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Old 08-11-2006, 04:19 PM   #1
Erick Mead
 
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Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

[To introduce: this was the offshoot of a discussion on musubi and speed that arose in the ground fighting thread. I thought it warrranted its own space for further development.]

Quote:
Michael Fooks wrote:
My concern is that without practicing at full speed you not be able to maintain musubi when attaceked at full speed. The [dicussion] is starting to indicate that you actually advocate starting slow and building up to full speed? If so we're in agreement.
I do recommend understanding how things change at different speed once people are comfortable, but not in the way it seems that you mean.

For most techniques at full speed, a little touch of true musubi (even just with atemi) is all that is required to effect a throw, drop or transition the attack into osae waza. It really becomes more ukemi-limited for uke's safety than for nage's technique. Someone said that the mistakes in aikido are more dangerous than the techniques. This is one illustration of that. It takes time also for uke to be comfortable in adapting his musubi in the ukemi as well, which can be progressively unpredictable the faster that one goes, and not just harder and faster. There is a fundamental physical reason for this.

Going fast does not necessarily have the effect intended -- if what you are driving at is acheiving close and predictable correspondence between rhythm of attack and rhythm of selected technique at progressively higher speed, just harder and faster. Going fast inherently breaks into different rhythm from going slow (one of the reasons why kaitennage feels different slower, and why "speed" is not exactly meant the same way by different people).

That is why people walk at differnt rhythm than they jog, and jog and different rhythm than they run. It is no just faster, Notice that we have only three normal gaits for getting around at different speeds. There are a couple of others but they are more specialized and are not about moving over large distances efficently.

Chaotic systems theory illustrates this rhythm altering by increasing flow rate in a dripping faucet -- first you get one stable rhythm, then two different stable rhythms, then three, and if you dial up the faucet one more time --- at that point the systems becomes chaotic and indeterminate and any rhythm or no rhythm exists in the system.

By increasing speed of attack in the same way, tactical sequences very shortly go out the window, and only musubi will keep up. Speed also has less advantage when seen from the standpoint of inherently altering rhythm. This creates suki that uke did not intend when he went in full tilt, and which do not even exist if he were moving with somewhat greater deliberation. He will fail to recognize it unless it is shown to him at a training pace (which will seem artificial at that pace, even though it is not.)

Another reason to focus on following the musubi rather attempting to train for tactical sequences in advance and then faster (other than for training to abandon them). Going faster changes more than just energy.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 08-12-2006, 01:30 PM   #2
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

IMHO, rhythm, speed, and connection need proper timing to be effective.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
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Old 08-12-2006, 05:19 PM   #3
Brad Pruitt
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

I don't know much but what I do know I feel through practice of the techniques.Through the flow of me and my training partners attempting to keep the connection. I do agree that the rhythm, speed and connection need the proper timing and also I believe the timing is in the rhthym.It's all so very complicated to me while looking so easy.

I really like the dripping faucet example, that helps me visualize and I think I understand what you're saying.


Thanks, Brad

Last edited by Brad Pruitt : 08-12-2006 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 08-13-2006, 07:19 AM   #4
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote:
IMHO, rhythm, speed, and connection need proper timing to be effective.
I cannot reconcile that with O-Sensei's own statement on timing, which is what provoked my thoughts in this area. It is in the Stanley Pranin translation of a newspaper interview given by jointly by O-Sensei and Second Dosshu. He denied that ou no sen (go no sen) sen no sen or sensen no sen played any part in aikido. It is on Aikido FAQ. http://www.aikidofaq.com/interviews.html
Quote:
O-Sensei interview wrote:
[Interviewer: Does that [masagatsu agatsu] mean ou no sen? (This term refers to a late response to an attack.)
O Sensei: Absolutely not. It is not a question of either sensen no sen or sen no sen. If I were to try to verbalize it I would say that you control your opponent without trying to control him. That is, the state of continuous victory.
I'll admit that O-Sensei statement is recondite, but his denial of timing is clear. My thoughts have thus focussed more on awareness of musubi as displacing functional timing. So far, the approach has merit in my practice.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 08-13-2006, 11:44 AM   #5
DonMagee
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

Yet, in order to merge and blend with your attacker, you have to be able to move and match his movements (thus the essance of blending, too slow and he will resist you, too fast and you will lose connection). To me this means timing is critical. If you move too soon, I can track you and we end up in a struggle. If you move to late, you get struck. Entering in on an oppoent (as most aikido movements are entering movements) requires percise timing. To late and your eating my fist, too soon and I can adjust my position. But if you enter at just the right momenet, I am helpless.

This became clear to me while working my ippon seoinage throw in judo. In order to have a good chance at completing this throw, you need to get your attack to press in on you (push back twoards you and make a forward motion). To do this, the easiest way is to push him and get him to push back. But if you simply try the throw as soon as he pushes back he has a good chance of countering or defending. You have to lead his mind into thinking that push is where he wants to be so he will commit to it. Try to throw too soon and he will defend or counter. Wait to long and he will have gained the advantage and you will find yourself thrown.

Anytime two people are attempting to interact timing is involed. It doesn't matter if O'Sensei belived it or not. You can't grab my wrist if its not there to grab. You can't puch me if I'm not in a position to punch. Hesitate for a second and you will lose kazushi as your oppenent has time to recover. In the case of seoinage, if you don't enter right, if you dont turn quick enough, if you didn't break his balance properly, and if you didn't break his grip properly you will find yourself in a very bad spot very quickly as you just turned your back to a guy who is standing there with a good position and balance. When we are just working the throw, timing is not important as I can take my time, pull him where I want him, hoist him up on my back and turn. But when we are sparing, if the throw is not executed fluidly and in just the right fame of time, he will have moved and my throw will find itself opening me up to his attacks.

- Don
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Old 08-13-2006, 02:11 PM   #6
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

Eric I would not interpret those comments as meaning timing is unimportant, Not at all. Ueshiba's comments are about inititiative,not timing.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 08-13-2006, 09:49 PM   #7
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

Quote:
Michael Fooks wrote:
Eric I would not interpret those comments as meaning timing is unimportant, Not at all. Ueshiba's comments are about inititiative,not timing.
A distinction without a differnece. "Sen" means "before "; "sensen" means "before before" ie. superlative case; "go" means "after" -- this is order in time, and thus "timing." But the linguistics are a bit beside the point.

My interpretation of O-Sensei's concept of musubi does not involve initiative either. Musubi is extension and acceptance of the expression of hostile intent without opposition. Until that intent forms, musubi does not arise. When musubi does arise, then connection exists, and whether nage or uke acts first, simultaneously, or after the other becomes irrelevant. Yes, different techniques and variations will end up being applied in different ways in the variant timings, especially in learning to perfrom them initially, or in observing the progress of a particular situtaiton. Time certainly is not suspended by the arising of musubi. But timing does not determine victory nor is it part of how aikido properly functions. Timing occurs, but is not operative; musubi is operative.
Quote:
Don Magee wrote:
Anytime two people are attempting to interact timing is involed. It doesn't matter if O'Sensei belived it or not. You can't grab my wrist if its not there to grab. You can't puch me if I'm not in a position to punch.
Presuming that I wish to punch or grab anyone, anywhere, at a given time. (Don't get me worng, I will and can, and often with great effect, but not because I wish it, but because that is where things sort of lead to.) As I am not attempting to direct any particular sequence of events or a trained combination of techniques, I am freed from the chess-master's limitation in forecasting sequential contingency, a problem Don's next bit of discussion illustrates.
Quote:
Don Magee wrote:
Working my ippon seoinage throw in judo. In order to have a good chance at completing this throw, you need to get your attack to press in on you (push back twoards you and make a forward motion). To do this, the easiest way is to push him and get him to push back. But if you simply try the throw as soon as he pushes back he has a good chance of countering or defending. You have to lead his mind into thinking that push is where he wants to be so he will commit to it.
You are attempting to "have a good chance at completing" ippon seionage by "getting" the attack to press in. This is not accepting the attack as presented, but trying to set up a means of manipulating it in advance . This will lose musubi to begin with by conflicting with the attacker's intent.

If the technique it presents itself, well and good, but I am increasingly working at being busy with the connection itself, not in trying to set up the technique I "hope" in advance will present itself. In short I am trying to break the training paradigm in my training. Sparring will not necessarily do this if you merely repeat the training paradigm faster and harder. The setting up, from a strategic standpoint gives away too much information, delaying victory.

From the standpoint of musubi, whatever presents itself as things play out is mine to exploit since I am no longer bound by push-me-pull-you contingency created by a set temporal sequence of a priori techniques or combinations. And thus also the preeminent aspect of ukemi in gaining and maintaining this connection.
Quote:
Don Magee wrote:
Hesitate for a second and you will lose kazushi as your oppenent has time to recover. In the case of seoinage, if you don't enter right, if you dont turn quick enough, if you didn't break his balance properly, and if you didn't break his grip properly you will find yourself in a very bad spot very quickly as you just turned your back to a guy who is standing there with a good position and balance.
All very good training aids for given technique, but very poor in terms of allowing the strategic strength that exists in aikido to fully flower.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 08-13-2006, 11:14 PM   #8
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Timing occurs, but is not operative; musubi is operative. Presuming that I wish to punch or grab anyone, anywhere, at a given time. (Don't get me worng, I will and can, and often with great effect, but not because I wish it, but because that is where things sort of lead to.) As I am not attempting to direct any particular sequence of events or a trained combination of techniques, I am freed from the chess-master's limitation in forecasting sequential contingency, a problem Don's next bit of discussion illustrates. You are attempting to "have a good chance at completing" ippon seionage by "getting" the attack to press in. This is not accepting the attack as presented, but trying to set up a means of manipulating it in advance . This will lose musubi to begin with by conflicting with the attacker's intent.

If the technique it presents itself, well and good, but I am increasingly working at being busy with the connection itself, not in trying to set up the technique I "hope" in advance will present itself. In short I am trying to break the training paradigm in my training. Sparring will not necessarily do this if you merely repeat the training paradigm faster and harder. The setting up, from a strategic standpoint gives away too much information, delaying victory.

From the standpoint of musubi, whatever presents itself as things play out is mine to exploit since I am no longer bound by push-me-pull-you contingency created by a set temporal sequence of a priori techniques or combinations. And thus also the preeminent aspect of ukemi in gaining and maintaining this connection. All very good training aids for given technique, but very poor in terms of allowing the strategic strength that exists in aikido to fully flower.
But then do you not need to act instantly when the moment presents itself? This in itself is timing. You need a sharp aware mind to have instant recgonition of an opening and instant response before the opening is gone and you are back to waiting.

You seem to think that other arts force openings on their attackers. Quite the opposite, I wait for them to make the mistake, then I correct that mistake into the opening. If my opponent has his guard to low, I will punch to his face, if his guard is too high, his body. The same is true in grappling. I am not going to try to pull my opponents arm across my chest to get an armbar. I'm waiting for him to give me the opening, then when he does, I 'help' that opening into my attack. Maybe he sets his hand on the mat, I see it, and I have a split second to recognize this and grab his wrist or he will lift it back up and I will not be able to submit him from that mistake. At the same time, if I grasp too strongly, or move to fast, he will suspect the submission and defend it. This then requires me to adjust and either try to muscle the submission, or counter his defense by moving on to something else. It can become very mental and require a lot of attention and strategy, or it can be a brawl with pure instinct.

My sense of timing is paramount. Reguardless of what martial art I study or what I want to be true, I still have to use my brain to fight. I still have to see the opening, recognize it and then react to it. All in perfect sequence. Of course the faster I can do any of these, the better. And the more perfect the execution (timing and technique) the better.

This is not a chess match. We do not move and wait, or take turns. There is anticipation and prediction however. If I know my attacker seems to throw a jab cross leg kick combo. I can prepare for it. Maybe he hit me with it twice already. Or maybe I notice he drops his guard when he kicks. I can anticipate his actions and respond properly when he attacks. The same is true for grappling. If I am in someone's guard and I am aware I have reached past his belt line, and I feel him grab my elbow and start to apply preasure, my body knows from instinct that he is preparing for an armbar and I defend accordingly. Sometimes this can seem almost supernatural like mind reading. But really it is just increased sensitivity to these motions, and visual ques (eyes, feet, shoulders, etc).

The more I think about it, I think the concept of musubi is just like most other japaneese words used to describe something. Instead of explaining what is happening, it is an abstract word to wrap up all these concepts of timing, speed, motion, rhythm, etc. As non-japaneese we tend to mystify these concepts and act as if they are almost supernatural. In the end though, you are still having a conection with your partner, feeling his movements and reacting with good rhtyem and timing. Anything else and you will find your movements too late or too soon. The difference is in that I am searching for the opening, and you are waiting then suggesting you can act however you please to defeat your attacker. I find this intriguing because you have to match his rythem to blend (if you are moving faster or slower you are in conflict with this partner), then you have to see and respond to the opening he presents. If you are not within the window he provides, you are too late. This is timing. Also you must move at the correct pace, to slow and your timing with suffer, too fast and you may spoil the attack. So again, I would say that musubi is really just a word to describe speed, rhythem, timing, and sensitivity. Just like I feel ki is just a word to describe the proper use of mind and body mechanics.

- Don
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Old 08-14-2006, 12:35 AM   #9
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
I cannot reconcile that with O-Sensei's own statement on timing, which is what provoked my thoughts in this area. It is in the Stanley Pranin translation of a newspaper interview given by jointly by O-Sensei and Second Dosshu. He denied that ou no sen (go no sen) sen no sen or sensen no sen played any part in aikido. It is on Aikido FAQ. http://www.aikidofaq.com/interviews.html
I'll admit that O-Sensei statement is recondite, but his denial of timing is clear. My thoughts have thus focussed more on awareness of musubi as displacing functional timing. So far, the approach has merit in my practice.
O-Sensei stated on a number of occasions that it wasn't about "timing". Timing is essentially a relative term. It refers to the actions of one person and reaction by another.

O-Sensei's take on this came from his spiritual training in which he experienced the essential oneness of all things. He talked about the idea that the attacker and defender were one. This is how he saw it. He was so fundamentally connected with the attacker that it was impossible for the attacker to move separately from him. As the attacker prepared to initiate his attack, O-Sensei had already, in his mind, executed the technqiue. Hence statements like the one he made about being surrounded by spears but feeling like he was already behind them.

If you can achieve that kind of connection with the attacker, relative timing doesn't apply any more. Katsu Hayabi, or victory in this instant, implies that there is no progression of steps in the interaction, which is what "timing" is really about. For O-Sensei, before the attacker ever moved he had already won.

I think Aikido people should understand about the various principles of timing that are part of Japanese martial arts training. None of us are O-Sensei, yet, so we need these relative concepts to help us understand what we are doing. But it is also important that we try to understand how O-Sensei experienced these concpets because it is only by trying to understand and master these concepts that one has any prospect of taking his training to the that level.

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Old 08-14-2006, 01:15 AM   #10
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

Nice post Don. I think we're all talking about more or less the same thing. Eric calls it musubi, we call it timing. Same concepts.
To get this slightly back to the original topic - I spent alot of time working witht he concept of just responding to the attacker with no preset mind in Aikido classes. I encouraged my students to try and invent their own aikido as it happened rather than look for a technique. It worked moderately well. What I found really accelerated my ability to stay in the moment and take what is given was when I started sparring in grappling. I found that environment much more conducive (after a teething period) to developing that mindset. Maybe that's just me <shrug>

Good discussion.

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Old 08-14-2006, 01:48 AM   #11
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
O-Sensei stated on a number of occasions that it wasn't about "timing". Timing is essentially a relative term. It refers to the actions of one person and reaction by another.
This discussion arose in the context of training regimens and the proposal, made by others, and here paraphrased that beyond basic instruction, "real training" required sparring at "full speed" and "full" contact.

I took exception, because of O-Sensei's statement about timing and my own thoughts in this area. As speed changes, rhythm changes, and not just by speeding up the beat. At faster speeds of interaction more than one beat exists, and at a certain point the rhythm goes entirely chaotic. This is simply a physical fact.

O-Sensei seemed to have no difficulty in this regime. If Aikido is to be effective at full speed -- where all rhythms are possible or all rhythms are lost -- timing cannot be applicable. If we truly want to train for "real" situations at "full speed" it seems to me that we must address ourselves more directly to musubi, because timing is an ill-fitting substitute for it in training for what the sparring proponents want in "full speed" interaction. I'll repeat what I said before: I am looking at techniques, acknowledging that while timing occurs, it ought not be operative; musubi should be operative. As a somewhat dimensionless quantity, it is not bound by the ordering or relative quantities in time, once it has arisen.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
O-Sensei's take on this came from his spiritual training in which he experienced the essential oneness of all things. He talked about the idea that the attacker and defender were one. This is how he saw it. He was so fundamentally connected with the attacker that it was impossible for the attacker to move separately from him. As the attacker prepared to initiate his attack, O-Sensei had already, in his mind, executed the technqiue. Hence statements like the one he made about being surrounded by spears but feeling like he was already behind them.

If you can achieve that kind of connection with the attacker, relative timing doesn't apply any more. Katsu Hayabi, or victory in this instant, implies that there is no progression of steps in the interaction, which is what "timing" is really about. For O-Sensei, before the attacker ever moved he had already won.
While there is without doubt a psychological component to this, I have always been impressed by the very concrete nature of the man's thinking (even in his spiritual flights). Musubi is not merely psychological, but objectively real in my experience, and given your own teaching, I suspect you agree. When, depending on very subtle cues -- including relative differences in timing -- an attack may flow into any of several dozens of techniques and their many varaitonal taisabaki, it is the musubi that dictates (too strong a word) the technique variation and its timing, not the other way around.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
I think Aikido people should understand about the various principles of timing that are part of Japanese martial arts training. None of us are O-Sensei, yet, so we need these relative concepts to help us understand what we are doing. But it is also important that we try to understand how O-Sensei experienced these concpets because it is only by trying to understand and master these concepts that one has any prospect of taking his training to the that level.
The question is how to address training speed, timing and rhythm concepts to musubi as a primary matter, and not a derivative one.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 08-14-2006, 05:08 AM   #12
ian
 
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Another reason to focus on following the musubi rather attempting to train for tactical sequences in advance and then faster (other than for training to abandon them). Going faster changes more than just energy.
I completely agree. I like to break down training into 3 types:
1. mechanical (usually for beginners, showing how your body can move from a static position to achieve a mechanical advantage)
2. Slow and continuous (what people would call 'soft') where an uke provides a consistant and usually slow force such that Nage can alter technique and adapt to ukes force (training in blending)
3. Hard attacks at speed - to utilise timing and distancing correctly.

Correct timing and distance cannot be achieved through practise of 1 and 2 alone. Indeed, I believe type 3 should be the standard type of training unless body mechanics or blending is starting to suffer.

As a side note, I finally realised what Ueshiba meant when he says when someone attacks with fire, respond with water (in his Budo training manual). Then he goes on about Japan being surrounded by water and that was why it is so well defended (the book is pre WWII). 'Water' is the gap created between you and uke when they miss their target (due to your body movement).

I also believe that this 'victory in an instant' is more than just about one-ness with the attackers thoughts. The reason he said that the outcome is decided when contact is made is because the timing/distancing of the attack has to be disturbed to take advantage (Musashi said the same thing). Watching Christian Tissier as a good example, where uke is unbalanced from the instant contact is made, and never regains their balance - thus there is only one real action in the technique; that specific timing for unbalancing (the rest is just uke falling in the direction you want to take him, and if uke is truly unbalanced, uke cannot resist).

For practical training consideration has to be taken over whether the attacker is doing an initial 1st strike, presuming you to be unprepared (like a lunge); for which current aikido training methods are well suited, OR if the affray has already been met and you are in the melee. In the second case I think it essential to be able to enter and strike and to spar (and to be fit), since the attacker is more prepared for a response to his attack (the yin to the receptive yang response). When they withdraw or pause a disconection is made if you don't attack. Of course, all real self-defence situations are different.

P.S. if training is full contact (without protection) and Ueshiba said treat each strike as if it would kill, training would become very dangerous. I believe in aikido we should learn to strike much for powerfully and effectively to understand the dynamics of the rest of the techniques.

P.P.S. we are intending to introduce occasional scenario based 'sparring' i.e. a selection of simulated situations which are context based (to understand how to deal with situations before the fight comenses) with head and groin guards and light gloves. Of course strikes will be dealt, and throws will be carried out (on mats) with a no holds barred attitude from all parties. The benefit over sparring and competition is that the nage does not even know if a fight will start, what the attack will be etc and it will include multiple attacks (which I am starting to think is more common than one on one for males).

Last edited by ian : 08-14-2006 at 05:18 AM.

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Old 08-14-2006, 05:30 AM   #13
ian
 
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

My apologies - I just have to add this. Much of what Ueshiba says is also misleading; for example in the same article Sensei Ledyard quoted Ueshiba says there are 3000 basic techniques with 16 variations. I don't know if he was being ironic but I doubt if many people would seriously tell a student this. - personally I cannot yet match what he says about the peace and harmony side of aikido with his own behaviour in real challenges and his own advice to his uschideschi in real situations. Unfortunately it seems that Ueshiba was unable to teach anyone to be as good at aikido as he was - he was either a bad teacher or it is the sign of a man who was hiding something.

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Old 08-14-2006, 07:02 AM   #14
ian
 
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

read this also:
http://www.budoseek.net/vbulletin/sh...54&postcount=1

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Old 08-14-2006, 07:30 AM   #15
ian
 
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

I hate to bore people again - but this is something that really strikes a chord with my recent change to training. The fact that Ueshiba has said that 90% of aikido is atemi MUST SURELY relate to this concept of misubi (inducing a reaction in uke, and nages reaction to uke). I agree that Misubi isn't really timing (it relates more to the psychological/physical interaction). Whereas in aikido we also say things like 'this is an atemi which would make you want to flick your head backwards' in reality people have tunnel vision and a strong physical strike is often required to actually induce that. To me aikido is a 'training method' that needs to be understood, not a simulation of reality.

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Old 08-14-2006, 08:44 AM   #16
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

Quote:
Ian Dodkins wrote:
My apologies - I just have to add this. Much of what Ueshiba says is also misleading; for example in the same article Sensei Ledyard quoted Ueshiba says there are 3000 basic techniques with 16 variations. I don't know if he was being ironic but I doubt if many people would seriously tell a student this. - personally I cannot yet match what he says about the peace and harmony side of aikido with his own behaviour in real challenges and his own advice to his uschideschi in real situations. Unfortunately it seems that Ueshiba was unable to teach anyone to be as good at aikido as he was - he was either a bad teacher or it is the sign of a man who was hiding something.
Actually, I was almost as intrigued by that same statement. It is not really misleading at all, although people may reasonably disagree with what goes into the calculation. I have yet to seee any canonical version of the elements.

If you multiply the known attack/response combinations (33~34/15~16) times the two initial tai sabaki musubi (omote/ura) and then times the three basic hanmi -- all counted as separate techniques -- it comes out to be right about 3000, give or take (e.g.-- 34*15*2*3= 3060). If you then lay out the receive/send (in-yo) portions of the nagewaza into its possible tai-sabaki permutations --each portion being either irimi-omote/ura or tenkan-uchi/soto -- then you get exactly 16 variations.

All told that is ~48,000 variational techniques with which to play plus the ones you get to make up at need (I love THAT allowance in the interview). If you did four technique variations every single day it would take you 32 or more years to run through them all. I don't know if any deshi stayed with him that long, other than Second Doshu.

This only emphasizes to me the importance of understanding musubi in its own right as bringing these techniques into being spontaneously, rather than as the presumed result of exhausting the catalog of techniques. My memory ain't that good.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 08-14-2006, 11:06 AM   #17
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
I am looking at techniques, acknowledging that while timing occurs, it ought not be operative; musubi should be operative. As a somewhat dimensionless quantity, it is not bound by the ordering or relative quantities in time, once it has arisen.

While there is without doubt a psychological component to this, I have always been impressed by the very concrete nature of the man's thinking (even in his spiritual flights). Musubi is not merely psychological, but objectively real in my experience, and given your own teaching, I suspect you agree. When, depending on very subtle cues -- including relative differences in timing -- an attack may flow into any of several dozens of techniques and their many varaitonal taisabaki, it is the musubi that dictates (too strong a word) the technique variation and its timing, not the other way around.

The question is how to address training speed, timing and rhythm concepts to musubi as a primary matter, and not a derivative one.
I definitely think you and I are on the same page here...

If anything stands out about Aikido in its martial incarnation, it's about the idea that the fight is over at the instant of physical contact. It is very Japanese in that sense in that its central principles comes from sword... one cut, one death. We take that core idea and then at the moment when we could have cut the enemy down, we have the option to choose not to. In practice this is what should be happening. However it is often not what is going on. mnay practitioners think they should vacate their space in response to an attack and they call that blending, then they try to get kuzushi someplace along the line in the interaction. In the real world of fighting that might happen since we aren't yet O-sensei and our technique isn't perfect. But it isn't a correct understanding of what we are shooting for.

Ki musubi is about reaching out with ones attention and "touching" the opponent. He, of course is doing the same thing and the coming together of the two attentions creates musubi. In an objective, scientific sense one can always talk about "timing" because one is looking at an interaction from outside. But that isn't what O-Sensei was talking about, I think. When he talked about these issues he was talking about how we experience them subjectively.

This is something I have been working on quite a bit. Ushiro Kenji talks about this in his classes. Also, I am convinced that this is what Saotome Sensei is doing when he enters (although he doesn't explain it). The mind must precede the body if one is to move. The body doesn't simply move on its own. By projecting ones attention out to the partner, by placing ones attention "inside" the opponent's guard rather than "outside" in a defensive sense, one attains the feeling that the movement is in some sense already accomplished. What remains to be done is simply allowing the body to actualize what has already happening in the mind.

Doing this completely shifts how one experiences time. Things start to slow down, much like how you see things when you've had an accident and you can see every detail of an interaction which actually took a couple seconds. It comes impossible for the opponent to move separately from you, to create that gap that gets him ahead of you in order to strike some opening. No matter how fast he comes, you feel like there's plenty of time to move, no feeling of having to hurry. Total relaxation of the mind and body is essential for this to happen, mental tension will make this impossible to do.

People talk about getting kuzushi instantly at the moment of contact but this is very difficult, if not impossible if one hasn't established musubi before the movement ever started. I have been experimenting with observing my students at the dojo and my practice partners when I travel, attempting to discern where they are placing their attention when they stand across from me. Most folk's attention stops at their own physical extension. You tell them to extend and their attention goes out to their hands or the tip of their own sword. More advanced people extend their attention out to the partner but usually their minds are caught by the attack itself and their attention only extends to the attacking limb, not inside it to the attacker's center. When you start to be able to see this, you realize that the folks who can't place their attention "inside" your attack and connect with your center, are always a bit late in their response. Normally I find that I can hit them at will or at lest, they can't take my center on the moment of contact and they end up in danger of being reversed.

I have a variety of ways to get people to project their attention. One that works well for students of all experience levels is to give the students shinai. One student will start in seigan and then move through all of the various kamae in sequence (order doesn't matter). The other will look for the mental opening that would allow him to attack. We do a tsuki attack but the targeting is kept purposely lower than normal so that no one gets hurt. His job is to "feel" when there is the mental opening that allows him to attack. The defender should be able to counter any attack no matter what point the defender is at in his movement from one to another. Many folks are ok at each point when they are in the kame but have trouble keeping their mental projection when they shift from one to another.

Another method I am using to get people to place their attention inside the attack, rather than on the attack is to have the students do the atemi before they do the technique. In other words the attacker is doing shomen uchi or yokomen uchi and the defender simply moves in with his own shomen strike. This gets the student to focus on the openings rather than the attack. If they can keep this feeling even when they shift to doing a conventional technique, their attention is at a totally different place than it was when they were trying to deal with the attack.

Anyway, the visualization of already being inside the attack with your mind is very powerful. You definitely start to experience things differently and many of the principles that O-Sensei talked about start to make sense. At least that has been my experience and I can see it making a marked difference in my students.

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Old 08-14-2006, 03:39 PM   #18
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

I agree that musubi is not the same thing as timing, or as some combination of timing, rhythm, speed, motion, etc. All of those things happen, by definition, as they are elements of physical interaction. But they are not the only thing that is happening. I very much like Ledyard Sensei's image of being "inside the attack," and am reminded of an event of a few months ago:
Four police officers had stopped a man on the street, right in front of a hot dog stand in my town. My spouse and I were eating at a table in front of the stand, and we watched as they searched the man's pack (he had an outstanding felony warrant), and a couple of the officers prepared to handcuff him. Everything was very low-key, with the man standing relaxed, the officers all around, overwhelming force and all that. But I kept watching him. Maybe it was the day, but I felt that he was about to make a break. And just as the cuffs were about to go on, away he went, bolting forward and wheeling sharply to his right, towards the stand. In that instant I also wheeled right, and remember feeling as though we were on connected turntables. He had started perhaps 15ft. from us, and given the layout of the tables he had to pass by me on one of two possible paths. One step to my right seemed to steer him towards my preferred path.
As he approached, running full speed, with four officers in pursuit, we were already met. The technique (irimi nage, as it turns out) felt like an afterthought, and in any event was interrupted about halfway through by a flying tackle by the lead officer.
Nothing in my training had specifically prepared me for dealing with someone who simply wanted to get past me, as opposed to attacking me, though the two situations involve significantly different behavior. And nothing in my training has had anything to say about optimal use of outdoor furniture for detaining fleeing felons. I have long taken it on faith that Aikido's methodology, though not obviously effective to many people's eyes (no scenario's, no sparring, relatively little full-speed practice), does in fact prepare its practitioners for "real" situations.
Musubi might be hard to define, might actually be hard to think about -- thus our inclination to explain it away as just a vague Japanese term for testable phenomena. It's hard to think of a parallel, but I am reminded of the old saw that, "Dance is just the vertical expression of a horizontal intent." This is the empirical view, the one that draws obvious -- and perhaps most often true -- connections between partying and getting laid. But a friend of mine responded to this idea rather vehemently, saying, "No, no, that's backwards. Sex is just one expression of dance. Dance is the realer thing." Perhaps musubi can be seen, then, as the source of timing, rhythm, etc.
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Old 08-14-2006, 04:28 PM   #19
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
I definitely think you and I are on the same page here...
...
Ki musubi is about reaching out with ones attention and "touching" the opponent. He, of course is doing the same thing and the coming together of the two attentions creates musubi. In an objective, scientific sense one can always talk about "timing" because one is looking at an interaction from outside. But that isn't what O-Sensei was talking about, I think. When he talked about these issues he was talking about how we experience them subjectively.
There are all sorts of analogies. A rigid rod moves linearly as much on one end as on the other , and is incapable of moving seprately from the other -- thus musubi -- which observaiton underlies the partner jo practice that we in ASU are familiar with. Non-linearly e.g. -- rotation -- the connection is not so clear from the movement itself, but the connection is undeniable all the same. If you oscillate it around the center just right, like the pencil trick when you were a kid, it can even appera to be flexible and rubbery, But that's a trick of perception. Musubi is not a rigid rod, either. But the trick of conscious perception may be onto something worthwhile

In real live conflict we are talking about complex energy states -- kinetic, biochemical, electromuscular. I brought up the issue of symmetry-breaking and chaotic rhythm illustrated in the dripping faucet. In this case, I am working through what I do not believe to be analogy, but of actual physically demonstrable connection between the energy states of two people in musubi and lack fo such connection between the energy states of people as to whom musubi does not exist.

Studies on the chaotic dynamics of signals in the brain have shown that wave-like synchrony and coherence exist at significant physical scales. The phased wave packets observable through EEG appear to be non-local in nature, having, in essence, field-like properties encompassing the central nervous system as a whole. These wave packets propagate on the order of nearly 30 inches of space at velocities of 60 ft/s, and are capable of fundamental changes of state within 5 ms. The study found no upper limit to the spatial progation of thes wave forms within the neural system. They are not readily explainable by means of neural network models. The rate of change of the wave state exceeds the typical firing rate of individual neurons by nearly an order of magnitude. (~40-60 Hz, or 25-50 ms per synaptic discharge) See http://cnd.memphis.edu/neuropercolat...WavePacket.pdf

That is not as spooky as it sounds; tsunamis travel are giant waves (inches high) travelling faster than airliners, but the individual water particles that oscillate as they pass do not approach within two orders of magnitude of that velocity. They travel thousands of miles from their origins, barely perceptible, until amplified by external conditions.

These wave states show up also in the neural system as a whole (and by extension in the neuromuscular kinesthetic sensory system also), and are believed to function on the stochastic (chaotic) background "noise" of the nervous system as a whole via chaotic atttactor models. http://cnd.memphis.edu/paper/tnn-ce971R-HK.pdf

If you like this chaos stuff -- you know what I mean. If you don't -- I will boil it down shortly.

Studies on improving postural sway in balance-impaired patients involving stochastic resonance (random noise vibrations) attempted to amplify balancing signals with vibrational noise below the consciously perceptible limit. The success of these experiemnts indicated that similar chaotic, stochastic amplification processes exists in the neuromuscular system as well and that the neuromuscular system can make use of subsensory inputs. http://www.bu.edu/abl/files/fulltext.pdf
Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Doing this completely shifts how one experiences time. Things start to slow down, much like how you see things when you've had an accident and you can see every detail of an interaction which actually took a couple seconds. It comes impossible for the opponent to move separately from you, to create that gap that gets him ahead of you in order to strike some opening. No matter how fast he comes, you feel like there's plenty of time to move, no feeling of having to hurry. Total relaxation of the mind and body is essential for this to happen, mental tension will make this impossible to do.
If we posit the wave-like propagation of neuromuscular activity as thee studies suggest, at speeds exceeding the firing rate of neurons, upon contact uke and nage form one system of neuromuscular wave packet propagation. Neuromuscular informaiton below the perceptible limit is capable of provoking useful feedback -- as in the postural studies.

And what is kuzushi but the inverse of good posture.

If nage is tense or intent on a particular action, he provokes a neuromuscular cascade. He is inputting signal that, by definition, since it is a conscious act or intent, is above the perceptible limit and thus drowns out his own chaotic noise background. It is that "random" background (it is not really random, but chaotic, not the same thing at all) that provides stochastic resonance amplification of faint neuromuscular signals from uke at the moment of contact. Almost literally like a 5 ms or so modem handshake connection.

Even preparatory intent will send signals at or even just below the perceptible limit that will interfere with the stochastic amplification the body's background neural noise is capable of employing to utilize the subsensory inputs from uke.

Since we are capable of using neuromuscular signals below the perceptible limit to provoke feedback for postural balance, they ought to be avaiable for utilization to the now integrated uke/nage sytem. In chaotic systems terms, the combined uke/nage system has now two attractors uke's wave state or nage's wave state. More overt signal may increase the amplitude of the interaction, but only the noisy chaotic subsensory inputs determine whether the combined system is, literally, centered on uke or nage.

Since it is the subsensory signal that is driving the chaotic system, if we remain relaxed, we are not creating our own overt "signal" to drown out the internal background noise that amplifies the neuromuscular signals uke is contributing to that immediate connection.

If we can enter the conneciton without generating "signal" of our own, and train to act as innately as possible upon those subsensory cues at the moment of contact, we are most clearly engaged in ki musubi and are working in aiki.

I can imagine some experimental observation of paired EMG's to see if demonstrable coherence is acheived between the two neuromuscular systems when some trained participants are able to report musubi in their interaction. I need to talk to a neurologist acquaintance of mine and see if this is worth trying some time.
Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
People talk about getting kuzushi instantly at the moment of contact but this is very difficult, if not impossible if one hasn't established musubi before the movement ever started. ... When you start to be able to see this, you realize that the folks who can't place their attention "inside" your attack and connect with your center, are always a bit late in their response. Normally I find that I can hit them at will or at lest, they can't take my center on the moment of contact and they end up in danger of being reversed.
Huygens Law says that for wave propagation through an arbitrarily sized opening, say a door or window, it does not matter where in the space or room beyond that aperture the signal is actually being generated. The signal, to the observer on this side, comes entirely from the door. Thus, almost instantly upon contact, and through that very narrow aperture, I have all the signal of uke's neuromuscular state that I need for my neuromuscular system to adapt -- unless I am drowning it out with too much signal of my own.
Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
I have a variety of ways to get people to project their attention. One that works well for students of all experience levels is to give the students shinai. One student will start in seigan and then move through all of the various kamae in sequence (order doesn't matter). The other will look for the mental opening that would allow him to attack. ...
Anyway, the visualization of already being inside the attack with your mind is very powerful. You definitely start to experience things differently and many of the principles that O-Sensei talked about start to make sense. At least that has been my experience and I can see it making a marked difference in my students.
The purpose for these modes of thinking, is to provoke ways of approaching the material that are fresh, applicable and accessible. I suspect mine may fail on the latter point somewhat. But this line of thinking gives some concrete foundation to what may too often be seen as airy spookiness.

And musubi is not that at all -- it is exceedingly concrete. Ledyard Sensei's musubi is about as concrete as I have fetlt, in every sense of that expression ... His instruction in a seminar last year provoked this line of thinking for me, particualry on figuring out how to understand and access the subsensory aspects of musubi. He repeatedly was catching me out doing things subconsciously, PRECISELY THE SAME THINGS that I catch my students doing at a more rudimentary level. That was a watershed for me on this topic. Clearly, I had some inkling of something I was doing wrong, although not consciously so, and thus was subconsciously disposed to perceive that same error in my students -- and this is the important point -- most clearly when I was PERFORMING UKE FOR THEM.

The thinking on neuromuscular coherence underlying musubi has made me also start thinking about kokyu principles and the mechanism by which the (I hesitate to say "forces" because that gets us into a too-linear model -- structural dynamics is better) structural dynamics at play -- both within nage to produce the kokyu, and within uke to produce the kuzushi as well as in the musubi conenciton between them.

I'll discuss a little of my current interest in this area later, although I am not as far along in looking these issues yet as I have gotten on trying to suss out the musubi thing.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 08-14-2006 at 04:41 PM.

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Erick Mead
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Old 08-14-2006, 04:45 PM   #20
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

Quote:
Brion Toss wrote:
And nothing in my training has had anything to say about optimal use of outdoor furniture for detaining fleeing felons.
Your training has really suffered from a most egregious lapse then --- we train in lounge chair waza all the time ....

MaiTai-nage anyone?

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Old 08-14-2006, 06:25 PM   #21
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

Come to think of it, we do sometimes practice on couches: Cushy-nage.
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Old 08-14-2006, 11:20 PM   #22
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Ki musubi is about reaching out with ones attention and "touching" the opponent. He, of course is doing the same thing and the coming together of the two attentions creates musubi. In an objective, scientific sense one can always talk about "timing" because one is looking at an interaction from outside. But that isn't what O-Sensei was talking about, I think. When he talked about these issues he was talking about how we experience them subjectively.

This is something I have been working on quite a bit. Ushiro Kenji talks about this in his classes. Also, I am convinced that this is what Saotome Sensei is doing when he enters (although he doesn't explain it). The mind must precede the body if one is to move. The body doesn't simply move on its own. By projecting ones attention out to the partner, by placing ones attention "inside" the opponent's guard rather than "outside" in a defensive sense, one attains the feeling that the movement is in some sense already accomplished. What remains to be done is simply allowing the body to actualize what has already happening in the mind.

Doing this completely shifts how one experiences time. Things start to slow down, much like how you see things when you've had an accident and you can see every detail of an interaction which actually took a couple seconds. It comes impossible for the opponent to move separately from you, to create that gap that gets him ahead of you in order to strike some opening. No matter how fast he comes, you feel like there's plenty of time to move, no feeling of having to hurry. Total relaxation of the mind and body is essential for this to happen, mental tension will make this impossible to do.
I was hoping this might come up some where in the dicussion. Is it not the case that musubi can occur in the mind?

As mentioned in a very scientific manner in this thread ,and very well too i might add, is it possible for uke to pick up stimulus from uke wehther those stimulus be visual or kinesthetic, from physical pressure or electromagnetic (ki) stimuli and be able to respond mental seperately or with some level of co-ordination with the body. I loved the description of the feeling of the body playing out what had already occured in the mind

My training has been predominantly Ki aikido and the mantras are the mind moves the body and know your opponents mind.

After many years of fumbling around in the dark I believe that i am getting a feel for ukes movements that are not at all physical. And what is further more getting some idea of how to get some sort of musubi without moving or blending with my opponents mind.

Wadaya think?

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Old 08-15-2006, 07:50 AM   #23
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

Quote:
Brion Toss wrote:
Come to think of it, we do sometimes practice on couches: Cushy-nage.
NO! NO! -- Not the ... COMFY CHAIR!!!!

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Old 08-15-2006, 08:48 AM   #24
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

Quote:
Aran Bright wrote:
I was hoping this might come up some where in the dicussion. Is it not the case that musubi can occur in the mind?
As mentioned in a very scientific manner in this thread ,and very well too i might add, is it possible for uke to pick up stimulus from uke wehther those stimulus be visual or kinesthetic, from physical pressure or electromagnetic (ki) stimuli and be able to respond mental seperately or with some level of co-ordination with the body. I loved the description of the feeling of the body playing out what had already occured in the mind.
...
Wadaya think?
From a neurological standpoint, stimulus is stimulus. The sensory apparatus does not itself care where the inputs come from. Indeed, beyond the point of entry into its range of detection (lower than your conscious awareness of it) it only knows the point of entry (Huygens law) -- anything beyond that is a matter of a model or representation (conscious or otherwise) in the brain and neuro-muscular system, based on either instinct or learning.

The studies I provided and others suggest that the modelling wave-forms the kinesthetic and other cognition systems use happen not just within the brain alone but throughout the whole neuromechanical feedback system of the body. There is no reason to limit this to exclude visual or other sensory cues whether above or below the level of conscious awareness.

George Fox, the statistician, once said " All models are wrong; some models are useful." models that include subsensory cues, are therefore more complete, as they have not excluded information by the conscious threshold. Additionally, the models that are conscious may be manipulated consciously, and thus may not reflect the true internal state. Those models that are not conscious are not disconnected in this way from the real cues that created them.

Which is another reason to rely on subsensory cues, and to train for subsensory cues --- they are incapable of lying about the internal state. Subsensory cues only reflect models of real internal states, not hypothetical constructs. Constructs are the business of consciousness (and thus potentially, lying). Poker players rely on this fact for subliminal "tells" that disclose a player's card strategy.

So the short answer is -- yes. Does that mean it is easy or the subject of conscious manipulation? -- No, or at least not without great difficulty and lots of apparatus. Can your subconscious, which sees, knows -- and even wills -- far more than you know it does, learn? -- Equally, yes.

I tell my students that they need to quit letting the schemer brain do the thinking and let the monkey brain function more strongly. It is faster, stronger and knows more of what is actually going on. It just can't talk too good.

The way most people have learned to operate cognitively is like a train with a mute, but keen-sighted conductor in the engine. They decide to let the talkative brakeman, located in the caboose, who can only see where he has just been, not where he is going -- neverthless run the train -- on the theory that only he can talk to give directions to the conductor and because the conductor can never explain why he is doing what he does. Great, if you want to have after-the-fact narrative reports. But it's a really bad way to run a railroad.

Ledyard Sensei discusses the need to relax and lose tension in order for musubi to function properly. Anxiety and tension in general, in fact, may almost be defined as the glimmering awareness of dissonance created by a disconnect between what your conscious state of awareness believes (hopes, fears) is going on and what your subconscious is desperately trying to find a way to tell you is actually happening.

If you simply abandon the need to consciously perceive a possible opponent as a threat, or more frequently, (less clearly seen by many people, but equally a problem) abandon trying to imagine yourself to be "safe" from consciously feared threats not actually present, the rest of you is going to operate more efficiently. You will be better able to deal with any threat that actually presents itself on the basis of subsensory cues that are present before you are even consciously aware of them. This allows your background senses to do their work without extraneous internal signals overwhelming their function.

These facts should suggest why there is such a strong and natural affinity between contemplative practice and budo. Those who (falsely) imagine contemplation to be a pleasant idyll or retreat from their conception of harsh "reality", often see these two as somehow irreconcilable philosophically, when they are cognitively identical.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 08-15-2006 at 08:50 AM.

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Old 08-15-2006, 08:34 PM   #25
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Re: Rhythm/Speed/Musubi - How they work

eh, I just choke things.

Seriously though, I'll have to think about that for a bit.

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