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Old 01-24-2007, 01:41 PM   #226
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
When you are deluded and full of doubt, even a thousand books of scripture are not enough.

When you have realized understanding, even one word is too much.

Fen-Yang
It's one thing to debate perspectives of strong ideas; it is another thing to never get to the ideas but to only argue the alphabet with which they're written.
Sigh.

At one time, a pertinent quotation was a measure of a good education. These days it may merely demonstrate a good browser. Still, the wisdom is there, whatever the facility that brings it out.

Niels Bohr said that the opposite of a small truth is false -- the opposite of a great truth is also true.
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It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. ~ Epictetus

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 01-24-2007, 02:26 PM   #227
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Eddie deGuzman wrote:
I think I favor how Mike has been explaining things, but at the same time I don't think Eric should be faulted for believing otherwise. A lot of what Eric said made sense to me. But perhaps Eric could explain what he would think a good skillset would consist of and how to teach it using his concepts and jargon and allow Mike his beliefs.

Would like to learn more in this thread so if you all have more to say, please do.
If you have practiced furitama, or a related exercise tekubi furi (hand shaking) the shaking of the arms and body with it, you will feel the the cyclical rotations of your arms connecting and communicating all the way to your belly. Especially if you do it with the weight slightly forward on the toes (a la Shioda). That is the "liveness" of connection you want to feel in every movement you do -- whether you call it "waza" or exercise or anything else. But that "feel" is just a guide -- it does not get you to applied movement, or anything remotely approaching a "skill" worthy of the name. In Tekubi furi you will notice that the segments of your arms are doing little reciprocal rotations back and forth as you shake your hands over your head, and they feel sort of "taut" in a way that is different from "muscle."

The type of things that Mike talks about are, from my perspective, a mixture of his (somewhat different) approach to mechanical exploitation (internal as well as external) with the same "liveness" of the furitama exercise connecting everything together.

What I want my arms and body to feel like and do is what they do like shaking wet noodles when I do furitama, but capable of action in reverse, also, and potenitally like cold taffy - fluid but initially very viscous when performing kihon technique or partner exercises. Then everything can flows like a slow motion waterfall. And water flows into gaps, doesn't it ?

On kokyu tanden ho, your partner attempts to apply a rotation to your body, through the arm or shoulder, typically, ultimately to topple you off your base of support and collapse you. Whether this occurs by a push, a grab or a punch is really only a matter of circumstance degree, and coordination of effort.

Unless one side is fixed, rotate any object and one side of ti experiences motion in one direction and the opposing side experiences motion in the other direction. Because of the mechanism of our bodies we move by rotating our limbs around joints. (We do not have any "trombone" mechanics. And the only hydraulics, well , ... just are not polite to talk about.) Each end of a limb tends to rotate one way when the other end is rotating the other, or esle we fix one end (usually with muscular restraint) and use the resulting additonal moment to generate power at the free end. But the potential of that tendency to rotate the fixed end of the limb segment remains and cannot be done away with.

If you fix one side or the other to a support then that side receives a moment against the support, and one can apply the pinned moment into an attack at the other side of the limb that is free to swing. If you "unfix" that support, the moment is then unstuck and "pops free" uncommanded -- removing the added moment it was contributing at the attacking side -- a road to kuzushi.

Looking from the other perspective, some portion of nage is, inevitably on either side of uke's connection inducing the rotation on you thus one side going one way and one side going the other -- in other words, as O Sensei said, you are already behind him. You perhaps just have not gotten top the point of perceiving that yet. Now like the fluid glacier -- flow throught he gap and burst the dam.

Take the kokyu tanden ho wrist grab. It illustrates that you are behind him at the moment of attack. Your whole hand is already, literally, behind his point of attack. The unschooled instinct is to resist the rotation (typically being applied down and forward from the top) into your forearm, by means of the stuff on "your" side of the attack. I, early on, neglected the fact that I am also on the other side of the attack, where my hand is. (Behind enemy lines so to speak and therefore capable of much mischief.) A basic bodyskill is therefore an awareness of what part of me at any given moment is placed where in relation to his actual or potential attack. Aikido looks for potential to exploit.

By rotating your hand, in the same direction but behind his wrist, he cannot resist, as you are "helping" his rotation at the wrist. The forearm/wrist joint is also pivoting down in front as the hand pivots up behind. By also giving way on the front by entering and turning under it, you also are entering even more fully from the rear. You are shifting his point of application more within your sphere of control, than his.

Your rotation behind his wrist also affects the rotation of the forearm at the elbow, since they are connected, and counter to the rotation that is necesssary to push against you ( abut since he is trying to rotate the other end, not really opposing him at all) That further saps the moment he his trying to generate against you. If he keeps pushing, that continued rotation from behind begins to affect the connection at the shoulder, ultimately un-fixing it and then all that braced moment at the shoulder/torso "pops" out --- and it's all over but the shouting.

Yes I know it's is kihon and I know it will be called waza, but the end of all this practice is to stop feeling the difference between his arms and yours and just "shake" them out -- easily (fast or slow) --just like his arms are your arms. And just like you feel the tekubi furi or furitama exercises, shaking yourself in the belly when you shake your own arms -- you literally touch his center in this same exact way. Mike's point is about focussing on the internal so as to preclude the external influence from operating. My training has taught me to make the external itself, internal to my operation.

Ikkyo relies on these same dynamics of what is before and behind the attack at the point of connecting with the attack. The feel of that placement, of the liveness of connection at that place and a rudimentary sense of what roads are open to you from that point are part of my understanding of basic skills.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 01-24-2007 at 02:35 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 01-24-2007, 05:33 PM   #228
eyrie
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Yes I know it's is kihon and I know it will be called waza
I think it would judicious to separate the kihon from kihon waza... literally... kihon precedes waza (whether it's kihon or oyo or what-have-you waza). Kihon is fundamental bodyskills - the "mechanics" if you like - that is used to power waza.

Quote:
The feel of that placement, of the liveness of connection at that place and a rudimentary sense of what roads are open to you from that point are part of my understanding of basic skills.
Well, you're still really talking about the finer points of technical application - in kihon waza... a basic skill perhaps, in applying technique, but very different to the "baseline skills" we're talking about....IMO.

Ignatius
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Old 01-24-2007, 09:07 PM   #229
raul rodrigo
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Re: Baseline skillset

Erick, you're still insisting that kokyu tanden ho is about wrist rotation. How do you account for the kokyu tanden ho of Kuribayashi shihan, where there is no wrist rotation to speak of? His hands are extended palm down and they dont rotate.
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Old 01-25-2007, 07:25 AM   #230
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote:
I think it would judicious to separate the kihon from kihon waza... literally... kihon precedes waza (whether it's kihon or oyo or what-have-you waza). Kihon is fundamental bodyskills - the "mechanics" if you like - that is used to power waza.
Not sure if this is what you you're referring to, but the fundamentals are referred to as "kiso" ( 基礎 ), and on top of that are built the "kihon" ( 基本 ) of which an example might be irimi and tenkan movements. So learning the kiso is vital but people don't openly teach that. Abe Seiseki sensei often mentions that people don't study kiso enough - I think he means that in doing kihon and kihon waza one should be studying the kiso that underlie it, not to mention doing special training to develop those kiso.

Regards, Gernot
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Old 01-25-2007, 07:28 AM   #231
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Gernot Hassenpflug wrote:
Not sure if this is what you you're referring to, but the fundamentals are referred to as "kiso" ( 基礎 ), and on top of that are built the "kihon" ( 基本 ) of which an example might be irimi and tenkan movements. So learning the kiso is vital but people don't openly teach that. Abe Seiseki sensei often mentions that people don't study kiso enough - I think he means that in doing kihon and kihon waza one should be studying the kiso that underlie it, not to mention doing special training to develop those kiso.
Thanks, Gernot. That's exactly what I was looking for.

Best.

Mike
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Old 01-25-2007, 09:51 AM   #232
Eddie deGuzman
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Re: Baseline skillset

Hi Eric,

It's obvious you have thought a great deal about this topic and I appreciate you taking the time to put those thoughts down for us all.

For the moment there seems to be the idea that the how of aikido can be separated from the what of aikido. And if I'm not mistaken, you take the more holistic approach wherein the how is embedded in the what, and therefore it becomes quite difficult to discuss one surface of a two surface slice of bread. Fair enough.

Mike, forgive me if I'm off base, but what I seem to be hearing from you is that the underlying how of aikido can be taught an easier way. And once this how of aikido is learned, it can be carried over to every technique, thus saving us all a couple of decades of frustration and mat time.(Not that we won't be on the mat anyway! ) Personally, I love shortcuts. Show me the way!

Eric, a couple of things I'm unclear about with your view on things...
Raul mentioned rotation so let's begin there. Am I correct in thinking that you believe all motion of the human body involves rotation? Granted, without joint manipulation there isn't much going on. But are there not different types of joints? The definition I am familiar with fits more with ball and socket movement. Pronation and supination involve rotation, yet other joints, to my knowledge, involve flexion and extension. Is this also rotation to you?

When you mention moment, are you refering to speed and not moments in time? Just trying to make it clear to myself.

As for limbs moving for opposition, it sounds very much like yin/yang, inyou principles, another subject in which I am ignorant. What I imagine here, and I may be very far off from what you have in mind, is an attack force making contact and you accept that, allowing for an opposite, perhaps equal force, remaining in balance generating more power/momentum and neutralizing the attack through redirection or perhaps ending with a pin. Am I close?

In front and behind the attacker...Sometimes, not always, working on it. Sometimes nicer when you visualize the attacker not even there.

Eric, in my dojo we do shake our hands, but I'm not sure what you mean by furitama. Tama alone means ball so I shudder to think what shaking this tama means.

Thanks again everyone for the insight. Let's keep in mind though that no matter how much we discuss water, it still won't quench our thirst.

Tomorrow is workout night, do I dare even broach the subject?

Cheers,
Eddie
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Old 01-25-2007, 12:55 PM   #233
Michael Young
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
For the moment there seems to be the idea that the how of aikido can be separated from the what of aikido. And if I'm not mistaken, you take the more holistic approach wherein the how is embedded in the what, and therefore it becomes quite difficult to discuss one surface of a two surface slice of bread. Fair enough.

Mike, forgive me if I'm off base, but what I seem to be hearing from you is that the underlying how of aikido can be taught an easier way. And once this how of aikido is learned, it can be carried over to every technique, thus saving us all a couple of decades of frustration and mat time.
Now we're talkin'. My hope when this thread was started was that the fundamental things (the "Kiso" as Gernot wrote) is what would be discussed. I would like to see Mike and some of the others that practice these things maybe write up a description of what precisely they think should be practiced (or point us to someplace where a description can be found that they've already written). Then we can discuss and clarify those actual things. Of course the problem is the usual digression that these threads tend to follow. Mike,or Dan, or John (who has actually already started a thread with some specific descriptions of what he does, etc.) whattdya think? How about submitting an article to Jun? Personally, I would like to see Mike have a continuing column. I know not everyone here agrees with what he and others always say, but the discussion of such an article could give the venue for all of that; while the column(s) itself could give an opportunity for the writer to get ac cross descriptions and ideas without the continual interruption of personal attacks and digressions for the sake of digression. Take some of the argument out of it, so that we can just read the info. Of course here I am pulling the thread off topic, sorry.

Back to lurking,

-Mike
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Old 01-25-2007, 01:04 PM   #234
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Baseline skillset

It's an excellent suggestion!

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 01-25-2007, 01:28 PM   #235
Alec Corper
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

If only it were that simple. After all some of us are already at least Shihans in Netdo, the amount of finger time we put into expressing our views. Not able to stay out of it, more fool me, I would say that it is virtually impossible to learn internal exercises through reading other people's descriptions. It is already incredibly hard if you find a genuine teacher. No disrespect to Mike but I have great doubt in shortcuts through explanation, my experience tells me different. Of course I may be a poor learner so my opinions are a bit biased. I watched films of Ark before I trained with him, it looked fairly obvious, but oh dear, its not.
I know many of us feel that its not fair if we don't have access to a teacher, but hey, we've got the Net. Pretty soon we can all sound like we know what we are talking about, but honestly after 30 years of training in different MA I've only felt a handful of people who made me think there was anything more going on than good bio-mechanics. Of those only a couple who could really give me some explanation, but whatever I got was skin to skin first and then mind to mind. I'm old fashioned, I still believe that body training requires body contact.

If your temper rises withdraw your hand, if your hand rises withdraw your temper.
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Old 01-25-2007, 01:37 PM   #236
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Baseline skillset

Hey Alec, no arguement there. But the flip side is that by opening our minds, and preparing the ground, we can do something as we search.

There is also the fact (in my mind anyway) that the training regimines that many of us pursue already hold many of the keys to this. It's a change in attention, focus, mind that brings about the changes in our bodies. I don't expect to learn this material in my body by reading...but I do expect to learn as much as possible, refocus my keiko, and when the hands on comes, be able to take full advantage of it.

I also laugh at the idea of this being a shortcut...everything credible that I've heard says it's not. A better way perhaps. Focusing in on this is probably better than waiting for 20 years to really get started. But a shortcut? I think not.

Best,
Ron (that's my story and I'm sticking to it)

Ron Tisdale
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Old 01-25-2007, 01:37 PM   #237
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Eddie deGuzman wrote:
Raul mentioned rotation so let's begin there. Am I correct in thinking that you believe all motion of the human body involves rotation? Granted, without joint manipulation there isn't much going on. But are there not different types of joints? The definition I am familiar with fits more with ball and socket movement. Pronation and supination involve rotation, yet other joints, to my knowledge, involve flexion and extension. Is this also rotation to you?
Yes. Which is why it is counter-intuitive to many people. Try doing a push-up. You will notice that your forearm and upper arm are actually rotating, end for end, with respect ot the plane of the floor -- and in opposing directions. That is a "push" and a "pull" is just precisely the reverse set of opposed rotation. Kokyu does not use that.

Now, stand and put your right hand at your left shoulder, palm down. Now extend the arm as though cutting horizontally in front of you with a sword. All your limb segments (hand, forearm, upper arm) are rotating, end for end -- in the same direction -- clockwise viewed from above, both collectively -- and individually. This is "cutting" kokyu motion as distinct from "pushing" motion.

The inverse of "cutting" kokyu is "gathering" -- for lack off a better word. It is the most difficult to distinguish because most people instinctively "pull" the arm even after much correction. Hindbrain primate thing, I guess.

In the earlier cutting example given, gathering the right arm back to the left shoulder, all the parts are rotating counter-clockwise. The same extension outward is involved in the inward gathering kokyu motion as in the cutting kokyu motion, whihc is eye-goggling for some people at first. It is like gathering a big bale of something that you are trying to reach "around" as much as you are trying to bring it toward you. The arm as a whole and in all its parts all are rotating in the same direction -- but the reverse rotation as the cut with the same arm.

Gathering is the motion most commonly used initally in kokyu tanden ho (by no means exclusively). It is performed with the same extension as cutting. That extension is directly related to the type of differential rotations of the limbs and their parts. The shihonage entry absolutely depends on the correct use of this type of motion

Quote:
Eddie deGuzman wrote:
When you mention moment, are you refering to speed and not moments in time? Just trying to make it clear to myself.
Moment is measure of force applied to a rotating body at a distance from the axis of rotation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moment_%28physics%29

Leverage is one clever application of moment. Aikido uses some differently clever aspects of moment -- and leverage in the sense of a fixed fulcrum is not used. Rather signifcant parts of aikido are much more about "unfixing" or fiddling with the fulcrum (center or axis of rotation) that others are trying to use against us. Centers can be moved and with them the relative moments that are in play change instantaeously.

Moments can be applied and they are also inherent in the inertia of a rotating body.That inertial moment varies depending on the axis of interest. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moment_of_inertia
Quote:
Eddie deGuzman wrote:
As for limbs moving for opposition, it sounds very much like yin/yang, inyou principles, another subject in which I am ignorant. What I imagine here, ... is an attack force making contact and you accept that, allowing for an opposite, perhaps equal force, remaining in balance generating more power/momentum and neutralizing the attack through redirection or perhaps ending with a pin. Am I close?
Not exactly. Never opposing force. Apply force at a point "behind" his attack. That is to say, behind the point at which he is trying to apply the moments he has generated to create force, acceleration and injury to you. This allows you to shift the center of his rotation and destroy his leverage advantage. And in additon you aptypically apply your kokyu motion to the direction of the natural rotation of the other end of the body part you are addressing IF it were free to rotate. But for his immobilizing that joint with musculature -- it would naturally rotate oppsoite the attacking side. Youare in fact removing his "unnatural" restraint to his applied motion -- and not opposing the force he is applying with it at all.

You touch a point "behind" the attack, and assist the "pinned" part of the moment arm of his limb to become "unstuck." Essentially, you are removing his own resistance to the reciprocal tendency of rotation in his body caused by his own attacking motion. It frees that end of the attacking part to rotate naturally (like a stick rotates after being thrown) and his energy of attack feeds back to him naturally through his own body, instantaneously. At the very least, it destroys the stability of his aim - and if done well destroys his stability entirely.

For instance, shomenuchi ikkyo --- as soon as I can make the shoulder joint rise up and away away from the torso (the natural tendency of rotation if the hand is descending in a downward arc) the force of attack that he was using that point of fixture to generate disappears. He is no longer able to set his arm against the anchor of his torso for support through that joint.

But since he was already pushing the attacking hip forward, now the arm has risen away and (becasue of my irimi) is now rotating up and back. His upper torso is now being whipped uderneath by his own forward momentum at the hips carrying underneath the now detached "clothesline," if you will, of his own arm. This freely rotates him in the direction of the attacking turn to face away from nage, as he is also rotating to place his shoulder at the level of his hips. The natural rotation upon being unstuck at the shoulder reverberates his energy back through his spine/torso to his center, in the same way as the tekubi furi sensation is fetl in the hara, creating kuzushi. That is what ikkyo is.

I do this by engaging at his arm just behind his attacking hand and then progressively moving further inward from there, and gaining further connection with the other hand. That is waza.

But you can you perform the fundamental ikkyo interaction with one hand. That initial aspect of gathering and cutting is the basic bodyskill that ikkyo illustrates and that runs through nearly everything in one form or another. You can practice it statically in a kokyu tanden exercise with arms up in shomenuchi posture and hands up and the wrists back-to-back. and letting one attacka dn the other apply, and then reversing.
Quote:
Eddie deGuzman wrote:
Eric, in my dojo we do shake our hands, but I'm not sure what you mean by furitama. Tama alone means ball so I shudder to think what shaking this tama means.
Actually, one kanji for "tama" is "jewel(s)" but let's not go there ... "Tama" [ 魂 ] means soul/spirit in this context, usually pronounced "kon" or "tamashii" when seen alone. Furitama is a more general term, but the more usual exercise is seen with the hands clasped in front of the hara, shaking them the arms and the center from that point
Quote:
Eddie deGuzman wrote:
Thanks again everyone for the insight. Let's keep in mind though that no matter how much we discuss water, it still won't quench our thirst.
Amen to that . More beer!

Quote:
Eddie deGuzman wrote:
Tomorrow is workout night, do I dare even broach the subject?
Do whatever your teacher says. This is analytical, a place to plan for and contemplate training, not a place to train. Just train.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 01-25-2007, 01:38 PM   #238
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Michael Young wrote:
I would like to see Mike and some of the others that practice these things maybe write up a description of what precisely they think should be practiced (or point us to someplace where a description can be found that they've already written). Then we can discuss and clarify those actual things. Of course the problem is the usual digression that these threads tend to follow. Mike,or Dan, or John (who has actually already started a thread with some specific descriptions of what he does, etc.) whattdya think? How about submitting an article to Jun?
Well, as has been pointed out, a discussion of basic skills is fine, but the problem is that too many of these things need to be actually felt and shown to be understood. Look at some of the posts and explanations I got into with Rob Liberti (that went from friendly to great friction). After many in-depth written descriptions but with no personal "feel", Rob got fairly outraged that the implication was the he didn't know how to do something, his teachers had taught him all that, yada, yada. Then, a couple of months ago, Rob visits Dan and gets a hands-on feeling for what some of the jin/kokyu stuff really is and suddenly he's a convert and is visiting Dan (I have no idea of Dan's skills personally, but the descriptions indicate that he's playing around with jin, for sure). So what did all those detailed writings of how to do things accomplish? Nothing much. So an extensive column wouldn't do much good until more people were on board and the discussions got around to whose approach to do such-and-such is best, what's the best way to get skill Y, etc., etc.

But, I'm fairly positive. Things have reached a critical momentum and there are enough people practicing some of these skills that I think things are just fine. Anyone who wants to ignore them and stick with the more external, technique-oriented approach is essentially looking at a dead end, IMO.

Best.

Mike
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Old 01-25-2007, 01:45 PM   #239
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
I also laugh at the idea of this being a shortcut...everything credible that I've heard says it's not. A better way perhaps. Focusing in on this is probably better than waiting for 20 years to really get started. But a shortcut? I think not.
I agree (you guys all posted, just as I was essentially saying the same thing). The point I'd make is that the main purpose (IMO) all these internet debates have is to alert many in the upcoming generation that there is something very important they need to get information on. That's it. Anything above that is gravy. I usually write with the intention of providing an earlier me (the one who couldn't get any information even though I knew there was something important there) with the clues of where to go. Convincing an experienced martial-artist of *any style* (not just Aikido) that he needs to totally recoordinate his movement patterns is danged hard to do... for him/her to actually do it is even harder. I already knew that coming in, so the idea of "shortcuts" I'd forego for "hints".

Best.

Mike
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Old 01-25-2007, 02:13 PM   #240
Brion Toss
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Re: Baseline skillset

Wow. Just read the entire thread. Again. And aside from a certain amount of (perhaps understandable) sniping, there is a lot of meat in the respective camps' expositions. Perhaps one cause of friction/misunderstanding though, lies in our failure to define terms. The original question involved what "constitutes a baseline skillset". Skill, in my favorite dictionary is defined variously as,"1. Proficiency, facility, or dexterity that is acquired or developed through training or experience. 2a. An art, a trade, or a technique [!], particularly one requiring the use of the hands or body. 2b. A developed talent or ability..." A skillset is a group of related skills, but which meaning(s) do we use here?
"Baseline" has even more, and more varied meanings, with the usage in configuration management, "providing a basis for logical comparison", being about as close as I can get to what seems to be the subject here. Perhaps the poster meant "basic"?
"Baseline skillset", then, could mean a number of things. Throughout these pages, Mr. Sigman and others appear to have chosen the meaning, in this context, to be exercises conducive to developing the ability to generate a specific form of force, with the idea being that this force would then be available in the execution of techniques. One analogy was to train with weights, not because the lifting of them would directly inform a particular application, but because doing so would enable one to perform that application with more power. In an Aikido context, Ledyard sensei conjectured that development of ki strength could be useful in enabling more powerful atemi. In any event, the proponents of this view have repeatedly insisted upon separating principles from waza.
Mr. Mead (Mead sensei?) appears to be saying that the kihon waza embody the baseline skillset, that all of the fundamental principles and skills of Aikido are right there in front of us, embedded in the waza. He further indicates that the kind of practices that Mr. Sigman is advocating are antithetical to the practice of Aikido, that even though they produce an effect, it is not an effect consistent with good Aikido practice.
Both sides have employed mathematical justifications for their views, and it is on this level that I, personally, find the most compelling evidence one way or the other (I haven't trained with either person, so the logical arguments are what I have to work with). Mr. Sigman seems to have a working knowledge of basic geometry, but my impression is that, rather than using it to describe his practice, he uses it to rationalize it, and refuses to acknowledge other models. So he'll go on for a while talking about angular momentum and dear Mr. Newton, and then retreat to vague references of power sources and a need not to post information on a public site for people who haven't worked for it. Now I have no doubt as to the existence of those power sources, but I find this approach annoying for two reasons: the mathematical model does not appear to correspond to the phenomena being discussed; and I distrust the "it's a mystery for the initiates" schtick. Furthermore, rather than defend his calculations, or find provable flaws in competing calculations, he's inclined to attack (... why am I going to go through some silliness using long words and high math, just to give some dignity to a theory that is simply wrong. It's like you asking me prove that the moon is not made out of green cheese (I can't.... but I know it's not") ). If a theory is wrong, say why. If you can't say why, say that, rather than dismissing it as "simply wrong". And if you know the moon is not made out of green cheese, but can't say even roughly why, it rather throws doubt on your ability to explain something far more immediate.
Mead's math is more difficult to follow, but it is internally consistent, and he makes frequent and detailed references to the bases for his argument, drawing on an impressive array of engineering source material. He also responds, in like detail, to objections to his math. And of course he makes a committed, consistent effort to base his calculations on the teachings of the Founder, rather than relying on generalized references to practices found "in all Asian arts." He is attempting to provide an accurate mathematical model for the principles of Aikido.
To return to the original question, I would be inclined to say that the kihon waza do, in fact, embody the basic skillset of Aikido --- that seems to be the point of the kihon waza --- and that ki exercises bear the same relationship to Aikido as weightlifting does to baseball: possibly useful for power, but not at the heart of things.
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Old 01-25-2007, 02:19 PM   #241
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Re: Baseline skillset

I absolutely agree that "netdo" ain't gonna work. Hands on transmission is really the only thing that does. As some have already pointed out above though, the exploration and description of this stuff is an important way of opening up doors for people. If it wasn't for some of the stuff I have experienced firsthand over the last year or so, I'd probably still be doing the same thing I always have. However, Ive gleaned a lot from reading all of the posts from "Aikido outsiders" over the past few months. Not only has it broadened my horizons intellectually, it has also given me a lot of direction of where to go to at least start finding some of what I have been missing. Maybe I'm the exception to the rule, I don't know. I do know that it is important that in order to improve ourselves and advance our art information is needed...information that at this point is not only hard to find, but doesn't even exists in many practitioner's minds. I think that "netdo" can definitely be a tool to change that, and I appreciated the time and effort that goes into the dissemination of this kind of info. For me, its brought me to the point where I'm actively going out to get the "hands-on", maybe it will do the same for others, and the level of everyone understanding can leap up a notch.
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Old 01-25-2007, 04:18 PM   #242
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Brion Toss wrote:
Wow. Just read the entire thread. Again. And aside from a certain amount of (perhaps understandable) sniping, there is a lot of meat in the respective camps' expositions. Perhaps one cause of friction/misunderstanding though, lies in our failure to define terms. The original question involved what "constitutes a baseline skillset". Skill, in my favorite dictionary is defined variously as,"1. Proficiency, facility, or dexterity that is acquired or developed through training or experience. 2a. An art, a trade, or a technique [!], particularly one requiring the use of the hands or body. 2b. A developed talent or ability..." A skillset is a group of related skills, but which meaning(s) do we use here?
"Baseline" has even more, and more varied meanings, with the usage in configuration management, "providing a basis for logical comparison", being about as close as I can get to what seems to be the subject here. Perhaps the poster meant "basic"?
"Baseline skillset", then, could mean a number of things. Throughout these pages, Mr. Sigman and others appear to have chosen the meaning, in this context, to be exercises conducive to developing the ability to generate a specific form of force, with the idea being that this force would then be available in the execution of techniques. One analogy was to train with weights, not because the lifting of them would directly inform a particular application, but because doing so would enable one to perform that application with more power. In an Aikido context, Ledyard sensei conjectured that development of ki strength could be useful in enabling more powerful atemi. In any event, the proponents of this view have repeatedly insisted upon separating principles from waza.
Mr. Mead (Mead sensei?) appears to be saying that the kihon waza embody the baseline skillset, that all of the fundamental principles and skills of Aikido are right there in front of us, embedded in the waza. He further indicates that the kind of practices that Mr. Sigman is advocating are antithetical to the practice of Aikido, that even though they produce an effect, it is not an effect consistent with good Aikido practice.
Both sides have employed mathematical justifications for their views, and it is on this level that I, personally, find the most compelling evidence one way or the other (I haven't trained with either person, so the logical arguments are what I have to work with). Mr. Sigman seems to have a working knowledge of basic geometry, but my impression is that, rather than using it to describe his practice, he uses it to rationalize it, and refuses to acknowledge other models. So he'll go on for a while talking about angular momentum and dear Mr. Newton, and then retreat to vague references of power sources and a need not to post information on a public site for people who haven't worked for it. Now I have no doubt as to the existence of those power sources, but I find this approach annoying for two reasons: the mathematical model does not appear to correspond to the phenomena being discussed; and I distrust the "it's a mystery for the initiates" schtick. Furthermore, rather than defend his calculations, or find provable flaws in competing calculations, he's inclined to attack (... why am I going to go through some silliness using long words and high math, just to give some dignity to a theory that is simply wrong. It's like you asking me prove that the moon is not made out of green cheese (I can't.... but I know it's not") ). If a theory is wrong, say why. If you can't say why, say that, rather than dismissing it as "simply wrong". And if you know the moon is not made out of green cheese, but can't say even roughly why, it rather throws doubt on your ability to explain something far more immediate.
Mead's math is more difficult to follow, but it is internally consistent, and he makes frequent and detailed references to the bases for his argument, drawing on an impressive array of engineering source material. He also responds, in like detail, to objections to his math. And of course he makes a committed, consistent effort to base his calculations on the teachings of the Founder, rather than relying on generalized references to practices found "in all Asian arts." He is attempting to provide an accurate mathematical model for the principles of Aikido.
To return to the original question, I would be inclined to say that the kihon waza do, in fact, embody the basic skillset of Aikido --- that seems to be the point of the kihon waza --- and that ki exercises bear the same relationship to Aikido as weightlifting does to baseball: possibly useful for power, but not at the heart of things.
Brian.... it's been a long time since you've been able to get a shot off at me. Congratulations on cloaking it in a "if I had to make a choice" post. But what do you KNOW about ki and kokyu? In the past, you've shown that you know nothing, so stop with the pseudo-judgements already. The thread is convoluted enough.

Mike
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Old 01-25-2007, 05:35 PM   #243
eyrie
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Gernot Hassenpflug wrote:
Not sure if this is what you you're referring to, but the fundamentals are referred to as "kiso" ( 基礎 ), and on top of that are built the "kihon" ( 基本 ) of which an example might be irimi and tenkan movements. So learning the kiso is vital but people don't openly teach that. Abe Seiseki sensei often mentions that people don't study kiso enough - I think he means that in doing kihon and kihon waza one should be studying the kiso that underlie it, not to mention doing special training to develop those kiso.

Regards, Gernot
Thanks Gernot... YES, 基礎 = foundation, base or basis of the fundamentals 基本. That's precisely what we're talking about. But I see Mike has already beat me to it...

Ignatius
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Old 01-25-2007, 05:40 PM   #244
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Brion Toss wrote:
....there is a lot of meat in the respective camps' expositions. Perhaps one cause of friction/misunderstanding though, lies in our failure to define terms. The original question involved what "constitutes a baseline skillset". Skill, in my favorite dictionary is defined variously as,"1. Proficiency, facility, or dexterity that is acquired or developed through training or experience. 2a. An art, a trade, or a technique [!], particularly one requiring the use of the hands or body. 2b. A developed talent or ability..." A skillset is a group of related skills, but which meaning(s) do we use here?
"Baseline" has even more, and more varied meanings, with the usage in configuration management, "providing a basis for logical comparison", being about as close as I can get to what seems to be the subject here. Perhaps the poster meant "basic"?
"Baseline skillset", then, could mean a number of things. Throughout these pages, Mr. Sigman and others appear to have chosen the meaning, in this context, to be exercises conducive to developing the ability to generate a specific form of force, with the idea being that this force would then be available in the execution of techniques.
This part was good... until the paragraph starting with "Mr Mead..."

Can we leave out the (perhaps understandable, but completely unnecessary and unproductive) sniping? Thanks in advance for your cooperation...

Ignatius
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Old 01-25-2007, 05:45 PM   #245
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Brion Toss wrote:
Throughout these pages, Mr. Sigman and others appear to have chosen the meaning, in this context, to be exercises conducive to developing the ability to generate a specific form of force, with the idea being that this force would then be available in the execution of techniques.
...
Both sides have employed mathematical justifications for their views, and it is on this level that I, personally, find the most compelling evidence one way or the other (I haven't trained with either person, so the logical arguments are what I have to work with). Mr. Sigman seems to have a working knowledge of basic geometry, but my impression is that, rather than using it to describe his practice, he uses it to rationalize it, and refuses to acknowledge other models. So he'll go on for a while talking about angular momentum and dear Mr. Newton, and then retreat to vague references of power sources and a need not to post information on a public site for people who haven't worked for it. Now I have no doubt as to the existence of those power sources, but I find this approach annoying for two reasons: the mathematical model does not appear to correspond to the phenomena being discussed; and I distrust the "it's a mystery for the initiates" schtick. Furthermore, rather than defend his calculations, or find provable flaws in competing calculations, he's inclined to attack (... why am I going to go through some silliness using long words and high math, just to give some dignity to a theory that is simply wrong. It's like you asking me prove that the moon is not made out of green cheese (I can't.... but I know it's not") ). If a theory is wrong, say why. If you can't say why, say that, rather than dismissing it as "simply wrong". And if you know the moon is not made out of green cheese, but can't say even roughly why, it rather throws doubt on your ability to explain something far more immediate.
...
Mead's math is more difficult to follow, but it is internally consistent, and he makes frequent and detailed references to the bases for his argument, drawing on an impressive array of engineering source material. He also responds, in like detail, to objections to his math. And of course he makes a committed, consistent effort to base his calculations on the teachings of the Founder, rather than relying on generalized references to practices found "in all Asian arts." He is attempting to provide an accurate mathematical model for the principles of Aikido.
Excellent summary Brion.

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Old 01-25-2007, 05:58 PM   #246
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
Erick, you're still insisting that kokyu tanden ho is about wrist rotation. How do you account for the kokyu tanden ho of Kuribayashi shihan, where there is no wrist rotation to speak of? His hands are extended palm down and they dont rotate.
Looks like Erick is not responding this one... so I'll take a stab (no pun intended).

IMO, the wrist "rotation" is the result of what sometimes happens as you try to get the right "line" to uke's center. Particularly if you're trying to form tegatana from palms down - you have to rotate the wrist outwards. BUT... if you know how to form the connection at will, you don't really need to rotate your wrists, which is what Kuribayashi may be possibly showing. Hard to tell without seeing what he's doing...so I'm just guessing here...

I'm not sure if Erick is meaning "spiral" when he's talking about rotation. IMHO, the spiral is an adjunct to add power, which I think is above the "baseline" we're talking about.

Ignatius
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Old 01-25-2007, 07:58 PM   #247
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Brion Toss wrote:
Both sides have employed mathematical justifications for their views, and it is on this level that I, personally, find the most compelling evidence one way or the other (I haven't trained with either person, so the logical arguments are what I have to work with). Mr. Sigman seems to have a working knowledge of basic geometry, but my impression is that, rather than using it to describe his practice, he uses it to rationalize it, and refuses to acknowledge other models. So he'll go on for a while talking about angular momentum and dear Mr. Newton, and then retreat to vague references of power sources and a need not to post information on a public site for people who haven't worked for it. Now I have no doubt as to the existence of those power sources, but I find this approach annoying for two reasons: the mathematical model does not appear to correspond to the phenomena being discussed; and I distrust the "it's a mystery for the initiates" schtick.
Since my own mathematical skills are abysmal to the point of practical no-existence, I don't find any of the mathematical discussion helpful at all. The question is what is happening with your body and what is happening with your mind in the training or martial interaction.

Mike can "do" what he says he can. I have felt it. He is also capable of explaining what he is doing in such a way that, in a fairly short period of time, one can begin to get the skills he is teaching into ones own body.

Erick is one of the smarter folks with whom I am familiar (and I know some pretty smart folks). I am sure that he can do what he thinks he can do. He isn't the type of fellow to content himself with what we not so fondly refer to as "wishful thinking" Aikido.

So where is the disconnect? I think that the first issue lies in trying to define some aspect of the energetics as "not Aikido". For me, as a student of Saotome Sensei, there is very little that would be described as "not Aikido". Certainly there are attitudes which O-sensei would have condemned which he would have felt were not consistent with the moral and ethical principles of the art. But he was careful to say that one should not show the techniques of the art to people of bad character. In other words, the principles which underly technique are value neutral and could be misused.

But when it comes down to describing those principles, there is very little that I was taught not to include in my Aikido. Aiki seemed to include both that which was creative and life affirming and that which was destructive and life ending. The application of these techniques would be deteremined by the aforementioned ethical and moral considerations. As far as I was taught, about the only thing that one can pretty much say "isn't" Aikido is the use of pure muscle power to overcome the strength of the opponent. Taht would not be considered 'aiki" and therefore would not be part of Aikido.

But being able to join with the intention of the opponent in order to enter intside his attack and end the confrontaion with one strike would be part of the art. the ability to neutralize the power of an attack simply by directing ones attention and intention in various ways would be part of the art. Understanding how to relax ones body completely to abosrhbg and redirect the power of the opponent would be part of the art.

The way I have been taught, it's all Aikido on some level. The art is infinite, the ways in which one can manifest the principles is not limited. So arguments which say that one very succesful way of doing a technique is Aikido but another successful way of doing a technique is not don't make much sense to me. And they don'y help me in any way learn what I want to know.

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Old 01-25-2007, 08:44 PM   #248
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
Excellent summary Brion.
I dunno, Erick.... the corroboration you're getting is so strong, maybe ..... Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
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Old 01-25-2007, 11:48 PM   #249
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
So where is the disconnect? I think that the first issue lies in trying to define some aspect of the energetics as "not Aikido". For me, as a student of Saotome Sensei, there is very little that would be described as "not Aikido".
... As far as I was taught, about the only thing that one can pretty much say "isn't" Aikido is the use of pure muscle power to overcome the strength of the opponent. Taht would not be considered 'aiki" and therefore would not be part of Aikido.
That was what intrigued me about O Sensei's statement of adhering to the "principle of absolute non-resistance." Westerners look at this and may pass over it as simple hyperbole, among the many other superlatives we so carelessly lace into our own speech.

I know that you have been a student of Eastern thought long enough to recognize that "absolutes" are not a common expression of priniciples in China, and perhaps even less so in Japan. Hyperbole is not a strong note in Japanese idiom, quite the contrary. That statement is therefore somewhat startling in its context.

It is for this reason, it seems to me, important as an entry point into O Sensei's thoughts about what distinguishes his art. That is what led me down this path as means to better identify what distinguishes aikido, so as to better describe it, physically. I thought about what it would mean, mechnically, if one took him seriously to mean "absolutely no resistance."

"Non-resistance" is the only absolute I have seen or heard of in aikido. I knew from my training that it did not mean "not hitting people," because atemi is too indelibly woven into the art for that. I knew it did not mean just allowing oneself to be hit: pacificism even in a "peaceful" martial art only goes so far. It did not mean using no force. It certainly meant highly advantaged force.

So I started looking at techniques and the physical interactions of ordinary training in the dojo to see what suggested itself, and found myself observeing the differences in which power is exrpessed by the body in ways that I could intuitively see and feel as "aiki" and those that did not. At first I tried to simply descrbie the "aiki" movements in isolation without real success at a model, although some ideas came out of that..

Looking more carefully at the corrections I was typically giving to distinguish with students a proper from an improper movement gave me a set of isolated comparison of movement that lead me to my present line of thought.
Quote:
George Ledyard wrote:
But being able to join with the intention of the opponent in order to enter intside his attack and end the confrontaion with one strike would be part of the art. the ability to neutralize the power of an attack simply by directing ones attention and intention in various ways would be part of the art.
Amen and Amen.
Quote:
George Ledyard wrote:
Understanding how to relax ones body completely to abosrhbg and redirect the power of the opponent would be part of the art.
Dead men are as relaxed as they get -- well, until rigor sets in, anyway -- but you get the point. So far as I have been able to tell, however, dead men don't practice Aikido, at least not with any degree of success, unless you count complete harmony with the earth. So something about the relaxation is not relaxation, but it is not muscular force or power as we ordinarily think of it.

It is a category-breaker in both languages, but in Japanese they simply live without the category and do fine with the holistic concepts. As do the Chinese when needed. We are Westerners. Category is our intellectual life blood, and holistic thinking is very much on the fringes of our culture. That is not a value judgment either way, it is just a fact of distinction between tendencies in the East and West.

This thing certainly exists mechanically and should have a mechnical description of its function, whatever the breakdown in categorizing it ( and therfore naming it) in common language. It occurred to me that finding a technical catergory for this class of movement might also lead me to a better common terminology in Western tongues to supplement the Japanes holistic concepts.

While I chuckle at Justin's tagline ribbing on where to locate one's crotch area, I know enougth about classical Taoist writing to say that such an expression is hardly an odd image for that body of knowledge, and indeed, they get far more graphic than that and unshamadely so. So I cut Mike slack on things like that. But such idoms, Chinese or Japanese (as in the Kojiki), are totally misunderstood by most Westerners, which is why it is, frankly, very funny.
Quote:
George Ledyard wrote:
So arguments which say that one very succesful way of doing a technique is Aikido but another successful way of doing a technique is not don't make much sense to me. And they don'y help me in any way learn what I want to know.
Japanese tend to define by inclusion. It is the key to the social dynamic that exists there. Westerners tend to define by exclusion. Thus, to understand Aikido in a Western way it is important to define what it is not, in a way that may seem superfluous if one approaches it in terms of Japanese understanding. Nevertheless, O Sensei,a nd his son are said to have directed or at least encouraged students such as Saotome to come over here, both to teach and to learn some of these aspects of our ways of thinking.They did this successfully, and produced many students, and many fine works discussing and teaching Aikido in that way .

Now this body of knowledge is capable of being worked on by Westereners with a firm grounding and recognition in those Japanes econcepts, and explaining them to a wider audience in our own modes of thought. While I am far, far from it being appropriate or competent of me to do any of that for a general audicence, people like me are looking to explore possible tools within our own competence to broaden the understanding so far as we can within our bounds .

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-26-2007, 12:21 AM   #250
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote:
[re wrist rotation] Looks like Erick is not responding this one... so I'll take a stab (no pun intended).
if you know how to form the connection at will, you don't really need to rotate your wrists, which is what Kuribayashi may be possibly showing. Hard to tell without seeing what he's doing...so I'm just guessing here...
I don't disagree. The wrist rotation commonly taught is the easiest way to allow people to visualize and feel it. It is by no means the only way. It can be done with a wrist turn out, in up or down, an arm cut down, a cut across (in or out), diagonals and many more. When a well understood kokyu path gets good, there really is no more than a twitch of adjusting the connection and away we go. Small motons barely seem like even one shake of a tekubi furi.
I'd have to see it. Kuribayashi maybe doing the double inward gather motion then cutting slightly out, and it is done all with the palms flat. It is hard to see any motion, and the grab looks still very strongly connected, but is in fact very precarious, because this allows free entry up the undefended middle.
Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote:
I'm not sure if Erick is meaning "spiral" when he's talking about rotation. IMHO, the spiral is an adjunct to add power, which I think is above the "baseline" we're talking about.
No. I am merely observing the motion of the limb segments in proper kokyu and describing their motion. It is not a measn of power generation perse, but the motion that occurs in both low and high energy kokyu movement.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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