fune kogi undo related question
Let's take one phase of the "rowing" exercise - left hanmi, when i move forward i make long "HO!" sound, when i move backward i make short "HEY!" sound. The question is - when do i inhale? Does the fact that my teacher didn't mention it mean that i should inhale whenever i feel i need too? I'd be most greatfull if anyone shared his experience on the subject.
Thanx in advance!
When I practice Funakogi Undo, I do not make the sounds you mention. The first time I heard the "audible" version of Funakogi Undo while visiting another dojo, I found it rather odd (odd from my standpoint and training perspective, not odd in a wrong or bad way). We never performed Funakogi Undo in an audible fashion.
When practicing this exercise, I exhale during the extension (forward) and inhale during the retraction (backward). You can make the short "Hey" sound while inhaling, although it feels a little weird at first.
My suggestion is to either ask your sensei, or a senior student at the dojo. I hope my post has helped and not confused.
In my understanding, this exercice is taken from Shinto practice. The sounds are meaningful only to Shinto believers. At our dojo, some teachers do them, some replace them with an "ichi-ni" sequence. As for me, I find there is no way to properly breathe while doing the sounds, (I almost suffocate :) ), that's why I prefer just to concentrate on the breathing and not to make any sounds.
This is taken from another post on this board and is written by Shaun Ravens Sensei.
The following information was taught to me directly by Seiseki Abe Sensei, 10th dan, at his Osaka dojo. He explains that this is the direct way O-Sensei taught him.
For those who may not know, beginning in 1952, O-Sensei spent about 1/3 of every month at Abe Sensei's home and taught aikido in the Osaka dojo that Abe Sensei built for him (next to his home). For those who aren't familiar with him, Abe Sensei was also O-Sensei's calligraphy teacher, and thus had a unique Master-Student, Student-Master relationship -- although Abe Sensei would never say that, and always said he did not teach O-Sensei in the traditional manner...
Torifune no gyo is one of the eight "gyo" (literally - austere training methods) or practices of Misogi-no-Gyo (austere training methods/practices of Misogi), as taught by O-Sensei. Many people use misogi as a spiritual practice. Although there is this aspect, that is only a tangential part of the overall picture.
The actual reason O-Sensei practiced Misogi was not because it was a mystical Shinto practice, by any means. There is a real basis for this practice, one rooted in a clear physical science that has been observed in its true form and practiced by a limited number of followers for thousands of years. This training directly relates to our aikido practice. Simply speaking, it is used to develop "Kokyu" or breath power.
Kokyu is made up of two Kanji, "Ko" - meaning to breath out, and Kyu" - to breath in. There is also an advanced "bugei" aspect having to do with "hiding" ones breath from one's opponent. However, this is an advanced level of this training accomplished after years of companion breathing exercises. This is also a key aspect of advanced aiki-ju-jitsu.
Each of the eight specific Gyo of Misogi come from Kojiki. According to Abe Sensei, O-Sensei created aikido from kojiki. He states, "The two are inseparable."
1. Misogi-no-gyo (purification and breath training with cold water)
2. Torifune-no-gyo (rowing exercise to "actively" train the breath during movement)
3. Furitama-no-gyo (shaking hands in front of hara to passively train the breath while in standing meditation)
4. Norito-no-gyo (chanting of long prayers to further train and control the breath)
5. Otakebi-no-gyo (Lifting the hands over the head, and body up on the toes, bringing hands back down to below the tanden while shouting "eee-aaaay" and forcing all the breath from the body, again, breath training.
6. Okorobi-no-gyo (two different practices using tegatana "two-fingered sword" cutting, shouting "eee-aaaay" and forcing all the breath from the body, for breath training.
7. Chinkon Kishin-no-gyo (seated meditation, with specific hand postures, hand gestures, and specific meditative visualizations)
8. Shokuji-no-gyo (specific dietary measures designed to distinguish the body's physical power and change the blood from acidic (typical) to alkaline [to promote proper breathing, and correct mind/attitude/heart - kokoro-e])
According to Abe Sensei, the importance of this last Gyo is that its practice is paramount to understanding O-Sensei's mind - specifically as to directly realizing for one's self how and why O-Sensei developed aikido. However, due to the difficulty eating only 4 small cups of rice gruel a day in combination with the sincere undertaking of practicing all 8 Misogi-no-gyo for long, extended periods of time, it is usually left out - much to the detriment of the entire process. My personal experience of this training had me lose 35 pounds in less than 5 weeks.
With specific regards to Torifune, there are three different components or movements. Each are to be followed by furitama, thus creating a pattern of "active/passive" breath training.
In the first movement, while moving the hips forward, the emphasis is on moving the hands forward very quickly (fingers pointed down to the ground, active with "ki" and one's wrists are bent - note the rotation of the forearm from the ready position to the forward position) while exhaling (kiai) with the compound vowel sound "Eeee-Aaaay!" As the hips move back, the wrists follow (soft movement) with the vowel sound "ho!". This 2-part sequence of forwards and backwards should be repeated upwards of twenty times. This is the male aspect, or giving "ki" exercise or "Irimi/Kokyu-ho" (triangle/square) based techniques. You should notice that you are breathing hard as you change to furitama-no-gyo exercise.
The second Torifune exercise reverses the emphasis, starting with a forward hip movement, a soft hand movement and kiai with "ho!" followed by the return of the hips, quick hand movement, while exhaling (kiai) with the compound vowel sound "Eeee-Aaaay!" Then furitama-no-gyo. This is female, or accepting ki exercise or "tenkan/Kokyu-ho" or (circle/square) based techniques.
The third exercise changes the hand movements from ones that are hip level to ones that are chest level. Starting with palms up (at your sides and chest level) begin with the forward hip movement, moving the hands forward very quickly, turning the palms down to the ground, and exhaling (kiai) using the pronouncing "saaaaaah!" this is followed by returning the hands to their original position, again moving the hands backward very quickly, this time exhaling (kiai) using the pronouncing "Aaaay!" Again, the emphasis is on both, moving the hands forward (very quickly) and back (just as quickly).
However, it is important to note that you should try this last part of the Torifune exercise in only one breath, pushing all of your breath out as you move forward and back until you can not kiai any longer. This is way to combine both the male/female and female/male aspect, for techniques based upong the ever-changing eb-flow of giving/receiving<---into--->receiving/giving "ki" exercise or "Irimi/Kokyu-ho" (triangle/square) or "tenkan/Kokyu-ho" (circle/square) based techniques. This last set is again followed by furitama-no-gyo.
Generally, furitama-no-gyo is practiced to warm the body up before misogi-no-gyo (dousing one's self with cold water). Then after misogi-no-gyo, the routine (in the above order) is followed. This is a daily practice, and should be done four times a day (early morning, late morning, early afternoon, and late afternoon - generally, not at night).
My current understanding is that you breathe between kiai. How many repetitions of the kiai you can do between breaths is up to you to explore. At the moment I seem to average about three repetitions before I need to inhale.
Ho - Eeee-Aaaay
Ho - Eeee-Aaaay
Ho - Eeee-Aaaay
Ho - Eeee-Aaaay
Ho - Eeee-Aaaay
Ho - Eeee-Aaaay
This is inhaling only enough to fill my abdomen and not my chest... if you know what I mean.
Hope this helps.
In our dojo, it's...
<inhale through the nose>
<inhale through the nose>
In our dojo we start with hidari hami and use
Ho(pushing out) sa (pulling in)
Switching to migi hami we use
then returning to hidari hami we go as fast as we can with
eh eh eh eh eh
We do it with "feeling"
Re: fune kogi undo related question
From A Collage of Poppy's Life a Book to My Grandchildren
by Dennis Hooker
FUNATORI -- FURUTAMA
I start by taking one natural step forward with my left foot. Leaving the right in the rear position. Now I widen the distance just a little further than my normal walking gate. At first I had to experiment and find a comfort distance. I place my hands close to my side at the hip joint. They are closed as if I'm holding a boat ore , but they are not clinched. Now I move center forward bending the front knee while extending the hands out to the front of my body. I visualize lifting the ores out of water shifting to the forward position lowering the ores into the water and pulling back. I do all this with as much hip and leg motion as I can. At the apex of the extension the center begins to move back as the back knee bends and the front knee straightens. The hands are brought to the side in line with the hip joint again.
I endeavor to move the tanden (center) in a straight even line with as little bobbing up and down motion as possible. With the movement forward and the expansion of the body the breath flows into the tanden. With the movement to the rear the body contracts and the breath is forced out. Throughout all these Aikido based exercises remember body expansion requires breath in and body contraction requires breath out. Movement and breath, breath and movement are one.
As the body expands with arms extended the air flows into the lungs. As the body contracts with hands drawn to the hip joint the air is forced out of the body, this creates a harmony of motion. Each full movement of the body requires a complete cycle of breath.
Now I go through the other half of this exercise. After doing the rowing exercise for a short time I stand with my feet about shoulder with apart. I cup the left hand over the right as if covering an egg. I lift my arms over my head and then bring them down front of the tanden. I begin to shake the hands just strongly enough to feel the movement throughout the body. I continue this for about five minuets before shifting back to the first part. Remember what I said about deep breathing and that 1750 ml. of air in the bottom of the lungs that can't be voluntarily expelled? That's the residual volume if you remember. During the shaking I believe that the level of the oxygen in the bottom of the lung is increased and the level of the carbon dioxide is reduced. This improves the over all oxygen count in the blood and increases the internal body heat. I have done this with folks in the snow and we melt the snow.
Saotome Sensei recommended I do this in the morning for a minimum of 45 minuets. I have found that it builds core heat in my body and if I then step into freezing water my skin pores will close down holding the heat inside for a short time as long as I continue to shake. I guess it's much like shivering to create body heat but done much more methodically. When I step out of the water and the pores of my body open the flood of sensation is beyond belief. It's like my universe explodes into brighter colors and more sounds, the senses are amplified and flooded. Sometimes it's almost to much to stand.
I have had much the same experience in an Cherokee Sweat lodge after a hard physical challenge.
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