Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > Non-Aikido Martial Traditions

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 02-16-2012, 06:27 PM   #1
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,508
United_States
Offline
Bowstring Power

It's an old saying in tai chi, that the "intrinsic power" of human beings is used like a bowstring, drawn, then released for great penetrating power. This explains the tai chi man's ability to drive an opponent sharply back, or back and up into the air, or back and straight down to the ground. It's said to be the power behind aikido. I did a lot of both tai chi and aikido, but I had a lot of trouble understanding quite how you would actually make yourself like a bow string, and how that would create the effortless but profound power for which tai chi is known. And then, tonight, telling a friend about my experience with Minoru "Ark" Akuzawa, I had a flash of understanding.

Before I met Ark—creator of the Aunkai method—and felt the bizarre power he could generate, I had seen videos of him in action and demonstrating the strange exercises he credits for his amazing power. Trying these exercises myself, with my background in Japanese and Chinese arts backed up by years of experience with the ways of Moshe Feldenkrais, I conceived of Aunkai as a way to "tune" the body to gravity. When I attended Ark's visit to Atlanta a couple of years ago, he was very excited to hear this idea. He described his Aunkai method as choritsu, showing me in his electronic translator the English meaning of choritsu: tuning.

Watching him and feeling his power, I realized that he was almost magnetized to the ground and anytime I dealt with him, I was dealing with the direct force of gravity, somehow channeled through his body and back into me. Moreover, he insisted that he did no technique to me, did not put any force into me, but only did things inside his own body in response to any force put upon him, mainly readjusting his location and posture to adhere to gravity. The result was a disruption of the person who was putting force against him. By putting their force into him, they lock themselves to him and the only way they can be "stable" is through orientation to him. And he suddenly moves. He was like one of those little plastic toy standing men, multiple segments joined by string, controlled by a button. When you press the button, the string goes slack and the figure collapses. When you release the button, the string tightens and the little man snaps back upright and rather sturdy. Ark could be as loose as a puppet, standing in an upright column of gravity. You couldn't push him out of it or pull him out of it. He would absorb your distorting efforts just so far, and then his body would suddenly snap back to the upright column of gravity, as if pulled by powerful magnets, the movement happening so suddenly and with so much force that he could slam through you like a big rock hurled by a catapult.

Up to this point in reminiscence, I was telling my friend how glued Ark was to the ground, how every push against him served only to press his feet into the earth. But then, I just snapped into the awareness that Ark's tuning was not only down, but vertically upward, as if, equal to gravity's pull, a powerful upward pushing force was pulling his head and spine straight upward. He was both pulled and pressed, both upward and downward. He was like a violin string or guitar string that vibrates when tweaked, but doesn't move out of its place. Or maybe one of those double-end punching balls, tied to the ground on one side and the ceiling on the other. Or maybe just a big rope tied to the ground and the ceiling. Imagine you try to push that rope. If it gives a little, it will spring back and maybe even throw you off of it. And then I realized: like a bowstring.

So how do you make your body like a bowstring?

You tune your body to a fine degree to adhere to the vertical column of gravity between earth and sky. That's fire and water as Ueshiba spoke of them, yin and yang, in and yo, up and down interwoven inside one's body, being both pulled and pushed in both directions as well as forward and backward and left and right. You feel your feet sink into the ground as you feel your head pulled straight up, toward the sky. When the connections, both pulling and pushing your body in all six directions, are firmly felt in your whole mind and body, your ki will be tuned to three-dimensional stability within the vertical forces, and it will be hard for anyone to get your body to leave that orientation. By practice of tai chi and other arts, the Chinese have learned to train the body in that way. And Aunkai is based on those same principles, tuning the body in ways involving the history of esoteric Buddhist warrior training (the fierce temple guard statues at the front gates of Buddhist temples in Japan: A and Un). So the practitioner is stabilized very magnetically in three dimensions. When he moves, that multidimensional clinging makes him extremely solid and hard to stop.

I think you still need some technique to be able to apply the "bow string" kind of power in martial context. In tai chi, this would be clearly shown in the roll-back sequence, and now I suddenly realize that Mike Sigman has talked a lot about these four directions for human energy, basically toward oneself, down, away from oneself and up. The head and feet don't move much, but the middle of the body draws back, then moves forward…almost like a bowstring being drawn and released.

This brings the opportunity to imagine the ki of the body drawing back, drawing the attacker's ki toward oneself, sinking, moving toward the attacker, then going up. But each end of the defender's ki is simultaneously attached to the earth and the sky, and these only need stretch so far before the attacker reaches the limit of his ability to extend toward the defender, based on the placement of his feet and arms. Just as a violin bow can only push the string so far before it has to change to pulling. When the push changes to pull, the string vibrates in the perfectly appropriate direction to receive the disruption with resonance. But it doesn't move.

So the small drawing movement of the tai chi rollback sequence also sort of stretches the ki…like a bowstring…so that it snaps back toward the attacker…who has placed himself firmly in the position of the arrow. Instead of attacker, it would be easy to say victim, at this point. In the drawing movement, our ki should connect with his ki, so that when our ki and body move, his ki and body are drawn with us, to their extension, and he is thrown back by the release of the bowstring both in us and the bowstring we find in him and pluck.

So now I think I know what they mean about the body's power being like a bowstring. I think it's the same kind of thing in China and Japan, but that the two cultures express and develop it in different ways. And knowing this, it gives me a whole new level to look at when practicing tai chi, bagua, xing yi (where I can really feel that power) and aikido. Now I don't want to think about putting power into the attacker, throwing my power at or through them: I want to just keep myself upright, keep my power inside myself and let the other person's relationship to my bowstring determine how it affects them. If they grab on, they will move when the bowstring moves unless they are more finely tuned than I am—which is really very likely, at this point, in almost anyone with basic physical coordination. But I'm still trying, so I might get better.

I'm working on shedding all unnecessary stuff and letting myself merge with that vertical up-and-down pulling and let it support me. If I can do that, I think my main effort can be simply to keep myself tuned and responsive to that force. If I can physically do this, the attacker will find it hard to move me and very hard to stop me. And with a master of this kind of power, like Ark or Chen Xiao Wang, the attacker finds it very hard to remain on his feet around the bowstring power.

Thanks for reading.

Please grace this with your insights.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2012, 08:43 PM   #2
Lee Salzman
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 405
Offline
Re: Bowstring Power

This sounds about right, but I would say it doesn't only have to be vertical, it doesn't only have to be against gravity, and it doesn't only have to be released straight.

But we have an explicit term for this notion of what you are describing the body here: extension. The body extends outward, not meaning flowing outward like a hose in one direction, but extending outward in both directions, like a spring

This is a subset of a larger concept, though, of drive... driving forces through the body. While one side of the body may be expanding out, the other side is simultaneously compressing. There is never an isolated store phase, and then a release phase, like you would think of when drawing a bow. They are both happening simultaneously. It is the compression of one side that expands the other, the expansion of one side that compresses the other. You are always compressing, always expanding, simultaneously, never not compressing, never not expanding. You can drive the body into any shape this way.

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 02-16-2012 at 08:45 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2012, 08:06 AM   #3
chillzATL
Location: ATL
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 847
United_States
Offline
Re: Bowstring Power

I always enjoy reading how other people take this stuff and relate it in a way that works for them, very nice. I like what Lee added, because if left as is it might give the impression of one big build up into one big release, which is not how I've understood it. Releasing the bowstring simply results in a buildup in another direction. The bow and string should never go slack. Of course that's also a higher level and one I'm not sure you can get too without first feeling and grasping the buildup and release in a more singular manner. Being able to do that and still manage all of the other things that happen in contact with another person is such an interesting study, true budo indeed.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2012, 09:17 AM   #4
Chris Li
 
Chris Li's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Sangenkai
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,085
United_States
Offline
Re: Bowstring Power

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
I always enjoy reading how other people take this stuff and relate it in a way that works for them, very nice. I like what Lee added, because if left as is it might give the impression of one big build up into one big release, which is not how I've understood it. Releasing the bowstring simply results in a buildup in another direction. The bow and string should never go slack. Of course that's also a higher level and one I'm not sure you can get too without first feeling and grasping the buildup and release in a more singular manner. Being able to do that and still manage all of the other things that happen in contact with another person is such an interesting study, true budo indeed.
Reminds me of something that Yukiyoshi Sagawa said (from "Aikido no Ogi", by Yoshimaru Keisetsu):

"A body that uses Aiki is used like a stretched string. Wherever you go continue as if the string is pulled tight. Outwardly it should appear as if this is not the case."

Best,

Chris

  Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2012, 01:38 PM   #5
DH
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
United_States
Offline
Re: Bowstring Power

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Reminds me of something that Yukiyoshi Sagawa said (from "Aikido no Ogi", by Yoshimaru Keisetsu):

"A body that uses Aiki is used like a stretched string. Wherever you go continue as if the string is pulled tight. Outwardly it should appear as if this is not the case."

Best,

Chris
While absolutely true and also a foundation to heaven /earth/ man and spiral energy I have never met anyone in either Daito ryu or Aikido who had even the slightest clue how to do it much less train it.
Since Sugawa and Ueshiba said it was foundational to aiki...Ueshiba said the mystery of aiki is revelaed through these things....It makes you wonder what the heck everyone else is doing?
Dan
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2012, 01:57 PM   #6
Chris Li
 
Chris Li's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Sangenkai
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,085
United_States
Offline
Re: Bowstring Power

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
While absolutely true and also a foundation to heaven /earth/ man and spiral energy I have never met anyone in either Daito ryu or Aikido who had even the slightest clue how to do it much less train it.
Since Sugawa and Ueshiba said it was foundational to aiki...Ueshiba said the mystery of aiki is revelaed through these things....It makes you wonder what the heck everyone else is doing?
Dan
The Hoochie Coochie maybe...

Best,

Chris

  Reply With Quote
Old 02-18-2012, 12:58 AM   #7
Lee Salzman
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 405
Offline
Re: Bowstring Power

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Reminds me of something that Yukiyoshi Sagawa said (from "Aikido no Ogi", by Yoshimaru Keisetsu):

"A body that uses Aiki is used like a stretched string. Wherever you go continue as if the string is pulled tight. Outwardly it should appear as if this is not the case."

Best,

Chris
So when Y. Sagawa is talking about being like a stretched spring when employing aiki, does that relate to anything like the concept of always moving in a way that one compresses into one's self, so that one is always ready to move or change as such, or otherwise stated always moving into one's self, a concept that came to me by way of CMA, of sorts? I mean, superficially they sound similar, but until I have what I am doing verified in person by someone skilled in aiki, I always have severe doubts about what I practice. I always fear they are separate concepts separated by a similar language (to bastardize a "Mark Twain" quote).
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-18-2012, 01:12 AM   #8
Chris Li
 
Chris Li's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Sangenkai
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,085
United_States
Offline
Re: Bowstring Power

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
So when Y. Sagawa is talking about being like a stretched spring when employing aiki, does that relate to anything like the concept of always moving in a way that one compresses into one's self, so that one is always ready to move or change as such, or otherwise stated always moving into one's self, a concept that came to me by way of CMA, of sorts? I mean, superficially they sound similar, but until I have what I am doing verified in person by someone skilled in aiki, I always have severe doubts about what I practice. I always fear they are separate concepts separated by a similar language (to bastardize a "Mark Twain" quote).
Well, I can't speak for Sagawa, and I don't know personally what you're doing, but I would say yes, there is a common training paradigm. One came from the other.

Best,

Chris

  Reply With Quote
Old 02-18-2012, 04:30 AM   #9
Lee Salzman
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 405
Offline
Re: Bowstring Power

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Well, I can't speak for Sagawa, and I don't know personally what you're doing, but I would say yes, there is a common training paradigm. One came from the other.

Best,

Chris
Taking that comparison further, would you say, in your opinion, verticality under gravity is essential to that sort of aiki, i.e. a point of actual difference here despite the common paradigm, or merely a side curiosity of how it can work in one context that is overemphasized by some in search of aiki?
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-18-2012, 04:47 AM   #10
Lee Salzman
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 405
Offline
Re: Bowstring Power

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
I always enjoy reading how other people take this stuff and relate it in a way that works for them, very nice. I like what Lee added, because if left as is it might give the impression of one big build up into one big release, which is not how I've understood it. Releasing the bowstring simply results in a buildup in another direction. The bow and string should never go slack. Of course that's also a higher level and one I'm not sure you can get too without first feeling and grasping the buildup and release in a more singular manner. Being able to do that and still manage all of the other things that happen in contact with another person is such an interesting study, true budo indeed.
Funny thing is compression to me was never explained as that, only extension, and compression we were supposed to get by implication, what happens when extension is unwittingly reversed by an overwhelming force. But yet it seems so integral to its opposite that they are inseparable and to separate them out as somewhat antithetical.

As for being able to do all that and still manage it in contact with another person... it's so hard just to organize anything like this in yourself when people try of talking about affecting other people with it so soon in their training so glibly it makes me wonder if I just must be somehow physically retarded. Why do these other people find all the hard stuff so easy?

I mean, hell, the other day, just to have someone standing over me saying, here, your shoulder blade is not driving into your spine, and showing me a million ways to try and get my body to do it, and three hours later of this, I am still not doing it, and then three days later of repeating the same stuff on my own, and then going back and trying with help again, and still not doing it, and then several days later, after finding some ways to activating something in what feels like my face, despite it manifesting in my shoulder blade, I am somehow barely doing it now... I wasn't smiling intently enough, you see, and that was causing a problem in my shoulder blade, makes sense, right?

And after countless numbers of similar ego-beatings, it feels like my body is as much a raging sea of disorder that will never be tamed, always a little wave of mediocrity popping up from the depths of the ocean. And then people wax philosophical about three-legged stools and four legged animals and back gates, and I can only just go: WHAT? Budo sucks, I tell you.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-18-2012, 08:47 AM   #11
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,508
United_States
Offline
Re: Bowstring Power

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
Taking that comparison further, would you say, in your opinion, verticality under gravity is essential to that sort of aiki, i.e. a point of actual difference here despite the common paradigm, or merely a side curiosity of how it can work in one context that is overemphasized by some in search of aiki?
Thanks for all your comments and questions, Lee.

I don't think the "player" need necessarily be "in" the column of gravity to use this power if he is tuned to that (up/down) as his prime signal and the other four directions mated with that.

I think that's where you learn to feel the energy and learn to direct the power, but I feel like I could do the unbendable arm while planking between two chairs and things of that nature because I know how to do the unbendable arm.

Also think of the video where Tokimune Takeda is lying on his back and lifted up by several men and he floors them all.

Also I've heard that Forrest Chang will put himself in some very awkward-looking postures and can still use internal power to push people back or make himself unpushable.

I do think that the ki must be connected to the vertical column of up/down gravity. The ki should adhere to the six directions no matter the orientation of your body. And if the ki is tuned in, then the body can snap back to verticality and front/back/left/right very powerfully when it is ready.

And I think you're always at your all-around strongest when you are vertically aligned and your body has the minimum need of effort to maintain position.

Is this a great pursuit? You don't need much than your body/mind/ki and you take all that everywhere you go.

Thanks.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-18-2012, 08:54 AM   #12
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,508
United_States
Offline
Re: Bowstring Power

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Reminds me of something that Yukiyoshi Sagawa said (from "Aikido no Ogi", by Yoshimaru Keisetsu):

"A body that uses Aiki is used like a stretched string. Wherever you go continue as if the string is pulled tight. Outwardly it should appear as if this is not the case."
That's uplifting.

But really, very comforting to know that Sagawa described the mystery in a way that could be construed to mean the same thing I said!

Yet, sadly, he could still be completely right and I could still be completely wrong. I think it's very best to always assume, as Lee seems to do, that you could be completely off track even though you think you understand. This topic has given me some things to really sharpen my mind with and it's only through these discussions and meeting with Dan and Ark that I finally came to understand my ki and its relation to my mind and body. And that came through arguing about fascia…So it's as if I have dissected myself (really beginning with the aikiweb thread called The Leather Man) and I have understood a whole new approach to using effort in martial arts technique.

And this thing about the bowstring does seem to have real relevance to the pursuit.

I appreciate your very interesting contribution to the questions.

Thanks.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-18-2012, 09:09 AM   #13
Lee Salzman
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 405
Offline
Re: Bowstring Power

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Thanks for all your comments and questions, Lee.

I don't think the "player" need necessarily be "in" the column of gravity to use this power if he is tuned to that (up/down) as his prime signal and the other four directions mated with that.

I think that's where you learn to feel the energy and learn to direct the power, but I feel like I could do the unbendable arm while planking between two chairs and things of that nature because I know how to do the unbendable arm.

Also think of the video where Tokimune Takeda is lying on his back and lifted up by several men and he floors them all.

Also I've heard that Forrest Chang will put himself in some very awkward-looking postures and can still use internal power to push people back or make himself unpushable.

I do think that the ki must be connected to the vertical column of up/down gravity. The ki should adhere to the six directions no matter the orientation of your body. And if the ki is tuned in, then the body can snap back to verticality and front/back/left/right very powerfully when it is ready.

And I think you're always at your all-around strongest when you are vertically aligned and your body has the minimum need of effort to maintain position.

Is this a great pursuit? You don't need much than your body/mind/ki and you take all that everywhere you go.

Thanks.

David
But, like, what if you moved your body into any of these twisty macaroni shapes? Obviously the body is not a piece of macaroni and can't quite approximate all of those to the degree outlined there, but some of likeness of those come up more often in fighting than merely being bolt upright or a flat horizontal plank, especially in grappling... I mean, like, rather than snapping back to straight, you snapped into a curve, or a spiral, or a ball, or even straight, using the same pressure that would otherwise just form you back to vertical? That is, they are not awkward postures that you are trying to recover from, but first-class postural possibilities that you are at times trying to go to? But is that aiki anymore, or is that something else? That is where I wonder the distinct concepts separated by a similar language issue...

I don't know what to make of gravity most of the time. It seems more present and usable in those aspects where you must move off the vertical, to fall by choice, rather than those times when it is just dropping straight through you and you're doing nothing more than balancing on it. Compared to the forces experienced from another person trying to throw you, it seems a very subtle force to work against or practice against in extension. Even in dropping, gravity is a slow force in terms of accelerating the body, to the extent that it seems like an additive that isn't terribly explosive.

You just need your body, mind, ki, and access to a teacher who knows what they are doing on a regular basis to prevent you from going off into the weeds and a supportive environment of people to give you a reality check on what you are really developing to keep you on the track of progress. Easier said than done sometimes...
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-18-2012, 09:15 AM   #14
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,508
United_States
Offline
Re: Bowstring Power

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
I always enjoy reading how other people take this stuff and relate it in a way that works for them, very nice. I like what Lee added, because if left as is it might give the impression of one big build up into one big release, which is not how I've understood it. Releasing the bowstring simply results in a buildup in another direction. The bow and string should never go slack. Of course that's also a higher level and one I'm not sure you can get too without first feeling and grasping the buildup and release in a more singular manner. Being able to do that and still manage all of the other things that happen in contact with another person is such an interesting study, true budo indeed.
Yes. I sense that this power works in every direction. Think of the violin string vibrating powerfully as the bow pulls it, then pushes it. It's constantly relating to the constantly changing force put upon it with either push or pull and it negotiates the change from push to pull with perfect timing, exactly in relation to the moment when the bow stops moving in one direction and begins to move the other way.

The string receives the change without need to readjust itself in any way. But think of its actual movement.

If you took a magnifying glass and closely observed the actual movement of the string, I think it would be six-directional movement. I think you'd find a sine-wave undulation along the length of the string, which would be constantly regenerated as the bow continued to pull or push against the string. Away from the longitudinal axis of the string, the sine wave peaks and troughs are going to be expressing in the other four directions (into the face of the instrument, out from the face of the instrument, left across the face of the instrument and right across that face) as well as every degree of direction between those.

In the first post on this thread, I only wanted to bring out the very basic form of the idea of bowstring orientation and tuning and a very basic example (which strikes me as more advanced every time I think about it)--the roll-back sequence in tai chi.

I actually popped a guy back about five feet with that movement one time and it felt like I didn't do anything. I had the strong impression that it was something that "happened" between us. But I didn't know how to "make" it happen. I was not normally that effective. To me, at least, in martial arts training, I don't want methods that sometimes work but I don't know why. The IS/Aiki discussions have helped me get a look inside those invisible relationships that allow that kind of thing to happen.

So I sensed in the first post that the bowstring power doesn't only operate in a single direction and it's not directly dependent on up/down posture or an expendable "release" that must be replinished, but just to get the basic idea down where it can be examined, I made a simple illustration. Comments like yours are just what I hoped to draw.

Thanks.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-18-2012, 10:39 AM   #15
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,508
United_States
Offline
Re: Bowstring Power

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
But, like, what if you moved your body into any of these twisty macaroni shapes? Obviously the body is not a piece of macaroni and can't quite approximate all of those to the degree outlined there, but some of likeness of those come up more often in fighting than merely being bolt upright or a flat horizontal plank, especially in grappling... I mean, like, rather than snapping back to straight, you snapped into a curve, or a spiral, or a ball, or even straight, using the same pressure that would otherwise just form you back to vertical?
I think that's a good illustration and it seems to relate to the idea of having multiple "bows" in the body/mind/ki structure, all distributing force and all capable of "issuing" power while simultaneously recharging the other bows...but way beyond my actual understanding.

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
That is, they are not awkward postures that you are trying to recover from, but first-class postural possibilities that you are at times trying to go to? But is that aiki anymore, or is that something else? That is where I wonder the distinct concepts separated by a similar language issue...
That makes it clearer. Especially when you get into grappling or, from my perspective, sutemi waza, where you're doing work in the midst of fast movement while in some outlandish posture that has no other use but the throw.

The one thing I always go back to is that, ultimately, for the greatest part of your life, you will be upright because for most things (including running) you're more efficient in a very upright posture. Though you might lean forward a bit in running.

But we live upright and the hallmark of internal arts is fantastic effectiveness with very little discernible effort or movement and very little disruption from one's normal posture.

So I think we would best consider all macaroni kinds of shapes to be something we pass through on the way to returning upright. This was Feldenkrais' idea, actually. He called the optimal human upright standing posture the "neutral posture". I call it Zero Stance or rei no kamae. That's my way of looking at everything first from the "nothing" state, where we're "not doing anything" and I focus most of my attention on where the "nothing" state first starts to become the "something" I want to do. And I want t be sure that I do nothing more than I'm attempting. It's in the transition from "doing nothing" to "doing" that people tend to grab some extra baggage. If they need to use 35 muscle fibers, they've already leapt ahead to activating 150 muscle fibers. And by the end of the technique, they're using ten times more effort than the technique really requires. So they're stiff, but they feel strong....

I like to go from "doing nothing" to the point where I can feel only the first muscle fiber activating, then gradually advance to where I can add only the efforts really needed, so that when I get to the end of the technique, I'm using the optimum amount of effort, or "maximum efficient use of effort," as Kano said and he was Feldenkrais' first introduction to judo.

But that's why I relate everything first to up/down (besides that it's the fire/water that Ueshiba extolled, the ki of heaven and the ki of earth). These things are not restricted to the up/down, but that's their natural position and you get the most return for the least disruption from their natural state.

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
I don't know what to make of gravity most of the time. It seems more present and usable in those aspects where you must move off the vertical, to fall by choice, rather than those times when it is just dropping straight through you and you're doing nothing more than balancing on it. Compared to the forces experienced from another person trying to throw you, it seems a very subtle force to work against or practice against in extension. Even in dropping, gravity is a slow force in terms of accelerating the body, to the extent that it seems like an additive that isn't terribly explosive.
Well, that's assuming that you're using the gravity in quite that way. Like we have to use connective tissue differently than we use muscle, I think the first use of gravity is as the prime reference for orientation and then use that continually as a prime consideration for evaluating where things are and where they're going, in terms of a physical conflict. In other words, you want to keep it falling straight through you--though not necessarily straight up and down the spine. It's always falling straight through you...You say "Compared to the forces experienced from another person trying to throw you, it seems a very subtle force to work against or practice against in extension." Very subtle like ki...and vital for the mind and ki to be clear and effective in the situation. So we aren't using "gravity" itself so much as we are using our constant tuning to it. We use our orientation to gravity more than we use the gravity itself.

Now, what we would like is for the other guy, in trying to disrupt our relationship to gravity, to put himself into a position where the subtle influence of gravity will be "sprung" and he will feel it in an explosive manner, either by being attached to us when we move or by hitting the ground when he's completely lost his orientation to the vertical.

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
You just need your body, mind, ki, and access to a teacher who knows what they are doing on a regular basis to prevent you from going off into the weeds and a supportive environment of people to give you a reality check on what you are really developing to keep you on the track of progress. Easier said than done sometimes...
Which is what makes this forum so valuable.

Thanks again.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-18-2012, 10:54 AM   #16
Chris Li
 
Chris Li's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Sangenkai
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,085
United_States
Offline
Re: Bowstring Power

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
Taking that comparison further, would you say, in your opinion, verticality under gravity is essential to that sort of aiki, i.e. a point of actual difference here despite the common paradigm, or merely a side curiosity of how it can work in one context that is overemphasized by some in search of aiki?
Gravity is definitely your friend, but no, I don't think that you need to be completely (or even partially) vertical. What I'm talking about it more a type of internal connection.

Best,

Chris

  Reply With Quote
Old 02-18-2012, 11:07 AM   #17
Chris Li
 
Chris Li's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Sangenkai
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,085
United_States
Offline
Re: Bowstring Power

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
That's uplifting.

But really, very comforting to know that Sagawa described the mystery in a way that could be construed to mean the same thing I said!

Yet, sadly, he could still be completely right and I could still be completely wrong. I think it's very best to always assume, as Lee seems to do, that you could be completely off track even though you think you understand. This topic has given me some things to really sharpen my mind with and it's only through these discussions and meeting with Dan and Ark that I finally came to understand my ki and its relation to my mind and body. And that came through arguing about fascia�So it's as if I have dissected myself (really beginning with the aikiweb thread called The Leather Man) and I have understood a whole new approach to using effort in martial arts technique.

And this thing about the bowstring does seem to have real relevance to the pursuit.

I appreciate your very interesting contribution to the questions.

Thanks.

David
Fair enough, I go wrong often enough myself .

There's actually quite a lot in "Takemusu Aiki" about the vertical connection (and all through the Chinese arts, as Lee said), but more on that another time...

Best,

Chris

  Reply With Quote
Old 02-18-2012, 11:45 AM   #18
Lee Salzman
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 405
Offline
Re: Bowstring Power

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
I think that's a good illustration and it seems to relate to the idea of having multiple "bows" in the body/mind/ki structure, all distributing force and all capable of "issuing" power while simultaneously recharging the other bows...but way beyond my actual understanding.

That makes it clearer. Especially when you get into grappling or, from my perspective, sutemi waza, where you're doing work in the midst of fast movement while in some outlandish posture that has no other use but the throw.

The one thing I always go back to is that, ultimately, for the greatest part of your life, you will be upright because for most things (including running) you're more efficient in a very upright posture. Though you might lean forward a bit in running.

But we live upright and the hallmark of internal arts is fantastic effectiveness with very little discernible effort or movement and very little disruption from one's normal posture.

So I think we would best consider all macaroni kinds of shapes to be something we pass through on the way to returning upright. This was Feldenkrais' idea, actually. He called the optimal human upright standing posture the "neutral posture". I call it Zero Stance or rei no kamae. That's my way of looking at everything first from the "nothing" state, where we're "not doing anything" and I focus most of my attention on where the "nothing" state first starts to become the "something" I want to do. And I want t be sure that I do nothing more than I'm attempting. It's in the transition from "doing nothing" to "doing" that people tend to grab some extra baggage. If they need to use 35 muscle fibers, they've already leapt ahead to activating 150 muscle fibers. And by the end of the technique, they're using ten times more effort than the technique really requires. So they're stiff, but they feel strong....

I like to go from "doing nothing" to the point where I can feel only the first muscle fiber activating, then gradually advance to where I can add only the efforts really needed, so that when I get to the end of the technique, I'm using the optimum amount of effort, or "maximum efficient use of effort," as Kano said and he was Feldenkrais' first introduction to judo.

But that's why I relate everything first to up/down (besides that it's the fire/water that Ueshiba extolled, the ki of heaven and the ki of earth). These things are not restricted to the up/down, but that's their natural position and you get the most return for the least disruption from their natural state.
When you put it that way it sounds very related to the subject of compression, in that you try to minimize the disparity from what would allow you to extend again.

Quote:
Well, that's assuming that you're using the gravity in quite that way. Like we have to use connective tissue differently than we use muscle, I think the first use of gravity is as the prime reference for orientation and then use that continually as a prime consideration for evaluating where things are and where they're going, in terms of a physical conflict. In other words, you want to keep it falling straight through you--though not necessarily straight up and down the spine. It's always falling straight through you...You say "Compared to the forces experienced from another person trying to throw you, it seems a very subtle force to work against or practice against in extension." Very subtle like ki...and vital for the mind and ki to be clear and effective in the situation. So we aren't using "gravity" itself so much as we are using our constant tuning to it. We use our orientation to gravity more than we use the gravity itself.

Now, what we would like is for the other guy, in trying to disrupt our relationship to gravity, to put himself into a position where the subtle influence of gravity will be "sprung" and he will feel it in an explosive manner, either by being attached to us when we move or by hitting the ground when he's completely lost his orientation to the vertical.
I can totally buy that and most likely that is something I should look more into in my own training. Subtlety is not in my bag of tricks yet.
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

Budo Bear Patterns - Sewing pattern for Women's (and Men's) dogi.



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18 Peter Goldsbury Columns 187 09-08-2011 03:41 PM
Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 17 Peter Goldsbury Columns 41 06-03-2010 10:46 PM
Yoshinkan and "aiki" MM Non-Aikido Martial Traditions 105 05-14-2010 01:59 PM
Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 14 Peter Goldsbury Columns 38 08-01-2009 12:19 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:11 PM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate