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Old 07-15-2011, 11:10 PM   #1
nuxie
 
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Moving with your center

Okie Dokie so I am approaching my one year mark in training ( august) and I keep hearing all about how I need to move with my center. My teachers are working very hard to teach this to me but I seem to not be getting it. So I am looking for other ways to learn how to connect with my partner, move with my center, and extend key past my hand. One problem I believe I have is I have good energy everywhere else in my body but from my shoulders to my hands I am like a hot spaghetti noodle. I have absolutely no energy from my shoulders to my hands... It is a phenomena that none of us can seem to figure out. Relax the shoulder... check... extend energy through my fingertips and past them... nope. My hand remain bright white on the palms HA. I open my hands up for tenhohenko... and I am just a trying like hell to get that energy through to my hands but nope not happening. I have asked several people outside my Aikido training circle and it seems to baffle them. The look at my technique and then scratch their heads. One person had to check to see if my arms were dead. LOL. It is almost as if I do not even have arms. If I could just connect my arms to my center that would be great.

So the question to you guys is... How did that little epiphany happen for you? What was it that finally clicked inside you and made that extension of energy finally make sense for you? Is there a such thing as energy blockage? I know I am not going to get this overnight and might take 4 years or so to figure this out... but I am not even making a tiny bit of progress with my hands. ( I know i shouldn't be moving with my hands and thus that is where moving from center comes into play. ) I am trying to do a slight amount of shikko stuff and also trying to do things that require me to lower my hamni stance. I am by no means discouraged or heartbroken that I haven't figured this out yet. I am a very determined person and that is why I am asking others for what they think.

Was looking at some clips I found on youtube by Doug Wedell wich then gave me the idea to ask on the forums here about how others found their center.

Mary
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Old 07-16-2011, 02:28 AM   #2
Lee Salzman
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Re: Moving with your center

Quote:
Mary Simonsen wrote: View Post
Okie Dokie so I am approaching my one year mark in training ( august) and I keep hearing all about how I need to move with my center. My teachers are working very hard to teach this to me but I seem to not be getting it. So I am looking for other ways to learn how to connect with my partner, move with my center, and extend key past my hand. One problem I believe I have is I have good energy everywhere else in my body but from my shoulders to my hands I am like a hot spaghetti noodle. I have absolutely no energy from my shoulders to my hands... It is a phenomena that none of us can seem to figure out. Relax the shoulder... check... extend energy through my fingertips and past them... nope. My hand remain bright white on the palms HA. I open my hands up for tenhohenko... and I am just a trying like hell to get that energy through to my hands but nope not happening. I have asked several people outside my Aikido training circle and it seems to baffle them. The look at my technique and then scratch their heads. One person had to check to see if my arms were dead. LOL. It is almost as if I do not even have arms. If I could just connect my arms to my center that would be great.

So the question to you guys is... How did that little epiphany happen for you? What was it that finally clicked inside you and made that extension of energy finally make sense for you? Is there a such thing as energy blockage? I know I am not going to get this overnight and might take 4 years or so to figure this out... but I am not even making a tiny bit of progress with my hands. ( I know i shouldn't be moving with my hands and thus that is where moving from center comes into play. ) I am trying to do a slight amount of shikko stuff and also trying to do things that require me to lower my hamni stance. I am by no means discouraged or heartbroken that I haven't figured this out yet. I am a very determined person and that is why I am asking others for what they think.

Was looking at some clips I found on youtube by Doug Wedell wich then gave me the idea to ask on the forums here about how others found their center.
Do not kid yourself, connecting the arms to the spine is not a little epiphany, and it would take you probably months of daily practice of specifically this aspect when you know physically the thing your body is trying to accomplish and frequent correction/guidance from a qualified teacher to actually get it - that was my experience. It is the most difficult thing I've ever learned about how to use my body

It is probably the hardest part of the body to connect, precisely because we condition in bad habits there so frequently throughout our entire lives which need to be unlearned and replaced in all movements with an entirely different understanding of how to use them.

That said, about the most useful pointer I can offer is that, in a way, the shoulders operate like your hips and the arms operate like a set of legs. If there is something your hips/legs are doing that your shoulders/arms are not, investigate that and try to equalize their function. If the hip gets power by extending, the shoulder gets power by extending. If the legs aren't turning into floppy jello that causes you to fall in a puddle of bones and skin to the ground during practice, then your arms shouldn't be doing this either. In essence, if you were strong enough to flip the problems upside down so that you stood on your arms and contacted people with your legs, your aikido would still be similar. This principle also works for the pelvis/tailbone and the ribcage/neck. On the flip side, if your understanding of the top half of your body is lacking, probably so is your understanding of the bottom half - do always use the problems and strengths of either one to offer insights onto the things you need to work on on the other half. If they have to be used in fundamentally different ways, you're doing something wrong. Without a teacher who can point the way, that may be your singular most useful piece of training strategy.

You are a bridge between another person and the ground, so any point of failure in this bridge makes the whole bridge useless. Explore those things, play with the spine and how it bridges them. Try pushing against heavy or immovable things and feel where you feel localized stress, and try to distribute that stress over the entire chain, not by completely relaxing and taking the joint out of the bridge, and not by stiffening up the part like an immovable statue, but by making the joint move in complete and utter unison of direction and goal with the other joints of your body. Those are two ways to cause an "energy blockage": 1) by going limp or collapsing away from the force to bleed it off in another direction, or 2) letting the joint go rigid as an overcorrection to the flip-side problem of going limp or collapsing, so that the action of the joint fighting its own active movement absorbs any kinetic energy. Work on erasing those in every major joint of your body, not just your shoulders and arms, but doing that in your upper body will be harder than anything else.

But still, given all of that, there is no "center". Every part of your body is connected as one giant center, every part of you is the center. So you must be everywhere in your body at once.

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 07-16-2011 at 02:37 AM.
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Old 07-16-2011, 02:33 AM   #3
ryback
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Re: Moving with your center

Quote:
Mary Simonsen wrote: View Post
Okie Dokie so I am approaching my one year mark in training ( august) and I keep hearing all about how I need to move with my center. My teachers are working very hard to teach this to me but I seem to not be getting it. So I am looking for other ways to learn how to connect with my partner, move with my center, and extend key past my hand. One problem I believe I have is I have good energy everywhere else in my body but from my shoulders to my hands I am like a hot spaghetti noodle. I have absolutely no energy from my shoulders to my hands... It is a phenomena that none of us can seem to figure out. Relax the shoulder... check... extend energy through my fingertips and past them... nope. My hand remain bright white on the palms HA. I open my hands up for tenhohenko... and I am just a trying like hell to get that energy through to my hands but nope not happening. I have asked several people outside my Aikido training circle and it seems to baffle them. The look at my technique and then scratch their heads. One person had to check to see if my arms were dead. LOL. It is almost as if I do not even have arms. If I could just connect my arms to my center that would be great.

So the question to you guys is... How did that little epiphany happen for you? What was it that finally clicked inside you and made that extension of energy finally make sense for you? Is there a such thing as energy blockage? I know I am not going to get this overnight and might take 4 years or so to figure this out... but I am not even making a tiny bit of progress with my hands. ( I know i shouldn't be moving with my hands and thus that is where moving from center comes into play. ) I am trying to do a slight amount of shikko stuff and also trying to do things that require me to lower my hamni stance. I am by no means discouraged or heartbroken that I haven't figured this out yet. I am a very determined person and that is why I am asking others for what they think.

Was looking at some clips I found on youtube by Doug Wedell wich then gave me the idea to ask on the forums here about how others found their center.
Hi there!Epiphany?I don't know if there is such a thing at least concerning martial arts training.I know however,that the only word that i can think of when it comes to progress is only one:Practice!This is the answer that my teacher has when the question is about any kind of progress in Aikido and in my humble opinion and through my experience i can say that with practice you can achieve anything as long as it is consistent and serious.So don't worry,if you get the stance straight and you try to move correctly according to the..."choreography" there will come a time that you will "get it".But it won't be overnight,it takes time and effort and...practice.Breathing correctly is also of the utmost importance for the extend of Ki.Anyway,i hope that my post will help you in some way...
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Old 07-16-2011, 06:15 AM   #4
Mario Tobias
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Re: Moving with your center

hi mary,

the reason why it's very difficult to understand this concept is because there are prerequisites before you can accomplish this consistently. you need to learn first or discover how nage and uke are connected and how the connection is manipulated. Moving with the center is just one of the many principles in effectively manipulating the connection.

although i wont be able to give you answers to your original question, what i suggest is that when you train, that you not only focus on what you train but how you train.

Aikido is a difficult art to learn and it will take years/decades to master. Only by constantly practicing will you get the answers. the answers though will present themselves one at a time. It may take a very long time to get an answer to some of your questions but if you focus on how you train, you can accelerate your pace of learning.

What helped me accelerate my learning was that I told myself to be fully aware of what's going on. observe sensei carefully, observe ukes reaction during a technique, observe yourself when moving. In aikido, the answers are in the smallest/finest of details. They are very subtle but significantly helps with techniques. next, you will then realize that there are commonalities (principle/moves) regardless of what technique you are doing. look for these common things. by being aware of the smallest details will you have epiphanies coming to you more often. One by one you will "get it".

sorry i didnt give you direct answers but hope that the above is of some help to help your aikido.
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Old 07-16-2011, 10:13 AM   #5
Abasan
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Re: Moving with your center

Before you can ride a bike, you need to get 'it'. Same thing here, and its not a big deal.

Everybody's minds are wired differently, so to get to one point, there are many approaches you can take. So far nothing's working. One problem is if you believe that there are set rules that you must follow to accomplish awareness of your body. There isn't, only guides. Thus you are at the stage of fudo genri... its not about generating energy. Its about unification of your body, mind and spirit.

So one of the easiest way to control your body is not by commanding it, but by fooling it. You are trying to command your ki extension from your center to your hands. In essence, your ability to use your hands already mean you can extend ki. But that's not the type of feeling you want with tenkan. So, don't command it to flow there, instead put it in a situation where it is already there.

One way is to imagine you are holding a baby with both your hands. Hold underneath it gently, it is sleeping, now as your partner takes hold of you, forget about him and concentrate on that baby. You can't let the gap enlarge between your hands. Hold it lightly so as not to disturb the baby. Now move, make sure you hold the baby steady. See how that tenkan works for you.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 07-16-2011, 10:58 AM   #6
Adam Huss
 
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Re: Moving with your center

No epiphanies for me. In my training, which is based on the Yoshinkan style, we do a lot of training on just learning how to move and control one's own body, before attempting to control and move someone else. A lot of solo (tandoku) practice I do is to learn how to move while maintaining good posture, balance, and power. These are basically forms that start off with fully body control and power generation from generally static posistions, then graduate to maintaining the same control while doing various movements; shifting, then pivoting and stepping, etc. Once a student acquires some idea of this, they graduate to doing the same movement forms, but with the addition of a partner (sotai dosa), who gradually adds more resistance to the student's movement...the level of resistence being in proportion with the student's ability.

In my opinion, this is the most important aspect of training, and one that is often negelected. I feel it a disservice to attempt to expect a student to control another person while that student has not the ability to slide step, cross step, shift their weight or pivot, while maintaining good posture and balance and generating power. Being that I actively train in both a Yoshinkan offshoot, and an aikiaki based style, I would say we speak about the Five Principles of Aikido, but instead of telling a person to correct themselves by 'extending their ki' or 'maintaining their center' we show them how they are lacking those qualities in each particular movement/technique they are doing and show them how to correct it. Well, that's how I like to takle the issues of balance and control and power. But I am practical, so I feel whatever works for you, works....

best,
A

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Old 07-16-2011, 11:41 AM   #7
Michael Douglas
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Re: Moving with your center

Quote:
Mary Simonsen wrote: View Post
... It is a phenomena that none of us can seem to figure out. Relax the shoulder... check... extend energy through my fingertips and past them... nope. My hand remain bright white on the palms ...
White palms?
You are expecting something else, perhaps a colour change?

I think you might be trying too hard to not use muscle ... at this stage. What do you think?
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Old 07-16-2011, 12:33 PM   #8
Kevin Flanagan
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Re: Moving with your center

Dear Mary,
I think that I can help with this. One of my teachers taught me this to improve my bokken strikes. it works also for splitting fire wood and kokyu nage.

Imagine tht you dip the tip of your bokken, or the tip of your fingers into a can of paint. Strike as though you want to spray a line of paint along the ceiling and into your partner's center. That is extending your ki.

Eventually, this motion is like a fly fishing cast. It starts in the earth, moves up our legs, thru our bodies and out our arms.

Remember, you are already connected within yourself. If you were not, you would be dead. Our training makes us move conscious of this and more able to use this reality.

When you can do this, you have aiki. When you can do this consistently, you are sensei.

I hope this helps. Feedback appreciated.
Sincerely
Kevin Flanagan

Last edited by Kevin Flanagan : 07-16-2011 at 12:34 PM. Reason: spacing of paragraphs
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Old 07-16-2011, 03:33 PM   #9
JW
 
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Re: Moving with your center

Hi Mary, it is funny but "move from your center" might mean different things to people (there's lots of diversity in aikido).

So whatever advice you get here may be NOT what your teacher is looking for.. but who knows till you play with it.

If you are going to play with things, there's a nice grab bag of advice in this thread. I also suggest thinking about the breathing practice on aikidojournal.com written by Mike Sigman about "Putting ki back in aikido practice." (Can't find the link b/c aikido journal seems to be down right now) But that will be something to work on every day for a long time, not something that will help you right now.

I second what Lee and Ahmad said. With Lee's trick of pushing something heavy, after you experiement with what he said, you can rehearse the correct feeling later. Pretend to push the thing, and pretend to spread the feeling out. Since you are pretending, you don't have to flex a single muscle (you could be laying in bed). But even so, the ki will do what you are pretending. With Ahmad's baby-holding trick, you can do that at home when you can take your time and not worry about a partner. And it could be a bag of bricks as well as a baby-- just concentrate on feeling that weight bearing down on you (in your mind.. again, pretending), and letting it stack on the ground through you, rather than you straining to lift it.

Anyway... good luck. And if what I (or anyone) is saying doesn't work or confuses you.. that'll teach you to take advice on the net! j/k, I really hope it helps.
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Old 07-16-2011, 03:40 PM   #10
Activeghost
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Re: Moving with your center

You need to learn to connect these parts of your body before you do so while moving with connection. To create the feeling of connection through the arms and across the back first have the feeling of your elbows being gently pulled throughout your movement. Some teachers talk about the elbows being "heavy" and the back rounded, whatever imagery works but you should feel the connection being made from the elbows across the back in all movement.

That will help with the one specific thing (connecting your upper body). Working on moving from your center can be done through Shiko or zhan zhuang (standing like a post) plus some form of slow movement like tai chi or aiki taiso....focusing on maintaing that feeling you get from the standing. I'd recommend standing since it has more fringe benefits than Shiko ( for me).

...and if you practice 3 or more hours a day you will start to pick it up over the next few months.

Since I'm wandering a bit in giving some advice...You might also try doing funokogi undo (rowing exercise) daily, with the same feelings. It should look and feel like the fajin exercises the Chinese guys do.
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:20 PM   #11
graham christian
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Re: Moving with your center

I agree with Ahmad. Read what he says carefully.

I could add that if you concentrate on relaxing shoulder only you may forget that you should also be relaxing your arm and hands too.

If your so intent on relaxing shoulder only that can make your arm tighten and you'll find you are actually drawing energy in rather than extending. T he feeling you should have is more a feeling or intention of offering or giving.

Very similar to Ahmed I could advise imagining you are holding a saucer of water which you must not spill. These type of creative things
definitely help you put your ki in your hands and help you relax the arm in the beginning.

Regards.G.
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:28 PM   #12
graham christian
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Re: Moving with your center

Just a quick add on to my last post. If you feel the hold is tight or too strong practice letting that strong energy go into your centre and back out into the bowl.

Regards.G.
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Old 07-17-2011, 01:19 AM   #13
dps
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Re: Moving with your center

Moving from your center;

Have someone pull you by your belt. Your center will move first. Try to duplicate that feeling on your own.

Arm and hand extension;

Focus on touching something beyond your reach ( across the room) while standing still by stretching your arm ( with elbow sightly bent ) and fingers stretched out.


dps
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:35 AM   #14
dps
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Re: Moving with your center

Don't lean.

dps
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Old 07-17-2011, 06:45 PM   #15
HL1978
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Re: Moving with your center

Quote:
Michael Douglas wrote: View Post
White palms?
You are expecting something else, perhaps a colour change?

I think you might be trying too hard to not use muscle ... at this stage. What do you think?
Some arts I have trained in state that when you see "splotchy" red dots on the palms, that is ki manifesting itself (I have no opinion one way or the other and yield to those with greater expereince, at the very least I assume its more circulation). If you engage in some of the stuff talked about in the non-aikido forum, it may happen, but I can't state wether or not I expressed more "correct" movement or not when it occured.

I assume that is what the original poster was referring to.

As for moving with the center, you will probably get better discussion out of the non-aikido forum as well for specific exercises.
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:27 PM   #16
dps
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Re: Moving with your center

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Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post

As for moving with the center, you will probably get better discussion out of the non-aikido forum as well for specific exercises.
No ,if you want advice for doing mma from Dan or chinese martial arts from Mike the non-Aikido forum would be the place to go, but for Aikido stick with the Aikido portion of Aikiweb.

dps
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:23 PM   #17
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Moving with your center

Quote:
Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
Some arts I have trained in state that when you see "splotchy" red dots on the palms, that is ki manifesting itself (I have no opinion one way or the other and yield to those with greater expereince, at the very least I assume its more circulation). If you engage in some of the stuff talked about in the non-aikido forum, it may happen, but I can't state wether or not I expressed more "correct" movement or not when it occured.

I assume that is what the original poster was referring to.

As for moving with the center, you will probably get better discussion out of the non-aikido forum as well for specific exercises.
For whatever it may be worth, after I began training seriously (when I did such a thing) I experienced this (or something similar, at any rate). The first time I noticed this I thought I was bleeding from my pores, but it wouldn't wipe away. I just chalked it up to increased circulation...which is, I believe, an example/attribute of increased ki flow, right?
Also, I remember being told my first day of class that I should consider the feeling of pushing a shopping cart while getting groceries; which resonates with the phrase, "when one thing moves, everything moves," and suggests to me something about how one might begin to approach moving from center, making the arms extentions of it instead of pushing with arm strength.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:30 PM   #18
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Moving with your center

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
No ,if you want advice for doing mma from Dan or chinese martial arts from Mike the non-Aikido forum would be the place to go, but for Aikido stick with the Aikido portion of Aikiweb.

dps
Sorry for a touch of tangent, but I have to disagree. This thread is in the right place for the Aikido perspective, but it's not a bad idea to check out the non-Aikido forum for other views on "moving from your center." It may come from a somewhat non-Aikido tradition, but other practices' views of hara-based movement are quite relevant to learning some of the body mechanics that are involved in Ueshiba Aikido...certainly there is overlap and while I would agree it wouldn't be right to hijack this thread with the same ol' stuff many people have come to...er...love so much, I can't see anything wrong with suggesting people check out the non-Aikido section in order to get more info, which is what I see Hunter as suggesting.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 07-18-2011, 01:27 AM   #19
Lee Salzman
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Re: Moving with your center

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
For whatever it may be worth, after I began training seriously (when I did such a thing) I experienced this (or something similar, at any rate). The first time I noticed this I thought I was bleeding from my pores, but it wouldn't wipe away. I just chalked it up to increased circulation...which is, I believe, an example/attribute of increased ki flow, right?
Also, I remember being told my first day of class that I should consider the feeling of pushing a shopping cart while getting groceries; which resonates with the phrase, "when one thing moves, everything moves," and suggests to me something about how one might begin to approach moving from center, making the arms extentions of it instead of pushing with arm strength.
Let's just take that phrase, "when one thing moves, everything moves". This does not mean "moves in space", as in your arms are rigid sticks affixed to a body that is moving, such that the arms get pushed along in space like they were just that, dead sticks. This does not mean your arms are limp noodles being whipped around as if they were injected with botulinum It means they actually move, as in they articulate, relative to their parent body. Dead sticks is no ki. Limp noodles is no ki.

The problem with arm strength is not that you shouldn't use it, just that most people's body, minus the arms, is actually in its totality a dead stick or a limp noodle that doesn't help at all, actually detracts, with the action of the arm just pushing them away or pulling them in, rather than acting on what its trying to act. This would be exemplified by the mindset of dps's example, "Have someone pull you by your belt. Your center will move first.", i.e. your body has just collapsed into a wet noodle or you have move yourself like a giant stick lever, the better to push you over with, either way assuredly disconnecting yourself from the floor, so what's left for the arms if you can't even get the ground up to your legs?

With the shopping cart, pushing it away from you as quickly or as fast as possible might be a better example. It's light, so no problem right? If any part of you moves back away from the cart during this, that was a collapse, a bleed, an energy blockage. If one part of you maintains fixed just to ride on the momentum of the other parts, same deal. Even if it happens for an instant and is later (over)corrected, same deal. "When one part moves, all parts move." Now try the pushing with something heavier, a car would be perfect, but we don't always have cars to push around. If you can get the car to move without anything collapsing backwards away from the car, maybe you're getting closer, so long as you tried to move everything, and the car in effect held them in place, not you. Subtle point: if your feet skid backwards, that's a collapse, sending force in the wrong direction, backwards, not down. The only thing that moves away is the car, not you.

Absurd example to point this out, imagine you had a little elf sitting on your shoulders around your neck. Call him Mr. Armsly. If all you do is carry him around and he just sits there doing nothing freeloading off of your movement, he's a dead weight, may as well be carrying a sack of potatoes, little more than a glorified elf-potato-sack club (or flail, if you prefer). If Mr. Armsly starts falling backwards off your back, and he tries to push something, he will have nothing to keep him from falling further, and every time he pushes, he will in fact pull you backwards. If he falls forward and starts bending your neck over, and he tries to push something, all his push just goes further into collapsing your neck and pulling your farther over forwards. If Mr. Armsly falls onto one of your shoulders or the other, he similarly starts pulling you over off. Mr. Armsly does his job precisely best when he is sitting directly on top of you, all his pushing going straight down through your structure, I daresay your skeleton, your spine, maybe that is even a "center" of sorts, but that would be reductionist. Mr. Armsly has a tough job to balance there, and in fact has to actually actively use his legs and hips to grasp onto you while he pushes or else he will feel guilty if he accidentally pulled you over. If you move ahead of him, or let him move ahead of you, it basically causes the same thing. The more he goes at cross-purposes with you, the more you two are not acting as a team. Likewise, he hates it when you give him nothing to do, because he fancies himself more than a potato sack on your shoulders. He really wants to act as a team, but you keep making it so hard. In fact, sometimes Mr. Armsly feels you are too prideful, too erect in posture, for him to actually do his job well, and that sometimes you two both need to compromise on your stuffy upright positions to best get the job done, there is no I in team! Maybe he needs to work forwards, but you are telling him you only want to go straight up - there's no way you two could cooperate. Round off those sharp edges in the disagreement, bend a bit in your resolve to bring your two disparate directions in closer unison. Take one for the team.

Most days I feel like Mr. Armsly is real and he needs some ritalin. That's to say nothing of Mr. Legsly. Sometimes they decide they're having a party and Spiney is not invited, and then all hell breaks loose. Probably more useful thinking of helper elves than going looking for red spots or warm hands. But I digress.

And that gets back to, who made up the moving with the center thing anyway? Perhaps an oversimplification overglorification of that whole hara thing the Japanese seem so obsessed with? I don't think it was O'Sensei, that's for sure. Oh sure, he mentioned a hara, but did he really say it was a single point or that it operated in isolation? I really don't know the answer to those questions myself. I am no scholar or historian. But, are we putting too much stock in one, perhaps even misguided, interpretation amongst any other cool ones we could create that might work better, or just as well? Hmmm. What's aikido? What's not aikido? Probably doesn't matter at all anymore, so long as it improves performance in the thing.

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 07-18-2011 at 01:39 AM.
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Old 07-18-2011, 06:23 AM   #20
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: Moving with your center

Perhaps learn to move as a whole, all bodyparts in their right (relative) position. When moving like this, one could say is centered.

AFAIK O Sensei never explained any techniques..let alone speak of hara, center, extension or what have you.

BTW loved the examples... MrArmsly and MrLegsly

Last edited by Tim Ruijs : 07-18-2011 at 06:26 AM.

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Old 07-18-2011, 06:33 AM   #21
phitruong
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Re: Moving with your center

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
And that gets back to, who made up the moving with the center thing anyway? Perhaps an oversimplification overglorification of that whole hara thing the Japanese seem so obsessed with? I don't think it was O'Sensei, that's for sure. Oh sure, he mentioned a hara, but did he really say it was a single point or that it operated in isolation?
it's because of the loin cloth thingy where you tied the knot right in front and the back looked like a thong. so when someone grabbed the knot and pull, you have to move or it would be painful (involved high pitch breathing that we called kokyu that sounded like aaaiiiii...yekkiiii *origin of aiki*); thus, the phrase of "move the hara" or "moving from the center" was born (and the less well known phrase "move your ass"). you can say the same thing with Chasity belt for women. in conclusion, moving with your center has nothing to do with aikido, but with fashion runway stuffs (with or without high heels).
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Old 07-18-2011, 07:04 AM   #22
dps
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Re: Moving with your center

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
it's because of the loin cloth thingy where you tied the knot right in front and the back looked like a thong. so when someone grabbed the knot and pull, you have to move or it would be painful (involved high pitch breathing that we called kokyu that sounded like aaaiiiii...yekkiiii *origin of aiki*); thus, the phrase of "move the hara" or "moving from the center" was born (and the less well known phrase "move your ass"). you can say the same thing with Chasity belt for women. in conclusion, moving with your center has nothing to do with aikido, but with fashion runway stuffs (with or without high heels).
Isn't that Sumo wrestling?

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Old 07-18-2011, 07:12 AM   #23
lbb
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Re: Moving with your center

I think that for so many who practice aikido, discussions of "extension of energy" and the like are like critiques of the emperor's new clothes. That is to say, you're trying to understand the nuances of something that may be a metaphor, may be a colorful way of describing a series of mechanical actions, may be literal truth...could be all of the above. Maybe. I don't think it helps, though, to get engaged in a discussion of whether the emperor should be wearing that shade of blue, when you're not really sure if he's even wearing clothes. If you're not seeing the clothes (either because you're not able to yet, or because the clothes aren't even there, doesn't matter which), then don't get involved in a fashion discussion, that's my advice. Don't get involved in a fashion discussion, and also, don't waste your time trying really really hard to see the clothes. If they're there, they will become apparent in due course.

Meanwhile, practice. Don't worry if you don't have the grand unified theory of energy extension. You know enough by now to do good practice, so concentrate on what you do know. Focus on basic mechanics: "energy extension" can't make up for a sloppy stance, badly distributed weight, hands held carelessly, pivoting on the heels, etc. It's my personal belief that good basic mechanics are a prerequisite to anything like "energy extension": you can't go off into a room somewhere and gaze at your navel until you have an "energy extension" breakthrough, and then bazing, all your mechanics are superb. Rather, having bad mechanics is a perennial obstruction to any breakthroughs at a higher level, and having good mechanics clears the way so that such breakthroughs can happen. They don't guarantee that it will happen, mind you -- that's where patience comes in. Focus on doing the things right that you know how to do right, be patient and content with striving for that, and let breakthroughs happen in their own good time. Personally, I've never experienced or noticed a martial arts breakthrough in the moment, as it were. It's always a case that I suddenly notice something that's been there for a while...never a case that I do something right for the first time and say, "Aha!"
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Old 07-18-2011, 07:38 AM   #24
chillzATL
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Re: Moving with your center

Hi Mary,

Try softly pushing on a wall, just enough to feel "connected" to it. Then breath into your abomen until you feel some pressure there. Try to avoid tighting up your abs too much to contain or increase that pressure. Once you feel some pressure there in your middle, push that ball of pressure, with your foot, towards the wall. Again, very lightly. Just enough of a push to feel the connection between your feet and the wall increase slightly. If you push too hard you'll feel all sorts of muscles tense up, so adjust to just below that point. You can do that exercise pushing or pulling and from a variety of stances. Constantly monitor your body for tension. Take a break, relax, shake it out and go again. This will help you with the connection in you and moving from your center. There are a variety of other points of interest that could be discussed in this exercise, but this should help for now.
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:02 AM   #25
Lee Salzman
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Re: Moving with your center

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I think that for so many who practice aikido, discussions of "extension of energy" and the like are like critiques of the emperor's new clothes. That is to say, you're trying to understand the nuances of something that may be a metaphor, may be a colorful way of describing a series of mechanical actions, may be literal truth...could be all of the above. Maybe. I don't think it helps, though, to get engaged in a discussion of whether the emperor should be wearing that shade of blue, when you're not really sure if he's even wearing clothes. If you're not seeing the clothes (either because you're not able to yet, or because the clothes aren't even there, doesn't matter which), then don't get involved in a fashion discussion, that's my advice. Don't get involved in a fashion discussion, and also, don't waste your time trying really really hard to see the clothes. If they're there, they will become apparent in due course.

Meanwhile, practice. Don't worry if you don't have the grand unified theory of energy extension. You know enough by now to do good practice, so concentrate on what you do know. Focus on basic mechanics: "energy extension" can't make up for a sloppy stance, badly distributed weight, hands held carelessly, pivoting on the heels, etc. It's my personal belief that good basic mechanics are a prerequisite to anything like "energy extension": you can't go off into a room somewhere and gaze at your navel until you have an "energy extension" breakthrough, and then bazing, all your mechanics are superb. Rather, having bad mechanics is a perennial obstruction to any breakthroughs at a higher level, and having good mechanics clears the way so that such breakthroughs can happen. They don't guarantee that it will happen, mind you -- that's where patience comes in. Focus on doing the things right that you know how to do right, be patient and content with striving for that, and let breakthroughs happen in their own good time. Personally, I've never experienced or noticed a martial arts breakthrough in the moment, as it were. It's always a case that I suddenly notice something that's been there for a while...never a case that I do something right for the first time and say, "Aha!"
Mary, I'll dare to put words in your mouth, this sounds like a shaddup-and-train.

But, what's good mechanics? Is it possible for someone to really have them after a year of training? And if, perhaps, good mechanics are to be regarded as what-sensei-says, and shaddup-and-train is to be regarded as do-what-sensei-says, but when sensei can't point out what's going wrong, ain't there a problem there?

Could it be that good universal mechanics that apply to all movement is the entire problem of this whole martially-artsy-fartsy endeavor, and that if they were so basic that you already had them, and it was just a matter of applying them, there wouldn't be much point in training a lot anymore? If you only focus on what you think you already do right, what're you gonna learn?

What if it wasn't right, what would you compare it to say it wasn't if that's all you did? Maybe it was right in only a limited context, and then going off into a wider movement context, suddenly everything you did before was wrong and needed to be discarded, hmm? Could focusing on too limited a set of "basics" actually force one into the rut of local maxima, a "flavor" or perhaps "smell" of moving, rather than helping to discover more globally applicable ways of moving that are perhaps less, well, odoriferous in nature?

A decade in a hakama left me feeling pretty naked, and I guess, borrowing the last metaphor, pretty "flavorful". But being isolated in the grand aikido nudist colony you tend not to notice. And geez, once I learned that martial artists could actually wear clothes, I had to throw out entire wardrobes ten times over in the span of months just because one shade of blue somewhere was not quite right, which usually turned out to be that it wasn't in fact that the shade of blue on the shirts and pants weren't matching, but that I was missing pants, which was why they didn't look very blue, or maybe should have been wearing a turtleneck, or something that didn't make my ass look so big, or maybe I just needed a nice belt to go with it... But, hey, Mary, if you like walking around in the buff, no complaints from me. I'm a man, I can take it.
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