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Old 07-26-2011, 10:59 AM   #51
Janet Rosen
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Re: Is power really generated from the center?

Quote:
Victor Williams wrote: View Post
Howard,
Same old Tune eh?
Hopefully not same old tuna though... (I cod start a pun war but salmon might object if I porpoisely hijack this thread...)

Janet Rosen
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Old 07-26-2011, 02:23 PM   #52
Mario Tobias
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Re: Is power really generated from the center?

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Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
Hi Oisin,

For me it is the mind/intent. The mind moves the centre, the centre moves the rest.

'If' the body is connected, then power is a natural result.
Most folk seem to be stuck in the physical aspects of centre and dont get me wrong, the physical aspects are hugely important, if the hands are not connected to the feet through centre in all movement, then power is greatly diminished.

I was taught, use the body to train the mind, then use the mind to lead the body.

Using mental imagery and metaphors, helps to embed the correct feeling and focus.

So don't use your feet and legs to move your centre, mentally move the centre allowing the legs and feet to naturally accomodate the new position. This can be done in all directions.

regards,

Mark
Sensei was also telling the same thing but I still dont understand how the mind moves the center. Care to expound a bit more?
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Old 07-26-2011, 02:29 PM   #53
Chris Li
 
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Re: Is power really generated from the center?

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Mario Tobias wrote: View Post
Sensei was also telling the same thing but I still dont understand how the mind moves the center. Care to expound a bit more?
Well, it would be pretty hard to do much of anything if your body just moved on it's own - kind of an epileptic fit. Any movement will start from your mind and you mental intent to perform an action.

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-26-2011, 04:59 PM   #54
JW
 
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Re: Is power really generated from the center?

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Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
(I cod start a pun war but salmon might object if I porpoisely hijack this thread...)
Oh SNAPper.. grooooaaaannnn!!!

Hi Mark-
Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
So don't use your feet and legs to move your centre, mentally move the centre allowing the legs and feet to naturally accomodate the new position. This can be done in all directions.
I really like this quote. This "accommodation" type thinking was really critical in improving what I do, too. Perfect way to describe the upper body's relationship to the center too.
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Old 07-26-2011, 05:43 PM   #55
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Re: Is power really generated from the center?

Lee, I really appreciate and respect your persistent "how" question. I can't answer very well, but I would like to propose a reason for that: I am not that developed yet, so my meager "center" is not a good reference for defining the final state of that structure.

But I have a hypothesis. Once you have a sense of "intent" and "ki" in the body and strengthen the corresponding tissues a bit, you can use Mark's idea -- by using intent, the center and the periphery have an "accommodational" relationship. When one tries to "accommodate the demands of the center," (or use the center to accommodate a given body shape), the structures in that lower abdomen spot (and hopefully elsewhere) are moving to make that happen.

I would say that there are muscles in that region (including those involved in breathing-- meaning muscles that can apply tension up to the lungs, even thought the lungs are not in the lower abdomen.. hmm, how could that be possible?) which can pull on connective tissue. The accommodation is the preservation of some kind of tautness throughout the body. I hope that last sentence makes sense, because that is the point.
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:21 PM   #56
hughrbeyer
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Re: Is power really generated from the center?

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
The center is probably not my spleen or my kidneys or my intestines, because I don't think I could ever figure out how to tie them into balloon animals with the power of my mind either.
Actually, the operational definition of "center" I am using at the moment is precisely the entire bag of guts from abdominal wall to spine, from diaphragm to pelvic floor. It's that three-dimensional mass that I think about using to initiate movement.

Balloon animals are not currently on the syllabus, tho I expect they will show up any day now.
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:28 PM   #57
Janet Rosen
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Re: Is power really generated from the center?

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Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
Actually, the operational definition of "center" I am using at the moment is precisely the entire bag of guts from abdominal wall to spine, from diaphragm to pelvic floor. It's that three-dimensional mass that I think about using to initiate movement.
And how to move it up, down, back, laterally etc....

Janet Rosen
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:36 PM   #58
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Re: Is power really generated from the center?

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
There is no difference. When people don't understand what being connected inside yourself means, they opt for:
avoiding / evading movement, and noodle arms (which they mistake for "soft"). This has created a false sense of what soft is in the arts among people searching for the illusive state of connected body. .
Power is connection / connection is power. What you do with it is your choice. The founder displayed it and talked about it. You have to have it, in order to be truly soft in the Martial Arts.
Just say'n
Dan
I don't think we are speaking of the same thing. Connection provides opportunities where nage doesn't need power over uke.
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:56 PM   #59
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Re: Is power really generated from the center?

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Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
I don't think we are speaking of the same thing. Connection provides opportunities where nage doesn't need power over uke.
Connection within your own body makes connection with uke
Controlling your own body means controlling uke
Deciding what to do with that connection makes for very compelling, soft and leading things to occur. I call that power. Doing damage and attacking with it, is no different as it is just another way of expressing connection. It is the other side of the coin. Equal and an unavoidable potential skill that goes along with connection.

It is the choice of what to do with it that tests the mettle of the person who can wield it. That is why your founder made it clear that aiki is deadly. There is little I have seen in modern aikido that expresses the founders power and message.
Cheers
Dan
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:19 AM   #60
Lee Salzman
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Re: Is power really generated from the center?

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Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
Lee, I really appreciate and respect your persistent "how" question. I can't answer very well, but I would like to propose a reason for that: I am not that developed yet, so my meager "center" is not a good reference for defining the final state of that structure.

But I have a hypothesis. Once you have a sense of "intent" and "ki" in the body and strengthen the corresponding tissues a bit, you can use Mark's idea -- by using intent, the center and the periphery have an "accommodational" relationship. When one tries to "accommodate the demands of the center," (or use the center to accommodate a given body shape), the structures in that lower abdomen spot (and hopefully elsewhere) are moving to make that happen.

I would say that there are muscles in that region (including those involved in breathing-- meaning muscles that can apply tension up to the lungs, even thought the lungs are not in the lower abdomen.. hmm, how could that be possible?) which can pull on connective tissue. The accommodation is the preservation of some kind of tautness throughout the body. I hope that last sentence makes sense, because that is the point.
So what is preserving that tautness throughout the body out to the hands, feet, skull, or tail? Is it okay to let the rest of the body, aside from the center, be floppy jello, and the center can somehow make up for this?

If you want to, say, go up, and you are thinking of moving the center to do this, what are, say, the legs doing to accommodate this? Is the center just going up?

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
Actually, the operational definition of "center" I am using at the moment is precisely the entire bag of guts from abdominal wall to spine, from diaphragm to pelvic floor. It's that three-dimensional mass that I think about using to initiate movement.

Balloon animals are not currently on the syllabus, tho I expect they will show up any day now.
But it is still worth asking, is your bag of guts in its totality (everything inside it) a mobile structure or even a load-bearing? By that I mean, is your kidney or spleen or intestines carrying any, well, connection? I'd hope not! I can buy the mobile things around it doing the carrying, but not the actual organs. Does the idea not strike you as a bit silly?
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Old 07-27-2011, 05:08 AM   #61
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Re: Is power really generated from the center?

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Connection within your own body makes connection with uke
Controlling your own body means controlling uke
Deciding what to do with that connection makes for very compelling, soft and leading things to occur. I call that power. Doing damage and attacking with it, is no different as it is just another way of expressing connection. It is the other side of the coin. Equal and an unavoidable potential skill that goes along with connection.

It is the choice of what to do with it that tests the mettle of the person who can wield it. That is why your founder made it clear that aiki is deadly. There is little I have seen in modern aikido that expresses the founders power and message.
Cheers
Dan
Control is not a word I would use. I am not looking to control. I would rather blend. I think the connection I am talking about is very subtle..it must be felt in the cells and heard in the soul.
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Old 07-27-2011, 05:43 AM   #62
hughrbeyer
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Re: Is power really generated from the center?

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
But it is still worth asking, is your bag of guts in its totality (everything inside it) a mobile structure or even a load-bearing? By that I mean, is your kidney or spleen or intestines carrying any, well, connection? I'd hope not! I can buy the mobile things around it doing the carrying, but not the actual organs.
Experientially, yes. It can move, it can carry load, it can connect, it can carry connection from other parts of the body like winding a thread around a spool.

Physiologically, dunno, and I don't know that anybody else does either. Even western medical science is taking another look at the fascia as being more than just a wrapper but having a dynamic function in its own right. And fascia runs all through that area.

But ultimately I'm highly suspicious of mechanical explanations of what's going on with this stuff. It's too complicated and the mind/body connection is too intricate to be able to treat it as as levers and forces--or at least, I find it too hard to operationalize such explanations in practice.
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:10 AM   #63
Lee Salzman
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Re: Is power really generated from the center?

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Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
Experientially, yes. It can move, it can carry load, it can connect, it can carry connection from other parts of the body like winding a thread around a spool.

Physiologically, dunno, and I don't know that anybody else does either. Even western medical science is taking another look at the fascia as being more than just a wrapper but having a dynamic function in its own right. And fascia runs all through that area.

But ultimately I'm highly suspicious of mechanical explanations of what's going on with this stuff. It's too complicated and the mind/body connection is too intricate to be able to treat it as as levers and forces--or at least, I find it too hard to operationalize such explanations in practice.
Are you arguing that actual load-bearing structures are on the same level as your spleen for conducting loads across the body? How would you go about training your spleen to help your aikido?
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:29 AM   #64
Cliff Judge
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Re: Is power really generated from the center?

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Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
But ultimately I'm highly suspicious of mechanical explanations of what's going on with this stuff. It's too complicated and the mind/body connection is too intricate to be able to treat it as as levers and forces--or at least, I find it too hard to operationalize such explanations in practice.
I think one of the weaknesses in relying on physics to explain phenomena we experience training in Aikido or other soft arts is that it doesn't take into account the psychological dimension. The same power generated from the same body can have dramatically different effects on the receiver depending on psychological factors.
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:31 AM   #65
Mark Freeman
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Re: Is power really generated from the center?

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Oisin Bourke wrote: View Post
That's a very good description, but it strikes me as being cartesian i.e "the mind" and "the body" are being experienced as two different processes. There's so much that's going on within us. The feet and hands of course, but there's so much more else that is moving. Being aware of what one is doing and "imagining" what one is doing can be two very different things, no?
Hi Oisin,

I see the main focus of aikido practice (mine anyway) is the co-ordination of mind and body. They are two different aspects of the person, when working in a co-ordinated / connected way, then they deliver a very different experience to the un co-ordinated / disconnected way which is so obvious to see in someone who acts in this way.

I agree that awareness and imagining are two different things also. I am self aware enough to be able to describe what I am imagining, which is helpful in getting across to others, how I am doing something.

For example, I will describe an exercise which I discovered for myself fairly recently. I have posted it on these forums before, and as far as I am aware only David Orange, took it, tried it and reported back that he was amazed at how well it worked (he used a uke that did not know what he was going to try out).

Stand in an upright, co-ordinated, relaxed posture. Have uke hold both wrists and trap them against the tops of your legs (for exercise purposes, uke needs to be relaxed and balanced, not trying to do a death grip or leaning in like an idiot - that can be dealt with easily, but doesn't help in learning to feel your way into things).
Now, here's the imagining - imagine that your centre/one point/dantien is a gas filled balloon, mentally increase the pressure inside the ballon so that the pressure from the inside matches the pressure from uke on the outside. This allow the hands and arms to feel that 'there is nothing they can do' they are trapped between a rock and a hard place, so they can relax and let the balloon do the work.
Now start to mentally increase the gas pressure so that the balloon starts to expand. Let the hands/ wrists rest as if they are on the skin of the balloon
If and only if the shoulders keep themselves out of the equation, you will find that uke will be moved back as if they too are on the outer surface of the balloon.

This is only offered as a simple exercise in mind/intent leading movement. If at anytime movement reverts back to 'ordinary strength' then the feedback is felt immediately.

Mind over matter? maybe, does it work? it does for me.

If I imagine the gas used to fill the balloon is flammable and I ignite a mental spark, the one point explodes and uke is repelled back at a rapid rate.

This is fun to practice and helps keep me forever facinated in what can be done and how far we can go in our aikido journey.

My description given above assumes a reasonable level of co-ordination to start with, and some understanding of extending the mind beyond the body.

The mind/body are separate and one at the same time. Just as the aikido body needs the ability to be both fluid and solid at the same time (water and rock).

I hope some will find this helpful.

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:42 AM   #66
Mark Freeman
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Re: Is power really generated from the center?

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Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
I think one of the weaknesses in relying on physics to explain phenomena we experience training in Aikido or other soft arts is that it doesn't take into account the psychological dimension. The same power generated from the same body can have dramatically different effects on the receiver depending on psychological factors.
Hi Cliff,

I agree with this. we are not just bags of skin filled with bones muscle and organs. The mind plays a huge part in training. Both how the aikidoka uses their own mind to control their own state and how they use their mind to effect uke.

Of course physics can be used to explain much of what we do, however it is of little use to know all the descriptions of what should be done or what is happening, if one can't experience the 'feeling' of what is being shown.

I was taught (but didn't grasp for quite a long time) that you dont throw someones body, you move their mind, the body will, like a dutiful slave, follow where you lead their mind.

It is very hard for physics to explain the psychological factors at play.

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:59 AM   #67
hughrbeyer
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Re: Is power really generated from the center?

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
Are you arguing that actual load-bearing structures are on the same level as your spleen for conducting loads across the body? How would you go about training your spleen to help your aikido?
No, I'm arguing that if you're worrying about your spleen, your precision exceeds your accuracy, to put it in engineering terms.
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Old 07-27-2011, 11:26 AM   #68
raul rodrigo
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Re: Is power really generated from the center?

"Your precision exceeds your accuracy." I like that one.
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:33 PM   #69
JW
 
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Re: Is power really generated from the center?

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
So what is preserving that tautness throughout the body out to the hands, feet, skull, or tail? Is it okay to let the rest of the body, aside from the center, be floppy jello, and the center can somehow make up for this?

If you want to, say, go up, and you are thinking of moving the center to do this, what are, say, the legs doing to accommodate this? Is the center just going up?
Hi Lee, sorry for rushed explanation, gotta hurry and I may be off the boards for a bit.

To answer/explore your questions, I would put it in a way that may start to address "dantian rotation." (Though like I said I don't think I have enough of one to talk specifically about that term)

If you ask about "going up," you probably mean something specific going up, like the hands going up, with an uke attached. If the hands are in the front of you, then we could say you want the front of you to go up. So if the front of my upper body goes from facing level to facing 10 deg up-- the front is stretching and the back is shrinking down. Imagine there are 2 wenches (the mechanical kind not the barmaid kind). One has to reel in, one has to let out. If the lines on the 2 wenches are both connected to something in common, like the top of the head, then there you go, you already have a model right there. Also the question of what happens in the periphery is answered-- the taughtness brings the periphery along for the ride that the wenches demand.

What if you don't have lines that go from the wenches to a common attachment? Then maybe your question about the periphery is more critical. One wenchline could attach to a peripheral muscle, which is attached to bone. Flex that while reeling in the wench and you get increase tension along the line.

Anyway they're just models. Inspired by feeling, but to be borne out only by testing...
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Old 07-27-2011, 05:24 PM   #70
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Re: Is power really generated from the center?

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
Hi Oisin,

I see the main focus of aikido practice (mine anyway) is the co-ordination of mind and body. They are two different aspects of the person, when working in a co-ordinated / connected way, then they deliver a very different experience to the un co-ordinated / disconnected way which is so obvious to see in someone who acts in this way.

I agree that awareness and imagining are two different things also. I am self aware enough to be able to describe what I am imagining, which is helpful in getting across to others, how I am doing something.

For example, I will describe an exercise which I discovered for myself fairly recently. I have posted it on these forums before, and as far as I am aware only David Orange, took it, tried it and reported back that he was amazed at how well it worked (he used a uke that did not know what he was going to try out).

Stand in an upright, co-ordinated, relaxed posture. Have uke hold both wrists and trap them against the tops of your legs (for exercise purposes, uke needs to be relaxed and balanced, not trying to do a death grip or leaning in like an idiot - that can be dealt with easily, but doesn't help in learning to feel your way into things).
Now, here's the imagining - imagine that your centre/one point/dantien is a gas filled balloon, mentally increase the pressure inside the ballon so that the pressure from the inside matches the pressure from uke on the outside. This allow the hands and arms to feel that 'there is nothing they can do' they are trapped between a rock and a hard place, so they can relax and let the balloon do the work.
Now start to mentally increase the gas pressure so that the balloon starts to expand. Let the hands/ wrists rest as if they are on the skin of the balloon
If and only if the shoulders keep themselves out of the equation, you will find that uke will be moved back as if they too are on the outer surface of the balloon.

This is only offered as a simple exercise in mind/intent leading movement. If at anytime movement reverts back to 'ordinary strength' then the feedback is felt immediately.

Mind over matter? maybe, does it work? it does for me.

If I imagine the gas used to fill the balloon is flammable and I ignite a mental spark, the one point explodes and uke is repelled back at a rapid rate.

This is fun to practice and helps keep me forever facinated in what can be done and how far we can go in our aikido journey.

My description given above assumes a reasonable level of co-ordination to start with, and some understanding of extending the mind beyond the body.

The mind/body are separate and one at the same time. Just as the aikido body needs the ability to be both fluid and solid at the same time (water and rock).

I hope some will find this helpful.

regards,

Mark
Mark,

That's a great description and kudos for putting it into the public arena.

You may be interested in this exercise.

Have uke grab your lapels nd/or push on your chest. The arm should be fairly extended As with your exercise, a steady amount of force should be exerted by uke but they shouldn't be locking themselves down completely.

As Tori, rest your hands on your lower abdomen, between the pelvic bones. Direct the force of the push downwards through your body. You can "send" this pressure down your spine so that you can feel this pressure deep in your hara, near where your hands are resting.

Now, mentally "move" this pressure from the hara to the hands. The pressure should now be felt in your hands,

Raise the hand that mirrors ukes pushing/grabbing hand.

Do not use muscle, but allow your hand to meet the underside of ukes elbow. The weight of uke's arm/body should instantly be felt in your hara. You now have two sources of pressure in your hara: coming through your chest and coming through your hand.

The fun starts when you mentally "turn" the hara. If connected, uke should turn/move easily, without overt muscular effort on your past.

One difference I see between our exercises is that this one consciously manipulates pressure. Uke's pressure on the hara is just one example of the pressure you can utilise.

This is what I meant by being aware along with using visualisation.

Regards,

Oisin
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Old 07-28-2011, 12:37 AM   #71
Mark Freeman
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Re: Is power really generated from the center?

Quote:
Oisin Bourke wrote: View Post
Mark,

That's a great description and kudos for putting it into the public arena.

You may be interested in this exercise.

Have uke grab your lapels nd/or push on your chest. The arm should be fairly extended As with your exercise, a steady amount of force should be exerted by uke but they shouldn't be locking themselves down completely.

As Tori, rest your hands on your lower abdomen, between the pelvic bones. Direct the force of the push downwards through your body. You can "send" this pressure down your spine so that you can feel this pressure deep in your hara, near where your hands are resting.

Now, mentally "move" this pressure from the hara to the hands. The pressure should now be felt in your hands,

Raise the hand that mirrors ukes pushing/grabbing hand.

Do not use muscle, but allow your hand to meet the underside of ukes elbow. The weight of uke's arm/body should instantly be felt in your hara. You now have two sources of pressure in your hara: coming through your chest and coming through your hand.

The fun starts when you mentally "turn" the hara. If connected, uke should turn/move easily, without overt muscular effort on your past.

One difference I see between our exercises is that this one consciously manipulates pressure. Uke's pressure on the hara is just one example of the pressure you can utilise.

This is what I meant by being aware along with using visualisation.

Regards,

Oisin
Hi Oisin,

thanks for that, I will give your exercise a run out this evening when I have a class. I can see the similarities between both exercises and I am always looking for more ways to practice this sort of thing.

All good stuff and kudos to you for putting it out there too.

I'll let you know how I get on.

regards

Mark

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