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Old 04-10-2007, 06:21 AM   #76
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
Namely that someone who thinks the way you do/did (you mentioned it elsewhere too and it was quite telling that you didn't know what unbendable arm was at all) about the exercises is going to be far more impressed when they see the real thing than someone else might. That was all.
Mike
Yep, nice little dig there. I don't know much, so therefore what I see will impress me. Kind of funny, really. Because in that, you have lumped together quite a few of us: Ron, Mark C., Murray M., Rob L., Erik, etc, etc, etc. And we all have backgrounds in more than just aikido. But hey, what do we know? We're easily impressed because of how we think and what we don't know. Or perhaps, it was just me? I was more impressed than the others because I don't know much. Well, shoot, why not just ask all the others how impressed they were? Heh, and good luck with that. I've already talked and met quite a few of them. I know the answers. I know the backgrounds. And I'm in good company.

Mark
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Old 04-10-2007, 07:23 AM   #77
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Yep, nice little dig there. I don't know much, so therefore what I see will impress me. Kind of funny, really. Because in that, you have lumped together quite a few of us: Ron, Mark C., Murray M., Rob L., Erik, etc, etc, etc. And we all have backgrounds in more than just aikido. But hey, what do we know? We're easily impressed because of how we think and what we don't know. Or perhaps, it was just me? I was more impressed than the others because I don't know much. Well, shoot, why not just ask all the others how impressed they were? Heh, and good luck with that. I've already talked and met quite a few of them. I know the answers. I know the backgrounds. And I'm in good company.

Mark
C'mon, that was never intended to be a dig at you personally, more a comment about the fact that a LOT of the Ki Soc exercises and methods are very poorly understood outside of the ki aikido community and easily misconstrued. If you want to take it as a personal attack then fine, but I certainly wasn't trying to single you out personally nor anyone else, you've just chosen to take it that way.

I'll say no more about it, it'd be a pointless digression.

Mike

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Old 04-10-2007, 08:37 AM   #78
Ron Tisdale
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

Well, not entirely pointless...it kind of goes to show just how easy it is to annoy people, even when you are not trying to. I personally admire the way you came into these discussions, spoke your peace about the "attitidues" you percieved, and then got on to discussing the topics. You have contributed substance, not just sniping about "attitudes". Very positive over all.

And yet, without even meaning to, you just ticked someone off...can you see just a little bit then why Mike and company decided to just not worry about ticking people off...since they knew it would happen anyway? Not saying I agree with that perspective...just that I understand it a little.

Mark, I wouldn't get too tuned up about that little slip...I find out every time I step on the mat how little after 12 to 15 years of this stuff I know. Working on just trying to learn new stuff...personally, I don't have a problem admitting so much of it is new. Just the way it goes...

Best,
Ron

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Old 04-10-2007, 08:48 AM   #79
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Well, not entirely pointless...it kind of goes to show just how easy it is to annoy people, even when you are not trying to. I personally admire the way you came into these discussions, spoke your peace about the "attitidues" you percieved, and then got on to discussing the topics. You have contributed substance, not just sniping about "attitudes". Very positive over all.

And yet, without even meaning to, you just ticked someone off...can you see just a little bit then why Mike and company decided to just not worry about ticking people off...since they http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/images/icons/icon4.gif
Exclamationknew it would happen anyway? Not saying I agree with that perspective...just that I understand it a little.
Well, I do my best. Hopefully it'll keep getting better. That'd be nice.

Thanks

Mike

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Old 04-10-2007, 09:23 AM   #80
Aran Bright
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

I wanted to add an exercise the Koretoshi Maruyama teaches in a effort to help expand on the "how to" component of this thread.

It is a way to teach unbendable arm, slightly different to the visualisation method, more of a kinesthetic method.

Firstly, support the weight of someone's outstretched arm, completely, you can test this by letting the arm drop if it stays there or pauses before dropping it is not completely relaxed.

Secondly, gently massage the triceps muscle by rubbing from the shoulder to the hand. Get the partner to concentrate on the feeling of the triceps being stimulated, this may take a minute but test for unbendable arm, softly at first. Unbendable arm will slowly come.

The receiver's arm needs to be supported in a relaxed out stretched position whilst stimualting the triceps, the recievier needs do no more than just focusing on the feeling.

Another interesting exercise with unbendable arm is how to break it; not literally. Firstly check your partner has unbendable arm, then place the palm of your hand under the blade of your partners. Gently drag the flesh, on the bottom of their handblade, away from your partner's shoulder (taking up the slack) and in an arc move the hand toward the shoulder. This should be quite easy, that slight tug on the partner's skin whilst moving in an arc should be able to 'break' the most unbendable of arms.

Another variation is to pull on the little finger and again move in an arc bringing the little finger to the shoulder.

I'm interested hear what results people get from trying these.

Aran

Last edited by Aran Bright : 04-10-2007 at 09:25 AM.

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Old 04-10-2007, 09:34 AM   #81
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Well, not entirely pointless...it kind of goes to show just how easy it is to annoy people, even when you are not trying to. I personally admire the way you came into these discussions, spoke your peace about the "attitidues" you percieved, and then got on to discussing the topics. You have contributed substance, not just sniping about "attitudes". Very positive over all.
Why would "attitudes" be an entre' into any discussion topic about these skills, though? We all have our opinions about others' "attitudes", but generally keep them to ourselves. Here's a good comment showing that "attitudes" can be perceived in 2 entirely different ways:

"Reprove not a scorner (or the self-absorbed. m.s.) lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee." Proverbs 9:8

There are people who talk through these topics and, as Ellis and others note, simply ignore any perceived "personality" or "attitude". They read for substance. I'm not so sure I would pat anyone on the back for making an entry with a few comments about his important perceptions of others' attitudes. I'd just suggest everyone try to stay on topic.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 04-10-2007, 09:58 AM   #82
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

bold added by me:
Quote:
Aran Bright wrote: View Post
Another interesting exercise with unbendable arm is how to break it; not literally. Firstly check your partner has unbendable arm, then place the palm of your hand under the blade of your partners. Gently drag the flesh, on the bottom of their handblade, away from your partner's shoulder (taking up the slack) and in an arc move the hand toward the shoulder. This should be quite easy, that slight tug on the partner's skin whilst moving in an arc should be able to 'break' the most unbendable of arms.

Another variation is to pull on the little finger and again move in an arc bringing the little finger to the shoulder.

I'm interested hear what results people get from trying these.

Aran
I am familiar with what you describe. I would say that these are not ways to "break" unbendable arm, but ways to illustrate if someone truly had "it" or not. There should be no slack to take out. Pulling on the little finger (as I think you are describing it) should actually provide more stability to the arm.
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Old 04-10-2007, 10:12 AM   #83
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Why would "attitudes" be an entre' into any discussion topic about these skills, though? We all have our opinions about others' "attitudes", but generally keep them to ourselves. Here's a good comment showing that "attitudes" can be perceived in 2 entirely different ways:

"Reprove not a scorner (or the self-absorbed. m.s.) lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee." Proverbs 9:8

There are people who talk through these topics and, as Ellis and others note, simply ignore any perceived "personality" or "attitude". They read for substance. I'm not so sure I would pat anyone on the back for making an entry with a few comments about his important perceptions of others' attitudes. I'd just suggest everyone try to stay on topic.

Regards,

Mike
I believe he was simply saying that I didn't just start using ad hominem arguments and leave it at that as others have done, I actually offered substance. At least that's how I read it. In any case the initial things I posted were just the culmination of months of being annoyed and then deciding to actually join the conversation in a worthwhile way, after I'd been a pain in the backside for a bit of course. But I tend to do that, you'd think I'd know better really, but apprently I don't <sigh>

Anyway, gotta run now (I'm already late), but the extremely brief notm much more than one sentence answer to how O Sensei bounces someone pushing on his chest is (and it is massively oversimplified, so please wait for a better description when I have the time): If he is keeping a correct posture and is in a relaxed state the force someone applies to his chest if their hand were on the middle of it would be loaded onto his spine, the base of which is supported by his centre and hips. He would simply release the force they have loaded and it would travel back up their arm, the harder they were pushing the easier iot would be to throw them a fair distance. Exactly how he would 'release the force' is a much more detailed discussion I don't have time for right now. Gotta run. Catch you tomorrow.

Mike

PS - I reserve the right to think deeply on this matter for the next day and totally contradict what I just said if I should realise I was talking utter bollocks.

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Old 04-10-2007, 10:35 AM   #84
Ron Tisdale
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
I'm not so sure I would pat anyone on the back for making an entry with a few comments about his important perceptions of others' attitudes. I'd just suggest everyone try to stay on topic.

Regards,

Mike
Hi Mike,

I must have mis-communicated...I was trying to pat him on the back for moving on and contributing to the actual subject matter...not the other stuff.

Best,
Ron

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Old 04-10-2007, 11:54 AM   #85
Mark Freeman
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

Quote:
Aran Bright wrote: View Post
Another interesting exercise with unbendable arm is how to break it; not literally. Firstly check your partner has unbendable arm, then place the palm of your hand under the blade of your partners. Gently drag the flesh, on the bottom of their handblade, away from your partner's shoulder (taking up the slack) and in an arc move the hand toward the shoulder. This should be quite easy, that slight tug on the partner's skin whilst moving in an arc should be able to 'break' the most unbendable of arms.

Another variation is to pull on the little finger and again move in an arc bringing the little finger to the shoulder.

I'm interested hear what results people get from trying these.
We refer to the above as 2nd ki test (a pre-requisite to passing a 3rd kyu in our school) All that it demonstrates is that the person being tested is creating the unbendable arm feeling by extending their mind out through their finger tips.

If the tester acts as if the fingertips are like the nozzle on a hosepipe and that the testees mind is like the water being sprayed out, it is easy to gently redirect the tip of the 'hose' in an arc back towards the shoulder.

The way I teach to 'overcome'/pass this test is to imagine that their whole being is at the tip of the nozzle and that the 'stuff'' (mind/ki/water/light,whatever feeling) that was streaming from the tip of the fingers is now heading out forward from the head to the feet. This works well enough to be able to pass the test without any extra physical effort.

Teaching, learning and passing these 'tests' are just a building block to eventual 'total' mind body co-ordination. Only when this state is achieved in dynamic situations can 'real' aikido take place.

For me, a proper understanding of the ki developement tests only really sunk in when I started to teach them myself. I had managed to do them by following my teachers instructions, they worked so, hey, bring it on. Teaching helped me to work out what was really happening, that and reading Dan, Mike and others' contributions, which has given me a better perspective on my own physical/facial structure, when I am co-ordinated.

I also now understand that aiki with your uke happens before any physical contact is made, but that's another topic, maybe

Like Mike Haft, I am not a Ki Society member, but we do precede all of out aikido training with many ki developement exercises.

It is a stretch for my imagination to think of getting to the point that I am now with my aikido, without so much attention being paid to the correct 'state' required to achieve the levels of aikido that we aspire to ( for me to be able to deal calmly and effortlessly with any attack, similar to the Tohei's of this world ). It must be possible though, as people are writing about what I understand and they are not all from the same background.

Last night in class I thought I'd try something that has been discussed here quite a bit. That is the running push to the chest, which O'Sensei, Tohei, Shioda and others can be seen dealing with on film, by 'bouncing' the attacker away. I was pleasantly surprised and my uke's where flumoxed by the results ( they didn't know beforehand what I was going to do, I just asked them to attack with a double handed running push to the chest). My result definitely wasn't as spectacular as O'Sensei, but the result to all present was similar. I now know what I did to achieve the result I did. I will continue work on getting better, what else is there to do?

regards,

Mark

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Old 04-10-2007, 11:59 AM   #86
Ron Tisdale
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

Hi Mark,

Can you describe what you did? What you did with your hips? What you did with your spine? Did you use any 'tricks' to keep your shoulders from tensing up? Did you use the ball of your foot or your toes in any special fashion?

Thanks,
Ron

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Old 04-10-2007, 12:52 PM   #87
Mark Freeman
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

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Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Hi Mark,

Can you describe what you did? What you did with your hips? What you did with your spine? Did you use any 'tricks' to keep your shoulders from tensing up? Did you use the ball of your foot or your toes in any special fashion?

Thanks,
Ron
Hi Ron,

What I did with my body is entirely secondary to what I did with my mind.

I can tell you that that I didn't consciously do anything with my hips, my spine was upright, and my shoulders completely relaxed. The only 'trick' I use to not tense my shoulders is to not tense them ( sorry Ron I know that that is completely unhelpful ) .I don't know what my feet were doing as all my awareness was out towards uke, I 'guess' one foot was slightly ahead of the other, I will try to be more aware of the foot position next time.

What I did mentally was to feel and accept ukes 'intent' invite in into my centre and then send it back towards him. My mind was ahead of his body so to speak. When he made physical contact with me his mind/ki was already travelling back towards himself, and what he felt was ( his description ) was like a hard rubber post. To be honest that was what my body felt like from the inside.

I have been doing very similar exercises to this for many years, but this particular one my teacher had not shown before.

I belive that all the internal/kokyu skills been discussed here are a pre-requisite to achieving these results.

I hope this description was of some help Ron, but I feel that the internet is pretty poor medium for conveying these skills. I mean, how could I convey the 'correct' timing inherently necessary to perform the exercise?

regards,

Mark

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Old 04-10-2007, 01:01 PM   #88
Ron Tisdale
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

Understood...there are many times when I have performed a waza which had "interesting" results where I couldn't describe what I did either. I'm trying to change that...slowly...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 04-10-2007, 01:45 PM   #89
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

Mark Freeman sensei (or Mike Haft sensei or any Ki-affiliated sempai/sensei),

Could you describe how your skills developed? Like, first you felt like this, then eventually you felt like that... Sorry, vague question, I know.

But it's helpful for us newbies who currently see the path ahead as:

1) Year 1: Do aikido waza and ki-development exercises as relaxed and correctly as possible while listening to sensei, keeping in mind the 4 principles.
2) ??????...??
3) Year 10-20: You can now redirect force back to your attacker just by thinking about it with no apparent external movement.

Last edited by Haowen Chan : 04-10-2007 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 04-10-2007, 02:10 PM   #90
Mark Freeman
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

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Howard Chan wrote: View Post
Mark Freeman sensei (or Mike Haft sensei or any Ki-affiliated sempai/sensei),

Could you describe how your skills developed? Like, first you felt like this, then eventually you felt like that... Sorry, vague question, I know.

But it's helpful for us newbies who currently see the path ahead as:

1) Year 1: Do aikido waza and ki-development exercises as relaxed and correctly as possible while listening to sensei, keeping in mind the 4 principles.
2) ??????...??
3) Year 10-20: You can now redirect force back to your attacker just by thinking about it.
Hi Howard,

How did my skills ( such as they are ) develop? Simple, I kept on turning up and diligently tried to do what I was being shown/told to do by my teacher. In the beginning I felt stiff, awkward and pretty un co-ordinated, but over time, this has been replaced with a better more solid feeling in everything I do (not just aikido).

The most important part of the training equation is the teacher, if they can really walk the walk and teach how they do it effectively, you have a chance of learning from them how to do it yourself. But this is not guaranteed as the student has their own demons to conquer. To counter full on force with total non-dissention is no easy task.

My advice is to:

Year 1: Do aikido waza and ki-development exercises as relaxed and correctly as possible while listening to sensei, keeping in mind the 4 principles.

keep doing this for every year that you practice.

At some point teach what you know to others.

Then at some point you may be able to redirect your attackers force back to him by using your total mind body co-ordination. It is not right to think that it is done by 'just thinking about it'

Good luck with your training, if you want it bad enough you can have it. There is nothing superhuman about all this, just correct application of the art.

regards,

Mark
p.s. please no 'sensei', I am only sensei to my own students, to everyone else I'm Mark ( to thankfully very few, I'm "that miserable old git" )

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Old 04-10-2007, 02:13 PM   #91
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

Thanks Mark, that helps.
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Old 04-10-2007, 08:53 PM   #92
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

Well due to time constraints, and then not being able to get into the site yesterday, I'm about 40 posts behind. Most of this looks like so many other discussions I've seen, where no matter what anybody says the answer is "I already do that". And then when people actually meet up with someone it turns out to never be the case. I think most of the ki tests are some variant of "relax", and not keeping undue tension while doing various things, which is level 1 stuff. That's fine, but the degree to which these concepts can be developed is amazing. If you've felt it, you know it's so different that these, "yeah it pretty much sounds familiar" discussions just wouldn't happen. There is no question it's a completely different animal, not just a little bit different. All that can be done is to recommend people to go see that you think are representative of a given level of ability, then you can have a common point of reference.

But, to Mike H., apart from recommending teachers that have a high level of this skill for others to go check out (have you done that? If so I may have skimmed past it) this is a discussion forum, so those who hold out hope that more can be conveyed in writing can keep struggling. I don't count myself in that group, and due to time constraints and other factors I'm seriously hitting the "don't really care" threshold. But since you titled the thread with that hope, how does one take things to advanced levels, in your view? What specific exercises do you recommend as how-to's to develop a high level of this skill? I know what sorts of exercises Rob and Mike recommend, I know what some other practitioners do. I've never seen anyone who knows this stuff that doesn't have a *very* specific regimen to accomplish the body conditioning to do these things. To Chris, saying "it's natural" presupposes that you are talking about the same "it", so the same question. How specifically does one go from the level 1 stuff of relaxation to the storied Ueshiba levels of seemingly effortless expression of power?
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Old 04-10-2007, 09:03 PM   #93
Aran Bright
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

Quote:
Howard Chan wrote: View Post
Mark Freeman sensei (or Mike Haft sensei or any Ki-affiliated sempai/sensei),

Could you describe how your skills developed? Like, first you felt like this, then eventually you felt like that... Sorry, vague question, I know.

But it's helpful for us newbies who currently see the path ahead as:

1) Year 1: Do aikido waza and ki-development exercises as relaxed and correctly as possible while listening to sensei, keeping in mind the 4 principles.
2) ??????...??
3) Year 10-20: You can now redirect force back to your attacker just by thinking about it with no apparent external movement.
I think you've pretty much nailed it there, your obviously on the right track.

As for the bounce demo that Michael and Mark are talking about I know Mike S. has talked to this one previously and as this is something that is developed in CMAs more than in aikido; he is obviously the authority here.

Having said that I don't think that this is something that is beyond the skills of those that have the ability to remain relaxed and stable at the same time.

I definitely think that the ability to focus past the point of conflict is one of the skills involved but focusing on what is happening with the body is also important. Otherwise how can you really teach/learn this?

What I think is happening within the body in this case is not that different to what is happening during any technique except that in this case the force of the attack is returned almost straight back at the uke.

I mean think about it for a minute what do you do in any irimi technique? Identify the soft spot in uke's attack and send your force there, right? Now if uke is expecting nage's body to move backward with the force of the push but meets an incoming force that is perhaps directed at their feet or hips, uke is likely to be jacked up in the air at which point nage can easily move uke backwards.

Looking at Shioda and Ueshiba when they do this, their ukes nearly always end up with the feet going forward while shoulders going back.

Now, if you can keep the shoulders soft to absorb the force of the attack allow this force to travel down and be stored in the hips and legs and fired back at uke from the hips, BAM, uke wont know what hit them.

Where those that can do this really well separate themselves from the chaff is when the movements become imperceptible and the uke just 'bounces'.

In short, I think the ability to maintain a relaxed structure (whilst absorbing pressure) and being able to fire off some power from the tanden back at the soft part of the push is what happens. Pure Irimi.

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Old 04-10-2007, 09:10 PM   #94
Aran Bright
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

Quote:
Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
Well due to time constraints, and then not being able to get into the site yesterday, I'm about 40 posts behind. Most of this looks like so many other discussions I've seen, where no matter what anybody says the answer is "I already do that". And then when people actually meet up with someone it turns out to never be the case. I think most of the ki tests are some variant of "relax", and not keeping undue tension while doing various things, which is level 1 stuff. That's fine, but the degree to which these concepts can be developed is amazing. If you've felt it, you know it's so different that these, "yeah it pretty much sounds familiar" discussions just wouldn't happen. There is no question it's a completely different animal, not just a little bit different. All that can be done is to recommend people to go see that you think are representative of a given level of ability, then you can have a common point of reference.

But, to Mike H., apart from recommending teachers that have a high level of this skill for others to go check out (have you done that? If so I may have skimmed past it) this is a discussion forum, so those who hold out hope that more can be conveyed in writing can keep struggling. I don't count myself in that group, and due to time constraints and other factors I'm seriously hitting the "don't really care" threshold. But since you titled the thread with that hope, how does one take things to advanced levels, in your view? What specific exercises do you recommend as how-to's to develop a high level of this skill? I know what sorts of exercises Rob and Mike recommend, I know what some other practitioners do. I've never seen anyone who knows this stuff that doesn't have a *very* specific regimen to accomplish the body conditioning to do these things. To Chris, saying "it's natural" presupposes that you are talking about the same "it", so the same question. How specifically does one go from the level 1 stuff of relaxation to the storied Ueshiba levels of seemingly effortless expression of power?
Pete,

I know you want to talk in specific exercises but if I could distract you with theory for one moment, would you agree that if you develop the global connection from head to toe but at the same time have a free 'power source,' such as the tanden, that can deliver power to any part of this connection, are you on the right track?

Aran

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Old 04-10-2007, 09:43 PM   #95
Pete Rihaczek
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

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Aran Bright wrote: View Post
Pete,

I know you want to talk in specific exercises but if I could distract you with theory for one moment, would you agree that if you develop the global connection from head to toe but at the same time have a free 'power source,' such as the tanden, that can deliver power to any part of this connection, are you on the right track?

Aran
Hi Aran,

I think specifics are necessary, because general statements can be interpreted to mean anything the reader wants. What you're written covers everything from basic "relax and move from the center" to actual high level skill. In the beginning, every track is close to every other, so being on the right track itself isn't that meaningful. It's going a long way down the right track that counts, and that requires specifics.
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Old 04-11-2007, 12:48 AM   #96
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

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Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
Hi Aran,

I think specifics are necessary, because general statements can be interpreted to mean anything the reader wants. What you're written covers everything from basic "relax and move from the center" to actual high level skill. In the beginning, every track is close to every other, so being on the right track itself isn't that meaningful. It's going a long way down the right track that counts, and that requires specifics.
And here we reach the limitation of written forums, there are some who can describe movements quite well via the written word but that is certainly something I lack.

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Old 04-11-2007, 07:36 AM   #97
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

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Howard Chan wrote: View Post
Mark Freeman sensei (or Mike Haft sensei or any Ki-affiliated sempai/sensei),

Could you describe how your skills developed? Like, first you felt like this, then eventually you felt like that... Sorry, vague question, I know.

But it's helpful for us newbies who currently see the path ahead as:

1) Year 1: Do aikido waza and ki-development exercises as relaxed and correctly as possible while listening to sensei, keeping in mind the 4 principles.
2) ??????...??
3) Year 10-20: You can now redirect force back to your attacker just by thinking about it with no apparent external movement.
Hi Howard,

Easy on the 'sensei' stuff if that's ok. In the dojo is one thing and there are various reasons for it. None of which really apply to internet discussion IMO.

I'd say do year 1) for the rest of your life and you're probably on the right track. For me it's more like do years 1-4 for the rest of my life.

If it helps. From between 6 months to 2 years. I could do a lot of the stuff (not all!) that Mike Sigman referred to as the baseline skill in the thread of the same name, for those familiar with ki aikido that would be doing stuff at the level of 2nd test or so, in other words keeping a calm and relaxed posture when being tested with light (maybe 3-6lbs pressure) in a fairly static way, also including some more dynamic tests and some stuff happening in a variety of odd postires such as standing on one leg, leaning backwards etc. After 4 years i could do a lot of the ki tests at 3rd level, i.e. stopping someone elses ki from entering my body. All the rest just builds on that with a variety of different twists and nuances, most of which you are probably unlikely to see much of if you are a seminar hopper who cross trains in ki aikido from time to time (probably, but I don't really know so that's a total guess on my part, I've never bee part of a large organisation that has many seminars over the course of any given year so it's only an impression I get from talking to others who are)

After 5 years I moved away from the area of the UK my teacher lived in and returned to London, my only choice if I wanted to keep learning was to start teaching, which is what I did. To my surprise I found that teaching things was one of the best ways to learn, because it forces you to think about things in creative and clear ways. 5 years after that I can have a 260lb guy push me full force in the middle of my chest and stop him from moving me, and I do mean full force and without deference to me because I'm his instructor (you could say I'm taking ukemi for him if you like). I can't do it all the time, I have good days and bad ones, sometimes I have to take one or two steps back to absorb all that pressure. Sometimes I can do it with my feet side by side, sometimes not. Right now I'm trying to explore why I can't do it consistently all the time and it's a lot of fun doing that.

I can't comment about what happens after 10 years because it'll be my tenth year of aikido in september of this year.

Hope that's helpful.

Regards

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
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Old 04-11-2007, 08:31 AM   #98
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

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Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
Well due to time constraints, and then not being able to get into the site yesterday, I'm about 40 posts behind. Most of this looks like so many other discussions I've seen, where no matter what anybody says the answer is "I already do that". And then when people actually meet up with someone it turns out to never be the case. I think most of the ki tests are some variant of "relax", and not keeping undue tension while doing various things, which is level 1 stuff. That's fine, but the degree to which these concepts can be developed is amazing. If you've felt it, you know it's so different that these, "yeah it pretty much sounds familiar" discussions just wouldn't happen. There is no question it's a completely different animal, not just a little bit different. All that can be done is to recommend people to go see that you think are representative of a given level of ability, then you can have a common point of reference.
The ki tests are unsurprisingly about "relax" just as you say, but seeing as the second basic principle is "relax completely" are you really surprised?

When you say "relax" is level one stuff, yeah I agree, but it's got to be the most important foundation stone to doing the other things, which you can't do if you're not relaxed. The ki test levels increase in sophistication and complexity from what you call level 1 stuff. I think it's likely you just haven't seen them or are perhaps dismissing them because the approach to teaching is different that what you are familiar with, even though the substance of the skill may well be the same or very similar. Unfortunately I don't think there's any way to really determine that for certain.

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Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
But, to Mike H., apart from recommending teachers that have a high level of this skill for others to go check out (have you done that? If so I may have skimmed past it) this is a discussion forum, so those who hold out hope that more can be conveyed in writing can keep struggling. I don't count myself in that group, and due to time constraints and other factors I'm seriously hitting the "don't really care" threshold. But since you titled the thread with that hope, how does one take things to advanced levels, in your view? What specific exercises do you recommend as how-to's to develop a high level of this skill? I know what sorts of exercises Rob and Mike recommend, I know what some other practitioners do. I've never seen anyone who knows this stuff that doesn't have a *very* specific regimen to accomplish the body conditioning to do these things. To Chris, saying "it's natural" presupposes that you are talking about the same "it", so the same question. How specifically does one go from the level 1 stuff of relaxation to the storied Ueshiba levels of seemingly effortless expression of power?
I titled the thread the how to thread purely in the hopes of avoiding the does it exist? and is it important? questions, in other words in the hope that the conversation would focus on matters of substance. As you say there is no way to do these things without an instructor present to give you feedback and help. Talking about it can be at best interesting, I think.

Recommending teachers? Can't help you much outside of the UK. There are quite a few ki aikido teachers in the UK, there's actually a lot of ki aikido here but it's all fractured and not under one roof as it were. The first was Ken Williams head of the Ki Federation (of which Mark is a member I think), Ken Williams is the longest serving aikido teacher in the UK. There are various smaller independent ki aikido places too. There are few mainline Ki Society dojo left in the UK as the vast majority left with Yoshigasaki a few years ago, there is also aikido yuishinkai headed by Maruyama Sensei who was formerly the President of the Ki Soc, as of 2004 our dojo became a part of aikido yuishinkai.

It's worth mentioning that I don't have a great deal of knowledge of other ki teachers than my own teacher, so I wouldn't necessarily recommend any of them, but I would say that they are probably good places to at least start looking.

Specific exercises. There are no specific ones, they change all the time depending on circumstance. Tohei style ki development is a theory really. Like all good theories it makes predictions and is testable (ki tests). If you understand the theory (and have enough skill) then you can easily develop your own exercises to train particualr deficiencies in your self and your students IMHO. I'll give you an example of one way I try to get students to feel weight underside if you like.

One of the problems of learning weight underside is that ever since you could walk you have been moving your own body weight around so developing an awareness of how weight is transferred and shifted around within your own body is difficult as it has been quite natural to move yourself for the vast majority of your life. Once you know that this is the problem then there should be a variety of creative ways you can think of for adding weight to people's movements so they can feel it. You could simply ask them to wear a heavy backpack and practice tenkan or irimi movements. If they did so they would learn to adjust what they did to make such movements more efficient, when you do that while wear ing a heavy hiking backpack you would feel that your 'one-point' has been pulled backwards to behind your hips and lower back.

More difficult than that is to learn to feel weight underside in your hands whilst performing say kotegaeshi for example. You will not be able to feel weight underside in your hands unless and until they are 'connected' to your centre or middle or hips or whichever body part you think is the most important. It took me years to learn to feel weight underside in my hands because it's all about connection to your centre (no surprise there seeing as your one-point is also your centre of gravity). The way I find easiest to teach connection and weight underside in the hands is to start with unbendable arm. For beginners, they tend to get the elbow to not move really quickly but the arm is isolated from the rest of the body so if you apply a lot of force when testing the arm often wobbles about all over the place, quickest way to fix this is to ask them to imagine that I'm not trying to bend their arm but to lift their wrist and that their wrist is attached by a pole to their foot. If their foot doesn't move their wrist shouldn't lift. Next step is to make sure that their shoulder blade isn't poking out behind them, if it is then they are over extending with their arm muscles. I could go on into serious detail but it'd take ages.

I think, like I said that you might be confusing teaching approaches for the actual substance of the skill. Tohei ki development is a theory of mind and body unification. It has various tests to help you gain feedback and determine that you are on the correct path. There is no real specific collection of exercises that are standard like you might get elsewhere, not because there are no exercises, but because you tend to make them up to fit the situation you're in and based on what the student needs most. At least, that's how I think of it. If you still want more spcific exercises then I could probably think of many, only they wouldn't necessarily be of any help to you. You might even say "yeah, I already do that". I certainly can't sit here and say put your feet shoulder width apart, move arm like this, head like this breath in when you do this bit etc. But while I'm sitting here I'm trying to apply my knowledge of ki development to what I'm doing. In this case, I'm sitting in front of a computer typing. What happens when people sit at their desk and type in my experience (if you're in an office look around you and check, others may be doing it) is that people slouch, then their chin comes forwards increasing the pressure on the neck. This can lead to neck problems apparently (I'm not medic so don't quote me), what's happening is that the angle your neck is sitting at puts a lot of pressure on the top of your neck at the base of your skull. If someone were to hit you in the head while you were sat like this it would be bad, really bad I imagine. If you instead imagine that you are pushing up from the back of your skull and roll your shoulders back so that your shoudler blades aren't sticking out (incidentally I should mention at this point that my girlfriend had neck trouble and the physio told her to do this, I helped her out by talking to her about ki development, the physio seemed to be impressed at her rate of progress). This psoture straightens your spine and straight away you find yourself 'sitting from one-point'. Once you've learned to do this part and you've also learned how to redirect force through your body and into your one-point (which from here goes to the ground) then people can push on you while you sit in a chair that has wheels on and you won't move.

You may notice that a lot of what I just said, and a lot of what my girlfriends physio told her sound similar to some of the things that Rob has written, which is one of my reasons for thinking that a good deal of the stuff he is doing is similar and has shared skills to what I do. It is not the same by any means but I'd say it's a related skill for certain.

Mike

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Old 04-11-2007, 08:34 AM   #99
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

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Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
Hi Aran,

I think specifics are necessary, because general statements can be interpreted to mean anything the reader wants. What you're written covers everything from basic "relax and move from the center" to actual high level skill. In the beginning, every track is close to every other, so being on the right track itself isn't that meaningful. It's going a long way down the right track that counts, and that requires specifics.
That makes a lot of sense. Trouble is I've mostly been thinking in theoretical terms and discussing it from that point of view. Hence a lot of people saying they want specific exercises and so on.

Doh, wish I'd replied to this post before writing the other really long one.

Mike

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Old 04-11-2007, 09:09 AM   #100
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

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Mike Haft wrote: View Post
Doh, wish I'd replied to this post before writing the other really long one.
Thanks Mike, both those posts were helpful to me.

I found this info on here on aikiweb describing the different ki-test levels. Fun stuff.

http://www.aikiweb.com/spiritual/reed2.html
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