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Old 08-07-2006, 05:45 PM   #1
Upyu
Dojo: Aunkai, Tokyo
Location: Tokyo, Japan
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Training the Body. Part 2: Exercesis

Onto the exercises then:
*These are only two of the exercises I train with over here in Tokyo. There's a variety of others, but they all adhere to the core principals. Besides which describing all of them would be a pain. If you're curious about the other exercises, come to tokyo and drop me a line

Leg Raises

*This exercise was already covered earlier in the article, but done
upagainst a wall. Doing it against the wall is actually harder. However it has to be able to be performed without a wall, still adhering to the same requirements while in motion(taking steps) if you want to realize any real benefits from this training.

Points

Keep some tension in the neck
(Touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth, while gently closing your teeth. This should also serve to lift the head up, and keep the tension in the neck present to support the spine.)

Put some tension in the back, and straighten the spine.
Imagine there is a wall behind you and you're trying to touch the small of your back to the wall.

## Upper Body "Cross" Tension Requirements##
******************************************************************************
Extend the hands outwards on either side. When doing this draw the shoulder blades together while simultaneously dropping the shoulders. This should cause tension to drop from the shoulders, flow to the elbows and out to the fingertips. The elbows and fingertips should feel sore if this tension is held.
Elbows should be STRAIGHT.

If you fulfill the physical requirements listed above, you should feel a "cross" of tension in the middle of your sternum/chest area
******************************************************************************
Continuously have a feeling of pushing out the hands, while simultaneously drawing the shoulder blades together and dropping the shoulders. (This is the contradictory part of the exercise)

When raising the legs do not KICK! This is extremely important.
Although the movement ends up looking somewhat "like" a stretch kick if done correctly, the intent is different.
Do NOT kick..
need I say it again?
Do NOT kick.
Simply raise the leg.

Try and raise the leg from the (Pelvic crease) area.

When performing this exercise, raise the leg in such a way that the upper body and the "cross" in the sternum are not affected.
This means that the hands should not waver, move up/down side/side. Keep the upper body motionless.

Take a step as you raise the leg and proceed forward.

Repeat this exercise until your elbows, shoulders go numb and the fingers tingle execessively.

Once you become accustomed to this movement, try the same exercises with a six-foot staff running across your back.
The staff will serve to provide feedback to your body, and help you feel any imbalance occuring in your upperbody.
(translation, it'll tell you whether you're wavering all over the place)

******************************************************************************
Basic Benefits from this Exercise
******************************************************************************

Helps to connect the arms as one unit. If you can understand and use this feeling, it can help to eliminate telegraphing in punches, throws or the gr@pple(yes, including all the "kyos"). Don't ask me to describe it in mail. It has to be shown.

Develops the upper center or the "cross", which serves to stabilize the body.

Develops and strengthens the bodies ability to move the lower body without affecting the upper body. Easily seen benefits include throws that're harder to detect/non telgraphic.

Increases/strengthens balance and bodies ability to "move" from the spine. This results in kicks that're better balanced, and much more solid than an onlooker might percieve.

****************************************************************************
Spinal Alignement Exercise

There are three transition states when doing this exercise.
The entire exercise should be done smoothly without stopping at a
very slow tempo. You should sweat like a pig after about 3 minutes of doing this exercise correctly. If you aren't, either you aren't human and don't have sweat glands, or you're doing it WRONG.


OverallPoints

When doing this exercise be sure to keep the tension constant!
Keep the tension flowing from your feet to your fingertips.
Keep the spine straight, and STAND from the SPINE.



////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Bottom Posture
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
You may want to first grasp the requirements for this posture by doing it against the wall.

Remember to keep some tension in the neck at all times, and place the tongue at the roof of the mouth while keeping the mouth gently shut to induce a "suspended" feeling from the spine.

Place both heels against, or an inch from the wall, about shoulder width apart, toes pointing forward.

Touch the small of the back to the wall.

Now, extend the arms out.
Elbows straight.
Hands in fists. Put some power into your fists.
Elbows over Knees. This is extremely important. Elbows over KNEES.

Drop the shoulders, but at the same time do NOT let the small of your back unstick from the wall.

Now, slowly lower your spine straight down, still pressing the small of the back to the wall.
It should feel like someone's pulling you forward, but at the same time you're pulling yourself back. This is the foward/backward contradictory force part of the excercise

As you lower yourself, make sure you push your knees out!
This creates the "arch" along the inside of the legs mentioned earlier which helps to support the spine.

As long as you do this, and you keep a "suspended" feeling, most of the support is being done by your spine, and you won't have to worry about the knees. (I know I know, knees shouldn't go over the toes, but that's only if you're allocating your weight to the knees. The trick is to support yourself from the spine)

Lower yourself until your heels want to pop up, then stop.
Drop the shoulders forward and down even more if possible, while pulling your body back to the wall, this should increase pressure in both your body and fists.

As you sink your body from the spine,your body should fold like an
accordion. The pelvic crease area should naturally close when you do this, however keep the feeling of keeping it open as you do this.

Try to pass the tension in the legs up the back, past the shoulders,
and to the very end of your hands.

If you don't have tension, chances are high you're not connected!!

The tension is maintained by relaxing the correct places (namely the pelvic crease area and dropping the shoulders), while keeping tension in others (the spinal area needs to have tension). Determing which places you need to tense and
relax is part of the self-discovery process.

The tension is NOT induced through clenching the muscles.


////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Transition and Supporting the Sky posture. - Named because it looks like you're supporting the sky. Expletitive deleted
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
From the previously described posture, open the hands so that the fingers are pointing straight up, palms facing forward.

Now fold the elbows, elbows and bring the hands together in
front of the chest, as if praying. Keep the elbows dropped when you do this, and keep as much tension flowing to the fingertips as you can during the movement. Elbows should still be over the knees.


From the "prayer" position, move only the arms, without raising the body, straight up and above your head, so that both hands
are "wedging" the sky. Extend the arms straighter and straighter, and bring them behind your head so that they touch the wall.
This should bring extreme tension to the base of the neck.

Now PULL your body up along the wall by pulling from the arms.
In particular, focus on the the base of the neck and how it
pulls the spine and the rest of the body along with it.

Do NOT push the ground with the legs or feet.

*You will have loads of tension in the quads, and the feet. But the idea is to pull your body up using the spine. As opposed to activating the leg muscles further and pushing the body away from the ground.

Pull your body up along the wall until the knees straighten out; continue to maintain the tension to the finger tips, keep the arms behind the head, stay against the wall, and "wedge" the sky.

Once you are fully standing, keep the tension in the fingertips and spread the hands apart, and push the palms and arms up skyward as if you were pressing up against the sky with your palms. Continue to keep the small of the back stuck to the wall.

At the same time, lower the body, and pull the sacrum/base of the spine downwards, while maintaing the "arch" in the legs mentioned earlier with knees pushed out.




////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Transition back to Bottom Posture
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
From the Sky posture, rotate the palms 90 degrees inward so that your fingers point behind you, and still keeping
tension in the finger tips, bring the arms slowly down so that the elbows are inline with the knees. Bring the palms straight in front of you until they're about chest height.

Feel familiar? You should be back to the "Bottom Posture". Now rinse repeat and do 5 more reps over the course of 15 minutes.

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
What the fuck does this weird exercise do??
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
It both teaches and strengthens the body to derive support from
the spine, while also letting it understand what it means to move within the range of an efficient biomechanical structure.

If you want to derive the maximum benefit from this exercise, it has to be done everyday without fail, and the "requirements", such as the arch in the legs, cross in the chest, and tension in the aforementioned spinal points need to be realized [emphasized?] in everyday posture.

This exercise affects all parts of the game, and will increase performance in throws/strikes/takedowns etc.

Working out in this manner allows you to immediately recognize what constitutes a sound biomechanical base and when it is disrupted.
A simple example of an application would be avoiding an arm bar on the ground. You'll know immediately when that arm bar is coming, simply because your body will feel "unbalanced" because the "physical properties" you're trying to keep together in your body are coming undone. Countering the arm bar then becomes
a simple affair of "readjusting" your body so that your body is once again adhereing to those properties.
The tension maintained in the exercises helps to teach the body how to connect the various points/properties together and make the adjustments to get them back second nature.

Learning techniques becomes faster since all sound techniques also adhere to the biomechanical principals taught in these exercises. This applies to all techniques be it kicks, punches, throws or anything else.

Since this exercise is probably difficult to understand and perform properly without a visual aid, I've included a link here for people to check out. Keep in mind that this example is being done without a wall.



http://www.badongo.com/vid/159261

*Addendum*
The parts where the hands are being held in a circular posture, or being twisted are training other components, and can be ignored for now. I won't bother to explain them since they're a bit beyond the scope of this article. However, they still are physical properties that relate back to the key points mentioned earlier. No ch1 was harmed, harnessed or otherwise used in the making of this video.

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Closing
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
There are other exercises, but I've provided two examples for
people to experiment with and see if they derive a benefit.

In case it is not apparent in the description, these are physical exercises designed to strengthen and connect the body's core, developing proper, efficient biomechanical motion and not some quasi mystical chi crap.
Not that anyone would make a crack about that in the first place.

The provided exercises are only the beginning stage. There are more indepth and advanced exercises that bring other deeper parts of the body into play.

I would like to emphasize that while the exercises are
done seperately, both of them (and other exercises as well) feed off of each other. Certain things are stressed and easier to feel in one exercise, and the benefits gained from it can then be put back into the other exercise and vice versa.

And if you claim this is too easy for you, then either you're full of crap, doing it wrong, or you're a monster in which case I want to roll with you =D
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Old 08-09-2006, 10:44 AM   #2
Adman
 
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Re: Training the Body. Part 2: Exercesis

Concerning the Upper Body "Cross":
Quote:
Elbows should be STRAIGHT.
So, would you say the elbows should be locked (as if to bring the elbow, that is pointing straight down, up through the top of the arm, while bringing the other parts -- wrist/shoulder -- down)? Even to the point of looking hyper-extended? Just trying to clarify.

Thanks!

Funny thing is, I've been practing stretching my spine lately, much the way you described in your previous article (yes ... with tension). Probably for a couple of weeks. My wife does a double take the other day and says, "Wow! You look tall!"
Of course, I'm only 5'6".

Last edited by Adman : 08-09-2006 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 08-09-2006, 03:29 PM   #3
Upyu
Dojo: Aunkai, Tokyo
Location: Tokyo, Japan
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Re: Training the Body. Part 2: Exercesis

Quote:
Adam Bauder wrote:
Concerning the Upper Body "Cross": So, would you say the elbows should be locked (as if to bring the elbow, that is pointing straight down, up through the top of the arm, while bringing the other parts -- wrist/shoulder -- down)? Even to the point of looking hyper-extended? Just trying to clarify.

Thanks!

Funny thing is, I've been practing stretching my spine lately, much the way you described in your previous article (yes ... with tension). Probably for a couple of weeks. My wife does a double take the other day and says, "Wow! You look tall!"
Of course, I'm only 5'6".
Good point you brought up. You don't want to focus on hyperextending the elbow. As in, if it gets hyper-extended a bit, don't worry about, just don't let it be the focus.
You'll want to pay more attention to "Pushing out" while "Drawing" your shoulder blades in, while keeping the shoulders down and the elbows straight.
Often times when I tell people to keep their shoulders down they'll relax the elbows, which isn't what you want.

By the way, there is a component of "pushing" down with all the joints: wrists, shoulder, elbow etc, while keeping them suspended.
But, I'd focus on the pull in/push out contradictory sensation first.

Visulation aid: Imagine Two heavy doors are to your sides and are attempting to shut, you try with all your might to keep them open while adhereing to the properties mentioned in the exercise
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Old 08-09-2006, 11:28 PM   #4
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Training the Body. Part 2: Exercesis

Oh, that's a nice trick there Rob! Thanks.

Question: do you tend to feel that dropping the chest makes a connection to the knees also? I.e., that dropping, if it in combination with the neck tension, makes the back really straighten out over the waist area and hips, makes a connection through the hips, splitting and going to the knees...
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Old 08-09-2006, 11:33 PM   #5
Upyu
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Re: Training the Body. Part 2: Exercesis

Kind of, but I wouldn't focus on it. Reason being you'll eventually want to focus on a "up" pressure as well. (Which starts to lead into basic compression, expansion, and is beyond the scope of the article) Don't overdo the tension, try and keep it as "relaxed" as possible.
Basically, don't turn it into 緊張感 (kinchou kan) as opposed to "張り"(hari).
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Old 08-10-2006, 03:26 AM   #6
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Training the Body. Part 2: Exercesis

Gotcha, I'm aware of the danger but you know how bad habits are...!
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Old 08-11-2006, 04:39 AM   #7
Tom H.
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Re: Training the Body. Part 2: Exercesis

Thanks for posting the details. This stuff is, for me, gold.

Because I've been working so sporadically, I've only recently been able to get the arms-across-the-chest/back connection. Noteably, I only make progress when I can work out everyday for at least a week. (I can count on one hand how many times that has happened this summer).
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Old 08-13-2006, 05:25 AM   #8
johanlook
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Re: Training the Body. Part 2: Exercesis

Hey Rob,
I've been working with that first exercise and am wondering if I'm doing it right. Am I meant to feel it in my abs also? I find that when I've got the small of my back flattened out it really puts the emphasis on my abs although I feel that ming mein area working too. All in all this exercise makes me feel pretty damn uncoordinated!
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Old 08-13-2006, 05:01 PM   #9
Upyu
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Re: Training the Body. Part 2: Exercesis

Quote:
Johan Look wrote:
Hey Rob,
I've been working with that first exercise and am wondering if I'm doing it right. Am I meant to feel it in my abs also? I find that when I've got the small of my back flattened out it really puts the emphasis on my abs although I feel that ming mein area working too. All in all this exercise makes me feel pretty damn uncoordinated!
Sure, at first.
Especially since your lower body is most likely unstable.
Don't force any tension in the abs though. But don't be worried if you get a bit there.
I'd focus on the middle, or chest area first, and stabilizing that portion.
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Old 08-15-2006, 06:28 AM   #10
davidafindlay
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Re: Training the Body. Part 2: Exercesis

Thanks Rob, carrying on from Pt I:

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
Spinal Alignement Exercise

<snip>

Keep the spine straight, and STAND from the SPINE.
Ok, ok, I hear the words But what do they mean? Is it like maintain the up-down tensions primarily, let the legs make the bow, and then let the upper/middle body drop onto that supportive bridge? oooh, think I just had a small lightbulb I don't think its an original thought, though


Quote:
Rober John wrote:
Elbows over Knees. This is extremely important.
Umm, ok... why?

When I do this it feels like it maximises the F-B tensions, particularly in the middle area, because of what it does to the alignment.

Comments?

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
As you sink your body from the spine,your body should fold like an accordion. The pelvic crease area should naturally close when you do this, however keep the feeling of keeping it open as you do this.
So, are you describing going down to like butt-on-the-floor as per the vid of Akuzawa? ie, with heels on the floor too? If I'm doing this against a wall, there is _no_way_ I can fit my body between my heels that are against the wall, and the wall (and I'm not really a big guy). If I raise my heels its doable, but that messes up my F-B contradictory feeling, 'cause its easy to rock the centre of gravity forwards now and make it "easy" for me. If I'm doing it without a wall, my torso hinges forward slightly, necessarily, although I try to keep it straight.

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
Now fold the elbows, elbows and bring the hands together in front of the chest, as if praying. Keep the elbows dropped when you do this, and keep as much tension flowing to the fingertips as you can during the movement. Elbows should still be over the knees.
So, hands are held out such the thumbs couldn't touch the chest? I notice Akuzawa is not touching his together... I guess this is part of the imagery of maintaining L-R contradictory force through the cross?

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
At the same time, lower the body, and pull the sacrum/base of the spine downwards, while maintaing the "arch" in the legs mentioned earlier with knees pushed out.
"pull" not "drop"? Do you also maintain lift in crown trying to stop the downward movement?

Cheers,
Dave Findlay
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Old 08-15-2006, 06:33 AM   #11
davidafindlay
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Re: Training the Body. Part 2: Exercesis

Quote:
Johan Look wrote:
Hey Rob,
I've been working with that first exercise and am wondering if I'm doing it right. Am I meant to feel it in my abs also? I find that when I've got the small of my back flattened out it really puts the emphasis on my abs although I feel that ming mein area working too. All in all this exercise makes me feel pretty damn uncoordinated!
Hi Johan,

As a newb to these exercises too, I feel the same thing (ie, being kinda uncoordinated!). Especially I find trying to keep the small of the back pressed out makes things real hard work.

I felt it in my abs too, although probably more right down the bottom, like if you were to put your palm on your lower abdomen with thumb at belly button level - that's the area that ends up working fairly hard on me.

Cheers,
Dave Findlay
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Old 08-15-2006, 06:37 AM   #12
davidafindlay
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Re: Training the Body. Part 2: Exercesis

Quote:
Tom Holz wrote:
Thanks for posting the details. This stuff is, for me, gold.

Because I've been working so sporadically, I've only recently been able to get the arms-across-the-chest/back connection. Noteably, I only make progress when I can work out everyday for at least a week. (I can count on one hand how many times that has happened this summer).
Hi Tom,

I agree, I've been messing around with this stuff since Rob posted his videos somewhere a wee while ago. Only recently have I been doing it daily. It was an interesting experience when I was back at training after a few weeks off, and the instructor said something like "hmm, you feel very stable". Pretty cool, and nice to have some feedback too!

In the last month I slacked off a bit, and the difference was even quicker to see ...so, back in the saddle!

Regular (daily) practice seems the key!

Cheers,
Dave Findlay.
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Old 08-15-2006, 04:25 PM   #13
Upyu
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Re: Training the Body. Part 2: Exercesis

Quote:
Johan Look wrote:
Hey Rob,
I've been working with that first exercise and am wondering if I'm doing it right. Am I meant to feel it in my abs also? I find that when I've got the small of my back flattened out it really puts the emphasis on my abs although I feel that ming mein area working too. All in all this exercise makes me feel pretty damn uncoordinated!
Sorry Johan, didn't mean to ignore you ^^;
Just realized you posted something after I saw Dave respond to your post.

Just to allay any fears, yes I did feel tension in the abs when I did them against the wall.
But no you don't have to keep that tension when you move around daily, or do the exercises without a wall.
The wall is more there to correct the "spine."

And yes you'll feel miserably uncoordinated/unconnected at first.
The Wall is a harsh teacher
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Old 08-15-2006, 04:40 PM   #14
Upyu
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Location: Tokyo, Japan
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Re: Training the Body. Part 2: Exercesis

Quote:
Dave Findlay wrote:
Thanks Rob, carrying on from Pt I:

Ok, ok, I hear the words But what do they mean? Is it like maintain the up-down tensions primarily, let the legs make the bow, and then let the upper/middle body drop onto that supportive bridge? oooh, think I just had a small lightbulb I don't think its an original thought, though
Yup, along those lines of thought. If you do the exercises daily, then like you've noticed, that nature will probably change eventually.
You aren't wrong tho.

Quote:
Dave Findlay wrote:
Umm, ok... why?
Just do it
Kidding.
Hard to explain why, I'm pretty sure there's some structural reason why it's more stable.
Until you can establish a groundpath, you'll always want to keep elbows over knees.
Some practicioners refer to this as "staying within your structure" etc.

Quote:
Dave Findlay wrote:
When I do this it feels like it maximises the F-B tensions, particularly in the middle area, because of what it does to the alignment.
Yup, because skeletal structures efficiency is maximized (my guess, don't take it as gospel) If I were you I wouldn't about the "why" yet. Just note that the tension increases and move on

Quote:
Dave Findlay wrote:
So, are you describing going down to like butt-on-the-floor as per the vid of Akuzawa? ie, with heels on the floor too? If I'm doing this against a wall, there is _no_way_ I can fit my body between my heels that are against the wall, and the wall (and I'm not really a big guy). If I raise my heels its doable, but that messes up my F-B contradictory feeling, 'cause its easy to rock the centre of gravity forwards now and make it "easy" for me. If I'm doing it without a wall, my torso hinges forward slightly, necessarily, although I try to keep it straight.
Hahhahahahahaha...
no. If I could do that with my heels touching the wall, and keeping them on the floor Id be a mtherfu$#"ing master.
I hear in the old days, some teachers in china would measure how much their students had been practicing (or slacking), by having them standagainst a wall, then see how far they could drop down keeping a straight back, without the heels popping up from the floor.
If you couldn't go down very far, or you hadn't made progress, it meant you'd been slacking

Short answer.
Don't raise the heels. Go as far down as you can while maintaining F-B connection.

Quote:
Dave Findlay wrote:
So, hands are held out such the thumbs couldn't touch the chest? I notice Akuzawa is not touching his together... I guess this is part of the imagery of maintaining L-R contradictory force through the cross?
You're thinking too much. Don't worry about that part now
But you're correct, there is a component of L-R force at work there.
Imagine like there's a piece of paper in between your hands when you bring them together. Keep it there.

Quote:
Dave Findlay wrote:
"pull" not "drop"? Do you also maintain lift in crown trying to stop the downward movement?
Pull for me indicates control. Drop means you simply "relax" and let go. So which ever works for you. Myself, I think its important to maintain a constant "pull" downwards in the beginning since we tend to be unaware of its importance.

Always maintain lift in the crown.
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Old 08-16-2006, 03:48 AM   #15
davidafindlay
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Re: Training the Body. Part 2: Exercesis

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
Imagine like there's a piece of paper in between your
hands when you bring them together.
Cool - I imagine that's a similar image for palm press exercise in i-liq's yi jin jing?

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
Pull for me indicates control. Drop means you simply
"relax" and let go.
Mmm, fair enough. That makes sense.

Cheers,
Dave Findlay
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Old 08-24-2006, 04:08 AM   #16
davidafindlay
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Re: Training the Body. Part 2: Exercesis

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
Imagine like there's a piece of paper in between your hands when you bring them together. Keep it there.
You know what, this piece of paper thing is actually really hard. If I instead push my hands together, or even just rest them together a bit, it seems that some of the load is taken off the rest of my body (couldn't figure how that might work, but that's what it _feels_ like). When I do think about the paper, it makes rising up from the bottom position just that much harder work.

And as for the feeling of _pulling_ up from the bottom posture... well, I think it'll be a while before I start to feel that properly.

I've recently started doing these in the gym at work on my lunch break, and I reckon there are a lot of gym bunnies looking at me wierd, and thinking I must be really unfit to be labouring so much over a few squats. The mirror there is useful though.

Dave Findlay
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Old 12-21-2006, 01:54 PM   #17
Michael McCaslin
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Re: Training the Body. Part 2: Exercesis

bttt
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