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Old 11-18-2011, 06:25 PM   #1
David Orange
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A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

A summary view based on my experience with Dan, Ark and Rob John and informed by extensive reading of and discussion with Mike Sigman. Speaking for no one but myself and welcoming correction where due.

Power: the ability to be unmoved when an antagonist tries to move you; the ability to move freely though the antagonist tries to impede you; the ability to cause the antagonist to cease and desist, often through loss of his ability to organize himself to gravity.

6-Direction Power: intensive balancing of the self-contradictory directions of the body—front/back, left/right and up/down. Constant measurement of these six influences in all parts of the body is one thing that makes IS development so mentally challenging.

Internal Power: strength derived not from muscle and technique but by balancing the diverse functions of several different internal aspects of self. This generates striking power without "wind-up," momentum or over-commitment of weight.

External Power: a strength based primarily in muscle and skeleton power applied in technique. Hard external power uses speed, momentum and timing through technique. Soft external power uses circular movement and timing for technique.

WHAT IS AIKI

1. The IS view is that aiki is an inner body skill and not one of outward movement.

2. aiki development involves integration of several physical and mental elements of "self," including 1) bones; 2) connective tissue; 3) muscles; 4) ki; 5) mind 6) kokoro. Organization of these elements can lead to great power or, if imbalanced, to self-destruction.

Summarizing: aiki is a body skill which unites several layers of "self" from tangible to intangible, to purely imaginary, in a resonant system tuned not to social or intellectual forces but to the constantly changing and moving forces of Heaven and Earth, Fire and Water, resulting in a body that channels incoming force to the ground and remains free to issue force out of the ground connection, effortlessly to any part of the body to jolt the attacker.

Conclusion: "blending-through-movement aiki" is the omote of aiki—the "face" or visible form of aikido. It's a type of physical effort that does not conflict with the other person's strength but finds the weak side of the physical attack and leads it. But in O Sensei's way, the soft and flowing movement is backed by the deep strength of immovability. This is the ura (unseen aspect) of "blending-through-movement" aiki. It is the ability to remain unmoved. There is an old saying, "You can run but you can't hide." This means that evading someone can only last so long, especially if he is very experienced. One will do well to evade an experienced attacker once. To evade him twice is unthinkable to a budoka. The question is then, "Can you affect him with aiki when he gets his hands on you? So evading is one face of aiki, but the invisible root of aiki is immovability with freedom to move at will, regardless of opposition. If such a person prefers to apply blending movement for technique, it's an entirely different matter than "the same movement" performed by someone who knows only the omote of aiki.

When the attacker touches someone who has attained the physical state of aiki, he will feel that he has touched someone much stronger than himself: more solid, powerful and free to move. In attacking such a person, the attacker suddenly, unconsciously and uncontrollably fears having that mass move against him. He knows that he's over his head in trouble and his body activates desperate unconscious escape responses. Much of aiki technique is just leading his flailing efforts into a fall.

3. What are the body skills of real aiki?

a. to channel incoming force through the body so that the force goes to ground and does not disrupt the posture or position of the aiki person.
b. to keep that incoming force balanced and give it a feeling of firm support even as one moves the point of support.
c. to attack without momentum or over-commitment of balance, producing shocking effects for the attacker
d. to neutralize the attacker's ability to sense gravity and to understand his own movement
e. the opportunity to apply any kind of technique in that aiki moment

4. There is no purely spiritual aiki. It comes from the organization and practice of efforts with the bones, muscles and connective tissue. Real ki emerges when use of bones, muscle and connective tissue is understood and properly practiced in accordance with 6-direction power. This naturally produces much-improved physical strength and health, but that is not the state of aiki. It is the foundation for aiki in the body and without it, only a superficial kind of aiki is possible—notably, "blending-through-movement" can be done, but it has a narrow range of effectiveness if not based on immovability.

5. It Has to Be Felt (IHTBF). The only reason one should have to discuss this matter of aiki development is budo. One would have to be in the presence of budo people even to hear of it and get their opinions. And the only reason to be there would be to see them do the stuff or else show them that you can do it better. The whole key is to step up. Anyone who won't step up to those he questions does not have a budo heart. And budo people won't debate with someone who won't step up. In most cases, if one has the courage to stop pretending to "debate" these questions and step up and challenge the claims, he feels something unlike he has ever felt in aikido class or in most other martial arts.

6. What has to be felt? Aiki must be felt This goes back to 6-direction power. A tree needs continual stress to grow strong. In particular, it needs the wind pushing against it from various directions, constantly sending signals to the roots, causing them to expand and deepen their connection with the earth. If a tree had no wind on it, it wouldn't grow strong. So we first have to feel someone who has internal strength or aiki in order to begin to know what we're looking for. So in IS training, we take on a particular stance and allow our training partners to challenge us in various ways, usually one force at a time, but sometimes several people stressing us from different directions simultaneously. The point, according to Akuzawa is to "tune" the body to constant high affinity to the six-direction self-contradictory forces. Dan's methods seem similar, involving channeling incoming force so that the earth supports it instead of the muscles supporting it. Both guys can blast much heavier people back with very small efforts, no momentum, no over-commitment of balance, no loss of balance when they enter your stance to strike.

7. How can it be developed?
What we've discussed is really difficult for the mind to comprehend since the mind tends to dwell in logic, reason and debate. And IS development requires physical action with mental involvement to monitor and distinguish the actions of the bones, muscle and connective tissue. "Debate" is unworthy to this kind of training. Debate can be nothing better than shadow play compared to the real stuff. There's no time to waste arguing about it. Those who do this will get the results. Those who try to prove themselves by debate will not be taken seriously. No physical results, no credibility.

What the mind uses to monitor the bones, muscles and connective tissue is called ki. This is another distinction the mind must recognize to make progress. First it had to recognize the difference between muscle and connective tissue. This usually takes a long time because the exercises are not explained. But when the student can distinguish connective strength from muscle strength, he can recognize the difference between mind and ki. It has learned that bone, muscle and tendon each have different natures and different kinds of strength. Now it must distinguish between certain functions of "the mind" itself and the operation of the bone/muscle/tendon complex called "the body". Some body awareness functions are not carried out by mind, but by ki. These distinctions can be intellectually considered, but to feel the truth, they must be physically understood and the many different natures of mind, ki, muscles, connective tissue and bone must be properly combined in one self. This harmonization alone produces a fantastically different body than that of a person who lives primarily in intellectual debate. Or someone who lives primarily in muscle. How different does a body feel that carries a constant harmonization of the different natures of bone, muscle, connective tissue, ki and mind?

That's how you get to an integration of bones, muscles, connective tissue, ki and mind. The last level of internal organization is to recognize kokoro (heart) and transfer the center of your organization from the mind to the kokoro, which is the source of ki and therefore the source of the body, therefore the root of the mind. When everything aligns with kokoro and coordinates from kokoro, great indeed will be the freedom of being. True self will be at peace with true self and in harmony with all things.

8. From here, it's important to wring out the potentials from the training methods.

9. Why did so few "GET" it?
Needing to have this explained is why so few people ever got it. People like Dan dug it out from a lot of hard, physical training, as did O Sensei. Mike Sigman studied and discussed, but he worked hard for a long time to develop his understanding and skills. Minoru Akuzawa was very much the same, a ravenous worker of serious physical presence. Our great fortune is that all these experienced and intellectually capable people are dispensing the intricate details of IS development as eagerly as they can.

10. If someone is involved in aikido and has not "felt it" from some of these people, he owes it to his name as a budoka to go and find out if there is something under heaven that he does not already know.

FWIW

David

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Old 11-18-2011, 07:06 PM   #2
Janet Rosen
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

I would add...the ability to connect with, feel and affect another person's center even while they are not able to feel or affect your's.

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Old 11-18-2011, 07:52 PM   #3
David Orange
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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I would add...the ability to connect with, feel and affect another person's center even while they are not able to feel or affect your's.
Very true.

I posted the first post with the idea of laying out the whole system as I see it, being unable actually to do most any of the feats of power. I can do Ark's push-out pretty well, but that's about it for me.

Thanks.

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Old 11-18-2011, 09:29 PM   #4
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

I think most of us starting this journey are feeling how much focused attentive work will be needed. But at least there's a blueprint for those interested and motivated.

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Old 11-18-2011, 11:39 PM   #5
graham christian
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

Nicely put. Thank you.

Regards.G.
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Old 11-18-2011, 11:45 PM   #6
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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David Orange wrote: View Post
Very true.

I posted the first post with the idea of laying out the whole system as I see it, being unable actually to do most any of the feats of power. I can do Ark's push-out pretty well, but that's about it for me.

Thanks.
This is something Dan said in the Ueshiba's Aiki thread that, for its bluntness, made me turn my head, so to speak, and I think sums up the entire thing really nicely:

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Hello Graham
I always call it IP/aiki. Internal power or strength is created from a balance of ki in yourself. From there you create aiki between you and someone else.
A quick study of that is Ueshiba's discussion of Heaven/earth/man. Where he notes that after you can manifest the energy between heaven and earth staning on the golden bridge do you release the mountain echo.
This is a well known concept and has to do with a balance of opposites and what it does to your body to remove slack and be full and stand suspended, thus any force-in "echos" back-out. Kuzushi on contact that can then be manipulated.

I am not much for tricks. Once you know how these things work there are many ways to display them. Some prefer to use power displays. I occasionally do that too. But power displays while profound and exceptional (and Ark is very good) are not where I am at. I prefer a softer approach-don't show them your power and dissolve their strength while entering in. Ark can do more than those videos show. We are only discussing what he chose to show in a particular video.
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Old 11-19-2011, 07:38 AM   #7
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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Nicely put. Thank you.

Regards.G.
Interesting, Graham, if you are on-board with what Dave has placed up here on Aiki and IS/IP, why all the push back to Dan and others on their positions - it really is pretty much the same as what Dave wrote.

Greg
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Old 11-19-2011, 08:11 AM   #8
David Orange
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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... at least there's a blueprint for those interested and motivated.
If you see one of those, let me know....

I did want to lay out something like that, an overview, but I'm not sure how his relates to what Dan says or even what Ark says.

It did occur to me how different it would make the body to have full integration of all the major body/mind systems, all working properly and each doing the part it does best--no use of muscle when "intrinsic" strength is what's needed. No use of mind to try to understand what ki knows directly...

If all the systems are no working properly to begin with and they're being used improperly, it's like a house without good plumbing and electricity. You can live in it if you make some strange adjustments to your sense of dignity.

But put all the power and plumbing and insulation and curtains and blinds together and use it properly, and you have a very dignified place to live. And in a place like that, your mind can settle to its true dignity, in kokoro.

But my real purpose here is to get those who know to correct my outline and help me see better the potentials of such a harmonized body and mind, how better to achieve it and use it in effective living.

Interesting to know you've gotten involved in the training. That's great!

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

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Old 11-19-2011, 08:14 AM   #9
David Orange
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
This is something Dan said in the Ueshiba's Aiki thread that, for its bluntness, made me turn my head, so to speak, and I think sums up the entire thing really nicely:
Release the mountain echo...

Thanks.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

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Old 11-19-2011, 08:59 AM   #10
graham christian
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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Interesting, Graham, if you are on-board with what Dave has placed up here on Aiki and IS/IP, why all the push back to Dan and others on their positions - it really is pretty much the same as what Dave wrote.

Greg
It's a good explanation. The subject is IS/IP. It's well put but that doesn't mean I agree with it as Aikido Aiki.

Regards.G.
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Old 11-19-2011, 10:28 AM   #11
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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It's a good explanation. The subject is IS/IP. It's well put but that doesn't mean I agree with it as Aikido Aiki.

Regards.G.
Fair enough - but the word Aikido is in the title subject as well

Greg
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Old 11-19-2011, 10:42 AM   #12
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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Release the mountain echo...

Thanks.

David
Where's the in-yo, though?
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Old 11-19-2011, 10:49 AM   #13
David Orange
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
This is something Dan said in the Ueshiba's Aiki thread that, for its bluntness, made me turn my head, so to speak, and I think sums up the entire thing really nicely:
When I think of Dan's aiki, I think of him spreading his arms as a generous gesture of "sharing everything" (meaning he's about to blast your ribs).

But in fact, I get a tremendous sense of "giving" from him.

And I get the same, in different tones, from Mike, Ark and Rob. It's about sharing something really worthy with someone who will appreciate it. And that's always a blast.

Yes, what they're doing resembles various exercises from tai chi and yoga. But for the decades I've spent doing those kinds of exercises, no one has shown me how they work until I argued it down with Mike Sigman on another forum. Then I ran into Rob and Aunkai, then Dan.

I put some pretty bad insults on Mike and Rob before I was able to meet Rob at an Aunkai seminar. I never got to meet Mike Sigman, so far.

But for some reason, I always had a good rapport with Dan on the same subjects. And when I met him, he was really able to do what he said. He let me model it, but there was too much for me to absorb...I need to go to Hawaii and wait for him to come back there!

Another thing I wanted to mention is that once the body mind system is harmonized on the levels I described, IS training requires tuning the harmonized system to the six-direction self-contradictory forces. I know I mentioned that above, but that was on the level of waking the ki/mind to the multiple levels of "body". The tuning happens even then, but it steps up tremendously once there is a fully integrated and harmonized body/mind seeking to reach that orientation. And that is done by the same methods as above, the exercises that teach us to rely on the intrinsic strength and make us able to distinguish ki from mind.

I, unfortunately, have not managed to reach such a level. I'm only describing what I have glimpsed, looking for deeper clues from those who can provide them.

I'm also willing to share what little I know, for free, with anyone who is interested, regardless of rank or affiliation. You just have to come to me. I can't travel beyond the borders of Jefferson county without gas money and if you've got that much, you should save it up for Dan.

Best to all and thanks.

David

Last edited by David Orange : 11-19-2011 at 10:58 AM.

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Old 11-19-2011, 11:05 AM   #14
David Orange
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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Where's the in-yo, though?
I was thinking of it as the Heaven and Earth powers, which I think are the same as fire and water?

Or am I more confused than I had anticipated?

Alas...

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
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Old 11-19-2011, 11:14 AM   #15
David Orange
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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David Orange wrote: View Post
I'm also willing to share what little I know, for free, with anyone who is interested, regardless of rank or affiliation. You just have to come to me. I can't travel beyond the borders of Jefferson county without gas money and if you've got that much, you should save it up for Dan.
Of course, I will travel to meet with Dan, Mike or Ark or host any of them in my home and pay to attend their seminars. Don't get me wrong.

And let me give more credit where it is really due, the aforementioned but unnamed student of Mike Sigman (who has also trained a lot with Ark, but who showed me the basics of Mike's concepts): Jang Choe, of Atlanta. He not only allowed us to visit and train with him in Atlanta, but he came to Birmingham many times at his own expense to show us what he was learning. I guess he was the organizer of Ark's visit to Atlanta a couple of years ago. Jang really developed tremendously over the couple of years I was meeting with him. He's an excellent teacher as well as a great training partner.

So I'm not putting myself out there as an expert on the matter or someone you would pay to come to you, just offering to show the general outlines to those who are interested in the ancient subject.

David

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Old 11-19-2011, 11:21 AM   #16
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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But for some reason, I always had a good rapport with Dan on the same subjects. And when I met him, he was really able to do what he said. He let me model it, but there was too much for me to absorb...I need to go to Hawaii and wait for him to come back there!
March 2012 - see you there .

Best,

Chris

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Old 11-19-2011, 11:31 AM   #17
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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I was thinking of it as the Heaven and Earth powers, which I think are the same as fire and water?

Or am I more confused than I had anticipated?

Alas...
I think we're all confused when we try to put these things in specific terms. So I was hoping you knew what in-yo was well enough that you could tell me.

Far as I have so far puzzled out in reverse, rather noticing something in my own training and then trying to connect it back to what I've seen, it seems to refer, grossly, one side supports the other, and vice versa, for sufficiently vague definition of side. The 6-directions seem to be a form of that in a artificially linear sense along 3 different axes, while it seems to operate far more profoundly in the rotational sense with linear directions building off of it, like one side of the pelvis going one way driving the other side the other way. In writing it seems sorta quaint, but when each part of the body is doing it to each other, it imparts a really odd feeling to movement, and it seems like it fits the bill for in-yo.
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Old 11-19-2011, 05:12 PM   #18
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

david, where is the dantien/hara movement comes into play? would have thought it one of the central tenet of IS.

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Old 11-19-2011, 05:36 PM   #19
David Orange
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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david, where is the dantien/hara movement comes into play? would have thought it one of the central tenet of IS.
It is, isn't it? I left it out because I don't understand it.
So that's something I need to figure out.

Thanks for the reminder.

David

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Old 11-19-2011, 06:46 PM   #20
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

That's where you put the tuna

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Old 11-19-2011, 08:22 PM   #21
graham christian
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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Fair enough - but the word Aikido is in the title subject as well

Greg
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Old 11-19-2011, 08:42 PM   #22
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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In the beginning was the WORD, and the word was BU!!! Ha, ha.

Regards.G.
Ok, you are getting whacky on me again - time to say good night
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Old 11-20-2011, 02:19 PM   #23
David Orange
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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March 2012 - see you there .
How I wish. But the future is young...if not this time...?

Thanks!

David

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Old 11-20-2011, 02:42 PM   #24
David Orange
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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david, where is the dantien/hara movement comes into play? would have thought it one of the central tenet of IS.
Well, I've worked with that for decades and I'm just getting to actually feel the real connections, much less use them.

You gotcher basic idea of "the waist" directs the force that moves from the soles of the feet to the tips of the fingers. And in aikido, it's a byword that you move from "the center" and so on.

I think the whole thing about the hara being "the seat of the soul" is because all the feelings of the body and all the emotions of the mind congregate there. The fascia carries the ki and emotion is very close to ki. That's why emotion of the mind is so influential in the stomach. The stomach is full of fascia, wrapping all the organs, separating them, supporting them, supporting all those muscles in the abdomen and connecting to the arms, legs and neck...Bad emotions go right to the stomach and cause the fascia of that whole area to do weird things. "My stomach is tied in knots" or "I have butterflies in my stomach".

Also, this area retains old emotions by freezing the fascia into a particular set of inner tensions that are experienced as "natural" for the individual. It affects how they walk, stand and sit. It's why you can recognize an individual by his movement. And that also affects the feelings in your own dantien, doesn't it? When you see someone moving worse or better than yourself?

So I think the first thing is to quell the torment of the mind. And that can begin by letting the mind concentrate on the dantien and make it interesting by putting the body in weird positions that stress the dantien in various ways through the weight of the arms and legs.

And the breath helps loosen the tightness of the abdomen and the fearful, avoiding emotions that would hold it hostage by "protecting" it. And letting the abdominal fascia loosen up, freeing the emotions, deepening the breath, lets the ki move freely. And then the mind can be involved with the dantien and the ki. Then you can harmonize the bones, muscles and fascia with the ki, mind and kokoro.

After that, you can learn methods of really coordinating the body through dantien. So I hear.

Actually, recently, I was doing something from Aunkai, the tenchi posture, with the palms up, straight arms up beside the head, fingertips facing outward.

It's always been hard for me to really straighten my hands and fingers like that, and I did some things wriggling my fingers individually, and with each finger, I could feel it all the way along my arms and into the abdomen, which let me release certain tensions in my abdomen, meaning my spine popped and I took a good, long, deep breath and suddenly felt much better than just a moment before.

A few minutes of that really did me a lot of good and I came away with a little more to think about concerning coordination of the body through dantien.

Please help, if you have any clues...

Best to you.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 11-20-2011, 02:44 PM   #25
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

Quote:
Howard Popkin wrote: View Post
That's where you put the tuna
...a deep thought...from the deep.

So do you do your tuna as sashimi?

Love that maguro!

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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