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Old 11-12-2012, 07:32 AM   #6
Dojo: Aunkai
Location: Fairfax, VA
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 415
Re: Is aiki a clash of forces?

Chris Hein wrote: View Post
Hey Hunter,
First off, please let me say, thank you for this explanation! This seems to me, to be a rare, and thoughtful explanation about the difference between what is called "IP" (internal power) and "EP" (external power).
I think its a lot more usefull than people yelling back and forth.

Okay, I don't want to get lost here. But I'm not sure I get what you are saying. Are you saying that the legs are not pushing back against any force?

If you are saying that, what is taking the force? If the legs aren't doing it, where is the weight of the load going?

I'm pretty sure that you are not saying that if we were to put an "IP" expert on a scale, then put a load on her, the scale woudn't change. If you are saying that please explain.

If you're not saying that, then the legs must be taking the load (assuming our "IP" expert is standing) because if they are not, what else is transmitting the load's weight to the scale?
Gravity, of course is transmitting the weight to the scale, but its more about where the loads go in one's body. You want to, at first, passively let the force go to the ground. Most people have a tendency to push back against an incoming force (resisting it or redirecting it into a weak direction), but instead you want to relax and let it pass right through you. This is what Mike Sigman refers to as a ground path. At a more advanced level, you can push/pull, within yourself, in the same exact direction of the force being applied to you (not against it, but with it!) and add to it, to make it more powerful. If you do this in a relaxed manner, your legs will not get tired as they would when pushing back. It's rather counterintutive, because by relaxing, the person pushing is effectively pushing against the ground via your body, instead of only having them push into your legs.

Yes, you don't want to push back against any force. If you were to stand on a bathroom scale, and perfectly relaxed, you would see a total of your weight, plus the force of a person pushing on you. If you push back with the legs or anything else, that number will increase, because the resultant force will push yourself back. That is to say that when you push back against something heavy enough, strong enough, or more skilled than you, you will eventually push yourself away.

So for example, if I push on a big rock with my lower body, and then i start pushing with my upper body too, I start to actually push myself away, in part because of pushing from a higher point. When you do it with the legs only, or against a less skilled person, you won't notice the pushback. If you push back against someone who can access the ground directly without pushing back, you will push yourself back, because they are sourcing power even lower than you. For a long time, I thought I had to just source power lower and lower, until someone said to me, well you can't get lower than the ground, can you?

Okay, now when you say "support structures" here, you are not talking about the legs? If I were to take a guess at what you mean I would say that you might be descriging the natural elasticity/structure of the tissues of the body. Please let me know if this is in error.

If you are saying that, don't you still have to include the legs, which are transmitting the force? If not please explane.
So in normal external movement, muscle groups generate power, and this power is transmitted via the skeletal structure. In reference to IS, its more along the lines of tensigrity. Sure, you can use the skelatal system as well as ligaments, tendons, fascia etc, but they are used to transmit forces to and from the ground, rather than from the muscles. The muscles can be used as well, but so long as they aren't pushing against the incoming force, because as we talked about above, that pushes yourself away.

I'm not sure here how the load is being "taken up" with nothing pushing against it. If I have a table, and I put something on the table, the legs of the table are pushing against the thing I put on the table, not via a muscular force, but by their natural alignment with the ground. If there is nothing pushing against the load, why doesn't the load fall to the ground?
Right, in this case, the legs of the table are under compression. You want to be like the legs of the table, passively transmitting the forces to the ground under compression. You don't want to be like a fork lift, where a hydralic motor presses up against the weight of the load. Like I said earlier, the legs are being used as a passive conduit, you don't fight against the force. This passive transmission is just a foot in the door, entry level thing.

So, I think you lift weights right? The next time you go to the gym, walk around with a 35lbs weight in one hand (or heavier depending on your strength). Relax and have the weight hanging from your arm. Don't let any muscle hold it up. You will feel a stretch in your arm and shoulder, much like if you were trying to touch the ceiling. You will eventually feel the tendons being pulled on as well. That weight is now part of your body and you experience no muscle fatigue from holding it up, though the tendons may get sore. If the shoulder/biceps engage at all, its no longer part of your body, because you are pushing/pulling against it and you feel that resistance in the arm. You want to eliminate that resistance. Good weight lifters can do this sort of thing in terms of integrating weights (squats and olympic lifts are great for this), but they tend not to be able to integrate people into their bodies in such a fashion like they can with weights.

Eventually you want to figure out how to access that sensation from all positions (being "under" that weight), so that it feels the same as when it is hanging, as when your arm is parallal to the ground. For most people when they hold a 35lbs weight out in front of them at the end of their arm, they fall in that direction. If you relax and are under it, so that the weight becomes part of your body, you won't fall forwards, but neither will you be leaning backwards to offset the weight.

I'm not sure I understand you are describing here at all. Could you please rephrase. Sorry.
It might make more sense in context with the above. With internals, you want to, at first, passively let the incoming weight/force reflect off the ground. You don't want to push against the incoming push. That only serves to unbalance yourself. If it goes into the ground, the other person pushes themselves away.
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