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Old 07-31-2011, 07:09 AM   #26
graham christian
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Re: Why the extended fingers in Aikido postures

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
It is essentially a meeting and wrapping manner that I mean by "grab," though you may be right otherwise. I could make a similar effect on my own arm where I would barely/gently "wrap" my arm in my hand and cause my finger-tips to suddenly twinge with added pressure. I've been trying it since my last post and don't come anywhere near to producing what I remember.
I'm more interested in how finger extension might relate to fist/hand connection. For example, the tora no kuchi (tiger's mouth), ippon ken; etc.
I know ippon ken in particular isn't very extended looking, but surely it relates to the "unbreakable circle" I believe Tohei Sensei spoke of?
Hi Matthew.
Ippon ken? Well when holding the bokken in such a way you are extending through the centre of it, through it's centre line.

So no it's not to do with the unbreakable circle if you're talking about Ki extension.

The hands wrapping around form the unbreakable circle yes but the Ki extension actually comes from tegatana.

The elbow may lead but tegatana extends and cuts. When your tegatana becomes one with the sword then it becomes one with you and thus is no longer a heavy object but merely part of you.

As far as the effect on your fingers when you hold the arm or wrist well that happens basically on a 'dead' arm so to speak. It's due to the simple cutting off of blood flow, the fingers wondering what's going on. Sometimes it could be you pressing on a nerve.

More importantly though is when your wrist is held then your hand should automatically come alive and not be some 'dead' or lethargic twitching thing.

In fact extending and getting that expanding effect is one side of the equation because letting the energy or power from the hold come in to centre first and then extending back out is the whole.

The extended knuckle strikes etc. are not of much concern to me.
Of course they would be the extension point for ki but their use is more to do with specific points or pressure points. Any knuckle or elbow or knee etc could be used in such ways so it's not that significant really. In Aikido for me it's more a matter of being aware of such things and even how to handle such things rather than use them for they are not exactly harmonious.

Having said that I find tegatana a much more powerful thing and even an extended finger.

Heres something you can practice if you feel the need. Hold a piece of paper, just by one edge say with your left hand and jab your finger through it with your right hand. If you are using force it will dent or crumple to a degree but the aim is for you to be able to put your finger straight through it leaving a hole. The paper must be held mainly by thumb and finger so there is no tension in it.

When you can do this you will know ki extension through the finger used as a weapon.

Regards.G.
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:52 PM   #27
JW
 
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Re: Why the extended fingers in Aikido postures

I have some thoughts on this matter though they may not be in the original spirit of the thread. Mike, I know you saw Sunadomari's AJ Friendship Seminar demo/lecture. This was a BIG topic for him, he actually spend a lot of time discussing it.
I took away this as a basic understanding:

From the point of view of outward force from you, the finger extension is involved in the mechanism of your generation of strength. There are 2 contexts in that demo that you will see Sunadomari's hand extended: when he shows you what is "wrong," and when he directs ukes around him, by using some outward force. So why is one wrong and one is actually what he does in application?

When you want to put out outward force (obviously it will be into a direction where there is no ability for uke to resist) then this kind of expansive mechanism is used. But then there is the receiving of incoming force, which is a different matter. This is where Sunadomari's harping on what is not right comes in. If uke is coming in with strong force, then receiving the grab correctly involves a mechanism marked by hand closure, rather than hand opening. He shows this many times. It seems to be the case that by fully and actively receiving the incoming force, his influence can 'enter' into the attack. He shows how using strength (with the hallmark extended fingers) in this case is exactly the wrong thing to do, and you just get pushed around.

I took it like, if someone gives you the 'yang' tomoe from the diagram, you complete it by mating it to the 'yin' tomoe. But vice versa when they are weak-- in that case they present only the 'yin' tomoe so you fit that puzzle piece with the correctly matching 'yang' tomoe.
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Old 07-31-2011, 02:11 PM   #28
Mike Sigman
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Re: Why the extended fingers in Aikido postures

Quote:
Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
I have some thoughts on this matter though they may not be in the original spirit of the thread. Mike, I know you saw Sunadomari's AJ Friendship Seminar demo/lecture. This was a BIG topic for him, he actually spend a lot of time discussing it.
I took away this as a basic understanding:

From the point of view of outward force from you, the finger extension is involved in the mechanism of your generation of strength. There are 2 contexts in that demo that you will see Sunadomari's hand extended: when he shows you what is "wrong," and when he directs ukes around him, by using some outward force. So why is one wrong and one is actually what he does in application?

When you want to put out outward force (obviously it will be into a direction where there is no ability for uke to resist) then this kind of expansive mechanism is used. But then there is the receiving of incoming force, which is a different matter. This is where Sunadomari's harping on what is not right comes in. If uke is coming in with strong force, then receiving the grab correctly involves a mechanism marked by hand closure, rather than hand opening. He shows this many times. It seems to be the case that by fully and actively receiving the incoming force, his influence can 'enter' into the attack. He shows how using strength (with the hallmark extended fingers) in this case is exactly the wrong thing to do, and you just get pushed around.

I took it like, if someone gives you the 'yang' tomoe from the diagram, you complete it by mating it to the 'yin' tomoe. But vice versa when they are weak-- in that case they present only the 'yin' tomoe so you fit that puzzle piece with the correctly matching 'yang' tomoe.
Hi Jonathan:

Well, we're getting off into techniques and strategy and that's not what I was getting at in the O.P. While jin/kokyu forces are strong, particularly if you add to the opponent's force ("harmonize", or something similar, because that is what the first two characters of "Ai Ki" actually mean), the actual techniques/strategies of Aikido are meant to also follow the traditional admonitions: don't use force; deflect a heavy attack with a very light force; no resistance. I.e., even though you can generate powerful force with kokyu, it would classically be considered 'low class' if you used "walk through the opponent" type response to an attack. Ueshiba knew that traditional ideal and included it in his art. The same ideal is found in many other Asian martial-arts.

But all of that to the side, I was talking about the physical purpose to the physical extension (not necessarily the 'ki' extension). How one responds to an attack is a different topic.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman
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Old 07-31-2011, 04:07 PM   #29
dps
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Re: Why the extended fingers in Aikido postures

And now time for some comic relief.

Why the extended fingers in Aikido postures?

Because you just recognized uke as the jerk that cut you off in traffic on the way to the dojo.

dps
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:20 PM   #30
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Why the extended fingers in Aikido postures

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
But all of that to the side, I was talking about the physical purpose to the physical extension (not necessarily the 'ki' extension). How one responds to an attack is a different topic.
So the physical purpose is to create greater power capability by extending the tendons (connective tissues); breathing exercises can develop this, but most of the exercises taught by Ueshiba are scattered about or otherwise not readily available for the average aikido-ist. Is this a good summation of the topic being covered by the thread so far?
Based on what I've seen so far, I'm not sure what to ask to learn more...would you be willing to elaborate a bit further?

Last edited by mathewjgano : 07-31-2011 at 10:24 PM.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:26 PM   #31
Mike Sigman
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Re: Why the extended fingers in Aikido postures

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
So the physical purpose is to create greater power capability by extending the tendons (connective tissues); breathing exercises can develop this, but most of the exercises taught by Ueshiba are scattered about or otherwise not readily available for the average aikido-ist. Is this a good summation of the topic covered by the thread so far?
Based on what I've seen so far, I'm not sure what to ask to learn more...would you be willing to elaborate a bit further?
That's a pretty good summation, really. There are a few basic approaches (with varying degrees of sophistication), but I think my original purpose was to point out that some phyical extension (a la Yoshinkan and also in Aikikai and others) helps to knit the body together for the reason indicated in the translation in the O.P.

If you look at Akuzawa's training and a number of similar trainings in a variety of Japanese and Chinese arts, you'll see that extension approach fairly commonly. Of course, a person has to be careful that they don't over-extend themselves into stiffness, non-use of the hara, and so on.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:57 AM   #32
MM
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Re: Why the extended fingers in Aikido postures

Shirata gives a very apt description of why he is spreading, or extending, his fingers when he talked about Suwari kokyu-ho. Shirata states, "Spread the fingers of both hands like 'a pair of blooming flowers' and inhale ..."

Now, the translator translated it as "blooming flowers", but I would venture to say that the original Japanese held a certain phrase that meant a specific kind of internal training.

In fact, I found mention that one of the common internal training exercises for aiki age was to use this principle.

Why the extended fingers? Looks like there might be multiple reasons, depending on what you're trying to accomplish or train. Me? I'd tend to lean towards Shirata and try to find out what the original Japanese version was rather than the watered down translation.

IMO anyway,
Mark
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Old 08-01-2011, 08:14 AM   #33
Mike Sigman
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Re: Why the extended fingers in Aikido postures

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Shirata gives a very apt description of why he is spreading, or extending, his fingers when he talked about Suwari kokyu-ho. Shirata states, "Spread the fingers of both hands like 'a pair of blooming flowers' and inhale ..."
Depending on what a person knows, that statement is fairly straightforward and is congruent with the OP comment/translation. I actually showed (albeit with slightly different terminology) how that was done in the Hawaii workshop.

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-01-2011, 08:37 AM   #34
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Why the extended fingers in Aikido postures

Mark - I, too, would be curious not only of the original Japanese (Shirata may well have changed the terminology) but also what he was taught. Why? Because asagao - morning glory - is the name of a "gokui" associated in the positioning of the hands and fingers in Daito-ryu. I read a debate in which it was asserted that the blooming of the hands was (of course) a manifestation of opening and extension within the entire body.
Best
Ellis Amdur

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Old 08-01-2011, 08:59 AM   #35
Eric in Denver
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Re: Why the extended fingers in Aikido postures

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Shirata gives a very apt description of why he is spreading, or extending, his fingers when he talked about Suwari kokyu-ho. Shirata states, "Spread the fingers of both hands like 'a pair of blooming flowers' and inhale ..."

Now, the translator translated it as "blooming flowers", but I would venture to say that the original Japanese held a certain phrase that meant a specific kind of internal training.

In fact, I found mention that one of the common internal training exercises for aiki age was to use this principle.

Why the extended fingers? Looks like there might be multiple reasons, depending on what you're trying to accomplish or train. Me? I'd tend to lean towards Shirata and try to find out what the original Japanese version was rather than the watered down translation.

IMO anyway,
Mark
I am guessing that the "blooming flowers" extension means the "asagao" or "morning glory" finger extension from Daito ryu.
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:51 AM   #36
Budd
 
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Re: Why the extended fingers in Aikido postures

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Mark - I, too, would be curious not only of the original Japanese (Shirata may well have changed the terminology) but also what he was taught. Why? Because asagao - morning glory - is the name of a "gokui" associated in the positioning of the hands and fingers in Daito-ryu. I read a debate in which it was asserted that the blooming of the hands was (of course) a manifestation of opening and extension within the entire body.
Best
Ellis Amdur
I'm of two minds about this - from the investigative and "data point collection" frame of mind, it's fascinating to get more intel on how translations differ from the original intent as well as different "clues" that different systems use to measure achievement or proficiency.

Then on the other hand . . I can see where people might focus so much on the blooming of the hands that they miss the opening/extension of the body that achieves this. Like when folks try to duplicate the shaking power of a Chen style fajin without having the middle controls, connected body or leg strength to really issue power.

Or even in mainstream aikido where the softness that's trained may miss the underlying strength that makes it powerful without the foundational work.
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:57 AM   #37
lbb
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Re: Why the extended fingers in Aikido postures

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Budd Yuhasz wrote: View Post
Then on the other hand . . I can see where people might focus so much on the blooming of the hands that they miss the opening/extension of the body that achieves this. Like when folks try to duplicate the shaking power of a Chen style fajin without having the middle controls, connected body or leg strength to really issue power.
In other words, a necessary but not sufficient condition. Life is annoyingly full of those
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:01 AM   #38
DH
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Re: Why the extended fingers in Aikido postures

Asagao is a beautiful combining of breath power, the use of fure aiki and elbow power. For the purposes of a drill you can do some interesting things dividing the energy, but every one of those principles are displayed anywhere in the body. Extendin ki into the fingers is meaningless without a developed body and understanding of how to use it.
Dan
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:54 PM   #39
Steven
 
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Re: Why the extended fingers in Aikido postures

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David Skaggs wrote: View Post
And now time for some comic relief.

Why the extended fingers in Aikido postures?

Because you just recognized uke as the jerk that cut you off in traffic on the way to the dojo.

dps
Now that's funny. Thanks
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