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Old 04-07-2007, 10:38 PM   #25
Dojo: Berkshire Hills Aikido
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 809
Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

Robert John wrote:
This is a physicl feeling and not some kind of metaphorical "oh if I visualize it this way it works better" thing.
Metaphor (noun) -

Symbol -- one thing used or considered to represent another.

Robert John wrote:
It's like your (and I'm stealing M. Sigmans imagery here) body is covered in a huge tight spiderman suit. Tugging on one part of the suit causes an instantenous reaction in the opposite end of the suit.
Of which the above quote is an example. In this case the metaphor is used to present a picture of a feeling i.e. that of an internal force and how it is instantaneously propagated through the body (as an aside, unless quantum entanglement processes are involved with this force propagation there must be a delay in the reaction at the other end of the suit; the purpose of aikido training and ki development is to have this delay approach zero without limit… my metaphor for coordination of mind and body).

When communicating feelings experienced during a particular exercise ("you should always feel "the ground" (in a metaphorical sense) in your hands" -- Robert John) metaphor is the tool of choice for giving substance to information that otherwise is incapable of being directly transmitted from one person to another. However, metaphorical imagery is less satisfactory when communicating results of a particular exercise. For results to be meaningfully communicated they must be felt. That requires the participants to be in direct contact.

When I am training with students during ki development drills I encourage them construct ever more powerful metaphors for what they feel going on inside of them. The metaphors provide a mental visualization that they can associate with the feelings. As they grow more powerful new metaphors are used to reinforce the feelings in terms that make sense in the real world. I have noticed that eventually students will come to trust the feelings themselves and dispense with the metaphorical imagery.

An example: Weight underside
Standing in natural stance the student extends an arm to the front, elbow and wrist slightly bent. Initially I have the student tense the arm and hold the tension while I lift the arm at the elbow. Invariably, the arm will rise or if sufficiently tense the student will be tipped over. Next I have the student restart the exercise in a relaxed state. I tell the student that in order for the arm to rise the opposite foot must simultaneously be lifted off the mat. If the student successfully internalizes the metaphor of rising arm and rising foot it will take considerably more energy for me to get the arm to move. I have the student compare how it "feels" to practice weight underside both ways. Understanding the process of using metaphors to aid in attaining what S. Maruyama Sensei terms "correct feeling" is the first step. Once mastered the student is free to create personally more powerful metaphors to reinforce the feelings of doing the exercise correctly.

We practice many ki exercises in this manner. Currently our ki development syllabus contains fifteen solo, thirty four partnered stationary, thirteen partnered motion, six solo weapons and seven partnered weapons ki exercises.
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