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Aikidoiain
09-11-2004, 03:41 PM
Hello all,

I've been reading Peter Ralston's book, "The Principles of Effortless Power", and find it absolutely fascinating. This book will take a lifetime to get through and understand the enormity of the subject matter. I highly recommend it.

Has anyone else read this book? Or is anyone familiar with Cheng Hsin?

Iain.

Brehan Crawford
09-11-2004, 05:45 PM
I've read it and I loved it. I'm always on the lookout for one of Ralston's seminars in my area but he doesn't seem to hold any nearby. I have talked to one martial artist who spent a week with him and said it was one of the most powerful experiences of his life.

I really love how skilled he is at breaking down the underlying principles (or, depending how you look at it, principle) of the internal arts into understandable language.

Someday in the future, when I (hopefully) have a better grasp of the physical aspects of all this stuff, I really want to delve into his books on ontology.

Aikidoiain
09-11-2004, 06:54 PM
Thanks Brehan.

I was beginning to wonder if I was the only person familiar with this great man's work. :(

I'm delighted that you too have read this book. Quite frankly, I find it an absolute joy to behold! It's one of those books that you have to keep putting down to digest a sentence!! It seems that this man writes from the heart - the sense of "positive Ki" leaps out from each page.

I'd love to actually see this man teach. I think it would be something special. Do you know if he's ever released any videos? I desperately want to find out more about Peter Ralston.

Thanks so much for the reply,
Iain. :D

akiy
09-11-2004, 08:08 PM
Hi Iain,

I have deleted your duplicate thread in the Training forum with this same subject. Please do not cross-post the same subject in multiple forums. Thank you.

-- Jun

oudbruin
09-11-2004, 09:37 PM
along the same lines , check out B.K. Frantzis- "opening the energy gates of your body"-
T'ai chi, qighong, Pa kua, & Hsing I all have something common with aikido- they all harness our inner "ki / chi"-
Being a Ca survivor, I'm a firm believer in the fact that we can accomplish a lot with our minds chaneling our internal energies.
#######
Along the same lines but slightly ifferent there was a thread about 18 months ago about O'sensai (the thread was call "O'sensai vs Gun Squad"- bottom line was there are some people who are not going to believe what one can accomplish if properly tuned and focused. ,,
*******
Anyway,just my take on positive energy & human potentiall
Regards-
Bruce
PS- this is one yank NOT afraid to wear his kilt

Aikidoiain
09-12-2004, 12:25 AM
Thanks Jun.

That was my mistake. I meant to post it in Spiritual.

Iain. :)

Aikidoiain
09-12-2004, 07:11 AM
More about Peter Ralston - he was raised in Asia and began studying age nine. By 19 he held a black belt in Judo and Jujitsu, and Shodan Karate. He has studied the following:- Kempo, Ch'uan Fa, Northern Sil Lum Kung Fu, T'ai Chi Ch'uan, Hsing I Ch'uan, Pa Kua Chang, Aikido, Japanese and Chinese fencing, and Western boxing. Whew! :eek:

In 1975 he founded his own school teaching Cheng Hsin. As far as I'm aware, he still holds workshops and seminars throughout the world.

The book I mentioned takes the reader on a journey through his continuing quest for Enlightenment. I'm astonished that I have received so little input regarding this thread - particularly those interested in the Zen aspect of Martial Arts.

Many thanks to Brehan and Bruce though. Cheers. :)

Iain.

Charles Hill
09-12-2004, 08:02 AM
Hi Iain,

I personally found the book a bit wordy. I know he has a technique book out. The cover has Ralston throwing someone with kotegaeshi. I also heard that he studied a bit of aikido with Robert Nadeau, someone you might want to check out. John Stone of the Madison Wisconsin ASU dojo studies with him and John is really great, both as a person and aikidoist. This tells me that Ralston might really have something, which I personally didn`t pick up from the book.

Charles Hill

Mechow
10-13-2004, 12:55 PM
Hi Lain,
Ralston is currently holding seminars at his ranch outside of San Antonio, Texas. He built a large dojo there a couple of years ago. He offers camps there twice a year. He also has apprenticeships going on from time to time. An apprenticeship lasting 7 months is ending this November, and there is another planned for 2006'. He also travels to several dojos in Holland and England, as in various places in the U.S. So far at the ranch, he's offered week-long courses on Ontology (what is the true nature of being?, a self?, a concept?, a belief? etc.,) internal Boxing, and a week long contemplation intensive. He also puts on a three week long martial art camp...Cheng Hsin tui' shou. He has created many of his own techniques, and has taken from various internal arts like Tai' chi, aikido, bagua, and hsing yi. The result is a beautiful and unique style. I attended two weeks of ontology and martial art. I was most impressed by the material offered and the way he presents it. Top notch! It did change my life. The ontology is really powerful stuff. He has so much to teach. There is a book called 'Ancient Wisdom New Spirit.' It was transcribed from audio recordings of his dialogues with students. There is also a introductory video available at the website. You can check out the website at : www.ChengHsin.com The books are all listed there as well as the current schedule of events. In the archive you can find the degree requirements along with all kinds of other information. :)Feel free to email me: bluethistle9@yahoo.com

billybob
10-14-2004, 07:10 AM
Iain,

I think the folks that are focused on this sort of thing are not the sort to brag about what they know. Personally i have suffered few of the ravages of humility, though i pay it lip service :)

I'm excited to find out that truth is sought out in the modern day. my brother is working in texas and may be able to attend one of Mr. Ralston's trainings. Thanks for posting.

billybob

Mechow
10-14-2004, 06:01 PM
Have you guys checked out the forum at www.rmax.tv Scott Sonnon and the tribe have a nice thing going on there. Ive been doing a joint mobility program for awhile now, it can maintain healthy joints and keep your fluids pumped, and lend itself greatly to study of an internal martial art.

Aikidoiain
10-27-2004, 03:51 AM
Hi Daniel,

That was an interesting post. I'm glad to hear that Peter Ralston is still going strong. I'm also glad that you found his course helpful.

I struggled with the book I mentioned. The subject matter; although deeply fascinating; was way over my head. He certainly sounds like a most inspirational man, and I admire his devotion.

Unfortunately, I'm at the "other end of the spectrum". If you've read any of my posts, you'll find out that I am probably the most imbalanced, inadequate and unstable person on this forum! At present, my goal is to be able to go out for a walk without suffering terrifying panic attacks. Even leaving my flat is a major challenge. I am in inner turmoil.....and a long way from anything Ralston's experienced.

Thanks for the info. By the way, my name is "Iain" not "Lain". The first letter is a Capital "i". :D


Iain. :ki: :)

Mechow
10-30-2004, 06:43 PM
Iain,
I agree that the writing is difficult. And I'm looking forward to reading the book he's working on now. Ralston has said that with a 'direct experience of the nature of being' we could have written the book ourselves.
I have read some of your posts and about your illness. You want me to see that you are 'probably the most imbalanced, inadequate and unstable person on this forum!' Ill ask you to notice that I never read you as inadequate! I can see unstable and unbalanced but not inadequate :) Of course I may have just missed that post :D You are probably very sensitive, and you have probably suffered alot. I sympathize.
I tend to think of myself as anxiety-ridden. Im lucky enough to not have any real phobias, but my nervousness definately gets in the way of living. For example I'm 26, tall, very good looking and intelligent, but I havn't had a good shagging in 6 years :eek: ! What a loser, right? Ive been on various anti-depressents and anti-adhd meds since I was like 12. They put me in a cardboard refrigerator box during reading class in the first grade because I was too disruptive. evileyes Always sitting outside of class. Often the prey. Sometimes the predator. I frenquented several child counselors. To this day Im still @#$&ed up. One thing I noticed at the ontology camp was that I felt that people are 'too close' to me. Like I cant hide from anybody. They can see right through me. Sometimes I have tried to see if someone is tuned in by sending them some negative energy and seeing if they react. Its Messed up. Until I visited Ralston a couple of years ago, I had a real problem with eye-contact. I remember once when I worked as a waiter at a coffee-house, during a particularly stressful day the pantry chef said," Did they take you to the hospital when you freaked out on acid?" I did not laugh. I thought he wasn't trying to help. Also at the ontology I realized that one of my main bottom line beliefs I have about myself is 'I am insufficient.' Last night I went to a party. Why go to a party if not to enjoy people and interact? Im usually pretty nervous, but I really do feel like I need to be around people. Usually my friends drag me out. I am so moody, and what usually happens is I go to the party, say a couple of things when spoken to, but mostly just try to be comfortable and to not turn away from others. Its a good opportunity to practice receiving, sometimes all I can do is try to receive them in all their social splendour. I do enjoy them. But Im usually embarrassed anyway. So Im insufficient in various ways... But sometimes it all goes away... When Im on task. Things like trying to relax and give fully in order to recieve fully. Lately Ive had an interesting experience. At this coffee shop, I'm often on guard a little, but in relaxing and approaching whatever that includes, I felt this energy rise up from the ground into my heart. A most interesting experience! I felt love...for no reason at all. I havnt felt like that in a long time. But I have to be on task. The more intensely and continuously I approach what I call 'the great work,' the better off I am. Also at camp I noticed that I do alot of turning away, in fear I reactively avoid. So Ive been trying to turn toward instead. It seems to have the effect of dissolving the feelings that drive me to turn away. This is supposedly also a way to reduce the effects of pain in the body. By turning toward the pain, surrounding it entirely and not leaving anything of it out, you can save money on novacaine next time you have a root canal. :drool:
I hear that its difficult for you. And I dont know you or your experience (by the way Ralston says that it is possible to experience the experience of another) but you might try experimenting with 'turning into' or 'toward'. That might be absolutely the wrong advice, but who knows? It seems to be working for my relatively un @#%$ed up-ed-ness. Also try asking a question over and over again, such as 'Who am I' or 'what am I' or 'what is another' or 'what is the nature of being' or anything at all. As I type this Ralston is holding a week-long contemplation intensive, where the participants are not allowed to talk at all during breaks, outside of the excercises. For a week people ask such a question over and over again, and communicate whatever comes up for them as honestly as they can, to a person sitting in front of them in 'Dyad' format. Hopefully this leads to a 'direct experience'. We did a few days of this work at the ontology camp and I remember that Peter put out tissue boxes on the mat when we were directed to approach our questions. Supposedly peopke usually have really big emotions when they get it. I found this website, it explains this way of getting at the truth: http://www.dyad.org/index.html
In the 'principles' book, Ralston says that sometimes people, impressed by his level of skill, ask him to teach them how to be better martial artists. However, when he shows them, they are unwilling to do what he directs. I interepret that to mean that this ontological work is very important to being skilled, like 'the core', but it can be difficult, uncomfortable and weird. All I can do is try to re-commit myself whenever I realize that I'm fading. But this work is producing changes in the way I habitually am. I know I will continue, and I will be the man I believe I am.
Did all that I just said seem to make sense? I hope I havn't said too much. Thankyou very much for reading it.
I noticed on the website there is a cheng hsin trainer in Letterkenny, Ireland. This might be the closest to you that is listed. If I hear of anything closer Ill post it here.
Dan

Aikidoiain
11-01-2004, 05:11 AM
To Daniel,

I read your post with great interest, and could certainly relate to much of your own suffering. If I had to say I possessed one strength, that would be it - empathy.

I've been keeping journals, purely as a way of unloading my troubles. I really can't think of anything positive to say about my life, but I can see many positives in yours. I sincerely hope that you can find some inner peace.

Thanks very much for taking the time to write to me. I do understand that there are others in this world who are also suffering, and my heart goes out to them. It's all relative though.

Take care,
Iain. :ki: :)

Mechow
11-01-2004, 11:29 AM
Iain,
Thankyou Iain. I agree that Ralston's books are very worthwhile. Im really glad that you see that, like I did when I was loaned a book from a friend. And that you started this thread. If you want to discuss the books, we could do that here. There is alot to digest. This is powerful stuff. Taken from experiences of the way things really are. But its the experience of what is written that is important. To get it myself. Did you check out the Dyad website link that I posted? I think in the forum link on that page are posts of people's own powerful experiences. One guy just broke down over dinner at a contemplation intensive when he realized the nature of another. . Ive heard that most people just have huge emotional releases when they get it. That tells me that these are powerful experiences. They must be powerful because they are in alignment with what really is. Much of what I do is out of alignment. I believe if I can focus and have this breakthrough, I can have the type of emotional release that will change my life forever. Its one of the only things worth doing right now. I cant imagine having your problems, but Ralston's work is probably a valuable tool for helping you be with them, or even get through them, if that's possible. Anyway good luck. Im glad you saw value in the book.
Dan

Aikidoiain
11-02-2004, 04:09 AM
Daniel,

Yes I did check out that website, and it's fascinating!

It's true that we define ourselves by the "information" we receive from others. We believe it, and become it. I received a lot of negative opinions about "myself" when I was in my teens - I believe this is where my troubles began. I was often bullied and ridiculed by my peers. This made me "believe" I was a freak! To this day, those early influences from others became my beliefs about myself - therefore I became depressive, anxious and felt inadequate.

I've always known this anyway - years of therapy brought this to the fore.

Thanks for that link. Food for thought indeed!



Iain. :ki: :)

Mechow
11-02-2004, 03:12 PM
I read your latest post. Hellish! Yet fascinating. Was there a time when you didn't have to deal with these problems? I can understand what its like to have self-depreciating beliefs because of the way I was treated. And I developed some freaky behaviour, and a lengthy period of moderate depression. And some of these things are still here for me. It would be fascinating if it was initially your beliefs that lead to your extreme condition. It makes me wonder how much of our physiology can be influenced by our beliefs.
What do you think about the possibilty that we keep doing what we have identified with, in order to insure the survival of who we think we are? As if to make us seem that we are more 'real.' Like 'getting stuck in form.' Like we have a tendency to be reactive. Creatures of habit. Even our memories may be just like habits, when we can easily think they are accurate representations of our experience at one time.

Did you ever see that movie 'Willow' where Willow throws the magical acorn at the bad witch (her name was madmorda or something) and she catches it in her hand, which then begins to turn to stone because that's what the acorn does, so she grabs her wrist before the spell runs down her arm and reverses the spell. She shakes her hand and dust falls out.
By the way, Ive been most interested in the cultivation of medicinal fungi. They have been able to cultivate certain species (cordyceps) that if collected in nature cost up to $1000 a pound ( http://www.ancientway.com/Pages/Cordyceps.html ) but due to modern cultivation methods you can get them in pill form very reasonably. I havnt tried them yet, but they supposedly have remarkable effects on the body. And the mood. They work on many different levels and systems in the body, as a whole. Particularly the lungs and kidneys. I have the idea that the anxiety problems that arise for me are due to kidney related issues.

Aikidoiain
11-03-2004, 06:57 AM
My early childhood was fine, although I have always been the nervous type (neurotic personality). It was really when I attended secondary school aged 12 that the real anxieties began. Like I said, I was a "victim" of bullies. I was often beaten up and always ridiculed. From this I took it to mean I was "deserving" such treatment, and therefore became depressed and suicidal. These evil people set me up for life with a "belief system" that I still hold today!

I internalized the anger - thus leading to Clinical Depression and Anxiety Disorders. I've never known any other way of life. Depression and Anxiety are so integrated into my personality now, that they "define" who I am, and what I am able to do - which is very little.

Suffering like this is all I've known. I've never experienced true happiness or love. Now, at 41, I'm alone, housebound and living a Hellish existence with no meaning. I am currently in "relapse", and have begun to plan my suicide, but only once my mother has gone. My Grandmother died in August, and I couldn't even attend her funeral! My life is shit.


Iain. :straightf

ian
11-03-2004, 07:19 AM
What the f*** Iain! I presume you're not kidding. You need to speak to people who have gone/been through something similar and realise you are not alone. Everyone's life has some value; when you feel like shit you can't see a future, but often the future is created out of the changes you are forced to make when you feel like shit, and it makes you a different person. Whoever said what doesn't kill you can only make you stronger is wrong, but you do need to search for the light at the end of the tunnel. 41 is still young; things may seem hopeless, but that is just 'cos you can't see how to deal with the current situation. Sometimes it takes ages to improve your situation, but try to make that progress because it is worth it to yourself, and those around you. Sometimes you need time just for your subconcious to deal with things. Don't ever believe that people don't care, they bloody well do.

ian
11-03-2004, 07:22 AM
P.S. Someone I know (who previously has tried to kill themselves at least 6 times) told me something very useful - improvement is not a straight road, it's a rollercoaster, but just keep heading in the right direction.

Aikidoiain
11-03-2004, 08:45 AM
Thanks Ian.

My suicide won't be a "cry for help" affair - I'll do it right, when it's time. I've researched this subject very thoroughly, and know how to carry out a rational suicide with dignity, and as quick as possible. I shan't do anything till my mother dies anyway (I hope). It's the suicidal impulses that I am worried about - they are the real danger.

I just have to find a way to fight the impossible fight. As long as I keep the thought of my mother uppermost in my mind, that should protect me.


Take care,
Iain. :straightf

Chuck.Gordon
11-03-2004, 02:44 PM
Hello all,
Has anyone else read this book? Or is anyone familiar with Cheng Hsin?
Iain.

Nope. Don't care to either.

I've plenty to explore in the Japanese budo theory and philosophy without haring off after too many OTHER rabbits.

It's beyond me why folks want to go off and blend so different disparate disciplines that have little or nothing to do with each other, especially when they have no real sense of what the fuck they're FIRST doing ...

Get a good grasp of your core art before you go off seeking other disciplines.

If you don't, you'll just muddy the whole thing.

But that's my personal opinion and I'm not particularly bright or edumicated. Ask anyone.

Right Jun?

Oh, an Iain, please don't be offended. I'm a right bastard and don't know how to act all social and civilized and such.

Chuck

Mechow
11-03-2004, 08:35 PM
Iain,

Im glad that you feel ok to tell us what you're up against. And Im glad you mentioned the possibility of suicide. Its good to be able to share your daily experience, however mundane.

I dont have many friends either, and I have had a fair share of suicidal thoughts. I can have a generally pessimistic view about my future and how difficult surviving can be, when I let it sneak on me. Thats when I get squished under the thought of bearing the unbearable. But to survive, all ive got to do is stay alive for right now, over and over again. Ive come to the conclusion that if I cant make it work in the 'real world' whatever kind of bull that label is,...then I would join a monastery, maybe be a zen monk. Because if I had that kind of environment, Im pretty sure I could get through it. It would be hard enough just to sit straight all day! Ive read that you are an atheist, and I dont have a specific view on the form of God, nor am I confident that 'God exists' but I do know that 'God' or the idea of God has helped alot of people. What do you think about this: on the subject of God, you absolutely don't know. Have you had an absolute experience of no-God? Have you experienced God? I say that because in my experience, the principle of not-knowing is core to experiencing what really is! Not knowing generates knowing....Allows for knowing. But thats not the end of it, and I dont really know what Im talking about.

You may be able to trace through the tangle of beliefs, perceptions and interpretations that led to where you are now. Also, what do you 'know' and what do you not-know?Do you have time to concentrate? You might as well try to figure it all out before you head for the escape hatch.

How long after the mistreatment started did it take all this to develop? Was there an intance that pushed you over the edge for the first time? Is it possible to look at without breaking yourself? What holds the center of any of this?


Iain, I am not trained, what I am doing here is not something I necessarily need to be doing. If you want me to stop, tell me, because I would only want to give what is helpful and healthy. But I dont assume that any of this is helpful. But I think its healing to be able to communicate honestly, even if its hard to get through. If something else comes up, for example an empowering feeling or a self-desctructive feeling, as a result of honestly communicating your experience, that might be seen as the next clue on the trail. If you think I sound like an idiot, tell me to shut-up!

Also, have you been writing? You could write an auto-biography, that goes back through all memories. And every time you have another memory, add it to your project in the proper place and context, but remember, memories can change on you. This practice can stir up un processed feelings, which Im sure could take a chunk out your arse. Are you up to it? What is the power of your mind, and your no-mind?

Who the fuck am I? Ive been asking that question lately, who am I, and have been getting some changes from my 'habitual' experience. Im not the same old 'me' The question begs for more intensity. Im getting sucked in. Sometimes I realize that I lost the question. So I get back on track. I feel that all this writing may be, to someone reading this, indicative of a lacking sense of appropriateness in me. But what is appropriate is determined by the purpose of the interaction.

Mechow
11-03-2004, 08:46 PM
Chuck,
Well said, I agree. You should check that book out! It will help you to get a good grasp of your core art.
:)
Dan

Mechow
11-04-2004, 12:20 AM
Chuck,
No offense intended. Just yielding and blending :)
I dont know if you've trained with Ralston, or have been exposed to his art. Ueshiba put his own system together, as the culmination of his experience. And it has a unique-ness right? Some of Aikido is simply Aikido right? I encourage you to take a look at Ralston. Im not saying he is Ueshiba, he is what he is. There is a trainer in Hamburg, and one in Geissen, I think. I sort of think of Aikido as "new technology.' ? But Cheng Hsin is newer. And it is very good. . Another system I find interesting is the Russian martial art, the R.O.S.S. system. But check out the book 'The Principles of Effortless Power' by Peter Ralston. I recommend that book to anybody involved in the internal arts. Anyway, how are ba gua, taichi and hsing yi so different from each other? From aikido? I started with Tai Kwon Do. Fun, but not where I wanted to go. I then went directly to aikido. It was very good, much more in the direction I was heading. I picked up a little ukemi. I really loved it. But I still wanted to look around, and besides, at the time I couldnt afford the dojo's prices. Taichi and kickboxing for awhile. A little more street oriented as far as I could tell at the time, due to actually having to avoid blows. And tai chi was relaxing and fun. It was educating me about my body in new ways. Then bJJ. Sublimely brutal. I spent some time on this. At the same time I took up Cheng Hsin. Its the artist's art, as much as aikido is. They would work very well together. One thing CH has that aikido doesn't necessarily is interactive freeplay. While aikido has great techniques, and ritualized practice, as does CH, the randori that Ive seen is a little lop-sided. Im sure anybody here would find that a statement worth typing about (theres probably already a thread.) Is there any free practice in Aikido, thats done on a regular basis, that doesnt train just to lead large, over-committed intention? CH practices incremental 'competitive' freeplay from the beginning. And utilizes many aikido throws. Also CH emphasises complete relaxation during competition. You can always tense up later. But I have found some Aikidoka will freaken' jerk your shoulder out. Of course a religion cannot be judged by the people who practice it :rolleyes: When I first started CH I was interested, but a little skeptical, since my head is squarely on. Since I have been around it for 4 years, I have accepted it as high art...recieves power from the low through alignment with 'what is.' Whats more, you can still train with Ralston. Wouldn't you have loved to have trained with Ueshiba Morehei at Honbu dojo? You can stay at his ranch for up to 7 months and train 8 hours a day! Its a good thing. :)

Chuck.Gordon
11-04-2004, 02:08 AM
Chuck,
Well said, I agree. You should check that book out! It will help you to get a good grasp of your core art.
:)
Dan

Thanks for the thought, but I really doubt it.

My plate is plenty full working through the details of my chosen art and the 2 or 3 others I dabble in.

Over the past 30+ years, I've explored Chinese, Korean and Japanese arts and found them to be mostly incompatible at some level or other. Don't care for MMA either.

The things I pursue outside my own art, these days, all have some connection to the core ideals and theory of my core studies.

There's plenty of fodder in the trad. Japanese stuff ... for me anyhow.

I know some folks prefer a fast fix sort of learning. But my experience has been that the closer to the heart of the primary system an adjunctive art is, the more can be learned from it.

Chuck

Mechow
11-04-2004, 12:15 PM
Fair enough. Its up to you.