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Old 12-04-2006, 11:25 AM   #1
Mark Gibbons
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Practical internal training ?

I've been reading the discussions about internal arts with some interest. I think a number of senior people at my dojo are working on them, doing tai chi, taiji, hanging out with Ikeda sensei, studying other things. But only some of the stuff is filtering down to us peons. So I had some more very simple questions.

How would someone go about spotting someone with good internal skills? I know a few people that can make me bounce off of them, I push and just bounce. To me it sounds like the same thing described in the internal arts discussions. If that's the case I don't have to go outside my own dojo. What would be the minimum practical tests needed to evaluate a teacher for internal skills?

What's the real point of the internal stuff? Why is the internal stuff so important to Aikido training? How would it contrast with kinetic invisibility? People I respect seem to be able to both. But some get by quite well without any obvious internal arts skills. Not that I'm any kind of a judge. Just my impressions. Erick Mead's posts about Aikido and rotational dynamics for instance make a lot more sense to me than some of the claims about the the internal work. The assertion that the internal skills are essential to Aikido , should be basic and all reputable aikido teachers should know and teach them may or may not be true, but I haven't read a good case for it.

Assuming someone wanted to experience and get training in the internal work that Mike, Dan, Rob talk about are there enough willing teachers scattered about? Or does it take years in Japan, a couple of years in China and a large amount of rolfing , assuming you could find one of the few people that can really do this stuff? What kinds of qualifications should someone look for? Fads and frauds run together far too commonly unfortunately.

Regards,
Mark

Last edited by Mark Gibbons : 12-04-2006 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 12-04-2006, 12:07 PM   #2
Qatana
 
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Re: Practical internal training ?

How many of the people you just mentioned actually Train in aikido?

Q
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Old 12-04-2006, 12:16 PM   #3
Mark Gibbons
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Jo Adell wrote:
How many of the people you just mentioned actually Train in aikido?
Train in Aikido - Folks at my dojo, Erick, Ikeda Sensei

I don't know - Mike Sigman, Dan Harden, Robert John

I'll guess your point would be; Why should I care about the opinion of folks that don't do Aikido about what should be in Aikido? Well, because it looks like some of the folks I like to play with are checking this stuff out.

Regards,
Mark
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Old 12-04-2006, 02:05 PM   #4
Robert Rumpf
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Have you considered going to the local Ki Society dojo?

It will probably take you some time to figure out if you are learning anything or even if there is something worth learning (as it always seems to, when studying some new area of any subject).

Rob
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Old 12-04-2006, 02:07 PM   #5
Mark Gibbons
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Robert Rumpf wrote:
Have you considered going to the local Ki Society dojo?

Rob
Would that be at all equivalent to what Dan, Mike, Rob are talking about? I got the impression it wasn't, but I really don't know.

Thanks,
Mark
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Old 12-04-2006, 02:47 PM   #6
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Ueshiba had this in his repertoire, and demonstrated its effects on his students, it's just that he did not include it in the curriculum he taught. So, you will have to go outside of aikido to get it. Taiji and related Chinese arts with substantial internal components include it as part of their curriculum, and they are easier to access than the Japanese arts that traditionally use them, such as koryu jujutsu. So, you may even need to go outside Japanese MAs to get a good internal foundation.
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Old 12-04-2006, 06:31 PM   #7
eyrie
 
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
Ueshiba had this in his repertoire, and demonstrated its effects on his students, it's just that he did not include it in the curriculum he taught. So, you will have to go outside of aikido to get it. Taiji and related Chinese arts with substantial internal components include it as part of their curriculum, and they are easier to access than the Japanese arts that traditionally use them, such as koryu jujutsu. So, you may even need to go outside Japanese MAs to get a good internal foundation.
Well, there must have been [something] "in the curriculum" for Shioda and Sunadomari to "get it". Granted, Tohei had to go "outside" coz he didn't get it. But I think his sempai Tempu "got it", but superimposed his own understanding and paradigm on it.

Although I agree it may be easier to see it and find it outside of modern aikido - particularly from related internal CMAs, but I disagree that it's not in the curriculum or that it isn't in aikido.

If it isn't, it's only because the "big guns" aren't telling...

Last edited by eyrie : 12-04-2006 at 06:37 PM.

Ignatius
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Old 12-04-2006, 06:38 PM   #8
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Shioda trained "outside" of aikido... in Daito-ryu.
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Old 12-04-2006, 07:05 PM   #9
ChrisMoses
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote:
Would that be at all equivalent to what Dan, Mike, Rob are talking about? I got the impression it wasn't, but I really don't know.

Thanks,
Mark
In my humble opinion, no, not remotely.

Chris Moses
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Old 12-04-2006, 07:41 PM   #10
Tom H.
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
In my humble opinion, no, not remotely.
I'll offer the contrary opinion. I'm pretty sure that a lot of what they are showing is the same.
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Old 12-04-2006, 07:59 PM   #11
Mike Sigman
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote:
(talking about going to the Ki Society to get the internal strength aspects of Aikido) Would that be at all equivalent to what Dan, Mike, Rob are talking about? I got the impression it wasn't, but I really don't know.
You know, this is really a tough one for me. In many ways I was a staunch admirer of Tohei back in the early days, but essentially it appears that while he could use and demonstrate ki strength, he didn't really want to teach it. Ueshiba could and did many ki things, wrote about them, was filmed doing them, etc., but he didn't openly explain how to do them..... let's say he "kept his edge", which actually is traditional in martial arts. Tohei also kept his edge, despite the appearance of the idea that he was going to "teach people how to do ki things". The level at most Ki Society dojo's that I've seen is woefully low.

So "same thing"? Yes, but in such a limited way that I think it's somewhat embarrassingly over-marketted.

In terms of Jo's remarks about people not in Aikido, my usual riposte is along the lines of Ushiro Sensei's because it's true: "No kokyu; no Aikido". In other words, Jo's criterion of 'who is practicing Aikido' presently is a double-edged sword.... without kokyu power, most of the people she knows are not really doing Aikido but only limited external variants of it. I.e., we need to stick more to the subject and less to the trivializing because it goes two ways. To be fair, it's turning out that despite the protestations of the current hierarchies in Judo, Karate, Koryu, etc., a lot of the people are missing these basic skills. Also true of Bagua, Xingyi, Taiji, and most of the so-called Chinese martial arts you see in the West... they're just external parodies, when you boil it down. Some people in various arts saw this years ago and tried to point it out, but they were trivialized and shouted down by the larger numbers of "experts".

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 12-04-2006, 09:11 PM   #12
DaveS
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
In terms of Jo's remarks about people not in Aikido, my usual riposte is along the lines of Ushiro Sensei's because it's true: "No kokyu; no Aikido". In other words, Jo's criterion of 'who is practicing Aikido' presently is a double-edged sword.... without kokyu power, most of the people she knows are not really doing Aikido but only limited external variants of it.
Erm, since aikido is generally considered to be more or less the stuff that Ueshiba taught, how can the absence of something that he didn't teach mean that people are practising 'not really aikido'?

And could it be that Ueshiba didn't teach this stuff because he didn't consider it to be relevant to what he wanted aikido to be rather than because he was worried that if he taught people all his secrets they'd come after him and kick his ass?
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Old 12-04-2006, 09:17 PM   #13
Mike Sigman
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
David Sim wrote:
Erm, since aikido is generally considered to be more or less the stuff that Ueshiba taught, how can the absence of something that he didn't teach mean that people are practising 'not really aikido'?

And could it be that Ueshiba didn't teach this stuff because he didn't consider it to be relevant to what he wanted aikido to be rather than because he was worried that if he taught people all his secrets they'd come after him and kick his ass?
No unwarranted offense meant, David, but maybe you should research the common idea that some things are "witheld", like in "Okuden", "Hiden", and so forth. The idea that some techniques are witheld because the higher-level people think they're not relevant just boggles the mind. These are the sort of completely off-the-mark comments that makes me wonder if the discussions are worthwhile on public forums.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 12-04-2006, 09:37 PM   #14
raul rodrigo
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
David Sim wrote:
Erm, since aikido is generally considered to be more or less the stuff that Ueshiba taught, how can the absence of something that he didn't teach mean that people are practising 'not really aikido'?
HI:


Aikido is not what Ueshiba taught. It is what he did. And what he did and what he taught, as should be clear by now, are very different things. He kept the most important things as gokui, hidden teachings---as his students like Tohei, Tamura, Saotome and the rest can attest. He didn't make many technical corrections and he left his students to figure things out for themselves. Its not surprising that some didn't. Others like Tohei and Tada went outside the Aikikai to recreate the inner workings of aikido for themselves. Which is pretty much what many in aikido are trying to do now, in the absence of an explicit teaching methodology from the traditional hierarchy/ies.
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Old 12-04-2006, 10:25 PM   #15
Mark Gibbons
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Re: Practical internal training ?

So far:

Could learn this stuff via:
Maybe Ki Aikido, but probably not.
Maybe some external art but probably get involved with something useless.
Maybe my own dojo, if the senior people are working on this.

Importance:
Some assertions that there were large parts of Osensei's aikido that didn't make the curriculum and that this was intentional. Contrasted with the legends about all the daito ryu stuff that didn't make the curriculum intentionally. Seems odd to have such important ommisions by accident. Either omitted by design or not essential. No real evidence either way beyond some what informed assertions. No contrasts to kinetic invisibility which I've generally been taught was the goal of aikido.

Criteria for judging the real thing:
Nothing new. I'm left with Dan's can you stand up to various pushes. Some of the folks I train with can do that. Most can't and so far it's not taught in any effective manner to lower ranked kyu students.

I hope that passes as a fair summary. I know there won't be any magic solution. "Go to xxxx, right next door they have everything you want. " But I don't see anything for someone that can't travel extensively that has good odds of teaching these skills. Probably just have to wait until they become more common. Why doesn't someone get rich teaching the NFL how to do and apply these things. That should make them much easier to spread around.

Thanks,
Mark
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Old 12-04-2006, 10:33 PM   #16
Mark Gibbons
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
..
In terms of Jo's remarks about people not in Aikido, ...
I'll note that Jo didn't make any remark about people not in Aikido. I made a guess about the purpose of her question but that was my guess. And reflected my biases on the issue.

At some level it makes as much sense for folks outside aikido to tell aikido folks how to train as it does for bridge players to teach poker players poker. Some of the mechanics cross over and the instruction might be completely dead on and valuable. But none of the poker players are going to believe them easily.

Yours in seriously overly generalized metaphors,
Mark
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Old 12-04-2006, 11:09 PM   #17
raul rodrigo
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote:

Importance:
Some assertions that there were large parts of Osensei's aikido that didn't make the curriculum and that this was intentional. .... Either omitted by design or not essential. No real evidence either way beyond some what informed assertions. Mark
In a 1996 interview of Koichi Tohei by Stan Pranin, Tohei says that Ueshiba didn't really teach him the most important principles of aikido:

"While Sensei felt deeply about this underlying principle of budo, he never really taught us anything about it in concrete terms. When we were training he would come around and tell us to "put some power into it." And yet, when he himself demonstrated techniques he was totally relaxed! What he said and what he did, in other words, were completely different.

I never paid as much attention to what Sensei said as to what he did. You could ask him all the questions you wanted and never understand his answers. He would just show you and say something to the effect of "It's done like this."
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Old 12-04-2006, 11:33 PM   #18
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Quote:
David Sim wrote:
Erm, since aikido is generally considered to be more or less the stuff that Ueshiba taught, how can the absence of something that he didn't teach mean that people are practising 'not really aikido'?

And could it be that Ueshiba didn't teach this stuff because he didn't consider it to be relevant to what he wanted aikido to be rather than because he was worried that if he taught people all his secrets they'd come after him and kick his ass?
No unwarranted offense meant, David,
As opposed to unwarranted assumption, which is apparently fine ...
Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
... but maybe you should research the common idea that some things are "witheld", like in "Okuden", "Hiden", and so forth. The idea that some techniques are witheld because the higher-level people think they're not relevant just boggles the mind.
Quote:
raul rodrigo wrote:
He kept the most important things as gokui, hidden teachings-
And ... to slap someone down without any authority, well, it's just plain rude. Your mama'd be ashamed.

Well, unless the Old Man was a liar as well as a madman ....

A Doka from "Okui - The Secrets", (Seiseki Abe, ed.)
Quote:
O Sensei wrote:
In these teachings listen most
To the rhythm of the strike and thrust
To train in the basics (omote)
Is to practice the very secrets of the art.
And from another Doka (Stevens, tr.):
Quote:
O Sensei wrote:
Kōjō wa
hiji mo keiko mo
araba koso
gokui nozomuna
mae zo mietari

Progress comes to
those who train in the
inner and outer factors.
Do not chase after "secret techniques,"
for everything is right before your eyes!

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 12-04-2006, 11:56 PM   #19
Mark Gibbons
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
In a 1996 interview of Koichi Tohei by Stan Pranin, Tohei says that Ueshiba didn't really teach him the most important principles of aikido:

....."
Unfortunately that doesn't tell me if the omitted pieces were omitted intentionally, why they were omitted, if Osensei regarded them as essential, or if they really are essential. That tells me Tohei sensei probably regarded them as essential. But if he had them why didn't he teach them effectively enough that we are not having this conversation. I'm probably just too dense to get it though.

There are arguments that the internal skills are essential.There is also the alleged 99%+ of the 1.5 million aikido folks doing aikido happily without these skills. (My own take on some of the statements about what is missing in aikido.) The arguments are nice but not logically compelling. The argument that "no kokyu, no aikido" assumes the current aikido practioners have no kokyu. I haven't seen that established. This is one place where not practicing aikido weakens credibility. Anyone more senior than I am in aikido, ie almost everyone, is welcome to jump in and correct my opinions.

I think its more likely that as a minimum many( .1 %) of the current aikido folks have some effective skills in this area. Who knows how they got them. I base that on the descriptions of the skills I've heard proposed, what I've seen and felt and the odds of 1.5 million people being deluded vs some 100's having seen the light. Some claim to know. I sure don't.

Regards,
Mark
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Old 12-04-2006, 11:59 PM   #20
Mark Gibbons
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
...for everything is right before your eyes!:
One of the very best places to hide things.

Mark
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Old 12-05-2006, 01:17 AM   #21
raul rodrigo
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Ellis Amdur wrote in his article "Hidden in plain sight":


"There are several kinds of secrets - Gokui - in Japanese martial arts. The most mundane are tricks or special techniques to defeat other people in combat. Others are presented at the end of the road - practices such as mikkyo, which can be used to enter into the founder-of-the-ryu's experience, or to attain special power or knowledge. There is one final type of Gokui: "hidden in plain sight." The teacher does it every class, and everyone ignores it, waiting for the "warm-ups" or "basics" to be over to get to the real deal. "Find out yourself," said the old man. Is it possible that he didn't mean that one had to go away wandering into other arts and realms, or dropping by other esoteric teachers, be they Zen, yoga, t'ai chi or Tempu Nakamura's shin shin toitsu? Maybe all he meant was to pay attention to what he was doing in class."




R
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Old 12-05-2006, 01:52 AM   #22
Gwion
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
You know, this is really a tough one for me. In many ways I was a staunch admirer of Tohei back in the early days, but essentially it appears that while he could use and demonstrate ki strength, he didn't really want to teach it.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
The idea that Tohei didn't want to teach ki is .... well I'll give you a chance to comment and explain that. How is the entire Ki Society curriculum NOT completely about learning ki from day one?

one other note, be aware that Ki is not magic, but it is not just a convenience coincidence of physics principles. read any of Tohei sensei's books for a ridiculously simple and clear explanation of ki and how it works.

Also, Chinese arts tend to drift toward magic and outrageous claims, so be careful and just find a nice healthy looking old guy who teaches tai chi and seems relaxed, positive and vibrant at all times.
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Old 12-05-2006, 03:44 AM   #23
Mark Freeman
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
You know, this is really a tough one for me. In many ways I was a staunch admirer of Tohei back in the early days, but essentially it appears that while he could use and demonstrate ki strength, he didn't really want to teach it.
Back in Tohei's early day's or your early day's??

I don't get the 'didn't want to teach it' bit.

My practice involves literally hundreds of different exercises that are there to help test co-ordination, increase relaxation etc etc. My teacher got most of them from Tohei and I'm sure has developed some himself. If Tohei didn't want to teach it, how am I practicing what I practice?

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 12-05-2006, 06:49 AM   #24
Mike Sigman
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote:
The argument that "no kokyu, no aikido" assumes the current aikido practioners have no kokyu. I haven't seen that established. This is one place where not practicing aikido weakens credibility. Anyone more senior than I am in aikido, ie almost everyone, is welcome to jump in and correct my opinions.
I dunno, I had about 7-8 years of Aikido practice and I interact with Aikido practitioners regularly. The idea that if I don't go down to the local dojo, where the instructor doesn't know anything but some techniques, and practice is somehow indicating that I can't really understand Aikido... is absurd. If I thought half the people in Aikido understood these things, or 5% of them did, or whatever, I'd say it. I value my reputation for being accurate and honest. The truth is that these skills are almost non-existent in Aikido. Ikeda Sensei didn't invite a karate guy to teach these things because everyone already has the skills, did he?

I took the time once to start a separate thread about the "Oh Yeah's". Everytime one of these conversations starts, the "Oh Yeah, we already do that" guys are out in full force. That's fine; it's perfectly human. But let me say my piece, based on many years of interacting with people, completely focused on these skills..... most people that say they can do these things or who think they already have a "reasonable handle on these skills" are kidding two people... themselves and their students. They're playing exactly that defensive status game that I keep warning against. My first words when I hear these guys start is "Show me". What's embarrassing is when they keep using muscle and shoulder and keep trying to keep the charade going that they know these things when we can both see that they don't. I.e., I'm honestly tired of being caught time and time again in these situations. Please be sure, before we start off with the idea that a lot of people have a handle on these things. Some people have some grasp of some pieces... but generally, just like Ueshiba, Tohei, and others, these studies represents years, not weekends, of studies and you can't just find them all out by yourself.

Off Sermon.


Regards,

Mike
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Old 12-05-2006, 06:55 AM   #25
Mike Sigman
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
Back in Tohei's early day's or your early day's??

I don't get the 'didn't want to teach it' bit.

My practice involves literally hundreds of different exercises that are there to help test co-ordination, increase relaxation etc etc. My teacher got most of them from Tohei and I'm sure has developed some himself. If Tohei didn't want to teach it, how am I practicing what I practice?
I have no idea what you're practicing, Mark. I'd be tickled to be able to see it. But bear in mind that I've met tons of "Ki Society" people over the years and they will all say that they study what Tohei taught and within their own group they have some idea of where there skills are. To really have a conversation about this stuff, you and I'd have to meet. But keep your eye on the comment I've made a number of times that most people cannot even move honestly from the hara. Prove me wrong.

Best.

Mike
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