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Old 09-23-2010, 06:08 PM   #1
MM
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Ueshiba's Power Grip

Interesting info about Ueshiba. All three parts are taken from Black Belt articles. Some parts directly quoted, some parts not. Where did this power come from?

Mark

One man who worked with Uyeshiba when the master traveled to Hawaii in 1961 to introduce aikido there, was held by him. "He grabbed my arm and instantly it was like being in a steel vise. Just his hold on my wrist bruised me badly, and I'm sure with a little pressure, the bones would've been broken. O-Sensei didn't need technique."

and

Mochizuki remembers Uyeshiba for, among other things, his superhuman grip. "When Uyeshiba grabbed your wrist," he said, "it was already bruised. His hand was like a vise." Mochizuki trained hard to crush things with his hands, but he never developed a grip like Uyeshiba's. "Uyeshiba," he said, "could break the wrist just by grasping it."

and

Auge says that Mochizuki said Uyeshiba was famous for his vice-like grip, and that everyone knew that if he got you in that grip, you were done for. So, everyone would throw themselves out of fear before being grabbed by Uyeshiba.
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Old 09-24-2010, 10:50 AM   #2
cconstantine
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

I have no direct knowledge of O'Sensei's grip. But I can certainly vouch for being the recipient of "crushing" grips that were not based solely on raw muscle power, and for very muscular-strong grips that had little control, and no "crushing" affect.

It seems patently obvious that it also matters how one grips. The exact nuances of placement, orientation, position are aspects of a grip which one does automatically after much practice. I believe O'Sensei had great physical strength, and combined with exceptional placement, extension during the grip, connection, etc a "simple" (simple in the eyes of someone not familiar) grip would certainly be "crushing" to the recipient.
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Old 09-24-2010, 11:26 AM   #3
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

Under normal circumstances, I would think things like you mention would be the case. But, we have statements like this, "Mochizuki trained hard to crush things with his hands, but he never developed a grip like Uyeshiba's."

Let me take a step back. This is the Mochizuki who studied directly under Funakoshi, Mifune, Kano, and Ueshiba. This is the Mochizuki who studied Katori Shinto ryu. I don't know who his kendo teachers were.

Here's his rank:
http://www.yoseikanbudo.com/eng/minorumochizuki.shtml

10th dan, Meijin Aikido, IMAF
9th dan, jujutsu
8th dan, Iaijutsu
8th dan, Judo
5th dan, Kendo
5th dan, Karate

So, I go back to what is written and find that Mochizuki couldn't replicate Ueshiba's power in his grip even though 1) he experienced it directly and 2) he actively tried.

With that in mind, I think there must be something else in Ueshiba's grip. So, respectfully, I'm disagreeing with your position. If it was a matter of placement, position, etc, then I think a man like Mochizuki would have figured it out. Yet he didn't and he had more experience than most, inside or outside Japan.

If not placement, position, physical strength, then what?

Last edited by MM : 09-24-2010 at 11:35 AM. Reason: karate teacher
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Old 09-24-2010, 11:42 AM   #4
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Under normal circumstances, I would think things like you mention would be the case. But, we have statements like this, "Mochizuki trained hard to crush things with his hands, but he never developed a grip like Uyeshiba's."

Let me take a step back. This is the Mochizuki who studied directly under Mifune, Kano, and Ueshiba. This is the Mochizuki who studied Katori Shinto ryu. I don't know who his kendo or karate teachers were. Here's his rank:
http://www.yoseikanbudo.com/eng/minorumochizuki.shtml

10th dan, Meijin Aikido, IMAF
9th dan, jujutsu
8th dan, Iaijutsu
8th dan, Judo
5th dan, Kendo
5th dan, Karate

So, I go back to what is written and find that Mochizuki couldn't replicate Ueshiba's power in his grip even though 1) he experienced it directly and 2) he actively tried.

With that in mind, I think there must be something else in Ueshiba's grip. So, respectfully, I'm disagreeing with your position. If it was a matter of placement, position, etc, then I think a man like Mochizuki would have figured it out. Yet he didn't and he had more experience than most, inside or outside Japan.

If not placement, position, physical strength, then what?
If I grab someone by the wrist and then proceed to stand on one hand, essentially putting all my weight into that grab, they might say I have a 'crushing grip". If I do the same thing while standing normally, but I can still bring all of my weight (and then some) to bear at that point of contact, there's nothing else they could say to explain it other than "he has a crushing grip".

Then again, maybe he just had freakishly strong hands?
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Old 09-24-2010, 11:48 AM   #5
cconstantine
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

I can't speak critically of Mochizuki -- I'd never heard of him before your post so I've nothing of value to say about him. (I mean "critically" in the sense of my being able to apply skillful judgment as to truth, or merit.)

My reply pointed out the physical and mechanical aspects of grip, and then went on to say, "... combined with exceptional placement, extension during the grip, connection, etc ...". There's a lot of room in that statement for more just the magnitude of the strength of one's grip.

I'm interested in knowing if you're "digging" for the source of O'Sensei ability, or the cause of Mochizuki lack of the ability. Also, it's not clear to me that Mochizuki lacked the ability; I carefully reread what you posted, and it's not clear to me that Mochizuki was lacking the same grip. O'Sensei had it, Mochizuki worked towards it, but are you sure Mochizuki came up short?
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Old 09-24-2010, 04:03 PM   #6
Jim Sorrentino
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

Hello Mark,
Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
So, I go back to what is written and find that Mochizuki couldn't replicate Ueshiba's power in his grip even though 1) he experienced it directly and 2) he actively tried.

With that in mind, I think there must be something else in Ueshiba's grip. So, respectfully, I'm disagreeing with your position. If it was a matter of placement, position, etc, then I think a man like Mochizuki would have figured it out. Yet he didn't and he had more experience than most, inside or outside Japan.

If not placement, position, physical strength, then what?
You appear to have something in mind. How about if you share your opinion with us, along with some reasoning to back it up.

For what it's worth, I heard that the late Kanei Uechi-sensei (of Uechi-ryu karatedo fame) was once ambushed by a thug with a short, makeshift spear. According to the story, Uechi-sensei disarmed the attacker, seized him by the wrists, and shook him, breaking both of the thug's forearms. Uechi-sensei attributed this result to his constant training in the sanchin kata., rather than any organized grip-strength practice.

I look forward to your reply.

Jim

Not having anything around to read is dangerous: you have to content yourself with life itself, and that can lead you to take risks. - M. Houellebecq, Platform
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Old 09-24-2010, 09:17 PM   #7
Andrew Macdonald
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

Many many arts have famous people with incredilbe grips strength.

For me it is only of the holy grails of training. that sort of thing would be so helpful in many ways.

there are some qi gong practices and the chinese internal arts create gret grip strength. might be worht looking into
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Old 09-25-2010, 01:37 AM   #8
Michael Hackett
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

I have an uncle who just turned 80 last month. He spent 30 years as a cop, and for many of those years worked off-duty as a gravedigger, both to earn extra money (California cops weren't paid as well in those days) and to stay in good physical condition. They dug the graves with pick and shovel instead of backhoes or other modern equipment. Harry had a grip that was intensely powerful and was able to burst the seams of a beer can BEFORE beer was in aluminum cans. There are simply some people who have incredible grip strength naturally and others who develop it through their work or activities. I don't doubt O Sensei's reported grip strength and I'm not surprised that a man who farmed for much of his life and wielded swords and bokken most of his life would develop an extremely powerful grip. The IS folks may burn me to the ground, but it seems like a natural kind of adaptation to me.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 09-25-2010, 06:04 AM   #9
DanTesic
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

I am (also) not surprised to hear of the power grip of a man with a lifetime of top-class, outstanding, Budo experience plus a dedicated farmer.

Last edited by DanTesic : 09-25-2010 at 06:06 AM. Reason: Noticed the post above saying pretty much the same thing. :)
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Old 09-25-2010, 10:49 AM   #10
Rob Watson
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

Quote:
Michael Hackett wrote: View Post
I have an uncle who just turned 80 last month. He spent 30 years as a cop, and for many of those years worked off-duty as a gravedigger, both to earn extra money (California cops weren't paid as well in those days) and to stay in good physical condition. They dug the graves with pick and shovel instead of backhoes or other modern equipment. Harry had a grip that was intensely powerful and was able to burst the seams of a beer can BEFORE beer was in aluminum cans. There are simply some people who have incredible grip strength naturally and others who develop it through their work or activities. I don't doubt O Sensei's reported grip strength and I'm not surprised that a man who farmed for much of his life and wielded swords and bokken most of his life would develop an extremely powerful grip. The IS folks may burn me to the ground, but it seems like a natural kind of adaptation to me.
Never discount 'farmer' strength. My grandpa used to string barbed wire fences, miles of the stuff, using only a single pair of combo pliers/wire cutters. All day every day both hands for weeks at a time year in year out. Nobody would shake hands with him. The only person I know that even came close was my grandma who would macrame all day for years and she would put a pinch on a wayward youth that would literally drop them in their tracks.

Grueling, backbreaking, hardcore physical labor 12-14 hours a day for years on end ... pretty unusual to find these days. Wonder why the youth so readily flocked to the big city?

Even if IS is a different kind of strength imagine adding that on top of the hardened muscular foundation of a 'farmer' ... scary.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 09-25-2010, 03:26 PM   #11
Chris Covington
 
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

I've felt a lot of weak grips before. A guy I train with lifts all the time (might be on roids... huge arms and chest), but he uses the straps on his wrists. Grips like a girl (actually my girlfriend has a better grip).

One of the strongest grips I've ever felt was from a contractor friend of my father's when I was in my teens. His grip was so powerful it could drop you. He said he had to be careful because he had bruised people's hands when shaking hands before. I don't doubt it. It is amazing what guys who do some hard manual labor get from the work they do. Add hours clearing fields in Hokkaido to hours of budo practice and I think you're in for one hell of a grip.

For those of us who can't do hours of farm work this could help: http://www.grapplearts.com/Grip-Strength-Training.htm

Add some aikido training and a lot of sword swinging (with a nice fat tsuka) and I'm sure you'll make progress. Will it make you like Ueshiba? Maybe not but it I'm sure it'll help many get beyond where they are now.

Best regards,

Chris Covington
Daito-ryu aikijujutsu
Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryu kenjutsu
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Old 09-25-2010, 06:37 PM   #12
dps
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

When I was a teenager I worked for a neighboring dairy farmer who was in his sixties. He worked all his life on the dairy farm including milking cows by hand two times a day 7 days a week.

Talk about a grip.

David
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Old 09-25-2010, 09:25 PM   #13
AllanF
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Under normal circumstances, I would think things like you mention would be the case. But, we have statements like this, "Mochizuki trained hard to crush things with his hands, but he never developed a grip like Uyeshiba's."

Let me take a step back. This is the Mochizuki who studied directly under Funakoshi, Mifune, Kano, and Ueshiba. This is the Mochizuki who studied Katori Shinto ryu. I don't know who his kendo teachers were.

Here's his rank:
http://www.yoseikanbudo.com/eng/minorumochizuki.shtml

10th dan, Meijin Aikido, IMAF
9th dan, jujutsu
8th dan, Iaijutsu
8th dan, Judo
5th dan, Kendo
5th dan, Karate

So, I go back to what is written and find that Mochizuki couldn't replicate Ueshiba's power in his grip even though 1) he experienced it directly and 2) he actively tried.

With that in mind, I think there must be something else in Ueshiba's grip. So, respectfully, I'm disagreeing with your position. If it was a matter of placement, position, etc, then I think a man like Mochizuki would have figured it out. Yet he didn't and he had more experience than most, inside or outside Japan.

If not placement, position, physical strength, then what?
This is very interesting, and i would agree with your position that there is something more that is beyond physical strength or nuance of contact. As to what...maybe in another 40 years i'll be able to take a stab at it but for now it remains elusive!
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Old 09-26-2010, 01:07 PM   #14
crbateman
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

Strength is well and good, but much more effective when coupled with insight, experience and intuition. My grandfather was a dairyman his whole life, and could crush rocks with the grip he developed, but it was of little use, because he could not anticipate where and when the rock would be...
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Old 09-26-2010, 02:22 PM   #15
Ernesto Lemke
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

Hi Mark,

Something I stumbled on today while reading "A Life in Aikido", page 52, about Ueshiba's father Yoroku:
"It is said that using just his little fingers, he could lift a pole with a bale of rice tied to each end, each one weighing about a hundred thirty-two pounds." Not saying this explains anything except that maybe this 'could' hint towards some beneficial genetics.

Anyway, I wonder whether similar accounts are known of Sagawa, Kodo or even Takeda in regards to also having possesed the kind of gripping power Ueshiba is said to have had.
Cheers

Ernesto
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Old 09-26-2010, 09:34 PM   #16
Lan Powers
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

Renowned for breaking the rice-mallets when the contests would happen...
.a man of great physical power, and a consummate martial-artist as well.
Farmer-strength.
Hard labor in hokaido (indeed most of his life)
Just glad he never got a grip on ME!

But what it would have been like to experience the days of Ueshiba Juku...

Kato Sensei has a grip of steel. In November when he is in Texas, I plan to ask about OSensei's grip.
Back with more details as available....

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 10-01-2010, 08:06 AM   #17
Michael Neal
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

I am wondering how many Aikidoka would react to being gripped like that causing bruising during training in class. He would probably be asked to stop hurting people.
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Old 10-01-2010, 11:39 AM   #18
tarik
 
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

Quote:
Michael Neal wrote: View Post
I am wondering how many Aikidoka would react to being gripped like that causing bruising during training in class. He would probably be asked to stop hurting people.
I'd throw him on his ass and then ask him to stop hurting people.. and have done.

Best,

Tarik Ghbeish
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Old 10-01-2010, 12:51 PM   #19
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Under normal circumstances, I would think things like you mention would be the case. But, we have statements like this, "Mochizuki trained hard to crush things with his hands, but he never developed a grip like Uyeshiba's."

Let me take a step back. This is the Mochizuki who studied directly under Funakoshi, Mifune, Kano, and Ueshiba. This is the Mochizuki who studied Katori Shinto ryu. I don't know who his kendo teachers were.

Here's his rank:
http://www.yoseikanbudo.com/eng/minorumochizuki.shtml

10th dan, Meijin Aikido, IMAF
9th dan, jujutsu
8th dan, Iaijutsu
8th dan, Judo
5th dan, Kendo
5th dan, Karate

So, I go back to what is written and find that Mochizuki couldn't replicate Ueshiba's power in his grip even though 1) he experienced it directly and 2) he actively tried.

With that in mind, I think there must be something else in Ueshiba's grip. So, respectfully, I'm disagreeing with your position. If it was a matter of placement, position, etc, then I think a man like Mochizuki would have figured it out. Yet he didn't and he had more experience than most, inside or outside Japan.

If not placement, position, physical strength, then what?
This leads me to believe that you believe that any physical ability can be developed if you only try hard enough? Meaning that I could, if I try hard enough become an top professional body builder?

(Tip, I wanted to build muscle when I was in high school, even with coaching, massive amounts of calories, and good workout routines I didn't gain anywhere near the size those guys with the right genetic makeup did.)

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 10-01-2010, 01:44 PM   #20
Michael Neal
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

Quote:
Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
I'd throw him on his ass and then ask him to stop hurting people.. and have done.

Best,
Maybe yea, or maybe he'd throw you on yours if he was that strong. But you have made my point, Ueshiba's strength and formidable grip were part of his legendary characteristics, and they are discouraged in most modern Aikido practice.
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Old 10-01-2010, 02:22 PM   #21
Keith Larman
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

Um, leaving aside much of the discussion, grip is of interest to me since I polish swords all day long. I hold the blade in my bare hands and the grip is important. We learn to curl your fingers inward towards the base of the thumb. The blade is "pinched" between those last three fingers and the base. Then your thumb comes over but the thumb tip itself isn't involved in this particular grip. You're using a rather large muscle that connects the thumb to the hand vs. the fingers curling in.

Ironically enough I saw an example of this grip (using a ball exercise) illustrated in an old book about "grip".

http://www.sandowplus.co.uk/Competit...ip/grip-01.htm

It's a few sections in before they get to that particular exercise.

FWIW I can actually flex that muscle attaching the base of the thumb to the hand. Since I've been polishing full time for years I can actually flex these muscles and create these freakishly weird looking bulges in my hands. I also have to be careful in the dojo if I've been polishing a lot. The hands get tired and I kind of lose the ability to gauge exactly how hard I'm grabbing. I've grabbed people only to have them say "grab harder". Okay, I do. One time the guy went to his knees before I realized he wasn't joking around. Left a nasty about 1.5 inch long bruise on his arm.

There's another grip in polishing that is used to do fingerstone work. You have to be intensely focused and very careful as you sometimes (not very often though) need to put a lot of pressure on the stone. But with a lot of pressure and if you slip you can really get a nasty cut. One of my worst was doign exactly that -- I cut into the soft bone -- a little more and I could have removed the thumb. Anyway, that grip strengthens the thumb itself. Think of making an "O" between your thumb and middle finger. Pressing them into each other very hard (with a blade between them) and then running up and down a small area of sword for hours on end. Normally the middle finger gets tired so you shift occasionally to pressing between the thumbtip and the side of your index finger near the tip. Back of the blade is running across the inside of your hand to control placement. Again, hours of this.

The upshot is that you can develop intensely strong hands. I also have people complain that I have "Popeye" forearms. It is hard for people to grab my wrists or forearm and all that polishing builds all those muscles as well.

Anyway, only point is that some activities can develop a very strong grip. But you have to develop the grip specifically.

The linked book above actually has some pretty good exercises. I use a tennis ball myself and a large ball of wax when my hands are a bit sore. Or between polishing sessions to keep things feeling good and mix up the stresses so I can avoid repetitive motion problems.

Just fwiw.

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Old 10-01-2010, 02:24 PM   #22
Keith Larman
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

Oh, to add another thing. A friend of mine who lifts weights and is by virtually all measures in much better shape than me can't keep up with me when it comes to swinging a subarito. Some folk find their hands getting tired fairly quickly. Me, nah, it's like a vacation...

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Old 10-01-2010, 02:28 PM   #23
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

Since my camera was sitting right here...
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Old 10-01-2010, 03:38 PM   #24
dps
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

Here is a low tech exercise for grip strength and finger flexibility using the newspaper after you read it in the evening while watching television. ( Is that old school or what? )

You are out of luck if you get your news and entertainment from the internet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQkAS...next=1&index=6.

David

Last edited by dps : 10-01-2010 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 10-01-2010, 05:48 PM   #25
Michael Hackett
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Re: Ueshiba's Power Grip

You're right David. It didn't work very well with my laptop.

Michael
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