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Old 11-08-2011, 02:15 AM   #1
Carsten Möllering
 
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"stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

In my experience hanmi is often taught with feet wide apart:
.
And some teachers emphasize an a even deeper stance like shown here.

I know one teacher who likes having his feet "close together" in hanmi and just relaxes his knees instead of "going deep".
Does this so called "stance of heaven (and earth)" relate to things thought or taught concerning IS?
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Old 11-08-2011, 02:57 AM   #2
Lee Salzman
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
In my experience hanmi is often taught with feet wide apart:
.
And some teachers emphasize an a even deeper stance like shown here.

I know one teacher who likes having his feet "close together" in hanmi and just relaxes his knees instead of "going deep".
Does this so called "stance of heaven (and earth)" relate to things thought or taught concerning IS?
One way to look at it is that "heaven and earth" is not a stance, it is a method of coordinating behavior. So what position you hold your body does not matter to it, although how you coordinate your body may cause you to move in certain ways.

But wide stance, narrow stance, deep stance, high stance, is a separate issue from "heaven and earth". It refers to the idea that you can make two pathways running through the body: one channeling power down the body, another channeling power up it. Where these pathways are you can debate, but regardless, the body separates itself well at least into two actions: you've got two arms, two legs, two sides of your torso, etc. etc. and they're coordinated by two independent lobes of your brain with a tenuous amount of communication between them keeping them on the same page. The idea is to get in touch with that.

But as to the question of why you might experiment with different widths of stance is because of the overall effect they have on the angle of the legs as they run into the hips. In a higher stance, the line of the legs is more directed up, so it is perhaps more difficult for a beginner to figure out how to channel this support in horizontal directions. In a wider stance, the legs can more easily bridge force between the ground and horizontal directions, at least into the hips - getting the power up out of the hips to somewhere useful being an entirely separate and difficult bugbear.

Higher stance also means the leg/hips joints are more extended, so there is less room for them to further extend and using them to generate power will thus be trickier, but at the same time keeping the hip joint more extended will help prevent an extremely common form of structural collapse at the hip joint most people have, without them realizing it. But if you internalize the idea of extending power across the hip, rather than pushing the hip out of line, the higher stance is no longer relevant to this specifically.

But in the end, you need to learn to be comfortable channeling force with any stance to have truly free movement, by internalizing the ideas of coordination the positions may be trying to exaggerate and get you to recognize rather than just adhering to the form of things.

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 11-08-2011 at 03:07 AM.
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Old 11-09-2011, 03:50 AM   #3
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
In my experience hanmi is often taught with feet wide apart:
.
And some teachers emphasize an a even deeper stance like shown here.

I know one teacher who likes having his feet "close together" in hanmi and just relaxes his knees instead of "going deep".
Does this so called "stance of heaven (and earth)" relate to things thought or taught concerning IS?
Well, you could consider it as a rough 'foot in door' exercise, using the bones of the skeleton to route forces into / from the floor (ideally). Though it may be a bad one.

The issue arises if you become dependent on the back leg brace (because it feels strong). Makes it difficult to take the next step(s). The goal would be to show the kind of stability a back leg brace gives you without using a backleg brace...then begin moving with same.

IMHO
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Old 11-09-2011, 08:34 AM   #4
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

As Lee mentioned, the correlation of the term 'heaven and earth' as to a type of stance is not something I would say. Lee is also correct in his talk about the energies being routed within the body to establish balance. Personally, I like a more natural narrow stance - IMO, it allows for more flexibility in movement - of course, to be effective, those internal energies need to be correct as well

Greg
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Old 11-10-2011, 03:26 AM   #5
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

Quote:
Greg Steckel wrote: View Post
As Lee mentioned, the correlation of the term 'heaven and earth' as to a type of stance is not something I would say.
Well, I heard a shihan who studied with o sensei say that Ueshiba Morihei refered to standing with the feet closer than usually taught today as a "stance of heaven and earth".
So my question is wether there may be an "advantage" in terms of IS.

Thank you for your detailed explanations!
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Old 11-10-2011, 06:36 AM   #6
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Well, I heard a shihan who studied with o sensei say that Ueshiba Morihei refered to standing with the feet closer than usually taught today as a "stance of heaven and earth".
So my question is wether there may be an "advantage" in terms of IS.

Thank you for your detailed explanations!
I guess if "heaven and earth" in this case is implied to mean the balance of vertical forces, then it would still not be the stance that is important, per se, but the implications it had in terms of directions in forces in the body.

This is perhaps a kind of old and over-cited video, but it still is a good example of that: youtube link. Where the boy is doing the squatting monkey exercise at the beginning, if you imagine a line dropping straight down through him representing a vertical axis of balance, then he is compressing around it, and then expanding back onto it. Then later you can see how that translates into other directions than vertical.

But with the hip joints kept in narrower width, the hip joints can more easily expand or compress about that particular line, since the legs can now extend directly under the upper body. But the benefit does not come from keeping the hips stiff and locked in that position, but rather the action of them actively balancing out the force of gravity that is acting against it - like in that upwards expanding part of squatting monkey. Like Bob was saying, it is not a bracing (= stiffened up) sort of organization you are seeking, but actively moving force between the legs and rest of the body.
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Old 11-10-2011, 07:04 AM   #7
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Well, I heard a shihan who studied with o sensei say that Ueshiba Morihei refered to standing with the feet closer than usually taught today as a "stance of heaven and earth".
So my question is wether there may be an "advantage" in terms of IS.

Thank you for your detailed explanations!
To answer your question, yes, IMO, for reasons that Lee has explained. However, i still have not heard a narrow stance referred to as Heaven and Earth - however, I have heard the term Heaven and Earth used when referring to the balance of yin and yang within the body, which is core to IS

Greg
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Old 11-10-2011, 09:25 AM   #8
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

If I remember, most of the attributed translations from Ueshiba on the subject were about Heaven, Earth, and Humankind. Now, Humankind can also be Man.

As explained (and I'm not saying I have this understood correctly) to me:

Cosmologically, you have the forces of Heaven which represent one direction of energy, you have the forces of Earth which represent the opposite direction of energy and Man resides between the two. Where Heaven and Earth meet, you have man.

Now, take a step back and focus on in/yo ho of Daito ryu aiki. In/yo is yin/yang. The method of contradictory forces. So, in aiki, we have contradictory forces. up/down, out/in, etc. Always both, never one or the other. For Daito ryu aiki, these forces are spirals.

Overlapping the two, we can see that Heaven and Earth are the two contradictory forces of in/yo in Daito ryu aiki. Man is the person working/controlling/activating these forces.

In quite a lot of "unbendable arm" demonstrations, one is focused on some sort of visual imagery going out the arm. Typically, this is a water hose with water flowing out the arm. However, that is only one direction. In in/yo ho, there should be a contradictory flow of water coming into the arm. Granted, in this example, one is using a fire hose so, both directions are water. However, we are also talking basic structure and not the complex contradictory spirals of in/yo ho.

Going back to Ueshiba, we find he says (translated by John Stevens): The heart of a human being is no different from the soul of heaven and earth. In your practice always keep your mind on the interaction of heaven and earth, fire and water, yin and yang.

Ueshiba would visualize himself standing on Ame-no-ukihashi, The Floating Bridge of Heaven. Picture it thus:

The self circulation is the dynamics of the person being "Man". "Man", remember, is that area between Heaven and Earth. Imagine an infinite, ever-changing, ever-shifting geometric plane that is the boundary between two galaxies. One is flowing/moving in one direction, while the other flows/moves in the opposite direction. Each galaxies movement is a spiral motion. So, the area where they touch becomes a multitude of points with infinitely changing energies. For a simpler notion, look at the yin/yang symbol. The curvy "s" line between yin and yang -- that's "Man".

The Bridge of Heaven is the entire universe, comprised of those galaxies above. Fire and water.

Ueshiba is standing on that Bridge, being a point between Heaven/Earth and fulfilling the cosmic paradigm of Heaven/Earth/Man. He is becoming an avatar of the Universe whereby other outside entities that come into contact with him, become one with him.

For Ueshiba, the center of all this is his dantien/hara/whatever. This is where the spirals cross in the body and are controlled/created/changed/adapted/etc.

Then, on top of that, we have kotodama, but that is outside this discussion.

Anyway, if we look to in/yo ho, we find that Daito ryu aiki has the contradictory spirals in the body which are created/controlled by dantien. So, once you can create contradictory spirals and be able to use them, then you are on the path to having them naturally expressed in the body. No more creating -- you are the contradictory spirals. You become the entire yin/yang symbol as you have contradictory forces expressed by your body.

NOTE: The self circulation could also be related to Ueshiba's views of a circle. Ueshiba said (translated by Chris Li): In this thing called Aiki, first describe (draw) a circle. Drawing a circle is, in other words, opposing powers.

Now, Chris makes mention that: the word that is used for "opposing powers" is another way of referring to the "Hachiriki" or "Eight Powers" in "Ichirei Shikon Sangen Hachiriki" and refers to the eight variations of "in" and "yo" ("yin" and "yang") and their combinations into opposing pairs - an active force, a quiet force, a pulling force, a loosening force, a splitting force, a combining force, a melting force and a congealing force (you can see that each "in" force has a matching "yo" force).

So, Ueshiba may be making even more about in/yo in that he is saying that even "Man" is a complex contadictory force itself, standing between cosmic in/yo. Doesn't that blow your mind away? LOL!

Mark
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Old 11-10-2011, 10:39 AM   #9
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

Well, Carsten, there you have from Mark probably more detail on Heaven and Earth than you anticipated - however, if you want more info along those lines, feel free to pick up a copy of the Kojiki for more light reading

Greg
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Old 11-10-2011, 04:38 PM   #10
graham christian
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

A thought from me on heaven and earth. I believe when talked about by Ueshiba he was referring to two things in essence. Heaven related to all things spiritual and earth related to nature, the way of physical things. Thus heaven and earth. How they basically work in harmony with each other is responsibility of you to learn thus you canbe the center of such.

Thus his words spoken as a spiritual person would imply he is standing as that, the center aligned with both heaven and earth.

Physically speaking about stance I would say this. In all martial arts or let's say boxing even when I have seen good trainers they all say that correct stance is a matter of equality as far as weight distribution to feet are concerned. This usually translates as you are standing or balancing actually on your centre axis, free to move in any direction at any time. You could do this from feet wide apart or close together if you get good at it.

Thus in my view heaven and earth is about being center of, thus balanced and that concept would apply to such a physical stance also.

Just an opinion.

Regards.G.
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Old 11-10-2011, 04:56 PM   #11
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

Check out Anno Sensei's forthcoming book:

http://www.aikidosantacruz.org/flyer...ing.bridge.pdf

Really looking forward to its release.
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Old 11-10-2011, 05:16 PM   #12
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

Opinions are like rear-ends in that everyone has one. Just because you stick your rear end out, does not give that end any credibility. The work of Chris, Dan, and Mark (just naming a few) clearly illustrate NOT opinions, but well-researched meanings. Those well-researched meanings are relevant and credible and impact how we train in our art.

Marc Abrams
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Old 11-10-2011, 05:46 PM   #13
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
A thought from me on heaven and earth. I believe when talked about by Ueshiba he was referring to two things in essence. Heaven related to all things spiritual and earth related to nature, the way of physical things. Thus heaven and earth. How they basically work in harmony with each other is responsibility of you to learn thus you canbe the center of such.

Thus his words spoken as a spiritual person would imply he is standing as that, the center aligned with both heaven and earth.

Physically speaking about stance I would say this. In all martial arts or let's say boxing even when I have seen good trainers they all say that correct stance is a matter of equality as far as weight distribution to feet are concerned. This usually translates as you are standing or balancing actually on your centre axis, free to move in any direction at any time. You could do this from feet wide apart or close together if you get good at it.

Thus in my view heaven and earth is about being center of, thus balanced and that concept would apply to such a physical stance also.

Just an opinion.

Regards.G.
Graham
This is just more co-opting of Ueshiba's words to form personal views of your own that have nothing to do with the teachings of
Osensei.
Aikido teachers seem helplessly...almost hopelessly, lost in their understanding of their founders teachings. It's no surprise they just decided to make shit up and tell their own students some definition they invented.
Morihei Ueshiba was a student of Daito ryu and the Chinese classics. Aikido teachers should study his teachings IN CONTEXT of those models or have the intellectual honesty to simply say "I don't know what he meant." This nonsense of "Well, I think it means this or that... to me." is unprofessional and even uncaring of students who are trusting you.
Sometimes I think if he came back to life and started explaining things (particularly if it involved his internal power)...people would resent it and want to be let alone to go back to their own world they invented.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 11-10-2011 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 11-10-2011, 06:02 PM   #14
graham christian
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Graham
This is just more co-opting of Ueshiba's words to form personal views of your own that have nothing to do with the teachings of
Osensei.
Aikido teachers seem helplessly...almost hopelessly, lost in their understanding of their founders teachings. It's no surprise they just decided to make shit up and tell their own students some definition they invented.
Morihei Ueshiba was a student of Daito ryu and the Chinese classics. Aikido teachers should study his teachings IN CONTEXT of those models or have the intellectual honesty to simply say "I don't know what he meant." This nonsense of "Well, I think it means this or that... to me." is unprofessional and even uncaring of students who are trusting you.
Sometimes I think if he came back to life and started explaining things (particularly if it involved his internal power)...people would resent it and want to be let alone to go back to their own world they invented.
Dan
A rehash of your much repeated view. Thank you. Opinion stated as opinion is intellectually honest thank you. Professional merely means you make money so don't go there.

I have a different view to you yet I believe the same about if O'Sensei came back to life and saw what you think he meant. So what?

Intellectual honesty my foot. Understanding Ueshiba has nothing much to do with intellect and academics. Quite the opposite. So you carry on with your intellectual honesty by all means, be my guest.

Regards.G.
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Old 11-10-2011, 06:23 PM   #15
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

The things he said said and wrote have a pedagogy, Graham It is known and discussed in DR and the Chinese arts. Trying to co- opt it into individual opinion is a disservice to him and the art.
It seems very reasonable to me to expect people to research the context of a teachers views. If you did you would find it not so open to our own individual opinions. I rarely offer my own. They are his, in context of his own research, which you can duplicate on your own. I am quite sure you would arrive at the same conclusion ...devoid of opinion.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 11-10-2011 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 11-10-2011, 06:42 PM   #16
graham christian
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
The things he said said and wrote have a pedagogy, Graham It is known and discussed in DR and the Chinese arts. Trying to co- opt it into individual opinion is a disservice to him and the art.
It seems very reasonable to me to expect people to research the context of a teachers views. If you did you would find it not so open to our own individual opinions. I rarely offer my own. They are his, in context of his own research, which you can duplicate on your own. I am quite sure you would arrive at the same conclusion ...devoid of opinion.
Dan
They have a pedagogy? What does that mean?

Lot's of things discussed in chinese arts and DR. You can even learn what he learned from Takeda aiki wise. You can learn from the classics he read. There's lot's of things you can learn about O'Sensei. You can learn from what others said. Thus you wind up with your opinion.

However amount of data doesn't equal understanding. This computers full of the stuff but understands zilch.

I am quite sure I would and do arrive at a different opinion, conclusion.

Regards.G.
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Old 11-11-2011, 04:48 AM   #17
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
... they all say that correct stance is a matter of equality as far as weight distribution to feet are concerned.
Oh?
This is different from what I learned from my teacher. In "standard hanmi" there is more "weight" on the front leg than on the rear leg. And our axis is not in the middle of both legs.
And there are forms of practice in which we shift the weight between the front leg and the rear leg in different.

---------------

Quote:
Greg Steckel wrote: View Post
Well, Carsten, there you have from Mark probably more detail on Heaven and Earth than you anticipated ...
Thank you Lee, Bob, Greg, Marc for your detailed explanations!
I appreciate that very much!!!
Actually this stuff is not completely new to me.

Your profound answers don't seem to match my question, which I meant much more simple. Or maybe better: More "technical".
So the sentences which where most important to me are:
Quote:
I guess if "heaven and earth" in this case is implied to mean the balance of vertical forces, then it would still not be the stance that is important, ...
Quote:
i still have not heard a narrow stance referred to as Heaven and Earth
Me neither. Except this one mentioned citation.
And in none of the solo forms we practice we emphasize such a narrow stance.

But also Dan is right:
Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
The things he said said and wrote have a pedagogy, ...
So is there something special to be learned keeping the feet more together than usually done?

---------------

I found a video.
Here it just said, that you can move more freely from this stance, but nothing about itself.

Maybe I mix things up ...
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Old 11-11-2011, 05:37 AM   #18
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

Aikido stance is rather unique when compared to other martial arts (karate=squared, kendo=rear foot on toes...).
It is an optimised balance between standing strong rigid (wide stance) and being fast and flexible (short stance). Everyone needs to find this balance to match their body and way of moving.

What you actually learn is to literally stay/stand balanced/centered.

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
www.aikido-makato.nl
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:05 AM   #19
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

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Tim Ruijs wrote: View Post
It is an optimised balance between standing strong rigid (wide stance) ....
I don't think I would emphasize the "strong/rigid - element" in our hanmi. We don't try to "hold the ground" by using a certain stance/kamae.
It' more about connecting with aite, and leading one's own and also his feeling down, using this connection.

Do you sometimes do a technique just standing on one foot? You don't need a wide stance to be centered and grounded.
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Old 11-14-2011, 12:26 PM   #20
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Lot's of things discussed in chinese arts and DR. You can even learn what he learned from Takeda aiki wise. You can learn from the classics he read. There's lot's of things you can learn about O'Sensei. You can learn from what others said. Thus you wind up with your opinion.
They say the nice thing about science is that it's true whether you believe in it or not....

Similarly, the intellectual thread running from the Chinese arts, through DR, to Ueshiba Sensei is pretty well documented by historians who specialize in such matters. Ignoring that thread won't make it go away.

Katherine
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Old 11-14-2011, 12:29 PM   #21
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

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Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Oh?
This is different from what I learned from my teacher. In "standard hanmi" there is more "weight" on the front leg than on the rear leg. And our axis is not in the middle of both legs.
My teacher would argue with your teacher. He would say that a stance with more weight on one foot or the other is inherently unbalanced, and therefore vulnerable.

The proposition is testable. Stand in hamni and have someone push on the middle of your chest, and then on your upper back. Experiment with different weight distributions and see what happens.

Katherine
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Old 11-15-2011, 05:32 AM   #22
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
My teacher would argue with your teacher. ...
In my experience it's only the stundents who argue. ...
The teachers mostly don't need to ...

Quote:
... Stand in hamni and have someone push on the middle of your chest, and then on your upper back. ...
Thank you!

Do you also do pushing from the side?
Why do you think hanmi has to be "stable" to the rear? + What is best for being pushed from / for pushing yourself to the front?
Do you try to move from hanmi having your axis on different positions? Do you feell differences?
Do you investigate the connection / the "way" back leg -> center / tanden -> front leg and backward? And if so: Does it feel different where you have your leg?
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Old 11-15-2011, 06:07 AM   #23
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
I don't think I would emphasize the "strong/rigid - element" in our hanmi. We don't try to "hold the ground" by using a certain stance/kamae.
It' more about connecting with aite, and leading one's own and also his feeling down, using this connection.

Do you sometimes do a technique just standing on one foot? You don't need a wide stance to be centered and grounded.
I am not sure you understand me correctly. What I am trying to say is that you can physically, regardless of Aikido, stand wide, which is strong, but rigid. Or you can stand narrow, but agile. In Aikido you find the balance between the two that fits your physique the best. Good starting point is a stance at about shoulderwidth.

I cannot think of any technique on one foot, but we do have techniques we stance is very narrow (e.g. koshinage and in some weapon work).

@Katherine
Agreed. Your stance should be neutral, in balance. The tests you propose are very good.

We often refer to the third point: points of unbalance. Two exist: one in front of you and one at your back. Imagine a line going through your front foot and rear. Now image a line perpendicular to it that goes through your center. This line is where you are weakest (unbalance) and you cannot divert forces downward. Bit technical but hopefully makes sense.

I use this in class to explain the 'no force' in Aikido. In every technique you attempt to direct aite in that direction, keeping him/her off balance.

Last edited by Tim Ruijs : 11-15-2011 at 06:17 AM.

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
www.aikido-makato.nl
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Old 11-15-2011, 08:26 AM   #24
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
Join Date: Aug 2007
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

Quote:
Tim Ruijs wrote: View Post
We often refer to the third point: points of unbalance. Two exist: one in front of you and one at your back. Imagine a line going through your front foot and rear. Now image a line perpendicular to it that goes through your center. This line is where you are weakest (unbalance) and you cannot divert forces downward. Bit technical but hopefully makes sense.
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i believed the IS folks would challenge those statements, in that, they can divert forces downward and/or in any direction they want. of course, those IS buggers would also said they can do other stuffs which seemed to defy logic too. in one of the post, mike sigman has a picture of a guy standing on one leg and another dude pushing. the picture has various color lines and so on (i think he liked to play with crayons ). there is a video of Ark where he stood in parallel stand and doing pushing with other folks.
some of our assumptions might not be as valid as we might led to believe.

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Old 11-15-2011, 08:43 AM   #25
Lee Salzman
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 405
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Re: "stance of heaven (and earth)" and IS

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Phi Truong wrote: View Post
i believed the IS folks would challenge those statements, in that, they can divert forces downward and/or in any direction they want. of course, those IS buggers would also said they can do other stuffs which seemed to defy logic too. in one of the post, mike sigman has a picture of a guy standing on one leg and another dude pushing. the picture has various color lines and so on (i think he liked to play with crayons ). there is a video of Ark where he stood in parallel stand and doing pushing with other folks.
some of our assumptions might not be as valid as we might led to believe.
Well, we don't even need to get into IS, we can just appeal to what we can see from our own experience. What do you do most of the time with your feet, propelling yourself, and in what direction? Forward, roughly. As a species, I'd say we are pretty good with that whole bipedal walking forwards thing.

I think the problem is we lack imagination about setup. Now sure, if you want the contrived example of a person standing straight up, yep, it's gonna be difficult and require lateral thinking, but who says you need to go that off the map? Ask a person to help push a car, and they'll know what to do, aside from trying to politely decline the offer and tell you to call a mechanic, I mean physically. Ask a person to push a human, and they go stupid.
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