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Old 07-18-2013, 07:29 AM   #26
Joe Bowen
 
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Re: Suwari Waza

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Yasuo Kobayashi used to say that he was the one who introduced shikko as an exercise - in the 1950's.

People today are paying the price with their knees.

Best,

Chris
But even at 77 years of age, Yasuo Kobayashi's shikko and suwari practice is better then just about anyone else. Doesn't seem to have crippled him much if at all; so perhaps folks need to take a better look at how he was moving to better understand how to avoid the price of their knees. Somewhere on YouTube there is a video of him explaining a part of these exercises a few years ago, I'll see if I can locate it and post it here.

Last edited by Joe Bowen : 07-18-2013 at 07:31 AM. Reason: Grammar
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:16 AM   #27
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Re: Suwari Waza

Quote:
Joseph Bowen wrote: View Post
But even at 77 years of age, Yasuo Kobayashi's shikko and suwari practice is better then just about anyone else. Doesn't seem to have crippled him much if at all; so perhaps folks need to take a better look at how he was moving to better understand how to avoid the price of their knees. Somewhere on YouTube there is a video of him explaining a part of these exercises a few years ago, I'll see if I can locate it and post it here.
Of course - and then there are those people who smoke a pack a day and live to 100. I think that you have to take a look at what's happening in the general population. The fact that there are some exceptions to a practice that is generally harmful doesn't mean that the practice is safe.

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-18-2013, 09:44 AM   #28
Walter Martindale
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Re: Suwari Waza

Quote:
Gerardo Torres wrote: View Post
AFAIK samurai would never sit in seiza with their long swords in their belts, it would instead be placed on the side or disallowed while inside certain places and only able to carry their wakizashi (short sword).
Hmm. I wonder, then, where iaido fits in - all of the kata I've watched (and the one kata I've tried) in iaido start with a sword drawn from seiza...
Walter
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Old 07-18-2013, 10:00 AM   #29
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Re: Suwari Waza

i am thinking we should change the "killing knee practice" to the practice of doing it sitting on an office chair with rollers. now a day, we sit more than kneeling, so the chance that we get attack while sitting in a chair is much higher. so if we switch to practice on chair with rollers or without rollers, then we can kill two birds with a shotgun so to speak. for example, if you sit in a meeting room and your meeting mate reach across you to grab the last donut, you should be able to intercept the grab, took away the donut, put your office mate into a kotegaeshi, and proceed to eat the donut.

wonder what the japanese term for practice on office chair.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 07-18-2013, 11:23 AM   #30
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Re: Suwari Waza

Quote:
Walter Martindale wrote: View Post
Hmm. I wonder, then, where iaido fits in - all of the kata I've watched (and the one kata I've tried) in iaido start with a sword drawn from seiza...
Walter
Hi Walter,

I'm sure all those iai schools have their reasons for training drawing from seiza. Emphasis on training, as opposed to actually representing an actual situation that occurred (as in samurai in seiza with their katana still in their obi). It's not all from seiza though. There are iai schools with a sizable standing iai curriculum. Also, schools like Katori Shinto ryu have iai but none from seiza afaik.
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Old 07-18-2013, 11:53 AM   #31
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Re: Suwari Waza

Quote:
Gerardo Torres wrote: View Post
Hi Walter,

I'm sure all those iai schools have their reasons for training drawing from seiza. Emphasis on training, as opposed to actually representing an actual situation that occurred (as in samurai in seiza with their katana still in their obi). It's not all from seiza though. There are iai schools with a sizable standing iai curriculum. Also, schools like Katori Shinto ryu have iai but none from seiza afaik.
You're probably right, I've only seen limited iaido and been through only one kata (although I was taught the kata by my (late) aikido sensei and observed the same kata 10 years later when an iai school was starting up in a different city. I wasn't around when people carried swords, I don't think any of my past lives have been in sword carrying countries, either - not katana, anyway. (and, no, I don't really believe in reincarnation)

Anyhoo... seiza/shikko/hanmi-handachi/etc are quite popular in Aikikai aikido as a way to train posture, hip strength, and to develop body movement. I try to limit the amount of it that I do largely because my knees have had a beating over the years - but after 17 years of aikido I don't recall my knees being worse than at the start - the skin was tougher, but no worse in terms of ligament, tendon, and cartilage... (and I'm not tiny - been knocking around 220 lb/100 kg for the last 10 years - not proud of that, but...)
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:09 PM   #32
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Re: Suwari Waza

Quote:
Gerardo Torres wrote: View Post
Hi Walter,

I'm sure all those iai schools have their reasons for training drawing from seiza. Emphasis on training, as opposed to actually representing an actual situation that occurred (as in samurai in seiza with their katana still in their obi). It's not all from seiza though. There are iai schools with a sizable standing iai curriculum. Also, schools like Katori Shinto ryu have iai but none from seiza afaik.
Seiza wasn't really a thing until the Edo period...I've read that it was associated with the spread in popularity of tea ceremony. In the warring states period warriors sat on their butts with their legs folded when they were in polite company.

Not to put too fine a point on it, though, but:
This is not seiza, and it is not even the iai-goshi posture some iaido schools practice, this is hiza.
But I wouldn't give anybody crap for calling this kneeling.

Iaido made inroads into the west before pioneering Western practitioners got into koryu and spread knowledge to non-Japanese language communities, and there was this very scathing rebuttal of claims by iaido practitioners to be practicing "authentic samurai swordsmanship" that reverberates a bit to this day. A warrior sitting in seiza with a long sword is not a real combat situation, seiza is not a combative posture, iai goshi (one leg under the butt, one out to the side) is not a combative posture, Zen was not popular among warriors until there wasn't much war, the Edo period saw a widespread, general degredation of combat skill and efficacy of training methods and arts founded in that period are "flowery swordplay," etc.

I figure it's just because the needs of society changed and the warrior culture changed with them. At some point these guys decided they should spend a lot of time practicing drawing their swords from seiza as a way of organizing and developing their spirit.

To get back somewhat to the original thread...in iaido there is not as much moving around in seiza as in Aikido suwariwaza. Nor koryu for that matter.

But there are a lot of movements and postures that would be considered orthopedically verboten these days. Lots of moving into and out of very low postures with knee advanced way out past the toes, lots of bending the knees to lower the center, while keeping the back very straight. Sitting with the butt completely on one or both heels, and then exploding to a standing position. I generally maintain the view that koryu arts expected a degree of flexibility and strength in the legs that seems much less common in modern non-Japanese than in modern Japanese.
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:34 PM   #33
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Re: Suwari Waza

Yeah this is what I had in mind about combat ready position. Wasn't sure what this was called, (tate?)-hiza or iai-goshi.
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:53 PM   #34
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Re: Suwari Waza

Sosuishi-ryu (so the video says) techniques applied from seated position:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeki2y-r-Dc

As others have noted about these old schools, not much moving around on the knees compared to today's aikido.
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Old 07-18-2013, 01:54 PM   #35
Cliff Judge
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Re: Suwari Waza

Quote:
Gerardo Torres wrote: View Post
Sosuishi-ryu (so the video says) techniques applied from seated position:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeki2y-r-Dc

As others have noted about these old schools, not much moving around on the knees compared to today's aikido.
I love it how that school has techniques where you grab somebody's wrists and then...you kill them.

Here's an old clip of a really interesting school that teaches squad-level archery, Satsuma Hekiryu Koshiya. Watch how these guys move around. I don't think I would last a single training session doing that, I wouldn't be able to walk off the field.

Last edited by Cliff Judge : 07-18-2013 at 01:58 PM.
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Old 07-18-2013, 04:20 PM   #36
graham christian
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Re: Suwari Waza

Quote:
Gerardo Torres wrote: View Post
Sosuishi-ryu (so the video says) techniques applied from seated position:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeki2y-r-Dc

As others have noted about these old schools, not much moving around on the knees compared to today's aikido.
Ueshiba insisted on suwariwaza so there was much more done when he was present. I hope there is plenty nowadays, it's one third of Aikido.

It's not 'old school' it's fundamental.

Maybe due to such moaning about knees folk lose it's purpose and indeed reality. Or maybe they were never taught.

Peace.G.
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Old 07-18-2013, 04:32 PM   #37
Chris Li
 
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Re: Suwari Waza

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Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Ueshiba insisted on suwariwaza so there was much more done when he was present. I hope there is plenty nowadays, it's one third of Aikido.
Sure he did - but if you look at what he actually did, there was less actual movement on the knee than there is in most modern suwari-waza. More than that, look back to Daito-ryu and there's even less movement - back before the prevelence of smooth canvas covered mats.

Regardless, the fact that he may have done something doesn't make it healthy for you. He also participated in static stretching - which studies now show to be ineffective at best and harmful at worst, and suffered from various health issues related to diet.

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-18-2013, 04:48 PM   #38
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Re: Suwari Waza

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Sure he did - but if you look at what he actually did, there was less actual movement on the knee than there is in most modern suwari-waza. More than that, look back to Daito-ryu and there's even less movement - back before the prevelence of smooth canvas covered mats.

Regardless, the fact that he may have done something doesn't make it healthy for you. He also participated in static stretching - which studies now show to be ineffective at best and harmful at worst, and suffered from various health issues related to diet.

Best,

Chris
Static stretching is bad? What genius said that? Probably something you're presenting out of context I would say. Plus you cannot take something ie: diet or whatever as a reason not to take what that person said seriously in his field of expertise.

Why are you keeping on with amount 'movement'? The subject is doing suwariwaza. What exactly do you mean abt. 'less movement on the knee compared to 'modern'? It seems to me you are saying something which doesn't mean anything. Perhaps you could explain.

Peace.G.
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Old 07-18-2013, 05:22 PM   #39
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Re: Suwari Waza

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Static stretching is bad? What genius said that? Probably something you're presenting out of context I would say. Plus you cannot take something ie: diet or whatever as a reason not to take what that person said seriously in his field of expertise.

Why are you keeping on with amount 'movement'? The subject is doing suwariwaza. What exactly do you mean abt. 'less movement on the knee compared to 'modern'? It seems to me you are saying something which doesn't mean anything. Perhaps you could explain.

Peace.G.
There's quite a lot of science showing that static stretching isn't what people used to think it was - here's a brief summary of the issues: http://saveyourself.ca/articles/stretching.php

As for diet not being in his field of expertise, I agree - orthopedics wasn't either.

More movement on the knees means more stress less movement means more stress. The type of movements you see also tend to be different in more modern Aikido - many more turning and spinning movements.

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-18-2013, 07:00 PM   #40
graham christian
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Re: Suwari Waza

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
There's quite a lot of science showing that static stretching isn't what people used to think it was - here's a brief summary of the issues: http://saveyourself.ca/articles/stretching.php

As for diet not being in his field of expertise, I agree - orthopedics wasn't either.

More movement on the knees means more stress less movement means more stress. The type of movements you see also tend to be different in more modern Aikido - many more turning and spinning movements.

Best,

Chris
Those articles abt. stretching are to me mainly just another example of scholarly nonsense and result in statements like you gave in the previous post ie: that it does nothing at best and harm at worst'.

The only other thing I can see is that otherwise it's down to people not even understanding what was originally said or found and thus loads of experts start appearing with stuff like you reference above. The first thing on that list says even stretching is not necessary at all complete with examples of those who 'don't do it'. Well if you wan't to believe that you will believe anything is how I look at it.

After reading or using computer or many things done in a bent or uncomfortable position a person then stretches. You yawn and stretch, there's hundreds of times a person stretches and all to a better condition as a result. So that so called 'mindblowing data about stretching' is nothing of the sort and only needed for those who believed stretching did something it didn't do, in other words misinformed people. It does not equal stretching is bad or harmful in any way and such statements to me are usual stupidity used just to get attention like a newspaper headline. Just like anything else including drinking water...doing it the wrong way or too much etc. is harmful.

Plus perspective....have you seen damage done by not stretching? I have. Boy are people gullible. A good article would merely say what the purpose of stretching is, the why? the ways, the benefits, etc. and then any intelligent person could see when it was necessary and also which stretching wasn't. Simple.

Many more turning in modern Aikido on the knees? Well I can assure you that stress on the knees has nothing to do with turning or less turning so your theory is misinformed. In fact the whole view of suwariwaza and knees given on here is false. Japanese seiza translated means sitting. Have you ever wondered why? Why isn't it called kneeling? Suwariwaza should have nothing to do with knees so the focus on such shows me a lack of reality.

So 1) Suwariwaza, whether with lots of turning or very little turning has nothing to do with stress on knees.
2) Believing it does leads people to believe they are doing things from the knees and thus just makes their 'problem' worse.

Peace.G.
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Old 07-18-2013, 07:11 PM   #41
Chris Li
 
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Re: Suwari Waza

Well, that's it for me - back to my scholarly nonesense.

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-18-2013, 07:22 PM   #42
graham christian
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Re: Suwari Waza

O'K. I'll go visit my ballet friend and then my yoga friend and then take the dog for a swim after which he has a good stretch and shake.

Meanwhile I'll teach people how to do without damaging their knees.

Peace.G.
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Old 07-18-2013, 08:12 PM   #43
Michael Hackett
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Re: Suwari Waza

Ah, Chris, once more you looked into the abyss.........

Michael
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Old 07-18-2013, 11:17 PM   #44
Devon Smith
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Re: Suwari Waza

For what it's worth, some input from Aikido's cousin here.

In Hakkoryu, suwari waza is used only as a way of teaching by isolating the upper body, much for the reasons Philip described on page one. There is little lower body (knee) movement involved until the aggressor has already lost their balance or has otherwise been overcome.

In this way it's by design that a pupil should work hard at the application of a technique from seiza, because there are important lessons that may be overlooked when the lower body comes into play with the same techniques while standing. The goal with suwari waza, though it can be frustrating, is to make a pupil work harder to understand and really grasp some of the intricacies without relying on the lower body and footwork.

Phi, we even have the office chair waza covered! It's called in short, "kiza dori". See the images 32/34.You can't tell because of the hakama, but the poor fellow is sitting in a plush, expensive office chair while being assaulted. Sorry, you don't get to see what happens to the bully in these photos, but he will never steal a donut again.



Devon

Last edited by Devon Smith : 07-18-2013 at 11:24 PM.
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Old 07-19-2013, 01:07 AM   #45
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Re: Suwari Waza

Quote:
Walter Martindale wrote: View Post
Hmm. I wonder, then, where iaido fits in - all of the kata I've watched (and the one kata I've tried) in iaido start with a sword drawn from seiza...
Walter
Dear Walter,
While there are forms of Iaido/Batto Ho which indeed start from suwariwaza there are also forms which start from standing eg Munen Shinden Ryu. cheers, Joe.P
Ps Mike Flynn 6th Dan Shihan has produced an excellent set of dvds on Iaido. Anyone doing this discipline will be pleased by the content and standard of the waza being shown therein.
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Old 07-19-2013, 06:39 AM   #46
Walter Martindale
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Re: Suwari Waza

Re: Stretching.
That great long article about stretching with its citations rather parallels the advice that's going around the ranks of international competitive sport where it's a really bad thing to injure an athlete.

Injure an aikido person and - boo-hoo - a few training sessions are missed and someone limps around work with "ooh I pulled my groin but.. grab my wrist".

Injure a professional or Olympic athlete and either an income or a decade's training is lost. I'll go with the academic claptrap..
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Old 07-19-2013, 07:23 AM   #47
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Re: Suwari Waza

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
There's quite a lot of science showing that static stretching isn't what people used to think it was - here's a brief summary of the issues: http://saveyourself.ca/articles/stretching.php
FWIW, the idea that stretching can increase muscle flexibility is upheld in this essay.

Quote:
Stretching can increase flexibility.
Seems to me sitting in seiza and moving around with shikko are the best candidates in Aikido for a reason to increase flexibility.

Not that this was Ueshiba's reason for leading his classes with the classic static stretches, of course, or that this is a general affirmation of static stretching as Graham is looking for, but on the original topic...if you want to do suwariwaza more easily and with less damage, a good stretching routine might be good to look into.
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Old 07-19-2013, 07:34 AM   #48
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Re: Suwari Waza

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Dear Walter,
While there are forms of Iaido/Batto Ho which indeed start from suwariwaza there are also forms which start from standing eg Munen Shinden Ryu. cheers, Joe.P
Ps Mike Flynn 6th Dan Shihan has produced an excellent set of dvds on Iaido. Anyone doing this discipline will be pleased by the content and standard of the waza being shown therein.
The way things were explained to me was that seiza was not a practical position for iaido ie. not one that would have been seen in everyday samurai life. But we practice it in the initial forms because it builds leg strength and form needed for the more practical tate-hiza (half seiza half cross-legged) which was the way you would have sat in armor (but difficult to start with), then move to standing forms.
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Old 07-19-2013, 08:17 AM   #49
graham christian
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Re: Suwari Waza

Well here's my advice. Start off with common sense, that's the starting point before being taken in by some 'experts' statement.

Common sense says there is a natural reason for stretching. Look around you and you will see people, animals etc. stretching naturally. Look at yoga and ballet and areas where it's already down to a fine art.

Then you will see there is nothing wrong and in fact there is something right about stretching. Then you have a good base from which to study what's being said rather than being a 'lemming'.

So actually it's a no brainer that stretching is good so the questions about it are not whether it is or not but rather when it is and why? Then move to how?

Unfortunately common sense can be an abyss to some

Next suwariwaza. Why? What does it do that's so special? What exactly are you exercising and learning? What's the basic reason?

Once again I find lack of understanding the reason for much discourse all off the point.

It is exercising a part that I have discovered on this board anyway in the past and also in my experience meeting all except for Japanese, a part that people have little reality on. This part is Koshi.

To most the only reality they have on Koshi is based on something given the name like koshiwaza. Thus they don't even know the significance of it and use of it other than for throwing over the hips. I am always amazed by this lack of knowledge.

Suwariwaza is actually learning to use koshi along with centre. It also results in great posture for koshi is the base of good posture, martially too. So you learn to experience koshi, use koshi, learn about koshi, move fluidly from koshi and if you are into the spiritual then join up the missing dots relating to such. Thus a basic. It's also the base of relaxation....koshi.

One third of Aikido. Many I've met... one third missing.

Now when it comes to knees, ahhhh, the old 'excuse'. Back to common sense. Common sense says here in the west and many places other than people are not used to their body being put in such a position. Even sitting seiza is uncomfortable. Well with seiza it's a matter of gradually stretching those tendons until it's no problem. But knees? There's a problem for they can be a bit delicate when not used to it. So actually it is something to give some consideration to but not to use as an excuse. The solution is actually very simple and again common sense.

Get the knees used to it, comfortable with it, acclimatized to it, happy with it. How? By using thicker and thus softer mats ie: more springy. The knees love it. Then meanwhile the ligaments and all parts used get used to it and build up appropriately. The rest is based purely on learning to move from centre and the balancing of use of koshi whilst moving.

Enjoy the abyss.

Peace.G.
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Old 07-19-2013, 08:47 AM   #50
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Re: Suwari Waza

Static stretching before a work out can be dangerous. It is important to warm your muscles up before stretching. Even the U.S. army revamped their physical training manuals and daily exercises to do light warm ups instead of stretching before a work out. Cool downs now consist of stretching to lengthen the muscles and tendons after the work out. This change was made in order to reduce the number of injuries sustained during physical training after careful study over many years. Science doesn't lie, whether or not you choose to accept is another story.

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