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Old 04-05-2017, 10:18 AM   #1
Alec Corper
 
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Developing Ting Jin and using it within an aikido context

So a quick start before my browser bounces me again.
Ting Jin or listening energy is a fundamental skill than can be developed upon the stretched, connected web of Peng. The greater the awareness of ones own centered and expanded self the faster the registration of anything that touches or disturbs that condition and the faster it corrects itself. Of course the elastic, primed condition of hands, arms and legs support that response.

It's difficult to develop and a mploy that skill when the body (and mind) are preconditioned towards acting in an habitual manner. I have been busy for some time examining what is possible within the uke/tori training paradigm. Somewhere between push tests and push hands lies an interesting territory.

If your temper rises withdraw your hand, if your hand rises withdraw your temper.
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Old 04-05-2017, 01:29 PM   #2
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Developing Ting Jin and using it within an aikido context

Having no activation of pressure by and from the hands (i.e. tensing of the arms and shoulders to power the pushing or pulling with the hands) at the point of contact, while maintaining fullness ("Peng" in the classical sense), makes your hands and arms into sensitive antennae that let you feel every tiny twitch, tension, movement in your opponent's body.

You "fill" your arms with that fullness from the core, instead of using arm, shoulder and upper-back muscles to apply pressure at the POC. To the opponent, it feels as though you are pushing him in a conventional way, with your upper back, shoulders and arms, but that is a mind trick. Your hands are not "committed," and the feeling of pressure the opponent experiences, is coming from your internal qualities.

When your arms and hands are relaxed -- because they are being held in place and maintained by your structure -- you can feel things without tensed muscles obstructing the vibrations coming from your opponent's movements and tensions.

I wasn't really sure what "listening" was until a few years ago. A partner and I were training spinning with the point of contact. I was using the best structure I could muster. He was using his structure, so we were matching each other to start with. Very light at the POC, but I had my arms filled with my structure.

Suddenly, I felt his right knee collapse. It caved. But his outward body didn't reveal the change in his structure, as he used his cross-body connection to hold himself in place, and quickly pulled himself together. Yet, I felt the collapse and knew that in a combat situation, if I felt that, on contact, in an opponent, it would have taken very little effort to capture and collapse his entire structure via the knee and the hip joint.

It was the first time that I was so aware of what was going on in someone else's body, and it opened the door to a new level of study and exploration. Harder to do, and a real challenge, when training with high-level practitioners, but I have found that practicing with people of all levels is critically important to developing this skill.
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Old 04-05-2017, 08:21 PM   #3
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Re: Developing Ting Jin and using it within an aikido context

Reverse breathing with thicken belly fills arms and it can be used to make connection with uke. You can control uke by adding more weights through the arms and uke begins to collapse by himself. It's not probably on syllabus but Yoshinkan guys seem good at it. This kind of push/pull manipulation works like magic since most people don't know about it and they are not trained to interrupt the connection and how to handle the incoming energy.
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Old 04-05-2017, 09:59 PM   #4
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Re: Developing Ting Jin and using it within an aikido context

An exercise employing whole body listening, suggestion and encouragement. Not sure if it is directly analogous to the Ting Jin you're referring to Alec. But it does seem to fall somewhere between push testing and push hands and is definitely applicable to the uke/tori training paradigm.

Have your partner stand in natural stance with his left hand extended. Lightly, very lightly, grasp his wrist with the fingers of your left hand (finger tips only) and put your right hand on his upper back (again, finger tips only). Do nothing. Wait. When you feel him begin to ever so slightly sway, let the touch of your fingers suggest he move in that direction. Simultaneously, encourage him to keep moving in the direction he is leaning by moving with him and use your combined synchronous motion and intent to amplify his motion. At some point he will correct; again suggest and encourage him to continue moving in the direction of his correction. You are leading and following him simultaneously. With practice you will be able to steadily increase the amplitude of his movements as you follow his lead while leading him in the direction he wants to go.

You want to develop a feel for when he will move and in what direction he's likely to go. When you can correctly sense that moment just before his movement begins and initiate your own movement first, you will be moving on his intent. Moving on your partner's intent is what enables you to add your energy to the energy of his motion.

This exercise requires patience. Leave your expectations "at the door" and just let it happen.

Ron

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Old 04-06-2017, 05:09 AM   #5
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Re: Developing Ting Jin and using it within an aikido context

Listening and being able to respond by issuing and neutralizing all start with structure. If your structure is poor, you'll collapse no matter what you "hear." Standing meditation while others test you develops this. Testing others in standing meditation gives you a sense of how their structure is and if it is deficient. You can get a sense from there of what kuzushi feels like in others.
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Old 04-07-2017, 01:49 AM   #6
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Re: Developing Ting Jin and using it within an aikido context

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Listening and being able to respond by issuing and neutralizing all start with structure. If your structure is poor, you'll collapse no matter what you "hear." Standing meditation while others test you develops this. Testing others in standing meditation gives you a sense of how their structure is and if it is deficient. You can get a sense from there of what kuzushi feels like in others.
Hello John,
That's why I thought a little venture away from rooting for a while since the root is the basis of structure until the "fullness" feeling emerges. For me there are stages in recognizing the listening skill.
First is light hands and arms, just try to follow partners movements, stay sticky, and distinguishing the difference between arm only contact and whole body connected. Then this is a heavy phase where you drop your rebound force on their structure. This is where they begin to give info back because of your energy. This is also where you discover, if you partner is better than you, that in trying to load on them you have sacrificed your root and structure and will be easily captured. So, to me, I am aiming to develop light/heavy balance. That's when real stickiness begins to happen, yin and yang in balance, every defense an attack, every attack a defense. Push hands or spinning hands only begin to make sense when people are a bit evenly matched and can both change rapidly. Before that it's either bounce or crash.

If your temper rises withdraw your hand, if your hand rises withdraw your temper.
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Old 04-07-2017, 09:44 AM   #7
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Re: Developing Ting Jin and using it within an aikido context

Great discussion! Good comments all around, John and Alec.
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Old 04-07-2017, 01:54 PM   #8
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Re: Developing Ting Jin and using it within an aikido context

So, there's the saying "There are many jins but only one jin" which I tend to interpret as the following: Jin in the manifestation of Qi in the sense your overall strength will be a combination of your ability to mentally source the intersection of ground pushing you up and gravity pulling you down via your conditioned and connected bone-muscle-tendon-tissue structure. There's a few more things in play but for the purposes of this discussion and specifically Ting Jin, those things are fair game as your level of skill, conditioning and connection all influence your ability to "listen" to the same things in another person. One the reason why some skilled folks give the old "dead fish" handshake so as not to broadcast their level of development.

Anyways, in the pure "jin" sense, the listening ability manifests as the ability to read the intent-force-management of another based on touching them. It also feeds into the application ability to not only reply with your own jin on a tangent line to theirs, but then seemingly "borrow" their strengths as your force-intent skill is able to intercept theirs and add it to the overall net "strength" available.

So in the sense of "aiki" being harmonizing with the available energy (naturally occurring forces of ground/gravity and the forces being brought to bear by another, including their efforts to harmonize with ground/gravity + you), the Ting Jin skill allows you to feel where someone's power is being sourced so that you're more effective in harmonizing with it. As I was taught, an initial "hello" when I meet a new group of people is to have everyone push me, which gives me a baseline understanding of how they're sourcing their strength to push. I've met Daito-ryu folks that do a "greeting" via each of you applying basic joint locks to each other - likely to test something similar though at the time I (regrettably) did not ask.

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Old 04-07-2017, 03:34 PM   #9
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Re: Developing Ting Jin and using it within an aikido context

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Hello John,
That's why I thought a little venture away from rooting for a while since the root is the basis of structure until the "fullness" feeling emerges. For me there are stages in recognizing the listening skill.
First is light hands and arms, just try to follow partners movements, stay sticky, and distinguishing the difference between arm only contact and whole body connected. Then this is a heavy phase where you drop your rebound force on their structure. This is where they begin to give info back because of your energy. This is also where you discover, if you partner is better than you, that in trying to load on them you have sacrificed your root and structure and will be easily captured. So, to me, I am aiming to develop light/heavy balance. That's when real stickiness begins to happen, yin and yang in balance, every defense an attack, every attack a defense. Push hands or spinning hands only begin to make sense when people are a bit evenly matched and can both change rapidly. Before that it's either bounce or crash.
I have an old book with a list of jin somewhere and not with me. I seem to recall that heavy, light, sticky, bouncing, and listening were all listed as separate ideas that could be practiced separately. Later, they could all be mixed and matched.

I remember an exercise where the partner would hold out their arms and we would walk forward to push on them. If I was in poor structure, I would bounce back. If I only moved their arms or turned them, I was not connected to their center. The partner could feel the same things.

Ultimately this needed to be done very slowly and softly or else speed or excessive force might compensate for bad positioning. I sort of look at it as the next level of structure - not just me in good posture alignment, but my positioning and timing in relation to someone else.

If my partner is superior in speed or power, my alignment and positioning needs to be that much better to compensate and I think listening/perceiving informs that. I agree that rooting is not the only thing, that my personal root is half the equation between two people.
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Old 04-07-2017, 03:38 PM   #10
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Re: Developing Ting Jin and using it within an aikido context

I also think there's a difference between the trained skill and conditioned connection that need to exist before some of these things manifest, rather than techniques and drills that will somehow reveal them - if that makes any sense.

Meaning, there's a ton of solo training and work in order for these skills to reveal themselves - after you've been shown how they work.

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Old 04-10-2017, 03:35 AM   #11
Alec Corper
 
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Re: Developing Ting Jin and using it within an aikido context

I used to think that the One Jin was Peng. Then I felt it was actually the connected, spiral of tissue and tendons wrapping around skeletal structure. Then I began to see and feel that Peng is not just an inflated sphere but a constantly spinning sphere and that Chan Tse Jin is not a learned skill but a manifestation of Peng. Learning all the inherent skills that are latently present in Peng constates a great part of forms and applications in CMA. Many people may get trapped in that, and become very good at it without continuing to develop Peng. That is also why,IMHO, attacking is easier than high level yin skills.. To really be able to make your defense into an attack is quite something and I have only felt it from a few people and not yet in aikido.

If your temper rises withdraw your hand, if your hand rises withdraw your temper.
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Old 04-10-2017, 07:19 AM   #12
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Re: Developing Ting Jin and using it within an aikido context

Alec, I would argue that those things aren't different, just level of skill and body coordination in application. You can have really strong jin with little qi/tissue development and vice versa, when they all come together with the body's natural windings/open/closings then it feels like much more of a complete set (or full banana as it were).

Not sure I agree with your spinning sphere analogy or that chansi jin (Silk reeling, aka six harmonies) is solely a manifestation of peng (if that's what you're saying). As I've mentioned elsewhere, If you aren't explicitly training the tissues and body connections via certain methods, the jin will likely remain muscular rather than coordinated with the connected body.

I'd argue that the one jin begins with the intent-force management (which in an unconnected body will be limited). To your point, it can be very tempting to stop there once you get some facility to use the intent-force skills.

The body conditioning pieces take longer over time and there's lots of permutations for how people choose to develop them (even so called internal vs. external martial arts in China may all use various flavors of qi-jin, etc. as do some of the karate and jujutsu systems that have retained those aspects explicitly or otherwise in their lineage transmission). The implication being that if you're going for full banana 6H silk reeling chansi jin, there's a prescribed course of jin, qi and dantien work that will take some years to build the baseline infrastructure, as it were.

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Old 04-10-2017, 07:38 AM   #13
Alec Corper
 
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Re: Developing Ting Jin and using it within an aikido context

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Alec, I would argue that those things aren't different, just level of skill and body coordination in application. You can have really strong jin with little qi/tissue development and vice versa, when they all come together with the body's natural windings/open/closings then it feels like much more of a complete set (or full banana as it were).

No need to argue, I agree

Not sure I agree with your spinning sphere analogy or that chansi jin (Silk reeling, aka six harmonies) is solely a manifestation of peng (if that's what you're saying). As I've mentioned elsewhere, If you aren't explicitly training the tissues and body connections via certain methods, the jin will likely remain muscular rather than coordinated with the connected body.

[B]This is based upon how I currently experience the odd moments of 6 directional force management. I feel when the planes correctly overlap the "shear" sets up a spinning sensation. It is this spinning when manifested at any point of contact that causes kuzushi. The obvious training of Peng, Lu Ji, An, is the way the connective tissue is directed between Dan Tien and the limbs. This is maybe not the classic view, it is how I understand and feel it. [B]

I'd argue that the one jin begins with the intent-force management (which in an unconnected body will be limited). To your point, it can be very tempting to stop there once you get some facility to use the intent-force skills.

The body conditioning pieces take longer over time and there's lots of permutations for how people choose to develop them (even so called internal vs. external martial arts in China may all use various flavors of qi-jin, etc. as do some of the karate and jujutsu systems that have retained those aspects explicitly or otherwise in their lineage transmission). The implication being that if you're going for full banana 6H silk reeling chansi jin, there's a prescribed course of jin, qi and dantien work that will take some years to build the baseline infrastructure, as it were.
[b][Yes, I know there is a classic view of the system which takes many years, and I would not dispute that. However, you and I are both aware that it doesn't have to take as long as many teachers suggest.
My wife is a Chen style teacher and follows a very systematic approach, also academically, but sometimes it appears she is drowning in detail. After her last visit to China she, along with her teacher, a Westerner, came back somewhat disenchanted with the actual skill levels of many of the so-called high level practitioners. It is difficult, but is it so difficult?

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Old 04-10-2017, 07:51 AM   #14
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Re: Developing Ting Jin and using it within an aikido context

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[b][Yes, I know there is a classic view of the system which takes many years, and I would not dispute that. However, you and I are both aware that it doesn't have to take as long as many teachers suggest.
My wife is a Chen style teacher and follows a very systematic approach, also academically, but sometimes it appears she is drowning in detail. After her last visit to China she, along with her teacher, a Westerner, came back somewhat disenchanted with the actual skill levels of many of the so-called high level practitioners. It is difficult, but is it so difficult?
Your point is very well taken - I'm a bit disenchanted with not only the level of information available but also separating the nuggets from the dirt, etc. is very time-consuming.

I don't think your wife is in an unusual situation as I've second hand heard of many disciples and even live-ins that don't get shown the full set of goods, or have them buried in with lots of unrelated content or worse yet, don't have teachers that have the full set of goods themselves.

To your point about what takes a long time vs what can be accelerated. My opinion, but I think the jin all the time is absolutely the way to go from an initial skill building perspective. The challenge is understanding that it's only a part of the puzzle and then figuring out how to most optimally train the body to be connected based on the needs of your style or practice (whole banana sez it's the full muscle-bone-tendon-tissue managed via connected dantien - and that does take years, not forever, but years of solo work, to build the soft but powerful body, it's not something a technique, kata or seminar will imbue).

There's a so many sidesteps or tangents one can take in this journey as well - it's inevitable, I think to take at least one or two before correcting or being corrected. It really helps to have a standard of what "done" (or maybe not done, but a nearish term checkpoint, a longer term checkpoint and then a gold standard that you should absolutely chase but be realistic about ever eclipsing - then be prepared to update/upgrade these as your skills improve over time) looks like. It's trickier than belts or ranks for sure and I think much "dojo culture" works against the specific development of these things.

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Old 04-10-2017, 08:07 AM   #15
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Re: Developing Ting Jin and using it within an aikido context

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This is based upon how I currently experience the odd moments of 6 directional force management. I feel when the planes correctly overlap the "shear" sets up a spinning sensation. It is this spinning when manifested at any point of contact that causes kuzushi. The obvious training of Peng, Lu Ji, An, is the way the connective tissue is directed between Dan Tien and the limbs. This is maybe not the classic view, it is how I understand and feel it
Sorry - this part I missed when it was embedded before. I think this is an important part of the discussion regarding how to apply the developed jin and qi - something around the art of the possible, then linking it back to how you need to develop the jin and qi to certain levels before these things are manifest. I don't see anything that misaligns with the classic view other than when you talk about the intersections of the mental force management as directed through the tissues with the body's windings/open/close, it just helps to perhaps bucket these things into body skill, body conditioning and body skill applications (predicated upon appropriate conditioning) - if that makes sense.

Again, good discussion.

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