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Old 10-20-2009, 05:48 PM   #1
eyrie
 
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Internal Power Development Methods

There are many approaches to internal strength development, ranging from the "harder" Shaolin derived approaches, to the "softer" methods - and everything else in between.

What is your (preferred) approach and why?

Ignatius
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Old 10-21-2009, 11:26 AM   #2
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

Hard Shaolin. Things should always hurt as much as possible.
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Old 10-21-2009, 11:36 AM   #3
gregstec
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

Soft - because you can 'feel' more - and feeling, well, just feels good
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Old 10-21-2009, 12:10 PM   #4
Jeff Scheurer
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

Soft. Because my two focuses on IT are health and integrating it into my Aikido, and the softer method seems better suited for both.
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Old 10-21-2009, 01:01 PM   #5
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

Why does this thread immediately starts to sound like a Yoshinkan - Ki Aikido discussion?

I prefer the soft approach. Apparently you need it for the really nifty tricks. And the training feels better, but that's just a personal preference.
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Old 10-21-2009, 02:51 PM   #6
phitruong
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

i saw the iron eggs shaolin kungfu video clips. i decided right there and then that i will dedicate the rest of my practice to the soft approach.

besides, most of the painful and powerful hits i got from folks (yes, you know who you are and your names are on my kill bill list) who were pretty soft.
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Old 10-21-2009, 03:59 PM   #7
JangChoe
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

Hard shaolin because you look more manly.
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Old 10-21-2009, 04:18 PM   #8
Thomas Campbell
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

Rather than "hard" v. "soft" approaches, I prefer to look at it as management of tension across the full spectrum from soft-as-cotton to tight-as-testicles-caught-in-a-workbench-clamp. The successful training approaches that I've seen embrace that full range. For example, Aunkai methods build with high degrees of tension in specific areas (e.g., identifying and maintaining the sense of juji in the upper body), then back off the tension as basic conditioning improves the connection. Dan Harden works with specific exercises, including partner work, that can be performed with varying degrees of tension (from soft to very hard), depending on the purpose. This just reflects my very limited experience and understanding to date.
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Old 10-21-2009, 04:41 PM   #9
ashe
 
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

Quote:
Thomas Campbell wrote: View Post
Rather than "hard" v. "soft" approaches, I prefer to look at it as management of tension across the full spectrum from soft-as-cotton to tight-as-testicles-caught-in-a-workbench-clamp. The successful training approaches that I've seen embrace that full range. For example, Aunkai methods build with high degrees of tension in specific areas (e.g., identifying and maintaining the sense of juji in the upper body), then back off the tension as basic conditioning improves the connection. Dan Harden works with specific exercises, including partner work, that can be performed with varying degrees of tension (from soft to very hard), depending on the purpose. This just reflects my very limited experience and understanding to date.
we use a similar approach in ILC as well.

both light and heavy on touch. sometimes during our spinning hands training we go very heavy on touch, which we call "grinding hand" (moa shou). here's an example

we also use a similar type of training in solo practice which we call wrapping in which involves lots of tension.

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Old 10-21-2009, 04:59 PM   #10
Keith Larman
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

Whatever works...

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Old 10-21-2009, 05:42 PM   #11
Mike Sigman
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

Quote:
Ashe Higgs wrote: View Post
we use a similar approach in ILC as well.

both light and heavy on touch. sometimes during our spinning hands training we go very heavy on touch, which we call "grinding hand" (moa shou). here's an example

we also use a similar type of training in solo practice which we call wrapping in which involves lots of tension.
Not to single you out, Ashe, but let me make a meant-to-be-helpful suggestion. And it honestly is. That use of arm and shoulder is *not* what I see Sam Chin doing and it's certainly not ever going to lead to using the dantien and thus into the realm of real "internal martial arts". Now I realize that I can just be silent or I can say "great video, Ashe".... but that would be done only with a smirk on my face and some ill-intent -- and that's not my personality.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 10-21-2009, 05:55 PM   #12
eyrie
 
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

Quote:
Thomas Campbell wrote: View Post
Rather than "hard" v. "soft" approaches, I prefer to look at it as management of tension across the full spectrum from soft-as-cotton to tight-as-testicles-caught-in-a-workbench-clamp. The successful training approaches that I've seen embrace that full range. For example, Aunkai methods build with high degrees of tension in specific areas (e.g., identifying and maintaining the sense of juji in the upper body), then back off the tension as basic conditioning improves the connection. Dan Harden works with specific exercises, including partner work, that can be performed with varying degrees of tension (from soft to very hard), depending on the purpose. This just reflects my very limited experience and understanding to date.
When I re-read the OP, I realized my faux pas. It wasn't my intent to merely feel out people's preferences on a single dimension, but more to get a feel for the cross-section of different approaches, and perhaps generate further discussion on the broad spectrum of approaches.

So, thanks for the thoughtful post Thomas.

Ignatius
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:03 PM   #13
Mike Sigman
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

Quote:
Thomas Campbell wrote: View Post
Rather than "hard" v. "soft" approaches, I prefer to look at it as management of tension across the full spectrum from soft-as-cotton to tight-as-testicles-caught-in-a-workbench-clamp. The successful training approaches that I've seen embrace that full range. For example, Aunkai methods build with high degrees of tension in specific areas (e.g., identifying and maintaining the sense of juji in the upper body), then back off the tension as basic conditioning improves the connection. Dan Harden works with specific exercises, including partner work, that can be performed with varying degrees of tension (from soft to very hard), depending on the purpose. This just reflects my very limited experience and understanding to date.
So how do you ever really train the real Qi/Ki if you do some hard, some soft? Don't you wind up with some (sure it can be strong, but that's not the Full Banana) muscle-based jin?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:07 PM   #14
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
...use of arm and shoulder is *not* what I see Sam Chin doing and it's certainly not ever going to lead to using the dantien and thus into the realm of real "internal martial arts".
I first saw this clip maybe 3 years ago on another forum, and I thought exactly the same thing. But back then, I wasn't prepared to "share" it on THAT particular forum, given the various personalities in the audience.

Ignatius
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:08 PM   #15
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Not to single you out, Ashe, but let me make a meant-to-be-helpful suggestion. And it honestly is. That use of arm and shoulder is *not* what I see Sam Chin doing and it's certainly not ever going to lead to using the dantien and thus into the realm of real "internal martial arts". Now I realize that I can just be silent or I can say "great video, Ashe".... but that would be done only with a smirk on my face and some ill-intent -- and that's not my personality.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
a) the clip is old and outdated but it's what i had available. since that time i've been tested and validated on our spinning hands method by my Sifu personally and so i'm quite confident that i know what i'm doing and that i can guide others in that method.

b) i can already tell your going to chase after me on this forum and try to poo-poo anything i post in an effort to assure everyone that you're the only one who knows what he's talking about. after the vitriolic PM's you can save the nice guy act for someone else.

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Old 10-21-2009, 06:14 PM   #16
Mike Sigman
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

Quote:
Ashe Higgs wrote: View Post
a) the clip is old and outdated but it's what i had available. since that time i've been tested and validated on our spinning hands method by my Sifu personally and so i'm quite confident that i know what i'm doing and that i can guide others in that method.

b) i can already tell your going to chase after me on this forum and try to poo-poo anything i post in an effort to assure everyone that you're the only one who knows what he's talking about. after the vitriolic PM's you can save the nice guy act for someone else.
Why not just, instead of doing the usual "go for the personal argument", see if you can logically say something other than "my Sifu validated me" stuff? If you ask many Aikido guys in re these discussions about "internal power", they'd also tell you "I got my dan ranking from a respected Shihan so that ends the discussion". Except that it didn't. If you can explain how you shifted from arm to dantien, I'd be interested in hearing it. If you want to go to personalities in order to avoid a legitimate discussion, you'll only fulfill a widely held view of people from some forums (whose name I will not mention).

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:22 PM   #17
Mike Sigman
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

Quote:
Ashe Higgs wrote: View Post
i can already tell your going to chase after me on this forum and try to poo-poo anything i post in an effort to assure everyone that you're the only one who knows what he's talking about.
Incidentally, the old Neijia List has a number of archived posts showing that when anyone came on with "a better idea" he was allowed to expand upon it and things were debated (sometimes endlessly and sometimes with bickering). No one was ever shut out unless they went to the personal attack BS. There was no "club of insiders" that protected each other. Things were debated and researched; opinions changed, etc. It was a legitimate martial-arts forum. These forums that constantly try to shift the discussions to the personal attacks make me sick about some of the stuff that claims to be "martial arts". Admins (and Ashe is an admin on RumSoakedFist) should know enough to curtail any attempt to take a discussion into the personal.

My opinion, FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:48 PM   #18
eyrie
 
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
If you can explain how you shifted from arm to dantien, I'd be interested in hearing it.
Me too.... as I'm sure others here would as well. Coz in my mind, until one can feel the dantien/tanden/hara, and work out how to connect dantien to hand, without engaging the shoulder and arm, it's nigh near impossible. And any help, would be appreciated.

Ignatius
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:59 PM   #19
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
I first saw this clip maybe 3 years ago on another forum, and I thought exactly the same thing. But back then, I wasn't prepared to "share" it on THAT particular forum, given the various personalities in the audience.
the clip gives a general idea of what the training looks like
but you have to go through a process of structure, relaxation and then energy. one of the problems with a lot of the "internal" stuff that's floating around out there today is that they try and go straight for the "high energy" right away rather than going through the process which yields actual results.

in other words, they want to imitate the masters rather than clock in the hard work it takes to get there.

as an example, within the spinning hands training you'd follow a process that looks something like flow, one force,two forces, four forces, six forces, circle to center, center with cross and then center to center (on the point).

the clip i posted was around the time when i was at the "six forces" stage in my development.

as i said, those are qualities observed and manifested on the point. within the body are the 13 points and the five qualities of unification.

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
Me too.... as I'm sure others here would as well. Coz in my mind, until one can feel the dantien/tanden/hara, and work out how to connect dantien to hand, without engaging the shoulder and arm, it's nigh near impossible. And any help, would be appreciated.
in our system, it's not just about the dan tien. dan tien is only halfway to the ground so it's about connecting from the point (wherever that is, usually on the hand or arm somewhere) all the way down to the feet, and then extending that point all the way into the opponents feet.

for us, we say that dan tien is only a reservoir for storage. we use the ming men for power.

Last edited by ashe : 10-21-2009 at 07:01 PM.

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Old 10-21-2009, 07:08 PM   #20
Mike Sigman
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

Quote:
Ashe Higgs wrote: View Post
the clip i posted was around the time when i was at the "six forces" stage in my development.

as i said, those are qualities observed and manifested on the point. within the body are the 13 points and the five qualities of unification.
So how about simply posting a recent video? As I understand it, you're saying that the old video was no good, you don't like people commenting on it (even though YOU posted it), and you're well beyond that now. The easy way to do it is to post another video rather than indicate that people who looked at the video YOU posted don't understand where you are now.

Another possibility might be to functionally describe HOW you changed over from the rather obvious arm usage to your current better performance.

Incidentally, even Sam Chin is constrained (if he wants to legitimize ILC) to the classical arguments and admonitions. If you notice the ILC commentaries, a lot of the old classics are referred to. I happen to know and understand those old classical statements and would be happy to see a pointer to the "13 points and five qualities of unification". I'm always open to finding a better way.

Thanks. And please note that I'm responding to public comments that you yourself have made. If asking followup questions is going to result in you suddenly not posting anymore, etc., please note that AikiWeb already has a person that does all of that. (Sorry Ashe... that's an inside joke and is not meant to pique you)

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:20 PM   #21
eyrie
 
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

Can I gently remind folk that this thread is intended to discuss, debate, compare, critique (in the sense of analyzing, questioning, clarifying, etc.), various approaches - preferred or otherwise.

That said, thank you for your contributions Ashe. I have a few questions:

Quote:
Ashe Higgs wrote: View Post
you have to go through a process of structure, relaxation and then energy.
Can you clarify your use of the word "energy"?

Quote:
a process that looks something like flow, one force,two forces, four forces, six forces, circle to center, center with cross and then center to center (on the point).
For edification, can you expand what each of these terms mean?

Quote:
within the body are the 13 points and the five qualities of unification.
Mike has already asked this, but I'll ask again.

Quote:
dan tien is only halfway to the ground so it's about connecting from the point (wherever that is, usually on the hand or arm somewhere) all the way down to the feet, and then extending that point all the way into the opponents feet.
I understand the first part of the legs supporting the dantien, but I haven't come across the last part - extending the point to the opponents feet. Can you clarify that please?

Quote:
dan tien is only a reservoir for storage. we use the ming men for power.
Can you expand more on this? Why? How?

Ignatius
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:31 PM   #22
Mike Sigman
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

Quote:
Ashe Higgs wrote: View Post
for us, we say that dan tien is only a reservoir for storage. we use the ming men for power.
The mingmen is technically the back of the dantien, FWIW. The mingmen is the point for power going upward (up the back; see all the acupuncture charts, even) and the dantien on the front of the body is fine, but normal movement uses the the power down the front of the body after the power has gone up the back. To take the "not using the dantien" comment literally, there is no down-power in ILC. I would make a personal bet that Sam Chin wouldn't be rash enough to say that. However, I don't want to argue trivial techno-babble, other than to point out that the statement simply won't work. And I'm only responding to a publicly asserted comment.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 10-21-2009, 08:31 PM   #23
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
If you notice the ILC commentaries, a lot of the old classics are referred to. I happen to know and understand those old classical statements and would be happy to see a pointer to the "13 points and five qualities of unification". I'm always open to finding a better way.
Hi Mr. Sigman,

I've seen the classical texts referred to here and in other posts with regard to IT, and I was wondering if you could share some of those with me. I've just spent the last couple of years getting my feet wet with Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States literature, as well as Japanese medieval texts, and it would be a blast to wade through any of the period work with an eye for references to IT (no, not looking for the secrets of the universe in any of this; I figure I'm doing the textual analysis anyway - might as well try to have a little bit of extraneous fun as I wade through it all).
I know this is pretty tangential, so feel free to p.m. if you want.

Best,
Murray McPherson
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Old 10-21-2009, 10:15 PM   #24
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

Mike,

Is there any recent video of you that you could post that demonstrates some of your current IS work, or teaching specific points like "down" power? I've seen clips from some older videos that you made several years ago, but it would be interesting to see more recent video, say from the past couple of years, maybe from one of the seminars that you do. If not, that's fine.

Thanks.
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Old 10-21-2009, 10:30 PM   #25
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Re: Internal Power Development Methods

re: energy.
This week i think: energy means to flex. to keep the channels open. to peristaltically be able to pass the momentum wave.
In Aikido canon; 'the ki of the snake', as it were.

Ashe, Tom, thank you for your posts. Very very interesting.

p.s. 'Ki of the bees'? Is it more than fajin? (Not that that's not deep enough...mind you). Anyone? anyone..? Bueller?

With respect.
Josh

btw; very weird vibe in this thread. fwiw, I personally prefer polite manners to taunting and japing. although not strictly ad hominem it certainly violates that same spirit.
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