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Old 09-01-2009, 01:51 PM   #4
Ellis Amdur
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Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 849
Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - ukemi as a training tool

Been doing a lot of writing and responding and don't recall exactly what I've written when . . . .One final caveat - I am NOT setting myself up as an authority on internal training - HIPS is very deliberately not a "how-to" book - it is a "It exists" book. I notice what people have said, and what a few people have showed me - and highlight them for people's own attention, for them to follow up as they will. I am pursuing my own training regimen, but any response to questions like the above are my somewhat informed speculations. I'd urge you to pursue further with the "open sources." That said,
Here's the sequence as I see it:
1. Ukemi - in the sense of falling - is a great body conditioner. And you learn to relax while taking a huge blow from the ground. And done over and over again, getting up with a centered posture, ready to "fight," trains kamae, kokyu (in the sense of aerobics), emotional centering.
2. I am only theorizing here - BUT - if ukemi/falling is coupled with specific breathing exercises - is it not possible that it, like most other activities, could become a vehicle for internal training? I believe the possiblity that this is what Sagawa might have meant. OR, he merely meant that you have to develop the right body as "vessel" to contain internal training - and he saw taking hard falls as a means to this. In either event, he - and Ueshiba - cite ukemi as essential for the development of the "aiki body." And I think they were referring to both ukemi as falling (otherwise, why, "bang, bang, bang") and in other references, to the concept of ukemi as the redirection/countering/transmuting of force.
3. Beyond this - ukemi as a vehicle for internal training - now if we talk about ukemi, not as falling, but as reception, sensitivity, getting inside the other, redirection of forces - this, I've discussed to the best of my ability in Aikido is Three Peaches, in HIPS. Dan Harden, over the years, has made some really cogent posts on this subject specific to aikido/aikijutsu.
Ellis Amdur

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 09-01-2009 at 02:04 PM.

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