of schtick. ;)

Whenever Shioda is actually applying aiki, he is in contact with the ground with at least one foot or his uke is in contact with the ground and Shioda is connecting to the ground through uke. As far as I can see, when Shioda is bouncing uke off his shoulder or hip -- doing aiki-age and aiki-sage, he is in solid contact with the ground.

Pushing into/engaging with the ground is an initiating step for generating force -- one of the precursors to transforming force into power at the tandan/meimon. Shioda's "sinking of the big toe into the ground" (really, pressing against the ground and gripping with the toes to exploit gravity force and to create torsion), is an example of that starting point for the force-generation process.

Being "rooted" doesn't mean being glued to the ground; mobility is essential to good martial-aikido movement. Someone with a reasonable degree of skill can exploit even just a quick "ground grab" to gain the necessary force for power generation, before moving on. I'd wager that whenever Shioda came to rest -- however briefly -- at any point between stepping and/or propelling himself around, he regained his root to initiate transmission of force.

Plenty of skips and hops here, plus a two-footed leaping slam-dunk:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrV5RgkFf9s

(BTW, this clip has the classic segment of US Sen. Robert Kennedy and his wife enjoying a private demo with Shioda, with one of the senator's Secret Service bodyguards cheerfully getting himself face-planted.)

Bernd Lehnen
01-29-2013, 11:05 AM
Bernd,
It doesn't appear to me, watching the many Shioda demos on YouTube, that Shioda sacrifices his ground connection when he is making serious contact with his uke. If you watch the clips, I think you will find that when he's doing his "Shioda Bounce"(TM) and is off the ground while his uke is also not grounded, he is just "helping" uke to complete an arc uke is already circumscribing in the air -- having already been off-balanced. Also, do not discount the very strong possibility that, besides the generous serving of "ham" Shioda often dished out in his public demos, his demonstration ukes did not always wait for Shioda to touch them before taking ukemi for that kind of schtick. ;)

Whenever Shioda is actually applying aiki, he is in contact with the ground with at least one foot or his uke is in contact with the ground and Shioda is connecting to the ground through uke. As far as I can see, when Shioda is bouncing uke off his shoulder or hip -- doing aiki-age and aiki-sage, he is in solid contact with the ground.

Pushing into/engaging with the ground is an initiating step for generating force -- one of the precursors to transforming force into power at the tandan/meimon. Shioda's "sinking of the big toe into the ground" (really, pressing against the ground and gripping with the toes to exploit gravity force and to create torsion), is an example of that starting point for the force-generation process.

Being "rooted" doesn't mean being glued to the ground; mobility is essential to good martial-aikido movement. Someone with a reasonable degree of skill can exploit even just a quick "ground grab" to gain the necessary force for power generation, before moving on. I'd wager that whenever Shioda came to rest -- however briefly -- at any point between stepping and/or propelling himself around, he regained his root to initiate transmission of force.

Plenty of skips and hops here, plus a two-footed leaping slam-dunk:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrV5RgkFf9s

(BTW, this clip has the classic segment of US Sen. Robert Kennedy and his wife enjoying a private demo with Shioda, with one of the senator's Secret Service bodyguards cheerfully getting himself face-planted.)

Cady,
True, and you must have a lot of experience with internal stuff. If not in aikido itself, all the way able to translate it into the workings of aikido.

As I see it, and I think it shows in the video you provided, Shioda, in his younger life was still building on his reputation and whence probably more concerned with throwing his partners effectively. And whence, to my eyes, he is working more “one-directionally”. In his later years, there are videos where he is seen teaching, trying to impart the inner workings of his art to his disciples. Then, as I see it, he has more become like Ueshiba Morihei, who was more circum- or omni directional in his awareness, less concerned with throwing and rather concentrated inside himself, holding back, attracting, knowing that throwing was one choice of many things he could choose. In a sense more aiki than kiai.

Now, lets make an attempt to take this a little bit further: before I start training I have to set a goal. Lets first set a goal for ones training.
With internal training for aikido I like to think in metaphors or pictures. The extreme distinction between internal and external has always failed me.

When saying “one-directionally” I think of a picture like “bow and arrow”. External part in this would be, that you can make a stronger bow (you can train your body to get stronger) and can draw the arrow farther and direct it on a certain goal (store more trigger-energy and get your partner always in front of the arrow, or if you like in front of your sword, i.e. of your strongest point). I call it “external” because it can be seen relatively easily. It’s more kiai in that you do something with your partner.

Now, for more internal or more aiki, I tend to think of a modern jetfighter, that relies heavily on its inherent instability, to be able to react or act much faster than would be possible otherwise. To become stable, it has to take advantage of kind of dynamically omni-directional loss of balance. It’s more about what you do with yourself than what you do to someone else. Here, you want to take into account awareness of the ground, you have to know where and how you are situated in relation to the rest of the world.

To combine both aspects and to take more into account a living being, I come to think e.g. of a cat, completely relaxed, sleeping on a table, getting swept of the table by someone, who doesn’t want it to be there. The cat in the fall, her body immediately, in a flash, by its always present awareness of the ground, revolves, draws and triggers from the centre and lands on her feet, again relaxed and ready for what may happen next.

The next thing would be a cat like this, that can’t be swept off the table because no one can find it.:cool:

Kept carried away a bit.:)

To my mind, for internal training in aikido, one has to train the body, starting with a set goal, with the intention to ingrain the body with relaxed strength and constant awareness (which includes awareness of the ground) and the ability to take dynamic advantage of ones inherent instable human body.
.

Ecosamurai
05-06-2013, 10:45 AM
Shioda talked about it a lot, and quite clearly, as in "In order to generate Kokyu you must stand as if you are making your big toe sink into the surface of the ground." - he often spoke about the importance of bringing power from the ground. There's a video clip somewhere where he says it straight out, hesitates, and then changes the subject. ;)

Amusingly, two things I happened to read today talking about the same thing, this quote is apparently something said by Kotaro Yoshida, the man who introduced Morihei Ueshiba to Sokaku Takeda, (also, for those who might not know, Kotaro Yoshida's son moved to the USA and was the teacher of Don Angier):

You must relax when you fight or else your muscles and tendons lock up the skeletal system with their tenseness. This will impede your strength. To relax you must relax your stomach and then your joints. This gives you true strength so that when attacked, you can explode from your stomach.
When you breathe out, imagine that the breath settles down to your stomach and that any excess goes down to your big toe. Then when you hit, at the moment of impact, you explode, relaxing immediately. In the kata you explode into the movements and relax between them.


This quote may also be of passing interest (emphasis mine) in reference to the oral teaching of Sokaku Takeda:

It had been snowing and the tree in Mr. Kimfs courtyard was barren of leaves. It had five branches pointing up at the sky like fingers of a hand. When Yoshida saw this, he said that it was good luck and that they should go out and practice catching the cosmic rays

Links to the originals here (subscription required):
http://members.aikidojournal.com/private/lecture-on-kotaro-yoshida-1/
http://members.aikidojournal.com/private/lecture-on-kotaro-yoshida-2/