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Gopher Boy
02-11-2003, 06:21 PM
Hi all.


I would like to share some thoughts I had about aikido and ki and get peoples' opinions. I had this kind of 'revelation" a little while ago and then had to take a break from aikido (fell, drunken, down the stairs and made a mess of my ankle.) so I left it alone for a while. Back again now, and with a vengeance so I thought I would post something.

Well, anyway, the story is uniteresting but suffice to say I had no visions in my dreams and was not on strange drugs.

I believe that aikido is all about tension. Let me explain...

When trying to control an attacker, you will have a much better go at moving their centre if their body is taut. A movement at the arm is unimportant to the centre unless the arm is connected to the centre. To connect the arm to the centre, you have to create tension.

Take ikkyo as an example (I think ikkyo is the best exercise in aikido. I love it!). When we do ikkyo, we twist uke's arm at the elbow, rotating it while holding the wrist to create tension through the arm and into the shoulder. At the same time, we move forward and to their side and using this motion and the tension in the shoulder, we move their upper body in to an off-balance position. At this time, your hands on uke's arm are connected by tension at the joints, all the way to his/her centre. That is why uke moves and what make it effective.

This, of course, works both ways. Notice your arms when doing ikkyo. They are extended! You are moving your arms with the power of your centre!

Through your extension and uke's tension, your centres are directly connected. You are then one with your opponent and indeed moving as one body!

There has been no mystical energy between the two of you and no magical exchange that has brought you as one - body mechanics has done it all.

That is why size is not as important. The strength of the joint is much more than muscles. It is easier to stand with your leg joints locked than in a half-squat. Muscle tension is important too. Indeed in the ikkyo example above, the chest area connects to the centre via the muscles being flexed all the way from the back, chest and stomach. They flex because you are trying to keep balance.

If this is sounding a little too much like a rant and I am losing myself then consider a string attached to a small stone. If the string is loose, then you can wiggle and move it as much as you like and the stone will not move. Make the string tight then when you pull the string, the stone will obediently follow.


Thanks for listening!

phill.

mattholmes
02-11-2003, 06:24 PM
I think that's a wonderful analogy. I'm about to run off to class, and I'll be sure to try that.

Matt

bob_stra
02-11-2003, 08:09 PM
I believe that aikido is all about tension. Let me explain...

When trying to control an attacker, you will have a much better go at moving their centre if their body is taut. A movement at the arm is unimportant to the centre unless the arm is connected to the centre. To connect the arm to the centre, you have to create tension.
this is *the *exact* concepts we were focusing on last night at JDJ. I think perhaps you must spying on us using some astral projection ;-)

*Exact*.

paw
02-12-2003, 04:52 AM
That is why size is not as important. The strength of the joint is much more than muscles. It is easier to stand with your leg joints locked than in a half-squat.

Sorry, no. That's due to leverage advantages, not joint strength.

Regards,

Paul

ian
02-12-2003, 11:17 AM
=

When trying to control an attacker, you will have a much better go at moving their centre if their body is taut. A movement at the arm is unimportant to the centre unless the arm is connected to the centre. To connect the arm to the centre, you have to create tension.

I would totally agree though you give the impression that you force tension into the arm by twisting or other manipulation. I would consider that this tension in the arm should actually be due to the muscles contracting at the point of impact (when they believe they are going to strike or grab you). This is why half hearted attacks are usually useless for training and why the first technique is often the best - once you expect manipulation your attack is no longer an attack but an effort to coordinate your attack so nage can grab it - totally inappropriate. Maybe with static techniques these concepts of tension are appropriate, but static techniques should really be something to fall back on when your too slow to react to the initial movement.

Ian

ian
02-12-2003, 11:21 AM
P.S. watch Ueshiba do ikkyo (see other thread) - I have never ever seen him crank the elbow around, though I have no doubt it is an effective technique (I use it myself when if things become static).

Gopher Boy
02-12-2003, 03:03 PM
Ian,

I see what you're getting at. However, my idea was that the committed attack had more extension than the non-committed one. A committed attack *really* wants to reach you, so the attacker is extending his arm as far as possible. If you only just make contact with a punch, then it is not very powerful (NO Bruce Lee please :) ). Similarly, if you reach your target within a very short space, it is weak as well. Watch a boxer. Sure they have short jabs and uppercuts, but that is because they are in each others faces. Why? To avoid a full punch. The most powerful is the full swing / thrust.

This is the truly 'committed' attack. One that has enough room to reach full power, but not too far away to start losing it.

To get the distance, a boxer will rotate his upper body and hips to that side. All of which increases the tension and extension of the body.

And please, do remember everyone's least favourite technique... Sankyo! :D

Phill

paw
02-12-2003, 04:51 PM
Phil,
Watch a boxer. Sure they have short jabs and uppercuts, but that is because they are in each others faces. Why? To avoid a full punch.

I disagree. The punches are shorter because that is what the distance dictates. As a reference, boxers can and do get KO's with short hooks.
To get the distance, a boxer will rotate his upper body and hips to that side.

The boxers I know use footwork, feints and set-ups to get the proper distance. Rotation is what generates power, not distance, from what I understand.

None of this suggests that there isn't an inherent difference between a committed and non-committed attack. Just that I don't think the boxing examples accurately show the difference.

Regards,

Paul

JW
02-12-2003, 07:36 PM
this is *the *exact* concepts we were focusing on last night at JDJ. I think perhaps you must spying on us using some astral projection ;-)

*Exact*.
Whoa this is creepy.. I was just thinking
EXACTLY the same thing to. I was talking about it with someone the other day. All three of us were apparently thinking the same thing at around the same time...
I thought about the rock/string thing too, which is also creepy. See below.

Tension is a great way to generate connection, and rather than saying aikido is all about tension, I would say aikido is all about connection. Check this out:

-The ikkyo example is a great example of connection generated from tension as a result of extension.
-Classic sankyo and nikkyo are 2 great examples of connection generated through tension with uke's limb in a NON-EXTENDED form. This tension is like winding up a loose string around a spool, reeling in the slack to create a firm connection.
-A third way to create connection, that makes me think tension is not all there is to it: wave propagation turns a slack, limp, useless string into a definite shape that can be used. It just cant remain slack and useless if there is a wave rolling through it. Lets say, in the string/rock analogy, the rock is something a little lighter, and the string is trapped underneath it. The "rock" can be moved at least 2 ways with the string: dragging the rock (tension through extension), or sending a little wave down the string with a light flick of the wrist. When the wave gets to the object, the wave lifts the object up.

Recently I have been thinking of the wave in ikkyo. If uke is stiff, well then you have your tension and you don't need to generate it. But if uke is really relaxed and highly flexible, sometimes you feel that you have to really overextend him to keep some tension in there. But how about instead of struggling to induce tension, just using smaller movements that use his loose-ness to put a wave up his arm and into him? Like the arm is a big rope..
--JW

MaylandL
02-12-2003, 07:57 PM
Hi all.

I would like to share some thoughts I had about aikido and ki and get peoples' opinions. I had this kind of 'revelation" a little while ago and then had to take a break from aikido (fell, drunken, down the stairs and made a mess of my ankle.) ...

I believe that aikido is all about tension. Let me explain...

When trying to control an attacker, you will have a much better go at moving their centre if their body is taut. A movement at the arm is unimportant to the centre unless the arm is connected to the centre. To connect the arm to the centre, you have to create tension.

...
Hello Phil...how's the weather over there :)

You make some interesting points. I do like the idea that Jonathan puts forward about connection and maintaining connection with Uke. Yeah this connection becomes easier to maintain from a committed attack (ie one that is going to hit/grab etc you unless you do something).

IMHO, I think its also about sensitivity of Nage to Uke's balance, posture, energy and direction of attack, intent etc. But htis sensitivity is most effective when nage is clear of mind and relaxed. As one sensei related to me, when Nage's movement is uninfluenced by Uke when Uke's attack is met and nage's intent remains unchanged. Still trying to unpack this statement.

I also think that Aikido works at different levels: as a martial art within the dojo environment and in various "real life" applications. Joe Thambu Sensei in Melbourne certainly makes a living from his Security Business using Aikido (specifically Yoshinkan). His restraint and removal seminars are certainly well received and I certainly enjoyed them. I am sure there are many other examples of effective self defence and other applications of aikido out there.

All the best for training :)