Rob Liberti wrote:
Bummer. I thought I was going to be the big hero! Oh well. I'll try to get in touch with Donna Winslow sensei and see if I can get her pictures (or at least determine the orientation of the push).
Thanks. Please let me know what you find.
I have made some progress in the area of being able to do things like this trick myself. I got some insight to your thoughts on this by watching the videos you sent me a while back. The main thing that I learned since then was that I really needed to correct some minor posture problems and concentrate on lengthening and widening instead of thinking about directly resisting the push on my arm. I am not immovable - but I'm a whole lot more solid and difficult to move in those weird positions than ever before.
Well, "stance" is sort of important, but that's not really the point. For instance, let's take a look at someone pushing on your right shoulder directly toward the other shoulder (maybe a little bit downward to make it easy at first). Keep the feet parallel. As you relax, push slightly from the left leg toward the incoming push for just a second, you can feel a path establish between your left leg and the push.... once you feel that path, you can relax and let that path absorb the push down to the left leg. You can be very relaxed and withstand a reasonable push (keep the push at about 4 pounds to start with, tho). With a little practice, as soon as someone touches your shoulder, you can relaxedly ground it into the opposite leg (usually the back leg).
Then without moving a hair, have your partner walk around to the left shoulder and do a similar push. You should be able to let that push go to the ground also. Notice that it is a matter of willing which leg the path goes to, not changing stance or anything(well, at first, most people have to shift a tiny bit). From there you can practice having people push lightly on you in various postures (some of the ones in Tohei's books are good examples) and allowing the push to go directly to the back leg. Generally speaking turn the body slightly (at first) or (later) just 'will' the push into the back leg and try to let the back leg do all the work. Keep the weight on the back leg and don't stick it out behind you as a "brace", like so many Aikido people do. As a matter of fact, make it a habit to watch how many Aikidoka stick a straightened back leg behind them as a brace and then watch pictures of O-Sensei... he never used a "brace".
The problem is some of the extreme postures that are used as "showoff" demos. Both the Chinese and the Japanese use some of these to show there "ki", although really it is "jin" or "kokyu", if you want to be technical. These usually take a body that has been conditioned through breathing, standing, and muscular exercise (but in the ki sense of "muscular", not the regular usage).
In the case of the jo trick, the body must of course be conditioned and a lot in the wrist (ah.... but if there's one thing an aikidoka has, it's a strong, conditioned wrist!). Knowing how to do the trick isn't the same as doing it under a goodly force.... that's what the conditioning is for. The line of force goes from the left leg to the point on the jo which is being pushed (in the right hand). The body must be well connected in a sheet from the left leg, across the back, and down the back of the right arm.... and that usually comes from breath exercises. Of course it helps if the students doing the pushing aren't really pushing the way they would a stuck car... and they never do in those demos.