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Old 11-30-2001, 05:20 PM   #26
Mona
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Hi,

Slapping the dojo mat sure reduces the impact, but it can break your arm in real life, on the pavement...So I'm trying not to get used to slapping the mat.

As for the other sounds..."kiai, yep! yip! and ooooooz!", they're all uttered by those who study other martial arts but insist on training in Aikido as well. Frankly, I find it irritating and sometimes disrespectful when the karate group in class say: "ouuz! and "kiai" while the rest of us are often quiet and only utter, occasionally, "Ai, Sensei!".

Mona
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Old 11-30-2001, 06:46 PM   #27
shihonage
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mona
Hi,

Slapping the dojo mat sure reduces the impact, but it can break your arm in real life, on the pavement...So I'm trying not to get used to slapping the mat.

As for the other sounds..."kiai, yep! yip! and ooooooz!", they're all uttered by those who study other martial arts but insist on training in Aikido as well. Frankly, I find it irritating and sometimes disrespectful when the karate group in class say: "ouuz! and "kiai" while the rest of us are often quiet and only utter, occasionally, "Ai, Sensei!".

Mona
About first paragraph:
I think a good Aikido practitioner should be able choose depending on a situation whether it's in his best interest to "slap" the asphalt or to try and deal with it by other means.

For example there's a well-known story about a guy who got pushed off a 5th story balcony, and the doctors attributed his survival solely to the instinctive breakfall.
He broke his wrist and a leg (or something like that) and was in a coma for 2 months, but he came out of it fine.
Guess what would've happened if he decided not to sacrifice his repairable body parts for the unrepairable ones.

About second paragraph:
Many people in our dojo do a kiai, and I sincerely doubt that all of them are studying Karate. I certainly don't study Karate but I find it necessary sometimes to "oooz" or "haaaii" simply to release fear of the impending energetic throw. Especially if I don't know what it's gonna be.
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Old 11-30-2001, 10:02 PM   #28
Abasan
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I agree with Mona that slapping the 'real' floor around the world can be painful and even injurious, having done it a few times myself.

But then again, as shihonage so rightly says, sacrificing your repairable body parts for the not so repairable parts would be of greater importance.

We are all training under simulated and controlled conditions in the dojo. If you feel that that is the extent you wish to go in your quest for budo, by all means, do not slap the mat because in all likelihood, the mat would be good enough on its own to disperse your force without you being the worst for it. However, training also breeds the conditioning of your inbred reflexes. If you should happen to have to perform ukemi in the real world and your reflex is not to slap the floor for a breakfall, you might end up with a broken back, neck or etc.
Besides, our unconditioned natural reflexes would have us throwing our limbs at the floor as we fall. But that purely instinctive move may not be the best way to protect yourself. Ukemi training refines the method of throwing your hands about so that it does not get unneccesarily injured.

As for the kiai. Mayhaps different arts teach kiai for different reasons. In aikido, OSensei sometimes uses kiai as well so there's no reason to discount its use. Personally, I don't kiai because we don't practice it much here. It would probably be embarassing if I were to start kiai-ing one day when my Sensei has not decided to include it in his curiculum. Although, were I to train in another dojo that does teach kiai in its practice, I would definitely practice it with fervour. As they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.

As for kiai being disrespectful. I believe when we practice something sincerely and honestly, it cannot be disrespectful unless it goes against the wishes of the sensei. In this case, I would presume your sensei does not find your fellow member's kiai's to be disrespectful since he has not told them to stop. Perhaps, the best person to ask about what we discuss here in the forum would be the person you are asking to teach you the art. Otherwise, why learn from him/her in the first place?

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 11-30-2001, 11:00 PM   #29
jimvance
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Who is going to throw you in a kotegaeshi or a koshinage out on the pavement? And why are all "real world" applications happening in parking lots? Why couldn't they happen in a grassy park or a carpeted apartment building? The remarks above beg the question that you will need to "slap" at all. If you slip and fall down (which will probably account for 90 percent of all "real world" ukemi), the most important part of "slapping" is allowing your arms and hands to relax and come up as the body starts down. This way the automatic response of reaching back or down doesn't occur (caught myself doing it just last month), which could not only save your wrist and elbow (more vulnerable than the actual bones in the arm) but also the collarbone, which is the only real vulnerable bone to breakage in a fall where someone would be reaching for the ground. The arm is not as "at risk" from proper ukemi in a non-mat experience as alluded to because the muscles and fascia are taking the shock, not the bones. Keeping the hands up and away from catching our fall and tucking the head would be much more important in a "real world" application.
In the dojo we are not just falling down, there are tremendous forces being added to our own gravity driven descent. If they are not absorbed by an appendage like an arm or a leg, they will be absorbed by other more vital areas. I have been thrown (once earlier this week) where I did not have time to slap the mat, and so my lungs and visceral organs pick up the shock. This typically causes feelings of "getting the wind knocked out of me" and nausea from over-stimulation of the solar plexus. Repeated falling in a dojo setting needs a shock absorber just like the wheels of your car. The bigger (and more dynamic) the throw, the harder (and louder) the fall.

And for kiai, Morihei Ueshiba Sensei was known for his fierce kiai, both audible and inaudible. Saito Sensei recounted that anyone a mile from Iwama dojo could hear O-Sensei when he was training there.

Food for thought.

Jim Vance
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Old 12-01-2001, 02:26 AM   #30
Edward
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I guess the answer is very simple. There are 2 kinds of Ukemi. First, there is the soft Aikido roll where you hit the ground (or mat)almost noiselessly. It's useless to slap in this case.
The second is judo style Ukemi, or breakfall, like when you are thrown by Koshi Nage for example. It is very wise then to slap as hard as you can to dissipate the shock from your spine, whether on the mat or on asphalt.

As for the Kiai, it is a part of Aikido, and osensei used to teach several kiai sounds depending on whether you attack, receive, or throw, all based on the kotodama system.
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Old 12-01-2001, 03:44 AM   #31
Thalib
 
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Slapping.

From my experience, the point is not slapping, but controlling the fall.

I slap because I still have little control of my fall. But I know when I have control, it is when all I need to do is place my hand, not slap it. That's where the silent and the non-silent ukemi comes from.

I started practicing Aikido, not on mat, but on carpeted floors. We spent the first year, without any mats to practice on. We do demonstrations, yes, outdoor, on a parking lot.

At first we did put mats on the parking lot that we were demonstrating on. But then, the sun was just so hot, the mats were hot enough to fry eggs on (an aikidoka burnt her foot from the mats). We put away the mattress, and just did it without. The solid ground was better than the mats.

All these experiences taught me how to do a proper ukemi, silen or not. Ukemi is needed to be safe, practicing it on solid ground in the past teaches me this. I have accidentally fallen, and the ukemi saved me without leaving any pain, so far. Even though my friends that saw it got quite a scare, it didn't hurt me at all.

Just remember, ukemi needs to be safe. There are no sacrifices involved in ukemi. Ukemi is designed so you don't have to scarifice any body parts.
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Old 12-01-2001, 04:02 AM   #32
Thalib
 
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Kiai.

Aiki is the spirit of harmony. Kiai is harmonizing Ki.

You don't need to shout or make noise to reach Kiai. People really mix up Kiai for shouting or making noise, which is a very shallow way to look at it.

Kiai is, this is also a shallow way to put it, calling in all your Ki that is broken apart in order for it to be one. Harmonizing it so it could be a source for your strength.

I use kiai in ukemi not by shouting or make noise, but concentrate on one point. To concentrate on that one point (seika no itten or seika tanden), to concentrate on the hara. To do this, I breathe out, and feel the flow to the hara. Sometimes the side effect of this, for me, is a low gutteral sound.

From a physiological point of view, have you ever tried falling down with a lungful of air? It is very dangerous. Breathing out is quite adequate, but I use kiai so I still have energy after the breakfall.

Just take it in consideration.
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Old 12-01-2001, 04:47 AM   #33
shihonage
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Re: Slapping.

Quote:
Originally posted by Thalib
We do demonstrations, yes, outdoor, on a parking lot.
I always take into consideration on how my ukemi would work on asphalt and hard floors.

My rolls are a bit different on a hard surface. In particular I try to avoid damage to the kidney(s).
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Old 12-01-2001, 05:15 AM   #34
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Avoiding damage.

Sundeyev-san, try to avoid damage, not only to the kidneys, but to every part of your body.

Remember, no unnecessary sacrifices. It is no longer the sengoku jidai (war era). There is no need for that.

It is sometimes unfortunate that a part of the body gets injured. But it is best, when none of the body parts get injured.

It is not important how the ukemi is done as long as it is safe, saves you from bodily harm in anyway possible.
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Old 12-02-2001, 07:39 PM   #35
Mares
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Re: Kiai.

We have always been taught to kiai. Especially during udansha class. I believe it helps you to breathe, because to produce sound you must breathe out. And I understand to improve technique you breathe out as you perform it. I guess it is similar to tennis players, many breathe out heavily or grunt as they hit the ball to help produce more power.

Also as an added bonus if you kiai from your hara or belly you can make quite a frigthening sound which can scare the 'begeezous' out of the attacker.
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Old 12-02-2001, 08:56 PM   #36
Greg Jennings
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mona

As for the other sounds..."kiai, yep! yip! and ooooooz!", they're all uttered by those who study other martial arts but insist on training in Aikido as well. Frankly, I find it irritating and sometimes disrespectful when the karate group in class say: "ouuz! and "kiai" while the rest of us are often quiet and only utter, occasionally, "Ai, Sensei!".
I can agree with the second part of your post. The general rule of thumb is "When in Rome, do as the Romans do".

The first part of your post indicates that you need to get out more.

Regards,

Greg Jennings

Greg Jennings
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Old 12-03-2001, 03:03 PM   #37
Mona
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Quote:
Originally posted by Greg Jennings


The first part of your post indicates that you need to get out more.
Where to exactly?

~ Mona
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Old 12-03-2001, 03:37 PM   #38
PeterR
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mona
As for the other sounds..."kiai, yep! yip! and ooooooz!", they're all uttered by those who study other martial arts but insist on training in Aikido as well. Frankly, I find it irritating and sometimes disrespectful when the karate group in class say: "ouuz! and "kiai" while the rest of us are often quiet and only utter, occasionally, "Ai, Sensei!".
Of course lets not forget that in many Aikido dojos a loud Hai sensei, or Ous, or Kiai is an expected part of training. I've taken a bullocking from my Shihan for not uttering a phrase loud enough.

As for the slap - the main purpose is to dissipate energy. If your body is being slammed into the mat/ground/vat of jello then a proper slap is called for. If it is just in passing during a role the only reason for the slap is that its good reactionary training to the full body slam situation.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-04-2001, 06:28 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally posted by Edward
IThe second is judo style Ukemi, or breakfall, like when you are thrown by Koshi Nage for example. It is very wise then to slap as hard as you can to dissipate the shock from your spine, whether on the mat or on asphalt.
The loud slap is not necessary in all versions of a breakfall/highfall.

There are versions of the breakfall/highfall which does not require any slapping but are very soft. These soft breakfalls sometimes look as though the person is reaching "behind" them as they fall with their leading hand (which would have been used to slap in a traditional breakfall) to "cushion" their fall.

I'm not that great at it, but I can do it to some degree. I've seen people use this kind of soft breakfalls out of pretty much every conceivable situation -- including from techniques like kotegaeshi, iriminage (which would result in a soft back breakfall), and koshinage...

-- Jun

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Old 12-04-2001, 09:14 PM   #40
Edward
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Hello Jun,

I admit to have seen on some occasions people able to do that, and I was always full of admiration for them. But most people can't do it, even advanced black belts. I myself would be grateful for life to anyone who could teach me this soft highfall.

Best regards,
Edward
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Old 12-04-2001, 09:18 PM   #41
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PS: These very people I am talking about forgot completely about their soft landing when Shihan threw them with lightning speed, so I guess it depends on Nage's goodwill as well.

Regards,
Edward
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Old 12-05-2001, 02:36 AM   #42
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There should not be a slap out. The arm/hand etc. should all hit the mat at the same time. Most experienced people make 2 sounds when they fall, the body and then the hand. They are so close together in timing though, that most of us don't notice it. A perfect fall would not hurt your hand on pavement. One sound. Something to strive for...

Quote:
Originally posted by Edward
PS: These very people I am talking about forgot completely about their soft landing when Shihan threw them with lightning speed, so I guess it depends on Nage's goodwill as well.

Regards,
Edward
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Old 12-05-2001, 09:07 AM   #43
Steve
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mona
Hi,

Slapping the dojo mat sure reduces the impact, but it can break your arm in real life, on the pavement...So I'm trying not to get used to slapping the mat.

SNIP

Mona
Damn right. I've concluded that slapping the mat, while in theory a good idea, simply isn't as effective as we want to believe.

Physics tells us that for every physical action there is an opposite and equal reaction. Swing your arm in one direction and your body will twist in the opposite direction. (This is best illustrated in a weightless environment but can be demonstrated by swinging a baseball bat while standing on one foot.) The theory behind slapping the mat is that by swinging your arm downward, you will (and do) negate some of the downward movement of your body. Swing your arm hard enough and you should be able to suspend your body above the mat for a moment. This would nullify the energy that nage gives your body during the throw and you will fall to the mat with only the energy that Earth's gravity applies to your mass. Unfortunately, the mass of your arm is so small compared to the rest of your body that you would have to swing your arm very, VERY fast to remove a significant amount of energy from what nage and gravity give to your body. If you could move your arm this fast then you would surely injure it seriously on impact.

Perhaps, though, slapping the mat helps stabilze your body by controling the angle at which your leg-hip-side-shoulder all roll across the ground. This probably has real value.

Steve Hoffman
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That's going to leave a mark.
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Old 12-05-2001, 09:18 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally posted by unsound000
Most experienced people make 2 sounds when they fall, the body and then the hand.
Jon I am sure you just slipped up but the whole point of the slap is to dissipate energy and thereby save the body from the full impact. Seems a bit silly to slap the hand after the body has landed.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-05-2001, 09:57 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally posted by Edward
I admit to have seen on some occasions people able to do that, and I was always full of admiration for them. But most people can't do it, even advanced black belts. I myself would be grateful for life to anyone who could teach me this soft highfall.
It's something that usually has to be cultivated from the beginning of people's training, but I've been taught it well into my training. I've also been able to teach it to some folks too.
Quote:
Originally posted by Edward
PS: These very people I am talking about forgot completely about their soft landing when Shihan threw them with lightning speed, so I guess it depends on Nage's goodwill as well.
Anyone here a student of Mitsunari Kanai sensei? I know some people at his dojo do this fall.

Any how, even if being able to take a soft breakfall is effective only 50% of the time, that's still 50% less impactive breakfall one has to take.
Quote:
Originally posted by Mona
Slapping the dojo mat sure reduces the impact, but it can break your arm in real life, on the pavement...So I'm trying not to get used to slapping the mat.
I've actually taken self-propelled breakfalls onto hardwood floors -- it stung like crazy, but my arm was fine. Sure, it's not a concrete surface and, sure, it's not a "real" throw, but it let me know that it's not too horrible. Besides, if I were to get thrown onto concrete, I'd rather impact with my arm and break it if it's necessary to protect my "vital" organs...

Quote:
Originally posted by Edward
The theory behind slapping the mat is that by swinging your arm downward, you will (and do) negate some of the downward movement of your body
Actually, I personally think the theory behind a slapping breakfall is not to counteract the fall while in the air but to dissipate the energy of the fall by taking the impact in one's arm. I think it's more like having a "smart" bumper on your car that springs out a fraction of a second before impact into a wall. This way, the bumper (or arm) takes the impact and not the body.

I can do the same thing for a forward roll to help diminish the forward momentum through a slap if necessary.

Anyone else have thoughts on this subject?

-- Jun

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Old 12-05-2001, 11:17 AM   #46
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Question



i think of slapping as blending with the ground. this is a bit confusing but if you think of uke in the air as stationary and the ground as rushing in , the slap is what matches speeds between uke and the earth.. what I've notices is that when the slap is timed right (and this is not something I can consciously summon, it just happens) it feels like turnign into a charging wall and then rolling off the charge.

this sort of image comes to my mind when I've had a nice fall of sorts. I'm not sure if it's useful but it does help take the fear out of breakfalls for me .
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Old 12-05-2001, 06:00 PM   #47
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My opinion only.

Using the arm protects the body. No question.

However... outside, in 'real life' on hard surfaces, it is better to share the impact between the whole arm, fore and upper, and a part of the body, thigh preferably. Especially with harder falls.

Or, heresy, try to land face down and share the force between both fore-arms/hands.

And remember...for all landings, relax

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Old 12-06-2001, 01:41 AM   #48
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Ever seen a Kung Fu exponent take a breakfall? They land flat on their backs (leg, body and all - all at once). Sometimes they use both their hands to preceed the fall, but its almost in sync.

Of course by presenting the mat with our whole body I suppose the force is dispersed over a bigger area, thus less impulse force and all that physic mumbo jumbo. The slap does help with the dispersion of some force. If you don't believe me, try a similar fall without preceeding with the slap.

As for the soft falls, sometimes I do it too, by accident of course. It happens when the arm is relaxed but extended and the angle of the fall is just nice that the arm sort of rolls on the floor instead of slapping directly on it. Of course if you get this wrong and your arm comes at a perpendicular angle, you're likely to break your arm. Unlike with a normal slap, which on hard floors, you'll mostly get bruises and internal bleeding. Since its not the organs but just the capilaries, these internal bleeding are nothing to worry about. Just hurts a bit.

And oh.. about that one foot swinging the baseball bat thing... I'm pretty sure I've read about this famous japanese baseball player who was once called the 'babe ruth' of Japan who uses that technique. His name starts with an S or something and his coach was a student of OSensei... or rather he attended OSensei's classes. It was quite effective apparently and even though he swung the bat, his balance was impeccable.

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Old 12-06-2001, 03:05 AM   #49
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PeterR:
Quote:
Jon I am sure you just slipped up but the whole point of the slap is to dissipate energy and thereby save the body from the full impact. Seems a bit silly to slap the hand after the body has landed.
I've seen a few higher ranks (don't remember who) slap one hand first (at landing) and the other after, in line with a movement of the body.My idea of this was 'conveying force' - the slap after the fall, IMO, provides an outlet for the kinetic energy left, making further movement or forceful suspendment in place unnecessary.

Then again, I may be as far away from the Truth as one can be/

Toms
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Old 12-06-2001, 04:54 AM   #50
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Besides, if I were to get thrown onto concrete, I'd rather impact with my arm and break it if it's necessary to protect my "vital" organs...


Actually, I personally think the theory behind a slapping breakfall is not to counteract the fall while in the air but to dissipate the energy of the fall by taking the impact in one's arm. I think it's more like having a "smart" bumper on your car that springs out a fraction of a second before impact into a wall. This way, the bumper (or arm) takes the impact and not the body.

I can do the same thing for a forward roll to help diminish the forward momentum through a slap if necessary.


Anyone else have thoughts on this subject?

-- Jun [/b][/quote]

Basically, I am saying what Steve and Mona are saying. The slap hitting first is going to damage you on a real surface. Really, it is just another way that we reach for the mat because we're afraid. You want your whole body to be like a wet noodle. If you reach/slap early then you are putting out a little stick to the ground and its going to break. You want your whole body to absorb the whole fall evenly and dissipate that energy.
Your vital organs are protected when you arch. This protects your kidneys.
If you dropped your car from a great height, then would you want the car to land on all 4 wheels at the same time or just one wheel and then the rest of the car? The second way your car is going to bounce, break a wheel, and angle off. Slapping is fine but it comes at the same time as the rest of the body. Don't reach for the mat.
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