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Old 09-18-2014, 10:26 AM   #1
PeterR
 
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Yoshinkan Basic Stance

The topic came up after class and for the life of me, and I tried, I could no find anything specific in threads gone by.

How far back does the Yoshinkan basic stance go and exactly what is it supposed to instill.

Before we go on about why a Shodokan Heathen could possible have an interest - the conversation involved basic stances across the board. Shotokan loves its shizentai or natural stance, Yoshinkan has got to be, from my perspective, the most stylized.

I have two more tidbits of information one sounded reasonable but didn't feel right and the other was a non-Yoshinkan video demo. I don't want to poison the discussion right off - so I will wait a bit.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 09-18-2014, 05:25 PM   #2
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Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

Page 30, Total Aikido explains it.
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Old 09-18-2014, 05:56 PM   #3
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Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

The best explanation I have heard came from Inoue sensei, when I met him a few years ago. He was talking about the characteristic rigidity of Yoshinkan aikido rather than the stance, but I see the stance as just another aspect of this. He said that the idea is to start rigid as a way to teach correct shapes and angles to beginners. From there, the idea is to get softer and softer as you progress. I think, similarly with the stance, you want to eventually move into something closer to shinzentai, but it can help beginners to come to grips with the correct shapes if they start in an exaggerated and stylised stance.

I also read an interview with Inoue sensei, where he said that the rigidity, counting, and exaggerated movements of Yoshinkan were developed for teaching large groups of people, such as in the armed forces, where the teacher did not have the freedom to engage with each student individually, so everything had to be exaggerated for the students to get any understanding of what was happening. This also makes sense to me.
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Old 09-19-2014, 06:18 AM   #4
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Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

Yes Steve but I don't own Total Aikido.

My main interest was sparked when I watched this - please see around 1:40.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2UWNLLObdI

That appears to suggest that the stance has an earlier origin and was not something developed just within the Yoshinkan for training purposes whether just stance or riot police.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 09-19-2014, 10:10 AM   #5
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Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

Mainline and Takumakai Daito ryu people will roll into a kamae that is essentially this before attacking, when practicing kata. Defender is almost always in shizentai, but in Yoshinkan Aikido I see nage initiating a technique by attacking a lot, so perhaps both sides are considered to be attacking and defending at the same time.

In the Daito ryu context, the interpretation I have heard is seigan no kamae, and the attacker is holding a "pretend" sword.

So perhaps this is something that gets us back to "Aikido is based on the movements of the sword?"

Could be more to it in Daito ryu, of course.
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Old 09-20-2014, 08:59 AM   #6
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Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

So what was the tidbits you heard?

The concept of a 90deg foot orientation, shimoku no ashi, or shimok ashi, can also be seen in kendo, though the foot orientation is opposite Yoshinkan's practice.

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Old 09-21-2014, 07:54 AM   #7
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Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

The video I posted was one.

The other was the idea that the stance is very stable forward facing - less so from other directions. The opinion, which on the face of it sounds reasonable but to me does not feel correct, was that it was tailored to the riot police course since their threat is always from the front.

Two tidbits as promised. Did not say that either was particularly profound.

The video certainly tells me that the stance was older than any police course but it still begs the question as to when and what purpose did it become kihon in the Yoshinkan. And further, at what point does one break away from that and adopt a less rigid stance.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 09-21-2014, 10:10 AM   #8
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Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
The video I posted was one.

The other was the idea that the stance is very stable forward facing - less so from other directions. The opinion, which on the face of it sounds reasonable but to me does not feel correct, was that it was tailored to the riot police course since their threat is always from the front.

Two tidbits as promised. Did not say that either was particularly profound.

The video certainly tells me that the stance was older than any police course but it still begs the question as to when and what purpose did it become kihon in the Yoshinkan. And further, at what point does one break away from that and adopt a less rigid stance.
You see that particular stance fall away when one is doing something other than kihon, and especially when facing multiple attackers. I will say many guys likely finish their zanshin in that stance so it probably seems like they are always in it. I love it for pins and finishes as well. Most guys will start and finish in a basic kamae, regardless if what they are doing.

Mr. Payet is a good example of one not always sticking to basic kamae.
http://youtu.be/M0arjf7iJto

http://youtu.be/vRpe28BBNGs

Also, a yoshikan honbu offshoot has a different kamae and zanshin (slightly) but I can't recall who.

Last edited by Adam Huss : 09-21-2014 at 10:14 AM.

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Old 09-21-2014, 10:44 AM   #9
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Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

Quote:
Adam Huss wrote: View Post
You see that particular stance fall away when one is doing something other than kihon, and especially when facing multiple attackers. I will say many guys likely finish their zanshin in that stance so it probably seems like they are always in it. I love it for pins and finishes as well. Most guys will start and finish in a basic kamae, regardless if what they are doing.

Mr. Payet is a good example of one not always sticking to basic kamae.
http://youtu.be/M0arjf7iJto

http://youtu.be/vRpe28BBNGs

Also, a yoshikan honbu offshoot has a different kamae and zanshin (slightly) but I can't recall who.
I have only really experienced Yoshinkan twice - once a dojo visit in Toronto and the other was sort of an Aikido fest at my dojo in Himeji where I invited an Aikikai Shihan and an instructor from the Senshusei course down and we all spent the time cross-flavoring. Stance variation was interesting then and it still holds a fascination. For me one of the most difficult things about dojo visits is adopting their stance - its amazing how that can interfere was harmonious training.

Final point - is I never felt that the Yoshinkan people I trained with were locked into their stance and were never as robotic as legend would have it. Good strong aikido.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 09-22-2014, 02:51 AM   #10
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Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
Yes Steve but I don't own Total Aikido.
Well shame on you.
It's readily available and I highly recommend you get a copy. If you can't get one let me know. Be more than happy to send you a copy.
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Old 09-22-2014, 03:14 AM   #11
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Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

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Steven Miranda wrote: View Post
Well shame on you.
It's readily available and I highly recommend you get a copy. If you can't get one let me know. Be more than happy to send you a copy.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 09-22-2014, 06:30 AM   #12
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Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

I am actually surprised at how many non-Yoshinkan practitioners own, and get stuff out of, Total Aikido. I suppose the name says it all. You'd want to get the version with notes written in the margins, I think its a later edition.

Peter,
I feel like the 'rigidity problem' a lot of people attach to Yoshinkan aikido are from people who've never trained in that style, or people who don't understand what they are seeing and/or feeling when they do actually train with people of that style.

-Anyone coming straight from senshusei to train with you is going to be very much 'practiced' into doing very strict kihon, lol.

Last edited by Adam Huss : 09-22-2014 at 06:33 AM.

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Old 09-22-2014, 05:42 PM   #13
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Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
Final point - is I never felt that the Yoshinkan people I trained with were locked into their stance and were never as robotic as legend would have it. Good strong aikido.
I say then, that those people you trained with were not doing Yoshinkan. They are always in that stance. Always. A post above said the stance was to teach beginners. Well, they are still doing it at 3rd Dan and above. Once you get out of Japan, people have more varied experience and they include stuff that just ain't Yoshinkan. Yoshinkan is defined by that stance and the kind of robotic kata they do. But that is in fact, a strong point. I really enjoyed my time doing it - I learned a lot about every technique in so much pedantic detail. I have never learned so much in any other place. But I prefer the freedom Aikikai allows me. To me, if it is not regimented, it is not Yoshinkan. Senior practitioners do loosen up, but they will still do their basics over and over, and will loosen up within the confines of those basic elements. It is the essence of Yoshinkan. The only person I saw within Yoshinkan who was free of this system was Gozo Shioda himself. He did whatever he wanted as he often did demos, but even then, he would produce many standard 'shapes'.

Last edited by Rupert Atkinson : 09-22-2014 at 05:46 PM.

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Old 09-22-2014, 06:53 PM   #14
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Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

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A post above said the stance was to teach beginners. Well, they are still doing it at 3rd Dan and above. Once you get out of Japan, people have more varied experience and they include stuff that just ain't Yoshinkan.
Hey, I'm just passing on what Inoue sensei said. Then again, I suppose he is no longer a part of the Yoshinkan organisation...
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Old 09-22-2014, 10:04 PM   #15
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Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

I think Total Aikido does explain it perfectly

Our dojo has a mixture of stances (lots of different backgrounds). I learned the Basic Kamae from a former Yoshinkan guy. It felt really awkward at first, but after a short while it felt completely natural and relaxed. It is the stance I now use by default. It is easier on my rotten knee (for whatever reason) and it definitely helps keep my center oriented forward and seems to allow movement in any direction.

If you watch baseball, some players have textbook stances and can't hit. Other players have crazy, awkward stances and lead the league in hitting. Some players (Hall of Famer, Rod Carew, for example) had different stances for different pitchers and situations. So I'm thinking, "being one with your stance" is probably more important than using the "perfect" stance.

All paths lead to death. I strongly recommend taking one of the scenic routes.
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Old 09-23-2014, 12:59 AM   #16
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Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

Quote:
Robin Johnson wrote: View Post
I think Total Aikido does explain it perfectly

Our dojo has a mixture of stances (lots of different backgrounds). I learned the Basic Kamae from a former Yoshinkan guy. It felt really awkward at first, but after a short while it felt completely natural and relaxed. It is the stance I now use by default. It is easier on my rotten knee (for whatever reason) and it definitely helps keep my center oriented forward and seems to allow movement in any direction.

If you watch baseball, some players have textbook stances and can't hit. Other players have crazy, awkward stances and lead the league in hitting. Some players (Hall of Famer, Rod Carew, for example) had different stances for different pitchers and situations. So I'm thinking, "being one with your stance" is probably more important than using the "perfect" stance.
In the typical sankaku dachi you have two points of movement in the leg; the ankle and the knee. The Yoshinkan basic kamae stabilizes both those joints, while maintaining a forward positive stance, vice a more neutral one. That is likely why your knee feels better, it's being naturally stabilized by the stance.

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Old 09-23-2014, 04:06 AM   #17
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Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
Hey, I'm just passing on what Inoue sensei said. Then again, I suppose he is no longer a part of the Yoshinkan organisation...
Hey - I agree with everything you wrote :-)

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Old 09-29-2014, 09:16 AM   #18
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Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

Peter, I'm also interested to find out when the stance developed, but I don't think what you're seeing in that Daito-ryu video is a Yoshinkan kamae. In terms of posture and movement, the guy at 1:40 bears little resemblance to a Yoshinkan kamae--it's only that he has two hands in front of himself at different heights that makes it look somewhat similar. To me, it looks more like a stylized attack used for kata purposes--see how the guy at 1:53 has his hands together before he attacks.

In the 1930s video of Ueshiba demonstrating, I don't see anything that looks like a Yoshinkan kamae, but I have not watched that video closely.

Another source of early information is a book that Stanley Pranin has referred to--there is apparently a very early instruction book with photos of Ueshiba demonstrating--one could look here if copies of it could be found. I don't remember the title, but Pranin tells a story about showing it to Morihiro Saito and having Saito be very pleased that looked like the aikido he was teaching.

That said, I do think there is more to the history of Yoshinkan teaching methodology than what the common stories tell us. See, for example, my post on "forerunners of kihon dosa":
http://aikidomugenjukukenshusei.word...of-kihon-dosa/
(Background info--in Yoshinkan today, I never see people doing funakogi undo)

about Yoshinkan kamae
I don't remember what Total Aikido says about kamae, but I would say three things about it:

(1) As far as I can tell, if you do kamae correctly, it includes pretty much all the "postural information" that you need to do Yoshinkan aikido. (For example, strong back leg, shoulders down, hips aligned, relaxation, center forward, balance, etc). Whether it is weak from the side (it is, very) is kind of irrelevant--it is not a "sparring posture". Within the basic outline of the posture there are many ways to stand by contracting or relaxing different external and internal muscles. So you can actually do solo training by just standing in kamae and experimenting on yourself.

(2) I have discovered that the key to solving the riddle of many techniques is simply to do kamae. This is, for example, one way of conceiving of nikyo in Yoshinkan--once you have uke's wrist, you just return to basic kamae and they crumple if your kamae is correct.

(3) Payet-sensei repositioned me once and had my training partner push on me as hard as he could. I was really totally relaxed and just with correct balance and posture, I was immovable. This was something I cannot recreate by myself, but it felt amazing--very different from aikido's unbendable arm trick. Also, I felt all the power in my body was centered in my big toe, which is something Shioda mentions in Aikido Shugyo, but which it's difficult to feel normally. Usually, you end up pushing with your toe or gripping with it, or something else that involves incorrect application of strength.

For another Yoshinkan shihan who does not always stand exactly in textbook kamae, see Ando-sensei:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzEN9LBP2sA

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Old 10-24-2014, 09:14 PM   #19
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Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

Hey Peter,

I guess I am about a month late for this thread, but when you only check aikiweb once every few months you are late to most things.

I found the daito-ryu video very interesting and definitely see a similarity in their kamae and that of the yoshinkan. The history of kihon dosa that Inoue Sensei spoke about relates to the 6 basic movements of Yoshinkan, but not necessarily, i think, to kamae. The two kamae are much too close for anyone in our style to claim ownership of it.

As to why we do kamae, it is a learning tool as much as anything. Kamae helps focus our body, relax the arms and shoulders and allow power to flow through the legs. One of the exercises we regularly do is to have someone push on the top arm - you have to keep the arm relaxed and absorb uke's power. when you do it correctly you feel the strength of uke's push flowing through to the back foot. The kamae practice also teaches you to maintain a good posture which allows the power of the legs and body to flow (instead of arm power).

As we get better at kamae it changes, and becomes less rigid. After the senshusei course they guys have strong but rigid kamae that, if they keep training, becomes more relaxed and smooth. My kamae is much different from when we practiced in your dojo many years ago.

The top instructors do not need to do basic kamae to have that power. You can see that in video of Mustard and Takeno in addition to the ones mentioned. They will start and end with it, but in a jiyu waza they will not always have their hands up in the basic kamae. But watch and you will see the feet, hips, back and weight are the same.

Michael

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Old 10-25-2014, 05:02 AM   #20
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Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

Quote:
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Hey Peter,

I guess I am about a month late for this thread, but when you only check aikiweb once every few months you are late to most things.

I found the daito-ryu video very interesting and definitely see a similarity in their kamae and that of the yoshinkan. The history of kihon dosa that Inoue Sensei spoke about relates to the 6 basic movements of Yoshinkan, but not necessarily, i think, to kamae. The two kamae are much too close for anyone in our style to claim ownership of it.

As to why we do kamae, it is a learning tool as much as anything. Kamae helps focus our body, relax the arms and shoulders and allow power to flow through the legs. One of the exercises we regularly do is to have someone push on the top arm - you have to keep the arm relaxed and absorb uke's power. when you do it correctly you feel the strength of uke's push flowing through to the back foot. The kamae practice also teaches you to maintain a good posture which allows the power of the legs and body to flow (instead of arm power).

As we get better at kamae it changes, and becomes less rigid. After the senshusei course they guys have strong but rigid kamae that, if they keep training, becomes more relaxed and smooth. My kamae is much different from when we practiced in your dojo many years ago.

The top instructors do not need to do basic kamae to have that power. You can see that in video of Mustard and Takeno in addition to the ones mentioned. They will start and end with it, but in a jiyu waza they will not always have their hands up in the basic kamae. But watch and you will see the feet, hips, back and weight are the same.

Michael
Thanks for that. I still remember the Himeji session.

It does beg the question - is the transition of stance something that is planned in the curriculum or just comes naturally with the evolution of the practitioner.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 10-25-2014, 09:23 AM   #21
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Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
Thanks for that. I still remember the Himeji session.

It does beg the question - is the transition of stance something that is planned in the curriculum or just comes naturally with the evolution of the practitioner.
I remember Himejo too. lots of fun. I especially remember the choking we did.

as for kamae, I think it naturally evolves from practice, but i had to think about it. If your kamae doesn't evolve you are not getting better, which is true about anything we practice in aikido. I am trying to think if i teach kamae differently to a junior and say a nidan. I don't really think i do, they just understand it at different levels and can copy at different levels. Since I don't, and i think most dont, have a separate way of teaching kamae to different level students, transition isn't because of the curriculum.

Michael

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Old 10-25-2014, 05:55 PM   #22
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Talking Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

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Michael Kimeda wrote: View Post
I remember Himejo too. lots of fun. I especially remember the choking we did.

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Old 10-25-2014, 07:57 PM   #23
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Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
T

How far back does the Yoshinkan basic stance go and exactly what is it supposed to instill.
Hi PeterR!
Hi Mike K!

It's like old home week here.

I would say the Yoshinkan basic stance goes back at least a few hundred years. Both Kashima Shinryu and Maniwa Nen Ryu use the stance (Kashima Shinryu probably incorporated it from Nen Ryu during Kuni Zen'ya's lifetime).

Kashima Shinryu
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KO_Kp6zRBXI

Maniwa Nen Ryu
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oS7Slq_9dw

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Old 10-26-2014, 01:28 AM   #24
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Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

I do not have time to scan and post the photographs, but the stance in Total Aikido seems very like the basic stance of Shirata Rinjiro, who was slightly senior to Shioda Gozo in the Kobukan. You can see the basic stance in the illustrations in the book on Shirata written by John Stevens. However, this stance seems different from the stance of Morihiro Saito, especially as can be seen from his earlier books on aikido. I have seen Shirata Rinjiro in action and I have also partnered Saito Morihiro in his kumi-tachi exercises, and I remember thinking at the time that their basic stance seemed different. Both claimed to be following Morihei Ueshiba.

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Old 10-27-2014, 05:29 AM   #25
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Re: Yoshinkan Basic Stance

Yoshinkan basic stance stresses the center-line of the body, with the hips in perpendicular position to the sagittal plane, in my opinion this is a body-training position.The hanmi-kamae with the hips turned, that is more common, is a more flexibel position for entering and moving, also hito-emi.

Sword-kamae are different from spear-kamae. So the different orientations in kamae are due to the different weapons that are used in Aikido, mainly jo and bokken.
In the kamae that is used in spearfighing, left hip is turned forward, that's why in our jo-training our kamae is with the shoulders and hips on one line.

I think Ueshiba tried to find a kamae to unite body and weapons, the kamae he developed in Iwama was different from earlier times, may be that is why saito senseis kamae is different from shirata senseis.

In Karate there are also different kamae in use, also within one style, for various purposes.
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