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Old 05-01-2006, 09:15 AM   #73
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Kevin Leavitt wrote:
Keep in mind it is not a fully formed opinion or argument, but what popped into my head while reading.... When I was in Beijing this fall I went to the See the Beijing Acrobatic show. It was amazing watching a guy hop up and down stairs on one hand while balancing another guy on his feet. Certainly a feat of the type you are saying. Many, many years of training, breathing, alignment, strength.

Not sure how well he would do in MA. My guess is that given a year of instruction, he would probably fair better than most of us!
OK, I didn't see the demonstration, Kevin, but I will be willing to bet you that there was more to that act than you realize. I'll bet, sight unseen, that the acrobat has done qi training to some extent. Now please remember that there is a *spectrum* of these skills, not just one or two things that are qi skills, and remember that some people have certain aspects developed well, while other aspects can be unknown or poorly trained. For instance, Pauliina asked about Akuzawa (whom I've never seen) and how he "felt", but since there could be a wide range of skills he could exhibit, about all I could listen to would be whether he had jin/kokyu-strength skills.

The Chinese acrobat probably uses the qi in the breathing and pressure sense. There is a subset of qi skills called "qingong", the "lightness skills" and part of that skill-set is to use pressure in the body help you jump by a store-and-release method. Since these skills are handed around in the acrobat community fairly commonly, I'd bet some dough and feel fairly safe. Would this skill help him in martial arts? Yes. He could jump, kick, and hit harder with these skills than a normal person could. But you or someone else watching him would not see the pressure trick and would say "Oh, that's just good alignment and conditioning". And if no one ever tells you about or shows you how that training is done, you don't have it in your knowledge base, so you'll only judge him by what you personally know. That's what happens.
I think I have a better understanding of what these "things" will do for you. I am not so sure I would label them under the mysterious heading of "internal" as it has empty meaning.
OK, I just told you about something you probably didn't know before. Assuming you didn't know about that aspect of qi training, I just told you something "myterious", eh?
Probably a good time to say this: I am not inferring that Mike is arguing or presenting that Aikido is lacking or has any value. We are simply having a good discussion!
Oh, I agree. We're both sort of blunt, military background guys who just talk straight out. I prefer it that way.
Again I think we first have to decide why we are studying MA, then pick those things that best help us get there. I don't see myself rolling like I do today in 20 years, or doing aikido the way I do it now. I'd like to think that by then, I can move on to "other things" within the arts.
Well, even though Dan, Ted Ehara, Rob John, and many others have somewhat different takes on these skills, we've all got some positive and substantial idea that these skills, or parts of them, are there.... and it's sort of a "heads up!" call. And more and more people have been seeing bits and pieces of these skills over the last decade, so it's becoming unavoidable and necessary that people doing Asian martial arts start looking at the ki things as not being the bogus woo-woo stuff so many "teachers" had thought, but as demonstrably containing skills that indeed shift away from "normal" strength and movement.

Oh... and for god's sake... the skills are NOT Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique, or any of that stuff because the real skills involve making and manipulating force paths with the mind. If you take a look at one of those books where Tohei is doing hie "ki tests" and you just pick the standing ones, different directions. Someone who is good should be able to do ALL of the Tohei standing tests, one after another, without ever moving... the mind/body should be able to set up the correct forces without any change of body alignment or structure.


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