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Old 12-20-2002, 07:13 AM   #1
Bruce Baker
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Rooting and the Iron body

Many of you have heard of rooting, or the iron body, but what they, really, how do these techniques come into Aikido training?

It has taken me twenty some odd years to approach the edges of understanding to using these techniques, and many of our better Aikido practitioners use them, but what do you think they are, and how do you use them in your practice?
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Old 12-20-2002, 08:15 AM   #2
Ghost Fox
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The concept of Iron Body has more to do with packing ki onto the physical vessel then it has to do with being indistructable. Without going into a long disertation on the Taoist methodology of Iron Body it is accomplished in Aikido through ki breathing exercises, misogi and taking ukemi (tonifies the internal organs).

As for rooting, "keep weight underside" as I read somewhere before, don't walk with your weight forward (like most people) but walk with your weight projected down in your feet while maintaining your center.

Peace.
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Old 12-20-2002, 08:16 AM   #3
Ghost Fox
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Oh yeah, regarding rooting, just relax and be cool.
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Old 12-20-2002, 08:26 AM   #4
tedehara
 
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Rooting and the iron body are Chinese martial arts concepts. They come into Aikido because instructors won't or can't explain the concepts of being centered or ki extension.

Besides coming from two distinct traditions, rooting is not the same as being centered and iron body is not ki extension. When a top level Tai Chi master or Aikidoist is doing a technique, superficially they may look the same. But looks are deceiving.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
About Ki
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Old 12-20-2002, 08:55 AM   #5
Deborah January
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Root

Hi Bruce

I'm a newcomer to ki aikido -18 months - but have a background in tai-chi and pa kua. The iron shirt or iron body stuff is more shaolin and not my territory, but developing a root was important to the tai chi I learnt and the first 5 or 6 years was devoted to that.

BTW I have found no conflict at all between tai chi and aikido principles.

Rooting or having a root is about body as one unit and therefore how to direct energy applied to one's body. If all my joints are correctly aligned then when you push on my arm the force is directed to the ground and therefore I am not using my arm muscles to resist. Useful and a good protection for one's body integrity. But the more dynamic aspects - and where I see it most in aikido at my beginner level - is that as one develops an awareness of one's own root so one's 'reading' of another's root develops: if I aim at someone's body in a random way they can simply step aside or direct that where they will - if on the other hand I direct it straight down to their root they can't take it anywhere and will simply compress like a spring - release the pressure and they will move, so if I time it correctly I can add just a bit of 'encouragement' to that movement and away they go. There are ways in tai chi of dealing with others' attempts to do that to you, but I haven't found the correspondence in aikido yet - I'm confident it's there, but the training route is different in aikido, or at any rate in the school of aikido I'm studying. Is this useful, or did you want discussion of specific applications?
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Old 12-21-2002, 10:14 AM   #6
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IMHO, while rooting and iron body are interesting, I would rather be enter and blend with fluidity and get off the line.

Until again,

Lynn

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 12-21-2002, 10:46 AM   #7
mike lee
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more misconceptions

Quote:
IMHO, while rooting and iron body are interesting, I would rather be enter and blend with fluidity and get off the line.
Being rooted and full of ki does not mean that one is immobile, unless one harbors such delusions.
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Old 12-22-2002, 06:19 AM   #8
Deborah January
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Quote:
Lynn Seiser (SeiserL) wrote:
IMHO, while rooting and iron body are interesting, I would rather be enter and blend with fluidity and get off the line.
It's not an either/or question, it's both/and. Without a root being 'off the line' won't necessarily help - that's why there are warnings on stations: Stand Back, Express Train Approaching.
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Old 12-22-2002, 07:56 AM   #9
Bruce Baker
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Come on, get them brains going ...

Toss Aside the terminology and see the applications.

How is the world are you gonna get as good as a shihan if you always stay stuck in your little world of Aikido is the light of the world? ( Maybe that is too harsh for some of your minds, to you I apologise as your minds are offended an any little jab towards your beloved Aikido.)

Really.

The term iron body has nothing at all to do with resistence, it is the fluid acceptence of energy and the same principle as many Aikido techniques of centering and redirecting the energy ... unless you want to be the gong that is beat upon?

The mystical images of someone so strong with ki/chi that they can send it to various parts of their body is the same concept as extending yourself across the room, surrounding your opponent to make them inneffectual, or even some of the basic concepts of meditation in disconnecting yourself so you can judge the situation without pain or emotional attachment.

Why do I see the closed door policy of "there is no simularity to Aikido" rather than the" hey, it is quite simular even though it is slightly different" observations?

I guess it is like having four different training methods of Aikido, then watching an exhibition of all four to see almost no differences in the practice at all.

Well, the brain works in different ways for some of us, but we all eventually get there from here, and I bring this to your attention whether you realize you are doing it or not in your present practice of Aikido.

Research it and find the value of this practice we have taken into our Aikido practice, and it will surely shorten your journey and enlighten your studies.

Good journey to you all.
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Old 12-30-2002, 08:48 PM   #10
Lyle Bogin
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I believe that if you dig deep, you will see that there are profound differences, as well as similarities, between aikido and the internal schools of wushu.

"The martial arts progress from the complex to the simple."
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Old 12-31-2002, 12:41 AM   #11
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If one dig deep enough, one will see that all true martial arts/ways are the same.

Now, what one must due, is define a true martial art/way.

When I have to die by the sword, I will do so with honor.
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Old 12-31-2002, 08:58 AM   #12
Deborah January
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Profound differences?

Quote:
Lyle Bogin wrote:
I believe that if you dig deep, you will see that there are profound differences, as well as similarities, between aikido and the internal schools of wushu.
Please give examples. (I'm assuming you're using wushu generically - Contemparary Wushu is I believe a performance/competition based art and therefore another matter )
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Old 01-05-2003, 09:23 AM   #13
Lyle Bogin
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Yes, I am using wushu to mean "martial art".

I don't think I can really do any justice to compare Wushu (both contemporary and traditional) with aikido in this forum. Therefore, here's a short reading list:

Kung Fu Elements, Shou-Yu Liang and Wen-Ching Wu

Tai Chi Touchstones: Yang Family Secret Transmissions, Trans. by Douglas Wile

Hsing-I: Chinese Mind Body Boxing, Robert W. Smith

Chinese Boxing: Masters and Methods, Robert W. Smith

This is Aikido, Koichi Tohei

Total Aikido, Gozo Shioda

Koryu Bujutsu: Classical Warrior Traditions of Japan, Edited by Diane Skoss

There are a lot of lousy books out there, but these seem to be well written. Kung Fu Elements, and Robert W. Smith's work, and Douglas Wile's translations are the best books on kung fu i've come across. With Japanese martial arts you have much more choice for academic level reading. Also, the quarterly Journal of Asian Martial Arts is excellent. Does anyone else have any suggested reading?

"The martial arts progress from the complex to the simple."
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Old 01-06-2003, 07:51 AM   #14
Deborah January
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Quote:
Lyle Bogin wrote:
Yes, I am using wushu to mean "martial art".

I don't think I can really do any justice to compare Wushu (both contemporary and traditional) with aikido in this forum.
As you have already compared wushu with aikido on this forum, can I press you again to say what 'profound differences' you were thinking of when you wrote? An easy thing to say, perhaps harder to justify?

Anyone else out there who's studied both aikido and tai-chi, ba-gua or similar for any length of time and has a view?

I can add my favourites to a reading list, if anyone's interested, but my belief in the essential congruence of aikido and chinese internal arts comes from direct experience rather than books.
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Old 01-06-2003, 10:33 AM   #15
Lyle Bogin
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The subject of "doubleweightedness" is a good start. That is, the distribution of weight between the full and empty sides of the body. In tai chi, dbwn is noted as primary source of error. However, it seems that in aikido centeredness, with both sides sharing full and empty aspects, is of greater importance. This is a profound difference.

I suggest reading not because I have never studied the chinese arts by direct experience (I have studied and continue to study the chinese arts, ), but rather because I think the masters say it better than I can. Practical experience is vital, but I believe academic research is equally important. Not as a substitute but as a complement. Over the last 2 years I have discovered that a higher, academic level of writing on the arts does exist. Forum discussions are generally sub-standard for answering such a serious question. I would consider any previous attempt made by me to make such comparisons fall into this sub-standard category. You live and you learn .

"The martial arts progress from the complex to the simple."
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Old 01-06-2003, 04:02 PM   #16
opherdonchin
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Quote:
Anyone else out there who's studied both aikido and tai-chi, ba-gua or similar for any length of time and has a view?
I did some Tai Chi. There were similarities with AiKiDo, but I was more impressed with the differences. That's not to say that the differences were larger or more important, just that they were more interesting to me.

One of the differences that really struck me (and this is similar to what Lyle said) is that in Tai Chi it felt like wherever I touched my instructor I was not touching anything near his center. In contrast, wherever I touched my AiKiDo instructor, I felt like I was connecting directly to his center. AiKiDo movements and presence had a sense of fullness where Tai Chi movements and presence had a sense of emptiness.

Similarly, but on a more psychological/philsophical plane, I found that in AiKiDo I was encouraged to take a benevolent and welcoming attitude towards my partner where in Tai Chi I was encouraged towards a neutral or unjudgemental attitude. This has, to me, the same ring emptiness and fullness that I talked about above.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 01-07-2003, 03:33 PM   #17
Lyle Bogin
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"Similarly, but on a more psychological/philsophical plane, I found that in AiKiDo I was encouraged to take a benevolent and welcoming attitude towards my partner where in Tai Chi I was encouraged towards a neutral or unjudgemental attitude."

That is an interesting and well articulated point. I will think about that. Thanks.

"The martial arts progress from the complex to the simple."
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Old 01-07-2003, 05:33 PM   #18
Bruce Baker
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How about this ...

What if I told you the only differences in the training that would give you iron body, and I don't mean that hokey nerve deadoning stuff that damages your body, but the mental picture that activates the condition is the only difference in Aikido's extensions and Chinese Iron Body?

Think about it.

Most of us tranmit the knowledge of movement through words of description, and what were you thinking or how did it feel.

Why should "how did it feel" enter into instruction unless we were attempting to access the triggers of connection for mind transmitting thoughts to the body.

Descriptions of extending Ki are but thought triggers to activate a condition or physical motion of the body. The use of different combinations of thoughts, feelings, and feedback from the body may account for the insistence of each training being different, but they merely draw upon the same forces in different degrees refocusing efforts of the body with thoughts of the mind.

Relax, and be heavy ... imagine your roots spreading throughout the ground ... or imagine you forces drawn to the earth.

These are all degrees of rooting, and practices of increasing your weight to lower center of your body.

Extend yourself across the room instead of near to your opponent, it will give you strength, power .... or concentrate your ki to extend out through your body to intercept power of a blow to you. These are two of the same animals activated with slightly different thoughts Same projection, simular results.

As for being rooted in the movements of Aikido, there is practice ... then there is application.

You don't tell someone who is attacking you to "grab my wrist" so you can do your technique just like in class, do you?

You root or walk on teacups without even thinking about it, don't you?

Maybe not.

Walk on teacups is from my childhood, not used in this day and age, anymore. Todays adage would be "walk on paper coffee cups."

The same way you would unroot someone by imagining they are rising up, or some other picture of them being light enough to lift with one hand, you would learn to lighten yourself to fluidly move instead of clumping along.

That is enough clues for today.

I have seen enough experiments in hypnotism to know that the mind is a lot stronger than we give it credit for. Science still can not explain how pain is blocked by thought when the same scientific data of pain being sent to the brain show the same results for those hypnotized, and those not hypnotized who complain of pain. If you get a chance to catch it on the learning channel, watch it and see what you think about the power of the mind to activate, or close off pain, then see if some of the mumbo jumbo of"thinking this to do that", or "doing this while thinking that" doesn't make more sense in the light of science.

Stop thinking in extremes.

There are many degrees of usage for these two items, and if they weren't effective, they wouldn't be used in so many different ways.

How about this for simple terms.

You take certain types of pain killers, to dull pains so you feel better, or good enough to let your body naturally heal itself. In most instances of medicine, everytreatment of medicine is to aid your body in healing itself. The doctor doesn't heal you, but he/she increase the chances of you getting well by making the body feel better, or treating you in a manner that allows your body to heal itself. There is just as much science in learning Iron body and rooting as there is in learning to aid the body in healing itself.

You gonna sit there and read this ... or you gonna git up and find some of the keys to Aikido?

You got my thoughts, now how about you helping me?
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Old 01-09-2003, 03:16 AM   #19
mike lee
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hard work, not hot air

As far as I know, such skills can in no way be learned by mental imaging alone, but only through intensive training under a qualified instructor.

The main reason is that few individuals have the capacity to intentionally inflict such painful training methods on themselves. An instructor is needed to coach and drive the student to a point that the student never thought possible. It's only when the student reaches such a point and goes beyond it, that he has a chance to learn to flow his chi, rather than depending on pure physical strength to sustain his postion.

Aikido training (including Ki Aikido), in my estimation, does not contain such methods of training. This is why most aikidoists seldom become what the Chinese would consider to be a master.

Although many people believe that aikido is an art that cultivates "internal ki," in the true sense of the phrase, this has not been my experience. Anyone with even moderate training in Tai Chi Chuan (or yoga) under a qualified instructor, would probably concur.

Last edited by mike lee : 01-09-2003 at 03:21 AM.
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Old 01-09-2003, 11:38 AM   #20
Lyle Bogin
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"This is why most aikidoists seldom become what the Chinese would consider to be a master. "

I think that more to do with politics than actual ability.

"The martial arts progress from the complex to the simple."
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Old 01-09-2003, 02:06 PM   #21
jimvance
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Red face H.E.A.D.T.R.I.P.

I am going to highjack this thread under the same pretenses that it was created.

I am sorry to see that Bruce Baker has decided to join the ranks of the lurkers, as it will no doubt raise his blood pressure and result in his untimely demise. After all, the only person able to overcome the indestructable Bruce Baker will be himself. I say this only in the spirit of truth and respect, and before his tragic end, I would like to impart on him the first and only Degree of its kind. This is not to be taken lightly, as it embues Bruce with the online equivalent of a being an 11th Dan, a 33rd degree Mason, a six star general, and/or a grand Poobah. I am of course talking about the Honorary Exemplary Advanced Doctorate for Transcendent Rambunctious Internet Personae, or H.E.A.D.T.R.I.P. for short.

It has taken him quite some time to achieve this honor, though he had all the qualifications at first post. This includes, but is not limited to, highjacking threads with no intelligible arguments, being the first person added to over 100 ignore lists, sending threatening emails or pm's to those unlucky dissenters who inspired his wrath, being old enough to remember the Creation (he's seen it all folks), his affliction from a disease he constantly uses to earn our pity while stumping the medical staff who frequent our little forum site, numerous flame wars with all the aforementioned, and so on and so forth, etc.

Speaking from my limited experience, I have seen his masterful work, why in this very post, where he sets an ambush by asking a seemingly interesting and/or controversial question, waits for his quarry to actually answer in a contrite manner, and then pounces in that non-linear, bombastic, "I-figured-it-out-why-can't-you" attitude. His exploits are infamous and should be preserved for all eternity, broaching such subjects as world religion, history, human medicine, philosophy and last but definitely not least, interpersonal conflict. With his passing, we lose a great voice in this internet wasteland, where the strong survive and rest tremble in obeisance.

It should be understood that the granting of this title can only take place on the internet, as it is above the practice of printing and mailing it to its recipient. Paper is just not worthy enough to contain its majesty; the same cannot be said about the energy lattice known as the internet, where porn and Microsoft can coexist peacefully together. This HEADTRIP is for you Bruce, may you always be right and above-it-all, may you always have an excuse for trouncing the feelings and thoughts of others, and when all that fails, may you always kick the asses of those dissenters who incur your wrath. I am, and always will be, afraid of you.

Jim Vance
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Old 01-09-2003, 03:11 PM   #22
Lyle Bogin
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*sigh* oye


"The martial arts progress from the complex to the simple."
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Old 01-09-2003, 03:31 PM   #23
MattRice
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Re: H.E.A.D.T.R.I.P.

Quote:
Jim Vance (jimvance) wrote:
I am going to highjack this thread under the same pretenses that it was created.

I am sorry to see that Bruce Baker has...yada yada yada...
you've succeeded in creating a post nearly as long and bombastic as Bruce's. Nice going. I know rules are rules and all, but sheesh...are we really that thin skinned?
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Old 01-09-2003, 05:58 PM   #24
jimvance
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Quote:
Matt Rice wrote:
you've succeeded in creating a post nearly as long and bombastic as Bruce's. Nice going. I know rules are rules and all, but sheesh...are we really that thin skinned?
Thank you. I tried very hard to create that lingering bitterness without all the syrupy overtones. And for the time being, I will remain with tongue firmly ensconced in cheek (if not foot in mouth).

Jim Vance
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Old 01-11-2003, 05:19 AM   #25
mike lee
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double-edged sword

Quote:
I think that more to do with politics than actual ability.
As far as I know, politics has nothing to do with the proper training and cultivation of internal ki. Aikidoists can be very skillful in their art and yet have no idea of how to cultivate internal ki. In fact, there are many aikidoists on this forum, for example, who still have no idea what ki is, and are even doubtful as to whether it actually exists.

Many Chinese kung fu teachers actually shun involvement in any kind of martial-art organization because they have no taste for the political problems that inevitably develop.

An aikidoist, or any martial artist for that matter, who learns to cultivate internal ki and use it appropriately during waza can greatly enhance his skill and efficiency.

A lot of aikidoists think that being soft and gentle is using internal ki, but most of these people possess no real power or martial-arts skill. It's usually these people that doubt their own ability as well as the overall effectiveness of aikido, and for good reason their technique is not effective!

On the other hand, the rare individual who knows how to cultivate and apply internal ki during waza has an infinate range of control and his technique "feels soft" during practice. But the reality is that such an individual's waza can be far more powerful than one who only relies almost entirely on external ki.

Simply thinking about one's center and breathing is only a superficial form of learning how to cultivate internal ki. Such means can help the aikidoist develop a great deal of stamina during ukemi, as well as help him to improve his waza. But it seems to take decades (if they ever learn at all) for an aikidoist to truly learn to charge himself and extend his internal ki throughout his entire body, and then use this energy during waza.

In proper Tai Chi Chuan training under a qualified instructor, such skills can be learned in a relatively short period of time.

Last edited by mike lee : 01-11-2003 at 05:30 AM.
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