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Old 07-05-2007, 08:20 PM   #1262
Dojo: TNBBC (Icho Ryu Aiki Budo), Shinto Ryu IaiBattojutsu
Location: Seattle, WA
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 910
Re: Baseline skillset

Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post

Can you explain how silk reeling or pulling is performed within your style?

Im not trying to be confrontational, but as I study JSA as well, and train at the aunkai, I would appreciate your perspective.
Unfortunately, the kata in question are from our uchi no kata series and are not taught to outsiders (that includes our own students until they have reached shodan when they are considered members of the actual ryuha). I would clarify too that we don't refer to the movements as silk reeling or pulling and they are not taught as such. My offhand comment was merely to demonstrate a similarity, a complimentary relationship if you will, between the internal dynamics I have been studying *but do not claim to have mastered in any way* and the small Japanese ryuha that I belong to. I believe that many Japanese arts are taught as external systems where the internal dynamics are not taught outright, but rather a shell of external understanding is formed with the hope that internal understanding will eventually develop. This is opposed to the internal arts which not only have a whole lexicon for these internal dynamics and skills, but exercises that are specifically targeted to teach those skills. I think both styles of teaching aim for the same underlying truth, the main difference being the methodology.

I can comment on some general *basic* themes, and would be glad to go into more detail off-line. Many of our kata involve exaggerated twisting motions between the upper and lower halves of the body. These tiwsting movements do not however lead to circular movements like you would expect from aikido, but those internal twists are almost always released in very linear movements. An analogy (basic, simple minded, gross, naive, whatever...) to the simple kick that Ark and Rob have demonstrated where a torsion or potential torsion can be released outwards in a straight line. I'm sure Rob probably has better words for the phenomenon in question, and no I'm not saying I get it, and no I don't have it mastered and yes, I'm probably stating the phenomenon incorrectly (honestly, it gets very tiring to qualify everything you're trying to say with what you're NOT trying to say every time you try to say anything...) Another example would be the way we draw. At the end of the draw, it is considered very important that the right arm is completely straight, that the shoulders form a continuous line with the arm and that the left hand has pulled back far enough (saya biki) that it too is in alignment with the shoulder/arm line. The hips are forced square to the line of attack however and are not opened into a hanmi. If you do this correctly, you feel something very much like the cross (or more specifically the preparatory movement before shiko where one arm is folded at the elbow, but not at the expense of the stability of the cross). Again since the hips are square to the direction of movement ( _ ) and the arm/shoulders are at an angle ( / ) you are creating a good deal of tension in the lower spine. There are a number of early kata that perform the draw with the left leg forward which I believe serves to exaggerate this twist, as it's much easier to let the hips drift out with the right foot forward. It is considered very important that the leading (in this case left) leg is not open, but pointed straight ahead. I believe this serves a few purposes, but one is to develop this torsion/tension skill of the torso.

Hope I don't seem to be avoiding your question, there are some aspects that I'm at liberty to talk about and others I'm not, it can also get pretty difficult to describe these things without any visual clues. Feel free to PM/email me if you were interested in discussing this stuff any further. What kind of JSA do you study, I should probably know, but can't remember.

Chris Moses
TNBBC, "Putting the ME in MEdiocre!"
Shinto Ryu Iai Battojutsu
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