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 > Training

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 05-26-2014, 04:30 PM   #1
Riai Maori
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 91
New Zealand-Maori
Offline
Freaky! "take the strength out of your shoulders."

"When you try taking the strength out of your shoulders, it often happens that your ki goes with it!"

Can someone please explain this sentence to me, I read on Aikido Journal?

http://members.aikidojournal.com/pub...ishiro-endo-1/

Thanks.

There is always 3 sides to a story, their side, your side and the TRUTH
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2014, 05:52 PM   #2
Janet Rosen
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Janet Rosen's Avatar
Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,951
Offline
Re: "take the strength out of your shoulders."

If your structure is erroneously based on shoulders being up and out and strong, it follows that if you "take the strength out" without first improving your structure, it can unwittingly lead to a collapse of extension and intent.
How you define proper structure will vary based on who you study with. For example, those coming from Tohei Sensei lineage, focusing on the four principles, then exhaling and relaxing the shoulders, should do the trick. Others use different metaphors or ways to teach it.

Last edited by Janet Rosen : 05-26-2014 at 05:54 PM.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2014, 08:51 PM   #3
NagaBaba
 
NagaBaba's Avatar
Location: Wild, deep, deadly North
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,145
Offline
Re:

Quote:
Richard Campbell wrote: View Post
"When you try taking the strength out of your shoulders, it often happens that your ki goes with it!"

Can someone please explain this sentence to me, I read on Aikido Journal?

http://members.aikidojournal.com/pub...ishiro-endo-1/

Thanks.
Don't be mislead by someone from internet, ki don't exist. It is only urban legend...

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2014, 09:39 PM   #4
AsimHanif
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 484
Offline
Re:

Richard,
sometimes when people relax their upper body they make the mistake of going limp or dead. Taking the strength out of your shoulders means to use only what you need, nothing more. For example, when you lift your arm, try using your lats and keep your delts (shoulders) soft. A lot of people will squeeze their delts to lift their arm. This is overuse.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2014, 09:55 PM   #5
dps
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,170
Offline
Re:

The secret to ki is that someone else is pulling the strings;

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=w-QQJ0E6SWA

dps
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-27-2014, 09:27 AM   #6
Cliff Judge
Dojo: Aikido Shobukan Dojo
Location: Columbia, MD
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 981
United_States
Offline
Re:

Quote:
Richard Campbell wrote: View Post
"When you try taking the strength out of your shoulders, it often happens that your ki goes with it!"

Can someone please explain this sentence to me, I read on Aikido Journal?

http://members.aikidojournal.com/pub...ishiro-endo-1/

Thanks.
Over-engaging the shoulder muscles during martial technique tends to prevent you from engaging other muscle groups, particularly those in the lower body.

It also prevents you from applying force into your opponent.

Tension in the arms is much easier for your uke to feel, allowing them to understand what you are trying to do and to counter it.

The concept of "ki" as I understand it breaks out into these three things. if you view the technique as a circulation of energy then using your shoulders too much serves to block or choke up that energy, meaning less power for the technique and more reaction on the part of uke. If you are afraid people are going to think you are a hippy for using eastern concepts in their proper context, then you can go spend a couple of years trying to figure out how to exactly model the whole thing with western kinesiology. But please shut up about it until you have a paper published in a respected journal.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-27-2014, 10:01 AM   #7
jonreading
 
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 894
United_States
Offline
Re: "take the strength out of your shoulders."

I walk a tight rope here...

1. Ki is real, but it is concrete and reproducible. It is not to diminish muscular strength, but to identify a predecessor energy.
2. Eastern translations can be terrible. "Relax" rates for me as one of the most terrible translation/interpretation concepts in aikido.

For me, what Endo sensei is referring is using too much muscle recruitment in aikido. Excluding those muscles your body requires to fight gravity and maintain stability, generally we are talking about the overuse of muscular strength. The best analogy for this issue I have experienced in my rock climbing. When I first started rock climbing, I fatigued easily because I recruited more muscular strength than was needed to climb; mostly, this was the result of insecurity and fear related to my bodily safety. Later, as I better understood climbing and how my body worked, I was able to reduce this particular issue by recruiting less muscle.

What Endo sensei is talking about is not new - several other shihan spoke about this topic (Yamaguchi, Tohei, Sunadomari, Mochizuki, etc.). I am not convinced that instruction wasn't lost in translation, though. Essentially, it is not that we don't use power, it is rather the method of create that power that is of issue. We are working to convert our muscle power to another power source, namely ki. "Take strength out of your shoulder," is not synonymous with "do not have strength."

  Reply With Quote
Old 05-27-2014, 10:18 AM   #8
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,811
United_States
Offline
Re:

Quote:
Richard Campbell wrote: View Post
"When you try taking the strength out of your shoulders, it often happens that your ki goes with it!"

Can someone please explain this sentence to me, I read on Aikido Journal?

http://members.aikidojournal.com/pub...ishiro-endo-1/

Thanks.
methink, this based on the asian's power sequence: power from below, control by the waist/hips (dantien really), express by the arms (including the shoulders). you can sort of equate that to the Tohei model: weight underside, keep one point, extend ki.

weight underside = power from below
keep one point = control by dantien
extend ki = express by the arms

at no point in those two models mentioned that power originated from shoulders. it's a jin or soft power model (whole body) vs hard power (pure muscular and localize). *note, me not wanting to get into the whole IS/IP/aiki war, because me are barbarians and don't care what other folks think, other than 'em make good targets for me axes*

try this article: http://members.aikidojournal.com/pub...y-mike-sigman/

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-27-2014, 11:00 AM   #9
Janet Rosen
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Janet Rosen's Avatar
Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,951
Offline
Re:

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
methink, this based on the asian's power sequence: power from below, control by the waist/hips (dantien really), express by the arms (including the shoulders). you can sort of equate that to the Tohei model: weight underside, keep one point, extend ki.

weight underside = power from below
keep one point = control by dantien
extend ki = express by the arms

at no point in those two models mentioned that power originated from shoulders. it's a jin or soft power model (whole body) vs hard power (pure muscular and localize). *note, me not wanting to get into the whole IS/IP/aiki war, because me are barbarians and don't care what other folks think, other than 'em make good targets for me axes*

try this article: http://members.aikidojournal.com/pub...y-mike-sigman/
Pretty much. I also relate "weight underside" to engaging the lats and extensors rather than the biceps and upper shoulders and "extend ki" as intent which includes not just express via arms but also eyes, dantien and energetically.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-27-2014, 11:15 AM   #10
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,817
United_States
Offline
Re: "take the strength out of your shoulders."

There are a lot of "shoulder muscles"; for good aikido mechanics, the typical person needs to learn to use some of them less and others more. "Relax" is the opposite of "contract"; you cannot perform movement if everything is "relaxed". Again, mechanics: when dealing with the extremities, the mechanics are flexing and extension. A lot of aikido mechanics depend on extension, but whether you're flexing or extending, it's all being done by muscle contraction. Muscle relaxation doesn't make anything happen.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-27-2014, 11:24 AM   #11
PeterR
 
PeterR's Avatar
Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 3,059
Japan
Offline
Re:

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
"Relax" rates for me as one of the most terrible translation/interpretation concepts in aikido.
How I hate that word. One of the great, overused, applied when you have nothing better to say, words ever.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-27-2014, 06:01 PM   #12
dps
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,170
Offline
Re:

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
How I hate that word. One of the great, overused, applied when you have nothing better to say, words ever.
''Awesome''

dps
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-27-2014, 09:50 PM   #13
Walter Martindale
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
Location: Cambridge, ON
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 661
Canada
Offline
Re: "take the strength out of your shoulders."

Ki is real - I use it to lock and unlock my doors...

Tension. There's a difference between unconscious "relaxed" where the body flops and is very heavy, and "athletic" (for lack of a better word) "relaxed". In the latter, there's a "connectedness" between the top bits of the body and the bottom bits of the body, whether moving or not) and when you move the wrist of someone in this position, he/she will either stand his/her ground because you have got control, or he or she will fall on their gluteus maximus each evening. "not relaxed" tension? Unconscious, of course, you're dripping "stuff" all over the patio floor...
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-27-2014, 10:02 PM   #14
hughrbeyer
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Boston
Location: Peterborough, NH
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 653
United_States
Offline
Re:

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
"Relax" rates for me as one of the most terrible translation/interpretation concepts in aikido.
Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
How I hate that word. One of the great, overused, applied when you have nothing better to say, words ever.
Maybe. But it's not just a translation issue. There's no better word in English I know of to express the body feeling you're going for if you're chasing this kind of power. Endo describes somewhere how he spent two years refusing to use any kind of power at all to learn to relax. Tohei said the only thing he learned from O-Sensei was how to relax. When people start to express just a little actual internal power, they commonly say, "But I didn't do anything."

Relax. Embrace the suck.

Evolution doesn't prove God doesn't exist, any more than hammers prove carpenters don't exist.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2014, 08:31 AM   #15
hughrbeyer
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Boston
Location: Peterborough, NH
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 653
United_States
Offline
Re: "take the strength out of your shoulders."

I was mulling on this overnight, and I think it's our fault for misinterpreting the word "relax."

When does "relax" ever mean "go limp?" Ever ever ever? If you say to your kid who's keyed up about an exam, does that mean "lay back, don't try hard?" If a coach says to a gymnast before the big event "relax" does that mean "noodle your way through the routine?" If a baseball coach says to a batsman "relax" does that mean "swing the bat in a lackidaisical manner?" Why would we ever interpret "relax" in an Aikido context that way?

Evolution doesn't prove God doesn't exist, any more than hammers prove carpenters don't exist.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2014, 08:59 AM   #16
PeterR
 
PeterR's Avatar
Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 3,059
Japan
Offline
Re:

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
I was mulling on this overnight, and I think it's our fault for misinterpreting the word "relax."

When does "relax" ever mean "go limp?" Ever ever ever? If you say to your kid who's keyed up about an exam, does that mean "lay back, don't try hard?" If a coach says to a gymnast before the big event "relax" does that mean "noodle your way through the routine?" If a baseball coach says to a batsman "relax" does that mean "swing the bat in a lackidaisical manner?" Why would we ever interpret "relax" in an Aikido context that way?
Well to be fair - no one who ever used it for me meant "go limp". I would not have minded it so much if they did - I could understand that. It just seemed to me that those who used the term could have found some more tangible expression of what they wanted to get across. I suspect your baseball coach is also taking the lazy way out.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2014, 10:20 AM   #17
jonreading
 
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 894
United_States
Offline
Re:

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
I was mulling on this overnight, and I think it's our fault for misinterpreting the word "relax."

When does "relax" ever mean "go limp?" Ever ever ever? If you say to your kid who's keyed up about an exam, does that mean "lay back, don't try hard?" If a coach says to a gymnast before the big event "relax" does that mean "noodle your way through the routine?" If a baseball coach says to a batsman "relax" does that mean "swing the bat in a lackidaisical manner?" Why would we ever interpret "relax" in an Aikido context that way?
This is part of the interpretation fault. It is our fault. To answer your question, at some point in time, we allowed an authority to use the term and we did not challenge the context or require an explanation of the message. We bowed our head and said, "thank you," then proceeded to keep doing something. Before us, that authority received the same instruction from a predecessor and so on back to the original use, which meant something.

The problem is that "relax" itself is not knowledge; the phrase is a mnemonic device used to recall an inherited knowledge. When I played baseball, I never relaxed. When fielding, I assumed the athletic position. When batting, I assumed the athletic position. The athletic position was the knowledge, "relax" was just the device that allowed me to recall what I was doing. Visit a little league, you'll notice coach doesn't use mnemonic devices yet because the kids haven't inherited the knowledge. You'll still hear, "bend your knees," Keep your bottom down," "keep up your head," and "keep your bat back." These are all components of the athletic position, but the instruction is more precise.

Ultimately, the pessimist in me says that aikido chooses not to define this term, nor hold people accountable for their use of the term. I have been ranting about the deliberate absence of success metrics in aikido for a while, no need to get back on that soapbox. Relax is an adequate word to describe the education of proper body usage. But, I bet if you started a thread you could not find a consensus on what, why and how.

"Relax" is aikido's version of "Smurf." There is more variation in the usage and meaning and context of that term that you can quantify.

Smurf into your stance
Smurf when you throw
Smurf when you receive
Smurf your breathing
The secret to kokyu dosa is smurfing
Smurf your shoulders
You need to smurf
It's not like smurfing into a La-z-boy
You're not smurfing enough

See? It works.

  Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2014, 10:40 AM   #18
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,817
United_States
Offline
Re: "take the strength out of your shoulders."

When speaking of muscle mechanics, does not "relax" mean exactly that -- go limp?

I understand that that's not generally what people mean when they tell you to "relax", but then you ask "how" and they delve into a discussion of mechanics, and then they run into the problem that this is exactly what "relax" means. It's bad vocabulary to use "relax" when you mean something much more complex, as per Jon's example.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2014, 12:38 PM   #19
Phil Van Treese
Dojo: Tampa Judo and Aikido Dojo, Tampa, Fl
Location: Tampa, Florida
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 174
United_States
Offline
Re:

"Don't be mislead by someone on internet...Ki don't exist. It is just urban legend"

I don't know where you learned martial arts, if you did, but ki does exist. You haven't fed your students with enough sardines yet to encourage them to learn. For you, sardines are the "ki" for them to learn.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2014, 01:31 PM   #20
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,811
United_States
Offline
Re:

Quote:
Phil Van Treese wrote: View Post
I don't know where you learned martial arts, if you did, but ki does exist. You haven't fed your students with enough sardines yet to encourage them to learn. For you, sardines are the "ki" for them to learn.
whoa! hold on there! when did sardines the ki for aikido? i thought it was spam, not sardines. there was even a mention of vegetarian spam, but doesn't sound too good to my digestive system, since vegeterians are a bunch of ornery folks.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2014, 02:18 PM   #21
NagaBaba
 
NagaBaba's Avatar
Location: Wild, deep, deadly North
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,145
Offline
Re:

Quote:
Phil Van Treese wrote: View Post

I don't know where you learned martial arts, if you did, but ki does exist. You haven't fed your students with enough sardines yet to encourage them to learn. For you, sardines are the "ki" for them to learn.
Now, when you mentioned sardines, I'm starting to think I could be deadly wrong...

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2014, 02:32 PM   #22
Janet Rosen
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Janet Rosen's Avatar
Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,951
Offline
Re:

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Now, when you mentioned sardines, I'm starting to think I could be deadly wrong...
Dunno, are you instructing SEALS?

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2014, 02:52 PM   #23
jonreading
 
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 894
United_States
Offline
Re:

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Dunno, are you instructing SEALS?
Janet, that should be a time out for you. Terrible.

  Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2014, 03:20 PM   #24
Janet Rosen
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Janet Rosen's Avatar
Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,951
Offline
Re:

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Janet, that should be a time out for you. Terrible.
Gee, I was proud of myself for the four second turnaround from reading to writing to posting....

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2014, 03:34 AM   #25
Riai Maori
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 91
New Zealand-Maori
Offline
Re: "take the strength out of your shoulders."

Big thanks to everyone for the clarification. "When you try taking the strength out of your shoulders, it often happens that your Ki goes with it!" Often I am told to relax in the shoulders and couldn’t comprehend what was required from me. Any more relaxed and I would need to be asleep. Sensei mentioned last night at training, if you’re sweating, its either you’re unfit or you are over using muscles that don’t need to be worked hard. The latter applies to me. After Bokken training, my front and middle deltoids are pumped to the max. Does being muscle bound affect being relaxed (bad word)? I have been told from Japanese 7th Dan Aikido practitioners I have good Ki, I thought this means strength. Talk about confused!!! And for those who don’t know I am a 3 Kyu studying for 3 years.

Last edited by Riai Maori : 05-29-2014 at 03:38 AM.

There is always 3 sides to a story, their side, your side and the TRUTH
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

Aikido DVDs and Video Downloads - by George Ledyard Sensei & other great teachers from AikidoDVDS.Com



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
It's not You, It's Me jonreading Internal Training in Aikido 67 10-30-2013 12:38 PM
Might Isn't Right, But Strong Isn't Wrong OwlMatt External Aikido Blog Posts 6 07-15-2012 06:36 AM
The strength of the Japanese spirit Guillaume Erard External Aikido Blog Posts 0 01-17-2011 01:36 PM
Internal (Hunyuan) Strength from a Yi Chuan Perspective yichuan Non-Aikido Martial Traditions 27 03-26-2010 10:32 AM
Aikido With an Attitude: The Other Intenal Strength (or Weakness) SeiserL Columns 10 05-29-2007 07:16 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:54 AM.



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