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Old 03-21-2005, 07:34 AM   #6
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

Ellis Amdur wrote:
One common practice was a method originally derived, I believe, from Tenri-kyo, a neo-Shinto sect. The individual stands with feet shoulder-width apart, and the hands are clasped, right cupped palm over left, and the arms at the natural relaxed extent that this hand grip allows. The hands are shaken almost as if shaking dice, but the body is organized so that the waves of the shaking go through the body all the way through to the feet. The body is relaxed - not limp - and there is no sway or drama, just a subtle vibration. Ueshiba Kisshomaru used to do this for about 3-4 minutes every class he started, as did, I believe other instructors. I've been told that Abe Seiseki would do this practice for very long periods of time and this was the source of his amazing (to my informant) relaxed power. (Note that this last is not something I know or witnessed - just something mentioned to me).

The orginal practice was a psycho-religious one - I have not experimented at any length with this procedure, other than that it feels quite good and the longer one does it, the better one feels. It's quite unlike "post standing," which I find quickly fatiguing. It has a very quiet, but definite energizing effect.
Thanks. That's very helpful to know, Ellis. I'm not sure if you're aware that what you're describing is a fairly well-known Buddhist standing practice? The "shaking" is supposed to develop into an unconscious (not deliberately done) movement which "balances" and strengthens the Ki, FWIW.
I am working on a set of solo movements for aikido practice, along the lines of simple chi kung - congruent with aikido movement, and have been integrating this practice in the curriculum of a dojo with whom I consult. When our research is complete, I'll be releasing it publicly. I've always felt that some form of solo "internal" cultivation is a) certainly lacking in most aikido practice b) surely was a key factor in Ueshiba M.'s remarkable skills.
I'd like to see what you're doing. As I noted elsewhere, the jo-trick indicates a high-probability of "standing" practices, BTW, but I can't prove it with the information I have .... that's exactly why I started this thread, so I am unveiled.
Note that when I refer to "internal cultivation," I am only focusing on what I understand - a little - the effficent intergration of the neuro-muscular system. Never having experienced or witnessed - on either side - the kind of "ki", or "kokyuryoku" that is described in more miraculous tales, that kind of cultivation of power is not a focus of my own research.
Actually, there's more to it than just neuromuscular, although arguably that's one way to describe a component part of it. The real problem in describing what some of these things are is that some descriptions are probably correct, but since no real research has been done on these things, some descriptions of the mechanics are questionable and subjective. I.e., if I say something is "myofascial" a kinesiologist or physiologist might hold me to task, and correctly so.

For every assertion of the actual mechanics of "ki" and "kokyu" power (i.e., trying to describe something while avoiding the ki-paradigm and shifting to the western-science paradigm), I have to run the descriptions by an imaginary physiologist in my head so that I don't get too carried away with the sound of my own mouth-noises.

I did an in-service for the physical therapy staff at the University of Colorado medical school and they all agreed they'd never seen the physical tricks I led them through (and one pretty good "external qi" qigong).... but since it wasn't their bailiwick or what was in the accepted literature, they weren't all that interested in what it could be. That same mindset is actually in a lot of the martial arts, Aikido included, so don't let the bastards grind you down, Ellis. Go forward with what you're doing. If you get a chance, let's get together and physically compare notes.


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