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Old 02-09-2013, 09:04 AM   #1
Dazaifoo
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The Floating Slinky of Heaven

I've been reading through Chris Li's excellent translations of Morihei Ueshiba's writings. I know practically nothing of internal training practices and I'm quite fascinated by the implications of all this stuff.

Cutting to the chase, Mr. Li writes "So to sum up - the Floating Bridge of Heaven, also known as Heaven-Earth-Man, consists of creating a state within yourself by which you connect opposing forces and express that connection in spirals through the body."

Well I about did a spit take as I had stumbled across a video a while back known as the Slinky Drop. In it an everyday garden variety slinky is held up so that it stretches to its full length, then it is simply let go. Difficult to observe what happens with the naked eye, slow motion video reveals that the slinky just hangs in space for a moment, floating between the upward tension of the demonstrator's pull and the downward pull of gravity. Here's a quick vid of the demonstration and an explanation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAA613hqqZ0

Now again, I plead complete ignorance on the subject in internal strength training. And this video may be completely off base with the subject and just an unrelated but interesting phenomenon, in which case I apologize for wasting bandwidth. But... just look at that thing! Between two equal and opposite pulls, balanced and floating. I know humans can't literally hover off the ground, but to generate that sense of balance between the forces internally, that gets my attention.
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:55 PM   #2
Dan Richards
 
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Re: The Floating Slinky of Heaven

Dazaifoo, that's excellent you posted that. I've been using a slinky as a tool, especially in the areas of footwork and stepping. The slinky perfectly demonstrates the physics of the single arch contained in the feet and legs. On the body, it's most easily demonstrated in shiko-dachi - aka "horse stance"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_stance

Notice in those pictures of people in a horse stance, and how those postures "tunes" the entire skin on the body - as a single piece of skin, as on a drum. I outline some of this in the Talking Drum topic I started here. http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22306

And watch this slinky video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZL6RGkPjws

Notice how the "steps" are not taken by actually putting weight in the front, but rather by "releasing" the back. It's the same in Kyudo (Zen archery). The arrow is "released" or "loosed." Same with a gun. The hammer, which is already back, is released.

But crucially important, before we attempt any kind of movement, is to get the drum "skin" tuned up. This applies the correct "tension" - which creates the structure. The skin of the body - acting as a single piece of skin - when it's tuned - creates the structure in internal arts.

And that spiraling structure is the same as a Slinky. And we can understand that the physics of the movement of the Slinky is also contained in the structure.

Last edited by Dan Richards : 02-10-2013 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:13 PM   #3
Travers Hughes
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Re: The Floating Slinky of Heaven

Quote:
Dan Richards wrote: View Post
. On the body, it's most easily demonstrated in shiko-dachi - aka "horse stance"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_stance
Hi Dan, been a while (10 years +) since I did karate, but shiko-dachi is not a horse stance - although both are shoulder width stances. In a horse stance (kiba dachi) the feet point straight ahead, vs in shiko dachi (four point stance) the feet are turned out 45 degrees (22.5 on each side).

The differences in stances will have an impact on balance and centre.

Can you please clarify which stance you mean? Cheers
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:30 PM   #4
Dan Richards
 
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Re: The Floating Slinky of Heaven

Travers, thanks for that addition. Kiba-dachi and shiko-dachi both fall under the term "horse stance." Both still use the "skin as structure." Kiba-dachi moves the knees inward, to tighten up the skin slack created by the parallel feet. Shiko-dachi, which is more often used, and more common, has the knees more open and directly over the angled feet. So, we're applying any posture which satisfies "skin as structure." And both kiba-dachi and shikio-dachi, when done properly, fall under that class.

The differences in these stances do not affect balance and center. They are the same.

Last edited by Dan Richards : 02-10-2013 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:52 PM   #5
Dan Richards
 
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Re: The Floating Slinky of Heaven

Travers, you'll also notice that the "skin as structure" - with regards to the butt and lower back - is achieved - either by arching the back and pushing the butt out, or by tucking the butt in and straightening the lower back. Those two positions have different applications, as seen in the info at the link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_stance
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:02 PM   #6
Travers Hughes
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Wink Re: The Floating Slinky of Heaven

Quote:
Dan Richards wrote: View Post
Travers, you'll also notice that the "skin as structure" - with regards to the butt and lower back - is achieved - either by arching the back and pushing the butt out, or by tucking the butt in and straightening the lower back. Those two positions have different applications, as seen in the info at the link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_stance
Thanks Dan - like I said it was a long time ago and I'm only clarifying for my own benefit, not arguing with anyone other than myself.

(Unfortunate choice using the wiki article though - it actually states that they are different, which has added to my confusion! )

"Note that the horse stance differs from the straddle stance (四股立ち, shiko-dachi?), widely used in sumo, in which the feet point outward at 45 degrees rather than being parallel."

Cheers
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:39 PM   #7
Mert Gambito
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Re: The Floating Slinky of Heaven

Quote:
Travers Hughes wrote: View Post
In a horse stance (kiba dachi) the feet point straight ahead, vs in shiko dachi (four point stance) the feet are turned out.

The differences in stances will have an impact on balance and centre.
In various IP/IS exercises, you could stand in shizentai, or in a wide version of shizentai -- i.e. with the feet most likely somewhere between parallel and angled out at 45 degrees. Since many of the exercises cycle between the states of back open / front closed and vice versa, you alternatingly get the qualities of both stances, but it is the center that drives the feet vs. the placement of the feet that dictates balance and center (to Dan's point).

Mert
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:50 PM   #8
Dan Richards
 
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Re: The Floating Slinky of Heaven

LOL @ Travers. I know what you mean. We're not arguing. We're playing around and sharing. And I'm glad you brought it up. It's a great point. It's also a catalyst for me to formulate more of this into words that will help people understand and start to get some of this stuff. So, thank you. : )

They are different stances, and are both considered low stances. And "they are the same" within the context of "skin as structure." Try them both, back and forth, and you'll see that if they're done properly, the balance and position of the center does not change. Do shiko, and notice the tautness of the skin in the legs. Then move to kiba - but to experiment, don't move the knees inward. You'll feel a slackness in the skin. Then move the knees in, and you'll feel the skin tighten back up like it was in shiko.

These are actually very good beginning postures to work with to tune the "skin" on your drum.

At :30 Akuzawa does shiko https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbvipmVYGzA

Last edited by Dan Richards : 02-10-2013 at 11:53 PM.

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Old 02-11-2013, 12:20 AM   #9
Travers Hughes
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Re: The Floating Slinky of Heaven

Thanks guys (Dan and Mert) - thought that was what you meant. I'm new to the whole internal training concepts, but wanting to explore further. Much encouraged - as far as "slackness of the skin" goes, I've got plenty of that!
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:10 AM   #10
Dan Richards
 
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Re: The Floating Slinky of Heaven

Ha! Tighten that drum up, Travers. : )

Hey, back to this Slinky. And moving on to lightening strikes. It's the same physics - same effect. Totally Aiki. A joining of heaven and earth.

Watch around 2:00 for the "return stroke" coming up from the ground.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9xzU0xjlhE

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Old 02-11-2013, 01:33 AM   #11
Dan Richards
 
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Re: The Floating Slinky of Heaven

Quote:
Mert Gambito wrote: View Post
Since many of the exercises cycle between the states of back open / front closed and vice versa...
Hey Mert, yes, good point.

At 1:18 in this video, you can see Akuzawa open and then close very quickly.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbvipmVYGzA

Watch his right hand come out - as he opens, and then the hand returns as he closes - just the same as the rising force at the bottom of the Slinky, and the "return stroke" in the lightening strike.

Open = chin up, chest forward, lower back arched, butt stuck out. = Convex arch
Closed = chin down, chest sunk, lower back straight, butt tucked in. = Concave arch

Last edited by Dan Richards : 02-11-2013 at 01:38 AM.

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