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John Matsushima 11-08-2004 01:13 AM

A Woman's Center
 
I've just been wondering if any women out there find it hard or unatural keeping thier center and focus in the hara, or lower abdomen. I think a woman's center of gravity is higher up, more like the upper abdomen or solar plexus. What do you women think about this? If anyone could try this out in practice (keeping one point in the solar plexus area), I would be happy to hear of your experiences and opinions on this matter.

-John Matsushima

PeterR 11-08-2004 01:33 AM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
Hey John;

This is only an observation but have you notice that many women tie their belt high on their hips. The dojo fashion police usually have a word with the occasional guy that does this but I have also suggested to some women that do so and appear to have the problem you are talking about that it might help if they do the same. Sort of a reminder to lower their hara - sometimes it even works.

rachmass 11-08-2004 05:33 AM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
????? I believe women naturally have a lower center, not the opposite! While I tie my hakama high, because that is where my natural waist is, my weight is definately in my center and low, as anyone practicing with me can attest. This is the way I find most women to be and have seen absolutely the opposite with a lot of men. I found this a rather funny observation, since it is so counter to most women I've trained with (of course that is a generalization, because there are women who carry high and women who carry low, just like men).

skyetide 11-08-2004 05:54 AM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
I would echo what Rachel said... I believe that most women's center of gravity is lower. Our natural waist, where most of us tie our belts, tends to sit higher than our center of gravity. I have never heard of women having a higher center of gravity than men. ???

stern9631 11-08-2004 08:04 AM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
Maybe breast size has something to do with that.

Chuck Clark 11-08-2004 08:25 AM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
I agree that women have a lower center of gravity than men. Time and motion studies have shown, for example, that if you want to load small to medium size packages on a truck, women can do it more productively (and longer) than men of the same size and strength. It's because they have a lower center of gravity. Center of gravity is not the same as the waist.

Qatana 11-08-2004 08:39 AM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
I Wish I could tie my belt on my hips. The fact is that women have waists that are smaller than their hips (usually) and the belt will just slide up no matter How low we tie it.
What the H would breast size have to do with Anything?

Hanna B 11-08-2004 08:44 AM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
Oh, everything physical about women can be explained with breast size. Didn't you know? :-o

Wish I remember where I read a man saying he believed that the breasts make a women prone to fall over... no no. It is the biceps that causes the men to have such bad balance.

DaveO 11-08-2004 08:44 AM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
Quote:

Jon Truho wrote:
Maybe breast size has something to do with that.

Not likely. :) Ignoring the potential for humour for the moment; they don't add a whole lot of mass in and of themselves. Unless the woman in question is endowed to truly ridiculous proportions; they're not going to shift her C of G upward very much; if at all.

And to my understanding; though related the 'center' or one-point is not the same as the CG. The CG is a physical point at which gravity affects the body as a whole. The hara OTOH is a spiritual point through which an aikidoist focusses his/her energy and movement. :)

Janet Rosen 11-08-2004 11:27 AM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
Another woman, echoing what my sisters have said: if anything, my center of gravity is at or below my hara, but I can't tie a belt down there.

suren 11-08-2004 11:41 AM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
If I remember correctly Saito Hitohiro Sensei during his seminar in Reno this year said that women has their hara higher than that of men. He touched this topic while explaining the level where to keep your bokken after the cut - in front of your hara. My memory is not very clear on this though.

akiy 11-08-2004 12:04 PM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
Quote:

Dave Organ wrote:
And to my understanding; though related the 'center' or one-point is not the same as the CG. The CG is a physical point at which gravity affects the body as a whole. The hara OTOH is a spiritual point through which an aikidoist focusses his/her energy and movement. :)

The way I use the term "center'" isn't spiritual but conceptual/physical in nature. It may not be the literal center of gravity, but when I try moving "from my center," it allows me to connect my hands/arms (usually my "connectors") with my legs (usually my "affectors"). As such, I tend to see "center" as a concept that cultivates my using my entire body (from the point of contact with my partner down to the ground). In addition, the concept also allows me to articulate my body more freely (eg using my hips, knees, elbows) by shifting my awareness away from the point of contact.

It seems from many scieitific studies that women do have a lower center of gravity than men. However, I'll observe that this doesn't necessarily mean that they have a lower "hara" or "center."

-- Jun

Hanna B 11-08-2004 12:23 PM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
One of my previous teachers said that it took a bit longer time for women to "get their center down". Some of you migh say "find their center". Well, that was his experience... I wonder if most women breath with more superficial breaths than most men? This would then most probably be something culture-dependent.

DaveO 11-08-2004 12:36 PM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
Jun said:
Quote:

The way I use the term "center'" isn't spiritual but conceptual/physical in nature. It may not be the literal center of gravity, but when I try moving "from my center," it allows me to connect my hands/arms (usually my "connectors") with my legs (usually my "affectors"). As such, I tend to see "center" as a concept that cultivates my using my entire body (from the point of contact with my partner down to the ground). In addition, the concept also allows me to articulate my body more freely (eg using my hips, knees, elbows) by shifting my awareness away from the point of contact.
Hi Jun; thanks for that - that's largely - though far more detailed - the way I think about it; you're far better at explaining it than I. :)

Hanna said:
Quote:

One of my previous teachers said that it took a bit longer time for women to "get their center down". Some of you migh say "find their center". Well, that was his experience... I wonder if most women breath with more superficial breaths than most men? This would then most probably be something culture-dependent.
Hi Hanna - I suspect it's nothing more than the fact that women tend to be smaller and lighter than men; and are more likely to have to reach up to grab a shoulder etc. Which will cause any newer student to 'think high' and let their center rise. :)

skyetide 11-08-2004 12:48 PM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
Jon,

Your comment is inappropriate and ridiculous.

Magma 11-08-2004 01:26 PM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
Women definitely have a lower center of gravity than men; that is a proven point demonstrated in the structure of their hips and in how they carry and distribute their body weight. Look at these pages for some quick information:

http://www.survivaliq.com/physical_f...-the-sexes.htm

http://www.medicinenet.com/womens_health/article.htm

...otherwise, just google up "men women center of gravity" and you'll see several sites dealing with allowances/changes that must be made in different activities because of this discrepancy in frame between men and women.

Secondly, on the emerging topic of center of gravity vs. hara, in so far as one is encouraged to move from center (hara) and as aikido tends to be an art that maximizes the body's potential through proper mechanical application of the body and limbs, the two concepts of "center of gravity" and "hara" reference the same point in the body. There may be more spiritual, holistic appliations to the concept of hara and how it interacts with shakras, etc., but there can be no doubt that the points are one in the same: to move efficiently and powerfully (the mechanical goal of aikido), the center of gravity must be manipulated. The situation is easily demonstrable through the application of modern physics and physiology. Even inanimate objects are most easily moved through an understanding of their center of gravity.

Any misunderstanding of hara (specifically the tanden) and the center of gravity as two separate points in the body fails to explain adequately the biological proximity in the mid to lower pelvis of a human. There is single point in the hip/pelvis area which has significant mechanical meaning. Any discussion of the points as being separate seems to me to be a retroactive definition caused by an incomplete knowledge of women's physiology (e.g., that they have a higher center of gravity).

JMO, of course.

Finally, I agree with Tonya, Jon. That comment was completely inappropriate and juvenile. Find a chat room.

DaveO 11-08-2004 01:51 PM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
Quote:

Tonya Woods wrote:
Jon,

Your comment is inappropriate and ridiculous.

Quote:

Tim Rohr wrote:
Finally, I agree with Tonya, Jon. That comment was completely inappropriate and juvenile. Find a chat room.

Whoa - chill guys; I don't think Jon's comment was meant to be either sexist or sexual in nature. Women have 'em; men don't - strictly from an observational basis; it could seem that relatively large masses that high on the torso could affect the CG - The way I read it; that was what Jon was asking; I think as adults we can discuss such things without resorting to locker-room mentality.*

In truth; they don't - to my knowledge anyway - have any effect on the body's CG that isn't overwhelmed by the differences in basic body design. Basically; the breast is a fatty structure supporting and protecting the mammary glands - not very massive (heavy) at all. By contrast; men tend to have a much heavier upper body musculature and skeletal build; which is why our CG is centered more in the chest; rather than the woman's which is in the hips.

:)

* Edit - after re-reading that; it looked to me like I might be accusing someone here of that. I'm not - just pointing out that IMO Jon hasn't either. :)

Janet Rosen 11-08-2004 02:08 PM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
Quote:

Dave Organ wrote:
Women have 'em; men don't - strictly from an observational basis; it could seem that relatively large masses that high on the torso could affect the CG - The way I read it; that was what Jon was asking

Center of gravity is based on skeleton, not a few pounds of soft tissue. Women's mass, statistically averaged, is in the hips; men's in the shoulders.
I didn't take it as sexist, just ignorant.

Magma 11-08-2004 02:26 PM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
I agree with Janet. We all know that muscle weighs more than fat, and that men tend to develop muscle mass in the chest and shoulder area where women have their breasts. It should be obvious.

Quote:

Janet Rosen wrote:
Center of gravity is based on skeleton, not a few pounds of soft tissue. Women's mass, statistically averaged, is in the hips; men's in the shoulders.
I didn't take it as sexist, just ignorant.

Can I say that I took it as sexist *and* ignorant?

Cause... cause... I did.

If that's not what Jon meant to say, then he certainly chose an impolitic way of expressing himself.

Hanna B 11-08-2004 03:17 PM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
No nead to bash Jon. I made an ironical remark, and now quite a few people have said they did not find the comment tasty. Maybe we can let it stay at that?

akiy 11-08-2004 03:42 PM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
Hi folks,

Just a gentle nudge towards the original topic... Thanks.

-- Jun

Lan Powers 11-08-2004 07:10 PM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
>Hi folks,

Just a gentle nudge towards the original topic... Thanks.

-- Jun <
Wink, wink, nudge, nudge....say no MORE!

heh heh.....Monty Python fits yet another application.
Lan

Keith_k 11-08-2004 07:10 PM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
I always thought a woman's center of gravity is lower. I know they're harder to throw than most men I train with.

John Matsushima 11-08-2004 08:04 PM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
Thank you everyone for taking the time to reply. There is lot of good information and things to think about. For those of you who think that a woman's CG is lower, have you had to make any adjustments, such as a wider stance, positioning, etc.? Also, have you noticed any differences in your technique (such as koshi nage) and agility as compared to men?
From what I have observed it seems that women have smaller, natural stances and yet are more fluid in their movement. Women also seem lighter on their feet. Any thoughts?

Any bad posture in the upper torso for me and I lose my center and clod around like Godzilla at times.

-John Matsushima

Jeanne Shepard 11-08-2004 09:08 PM

Re: A Woman's Center
 
More women took ballet lessons.

Jeanne :p


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