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bulevardi 03-19-2010 04:11 AM

Funakogi Undo
 
I have a question about Funakogi Undo.

Yesterday, we did this rowing exercise in our warming up.

With making the sounds "hee hoo" (repeated infinitely), like in this Second 8 to second 10 in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zu-XmcVXmOE

Anyway, afterwards, we did some weird spiritual thing: spreading arms going up and folding hands above your head. Letting hands go down bofore your center and make a cocoon with the hands. Close the eyes and shake the cocoon-hands softly.
After doing that for a half minute, making circular motions with that cocoon, around your body at the level of your center, like it's floating on water.

Because it was realy silent in the dojo doing that exercise and everyone was very concentrated doing it, I didn't want to interrupt the sensei asking for the meaning of that exercise.

The rowing exercise itself I understand.
Certainly after watching this useful explaination: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBVxveyrsMY&feature=PlayList&p=3960D82AF744E923&playnext=1&playnext_from =PL&index=21.
But the 2nd part of that exercise with the folding hands shaking before the center... I still question the meaning of that one.
I can't even find a video of that to show more in depth what it's like.

Do other dojo's practice that same exercise aswel? Or is it only done at my dojo? Because I searched for Funakogi Undo on the web but I couldn't find that second part. Could anyone explain some more about it?

Thanks

Dazzler 03-19-2010 04:30 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
Hi

Yes - we practice it.

With reference to the 2nd part I've heard this refered to as 'Stirring the ki' with the hands replicating the awakening of the seika tanden/ life forces.

I've been told that this continuous movement relates to life force of ki...and a lack of movement means you are dead. So in Aikido you look to always move, always be vibrant and of course always be alive.

Less wierd and spiritual is the fact that it puts the hand into the centre of the body just like the completion of bokken cuts...so a more practical association with centre.

Personally I feel I get more from the thrusting of the body forward to generate power and also from the corresponding withdrawal to take ukes centre away but I also suspect its one of those exercises which allow you to take more from it as your Aiki knowledge grows.

Enjoy it. If nothing else the hey hooo stuff creates a great pre-practice vibe and allows the instuctor to see the extroverts and the introverts expose themselves.

On the idea of expose onself...never let anyone video the class from behind during the hand shaking bit....it looks a bit ....odd.

Regards

D

Abasan 03-19-2010 04:55 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
Personally I think the hands is used to create a physical tie in to your center. So it becomes easier to imagine moving your center. Grasping it lightly, you can almost feel the energy within you turn as you turn your hands. Grasping it tightly for me reveals nothing.

bulevardi 03-19-2010 05:31 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
Quote:

Daren Sims wrote: (Post 254095)
Enjoy it. If nothing else the hey hooo stuff creates a great pre-practice vibe and allows the instuctor to see the extroverts and the introverts expose themselves.

In this case, I am totally introvert :)

Quote:

On the idea of expose onself...never let anyone video the class from behind during the hand shaking bit....it looks a bit ....odd.
Of course, there wouldn't be new members coming to Aikido class anymore if they would see that video first. :)

Thanks for the explanation.

HarlieG 03-19-2010 06:13 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
Quote:

Daren Sims wrote: (Post 254095)
Hi

On the idea of expose onself...never let anyone video the class from behind during the hand shaking bit....it looks a bit ....odd.

Thanks for the laugh!

DG

Mark Mueller 03-19-2010 07:11 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
You have moved energy out to different parts of the body during the rowing exercise...the second part is to "shake and sift" that energy back to your hara.

chillzATL 03-19-2010 07:21 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
It sounds like what you were actually doing were forms of chinkon kishin. The second part seems to be a combination of furitama (soul shaking, settling ki, etc) and ibuki. It is supposed to settle the spirit and help you focus your mind and attention.

phitruong 03-19-2010 07:26 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
Quote:

Dirk Desmet wrote: (Post 254093)
Anyway, afterwards, we did some weird spiritual thing: spreading arms going up and folding hands above your head. Letting hands go down bofore your center and make a cocoon with the hands. Close the eyes and shake the cocoon-hands softly.
After doing that for a half minute, making circular motions with that cocoon, around your body at the level of your center, like it's floating on water.

not spiritual thing. it's an internal power practice thing, if you know the details. same goes for funakogi undo. you can go through the motions which most folks do or work with some of the internal experts, and the information they will tell you on those things would make your head explodes. ;)

chillzATL 03-19-2010 07:37 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
Quote:

Phi Truong wrote: (Post 254110)
not spiritual thing. it's an internal power practice thing, if you know the details. same goes for funakogi undo. you can go through the motions which most folks do or work with some of the internal experts, and the information they will tell you on those things would make your head explodes. ;)

careful, you're getting dangerous off topic here! :)

bulevardi 03-19-2010 08:07 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
Quote:

Phi Truong wrote: (Post 254110)
you can go through the motions which most folks do or work with some of the internal experts, and the information they will tell you on those things would make your head explodes. ;)

I guess my sensei would explode if I do a kajak paddle technique instead of the real rowing technique: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sI44mHQVIg4

Better I don't try this one on the tatami.

Internal Training, Ki power and other things are very sensitive topics to talk about. For outsiders, it looks like they are brainwashed.
(don't get offended) Some friends of mine say: "stop with aikido, it's a sect. Stay with both feet on the ground."

phitruong 03-19-2010 08:09 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
Quote:

Jason Casteel wrote: (Post 254111)
careful, you're getting dangerous off topic here! :)

thanks for pull me back from the brink of distraction.

sheesh! that was close thing! :)

Fred Little 03-19-2010 08:13 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
Quote:

Phi Truong wrote: (Post 254110)
not spiritual thing. it's an internal power practice thing, if you know the details. same goes for funakogi undo. you can go through the motions which most folks do or work with some of the internal experts, and the information they will tell you on those things would make your head explodes. ;)

Phi, Phi, Phi,

It's a dessert topping AND a floor wax!

Seriously, this is not an "either-or" or even a "both-and." The entire misogi-no-gyo is a complete mikkyo/sanmitsu practice in its own right, involving the training of the mind, body, and speech. These practices can be found in multiple lines of transmission, some more complete and some less complete. The "internal experts,"(or at least one of them, though I'm not in the endorsement business) have a wealth of key information on the body aspects of the practice that I have never encountered anywhere else. That said, I should also note that I have encountered orthodox Buddhist and folk shinto ritual specialists who have information on the speech and mind aspects of the practice that is comparatively rare and no less critical if one is approaching the set of exercises that make up the misogi-no-gyo as a complete practice with soteriological goals beyond the merely physical.

Each line of transmission seems to have emphasized some elements and de-emphasized others, in keeping with the interests and proclivities of the people in that line. While the internal power aspects really are quite amazing and valuable, in the long run, I would argue that those too are just flashy tricks in comparison to the deeper purposes of the training. (Of course, the long run may include many kalpas of cyclic existence. :D Or maybe it just feels that way during the third set of reps of the last exercise in whatever routine you happen to be working, if you consulted with one of the IP guyz and followed his advice.)

Rev. Barrish of Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America has extensive experience with these practices in a fairly straightforward Shinto context; he sometimes posts here, and this might be a useful occasion for him to do so.

Best,

FL

bulevardi 03-19-2010 08:25 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-kdMVzQ-zU

Found a video...

phitruong 03-19-2010 08:28 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
question, does spiritual training needs physical components?

Fred Little 03-19-2010 08:33 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
Quote:

Phi Truong wrote: (Post 254118)
question, does spiritual training needs physical components?

It depends on who is being trained, and for what purpose. :cool:

MM 03-19-2010 09:00 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
Quote:

Jason Casteel wrote: (Post 254111)
careful, you're getting dangerous off topic here! :)

Actually, no. Do we know or understand what Ueshiba was doing when he did funakogi undo and furitama?

We already know, 100% for sure, that just mimicking outward forms of techniques will not get you to the level of Ueshiba Morihei. Otherwise, after, what, 40 years of training beyond Ueshiba's death we have no one in the aikido world that's even close to him. And *everyone* in the aikido world has mimicked his techniques over and over and over and over again.

So, back to Funakogi and such. Some threads I found in a quick search for some history and such:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/forums/...&postorder=asc

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13947

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1421

I would say it's fairly obvious that Ueshiba was doing something different than just going through the outward physical movements. And since we have quite a lot of people out there who have explained how and what to do with these exercises (including some involved with misogi-no-gyo), *and* we still don't have anyone close to Ueshiba's abilities, I would say that maybe people should dig deeper into what Ueshiba was actually doing internally (which includes the spiritual realm).

But, hey, if you want to spend 40 + years mimicking the outward movements, if you want to spend 40 + years moving energy around or timing your breath or deep breathing or such, well, you are part of a very large group of people worldwide. While you're there, how about getting hands on with some of those people who have been doing this for 30-40 + years and asking them how much closer it's gotten them to Ueshiba's abilities.

To be like Ueshiba, you can't have just one. It was martial and spiritual for him. But, remember, who out there in the spiritual-only realm (to include those who practice misogi-no-gyo, meditation, Oomoto kyo, etc) has the abilities of Ueshiba?

Perhaps if we were discussing jujutsu or some physical martial program like Olympic Judo or BJJ, it would be a very easy thing to separate the martial from the spiritual. However, aiki (and I mean Daito ryu aiki) is something apart from pure physical and martial endeavors.

I'm starting to think that aiki, in and of itself, is a spiritual pursuit as much as it is a physical one. And that is why Ueshiba easily adapted various other spiritual pursuits with his martial aiki. It wasn't about being martially solid and having good sportsman-like conduct. Aiki changes the body and the mind while altering a person's spirit. I've heard at least one person, while training aiki, say something along the lines of I'm living freer in the world.

Didn't Ueshiba state that no one had to follow his footsteps? Why are you doing funakogi undo? Furitama? Misogi?

In the end, your training is your own.

Larry Cuvin 03-19-2010 09:07 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
The ki test for funakogi udo is to have someone grab both your hands while stretched out and see if you can get their balance (even if they try hard to stay in place) while you continue with the excersice almost undisturbed. Pretty amazing stuff man.

bulevardi 03-19-2010 09:29 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
Hmm, internal power or not... I'm only interested by the exercises that work effectively.
For example: if breathing techniques work to improve physical movements: fine. But don't make it unnecessary spiritual.

It's fine to do rituals aswel, based on religions like shinto, but I'm only interested if they work physically, apart from believing in that religion.
Most people who think scientifically don't care about the soul, soul shaking, ki, kami, etc... because when they ask for more in depth information about it, it's very vague explained.

Erick Mead 03-19-2010 09:42 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
Quote:

Phi Truong wrote: (Post 254118)
question, does spiritual training needs physical components?

Since we are corporeal I would say ... Yes. :)

bulevardi 03-19-2010 09:44 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
Quote:

Otherwise, after, what, 40 years of training beyond Ueshiba's death we have no one in the aikido world that's even close to him. And *everyone* in the aikido world has mimicked his techniques over and over and over and over again.
So after 40 years training by thousands of people, no one ever obtained the power he claimed to maintain by doing those spiritual rituals?
Those spiritual rituals are based on what? And if no one could achieve the same results by doing them, will the rituals ever work?

C. David Henderson 03-19-2010 09:59 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
I think you're oversimplifying what has been said about the dual nature of the exercises. If, however, the "spiritual" is a turn off for you, maybe you just politely shake your hands while mentally going through your shopping list. Or maybe you suspend disbelief -- not the same thing as adopting belief, IMO -- and try to see what may be there in the exercise. Or maybe you decide Aikido is a cult and walk away.

In the end, as Mark said, your training is your own.

MM 03-19-2010 10:20 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
Quote:

Dirk Desmet wrote: (Post 254130)
So after 40 years training by thousands of people, no one ever obtained the power he claimed to maintain by doing those spiritual rituals?
Those spiritual rituals are based on what? And if no one could achieve the same results by doing them, will the rituals ever work?

Not thousands.

Supposedly from the Aikikai estimates, 1.2 million people are practicing aikido worldwide. That probably doesn't include non Aikikai related schools.

Millions.

And then toss in all those people who are pure misogo-no-gyo or pure oomoto kyo or pure meditation and you still have no one who has achieved Ueshiba's abilities.

How many of the millions who have mimicked the outward physical techniques of Ueshiba ... for 40 + years ... have replicated Ueshiba's abilities?

How many spiritual only people have practiced misogi exercises have replicated Ueshiba's abilities?

How many Oomoto kyo people who don't practice techniques have replicated Ueshiba's abilities?

How many Oomoto kyo people who do practice techniques have replicated Ueshiba's abilities?

Tomiki and Shioda are talked about having replicated some of Ueshiba's abilities. Horikawa Kodo is talked about having replicated Ueshiba's feats and abilities. Sagawa, too. Any one of those people could have added any kind of spiritual component to their martial and created a system similar to Ueshiba's vision of aikido. Or maybe people think Ueshiba saying that you didn't have to follow his footsteps meant something else?

Ueshiba's vision included a spiritual aspect. To follow his vision, you have to have the martial and spiritual, but I don't think you *have* to do misogi or Oomoto kyo exercises specifically. If you do, that's great. If that's all you do and think you'll become another Ueshiba, then, IMO, you're fooling yourself.

And after looking out at 1.2 + million aikido people practicing techniques day after day, year after year, decade after decade ... and not replicating Ueshiba's abilities ... when do you think it is time to ask ... WHY?

Quote:

Regarding Insanity, Albert Einstein wrote:
doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.


Keith Larman 03-19-2010 10:23 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
I come from a family of scientists, heck, I was virtually raised at JPL and CalTech during the height of the space program. And growing up everyone figured I'd end up in the hard sciences. I can't turn that off.

But... I think of other things. Chanting in church. How that chanting can be shown to calm the nerves, changes physiologic properties, alter things that are said to be autonomic. Is the chanting bringing you closer to God? Or is it a practice that allows one to calm and achieve a different type of consciousness? And through that different type of perception do we not see things differently and possibly find things we were incapable of seeing before?

Rituals, chants, movements, sound, etc. One can probably say with a great deal of scientific certainty that the detailed, specific explanations of old may in fact be incorrect. They may not be rigorous and verifiable explanations of what is being done or what the body is being trained. However, there is always the possibility that these behaviors, like chanting, like praying, like any number of things done all over the world can do things that we simply have not yet defined.

Look at articles about strength. I've seen more and more articles about people learning about "functional" fitness talking about changing the focus from individual muscle training to "whole body" training. Learning to lift something with the entire body rather than locally. Doesn't this seem to fit into some of the ideas of connection? Relaxation? Think of the contradictory things talented people say -- "relax, you'll be stronger".

I am of a scientific bent. But I also have felt people do amazing things. So I listen to what they say, I watch what they do, and I try to resist the temptation to shove every round peg into the square boxes I have.

Funakogi is a great example for me. My sensei would talk about bending the fingers down so you don't cut off the flow of ki. He would talk about extension and movement as always being connected. Connect to the one-point then back out to the fingers but also down to the floor. Ground, connect, move. Since I work alone I'd often do the aikitaiso by myself as a break (which I need to do in order to get the kinks out). I remember one day feeling a sort of "pulling" along the outside of my arm, up into my shoulders, then down into my center. If I didn't curl the fingers down the sensation went away. I remember thinking "ah, I wonder if that's the feeling sensei is talking about when he says you need to feel your ki flow and feel connected". Hmmmm.... Then years later taking a seminar with Toby Threadgill and listening to him talk about funakogi. Then working with Mike Sigman. And although we do our funakogi a bit differently, his explanation of suit and grounding (staying away from his Chinese terminology for now) resonated. Different explanation. But the effect was the same.

One thing that is consistent among the IS guys is that at some point you need to build the IS body to continue along that path. The exercises done are one of those paths.

In my sword craft work one thing I was told repeatedly was that you must be *very* careful about deviating from the traditional methods. Because often the traditional methods involve thousands of small things that you may not even be aware of. Why the hole in the nakago of a sword is drilled larger than the pins used to hold the sword together is a good example. All production companies drill them in place. Many craftsmen outside Japan drill them in place (i.e., the hole in the handle is the same as the hole in the nakago). It turns out that it is a very bad idea long term in terms of being able to keep the handle tight because it negates the ability to do something very simple to quickly tighten the handle. But if you don't realize this tiny detail it is something you could easily discard as "unnecessary" tradition. But it isn't. It turns out to be a tiny detail that is very important. Just not when it is done. I think a lot of what we learn is like that.

Someone mentioned shu-ha-ri. I'm a firm believer. I'm also a believer in doing your level best at whatever you're doing, even if you don't believe the explanation. There is sometimes a very good reason why it was done that way. And while it may not be the express reason given, you toss that away and ignore it only at your own peril.

I'm rambling and not even sure I'm making myself clear. So I'll go back to my cave and look at the shadows on the wall some more while I'm feeling philosophical... Carry on.

Erick Mead 03-19-2010 10:24 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 254123)
Actually, no. Do we know or understand what Ueshiba was doing when he did funakogi undo and furitama? ...

Yes, we do. "Spirit of the Demon Snake" and "the Spirit of Bees" are his poetical images -- but much more than that (and like most poetical images) they are actually concrete verbal descriptions of physical action, and as it happens, in these very two exercises.

Most people pull or push with joint leverage, which, among other things is very inefficient action, because (among other things) the limb rotations oppose one another discontinuously and eat up energy, and the leverage creates a destabilizing shear at the joint fulcrum that must be countered muscularly-- eating up yet more energy. Hence a snatch is easier than a curl.

The more efficient actions are cutting and its inverse, gathering or reaping, which 1) use continuous limb rotations, 2) use shear directly instead of leverage. I could go into more detail, but ...

Suffice it to say that rotations and vibration are the same things, mechanically. When you do the "rubber pencil" trick your eye believes the rigid pencil to be bending. In fact your eye is tracking the real moving center of rotation as it translates along the rigid body.

Funakogi undo is learning to use the same principle with your whole body, initiating large scale rotations through the body smoothly and concentrating them at the end of each cycle, and recovering likewise. Sayo undo is basically a variation doing the same thing but sideways. Ude furi undo another geometric variation. So is Zengo undo, Happo undo etc. etc. etc.

Furitama is the "spirit of bees" done right at ~10 Hz -- the resonance frequency of the human body. You can confirm this independently by counting the cycles when you feel your heels bouncing. It is the thing that happens in your opponent as you concentrate the large scale rotations at the end of each cyle in applying the principle in funakogi undo, and it is also the "bone rattling" aspect of properly applied atemi. Resonance is the most energy-efficient destructive form of applied dynamic stress that exists.

Tekubifuri is the same, shaking the body at a certain rhythm to gain kinesthetic recognition an sensitivity to it --.as is the "beat ourselves up" warm up exercise, because a sharp strike cause the body to "ring" briefly at its resonance frequency, an the better connected you become the more you feel that throughout the body. The more you feel it the more you can adapt to it, and control it. Most of that control does not come consciously.

Rotation and potential for rotations (moment) are also equivalent. Instead of pushing or pulling in isolation -- the principles that these exercises teach is rotation and potential rotation - the top of the rotation goes forward -- the bottom of the rotation goes backward (or vice versa) pushing and pulling simultaneusly (technically called "shear") ( in-yo ho, kokyu ho -- what have you). When we add in whole-body torques as in Zengo, ude furi, or happo undo we get whole body torsional shear -- the most destructive form of internal structural stress that exists.

Vibration (bees) and undulation (snake) are just the same principle of translated rotations, applied shear -- cutting and reaping, which are intimately connected and applied together -- just at different scales.

Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 254123)
Didn't Ueshiba state that no one had to follow his footsteps? Why are you doing funakogi undo? Furitama? Misogi?
In the end, your training is your own.

So desu.

MM 03-19-2010 11:04 AM

Re: Funakogi Undo
 
Quote:

Keith Larman wrote: (Post 254136)
I come from a family of scientists, heck, I was virtually raised at JPL and CalTech during the height of the space program. And growing up everyone figured I'd end up in the hard sciences. I can't turn that off.

But... I think of other things. Chanting in church. How that chanting can be shown to calm the nerves, changes physiologic properties, alter things that are said to be autonomic. Is the chanting bringing you closer to God? Or is it a practice that allows one to calm and achieve a different type of consciousness? And through that different type of perception do we not see things differently and possibly find things we were incapable of seeing before?

Rituals, chants, movements, sound, etc. One can probably say with a great deal of scientific certainty that the detailed, specific explanations of old may in fact be incorrect. They may not be rigorous and verifiable explanations of what is being done or what the body is being trained. However, there is always the possibility that these behaviors, like chanting, like praying, like any number of things done all over the world can do things that we simply have not yet defined.

Hi Keith,

Don't disagree with you. It's why I say that Ueshiba's vision of aikido included both martial and spiritual. And why I say that you don't have to follow his exact footsteps to have his vision of aikido.

Quote:

Keith Larman wrote: (Post 254136)
Funakogi is a great example for me. My sensei would talk about bending the fingers down so you don't cut off the flow of ki. He would talk about extension and movement as always being connected. Connect to the one-point then back out to the fingers but also down to the floor. Ground, connect, move. Since I work alone I'd often do the aikitaiso by myself as a break (which I need to do in order to get the kinks out). I remember one day feeling a sort of "pulling" along the outside of my arm, up into my shoulders, then down into my center. If I didn't curl the fingers down the sensation went away. I remember thinking "ah, I wonder if that's the feeling sensei is talking about when he says you need to feel your ki flow and feel connected". Hmmmm.... Then years later taking a seminar with Toby Threadgill and listening to him talk about funakogi. Then working with Mike Sigman. And although we do our funakogi a bit differently, his explanation of suit and grounding (staying away from his Chinese terminology for now) resonated. Different explanation. But the effect was the same.

We do exercises where our intent is specifically placed or directed. But, at some point, that intent becomes ingrained nature such that, to take your example, the fingers wouldn't need to be pointed downwards (I'm not there yet). Aiki becomes the entire body. As one of Peter Goldsbury's articles mentioned, Ueshiba warned about the dangers of Ushiro practice ... for uke. Ueshiba was aiki and connecting to an aiki body is inherently ... disconcerting at the least and dangerous at the most. :)


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