Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > Non-Aikido Martial Traditions

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 03-13-2007, 06:40 AM   #976
Aran Bright
Dojo: Griffith Aikido Yuishinkai
Location: Brisbane
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 115
Australia
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
I found that there are three training methods that can be used:
1. Structural
2. Pathways
3. Structural and Pathways at same time.

It seems that a lot of the ki society exercises fall under #2 in some form but rarely on #1 as it pertains to internal skills being discussed here.

I'm not sure which methodology works the best since I'm a beginner at this. But, I think that if you're breaking things down, then you'd have to at least do training exercises for #1 and #2.
Hello Mark,

This is very pleasing to hear you say this as this is what I have been experiencing also. My background is Ki Soc and I have found the pathway/intention/ki development to be excellent but unless you do it very regularly it leads to little structural development. I have been very keanly following the ideas behind these base line skills and whilst not using the same excercises I have been using pilates/yoga exercises for a while now to try and obtain the structural side of things. What I think is so promising about these excercises (eg.aunkai) is that they offer both.

However, personally I feel the relaxed exercises of Ki Soc actually are better at 'pathway' because of the tension involved in obtaining 'structure'. (but then again without structure you can't use pathway)

Just my .02

Aran

http://brisbaneaikido.com

Brisbane Aikido Republic
Brisbane
Australia
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2007, 06:56 AM   #977
gdandscompserv
 
gdandscompserv's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,215
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Now, settle down fellas. I think you misread me.
Fascinating art. Very informative website.
I am a little surprised that you took offense to my "cutting and pasting" of things that so obviously were very on topic. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't Nick teaching pretty much the same principles that Mike is teaching?
I learned more in one afternoon abouth the art of Yang Cheng Fu style tai chi chuan by browsing Nick Waller's website than I have in the 2 months this thread has run. Some people are better at putting these things into words than other people. Nick is one of them. I noticed Mike Sigman's name given as a reference. The art as explained on Nick's website is obviously the real deal. Mike is obviously the real deal.
A couple things stood out for me though.
"A cooker heats food and a refrigerator cools it.
They cannot be combined - the very notion is absurd and functionally not viable.
Each is separate and must be kept separate.
The same is true of internal and external martial arts systems.
Whilst many people cross-train or import ideas into tai chi, this is not conducive to progress."
(Nick Waller)

Would cross training in tai chi be conducive to my progress in aikido? I'm not sure. Is aikido an internal or external art? I've always thought it to be a beautiful combination of both. I learned aikido from a small statured Japanese man who obviously was using something different than "external" strength. I am a fan of the internal principles for sure.
I AM going to be paying more attention to many of the principles as outlined by Nick. Hopefully I can "steal" some of that valuable information. If I can "steal" some stuff from anyone that understands it, you better believe I'll do it, Mike included.
Maybe you guys just need to work on your presentation a little bit.
And simmer down.
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2007, 10:29 AM   #978
MM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,996
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Aran Bright wrote: View Post
Hello Mark,

This is very pleasing to hear you say this as this is what I have been experiencing also. My background is Ki Soc and I have found the pathway/intention/ki development to be excellent but unless you do it very regularly it leads to little structural development. I have been very keanly following the ideas behind these base line skills and whilst not using the same excercises I have been using pilates/yoga exercises for a while now to try and obtain the structural side of things. What I think is so promising about these excercises (eg.aunkai) is that they offer both.

However, personally I feel the relaxed exercises of Ki Soc actually are better at 'pathway' because of the tension involved in obtaining 'structure'. (but then again without structure you can't use pathway)

Just my .02

Aran
Please keep in mind that I'm new to the internal skills/baseline skills area, so those 3 are just how I view things right now. It'll be interesting to find out how I view things in a year or more.

Mark
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2007, 10:37 AM   #979
MM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,996
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Ricky Wood wrote: View Post
Now, settle down fellas. I think you misread me.
Fascinating art. Very informative website.
I am a little surprised that you took offense to my "cutting and pasting" of things that so obviously were very on topic. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't Nick teaching pretty much the same principles that Mike is teaching?
I learned more in one afternoon abouth the art of Yang Cheng Fu style tai chi chuan by browsing Nick Waller's website than I have in the 2 months this thread has run. Some people are better at putting these things into words than other people. Nick is one of them. I noticed Mike Sigman's name given as a reference. The art as explained on Nick's website is obviously the real deal. Mike is obviously the real deal.
A couple things stood out for me though.
"A cooker heats food and a refrigerator cools it.
They cannot be combined - the very notion is absurd and functionally not viable.
Each is separate and must be kept separate.
The same is true of internal and external martial arts systems.
Whilst many people cross-train or import ideas into tai chi, this is not conducive to progress."
(Nick Waller)

Would cross training in tai chi be conducive to my progress in aikido? I'm not sure. Is aikido an internal or external art? I've always thought it to be a beautiful combination of both. I learned aikido from a small statured Japanese man who obviously was using something different than "external" strength. I am a fan of the internal principles for sure.
I AM going to be paying more attention to many of the principles as outlined by Nick. Hopefully I can "steal" some of that valuable information. If I can "steal" some stuff from anyone that understands it, you better believe I'll do it, Mike included.
Maybe you guys just need to work on your presentation a little bit.
And simmer down.
I liked this post better than the previous ones. At least here I can start to understand what you are trying to convey.

Cross training in taichi and aikido? Don't have a clue. But, at a guess, I'd say each individual will be different.

Aikido as internal or external? Like Mike stated, you'd have to define those two first before you could decide. It seems that people's definitions of them are different.

Mike is the real deal? Heh, I don't know that I'd go that far. After all, I seem to recall Mike saying something about other people being better than him. Seriously, Mike's level in internal skills is far above mine. So much so, that I really couldn't tell anyone how good he is, except by comparison to how bad I am.

Best of luck on glimmering info from the Internet. I've found that it can't be done. This is one area where person to person training must be done.

Mark
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2007, 10:53 AM   #980
gdandscompserv
 
gdandscompserv's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,215
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
I liked this post better than the previous ones. At least here I can start to understand what you are trying to convey.
That's a relief.

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Best of luck on glimmering info from the Internet. I've found that it can't be done. This is one area where person to person training must be done.
Most of my training is done person to person, so that's cool. But it is truly hopeless to "glimmer" any useful info from the internet I suppose I better but this whole forum on "ignore."
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2007, 11:17 AM   #981
MM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,996
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Ricky Wood wrote: View Post
That's a relief.

Most of my training is done person to person, so that's cool. But it is truly hopeless to "glimmer" any useful info from the internet I suppose I better but this whole forum on "ignore."
LOL, point taken. Let me clarify. It's a lot of theory on the Internet and it isn't exactly useless. But personal experience is the only gateway into personally getting this stuff. So, theoretically, the Internet is fine. In reality, it's useless.

Mark
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2007, 02:52 PM   #982
Erick Mead
 
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,403
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Ricky Wood wrote: View Post
The art as explained on Nick's website is obviously the real deal. Mike is obviously the real deal.
A couple things stood out for me though.
"A cooker heats food and a refrigerator cools it.
They cannot be combined - the very notion is absurd and functionally not viable.
Each is separate and must be kept separate.The same is true of internal and external martial arts systems.
Whilst many people cross-train or import ideas into tai chi, this is not conducive to progress.
Actually, the exclusive heating vice refrigeration metaphor is not true. Vapor compression heat pumps combine the two functions on one principle. Thermo-electric coolers/heaters do it on a completely different principle. I am not saying the point depends on the strength of the metaphor, but the metaphor is not actually true.

The metaphor of reversibility in heat flow may have some bearing on the relationship between internal/external sensibilities in training. That point may bear some thinking. People always want to assume that palpable temperature difference represents a difference in heat content, which is not true. Temperature just defines the passive, downhill heat gradient, it doesn't tell you how big each reservoir is. Heat can be moved anywhere by proper effort, it just takes more art to send it uphill.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2007, 07:50 PM   #983
mjchip
Dojo: Aikido Jinsei Dojo
Location: Chelmsford, MA
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 97
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Folks what do you folks think of this video? (try to overlook the cheesy music)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUabmGscELU

Thanks,

Mark

Last edited by mjchip : 03-13-2007 at 08:01 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2007, 08:52 PM   #984
Upyu
Dojo: Aunkai, Tokyo
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 591
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mark Chiappetta wrote: View Post
Folks what do you folks think of this video? (try to overlook the cheesy music)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUabmGscELU
Personally I hate that video...the Uke are obviously over reacting(dive bunnies anyone?), but that doesn't mean that Okamoto has nothing.
I recently met one of Ark's old friends who trains in Daitoryu under Takeda's Grandson up in Aizu. He showed me some of the more "orthodox" principles (I rack them up under more external technique than the core stuff we do). Anyways Okamoto apparently likes to use a chest wave (through the upper center) combined with use of the saggital circle to do most of his tricks. It looks nice when it works, but I think there's too much reliance on timing to get it to work.
There was a huge article in Hiden a couple of months back analyzing his use of the saggital plane to affect his Ukes, for those that follow that magazine.
Basically I don't think there's any "store release" mechnaism going on that you saw Ueshiba using, or use of what Mike refers to as groundpath.

There were rumors that some of his stuff didn't work on certain individuals when they held some overseas seminar...
That being said, he is trying to teach what he knows/accumulated over the years, and is being open. Be interesting to get to feel him sometime.
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2007, 09:21 PM   #985
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

This account of Nakayama Miki, who lived mainly in the 1800's contains feats of strength that sound exactly like the normal trained-kokyu/jin strength being used. Too close to be a coincidence, even allowing for embellishment. It's an unverifiable indicator that these sorts of strengths were certainly around Japan prior to Ueshiba going to China, etc.

To give a full account of Narazo Sensei's teacher would be a task well beyond the scope of this web site. So profound and extensive has been her influence on the very fabric of Japanese society, and indeed on the lives of people in other countries as well, that attempting to complete such a summary may be impossible. This discussion will therefore be severly limited in scope to the more martial aspects of her life and teachings.

Nakayama Maegawa Miki (1798-1887) was born in Sanmaiden Village, Yamato Province, the daughter of the samurai Masanobu Hanshichi Maegawa who was the head of a group of villages in the region. It is an understatement to state that Miki was an exceptional person, and she is famous for many different
things. One of these was her tendency to beat men who were high-ranking martial artists in combat. At the incredible age of 89 she achieved her most famous victory over Nakano Hidenobu, a man who was one of the great martial arts masters of the Koizumi feudal clan, who was at that time was in his prime. In the course of her long life Miki was never beaten by anyone, resulting in much embarasment as she tended only to fight with male
opponents. Many swallowed their pride, and Miki attracted the most extraordinary collection of experienced fighters as her students, including famous samurai like Masuno Shobei, a bodyguard of the Japanese Emperor, and Matsumura Eijiro, the head of the Matsumura samurai family who served the Lords of Yodo in a continuous unbroken line from the seventh century. One of her greatest students was the Japanese folk hero Hirano Narazo, founder of Koriyama Daikyokai, about whose extraordinary life action movies, tv series and books have been made and written.

Miki taught people for fifty years from 1838 onwards and there are so many events and extraordinary occurences in her life that a complete tale would fill several volumes. The following selection gives some idea of her character:

On one occasion in 1872 when Miki was teaching at the Matsuo residence, she said:
"Linen lets the breeze go through freely and does not stick to the skin. There is nothing cooler or better to wear in the summer. However, it is too cold to wear in the winder. After being worn for about three years it begins to discolour. If it becomes completely discoloured it is worthless. Even when it is dyed a darker shade, the colour is uneven. When it reaches this stage it is as useless as waste paper.
"Silk, whether made into a formal coat or a kimono, is elegant. It is
something that everyone wants even though it is very expensive. However, do not become like silk. It is nice while it is new, but when it gets a little old nothing can be done with it."
"Now, cotton is ordinary, but is used by everyone. There is nothing that is so useful, nor so widely used as cotton. It keeps us warm in the winter and it absorbs our perspiration in the summer. When it becomes dirty it can be washed over and over again. When its colour fades and it becomes so old that it cannot be worn anymore, it can still be used as a nappy, a cleaning rag, or even as sandals. To be useful until its original form no longer remains: this is cotton. That a man should have a spirit like cotton is the intention
of Kami."

The following incident is one of the reminiscences of Ueda Tamizo. It took place in 1878 when Tamizo was 18 and Miki was 81. One day when Tamizo visited the residence Miki said to him, "Tamizo, let's, you and I, have a contest to see who is stronger."
To give Tamizo an advantage Miki went up on the raised platform at the north end of the room while Tamizo stood on the ground below. Miki indicated that Tamizo should pull her down from the platform. They tightly gripped each others hands and with a shout of "one, two, three," began to pull. Though Tamizo pulled with all his might Miki did not move even an inch.

On a later occasion Miki said to him, "Tamizo, in this residence in the future,many people will be walking back and forth beneath the corridor." In later years Tamizo was again impressed as her prediction became true.

Three years later in 1881 when Yamazawa Tamezo was 25 he visited Miki with his brother Ryozo. They found her sitting on the high raised platform in the Tsutome-Basho building (which is still standing today, but not on exactly the same site). She stretched out her hands in greeting and called to them,
"Try to pull me down from here, the two of you together. I do not mind falling off."
The two men grabbed her hands and tried to pull her down, but instead the harder they pulled the more they were drawn towards her. Although they pulled with all of their youthful muscle, the old woman drew them towards her gently as a parent holds a child.

Izumita Tokichi, nicknamed Kumakichi or "Lucky Bear" was one of Miki's more famous students and was renowed as a hard man who liked to test the strength of his body and mind. He would often
bathe for extended periods in the freezing water of the Yodo River then climb up on the bank to dry himself in the wind, refusing to use a towel. He would generally do this when the cold North Wind was blowing strongly. He would also lie naked in the snow, or smash stacks of roof tiles with his fists. He hardened his knuckles by continually hitting a rock.

He had once been told that in order to help other people he must first suffer himself. However, on two occasions when he was with Miki she gave him two lessons that changed his thinking for the rest of his life. One day he found Miki smoothing out small pieces of crumpled paper on her knee.
"These crumpled pieces, if smoothed out gently like this, become neat and can be used again. Nothing is useless," she explained.

On another occasion she told him, "Lucky Bear, on this path you must not torture yourself."

One hot day in the early summer of 1879 Takai, Miyamori and some others were doing the threshing at Shoyashiki, wet with sweat under the blazing sun, when Miki came out and joined them with a towel wrapped around her head.
"I'll help you." she told them.
At that time two types of flails were in use, one was of a common type, while the other was heavy and oversized with handle and stick of roughly equal length. The latter type of flail was sometimes used by the young men so that they could demonstrate their strength and at the same time thresh more wheat. They were therefore rather surprised when the old woman picked
up one of the giant flails and began energetically threshing the wheat. By the end of the day she had threshed such a large amount that none of the young men could match.

Nakagawa Bunkichi was a native of Honden in Osaka, and a successful amateur Sumo wrestler. His arms bulged with muscles and he was renowned for his tremendous strength, of which he boasted habitually.
One day in 1880 Bunkichi visited Miki's residence. She greeted him warmly and immediately sugested, "Let us have a grappling contest."
Bunkichi could not refrain from smiling wryly at the old woman's words. However there were others present and he could not refuse her, so he took up his guard. At his first attack Bunkichi attempted to apply a hold to Miki's left wrist, but he was immediately seized by a sharp pain in his arm which felt like it was about to snap. The pain was so intense that he was forced to give up, and he asked Miki's forgiveness for doubting her.

Then Miki said, "You need not be surprised. If a child puts forth all his strength, the parent must also put forth strength. This is Ten-Ri. Do you understand?"

Though it is doubtful that Bunkichi understood fully at that time he was greatly impressed and subsequently became a loyal student of Miki.

On the occasion of the Chestnut Festival (9th September) Miki said to Masui Rin, "The Chestnut Festival is for troubles to disappear. The bur of the chestnut is rough and prickly. Take away the bur and inside it there is a shell and then there is a bitter coating. Shell it, then peel the coating, and you will find a tasty nut. If a man discards his bur and his bitter coating, his spirit will become indescribably delicious."

On May 14th 1881 Miki was entertaining and offering some instruction to Uehara Sasuke and his sister Ishi over a meal of bamboo shoots, young taro and burdocks cooked in soy sauce. Sasuke was known as a vigorous man, and was at that time in his thirties. Miki was trying to explain the meaning of leaning on the Kami for help, rather than simply helping oneself. However
Sasuke was proud of his strength and thought that he could help himself quite ably without such assistance.

Quickly and lightly Miki gripped his wrists and said, "Now, help yourself. Try to shake them loose."
Even before he could attempt to move Sasuke felt his body grow numb, and he could not move at all. With a huge effort he managed to bow crying, "Mercy, please."

Like several others, this convinced Sasuke that Miki was indeed a great teacher and he became her loyal student after that. Some years later, Ishi (who had by then married into the Tsujikawa family) was asked about this episode. "Her solemn appearance at that time can in no way be expressed with words. I was awestruck and I instinctively bowed my head," she explained.
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2007, 09:31 PM   #986
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,620
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
This account of Nakayama Miki, who lived mainly in the 1800's contains feats of strength that sound exactly like the normal trained-kokyu/jin strength being used. Too close to be a coincidence, even allowing for embellishment. It's an unverifiable indicator that these sorts of strengths were certainly around Japan prior to Ueshiba going to China, etc.

To give a full account of Narazo Sensei's teacher would be a task well beyond the scope of this web site. So profound and extensive has been her influence on the very fabric of Japanese society, and indeed on the lives of people in other countries as well, that attempting to complete such a summary may be impossible. This discussion will therefore be severly limited in scope to the more martial aspects of her life and teachings.

Nakayama Maegawa Miki (1798-1887) was born in Sanmaiden Village, Yamato Province, the daughter of the samurai Masanobu Hanshichi Maegawa who was the head of a group of villages in the region. It is an understatement to state that Miki was an exceptional person, and she is famous for many different
things. One of these was her tendency to beat men who were high-ranking martial artists in combat. At the incredible age of 89 she achieved her most famous victory over Nakano Hidenobu, a man who was one of the great martial arts masters of the Koizumi feudal clan, who was at that time was in his prime. In the course of her long life Miki was never beaten by anyone, resulting in much embarasment as she tended only to fight with male
opponents. Many swallowed their pride, and Miki attracted the most extraordinary collection of experienced fighters as her students, including famous samurai like Masuno Shobei, a bodyguard of the Japanese Emperor, and Matsumura Eijiro, the head of the Matsumura samurai family who served the Lords of Yodo in a continuous unbroken line from the seventh century. One of her greatest students was the Japanese folk hero Hirano Narazo, founder of Koriyama Daikyokai, about whose extraordinary life action movies, tv series and books have been made and written.

Miki taught people for fifty years from 1838 onwards and there are so many events and extraordinary occurences in her life that a complete tale would fill several volumes. The following selection gives some idea of her character:

On one occasion in 1872 when Miki was teaching at the Matsuo residence, she said:
"Linen lets the breeze go through freely and does not stick to the skin. There is nothing cooler or better to wear in the summer. However, it is too cold to wear in the winder. After being worn for about three years it begins to discolour. If it becomes completely discoloured it is worthless. Even when it is dyed a darker shade, the colour is uneven. When it reaches this stage it is as useless as waste paper.
"Silk, whether made into a formal coat or a kimono, is elegant. It is
something that everyone wants even though it is very expensive. However, do not become like silk. It is nice while it is new, but when it gets a little old nothing can be done with it."
"Now, cotton is ordinary, but is used by everyone. There is nothing that is so useful, nor so widely used as cotton. It keeps us warm in the winter and it absorbs our perspiration in the summer. When it becomes dirty it can be washed over and over again. When its colour fades and it becomes so old that it cannot be worn anymore, it can still be used as a nappy, a cleaning rag, or even as sandals. To be useful until its original form no longer remains: this is cotton. That a man should have a spirit like cotton is the intention
of Kami."

The following incident is one of the reminiscences of Ueda Tamizo. It took place in 1878 when Tamizo was 18 and Miki was 81. One day when Tamizo visited the residence Miki said to him, "Tamizo, let's, you and I, have a contest to see who is stronger."
To give Tamizo an advantage Miki went up on the raised platform at the north end of the room while Tamizo stood on the ground below. Miki indicated that Tamizo should pull her down from the platform. They tightly gripped each others hands and with a shout of "one, two, three," began to pull. Though Tamizo pulled with all his might Miki did not move even an inch.

On a later occasion Miki said to him, "Tamizo, in this residence in the future,many people will be walking back and forth beneath the corridor." In later years Tamizo was again impressed as her prediction became true.

Three years later in 1881 when Yamazawa Tamezo was 25 he visited Miki with his brother Ryozo. They found her sitting on the high raised platform in the Tsutome-Basho building (which is still standing today, but not on exactly the same site). She stretched out her hands in greeting and called to them,
"Try to pull me down from here, the two of you together. I do not mind falling off."
The two men grabbed her hands and tried to pull her down, but instead the harder they pulled the more they were drawn towards her. Although they pulled with all of their youthful muscle, the old woman drew them towards her gently as a parent holds a child.

Izumita Tokichi, nicknamed Kumakichi or "Lucky Bear" was one of Miki's more famous students and was renowed as a hard man who liked to test the strength of his body and mind. He would often
bathe for extended periods in the freezing water of the Yodo River then climb up on the bank to dry himself in the wind, refusing to use a towel. He would generally do this when the cold North Wind was blowing strongly. He would also lie naked in the snow, or smash stacks of roof tiles with his fists. He hardened his knuckles by continually hitting a rock.

He had once been told that in order to help other people he must first suffer himself. However, on two occasions when he was with Miki she gave him two lessons that changed his thinking for the rest of his life. One day he found Miki smoothing out small pieces of crumpled paper on her knee.
"These crumpled pieces, if smoothed out gently like this, become neat and can be used again. Nothing is useless," she explained.

On another occasion she told him, "Lucky Bear, on this path you must not torture yourself."

One hot day in the early summer of 1879 Takai, Miyamori and some others were doing the threshing at Shoyashiki, wet with sweat under the blazing sun, when Miki came out and joined them with a towel wrapped around her head.
"I'll help you." she told them.
At that time two types of flails were in use, one was of a common type, while the other was heavy and oversized with handle and stick of roughly equal length. The latter type of flail was sometimes used by the young men so that they could demonstrate their strength and at the same time thresh more wheat. They were therefore rather surprised when the old woman picked
up one of the giant flails and began energetically threshing the wheat. By the end of the day she had threshed such a large amount that none of the young men could match.

Nakagawa Bunkichi was a native of Honden in Osaka, and a successful amateur Sumo wrestler. His arms bulged with muscles and he was renowned for his tremendous strength, of which he boasted habitually.
One day in 1880 Bunkichi visited Miki's residence. She greeted him warmly and immediately sugested, "Let us have a grappling contest."
Bunkichi could not refrain from smiling wryly at the old woman's words. However there were others present and he could not refuse her, so he took up his guard. At his first attack Bunkichi attempted to apply a hold to Miki's left wrist, but he was immediately seized by a sharp pain in his arm which felt like it was about to snap. The pain was so intense that he was forced to give up, and he asked Miki's forgiveness for doubting her.

Then Miki said, "You need not be surprised. If a child puts forth all his strength, the parent must also put forth strength. This is Ten-Ri. Do you understand?"

Though it is doubtful that Bunkichi understood fully at that time he was greatly impressed and subsequently became a loyal student of Miki.

On the occasion of the Chestnut Festival (9th September) Miki said to Masui Rin, "The Chestnut Festival is for troubles to disappear. The bur of the chestnut is rough and prickly. Take away the bur and inside it there is a shell and then there is a bitter coating. Shell it, then peel the coating, and you will find a tasty nut. If a man discards his bur and his bitter coating, his spirit will become indescribably delicious."

On May 14th 1881 Miki was entertaining and offering some instruction to Uehara Sasuke and his sister Ishi over a meal of bamboo shoots, young taro and burdocks cooked in soy sauce. Sasuke was known as a vigorous man, and was at that time in his thirties. Miki was trying to explain the meaning of leaning on the Kami for help, rather than simply helping oneself. However
Sasuke was proud of his strength and thought that he could help himself quite ably without such assistance.

Quickly and lightly Miki gripped his wrists and said, "Now, help yourself. Try to shake them loose."
Even before he could attempt to move Sasuke felt his body grow numb, and he could not move at all. With a huge effort he managed to bow crying, "Mercy, please."

Like several others, this convinced Sasuke that Miki was indeed a great teacher and he became her loyal student after that. Some years later, Ishi (who had by then married into the Tsujikawa family) was asked about this episode. "Her solemn appearance at that time can in no way be expressed with words. I was awestruck and I instinctively bowed my head," she explained.
Hi Mike,
That was great. Where did these stories come from? I don't remember seeing them before.

- George

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2007, 09:33 PM   #987
gdandscompserv
 
gdandscompserv's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,215
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Thanks Mike.
I enjoyed that.
And FWIW, I'm glad you're still around.
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2007, 09:37 PM   #988
statisticool
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 534
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
This account ...contains feats of strength that sound exactly like the normal trained-kokyu/jin strength being used. Too close to be a coincidence, even allowing for embellishment.
So being unable to be pulled off a platform, making it so others are unable to steal nuts, giving someone a sharp pain in their arm; these things are supposedly a basis now for aikido, taijiquan, and other martial arts.

Dare we ask for a reference?

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2007, 09:37 PM   #989
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Hi Mike,
That was great. Where did these stories come from? I don't remember seeing them before.
They are from an old website that is no longer in existence, but which was undoubtedly from some group that practiced Tenrikyo religion. She was the founder. I see Wikipedia has some stuff on her.

Best.

Mike
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-2007, 07:10 AM   #990
gdandscompserv
 
gdandscompserv's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,215
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

The thing that strikes me about Osensei and Nakayama Miki, is their deep spiritual connection to the world around them. Could this be coincidence? Perhaps that is the true source of great "internal" power. Perhaps it's not "our" power at all, but a higher power manifested through us.
Ah...but I wax mystical.
Don't want this post to get "relegated along with one of thos e "And Ueshiba dissapeared from in front of us...only to appear behind us with a nekkid Jessica Alba!"" posts.

Now, excuse me while I disappear.
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-2007, 01:11 PM   #991
Michael Douglas
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 391
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Ricky Wood wrote: View Post
...Ah...but I wax mystical.
Don't want this post to get "relegated along with one of thos e "And Ueshiba dissapeared from in front of us...only to appear behind us with a nekkid Jessica Alba!"" posts.

Now, excuse me while I disappear.
Hi Ricky,
That was great. Where did these stories come from? I don't remember seeing them before.

They are from an old website that is no longer in existence, but which was undoubtedly from some group that practiced the Jessica Alba religion. She was the founder. I see Wikipedia has some stuff on her.

Only joking!
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-2007, 05:51 PM   #992
Thomas Campbell
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 407
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Michael Douglas wrote: View Post
Hi Ricky,
That was great. Where did these stories come from? I don't remember seeing them before.

They are from an old website that is no longer in existence, but which was undoubtedly from some group that practiced the Jessica Alba religion. She was the founder. I see Wikipedia has some stuff on her.

Only joking!
BLASPHEMER!! The Jessica-Alba-as-Goddess religion has many adherents.

Actually, Mike Sigman's reference to Nakayama Miki and the Tenrikyo religion is pretty interesting . . . first time I'd heard of Nakayama.

I don't recall a comparable example from Chinese martial arts history of a woman showing instances of great internal strength skill. With weapons, there is Yueh Nu and her straight sword (jian) . . . and of course Disney taught us about Mulan.
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2007, 08:43 PM   #993
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Here's a story that is interesting, perhaps somewhat fanciful, perhaps not... but the interesting thing is the initial throw that is talked about and the subsequent "analysis". Is this the idea of "aiki" or not? An attack is blended with and a reaction... which could just as easily been a standard Aikido technique rather than a power release... ensues. This is the traditional idea of the highest level of martial arts and Ueshiba's Aikido follows those lines very well, thank you very much.

Chen Xiaowang
carrying the burden of taiji legacy
by C. P. Ong, Ph. D.

"Hidden Jin"
The only thing memorable was the humdrum. The days were always the same. If anything, long. Nothing much of note ever happened growing up in Chenjiagou (the Chen Village) in the early 1950s. One day, eight-year-old Chen Xiaowang found himself surrounded by commotion. Wherever he turned, the Village was abuzz with how the "little ninth uncle" dealt a stupendous martial feat on his burly older nephew. They were talking about his father's remarkable hidden "jin" or force. Though filled with pride and excitement, he did not feel it was anything special, as there were abundant tales of his forbears' skills in taijiquan. Moreover, his grandfather, Chen Fa-ke was already a living legend in Beijing at that time. The incident nevertheless left an inspirational mark on him and thrust on him the taiji legacy he was born into. The illustrious masters of yesteryears and their lore that he had heard so much about suddenly seemed less remote. He resolved to scale the heights of the past masters.

Some twenty years later, Chen Xiaowang, by now quite accomplished, was still intrigued by his father's hidden jin that threw someone bigger in size over ten feet up. He was not satisfied with the witnesses' accounts of how the jin worked. So in 1977 he went to see Chen Lizi, the person who had suffered the throw, to find out first-hand about the incident.

The Prank on the "Little Ninth Uncle"
The event occurred in 1953 when Chen Zhaoxu, Chen Xiaowang's father, was in his early 40's. Although Chen Lizi was older than Chen Zhaoxu, he was of a generation younger. He would thus address the latter as "little ninth uncle." As it turned out, Chen Zhaoxu was attending a ceremony for a group of visiting Chen descendents whose forebears had left the Village a few generations ago. They had come to pay respects to their ancestral home and to re-establish their lineage. The gathering took place at the home of Chen Lizi's family, as it was one of the few houses large enough to accommodate the many guests.

Now, accomplishments in taijiquan skills are things that the Village folks talk about, just as you would talk about great sports plays. Chen Xiaowang's father's taiji skill was already well known at that time. But only a few had actually seen his skills, since he did not take any students. Chen Lizi, himself a taiji practitioner, was piqued by this mysterious reputation. As Chen Zhaoxu was greeting one of the guests, Lizi, close behind, could not resist his penchant for mischief. He furtively closed in, unceremoniously grabbed hold of Zhaoxu's right arm, locked the wrist and upper arm, and then teased, "Little ninth uncle, if someone came from behind and held you, what w-?" Before he could finish, he was thrown three meters up. As Lizi's head came crashing down, Zhaoxu extended his arm in time and caught his shoulders, saving him from injury. "Are you looking to kill yourself?" Zhaoxu chided.

The visitors were visibly shaken by the commotion. The local guests, also taken aback, were nonetheless delighted by such a treat of martial feat. The seasoned observers did not see Chen Zhaoxu betray any martial maneuver. They were amazed. The nephew was larger and of stronger build. They did not expect that such a throw could be executed in the tightness of the hold. So the feat of the hidden jin was instantly broadcast to the entire Village. It is now said in Chenjiagou, "If not for the prank that Chen Lizi played on his little ninth uncle, Chen Zhaoxu's skill might not have been revealed."

Anatomy of the Throw

Chen Xiaowang caught up with Chen Lizi and asked him for a first-hand account of the incident. The latter recalled his mischief. He was locking the uncle's arm from behind. In the next instant he went blank, and found himself landing safely in the uncle's arms. Hearing the admonishment, he realized he had done something he should not have done. Chen Lizi demonstrated the same hold he had used on Chen Xiaowang. The son figured that his father must have changed the direction of the attacker's grappling force, causing the latter to slip and lunge forward. His father's upper arm -- catching the prankster's body -- gave out a short burst of twisting force. The force must have then sent Chen Lizi's body flipping, feet up and hitting the ceiling.

Chen Xiaowang confirmed his own analysis of the throw's anatomy when he spoke to two other persons who also experienced his father's jin power. Li Junshen and Wang Changtai, both about eighteen then, went to see Chen Zhaoxu about the incident that the Village was talking about incessantly. They were most curious and wanted to feel his "jin." Chen Zhaoxu asked them to hold his outstretched arms as strongly as they could, one on each side. When they signaled that they were satisfied with the hold, he gave out a short burst of fajin, sending both of them up into the air. With the left hand, he caught hold of Li by the front shirt, and seated him on top of the fire hearth by the side, and Wang on the other hand, seating him on the table. Chen Zhaoxu had used a short fajin with his upper arms on the students. It was this same upper-arm fajin that got Chen Lizi.

The ability to react naturally to ward off an attack and at the same time counter-attack in a real-life unpredictable situation is a highly developed martial skill. It comes from cultivating the "gong" of the art, and not just from practicing the techniques. To learn techniques and even be proficient at them without absorbing-- bodyand mind -- the principle of the art is not full mastery. Chen Xiaowang had heard often the admonition, "Lian quan bu lian gong, dao lao yi chang kong" (To train in boxing techniques but not train the "gong" of the art, till old the gongfu may still be hollow).

Chen Taiji enters the World Stage

In March 1981, a group of Japanese taiji practitioners descended upon the Chen Village where taijiquan has its roots. The Village, which had not changed over the centuries, was hardly ready for the visit, and certainly not ready for the intense onslaught of the media that came with it. But ready or not it was dragged into the modern world. Chen Xiaowang's trademark fajin power and qinna (joint-grappling), and the taiji skills of the other masters, were exposed to an international audience for the very first time.

In dramatic footage of the preserved tape, four Japanese practitioners were seen hand-locking the arms of Chen Xiaowang, two on each side. It seemed that you would need Houdini's magic tricks to escape the human chain on his arms. But with a short burst of force, which appeared like an easy jerk, Chen Xiaowang was free and all the handlers were seen falling off from him. This performance, which included other martial feats, effectively ended the debate on whether taijiquan was still a form of martial arts. Fame attracts attention of sorts.

Qinna Test in Singapore

In Singapore, Mr. Tan (or Chen Shilu, full name in Pinyin), a local boxing master of the Shaolin tradition, had read of Chen Xiaowang's prowess and of how qinna locks were unable to hold him. As a qinna expert who had subdued everyone he had tried his skill on, he was naturally made curious by what he read, and longed for a chance to test this taiji master. The opportunity came in April 12,1987 when Chen Xiaowang, representing the taiji school, and Shi Yongshou, the Shaolin, came to Singapore to conduct a wushu tour in the country, at the invitation of the Singapore National Wushu Federation (of which Mr. Tan was an official). To promote the tour, the local TV interviewed the two Chinese masters, accompanied by Mr. Tan. The masters gave an impressive demonstration, the fast and dramatic Shaolin, balanced by the graceful and soft appearance of taijiquan. During the interview, the Singapore master expressed marvel at Chen Xiaowang's escape from the arm locks of the Japanese students, and further conveyed his wonder in a manner clearly to invite a demonstration. Holding back his smile, Chen Xiaowang, taking the cue, gestured to him to try. Mr. Tan arm-locked him, bending his arm behind his back like a twisted chicken wing as securely as he could. Chen Xiaowang effortlessly wriggled his wrist and freed himself. The 103-kg Singapore master was amazed at how easily Chen Xiaowang undid his qinna lock. To be sure, he tried it four times, and each time the escape was as easy as the last. Warming up, Chen Xiaowang then beckoned the assistants there to come forward. Four persons held Chen Xiaowang's arms, two on each side. They each separately hand-locked his finger joints, wrists, elbows and upper arms. He did not resist and allowed each person to muster the best hold possible. Then Chen Xiaowang gave a short burst of jin from his arms and all the students were thrown off from him, some falling to the floor. The promoters were delighted with such a live performance of martial skills on TV. This publicity would attract yet another encounter.

An Intrusion boosts the Tour

Two days later, to cap off the official welcoming, several hundred guests were invited to a banquet to honor the Chinese masters and their entourage. Among the guests were dignitaries from the country's sports organizations, local martial arts masters and aficionados. The dinner went smoothly with the usual long toasts. Just at the close of the dinner, three of the guests approached the elevated platform of the honored guests. They openly asked if what they saw about his martial skills on TV was true. They said that they were longtime judo practitioners and asked if they could test it. Chen Xiaowang, having eaten and drunk heartily, was not inclined to oblige but did not know how to decline. Invoking a well-lined belly as an excuse would be silly. A martial artist should be ever ready. So he beckoned them to come. Two of them proceeded forward and were allowed to do twisted chicken-wing locks on each of his arms behind his back. Without drama, Chen Xiaowang freed his arms. Dismayed and hardly content with this abrupt and anticlimactic end to their challenge, they nevertheless bowed to salute and thank the master. But as Chen Xiaowang turned to return to his table, the third judo person, who was standing by his side, suddenly grabbed Chen Xiaowang's right arm from behind, and tried to execute a judo throw on him. The dignitaries and guests were aghast with their jaws open. In unison they gestured, their eyes glued to the scene. The admonishment they exclaimed seemed stuck in their throats. In a flash, to the great relief of the organizers and guests, the attacker was seen flying and falling several feet away. The anxiety that had built up to a pitch in that brief moment gave way instantly to a thunderous applause of approval and appreciation to witness such a real-life martial feat.

Chen Xiaowang had responded with his natural reaction upon feeling a sharp force tugging to lift him. The sinking of his dantien energy and "kua" broke the attacker's lifting force and at the same time unsettled the attacker's center. Then he issued a fajin with the back of his shoulder, which struck the attacker close behind, sending him reeling to the floor. The adverse publicity would have doomed the tour had the local judo person succeeded in throwing the master. The organizers were thus doubly grateful to Chen Xiaowang for saving the tour and for generating even more media stories. The attacker, Mr. Lim (Lin Jinping in Pinyin), apologized for the unmannerly interruption, but was nevertheless thankful to have experienced the efficacy and power of taijiquan.

Speaking with fists

Two years earlier in 1985 Chen Xiaowang had also been put on a spot. That was during his first trip abroad to Japan, accompanied by Chen Zhenglei and Chen Guizhen. They had just finished dinner and were by themselves as the tour organizer and the translator had left a little earlier. As they were leaving, someone approached them in the front of the restaurant. None of the Chens spoke any Japanese and the intruder did not speak any Chinese. All they could make out was something about boxing. From the fighting posture and upheld fists it became clear that he wanted a dialogue of martial skills. Uncertain of the proprieties of assenting to what appeared to be a sort of challenge, and unable to communicate, Chen Xiaowang did the next best thing, holding his arms up in a similar gesture, intending to elicit a friendly exchange. But a fist flew right into Chen Xiaowang's face. Chen Xiaowang guided the fist off with his right hand, consciously holding back an offensive return. The attacker seeing his punch foiled, in the next instance closed in and followed with what seemed to be a well-practiced move, an elbow strike to Chen's body. Xiaowang's cultivation of Taijiquan "gong" came into play. He received the elbow strike with a small rollback "chan" to deflect it, which weakened and dissipated the impact. At the same time he issued a burst of offensive "lie jin." As Chen Xiaowang's hands had remained glued to the attacker's arm, the "jin" caught him and threw him several feet away, falling face down. Later it was found out that the attacker was a local martial arts instructor who wanted to test the skills he had read about. The following year he went to Zhengzhou, China, to seek out Chen Xiaowang and learn from him.

The basis of Taiji's Martial Skills

What is this skill to defend and attack at the same time in a real-life situation? The obvious view is that it is the conditioned reflex acquired by training at a combination of successive techniques, like the block-and-punch or kick drills. The skill that Chen Xiaowang exhibited in the above situations is more than a conditioned reflex. It is also more than an instinctive skill, as the body and mind are trained to such an extent that the response to an attack is almost a natural state. Think of a well-trained body as a basketball. When you strike at such a body, you cause no more harm than you do to a basketball. The skill of response is a natural state in this sense, without it doing anything. This pressure-like body resiliency is only a manifestation of the concept of "peng jin" in a taiji master.

Let us look at another application of this concept. A taiji master of sufficiently high level has well-developed "peng jin." When you push at the body of such a master, it is like pushing against a pressurized ball, which is changeable. You will find your force dissipating, and unable to do anything. The master's "peng jin" does two things to your line of force. First, it weakens the power of your thrust at the point of contact and, second, redirects your force to the ground. Eight people, one behind another and pushing, only looks dramatic; but the effect is the same as the front person's work on the body. Chen Xiaowang can be so cool that -- standing and keeping balance on one leg -- he takes a drink of water with a free hand while a hefty guy pushes at him with all his brawny might, as performed live on TV several times.

"Peng jin" in a taiji body offers a lot more. The peng jin in the master's arm glues onto an opponent's, binding it like a rubber band, on contact. It measures the opponent's intent. This "listening" creates a dynamic liveliness relative to the opponent's actions. With this the master can adjust his or her own body to impair the opponent's structure. Once the opponent's structure is compromised, the taiji master can call on his or her arsenal of taiji techniques to attack the opponent effectively.

The cultivation of "peng jin" in a taiji body is the "soft training" of internal martial arts or "neijia quan." The deliberately slow movements in taiji training are but a means to temper the body, and the slowness is by no means an end in the training. The slow motion allows the practitioner to discern tenseness and so to avoid it. This gradually rids the body of "jiang jin" or tense energy when executing movements. The body and mind tempered by this soft training can deliver force unimpeded through the joints. In the process, a player will also come to understand "qi" by experiencing it.

Taiji training endows a practitioner with a calm body and mind - a quietness that can spring to crisp action in an instant: "Action is born of stillness, and in the action resides stillness." The trained action of a martial artist with this calmness has a focused quality, as opposed to being scattered. This calmness is also the source of the practitioner's sensitivity, which responds to the slightest tug. Chinese kungfu movies showing a bird unable take flight from the palm of a taiji master depict this sensitivity.

Because many of the skills of an internal martial artist are invisible to an untrained eye, and also because their applications are unexpected, it is easy to ascribe mysterious hidden power to them. There is also a tendency to exaggerate these skills when they seem unfathomable. However, the mystery peels away when you undertake a journey in the training and practice of the art.

Silk-reeling Energy

Chen taiji training is distinguished from the other styles of taiji by its specific requirement to train the fundamental "chansi jin" ("silk-reeling" energy). Chansi jin drives the motion in Chen taiji and is responsible for the art's signature coiling movements. You have actually come across this central concept in your own martial arts training. For example, when you block a punch, your intercepting arm turns a little at the point of contact with the attacking arm to deflect it. This slight rotation is a use of "chan" or coiling that greatly reduces the impact as opposed to a straight block. Indeed, the application of chansi jin in martial arts is as prevalent as the use of the screw in the mechanical world of leverages. In fact, it can be said that if there is no chansi jin, there is no Chen Taijiquan. Without chansi jin, there would not be the efficacy of Taijiquan as a martial art.

The basic exercises of chansi gong are beguilingly easy to do. The practice is nothing like the physically demanding moves of wushu or gymnastics. Anyone, young and old, can follow the exercises and cultivate chansi jin. However, its mastery is more elusive, requiring time, effort and patience. The guidance of an accomplished master is also essential.

Attaining Mastery

Of mastery, Chen Xiaowang, who studied under his uncles Chen Zhaopi and Chen Zhaokui, said that it was only in his early thirties that he allowed himself attainment of the level, albeit in a crude form. Earlier his teacher Chen Zhaopi had told him that to progress further in the art he would need his uncle, Chen Zhaokui, to check his "quan" (meaning boxing skill in this context although its transliteration is fist). Then in 1966 the Cultural Revolution came and turned the whole nation upside down, during which anything of yesteryears' culture was denigrated. The remote little Village was not spared its ravages. In that period, Chenjiagou seemed to have lost its soul as taiji practice ceased. It was only in 1973, after the death of Chen Zhaopi, and after the misguided fervor of the Red Guards subsided, that he was able to learn from his uncle, Chen Zhaokui.

Of his generation, Chen Xiaowang was considered preeminent in the art within the local taiji circle. He had no opportunities to exchange his skills with the outside. In 1977 he was sent to participate in the National Wushu Competition in Xi'an. Hungry to test his own skills against others, he engaged in several informal but serious plays with his contemporaries of other martial systems. Although satisfied with his own effectiveness, he remained uncertain how comprehensive his own understanding was. He was pushing at the edge of his own frontier. He felt an overpowering urge to seek what was beyond, where his father and grandfather had been.

Lonely Quest and Insight

Sadly he could not turn to his father, who had passed away some seventeen years earlier. He thought of his grandfather's legendary skills and the burden of his legacy. He decided to seek out his grandfather's surviving students for guidance and inspiration. In 1978 he was happy to meet with two of them in Beijing, who were delighted to meet their master's grandson. From the exchanges he had with them, he could not discern that they had traversed beyond where he himself had been in the taiji terrain. He felt disappointment at the prospect that his quest would have to be a lonely one.

For the next three years he applied himself single-mindedly to refine his own comprehension of the essence of the art. He searched for some irreducible concept, a principle that would form the basis of the art, "to which all the ten thousand techniques would return as one" (wan fa gui yi). When the realization of the principle dawned on him, he found it was nothing spectacular or new. Remarkably, it had always been there. He examined and analyzed all the techniques and skills he knew and found that, without exception, their efficacy flowed from that single principle. He had experienced its insight. He remembers clearly this momentous awakening. He had run wildly through the factory where he worked, looking for his cousin Chen Zhenglei to share his breakthrough.

"Yundong Guilu"

Chen Xiaowang calls this the "Yundong Guilu" (the Principle of Movements) and expresses it as:

Yi dantien wei hai xin.
Yi dong quan shen bi dong.
Jie jie guan chuan.
Yi qi guan tong.

Dantien is at the heart of the body's motion
Once a part moves, the whole body moves
Joint by joint energy threads through
Thus the force transmits unimpeded in one action

To practitioners who have been around, the phrases are nothing new. You have heard of them or their variants many times before. Like the beguilingly simple ideas of meditation, their deep meanings sink in only after you have experienced the insight.

The phrases in the "Yundong Guilu" convey a state of the body to be maintained during a practitioner's motion. If this state is compromised, it exposes a weakness in the body that can be exploited. The training in terms of time and effort (gongfu) to cultivate the essence of an art is to develop its "gong." The power of this "gong" is referred to as "gongli." If the level of the "gong" achieved is high enough, it is said that you have gongfu (the skills you have trained so hard for).

To illustrate some of the implications of "gongli," witness Chen Xiaowang handling the students at the workshops. He is so at ease in felling or throwing the students about, like playthings. There is a huge difference in the "gongli" between him and his students. To see this point, think of yourself handling a young child. You do not consider yourself challenged in any way by the child, so your guard is always intact. You can dispose of whatever the little kid throws at you. In this sense, your "gongli," limited as it is, is superior to that of the child's. Chen Xiaowang's gongli far exceeds that of the students. When students test his skills, his dantien balance is not perturbed, his "Yundong guilu" not violated. So he could literally play with a student like a little kid.

It is easy to see a breach of this Principle and its ramification. When struck by a sudden fear, your breath would rise and be arrested in your chest. This condition, caused by the fear, would be a violation of the Principle. Take a simpler example. Let someone twist and bend your index finger at the joint. What happens when it hurts? The pain causes your inside to hollow as your body rises. You lose your root or your guard. You know how vulnerable you have become in this off-balance situation. The body state is in violation of the "Yundong Guilu."

Why is it that Chen Xiaowang could easily free himself from the qinna locks even by kungfu masters proficient in the qinna art? You might say he did not let someone twist his index finger. Master Chen Xiaowang, Kam Lee (a kungfu master from Jacksonville), and the author were discussing "Yundong Guilu" at lunch, and Kam asked if the Principle also applied in the case of qinna. In answer, Master Chen let Kam qinna his index finger. Kam bent and twisted the finger at the joint in multiple directions, trying his best to hurt him. Chen Xiaowang was not the least affected as his finger yielded to Kam's efforts like a rubber stub. Then, after a while, he did a counter-qinna on Kam, forcing him to the ground in pain. Chen Xiaowang's "Yundong Guilu" remained intact throughout, allowing him to respond accordingly.

"Goujia Gaoji Jiaolian"

Chen Xiaowang, born Oct 20, 1945 in Chenjiagou, first learned the "laojia yilu" (old frame 1st routine form), the core routine of the Chen Taijiquan system, from his father when he was seven or eight. He could not say that he got much then at that young age. However, he remembers vividly and fondly watching his father practice in those days. His mother would often ask him to fetch his father for dinner. Patiently he would wait until his father finished his practice before calling him to dinner. Unfortunately, his father was swept up in the political turmoil of the times. He was tortured and imprisoned in 1955 and his health suffered greatly. He passed away in 1960 at age 48 in dire circumstances, a great loss to taiji.

The political turbulence and the poverty of the 1950s were not very conducive to the propagation of Taijiquan. The tradition of the art, however, was not entirely lost, as there were always some master-practitioners in the Village. It was not until 1958 that Chen Zhaopi, Chen Xiaowang's distant fifth uncle, returned to the Village and sparked a taiji renaissance. Chen Zhaopi had been away for some thirty years, teaching in Nanjing and elsewhere. After Chen Zhaopi died in December 30, 1972, Chen Zhaokui, the third son of Chen Fa-ke, came to the Village to further raise the level of skill among the burgeoning young masters in the Village. Most of the currently-known Chen Taiji masters were trained by one or both of these two Chen 18th generation patriarchs. They include the now renowned "Four Great Jingangs (Diamonds)," Chen Xiaowang, Chen Zhenglei, Wang Xi'an and Zhu Tiancai.
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2007, 06:33 AM   #994
MM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,996
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

An interesting read, thanks Mike.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2007, 11:10 AM   #995
jennifer paige smith
 
jennifer paige smith's Avatar
Dojo: Confluence Aiki-Dojo / Santa Cruz Sword Club
Location: Santa Cruz
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,049
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

[quote=Mike Sigman;165011]That's a great observation and I've heard a number of people suggest that relationship where the body is a tensegrity structure.

Okey Dokey. tensegrity:yes
Buckminster Fuller; beautiful.
As a mtter of fact those who enjoy the mystical associations ( oh, don't groan) with aikido and take musu aiki can find a movement form called Tensegrity, developed by Carlos Castaneda, of all people, to get people in touch with the shamanic dimensions he had experienced (whoa there, little missy). He explicitly describes it as an Aikido influenced form. Just for interest. Not that we do that kind of thing around here, as they say.

For those who are interested in aiki tai chi here is a link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp0s6vxD1vQ

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 05-06-2007 at 11:22 AM. Reason: add link
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2007, 02:10 PM   #996
gdandscompserv
 
gdandscompserv's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,215
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
For those who are interested in aiki tai chi here is a link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp0s6vxD1vQ
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2007, 08:31 AM   #997
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Carlos Castaneda
Who? Oh, you mean the guy that was found to be a fraud?

Best,
Ron (inquiring minds, and all that...hmmmm)

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2007, 09:46 AM   #998
M. McPherson
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 39
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Who? Oh, you mean the guy that was found to be a fraud?

Best,
Ron (inquiring minds, and all that...hmmmm)
Great. Thanks, Ron. There goes this afternoon's scheduled peyote-fuelled vision quest. Next you're going to tell me Alan Watts didn't know a damn thing about Zen.
At least we still have other Boomer spiritual icons to cling to, like D.T. Suzuki, and Herrigel. Luckily their credentials are beyond reproach...

See ya tomorrow.

Last edited by M. McPherson : 05-07-2007 at 09:57 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2007, 11:08 AM   #999
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Hi Murray,

Well, that's part of the problem with some of this stuff...people want to believe all sorts of things (me too), and a lot of them are half truths, non truths, out right lies, etc. Then they get quoted, or refuted based on "O-Sensei said", etc. etc. Then people get snippy when you correct them, so they don't sound foolish or like some aiki fruit. Oh, well...life goes on, pretty much the same as before.

Yeah, so far tomorrow looks good...nothing else intruding, and the weather should be great! time to work up a sweat...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2007, 12:28 PM   #1000
Walker
 
Walker's Avatar
Dojo: 光道館・叢雲道場
Location: Pacific Wonderland
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 217
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Castaneda's Kung fu teacher:
http://www.thelightoflife.com/eng/in...ng/dimitri.php

-Doug Walker
光道館 高村派新道楊心流
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

Aikido DVDs and Video Downloads - by George Ledyard Sensei & other great teachers from AikidoDVDS.Com



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Aikido Transmission and Class Size Kevin Leavitt General 30 03-02-2007 09:14 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:15 AM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
loss-hatred