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Old 06-15-2011, 10:53 AM   #26
JW
 
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

Quote:
Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
He commented, "Kokyu is easy." He then spent 30 seconds describing how to do a reverse breath and to exhale on the cuts.
Well if it is that easy, all of the aikido world is doing it right, too!

To me, that sounds like one of those examples of not telling the full story. Either because he has nothing more to tell or because he is keeping it simple. But I am pretty sure ultimately we are supposed to build something by doing repetitive exercises together with breathing, and then in application, what has been built has a use that does not have to do with respiration. So... reverse breath and exhale on the cuts, in training, nothing I could disagree with there. (though the raise is as important to me as the drop)

Regarding questioning and "how does it work?"... does anybody (Mike included) have anything to say about linking the breathing mechanism to the periphery as per my post? We could start more simply:
-link inhale to curving the torso concave-forward
-link exhale to curving torso concave-back
-squeeze internal pressure by using exhaling-mechanics while the inhale-mechanic is still in operation-- use the increased pressure to raise arms/upper body
In other words, the flexible frame is relaxed enough that pressure can modulate its shape, like a frame around a central bubble. If you can more finely guide the behavior of the pressure bubble by using intent, then you really have something that is different from normal body mechanics.

Of course, it is meaningless without the other things in the "parameters" article. For instance, the expanding bubble presses into the ground through the bones (so the ki of the earth can be accessed by the bubble-action). If someone lifts you, they would have to lift this heavy, stretchy sack (so the ki of heaven is channeled through the bubble). I guess in the end I am talking about developing 'suit' but I am talking about about only developing suit as a connection to the central pressure, as opposed to some peripheral load-bearing structure. Does that sound right?
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:30 AM   #27
Mike Sigman
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

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Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
Regarding questioning and "how does it work?"... does anybody (Mike included) have anything to say about linking the breathing mechanism to the periphery as per my post?
Well, I'm always willing to chip in to extended discussions, but in the past there tended to be only a very few who would contribute to the discussions; most Aikido people aren't that interested in the topic except to read. The idea of the "Baseline Parameters" was to encourage discussion by setting out a list of the interrelated basic topics that belong in a full internal-strength discussion, in the traditional sense. As a matter of fact, Ueshiba would have been aware of the traditional defining elements, as can be seen by how he references them in his douka and other places.

Knowing the baseline parameters, people should be able to examine the interrelationships and they should be able to see how seemingly unrelated topics in traditional Japanese and Chinese discussions are actually part of a singular discussion. That should help a lot.

Just to give an example, there's enough basic information so that someone can read (this is just one example) a book like Mantak Chia's "Iron Shirt Chi Kung" and begin to grasp why Chia uses those funny drawings of linked muscles and tendons as the main structural components (other than the skeleton) of the body. The body, hara/dantien, and connective forces work via those muscle-tendon channels, which are in turn driven by the dantien/hara. The idea of an "X" sounds cool and seems to go with some of the trendy fascia drawings, but it doesn't really apply other than in a stability sense (you can't initiate movement with it the way you can with the dantien/Muscle-Tendon channels). The point being that you can begin to eliminate useless information if you understand the basics of traditional internal-strength. Extended discussions would have been nice, but I think that's now more the purview of some of the younger generation, on a forum like this one.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 06-15-2011, 02:02 PM   #28
HL1978
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

Quote:
Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
Well if it is that easy, all of the aikido world is doing it right, too!

To me, that sounds like one of those examples of not telling the full story. Either because he has nothing more to tell or because he is keeping it simple. But I am pretty sure ultimately we are supposed to build something by doing repetitive exercises together with breathing, and then in application, what has been built has a use that does not have to do with respiration. So... reverse breath and exhale on the cuts, in training, nothing I could disagree with there. (though the raise is as important to me as the drop)

Regarding questioning and "how does it work?"... does anybody (Mike included) have anything to say about linking the breathing mechanism to the periphery as per my post? We could start more simply:
-link inhale to curving the torso concave-forward
-link exhale to curving torso concave-back
-squeeze internal pressure by using exhaling-mechanics while the inhale-mechanic is still in operation-- use the increased pressure to raise arms/upper body
In other words, the flexible frame is relaxed enough that pressure can modulate its shape, like a frame around a central bubble. If you can more finely guide the behavior of the pressure bubble by using intent, then you really have something that is different from normal body mechanics.

Of course, it is meaningless without the other things in the "parameters" article. For instance, the expanding bubble presses into the ground through the bones (so the ki of the earth can be accessed by the bubble-action). If someone lifts you, they would have to lift this heavy, stretchy sack (so the ki of heaven is channeled through the bubble). I guess in the end I am talking about developing 'suit' but I am talking about about only developing suit as a connection to the central pressure, as opposed to some peripheral load-bearing structure. Does that sound right?
I think the inhale and exhale might be the other way around. The inhale, opens the body up making it convex to raise the sword. The exhale closes the body and makes it concave and adds power to the sword cut downwards as you "pull down" with the exhale rather than pushing the arms forwards and letting gravity take over. Of course there is more too it than simply movement of the upper torso and rounding the shoulders front and back to copy the shape of an open and close. Simply doing that doesn't really make use of the spine in the manner written in Mike's blog post. It doesn't work either if you are ihaling with the upper chest either.

At the very initial stages, preforming reverse breathing properly makes one more aware of some of the various muscles around the middle, asides from conditioning the connective tissues associated with suit. For me this was much like how I learned to wiggle my ears. I learned by pulling my ears back and forth until that area got sore and from that learned how to move them. Now I can squeeze each muscle in the lower back near the kidneys individually. This does help in raising and lowering the arms, since you can use them in opposition with the musculature in the lower torso (not the abs!).

Now what you want to be able to do is kind of roll the the middle back and forth by rotating the tanden up/back like a ball. I can feel my tanden move up and down a bit when I do this (very little), but I am trying to use the tanden rather than the abs pushing up and down, in conjunction with the lower back moving in the opposite direction of the front. If all that connective tissue is conditioned and your body is "pressurized" via inhalation, you should be able to raise and lower the arms via Mike's balloon man, by pulling/pushing from the middle utilizing both the front and back . At least where I am right now though, my arms don't rise up all the way, and I am using too much of the surrounding muscles of the middle which leads to an overly big opening and closing of the body, when view in comparison to the ideal.

Going back to that iaido seminar/test, I failed my exam, not because I didn't show the points they wanted to see, but because according to the head examiner I was told you aren't supposed to open/close the body during cuts, or physically drop the body. The spine should stay perpendicular to the ground and not bend.

To be fair, none of the hachidan instructors overtly open and closed the body, but even if the motion is really small and one is using this motion, they would have to experience a point where it is more overt earlier in their training. I think their comments would have been more instructional if they had discussed some of the above, but I guess they don't consider it particularly important.

Last edited by HL1978 : 06-15-2011 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 06-15-2011, 02:11 PM   #29
Mike Sigman
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

Quote:
Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
Going back to that iaido seminar/test, I failed my exam, not because I didn't show the points they wanted to see, but because according to the head examiner I was told you aren't supposed to open/close the body during cuts, or physically drop the body. The spine should stay perpendicular to the ground and not bend.

To be fair, none of the hachidan instructors overtly open and closed the body, but even if the motion is really small and one is using this motion, they would have to experience a point where it is more overt. I think their comments would have been more instructional if they had discussed some of the above, but I guess they don't consider it particularly important.
Some of the people who are trying to change their mode of movement back to the sort of "ki" movement of Ueshiba, Tohei, etc., get flunked (or disapprobation) by high-dan "teachers" who only understand external movement, too. I.e., I'm not sure your being corrected means a lot, given some of the recent realizations.

2 cents.

Mike
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Old 06-15-2011, 03:01 PM   #30
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

Sorry to hear about the test, Hunter. Puts you in an uncomfortable spot, even if the scenario Mike described applies to the group you trained/tested with.

How I currently do suburi partially jives with your description. My previous description was overly simple-- my fuller description would be: there are periods of inhaling and exhaling, and they partially overlap, leading to high and low pressure moments.
Start with sword in front of you, inhale brings the hands inward, and then the pressure starts to climb because we are not doing only inhale-- this is when the sword rises. This is reverse breath, and we agree that air is still going in during the rise. I'm saying the sword rises because there is antagonism of the inhale, causing pressure increase.
Then we seem to disagree about the "cut" part. I propose that the exhale happens when the inhale stops. In other words what was antagonizing the inhale now exists freely without the inhale. If there was no sword, the hands would fly outward to the sides during this forceful exhale.
Last step, this is critical for me-- we are going back to where we started-- inhale action starts again as you "receive" the end of your cut back towards/into yourself. (the inhale begins before the exhale is done, so they overlap again)
There is symmetry here-- there are 2 brief moments that are not moments of overlapping inhale/exhale. Other than those 2 moments, while one wanes the other waxes.
Oh, there's no yinyang smily on this interface, damn.
Anyway no one says this method is right, just discussing.
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Old 06-15-2011, 04:19 PM   #31
HL1978
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Some of the people who are trying to change their mode of movement back to the sort of "ki" movement of Ueshiba, Tohei, etc., get flunked (or disapprobation) by high-dan "teachers" who only understand external movement, too. I.e., I'm not sure your being corrected means a lot, given some of the recent realizations.

2 cents.

Mike
I'm not all that worried as I expected as much. I'm not going to purposfully move "wrong" to pass a test since my training goals aren't done with passing tests in mind. I was testing for other reasons. On the otherhand, now I know what knowledge is out there at the higher levels in some of the japanese sword arts. I now know for sure as to what not to pattern my movement after.

Strangely enough after my exam, some guy I had never seen before came up to me and said I had really good movement and walked off. I think the guy was Meik Skoss. I never did get to seem him move, so maybe his comments shouldn't be given much weight either.

Quote:
Then we seem to disagree about the "cut" part. I propose that the exhale happens when the inhale stops. In other words what was antagonizing the inhale now exists freely without the inhale. If there was no sword, the hands would fly outward to the sides during this forceful exhale.
Last step, this is critical for me-- we are going back to where we started-- inhale action starts again as you "receive" the end of your cut back towards/into yourself. (the inhale begins before the exhale is done, so they overlap again)
There is symmetry here-- there are 2 brief moments that are not moments of overlapping inhale/exhale. Other than those 2 moments, while one wanes the other waxes.
Oh, there's no yinyang smily on this interface, damn.
Anyway no one says this method is right, just discussing.
I would tend to agree that the exhale leads into the inhale, and so forth. From chudan for example, closing the body a little makes it a heck of a lot easier to open the body back up. It also makes it easier to keep the weight of your sword down low in the body than taking it up and into the arms without the inital close.

Last edited by HL1978 : 06-15-2011 at 04:23 PM.
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Old 06-17-2011, 02:47 PM   #32
Mike Sigman
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

I'll start another thread about some of the baseline parameters some time, but meanwhile I think people should take another look at that thread on RSF and note the criticism about posture. That's worth a discussion in light of the baseline parameters .... and the comments say a lot.

Mike
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:25 PM   #33
gregstec
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

Quote:
Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post

Strangely enough after my exam, some guy I had never seen before came up to me and said I had really good movement and walked off. I think the guy was Meik Skoss. I never did get to seem him move, so maybe his comments shouldn't be given much weight either.
Hi Hunter,

Google Meik Skoss and maybe you may want to change your opinion concerning the weight of his comments unless of course, your comment was made tongue in cheek

Greg
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