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Old 12-15-2006, 07:10 AM   #76
billybob
 
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

Mike - you made a joke!

You described what has been called 'natural movement' by yourself and martial artists as 'abnormal' to physical therapists.

Makes one think.

dave
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Old 12-15-2006, 07:36 AM   #77
Mike Sigman
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

Quote:
Wayne Wilson wrote:
are you guys all too chicken to just SAY what it is?
I know you've all felt it, but maybe words fail you, and you enjoy floundering about the semantic morass with the likes of Eric Mead.

Total relaxation in Aikido equals:

let go. Let go of trying to be a separate entity, apart from the world/universe. Let go of your ego, your ego thoughts, tension created by trying to defend or protect your image or status or appearance as an aikidoka or martial artist.

let go mentally, relax, let go physically, relax, and become one with (or realize the oneness already there) the universe. You are the universe and it is you, moving, breathing, relaxed, powerful, in contention with nothing or no one. At peace in unified movement.

let go of everything, so you can be one with everything and everything can be one with you.
You know, Wayne, normally I would bypass your post, thinking you were out on the fringe somewhere, but after having attended Shaner Sensei's workshop, I realize that the words you're using aren't your own.

Let me see if I can get the ball rolling about "relaxation" from the Ki Society standpoint.

First of all, I don't think I worked with you (maybe I did, but there were so many people I worked with), so I'll just make general comments when I say "you". When you "relaxed", that wasn't all you did. If just "relax", not much is going to happen. So you qualify that you just "relax", but you do some sort of mental adjustment and try to become "one with the universe". Not to mention, and this is very important, you have had someone more experienced than you show you what is the desirable outcome of the "test". Let's say you're successful and someone pushing lightly on your chest suddenly can't move you.

The first question is "what do they feel" when you're "relaxed", but they feel a solidity when they push your chest? I.e., if you're relaxed, what is this solidity, this resistive force that they're feeling? A quick look at Statics analysis tells us that if they don't move you, all the forces are in equilibrium, which means that some force is countering their push. Correct? It's either a Force or it is the Ki of the Universe they're feeling, but let's assume it's a Force ... that force must have an origin somewhere, since it doesn't magically appear from an other-dimensional-outlet in your chest. What is the origin of the force? Simple to check and see that if you were on wheels your partner could move you easily, so the force must be coming from where your feet meet the ground. I.e., ultimately, when someone is doing a ki test by pushing lightly against your chest, they are being stopped by the ground.

But you're "relaxing", correct? Not using your normal mechanics to brace against the ground, so what is different?

OK, I'll stop at that point, Wayne. You've just assured us that all it takes is relaxing and becoming "one with the universe". I say it's more complex than that and I've laid out the start of the argument, which you can either respond to or ignore. But let me suggest that if you want to go very far with these sorts of skills you need to be asking questions constantly and persistently or you will always stay at a low, dues-paying level.

All the Best.

Mike Sigman
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Old 12-15-2006, 07:37 AM   #78
Mike Sigman
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

Quote:
David Knowlton wrote:
Mike - you made a joke!

You described what has been called 'natural movement' by yourself and martial artists as 'abnormal' to physical therapists.

Makes one think.
Not really. This has been discussed a number of times before.... what is called "natural movement" is not instinctive and must be taught/trained.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 12-15-2006, 07:48 AM   #79
billybob
 
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

M. Sigman:
Quote:
.... what is called "natural movement" is not instinctive and must be taught/trained.
It's a joke to me, only because it's ironic.

One of the judoka I trained with was talking about chimpanzees, and their being X stronger than human beings. He wanted to learn to 'pull like a chimp' so no one could defeat his judo. I've been attacked by a person who was at times an uncoordinated drunk, And at other times had that bizarre super-strength that psychopaths can have.

Makes me wonder WHY humans have to be trained to be natural.

dave
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Old 12-15-2006, 08:33 AM   #80
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Erick, what you mean is that no one has demonstrated to YOU that these are not normal body mechanics. However, if that's all they were, the Asians wouldn't have made such a fuss about them for thousands of years, ...
Read what I say and not what you want to argue against. We are on the same page, basically, as to 3-5 of your progression and differ only in approach on 1&2. I am a helicopter pilot. Hovering such a machine requires a very subtle and precise regime of fine motor adaptive control and simultaneous coordination over all four limbs of the body.

It also does not work, BTW unless one is very relaxed in doing it. FWIW. The control sensitivity is critical and too much muscle input drowns out the control signals.

This kind of coordinated non-linear, and fundamentally unstable dynamic regime is not normally used to any great degree by ordinary people walking around and must be learned. But there is absolutely nothing "abnormal" about the body mechanics involved in that complex interaction with another dynamic body such a helicopter. The control processes are the special thing.

Interacting with an attacking dynamic human body is no different in priniciple -- and the mechanics are no different than ordinary bodily mehcanics. It is just the skill in exploiting them with such precision in supercritical areas of action that is not ordinary.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
So it's not a matter of "no one has demonstrated they are not (normal body mechanics)" .... why not just say that you yourself are unaware of any unusual body mechanics?
Why doesn't someone actually give a mechanical description of the "unusual body mechanics?" Might be a nice start for comparison.

Why don't we see if THAT model of of unusual body mechanics" just blows my failry simplistic conventional description of linked body parts as a basic chain which fits the relaxed adaptive structure (no bending stresses or torques at all) that is (I think without any dispute from anyone) the measure of the proper functional description of the dynamics that it must produce.
I can support my model in conventional mechanical terms. Let's trot out the alternative and show why mine is just not supportable in view of your hitherrto unstated superior model. Please elaborate.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 12-15-2006 at 08:46 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 12-15-2006, 08:50 AM   #81
Mike Sigman
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

[quote=Erick Mead]Read what I say and not what you want to argue against. We are on the same page, basically, as to 3-5 of your progression and differ only in approach on 1&2. I am a helicopter pilot. Hovering such a machine requires a very subtle and precise regime of fine motor adaptive control and simultaneous coordination over all four limbs of the body.

It also does not work, BTW unless one is very relaxed in doing it. FWIW. The control sensitivity is critical and too much muscle input drowns out the control signals.

This kind of coordinated non-linear, and fundamentally unstable dynamic regime is not normally used to any great degree by ordinary people walking around and must be learned. But there is absolutely nothing "abnormal" about the body mechanics involved in that complex interaction with another dynamic body such a helicopter. The control processes are the special thing.

Interacting with an attacking dynamic human body is no different in priniciple -- and the mechanics are no different than ordinary bodily mehcanics. It is just the skill in exploiting them with such precision in supercritical areas of action that is not ordinary.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
So it's not a matter of "no one has demonstrated they are not (normal body mechanics)" .... why not just say that you yourself are unaware of any unusual body mechanics? [/quote} Why doesn't someone actually give a mechanical description of the "unusual body mechanics?" Might be a nice start for comparison.

Why don't we see if THAT model of of unusual body mechanics" just blows my failry simplistic conventional description of linked body parts as a basic chain which fits the relaxed adaptive structure (no bending stresses or torques at all) that is (I think without any dispute from anyone) the measure of the proper functional description of the dynamics that it must produce.
I can support my model in conventional mechanical terms. Let's trot out the alternative and show why mine is just not supportable in view of your hitherrto unstated superior model. Please elaborate.
Erick... you still don't understand. I'll say it once again... notice how Rob, Dan, Ushiro, Shaner, etc., are all (from my perspective) acknowledgedly talking about the same subject, even though none of them is writing 3-page dissertaions on gyrational movement to convince me? It's pretty obvious that they know the same thing that I know, just as it has been obvious with *numerous* martial artists I've met in my career. You're trying to fit in when it's clear that you don't really understand. IF you understood, we would have had some meaningful agreement and understanding by now. It's that simple.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 12-15-2006, 11:23 AM   #82
Erick Mead
 
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Erick... you still don't understand. I'll say it once again... notice how Rob, Dan, Ushiro, Shaner, etc., are all (from my perspective) acknowledgedly talking about the same subject, even though none of them is writing 3-page dissertaions on gyrational movement to convince me? It's pretty obvious that they know the same thing that I know, just as it has been obvious with *numerous* martial artists I've met in my career.
O Sensei (in the pre-war period that you all seem to find more authoritative on these issues) said that we should specifically pursue the scientific line of inquiry in developing his Aikido. That's what I am doing.

"I know it's true! I have seen it! So have those guys over there!"

Great!

That's just NOT science. I even believe you, but that is still NOT science.

You take my skepticism of your statements as a failure to comprehend, or as a challenge to the validity of your experience. It is not. You are just not meeting the terms of the argument at issue when it comes to providing some sound mechanical interpretation for training in relaxed body dynamics.

You have said nothing about relaxed structures that means anything mechanically that you could use to aid training from that objective, scientific perspective. You have your perpective on progressive training for relaxation and have outlined it (admirably and clearly in common terms). But it is and will remain subjective. Not bad, not wrong necessarily (other than the resistive elements for aikido), but subjective.

That is only emphasized by your recurrent refrain of having to "feel" it in a hands-on setting from a vetted provider of "the skills." I have felt kokyu, I know what it is; I can do it; I can describe it in a host of subjective terms some poetic, some spiritual, some not.

Now, fine. You describe it in objective terms if you want to meet my objective model in argument. Springs aren't it, nor is tensegrity or any other spaceframe analysis -- none of these are relaxed structures -- they exhibit bending moment resistance under load, and none of them have rotary or torsional joints as does the human body. The closest you might come with your mention of fascial tissues approach would be some form of shear plane structure, but you have not developed that, and I cannot see how that would deal with the dynamic joint issues, either

Either stop pretending that you have a mechanical model of relaxed body behavior, or quit avoiding the point by misplaced arguments of authority or personal experience and propose something that has an objective scientific foundation.

State your point so that others can objectively test it analytically, both in concept and physically to duplicate your results -- without your hand in the experiment. That is the test. If not, then it has abslutely nothing to say on the points I am addressing.

If you don't choose to, then why are you arguing the point? Go on about what you are doing. Some people seem to like it. I have no problem with any of that (like my opinion mattered anyway.)

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 12-15-2006, 11:34 AM   #83
Mike Sigman
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
You take my skepticism of your statements as a failure to comprehend,
Not true. The people I mentioned like Rob, Dan, Ushiro, me, and MANY others, can establish a common dialogue fairly quickly, based on our descriptions of what's going on... the commonalities are very apparent. It doesn't take much and it is the basis from which a fruitful dialogue develops. You have never shown any real knowledge of that basis and your theories don't reflect it at all...even when I stretch my mind looking for ways to see a concurrence. That's where I get your failure to comprehend; not your skepticism.

Just to check, I've spoken with people that know you... it's even less assuring. As I've suggested, maybe you should meet up with someone like Rob, Ushiro, or Dan and first establish what the common dialogue is about. And go from there.

As I noted, how can we discuss relaxation if we're talking about 2 different forms of movement?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 12-15-2006, 12:52 PM   #84
Erick Mead
 
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Not true. The people I mentioned like Rob, Dan, Ushiro, me, and MANY others, can establish a common dialogue fairly quickly, based on our descriptions of what's going on... the commonalities are very apparent. It doesn't take much and it is the basis from which a fruitful dialogue develops.
You keeping talking past the points I've made, rather than addressing them directly, Mike, and getting way too testy into the bargain. Not aiki -- on either point.
Dialogue is not science. Consensus is not science.
Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Just to check, I've spoken with people that know you... it's even less assuring.
Snooping and sarcastic innuendo about an unknown reputation. Also -- not science. Also -- not very Aiki. Not that I care what they woudl say if they indeed know me. And -- Reputation -- (good or bad) also not science.
Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
As I noted, how can we discuss relaxation if we're talking about 2 different forms of movement?
You have not established in any objective terms that we are. Mine is on the wing. Shoot it down. Or, propose a better one, that objectively shows I don't "get it."

And unless and until you actually give some objective description of the physical model of movement of which you are speaking, no one else will have any reason to believe that it is different either, unless they just take your word for it.

If they experience relaxed body dynamics then they can (and usually do) come up with their own ad hoc models to help them understand the training, sure, but they will still have either a subjective interpretation of what is happening or will have to derive some objective model of the action that can be tested conceptually and physically. Your approach is stillin that ad hoc vein, you all have just agreed on common terminology, it just doesn;t happen to be objective mehcnics. Which as I said before, is just fine.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 12-15-2006, 01:01 PM   #85
Mike Sigman
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

Go see someone that can show you, Erick. Then we can talk about modelling. You can't model something that you don't understand.

Mike
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Old 12-15-2006, 05:10 PM   #86
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

I'm done with finals now so I can return to this discussion.

Erick, what you are doing isn't science. It's the rhetoric of science used to advance your argument, rather than figuring out what is actually happening,
This is how you argue:

The issue is...(is this aiki, is this a tensor, is this xyz)
The rule is (insert quote about aiki/tensor/some study done by human biodynamics guys)
Analysis: See? This intance matches/does not match the rule given above.
Conclusion: It's not aiki/it's a tensor/it's xyz motion.

Unfortunately at no point did you ever go out and test your theory. By testing, I mean acquire numerical data to ascertain whether your theory is true, or incorrect. You haven't done this. Science is about finding numerical data to support or falsify (depending on who you talk to ) a theory.

If we can't find numerical data, what we can do is examine a particular physical skill, then through trial and error derive a training method to accomplish it. This may not give us much from the "analytical/numerical" perspective. However, it can teach us how to throw (hopefully) like Shioda and Ueshiba. Actually this is exactly what the esoteric 'feelings talk' that you dislike so much is for. It gives us a common language to discuss how to create an objective result with the use of subjective (or difficult to measure outside of a lab) mental states. We "keep it real" by testing, either through "tricks" that are not possible without the relevant body skill, or through actual fighting.

Therefore, your argument is fundamentally empty from the perspective of helping to develop a method to train the skills which we are discussing.

Rather, you have made recourse to what you have learned in your legal education, namely, the skill of hermeneutic argumentation. That's about as far from empiricism as one can get.
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Old 12-15-2006, 08:24 PM   #87
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
Erick, what you are doing isn't science. It's the rhetoric of science used to advance your argument, rather than figuring out what is actually happening,
It's mechanics. It is scientific. I don't have to duplicate the whole canon of experimental physics to argue those points in order to ELIMINATE untenable models. You are correct that it is noty complete yet, but who claimed it was? We are the stage of framing hypotheses. I have a tentative one I am trying to refine at the level of available data and competing conceptual models before I try to falsify and test it. Data and conceptual discussion, which I might add, are not forthcoming. I have arrived a a tentative hypthesis at this point. I have described it.
Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
Unfortunately at no point did you ever go out and test your theory. By testing, I mean acquire numerical data to ascertain whether your theory is true, or incorrect. You haven't done this. Science is about finding numerical data to support or falsify (depending on who you talk to ) a theory.
You are correct. However, you are, like these other guys, jumping the gun to cut off the usefulness of this debate, becasue you assume this is idle talk. I assure you it is not.

Once I have a working hypothesis I can design a testing assumption and a data model. How does an interested neurologist and EMG sound? That's one of the reasons I am trying to get these guys to come to terms with me on the mechanics of what they do to see if there is any meaningful distinction between what we idnetify as kokyu in mechnical terms. I have some real possibilities to do this.
Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
Actually this is exactly what the esoteric 'feelings talk' that you dislike so much is for. It gives us a common language to discuss how to create an objective result with the use of subjective (or difficult to measure outside of a lab) mental states.
Yes and I value it highly in the terms of O Sensei's work. Their language of "feel" is not his, and there is a disconnect. I have spent a great deal of time and attention on the root concepts of Chinese and Japanese culture in my earlier years. I have tried very hard to understand the concepts and their "feel" as O Sensei speaks of them on their own terms, as they are the guideposts for aikido. Too many people either dismiss or are unwilling to expend the effort to work through them. The problem with the rubric used by Mike, Dan and the others, however useful to them, is that it does not map onto O Sensei's descriptions of the prinicples in important respects. I have noted some of these, and asked for explaining interpretations that would resolve the conflict. They do not want to cooperate, or cannot. What they are doing is plainly related, but troublingly dissonant in "feel" compared with O Sensei's descriptions.

Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
... you have made recourse to what you have learned in your legal education, namely, the skill of hermeneutic argumentation. That's about as far from empiricism as one can get.
Uh . Of course it is. Whatever the disagreement is about current practice, O Sensei cannot resolve it in terms of physical practice. Going back to "formula" so to speak, may be one way to do that. The only way to get from the inside of O Sensei's text to the outside of it with useful testable assumptions for empirical analysis IS the process of hermeneutics... If you have a better one?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 12-15-2006, 08:36 PM   #88
Erick Mead
 
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Go see someone that can show you, Erick. Then we can talk about modelling. You can't model something that you don't understand.
Let me be clear. I am not modelling what you are doing, unless it is the same thing that I am doing. I have not resolved that with you, nor can I without your willing participation. I am not going to stop what I have been doing that I know to be useful because you assert, without knowing what I am doing, that I do not know what I am doing.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 12-15-2006, 08:58 PM   #89
Mark Jakabcsin
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

Ahhhh....interesting.....kinda......errrr......where does the tension come from? Babies obviously do not have tension, nor do very young children, hence it must not be natural to have tension. I.E. we learn or aquire tension. Why? I believe that finding a cure (to any problem) requires identifying and correcting the cause. Yes? Hence if one wishes to learn some degree of relaxation would it not be helpful to understand what causes the tension in the first place?

Sorry, this is not a mechanical line of thinking......but then we are not robots. Perhaps a new direction in our discussion would be helpful.

MJ
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Old 12-15-2006, 09:51 PM   #90
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

Erick,
When you get some numerical data and people have modeled the behavior, I'd like to see it. And I mean that. Until then, don't expect me , or anyone else, to take it very seriously.

Let me explain to you why-- I spent a number of years training with people who thought a lot like you did. They attempted to watch techinques and come up with elaborate (and untested/untestable) "physics models" to help their students understand the technique. I found it then, and find it now, pretty useless. It has nothing to do with the feeling of what happens in the moment, and how to train that awareness/proper relaxation. In fact, I'd argue that trying to "think" one's way through the technique is about the worst way to do it. For me. Maybe this technique works well with you and your student population. I've found it a needless overcomplication for me, and I wouldn't use it to explain anything to another person either.

I am not interested in a legalistic analysis of Ueshiba's writings, nor am I interested in playing the purity game, i.e. arguing over who's training is "purer" and closer in adherence to Ueshiba's writings. They're interesting to me insofar as they illustrate the journey of another person, as notes on the path. It's just a guide, in other words. I am neither an Omoto practitioner, nor a classically trained martial artist in the way that he was. I agree with you that Ueshiba can't settle anything since he is dead. The harder you try and force everything into an idealistic, legalistic framework (the rule is....the authority says...) the harder you will find this type of training, but , I don't think you're going to accept that, since you seem to think that method of thinking is the best thing since sliced bread.

Before you write everything off though, I'd strongly encourage you to meet someone like Chen Xiao Wang in person, or even some of the other people mentioned to you, such as Ushiro, etc.

Like everyone else, I'd strongly caution you that what you are doing, is very, very likely not what Mike, Dan, Rob, Gernot, etc are talking about. I could be wrong though. There's really only one way for you to find out, which is to go and touch hands yourself. It's kind of like trying to explain a bicycle to someone who has only ever seen cars and trikes. I have said in the past that I didn't have much exposure prior to making contact with Rob and MIke, but that's not the case-- I had met some very, very skilled wing chun people who had experience fighting full contact. What they do is different , but (in my beginner opinion) it's a difference of degree rather than of kind. I'll leave it at that. If I hadn't seen what they could do, and _felt it_ , I wouldn't have taken Mike or Rob seriously at all.

Anyway, it's been nice talking to you about these things, and I'm interested to see what happens when you collect some numerical data.

Last edited by Tim Fong : 12-15-2006 at 09:56 PM.
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Old 12-15-2006, 10:22 PM   #91
Charles Hill
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

Hi Mark,

I have a 6th month old daughter and she definitely gets tense when she feels fear. And this is hard wired, I believe. For ex. when putting her into the bath, if I lower her too quickly, her arms shoot out as if to break her fall. So the answer seems to be to help people and ourselves expand what we can do without this fear reaction popping up. Tension = fear, right? As for method, I have to confess that almost everything that I have done that has been successful has come from my Systema training.

Charles
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Old 12-15-2006, 10:51 PM   #92
Erick Mead
 
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
When you get some numerical data and people have modeled the behavior, I'd like to see it. And I mean that. Until then, don't expect me , or anyone else, to take it very seriously.
Give me about six months. He's just geting settled into the VA and wants to work on a project that has some bearing on rehabilititave biomechanics, and happened to be already interested in Aikido practice before we met. Win-win.
Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
I spent a number of years training with people who thought a lot like you did. They attempted to watch techinques and come up with elaborate (and untested/untestable) "physics models" to help their students understand the technique. I found it then, and find it now, pretty useless. It has nothing to do with the feeling of what happens in the moment, and how to train that awareness/proper relaxation.
Amen. and Alleluia. In dynamic control of anything one cannot divorce the feel from the mechanics any more than one can divorce the mechanics from the feel. In fact a lot of my ideas on the mechanics comes from careful working through the elements of experiencing of the control rather than external observations. There is a lot of good stuff out there on working the feel, and lots of it bad. There is little at all and almost nothing good on actual mechanics. A better description of mechanics will give a better guide on where and what you ought to be feeling, to refine a given technique, or when to know to move on from that technique.
Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
Maybe this technique works well with you and your student population. I've found it a needless overcomplication for me, and I wouldn't use it to explain anything to another person either.
You mistake my purpose, but that is OK because I have not risen to Mike's bait on the teaching thing. I know better than to burden students with a work in progress. Especially of this type. And maybe not even then. One can realisitcally hope that good results will yield simplified training corrections with a basis in objective fact instead of creative imagery. That's why I hash these things out here.
Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
The harder you try and force everything into an idealistic, legalistic framework (the rule is....the authority says...) the harder you will find this type of training,
That is not a mode for training -- certainly not my mode. It is a mode for planning strategy on better training, and weighing the merits of different approaches to training.
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Tim Fong wrote:
What they do is different , but (in my beginner opinion) it's a difference of degree rather than of kind.
I have assumed so, for my purposes.
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Tim Fong wrote:
Anyway, it's been nice talking to you about these things, and I'm interested to see what happens when you collect some numerical data.
I'll make point of it.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 12-16-2006, 12:51 AM   #93
Tim Fong
 
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

For clarification-- I meant that what the wing chun people do is different from Ushiro etc, by degree but not by kind. It's the same basic bodyskill, just used in fewer joints in wc than in, say Okinawan karate.
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Old 12-16-2006, 08:01 AM   #94
John Matsushima
 
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

Quote:
Adam Bauder wrote:
Relax! No, really.

Terms like "dead relaxation" and "living relaxation" might provide a clue to what's going on. Then there's "relax completely". I think something like, "relax completely in all directions" is more helpful.

Just as a relaxation starting point, here's something I learned to see if someone can shut down all muscle activity to a particular body part. Ask your partner to let you lift their arm from their side, up to their front, to a position where their hand is level to their shoulder. You can lift from their fingers or wrist. Tell your partner, that when you let go, their arm should fall naturally to their side. It is amazing how often I see their arm hesitate, upon release, before falling. Or how often I'll feel my partner assist in lifting their arm, even when they know and have been told not to. Of course, this is used primarily to illustrate the point of what one kind of relaxation can be. And how something so simple, can be difficult for someone to grasp. This can also be used as a first step to then acquiring much the same feeling in the arm, while keeping it raised.

thanks,
Adam

I have done similar exercises at a Man Sei Do dojo, and yes, they work great! We must have spent about the first 30 minutes of every class doing this. Once we got to where we could relax like that, then we did pushing and pulling exercises with the same feeling. I think two important factors in learning relaxation is to first have good posture and then forget about winning. Often the desire to drive uke to the ground forces us to moves in ways that require excessive force and power.

There seems to be too much emphasis on this relaxing "power". I think that while it is important, it is only a part of the machine. There are other elements required to do Aikido. Try relaxing your arm completely and then doing tenkan. If you do it correctly, nothing will happen because you can't do anything with a limp noodle.

-John Matsushima

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http://onecorneroftheplanetinjapan.blogspot.jp/
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Old 12-16-2006, 08:09 AM   #95
Mike Sigman
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

Quote:
John Matsushima wrote:
Try relaxing your arm completely and then doing tenkan. If you do it correctly, nothing will happen because you can't do anything with a limp noodle.
Yeah, but if you train with someone who is essentially defining what he means by "relax completely" as he works with you, it is easy to wind up doing something that is quite different from being "completely relaxed" and yet calling it "completely relaxed". I.e., I think you've isolated a large part of the problem beautifully.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 12-16-2006, 08:16 AM   #96
Mark Freeman
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

Quote:
John Matsushima wrote:
There seems to be too much emphasis on this relaxing "power". I think that while it is important, it is only a part of the machine. There are other elements required to do Aikido. Try relaxing your arm completely and then doing tenkan. If you do it correctly, nothing will happen because you can't do anything with a limp noodle.
I'm not sure you can have too much emphasis in this relaxing power.

Tenkan with a completely relaxed arm is very different to a completely 'collapsed' ( or limp noodle ) arm. A completely relaxed arm with mind/ki extended out through the fingers is perfectly possible. In fact IMHO all aikido should be performed this way.

The only thing you can do with a limp noodle is cover it in sauce and eat it.

Of course there are other elements required to do aikido, but if the basic co-ordination of mind and body (relaxation) is not present, then the other elements are being added to a structure built on sand.

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 12-16-2006, 08:49 AM   #97
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

The dreaded baby debate seems to be entering again. Small children are often used in examples in Japanese texts on this training, because a small child can relax more than an adult: and in that state, doing the technique in the way trained through kata exercises, such a child can throw an adult with a finger. I want to emphasize here that the child also has to have the correct body training, there is nothing natural about the movements, unlike some other posters have maintained on this site.
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Old 12-16-2006, 08:54 AM   #98
billybob
 
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

I'm busy and don't have time to catch up before I post. I started a thread in the Open Discussions forum titled 'human structure model discussion' so as to be slightly less offensive than normal to those who don't want that type of discussion in an aikido forum.

Please join the fray. It's fun as hell to argue this way!

david
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Old 12-16-2006, 01:24 PM   #99
billybob
 
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

After a model of human structure is agreed upon, and after a discussion of why adults tense (I have post traumatic stress disorder) we may have a paradigm to begin this.

I would humbly add an idea as to why the concept 'ki' is used. I noticed in my teen years doing judo - that when the throw was 'perfect' meaning I was totally balanced and uke seemed to float over me that I felt NOTHING. Our nerves are set up to feel positive stimuli. So, doing judo well meant I had to train Reverse - meaning I was doing it right when I could NOT feel my effect on uke, but knew it was happening some other way. I suggest that this happening - moving powerfully with zero normal neural feedback led to the description 'ki' or 'kokyu'. Obviously 'something' was happening. How to describe it? As I relaxed into this 'not' feeling a more subtle feeling began to develop.

Then, I started acting like an **shole, and hurting people in school. End of my ki development.

dave
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Old 12-16-2006, 04:18 PM   #100
Joe Jutsu
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Re: How to teach and train relaxation

Interesting discussion, thanks everyone.

I too was at Shaner sensei's workshop and for the record had a blast. It's been rather intersting thinking about that workshop in light of this discussion. Shaner sensei was big on setting up a "scientific" experiment throughout the seminar, where we would do an exercise and change one "variable" and then discuss the results. Another point that Shaner sensei made over and over again was essentially how incomplete the English translations of Tohei sensei's ki principles are. Sensei would read the japanese paragraph and that has been condensed down to "relax completely," for example. The phrase "limp noodle" has been brought up a few times throughout this thread. In Ki
Society this type of "relaxation" is reffered to as taeshi sp?, or dead calm. Seishi is the type of relaxation strived that we strive for, or alive calmness. Nothing limp there (that's what she said.....) Sorry I couldn't help myself.

A better translation than "relax completely" would be more along the lines of "take all the tension from your mind and your body and throw it away." So I can see how confusing this translation can be for beginners, it most certainly has been for me. FWIW I believe Shaner sensei has been very involved in retranslating alot of Tohei sensei's writings, which is exciting for me anyway because I very much appreciate Shaner sensei's clarity. In addition to retranslating "Keep One Point, Relax Completely, etc." for us at the seminar Shaner sensei time and again made the point that these were guides for the beginner. We say keep one point, but really once you acheive a level of sophistication you should not keep one point, you should throw it away, because that's just a mental pedagogy that will eventually get in the way. For me, I'm just trying to keep one point! Sort of like the path that can be named is not the tao. These paradoxes can be a bit dizzying for me personally. So an observation that I'm coming to is that if the four basic principles, for instance, are there for beginners and they are somehow overly vague, we definitely have a problem, don't we?

Yo WAYNE, it was good to meet you man! I hope we'll bump shoulder's at another seminar soon! Feel free to come down to Lawrence, we'll show you a good time and analytically prove that Kansas is not all cows and cornfields.

And to Mr. Sigman, I can't remember if I worked with a Mike from Durango or not, but I was wondering if you had any plans or aspirations to attend the Aikido Summit in Denver in March? I've enjoyed your posts for some time now, and would enjoy talking with you in person.

Cheers everyone!
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