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Old 06-19-2007, 04:30 PM   #26
Jonshez
 
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Re: Unbendable arm

I found this 'explaination' of unbendable arm. Thoughts?

http://ofinterest.net/Ua/arm2.html#1

Jon

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Old 06-19-2007, 05:04 PM   #27
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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
It means that you shouldn't resist, fight, or panic. It means that you shouldn't be combative, tense, "powerful", or worried about whether it will work or not. Just be.

Can I expect an audio recording of a derisive snort in the mail?

I have to use different language to teach different people. When I taught an 11 year old unbendable arm last night, that example seemed to help her.

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Old 06-19-2007, 08:08 PM   #28
Janet Rosen
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Re: Unbendable arm

I've seen many explanations of unbendable arm, using different metaphors or ways of expressing it, and seen different folks "get it" from one or another metaphor.
From a musculoskeletal point of view, exhaling while letting shoulders drop and engaging the triceps and extensors outward...
From an energy point of view, letting ki run through the arm and out through...Pinkie? lower part of hand? well that has varied in how I've heard it and I'll defer to folks who teach it that way. Personally, I found this a good way to experience it, as I was used to moving energy around prior to training in aikido....
From a visualization point of view, picturing holding a giant beach ball.....
etc....

Last edited by Janet Rosen : 06-19-2007 at 08:09 PM. Reason: precision

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Old 06-20-2007, 12:42 AM   #29
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
I've seen many explanations of unbendable arm, using different metaphors or ways of expressing it, and seen different folks "get it" from one or another metaphor.
And thats whats cool is to have the flexibility to be able to understand the metaphor is not the action. Its easy to get lost in the 'pointer' and not see to where the word is pointing.

Hey it happened with me when I first heard unbendable arm.
When I was playing around with it, I came up with my own ideas as mentioned in earlier post on this thread which resemble some of your latter explanations.

Peace

Dalen
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Old 06-20-2007, 01:47 AM   #30
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Jon Sheriff wrote: View Post
I found this 'explaination' of unbendable arm. Thoughts?

http://ofinterest.net/Ua/arm2.html#1

Jon
Well known link, been up for many years.

My thoughts is that it is not very interesting, it's an explanation that misses the point and probably a response thought up by someone that was introduced to unbendable arm by a teacher that didn't understand the point.

compare the conclusions/explanation with

Quote:
in Aikido in Daily Life(1966) Koichi Tohei Sensei wrote:
Once you master the concept of power flowing outward you can clench your fist or leave your fingers limp, and B will still be unable to bend your arm. This has nothing to do with the shape of your hand. Even with your arm bent ... your arm will be unbendable.
The unbendable arm has been in floating in western martial arts circles for over 40 years now and been picked up by various teachers outside of aikido often incorrectly and for sometimes very bad reasons. (I think there was an article on it in Black Belt magazine back in the sixties.)

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Old 06-20-2007, 05:34 AM   #31
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
James Davis, Jr. wrote: View Post
Can I expect an audio recording of a derisive snort in the mail?
I'm sure it can be arranged if it makes you happy.

Tailoring language to a specific person is useful when teaching IME. But discussing on the internet is not teaching, not to mention that you cannot tailor language to the world in general. Is it any wonder I couldn't understand what you were talking about when you dropped in a seemingly random statement? Just looked like presumptuous twaddle to me, thus my response.

You'll note that I put the word 'if' in italics right?

Mike

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Old 06-20-2007, 05:41 AM   #32
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Jon Sheriff wrote: View Post
I found this 'explaination' of unbendable arm. Thoughts?

http://ofinterest.net/Ua/arm2.html#1

Jon
It's a debunking that anyone who knows what unbendable arm is about would regard as totally redundant IMO. It assumes we're trying to pass of some mystical nonsense as reality (we are not) and as I said before it only addresses what I think of as the baby level of unbendable arm.

Mike

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Old 06-20-2007, 06:13 AM   #33
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Re: Unbendable arm

Hello
May be it just a way to explain things.
Ki/chi comes from a time where it was all they have to explain thing rationally.
By rationally I mean in accordance with the view of the world they had at the time and tool they had to express it.
As someone said before Ki is used as well to express the result of photosytesis

Equally you can explain any ki- exercise by using contemporary biomechanics and Newtonian physics. At the end language and science are just here to describe and explain phenomenon we see in the real world
So, I would say that this article is a little simplistic explanation of what happen. It passes over body alignment and getting other muscle group to play in order to "stabilise" articulation
And the fact that the force (in the Newtonian sense) that we are developing is tending to 90º degree which makes the vectorial projection of the bending force (ie what we have to actually oppose tending toward zero.

When using biceps, the nature of the movement make the force we generate and the force he generated goes in direct opposition. The angle between the forces tends toward 180.
On the top of that biceps are the muscle that flexes the forarm. Which is what bending the arm is…Ie we are using a muscle group to stop what something that goes in the way of what it is designed to do and it is antagonist to the triceps

Ie we need to generate atforce of an intensity, least equal to the generated to bend the arm.
Using the triceps alone (ie without that forward felling) makes that task easier as the triceps muscle group is usually a stronger muscle group tham the biceps. (and it is easier to "solidify" the shoulder) so production and application of the forces is facilitated
This is usually what people successfully resisting with strength uses (they will have as well a good body alignment and they will get an angle round 45º)

If we can move the angle between the forces towards 90º, the intensity of the force exerted by our opponent will be greatly reduced
Ie if he produces 100 N , we will have to produce only 50 to resist him if we get 45º angle between that get even smaller when you get close to 90º
And that exactly what that "extension" forward does.

Which in returns negates the need of big contractions, and if the body posture is right we can use the skeleton as transmission shaft for other muscle groups without too much depletion. All you then need in the arm is enough force to keep the articulation in position which is negligible compared to the other forces involved.(and the triceps is responsible for that in that exercise

So as Craig said you can have a closed fist or even already bended arm, it does not really matter.

Phil

Last edited by philippe willaume : 06-20-2007 at 06:15 AM.

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Old 06-20-2007, 09:43 AM   #34
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Re: Unbendable arm

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Craig Hocker wrote: View Post
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).

SNIP

I teach it to my Iaido students because it is definitely applicable to the internal aspects of their iai.
Not sure but I probably agree with you. We've been independent from Ki Soc since the mid to late 1980s (not sure of the exact date) and we seem to do pretty well so I'm not sure that it'd be a refinement of Tohei's thinking. Probably as you suggest, a case of de-emphasis (which is pretty much what - according to his writings - Tohei Sensei observed upon returning to Hawaii IMHO). Of course the only way to be sure is for us to meet up and train together

I was asked to do an aikido demo at an iaido seminar a few months back. They seemed really interested in the ki training, so I'm not surprised it helps your iaido guys I'm just starting out in MJER really so I'll see what's what in good time I imagine.

Best

Mike

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Old 06-20-2007, 11:48 AM   #35
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
I'm sure it can be arranged if it makes you happy.
Heh.
Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
You'll note that I put the word 'if' in italics right?

Mike
Yup. Notice the smiley after that sentence about the snort?

No offense intended or taken. No biggie. Let's move on.

Sorry for being unclear. When I'm on my lunch break, sometimes I'm pressed for time. I tend to post really shortly and explain myself when I get off work. This probably won't be the last time either.

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Old 06-20-2007, 12:09 PM   #36
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Re: Unbendable arm

I'll throw in my 2 cents.. which, in aiki money converts to about the square root of nowt.

"Relax" is a term often confused. As mentioned it does not mean go limp but implies a "supple readiness" without tension.

Unbendable arm is great fun. I like to teach it to my buddies when we go to the boozer. I just do like Mike Haft has said (funny that eh mike?) and get them to tense up first and i bend their arm. Then i get them to reach for something without moving. It's brilliant the look on their faces. I prefer to imagine reaching out rather than projecting something out, just what works for me in terms of extension; same thing.

I'm only starting to grasp this stuff. Far from easy to let go of the way you've been operating your body your whole life!

Peace and love
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Old 06-21-2007, 01:07 AM   #37
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Re: Unbendable arm

BTDT
See the Baseline Skillset Thread
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Old 06-21-2007, 05:57 AM   #38
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Robert John wrote: View Post
BTDT
See the Baseline Skillset Thread
Yeah I know, but so far there seems to be less aggro here than in that particular nasty mess of a thread

You guys (meaning Akuzawa etc) ever gonna be in the UK for a visit?

Mike

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Old 06-21-2007, 09:48 AM   #39
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
Not sure but I probably agree with you. We've been independent from Ki Soc since the mid to late 1980s (not sure of the exact date) and we seem to do pretty well so I'm not sure that it'd be a refinement of Tohei's thinking. Probably as you suggest, a case of de-emphasis (which is pretty much what - according to his writings - Tohei Sensei observed upon returning to Hawaii IMHO). Of course the only way to be sure is for us to meet up and train together
I think you may have misunderstood me. Of course, I don't know how you guys train, but I was attempting to draw a distinction between groups that are serious about retaining ki training in their regular practice and those that pay a little lip service but really have kept only the most rudimentary exercises if anything at all. I didn't imagine you in the later category. I only directly know what's going on in North America.

Quote:
I was asked to do an aikido demo at an iaido seminar a few months back. They seemed really interested in the ki training, so I'm not surprised it helps your iaido guys I'm just starting out in MJER really so I'll see what's what in good time I imagine.

Best
Mike
that's a good sign. they definitely should be interested.

After a few years training and you start to have good foundation skill set in your iaido, I bet you will find it quite interesting to see how what your ki training informs you and interacts with you iai training process.

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Old 06-21-2007, 05:18 PM   #40
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Jon Sheriff wrote: View Post
I found this 'explaination' of unbendable arm. Thoughts?

http://ofinterest.net/Ua/arm2.html#1

Jon
Not a good explanation and describes the opposite of aikido, judo, jujutsu. He says that in order to resist having your arm bent you should contract and tense your triceps straightening out your arm which is using your muscles against your partner's muscles. This doesn't work if he is much stronger than you and will get you hurt if he posesses any cunning. You should never contract or tense up. Tohei said that being relaxed is all he ever learned of value from
O sensei, maybe he should have stuck around a bit longer.

In an article by Robert W. Smith entitled "My Aikido Interlude" which appeared on the front page of Aikido Journal recently we see an example of how Tohei himself couldn't make the unbendable arm work by not respecting the basic principles of aikido known as zanshin (hyper awareness against a treacherous attack) and maai(proper distancing)

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=640

If your partner who is tryng to bend your arm wants to not only show you up but hurt you he can wait until you have locked your own arm out at the elbow by "projecting" or "reaching" and then suddenly change direction and slam his arm up instead of down while holding your wrist with the other hand and break your arm at the elbow, ripping your biceps and tearing tendons and ligaments along the way. Reaching at this distance also leaves you wide open to all manner of hip and shoulder throws. It isn't hard to bend a guy's arm after you have knocked him unconscious by dropping him on his head!

This non-sense about extension in order to let your magic ki laser beams which originate in your belly shoot out of your finger tips to make your waza irresistibly powerful or to make your arms unbendable or your body immoveable taught by many aikido "masters" is suicidal at empty handed (both of you) standing grappling and striking distances. This straight armed extension/reaching is effective when you are unarmed and it is used to reach/deflect the arm(s) of someone who is attacking you with a weapon or weapons (without taking a step forward) from far enough away that you can't reach his wrist with a bent arm without you taking a step forward (which leaves you open to be kicked if he is standing still with both feet together over a solid, balanced, versatile base). It can also be used when you are holding a weapon or weapons and your attackers are not, in order to lure them into trying to grab your arms(s) so that you can counterstrike just before they get a grip or so that you can perform throws/joint locks rather than just using your weapon to keep them at bay.

Another option of countering the manner of "unbendable arm" described in your link is the one in the article I provided a link to. Here the judoka made use of a preemptive off balancing known as kuzushi as all good judoka do. First you put downward pressure on the inside of the elbow, when you encounter resistance, you take a step back causing your partner to lose balance forcing him to take a step forward, you then explosively bend forward, even dropping to your knees(seiza) and touch your forehead to the floor like bowing. Not only will this bend the arm it can cause your partner's chin to slam into the back of your head, shoulder or upper back.

The unbendable arm is really a lesson in the proper use of strength through maai and zanshin and not a test of focus, strength or proof of "magic internal energy" even though it is often used to impress the supersticious and gullible. If you want to make the unbendable arm work and not have to make a bunch of lame excuses about why it didn't, something all to common in aikido, first place yourself very close to your partner. Stand facing each other, your chest should be no more than a foot from your partner's. Put your right forearm on his left shoulder, not your wrist, the part of your forearm just below your elbow. Now not only is your partner in a position where he is unable to use all of his strength effectively, by trying to bend your arm he is pushing down into his own chest and into the ground. Your arm is also in a nice strong slightly bent position so he can't change directions and break it. Working at this distance makes it easier to stick to him like glue if he tries to take that step to execute kuzushi. Always maintain the inital distancing and position in relation to the bender. Another advantage is that if the person testing you decides to sucker punch or stike you in any way he is standing to close to put enough power behind it to do any real damage that would take you out if you are aware and it is easier to blend with it and counter it.

For a simple example of the principle behind the unbendable arm grab a pencil by both ends with both hands and snap it in half. Now grab one of the pieces and with the thumbs and fingers of both hands about an inch apart try to snap that piece in half.

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O sensei Morihei Ueshiba

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Last edited by mikebalko : 06-21-2007 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 06-22-2007, 01:48 AM   #41
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
Yeah I know, but so far there seems to be less aggro here than in that particular nasty mess of a thread

You guys (meaning Akuzawa etc) ever gonna be in the UK for a visit?

Mike
Mmmm.. well we are in Europe once a year, so if someone could step up and organize something I'm sure he'd be over in a heart beat

As far as the thread goes, you have to admit, the aggro made it more entertaining
Besides, never hurts to see a different way of explaining the skills being talked about.
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Old 06-22-2007, 04:16 AM   #42
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Robert John wrote: View Post
Mmmm.. well we are in Europe once a year, so if someone could step up and organize something I'm sure he'd be over in a heart beat
Maybe next year

Quote:
Robert John wrote: View Post
As far as the thread goes, you have to admit, the aggro made it more entertaining
Besides, never hurts to see a different way of explaining the skills being talked about.
Gave me a headache really... no, it never hurts to see the same stuff explained differently, getting it done without bloodshed is sometimes tricky though....

Mike

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Old 06-22-2007, 07:37 AM   #43
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Re: Unbendable arm

After reading this thread (and one of the others linked from the bottom) I thought I would practice unbendable arm with my Mrs. My other half doesn't train and doesn't know anything about ki, so I explained by asking her to imagine reaching for a hanging plant basket above and in front of her.
Result - her unbendable arm was incredible. Absolutley strong yet relaxed and stretching.
Honestly I was amazed. I didn't use aikido terminology, no "extending ki" or "relax". Her natural 'extension' has taught me quite a bit about my own technique.

Jon

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Old 06-22-2007, 12:22 PM   #44
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Re: Unbendable arm

As a variation, unliftable arm is just as important as unbendable.
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Old 06-22-2007, 12:56 PM   #45
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Re: Unbendable arm

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Tim Miranda wrote: View Post
As a variation, unliftable arm is just as important as unbendable.
Unbendable arm should also be unraisable at the higher levels.

Mike

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Old 06-23-2007, 02:34 AM   #46
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Re: Unbendable arm

more to the point, unraisable arm and unbendable arm are aspects of the same thing.

when you are doing that thing that Tohei Sensei likes to call mind and body coordination, then your extended arm is unraisable as well as unbendable. The testing is about guiding you to do that thing.

It's really not a higher level to have unraisable as well as unliftable. That's really part of the basic level.

What most people consider unbendable is the baby step unbendable arm. In that first basic step, doing it correctly also means someone cannot lift you extended arm with pressue applied above the elbow.

The next step is to be able to do unbendable arm with the pressure applied to the hand rather than the forearm and unliftable test with pressure applied near the wrist rather than above the elbow.

The third step is to be able to do unbendable arm with the pressure applied to the fingers rather than the hand and unliftable with pressure applied to the hand rather above the wrist.

Those are the basic levels.

The actual higher levels are done like the third step above but test are performed with various applications of Ki by the tester to break/overcome/upset the mind and body coordination. If your mind is captured your body will follow.

Last edited by kironin : 06-23-2007 at 02:36 AM.

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Old 06-23-2007, 07:35 AM   #47
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Mike Balko wrote: View Post
...
If your partner who is tryng to bend your arm wants to not only show you up but hurt you he can wait until you have locked your own arm out at the elbow by "projecting" or "reaching" and then suddenly change direction and slam his arm up instead of down while holding your wrist with the other hand and break your arm at the elbow, ripping your biceps and tearing tendons and ligaments along the way. Reaching at this distance also leaves you wide open to all manner of hip and shoulder throws. It isn't hard to bend a guy's arm after you have knocked him unconscious by dropping him on his head!...
Hey lighten up!
You got no sense of humerus.
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Old 06-23-2007, 10:02 AM   #48
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Craig Hocker wrote: View Post
It's really not a higher level to have unraisable as well as unliftable. That's really part of the basic level.
LOL, I was trying to keep it simple, but yeah. What Craig said.

Basically, unbendable arm is commonly misunderstood because the baby step that is taught in 5 min or so is confused by people thinking that this is the whole of the exercise. It is not.

Mike

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Old 06-24-2007, 02:35 AM   #49
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Craig Hocker wrote: View Post
The third step is to be able to do unbendable arm with the pressure applied to the fingers rather than the hand and unliftable with pressure applied to the hand rather above the wrist.
Hi Craig- that's some good information! Would it be possible for you to go into more detail on how (positioning, direction) pressure is applied to the fingers to test unbendable?
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Old 06-24-2007, 07:37 AM   #50
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Re: Unbendable arm

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Tim Miranda wrote: View Post
Hi Craig- that's some good information! Would it be possible for you to go into more detail on how (positioning, direction) pressure is applied to the fingers to test unbendable?
I'm not Craig, nor do I play him on TV but I'll try an answer.

Depending on what exactly you are testing for. Grasp the fingertips and apply pressure directly back along the horizontal plane, the fingers should not collapse. Another (more difficult) test is to apply same pressure only this time upwards at an angle of 45 degrees.

There's more but I think that might answer your question. In any case, talking about it isn't the same as feeling it, and you need to be tested by someone who has good mind and body coordination to really appreciate the test and get the most from it.

Mike

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