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Old 06-16-2011, 06:34 AM   #1
gates
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Solo Kokyu Practice

In seeking out some 'basic' kokyu solo exercises that I may be able to gain something useful from I found this video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIfUgUfs2FM

I am interested if anybody is able to explain in some detail the more subtle aspects of the of this apparently basic exercise, knowing that the mastery is in the detail, especially in "basic" practice.

I can see kokyu as a whole body movement 'coiling' and a weight underside - centre to centre connection between uke and nage.
Anybody care to elaborate or share their understanding?

Keith

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Old 06-16-2011, 09:20 AM   #2
JW
 
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

Hi Keith, of course I hope for you to get more responses that have the weight of an actual lineage of these skills, or known demonstrable skills.
But I work on things like this, so I thought I'd chip in. May just be things you already know though..

By changing what one is visualizing, in terms of work/load, the exercise in the video can become useful. The exercise appears to have a "gather" phase (get under a heavy load) and then a "topple" phase (move the heavy mass, using your own body as its new base)..

I have to go, does that mean anything though?
--Jonathan Wong
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:45 PM   #3
gates
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

Quote:
Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
By changing what one is visualizing, in terms of work/load, the exercise in the video can become useful. The exercise appears to have a "gather" phase (get under a heavy load) and then a "topple" phase (move the heavy mass, using your own body as its new base)..

I have to go, does that mean anything though?
--Jonathan Wong
Thanks Jonathan,
The gather/topple phases do mean something to me. I can see what you are talking about in the movement. In the Aikido I practice there is a heavy emphasis on Riai, and the kokyu action of the wrists in unison with breath and total body connection to the ground, when raising the sword.

In morotedori kokyu-ho I have often explained to newbies that it is as if you are holding a ball and trying to get into the most anatomically efficient position, (ie your own weight under it). This requires the elbows (and wrists) to be at just the right angle so that the weight can be distributed through the body to the ground rather than using the shoulders.

Interestingly I have been using a real ball (full of sand) to investigate the feel the I have been suggesting to others. My elbows go closer and further apart as the circular motion moving the ball is conducted. Also the angle of wrists has a dramatic effect of how the weight of the ball is distributed to the body, particularly evident and the minimum and maximum ranges of movement.

I understand very clearly that inventing my own practices can potentially build/ingrain some bad habits hence my desire to get some feedback on this video as it seems to have some very clear parallels to the movements I am currently personally investigating.

Regards
Keith

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Old 06-16-2011, 11:10 PM   #4
dps
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

Aikido is all about arcs ,circles, spheres and spirals.

Watch this video. See if it helps. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3baiq...1&feature=fvwp

At 3:50 watch the young man on the left and pay attention to his shoulder.

What is happening to his shoulder joint?


At 5;10 watch the young man on the left move back,down, forward then up. A circle like in the video you had linked in your post.

The circle motion is geneated from the movement of the boy's center or one point.

The solo exercise you posted is a way of practicing the coordination of the body parts for this movement.


dps

Last edited by dps : 06-16-2011 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:15 PM   #5
gates
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

Sorry David can you place the link to the video?

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Old 06-16-2011, 11:19 PM   #6
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

Sorry,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3baiq...1&feature=fvwp

dps
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:35 PM   #7
gates
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

Thanks David.
I came across this video a couple of weeks back. It is quite interesting, I can see the rotation of the shoulder joint as you suggest - connected to the center. and nage getting under uke, interesting in the book Budo there are two photos of O'sensei performing Suwariwaza Kokyu-ho (younger and older), both of which clearly show uke's centre raised up.

Do you think that there is also a slight turning/spiraling of the arms in this movement which is not clearly shown in the two videos?

This discussion so far is confirming that I am no the right track in terms of my understanding of the movement. I am also sure there is more to see.

Regards
Keith

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Old 06-16-2011, 11:37 PM   #8
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

Quote:
Keith Gates wrote: View Post
In the Aikido I practice there is a heavy emphasis on Riai, and the kokyu action of the wrists in unison with breath and total body connection to the ground, when raising the sword.
Cool, can you say what style/lineage that is?

Sounds like in your exploration you are paying close attention to matching the body's shape to the ideal or "correct" shape, to make the load become distributed nicely all the way to the ground. Certainly good stuff, and that is how I would define good technique.

But besides that, have you worked with trying to go the other way around, that is, using the mind to bring the correct load-bearing state into a given body shape? In other words, transforming suboptimal body shape into optimal body shape, not by moving the body into a new shape, but by manipulating body tensions to change how the load is handled within the seemingly suboptimal shape?
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:46 PM   #9
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

Quote:
Keith Gates wrote: View Post
Do you think that there is also a slight turning/spiraling of the arms in this movement which is not clearly shown in the two videos?
The way I was taught from Tohei's lineage you extend or stretch the fingers out and up and you can also twist your wrists so that the palms are up and the back of your hands are on top of your opponents wrists.

dps
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:47 PM   #10
gates
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

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Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
But besides that, have you worked with trying to go the other way around, that is, using the mind to bring the correct load-bearing state into a given body shape? In other words, transforming suboptimal body shape into optimal body shape, not by moving the body into a new shape, but by manipulating body tensions to change how the load is handled within the seemingly suboptimal shape?
In short no. At least not consciously.
This is good food for thought for me - thank you.

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Old 06-16-2011, 11:47 PM   #11
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

Quote:
Keith Gates wrote: View Post
Do you think that there is also a slight turning/spiraling of the arms in this movement which is not clearly shown in the two videos?
I think that is certainly true. Personally, I like the vid you posted. Although the ukes in the Roppokai videos are really hard to watch, if anything we can say they exaggerate rather than pull stuff out of thin air. From that point of view-- in your video, when the partner comes in, you really see his center raise.

In the sitting video, I don't see that. Just a shoulder raise. The difference I think is actually what you said, there is a necessary spiralling to make the whole uke rise instead of just his shoulder.

I'm actually thinking about this a lot.. if no one beats me to making a video, it was going to be my next video discussion point. There are 2 directions of spiral used in the classic aiki-age/kokyu dosa. I think in aikido a lot of times we don't make good use of one of those two.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:55 PM   #12
dps
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

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Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
I think that is certainly true. Personally, I like the vid you posted. Although the ukes in the Roppokai videos are really hard to watch, if anything we can say they exaggerate rather than pull stuff out of thin air. From that point of view-- in your video, when the partner comes in, you really see his center raise.

In the sitting video, I don't see that. Just a shoulder raise. The difference I think is actually what you said, there is a necessary spiralling to make the whole uke rise instead of just his shoulder.

.
You can see the center rise when the boy does it correctly if you watch his center closely. When he just uses his arms you can see that he cannont do it. But once he relaxes and moves from his center is when he can do it.

dps
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Old 06-17-2011, 12:33 AM   #13
gates
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

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Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
There are 2 directions of spiral used in the classic aiki-age/kokyu dosa. I think in aikido a lot of times we don't make good use of one of those two.
In my limited experience whenever I have tried to merely get my elbows (and centre) under uke's and rotate wrists in a plane whilst performing suwariwaza kokyu-ho it does not work as effectively as when I also add an extra torsional twist of the wrists and arms.

I agree that this must be led from the centre as the initiator of the movement and also think that breath is integral to that process.
This is going to sound a little hippy but I often perform morotedori kokyu-ho imagining the spiraling nature of a flower drawing up energy from the ground and uncoiling its petals towards the sun.

I think this spiral movement is inherent somewhere in all Aikido techniques, tenchinage, shihonage and a well performed yokomenuchi block are all good examples of this in practice.

When people vaguely talk about Aikido as natural movements or universal laws I wonder if this is what they are referring to.

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Old 06-17-2011, 11:18 AM   #14
dps
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

Quote:
Keith Gates wrote: View Post
In my limited experience whenever I have tried to merely get my elbows (and centre) under uke's and rotate wrists in a plane whilst performing suwariwaza kokyu-ho it does not work as effectively as when I also add an extra torsional twist of the wrists and arms.

I agree that this must be led from the centre as the initiator of the movement and also think that breath is integral to that process.
This is going to sound a little hippy but I often perform morotedori kokyu-ho imagining the spiraling nature of a flower drawing up energy from the ground and uncoiling its petals towards the sun.

I think this spiral movement is inherent somewhere in all Aikido techniques, tenchinage, shihonage and a well performed yokomenuchi block are all good examples of this in practice.

When people vaguely talk about Aikido as natural movements or universal laws I wonder if this is what they are referring to.
All movement is circular or spherical.

dps
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Old 06-18-2011, 06:18 PM   #15
JW
 
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

Quote:
Keith Gates wrote: View Post
This is going to sound a little hippy but I often perform morotedori kokyu-ho imagining the spiraling nature of a flower drawing up energy from the ground and uncoiling its petals towards the sun.
I presume you've heard the term asagao in the budo context? You're right, it may sound hippy-dippy but lots of others have thought in similar terms.

Also, I have to elaborate on what I said before. I don't want to tell you bad things, and a too-brief statement or question may be misleading so don't take what I have to say too seriously!
This:
Quote:
Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
that is, using the mind to bring the correct load-bearing state into a given body shape? In other words, transforming suboptimal body shape into optimal body shape, not by moving the body into a new shape, but by manipulating body tensions to change how the load is handled within the seemingly suboptimal shape?
might have come out wrong. I didn't mean to suggest that flexing muscles in awkward ways is a good thing to try. I meant to "use ki" not just flex your limbs or something. (Though you probably got that)

Well before I read any "internal" things here, I knew about 2 things: 1, "intent" is important in aikido, although I didn't know much about what that meant. 2, there is supposedly, in theory, something called "ki" in the body and it is controlled by the mind, like when people say imagine there is high-pressure water shooting out of your hand.
So without bringing up all the arguments/polarizing discussions of the last 6 years-- I meant to suggest that with practice and exercise, there may be subtle aspects of the motor system (as opposed to the common muscles that we as adult humans are familiar with) that can do special things that may not be evident right away.
Since we don't understand it, let's call it ki!
Joking. Kind of.
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Old 06-18-2011, 09:30 PM   #16
Mark Jakabcsin
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

Keith, If you are really interested in learning about the clip you posted I suggest you catch up with Howard Popkin.

A couple items for thought: Where does the circle/spiral start from? Roppokai uses infinite circles, see how this applies.

Take care,

Mark J.
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Old 06-19-2011, 06:46 AM   #17
gregstec
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

Quote:
Mark Jakabcsin wrote: View Post
Keith, If you are really interested in learning about the clip you posted I suggest you catch up with Howard Popkin.

A couple items for thought: Where does the circle/spiral start from? Roppokai uses infinite circles, see how this applies.

Take care,

Mark J.
Uh, your center

Greg
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Old 06-19-2011, 08:55 AM   #18
gates
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

Quote:
Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
I meant to suggest that with practice and exercise, there may be subtle aspects of the motor system (as opposed to the common muscles that we as adult humans are familiar with) that can do special things that may not be evident right away
Jonathan et al
Thank you. I believe I understand what you were getting at quite clearly. I also understand that experienced learning is far superior to verbal or intellectual understanding, but I have to start somewhere. (I live in an isolated city, no chance of getting my hands on a Daito Ryu exponent ((at this time))

The purpose of me posting and questioning the video is to see if I can gain some (albeit surficial) understanding of the latent content of the movement shown. I understand that this is a big ask, never the less the responses I have received thus far have been both thought provoking and helpful.

In the following video Okamoto talks of the three combined principles of Aiki (Conditioned Reflex, Circular motion, Breath Power). As well as a more detailed description of the circular motion in use. (I begin to wonder that these principles are no different from the what is inherent in good Aikido-Waza, only the conditioned reflex is very different and the scale of movement is also very different. (which is why is is so hard to see??))

More food for thought !!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKJm3Sn4K-I

Last edited by gates : 06-19-2011 at 09:08 AM.

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Old 06-19-2011, 08:59 AM   #19
gates
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

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Greg Steckel wrote: View Post
Uh, your center

Greg
Greg,
This is not intended as a counter argument but more posing a question regarding a possible answer to the origin of infinite circles.
(Bordering on the spiritual side of things I understand. (If I study Aikido deeply I don't see how I can get away from it))

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CsYZAHRDuU

Last edited by gates : 06-19-2011 at 09:07 AM.

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Old 06-19-2011, 09:09 AM   #20
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

Quote:
Keith Gates wrote: View Post
In seeking out some 'basic' kokyu solo exercises that I may be able to gain something useful from I found this video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIfUgUfs2FM

I am interested if anybody is able to explain in some detail the more subtle aspects of the of this apparently basic exercise, knowing that the mastery is in the detail, especially in "basic" practice.

I can see kokyu as a whole body movement 'coiling' and a weight underside - centre to centre connection between uke and nage.
Anybody care to elaborate or share their understanding?
Keith
It is a slow version for driving the center out -- throwing the arms out and down with a rebound effect at full extension that arcs the arms (like a chain) up and back toward you,with the fingertips leading. Aiki age. The inverse action draws the center and drops the arms -- aiki sage, snapping like a whip downward,

It is practiced in zengo undo -- though the example here is a detailed catalog of the ways NOT to do it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH9l0el8i_Y


Done properly --

1) the stance is no more than shoulder width,
2) the torso remains perfectly erect,
3) the center drives the arms
4) The arms do almost nothing on their own except actively follow the dynamic from the driving center and gravity.

The order of actuation is
1) drive center forward
2) forcing slight step, and driving arms down n'out
3) let arms rise to peak then
4) draw center back
5) drawing foot and dropping arms in cut to center
6) pivot and repeat in new direction (2, 4, 8 whatever)

If your arms don't feel that "taut chain" extension pop at the drive and draw reversals, you are not doing it right. That feeling can be used in kokyu tanden ho even where it is slow and there is no "dynamic" to drive it.

Broken down this can be done in two different sword suburi as well tyo help work on the proper action
1) extend, raising sword out and up to jodan, stepping forward slightly then withdrawing the center and making the cut on the draw. (This is the whole zengo exercise described above)

2) draw in and up raising sword to jodan and then step forward cutting down (the inverse of zengo undo)

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 06-19-2011, 09:46 AM   #21
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

Quote:
Keith Gates wrote: View Post
Greg,
This is not intended as a counter argument but more posing a question regarding a possible answer to the origin of infinite circles.
(Bordering on the spiritual side of things I understand. (If I study Aikido deeply I don't see how I can get away from it))

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CsYZAHRDuU
Not sure what you are asking or saying with the above post - but I can comment on the clip you attached. Inoue is one of the forgotten greats from the early days of Daito Ryu and Aikido - here is a link to more info on him:

http://www.aikido-health.com/noriaki-inoue.html

The interesting thing I got from your clip is that he brought together Tohei's point of Universal power ( which is Ki by the way) and Sagawa's point of training hard to cultivated the power of the center; which the proper application of will develop aiki in you - or if you prefer, the power of the Universe in your center

Greg
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Old 06-19-2011, 09:51 AM   #22
gates
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
It is a slow version for driving the center out -- throwing the arms out and down with a rebound effect at full extension that arcs the arms (like a chain) up and back toward you,with the fingertips leading. Aiki age. The inverse action draws the center and drops the arms -- aiki sage, snapping like a whip downward,
Erik,
Thank you. You give a good description of Torifune Undo. I can definitely see a commonality between the Torifune Undo and this exercise however the movements seem to be distinctly different. Especially in the rotation and angle of the hands and wrists, also the motion is less of a swinging momentum driven motion (or at least it is generated from a different movement), and as far as I can see there is no rebound effect or snapping motion (of the arms), the movement appears to actually stop momentarily at the top.

With Respect,
Keith

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Old 06-19-2011, 09:53 AM   #23
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
It is practiced in zengo undo -- though the example here is a detailed catalog of the ways NOT to do it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH9l0el8i_Y
Eric
Did you just use a video of an Aikido-ka and critisize it that he doesnlt get it, that he is a model of what not to do?
Yes.... you did.
Like I did four years ago, showing just a single picture and laying out how it was a compromised posture. And then you and a host others from here and Ebudo said I should be sued for slander and banned from all sites?

Where is the outcry now?
Where is the equal treatment from all those same parties?
It doesn't exist.

There are people who can directly address what Okomoto is doing and how he is doing it. You will never hear a word of it, and you can continue on with your theories that those who actually do know what he is doing have...completely dismissed.

Dan
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Old 06-19-2011, 09:59 AM   #24
gates
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

Quote:
Greg Steckel wrote: View Post
Not sure what you are asking or saying with the above post - but I can comment on the clip you attached. Inoue is one of the forgotten greats from the early days of Daito Ryu and Aikido - here is a link to more info on him:

http://www.aikido-health.com/noriaki-inoue.html

The interesting thing I got from your clip is that he brought together Tohei's point of Universal power ( which is Ki by the way) and Sagawa's point of training hard to cultivated the power of the center; which the proper application of will develop aiki in you - or if you prefer, the power of the Universe in your center

Greg
The unification of the Ki (universal) and Centralised Ki (personal) was the point I was making via the clip in reference to where the Circle/Spiral begins. I was (poorly) implying that it is perhaps not merely generated from the personal centre, but the source is from a larger body (of Ki).

I will try to be less vague in future posts. I did this because I would prefer to keep the thread on the practical aspects of a potential solo training exercise, rather than spiral of into a metaphysical discussion (some time soon perhaps).

Keith

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Old 06-19-2011, 10:04 AM   #25
gates
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Re: Solo Kokyu Practice

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Eric
Did you just use a video of an Aikido-ka and critisize it that he doesnlt get it, that he is a model of what not to do?
Yes.... you did.
Like I did four years ago, showing just a single picture and laying out how it was a compromised posture. And then you and a host others from here and Ebudo said I should be sued for slander and banned from all sites?

Where is the outcry now?
Where is the equal treatment from all those same parties?
It doesn't exist.

There are people who can directly address what Okomoto is doing and how he is doing it. You will never hear a word of it, and you can continue on with your theories that those who actually do know what he is doing have...completely dismissed.

Dan
Dan I appreciate your input I truly do.
But please keep on topic. Using the thread to air your personal grievances is just an unnecessary distraction to what is a useful discussion (at least for me).
Thanks
Keith

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