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Old 03-10-2010, 10:41 AM   #1
Thomas Osborn
Dojo: Aikido of Northampton
Location: Holyoke, MA
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 108
United_States
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GRAVITY, use it, don't fight it

3/10/10 w [2s, 10v] I Again, 3 new people. Now have two people who have trouble retaining their balance when they move. I talked about their center in more concrete terms, as being their center of gravity. When they put their energy up, in their upper body or shoulders, it is much easier to go off balance, when their energy is focused down, in their center, they are much more balanced. I had everyone work on visualizing all the energy in their upper body dropping to their center, relaxing and dropping their shoulders, arms, chest and stomach through their center to the floor.
Not only did this seem to help the two guys with balance problems, everyone could "see" and feel the difference in their control. I had them visualize capturing their partner's [uke] center/balance, use a technique to bring that balance into and through their center to the ground. I explained that in Aikido we never "fight" with an attacker, we use technique to cause them to fight with themselves and with gravity.
Explaining this basic concept in very mechanical terms seemed to help everyone move themselves, and their partner, much smoother, more powerfully, while, paradoxically, remaining more relaxed. Now if I can help them to understand gravity as amplifying their inner strength, I might be able to help them see, to believe in, and make use of that strength in other situations.

(Original blog post may be found here.)
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Old 03-11-2010, 08:30 AM   #2
Randy Sexton
Dojo: Aikido of Lake Keowee
Location: South Carolina
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 187
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Re: GRAVITY, use it, don't fight it

Thanks for the visualization tip
Doc

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will"
Gandhi
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:51 AM   #3
JW
 
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Location: San Francisco CA USA
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Re: GRAVITY, use it, don't fight it

Hi Tom, I think I'll be emailing or PMing you because a specific interest in what you are doing with this project has come up for me. But for now-- I was wondering, has what you have written here (regarding gravity, the energy-sinking visualization, and balance) come directly from the aikido instruction you have received from your teachers? Or does it reflect some other influence (other practices or simply readings, or your own innovations)?
Thanks!
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Old 03-11-2010, 03:32 PM   #4
danielajames
 
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Dojo: Brisbane Aikido Republic
Location: Brisbane
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Re: GRAVITY, use it, don't fight it

Gravity we love you
Dropping your centre and thus most of your body weight in a technique generates enormous power for a short time - if its well coupled to uke it leads to specctacular results. I did the math on it a while ago (see aikiphysics link in my sig) and found that it delivers the equavalent power of a lawn mower. Its big power and is a term people can grasp (though its a bit of a fudge on the units strictly speaking). I have found it useful for students to grasp

best,
dan

Daniel James, Brisbane Aikido Republic: AikiPhysics, Aikido Brisbane news,
ph 0413 001 844, 1593 Logan Rd, Mt.Gravatt, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
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Old 03-11-2010, 04:46 PM   #5
JW
 
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Re: GRAVITY, use it, don't fight it

Quote:
Daniel James (from the aikiphysics page) wrote:
Only if the slack in uke is completely taken up can our 3 hp be effectively transferred resulting in projection of immobilization of uke
Yay matlab! Good point about the available power vs knowing how to be able to apply it in practice. I agree with you about the slack in uke being a potential power killer. But I also am working like crazy on my own body. O-sensei seemed to suggest we relax and use ki instead of muscle, and getting my ki to be strong enough to handle my 2HP or whatever is an issue.

(BTW I briefly looked at "What is ki" but remain unsure if I mean the same thing you do when I said "ki" above. What I mean: ki = that which responds to intent, even in the absence of moving or doing. It's a connective aspect of our bodies that can be strengthened to become able to handle large forces)
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