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Mike Sigman
07-03-2005, 06:18 PM
I have been off-and-on talking to some people off-line about doing a sort of ki and kokyu "sharing" and rather than burdening one of the regular posters with soliciting for potential interest (which he very kindly offered to do, but I'm now thinking it unfair to saddle him with), I wanted to throw out the thought and see if there is any interest and at the same time solicit comments and make a few of my own.

What I have in mind is a one-time, Aikido-oriented workshop that is 2 days (about 6 hours each day) long. I'll do the workshop for free, but I'd ask that the attendees chip in to pay for my travel, lodging, rent of venue (if any), and meals. Assuming there are 20-30 attendees (I don't like to work with more than 30 people because I need to personally interact with people and 30 is enough), for the workshop should certainly be less than $100 (maybe a lot less), depending on where it's held geographically, etc. I can't do this workshop before late this year or (preferably) Jan-Feb of 2006.

I'll work up a syllabus, although I have a few general things in mind:

*How to form relaxed but powerful kokyu strength
*Using this form of strength in movement and shifting all movement to "from the dantien"
*Using this form of strength in selected applications, "ki tests", ukemi, joint locks, and pins, and hitting.
*Starting to develop ki: how to do it, some practices, relevant qigongs and how they actually work, etc.


Of course, it's sort of a pig-in-a-poke for anyone thinking about coming; particularly if they have preconceptions about what ki, kokyu, etc., are, what they already know, what I could know, etc. Not to mention you might get a situation reminiscent of the Mark Tennenhouse discussion. ;) On the plus side, you'll get a chance to post your impressions of the material and my ability to do it... on the downside, I might get a chance to post my impressions. ;)

On the other hand, there's a gamble in it for me, as well. It's fairly difficult and uncommon to find people who can not only grasp what the information is about in toto… it's extremely rare to find people who can not only grasp it but who can also recognize the magnitude of the required change and commit to it effectively. When I got my first inkling of the magnitude of the information, I immediately stopped practicing everything I had been doing and began to rebuild while looking for more and more information… but I was not a "teacher" of any sort, so there were no pride issues or other tangents from being a senior student or other pecking order stuff, etc.

The real problem is that this stuff is not an "additive" that can just be tacked onto what someone has been doing for x-number of years, yet it is a keystone to the arts that use ki in movement, as Aikido, Taiji, Bagua, etc., do. I know that from experience and I know from experience that most people can't really accept the idea of something basic being missing in what they already do, so they tend to reject the importance largely on that criterion. Some can, however, look at the problem and information without getting distracted by personal issues…. and that's the kind of people I'd like to get in the workshop if I'm going to offer my time and knowledge for free. I'd prefer to have ikkyu and up of people who will viably be teaching the next generation of Aikidoists.

Anyway, the idea is to see if there is enough interest to do it, determine an adequate location that is not geographically extreme, thoughts on places to hold it in a given locale, solicit suggestions and thoughts on content of the workshop, feasibility of the concept, miscellaneous thoughts, etc.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

aikigirl10
07-03-2005, 06:36 PM
This sounds interesting. Keep us posted w/ location and more information.
I'd love to do it , if it was in my area. Let us know when you know more about it.

Rupert Atkinson
07-03-2005, 07:50 PM
A little far for me, but what I'd like to see are genuine workshops where various people are put out in the middle and given the opportunity to show and EXPLAIN what they are doing, and let others have the chance to try. There are many ideas out there and they need to be brought together. Also, IMHO, many high rankers who you might like to invite would probably steal the show and offer less than you think. I'd like to see workshops by keen students for keen students.

Mike Sigman
07-03-2005, 09:57 PM
This sounds interesting. Keep us posted w/ location and more information.
I'd love to do it , if it was in my area. Let us know when you know more about it.Hi Paige:

Well, you'd be more than welcome, as long as you're ikkyu or up, as I wrote. The essence of what we'll do are the things that make smaller people, including a lot of women, as strong or stronger than most men... so I think it would be something physically skilled and dedicated practitioners who are women would get a lot out of.

FWIW

Mike

Mike Sigman
07-03-2005, 10:04 PM
Also, IMHO, many high rankers who you might like to invite would probably steal the show and offer less than you think. I'd like to see workshops by keen students for keen students. Well the general idea is to have a workshop full of cold-eyed craftsmen and who will pass these things on, once they've put in the time to honestly be able to do so. And I've had many "high rankers" at various workshops covering similar (but not Aikido-related) workshops. Rank, size, etc., has little to do with it. The real problem with "high rankers" has been that it's always been pretty obvious they're no better at doing these things than the beginners in far too many cases. I just don't want to fight the egos or other battles... so much so that I'm willing to do this one-time thing for expenses in order that I can call the shots on who's there. And incidentally, I don't have a school, I don't make any portion of my livelihood, etc., in martial arts... I only do workshops if and when I feel like it. :)

Mike

Mark Mueller
07-04-2005, 06:32 AM
Mike,

We have exchanged a few emails in the past...I would be very interested. Hell, I would even visit you in Durango if you were available...I love that place.

Regards,

Mark

Mike Sigman
07-04-2005, 07:42 AM
I would be very interested.Hi Mark:

I'll put your name on the list; I already have your PM. A few others have pm'ed, so we'll see how it goes. Any public suggestions, thoughts, etc., are welcomed about content, etc.

I've had a few people privately suggest things like "fa jin" and I should clarify that right now, BTW. I want to cover things that are (1.) in the syllabus of Aikido as done by recongnized "big dogs" and (2.) things that can be effectively accomplished within a 2-day workshop. I don't mind discussing power releases briefly, during a break, whatever, but a lot of the "powers" are really the manipulation of conditioned basic skills and it's more important to spend time on the skills, which we can really only do a moderate overview of in 2 days, given the number of interrelated topics. Primarily, though, "fa jin" in the full sense is not something I've ever seen in Aikido, so I don't think it's something we should worry about.

One thing that I might mention is that within the last couple of days I was able to ask someone knowledgeable if he agreed with me that O-Sensei's and Shioda's talk about power coming from the big toe was probably a variant of something I usually hear mentioned with a different terminology (a common problem... different names for the same basic concept) and he told me that some people actually do use the "big toe" reference. That being the case, we can cover that part in the workshop, as well. The idea of O-Sensei doing "standing" exercises is clenched on enough fronts now that it's not really much of a discussion. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Ron Tisdale
07-04-2005, 11:35 AM
Hi Mike,

You know I'm up for it. Where ever we need to go...

Best,
Ron

aikigirl10
07-04-2005, 05:20 PM
do u know where it would be held mike?

Mike Sigman
07-04-2005, 10:30 PM
do u know where it would be held mike? Not yet, Paige. Not even an if or a when yet, much less a where. ;)

Regards,

Mike

eyrie
07-04-2005, 11:15 PM
Australia sounds good..... oh specifically Brisbane Australia :D
I'm sure I can rustle up some numbers but they won't be all aikidoka....

Mike Sigman
07-05-2005, 06:53 AM
Australia sounds good..... oh specifically Brisbane Australia :D
I'm sure I can rustle up some numbers but they won't be all aikidoka.... I used to fly in and out of Australia fairly often, Ignatius, but I got to where I couldn't handle the length of time the flight took. I used to hallucinate that I was in Purgatory and when I'd finally atoned for my sins perhaps the flight would end. ;)

Thanks for the thought. This "workshop" is just meant to be a one-time discussion and how-to.... I have no intention of doing regular workshops for Aikido, but I'm happy to just meet, shoot the breeze, compare notes, etc., whenever possible.

Regards,

Mike

eyrie
07-05-2005, 08:54 AM
I guess we'll just have to wait for the day when virtual reality is virtually a reality. :( Now where's my Mike Sigman holosuite program? ;)

Alfonso
07-07-2005, 05:33 PM
sounds worthwhile.

Mike Sigman
07-07-2005, 06:03 PM
I guess we'll just have to wait for the day when virtual reality is virtually a reality. Hi Ignatius:

Wouldn't work, as I suggested in the 3D virtual reality thread. As an example, pretend that you're standing in a "tree-hugging" posture, but feel that your arms are honestly wrapped around a tree with the bark up firmly against your chest. If you are holding the imaginary tree firmly you can sort of, almost without any discernible movement, "get under" the weight of the tree and apply a lifting force to it. Or you can apply almost your whole weight downward on your "tree". Or you can pull the tree toward you by sort of pulling (with the middle of your body) the whole tree toward you. Or you can apply a pushing force by moving your whole body forward. You can do all these things pretty much without moving. To an outside observer it appears that you don't move... yet you are managing pretty large forces with your middle. A 3D virtual reality program won't show this manipulation of forces, but will just show a person standing still in a "tree-hugging" posture. For that same reason, if someone is doing real Aikido, real Taiji, real Xingyi, etc., a virtual reality program will only show the external technique and will miss what *should* be going on with the kokyu manipulations. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Mike Sigman
07-07-2005, 10:04 PM
I had a little covey of emails from the local "death threat" godan asking me if I'll wear a gi, etc., at this workshop, and a number of other foaming-at-the-mouth remarks. But it's a good question. First of all, it's *IF* this workshop takes place (i.e., if we have enough people, can find a location, etc.). Secondly, no, I have no plans to pack my gi, hakama, etc. This workshop, as I envision it, will take a lot of 2-man exercises that will start very simply and gradually progress in complexity to develop some understanding and a modicum of skill in how ki and kokyu and related things work. The need to do ukemi will pretty much be non-existent... we could do this on a wooden or carpeted floor, no problem. So a bunch of us standing around in keiko-gi's is not necessary, even though some people cannot imagine an Aikido-related workshop where the usual uniform and rituals aren't present. ;^)

I remember when I first went to learn Chinese martial arts in a parking lot with an older Chinese gentleman, after my maybe 24 years in Japanese martial arts, wearing a gi, etc. It was sort of a mental shock, doing a martial art without any paraphernalia or bowing rituals, etc. Then again, it helps you concentrate on the subject.

There's a memory I have of a certain Aikidoist I used to know who was with me at a workshop by Yoshimitsu Yamada. We were doing some bokken work and this guy was picked as Uke during one turn by Yamada. He (the guy I'm talking about) kept doing all the hyper bowing and cooing you see some people do when handing over a bokken, placing it on the ground, etc. Finally, Yamada just stopped and looked at him and said, "It's just a stick. Quit bowing so much."

If it happens, it will be a "it's just a stick" workshop. No gi's. No bowing. Just talk and work.

FWIW

Mike

Don_Modesto
07-07-2005, 10:42 PM
I'll do the workshop for
free

Mike,

Thanks for the offer. Your posts are quite erudite, but could you take a moment to describe what you've trained in, with whom, for how long, and your teaching experience?

Thanks.

Mike Sigman
07-07-2005, 11:12 PM
Thanks for the offer. Your posts are quite erudite, but could you take a moment to describe what you've trained in, with whom, for how long, and your teaching experience? Sure, I could do that and I think there are different bio's of me floating around the net, but let me point out the main reason why I don't flout my CV publicly very much (be glad to answer privately, though).

If I do a sort of gadfly approach, which I admit that I do, and I provoke some people, which I admit that I do although I claim justification, I don't feel like I can prod people into discussion while associating other peoples' names freely. If you see my point. If you, for example, had been a teacher of mine, wouldn't you appreciate it if I somehow separated my sometimes-provocative conversations from the use of your name? :) That's the reason I don't go out of my way to lean on other peoples' names.... that and the fact that usually no matter what someone's bio is, you never know what they can do until you meet them.

If you're interested in my teaching experience, publications, etc., type my name into Google. However, let me point out, as I have before, that I don't have a school, I don't make my living from anything martially related, and I only do workshops if I feel like it. My workshops, etc., all center around how to use the body for developing ki/qi-related skills... not a particular martial art. The martial arts I've studied for extended lengths of time are judo, karate, Aikido, Taiji, Xingyi, Bagua.

Regards,

Mike

PeterR
07-07-2005, 11:48 PM
So keep it simple and add a disclaimer.

Even the interview a google search threw out does not say very much.

A list of recent seminars wouldn't hurt.

Cagey responses, even if your reasons have merit, are too easily associated with a few members of a certain type that have plagued the forums lately.

Don_Modesto
07-07-2005, 11:58 PM
So keep it simple and add a disclaimer.

Even the interview a google search threw out does not say very much.

A list of recent seminars wouldn't hurt.

Cagey responses, even if your reasons have merit, are too easily associated with a few members of a certain type that have plagued the forums lately.

Couldn't have said it better. Thanks, Peter.

Mike Sigman
07-08-2005, 12:26 AM
So keep it simple and add a disclaimer. Is that a command or a suggestion?
Even the interview a google search threw out does not say very much.

A list of recent seminars wouldn't hurt.

Cagey responses, even if your reasons have merit, are too easily associated with a few members of a certain type that have plagued the forums lately. I couldn't care less about "a few members of a certain type" and the perception that I need to be called "cagey" by anyone. Don asked a polite question; I gave some information and said I would answer other things privately, for reasons I gave.

There are some people on this forum who have met me; if you're curious, ask around. That puts me well outside of the implied "a few members of a certain type that have plagued the forums lately", I think. If you're in Japan, I sort of doubt that you're coming to the workshop, though.

There are the names of people who have been at workshops on a number of those hits... email them or call them. Try the Palo Alto workshop I gave earlier this year... it's on the first page of hits. If I was soliciting for workshops that I was charging for, etc., I'd feel duty-bound to lay out a good CV, but at the moment, all I've done is offer to give up my time and some pretty valuable information if some people will simply pay my expenses.... i.e., my time and the information are worth a lot more than anyone would come close to paying.

What you're thinking of as "cagey" really is more the way I handle questions about teaching people ki and kokyu type skills when I can't point my finger at someone and say "I studied how to do ki and kokyu things from this man". I didn't. I've had to accumulate my knowledge and demonstrable skills over many years, piecemeal, from various teachers and every source I could lay my hands on. So the logical part of me resists the idea that I should imply that "so-and-so directly and deliberately taught me how to do these things". It doesn't compute.

And BTW, this is the first time I've ever offered to do this... other than that I've only done workshops at the invitation of others and if I am interested in doing them. Even offering to do it, I'm fairly ambivalent... if you think about it, other than having disseminated some fairly sophisticated skills into a small portion of the Aikido community, I get nothing personal out of the workshop except the loss of a weekend of my life.

Mike

PeterR
07-08-2005, 12:52 AM
Well it was a friendly suggestion.

Mike Sigman
07-08-2005, 07:56 AM
Well it was a friendly suggestion. OK, fair enough. Your wording was a little blunt.

My "credentials" are pretty good, but I've got too many years of listening to and reading overblown "credentials" from people who can't do much to think much of most credentials conversations. As I said on another thread, the real problem in most martial arts is not the guys claiming rank, etc., that they don't have; the real problem is guys who distort slight experiences, a workshop or two, a trip to Japan, etc., into grandiose accomplishments... yet technically all they can be accused of is hyperbole. A good part of my reluctance to engage with many "teachers" is because of the rampant baloney in the credentials and resume of so many martial artists... I'm not sure I want to be friendly with someone and have it turn out that they're mainly a BS artist, so I take my time in getting to know people.


So there's a valid need and point in asking for someone's credentials if they're claiming to teach a martial art, but if I'm really curious about someone I start asking through the grapevine what they can really do. It's a good discussion and I don't fault anyone for bringing it up, even though it's not guaranteed to shed a lot of light in the case of ki and kokyu.

FWIW

Mike

Ron Tisdale
07-08-2005, 08:36 AM
For what its worth, I'm familiar with some of the people who have met Mike and trained to some extent with him. I've heard that he can indeed deliver on what he speaks of. Some of those people post to this board. From what I've heard, I'll do my best to attend the workshop if possible. Don't know if that means much to many people.

Best,
Ron

Kevin Leavitt
07-08-2005, 08:42 AM
Lots of aikido folks in CO. Seems like a few of them would be willing to get with you and do a "mini seminar" or something where there is not a lot of risk in expenses, investment etc.

Certainly a few of them might be pro and a few might be con, because we all know what a dicey subject KI can be! It is largely experiencial (sp?) as you point out so what works for some might now work of all!

That said, some reputable individuals that are honest should be willing to get with you and then come back and say..."wow, good stuff!" This guy is the shizzle!

Just some food for thought!

Mike Sigman
07-08-2005, 08:59 AM
Lots of aikido folks in CO. Seems like a few of them would be willing to get with you and do a "mini seminar" or something where there is not a lot of risk in expenses, investment etc.

Certainly a few of them might be pro and a few might be con, because we all know what a dicey subject KI can be! It is largely experiencial (sp?) as you point out so what works for some might now work of all! The real problem here is time. I once did a very short (one hour? 90 minutes? I forget) quick workshop at the Boulder Aikikai and I was not happy... trying to say something meaningful in a very short time is almost impossible. Although I did get across some static kokyu usages, IIRC. It takes a couple of days of work and repetition to get any good results and get into some of the subtleties. Insofar as results go, I don't think there's any real problem with that... everyone gets some pretty functional results.That said, some reputable individuals that are honest should be willing to get with you and then come back and say..."wow, good stuff!" This guy is the shizzle! Or he gets the chance to say "this stuff is garbage." But I've never had anyone even remotely say that. For the most part, I try to stay very impersonal so that I don't get involved in any of the well-known spates of martial-arts personality quirks that arise so easily. ;) It's all in the results, not the talk, not the uniform, not the lingo, not the color of the belt. As a matter of fact, statistically the younger and less "experienced" people often have an advantage because they don't have so many fixed bodily and mental preconceptions.

FWIW

Mike

kdj
07-08-2005, 10:13 AM
If it means anything to anyone (and there are probably some people here who know me and my background well enough to give some credence to what I say):

I've known Mike for more than 10 years, since the early days on rec.martial-arts. I've spent a few weekends and many, many emails and discussions learning from his understanding of "Ki & Kokyu".

In my opinion, he is very genuine and knowledgeable. I don't know of any one else, in this space, who can get so much information across in a short space of time - and if you look at my background and the people I've studied with you'll see that this is saying a lot.

I intend to be at this workshop if I can possibly make it happen. While Mike doesn't need any one to defend him ;), I thought I'd say this to avoid this potentially interesting topic degenerating into erroneous suspicion of "trollism".

Mike should be encouraged to continue to offer to freely give up his time and hard work for our benefit where ever possible, so let's avoid making him think twice :D

Kevin

www.shugenkai.org

Mike Sigman
07-08-2005, 10:49 AM
Mike should be encouraged to continue to offer to freely give up his time and hard work for our benefit where ever possible, so let's avoid making him think twice Well, thanks, Kevin. I didn't mean for anyone to come out of lurk for this. ;) Besides, I have to note that while engaging in these discussions on AikiWeb, following up suggested leads from good Aikidoists, etc., I've learned things myself, so I feel the trade-off is worth it. Stirring up discussions can lead to bickering and unproductive discussions, but all too often it turns up very useful nuggets if you just stay with it long enough and keep asking the right questions, IMO. In other words, I have to say that these discussions aren't really all that one-sided. I've learned a few very valuable things in just a couple of months that have affected my personal training (by focusing it, etc.).

Regards,

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
07-08-2005, 01:44 PM
I am glad to hear about your new discoveries. I wish I was in the area to participate!

Mike Sigman
07-08-2005, 06:17 PM
I'll work up a syllabus, although I have a few general things in mind:

*How to form relaxed but powerful kokyu strength
*Using this form of strength in movement and shifting all movement to "from the dantien"
*Using this form of strength in selected applications, "ki tests", ukemi, joint locks, and pins, and hitting.
*Starting to develop ki: how to do it, some practices, relevant qigongs and how they actually work, etc.
In response to a PM, I guess I forgot and left standing exercises off of the above general list. Yes, I'll cover both standing for health and standing for martial power. In terms of useable benefits, I think standing is probably the most beneficial thing anyone can do, particularly if you're beginning to lose your health and strength.... you'll get strong again if you do it correctly.

FWIW

Mike

BWells
07-11-2005, 12:29 PM
Interesting Thread. Mike, have you decided on when and where. Durango would be beautiful place to have it, but having grown up in Silverton, the idea of being there in snow is not appealing :)

I've started doing YiQuan standing in the last year and would be very interested in how you approach this whole subject.

Take care,
Bruce Wells

kironin
07-11-2005, 12:55 PM
if you google the keywords

" Mike Sigman Chi "

together, it's not hard to find some info.

for example

http://www.taichiunion.com/magazine/sigman.html


I certainly have no problem with a workshop except it probably would be more time efficient and economical for me anyway to check out his instruction videos if they are still available.
after reading Mke's post above...
assuming Mike updates them with what ever he has learned here.

I realize interacting at a workshop is better, there should be a lot of people in Colorado interested. Many just aren't on this list. There are four Ki Society dojos in the Denver area.
The people at CSU-Ft. Collins and Boulder Ki Aikido definitely would be open to it I think. But to the best of my knowledge none of them spend time on this BB so if you want me to chat with them, I am willing. Kevin's recommendation is good enough for me.

Mike Sigman
07-11-2005, 01:03 PM
Interesting Thread. Mike, have you decided on when and where. Durango would be beautiful place to have it, but having grown up in Silverton, the idea of being there in snow is not appealing :)

I've started doing YiQuan standing in the last year and would be very interested in how you approach this whole subject.Hi Bruce:

Actually, I was just getting ready to walk out the door and head up to Silverton to do some work on my house up there. :) I bought a house a couple of years ago at 1533 Reese across from the courthouse, between Zeke Zanoni and Ken Safranski. I wouldn't do a workshop up there on a bet... out-of-towners would take too long to acclimate to the elevation.

There's been some discussion of Chinese martial arts practices and how they apply to Japanese martial arts. Naturally, a lot of it devolved into the idea of Japanophile versus Sinophile, but that really misses the point... by a large margin, as I see it.

The methods of training the qi/ki, kokyu/jin, etc., actually go across a wide spectrum of martial arts. If anything, I tended to refuse at first to accept how wide that spectrum is. There are people on this list who think Japanese martial arts are somewhat separate *at core* from Chinese martial arts. I tend to see Japanese and Chinese martial arts as having somewhat of the same core.... but I get caught out being wrong and underestimating almost every time how wide that spectrum really is. In other words, there's still some "style loyalties" that I have that have slowed my grasp of the big picture.

Because of O-Sensei's "ki tricks" and how they're exactly like the Chinese ones, because of his writings, and so on, it's became clear to me a few months ago that I was way underestimating the amount of information that was common between Aikido and Chinese training of the ki-kokyu type. The "jo trick" is one of those that I kept rationalizing with "he couldn't have known this", but now it appears that he did. The thing about the "big toe" was another one that I tried to find another explanation for, but I see no way out of it... it must have come via knowledge of "standing" practices. And there are a number of other tricks and demo's that he did that just leave no doubt... it's impossible to have that many coincidences.

Yiquan standing supposedly derives from Xingyi practices, but after a number of years of exposure, I've begun to realize that the "secrets" of how to stand for power are actually fairly well known across a number of Chinese martial arts, both "internal" and "external". About the only thing in Yiquan that I think is an oddball datum is the sudden "shake" derived from Southern White Crane practices.

So my rejoinder to you would be that *IF* you know how to do yiquan standing correctly, you're not going to be doing much of anything that apparently O-Sensei didn't already know. I.e., it's a proper complement to your Aikido, even though most Aikido practitioners don't seem to have a clue about it due to the knowledge being limited in distribution. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Mike Sigman
07-11-2005, 01:07 PM
I certainly have no problem with a workshop except it probably would be more time efficient and economical for me anyway to check out his instruction videos if they are still available. Except those tapes are 10 years old and at the time I avoided any discussion of breathing exercises due to fears about potential blood pressure problems (the too-exuberant do it all the time in China) and getting sued for putting it on a tape. Besides, there were things those tapes deliberately didn't cover. The main things I did cover turned out not to transmit very well via video... and since I only put out those tapes to disseminate some initial information, I pulled them, except for some I allowed Plum Flower Press to sell. In other words, what I was planning on covering in this workshop would be well beyond the scope of those old tapes.

FWIW

Mike

BWells
07-11-2005, 02:07 PM
Thanks for the response Mike. You are right, trying to do any training at Silverton's 9,000 feet elevation would NOT be good for those of us use to lower elevations. I was last back 4 years ago and just walking down the street was tough. If you go to the other end of town from the road to Durango the old log house (now a church) was the one I grew up in, many many many years ago.

From my view on the styles, philosophies can be different and techniques can be different but the human body is the human body and while each art may approach internal strength from a different place, in the end the physics of how it works is still the same.

On YiQuan, I am a beginner, been doing standing for a year or more but have only been training with Fong Ha for a few months, so I am only an egg so to speak. I do feel it a bit in my Aikido and am really please to feel that. My personal struggle is that I spent 20 years as a power lifter and while my 10 years of Aikido has cured me most of the time from using my blocky strength sometime I revert. The standing really help here though, makes me much more aware of the power of the alternative.

Oh and Craig, thanks for the response as well.

Thanks,
Bruce

Mike Sigman
07-11-2005, 02:19 PM
Thanks for the response Mike. You are right, trying to do any training at Silverton's 9,000 feet elevation would NOT be good for those of us use to lower elevations. I was last back 4 years ago and just walking down the street was tough. If you go to the other end of town from the road to Durango the old log house (now a church) was the one I grew up in, many many many years ago. Far out. Know it well. From my view on the styles, philosophies can be different and techniques can be different but the human body is the human body and while each art may approach internal strength from a different place, in the end the physics of how it works is still the same. Absotively. Couldn't have said it better. On YiQuan, I am a beginner, been doing standing for a year or more but have only been training with Fong Ha for a few months, so I am only an egg so to speak. I do feel it a bit in my Aikido and am really please to feel that. My personal struggle is that I spent 20 years as a power lifter and while my 10 years of Aikido has cured me most of the time from using my blocky strength sometime I revert. The standing really help here though, makes me much more aware of the power of the alternative. I've seen Ha Fong and his students a few times. Enjoy your practice, but keep looking for other inputs, as well. Sometimes people will needlessly prolong training because it's the Chinese thing to do or because they only have a few eggs to sell. ;) You might enjoy the 3 DVD's by Bo Jia Cong and/or the "Way of Power" book by Lam Kam Chuen if you don't already have them.

Regards,

Mike

BWells
07-11-2005, 02:33 PM
Thanks Mike, Ive got both books by Lam Kam Chuen and will look for the DVD's you referenced. I really enjoy the training with Fong but would love to find a good Zing Yi teacher that was reasonably close by. I know some are out there but is amazing to me how hard it is to find good internal arts teachers in the bay area of all places. May be looking in all the wrong place, who knows.

Enjoy the drive to Silverton, it is a great time of year to be there.

Thanks,
Bruce

dbotari
01-31-2006, 12:11 PM
Mike,

Has there been any further development on this seminar? If so, what details have been firmed up? Or, alternatively, has this died a quiet death? Please update as I am interested in attending if it is feasable for me.

Thanks,

Dan Botari

George S. Ledyard
01-31-2006, 08:49 PM
Don't know how I missed this one... This is exactly the kind of thing I'd be interested in, Mike. I'd go out of my way to attend if it didn't comflict with my teaching schedule.
- George

SeiserL
02-01-2006, 08:33 AM
When is this show coming to Southern California?

Mike Sigman
02-01-2006, 09:02 AM
Holy smoke... I thought I was in a time warp when I saw this thread. ;^)))) At the time (last year) I was saying that I would put together an Aikido-only perspective on Kokyu and Jin and would contribute the 2 days for free if people would chip in on my travel expenses. And if I remember (too much of a rush this morning to spend the time looking back through the posts) I indicated that it would be better to have people with a certain level of experience and, hopefully, with a certain amount of geographic spread (if you knew how lazy I was about doing workshops, you'd understand why I try to do things in one fell swoop). ;)

I've done a few Aikido-only things before and there's a slight problem that needs to be thought about beforehand. In some ways these things can be *talked* about fairly repidly, but even just talking about them involves a lot of complexities. When you're trying to show people how to do them in a logical sequence, making sure everyone more or less "gets it", there are two general choices:
(1.) Show the very important basic things and how to cultivate them, even after the instructor is gone. This keeps the people focused on what they *should* do and gives plenty of time to keep going over basics, their variations and applications.
(2.) Show everyone superficially (but as well as possible) how to do a larger area of the general skills and logic so that they can get an "overview" of the principles. This way, if they're working on their own (i.e., there is not going to be much future help in workshops), they can remember the big-picture and have a feel for which way they should go.


Generally, I take the #2 option because I don't do workshops for a living and I personally prefer sort of a big-picture approach because I'm one of these people that doesn't function well by rote learning. The problem with #2 is that in my experience the "one workshop" approach seldom imparts many lasting skills... far too many of the people focus on specific "cool things" and never work their basics.

So that's the problem I wanted to make clear.

Last time about 13 people indicated that they'd try to go to such a workshop, but I was trying to get a minimum of 20 (which is the ideal number for my workshops, I've found out over time). I stop at 30 because I can't get enough hands-on with everyone if it exceeds that.

Anyway, that was the offer and I'd still be willing to volunteer the weekend, once, assuming the general conditions are met. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Scott Prath
02-01-2006, 01:47 PM
Hello everyone,
I apologize for not seeing this thread earlier. A two-day seminar has been set for February 18th and 19th in Austin TX. We are a group of mixed martial artists here in central Texas and have invited Mike to instruct for a weekend. He has graciously accepted and will be leading a two day workshop on internal strength. I extend this invite to those of you in the Aikido community that would be willing to make the trip. I apologize again for the late posting on this site.

My name is Scott Prath. You can email me directly for more information. I will attempt to attach the information from a flyer in another reply.

SeiserL
02-01-2006, 03:35 PM
A two-day seminar has been set for February 18th and 19th in Austin TX.
Please write a summary for those of us who cannot attend. Deepest appreciation.
I'd love to see Mike's Aikido.
I know Ki and Kokyu are very important, but often have trouble getting my mind to formulate the map for my body to follow from the words I read.

Mike Sigman
02-01-2006, 04:05 PM
Please write a summary for those of us who cannot attend. Deepest appreciation.
I'd love to see Mike's Aikido.
I know Ki and Kokyu are very important, but often have trouble getting my mind to formulate the map for my body to follow from the words I read. Well, just to be clear, the Austin workshop is more on overall internal strength and is not as strong on the specific applications of internal strength to Aikido. The idea of a "Ki and Kokyu Workshop" that I offered to do in this thread was with the application of Ki and Kokyu specifically as it would apply to Aikido. So there will be some differences.

The general "internal strength" skills are, as I've said before, pretty much throughout Asian martial arts and are the foundation or many different martial arts.

Because these skills are used in so many different martial arts, it's justified in thinking of them as something of (1.) a way to move (from the center, yes that old trope) and (2.) a way to condition the body for greater strength around that unusual way to move.

In some martial-style cases, it's arguable that "well, if I go to Gold's Gym, run a lot, etc., I'm strong enough that I can use our techniques and applications well enough that I don't need to know this ki and kokyu stuff". And I'd have to agree that that's a true statement, with the only caveat being that it's not a true copy of the original art, if the original art had ki and kokyu skills built into it. I.e., it becomes a moot point about whether someone *needs* these skills.

In the case of Aikido, Taiji, Xingyi, and a number of others, there is no real way to argue that you can do the techniques, etc., without really needing ki and kokyu. In the cases where the whole theory of the art is built around ki, kokyu, the six directions, etc., anyone who has even a moderate grasp of the place of those skills in Asian martial arts will know that it's specious to argue the skills aren't needed.

Anyway, the lucky thing about the workshops is that they are intended only to teach the basics of movement and power, i.e., to get people started in those movements/skills/conditionings and not as a showcase for really high-level skills in Aikido, Karate, Taiji, Xingyi, etc. ;)

FWIW

Mike

George S. Ledyard
02-01-2006, 08:22 PM
Well, just to be clear, the Austin workshop is more on overall internal strength and is not as strong on the specific applications of internal strength to Aikido. The idea of a "Ki and Kokyu Workshop" that I offered to do in this thread was with the application of Ki and Kokyu specifically as it would apply to Aikido. So there will be some differences.

The general "internal strength" skills are, as I've said before, pretty much throughout Asian martial arts and are the foundation or many different martial arts.

Because these skills are used in so many different martial arts, it's justified in thinking of them as something of (1.) a way to move (from the center, yes that old trope) and (2.) a way to condition the body for greater strength around that unusual way to move.

In some martial-style cases, it's arguable that "well, if I go to Gold's Gym, run a lot, etc., I'm strong enough that I can use our techniques and applications well enough that I don't need to know this ki and kokyu stuff". And I'd have to agree that that's a true statement, with the only caveat being that it's not a true copy of the original art, if the original art had ki and kokyu skills built into it. I.e., it becomes a moot point about whether someone *needs* these skills.

In the case of Aikido, Taiji, Xingyi, and a number of others, there is no real way to argue that you can do the techniques, etc., without really needing ki and kokyu. In the cases where the whole theory of the art is built around ki, kokyu, the six directions, etc., anyone who has even a moderate grasp of the place of those skills in Asian martial arts will know that it's specious to argue the skills aren't needed.

Anyway, the lucky thing about the workshops is that they are intended only to teach the basics of movement and power, i.e., to get people started in those movements/skills/conditionings and not as a showcase for really high-level skills in Aikido, Karate, Taiji, Xingyi, etc. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Hi Mkie,
As I feared, this date is right in between my return from the Aiki cruise and our seminar with Saotome Sensei... despite my desire to train I really do have to spend some time with my kids once in a while, other wise they'll forget who I am... Oh well, if I want to attend one of these AI'll proibabaly have to invite you myself so I can schedule it accirding to when I can actually do it... Have fun and I'll try to work something out for myself and my students at a later date.
- George,

Mike Sigman
02-01-2006, 08:28 PM
I appreciate the thought, George. My original thought was more along the lines of an Aikido-specific workshop for Aikidoists and while I appreciate Scott's posting about Austin, that's not really Aikido-specific enough for me to say much about it on this list. Maybe we can do something at another time.

Best.

Mike

Mato-san
02-02-2006, 08:10 AM
Mike, your work shop sounds interesting.
If you are working on a ki-based workshop, my recommendation is to push it at businesses. I was blown out this morning when I was on the bus headed to Tokyo to attend to some stuff, I seen the local Toyota dealer, all staff where in the yard Suits, sales, mechanics office- everyone, the where doing what seemed to me ki orientated taiso, to kick off the day. I was smiling inside and out. Ki workshops are definately alive. And just from sight I think toyota may be appliing it as routine. Just an insight not a full forced opinion. But hey I was blown out!

Mike Sigman
02-02-2006, 08:14 AM
If you are working on a ki-based workshop, my recommendation is to push it at businesses.I'm far too lazy to ever do something like that, Mathew. It would interfere with my kayaking and motorcycling. ;)

Mike

Mato-san
02-02-2006, 08:37 AM
lol

Scott Prath
02-02-2006, 11:48 AM
Thank you Mike for clarifying the intent of the workshop. Here is the flyer information which summarizes the material we hope to address.

INTERNAL STRENGTH WORKSHOP
Austin welcomes Mike Sigman, a martial artist dedicated to the underlying
principles of internal strength that serve as a foundation in many of the
traditional arts. This is a two day non-denominational workshop for martial
artists who are interested in understanding and developing internal strength.

This hands-on workshop will include:
• ground path -- static
• ground path -- 3 directions, (up/out/in)
• closing connection -- static
• ground path + closing -- 4 directions (up/down/out/in)
• six harmonies -- parameters for using the ground path
• storing -- storing in the bows along the ground path
• storing -- storing in the connection of the fascia and "body suit"
• releasing -- issuing power from the ground

Date: Saturday & Sunday February 18th and 19th
10am -1pm and 2:30pm to 5:30pm both days

Cost: $175 for both days

Location: Sarchen Somatic Arts
5515 Balcones Drive, Austin, Texas 78731
(at the intersection of 2222 and Balcones Drive)

Contact: For more information and to reserve a spot, please contact
Scott Prath at 512-423-7721 or scottwprath@hotmail.com

Nick Pagnucco
02-02-2006, 12:08 PM
Location: Sarchen Somatic Arts
5515 Balcones Drive, Austin, Texas 78731
(at the intersection of 2222 and Balcones Drive)



man... I wish austin, TX was closer to Albany, NY. Or that I had a lot more disposable income ;)

dbotari
02-20-2006, 10:46 AM
Can someone who attended please provide a brief review of concepts and exercises coverd?

Thanks,

Dan Botari

roosvelt
02-20-2006, 11:08 AM
Can someone who attended please provide a brief review of concepts and exercises coverd?

Thanks,

Dan Botari

I'd like to see the review too.

I wonder if there is enough interest to put together a workshop in Toronto, New York or Phil.

Mike Sigman
02-20-2006, 12:35 PM
Well, I don't normally get into the post-mortems, but in this case, since I vaguely discussed this with a few of the Aikido people there (I don't have all their names in front of me, but Brent Danninger was one of them), let me toss out a couple of thoughts.

The Austin workshop was not really Aikido-specific and there were people from Taiji, Xingyi, Bagua, Aikido, karate, (and maybe a couple of other arts), but I usually don't particularly pay attention to who does what art. And that's the point of why I'm throwing in my 2 cents.... I watched objectively to see in my mind how much I would change the Austin workshop if I was going to do an Aikido-specific workshop. I dunno if I'd change too much. Not that I couldn't do a far more Aikido-specific workshop, it's just that I limited myself (this time; often workshops are quite different) to what I considered were the basic, most important things that I would have wanted someone to show me, regardless of the shiney baubles I sometimes go into. And those very important things were, in my mind, applicable to all the styles that were there. Well, wait, I did throw in one bauble, but it only took about 15 minutes.

I don't get much into styles or protocols in these kinds of workshops. In fact, I don't consider that I "teach" a workshop; I "show what I know about how to do some things" in much the same way that someone shares his knowledge at a carpentry workshop. So the workshops tend to be linear progressions that start with the assumption of zero-knowledge of qi/ki things and then develops stage by stage, building on the previous 2-person exercises, until they get very sophisticated (in relation to the starting point).

Jin/kokyu things are, in my opinion, the most difficult things to learn because they take a deliberate recoordination of the body/mind in order to source forces naturally in a way that is different from what we've practiced since childhood. In fact, since there is a contradiction with our normal mode of movement, it's the part that many people never get because they can't accept the enormity of the changeover and really make the effort. So we started with that and moved forward. Most people were able to do and understand some cute usages of jin/kokyu, being unmoveable, returning jin to the source, manipulating jin/kokyu in relation to incoming forces and putting the resultant force in empty spots, etc.

Along the way, we worked on the ki/qi things and the exercises to develop it without muscle. Of course, since this was a new topic to most people there, all we could do was establish the basics and explain how to continue developing it. The "bauble" I did just for fun, was one of the emitted qi exercises (I'm not a big fan of these things, BTW) that gives a fairly startling ability to the practitioners. But you had to be there to appreciate that one. Also, just for fun and since I use a bokken for my personal workouts, I reviewed how all the basic concepts we covered could be practiced with a bokken workout (in regard to ki and kokyu).

We ended up on Sunday doing a number of nage-uke-type standing drills of reacting to incoming forces, exploring how and where the incoming forces could be neutralized (as a lead-in to techniques, etc.) into various "empty" holes, returning of jin at various angles, etc. And despite the fact that this was not Aikido-specific, it was pretty close to what I would consider material I would want to do at an Aikido-only workshop. You can't do *everything* at one workshop, so it strikes me that you want to show what are the most important things on the first shot and we were fairly close to an ideal curriculum in my opinion. Of course, some of the attendees may have different opinions... I just was happy enough about the total curriculum that I thought I'd throw that in.

At the start of almost all workshops, I ask everyone to put their hands on my chest and push me away from them. The reason I do this is that from their push's purity of jin, the amount of shoulder usage, the feel of extra power from the dantien, etc., I can judge pretty closely what prior ability they have, if any, and I can adjust the workshop accordingly. The vast percentage of the time, there is little prior skill. If nothing else, someone *may* have a little ability to play with jin/kokyu strength, but since they still mainly use their shoulders for movement, the ability is obviously quite limited. Later in most workshops, I go back around and have everyone push me and, sure enough, their pushes are vastly improved. One of the things that tickles me is that invariably there will be a few people who, once they get the knack of how to do a few things, suddenly remember that they already do a lot of these things in their own practice.... which of course explains why they were pushing me with muscle and arms at the start of the workshop. ;)

But it was pretty fun. I didn't go into a lot of techniques this time, nor did I do much in the way of how to hit, release great power, etc., etc. I did what I considered most important and for once I feel better that I didn't confuse the issue (as, sadly, I've done in some other cases) by injecting the bells and whistles that too many people want to focus on prematurely.

Anyway, that's *my* take on it. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Ron Tisdale
02-21-2006, 08:16 AM
Nice synopsis, and looking forward to the opportunity to participate. Thanks Mike.

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
02-21-2006, 08:21 AM
Thanks, Ron, but I realized this morning that while I used to be indecisive, now I'm not so sure about that. While I was taking a shower a while ago, I was thinking that an Aikido-specific workshop would have to contain a basic series of kokyu usage in different throws ... so that would be a "must add" and I'm sure there would be one or two other things. I'll ask some of the Aikido people from past workshops to give me some feedback.

Regards,

Mike