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Old 08-09-2013, 12:41 AM   #26
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Re: to ki or not to ki

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
other folks use other words and methods of training to arrive at roughly the same place.

Ron
And I believe that answers the original question.
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Old 08-09-2013, 07:43 AM   #27
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Re: to ki or not to ki

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Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
I have always taught both men and women since the 1950s, I do though teach the women as I teach the men ` Aikido ` I don't teach them differently, never been a problem. - I teach a lot and refrain from too much talking as my teachers did.
Sounds good to me!
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Old 08-09-2013, 07:52 AM   #28
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Re: to ki or not to ki

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Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
He was thinking about how it looked.... not feeling it....I tapped him on his shoulder and said "Helloo, in there....wake up," and he did...there was expression on his face and he moved differently.
This makes me think of the "four styles of learning" that they taught us about during the coaching training when I was a ski instructor. Rendered simplistically, it's thinker, doer, watcher, feeler. The problem with models like that is that people have so much fun labeling themselves (and others) that they give the label a lot of power...it becomes prescriptive rather than descriptive, I guess? Anyway, our instructor in this training emphasized that the most successful learners are those who incorporate all four learning strategies. So, the guy in Mary's story is maybe a watcher, maybe a thinker, and to learn better, he needs to use the "feeler" and "doer" strategies as well.
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Old 08-09-2013, 07:59 AM   #29
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Re: to ki or not to ki

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Krystal Locke wrote: View Post
That sounds more like good biomechanics to me. The ability to arrange the body so that incoming force is borne by aligned skeletal structure rather than resisted by muscular contraction. Is ki just good physics?
Ki is, in part, good physics and biomechanics. But it goes beyond both insofar as the mind plays a vital role in the development of mind/body synergy. The same exercise can be performed by the same people and yield completely different results depending on the degree of mind/body coordination of the person being tested. Some exercises require that the person being tested purposely adopt positions that are inherently unstable in order require a higher degree of mind/body coordination to deal with the incoming force.

For me, the descriptive terminology is not as important as acquiring the ability to feel what works and then be able to replicate the feeling at will. Once I can do that, I can dispense with the descriptive component altogether and trust correct feeling; cutting out the middleman, so to speak.

That said, you may have other ways of expressing what's happening and if they're helpful in moving your abilities forward then who am I to argue?

Ron

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Old 08-09-2013, 09:35 AM   #30
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Re: to ki or not to ki

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
This makes me think of the "four styles of learning" that they taught us about during the coaching training when I was a ski instructor. Rendered simplistically, it's thinker, doer, watcher, feeler.
you missed one, crasher. ya, i was in the crasher group. i learned from crashing, sometimes, quite spectacular.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 08-09-2013, 11:16 AM   #31
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Re: to ki or not to ki

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Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
When testing a student using a simple shoulder push I can feel when she goes from active muscular resistance to being moved to a state (we call correct feeling) where the force I am applying simply has no effect on her and she is able to stand stock still with little to no effort. The state of correct feeling is achieved when the student learns how to coordinate mind and body. Ki is manifest when correct feeling is achieved as a result of coordinating mind and body. Extend Ki is shorthand for the instruction "coordinate mind and body in order to achieve correct feeling." Once the student learns how she feels when performing this simple test she can then replicate that same feeling at will with other tests or when practicing technique.
That's fine, but I'm with Krystal: it sounds like mechanics to me (directed by the mind, but be sure, but aren't all volitional movements?). I'd like to thank you for clarifying your terms, though. I get the feeling that when most people use the term "ki", they don't mean what you mean...but I don't have a dog in the "what is ki" hunt at all, at all.
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Old 08-10-2013, 03:13 AM   #32
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Re: to ki or not to ki

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I get the feeling that when most people use the term "ki", they don't mean what you mean...
Yes. This is true at least for me.
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:23 AM   #33
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Re: to ki or not to ki

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Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Ki is, in part, good physics and biomechanics. But it goes beyond both insofar as the mind plays a vital role in the development of mind/body synergy. The same exercise can be performed by the same people and yield completely different results depending on the degree of mind/body coordination of the person being tested. Some exercises require that the person being tested purposely adopt positions that are inherently unstable in order require a higher degree of mind/body coordination to deal with the incoming force.

For me, the descriptive terminology is not as important as acquiring the ability to feel what works and then be able to replicate the feeling at will. Once I can do that, I can dispense with the descriptive component altogether and trust correct feeling; cutting out the middleman, so to speak.

That said, you may have other ways of expressing what's happening and if they're helpful in moving your abilities forward then who am I to argue?

Ron
I agree. So the $64 thousand dollar question is... What is this "correct feeling" you speak of? I get that if you have *that* you can cut directly to training, but I'm pretty sure the rules of this forum would rather us not start using phrases like "it has to be felt" (patent pending).

What I think is most frustrating for me is that virtually every discussion tends to devolve into this particular direction if pushed enough. Some end here saying "get out and see those who really can do this stuff rather than the gigantic herd of self-professed shaman and self-appointed guru". But that's seen as asking too much by many. And yet we tend to allow those who want to explain it in mystical, unscientific, unsupportable terms a free pass for all intents saying "Oh, that's how that's always been discussed so it's okay". Frankly I'd rather in the prior group instead of being part of the circle jerk of ultimately meaningless terminology that tends to follow the nonsense and babble dressed up in popular science tropes.

But sadly it leaves me with little to discuss here, neh? So on that note... Gotta go to a seminar and hopefully learn somethin' new. Gonna go feel some stuff. Hopefully learn more about how to get that elusive "correct feel" as you so aptly put it.

Interesting stuff...

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Old 08-10-2013, 09:31 AM   #34
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Re: to ki or not to ki

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I get the feeling that when most people use the term "ki", they don't mean what you mean...
That's quite evident given many of the posts here lately. And I can sit comfortably with that "definition".

But as a fella firmly entrenched in western science I don't get most of the discussions lately, but maybe my angel riding chakras aren't properly aligned in terms of quantum spin in 10-dimensional hyperspace with Jupiter so I'm just out of the loop. Or something like that.

"Mongo only pawn in game of life."

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Old 08-10-2013, 12:24 PM   #35
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Re: to ki or not to ki

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
What is this "correct feeling" you speak of?
Correct feeling is me being aware of how I feel (not the emotional type of feelings) when I am centered, which I am when I have mind and body coordinated. You might ask, all well and good but how do you acquire all this centeredness and coordination of mind and body? We have a rather large syllabus of exercises that we practice in order to hone our awareness of how mind and body can be integrated when we are performing the exercises correctly. The exercises are based on Tohei's original Ki tests, but have been expanded to include stuff that Maruyama sensei developed as well as exercises that Mary and I have developed ourselves over the years. There are solo, partnered stationary, partnered motion and weapons exercises. So when I speak of Ki development work I'm referring to the work we do with these conditioning exercises.

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
And yet we tend to allow those who want to explain it in mystical, unscientific, unsupportable terms a free pass...
Yeah, well there's nothing mystical or other-worldly about our training. It's all pretty straight forward do it and keep doing it until you get it and then do it some more.

Ron

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Old 08-10-2013, 12:35 PM   #36
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Re: to ki or not to ki

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I'd like to thank you for clarifying your terms, though.
You're welcome.

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I get the feeling that when most people use the term "ki", they don't mean what you mean...
I don't doubt it. Francis Takahashi has a blog post on Aikido Journal here that says in part: "In Japanese, the word "Ki" has many meanings, dependent on the intent or purpose of the user. By itself, it has little or no utility or significance. It is when it is used with other words that the true intent of its use is revealed." That nicely sums up my position on the "What is Ki?" question. I don't worry about what it is but, based on my working definition, I know it when I feel it.

Ron

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Old 08-10-2013, 04:13 PM   #37
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Re: to ki or not to ki

I tend to agree with the point of view that, if one is mindful of the presence of the mind, in aikido, one might miss the mark of what is going to be a true aikido technique.

I teach this by talking about the 0.2 second delay of conscious thought when the mind is "considering" a physical interaction with another person, rather than simply reacting to it at a near-reflexive level, which I think the delay is something down in the 0.015 second range - though someone will need to check that for me to get real numbers. That's the sort of time frame it looks/feels like in practice.

When people are learning, there is a LOT of those 0.2 sec delays/slowdowns in the techniques they are attempting to learn/use. Perhaps as many as there are steps to the technique, possibly more, if they happen to be a "thinker" as noted above. In my dojo, I tend to call "thinkers" Engineers, since I have such a high population of them around. Engineers overthink everything they do, and seem to always want to over-complexify AND over-simplify everything, making it harder for them to learn.

Anyway, as students progress, they get past first one, then several, and eventually all of their conscious thought delays, and now, if their principles are sound they should have a very fluid, smooth technique which can emit from them reflexively at need.

Combine the above, with many thousands of repetition so as to "know" the when a technique should "be there" but not actually have to "think" about it, and in my personal opinion, you are looking through the keyhole at Ki.

I find it interesting that the kanji character for kuzushi illustrates a mountain falling on a house.
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Old 08-10-2013, 07:49 PM   #38
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Re: to ki or not to ki

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Krystal Locke wrote: View Post
That sounds more like good biomechanics to me. The ability to arrange the body so that incoming force is borne by aligned skeletal structure rather than resisted by muscular contraction. Is ki just good physics?
Take out "aligned," if by that you mean "in a line."

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
That's fine, but I'm with Krystal: it sounds like mechanics to me (directed by the mind, but be sure, but aren't all volitional movements?). I'd like to thank you for clarifying your terms, though. I get the feeling that when most people use the term "ki", they don't mean what you mean...but I don't have a dog in the "what is ki" hunt at all, at all.
FWIW, I didn't see anything to disagree with in Ron's post from his description of ki and ki development when compared with what I'm doing these days. I haven't been on the mat with him, but It resonates when he says you can make this stuff work from unstable positions, and that it's very practical and detailed rather than being highly esoteric. Tohei had and passed down a lot of good stuff...

Evolution doesn't prove God doesn't exist, any more than hammers prove carpenters don't exist.
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:18 AM   #39
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Re: to ki or not to ki

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Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
He was thinking about how it looked.... not feeling it....I tapped him on his shoulder and said "Helloo, in there....wake up," and he did...there was expression on his face and he moved differently.
That seems to be it in a nutshell. A change/shift in the level and attention in consciousness.

The man had obviously forgotten himself and fallen asleep. A light tap and a hello from Mary was all it took. That seems to be what Ueshiba was getting at. Constantly. "Hello in there..."

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Old 08-16-2013, 12:55 PM   #40
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Re: to ki or not to ki

As soon as any person club falls down the ki path they have generally lost the plot completely. Ki means energy, literally it is the steam rising from cooked rice, and sure we all have energy, but chasing it is like chasing the steam. I have been training over 30 years and have been to a lot of places and that is my simple observation. Ignore it if you will. We should call what they seek aiki and realise that it is a practical learnable method, not some magical pie-in-the-sky unreachable aim. It is Aiki-do = The Way of Aiki.

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Old 08-16-2013, 01:16 PM   #41
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Re: to ki or not to ki

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Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
As soon as any person club falls down the ki path they have generally lost the plot completely.
Your opinion, and based on my experience, completely off the mark.

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Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
Ki means energy...
Once again from "What is Ki" by Francis Takahashi posted here on Aikido Journal "In Japanese, the word "Ki" has many meanings, dependent on the intent or purpose of the user. By itself, it has little or no utility or significance."

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Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
I have been training over 30 years and have been to a lot of places and that is my simple observation. Ignore it if you will.
Thanks, I will. It's my hope that other Aikido practitioners will as well.

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Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
We should call what they seek aiki and realise that it is a practical learnable method, not some magical pie-in-the-sky unreachable aim.
Ya know Rupert, it seems to me that the only people who decry Ki as "some magical pie-in-the-sky unreachable aim" are the ones who continually profess disbelief in the fact that it is indeed "a practical learnable method."

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It is Aiki-do = The Way of Aiki.
Or, Ai-Ki-Do = The Way to Union with Ki.

Ron

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Old 08-16-2013, 01:47 PM   #42
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Re: to ki or not to ki

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Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
As soon as any person club falls down the ki path they have generally lost the plot completely. Ki means energy, literally it is the steam rising from cooked rice, and sure we all have energy, but chasing it is like chasing the steam. I have been training over 30 years and have been to a lot of places and that is my simple observation. Ignore it if you will. We should call what they seek aiki and realise that it is a practical learnable method, not some magical pie-in-the-sky unreachable aim. It is Aiki-do = The Way of Aiki.
Energy is different than power. Energy can just drift off, unused, ineffective. Power is quite different. It's applied energy focused to meet a specific aim. If it meets its aim, it's effective. And it doesn't matter whether someone uses the world ki or not to get there.

I hardly ever use the word "ki." I'm an engineer. The ki energy, which you say is the steam rising from cooked rice, but it goes quite a bit farther than that. And we sort of have to take the components and see how they're all working. The steam comes quite a bit farther down the line. There's also the heat source - too much, it burns; not enough, it doesn't cook. There's the pot, the lid, the type of rice, the type of water, season, humidity... - all of which creates "pressure." That pressure - if properly applied - is the power that achieves its aim.

Cooking rice is an excellent example of the proper use of the five elements https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_Xing Fire, metal/air, earth, water, wood. And it takes every single one of those elements to create not only the initial rice grain, but also the cooked rice.

One can either cook rice well, or they can't. How either of them chooses to talk about it is largely irrelevant.

Even within that range there are constantly-changing variables from day to day, hour to hour. One of Japan's top sushi chefs, Sukiyabashi Jiro, has days and times, I'm sure, where he, at least to himself, knows the rice didn't turn out as well as he'd hoped. Ueshiba even talked about "losing his center," he just said that he was aware of it and could get it back quicker than others would notice.

Don't throw the rice out with the finger bowl. Modalities and language are symbolic. "The map is not the territory." - Korzybski

Last edited by Dan Richards : 08-16-2013 at 01:58 PM.

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Old 08-16-2013, 02:27 PM   #43
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Re: to ki or not to ki

Rupert, I couldn't help but notice the uke in the picture on the cover of your book has dreadful body alignment. A simple ki test with a single finger and he'd topple right over. Actually, he's already falling over. Was this something you were aware of? Does it represent what you teach?

http://discovering-aikido.com/book_cover.htm

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Old 08-19-2013, 09:04 PM   #44
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Re: to ki or not to ki

I am sorry to come late to this thread it’s mother road me hard and put me up wet. Ki is one of those words that seem to be highly context sensitive. In the previous thread I defined it as “the skillful expression of capable intent”. I choose those words carefully because from a top down philosophical perspective it occurs to me that the expression of ki need not be martial at all. In writing this I am discerning the components of ki as, connected body, mastery of technique, and uncluttered/focused mind.

In aikido it manifests, to me, as the connected body making a one way attachment to uke’s center with efficiency, grace and with as little effort as required, while maintaining awareness of everyone else around you; in my definition it is intimately connected to no mind. No mind does not mean you turn off your mind, but rather, the mind is not required for the immediate choosing and application of technique and is thus freed up to see evolving patterns in conflict and move accordingly in a strategic manner; not so much conscience as reflexive intuitive movement. Where the boundary exists (if it does) between extending ki and no mind is up for debate, and perhaps a matter of personal definition; I’m just starting to figure this out.

It is does seem to be a progression it doesn’t click on one day. Do you think about your foot placement anymore? Mine just go where they have to in order to do the technique (most of the time), so from that perspective my feet are in no mind. To the extent that the mechanics on the throw are on autopilot, hara is maintained, the body is adaptive, unbendable arm at the ready, and the mind is able to attend to see the positive and negative spaces I think of that as extending ki. I suspect most consider ki to be just connected body, and that is likely the hardest and one of the last hurdles to loft. But I posit that connection without superior technique and an attentive undisturbed mind is incomplete.

Last weekend one person at an IP seminar said “did you see “This is It” the Michael Jackson documentary. He would sit there in rehearsal looking bedraggled, old and defeated, then he would stand up inflate and bam he would explode projecting movement and song. That was extending Ki”. I agree, hence the non martial terms the definition.

Early in my life I was an ice hockey goaltender. On rare occasions I would get into a flow state, where my body was very active but not over taxed, I was completely aware of my moving geometry relative to the net (goaltending is all about blocking angles), my perception defocused and tracking every player on the ice and the puck as well. I could sense the evolution and most likely directions of play and move accordingly; on those days little got by me. It was an extraordinary sensation and I sure as hell was extending ki.

I think I can define it, I’m not sure how well and how consistently I do it; life is a mountain.
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Old 08-20-2013, 11:45 AM   #45
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Re: to ki or not to ki

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Hilary Heinmets wrote: View Post
Early in my life I was an ice hockey goaltender. On rare occasions I would get into a flow state, where my body was very active but not over taxed, I was completely aware of my moving geometry relative to the net (goaltending is all about blocking angles), my perception defocused and tracking every player on the ice and the puck as well. I could sense the evolution and most likely directions of play and move accordingly; on those days little got by me. It was an extraordinary sensation and I sure as hell was extending ki.

I think I can define it, I'm not sure how well and how consistently I do it; life is a mountain.
I played full back in field hockey and often had games like this. Good awareness, good positioning, good timing, I was fast and cut out passes. I once did such a good job of keeping an international right winger out of the game that in the second half, he moved to the left wing. I moved to right back and continued the job.

The qualities you mention are all good for aikido, and there is a mind/normal body connection, but the ki and aiki I'm after as taught by DH, Bill Gleason and Howard Popkin I believe is something else.
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Old 08-20-2013, 05:02 PM   #46
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Re: to ki or not to ki

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Victor Williams wrote: View Post
but the ki and aiki I'm after as taught by DH, Bill Gleason and Howard Popkin I believe is something else.
These are the things I am calling connected body which is essential to the end result. Who is to say that you don't learn to pull silk before you ever set foot on the mat or perform anything vaguely martial? Your technique can suck but you can be really connected or spiraling really well, they didn't get through but you didn't hurt them. You maybe redirecting ukes intent, and they are not connecting, but they drive you off a cliff by positioning. How about a wire walker or a ballet dancer where you are looking for complete two way connection either sustained of brief? I am actually trying to teach my budding acrobat daughter to pull silk, because supple connected body seems to be a constant in advanced physicality; different application but a common thread.

Distribution of the work, over as much of the body as possible, reduces exertion of any smaller part and leads to efficiency, power and control of the center. Are fascia/tendon development the same thing as spiraling, or is one infrastructure and the other technique? I ask these questions, because we are talking about defining ki, and I am thinking that ki is a broader concept and that specific physical endeavors require application specific expressions of ki.

Dan mentions yoga a lot and, Tohei credits Nakamura as a fundamental teacher. That is why I separated the connected body from the technique, from the mental, from the no mind. Then I threw it on the wall over here so we can push around.
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