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Old 06-19-2007, 01:42 AM   #1
dalen7
 
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Unbendable arm

You know, I have seen mention of the unbendable arm on the web, and yesterday I saw a description of it (and how to implement this technique) on a website linked from this forum I believe.

Is this something that all 'branches' of Aikido teach or just 'ki' aikido?
Also, didnt seem to work. I wonder if its more psychological where both parties dont realize that the 'uke' is not trying and the 'nage' is actually tightening.

anyway - who knows...I was limp as can be and there was no way to perform this without at least relaxing all my muscles, but at the same time firmly using the muscles in the key parts where the technique was to be implemented. (I should say all muscles are used, but in a more relaxed way but focusing on tightening only the direct areas affected.)

Peace

Dalen
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Old 06-19-2007, 01:50 AM   #2
grondahl
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Re: Unbendable arm

In my limited understanding, you should rather focus on "expansion" then "tightening" if you want to pull of the unbendable arm.
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Old 06-19-2007, 02:03 AM   #3
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Re: Unbendable arm

I understand "unbendable arm" as a balancing of muscle tension in the arm.

David
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Old 06-19-2007, 02:05 AM   #4
eyrie
 
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Re: Unbendable arm

Aikiweb is supposed to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information, such as this..... try using the search function!

Ignatius
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Old 06-19-2007, 02:13 AM   #5
dalen7
 
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
I understand "unbendable arm" as a balancing of muscle tension in the arm.

David
This seems to go along with what I tend to 'feel'/think about this.
It seems you can 'tighten' everything, which is apparently not the point...or distribute the tension where your muscles are more relaxed but you shift the extra tension into the point of focus. (such as when your fingers and thumb are shut and you are trying to keep someone from opening them.)

As with the arm, its slightly bent so I think there is something to just the pure physics of this vs. when something (2 points meet) that can actually 'break' faster.

Again, I have seen on the forum this mentioned, but it seems that it is limited to ki-aikido? Or is this something I am to expect to learn in my aikido class in the future?

Peace

Dalen
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Old 06-19-2007, 02:16 AM   #6
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Re: Unbendable arm

I learned "unbendable arm" when I practiced Aikikai Aikido. I am not sure what other styles use it. It might be more up to the individual sensei.

David

Last edited by dps : 06-19-2007 at 02:23 AM.
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Old 06-19-2007, 02:23 AM   #7
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Dalen Johnson wrote: View Post
anyway - who knows...I was limp as can be and there was no way to perform this without at least relaxing all my muscles,
There lies your problem. Unbendable arm isn't about being limp, there is a difference between being limp and relaxed. If I say relax to you that doesn't mean allow your arm to go floppy.

Try this. Extend your arm with the elbow unlocked and the arm slightly curved. With a partner, close your hand and make a fist and tense your arm as much as you can, your arm will bend when they test you (tester places one hand under the wrist other on the bicep and tries to elbow), now do it correctly by opening your hand imagining something like a beam of light or something flowing from your navel out through your fingertips.

If it worked you were doing the basic unbendable arm exercise (there are many levels to this test), if it didn't you were doing something else. It should show you the difference between relaxation and tension, which is the purpose of this exercise.

Mike

PS - It's definitely a ki-aikido thing.

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
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Old 06-19-2007, 02:34 AM   #8
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
There lies your problem. Unbendable arm isn't about being limp, there is a difference between being limp and relaxed. If I say relax to you that doesn't mean allow your arm to go floppy.

PS - It's definitely a ki-aikido thing.
Thanks for the explanation...I associated 'relax' with 'floppy'.
I think I am seeing how this works, and actually how it can apply with aikido movements. (Im usually tense in class 'waiting' for whats about to happen from uke...)

Peace

Dalen
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Old 06-19-2007, 04:10 AM   #9
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Re: Unbendable arm

Good post, Mr. Haft.
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Old 06-19-2007, 04:17 AM   #10
Hanna B
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Dalen Johnson wrote: View Post
You know, I have seen mention of the unbendable arm on the web, and yesterday I saw a description of it (and how to implement this technique) on a website linked from this forum I believe.

Is this something that all 'branches' of Aikido teach or just 'ki' aikido?
Also, didnt seem to work. I wonder if its more psychological where both parties dont realize that the 'uke' is not trying and the 'nage' is actually tightening.
Are you seriously telling us that you think you can read a description on the web, try it and conclude if the exercise works?

Quote:
Dalen Johnson wrote: View Post
Again, I have seen on the forum this mentioned, but it seems that it is limited to ki-aikido? Or is this something I am to expect to learn in my aikido class in the future?
"Not limited to ki-aikido" does not necessarily mean they teach it in your dojo. If you want to know if they do it in your dojo, ask somebody who trains there. Even if your Hungarian currently is not up to it (although I am sure you are working on it) , probably there is someone in the dojo who speaks somewhat decent English.
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Old 06-19-2007, 04:41 AM   #11
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
I learned "unbendable arm" when I practiced Aikikai Aikido. I am not sure what other styles use it. It might be more up to the individual sensei.

David
It originates from Koichi Tohei, if you learned it in an aikikai dojo it's probably one of a few possibilities:

1) They have a ki aikido background and have since joined the aikikai
2) They have an ordinary aikikai background and just retained it after Tohei left the aikikai
3) Someone picked it up cross training and thought it was cool.

At a guess (I don't mean to be presumptuous) I'd say that if it's no 1 then you might have unbendable arm right, if its 2 or 3 chances are you've only got the baby level of unbendable arm that takes 5 minutes to learn (that's what I described in my other post).

There are many levels and subtleties to this exercise, most people who dismiss it as a trick tend to have only seen the baby level in my experience. Exceptions granted as its a big world and I am not omniscient.

Cheers

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 06-19-2007, 04:51 AM   #12
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
It originates from Koichi Tohei, if you learned it in an aikikai dojo it's probably one of a few possibilities:
Unbendeble arm seems to be a very common concept. I am sure several Aikikai teachers learned it in Aikikai and kept the exercise just because they like it. Not all of Tohei's influence vanished on the day he left Aikikai. I wouldn't be surprised if the unbendeble arm is one of the most common traces of him.
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Old 06-19-2007, 04:55 AM   #13
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote: View Post
Unbendeble arm seems to be a very common concept. I am sure several Aikikai teachers learned it in Aikikai and kept the exercise just because they like it. Not all of Tohei's influence vanished on the day he left Aikikai. I wouldn't be surprised if the unbendeble arm is one of the most common traces of him.
I believe that was my point.

I also believe that only the lowest level of the unbendable arm exercise is the one that most people know of outside of ki-aikido circles, based on my own personal cross training experience.

Mike

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Old 06-19-2007, 05:03 AM   #14
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
I believe that was my point.
I missed your point 2, it seems. Sorry!
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Old 06-19-2007, 05:06 AM   #15
dalen7
 
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Re: Unbendable arm

This whole concept if 'ki' aikido is fascinating to me indeed.
The one thing I know in my dojo is that they want me to 'relax' (well the shodan that had practiced with me) more.

It was kind of confusing, as I 'thought' I was relaxed.
The guy that was working with me wanted me to be relaxed as if I was on the street...but at the same time I see 'uke' standing there and 'need to get ready'.

Not sure if Im clear with how Im saying this, but in short Im trying to figure out how to integrate this 'relaxed' attitude while at the same time being tense enough to execute a move without being a limp noodle.

For me it seems that 'ki' aikido (and no Im not taking that form) is similar in concept to regular aikido.

I ran across a site from this forum that had a link to ki exercises.
Its the same exercises we do for warmup...so Im sure as one poster pointed out that there are similarities between the two. (Though I am curious about deepening the 'ki' aspect, as learning how to remain relaxed in my movements is something interesting to me as Im approaching the whole aikido from more of a spiritual aspect.)

Peace

Dalen
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Old 06-19-2007, 05:11 AM   #16
dalen7
 
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
I believe that was my point.

I also believe that only the lowest level of the unbendable arm exercise is the one that most people know of outside of ki-aikido circles, based on my own personal cross training experience.

Mike
Lowest level...?
Mike it appears you are involved in ki aikido?
Is there any online resources available that go into depth explaining the concepts behind it. (I have been to wiki - kind of weak, and I have read whats on the board here which kind of 'launched' my interest in it.)

I have noticed that there is a divide in 'ki' aikido.
It appears official dojos are only in germany and the U.K. - and the rest are splinter groups (such as the one in Budapest Hungary) from the guy who first introduced 'ki' aikdio to europe. (based on what I have read)

peace

Dalen
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Old 06-19-2007, 05:52 AM   #17
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Dalen Johnson wrote: View Post
Lowest level...?
Yes, you'd need to go to a dojo to find out more. There's little point in discussing it on the internet really.

Quote:
Dalen Johnson wrote: View Post
Mike it appears you are involved in ki aikido?
Yup.

Quote:
Dalen Johnson wrote: View Post
Is there any online resources available that go into depth explaining the concepts behind it. (I have been to wiki - kind of weak, and I have read whats on the board here which kind of 'launched' my interest in it.)
Not really, you'd need to find a dojo.

Quote:
Dalen Johnson wrote: View Post
I have noticed that there is a divide in 'ki' aikido.
It appears official dojos are only in germany and the U.K. - and the rest are splinter groups (such as the one in Budapest Hungary) from the guy who first introduced 'ki' aikdio to europe. (based on what I have read)

peace

Dalen
That's not true, Ki aikido begins with the Ki Society which is headquartered in Japan.

http://www.ki-society.com/english/

Over the years there have been various splits and offshoots, some of these have rejoined the aikikai some have become independent.

Many of the European dojo left to form the Ki Society Internationale, dojo list from the UK website is here:

http://www.ki-society.org.uk/links/links.shtml

There are other styles too such as aikido yuishinkai which is where I come from. www.aikidoyuishinkai.com

Cheers

Mike

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Old 06-19-2007, 09:14 AM   #18
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Dalen Johnson wrote: View Post
...I ran across a site from this forum that had a link to ki exercises.
Its the same exercises we do for warmup...so Im sure as one poster pointed out that there are similarities between the two. (Though I am curious about deepening the 'ki' aspect, as learning how to remain relaxed in my movements is something interesting to me as Im approaching the whole aikido from more of a spiritual aspect.)

Peace

Dalen
The Unofficial.Ki-Society Site

Hawaii Ki Aikido

Some web sites you might find interesting.

Although as Mike suggested, you would be better off going to a Ki Society dojo when you have the chance.

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Old 06-19-2007, 10:31 AM   #19
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Re: Unbendable arm

Statues and trees don't need to flex their muscles.

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 06-19-2007, 11:25 AM   #20
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
James Davis, Jr. wrote: View Post
Statues and trees don't need to flex their muscles.
What exactly is that supposed to mean? Because if I'm reading it right it's telling me that you probably don't know much about unbendable arm or ki aikido...

Mike

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Old 06-19-2007, 12:47 PM   #21
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
What exactly is that supposed to mean? Because if I'm reading it right it's telling me that you probably don't know much about unbendable arm or ki aikido...

Mike
The universe is an amazing thing. (The mind of God however you want to look at it)

I have just posted in another thread here at AikiWeb my experience in class today. In short the teacher was unable to be there.

2 of the guys there a blue belt (2nd kyu) and a white belt (found out that he has studied 7 years, just refused to test) study 'ki' aikido.

The one guy had me pick him up twice.
Once I picked him up, the 2nd it was like lead in his shoes.
Best to say its like he shifted his weight to his feet. - or relaxed and redirected the focus of energy to where he wanted it to be.

Anyway, it was fun and interesting especially after having just written about this stuff here. The one guy was trying to show how he could do unbendable arm with one of the aikido techniques as 'uke'.

Fun relaxed time, we were outside - no 'formal' mat training today.

Peace

Dalen
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Old 06-19-2007, 01:25 PM   #22
dalen7
 
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote: View Post
The Unofficial.Ki-Society Site

Hawaii Ki Aikido

Some web sites you might find interesting.

Although as Mike suggested, you would be better off going to a Ki Society dojo when you have the chance.
Thanks for the links...(taking a look now)

Peace

Dalen
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Old 06-19-2007, 03:03 PM   #23
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
What exactly is that supposed to mean? Because if I'm reading it right it's telling me that you probably don't know much about unbendable arm or ki aikido...

Mike
nor understand how plant cell walls differ from animal cell walls. ;-)

Last edited by kironin : 06-19-2007 at 03:08 PM.

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Old 06-19-2007, 03:07 PM   #24
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Ki Symbol Re: Unbendable arm

"relax" needs to be defined as "release the unnecessary (counterproductive) tension in your body (specifically here - your arm and shoulder)"

NOT as "release all tension in your body" and thus be a like a jellyfish

Last edited by kironin : 06-19-2007 at 03:10 PM.

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Old 06-19-2007, 03:27 PM   #25
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
I believe that was my point.

I also believe that only the lowest level of the unbendable arm exercise is the one that most people know of outside of ki-aikido circles, based on my own personal cross training experience.

Mike
I think this just reflects the emphasis in training.

But it might also reflect that some of the higher level training was a refinement in Tohei Sensei's thinking in the 30 years since he left the Aikikai, and that is reflected in the groups sprung from his aproach in the mid-80's on that kept an emphasis on ki training in their curriculum (Shin Budo Kai being the one I am most familiar with).

At least before Toyoda Sensei passed away, AAA after reconnecting with the Aikikai in 1990's retained unbendable arm as a part of kyu tests, but it seemed to me to be practiced very little and even then at a very elementary level. Students that followed Toyoda Sensei from Ki Society have a more sophisticated understanding, but in my experience students and more recent teachers did not. I use this as just an example, where there is sort of a loss of transmission because of de-emphasis in training.

I teach it to my Iaido students because it is definitely applicable to the internal aspects of their iai.

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