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Old 06-19-2008, 01:04 PM   #1
rob_liberti
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Hand Forms

Some folks swear by hand forms.
Others say they are a foolish distraction.
I think there are level of understanding at play.

What hand forms do you all use say for shomenuchi kotegaeshi? I'm interested in other techniques as well, and how you decide. (if you use them at all)

Rob
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Old 06-19-2008, 02:11 PM   #2
Adman
 
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Re: Hand Forms

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
What hand forms do you all use say for shomenuchi kotegaeshi?
Hi Rob,

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "hand forms".

Thanks,
Adam
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Old 06-19-2008, 02:41 PM   #3
rob_liberti
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Re: Hand Forms

like wrist up, fingers down - like hand shake or thrusting a sword

or wrist down, fingers up

or palm up

or palm down

They are ways of expressing ki/intention to your partner.

Rob
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Old 06-19-2008, 02:59 PM   #4
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Hand Forms

I used to think they were very important.

Now I understand that without structure already built into your body, they don't mean a lot. Probably the same for the mental intent that goes along with the structure.

This is not to say that the hand shapes are useless, or they don't work at all without these other things. I have found that some work very well, even though my structure sucks. But they get much more consistent and more powerfull if you understand and have structure behind them. In my opinion. Yada yada yada...

Best,
Ron

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Old 06-19-2008, 03:29 PM   #5
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Re: Hand Forms

To my own surprise, I have found that I pay more and more attention to hand form - and more than that, the movement of the hands in the techniques. One could say that I use the hands to show the way, when I do the techniques.
My hands delight in turning, spiraling, and so on, and the techniques become softer, stronger, and swifter.

I constantly tell my students to pay attention to how the hands move, and between what forms they change. I didn't do that in the past.

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 06-19-2008, 03:45 PM   #6
rob_liberti
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Re: Hand Forms

So for the example, what hand forms do you (or did you) use?

Rob
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Old 06-19-2008, 03:46 PM   #7
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Re: Hand Forms

Hmmm ... well, if everything is supposed to come from the hara outward, then the hands are the very last thing to be used. You'd think they were important because they make the connection to uke.

But, if you think of the hara, or dantien, as an old time train station where various tracks come together, then those tracks are the pathways to the hands and feet. Let's leave off the train itself for now. So, you have your hara/dantien and you have a track to each hand, a track to each foot, one to the head, and a short one to the perineum. (As an aside, each track has two rails. One going out and one coming in.)

So, if we send out force/energy/whatever from the hara/dantien, the only thing that really should matter is that the track is complete. The end of the track shouldn't matter because uke can grab hold at any point from dantien to fingertip. Wherever uke grabs hold, a junction occurs and uke's tracks are now joined. Best dantien wins. Doesn't matter where the junction occurs or how the physical "appearance" manifests -- long story short, no, the hand positioning shouldn't matter.

Just musing a bit ... I could be completely off my rocker.

Mark
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Old 06-19-2008, 04:02 PM   #8
rob_liberti
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Re: Hand Forms

Mark, I truly understand your point. I see your explanation working in terms of aiki power transmitted. I'm wondering about it becuase I wonder about "finesse". Maybe hand forms help with that. (Maybe not.) I was just looking to experiment with that myself so I was looking for input.

Rob
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Old 06-19-2008, 04:44 PM   #9
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Re: Hand Forms

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
So, if we send out force/energy/whatever from the hara/dantien, the only thing that really should matter is that the track is complete. The end of the track shouldn't matter because uke can grab hold at any point from dantien to fingertip... long story short, no, the hand positioning shouldn't matter.
I think you're exaggerating a little.

The external shape doesn't matter by itself, but because the human body is formed in certain ways, connecting internally tends to force the body into certain external shapes. Following me? The external shape does not make the internal technique/feeling, but the internal technique/feeling does make the external shape.

So for learning purposes, though we don't need to worry about the shape per se, if we notice that our shape is off, there's a good chance we're doing something wrong internally.

Now, for hand shapes in particular, it seems too broad to discuss in general. I think it would be better to pick a technique and discuss just that.

--Timothy Kleinert

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Old 06-19-2008, 04:45 PM   #10
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Re: Hand Forms

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
Mark, I truly understand your point. I see your explanation working in terms of aiki power transmitted. I'm wondering about it becuase I wonder about "finesse". Maybe hand forms help with that. (Maybe not.) I was just looking to experiment with that myself so I was looking for input.

Rob
If you want finesse, aiki power and hand forms, then you should talk to Howie Popkin. Nice guy although tend to fixated on big fishes.

I attended a couple of his seminars. He would do these hand jives and I found myself no longer in possession of my own body, with the result of me having closeup view of his feet or in some horrible contorted positions. I have started to figure out what he has been doing to me. Him uses some kind of voodoo magic man! I think he got his magic offshore.
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Old 06-19-2008, 06:30 PM   #11
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Re: Hand Forms

kokyu ho hand position
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Old 06-19-2008, 07:23 PM   #12
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Re: Hand Forms

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
So for the example, what hand forms do you (or did you) use?
Well, a lot is tegatana, hand-sword things. I focus on different parts of the "sword", depending on what movement I do: the edge, the back, the side, the tip...
I also let the hand roll a lot on the wrist, while usually the fingers show the direction of my intention (ki, if you like).

Here is sort of a short example:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CM6s6m7353Y

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 06-19-2008, 07:37 PM   #13
John Matsushima
 
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Re: Hand Forms

I prefer the G.I. Joe Kung fu Action grip.

-John Matsushima

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http://onecorneroftheplanetinjapan.blogspot.jp/
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:20 PM   #14
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Re: Hand Forms

Well Geez...Looking back I have practiced several types of hand forms. I am most comfortable with Shoji Nishio's example. Fingers together.. thumb tucked in (hidden)... Ki extended through the forefinger.

Two basic movements both circular...picture "washing the inside of a bowel or cylinder movement and the hour glass movement ( big to small or small to big cylinder)

There are some pretty good illustrations in Sensei Varjan's "Nishio Sensei Aikido Notebook 1." but I won't post them here without Sensei Varjan's permission.

To summarize your hand is basically an extension of your sword.

William Hazen
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:25 PM   #15
rob_liberti
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Re: Hand Forms

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Timothy Walters Kleinert wrote: View Post
Now, for hand shapes in particular, it seems too broad to discuss in general. I think it would be better to pick a technique and discuss just that.
Agreed. Lets discuss shomenuchi kotegaeshi (or any other one would be fine).

If the person attacks with with right arm, I tend to enter and pivot (as if I'm doing iriminage) - keeping vertical main with my spine. Then I would typically use my right hand palm up laying across their forearm giving them a bit of my body weight. My left hand would be between their shoulder and elbow palm on them. That arm would move be bending as I moved closer to them, and then I'd let my body weight start hitting them using that palm as a natural energy release of that movement (same as the hand on their neck for iriminage) except I'd let it slide down their arm a bit to get into kotegaeshi position. Then I roll that hand so more weight is on their arm nearer my thumb than my pinky as I continue to move into shikaku. When I roll back (move body weight neared my pink than thumb) I cut their center with my intention. I don't pay much attention to what my right hand is doing at that point. It's not cranking anything for darn sure. It just barely touches their finger tips usually. But I'm open to suggestions.

Maybe initial palm up should be replaced with wrist up, fingers down. Looking for inspiration..

How do I meet Howei Popkin? Does he do seminars?

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 06-19-2008 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:38 PM   #16
Misogi-no-Gyo
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Re: Hand Forms

Hand forms...

I used to believe that I had a small understanding after being around Abe Sensei for about ten years or so... then he changed everything. At least I saw something completely different, anyway. According to Abe Sensei, form only matters the first ten years or so. Then one must move away from form. I guess at least my timing was in sync with what he was saying. However, another teaching speaks about fingers, and gets very specific as to which fingers do what and when and why. After about ten years playing around with these ideas, and with some substantial assistance from various other sources and I am beginning to see the correlation to an explosive form of kokyu-ho that I have been trying to access for close to twenty years. I think I might have more to say about it in about another ten years or so.

In any case, not that I would be giving anything away by stating the obvious, and that is that each finger is a body unto itself, the fingernail being the face. Each finger has three parts, the legs, the body and the head. Depending on the circumstance particular fingers correspond each with Uke, Nage, the space between Uke and Nage and the unification of Uke and Nage. The palm represents the ground. As one moves instantaneously to a moment or point of unification, the fingers and palm move together as one unit (whole body movement), converging into the hara or exploding away from the hara. This can be either into the ground, directly up and away from the ground or pulsating like AC current between these two relative opposites. I mean, being a relative recluse I don't get out very much, but that's all common knowledge...right?

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Old 06-19-2008, 10:08 PM   #17
rob_liberti
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Re: Hand Forms

Thanks. I don't know about common knowledge. I was trying to see what others had to say about it.

Gleason sensei talks about the palm being earth. He shows hand of fire and hand of water, etc. It is crystal clear when he shows it. I copy him and it all makes sense. 10 minutes after I walk out of class I think - which hand orientation was "fire"? I assume I have a mental block about it. I was hoping a few other perspectives would help me over my mental barrier(s).

Rob
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Old 06-19-2008, 10:22 PM   #18
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Re: Hand Forms

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
Thanks. I don't know about common knowledge. I was trying to see what others had to say about it.

Gleason sensei talks about the palm being earth. He shows hand of fire and hand of water, etc. It is crystal clear when he shows it. I copy him and it all makes sense. 10 minutes after I walk out of class I think - which hand orientation was "fire"? I assume I have a mental block about it. I was hoping a few other perspectives would help me over my mental barrier(s).

Rob
Hi Rob,

Palm = Earth ( I use "ground") - I guess I would tend to agree from my limited understanding. As for hand of fire, water... etc. this corresponds to something I have mentioned before in other threads, that being that there is both a physical and non-physical component inherent in the waza. The hand aspect is only the physical manifestation. There is also an associated visualization (chinkon-kishin-no-gyo), associated mantra (norito-no-gyo), powered by a corresponding elemental kotodama form (kotodama-no-gyo [gokui]) that is also simultaneously applied. n'est-ce pas?

.

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Old 06-19-2008, 10:56 PM   #19
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Hand Forms

Very interesting discussion. Thanks Shaun for sharing the information from your long years with Abe shihan, I think all of this archived will be invaluable to look back on several more years down the road, and give good hints to those who can presently use such information.

Rob, here's my couple of thoughts: Abe shihan walks with very straight posture, shoulder held back and therefore arms twisted outwards at the elbows. The straightness results in the wrists being slightly bent in towards the body and the fingers together, thumb also. When he raises his arm up towards the front, palm up, it looks like the hand is cupping something (it can be more tilted outwards than just straight also), and from there the more power from the tanden can open up the fingers (which one "leading" depending on the situation). Alternatively, the hand can be turned palm-down but the elbow and upper arm do not change positions. These are the two standard ways of "presenting" the hands, with the hand vertically held (palm inwards) being a "natural" stage between these two extremes. Abe shihan strsses very much that the elbows must remain straight, and I have understood in my current training why that is so vitally important as a first step.

To conclude then, and as Shaun has said, there is a different usage for each finger, and as far as I can tell at my level, the positioning of the hand is thus a reflection of how power is being transmitted, rather than a necessary position in order to do the control desired.
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Old 06-19-2008, 11:14 PM   #20
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Re: Hand Forms

awesome stuff
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Old 06-20-2008, 06:52 AM   #21
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Re: Hand Forms

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
Mark, I truly understand your point. I see your explanation working in terms of aiki power transmitted. I'm wondering about it becuase I wonder about "finesse". Maybe hand forms help with that. (Maybe not.) I was just looking to experiment with that myself so I was looking for input.

Rob
and

Quote:
Timothy Walters Kleinert wrote: View Post
I think you're exaggerating a little.

The external shape doesn't matter by itself, but because the human body is formed in certain ways, connecting internally tends to force the body into certain external shapes. Following me? The external shape does not make the internal technique/feeling, but the internal technique/feeling does make the external shape.

So for learning purposes, though we don't need to worry about the shape per se, if we notice that our shape is off, there's a good chance we're doing something wrong internally.

Now, for hand shapes in particular, it seems too broad to discuss in general. I think it would be better to pick a technique and discuss just that.
Serves me right for posting quickly. Should have noted that I was talking about end-state, not beginners.

Beginning? Yeah, I do think that hand positioning can matter. Depends on how you are learning internal skills and as Timothy stated, it also can help readjust your body to help get you back on track. So to speak.

After a while, I think if you're doing hand motions or forms to make a technique work ... you're missing something. *Howerver* that doesn't mean hand forms or placement doesn't matter in some way. Tactically speaking, where and how you use your hands can matter. It's just that it's a tactic, not a technique.

If you're working on an aikido technique, being as soft as you can, and then you put muscle into your hand while gripping/grabbing uke, then uke will feel that instantly and his/her reactions will change. So, tactically, if you want that type of reaction to change uke's movement so that you are setting him/her up for something else, then that leaves the realm of technique and becomes tactics.
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Old 06-20-2008, 07:05 AM   #22
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Re: Hand Forms

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
Agreed. Lets discuss shomenuchi kotegaeshi (or any other one would be fine).

If the person attacks with with right arm, I tend to enter and pivot (as if I'm doing iriminage) - keeping vertical main with my spine. Then I would typically use my right hand palm up laying across their forearm giving them a bit of my body weight. My left hand would be between their shoulder and elbow palm on them. That arm would move be bending as I moved closer to them, and then I'd let my body weight start hitting them using that palm as a natural energy release of that movement (same as the hand on their neck for iriminage) except I'd let it slide down their arm a bit to get into kotegaeshi position. Then I roll that hand so more weight is on their arm nearer my thumb than my pinky as I continue to move into shikaku. When I roll back (move body weight neared my pink than thumb) I cut their center with my intention. I don't pay much attention to what my right hand is doing at that point. It's not cranking anything for darn sure. It just barely touches their finger tips usually. But I'm open to suggestions.

Maybe initial palm up should be replaced with wrist up, fingers down. Looking for inspiration..

How do I meet Howei Popkin? Does he do seminars?

Rob
First, let me ask you about shomenuchi kotegaeshi. IF you think that hand forms matter in technique, then you'd also believe that you *need* a hand to do this technique. So, someone that lost a hand could never do aikido, right? Or let's say someone lost four fingers. They'd never be able to complete techniques? How does someone who believes that they need hand forms rationalize aikido for physically challenged people (people that have lost a hand or both)?

As for Howard ... he's closer to you than he is to me. And you should look for his next seminar. Great guy, great teacher. Definitely worth meeting and knowing.
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Old 06-20-2008, 07:46 AM   #23
rob_liberti
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Re: Hand Forms

I cannot say for sure that I need hand forms at all. I just want to experiment myself.

I can hammer in a screw. I don't need a screwdriver.

My question is about finesse. With a lot of power, I don't need finesse, but I would prefer it for potential added power and/or artistic reasons.

Rob
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Old 06-20-2008, 08:12 AM   #24
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Re: Hand Forms

Question...

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
First, let me ask you about shomenuchi kotegaeshi. IF you think that hand forms matter in technique, then you'd also believe that you *need* a hand to do this technique. So, someone that lost a hand could never do aikido, right? Or let's say someone lost four fingers. They'd never be able to complete techniques? How does someone who believes that they need hand forms rationalize aikido for physically challenged people (people that have lost a hand or both)?
Answer...

Quote:
Gernot Hassenpflug wrote: View Post
To conclude then, and as Shaun has said, there is a different usage for each finger, and as far as I can tell at my level, the positioning of the hand is thus a reflection of how power is being transmitted, rather than a necessary position in order to do the control desired.
To elaborate just a bit, and, again, this may seem obvious, but the reason why we are talking about fingers is that they are at the end of your hand, which is at the end of your arm which is, as it extends from the body, at the end of the path from the center of one's body. If one was missing his hand these ideas would not be invalidated in the least. Without a hand, the arm would be look, act and be treated like one large finger. And, wouldn't you know it, in fact that is exactly how the arm moves relative to the body, just like a finger moves relative to the hand. Of course, there is quite a lot more to it. I am sure that various groups (CMA, DRAJ, Aikido) may have there own unique way of teaching and express these ideas, but that when looking at the essence of the idea behind it, we would probably all find a very common element that is derived from parsing movement down to a very simple expression of a very simple form.

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Old 06-20-2008, 08:14 AM   #25
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Re: Hand Forms

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
I cannot say for sure that I need hand forms at all. I just want to experiment myself.

I can hammer in a screw. I don't need a screwdriver.

My question is about finesse. With a lot of power, I don't need finesse, but I would prefer it for potential added power and/or artistic reasons.

Rob
I don't know either. Hand forms, to me, seem to be a training tool. Sort of like intent. You go through the training using these things until it becomes a part of you. At some point, you aren't using the same focus to keep intent and you aren't using hand forms as much. After that, I think hand forms becomes more of a tactic than anything else. So, when you talk of finesse, I think of using the hand tactically. The hand form isn't really needed for delivery of power, but the form is used tactically for best placement of delivered power. That isn't to say that the power will come through the hand -- it can just as easily come through an elbow or shoulder.

Mark
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