Mike Sigman wrote:
Let me try to illustrate my area of concern. If someone is standing in a "tree hugging" posture and they pretend that they're actually standing in a hole dug in the ground so that their feet are on the ground in the hole and their elbows are resting on the grass around the top of the hole. Next they mentally try to rest their body-weight on the elbows and undersides of the arms somewhat. To add to that resting of the weight, they slightly attempt to raise both knees at the same time. This visualization sets up a standard "contradiction" within the body, although to an outside observer, nothing may appear to be happening.
I had never imagined myself 'hanging in a hole' while doing that exercise but what I do does seem to match. This is one area anyway where explanations are necessary since as you say, observers cannot see it.
I have another from the same position. Instead of your hanging, try this: With arms extended out in the same circle, palms towards you, press your fingers together - without letting them touch - while at the same time pressing your shoulder blades together at the back. Another kind of muscular contradiction perhaps. Hold the posture for a minute or so - not too strongly though, just a gentle burn. The key for this (my) exercise is to memorise the feeling in the chest area. Next, do it while moving around - bring the arms together with a semi-forceful, tense but relaxed = extended feeling, then try with imaginary techniques - first by yourself, then with a partner (ikkyo, irim-inage, shiho-nage etc). (Sinking is still important of course, but here I am concentrating on developing a strong, yet relaxed arm extension).
Incidentally, I name the static solo paractice as natural tension
, and the moving solo practice as dynamic tension.
I use the word 'tension' as I think the word 'relax' serves only to confuse, although it still remains the objective. Give it a try