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Old 02-11-2005, 09:16 AM   #51
Mike Sigman
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Shaun Ravens wrote:
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 [snipsky]
Shaun, I've thought about your comments above and decided that in the interests of focusing on definitions I could probably add a little bit more. The problem is that your comments about "muscular power" in relation to Kokyu sort of thows a wrench into the discussion on ultimately what Kokyu really is.

Let me go back a little bit and note that there are various ways to look at the ki/qi in the body. Some people look at it as a mysterious force (which is the reason it sometimes gets mixed into religious beliefs, like in Aikido) and some people look at it quite practically in other ways. In the practical arena, there is a strong adherence to the belief (particularly in China) that ki/qi is quite literally related to air (which is the definition of ki/qi, literally, in many usages, both in Japanese and Chinese). Of course air, vapor, breathing, air-pressure, etc., are difficult to distinguish semantically in Chinese and Japanese.

It's almost reflexive to consider Ki as "air" and disregard that definition while looking for something with a deeper meaning. However, the Ki of "air" and breath are what Misogi is really about.

If someone wants me to exapand into more detail about Ki and air, let me know, but for the moment let me just say the following, so that I can perhaps reconcile how Shaun's "Breath" and my physical discussion of "jin" are both aspects of Ki.

If you look at the body as a basketball filled with air, the grosser, more physical aspect of Ki (there's a more etheric part of Ki, but that's another topic) is that Ki represents the pressure inside the ball. It's "air pressure" or "breath pressure", but it's essentially pressure. Qigongs and other breathing exercises have a main function of increasing the strength of the basketball skin by manipulating pressures within the body and moving them about. (Keep in mind that there is a more mysterious component and that I'm drastically simplifying this explanation).

If the basketball is resting on the ground and someone presses against it with their hand, there can be said to be a "path" through the air or "breath" to the ground.... OR someone could say that the power resisting the hand is from the air or "breath".. "Jin" and "Kokyu" *can* be said to be aspects of paths through the air in the basketball. In the body, a person's "pressure" or "Ki" is said to decrease as one gets older. I.e., the walls of the basketball get weaker and the pressure inside the ball lessens. The body becomes weaker and more susceptible to disease because the "pressure", the "Ki", is declining. Qigongs and breathing exercises primarily strengthen the "pressure" and the walls and connective structure of the body.

But anyway, my point is that "kokyu" can be said to be a power that develops from the pressure or "breath" within the body. It's a path to the ground in most cases and it is not muscular, but a function of strengthened walls and "pressure" of sorts. I.e., Shaun's insistence on Kokyu referring to breath and not jin is well-taken, but an argument can be made that it's the same thing.

Is that helpful or vaguely clear?

Mike
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Old 02-11-2005, 12:51 PM   #52
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Definately helpfull...I'm just listening at this point, but I hope the discussion continues...
Thanks,
Ron

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Old 02-11-2005, 02:56 PM   #53
Mike Sigman
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Incidentally, in line with the discussion about this relationship between Ki and Kokyu, there's an interesting comment by Abe Sensei at:
http://www.page.sannet.ne.jp/shun-q/INTERVIEW-E.html

Look to the number 4 section. In it, Abe's remarks make it clear that the calligraphy brush is powered by the Kokyu, which is exactly how the jin control is discussed in Chinese calligraphy. Further down in the commentary is the remark about how the Ki can be noticed in calligraphy.... it is because of this control that the Ki can be felt in the characters, or so the theory goes. This is a quite common comment about good calligraphy, BTW. The same power that is used to direct and throw opponents and is used in kokyu-ho-dosa is the same power used to wield the calligraphy brush.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 02-11-2005, 03:36 PM   #54
Misogi-no-Gyo
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Kokyu powers the brush and the Ki may be observed in the Shodo. This illustrates my point exactly, that Kokyu and Ki are not interchangeable, but are interrelated in a way. Ki training and Kokyu training, are therefore not the same, but are also interrelated. O-Sensei, through misogi, developed Kokyu-Ryoku. Via Misogi-No-Gyo he left clear and precise instructions on how we all can have the opportunity to do the same. Thank you for posting the passage.

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Old 02-11-2005, 04:09 PM   #55
Mike Sigman
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Shaun Ravens wrote:
Kokyu powers the brush and the Ki may be observed in the Shodo. This illustrates my point exactly, that Kokyu and Ki are not interchangeable, but are interrelated in a way.
B-b-b-b-b-but I thought I was the one who posted that!
Quote:
Ki training and Kokyu training, are therefore not the same, but are also interrelated. O-Sensei, through misogi, developed Kokyu-Ryoku. Via Misogi-No-Gyo he left clear and precise instructions on how we all can have the opportunity to do the same. Thank you for posting the passage.
Actually, the breathing practices will not produce Kokyu power although they will lay the bedwork for it. It is the various Kokyu exercises that produce Kokyu Ryoku in relation to certain movements. If you practice moving a calligraphy brush with kokyu, that's how you acquire skill and facility in doing calligraphy with that power. If you practice standing or moving in certain ways, that's how you develop the kokyu power for those particular movements. Unless you practice moving the power from the ground with your waist though, all is a waste.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 02-11-2005, 09:39 PM   #56
Misogi-no-Gyo
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
B-b-b-b-b-but I thought I was the one who posted that!
You most certainly were. However, if you look, you will find many places where you try to use the terms interchangeably.

Quote:
Actually, the breathing practices will not produce Kokyu power although they will lay the bedwork for it. It is the various Kokyu exercises that produce Kokyu Ryoku in relation to certain movements. If you practice moving a calligraphy brush with kokyu, that's how you acquire skill and facility in doing calligraphy with that power. If you practice standing or moving in certain ways, that's how you develop the kokyu power for those particular movements. Unless you practice moving the power from the ground with your waist though, all is a waste.

FWIW

Mike

Agreed. That is why, and I keep trying to point back to the first post within the thread, that there are different Gyo that make up Misogi-no-Gyo. Different exercises focus on diffferent areas within the body. Once one understands how to develop Kokyu, one then needs to understand how to apply it. This is where Ki & Kokyu overlap. Understanding the Ki lines and the Kokyu circles and how they interact is the point of the training at the basic-intermediate level.

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Old 02-12-2005, 09:36 AM   #57
Mike Sigman
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Shaun Ravens about terms Ki and Kokyu wrote:
You most certainly were. However, if you look, you will find many places where you try to use the terms interchangeably.
You're misunderstanding, Shaun. Kokyu is considered an aspect of Ki, so the terms are often and confusingly used interchangeably. That's what I said. I also said they were separate things, but that they are intertwined, if you'll look.

If someone pushes on Tohei's forearm, for example, it is often called a demonstration of Tohei's "Ki", but actually he is demonstrating Kokyu. Kokyu and Ki are not the same things, in reality. If Tohei stands with his forearm ready to take my push to ground, but I am not yet pushing against the arm, his Ki is in his forearm. When I physically push against the arm and can't move him, I am feeling his Kokyu power. Kokyu is the substantive manifestation of Ki.
Quote:
Agreed. That is why, and I keep trying to point back to the first post within the thread, that there are different Gyo that make up Misogi-no-Gyo. Different exercises focus on diffferent areas within the body. Once one understands how to develop Kokyu, one then needs to understand how to apply it. This is where Ki & Kokyu overlap. Understanding the Ki lines and the Kokyu circles and how they interact is the point of the training at the basic-intermediate level.
I'm not sure we're talking about the same thing here, Shaun. Besides, the Misogi-no-Gyo are obviously not complete and are only very elementary. Why do you think Abe Sensei swings a 40-pound instrument as part of his practice? It's because of the rudimentary nature of the Gyo and the need for supplemental exercises. That's why I said I was interested to hear if you knew of any of his other exercises and why I've been waiting for you to reply.

My interest in this conversation is fairly simple and I'll explain it, briefly. My impression (after years of study) of the Ki knowledge of the Japanese was that the Japanese knowledge was not very high and I've been focused on studying and researching the Chinese developments of Qi-related phenomena. Recently, I got into a discussion about the jo-trick and as part of that discussion I took a look at the old film footage of O-Sensei's ki demonstrations. Surprisingly, he was better than I would have thought... I thought Tohei was the one with the most Ki knowledge, but I can see O-Sensei was pretty good, and I'm impressed once more. When I took Aikido, I didn't know enough to be able to judge what O-Sensei knew, but now I can understand what he showed and roughly what he knew in comparison to the Chinese arts.

The question is "what did O-Sensei know and where did he get it?". The page I cited yesterday with the Abe Sensei interview indicates that Abe's Misogi knowledge didn't come from O-Sensei, so there is another puzzle here, maybe, but certainly a question about what O-Sensei really practiced.

In case you're unaware of it, there was a famous person named Chen Yuan Yun aka Gin Chin Pin aka Gempin. Chen came over from China in the early 1600's and ultimately wound up staying in Japan. According to the Kojiki or "Collection of Ancestors Conversations: Volume 2", Chen was the one who first revealed something secret about the "ju" arts to the Japanese. In honor of this, a temple was built to him near Tokyo (still standing, I think). Many jiu-jitsu people dispute Chen's (he is called Gempin by the Japanese) role in jujitsu, but I have reservations about the Japanese version of their history (even the Japanese sword, it turns out, was imported from China and Korea). The point is that Chen's name comes to my mind when I wonder what O-Sensei really knew and where he learned it from. Almost beyond doubt, Ueshiba learned the Ki things from Takeda Sokaku, and Takeda most likely learned as some extension of the knowledge that Chen gave Japan. Bear in mind that the Chinese are notorious for their allegiance to China and will rarely show outsiders any treasured knowledge (the Japanese will do the same thing, BTW), no matter how friendly they act.

So in my recent curiosity (and respect) for what O-Sensei could do, I am simply following a few leads to see what I can find out. Hence my interest in any information about training procedures used by Abe Sensei. I'm not trying to gain any new "secret" knowledge or get into any pissing contests or pecking-order battles... my intentions are quite friendly and I have a warm place in my heart for Aikido and Aikidoka. However, I'm happy with what I now know and it's pretty certainly more complex than what the Japanese were able to get... BUT, the Japanese got more than I thought -- that's intriguing and piques my curiosity. Does that clarify my position a bit? I'm simply looking to see if anyone has any information and I'm willing to swap some of the things I know in return.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 02-12-2005, 04:18 PM   #58
Don_Modesto
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
....there was a famous person named Chen Yuan Yun aka Gin Chin Pin aka Gempin. Chen came over from China in the early 1600's and ultimately wound up staying in Japan. According to the Kojiki or "Collection of Ancestors Conversations: Volume 2", Chen was the one who first revealed something secret about the "ju" arts to the Japanese.
Respectfully, you've cited the wrong source. The Kojiki was promulgated in 812 (sic--there's no "1" missing from in front of that).

"Kojiki" is usually translated as "Record of Ancient Matters", though my Jpn is not such as to be able to say that "Collection of Ancestors Conversations" is wrong.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 02-12-2005, 05:12 PM   #59
Mike Sigman
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
Respectfully, you've cited the wrong source. The Kojiki was promulgated in 812 (sic--there's no "1" missing from in front of that).

"Kojiki" is usually translated as "Record of Ancient Matters", though my Jpn is not such as to be able to say that "Collection of Ancestors Conversations" is wrong.
Thanks, Don. I actually meant to put a clause at the end of that sentence that said, "...I forget which". I just did my homework, instead of going from some scrawled notes that had "kojiki" and the other reference in a column, and found out that my original source says "Collection of Ancestors Conversations: Volume 2". I believe I originally scrawled that because I wasn't sure what book the "Collection of Ancestors Conversations: Volume 2" was, and I wondered if they meant the Kojiki. It's still possible that my original source (Liang Shou Yu in his book on Kwai Jiao) was referring to the Kojiki, but I'd have to ask him. The Chinese are well aware that Chen transmitted a lot of information to the Japanese and it's in a lot of their history books. Obviously, something more important than just throws, etc., was givien.

And you needn't preface anything with "respectfully" to me. I put my pants on one leg at a time and I'm simply a practitioner that has a focused emphasis on how Ki, Kokyu, etc., work.... and I make mistakes.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 02-12-2005, 05:34 PM   #60
Mike Sigman
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Incidentally, I would appreciate it if any students with close lineages to the original uchi-deshi (either you're a student of one of the uchi-deshi or you're the student of a Japanese student of an uchideshi) would post any unusual training techniques their teacher does. For example, if one spends a lot of time doing practice sword swings with a suburito, I'd be interested in hearing about it. The normal Aiki-Taiso and Taisabaki I'm not really interested in.

I think posting these sorts of things helps everyone get a better idea of the "Big Picture" and would be a benefit for us all.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 02-13-2005, 07:00 AM   #61
tedehara
 
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Shaun Ravens wrote:
...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...
In his book The Way to Union with Ki, Koichi Tohei lists three teachers
  • Tetsuju Ogura
  • Morihei Ueshiba
  • Tenpu Nakamura
Tetsuju Ogura was a student of Tesshu Yamaoka, a master swordsman who lived at the end of the Tokugawa era.
Quote:
Koichi Tohei wrote:
pg. 115 - I determined myself to join, and went to visit the Ichikukai Dojo which was located in Nakano at that time. Ogura Sensei was away that day, but in his place was a man being trained as his successor, Tesso Hino Sensei, who listened sympathetically to my determined appeal and allowed me to join. He told me that Misogi training was far too severe and difficult for one who had just recovered from pleurisy, so he told me to begin with Zazen training...I joined these monthly sessions right away, training through the night, and in time I found my strength returning. Half a year later I was given permission to join in the Misogi training.
Even though Tempukai theory forms the framework for Ki-Aikido, the misogi training that the Ki Society does probably comes from Ogura Sensei's training.

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Old 02-13-2005, 07:45 AM   #62
Mike Sigman
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Nice webpage for the Chicago Ki Society, Ted. I enjoyed looking through it. Clinically speaking, some of the Chinese stuff on qi and related matters is a little bit off; if you're interested, I'd be happy to make a couple of comments in private mail. Once again, for the umpteenth time, I looked through all the Kohei stuff (as I always used to do) to see if he ever got around to explaining how to DO the ki things, but once again I felt a little let down with his explanations. Sometime I'd like to write a quick explanation of the 4 points that is actually useable by most people instead of the cryptic references he makes.

I haven't read any of his books in years, Ted, but do you think that he has come out with any one book in the last 20 years that is fairly explicative about Ki and how to develop/practice it? If so, could you give me the title, etc.? Thanks.

All the Best.

Mike
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Old 02-13-2005, 10:16 AM   #63
Mike Sigman
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Ted Ehara speaking about Tohei Sensei wrote:
In his book The Way to Union with Ki, Koichi Tohei lists three teachers
  • Tetsuju Ogura
  • Morihei Ueshiba
  • Tenpu Nakamura
Tetsuju Ogura was a student of Tesshu Yamaoka, a master swordsman who lived at the end of the Tokugawa era.
Even though Tempukai theory forms the framework for Ki-Aikido, the misogi training that the Ki Society does probably comes from Ogura Sensei's training.
If Tohei Sensei's understanding of Ki, etc., came from those 3 and if Abe Sensei's Misogi-no-Gyo came from Bonji Kawatsura, who, if anyone, actually wound up with the knowledge of the Ki practices of O-Sensei??? Does anyone have some ideas?

Mike
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Old 02-13-2005, 05:52 PM   #64
James Young
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
If Tohei Sensei's understanding of Ki, etc., came from those 3 and if Abe Sensei's Misogi-no-Gyo came from Bonji Kawatsura, who, if anyone, actually wound up with the knowledge of the Ki practices of O-Sensei??? Does anyone have some ideas?Mike
I don't know if I can answer your question of who actually wound up with the knowledge of O-sensei's ki practices. (My guess would be that these and other close deshi of his all have a part of it, just like they all seem to all have a part of his technique style.)

However, another name I'll throw in the mix if you're interested is Hiroshi Tada (9th dan). When I studied under him in Japan he use to discuss the subject in depth on certain occassions and at the beginning of every practice we use to go through a series of exercises (which included some of the gyo's that Shaun listed as well as others that may have been of his invention) which were categorally called Ki no Renma. There are too many to list out and explain but I think most of these are listed on his website (unfortunately not in english) http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~yp7h-td/

One comment I'll make though is that Tada sensei, like Tohei sensei, was strongly influenced by Tempu Nakamura as well. However, the Ki no Renma exercises seem to be quite a bit different than the Tohei sensei developed Ki exercises I've seen in Ki Society dojos. Specifically the emphasis of the Ki no Renma exercises, despite the name, seemed to be on more pragmatic application, i.e. developing physical kokyu power for techniques rather than to develop an intangible ki power.
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Old 02-13-2005, 06:49 PM   #65
Mike Sigman
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
James Young in re Tada Sensei wrote:
I don't know if I can answer your question of who actually wound up with the knowledge of O-sensei's ki practices. (My guess would be that these and other close deshi of his all have a part of it, just like they all seem to all have a part of his technique style.)

However, another name I'll throw in the mix if you're interested is Hiroshi Tada (9th dan). When I studied under him in Japan he use to discuss the subject in depth on certain occassions and at the beginning of every practice we use to go through a series of exercises (which included some of the gyo's that Shaun listed as well as others that may have been of his invention) which were categorally called Ki no Renma. There are too many to list out and explain but I think most of these are listed on his website (unfortunately not in english) http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~yp7h-td/

One comment I'll make though is that Tada sensei, like Tohei sensei, was strongly influenced by Tempu Nakamura as well. However, the Ki no Renma exercises seem to be quite a bit different than the Tohei sensei developed Ki exercises I've seen in Ki Society dojos. Specifically the emphasis of the Ki no Renma exercises, despite the name, seemed to be on more pragmatic application, i.e. developing physical kokyu power for techniques rather than to develop an intangible ki power.
Thanks, James. It's interesting, all these stories. Unfortunately, I can't read Italian or Japanese worth a hoot. Can you give a few ideas about what you mean by pragmatic application, physical kokyu, etc.?

I haven't read the biographies of Ueshiba by Stevens and others, so I haven't kept up with the latest information in a number of years, but I'm aware that O-Sensei used custom-made and heavy implements as part of his daily training. Watching his reverse-side jo-trick, I realize that he probably did standing exercises, as well. I had only really paid attention to the forward-side-push jo trick, which I think I saw in one of the earlier books (I'm looking for a copy of that picture if anyone knows where it is, BTW) and the method by which it's done is fairly obvious and intimates standing, but doesn't necessarily prove it.

The impression I'm getting, given that both Tohei and Abe sensei's had to acquire information away from Ueshiba, is that O-Sensei was extremely conservative and traditional in being very sparing of sharing "special" information. Notice in this interview with Imaizumi (about halfway down the page) how he discusses Tohei Sensei surreptitiously giving Ki instruction, etc., outside of Hombu Dojo just before he parted. If O-Sensei had been reasonably open, there would have been no need for these actions:
http://www.formlessmountain.com/dura...interview.html

It's an interesting aspect of the whole Aikido story, these anecdotes, but it doesn't really tell much about exactly what O-Sensei did for his Ki and Kokyu training. I suspect that there was breathing, standing, and heavy-implement training, basically, but if there was something special other than this, there seems to be no particular record we can spot offhand.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 02-14-2005, 12:44 AM   #66
James Young
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Thank you for your comments Mike. I guess by pragmatic in purpose I meant the goals of the exercises I did with Tada-sensei were explained in physiological benefits or terms and by such the links to our training became more obvious. I only make this comparison to some of the exercises I did in a Ki Society influenced dojo where those links to the training were not as apparent because the goals were explained in more intangible terms, i.e. trying to connect with the ki of the people in the room and of the universe, etc. That is not to say those exercises don't have worth or are not valuable, they just weren't as beneficial to me as a young beginner at that time because of that approach and my analytical mindset.

Anyway, most of the pragmatic applications of Tada-sensei's exercises are basically what Shaun and others have explained, such as developing breath power and control. Other such benefits of the Ki no renma exercises were things like kokyu to strengthen and activate the nervous system; kokyu to give vibration to life and breath; kokyu to activate the working of the lungs; kokyu to help blood circulation, eliminate excessive nervousness, improve concentration power, etc. These are a few examples I've taken from the website I referenced above. Unfortunately it would be too time consuming to translate everything on the website, but I just wanted to mention another instructor who has his own unique approach to these practices.
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Old 02-14-2005, 04:49 AM   #67
Mike Sigman
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
James Young wrote:
Anyway, most of the pragmatic applications of Tada-sensei's exercises are basically what Shaun and others have explained, such as developing breath power and control. Other such benefits of the Ki no renma exercises were things like kokyu to strengthen and activate the nervous system; kokyu to give vibration to life and breath; kokyu to activate the working of the lungs; kokyu to help blood circulation, eliminate excessive nervousness, improve concentration power, etc. These are a few examples I've taken from the website I referenced above. Unfortunately it would be too time consuming to translate everything on the website, but I just wanted to mention another instructor who has his own unique approach to these practices.
Thanks again, James. I'm not sure exactly what you're saying since it looks like the definition of "kokyu" is varying again. Ki-no renma means "Ki cultivation". Generally, this will refer to a breathing exercise and it's a cognate for "Qigong". In correct Ki or Qi exercises, it's not just how you breathe, it's also how you manipulate certain pressures and forces within the body, even though this can't really be seen by the outside observer. For instance, it's pretty standard among many orientals to teach just the outer appearance of an exercise to get you started and the more they come to know and trust you, the more they'll begin to show you the complexities behind the outward appearances of many "exercises". I.e., there is a pragmatism in all these Ki and Kokyu practices that belies the mystery so many westerners assume is going on.

If you "cultivate" (renma) "kokyu", that can mean several things to me. It's sort of like trying to decide between the realistic description for an internal strength (used in a kokyu throw or kokyu-ho-dosa or shodo) as opposed to using the word to mean vaguely "energy" or "breath". It appears that you're using kokyu in an "energy" sense. Can you clarify what you're talking about using one of the exercises as an example, please? I.e., did you do anything besides variations of breathing in these exercises?

Regards,

Mike
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Old 02-14-2005, 10:24 AM   #68
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

I don't mean to be too simplistic but doesn't doing the basic waza of aikido with the intention of developing kokyu power from that experience pretty much solve the problem? I know you can try to do techniques that just result in ripping someone's arms off if they don't comply, but if you always set it up to be at a termendous physical dis-advantage with some sempai who are like-minded in that cause, should that be the best set of exercises for delveloping kokyu power? I spend most of my training time doing just that. If there are no sempai around, I ask physically strong folks to attack and try to let them use 2 hands and/or do the technique from hamni handachi or something. You can collaborate with people to work on these things a lot more effectively than trying to do them by swinging large hunks of wood around - or whatever.

Rob
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Old 02-14-2005, 10:46 AM   #69
Mike Sigman
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
I don't mean to be too simplistic but doesn't doing the basic waza of aikido with the intention of developing kokyu power from that experience pretty much solve the problem? I know you can try to do techniques that just result in ripping someone's arms off if they don't comply, but if you always set it up to be at a termendous physical dis-advantage with some sempai who are like-minded in that cause, should that be the best set of exercises for delveloping kokyu power?
Well, sure, you can develop Kokyu in a number of ways, if you know what you're doing and you do it correctly. However, you have to be very careful and not use any muscle or stiffness and you really have to know how to let your center move you and be in your hands, arms, shoulders, etc., at all times in order to train this. It takes a while to train it. Using any muscle just leads you back to normal movement, not toward real kokyu movement. I would discourage anyone from testing themselves against a lot of muscle until they had trained long enough to build up honest kokyu strength and had conditioned that strength to a reasonable degree.

And you can't get around the need for correct breathing exercises and also, some standing exercises, in my opinion. My hunch is that O-Sensei may have used some standing exercises, although it's possible to do some of this with movement instead of standing. Standing allows you to practice the "six directions", which is what they really mean when they say "extend ki". In other words, I'm with Tohei on this one... the best results come through relaxation, at first.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 02-14-2005, 01:08 PM   #70
rob_liberti
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

I like the response! Well said! I agree. In fact, I was just at a seminar this weekend and 2 out of 2 rokyu dans agree that you pretty much always need to move your body first before you move your arms. Many situations are no problem, but in others, desire seems to get in the way of following that advice. I'm just not ALWAYS disciplined enough to stop myself from cheating - so having good strong ukes to provide a reminder to what I'm supposed to be doing is pretty helpful. What is so interesting to me, is that both teachers are able to violate the rules they teach (like keep your hands in front of your center line) when they need to do so - and they are able to maintain that strange power. I can do this kind of thing if I get to set up the circumstances myself and no one is running in at me to try to raise the stakes. I have a lot of tricks to "plan b" these kind of situations (like move off line and set up the position to be much more favorable for me), but to "plan a" them (meaning move just enough and to use kokyu power primarily) takes a lot of collaboration.

So are their any principles you think would be helpful to keep in mind while working towards developing kokyu power in movement? (This question is intended to be open to anyone willing to contribute.)

Rob
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Old 02-14-2005, 02:33 PM   #71
Mike Sigman
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

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Rob Liberti wrote:
So are their any principles you think would be helpful to keep in mind while working towards developing kokyu power in movement? (This question is intended to be open to anyone willing to contribute.)
There are so many movements that you can't cover them all with a few simple phrases.

Moving the torso from the middle is not too hard. Stand ai-hanmi with a partner and have them put the palm of one hand against your stomach (elbow straight so that the force is rigid and not springy). You can put one of your hands behind his elbow so that you have a little more feedback. Have the partner maintain maybe 5-10 pounds to your stomach and you just let your back leg hold the push. To keep yourself honest and not "brace", try to move your weight over the back foot, as an experiment. Once you can do that easily, empathize with what your partner feels (he should be feeling the ground through your stomach). Try to keep his feeling of the ground unbroken while you begin slowly walking forward; he should be backing up, giving you some resistance, but not too much that it becomes a useless competition. That's how you walk "maintaining your center".

Moving the arms and hands with Kokyu and the middle would be fruitless for me to discuss in writing on the internet. It has to be shown, although it's not that hard. It takes a lot of practice though.

So when you do a technique, you should always be moving so that your middle powers you in the direction you want to move. All increments of all arm, shoulder, leg, head-turns, etc., are powered by kokyu as well, but I'd have to show it. Knowing that, though, maybe some people can figure it out. It involves the hara though, because movement begins at the ground, is controlled by the middle, and is expressed in the hands, arms, whatever. Since the hara is between the ground and the hand, moving the hand with the power from the ground will always involve some unavoidable movement of the hara.

Hope that helps.

Mike
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Old 02-15-2005, 12:31 AM   #72
James Young
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

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Mike Sigman wrote:
Thanks again, James. I'm not sure exactly what you're saying since it looks like the definition of "kokyu" is varying again...

If you "cultivate" (renma) "kokyu", that can mean several things to me. It's sort of like trying to decide between the realistic description for an internal strength (used in a kokyu throw or kokyu-ho-dosa or shodo) as opposed to using the word to mean vaguely "energy" or "breath". It appears that you're using kokyu in an "energy" sense. Can you clarify what you're talking about using one of the exercises as an example, please? I.e., did you do anything besides variations of breathing in these exercises?
You are probably right that I may have been unintentionally mixing up definitions. Sorry for the confusion, but as you said cultivating kokyu can mean several things, and in fact many of the Ki no renma exercises probably have more than one purpose, i.e cultivating both kokyu breathing and energy at the same time, so it can be confusing for even myself. For example (again off the website I referenced) some of the various kokyu variations listed are: Gassho no (putting your palms together in praying fashion) kokyu; Kihon no (fundamental) kokyu; Ki o neru (polishing your ki) kokyu; six-sound kokyu; and tanden no (lower abdomen) kokyu. Perhaps kokyu is being used as a misnomer here based on your accepted definition and I wouldn't necessarily dispute that (since it's not my list) but as you can probably ascertain from this list some of these kokyu practices are more for "internal strength" and others for "energy" as you put it.

I know you would like me to give you some good, specific exercise examples of these, but I have to apologize since it's been almost ten years since I've done those Ki no renma exercises and I've forgotten a lot of them and I can't really recall them to give good examples. Heck, as a beginner doing them back then I didn't even know the purpose behind most of them when I did them, I just did them and later caught bits and pieces of their purpose from my sempai. I guess as one example at the beginning of each practice we would stand in place and raise our arms slowly above our head and back down slowly near our sides and repeat several times at a constant slow tempo (think tai chi pace) and then afterwards we would bring our hands together in front of us in praying form, closing our eyes, and remaining in silence for a few moments. I guess that was part of the gassho no kokyu practice. Of course proper breathing was integral to even that, but that didn't seem to be the primary purpose of that kokyu exercise, so I think that may be one example of a kokyu practice that didn't focus on breathing specifically. I have to apologize since I can't really provide better examples and make better connections to the subject at hand. Perhaps someone who was a long-term student of Tada-sensei with better knowledge would be able to better speak on the subject, because I think there is a lot within that practice there that relates to this subject of kokyu.
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Old 02-15-2005, 07:44 AM   #73
Mike Sigman
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

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James Young wrote:
,,,but as you said cultivating kokyu can mean several things, and in fact many of the Ki no renma exercises probably have more than one purpose, i.e cultivating both kokyu breathing and energy at the same time, so it can be confusing for even myself.
That's very true and I'm sure it's the source of the problem.
Quote:
For example (again off the website I referenced) some of the various kokyu variations listed are: Gassho no (putting your palms together in praying fashion) kokyu; Kihon no (fundamental) kokyu; Ki o neru (polishing your ki) kokyu; six-sound kokyu; and tanden no (lower abdomen) kokyu. Perhaps kokyu is being used as a misnomer here based on your accepted definition and I wouldn't necessarily dispute that (since it's not my list) but as you can probably ascertain from this list some of these kokyu practices are more for "internal strength" and others for "energy" as you put it.
I think we agree. Can you remember what the Kihon no kokyu involves, BTW? That might be a good starting point. Some of the others you list, particularly the six-sounds, sound as if they come directly from well-known Chinese qigongs... which they undoubtedly did. Again, I'm getting a little surprised at how many of the Chinese traditional practices for Ki are in Aikido. Of course, it's possible that Tada Sensei's knowledge also reflects some later knowledge that was acquired after his Aikido knowledge. That seems to be indeterminate at the moment, but if you ever have the opportunity to ask about this, I'd love to hear the answer.
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...I guess as one example at the beginning of each practice we would stand in place and raise our arms slowly above our head and back down slowly near our sides and repeat several times at a constant slow tempo (think tai chi pace) and then afterwards we would bring our hands together in front of us in praying form, closing our eyes, and remaining in silence for a few moments. I guess that was part of the gassho no kokyu practice. Of course proper breathing was integral to even that, but that didn't seem to be the primary purpose of that kokyu exercise, so I think that may be one example of a kokyu practice that didn't focus on breathing specifically. I have to apologize since I can't really provide better examples and make better connections to the subject at hand.
Really, you've given me some great historical information that I appreciate quite a lot...you certainly have nothing to apologize for. Besides, I think all of us following the martial arts are grateful to get any information that helps us forward. Good information is very hard to get and I've spent too many years trying to glean everything that I can. Most people don't know much but external information. Some few know minor bits and pieces, often holding that out as being far more than it is (I encounter this in the Chinese martial arts almost daily). The people who really know things often won't say much because their heirs will need the information in order to continue teaching... if everyone knows everything then it robs the heirs of their livelihood. It can be frustrating. Thanks for your input. If you can think of other items, I think we'd all appreciate it.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 02-15-2005, 08:45 AM   #74
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

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Mike Sigman wrote:
The people who really know things often won't say much because their heirs will need the information in order to continue teaching... if everyone knows everything then it robs the heirs of their livelihood. It can be frustrating.
Communicating about martial arts and ways on the www is difficult. This relatively new technology and form of communication exacerbates the ages old problem of "what do you communicate and how clearly to whom" in this study and the passing on of these principles, "secrets", etc.

Most people on the discussion boards are used to trying to get any and ALL information possible as soon as possible. It seems they think there is a "given right" for them to know and that it is the obligation of those "that know" to give it all away as soon as someone asks.

Teachers want to teach and those of us wanting to know, of course, want it as quickly as we can get it. Of course there is an optimum way of transmission in these practices. Traditonal ways will give way to new traditions. Teachers also have a right to pass on what they know to whomever can receive and internalize the knowledge. They also have a right to make a living doing their art.

The evolution of how the internet and discussion boards fit into the optimum teaching and learning modes will continue. It's a good tool and we need to find the wisdom to use it well.

I, as a student and teacher, certainly am interested in the process.

Chuck Clark
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Old 02-15-2005, 09:11 AM   #75
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

And I think we have a good example here...no one is giving away information that is harmful, no one is thinking these are the ultimate secrets, everyone acknowledges that a lot of this type of information must be passed on in person. Its not a matter of keeping secrets...its the inadequacy of this particular medium to give hands on instruction as to particular movements and ways to power those movements. Without the hands on, you really aren't going to get very far (in my experience). But at least we seem to be getting a common language to discuss these things.

And I have to say, the discussion has been extremely mature for the medium...Mike, how many times has this type of thing degenerated completely on rec-MA? Good job, folks! Keep it up...I wonder if people like Ellis Amdur have something to contribute here...I know he has a lot of experience in both chinese and japanese arts...maybe he can help bridge some of the gaps?


Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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