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Old 11-21-2006, 10:30 PM   #201
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
Well, if you gave me the original japanese from Mochizuki's quote, I could probably comment better on it. (Since I assume that's where you got the ura statement)
I didn't get that statement from Sensei, but derived it from something else he said. In most aikido I've seen, ura and omote mean simply the front side (in front of, to the front) and the back side (behind, to the rear). But he defined them in terms of kenjutsu, as the intent (omote) of the attacker, expressed in his technique, and the weakness (ura) of that attack. He explained aiki as exploiting the ura of an attacker's kiai technique. So the attacker punches (his omote) and aiki uses the ura of the punch (the weakness behind the punch) as the mode of its own technique. So aiki technique is tailored to the ura of whatever method the attacker uses (his omote).

From what Dan was saying, it sounds like this could relate to somehow accessing the ura of the opponent's strength so that when he pushes you with strength, it is somehow converted to its ura, which is weakness.

That's what I mean by "accessing the ura of the opponent's strength through his own touch."

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
Sure, getting out of the swords way is paramount, but how to do so unfailingly? The movement has to be completely non-telegraphic, and without setup. So how do you accomplish that? Is the real question I think. How do you move the body first (without it moving externally) and then cause the arms and legs to move first?
Well, the way Mochizuki Sensei taught it was irimi tai sabaki. And it had to be non-telegraphic. For one thing, the attacks were sudden, so that you had no moment to "get ready" and thus display what you were going to do.

So you had to be centered and non-moving from the first. Then, when the attacker came, you had to see him coming, from whatever direction he was coming from, and move instantly from that place to the appropriate place relative to the sword. I never really thought much about the internal aspect of it or how I felt on the inside. There was seldom that much time. You would throw one fellow from a punch or kick, then the next attacker would be coming with a club, bo or sword and you had to move instantly to avoid it. And that meant you had to be in zanshin from the previous throw so you'd be ready for the next attack.

But looking back and considering what you wrote, "turning within yourself" sounds familiar. Just as I think about what I feel inside when I'm grabbed two-hands-on-one and I bring the seized hand down and in, then up in a scooping motion. Why am I not pulled off balance when I do that against a bigger person? I know the feeling, but I've never tried to analyze it in those inner-feeling terms.

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
...when you move the body, that movement should NOT be felt on the surface. And that's what allows a killer blow.
The "ura" to that, (to borrow yours or mochizuki's terminology, feel free to correct me if im wrong) is that you use this same skill to avoid said blow. The person that has less Bure/sway/etc in the body, has more time to deal with the incoming blow.
That's what I mean by you have to be centered and motionless, in zanshin from the previous movement, not swaying or jerking around, frozen, but completely relaxed and soft.

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
By the same token, the person striking wants to reduce the same thing in his body if he wants to up the chance of his strike landing. It comes down to, who has the most unshakable core.
Well, which is what makes me unpopular when I visit other aikido schools. I only know how to strike down with sincerity and without a lot of quaver and wriggle, and without cutting way off to the side so that your avoidance is bound to work. I am absolutley not going to hit anyone with a bokken in any class, but when I've visited classes, they seem to think I'm trying to hit them because in their classes they do strike wide and slow and without much real sword technique. Mochizuki Sensei was a master of katori shinto ryu and he really took kenjutsu very seriously. His aikido was always geared to working against the sword.

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
All other movement, irimi, strikes etc are merely a result.
Ken no ugoki ha setsuna de ugoku to iu koto, would be the japanese round about way of saying this.
Mochizuki Sensei said it with the name of one of his greatest kata: "Ken tai ichi."

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
As for chris's comments, he's too kind. I still got a long ways to go, and I'm a punk I'll admit it ^^; So take his words with some salt lol.
I'm lucky to have lived through my twenties, the places I went and the things I said...better to eat some salt than a lot of crow.

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
I do hope you get the chance to get out here at some point though. It'll be throughly educational for both of us I think
My wife and I have been talking about the possibility of moving back to Japan to live someday. I wouldn't have to worry about a sponsor anymore and could run my own juku. But I have a lot to accomplish here before I do that, at least until the study I'm currently working for comes to an end.

Don't know when I'll get another chance to visit.

Best wishes.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 11-21-2006, 11:00 PM   #202
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Well, what does it matter over knowing how to do it???? Let your head be held up with the Ki of Heaven.
Mike
Hehe, true. What I get is that you can't have one without the other
(or, if the one wouldn't be there, you'd have another in its place,
and our bodies would be way different).
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Old 11-21-2006, 11:34 PM   #203
Tim Fong
 
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Gernot,
Re: the lowering back issue.

I think what you could do is this:

fix two spots on the ground with tape. Then put up a background with the distance marked on it (say in increments of 1 foot or maybe 6 inches. Then stand on the marks, and place the camera so that you were in profile.




______________Background with marks__________________



x

x




Camera

So then when you move, the amount you move your back relative to your feet (which are fixed in place) will be easy to measure. "X" marks the feet positioning.
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Old 11-22-2006, 12:33 AM   #204
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

So what you expect is some backward movement in the shoulders? Not by a foot I hope :-) Certainly I feel (and so does the partner) that this puts force into the partner's shoulders if he is holding mine from behind, so I would hazard that some parts are moving up and others down. From the outside I agree it might be interesting to see what it looks like, to allow comparison with other people. I'll give it a try tonight.
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Old 11-22-2006, 05:40 AM   #205
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
Mark, my kids have all sat in seiza naturally. I have pictures of them in seiza. Well, on their knees with their feet under--not with toes crossed, but close enough that I consider it seiza.

David
David,
Just to play devil's advocate. They're kids of a martial artist, they probably learned from you -- subconsciously.

Seriously, though, I don't know about kids and seiza. I'd guess you're right. But toddlers and younger? Really can't say that I've seen them in seiza. How does that fit in your theory? If toddlers aren't sitting seiza (most don't, they sit on their butt with their feet out) yet kids do, why? Why later and not sooner if it's something natural or intuitive?
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Old 11-22-2006, 05:50 AM   #206
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
Mark,

I don't think that all the aiki no inyo-ho methods are done from seiza. I believe that refers to the whole range of original aiki methods, including standing and sword, though if you find an exact reference, I'll listen.

David
No, not all. Agree with you there. But, it's a striking revelation that seiza just isn't some position that we sit in because of "tradition". Heck, I'd already had enough revelations with the internal stuff that I didn't need any more. LOL. I told my aikido class that I felt like going back to a white belt. To borrow the quote from Neil, "I suck. I will try to suck less. Someday I may even get good enough to do this well."

Back to the theory, though. If seiza is one of those things that is used to learn the internal arts, hence things that made Mochizuki, Ueshiba, Shioda, etc better at their art -- and kids sit seiza naturally or intuitively, why aren't they also picking up on the internal aspect of seiza, too?

Perhaps they naturally, or intuitively, know the physical aspect but not the complete internal skill? Whole body movement such as when a toddler goes from crouching to standing and back to crouching rapidly in succession about a million times but yet couldn't really have a strong internal center. Dunno ... it's your working theory.

Mark
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Old 11-22-2006, 08:27 AM   #207
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
Well, the way Mochizuki Sensei taught it was irimi tai sabaki. And it had to be non-telegraphic. For one thing, the attacks were sudden, so that you had no moment to "get ready" and thus display what you were going to do.

So you had to be centered and non-moving from the first. Then, when the attacker came, you had to see him coming, from whatever direction he was coming from, and move instantly from that place to the appropriate place relative to the sword. I never really thought much about the internal aspect of it or how I felt on the inside. There was seldom that much time. You would throw one fellow from a punch or kick, then the next attacker would be coming with a club, bo or sword and you had to move instantly to avoid it. And that meant you had to be in zanshin from the previous throw so you'd be ready for the next attack.
Without speaking for Rob, I think you're talking about something else. This just sounds like good hard training, but again you're focusing on external strategies (good strategies mind you, awareness, speed, learning where to move...) but I think what Rob's talking about (and what I think separates aiki from ju) is the ability to move without the act of moving registering with your opponent. This is more about how your body moves through space and what happens internally than what you do externally or where your feet go. I'd describe what you're talking about as moving without a 'wind-up', also good, but not the same.
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Old 11-22-2006, 08:54 AM   #208
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Well, I'd disagree. I don't know of a single westerner who I'd consider skilled in Taiji, Bagua, etc.... the same missing elements in Aikido are usually missing in almost all western teachers of Chinese martial arts. ...
Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
wrote:
I don't really have a good concept of "jin mechanics" as a term, I'm almost exclusively a budoka and Chinese arts and terms are totally new to me (and after all this is aikiweb).
Doesn't matter. "Jin mechanics", "ki tests", "ki demos", "fa jin", "rooting", "neutralizing" (in the ki/kokyu sense), "listening".... all that stuff is the same stuff.... Chinese or Japanese martial art, regardless.
I do not find the equivalence here. There is nothing "missing" here, any more than a snake or a shark is "missing" legs, or a bull is "missing" fangs and claws. All dangerous things are not dangerous for the same reasons.

I do not deny the points Mike raises about internal arts (even while differing on our understadnig of the precise mechanics of them), they are just not aikido in the way he describe them and their use, and the way in which the nei-jia are typically explained to function..

While I have no problem with "Ki tests" etc. as means to discover and explore different modes of coherent movement, they are not aiki either. I have seen everything from Saito's tightness and flow to Tohei's frighteningly dissmissive throws. I have felt version of these from students in their lineages. I have seen (and felt) modes of body carriage as different in their own ways as the Tohei lineage is different from Yoshinkan.

They are all aikido. They are NOT working on the same principles as the nei-jia. The aspects of carriage and movement could not be more different. Yoshinkan (no offense) body carriage is far divorced from prescriptions of nei-jia and internal power, however it is underestood in mechanical terms. However, it, like Tohei's art, all works as aikido.
Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
The ki, kokyu, jin, etc., stuff is what they really mean by "natural" movement. It's not a reliance on muscular movement; it's a return to using the strengths of ground-support and gravity (the ki of heaven and the ki of earth) as the power behind our movements, rather than just brute force.
It is a comfort knowing that Mike is around to clarify what we really mean.

I don't know nuthin' 'bout no jin mechanics. (Well, I do, but I don't need to in this instance, and they have little to do with aikido, per se.) I do know about mechanics. Power is the capacity to do work. Aiki is premised on the opponent providing all the power he or she desires to commit. That power has to have resistance in-axis to do external work, however, otherwise it is just creating addtional internal momentum, i.e. -- more potential energy, not actual energy coverted to work.

Nei-jia, however you understand it mechanically, is about internal power, creating implied momentum (springs, Mike???), if you will, that counters external momentum of attack. That is resistive in principle ("rooting," "grounding," "neutralizing"), even if internally focussed, or whetehr it is viewed as an instrumental and passive channeling of ground resistance.

It is, therefore, not aikido. Aikido is not resistive.

Aiki is about work -- but not about my power, internal or otherwise. It is about HIS power, and it is about my selection of mechanics to convert all fo his added momentum to actual work, typically, in impacting the ground. These are mechanics that translate that power into a differential axis in which the axial control that the opponent has committed behind that power is no longer connected to it, robbing him of the ability to further direct that momentum he created with his power.

I convert that momentum mechanically, perpendicularly (juji), taking it onto a different axis in which he has not established any control. If he exerts power on that new axis in an attempt to wrest back that control, well, ... away we go again, all the while departing his center, movign from axis to axis to axis, as he surrenders his power by continuing to express it against no resistance.

Coming at the problem direct, but going sideways. Back to David's point about the naturalness of aiki movement -- Aikido is a sophisticated game of tag. Or tag is cradle training in budo. Or both.

Here's wishing you joy in battle.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 11-22-2006, 09:04 AM   #209
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Hello Erick, just my 2c to your discussion. One, from my perspective, as yet not understanding how to do even basic things, I still perceive that nei-jia is also mechanical. Mechanical using mechanisms not usually used or developed.
Two, you speak of rotational momentum, axes and taking control by directing power into directions opponent does not control. I do not disagree here on the use of such tactics. But I respond with: what to do when opponent does in fact control all 3 axes of his movement? Without going into whether you have control over all axes in yourself, I postulate that without the so-called 6-direction training internalized you won't be able to do the above against someone who has internalized it.
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Old 11-22-2006, 09:11 AM   #210
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
Care to cite a source for that, and what word he used in Japanese for 'natural'? If it's 'natural' why would we need careful observation, we should just do it?
Once again, I think that Chris is spot on here... My own understanding of what O-sensei meant when he said that Aikido was "natural" was that the movements and energy involved in Aikido were the movements and energy found in nature. This does not mean it is necessarily "natural" in the sense of being how we, as human beings, are born with it and some how lose it as we get older. or some such.

The word "natural" means somethig different to the Japanese than it does to an American. The Japanese aesthetic strove for a sense of "naturalness" which was anything but natural. It takes a high degree of training and imposition of structure in order to learn to attain that so-called "naturalness".

For O-Sensei, the movements of Aikido were the movements of the Gods. I think that O-sensei saw training as allowing us to regain, in some sense, what Man did not have. It was a Divine Path for him, not something we already had naturally.

This discussion only points out what has been lost in Aikido. It is the folks from outside the art who have the best understanding of what "aiki" is. The folks from within the art have very incomplete notions of what constitutes the various principles which combine to create "aiki". The vast majority of what passes for Aikido out there is overly physical and dependent on muscular strength when compared to technique done using the principles of "aiki".

Aikido folks just need to get out more. The Expos offered a tremendous opportunity to expand our vision but only a very small portion of the Aikido community participated. I think those that did got a vastly expended notion of what our art should be but generally is not. The very best of the Aikido teachers have understood the principles of aiki but there has been a systematic dumbing down of what the art entails and with the rapid expansion in the number of practitioners world wide with the commensurate growth in the number of instructors who are teaching long before they have reached the level of understanding the original deshi had attained, there are now many people doing "Aikido" who only have the foggiest notion of "aiki" as it is understood in the aiki arts.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 11-22-2006 at 09:13 AM.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 11-22-2006, 09:17 AM   #211
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
I do not deny the points Mike raises about internal arts (even while differing on our understadnig of the precise mechanics of them), they are just not aikido in the way he describe them and their use, and the way in which the nei-jia are typically explained to function..
Wow, Eric. You may want to re-write that sentence. You appear not to understand that there is a difference between "nei jin" and "nei jia", which sort of shoots your argument in the foot from the get-go.
Quote:
While I have no problem with "Ki tests" etc. as means to discover and explore different modes of coherent movement, they are not aiki either. I have seen everything from Saito's tightness and flow to Tohei's frighteningly dissmissive throws. I have felt version of these from students in their lineages. I have seen (and felt) modes of body carriage as different in their own ways as the Tohei lineage is different from Yoshinkan.
Gee. I wouldn't know where to start to debate this, Erick. It's sort of like, to you, the relationship of Chinese to Japanese martial arts, all the allusions Ueshiba made to classical discussions of Chinese nei jin, etc., don't exist. You're simply making assertions.
Quote:
They are all aikido. They are NOT working on the same principles as the nei-jia. The aspects of carriage and movement could not be more different. Yoshinkan (no offense) body carriage is far divorced from prescriptions of nei-jia and internal power, however it is underestood in mechanical terms. However, it, like Tohei's art, all works as aikido.
Can you give us something specific, instead of general assertions? Try explaining what you mean about posture, for instance.
Quote:
It is a comfort knowing that Mike is around to clarify what we really mean.
I frankly have no idea what you "really mean", Erick. As I told you in a thread some months ago, you pretty obviously don't understand what internal power, ki, etc., are... so I tend to disregard your assertions in that area. In terms of what the classical meaning of "natural" is, I stand by my statement and if you want to make a heavy-enough wager, I'll be glad to find some references stating the well-known fact that "natural" refers to "natural laws" and not intuitive movement, etc.
Quote:
I don't know nuthin' 'bout no jin mechanics. (Well, I do, but I don't need to in this instance, and they have little to do with aikido, per se.) I do know about mechanics. Power is the capacity to do work. Aiki is premised on the opponent providing all the power he or she desires to commit. That power has to have resistance in-axis to do external work, however, otherwise it is just creating addtional internal momentum, i.e. -- more potential energy, not actual energy coverted to work.

Nei-jia, however you understand it mechanically, is about internal power, creating implied momentum (springs, Mike???), if you will, that counters external momentum of attack. That is resistive in principle ("rooting," "grounding," "neutralizing"), even if internally focussed, or whetehr it is viewed as an instrumental and passive channeling of ground resistance.

It is, therefore, not aikido. Aikido is not resistive.
Put this one in the archives, Erick. You just made a series of ludicrous statements showing that you have no idea about internal strength, which is ki/qi, which a supposed Aikido teacher should know. I.e., your statements suggest heavily that you're teaching something to some students that is not the Aikido with Ki that Ueshiba taught.
Quote:
Aiki is about work -- but not about my power, internal or otherwise. It is about HIS power, and it is about my selection of mechanics to convert all fo his added momentum to actual work, typically, in impacting the ground. These are mechanics that translate that power into a differential axis in which the axial control that the opponent has committed behind that power is no longer connected to it, robbing him of the ability to further direct that momentum he created with his power.

I convert that momentum mechanically, perpendicularly (juji), taking it onto a different axis in which he has not established any control. If he exerts power on that new axis in an attempt to wrest back that control, well, ... away we go again, all the while departing his center, movign from axis to axis to axis, as he surrenders his power by continuing to express it against no resistance.

Coming at the problem direct, but going sideways. Back to David's point about the naturalness of aiki movement -- Aikido is a sophisticated game of tag. Or tag is cradle training in budo. Or both.

Here's wishing you joy in battle.
Hmmmm... that doesn't seem to be what Sunadomari, Inaba, Shioda, Tohei, and others are talking about. Perhaps you've evolved beyond them. Instead of a general rant using unsupported statements, try to explain what you mean. Maybe start with posture. Frankly, you appear to have no idea of what "internal strength" means and surely you don't think that Taiji is "resistive", do you? Yet it uses "internal strength"... as do all CMA's. You're simply lost.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 11-22-2006, 10:02 AM   #212
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
They are all aikido. They are NOT working on the same principles as the nei-jia. The aspects of carriage and movement could not be more different. Yoshinkan (no offense) body carriage is far divorced from prescriptions of nei-jia and internal power, however it is underestood in mechanical terms. However, it, like Tohei's art, all works as aikido.
Erick,

Wow, that statement denotes a lack of understanding Gozo Shioda's (among others) body movements and writings. All I can say is I am not quite sure how you could come to this conclusion while saying you understand the notions of Aiki, Ki, Kokyu, etc. This is probably too far off topic and you might want to explain this in a different thread.

Tim Anderson
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Old 11-22-2006, 10:34 AM   #213
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Wow, Eric. [nei-jia nei-jin] ... You just made a series of ludicrous statements showing that you have no idea about internal strength, which is ki/qi, which a supposed Aikido teacher should know. ... Instead of a general rant using unsupported statements, try to explain what you mean. Maybe start with posture. Frankly, you appear to have no idea of what "internal strength" means and surely you don't think that Taiji is "resistive", do you? Yet it uses "internal strength"... as do all CMA's. You're simply lost.
Where to start on matter of "rant?" Willful obfuscation of the generic for the specific on matters of relatively specialized distinction -- i.e. (internal strength v. internal arts in general). A tone of distinct disrespect in respsone to a merely observational post. I really don't care, actually, but the lack of engagement is noticeable.

I explained (fairly succintly) what I mean by aiki in erms of the discussion on movement, power and these ideas of internal arts. The reply was, in short, evasion, plus ad hominem, ad hominem, and some more ad hominem for good measure. A point or two of actual engagement would be fun.

Try responding to the points in argument, or do you really maintain that nei-jin (internal strength) as a concept is not within the set of nei-jia (internal family [of arts]) as related principles of action??

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 11-22-2006, 10:45 AM   #214
DH
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

George
As always, excellent post. And sadly, I'd agree. The real point being that I don't count. To have folks from within the Aikido community finally acknoweledge and support these obeservations ...made from without. Mark, Chris, Gernot, and now you. You being a clear distinction of having more time in and position.

Ya know when I heard that Ikeda donned a white belt and showed up to take a Systema class at an Aiki expo a few years back, I thought "What a hell of a guy." Shear confidence and a willingness to admit he didn't have all the answers. Some of the best men I know hold no truck with rank or affiliation and consider themselves perpetual students over being considered teachers.

I just couldn't let your excellent post go unanswered. I hope to meet up one day.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 11-22-2006 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 11-22-2006, 10:53 AM   #215
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Try responding to the points in argument, or do you really maintain that nei-jin (internal strength) as a concept is not within the set of nei-jia (internal family [of arts]) as related principles of action??
Who cares? Of course there is neijin in the neijia... but there's neijin in the waijia, too, so you're fumbling in the dark.

Your comment about neijin being "resistive" is exactly as ill-informed as it would be to look at a picture of Tohei demonstrating jin/kokyu/ki by letting an Uke push on his forearm and saying "Aha! Aikido is 'resistive'!" What you said is exactly like that. How can what Tohei does be called Aikido if what he shows is "resistive"? Now do you see how silly your comment is?

I asked you a precise question in order to pull you away from your general assertions. Heck, I'll even open it up some... tell me how neijin skills differ from the ki skills shown by Ueshiba,Tohei, and others.

In terms of storing up energy and releasing it, Ueshiba did that, too, BTW. You should know that power-releases are actually just a variation of what is demonstrated as kokyu power. As I've said many times, there are only a few principles, but the variations, levels of skill, etc., across many martial arts can be quite wide.

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Mike Sigman
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Old 11-22-2006, 10:58 AM   #216
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Try responding to the points in argument, or do you really maintain that nei-jin (internal strength) as a concept is not within the set of nei-jia (internal family [of arts]) as related principles of action??
Incidentally, just as a side-note, Aikido would not qualify as one of the "neijia", the "internal arts family". They have a specific way of "hitting with the dantien" that is a variation of the jin/kokyu powers not found in Aikido. Even though Aikido uses "neijin" and "ki development", it would technically be part of the "waijia", the "external family". Not that that really means anything, except to people who may be wrongly focused on the idea that "it's kewl to be internal", without understanding what it means.

Aikido, as Ueshiba describes it, attempts to focus on a very refined aspect of the ki/kokyu skills that stays within what is considered the higher-levels of martial arts accomplishments.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 11-22-2006, 11:10 AM   #217
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

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George S. Ledyard wrote:
This discussion only points out what has been lost in Aikido. It is the folks from outside the art who have the best understanding of what "aiki" is. The folks from within the art have very incomplete notions of what constitutes the various principles which combine to create "aiki". The vast majority of what passes for Aikido out there is overly physical and dependent on muscular strength when compared to technique done using the principles of "aiki".

Aikido folks just need to get out more. The Expos offered a tremendous opportunity to expand our vision but only a very small portion of the Aikido community participated. I think those that did got a vastly expended notion of what our art should be but generally is not. The very best of the Aikido teachers have understood the principles of aiki but there has been a systematic dumbing down of what the art entails and with the rapid expansion in the number of practitioners world wide with the commensurate growth in the number of instructors who are teaching long before they have reached the level of understanding the original deshi had attained, there are now many people doing "Aikido" who only have the foggiest notion of "aiki" as it is understood in the aiki arts.
Hi George:

I more or less agree with what you're saying, but I'd note that there are indeed a number of people within (mostly Japanese) Aikido that have various levels of accomplishment in these skills. The tradititonal idea that only a few should reach certain levels seems to have had an effect on slowing down the knowledge drip. Don't forget that the same thing appears to be true of Judo, but most western Judoka are clueless that they're missing anything.... the thought is just beginning to stir in their little punkin haids.

The same lack is found in western karate, kendo, iaido, jiujitsu, etc.... so while I'm sometimes embarrassed about how many years I went with some pretty good techniques but no clues, I realize it's just the way things worked out. It happened to all of us.

In terms of how to get Aikido back out ahead of the curve, I think there was to be a quick check made to see how many people in Aikikai, ASU, Yoshinkai, etc., are even interested, at this point. Secondly, I think this stuff needs to be publicly talked about (just as is being done) so that the whole idea of getting past the "face" issue is addressed.

Lastly, I think getting people like Ushiro, Akuzawa, etc., into arenas where you can pick their brains is paramount. Time is passing by... and these are interesting times.

Best.

Mike
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Old 11-22-2006, 12:20 PM   #218
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

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Tim Anderson wrote:
Wow, that statement denotes a lack of understanding Gozo Shioda's (among others) body movements and writings. ... This is probably too far off topic and you might want to explain this in a different thread.
It is and I'd be happy to. Kokyu tanden ho is a point where David has the harder side of the argument, becasue it is a highly learned skill. But aiki is not kokyu tanden ho alone, although they aid one another immensely.

But the earlier discussion on taijuuido/weight transfer addressed Shioda's thoughts and clearly distinguish his ideas from what Mike is addressing in regards to (OK -- nei-jin, -- if he prefers to be specific in this instance), which is, I do not dispute, very much cognate with kokyu-tanden ho.

Terminology or turf debates are pointless when trying to form overlays in three unrelated languages. Kokyu tanden, which is in the family of the "unnatural" movement (in the sense of requiring much practice) aids immensely in the application of aiki -- but it is not aiki, per se.

Drunken boxing forms (in whichever of the several schools), from my observation, is a case in point. It is premised on natural unresisting movements of the drunkard (not too far afield from the toddler, perhaps). Lots of angular momentum and weight transfer. Virtually no kokyu tanden technique evident. Loads of aiki going on, though.

The putative six spring theory does not, as I understand Mike's position, involve any necessary external movement. It is necessarily resistive, since springs don't operate any other way, a point that MIke did not deign to answer in regard to nonresistive principles of aiki. It is highly trained, from all accounts, and so is definitely "unnatural" in that sense.

Stance and movement are highly relative things, which is to say that the subjective frame of reference movement, standing alone, is not reliable. What some practitioners percieve as not involving relative movement is an illusion, and the videos show that. I, or any trained pilot, can tell you what tricks the vestibular and kinesthetic senses are subject to. You can be made to perceive movement where there is none at all, and no movement at all where there a great deal of very dangerous motion occurring. What you think you know when it comes to stance and balance -- ain't necessarily so. Ask anyone with Parkinsons' or Minier's.

The vidoes I have seen are supposed to show these "pushout" exercises not employing external movement. They distinctly show instead, movement according to what I understand to be Shioda's Taijuuido/weight transfer principle. This was discussed at length in the weight transfer thread.

Even if some practitioners make connections between them, I have not read that Shioda ever did, and what these exercises claim to do I see working on Shioda's principles, not those that Mike describes. But he and I differ on our understanding of what mechanics are actually involved, so there you go. Einstein was wrong about quantum mechanics, too.

I do not in any way equate Shioda's approach with any version of nei jin or the mechanics (as I understand them) typical of the nei-jia schools. (As an aside, Shioda's kihon dosa paradigm does however fit the "rapid cycle" OODA paradigmatic training regime, earlier mentioned, FWIW)

In fact, I think Shioda has the better of the argument in terms of what is actually happening from what I have seen and felt in the pushout exercise, as opposed to what Mike describes. Having tried the same exercises according to the principles I have seen demonstrated, I say what I know and have felt and have seen.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 11-22-2006, 12:35 PM   #219
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
It is and I'd be happy to. Kokyu tanden ho is a point where David has the harder side of the argument, becasue it is a highly learned skill. But aiki is not kokyu tanden ho alone, although they aid one another immensely.
Without the basic skill involved in *correct* kokyu tanden ho, there can be no aiki. The idea that they "aid" each other falls far short.
Quote:
Drunken boxing forms (in whichever of the several schools), from my observation, is a case in point. It is premised on natural unresisting movements of the drunkard (not too far afield from the toddler, perhaps). Lots of angular momentum and weight transfer. Virtually no kokyu tanden technique evident. Loads of aiki going on, though.
Kewl. Except that "Drunken Boxing" is not a real martial art; it's a display art that was made up. Sort of like "Duck Boxing" and a few others. So your analysis of it and the deep principles of it.... well....
Quote:
The putative six spring theory does not, as I understand Mike's position, involve any necessary external movement. It is necessarily resistive, since springs don't operate any other way, a point that MIke did not deign to answer in regard to nonresistive principles of aiki. It is highly trained, from all accounts, and so is definitely "unnatural" in that sense.
Why don't we just leave this one at "you don't understand my position" and move on? You'd have to know what "jin" actually is.
Quote:
Even if some practitioners make connections between them, I have not read that Shioda ever did, and what these exercises claim to do I see working on Shioda's principles, not those that Mike describes. But he and I differ on our understanding of what mechanics are actually involved, so there you go. Einstein was wrong about quantum mechanics, too.

I do not in any way equate Shioda's approach with any version of nei jin or the mechanics (as I understand them) typical of the nei-jia schools. (As an aside, Shioda's kihon dosa paradigm does however fit the "rapid cycle" OODA paradigmatic training regime, earlier mentioned, FWIW)

In fact, I think Shioda has the better of the argument in terms of what is actually happening from what I have seen and felt in the pushout exercise, as opposed to what Mike describes. Having tried the same exercises according to the principles I have seen demonstrated, I say what I know and have felt and have seen.
Have you ever stopped to think it through that the implication in what you're saying is that Ki and Qi are two different things? Do you understand the magnitude of interrelated phenomena that are involved in qi/ki? It's no simple thing, except to a westerner or someone else with only a superficial idea of the terms they're tossing about.

So far, I've asked twice for specifics in relation to posture or even ki/qi, but you haven't replied.

Tohei, BTW, encourages people to "extend ki" at all times. Problem is, he doesn't really explain how to do it. Worse yet, in relation to your own argument, "extending ki" correctly involves pure "six directions" training. Maybe Tohei doesn't really do Aikido, either?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 11-22-2006, 02:27 PM   #220
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Incidentally, just as a side-note, Aikido would not qualify as one of the "neijia", the "internal arts family". They have a specific way of "hitting with the dantien" that is a variation of the jin/kokyu powers not found in Aikido.
Thank you, Mike, for confirming the distinction I have made. In which case -- Tell me again why are we having this conversation??

I learn a lot from taking down the arguments presented on the evidence given, which is my vocation otherwise and and my practice in aiki in these settings. So please, by all means, let us keep this up.

But why do you keep talking like any of that really has anything to do with aikido, which you are willing to admit?

Ledyard Sensei is criticizing a tendency toward muscular resistive approaches in aikido, which is destructive of its fundamentals. What he is concerned is being lost, is not the same thing as what you are saying is missing.

THESE ideas you are saying are "missing" are not in any way an improvement on that. Nei-jia (nor the employment of nei-jin/jing, per se) are not meant to be "non-destructive," which is the purpose of Aikido. They are just more subtley destructive.

內 家 have no moral or principled advantage over 外家, they are just less obvious in operation. They simply compress the same resistant mind and body into a much smaller arc. Which your overall responses to my points and questions only confirms me in believing.

Similarly, Jin/Jing 勁 has no principled advantage over Li 力.
Li 理 "internal principle or structure" however, does have a distinct advantage over both of them, and it is this latter mode or principle in which Aiki properly operates and exploits.

That is what I perceive Ledyard Sensei is getting at in what is "missing," in "whole body movement" and what I have taken from his discussions here and in seminar of Ushiro and Kuroda Sensei's thoughts on these matters, and in Saotome Shihan's expression of the art, and in whose lineage I presently practice. I am sure Ledyard Sensei will qualify or or severely correct my impressions if I have strayed.

Aikido is simple, not easy (which I think he said at the last seminar). What you are proposing is neither simple nor easy.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
How can what Tohei does be called Aikido if what he shows is "resistive"? Now do you see how silly your comment is?

I asked you a precise question in order to pull you away from your general assertions. Heck, I'll even open it up some... tell me how neijin skills differ from the ki skills shown by Ueshiba,Tohei, and others.
Wherein you point out the precise question that eventually divided Tohei from Aikikai. Way above my paygrade. As I pointed out earlier, however, kokyu tanden is not really distinct from much of nei jin in principle; it is the application that distinguishes it, and the application in which you present it does not use those skills to aid the aiki of the interaction.

Tohei's redirection of force is a skill he demonstrated for training in redirection of force as a kihon waza. That skill, in and of itself, IS NOT AIKIDO, and does not necessarily lead to aiki in technique. It may be employed toward that end but they are not the same thing at all.
Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Your comment about neijin being "resistive" is exactly as ill-informed as it would be to look at a picture of Tohei demonstrating jin/kokyu/ki by letting an Uke push on his forearm and saying "Aha! Aikido is 'resistive'!" What you said is exactly like that.
Since we are in an ad hominem mode -- unlike you, I have nothing I am trying to sell in seminars across the country, and thus, I have no vested interest to be offended. I simply want to teach, explain and bring the benefit of aikido to students who wish to learn it. That is all.

Neo-Confucianism was my particular study, so I don't need lecturing on my Chinese philosophical concepts, thank you. I am happy to meet you there at whatever level you wish.
猪头 有的是 豬油 嗎.

You do not point to error, but only attempt to exploit presumed ambiguity of reference between three tongues. Your approach fails Occam's Razor in terms of any explanatory power to a modern audience. That suggests it is not meant to explain anything.

Which is my point. I do not care to go in my training hall and make myself the world's most formidable warrior. I got over that when I was about seventeen. A bullet or a bomb will take care of that (or me) at need, quite handily.

I gain nothing material from this. Discussions looking at various strains of thought or training aid in that endeavor, and which I am thankful people like David, Ron and others can discuss in an engaged manner, even when they address or even advocate some of the same points you do.

You seem to enjoy obscuring matters with dark secrets, whispered only to worthy candidates behind closed doors. You even brag on teachers who would not teach the unworthy bai gui. The fact that those who have trained with you seem to take some benefit of your skill, does not excuse it. It is the definition of esotericism. It is not worthy of the open spirit of Aikido.

You may have much useful to tell me, but you should just do it, instead of -- all this ...

I just call 'em like I see 'em. I like the exercise, it just doesn't mean what you think it means. I don't much care about my "reputation" or anyone's approval in these regards, as it just gets in the way of learning something.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 11-22-2006, 02:46 PM   #221
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Thank you, Mike, for confirming the distinction I have made. In which case -- Tell me again why are we having this conversation??
Now what? Erick, maybe you should go back and read the previous conversations. You don't seem to understand the difference between "neijin" (which Aikido, Taiji, Bagua, Japanese sword arts, etc., all use) and "nei jia", which you compared Taiji to out of the blue, with the idea that I had first made that attribution. I never did. I have no idea where your brain-hiccup is, but you appear to have lost yourself.
Quote:
But why do you keep talking like any of that really has anything to do with aikido, which you are willing to admit?
"Nei jin", Erick. It has everything to do with Aikido. The problem here is really not that this is a worthwhile debate, but the fact that you don't already know it. Yet you "teach".
Quote:
內 家 have no moral or principled advantage over 外家, they are just less obvious in operation. They simply compress the same resistant mind and body into a much smaller arc. Which your overall responses to my points and questions only confirms me in believing.

Similarly, Jin/Jing 勁 has no principled advantage over Li 力.
Li 理 "internal principle or structure" however, does have a distinct advantage over both of them, and it is this latter mode or principle in which Aiki properly operates and exploits.
Again, I'll say it. You simply don't know basics. Despite your lengthy post, which I'm snipping, you won't address the areas I mentioned 3 times. You forget that it was you who started this particular tangent of assertions that neijin has nothing to do with Aikido. Other than assert it and then dodge and weave, you've done nothing to support your assertions. In fact, other than mentioning your own "studies", you haven't been able to knowledgeably discuss the first detail of jin and you even seem to be blowing this very physical phenomenon off with the idea the you have some book-larnin' in Chinese philosophical concepts. Guess what, BTW? Confucious (Kung Fu Tzu) understood how to develop and use ki skills and he wrote extensively about it.

Insofar as your casting Tohei out of the fold because he didn't really understand proper Aikido, I really have no comment.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 11-22-2006, 03:15 PM   #222
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

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Mike Sigman wrote:
So far, I've asked twice for specifics in relation to posture or even ki/qi, but you haven't replied.
1) I stand up straight.

2) I have it (but so does my bed lamp).

That was productive, and about as specific as your questions.

To be more specific - qi 氣 must be expressed (or exploited) according to Li 理 or it is not effective (which may also waste jing 精 but that is another topic). Thus, setting my electric bed lamp on fire is not in accord with the li of the lamp, although it may be in accord with the li of other kinds of lamps, and may even give me some light while it chars my bed table.

Just becasue the bulb is getting hot and will burn me as much as the flame does not mean that the innner principle by which the different lamps function is the same, although the type of energy each gives off is precisely the same.

Aiki simply follows that same dictum -- harmonizing completely with the internal principle/structure of the attack, which means that the attacking ki is turned back on itself. Just because the same energy is involved in the attack and procured by the movement, doesn't mean you are doing aikido to obtain it.

You are just making bunch of heat and light, either way.

Aiki is like flipping a lightswitch -- not like starting a fire.

The fact that the desired result is simpler by flipping the switch does not diminish the immense sophistication and expression of inner principles that underlies that simple act.

Your argument with me, when it comes to movement, is really about li 理, not really about jin 勁.

Next.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 11-22-2006, 03:24 PM   #223
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

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Erick Mead wrote:
Even if some practitioners make connections between them, I have not read that Shioda ever did, and what these exercises claim to do I see working on Shioda's principles, not those that Mike describes. But he and I differ on our understanding of what mechanics are actually involved, so there you go. Einstein was wrong about quantum mechanics, too.

I do not in any way equate Shioda's approach with any version of nei jin or the mechanics (as I understand them) typical of the nei-jia schools. (As an aside, Shioda's kihon dosa paradigm does however fit the "rapid cycle" OODA paradigmatic training regime, earlier mentioned, FWIW)

In fact, I think Shioda has the better of the argument in terms of what is actually happening from what I have seen and felt in the pushout exercise, as opposed to what Mike describes. Having tried the same exercises according to the principles I have seen demonstrated, I say what I know and have felt and have seen.
Well Erick, I think this has come down to how we each understand the terminology involved. The problem, among others, I have with David's model is that he has defined Aiki in such a way that his hypothesis cannot be disproved (this is according to him).
Your definition of Aiki, Kokyu, and Ki seem to greatly differ from mine. If you like, read the section on Kokyu Power in Aikido Shugyo by Gozo Shioda. I have no problem reconciling what is discussed there with the previous description from Mike, Dan, Rob, and others. I can say this about many other works as well....
I can say with some confidence that what Ushiro has been teaching at camp is no different from what has been described by the aforementioned individuals. Ikeda seems to link what Ushiro is doing directly with Aikido so there we have another connection.
We could go round and round discussing this but without some hands on experience it won't matter. As with most things, these elements need to be felt. Much is lost in verbal descriptions.

Tim Anderson
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Old 11-22-2006, 03:27 PM   #224
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

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Erick Mead wrote:
1) Aiki is like flipping a lightswitch -- not like starting a fire.

The fact that the desired result is simpler by flipping the switch does not diminish the immense sophistication and expression of inner principles that underlies that simple act.

Your argument with me, when it comes to movement, is really about li 理, not really about jin 勁.
I don't think this is very productive, Erick. You've already cast Tohei to the wolves for "resisting", without seeming to have remembered that many of Ueshiba's 'ki demo's' also involved him resisting a push to the head, to the stomach, to the leg, to the jo, etc. He didn't "play a game of tag" with them nor did he use angular momentum to resist them. But you seem heavily invested in your theory, so I'll leave it to you.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 11-22-2006, 03:47 PM   #225
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

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Mike Sigman wrote:
You don't seem to understand ... ... you don't already know it. ... You simply don't know basics. ... you've done nothing to support your assertions.
Please. Just call me "ignoramus," get it over with and move on. It will save time in confirming the absence of any actual argument.
Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Insofar as your casting Tohei out of the fold because he didn't really understand proper Aikido, I really have no comment.
Really, now. That is a debate I distinctly declined to enter ...
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Wherein you point out the precise question that eventually divided Tohei from Aikikai. Way above my paygrade.
I think there is no debate that it happened, and I expressed, and express no opinion on exactly why, who left whom, and whether justified or not.
Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
.. and "nei jia", which you compared Taiji to out of the blue, with the idea that I had first made that attribution. I never did. I have no idea where your brain-hiccup is, but you appear to have lost yourself.
Perhaps you should read as well ... actually you brought that strawman up wholly on your own -- don't go blaming me ...
Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
I don't know of a single westerner who I'd consider skilled in Taiji, Bagua, etc
Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Frankly, you appear to have no idea of what "internal strength" means and surely you don't think that Taiji is "resistive", do
you?
Quote:
MIke Sigman wrote:
I don't think this is very productive, Erick.
On that we agree, since I made a few more substantive points you snipped away as though that disposes of them. But it is a bunch of fun. I'm having fun, are you?

And while we're counting strawmen -- there's this one, too:
Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
You've already cast Tohei to the wolves for "resisting", without seeming to have remembered that many of Ueshiba's 'ki demo's' also involved him resisting a push to the head, to the stomach, to the leg, to the jo, etc.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 11-22-2006 at 03:55 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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