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Old 12-26-2008, 03:02 AM   #1
Ishimuzi
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Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

Hi all,
My name is Boaz,
I'm an Aikikai shodan.
Recently I had the pleasure to participate in a couple of Aunkai classes, and would like to share some of my thoughts.

( *1st I'd like to apologize 4 the long message )

Reasons:
Dissatisfaction After practicing for a few years now I have dissatisfaction with my:
Posture
Balance (especially after completing some techniques)
Generation of power
Martial movement

Believing Aikido has more to offer then just mechanical leveraging:
I.E. neutralizing attacks immediately, b4 they are facilitated.
Blending and uniting "internally" with attackers sensing attacker's intent b4 him.
Using attackers energy even if he is balanced and attacks differently then in Aikido basic kihon.
Being "strong" enough to be soft.

Being able to repeat "ki" demonstrations because of the idea behind them, not in order to show off.

Thanks to discussions here, I have been exposed to several individuals who seemed to have similar concepts, knowledge and training methodology of how to obtain the above. All of them agreed to the immortal: "It has to be felt". So I decided to try to feel as many of these guys as possible.

Recently I had the opportunity to visit Japan so I decided my first stop in this quest would be the Aunkai group.
I received a warm welcome from everyone which was important for this intimidated gaijin.

Classes:
I participated only in 2 classes:
Thursday: moving from basic exercises towards the bujutsu applications (yet not applications per-se).
Saturday: basic exercises.

Akuzawa sensei:

About my size (1.75m, 60kg).
Appears normally built and besides his forearms that seemed firm/muscular, didn't seem particularly muscular. Demonstrated convincingly how his method could be integrated in different fighting styles. What I liked most is his demonstration of how good structure and movement facilitate working against a larger opponent whilst carrying/balancing a load, I.E, distributing/dealing with forces while keeping balance.

The Ideas that were conveyed:

Alignment: The torso as an axis that can be tilted but not bent.
Extension: keeping the torso "opened" stretching-open the chest, pelvis and limbs, in other words to all directions.
Connection to the ground: letting inserted forces be channeled to the ground and exerted ones from the ground.
Relaxation-Minimization: Using minimal movements and minimal amount of muscles and organs per exercise.
Examination: asking yourself at each moment: "what am I doing now, how can I improve it, with less effort, and less body organs". Teacher and partner feedback clear and guiding.

Conclusion of my experience with the Aunkai method:

*Coherent. A few "Basic" ideas that connect several concepts we know from Aikido.
*Logical, has tests to validate your understanding and advancement. relies on thinking and self exploration, not just mindless repetition.

*Could (should) be integrated in an Aikidoka's practice.
*Can show results in a relatively short span of time (a few years).
*Can enhance your Aikido no mater your purpose.

I'm looking forward to practice again with the group, meanwhile trying to practice on my own.

I apologize in advance for any inaccuracies and hope the Aunkai guys will correct them.

Boaz
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Old 12-26-2008, 06:09 AM   #2
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

Thanks for sharing.
I look forward to the experience myself.
Nicely done. Compliments.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 12-26-2008, 09:59 AM   #3
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

Nice write up.
Thanks.

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Old 12-27-2008, 12:30 PM   #4
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

Quote:
Boaz Neumann wrote: View Post
Conclusion of my experience with the Aunkai method:

*Coherent. A few "Basic" ideas that connect several concepts we know from Aikido.
*Logical, has tests to validate your understanding and advancement. relies on thinking and self exploration, not just mindless repetition.

*Could (should) be integrated in an Aikidoka's practice.
*Can show results in a relatively short span of time (a few years).
*Can enhance your Aikido no mater your purpose.

I'm looking forward to practice again with the group, meanwhile trying to practice on my own.

I apologize in advance for any inaccuracies and hope the Aunkai guys will correct them.

Boaz
Hi Boaz,

Thanks for sharing your experiences. If you have more to say regarding your conclusions, I would be really interested to hear what you have to say.

Regards,

David
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Old 12-27-2008, 08:30 PM   #5
Gerald Fabrot
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

Hi Boaz,

I think you pretty much nailed the big picture. I did my best to translate Akuzawa Sensei's comments and I am glad that you took away something from it.

One of the points you mentioned is the most crucial of Aunkai in my own view : his constant admonition that we reflect on what the principles are, how they fit together, how to constantly and actively train them in all of our exercises. i.e. he shows an awful lot, but it is up to us to figure it out.

I would say that in his method understanding the principles obviously come first, then they must power motion without waste, and only from there the myriads of applications can emerge.

Looking forward to meeting you again, be it in Tokyo or by the Yam Ha-Melah

take care,

gerald

"As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance."
John Archibald Wheeler
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Old 12-28-2008, 12:56 AM   #6
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

Thanks for the post. I spent a weekend (as well as several others here) back this summer with Ark. Thanks for reminding me of the things he covered! Good stuff, I can't wait to get with him again sometime.

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Old 12-28-2008, 05:25 AM   #7
Ishimuzi
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

Hi again, and happy holidays to all (In Israel some cities celebrate three holidays of the three Monotheistic religions that occur on close dates).

I)Thanks for reading my post and good job not falling asleep!

I hope some of you guys that have similar experiences could give there 2 Euros on the subject.

II)Conclusions (it's a bit premature for that but...) :

From what I've seen, all the Ideas concur with Aikido principles:

1)Posture-
Keeping it erect always (even in mindset) this is IMO equivalent to "extending KI". I get a lots of remarks from my teachers regarding my posture, and once thought I could either just correct it during execution of techniques ("On the fly"), or it would eventually "fix it self". After learning some physiology I finally understood how mistaken I was.
Our posture is one of the things I like most in Aikido, In a way its being open to the world, confidence etc'. martially I see it as advantageous in peripheral vision (as opposed to hunching and tunnel vision) of-course it also has it's disadvantages.

2)Relaxation-
It's a common concept in Aikido, it maybe even one of it's "secrets" , yet it's one of the most difficult to achieve because it relies on:
A) Integrity- being honest with yourself I.E. "am I really relaxed?
am I not muscling my way/ using my technical/experience advantage/Ukes bad structure to execute the technique?"

B) Testing methods- Asking yourself questions, partner giving you feedback, listening to your body. usually when we execute a technique, we're focused on it, and not on the basic details.

C)Posture and stability. if we're not "strong enough" (I.E. can't hold the structure and balance), our Instincts (reflexes) are to become rigid and jerky, hence we can't relax, "close up" from the environment and partner, can't develop sensitivity, can't release our power nor deal with his (be it absorb it or deflecting or evading it).On the other hand, If we maintain stability, and structure, we have enough confidence and "time" to learn to relax.
(I think we could take it to psychological and philosophical realms too, but thats a different topic).
3)Generation/Absorption of power via the ground-
Sounds obvious, but from my experience we tend to overlook this simple fact (just checkout 5,0000000 posts in this forum).
How many if us try to feel the connection to the ground while executing techniques? how many of us have got used to executing techniques fast (especially due to practicing with diving Ukes), yet if they try doing it sloooooooowly they find it to difficult and frustrating blaming Ukes on not being cooperative/the weather etc' ?

4)Use of gravity-
Aikido uses it allot, yet how many explore it and Kuzushi on it's own? (Actually Aunkai guys, I hope you could expand on that...)

5)Work against resistance/free style work-
In my opinion (and as I've seen in Iwama), practice against and with resistance is inherent to Aikido and has martial and (philosophical)
merits.
As long as it is done correctly:
*Specific and defined to the principal that's being practiced.
*Done with both sides good willed, honest and have educational purposes.
*The level of resistance is suitable to the level of both practitioners.
I find it imperative.

6)Using intent-
Using your mind to explore and control your body
(If you wish- "Extending,Using your Ki").
Distributing Forces to different directions via thought("Internally").

I hope to hear some other guy's thoughts and especially those that can compare their Aunkai training with the other methods mentioned in this forum that practice this stuff.

Boaz.
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Old 12-28-2008, 09:15 AM   #8
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

Boaz,

Thanks so much for your generous response. Really interesting.

Regards,

David
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Old 12-29-2008, 12:38 PM   #9
Ishimuzi
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

I would like to thank whoever took the time to read my posts.

(Guys, I hope you don't mind me referring here to you by your first name it's just part of the ME informality )

Lynn- what brings you to pursue the IA training?
Have you been exposed before in Aikido to any specific body training or IA oriented training?

Kevin- IIRC you practice Aikido, BJJ and with some of the IA guys.
Could you give us your take on the contribution of the IA practice to both? is the emphasis similar or does each one of them have a different/opposing principal? how about during sparring?

David/Chris- could you elaborate on your own training? what's your take on the subject?

I would appreciate other guys opinions too (even those that haven't had the opportunity to train in IA).

Boaz
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Old 12-29-2008, 01:44 PM   #10
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

Boaz,

I'm a fellow shodan, Aikikai. I do a number of the basic exercises as part of solo training, in conjunction with my yoga practice, and have limited experience doing push hands with an experienced teacher.

I think it's best, for you in gauging my response, though, to view it as coming from the part of the readership of this site that is hungry for the kind of information you've provided, and whose practical experience with the skills you are learning is very limited and who make no claims to the contrary.

Still, for me, a lot of what you said had additional value because you were able to relate it to your Aikido practice in a clear and concise way.

Regards,

David
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Old 12-29-2008, 03:46 PM   #11
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

Boaz wrote:

Quote:
Kevin- IIRC you practice Aikido, BJJ and with some of the IA guys.
Could you give us your take on the contribution of the IA practice to both? is the emphasis similar or does each one of them have a different/opposing principal? how about during sparring?
Well I have found no opposing principles for sure! In fact I am simply amazed at how much is in common.

The big challenge was for me to mentally get out of the way. What I mean is this. When I first went to BJJ I was assessing it from an "aikido" point of view, as that was the context of my world and I dealt with a certain amount of dissonance from that mindset.

Then when I had been doing BJJ for a few years and finally got together this past year with some of the IA guys, I kept processing everything from my BJJ/Aikido paradigm.

The challenge is putting it all back together and finding the IA in my practice. (BJJ, Aikido, and Judo).

It is tough as you really need to just practice whatever it is you are practicing and slowly try and find those places where it fits and where you discover it. It may not always be where you are looking.

A good example I posted a few weeks ago. Working with Ryan Hall, a up and coming BJJ star, he corrected an off balancing problem in BJJ that I was having in the guard. I was not even looking for anything Internal, simply looking to have my guard fixed.

So he looked at it, then showed me the problem, then fixed it. As soon as He showed me what was wrong, I recognized it as being a "grounding" issue exactly as we do in IA training! Ryan intuitively understood this basic IA principle and used it all the time.

5 minutes and it completely shifted my paradigm and fixed my problem! I no longer have any issue with this. My game improved immensely in the guard, and I am learning how to use this now as it messed up my fight rhythm and timing that I am now trying to put back together.

What was key for me to grasp this, was the fact that the little time I spent with the IA guys this past year gave me a feel for what "right felt like". Coupled with the IA exercises like Ark has us do, and the fact that a BJJ guy showed me something I was doing wrong...I was ripe for making that correction immediately!

These things I think, at least in my experiences happen spontaneously when you least expect them. All though I have really tried hard to integrate this in the last year and really only have a small grasp of understanding of it. The payoff seems to be quite profound though when it happens as I experienced in fixing my guard.

I think what we should be cognizant of is this: I am not moving any different than a good BJJ guy, I am simply now doing it more right! Centered, grounded, moving from a strong base with a stronger transference of power and efficiency.

Anyway, this is just off the top of my head quickly as I am thinking about this topic.

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Old 12-29-2008, 04:10 PM   #12
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

A couple of things that I have been doing since working with Mike and Ark this year are the basic solo exercises they showed us. It is amazing to see the similarities that these guys reached through completely different paths. Working with Toby Threadgill, these were also codified in his Koryu stuff as basics. The conclusion I have reached, is that these are very important. So I try and spend sometime each training session doing this basic, basic exercises.

Stabiity/Swiss ball work. This has had a big impact on my core development as well as working on my development of the "transferrence of a moving center". I am hoping to post some video on my blog soon of some of these basic exercises I do.

Medicine ball work. Along with the swiss ball, I work with the medicine ball as well using it as a weight to figure out how to shift, move, throw (extend) through the ball. this is good proprioceptive training as I try to do it without using upper body or arms to receive and "push" the weight around. It develops the core as well.

More recently I have added "boxing" or bag work into my mix. I am trying to learn to punch the way ark showed me. I seem to be getting power without using so much of my upper body. The posture is definitely different than what I was used to and it is taking time to "unlearn", but I think it to be better from an MMA standpoint. Actually I would probably benefit from some good Muay Thai instruction at this point. The bag work is giving me good feedback I think in developing my power base from down low. It is challenging to rewire as I had to give up a bunch of my percieved power to begin the process. I feel stupid to be honest.

On the note of feeling stupid: Alexander Technique is worth reading about as it has helped me understand how to retrain our bodies and that we won't feel right when we start to change what we have done for many years. I recommend reading about this if you are into IA rewiring. It is definitely related I think. (I plan on exploring this indepth on my own blog in the future).

Thanks to Paulina L here on aikiweb and aikido list serv for introducing AT to me last year!

Mike Sigman had some real good techniques that involved large elastic bands or ropes. I try to do these as well, but frankly I have a hard time understanding exactly what I should be doing with them so I hesitate to say much, I'd have to get with Mike again to get some coaching and adjustment. That is the problem with alot of this training is that it is difficult to work on faith for a prolonged period of time without guidance and making sure you are actually doing things properly. Hence why I like the feedback from the balls.

In working in Aikido I try and work on balance, ground path and keeping my posture good while shifting and not firing my shoulders/arms and transferring things around with uke.

In BJJ Same thing really, just a different kind of practice.

Can't tell you how well I am doing from an IA standpoint though as I have only had less than 40 hours of exposure to it from these guys, and would need to get back to them for "adjustment" and feedback on what I am doing right or wrong.

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Old 12-29-2008, 05:42 PM   #13
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

A stray thought.

The place where, to date, the idea of balancing recieved and opposing forces, and it's relationship to efficient movement made most physically vivid sense to me was when I was cross-country skiing on Christmas day, just passed.

Cross-country, like swimming, is both an endurance-to-speed sport and a skill sport. It's a skill sport for two reasons -- 1. Your effort to propel yourself forward, and 2. you effort to stay on your feet when descending. Like swimming, lack of efficient movement in either one's stroke or in descending is punished in a very apparent way, in terms of physical effort.

To cut to the chase -- I found the idea of balancing the forces in my core was a useful focal point in dailing in my stride after about a year off the skiis.

Hope that wasn't too far afield. But to me it is confirmation of some basic facts.

DH
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Old 12-29-2008, 07:35 PM   #14
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

DH: I did a 25KM Military Ruck march back in October and I had the exact same experience.

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Old 12-29-2008, 08:34 PM   #15
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

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Old 12-29-2008, 11:20 PM   #16
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

David- could you elaborate on your skying example? I don't ski but it sounds like a higher level of application for these principals (less friction, in motion, ground tilted...) could you also expand regarding the swimming? the guys in other threads were implying that the pool could be a good place to practice.

Kevin- this paragraph:
"What was key for me to grasp this, was the fact that the little time I spent with the IA guys this past year gave me a feel for what "right felt like". Coupled with the IA exercises like Ark has us do, and the fact that a BJJ guy showed me something I was doing wrong...I was ripe for making that correction immediately!"
-was excellent mind reading....

Regarding my experience so far, I'm just a newbe.

Let me quote:

"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
Sir Winston Churchill, Speech in November 1942

I think my 1st and short visit will just prepare me for the next ones
to be able to really start studying.
But it is amazing how already it helps other principals to "just snap in".

Could you explain the swiss ball practice? the medicine Ball one? maybe even a pic with a few words?
Maybe you could post a pic regarding the remark you had from the BJJ? what you were doing wrong and what he improved?

Regarding the Alexander method, its funny, I already began reading about it, and found about about a friend of a friend that teaches it (on my to-do list).
Could you explain a bit about how this applies to your IA training?

Boaz.
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Old 12-29-2008, 11:31 PM   #17
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

here is a good example of stability ball training:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cNvpIamQOE

On AT: well if nothing else, I think it will give you some "language" to describe what is going on. I also think that they have some very good methods at a very basic level for training proprioceptive responses and beginning to move correctly with minimal muscle activation. I would recommend reading it, because I can't really do it justice.

It simply has provided me a framework of understanding. I think different people respond to different teachers, wording, methods and descriptions. AT is simply another way. It seems to work for me so far.

Ark, I think kinda skipped over this whole area and started moving a little more advanced than AT.

Did he do the thing where he picks a big guy and has him climb on his back? He starts talking about frame and letting your bones, structure support the weight naturally using posture and gravity. AT really is all about this as well on a basic level.

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Old 12-30-2008, 03:05 AM   #18
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

Thanks Kevin.
Regarding the link and the stability ball:
I like that kind of work, think I'm gonna buy one.
I wonder how you imply the structure principles with it?
Is what the guy does in the clip with the medicine ball, what you meant? I understood it differently.
I thought you meant holding it in the air, supporting it through your structure?

Anyway Akuzawa sensei showed that one (I think the concept is like ganseki otoshi) but more impressive IMO was:
while he was in a wide stance, he held a heavier guy on one thigh, and kept exerting force and connection to another person on the other side.

BTW, could you expand on where the Aunkai method differs from others you've trained with? (in concepts/practice)?

Boaz.
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Old 12-30-2008, 04:14 AM   #19
eyrie
 
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

Quote:
Boaz Neumann wrote: View Post
1)Posture-
Keeping it erect always (even in mindset) this is IMO equivalent to "extending KI".
IYO, how does posture (or having "good" posture) equate with extending ki in ALL directions?

Quote:
2)Relaxation-
It's a common concept in Aikido, it maybe even one of it's "secrets" , yet it's one of the most difficult to achieve because it relies on:
A) Integrity- being honest with yourself I.E. "am I really relaxed?
am I not muscling my way/ using my technical/experience advantage/Ukes bad structure to execute the technique?"

B) Testing methods- Asking yourself questions, partner giving you feedback, listening to your body. usually when we execute a technique, we're focused on it, and not on the basic details.

C)Posture and stability. if we're not "strong enough" (I.E. can't hold the structure and balance), our Instincts (reflexes) are to become rigid and jerky, hence we can't relax, "close up" from the environment and partner, can't develop sensitivity, can't release our power nor deal with his (be it absorb it or deflecting or evading it).On the other hand, If we maintain stability, and structure, we have enough confidence and "time" to learn to relax.
(I think we could take it to psychological and philosophical realms too, but thats a different topic).
It's all well and good to say "relax, and not use muscle", but the fact remains you have to use *some* muscle - even standing upright, and maintaining postural stability requires various muscular engagement. So, what does it really mean "to relax and not use muscle"? If not muscle, then use what? How?

Quote:
3)Generation/Absorption of power via the ground
Easier said than done. Perhaps you could explicate a little further how one does this?

Quote:
4)Use of gravity-
Aikido uses it allot, yet how many explore it and Kuzushi on it's own? (Actually Aunkai guys, I hope you could expand on that...)
I think there's a bit more to gravity than just kuzushi.... which IMO has more to do with uke's posture and stability than just gravity. Tis a weighty issue indeed!

Quote:
5)Work against resistance/free style work
Progressively perhaps, but not initially in the early learning stages is my feeling.

Ignatius
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Old 12-30-2008, 07:11 AM   #20
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

Hi Boaz,

Happy to provide more detail.

When you X-C, you need to keep your torso upright in order to power the polls; you need to load the "leaf spring" between your legs, a la Ark's diagram of the body, and keep a certain amount of tension there during your stride (I'm speaking of classic, diagonal skiing, not skate skiing, which is more about loading and unloading your legs, and lets you get away with bad posture more easily).

The motion, done efficiently, is very fluid, and isn't about trying to muscle your way across the snow. If you, for example, try to rush up hill, your skiis will slip, your polls must catch your weight, and you will have just both lost ground and wasted energy.

On the flats, over-muscling results in shorter gliding at, similarly, a cost of more energy expended.

It also usually involves a break in the structure, usually leaning too far forward or trying to kick back rather than continue to glide forward. (I think of the classic kick in X-C as a flourish built on an effect that flows from an efficient stride -- it's kind of like the refinements that evolve in a swimming stroke in that it makes most sense when added to a basically sound stroke).

When skiing in balance, as I tried to describe, the polling action and the gliding forward all happen from an upright core, and the kinesthetic image I've gotten through reading and doing basic exercises about managing and balancing incoming forces is useful for maintaining the equilibrium of my stroke.

As for swimming, my model for focusing my intent actually was influenced significantly by an Aikido Seminar with a guest instructor who took us through a Feldenkris exercise almost 10 years ago.

Now, when I do the crawl, my goal is to extend my body at a particular angle to the water so that my shoulders are up in the water, and each hand upon entry into the water is planning forward and slightly downward.

I then allow my hand to go forward to the apex of the stroke while my core rotates on its axis from the resistance of the water.

That orients my body so that its also properly aligned to let me draw the hand back efficiently while the other arm is aligned to enter the water and reverse the direction in which my upper core is rotating.

All of this depends on being able to maintain a proper angle between my torso and the surface of the water, which is where the kick comes in.

To counterbalance what is happening with my torso and upper body, the hips are rotating in sync, but in the opposite direction. This puts the feet in a position to kick efficiently.

Water is a wonderfully honest and generous medium to test efficiency. Just moving your arms through the water while standing is a far different experience that in the air. When I first started swimming as an adult (a long, long time ago), I would get winded after a couple of hundred meters.

While I don't claim to be more than a competent swimmer now, I am able to go a long way (PR -- 8 K in open water).

Hope that's useful information.

Regards,

David
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Old 12-30-2008, 07:28 AM   #21
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

Kevin, thanks for that. Much appreciated. Could you post a link to your blog? Hmmm, it's probably in your sig...guess I should scroll back up and look...

B,
R

PS yep, it's there alright!

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 12-30-2008, 07:41 AM   #22
Ishimuzi
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 14
Israel
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

Ignatius,
Thanks for the questions (I'll try approaching them in order of appearance) :
Please take my answers with more than a grain of salt, I am just a Newbie, beginner, milk dripping from my lips etc'.
I hope the more experienced guys here will give their corrections and additions.

(Good) Posture= Extending Ki -
I'll try to define (Good) Posture -
The image that works best 4 me is that of a bicycle wheel: it is basically a hoop that's integrity is maintained via wires that are in tension and placed and oriented around in space. when an external load is applied to it, this structure causes the force to be distributed through the wires so the structure is maintained, hence we can load a cart (with this type of wheels) with a heavy load, and drive it on a bumpy road and nothing will happen to the wheels.
I compare my body to a similar structure. now I need to fix the wiring.
Extending Ki (IMO)-
(I have no other official and better definition)
Is the combination of intent with force and power.
So when somebody tells me to extend my Ki through my fingers ("Unbendable arm" etc'), I understand is as:
A)Think of/Intend to extend your fingers, keep your awareness to this intent and what's actually happening.
B) let the body apply this command using the proper posture and and minimal organs such that eventually my fingers are extended.

Regarding relaxation-
I never said anything about not using any muscle, nor did I say it was easy. it takes practice and allot.and specific.
I think the Idea is to develop and mostly use just the stabilizing muscles+ erect skeleton("structure).
Maybe some of it is related to the fascia subject? I don't know enough yet..
When we say don't use strength we usually mean don't use the biceps/pecs etc. and other local muscles.
Relaxation, is first of all a state of mind. you have to be aware of the "tense state", to be able to relax. so lets say we are practicing this, then ask ourselves what muscles/organs are we using in X-technique? can we use less? less muscles? less organs? where do we feel the technique is coming from? could I do this when I'm 70 YO? 80? what happens if I try to stiff-up my shoulder? my elbow? if I let them drop? can I relax my upper body and move my structure and CG so the I connect my center to Uke's without wasting my power on local muscles?

Generation/absorption of power via the ground IMHO -
(this is the time for the IA pro's to step in...)
If we think of it in physic terms- what happens when a human tries to push the ground? the ground has a far larger mass - hence it will stay in place. According to Newton's 3rd law the human will be pushed by an equal an opposite force.
now if for example you watch various Ki tests where some guy is pushing and the other is not moving, the force has to go somewhere..

Gravity and Kuzushi.-
Imagine practicing in space/under water. what would your Aikido look like? what would Kuzushi mean to you then?

Work against resistance/free style work-
Please notice the conditions I wrote in my post.
BTW in Iwama they practice against resistance every technique and every class (from my short experience). that's how O-Sensei taught.
I'd like to debate this point with you, because It's important and I once thought like you.

Anyway, I think it's better for me to learn these stuff (be able to command them at will), b4 I can discuss this well.

Boaz.
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Old 12-30-2008, 08:44 AM   #23
SeiserL
 
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Dojo: Roswell Budokan, Kyushinkan Dojo, Aikido World Alliance
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

Quote:
Boaz Neumann wrote: View Post
Lynn- what brings you to pursue the IA training? Have you been exposed before in Aikido to any specific body training or IA oriented training?
Identify with martial artist, not just Aikido. 40 years now and counting.
Started Tai Chi with Hoopers (Danny Lee's students) 30 years ago. Now also studying Tai Chi/Chi-Gung now.
A lot of seminars with Aiki-jujutsu (Treadgill, Williams).
Train a lot with Ikeda.
Ushiro at the Expos.
Tenshinkai Aikido is pretty small circle so a lot of body mechanics involved.
Always open and evolving.
Its not just IA training, its just staying open to training.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 12-30-2008, 11:58 AM   #24
Richard Sanchez
Location: SE Asia
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Thailand
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

Hi Boaz,

Your mention of Iwama style resistance prompted me to respond. I've been training in that style for a little over 25-years now and have always felt that the resistance training we do has a lot to offer people wishing to develop internal skills.

As an example, this is a quick look at a simple exercise that we start beginners with:

Start in static Tai No Henko, with Uke gripping the wrist, Katatedori, and providing resistance by pulling and pushing in a linear movement. Nage in a very close Hamni stance, (one foot space between front and back leg with both legs slightly bent, equal weighting.) The exercise progresses until the Uke is pushing and pulling as hard as they can with a Morote grip. The next stage is to add a second training partner to the other arm until Nage is able to hold ground and then add a third person who exerts pressure on Nage's hips from the rear.

In a very short space of time beginners are able to hold their position and balance without using strength. (In fact, you can't do this type of training if you use strength.) There are several other variations including having Nage hold a bokken. This style of training is then used to apply resistance in other static positions. Again, starting with one Uke and then advancing to three.

We never use the word "relax" but prefer to say "release" as in "release the pressure". We also do a lot of adjusting of the student's form by touch, similar to AT. This helps them to realize where they are holding pressure in their body.

There are many more exercises such as I have briefly described but from what I've seen of Akuzawa's method he seems to have a more sophisticated approach to establishing correct body use.

I also took AT lessons for three years but found that though it helped me make some links I progressed very slowly. (Probably me!) However, I was able to take the feeling I got from AT and apply it to my Iron Shirt practice, which I've played with for a number of years, and which is now my preference.

I also encourage my students to cross train in arts such as BJJ and they are often able to surprise even experienced BJJ people with their ability to hold their position against strong attacks and resistance. However, having neutralized the attack they generally have no idea what to do next, having limited experience of BJJ technique!

Richard
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Old 12-30-2008, 03:57 PM   #25
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
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Re: Starting the internal aiki quest- my experience with Aunkai

Quote:
Richard Sanchez wrote: View Post
As an example, this is a quick look at a simple exercise that we start beginners with:

Start in static Tai No Henko, with Uke gripping the wrist, Katatedori, and providing resistance by pulling and pushing in a linear movement. Nage in a very close Hamni stance, (one foot space between front and back leg with both legs slightly bent, equal weighting.) The exercise progresses until the Uke is pushing and pulling as hard as they can with a Morote grip. The next stage is to add a second training partner to the other arm until Nage is able to hold ground and then add a third person who exerts pressure on Nage's hips from the rear.

In a very short space of time beginners are able to hold their position and balance without using strength. (In fact, you can't do this type of training if you use strength.)
Hi Richard:

Nice post. The above description sounds interesting and I'd like to see this as it's actually done. Is there by any chance a video somewhere (preferably on the net) that shows this particular exercise?

Best.

Mike Sigman
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