Thread: 6 Directions
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Old 10-11-2013, 08:08 AM   #52
jonreading
 
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Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Re: 6 Directions

For the research we did, try starting with some pole dancing...er... standing..er...hugging...trees. Pole standing or standing pole are good key words to find clips. If you have a local Chinese arts dojo, they can probably show you in person. I think when it comes to this stuff, you are way more likely to rush and not get it right. The exercise is simple - practice is hard. But, it gets you into a good basic stance - elongation of the spine, flattening of the back, pelvis resting below the spine and shoulders down. So don't skimp on the bent knees. You probably feel some discomfort in the "stretch" and your legs will protest the activity. In the beginning I would practice holding the posture for only many seconds in the beginning. After a while, I could listen to a song (I'm currently working on song #2). Yes, its that freaking hard. You'll also probably find you feel backward-[un]balanced because you're not pooching your butt out to counter balance your forward-leaning head. I am told this goes away. Oh, and don't tie your breathing to your posture, yet. In my experience, breathing is high on the pay scale - be satisfied you're not hyperventilating and save the fancy breathing for later.

Pole standing was the second exercise we worked on following torifune (6 directions). You can start to think 6 directions in pole standing, but in the beginning, the physical exertion will probably consume your attention. Eventually, we connected torifune to pole standing from the concept that torifune is pole standing with a foot dropped rearward and dynamic movement shifting forward and rearward. If you can't pole stand, then keeping that posture when moving ain't gonna happen.

As a note, we do not practice big movement tori fune. Our tori fune is more similar to a karate punch transfer, focusing on a erect spine, powered legs, shoulders down and natural extension with a focus on the connectivity of the elbow to the torso. The weight shift accompanies a slight opening and closing of the knees to maintain a strong base. This is not a critique against any other rowing exercise (unless you're not doing it that way, then you're are wrong, of course ).

The strong base was our third exercise. We called it Dragon stepping. Later, I found out what we were doing was "slightly" different than a more correct version we learned. (This is an inside joke for our attendees at Dan's seminar last February). But, our basic understanding of dragon stepping got us going. Very active legs with the front knee "opened" to facilitate released the actively held potential energy, athletic bend in the knees to engage both sides of the leg and a nice rounded arch in the crotch (or "croarch").

I think these exercises helped us to prepare to see and understand the subsequent corrections we received without negatively impacting our training. It also helped that we had many friend visiting and keeping us honest.

Last edited by jonreading : 10-11-2013 at 08:21 AM.

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