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Old 02-09-2005, 09:45 PM   #26
NagaBaba
 
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

I suspect, one can't do (and is often not interested at all) Misogi practice before mastering aikido techniques at very high technical level.
Body and mind must be "mature" enough, if you start too early, you simply pretend, you are not real. As K.Chiba sensei said one day, all we do during normal practice it isn't aikido at all, we are doing "conditionning".
Is it preparation for higher level of practice?
Kanai sensei said that misogi is heart of aikido practice. But he didn't explain, he didn't like to talk too much about such things. I wish, I could ask him about it.

Nagababa

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Old 02-09-2005, 10:21 PM   #27
Misogi-no-Gyo
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Hi Shaun:

Well, it's a good discussion that you started and I hated to see it sort of die away; and you're right, we have to start somewhere. A really good way for most people to get their foot in the door about "kokyu" is in the common practice of kokyu-ho-dosa.
Apparently this thread has really lit up. For this I am grateful to you in starting it back up. Of course, we all have different names for things. However, for the record, and again just so that we are all working from the same page. Kokyu-ho is the breathing method applied when practicing Kokyu-dosa (popular breath exercise usually done with a partner, in seiza)

Quote:
The essence of kokyu-ho-dosa in seiza is that the opponents push (as an example) is allowed to go to the ground beneath your knees and shins; your push or throw is allowed to originate from this same ground and should be manipulated with your waist, not your shoulders. In other words, the essence of kokyu practice, in this exercise and all others, is in learning how to use this body skill, in addition to adding the strength from breathing practice
Sure that is one way. There are an infinite number of ways this can be applied once the principle of kokyu and ki-musubi are present.

Quote:
I understand that, Shaun, but allow me to at least put forward the possibility that things get lost in the translations, as I suggested before. Over the years, I've found that translations depend on one's knowledge of a language and also their real and full knowledge about the subject which they're translating.
No doubt about that. I am in full agreement. Of course, I am not translating, per say, but rather reiterating the presentation without the interpretation. When the interpretation is removed, it doesn't matter if we say that 2+2=4 or 3+3=4, as long as if you accept the latter, then certainly 3+3+3 must = 6. It is simply a baseline for the way in which I am presenting the material. I may be attached to the definitions, and you may be dead set against them. However, just so that can move through the material with a clear understanding of what we are discussing, then the purpose for defining these things as separate elements remains intact.

Quote:
If someone doesn't understand about the paths of power through the body, then their translation will suffer accordingly. So I'm just asking that the possibility be left open that something may have been lost in the translation is just as important as "I heard it from..."
I couldn't agree more. However for those in the know, when I say, "I heard this from Abe Seiseki Sensei." That I have two goals in mind. The first is that they understand who Abe Sensei is. Like Saito Sensei, one who is thought to have preserved the transmission of techniques of O-Sensei's aikido, Abe Sensei is thought to have preserved the transmission of O-Sensei's Kokyu. My second goal is to initiate those that are seeking O-Sensei's kokyu into the training practices so that if they have any opportunity to meet Abe Sensei, that they will be that much further ahead than if they were encountering the material for the first time.

Quote:
Essentially, we're not in too much disagreement, since you mentioned people being able to release power from any part of their body, etc.... that's kokyu, or "jin" in Chinese. My point was simply to add a few thoughts to liven up the discussion, nothing more.
...and thank you for doing a great job of it.

Quote:
Well these are interesting statements, Shaun. The Japanese borrowed the whole complex "qi"-paradigm from the Chinese and while there have been modifications over time, for various reasons, it's pretty difficult to actually get 180-degrees out of synch. Could you expand a little bit or even start another thread in this group about how you see the "flow of Ki", the Chinese view, and so on? Thanks.
Separate from identifying with any Nationalistic or Ideological group, I am speaking in actual terms of direction. It could be said that North is 180 degrees in relation to South. Now we all understand that there is no North or South, only points relative to one another. The fact is that according to the Chinese ki flow (its direction from one organ to another within the body) is from North to West, or say counter clockwise, and in the Japanese tradition is moves from North to East, or clockwise. Therefore, the two paths from merely a semantic point of study and understanding are 180 degrees from each other. If you are discussing how to treat certain conditions within the body, and you are considering your treatment from a Chinese tradition, it is best to maintain that approach throughout the treatment, and not interject the Japanese approach to healing through their yin/yang equivalent. My point was simply not to interject the Chinese approach to Ki, and Kokyu as it is not exactly described in the same fashion, and can possibly confuse anyone reading through such thick material as found in this thread.

Quote:
My contentions are (1.) that O-Sensei didn't do all of his Ki demonstrations as an interesting aside, he did them to make a point and (2.) that even the best technique done without the presence of Ki and Kokyu is not really Aikido because it is just external technique. However, that is my opinion, not something said in order to start a flame war.
A minor point of contention. Ki and Kokyu are not the same thing. O-Sensei did not teach "ki" although he encompassed the idea of it in his holistic approach upon which he founded his art. You can't have aikido with out ki. However, O-Sensei's waza was a reflection of his continual study of instant manifestation of Kokyu via a free flowing technical paradigm which he noted as Take Musu Aiki. There are two parts to Take Musu Aiki, the Take Musu, and the Aiki. One needs to understand both of these two elements, and how they relate to each other as separates, and combine with each other to form the goal for each of us as seekers of O-Sensei Aikido art form.

In any case, all good stuff that I certainly enjoy talking about. However, you have to feel it in order for any of it to make sense at all. Perhaps our paths will cross at which point we can solidify our ideas with a balance of practice, training and sharing our individual ideas on the subject.

Last edited by Misogi-no-Gyo : 02-09-2005 at 10:24 PM.

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Old 02-09-2005, 10:45 PM   #28
Misogi-no-Gyo
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Keith Lee wrote:
Man, no offense intended, but if I have to do all this stuff to have "O Sensei's" aikido I'd just assume not have it.

I've never spent any amount of time on breathing other than basic stuff like "breath out when you throw" and how to breathe while taking uke. I'd just assume be training rather than doing all this.

My Aikido seems none the worse for it.
Mr. Lee,

Of course, no one can force you to do anything. No should anyone, except your wife, and or mother... However, it is always a choice how one determines to move forward. There is no need to practice any form of breathing, nor misogi, nor bow, nor wear a do-gi, nor say onegaishimasu or domoariagtogozaimashita. None of these things determine whether or not you are practicing aikido. However, having just said that, I would like to put one caveat in front of it for you to consider. If I say that balancing a Frisbee on its side on my nose while singing the star spangled banner in polish is aikido, and you come to my dojo, you too will be doing just that if you are interested in having the agreement of everyone, or even anyone present that what you are doing may be called aikido. Fortunately in this case, what I say doesn't go, as I am not the person responsible for creating the model. We have but only to look back and see what O-Sensei was doing to determine what were the defining elements included within his art form.

O-Sensei practiced misogi, and clearly said, "Aikido is Misogi." that is a bit different than if he had said, Aikido is a form of misogi." O-Sensei did not eat meat. This was not due to religious observance of any kind but actually had to do with his study under a particular person who indicated that consumption of meat products (see the comment on animal proteins in this thread) disturbs the breath, and therefore will prevent one from achieving chinkon and perceiving the true meaning of Masakatsu-Agatsu-Katsuhayahi.

So again, you may choose to do whatever you want. You can call it aikido in your dojo, and no one will argue with you. You can come to my dojo and demonstrate what it is that you call aikido, and then I will get up and balance a Frisbee sideways on my nose and sing the star spangled banner in polish and then tell you that is what I call aikido. However, in each and every one of those instances, regardless of the fact that we call it aikido, which we are perfectly within our right to do, we will not be practicing, demonstrating, following in the path of or sharing the art form that O-Sensei's called Aikido no matter how many students, dojos, national or international aikido organizations come out and say that we are.

It is always up to the individual to make the correct choice. This often times happens after making many incorrect choices hoping that no one will notice.

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Old 02-09-2005, 10:49 PM   #29
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
James Young wrote:
I'm glad that someone mentioned the health benefits connected with apple cider vinegar, i.e to make your blood less acidic. I remember once on a business trip that the president of one of our vendors in Japan was into healthful living and all that and on one occassion he gave us a glass of Pairogen C. It was quite an unusual drink to say the least and when I read the ingredients it was primarily apple cider vinegar along with some other natural ingredients. I was told it was good for my health, but I didn't know exactly what it was supposed to do for my health. From the above posts now I do understand. As a sidenote unfortunately I didn't experience any of the intended benefits at that time because I only drank it for a couple of times while I was visting that company and never became a regular, long-term user. It may be interesting to try it again and use it on a regular and long-term basis to see if it does provide any benefit.
Wow, I am not sure how this got into the thread, but boy am I glad that it did. Personally I believe that it is important enough to have its own thread, but it does make this one a much more enticing read.

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Old 02-09-2005, 11:13 PM   #30
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Casey Martinson wrote:
As for balancing blood pH, I might add that protein, especially animal protien (meat, dairy) has a very acidifying effect. I haven't read any of the "Balance your pH" diet books that are currently popular, but one consequence of overly acidic blood is a loss of bone density. Calcium is a natural antidote to high acidity, so in order to restore the appropriate pH balance, your body will draw calcium from the bones.[/b]
Wow, Wow, WOW! really good stuff, here. I would absolutely recommend "Acid and Alkaline" written by Herman Aihara as a must read for anyone doing any type of personal research into this material at any level. With regards to what Casey pointed out about animal proteins is that they effect the breath in a manner that creates a higher level of acidity in the body, thereby compounding the negative effects into one vicious cycle that collapses in on itself. The reason, from the macrobiotic approach is that calcium (yang) is attracted by the acidic condition (extreme yin).

When one is acidic, one also craves sugar. When the calcium is drawn out from the bones, and at the onset of osteoporosis, additional sources of calcium are usually prescribed (meaning forced into the body in the form of either pills or injections) The problem is that sugar and calcium, yin and yang respectively also attract one another. The body is made up of yin and yang elements. Cartilage is considered very yang, notably the knees and the knuckles. All types of sugars are considered extreme yin foods according to the macrobiotic approach. As such, they are attracted to the extreme yang elements within the body. Therefore they attack the cartilage of the knees and finger joints, elbow joints, hip joints, etc. weakening them to the point of extreme discomfort and or failure. This is why older individuals are often found to have osteoporosis and degenerative arthritis in the joints of the major extremities. Of course it should not go without saying that, again according to the macrobiotic approach an acidic body condition is the major cause of cancer today. A diet that is "low-carb" (anyone heard of that) and therefore too rich in proteins is thus determined to be out of balance and not an optimal approach for long term health and or happiness. You sure will look good in the mirror, though only while you are still able to stand on both of your legs long enough to admire yourself in it.

Quote:
This is not to say that such proteins are -- from a nutritional perspective--bad, but they should be treated as very potent foods to be consumed in moderation. In general, Americans are not moderate in their consumption of meat or dairy.
Exactly!

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Old 02-09-2005, 11:29 PM   #31
Misogi-no-Gyo
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Keith Lee wrote:
Yeah, I hear you Ron.

And I'm not trying to be down on these guys or stifle discussion or anything. Just sharing my opinion. I've been around the country and North of the border plenty and trained at a lot of different dojos & different styles. I've trained with folks whose main emphasis and focus was on ki and breathing etc.
Mr. Lee,

Just to be absolutely clear to all those reading along. Kokyu is not Ki. I've been around too. However, I don't recall ever walking into a dojo that advertised itself as a Kokyu dojo. Kokyu is simply the a manner with which one trains to understand how to release the body's muscular power, particularly in the shoulders, biceps, triceps forearms and legs so that Ki can flow and Aiki can be present.

You can practice Ki and breathing exercises until you are blue in the face (sorry, I just couldn't resist) but until you understand how to manifest and apply Kokyu power you are not doing aikido, merely a shabby (read *weak*) version of jujitsu, or as we like to say, "flimsy wrist twisting." While I am sure you may know a thing or two about better forms of the latter, and by the way there is nothing wrong with wrist twisting as there are some very fine arts out there that have perfected all sorts of ways to do this in a perfectly respectable manner, perhaps this thread might encourage you to take another look at what you might have missed.

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Old 02-09-2005, 11:59 PM   #32
Misogi-no-Gyo
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Believe it or not, the unusual skills that O-Sensei showed in his demonstrations are the heart and soul of Aikido. Maybe you would enjoy taking a look at some of the old films that are recorded and see if you can duplicate his feats. If you can, you understand the heart of Aikido and you'll understand why Shaun and I suggest it is so important. It's so important that when Koichi Tohei broke off from Hombu Dojo that he used the Ki strength as the banner of the new school he was starting.... if it wasn't so important, he wouldn't have done that.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
Mr. Sigman,

O-Sensei did not teach Ki. He did provide instruction in Misogi-no-Gyo i.e. his particular practice of misogi. Yes, most ignored it and focused merely on the "techniques" or learning to mutter some of the mystical sounding religiously-veiled budo-babble about which they thought they could feign a reasonable understanding. Fortunately not everyone discarded this training. I have had the wonderful privilege to have Abe Sensei, one of those individuals share it with me over the years.

I am not trying to be political, but rather provide some basis upon which individuals who practice any of the aforementioned arts can understand the relationship of these arts to one another. Having tried to make that clear at the outset, it is important to note that Tohei Sensei's art is not based upon the teachings of O-Sensei - period. It is based upon the physical techniques of lower level daito-ryu, as was the technical basis for the founding of Aikido. However, O-Sensei's art is not Daito-Ryu, and would not have been even if he had chosen to call it such. As this is the case with O-Sensei's art, it can certainly be said that Tohei Sensei's art is not Aikido. This is regardless of the fact that at the time he separated himself from the Aikikai that he did choose to call it Aikido. Rather, Tohei Sensei's art while using the techniques that he gleaned from his years at the Aikikai was developed around the teachings of Dr. Tempu Nakamura. That is why when you walk into a typical Aikido Dojo you do not see a picture of Takeda Sokaku Sensei. That is also why when you walk into the typical Ki-Society dojo, or the like, you see a picture of Tohei Sensei, and generally not O-Sensei, Ueshiba Morihei.

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Old 02-10-2005, 12:11 AM   #33
Misogi-no-Gyo
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
I suspect, one can't do (and is often not interested at all) Misogi practice before mastering aikido techniques at very high technical level.
Body and mind must be "mature" enough, if you start too early, you simply pretend, you are not real. As K.Chiba sensei said one day, all we do during normal practice it isn't aikido at all, we are doing "conditionning".
Is it preparation for higher level of practice?
Kanai sensei said that misogi is heart of aikido practice. But he didn't explain, he didn't like to talk too much about such things. I wish, I could ask him about it.

Szczepan,

Not to disagree, but...

As it is said, "it is not wise to put the cart before the horse..." It could also be said, "...while you *could* move the cart without a horse, it would certainly take a lot longer and require much, much more effort, indeed." What I am saying is that while one *could* theoretically master the techniques without an understanding of Kokyu, it would certainly be a long, arduous haul up to that mountain top - with or without a cart or a horse...

My personal opinion is that without kokyu while you may master something; it may not be what you need in the least to do aikido. Once you have mastered kokyu, you do not rely on techniques. However the reverse can not be said to be true.

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Old 02-10-2005, 07:55 AM   #34
Mike Sigman
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Shaun Ravens wrote:
Apparently this thread has really lit up. For this I am grateful to you in starting it back up. Of course, we all have different names for things. However, for the record, and again just so that we are all working from the same page. Kokyu-ho is the breathing method applied when practicing Kokyu-dosa (popular breath exercise usually done with a partner, in seiza)
Hi Shaun:

I'll try to cut my replies down so we can keep the thread manageable.

Well, I disagree with you on this, but I doubt we'll resolve it on the internet so I'll say something briefly and drop it. "Ki" is a catch-all term that includes under its umbrella explanations for many things we in the West consider separate phenomena. Originally, all "unknown forces" like genetically transmitted strengths, blood sugar, momentum, forces, etc., etc., were explained by the term "Ki" or "Qi". Within the body systems, an unusual relationship between the subconscious and the musculo-fascial system was learned via India (the Chinese system is largely borrowed from India, originally). The odd body system coordination will yield great strength, great resistance to blows, heightened impenetrability to the skin, and a heightened immune system, among a few other things. The whole group of phenomena are "Ki", in this subset use of the word. The power we're talking about in Kokyu-ho-dosa is generically called "Ki", but the specific power is Kokyu. So the terms "ki" and "kokyu" can be and often are used to describe the same phenomenon.
Quote:
Abe Sensei is thought to have preserved the transmission of O-Sensei's Kokyu. My second goal is to initiate those that are seeking O-Sensei's kokyu into the training practices so that if they have any opportunity to meet Abe Sensei, that they will be that much further ahead than if they were encountering the material for the first time.
Great idea, Shaun. Can you give a rough description of some of Abe Sensei's favorite training methods? I've already heard about his swinging of a very heavy sword or club. Could you describe more? Are there any videos of him training (as opposed to demonstrating techniques)? I have collected training methods of various people for many years.
Quote:
Separate from identifying with any Nationalistic or Ideological group, I am speaking in actual terms of direction. It could be said that North is 180 degrees in relation to South. Now we all understand that there is no North or South, only points relative to one another. The fact is that according to the Chinese ki flow (its direction from one organ to another within the body) is from North to West, or say counter clockwise, and in the Japanese tradition is moves from North to East, or clockwise. Therefore, the two paths from merely a semantic point of study and understanding are 180 degrees from each other. If you are discussing how to treat certain conditions within the body, and you are considering your treatment from a Chinese tradition, it is best to maintain that approach throughout the treatment, and not interject the Japanese approach to healing through their yin/yang equivalent. My point was simply not to interject the Chinese approach to Ki, and Kokyu as it is not exactly described in the same fashion, and can possibly confuse anyone reading through such thick material as found in this thread.
Well, there are some variations within the system, but basically everything starts from the hara and the organs, power, meridians, etc., are all intertwined in the same way. However, flows from the organs and other things are not needed to discuss the specific system that Misogi, qigongs, kokyu, etc., are involved in. I don't want to get mired in a terminology debate.
Quote:
A minor point of contention. Ki and Kokyu are not the same thing. O-Sensei did not teach "ki" although he encompassed the idea of it in his holistic approach upon which he founded his art. You can't have aikido with out ki. However, O-Sensei's waza was a reflection of his continual study of instant manifestation of Kokyu via a free flowing technical paradigm which he noted as Take Musu Aiki. There are two parts to Take Musu Aiki, the Take Musu, and the Aiki. One needs to understand both of these two elements, and how they relate to each other as separates, and combine with each other to form the goal for each of us as seekers of O-Sensei Aikido art form.
In a broader sense, the Ki, Kokyu, etc., etc., of Aikido are simply aspects of oriental martial arts that are common to the vast majority of asian martial arts. At best, we're only talking about O-Sensei's particular variations in using and developing them. There are many different ways, from hard to soft, in developing the "Ki" and using its aspects, because the basic principles are the same.
Quote:
In any case, all good stuff that I certainly enjoy talking about. However, you have to feel it in order for any of it to make sense at all. Perhaps our paths will cross at which point we can solidify our ideas with a balance of practice, training and sharing our individual ideas on the subject.
Sounds good to me; I'll look forward to it. The variants of Ki are more extensive even than I've seen in any Japanese art and can be quite interesting. However, let me note that the basic benefits for most people are still an increase in strength and overall health (because of the immune-system function).

All the Best.

Mike
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Old 02-10-2005, 08:11 AM   #35
Mike Sigman
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Shaun Ravens wrote:
O-Sensei did not teach Ki. He did provide instruction in Misogi-no-Gyo i.e. his particular practice of misogi. [snip]

it is important to note that Tohei Sensei's art is not based upon the teachings of O-Sensei - period. It is based upon the physical techniques of lower level daito-ryu, as was the technical basis for the founding of Aikido. However, O-Sensei's art is not Daito-Ryu, and would not have been even if he had chosen to call it such. As this is the case with O-Sensei's art, it can certainly be said that Tohei Sensei's art is not Aikido. This is regardless of the fact that at the time he separated himself from the Aikikai that he did choose to call it Aikido. Rather, Tohei Sensei's art while using the techniques that he gleaned from his years at the Aikikai was developed around the teachings of Dr. Tempu Nakamura. That is why when you walk into a typical Aikido Dojo you do not see a picture of Takeda Sokaku Sensei. That is also why when you walk into the typical Ki-Society dojo, or the like, you see a picture of Tohei Sensei, and generally not O-Sensei, Ueshiba Morihei.
Well, without getting too involved in Tohei, let me note that he left because he was not made the Doshu, more than anything else. He was the one most qualified, probably, but all of that is just politics and I don't want to go that way.

Tohei's emphasis on the Ki aspects was simply because he recognized Ki studies as the heart of Aikido. Insofar as who really does the Aikido of Morihei Ueshiba, there is so much variance among the uchi-deshi's that it's a fruitless discussion. My perspective is simply that the value of the Ki and Kokyu aspects of Aikido are amazingly missed by most people who say they practice Aikido..... I think you and I agree on that one. But the rest of my perspective, from having done a number of different martial arts over a great many years, is that Ki, Kokyu, yada, yada, yada, are somewhat secret techniques of improving the body that are found in most Asian martial arts, to some degree. Those specific things have been my focus of interest for a great many years and I'm interested in all that you'll share about Abe Sensei's training methods. I'll try to reciprocate by supplying what commentary I can, for the benefit of everyone's information. And in case you're concerned about speaking too freely on the internet, let me assure you that unless someone actually is shown personally how to do a lot of these things, they simply won't get them. Even if they're shown once, they won't be able to get it... it takes a while and some guidance. If it bothers you still, I'll be glad to go to private emailing. How's that?

Mike
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Old 02-10-2005, 08:15 AM   #36
rob_liberti
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

What a great thread! Thanks specifically to Mike for bringing this back up - because I missed it the first time around, and thanks also to Shaun who I now really want to visit.

I have only a few observations:
1) We call rowing exercise: funekogitaiso (or something like that).
a) We rotate our hands around our thurmbs on the way out, and then rotate back around our pinkys on the way back and down.
b) When I train with Gleason sensei under the Yamaguchi lineage, we start out with "A-I-E-T" (pronounced ah-ee-ate!) and row back with "SA", then we switch stance and row to "A-I-E-T" and "HO". When I train with Suganuma sensei, he makes the same sounds, but they start with "A-I-E-T" and "HO" and then move on to "A-I-E-T" and "SA". I just follow the "when in Rome" motto, but I'd love an explanation if there is one.

2) One helpful thing told to me about the 'shaking the hands in front of your center' exercise was to put the left hand on top and think about pushing your energy down into your legs. That's been rather helpful to me.

3) Gleason sensei is doing Yamaguchi sensei's aikido which is _not necessarily_ Osensei's exact flavor. Shaun, you are doing Abe sensei's aikido which is _not necessarily_ Osensei's exact flavor. I do Gleason sensei's and Suganuma sensei's aikido to the best of my ability and that's not exactly Osensei's aikido either. I certainly agree that putting direct kokyu practice will get you closer to Osensei's aikido than hoping it happens by just doing physical training and not thinking about it at all - but that might only get you to what Osensei wanted his sandans and yondans to be.

Two points about Calcium:
1) It is an indisputable scientific fact that the calcium in cow milk is NOT bio-available to humans. If you are reading this in Texas, please don't take me to court I'm not as rich as Oprah.
2) The dietary suppliments that offer a 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium are generally no longer appropriate with the times due to the minerally depleted soils (in the States). If someone can find a supliment with a 1:1 ratio you are probably much better off.

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 02-10-2005 at 08:21 AM.
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Old 02-10-2005, 08:53 AM   #37
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
"flimsy wrist twisting."
Hmmm, I think that might be taking it just a bit too far...as a yudansha in the yoshinkan, I'm sure Keith isn't practicing "flimsy wrist twisting."

Quote:
That is why when you walk into a typical Aikido Dojo you do not see a picture of Takeda Sokaku Sensei.
I don't know if yoshinkan dojo can be called typical, but you do indeed see a picture of Takeda Sensei in some...I've seen it myself as a matter of fact.

Sometimes I find it very difficult to celebrate my own preference for keiko without denigrating the keiko of others. It can be a very fine line...
Ron
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 02-10-2005, 10:43 AM   #38
Mike Sigman
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
[snipsky]
a) We rotate our hands around our thurmbs on the way out, and then rotate back around our pinkys on the way back and down.
b) When I train with Gleason sensei under the Yamaguchi lineage, we start out with "A-I-E-T" (pronounced ah-ee-ate!) and row back with "SA", then we switch stance and row to "A-I-E-T" and "HO". When I train with Suganuma sensei, he makes the same sounds, but they start with "A-I-E-T" and "HO" and then move on to "A-I-E-T" and "SA". I just follow the "when in Rome" motto, but I'd love an explanation if there is one.

2) One helpful thing told to me about the 'shaking the hands in front of your center' exercise was to put the left hand on top and think about pushing your energy down into your legs. That's been rather helpful to me. [snipperooney]
Hi Rob:
The exact sounds aren't as important as how the body is being contracted or stretched with a sound. In all these things, don't pay so much attention to the exact ritual as to figuring out "what is really going on here?". And in a lot of cases, you'll never figure it out because it's not obvious or you'll never figure it out because the person demonstrating it only learned it as a ritual and didn't understand what the original intent was, either. Being realistic and common sensical is always the best approach, imho.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 02-10-2005, 11:39 AM   #39
rob_liberti
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Hey there,

That's pretty much my feeling about many people's basic waza. The 'waza for the masses' - especially when you can only do it if you are already bigger and stronger than your partner is unacceptable. Yamaguchi sensei used to say something like 'don't practice the impossible, the possible is hard enough'.

When I am rowing, I work on sending my mind out with the forward motion, and then bringing it all back into myself with the back and down motion. I admit that _sometimes_ I inhale for like three full rows, and then exhale for several rows. It all depends on my feeling at the time. I would love to go visit Shaun and row with him for a while to experience his way.

However, I'm not too interested in doing cold water falls meditation unless the temperature outside is VERY hot. I think I'd like to know I wasn't going to catch pnemonia first before I try that one!

Rob
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Old 02-10-2005, 11:48 AM   #40
Mike Sigman
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
When I am rowing, I work on sending my mind out with the forward motion,
Would it be fair to say that you are mindless at that time?
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Old 02-10-2005, 11:51 AM   #41
rob_liberti
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

That's fair to say almost anytime!

But, what I meant was more that I'm thinking a bit less about my individual mind, and more accepting that my mind is part of a Universal mind at that time.

There are a lot of helpful (to me!) trickslike that. Another one is to imagine your fingers a MUCH longer. When you are cutting with a sword, you can imagine that it's a giant paint brush and you are painting the ceiling and wall in front of you, etc.

(I don't say that this is the only way, just that it helps me.)
Rob

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Old 02-10-2005, 12:19 PM   #42
Casey Martinson
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Rob, I have to commend your bravery for dissing cow's milk as a calcium source. I wanted to say it, but people can be more touchy about their diet than they are about their aikido. For my money, the best calcium sources are green veggies--mmm....kale... I also drink a lot of fortified orange juice, but whole food sources are probably the best. And if you have a moderate protein intake, you probably don't need megaboosts of calcium anyway.
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Old 02-10-2005, 12:37 PM   #43
Mike Sigman
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
[snip]But, what I meant was more that I'm thinking a bit less about my individual mind, and more accepting that my mind is part of a Universal mind at that time.

There are a lot of helpful (to me!) trickslike that. Another one is to imagine your fingers a MUCH longer. When you are cutting with a sword, you can imagine that it's a giant paint brush and you are painting the ceiling and wall in front of you, etc.

(I don't say that this is the only way, just that it helps me.)
Rob
Hi Rob:
So how do you KNOW that your mind is "part of a Universal mind at that time"???? Right now I am closing my eyes and imagining that I am on the moon Titan. I imagine how it feels. I squinch one eye open and darn... I'm not really there, no matter what I was imagining.

How about if while you're doing the rowing exercise (and do it very slowly until you get the hang of it) you imagine that you're actually pushing and pulling the long oar that is sculling a boat through the water. Push with the middle coming forward (let your middle and your hands be the same thing) and pull with the middle doing the pulling. The hands are just transmitters of the middle's power. As you get more and more practiced, the motion of the hands will start looking more and more natural and less stilted. Gradually, the power of the middle will be in your hands and you can use fune kogi undo as a nice warmup to "get the Ki flowing" in your hands. Would that work?

FWIW

Mike
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Old 02-10-2005, 01:34 PM   #44
rob_liberti
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Well,

I don't KNOW anything really, neither can I define what success is, or any of the other stuff like that. Same way you don't KNOW that this isn't all a dream and you are going to wake up and be in 1st grade, or that we weren't all created _just now_ with all of our memories in tact... So acting within the bounds of that kind of humilty, you just get an opinion that seems to be helpful and run with it until you suspect that it is no longer helpful... So as far as rowing goes, what I've been practicing has been somewhat helpful for a while.

I do like your imagery. I think I took that one step further. I actually like to make rowing a partner practice (every once and a while), where an 'uke' grabs your wrists and resists your movement a bit. If you move your middle first and then your arms it works pretty well. I can usually row a fairly strong person who is working hard to resist me. It would be fun to put someone behind me to push against my back as I rowed backward into that space - but I just thought of trying that this moment.

If someone can explain breath exercises and the reasoning behind them in a very physical way, or a mental/spiritual way I'm always willing to listen and try to learn.

Rob

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Old 02-10-2005, 02:30 PM   #45
Mike Sigman
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
If someone can explain breath exercises and the reasoning behind them in a very physical way, or a mental/spiritual way I'm always willing to listen and try to learn.
Ultimately, the breathing exercises are a way of conditioning an odd musculo-fascial relationship that also has a component of control of normally involuntary muscles... that's where the focus on "meditation" comes in. Some types of qigong forego a lot of the subconscious relationship and focus more on the conditioning aspect. There are subtle ways to approach this conditioning and there are fairly direct "hard style" ways to do it. The problem is that the more direct your approach, the greater your risks of hypertension side-effects. Because of the hypertension possibilities, most of the recommended ways are slow and "meditative" and done over a fairly long period of time.

Incidentally, since the subconscious is a participant in the training, "involuntary movement" will often accompany some of the training. Another effect is an increase in "magnetic feelings", like between the hands, etc. This is the basis for the "emitted qi", reiki, and related phenomena that are heard about. Interestingly, there is starting to be some studies done on this part of the phenomenon in the West. I found a book called "Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis" by James L. Oschman that, while I don't think is very rigorous, is at least interesting to read.

That being said, the basic conditioning will build your "Ki", but the Ki by itself is not very strong; it's the Ki in combination with the normal musculature that is so strong. The "Kokyu" power is actually, in my opinion, sort of a separate skill, but it is also improved by the conditioning and is sort of an intertwined component. But these are things you really have to be shown to understand. I wrote some lengthy descriptions of how to get started and what to practice on a mailing list and found out that it was just time wasted.... you can't write successfully about this training anymore than you can successfully describe in writing how to ride a bicycle. How's that?

Mike
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Old 02-11-2005, 12:19 AM   #46
Misogi-no-Gyo
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Hmmm, I think that might be taking it just a bit too far...as a yudansha in the yoshinkan, I'm sure Keith isn't practicing "flimsy wrist twisting."

Hi Ron,

To be clear, please note that I wrote to Mr. Lee was, "...While I am sure that you know a thing or two about better forms of the latter..." specifically noting my acknowledgement of his Yoshinkan background.

Quote:
I don't know if yoshinkan dojo can be called typical, but you do indeed see a picture of Takeda Sensei in some...I've seen it myself as a matter of fact.
...just a minor clarification. What I meant was that you don't see a picture of Takeda Sokaku in many *Aikikai* aikido dojos, and more specifically, that when you go into Ki Society dojos, one usually finds a picture of Tohei Sensei versus O-Sensei. This merely points to who the school looks back on as the Founder of their system. In Ki Dojos, it is not O-Sensei in most cases. Of course, I am just stating generalities based upon my own observation along with anecdotal evidence, and not providing any measure of statistical data.

Quote:
Sometimes I find it very difficult to celebrate my own preference for keiko without denigrating the keiko of others. It can be a very fine line...
Sure is. I tend to describe things in terms of goals and methods set out to achieve them. Since the goals of many dojos fall along the lines of the organizations from which they arose, and the line (style) of aikido upon which they base themselves, the methods and thereby the techniques set up to achieve these varying goals are going to be different. Should the observable methods produce the stated goals, I conclude that the art, style, line or what have you is legitimate and successful. I may not agree with those goals for myself, or seek them within my training, but I will respect them nonetheless for the uniqueness, ingenuity and ability to survive in a world that thrives on constant change.

I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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Old 02-11-2005, 12:26 AM   #47
Misogi-no-Gyo
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
He I would love to go visit Shaun and row with him for a while to experience his way.

However, I'm not too interested in doing cold water falls meditation unless the temperature outside is VERY hot. I think I'd like to know I wasn't going to catch pnemonia first before I try that one!

Rob
Rob,

Please take the *liberty* of contacting me privately at any time should you want to get together and train, whether that be formally, privately or casually. As for the Cold Water Misogi, I don't require that of any of the students, and only make it available via private request or at Kagami Biraki Hastu Geiko. Actually, it is not the water that gets to you, but rather the cold ground and the cold air before the water hits you.

I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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Old 02-11-2005, 12:28 AM   #48
PeterR
 
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Shaun Ravens wrote:
Sure is. I tend to describe things in terms of goals and methods set out to achieve them. Since the goals of many dojos fall along the lines of the organizations from which they arose, and the line (style) of aikido upon which they base themselves, the methods and thereby the techniques set up to achieve these varying goals are going to be different. Should the observable methods produce the stated goals, I conclude that the art, style, line or what have you is legitimate and successful. I may not agree with those goals for myself, or seek them within my training, but I will respect them nonetheless for the uniqueness, ingenuity and ability to survive in a world that thrives on constant change.
That's all well and good Shaun but the tone of many of your posts don't reflect this. Ron makes a valid point.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-11-2005, 01:02 AM   #49
Misogi-no-Gyo
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote:
That's all well and good Shaun but the tone of many of your posts don't reflect this. Ron makes a valid point.

Peter-San,

Yes, Ron's point is valid. No one is debating him on that, either. If someone takes offense because I say "…if there is no Kokyu, then it is not O-Sensei's Aikido…" then I guess you are correct in what you say. However, that is not a question of tone, but rather of content. I am not apt to try to clean it up with PC speak in an attempt to eliminate any possible chance of offending someone. All that will be achieved will be that I will obfuscate or mask what it is that I am trying to clearly state. More often than not, a simple, "What did you mean when you said…?" will illicit a clarification that hopefully will eliminate a misinterpretation of my thoughts or feelings.

There is always the old adage to keep in mind, that being, "In an attempt to please everyone, no one was pleased." and this I would prefer to avoid at all costs.

In any case if there is something you would like to say to me, either publicly or privately than please do so. Unfortunately your post unintentionally or otherwise alluded to your dissatisfaction with something I have said, but alas nothing direct was communicated. I am a simple person, so please communicate by simply stating your case. I will always try to respond in a direct, passionate, but even handed manner, although I reserve the right to fail miserably.

I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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Old 02-11-2005, 06:09 AM   #50
Mike Sigman
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Shaun Ravens speaking about "tone" of posts wrote:
If someone takes offense because I say "…if there is no Kokyu, then it is not O-Sensei's Aikido…" then I guess you are correct in what you say. However, that is not a question of tone, but rather of content. I am not apt to try to clean it up with PC speak in an attempt to eliminate any possible chance of offending someone.
Just to attempt to ameliorate this tangent, let me chip in my 2 cents. Shaun is obviously aggressive and sure of himself, others are more self-effacing or deprecating, and so on, but as long as information is being transferred in a reasonably good manner, there is little need to mention "tone" or personal characteristics. I tend to discuss these things bluntly, much as I would discuss woodworking and joinery with fellow woodworkers, so often I appear not to adhere to someone else's ideas of expected rituals and "spirituality". Who cares about things like "tone", etc., as long as someone is sharing and discussing useful information? We should be able to ignore our perceptions of personalities we get from someone's posts and focus on the exchange of ideas. It's usually pleasantly surprising at how nice people are when we meet them in person after reading their posts, isn't it?

As a companion to that thought, let me tell a brief anecdote: I studied Judo and Okinawan karate for many years before I took up Aikido. When I finally decided I wanted more information about some of these aspects of Ki that I couldn't find out, I started taking Taiji (Tai Chi is the old spelling) from a native Chinese man who taught in a parking lot on weekends. There was a shock to my system to not be wearing a gi and observing ritualized protocols in a group setting, after so many years of wearing gi's and being in a "Japanese" setting. So "gi", "protocols" and "group settings" (particularly the group that we are used to dealing with in terms of Aikido) sometimes color our expectations of how someone else should act or speak. Maybe it would be helpful if sometimes we took off our keiko-gi in our minds and got outside of our ritualized perceptions? If something seems perhaps slightly offensive, ignoring it and assuming it may just be plain-speak instead of insult might be helpful.


FWIW

Mike
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