Thread: Funakogi Undo
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Old 03-19-2010, 11:04 AM   #25
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,996
Re: Funakogi Undo

Keith Larman wrote: View Post
I come from a family of scientists, heck, I was virtually raised at JPL and CalTech during the height of the space program. And growing up everyone figured I'd end up in the hard sciences. I can't turn that off.

But... I think of other things. Chanting in church. How that chanting can be shown to calm the nerves, changes physiologic properties, alter things that are said to be autonomic. Is the chanting bringing you closer to God? Or is it a practice that allows one to calm and achieve a different type of consciousness? And through that different type of perception do we not see things differently and possibly find things we were incapable of seeing before?

Rituals, chants, movements, sound, etc. One can probably say with a great deal of scientific certainty that the detailed, specific explanations of old may in fact be incorrect. They may not be rigorous and verifiable explanations of what is being done or what the body is being trained. However, there is always the possibility that these behaviors, like chanting, like praying, like any number of things done all over the world can do things that we simply have not yet defined.
Hi Keith,

Don't disagree with you. It's why I say that Ueshiba's vision of aikido included both martial and spiritual. And why I say that you don't have to follow his exact footsteps to have his vision of aikido.

Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Funakogi is a great example for me. My sensei would talk about bending the fingers down so you don't cut off the flow of ki. He would talk about extension and movement as always being connected. Connect to the one-point then back out to the fingers but also down to the floor. Ground, connect, move. Since I work alone I'd often do the aikitaiso by myself as a break (which I need to do in order to get the kinks out). I remember one day feeling a sort of "pulling" along the outside of my arm, up into my shoulders, then down into my center. If I didn't curl the fingers down the sensation went away. I remember thinking "ah, I wonder if that's the feeling sensei is talking about when he says you need to feel your ki flow and feel connected". Hmmmm.... Then years later taking a seminar with Toby Threadgill and listening to him talk about funakogi. Then working with Mike Sigman. And although we do our funakogi a bit differently, his explanation of suit and grounding (staying away from his Chinese terminology for now) resonated. Different explanation. But the effect was the same.
We do exercises where our intent is specifically placed or directed. But, at some point, that intent becomes ingrained nature such that, to take your example, the fingers wouldn't need to be pointed downwards (I'm not there yet). Aiki becomes the entire body. As one of Peter Goldsbury's articles mentioned, Ueshiba warned about the dangers of Ushiro practice ... for uke. Ueshiba was aiki and connecting to an aiki body is inherently ... disconcerting at the least and dangerous at the most.
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