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Old 08-10-2011, 12:04 PM   #1
Mike Sigman
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Basics of Spiraling Motion

One of the basic tenets of so-called "internal strength" is to use the ground-support and gravity/weight to do as much work as possible, without relying on 'normal' strength. From the ground we can support forces that go straight up from the ground and also forces that go off at reasonable angles from the ground (close to horizontal). From the gravity/weight we can get forces that go down. Another way to state the forces when used by the body is to say that the 4 basic forces are Up, Down, Away from the Body, and Toward the Body. There are different names in different Chinese styles for these 4 directions of forces, but in Taiji you'll hear them as Peng, Lu, Ji, An (roughly Up, Toward the Body, Away from the Body, and Down).

Sometimes these 4 directions of basic internal-strength are drawn as a square, with the sides equating to Up, Across (away), Down, and back Across (toward).

All movements in actual "internal strength" are made from these basic 4 forces. Feng ZhiQiang had a good video, some years back, where he took the time to show how Peng, Lu, Ji, An were in all correct internal-strength movements. A simple circular wave of arm has in it the gradual morphing of the 4 Directions from one into another.

"Spiraling Energy' has become something of a catch-phrase in the last 15 years and a number of 'teachers' use the term (there's a couple of ladies in my town who teach 'spiraling energy', as a matter of fact). It's sort of a misunderstanding, much like the way that the famous Chen-style "shaking power" got mistranslated as "vibrating power" (get it? "shake" *could* be mistakenly translated as "vibrate") and people came up with all sorts of theories about high-frequency vibrations generating enormous power (See Waysun Liao's book as an example).

'Spiraling Energy' was a term that has been often used since the 1970's and comes from the term "Chansijin" which means roughly "Reeling Silk trained-physical-skill". True, one of the dictionary possibilities for "jin" is "energy" and a lot of the New Age era translators opted to do just that... but it missed the point and it started a great amount of misunderstanding because "energy" is simply misleading.

Spiraling in Reeling Silk exercises and application involves all parts of the body turning (sometimes just the tensions inside and other factors are doing the actual moving, but there is indeed movement, not intangible 'energy').

The important thing is.... each section of spiraling motion is supposed to be done with those same gradually morphing basic 4 directions of power. In other words, if you don't have basic jin skills, you can't be doing meaningful 'spiraling' because that puts the cart before the horse. Similarly, the idea that basic jin forces are created by spiraling which in turn needs the basic jin forces.... you get the point: it's a complete misunderstanding of the concept.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:38 AM   #2
Mike Sigman
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Re: Basics of Spiraling Motion

Here are a series of general training exercises for imbuing the winding jin in the various body areas:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DtmKhc2uzE

I.e., a person has to train this stuff because "imagining spirals" has about the same effectiveness as "imagine being rich".

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-11-2011, 02:10 PM   #3
Mike Sigman
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Re: Basics of Spiraling Motion

Another case of Hidden in Plain Sight. You have to actually look, y'know.

I've seen at least two purported "Chinese martial arts" enthusiasts who frequent another forum say something about an "argument" how silk-reeling, etc., works. The interesting thing to me is that supposed CMA enthusiasts aren't aware of the basic information that I did in the O.P. of this thread or they wouldn't have made the remarks they did. That information on how the 4 directions of power apply to reeling-silk-aka-spiralling has been available in the U.S. on videos by world-recognized experts since the late 1980's. It's been discussed in publications. It actually and logically makes sense to anyone with even basic skills. Just some added input for Ellis' thesis on how things can be right in front of people and they don't get it.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-11-2011, 03:22 PM   #4
Rob Watson
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Re: Basics of Spiraling Motion

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Here are a series of general training exercises for imbuing the winding jin in the various body areas:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DtmKhc2uzE

I.e., a person has to train this stuff because "imagining spirals" has about the same effectiveness as "imagine being rich".

Mike Sigman
I'm certain a great many of us will recognize many of the motions and have actually done them as a routine part of 'normal' aikido training (or even other MA). One can go through these motions all day for years and not get it - I know 'cause I've done them and pretty sure I don't have it. There is more going on than can be seen in the vid so some one who knows how to do it has got to be there to provide commentary and direction/corrections for real progress.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 08-11-2011, 03:41 PM   #5
Mike Sigman
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Re: Basics of Spiraling Motion

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Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
There is more going on than can be seen in the vid so some one who knows how to do it has got to be there to provide commentary and direction/corrections for real progress.
I agree, Rob. The idea of how the whole body winds, IF "natural" movement is used, was pretty widespread long time ago and that's why the old sayings about winding/spiraling/'reeling-silk' are still repeated in so many martial arts.

At one time, during the heyday of martial-arts in Asia, many if not most martial-arts practiced the "Six Harmonies" type movement, which is still seen in the so-called "internal martial-arts". Many of the still-existing martial-arts, as a matter of fact, still call themselves things like "Six Harmonies Praying Mantis" when in fact the actual practice of the Six Harmonies winding relationship has disappeared over time.

There's a valid question whether Ueshiba actually knew the winding/spiraling relationship or whether he was doing the standard validation of his art by repeating the old adages as part of his art...IF that's what he did. Difficult to say because of the dearth of information we have nowadays. However, it's a fascinating discussion and it goes far beyond the normal waza-focused discussions.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-11-2011, 04:16 PM   #6
JW
 
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Re: Basics of Spiraling Motion

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
I've seen at least two purported "Chinese martial arts" enthusiasts who frequent another forum say something about an "argument" how silk-reeling, etc., works. The interesting thing to me is that supposed CMA enthusiasts aren't aware of the basic information that I did in the O.P. of this thread or they wouldn't have made the remarks they did.
Hi Mike, can you post links for those enthusiasts' descriptions? I do appreciate the fact that the way a person describes something to some degree can tell you if he is doing something you recognize. It's the "to some degree" part that I worry you may overestimate. It's like the old blind folks describing an elephant thing. One person may think the skin contour is relevant because it tracks the musculature underneath... whereas you don't care about the skin and think people who talk about it are missing the point of how an elephant's motor anatomy works. As one rough example.

For instance, you may think I am trying to BS here but I am being honest: the 4 directions of force you laid out here really are old news, like you said. And they underlie what *I* meant when I wrote this post. I have practiced those directions explicitly in the past, but the way they interplay when used in combination and in serial sequence results in curved motions that I practice now. (like you said was demonstrated by Feng.) So the post was about what I do now (the curved motions). They curved nature of the motions are in my mind linked to "using the ground/gravity" because they seem to exist as a direct effect of trying to not "lose" the feeling of the ground/gravity. (Meaning, if you don't care about jin, then those 4 directions won't automatically merge together and mutually round each other out.) So-- because I wrote that post instead of citing Peng, Lu, An, and Jing, does that mean I am not doing anything like you are doing? Maybe. Or maybe it means a lot of info is structured in my mind in a way that is kind of disimilar to yours?
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Old 08-11-2011, 06:16 PM   #7
Alfonso
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Re: Basics of Spiraling Motion

Hi, JW I think the point of this is that the movement is physical, palpable. The intent is linear and as a product of keeping that linear intent, the body's structures get strengthened and they are along these "spirals". So the intent part is the linear part, movement through spiral channels along the body -starting at the dantien- is a very big change in that it takes a lot of work to develop to a useful degree. To power everything that way seems to be a very long road to me.

Alfonso Adriasola
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Old 08-11-2011, 07:24 PM   #8
Mike Sigman
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Re: Basics of Spiraling Motion

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Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
Hi Mike, can you post links for those enthusiasts' descriptions?
Pointless, Jonathan. Besides, I prefer that they go on doing what they're doing without making them think about it too much.
Quote:
For instance, you may think I am trying to BS here but I am being honest: the 4 directions of force you laid out here really are old news, like you said. And they underlie what *I* meant when I wrote this post. I have practiced those directions explicitly in the past, but the way they interplay when used in combination and in serial sequence results in curved motions that I practice now. (like you said was demonstrated by Feng.) So the post was about what I do now (the curved motions). They curved nature of the motions are in my mind linked to "using the ground/gravity" because they seem to exist as a direct effect of trying to not "lose" the feeling of the ground/gravity. (Meaning, if you don't care about jin, then those 4 directions won't automatically merge together and mutually round each other out.) So-- because I wrote that post instead of citing Peng, Lu, An, and Jing, does that mean I am not doing anything like you are doing? Maybe. Or maybe it means a lot of info is structured in my mind in a way that is kind of disimilar to yours?
Jonathan, it's hard to tell what someone is doing just by reading what they write. I usually get a hint if someone says something wrong or out of place: I.e., I know when someone is definitely wrong, but if nothing wrong is said, I simply don't know, although I can often get a hint what general level someone is by what they say. The critical issue to me is that all of this talk of spiraling or curvi-linear movement has to be based on basic jin and if someone shows me "spiraling" but they don't have even basic jin then the inescapable conclusion is that all the talk about 'spiraling' and "I know some advanced things that I'm not showing" is pure baloney... it is impossible. Sure someone can do some "advanced" things, in terms of tricks and techniques, but it certainly won't have anything to do with internal strength.

Another common problem I've run into over the years is that many people can exhibit a, let's say, "immovable stance", but it may not really be jin and they're unaware of it. In their mind they've been "very hard to move" and therefore they must be doing internal strength already. In the last 4 or 5 years, I've just starting shrugging and saying "nice", because what they're doing is far enough off the mark that it's pointless to correct (they won't change because they're convinced they're already there). In other words, until you feel what someone does, it's hard to form a good opinion.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-11-2011, 07:29 PM   #9
Mike Sigman
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Re: Basics of Spiraling Motion

Quote:
Alfonso Adriasola wrote: View Post
the intent part is the linear part, movement through spiral channels along the body -starting at the dantien- is a very big change in that it takes a lot of work to develop to a useful degree. To power everything that way seems to be a very long road to me.
Nicely put, Alfonso. Intent/Jin can be looked at as a laser beam that follows along the surface of the body during a movement or application; the "qi" part has more to do with the connection either through bone or 'connection' that keeps it all together. In other words, real reeling/spiraling movement is comprised of 2 basic things that work together as one ("intent" and "qi"). Confusing the two in terms of function immediately tells me where someone is in what they understand.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-12-2011, 01:06 PM   #10
JW
 
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Re: Basics of Spiraling Motion

Cool, I may not be as articulate as you guys, but at least your POV has been made very clear both it terms of what a person should try to do at first, and what the levels of development would be, beyond that.

Alfonso, at least I do get to meet you on Labor day, correct? Hey are you the most senior IS person at the meetup? I'm trying to firgure out whose job it is to impress Chris Hein. ha ha, I mean, whose job it is to impress ME.
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Old 08-12-2011, 02:12 PM   #11
Janet Rosen
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Re: Basics of Spiraling Motion

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Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
Alfonso, at least I do get to meet you on Labor day, correct? Hey are you the most senior IS person at the meetup? I'm trying to firgure out whose job it is to impress Chris Hein. ha ha, I mean, whose job it is to impress ME.
I sure hope Alfonso is there for our Saturday aikiweb meet up!
For me, don't know about anybody impressing anybody - looking forward to an opportunity to meet folks and via hands-on have a chance to learn from everybody there!
Ric Rowell Sensei, Bruce Wells and I will be fresh from the three day Aiki seminar in Seattle so will either be full of new things to share, hopelessly confused, or in some happy state of both

Janet Rosen
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:10 PM   #12
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Re: Basics of Spiraling Motion

I'm still planning on being there, but dont look to be impressed by a beginner.

Alfonso Adriasola
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