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Old 11-30-2010, 01:33 PM   #1
David Orange
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jumankai: kata no chikara o nuite

I put this thread in the non-aikido martial forum because I came upon the idea in pursuit of internal strength development. The idea should be perfectly suitable for aikido, as well, but I think it's really good for tai chi, too, or karate, judo or any other martial art you can name, as well as just daily health.

It's to relax your shoulders, 100,000 times.

I had been toying with the idea of doing something 100,000 times to improve myself.

The only question was, "What?"

100,000 squats?

100,000 forward ukemi? Backward ukemi? Forward and back, 100,000 times?

A lot of ideas went through my mind.

A couple of days ago, I suddenly realized that what I needed to do most was just to relax my shoulders.

kata no chikara o nuide means to drop the strength from your shoulders. jumankai is 100,000 times. I decided I would observe myself and every time I felt any tension in my shoulders, I would drop the strength from them and keep count (more or less) for 100,000 times.

I'm up to 78 times, now, and I can say, my shoulders feel a lot better. Each time I relax my shoulders (79 times, now) it goes to a deeper level of tissue and I feel it down into my arms and body very much. And the implications for internal strength development are very interesting.

Keep in mind, though, that I have about 20 years of experience with The Feldenkrais Method and about a year of professional training in the Method. So, when I say I "relax my shoulders," it probably goes a bit deeper than for most people. I use Feldenkrais techniques to effect the relaxation. So I want to say something about the Feldenkrais principles and the physical methods I use on myself.

There are two types of regular Feldenkrais activities: Awareness Through Movement (ATM) and Functional Integration (FI). In ATM, the teacher tells you to make certain very small movements and you observe how your body makes those movements and how movement in one part of the body affects the rest of the body. In FI, the teacher manipulates your body and you observe how your body responds to the manipulation, much of it involuntary reflex response. Both processes tend to release a lot of parasitic tension from the body and that tends to relieve the mind of a lot of discomfort as well as capacity for mental activity.

The third type of Feldenkrais activity is when you have assimilated the general idea of the practice and conduct your own research on yourself.

The general idea is to make very small movements many, many times--though generally not 100,000 times: usually about 30 times, followed by a rest, then thirty times more--something like lifting your shoulder 1/2 inch and letting it back down. Over and over.

Most people, if you tell them to raise their shoulder, will raise it suddenly, about 4 inches or a foot. The Feldenkrais approach is to lift the shoulder about 1/2 inch and to do it very slowly, taking longer to move that 1/2 inch up and back than most people will take to move the shoulder a foot and back.

Next, you want to do this very slow and small movement very smoothly, making sure that every moment of the movement is as smooth and steady as every other movement.

Another example: turn the eyes to the left as far as it feels comfortable (no strain at all). See how slowly you can move the eyes that far and back. See if your eyes move smoothly across the whole arc of the movement or if they sort of skip over parts of the movement.

This type of work refines the sensitivity to kinesthetic effort. And it refines sensitivity to how many muscles you are using and in what parts of the body. You become increasingly aware of smaller and smaller amounts of effort.

So I have a pretty fine perception of tension and as soon as I observe and notice tension I drop it. But I decided that I needed to direct my attention to my shoulders many, many times. As I do this again and again (81 times, now), it's becoming a body habit and the superficial tension is dropping and easily staying away, which lets me access the deeper levels of tissue, feeling how they are connected and how tension in one place breeds tension in seemingly unrelated places. They are related well below the surface and if they are tense without our conscious awareness, it will be very hard to do certain things require for IS development.

So I hope to use this thread as a place to chronicle, somewhat, my quest to relax my shoulders 100,000 times, reporting how it affects my IS development or anything else that seems of potential interest to the readers of aikiweb.

Best to all.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 12-01-2010, 04:59 AM   #2
Flintstone
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Re: jumankai: kata no chikara o nuide

David, I find it interesting. A lot. Does this have anything to do with the lack of tension in the shoulders displayed by both Mochizuki Sensei and his teacher Mifune Sensei?



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Old 12-01-2010, 08:44 AM   #3
David Orange
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Re: jumankai: kata no chikara o nuide

Quote:
Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
David, I find it interesting. A lot. Does this have anything to do with the lack of tension in the shoulders displayed by both Mochizuki Sensei and his teacher Mifune Sensei?
I hope so, Alejandro. Anyway, I'm up to 104 times now, in about three (or four?) days. It feels good and interesting effects are spreading through my body. It feels like I'm doing things more with my core and spine than with my arms. It feels like my weight is generally much more "underside" and in my body rather than in my shoulders and arms. My arms are becoming very relaxed and they feel much better as this goes along.

And thanks for the beautiful pictures, including Mochizuki Sense's uke, the late, great Akira Tezuka Shihan and the fantastic technician in the background, Terumi Washizu, Shihan.

Best to you.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:29 PM   #4
thisisnotreal
 
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Re: jumankai: kata no chikara o nuide

David. I like it. I'm doing it with you.
I kind of have been...anyway..I think...every time I find my body in a position that feels... unbalanced..i try to correct it.. in somewhat similar ways that you describe..Re-patterning movements and recruitment patterns is .... hard.
Don't know if this means anything to you:: One trick I like is freezing my body when I become aware of the bad movement/habit....taking a survey of the rest of the body...and applying 'corrections' piecewise. Sometimes I find the pattern I was trying to correct was actually driven by another fault..

Using the eyes as feedback is very interesting and something I noticed. What is that all about (as per Feldenkrais)?
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Old 12-02-2010, 05:10 AM   #5
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Re: jumankai: kata no chikara o nuide

Thought this teres stretch was unique and helpful enough to post. Took me a while to figure that one out..
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:17 PM   #6
Mark Jakabcsin
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Re: jumankai: kata no chikara o nuide

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
So I have a pretty fine perception of tension and as soon as I observe and notice tension I drop it. But I decided that I needed to direct my attention to my shoulders many, many times. As I do this again and again (81 times, now), it's becoming a body habit and the superficial tension is dropping and easily staying away, which lets me access the deeper levels of tissue, feeling how they are connected and how tension in one place breeds tension in seemingly unrelated places. They are related well below the surface and if they are tense without our conscious awareness, it will be very hard to do certain things require for IS development.
David,
Two ideas you might want to experiment with:
1) When you notice the tension hold it but hold it with awareness. Try not to increase or decrease the tension just hold it. Generally tension becomes uncomfortable quickly once we become aware of it. Our body returns to tension due to some perceived sense of comfort. By holding the tension with awareness and feeling this discomfort grow we begin to train our bodies not to be tense. Once you are very uncomfortable release the tension and feel/enjoy the comfort that returns to the body.

2) When you feel the tension try to trace how far into and through the body you can feel it before releasing. While you become aware of the tension in the shoulders/neck it probably goes much deeper. If we simply release the part we feel we have still left the deeper tension. With growing awareness we will feel the tension much deeper and everytime we release it is a deeper release.

Enjoy,

Mark J.
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Old 12-03-2010, 08:51 AM   #7
David Orange
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Re: jumankai: kata no chikara o nuide

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Josh Philipson wrote: View Post
David. I like it. I'm doing it with you.
I kind of have been...anyway..I think...every time I find my body in a position that feels... unbalanced..i try to correct it.. in somewhat similar ways that you describe..Re-patterning movements and recruitment patterns is .... hard.
That's where I found Feldenkrais to be a beautiful thing. It can access and activate the nervous system's own natural "reset" button to let the body reorganize according to the nervous system's natural priorities.

Quote:
Josh Philipson wrote: View Post
Don't know if this means anything to you:: One trick I like is freezing my body when I become aware of the bad movement/habit....taking a survey of the rest of the body...and applying 'corrections' piecewise. Sometimes I find the pattern I was trying to correct was actually driven by another fault.
That's exactly what I'm working with. And I've found through Feldenkrais that the nervous system's first priority is adjustment to gravity. All other mental, emotional and intellectual orientation is based on the body's relationship to gravity. Properly aligned in gravity, the body naturally lengthens vertically and carries itself that way with ease. Any unnecessary, parasitic tension in the organization of the body both shortens the body and activates mental/emotional/intellectual distortions. So I make the vertical uplift of the spine my baseline of measurement.

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Josh Philipson wrote: View Post
Using the eyes as feedback is very interesting and something I noticed. What is that all about (as per Feldenkrais)?
It's just an example of the degree to which you monitor your own movements in Feldenkrais work. Most people will find it difficult to actually sweep a short arc with the eyes without skipping from segment to segment. After a number of repetitions, they may find it easy to the movements slower and more smoothly and comfortably. And after that, they may be amazed to find that their neck will also move more softly, smoothly and comfortably.

So that's an example of the level of attention I'm directing to my shoulders over a long, constant time. I want to explain more about that later when I have a few minutes. Anyway, now the count is up to 143. I've actually done far more than that, but 143 is the official count toward 100,000. At this rate, it seems that 100,000 repetitions will take about 12 years....

Oh, well. Somebody has to do it....

Best to you.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:21 AM   #8
Upyu
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Re: jumankai: kata no chikara o nuide

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
That's where I found Feldenkrais to be a beautiful thing. It can access and activate the nervous system's own natural "reset" button to let the body reorganize according to the nervous system's natural priorities.

<snip>
David,

I've wrestled with the whole "not engaging the shoulders thing," and I've found that while relaxation is important, its more important to source the forces correctly, and get the mechanics down pat. By mechanics, I mean connection and conditioning. The shoulders becoming relaxed are almost a byproduct of correct movement...in fact when I started doing the correct mechanic for not engaging the shoulders it felt almost alien, and I noticed the shoulder muscles themselves weren't worked as much during say suburi. Other areas would get conditioned, but not the shoulder, and as a result they'd become more relaxed.

Anyways, I thought it worth mentioning since its a tangent that could potentially eat up a lot of hours better spent on training more basic components.

FWIW

PS You might want to change the title of your thread to "Jumankai: Kata no chikara wo nuku"
The way you wrote it...well it makes it sound naughty

Last edited by Upyu : 12-06-2010 at 12:24 AM.
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:17 AM   #9
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Re: jumankai: kata no chikara o nuide

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Robert John wrote: View Post
David,

PS You might want to change the title of your thread to "Jumankai: Kata no chikara wo nuku"
The way you wrote it...well it makes it sound naughty
That's probably intentional knowing David.
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:26 AM   #10
David Orange
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Re: jumankai: kata no chikara o nuide

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Robert John wrote: View Post
I've wrestled with the whole "not engaging the shoulders thing," and I've found that while relaxation is important, its more important to source the forces correctly, and get the mechanics down pat. By mechanics, I mean connection and conditioning.
Ah, yes. The old weak spots. Mechanics and conditioning. In fact, other than those things, I'm in pretty good shape.

The shoulder relaxing is going pretty well, though. I'm up to 178 times in about 1 week. And I do a lot of peripheral work even if I find my shoulders already relaxed (which I often do: there's nothing to relax). I still go into relaxing all the muscles on each side of the spine and neck, the ribs, etc.

It does feel like, having dropped the effort in the shoulders, that I'm working much more from the core if not from the hara. But I'm starting to feel some connection there, as well.

Quote:
Robert John wrote: View Post
The shoulders becoming relaxed are almost a byproduct of correct movement...in fact when I started doing the correct mechanic for not engaging the shoulders it felt almost alien, and I noticed the shoulder muscles themselves weren't worked as much during say suburi. Other areas would get conditioned, but not the shoulder, and as a result they'd become more relaxed.
I think it's more about sourching power, in my thinking. I realized that I was impeding myself with the extra tension in the shoulders. As I've let that go (a lot of it, anyway), I have been feeling the strength moving inward and down. I tried push-out the other day with a guy I've been doing it with for a long time now. He said it felt completely different. And it felt a lot easier for me because his force goes right down my spine instead of being held in the shoulders. I didn't get pushed back to my heels as much as I usually do and I was able to push back from the body much more easily.

Of course, I know that something that makes an action easier may not really be along the right path. Easier for now, but it could lead to a dead end when trying to access the real power.

I've been doing some xing yi, too, trying to drop the shoulder involvement there (basic five punches).

I do, of course, have IS development as a target, but I've been getting so many general good results from the shoulder thing that it's taken on a meaning of its own. It's having effects in social as well as private contexts and it's a good feeling mentally, as well.

But I do want to make progress in IS. So your comments are welcome.

Quote:
Robert John wrote: View Post
Anyways, I thought it worth mentioning since its a tangent that could potentially eat up a lot of hours better spent on training more basic components.
I could always spend my time better, but this shoulder relaxing thing is done in ordinary time--at my desk, typing, driving, watching TV--whatever I'm doing, I just remind myself to check for tension in the shoulders and drop it as much and as often as possible. And it's getting to be habitually absent now, so it's harder to catch my shoulders with tension in them. Now I need to do that with suburi.

Quote:
Robert John wrote: View Post
PS You might want to change the title of your thread to "Jumankai: Kata no chikara wo nuku"
The way you wrote it...well it makes it sound naughty
Figgers. But it seems like I always heard it said "Kata no chikara o nuide."

Of course, nuide can also mean "take off your clothes"...

And "nuidon" means....

Well, maybe that's half Japanese and half French....

Thanks.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:28 AM   #11
David Orange
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Re: jumankai: kata no chikara o nuide

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Jang Choe wrote: View Post
That's probably intentional knowing David.
It might be that intentional if I actually knew what I was saying....

Hope to see you real soon!

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:34 AM   #12
Robert Calton
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Re: jumankai: kata no chikara o nuide

This is a very interesting bit of knowledge! It certainly has a relevant context in Aikido.

I'm reminded of the first of Tohei Sensei's three principles: RELAX COMPLETELY.
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:47 AM   #13
David Orange
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Re: jumankai: kata no chikara o nuide

Quote:
Robert Calton wrote: View Post
This is a very interesting bit of knowledge! It certainly has a relevant context in Aikido.

I'm reminded of the first of Tohei Sensei's three principles: RELAX COMPLETELY.
I do think about that a lot, too.

I remember that Tohei said that the main thing he learned from OSensei was how to relax completely.

Best to all.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 12-06-2010, 06:17 PM   #14
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: jumankai: kata no chikara o nuide

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Figgers. But it seems like I always heard it said "Kata no chikara o nuide."

Of course, nuide can also mean "take off your clothes"...
"Nuide" always means "take off clothes, undress". What you were hearing was "chikara wo nuite".

Nuku (take out, pull out) → *nukite → nuite

Nugu (take off, undress) → *nugite → nuide

*archaic

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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Old 12-06-2010, 09:04 PM   #15
David Orange
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Raking Leaves

I think I started the shoulder relaxing idea because I spent the Thanksgiving weekend raking leaves. Then, after a week of relaxing my shoulders, I spent this past Saturday raking up the rest. I can say it was a better experience the second time around. I've always thought of leaf-raking and garden-shoveling as formsof misogi, since Morihei Ueshiba said "Farming is budo."

This time, I kept constant attention to keeping my shoulders relaxed and of course, I had to do a lot more with my body. I did a lot with my arms, too, without using the shoulders and without tensing them unnecessarily, and raking leaves there's just not a lot of that needed.

So I was trying to feel the relationship between the hara and the hands as I moved the rake against small resistance.

The other day, I was standing, trying to feel the weight and heaviness of my hands. When I made te gatana on both sides, my palms flat to the ground, my body lowered straight down, approaching the kind of "squats" I've seen in Aunkai. And I had a vivid image of Ark with his shoulders so relaxed. I went a lot lower and more smoothly than is usual for me, and very easily. I felt very heavy, but light and able to move. Everything seemed to move down very solidly and my position felt very strong, just from flexing my hands back parallel to the ground.

Another thing is that I have had rather permanent "ki arms" for a long, long time. I've had so many badly-applied ikkyo and nikkyo techniques done to me that my arms sort of evolved into permanent te gatana. My elbows simply didn't straighten. A rolfer gave me a complete set of treatments of the whole body twenty years ago and did two special sessions for my elbows. No effect. My body was just set to resist badly-done "arm bars". Recently, with this shoulder-relaxing, I was able to trace the tension in my wrists and elbows up into the muscles from my arms to my spine. Or that direction-ward. I paid attention to the bottoms of the biceps and the length of the triceps, the lines of tension that ran down to my wrists, and gradually, both arms opened fully straight as they haven't been for years.

For aunkai ashi age, you put your hands out straight to the sides, but palms facing outward, fingers pointing up. I was unable to approach vertical fingers not so long ago. Since doing the shoulder relaxation, I can do that posture much better.

It's not that I'm dong this in lieu of other training. It's part of it. I do some exercises and they suggest a particular examination via Feldenkrais. Which leads to insights into the exercise, which leads to doing more of the exercise, which leads to further insights. The exercises suggest research and the results of the research influence the exercise.

One thing for certain, there has been a lot of noise in my shoulders for a long time and I know that has been hampering my ability to hear what else was going on in my body. As much as my shoulders needed relaxing, all the middle-of-the back muscles and the muscles of the ribs all need to relax a lot as well.

So I'm not saying that total relaxation is the key. Proper tonus overall in the body includes both muscular tensions and load on the fascial network. Pure relaxation just melts you to the floor. But everything I can tell about IS arts like tai chi, bagua and xing yi is that they use all the strengths of the body together. What I'm trying is to better feel the strengths of the body.

183 times.

Thanks.

David

Last edited by David Orange : 12-06-2010 at 09:10 PM.

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
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Old 12-06-2010, 09:11 PM   #16
David Orange
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Re: jumankai: kata no chikara o nuide

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Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
"Nuide" always means "take off clothes, undress". What you were hearing was "chikara wo nuite".

Nuku (take out, pull out) → *nukite → nuite

Nugu (take off, undress) → *nugite → nuide

*archaic
Well that would explain why the Japanese students at the dojo gave me such strange looks when I said that to them!

Jun! Can we change the title of the thread???

Thanks.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:37 AM   #17
phitruong
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Re: jumankai: kata no chikara o nuide

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David Orange wrote: View Post
I remember that Tohei said that the main thing he learned from OSensei was how to relax completely.

David
relax completely doesn't mean wet noodle either. i can stand there all day and telling myself to relax, doesn't mean that i am. there are conditioning parts where the shoulders be integral part of the body to deal with applied force or to apply force. most of us grew up using the shoulders separately from the rest of the body. it's hard to rewire old habits and integrate them back into the body. lots of the work involved breath work.

as far as the title goes, i thought it was a bastardized spanglish of "nude young lady". i was going to PM you and asking you where to find them. of course, some of the guys here would like to know the form you work on these young lady too.
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:52 AM   #18
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Re: jumankai: kata no chikara o nuide

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Mark Jakabcsin wrote: View Post
1) When you notice the tension hold it but hold it with awareness. Try not to increase or decrease the tension just hold it. Generally tension becomes uncomfortable quickly once we become aware of it. Our body returns to tension due to some perceived sense of comfort. By holding the tension with awareness and feeling this discomfort grow we begin to train our bodies not to be tense. Once you are very uncomfortable release the tension and feel/enjoy the comfort that returns to the body.

2) When you feel the tension try to trace how far into and through the body you can feel it before releasing. While you become aware of the tension in the shoulders/neck it probably goes much deeper. If we simply release the part we feel we have still left the deeper tension. With growing awareness we will feel the tension much deeper and everytime we release it is a deeper release.

Mark J.
i thought the way to get rid of tension is to hit the spot where tension locate. sort of doing massage with pounding. light tension, hit light. deeper tension, hit deep. i kinda like doing the pounding meself. whereas, when i get tense, i would hit the local massage places. now if i can find a thai massage place locally, then i would be very happy.

i had a pretty deep tension after thanksgiving where i made the ham bone bean soup with lots of different kinda beans. after that the tension went pretty deep. there was lots of ki involved. we are talking about the white oval office deep.
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Old 12-07-2010, 02:26 PM   #19
Mark Jakabcsin
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Re: jumankai: kata no chikara o nuide

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i thought the way to get rid of tension is to hit the spot where tension locate. sort of doing massage with pounding. light tension, hit light. deeper tension, hit deep. i kinda like doing the pounding meself. whereas, when i get tense, i would hit the local massage places. now if i can find a thai massage place locally, then i would be very happy.
The pounding also works but it is just part of the training.

You should stop by and see what we are doing for the thighs. When I was first exposed to the drill it was explained "Now you must learn to suffer well." Not so bad now but the first many times I......ouch!
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Old 12-09-2010, 05:47 AM   #20
phitruong
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Re: jumankai: kata no chikara o nuide

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Mark Jakabcsin wrote: View Post
You should stop by and see what we are doing for the thighs. When I was first exposed to the drill it was explained "Now you must learn to suffer well." Not so bad now but the first many times I......ouch!
sounded like i need to swing by and compare note since i have stuffs that would burn your quads too. you just have to show me yours and i'll show you mine. i am pretty sure mine is more substantial.
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Old 12-10-2010, 07:00 AM   #21
Mark Jakabcsin
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Re: jumankai: kata no chikara o nuide

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Phi Truong wrote: View Post
sounded like i need to swing by and compare note since i have stuffs that would burn your quads too. you just have to show me yours and i'll show you mine. i am pretty sure mine is more substantial.
LOL. You funny. Actually the drill for the quads I am refering to does not 'burn' them. Think more like tenderization. Hope to see you soon.

MJ
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