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Mike Sigman
07-14-2005, 12:49 PM
In my opinion, Katate-dori is not a grab attack but the presentation of a particular set of angles and energies. While certain energies may not be present or as prescribed because Uke does something strange, etc., those angles particular to Katate-dori are remain nevertheless. As a result, those aspects of one's tactical architecture that are meant to address the angles of Katate-dori are still viable. Having the prescribed energies of Katate-dori go missing only means that we have to be that much better in those aspects of our tactical architectures that are meant to address the geometry of the wrist grab. Without such insight, we often become over-dependent upon the presence of the prescribed energies and as a result we often come to lose the relevant geometries that are vital to our tactic's overall martial effectiveness. Tactically, this is what I am guessing is happening to Paige. This then is a prime moment to reflect greatly upon the angles of one's tactical architecture (e.g. how to bring power to one's wrist, how to use one's elbow, how to lower one's center, etc.). Attempting to generate the energies we are most likely are over-dependent upon through atemi is us wasting such a prime moment. I more or less agree with your evaluation of the problem, David, but there are a few other factors that I think are worth noting.

First of all, a smaller person, like all Aikidoists, should be attempting to move uke's "center" (along the angles of no support, etc., that you're referring to) with her center. A huge problem in "doing something with your center" is to make the "center" available in the hands, forearms, wrists as in this case, and so on. Unless you have trained, conditioned, strengthened the connection between the center and wrists, in this particular example we're using, you wind up not being able to get your center there and you're reduced to using smaller and weaker (in Paige's case) arms against a bigger mass with stronger arms. Bigger people (like males) usually aren't any better at getting their center out to their wrists, they just have stronger wrists, hands, etc., and fake a true connection to center with stiffened arm muscles (hey... it can be effective, though).

You can do a couple of shortcuts like sinking downward with your body and elbow, using your weight to turn your wrist in such a way that it weakens his grip, but even the shortcuts fail sometimes and they really become more "tricks" than they help you strengthen the connection from you middle to your wrist. Extending your fingers will often strengthen the forearm (and maybe *some* upper arm) so that you can convey the movement of the body through the arm.... that's the reason the fingers are often extended, BTW; ki and "ability to transmit strength" are inextricably intertwined.

The ideal "connection" between Paige and uke would be a connection from her center to his center so that she can move him along these angles of no support you're referring to. If his connection is somewhat loose to his middle, you can tighten the connection to his center with a twist that tightens/locks the joints and then apply the movement along your angles where he has no support. So probably someone like Paige (and most of us) needs to (1.) strengthen the relaxed connection of their limbs to their center and (2.) learn all they can about areas/angles of no support by doing a lot of experimenting.

FWIW

Mike

Mike Sigman
07-14-2005, 01:34 PM
A huge problem in "doing something with your center" is to make the "center" available in the hands, forearms, wrists as in this case, and so on. Unless you have trained, conditioned, strengthened the connection between the center and wrists, in this particular example we're using, you wind up not being able to get your center there and you're reduced to using smaller and weaker (in Paige's case) arms against a bigger mass with stronger arms. Actually, this is probably a really great example of one of the basic misunderstandings in Aikido, Taiji, and a number of other arts. In order to use your "center" you have to have a specially conditioned (read "strong") connection from your center to your hands, arms, legs, etc. When your middle is strong (and it derives its power from the ground, your weight, and your conditioned "ki") then you don't have to use "strength". The misunderstanding is the idea of "use no strength". You don't use normal strength or strong arms, but your center must be strong and the connections from your center to the extremities must be strong. Hence ki/kokyu exercises, but not muscle exercises. Saying "don't use strength in Aikido" refers to "normal strength".

FWIW

Mike

raul rodrigo
07-16-2005, 08:37 AM
For a small guy, one of the pleasures of aikido is these intermittent contests of strength when a kohai tries to stop my movement during a grab. And then doing the technique anyway. Its even fun when a senior (a 7th dan in one particular case) stops my movement not with effort, but by sinking his center and just standing there. I simply couldnt move this man (Motohiro Fukakusa) for ryotedori shihonage. One consolation was that the 4th dan next to me couldnt move him either. The other was the thought that: Okay, now we're really getting into aikido. And that's the point, really: understanding what is "just strength," and then how to beat the daylights out of it with genuine technique.

Mike Sigman
07-16-2005, 05:25 PM
Its even fun when a senior (a 7th dan in one particular case) stops my movement not with effort, but by sinking his center and just standing there. I simply couldnt move this man (Motohiro Fukakusa) for ryotedori shihonage Hi Raul: So why couldn't you move him? What was there about his "sinking his center" that made him so hard to move? :)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

raul rodrigo
07-16-2005, 07:39 PM
Hell, Mike, if i knew that....He said it was something that he learned from his teacher, Tamura Shihan. Our two strongest guys tried to lift him and they collapsed trying. The words sinking or dropping his center come from him; its his description of what he was doing. None of us felt any strain or muscular tension from him at these moments; he didn't lower his knees or do anything else obviously physical, as far as we could tell, to go against the force of the lifting. So no, I have no idea really what he was doing outside of what he said he was doing. All I know is, it was real.

Mike Sigman
07-16-2005, 08:12 PM
Hell, Mike, if i knew that....He said it was something that he learned from his teacher, Tamura Shihan. Thanks. That tells me something. :) Analysis
When a technique is difficult, it is preferable to break it down in many simple movements. Our two strongest guys tried to lift him and they collapsed trying. The words sinking or dropping his center come from him; its his description of what he was doing. None of us felt any strain or muscular tension from him at these moments; he didn't lower his knees or do anything else obviously physical, as far as we could tell, to go against the force of the lifting. So no, I have no idea really what he was doing outside of what he said he was doing. All I know is, it was real.Here's a quote from Tamura: Analysis
When a technique is difficult, it is preferable to break it down in many simple movements. If I have a strong middle and know what ki and kokyu is but I let my practice lapse and then try to hit my hardest with my kokyu, what would stop me from transmitting my full kokyu? I've said that ground and weight are the 2 powerings behind kokyu... so why can't you duplicate Fukakusa's "sinking"??? ;) And what other factors may be involved?

Regards,

Mike

raul rodrigo
07-16-2005, 08:58 PM
so why can't you duplicate Fukakusa's "sinking"??? ;) And what other factors may be involved?

Regards,

Mike


I have no idea. Maybe I'm just not very good at aikido? He didn't break it down into smaller movements. He just said he would think of his center and make it "go down." Apparently Tamura has the same quality. In the old Hombu, he was called "the stone wall." Do you have any thoughts that would of help to me?


R

Mike Sigman
07-16-2005, 09:25 PM
I have no idea. Maybe I'm just not very good at aikido? He didn't break it down into smaller movements. He just said he would think of his center and make it "go down." Apparently Tamura has the same quality. In the old Hombu, he was called "the stone wall." Do you have any thoughts that would of help to me?It's not really his Aikido, I don't think. All the Asian martial arts are chock full of "secret training methods". I was saying that if you don't train correctly, you can't get the power of your middle out to your hands for a hit, even if you "know how to use your center". You can't just "sink" without training, either. Think how some things about O-Sensei's training were not known at first, like his custom-made extra-heavy garden tools. The mistake would be to think that because people know some training techniques they know them all.

BTW, the power of "sinking" is also part of kokyu. It's the same thing Tohei and others do so they can't be lifted or so they can apply great power downward. They practice it, but I don't think they tell many people how to do that practice. ;)

FWIW

Mike

raul rodrigo
07-16-2005, 10:43 PM
BTW, the power of "sinking" is also part of kokyu. It's the same thing Tohei and others do so they can't be lifted or so they can apply great power downward. They practice it, but I don't think they tell many people how to do that practice. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Thanks Mike. Can you do this "sinking" so that you can't be lifted? In the absence of a detailed explanation from the Japanese shihan, how do gaijin learn it? As far I've seen, all they do is give hints, not the step by step process how they got there. The impression I got from Fukakusa was that Tamura told him a few vague things and a year or so later, he had it down pat. As simple as that. Maybe he's just gifted, but I think you're right in saying there has got to be more to it. I don't think it's ever going to be given to us. If we want it, I think we're going to have to "steal" it.


Best,

R

Mike Sigman
07-17-2005, 07:01 AM
Thanks Mike. Can you do this "sinking" so that you can't be lifted? In the absence of a detailed explanation from the Japanese shihan, how do gaijin learn it? As far I've seen, all they do is give hints, not the step by step process how they got there. The impression I got from Fukakusa was that Tamura told him a few vague things and a year or so later, he had it down pat. As simple as that. Maybe he's just gifted, but I think you're right in saying there has got to be more to it. I don't think it's ever going to be given to us. If we want it, I think we're going to have to "steal" it. Analyse it. How do you train the "connection" between the weight and the rest of the body yet stay fairly relaxed?

I'll tell you one old traditional way to do it, although I personally prefer something else that is simpler and contains more factors in it. One of the old tricks was to put an inflated goat's bladder in a tub of water, rest both hands on the bladder and "sink" slightly, trying to transmit the body's weight onto the top of the bladder, sinking it slightly. You don't need a goat's bladder in water. How can you duplicate the action? Maybe some thin bungee cords hanging from the ceiling? Do you really even need an apparatus to mimick the idea of holding a ball slightly down in water? What's going on and how do you duplicate it??? ;) What are the extensions of it? Are there general principles here that apply to all of the body?

FWIW

Mike

raul rodrigo
07-17-2005, 09:39 AM
All tough questions, Mike. I'm going to need some time to get even the beginnings of an answer. Its only been in the last 6-8 months that I began to feel "something else" going on in fune kogi, the solid transfer of mass from one big toe to the other, and the connectedness of the center to the ground. "Something else" meaning something apart from the unfocused swinging of the arms back and forth, without real connection to center, which is how I used to do it. And now there's a little figure-8 action going on sometimes, which seems related to some of the taichi movements my wife does. So what's going on? How does a Tamura sink his center? Am working on it. Will get back to you when I have something more solid.

Mike Sigman
07-17-2005, 01:15 PM
All tough questions, Mike. I'm going to need some time to get even the beginnings of an answer. Its only been in the last 6-8 months that I began to feel "something else" going on in fune kogi, the solid transfer of mass from one big toe to the other, and the connectedness of the center to the ground. "Something else" meaning something apart from the unfocused swinging of the arms back and forth, without real connection to center, which is how I used to do it. And now there's a little figure-8 action going on sometimes, which seems related to some of the taichi movements my wife does. So what's going on? How does a Tamura sink his center? Am working on it. Will get back to you when I have something more solid. Don't go woo-woo on us, Raul! Whenever people start feeling strange things, I feel the impulse to grab my wallet and run. ;) Don't start feeling around for odd sensations. When you push that imaginary sculling oar in fune kogi undo, at first don't even bend and unbend your arms... just push foward with the push of your middle doing all the work; no power at all from the arms/shoulders. When you pull, pretend your hands are hooked on the oar and do *all* the pulling with the pull of your belt (pretend it's hooked directly to the oar with a piece of rope). Try not to use *any* power from the arms, just the push of the middle going forward and the pull of the middle to bring the oar toward you. Slowly, feeling every inch of movement. As you get better and better at keeping the power solely coming from the middle you can bend and unbend the arms (keeping the power only coming from the middle).

If you're weak (this is just a thought example), it will take a while to get where the body is conditioned enough to support the push from the middle through the bones and strong enough in the "connection" to support the pull of the middle without having to add muscle, tense, etc. In other words, it takes practice to condition the body so that it can "transmit" the power of the middle out to the extremities. "Sinking" the middle is just another of the forces from the middle (there are really only 4: up, down, away from the body, toward the body). In order to hold someone's wrists and apply "sinking" to them, the body must be conditioned to be able to transmit that force, as well. Moving practice and certain standing practices are the traditional methods.

;)

Mike