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Old 02-28-2012, 06:08 PM   #26
chillzATL
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

Quote:
Jim Clark wrote: View Post
You can listen to whoever you want, I'm not telling anyone what to do, just sharing thoughts and engaging in discussion. I'm also not inclined to listen to random posters that can't maintain civil discourse. But I can respond politely anyway.

You do in fact see MMA fighters break fingers fairly often. This is even with some support from their gloves and tape jobs. And it does affect their overall performance. They don't generally quit because of it (unless the doctor makes them), but it does affect them. I like the "rub some dirt on it" direction, I use that myself. However, if you can avoid it through training methods, why not.

As far as asking aikidoka about fighting goes, that depends on the focus of your training. If you do Aikido for health or other reasons, don't worry about it. But if you have any expectation at all that what you are learning could be useful in a self defense situation, then you should think about these things. Again this is an individual choice, choose however you want.
If my response seemed uncivil, I apologize. You asked a simple question and I offered two short, simple opinions from the perspectives your question covered, aikido and fighting. I'm sorry if it came off any other way.

Your previous post mentioned instructors who recommend a method that is at odds with what the founder of our art, his teacher, his contemporaries and some of his most skilled students had to say on the subject. From the aikido perspective, it would probably behoove us all to listen to them as some of these seemingly small things are integral to the art in ways that most of us simply didn't get.

I'm sure broken fingers happen in mma. I'd be surprised if they didn't, though I don't recall ever seeing it happen in matches and I've watched many. I know they are more common in judo and bjj from getting caught in the gi, but that's also in situations that aren't quite fighting but are far more "alive" than what were going to encounter in most any aikido dojo. I've seen a few "real fights" in my day. Lots of grabbing, shoving and whatnot, using their hands like hands, fingers exposed like in normal daily life and I've never seen a broken finger, but that is purely anecdotal.

So IMO your concerns are unfounded, but again that's just my opinion. I don't train fighting, just good hard physically trained aikido that has and hopefully will continue to serve me if needed. The fingers have never popped onto the radar for me as a concern, but I've trained that we for some time. Ymmv.
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Old 02-28-2012, 08:04 PM   #27
phitruong
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

Quote:
Greg Steckel wrote: View Post
In the Ki society, we were taught that the fingers pointed the direction of your Ki with the index finger being the predominate one - look at pictures of early shihan and you will see most always have their index fingers extended.

As Chris already stated, the concept of asagao came from DR. Interesting point is that with asagao, the fingers still point the direction of your intent/ki, but since you have more than one finger extended, you can have your intent/ki focused in more than one direction at a time - just my opinion, of course, and YMMV.

Greg
i don't know if i want to point my fingers in the direction of my ki. and the morning glory might be a whole different picture altogether.

personally, i go for the eagle claw approach. worked great in the buffet line.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 02-28-2012, 08:23 PM   #28
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
i don't know if i want to point my fingers in the direction of my ki. and the morning glory might be a whole different picture altogether.

personally, i go for the eagle claw approach. worked great in the buffet line.
Stop it! - youse making me hungry
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:50 PM   #29
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
If my response seemed uncivil, I apologize. You asked a simple question and I offered two short, simple opinions from the perspectives your question covered, aikido and fighting. I'm sorry if it came off any other way.
No worries. Sometimes "tone" is lost in text.

In terms of all the big names giving that direction to spread fingers, and all the video showing them doing it, I don't dispute it. But what I have yet to hear is WHY (emphasis, not yelling) they do/say it. I know it is not very "Japanese" to ask "why" when given direction, but I'm not Japanese..... What I am is a scientist/engineer looking for a solid mechanical explanation. The only one I have heard given (not on this thread) is that it increases the diameter of your wrist and somehow this creates a better/more advantageous connection with uke when grabbed. I've experimented with this and it doesn't hold water for me. Perhaps someone can elaborate...

Regards,

Jim

Learn to see everything accurately. Do not do anything useless. -Miyamoto Musashi, The Earth Scroll, The Book of Five Rings.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:03 PM   #30
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

Quote:
Jim Clark wrote: View Post
No worries. Sometimes "tone" is lost in text.

In terms of all the big names giving that direction to spread fingers, and all the video showing them doing it, I don't dispute it. But what I have yet to hear is WHY (emphasis, not yelling) they do/say it. I know it is not very "Japanese" to ask "why" when given direction, but I'm not Japanese..... What I am is a scientist/engineer looking for a solid mechanical explanation. The only one I have heard given (not on this thread) is that it increases the diameter of your wrist and somehow this creates a better/more advantageous connection with uke when grabbed. I've experimented with this and it doesn't hold water for me. Perhaps someone can elaborate...

Regards,

Jim
If you ask me (nobody did), I would say it has to do with internal connection and intent, and that it is more of an effect than a cause. It would be easier to show in person, or if you can get some hands on time with someone doing what I'm talking about.

Best,

Chris

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Old 02-28-2012, 10:24 PM   #31
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
If you ask me (nobody did), I would say it has to do with internal connection and intent, and that it is more of an effect than a cause. It would be easier to show in person, or if you can get some hands on time with someone doing what I'm talking about.

Best,

Chris
To me in my humble opinion, Chris hit the nail on the head with intent and getting some hands on time.

Regards, Gene
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:23 AM   #32
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

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Jim Clark wrote: View Post
No worries. Sometimes "tone" is lost in text.

In terms of all the big names giving that direction to spread fingers, and all the video showing them doing it, I don't dispute it. But what I have yet to hear is WHY (emphasis, not yelling) they do/say it. I know it is not very "Japanese" to ask "why" when given direction, but I'm not Japanese..... What I am is a scientist/engineer looking for a solid mechanical explanation. The only one I have heard given (not on this thread) is that it increases the diameter of your wrist and somehow this creates a better/more advantageous connection with uke when grabbed. I've experimented with this and it doesn't hold water for me. Perhaps someone can elaborate...

Regards,

Jim
Well, to be honest, I don't think most of them really knew why. It was what their teacher said to do, it worked for him, they did it and their aikido worked for them. To be fair to me, my first post addressed what I feel it does and by feel, I mean what I really feel when I do it. It helps connect the hands to rest of the arms. It's something that anyone can replicate. Extend your arms in front of you like you're catching a ball, not a forcible stretch, but just just extended. Do that with your hands limp and then do it with your hands open. Your arms feel more connected and full. a single unit rather than a collection of loosely jointed parts, neither tense nor noodly. IMO it's a simple, early teaching device to impart that feeling and if done during practice, some basic conditioning. Over time the connection should improve and become more complete over the entire body and you learn other ways to activate that connection. Ueshiba clearly made this transition at some point.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:35 AM   #33
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

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Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
Well, to be honest, I don't think most of them really knew why. It was what their teacher said to do, it worked for him, they did it and their aikido worked for them. .
And as for the scientific reasoning behind the effectiveness, perhaps this will be more helpful:

"If you tense up the arm, you are tightening both sets of muscles, the triceps and the biceps. The triceps are trying to keep the arm straight, the biceps are trying to bend it. When someone attempts to bend your arm they have a secret, unwitting ally in your biceps. Of course they can bend it, your biceps are inadvertently helping. When you stop tensing and use the Ki metaphor, you only use the triceps, and you're not fighting yourself. You become stronger, much stronger. "

http://brucetholmes.com/Movement/Aikido.html

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Old 02-29-2012, 07:42 AM   #34
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

IMO, to spread or open the fingers is really dependent on what it is you are trying to accomplish. If I am going to strike, then they are closed - if I am not striking, then they are generally spread open.

Spreading the fingers helps to establish a 'live hand' in aiki arts, and as in all aiki, there is a mental and a physical component. The mental/intent/ki part has already been talked about. Aiki is all about making internal connections without muscle tension and that is accomplished via the fascia mostly - Spreading the fingers without muscle tension helps take the slack out the tendons, ligament, and fascia. Essentially, it helps you maintain a whole body connection where you can absorb and control energy from uke. Of course, this can be accomplished without spreading the fingers, but only after you have trained enough to have established a connected body, but your hands will be dead and useless for aiki in that case. One other note, any muscle tension used to keep the fingers open or closed will stop the flow of energy in the areas with tensioned muscle; this will inhibit a whole body connection and the development of aiki as well.

Greg

ps: I see a couple of post above came in while I was composing with some of my points already covered

Last edited by gregstec : 02-29-2012 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:53 AM   #35
phitruong
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

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Greg Steckel wrote: View Post
Aiki is all about making internal connections without muscle tension and that is accomplished via the fascia mostly - Spreading the fingers without muscle tension helps take the slack out the tendons, ligament, and fascia.
the part about spreading fingers without muscle tension is the key (or ki) in which folks tend to miss.

beg a question, when you strike, palm or fist (knuckles)?

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:56 AM   #36
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

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Phi Truong wrote: View Post
the part about spreading fingers without muscle tension is the key (or ki) in which folks tend to miss.

beg a question, when you strike, palm or fist (knuckles)?
I am generally a palm guy myself
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:01 PM   #37
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

I think the following video of Doran Sensei applies to this discussion.

http://youtu.be/mDySCDPtKdo

%us = map { $_ => q{belong} } @your_base;
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:09 PM   #38
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

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Jim Clark wrote: View Post
I've been thinking about this for a long time, but I have not found it discussed anywhere online. In some styles and/or dojos Aikidoka (uke and Nage) practice with fingers spread wide apart. I once heard this explained as holding your hands "kokyu". To me this is a disaster waiting to happen. There is a high probability in a fight of getting a lone finger caught in clothing or something and getting it broken. The fighting arts I have had exposure to emphasize keeping fingers together as much as possible for this very reason. In addition, when I rock climb, I have much more finger strength with my fingers together where they can support each other than when they are spread, which would seem to support the fingers together mode in an art with so much grabbing.

So my question is this, why do so many Aikidoka specifically emphasize spread fingers?

Best,

Jim
Your concern here is that of hurting yourself. This is, indeed, one of the ways of being hurt in a real fight.
However most adversaries won't have enough presence to take advantage of taking hold one of your fingers and break it.
The typical way of hurting yourself can happen, anyway, also with tightly closed fingers: a fist. You throw it, and you hurt an object instead of your adversary and you get a broken knuckle, a broken thumb, or a mild cut that anyway, being the anatomical (if that's the correct spelling in English) structures so superficial, cuts one of your tendons and makes part of your hand/fingers unusuable, normally in extension (that is: you cannot open it anymore, involving one or more fingers).
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:49 PM   #39
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

Quote:
Brandon Cole wrote: View Post
I think the following video of Doran Sensei applies to this discussion.

http://youtu.be/mDySCDPtKdo
Exactly. He's one of the examples I was thinking about when I started this thread. I just saw him at the San Diego bridge seminar and noted his fingers together approach then. My wing Chun brothers practice the same way and have no trouble whatsoever extending energy into uke with fingers together. In fact, many of them do it better than most Aikidoka I have touched hands with. That's one of the things I'm getting from that cross training, not just striking skill. I have frequently wondered if Doran Sensei has some wing Chun in his background, since many of his entering structures look exactly like wing Chun hand/arm positions.

Best,
Jim

Learn to see everything accurately. Do not do anything useless. -Miyamoto Musashi, The Earth Scroll, The Book of Five Rings.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:59 PM   #40
Chris Li
 
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

Quote:
Jim Clark wrote: View Post
My wing Chun brothers practice the same way and have no trouble whatsoever extending energy into uke with fingers together. In fact, many of them do it better than most Aikidoka I have touched hands with.
That's not -quite- what I was thinking of with the fingers...but YMMV.

Best,

Chris

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Old 02-29-2012, 08:16 PM   #41
gregstec
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

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Jim Clark wrote: View Post
Exactly. He's one of the examples I was thinking about when I started this thread. I just saw him at the San Diego bridge seminar and noted his fingers together approach then. My wing Chun brothers practice the same way and have no trouble whatsoever extending energy into uke with fingers together. In fact, many of them do it better than most Aikidoka I have touched hands with. That's one of the things I'm getting from that cross training, not just striking skill. I have frequently wondered if Doran Sensei has some wing Chun in his background, since many of his entering structures look exactly like wing Chun hand/arm positions.

Best,
Jim
Interesting - when I look at the video (granted not very good quality) I see his fingers spread as much, if not more, than when he has them together; and he allways has the thumb spread out - look at times :07, 1:54, 3:32. and 4:16 for example.

Greg
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:40 PM   #42
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

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Greg Steckel wrote: View Post
Interesting - when I look at the video (granted not very good quality) I see his fingers spread as much, if not more, than when he has them together; and he allways has the thumb spread out - look at times :07, 1:54, 3:32. and 4:16 for example.

Greg
Thumb always but othe four together most of the time.

Learn to see everything accurately. Do not do anything useless. -Miyamoto Musashi, The Earth Scroll, The Book of Five Rings.
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Old 03-01-2012, 12:23 AM   #43
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

Have you ever tried to train dressed as if you were in a normal situation, with your jacket on?
Your finger(s) may get trapped in your own pockets...
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Old 03-01-2012, 12:39 AM   #44
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

Interesting!

First I learned to spread the fingers. Intent was a better flow of ki.

I now learn to always relax shoulder, ellbow, wrist, hand, fingers ... to create a better connection to the body. (It's smilar to the feeling when practicing qi gong or something like that.)
Endo sensei often explicetly teaches to use the arms this way, to not spread the fingers, but to relax them and to relax also the wrist.

When grabbing, we use lao gong to connect. So wrist and fingers have to be relaxed to make connection.
When being grabbed we use the feeling/kimochi/energy/whatever you name it, doesn't work through the fingers, but from my arm into the grabbing hand (maybe lao gong there). So wrist and fingers have to be relaxed to make connection.

(just to add: Endo does never use the term "lao gong" but just talks of the "palms".)
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Old 03-01-2012, 07:41 AM   #45
Alex Megann
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

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Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
When grabbing, we use lao gong to connect. So wrist and fingers have to be relaxed to make connection.
When being grabbed we use the feeling/kimochi/energy/whatever you name it, doesn't work through the fingers, but from my arm into the grabbing hand (maybe lao gong there). So wrist and fingers have to be relaxed to make connection.

(just to add: Endo does never use the term "lao gong" but just talks of the "palms".)
Hi Carsten,

The only teacher who I have heard mention "lao gong" is Kanetsuka Sensei, though I don't know where he originally learned about it. He has talked about the connection between the point between the base of your thumb and base of forefinger (is that what Endo means by it?) and the hara - it seems that according to Chinese medicine there is a strong connection between the two.

He also describes the correct sword grip as one where the lao gong is lined up with the top of the sword, and this way power is most efficiently delivered to the cut.

Incidentally, I remember Endo Sensei talking eight or nine years or so about controlling your partner's thumb through their grip, which I have thought about a lot since then. I wonder whether that is a lao gong thing too.

Alex

Last edited by Alex Megann : 03-01-2012 at 07:43 AM.
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:16 AM   #46
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

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Alex Megann wrote: View Post
...is that what Endo means by it?
Well, Endo sensei does not use the term. He just talks of the palm and explains how relax the wrist and the fingers to make strong connection.
It is when you do something like nei gong (in my case) or talk ot someone who skilled in the chinese arts ... you come to realize, that Endo talks about using the laogong point.
If you look for "laogong" or Pericardium 8 (P8) you will easily find the point and descriptions where it is and what it is. (I myself locate it at the center of my palm.)
And yes, it is one of the most important points.
But again: Endo sensei does not speak about the "inner aspects" of this point. At least not during open seminars. He just teaches it to be technically usefull and how use the body to get the most out of it.
Knowing, that Endo understands aikidō as dao, listening carefully to his words and also knowing also, that he has some experience in doing tai chi I am sure he shows using laogong without refering to it.
Interesting enough that a lot of his students end up doing some daostic practice.

Quote:
Incidentally, I remember Endo Sensei talking eight or nine years or so about controlling your partner's thumb through their grip, which I have thought about a lot since then. I wonder whether that is a lao gong thing too.
No, this is a different.
In this video you can get at glimpse of the use of the thumb "when uke is holding strongly". And the connection through ukes laogong point "if your partner is holding lightly". (This is not comprehensiv, just to get a little impression.)
The use of the thumb, or to be more precise of the thumb basal joint, is - as far as I see - not "connected to daositic practice" or using an energy point but just using a technicall posibility of the human body.

As you see both ways to connect to uke and to move him are still important in Endo's aikidō.
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:28 AM   #47
Alex Megann
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Well, Endo sensei does not use the term. He just talks of the palm and explains how relax the wrist and the fingers to make strong connection.
It is when you do something like nei gong (in my case) or talk ot someone who skilled in the chinese arts ... you come to realize, that Endo talks about using the laogong point.
If you look for "laogong" or Pericardium 8 (P8) you will easily find the point and descriptions where it is and what it is. (I myself locate it at the center of my palm.)
And yes, it is one of the most important points.
But again: Endo sensei does not speak about the "inner aspects" of this point. At least not during open seminars. He just teaches it to be technically usefull and how use the body to get the most out of it.
Knowing, that Endo understands aikidō as dao, listening carefully to his words and also knowing also, that he has some experience in doing tai chi I am sure he shows using laogong without refering to it.
Interesting enough that a lot of his students end up doing some daostic practice.

No, this is a different.
In this video you can get at glimpse of the use of the thumb "when uke is holding strongly". And the connection through ukes laogong point "if your partner is holding lightly". (This is not comprehensiv, just to get a little impression.)
The use of the thumb, or to be more precise of the thumb basal joint, is - as far as I see - not "connected to daositic practice" or using an energy point but just using a technicall posibility of the human body.

As you see both ways to connect to uke and to move him are still important in Endo's aikidō.
Hi Carsten,

Thanks for your fascinating thoughts. It really is about time I went to see Endo Sensei again...

Alex
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Old 03-01-2012, 04:51 PM   #48
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

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Alex Megann wrote: View Post
Hi Carsten,

Thanks for your fascinating thoughts. It really is about time I went to see Endo Sensei again...

Alex
Yes. Thank you Carsten. I found that really interesting.
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:33 AM   #49
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

...as per Doshu and his favourite Uke, Horii shihan:
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Old 03-02-2012, 04:51 PM   #50
JimClark
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Re: Fingers spread or together?

Quote:
Greg Steckel wrote: View Post
....look at pictures of early shihan and you will see most always have their index fingers extended.

As Chris already stated, the concept of asagao came from DR. Interesting point is that with asagao, the fingers still point the direction of your intent/ki, but since you have more than one finger extended, you can have your intent/ki focused in more than one direction at a time - just my opinion, of course, and YMMV.

Greg
I understand the idea here, but think about this. If ki flows from each finger and they are all pointing in different directions when spread, aren't you sending ki in to non-useful directions instead of using it to influence uke?

This reminds me of a quote from a project manager at my old engineering job. When part of the project was falling behind, the team was directed to "concentrate their resources" on that part to get it back on schedule. A couple of months passed and we met again with status reports. The part that was behind and in fact a little bit ahead of schedule, while other parts of the project had moved ahead a little slower than previously. The manager was very excited about the progress we had made on the task that had been behind schedule (completely ignoring the other parts of the project). His comment was that we should "concentrate our resources on EVERYTHING" and then we could all get ahead of schedule..... Hmmm, wait, that doesn't work. There's only so much effort to go around and if you spread it over all directions, less goes into your intended target.

This is exactly what I'm talking about on this issue. I still think the tea ceremony post put it best about aligning fingers along the arm to unify intent....

I'm looking forward to seeing more posts.....

Learn to see everything accurately. Do not do anything useless. -Miyamoto Musashi, The Earth Scroll, The Book of Five Rings.
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