Re: keep One Point
Hi Graham, I was introduced early in my training - probably '90 or so - to the Ki Aikido 4 principles. The only one that really gave me any definitive reference that I found useful was "weight underside." "Extend ki" did a bit.
The two that almost did nothing for me were "relax completely" and "keep one point." I find people being told to "relax" is actually counterproductive.
Now, I'd done other reading and investigating as well, and had an idea of the dantien. And in that - all throughout my studies - I've been aware that there was something going on that wasn't apparent in the outer form. And that, in fact, the outer form was not the art.
But the problem with this "keep one point" is - where is the point? What is it relative to? Is it static? Does it move? What size is it? What constitutes a "point?"
In my own findings, I've actually had better success transferring the concept of the dantien not by going just below the navel, but by coming up from the pelvic girdle. The "disk" idea I came up with has given people I've worked with an actual moving part that they can feel and experience. And we work from up from there, rather than down or in from a space that really doesn't move enough for people to grasp.
Another problem I have with the explanation of "one point" is its relative position within a 360-degree, 3-dimensional sphere. And then adding the 4th dimensional space of "time" through movement, and the concept can fizzle quickly into something that's theoretical, but not understandable or transferable - and, in fact, adds more confusion.
Additionally, it seems that the idea of an individual person having a discrete center is not what Ueshiba was getting at. In fact, his concept of "center" was the harmonious center of the event between two complementary forces.
I did get some of the "feel" and "texture" and application of attention from what I learned through Ki Aikido training in the dojo. But interestingly, after I'd picked up on some of that and knew what to look and feel for, I actually got a much richer dose of it through training Tai Chi Chuan with a good teacher.
Just some of my experiences. Thanks for starting the topic.