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Old 06-10-2011, 12:52 PM   #1
Thomas Campbell
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"Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

Just wanted to bring this excellent blog post to the attention of people who might otherwise overlook it:

http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/mike-si...l-streng-4216/

Mike, thanks for sharing this information. The treasure of practice lies in the basics, and you lay out concepts, examples and analysis for IS basics very clearly. You've got a gift for this kind of analytic writing. It would be a lot of work, but I hope you consider presenting this kind of foundational internal strength material in a book or other suitable medium (website for internal strength basics?) in the future.
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Old 06-10-2011, 03:30 PM   #2
Mike Sigman
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

Quote:
Thomas Campbell wrote: View Post
Just wanted to bring this excellent blog post to the attention of people who might otherwise overlook it:

http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/mike-si...l-streng-4216/

Mike, thanks for sharing this information. The treasure of practice lies in the basics, and you lay out concepts, examples and analysis for IS basics very clearly. You've got a gift for this kind of analytic writing. It would be a lot of work, but I hope you consider presenting this kind of foundational internal strength material in a book or other suitable medium (website for internal strength basics?) in the future.
One of the problems with helping/sharing information with people is that so many people come in wrong preconceptions of what "internal strength" is or the idea that all things claiming to be "internal strength" are equally valid. Much like there are many people doing Aikido and Taiji (and many other arts) who think that anyone's "take" on the art is somehow a valid one. That's simply not true and it fosters the idea that no one who is a "teacher" can every do anything 'wrong', just 'different'.

So what happens is essentially that people get confused beyond all recognition (er, like in FUBAR) and it becomes impossible to either talk intelligently or to help them, or, in many cases, for them to help themselves. They're mixed up and really are put in the position of not being able to judge what is right or wrong.

The idea of laying out the baseline points in that blog and other places was to establish a provably traditional discussion base so that people can talk within the confines of what internal strength is, rather than with the current mishmash understand that all sorts of different 'takes' are valid and also somehow part of a valid tradition.

Everyone who uses "internal strength" should be able to justify what they do in terms of the basic points in that blog. Ueshiba's writings indicate that his understanding of internal strength was in concord with what's in that blog. As a matter of fact, if you look at most books and texts of Asian martial-arts, you'll see that they preface those books/texts by laying out the traditional justifications (like the ideas in that blog) in order to *prove* that their art was based on the accepted traditional view. I.e., people were aware that there were extraneous "systems" and they felt compelled to show that what they were doing was in accord with the long-accepted definitions and skills of internal strength.

Bear in mind that all I laid out was the basic talking points in order to keep it *very* simple. The topics can be fleshed out enormously and they also can be argued very logically, so as a baseline for the so-many discussions about "internal strength", they should be a start. (Maybe more suggestions can be made).

If nothing else, setting a baseline will give people a better foothold from which to start. False starts and even slight misinterpretations have been the doom of many a person who has devoted years/decades pursuing internal strength but who doesn't really have much to show for it. These things are actually easy to learn if shown properly how; they are difficult to correct in someone who has missed the mark and yet continued onward.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 06-13-2011, 07:48 PM   #3
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

Very Impressive! Thanks!
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Old 06-13-2011, 08:07 PM   #4
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

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Ting Piao wrote: View Post
Very Impressive! Thanks!
You're welcome. The "Baseline Parameters" are just as obvious and demonstrable as was "groundpath" to anyone who really had even a modicum of skills. Yet there are still 'experts' and 'teachers' who deny these basic things like "groundpath", so the Baseline Parameters will be obvious to some and denied by some. It's just the way things work.

Mike
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Old 06-13-2011, 08:37 PM   #5
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

I found Mike's definition of "Jin as Balance, Body as Flexible Frame " particularly clear. It helped illustrate what he was doing in the accompanying video. Fair dues for putting this out for public consumption.
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Old 06-13-2011, 08:42 PM   #6
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

Quote:
Oisin Bourke wrote: View Post
I found Mike's definition of "Jin as Balance, Body as Flexible Frame " particularly clear. It helped illustrate what he was doing in the accompanying video. Fair dues for putting this out for public consumption.
Just a note.... when I do videos I tend to exaggerate (and I normally say this in the accompanying notes) in order to make the point obvious. I do not recommend that anyone take my too-obvious exaggerations as a "final product" sort of thing. That being said, hopefully the point is clear.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 06-13-2011, 08:56 PM   #7
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Just a note.... when I do videos I tend to exaggerate (and I normally say this in the accompanying notes) in order to make the point obvious. I do not recommend that anyone take my too-obvious exaggerations as a "final product" sort of thing. That being said, hopefully the point is clear.

FWIW

Mike
I fully understand that. The exaggerated movement helped illustrate the principle IMO.
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Old 06-14-2011, 08:50 AM   #8
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

There's a fairly typical half-hearted discussion going on about the baseline parameters on Rum Soaked Fist:
http://rumsoakedfist.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=13077

You have to bear in mind that this is the same group that didn't have any idea about what a "groundpath" meant some years ago (hence none of them had rudimentary jin), but the fact that they're having a discussion is a good thing. No One gets anywhere without talking these things through, thinking about the rationale, trying things out, and training.

A couple of people are talking vaguely about vectors and one guy has even posted a bunch of anatomy pictures (to quote Tohei: "Where's the Qi, though?"). One guy is quoting his best take on Chinese ideograms. Whatever.... my point is that whether they're now engaged in a "how does it work" or "this guy is nuts and doesn't understand the Real Deal (tm) like we do on RSF" or vector resultants, they're moving forward. Hopefully, the discussion doesn't lose interest in two days or break down into the typical one-liners and put-downs like most RSF discussions.

Maybe people should start a similar discussion on AikiWeb? People like Tohei, Shioda, Ueshiba, etc., had to consider these things at depth, too.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman
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Old 06-14-2011, 10:24 AM   #9
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Maybe people should start a similar discussion on AikiWeb? People like Tohei, Shioda, Ueshiba, etc., had to consider these things at depth, too.
Kenji Tomiki used Judo principals at the core of his Aikido. Tori uses very little power to control Uke. IP really has no use if you utilize Uke's energy and know the principals of off balance.

Uke is the one that tells you what direction you need to go. All of the basic Tomiki Aikido 17 are reactions Uke can make from a failed Shomen-Ate. If Uke pulls back, pushes in, turns out, turns in etc. etc. then you follow his energy into another off balance.

Have any of the IP guys studied Tomiki Aikido?

-

-It seems to be all about semantics!
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Old 06-14-2011, 11:13 AM   #10
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

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Tim Jester wrote: View Post
Kenji Tomiki used Judo principals at the core of his Aikido.
-
Which was why Jigoro Kano sent Tomiki to Ueshiba to learn ki/kokyu principles, right? Would you mind starting another thread somewhere about Tomiki and judo principles?

Mike Sigman
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Old 06-14-2011, 11:34 AM   #11
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

I believe Tomiki sensei was studying with the founder in 1926, before Kano sensei sent students to study in the early '30's. I recall reading (don't have the exact cite, since I am at work) that it was Isammu Takashita that actually introduced Tomiki to Ueshiba sensei, so I don't know that "Kano sent Tomiki to Ueshiba to learn ki/kokyu" at all. The hows and why's of that are a matter of speculation, I think.

Since Tomiki is known to have been able to do some of the "Ki tricks", I'd be interested in hearing if there are Tomiki folks studying IS, and how those individuals compare the Tomiki method to IS skill development, in this thread or another ....

Pat

Last edited by Pat Togher : 06-14-2011 at 11:41 AM. Reason: spelling errors
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Old 06-14-2011, 03:08 PM   #12
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

Quote:
Tim Jester wrote: View Post
IP really has no use if you utilize Uke's energy and know the principals of off balance.
Wait, I have to say, "Huh??"
Kokyu ("IP") is how you utilize uke's energy. It's a way to integrate incoming forces into a useful resultant.
In other words, it would take uke's forces and produce a new result (uke tries to attack but ends up getting off-balanced by the final resultant force).

At least-- that's what the original blog post suggests to me. I don't mean to address the Tomiki methodology issue, like Mike said that could be a good thread on its own, but the above quote really compelled me to post.

PS, Mike nice post, thanks, though I think you have said most of it already!
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Old 06-14-2011, 03:17 PM   #13
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

Quote:
Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
PS, Mike nice post, thanks, though I think you have said most of it already!
Well, like "groundpath", it's all pretty self-obvious to anyone who already has any skills, but it would certainly help move these discussions along on different forums if everyone was speaking from the same set of notes. Like "groundpath", you'll be able to spot the knows and doesn't know by whether they already know these simple basics.

Best.

Mike
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Old 06-14-2011, 03:54 PM   #14
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

Quote:
Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
Wait, I have to say, "Huh??"
Kokyu ("IP") is how you utilize uke's energy. It's a way to integrate incoming forces into a useful resultant.
In other words, it would take uke's forces and produce a new result (uke tries to attack but ends up getting off-balanced by the final resultant force)
It might all be semantics but I have never called it Ki, Chi, IP etc. just correct technique. I learned things from a scientific approach so terms like Ki, IP, etc. weren't used. Maybe I should try and expand my Aiki vocabulary.

This is from Aikido Journal
Quote:
Kenji Tomiki stands out for his intellectual stature and skill in articulating the historical and ethical rationale of the art. Whereas the founder viewed life and, consequently, his budo, mainly in religious terms, Professor Tomiki espoused a view of aikido that included competition and placed it within the larger context of the history of Japanese martial arts. An academician as well as an athlete, Tomiki authored several books and formulated a theoretical basis for aikido that was understandable by the average person.
Mike, I think Tomiki saw it as basic principals just like Judo. At least it seems that's how he interpreted it.
Quote:
Tomiki's view of a "complete judo" encompassed two parts: "grappling judo" (kumi judo) which equated to Kodokan Judo, and "separated judo" (hanare judo) which was equivalent to aikido.
-

-It seems to be all about semantics!
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Old 06-14-2011, 04:09 PM   #15
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

Quote:
Tim Jester wrote: View Post
Maybe I should try and expand my Aiki vocabulary.
-
Perhaps so. All of these things have been discussed in the past on different threads. Perhaps if you started a "homage a Tomiki" thread instead of going O.T. on this one?

Mike Sigman
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Old 06-14-2011, 04:31 PM   #16
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Perhaps so. All of these things have been discussed in the past on different threads. Perhaps if you started a "homage a Tomiki" thread instead of going O.T. on this one?

Mike Sigman
Damn! I just noticed what section this is in. I just click the New Posts Link and reply to what I think is interesting. Sorry for the interruption!! I did this in the foreign language thread earlier today.

-

-It seems to be all about semantics!
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Old 06-14-2011, 05:23 PM   #17
Janet Rosen
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

Quote:
Tim Jester wrote: View Post
Damn! I just noticed what section this is in. I just click the New Posts Link and reply to what I think is interesting. Sorry for the interruption!! I did this in the foreign language thread earlier today.

-
Tim, look at the page for new posts. There is a column that states what section it is in.

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Old 06-14-2011, 05:39 PM   #18
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

Quote:
Pat Togher wrote: View Post
I believe Tomiki sensei was studying with the founder in 1926, before Kano sensei sent students to study in the early '30's. I recall reading (don't have the exact cite, since I am at work) that it was Isammu Takashita that actually introduced Tomiki to Ueshiba sensei, so I don't know that "Kano sent Tomiki to Ueshiba to learn ki/kokyu" at all. The hows and why's of that are a matter of speculation, I think.

Since Tomiki is known to have been able to do some of the "Ki tricks", I'd be interested in hearing if there are Tomiki folks studying IS, and how those individuals compare the Tomiki method to IS skill development, in this thread or another ....

Pat
Tomiki started Judo somewhere around 1910. The "ki tricks" that I've seen from Kenji Tomiki look pretty much like straight Daito-ryu to me - no surprise, since that's what he was studying with Ueshiba.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-14-2011, 09:37 PM   #19
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Tomiki started Judo somewhere around 1910. The "ki tricks" that I've seen from Kenji Tomiki look pretty much like straight Daito-ryu to me - no surprise, since that's what he was studying with Ueshiba.

Best,

Chris
Yup!

Tomiki = Solo body movement Exercises, Shirata = Solo body movement exercises, Shioda = Solo body movement exercises.

Tomiki = Daito ryu shtick , Shirata = Daito Ryu shtick, Shioda = Daito Ryu schtick

Tomiki = Daito Ryu mokuroku(s), Shirata = Daito Ryu mokuroku(s), Shioda = Daito Ryu mokroku(s)

Ueshiba Morihei (Licensed Daito Ryu instructor {Takuma Hisa quote (Highest Ranking from Takeda???) "Ueshiba taught the same things as Takeda!" (at the same time btw)) DAITO RYU instructor

of . . .

Tomiki, Shirata, Shioda (not to mention respectively Mochizuki, Iwata, and many others )

I look at Tomiki, Shirata, and Shioda sensei's waza and I see a commonality . . . I wonder why . . . could it be they had the same teacher?

I train with several Daito ryu instructors and other "Aiki family" folks (the apple doesn't fall far from the tree Yoshida family folks!) and see a commonality . . . I wonder why . . . could it be we all came from the same core teachings?

Nah!

Screw those guys! What do they know anyway?

And while we're at it screw Saito too! He wasn't valued at all by Ueshiba Morihei. He didn't learn anything of significance from his teacher who he took such good care of, and of whom tried to assure he was taken care of in return.

Nah!

After all, those Iwama guys are more like . . . those Daito Ryu guys, which are like the pre-war STUDENTS OF UESHIBA sensei so . . . what do they know anyway????

Yeah! What do they know?

Could they know anything about the founder of Aikido?

Could they know anything about what he taught?

Might they have something significant to add to the discussion?

Nah!!!!


~ Allen Beebe
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:45 PM   #20
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

OK, make it a Tomiki thread then.
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:01 AM   #21
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
.... my point is that whether they're now engaged in a "how does it work" or "this guy is nuts and doesn't understand the Real Deal (tm) like we do on RSF" or vector resultants, they're moving forward.
I checked out the thread. I agree that intelligent discourse is very important, in fact it opened my eyes 3 years ago. But I don't think that discussion is moving forward. Thinking up interesting search strings and doing some reading would move a person forward more. I think there's been better discussion even on that same site.

But enough curmudgeoning, let's have discussion. I noticed the breathing section is very much not in depth compared to the rest.
If the aikido name for I.S. is "kokyu," I think we aikidoka (or all martial artists) have good reason to think about the body and movement in terms of the mutual interplay of complements. (In/out, low pressure/high pressure, in/yo.) In normal bodies, the in-out of breathing seems to be independent of the way body movements work, as opposed to say, how a cheetah's breathing works in sprints. (I think I first heard about that on a nature show or something, but for another pop-sci reference, the google books preview of Born to Run talks about running quadrupeds.) The disconnect between movement and breath that we enjoy has benefits, but it is a hinderance in IS.

Mike's 3-part article in AJ "Putting the Ki back in Aikido" was interesting in that he chose a breathing exercise as what to recommend to the masses, if only one thing could be given to them to work on. At the time I read that, I thought it was interesting but the kind of stuff in this blog post seemed so much more interesting and closer to being useful in application. And it seemed to make so much more sense. But, I've found myself working on breath-associated things more and more.

The mechanics of inhaling and exhaling work pretty well for all of us. But, I think there is a way that this mechanism can help us in body movements. I think this is why we get the name "kokyu." What I mean is we could power and/or support whole-body movement by co-opting the breathing mechanism (we link the breath to the more peripheral parts of the body) through practice.

Then, we could have a centralized way to control the "flexible frame." The feeling would be like one aspect of a motion feels like exhaling, while another aspect feels like inhaling.
What do you all think? I tried to do an on-topic post, but I'm still rambling. This is why I don't post much..
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:32 AM   #22
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

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Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
I checked out the thread. I agree that intelligent discourse is very important, in fact it opened my eyes 3 years ago. But I don't think that discussion is moving forward. Thinking up interesting search strings and doing some reading would move a person forward more. I think there's been better discussion even on that same site.
Tsk... and all those 'experts' pumping air into each others' tires. Regardless of whether they're successful or not, though, one or two of them are trying to put two thoughts together.... that's what I was encouraging that people do.
Quote:
I noticed the breathing section is very much not in depth compared to the rest.
If the aikido name for I.S. is "kokyu," I think we aikidoka (or all martial artists) have good reason to think about the body and movement in terms of the mutual interplay of complements. (In/out, low pressure/high pressure, in/yo.) In normal bodies, the in-out of breathing seems to be independent of the way body movements work, as opposed to say, how a cheetah's breathing works in sprints. (I think I first heard about that on a nature show or something, but for another pop-sci reference, the google books preview of Born to Run talks about running quadrupeds.) The disconnect between movement and breath that we enjoy has benefits, but it is a hinderance in IS.
Breathing is a complex subject. The "Parameters" is more or less a list of associated subjects, but it's not a complete breakdown of the subjects by any means. Besides.... notice how the thread became a Tomiki thread; there's no real interest on this forum.

Quote:
Mike's 3-part article in AJ "Putting the Ki back in Aikido" was interesting in that he chose a breathing exercise as what to recommend to the masses, if only one thing could be given to them to work on. At the time I read that, I thought it was interesting but the kind of stuff in this blog post seemed so much more interesting and closer to being useful in application. And it seemed to make so much more sense. But, I've found myself working on breath-associated things more and more.
The actual breathing techniques are the hardest thing to find information on (in completeness). That starter example I gave is still, IMO, very good *as a starter*. As I said, I was just trying to lay out the defining pieces on the board so that people would have a clearer idea what the game is. It gives them something to know if/when they begin to go look for a knowledgeable teacher and thus it will save them time.

Now back to Tomiki. Sorry to go O/T.

Mike
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:56 AM   #23
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
The actual breathing techniques are the hardest thing to find information on (in completeness). That starter example I gave is still, IMO, very good *as a starter*. As I said, I was just trying to lay out the defining pieces on the board so that people would have a clearer idea what the game is. It gives them something to know if/when they begin to go look for a knowledgeable teacher and thus it will save them time.
Funny you say that Mike.

I was at an iaido seminar last week, and the instructor for the seminar was the head of the All Japan Kendo Federation iaido committee.

He commented, "Kokyu is easy." He then spent 30 seconds describing how to do a reverse breath and to exhale on the cuts. Never really said why you were doing it that way, or what benefits might result, or how to know if you are doing it right. On the otherhand, there was nothing that I could see where he was overtly utilizing breath to raise or lower the sword, but perhaps I need a more educated eye.
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:07 AM   #24
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

Quote:
Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
He commented, "Kokyu is easy." He then spent 30 seconds describing how to do a reverse breath and to exhale on the cuts. Never really said why you were doing it that way, or what benefits might result, or how to know if you are doing it right. On the otherhand, there was nothing that I could see where he was overtly utilizing breath to raise or lower the sword, but perhaps I need a more educated eye.
Yeah, but even that part is more complex than that (the breathing) and there are some pretty sophisticated methods of breath training and usages. But it's a start; as more of the interested people get a baseline understanding of these types of training I think they start recognizing that there are bits and pieces (and more) in all the JMA's and CMA's.

I suspect that overall, in the bona fide systems, it'll be found that the same basic steps and rules will apply that are mentioned in the "Parameters".

2 cents.

Mike
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:49 AM   #25
Mike Sigman
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Re: "Baseline Parameters for Internal Strength"

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Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
But I don't think that discussion is moving forward. Thinking up interesting search strings and doing some reading would move a person forward more. I think there's been better discussion even on that same site.
I think one of the rules for a good discussion is that if someone says something you don't understand or think is wrong, or etc., you ask "how does that work?". On forums like RSF there are too many people who rather than debate a point simply put down the person they disagree with (hence their constant bickering). So I agree with you Jonathan... just having a discussion topic doesn't mean it will be a successful discussion.

Best.

Mike
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