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Old 04-01-2013, 07:08 AM   #1
Dan Richards
 
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Passing the bottle: refining sensitivity for more effective technique

Has anyone played with something similar. I use a bottle for quite a few things in aikido training. Here's one of the first things I demonstrate.

This is using a 16 oz. 500 ml bottle of water as a training tool for aikido techniques.

Pass a bottle of water back and forth between you and a friend/uke. Notice how you feel when you do that. Notice the feeling in your hands, arms, shoulders - the feeling is alive and sensitive. Sqeeze and feel each others biceps and triceps as you do this. Notice how they feel. How they're soft and not contracting.

Notice also right at the point when you make contact, and how you sense the timing to "release" the bottle. Not too soon, and not too late. Notice how intelligent your hands and arms and body are making the movements. Become aware of how the two of you work together in the passing of the bottle.

Play and experiment with using that same feeling throughout your aikido movements.

Dan Richards - Aiki Research

"Budo must always reflect its surroundings. If it isn't newer and stronger, it isn't valid." - Shoji Nishio
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:33 AM   #2
barron
Dojo: Calgary Aikikai
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Re: Passing the bottle: refining sensitivity for more effective technique

How many are wondering if they should respond to this forum?

Good one .......

I'll jest use this in tonight in class !!!!!

Andrew Barron
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:10 AM   #3
Dan Richards
 
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Re: Passing the bottle: refining sensitivity for more effective technique

Ha! Hey, Andrew. If you go to the seminar coming up with Igarashi, notice his hands. Look at the pic on the front of your dojo's website. He's taking a drink with one hand, and passing a drink with the other. : )

http://www.calgaryaikikai.com/



As humorous as this might seem, it's an amazingly effective tool for people to really become experientially aware of the texture and feeling in their upper body.

People tensing up, muscling, locking up, and being insensitive is a common problem in aikido. And it makes for ineffective techniques.

Dan Richards - Aiki Research

"Budo must always reflect its surroundings. If it isn't newer and stronger, it isn't valid." - Shoji Nishio
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Old 04-01-2013, 12:20 PM   #4
barron
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Re: Passing the bottle: refining sensitivity for more effective technique

Will try it Dan. I was continually told, for my first decade in aikido, to relax. Should have used a bottle I guess
!
As for Igarashi Sensei, I have seen him take many relaxed drinks on and off the mat.

Cheers

Andrew Barron
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:29 AM   #5
Basia Halliop
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Re: Passing the bottle: refining sensitivity for more effective technique

Cool! I rarely find it helpful when people tell me to relax, or when I tell other people to do so, so I like this. From what I can see, I think almost no one actually wants to be tense (or to 'use a lot of strength', the other big one) and is deliberately trying to be tense in those moments when people end up telling us to relax - they (we ) mostly just tend to lack (or momentarily lose) the body awareness to sense our own tension in that moment, let alone to really feel in our own body what we DO need to do with our bodies, and to be able to consciously reproduce it.

So saying 'relax' or 'stop muscling it' doesn't actually help the person any, it just adds to the frustration.
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:01 AM   #6
Walter Martindale
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Re: Passing the bottle: refining sensitivity for more effective technique

Not that new. Rocky sometimes said imagine holding a cup of beer, pour it on the ground behind uke (iriminage) or other similar similes.
Sometimes he'd get a cup (sans beer) and demo what he meant.
Sometimes it was "drink some from your cup, and then throw it away" (one of the many kokyu-nage)
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Old 07-20-2013, 11:34 AM   #7
CorkyQ
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Re: Passing the bottle: refining sensitivity for more effective technique

Quote:
Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
Cool! I rarely find it helpful when people tell me to relax, or when I tell other people to do so, so I like this. From what I can see, I think almost no one actually wants to be tense (or to 'use a lot of strength', the other big one) and is deliberately trying to be tense in those moments when people end up telling us to relax - they (we ) mostly just tend to lack (or momentarily lose) the body awareness to sense our own tension in that moment, let alone to really feel in our own body what we DO need to do with our bodies, and to be able to consciously reproduce it.

So saying 'relax' or 'stop muscling it' doesn't actually help the person any, it just adds to the frustration.
My teacher Don O'Bell Sensei used the word "release" rather than "relax." I have further refined that idea because "relax" tends to produce what I would call withdrawn energy, ki flowing back toward source in the hara. Most people tense up when attacked because their intention produces a flow I call shield energy because it is meant to withstand or resist attack.

For aikido to take place there must be a flow of ki connecting the partners. In the book Aikido by Kisshomaru Uyeshiba under the guidance of the founder, in the "Basic Knowledge" section mentions ki no nagare as the "stream of spirit" that connects both partners.

In the same section under its own heading is Chikara No Dashikata, (Extension of Power), which describes how energy flows from hara to the partner. "Your power should not be inactive, just as standing water becomes stagnant. Rather, your power must be like a stream, flowing the energy from your body through the tips of your fingers, your toes, even from the glitter of your eyes, and going toward the subject."

In our practice, since we don't practice through technique emulation, this is the determining factor of whether aikido will manifest. Tension (shield energy) makes the manifestation of aiki impossible. What works for us, rather than using the word "relax" or even my teacher's word "release," which essentially meant "release tension without withdrawing ki," we say to send our partner flood energy, which is a flow of ki that is unconstricted by fear or limbic system response to threat.

All flow of ki into action is regulated through intention. For instance, shield energy is produced by an intention (voluntary or involuntary) to defend. We arrive at this kind of flow we call flood energy through the embodiment of beneficent intention. Any intention that the uke (or attacker in off the mat applications) benefit from our interaction will produce this positive, powerful flow that fuses with the attack and moves both partners into the spontaneous creation of aikido that may or may not look like what are typically known as aikido techniques.

What this takes is a transcendence of the lower brain, involuntary defense mechanism. In our practice students often "get stuck." Having no prescribed technique to follow, students must instead learn to immediately recognize the intention to defend, voluntary or otherwise, and then shift to a state of beneficent intention. When this state is reached it is like an electric light switch. Things go from being "stuck" to immediate and often unforeseeable aikido paths, and both partners feel resistance instantly dissolve as that path to the mat unfolds.

Often we will use, like mentioned in prior entries to this thread, the idea of giving someone water. This beneficent intention will create the flood of ki necessary to meet uke's fundamental need to connect and create an aiki resolution. In Aikido this is described as chikara o dasu (extend power).

On the other hand, this is not as easy as it sounds. Often students will use what is described in Aikido as chikara o ireru (force power), and this manifests in the distinct feeling that nage is trying to make uke take the water, or to get them to take it in a way that promotes the fall, even though there is an intellectual experience of benevolence. Practitioners easily feel the force in this kind of intention and realize that the true intention is still defense.

When the "giving of water" is understood to be beneficent to uke, that is a genuine desire that this person benefit from our giving the water, not offering water as way of benefitting the nage, the flow immediately transforms the entire interaction and aikido spontaneously, mysteriously manifests.

In this way students get a visceral experience of how the spiritual aspects of this spiritual art manifest in ways that resolve conflict without force or violence. It also makes masakatsu agatsu literally the operating principle of our aikido. Without transcendence of the lower brain responses (victory over self) our practitioners will see no attacker on the mat.
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Old 07-21-2013, 09:19 PM   #8
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
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Re: Passing the bottle: refining sensitivity for more effective technique

Quote:
Corky Quakenbush wrote: View Post
My teacher Don O'Bell Sensei used the word "release" rather than "relax." I have further refined that idea because "relax" tends to produce what I would call withdrawn energy, ki flowing back toward source in the hara. Most people tense up when attacked because their intention produces a flow I call shield energy because it is meant to withstand or resist attack.

For aikido to take place there must be a flow of ki connecting the partners. In the book Aikido by Kisshomaru Uyeshiba under the guidance of the founder, in the "Basic Knowledge" section mentions ki no nagare as the "stream of spirit" that connects both partners.

In the same section under its own heading is Chikara No Dashikata, (Extension of Power), which describes how energy flows from hara to the partner. "Your power should not be inactive, just as standing water becomes stagnant. Rather, your power must be like a stream, flowing the energy from your body through the tips of your fingers, your toes, even from the glitter of your eyes, and going toward the subject."

In our practice, since we don't practice through technique emulation, this is the determining factor of whether aikido will manifest. Tension (shield energy) makes the manifestation of aiki impossible. What works for us, rather than using the word "relax" or even my teacher's word "release," which essentially meant "release tension without withdrawing ki," we say to send our partner flood energy, which is a flow of ki that is unconstricted by fear or limbic system response to threat.

All flow of ki into action is regulated through intention. For instance, shield energy is produced by an intention (voluntary or involuntary) to defend. We arrive at this kind of flow we call flood energy through the embodiment of beneficent intention. Any intention that the uke (or attacker in off the mat applications) benefit from our interaction will produce this positive, powerful flow that fuses with the attack and moves both partners into the spontaneous creation of aikido that may or may not look like what are typically known as aikido techniques.

What this takes is a transcendence of the lower brain, involuntary defense mechanism. In our practice students often "get stuck." Having no prescribed technique to follow, students must instead learn to immediately recognize the intention to defend, voluntary or otherwise, and then shift to a state of beneficent intention. When this state is reached it is like an electric light switch. Things go from being "stuck" to immediate and often unforeseeable aikido paths, and both partners feel resistance instantly dissolve as that path to the mat unfolds.

Often we will use, like mentioned in prior entries to this thread, the idea of giving someone water. This beneficent intention will create the flood of ki necessary to meet uke's fundamental need to connect and create an aiki resolution. In Aikido this is described as chikara o dasu (extend power).

On the other hand, this is not as easy as it sounds. Often students will use what is described in Aikido as chikara o ireru (force power), and this manifests in the distinct feeling that nage is trying to make uke take the water, or to get them to take it in a way that promotes the fall, even though there is an intellectual experience of benevolence. Practitioners easily feel the force in this kind of intention and realize that the true intention is still defense.

When the "giving of water" is understood to be beneficent to uke, that is a genuine desire that this person benefit from our giving the water, not offering water as way of benefitting the nage, the flow immediately transforms the entire interaction and aikido spontaneously, mysteriously manifests.

In this way students get a visceral experience of how the spiritual aspects of this spiritual art manifest in ways that resolve conflict without force or violence. It also makes masakatsu agatsu literally the operating principle of our aikido. Without transcendence of the lower brain responses (victory over self) our practitioners will see no attacker on the mat.
Hi Corky, thought I'd share some ideas based on what you say here.

We used to limit ourselves to just Tohei's rules and when I say limit I mean if something didn;t work the rule was one of the points were out......no excuses. I still today say this is a great method limited only by the students lack of discipline, nothing else.

However, like you I then developed my own way.

So, Relax was a major principle. Now it took us a few years but one day my friend and I were not able to 'do' the Aikido as usual. We were already quite advanced and took it as one of those points where the only way is to carry on and get through rather than change or even analyze. A couple of hours later we were laughing because we still hadn't found what the problem was. All points seemed to be in. So all that was left was admitting an understanding on one of the points must be 'incorrect' and by 'incorrect' I mean 'needing a more hightened understanding'.

Suddenly we both almost synergistic-ally hit on it, a uerika moment, the word relax had a word missing. We had thrown it away, blanked it out....and that word was "completely". The rule was "Relax Completely". We were amazed more really by how such a word could mean up to that point nothing much at all and now suddenly become the main focus like finding a piece of gold.

Unlike what you wrote above we hadn't had relax as making or leading to 'withdrawing' Ki but actually for us it was quite the opposite for it had up to that point helped and led to better extension of Ki.

However for us something greatly changed after the 'completely' recognition. The change Ki wise was two way. It led for us to the understanding and clear feeling and experiencing of a two way flow, a yin and yang flow both happening together. Thus a better reality also on centre, hara, one point, and along with it space.

Now, similar to you we found then we needed a word for what had just happened for we were now using the principle of relax completely and yet were now not satisfied with those two words. So we looked at what we had done and were now doing compared to what we had been doing and realized low and behold spiritually we had "let go". Thus one of our current principles was born.

Reading your post using your terminology then quite simply we had let go of the limbic response for now instead of an aid it had become a hindrance.

Keep flowing

Peace.G.
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Old 07-23-2013, 05:52 AM   #9
graham christian
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Re: Passing the bottle: refining sensitivity for more effective technique

To progress from the bottle move to the bowl. In my Aikido we have five weapons. The spear, the sword, the jo, the fan and the bowl.

Train whilst holding a bowl. Even a bowl in each hand. Then you will learn oneness and relaxing.

You must not 'spill the water'.

Peace.G.
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Old 07-23-2013, 06:20 AM   #10
phitruong
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Re: Passing the bottle: refining sensitivity for more effective technique

Quote:
Dan Richards wrote: View Post
This is using a 16 oz. 500 ml bottle of water as a training tool for aikido techniques.
so you guys practice passing water? indoor or outdoor? i have heard the ancient hillbilly secret that asparagus really help the flow of ki.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 07-23-2013, 06:22 AM   #11
phitruong
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Re: Passing the bottle: refining sensitivity for more effective technique

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
The spear, the sword, the jo, the fan and the bowl.
.
so no chopsticks or spoon to go with the bowl. can't have bowl without chopsticks or spoon. and the kotadama chant "alms! alms! alms for the poor!"

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 07-23-2013, 12:24 PM   #12
sakumeikan
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Re: Passing the bottle: refining sensitivity for more effective technique

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
so you guys practice passing water? indoor or outdoor? i have heard the ancient hillbilly secret that asparagus really help the flow of ki.
Hi Phi,
Are you taking the P here?Asparagus might control the flow of P/Ki /Chi but I prefer drinking a couple of pints of lager .This modest fluid intake ensures I have a adequate flow of essence.By the way not much fun passing water on a windy day /icy weather.Cheers, Joe.
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Old 07-23-2013, 05:03 PM   #13
graham christian
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Re: Passing the bottle: refining sensitivity for more effective technique

You can always pass it in the bottle

Peace.G.
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:33 AM   #14
CorkyQ
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Re: Passing the bottle: refining sensitivity for more effective technique

Graham, I learned from the late Kanshu Sunadomari, Shihan and his protege Hamada Sensei, the word makeseru which at the time was described as giving oneself over to the partner. Later, a conversation with another Japanese student described makeseru as letting the other person take the reins, as in, if we were going to the movies, makeseru would be letting you decide which movie to see, or if I was your boss and gave you an assignment, letting you run with the ball...
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Old 07-24-2013, 01:08 PM   #15
graham christian
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Re: Passing the bottle: refining sensitivity for more effective technique

Quote:
Corky Quakenbush wrote: View Post
Graham, I learned from the late Kanshu Sunadomari, Shihan and his protege Hamada Sensei, the word makeseru which at the time was described as giving oneself over to the partner. Later, a conversation with another Japanese student described makeseru as letting the other person take the reins, as in, if we were going to the movies, makeseru would be letting you decide which movie to see, or if I was your boss and gave you an assignment, letting you run with the ball...
Hi Corky. Didn't know that word but like your concept.(s) The first one I see as different to the second and both being valid.

We had one term 'shin shin toitsu' originally which we were taught from various viewpoints and actions. Only later was I to find other terminology like sen no sen, sen sen no sen etc. and find they were what we were being taught under tat one thing. Your first concept to me is like a 'sacrifice' as we would call it, a complete giving of what the other wanted. Done knowingly then although giving exactly what they wanted you found them going exactly where you wanted.

The second concept you give I like due to it's non control factor. We have a saying "it knows what to do". Based on the natural way of things then we apply it to not only the person but the sword, jo etc. It is us who "interfere" which is the problem.

When I say use the bowl there are of course fundamental principles and reasons why of course.

One mind blowing thing it does is it disqualifies someone from using their hands to grip or grab any part of the other person. You have to hold them as if they have water in them, in other words if you tip them whilst moving then you have failed because you will have spilled the water. I have a couple of videos of me doing such but without sound and commentary not many would understand what I am doing. There has never been in my experience one person who wasn't mind blown when shown how to do it no matter what grade or martial art they come from. One of my favourite koshi developement exercises.

Peace.G.
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