Focus on the Fingers
Sorry about the corny subject title, I didn't mean to do that.
In our last practice, we were experimenting with something very interesting, and I wanted to share it with everyone and see if you've got anything to add. We started focusing on our fingers for Ikkyo pins a while back, but now are trying it for different techniques as well. At first was simply a test, when you are pinning someone, you try to think first of the energy or momentum going through your index finger and then the uke tries to resist. Then you switch to thinking of the pinky, instead, and Uke resists again. What we learned from that was that the index finger "felt" stronger, but was less effective. If the pinky was focused on it felt like they weren't trying to hold you down so much, but yet it also made it so that the nage didn't feel as much resistance at the same time. That stuff was pretty cool, but the really cool stuff happened last practice. There were only a few of us there on a Saturday morning, but our instructor decided to try and test the pinky focus on some normal, basic techniques. The same thing, first you think of the index fingers, do the technique, then switch to the pinkys. It felt totally different to both Uke and Nage. In all techniques that we tried (tenchinage omote and ura, shihonage, shomenuchi ikkyo, and a couple others) there was a marked difference in the feeling of force, aggression and other factors. The same basic thing happened as with the pin. Focusing on the index was more physically forceful, more difficult to execute, slower, and made you feel like there was more of a fight and less blending. Pinkys gave you a feeling of flow, calmness, and control. Watching a group try both ways revealed very interesting body language to support this. We talked a bit about the body mechanics involved with this, and why it might make such a difference.
Has anyone done any experiments like this? Do you normally train with any focus on your fingers extending Ki, or just do the motions? If you do focus on a finger, which one? I encourage everyone to try this out if they haven't already, I know I'll be thinking more about it as I progress.