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Old 02-22-2005, 07:05 AM   #26
rob_liberti
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

These discussions about the unbendable arm trick, generally rapidly move into discussions about the iron bridge trick. In that example, there is not one big muscle supporting the extension/expansion of the entire body, but rather a bunch of muscles working together. Some have to relax, some have to tighten and hold, and they all have to work together.

I'm not talented enough to just consciously will each muscle to do what it needs to do. It seems like a big waste of time to think "bicep you relax, tricep you engage because we are doing the unbendable arm trick." Think about how much effort it would take to tell all of your muscles what to do for the iron bridge. I don't even know all of their names, or in what order I need them to start working. Forget about throwing a baseball or a punch for that matter to try to get that whip like motion. I've been told that if you hold your arm straight out in front of you with your thumb up, and then open you arm out to your side you are using completly different muscles than if you do the same motion with your thumb down. I know that when I used to lift free weights compared to using those machines, I had to develop some rudimentry control of what were called "control" muscles.

My point, is that if you have some imagery (like thinking about ki flow) _and some great posture_ you can get your body to move optimally (reflexively). If you train yourself to take conscious control of that, rather than inferferring with that natural process to try to get good movement, you will be MUCH better off.

Any tips or tricks towards that end, are valuable regardless of whether someone else can explain an alternative explanation for why the tricks work. I'd rather see someone put time into better imagery, or a linear/iterative training plan towards developing these ideas within the context of martial arts.

Rob
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Old 02-22-2005, 07:26 AM   #27
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
These discussions about the unbendable arm trick, generally rapidly move into discussions about the iron bridge trick. In that example, there is not one big muscle supporting the extension/expansion of the entire body, but rather a bunch of muscles working together. Some have to relax, some have to tighten and hold, and they all have to work together.
Well, playing devil's advocate, I could say that you're description could also apply to what a well-conditioned athlete would do in his attempt at iron bridge.

I'll defer to Craig and wait for his explanation, although I think you made some very good points, Rob.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 02-22-2005, 09:39 AM   #28
Moses
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

I apologize for this step back, but if we could look at a re-clarification of the subject of Qi. If we could rid ourselves of extraneous material and focus solely on martial/practical Qi. That is intentionally setting aside the Chinese medical paradigm of Qi (let it live in its own world). As well as setting aside the other realms of the esoteric Qi paradigm (as being to broad and un-substantive for any definitive qualification). Personally I have had and continue to have a most difficult and frustrating time sorting out the mystical from the practical. I often wonder if the reason for, at least an aspect of the Qi paradigm, was to intentionally limit the accessibility of the higher levels of the pugilistic arts. As for what reason this may have been done, add your own thoughts. In reading this thread I find the concept of "functional Ki" seems to make sense, i.e. keep it practical. That is a paradigm using structure, vectors, gravity, and lastly cognitive awareness of these continually changing processes as a mode leading to higher martial expressions. Is this in line conceptually with "functional Ki"? Please elaborate either way,
Thanks, Moses
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Old 02-22-2005, 10:19 AM   #29
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Moses Jenkins wrote:
I apologize for this step back, but if we could look at a re-clarification of the subject of Qi. If we could rid ourselves of extraneous material and focus solely on martial/practical Qi. That is intentionally setting aside the Chinese medical paradigm of Qi (let it live in its own world). As well as setting aside the other realms of the esoteric Qi paradigm (as being to broad and un-substantive for any definitive qualification). Personally I have had and continue to have a most difficult and frustrating time sorting out the mystical from the practical. I often wonder if the reason for, at least an aspect of the Qi paradigm, was to intentionally limit the accessibility of the higher levels of the pugilistic arts. As for what reason this may have been done, add your own thoughts. In reading this thread I find the concept of "functional Ki" seems to make sense, i.e. keep it practical. That is a paradigm using structure, vectors, gravity, and lastly cognitive awareness of these continually changing processes as a mode leading to higher martial expressions. Is this in line conceptually with "functional Ki"?
Hmmmm. Let me try to be as simple as I can (it will help me formulate my thoughts).

The Chinese developed a view of the world that sees things and explains things in terms of a catch-all word they called "Qi". Sort of a unified theory using super-strings, if you will. That's confusing to what we're trying to say because some aspects of physics, physical laws, etc. get snared in the terminology. So keep that in mind.

There is/was an almost worshipped bit of body-technology which apparently came from ancient India, in some form. That view of the body focused on mechanisms which we see, to some extent, in our western technology, but which we never associated in any grouping of phenomena in the West. And it's best to view it that way.... we see and explain the world as a certain "grouping" of phenomena based around western technology; the "qi paradigm" saw the world and explained it based on a different grouping of phenomena. Unfortunately, the qi-paradigm as a whole doesn't withstand the reproducibility criterion (of western science) as well as western science does, but that doesn't mean they don't have something to say.

The Chinese medical explanations of health, etc., actually are part of the Qi/Ki that we're calling "functional Ki" in this thread. Take a look at:
http://www.uvm.edu/annb/faculty/PDFs/257.pdf

In essence, they're finally seeing a system of logic to acupuncture meridians and the common factor is fascia and fascial planes (and of course, some of the points are just neural nexi or other things). Some of the current theories about direct-current properties involved in the fascia can be read in the book I mentioned the other day, "Energy Medicine" by James L. Oschman. The functional Qi/Ki things have to do with fascia, as well, plus some thrown in physics and the mind manipulating some physical tricks AND some voluntary controls of normally autonomous body functions. I.e., except for the screwed up definitions which attribute things too vaguely and too broadly to "Qi" or "Ki", the hopelessly mystical-sounding "Ki" stuff is not all that mystical and falls within the realms of physical laws that we recognize.

That being said, we're back to the "how to" world of Ki things and functional usage. I can explain how and show how to do most of these things, but to do them right involves some practice (surprise!!! It's amazing how many people think they can do something once they understand it academically, but it always takes practice). What's interesting to me is to hear other peoples' thoughts and approaches and to see if anyone has some extended knowledge of the traditional practices associated with Aikido. So I'm enjoying the discussion and listening to explanations like Craig's or others, because the only way to learn is to keep talking and working.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 02-23-2005, 01:51 PM   #30
Moses
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Mike, thank you for the elaboration on Qi/Ki. Unfortunately I don't have much time right now, so this will be quick. Looking back at your original post discussing Tohei's four points, please allow me to switch genres to the Chinese arts, it seems (from understanding your previous writings on the subject) that you are referring to a "PengJing" characteristic via an Aikido explanation. Would this be fair to assume? Please correct me if I am wrong. What I am most curious about is the nature of this facial (structural/weight bearing) relationship to the mind (cognitive faculties). Is this type of structure/movement indicative of itself, or is dependent upon an additional factor, such as Qi? Assuming this is related to other factors related to facial structure, i.e. the iron bridge and the unbendable arm, etc. Also are we speaking of Qi as a function of Yi?
Thanks, Moses
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Old 02-23-2005, 03:06 PM   #31
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Moses Jenkins wrote:
Looking back at your original post discussing Tohei's four points, please allow me to switch genres to the Chinese arts, it seems (from understanding your previous writings on the subject) that you are referring to a "PengJing" characteristic via an Aikido explanation. Would this be fair to assume? Please correct me if I am wrong.
Well, the substantive parts of Ki, kokyu, etc., are the same substantive parts as in Qi, peng jin, etc.... i.e., the "names" don't particularly mean much because all the related phenomena are the same. They have to be, unless you want to posit they're something entirely different, of course.

The only issue I have with some of the Ki terminology is that it's more primitive and has an artificial religious connotation. Granted there are some Chinese views of Qi which have religious or "spiritual" connotations, but to a lesser degree. Part of the looming problem is that modern skilled practitioners with very remarkable powers in Qi, internal strength, etc., are avoiding the term "Qi" and are going to discussions of "internal strength", "cerebral cortex", etc. I.e., it will work its way into the Japanese descriptions fairly soon now and will have an effect on "Universal Ki" discussions. Heads up!
Quote:
What I am most curious about is the nature of this fascial (structural/weight bearing) relationship to the mind (cognitive faculties). Is this type of structure/movement indicative of itself, or is dependent upon an additional factor, such as Qi? Assuming this is related to other factors related to fascial structure, i.e. the iron bridge and the unbendable arm, etc. Also are we speaking of Qi as a function of Yi?
It's a complex topic. Really, there are 2 separable discussions that have to do with "jin" and "Qi". "Kokyu" power is the closest idea of what jin is, but there is a slight distortion (actually, that's one of the reasons I got into these discussions... to see if anyone had a clearer idea of Kokyu variations in order for me to get more of a feel of what and how the Ki transmission came through Japanese lines).

Technically "Ki" as a body trait involves the 4 or 5 skills that I enumerated in another post (with Jin/Kokyu being part of what I called "strength"). But if you'll allow me to split the 2 apart for conversational purposes (they actually can be separate, yet intertwined), let me roughly describe Ki as the subconscious/myofascial relationship that qigongs, etc., develop, while Kokyu has a basis in the mind's ability to recruit different musculatures while changing the origins of forces.

A lot of the aspects of Qi/Ki development are apparently missing from the Japanese experience. Someone mentioned an Aikikai technique (I've seen this one, in years past) of raising the arms over the head and then clinching the fists while drawing the arms down. This is a classic functional qigong. It's related to the famous qigong where weights are lifted by a rope tied to the genitals and many various other qigongs, if you understand the principles. It's even related to the way that the body will harden the area over an appendicitis as a protective measure.

On the jin/kokyu side, I can see where I'm going to potentially have a problem about "relaxation" and "ki". But basically, you can think of it as forming paths. The idea that someone just relaxes and "extends ki" and people have difficulty pushing them is OK up to a point, but if that were strictly true you wouldn't need postures or you wouldn't notice that some foot positions were more awkward than others, would you? I can withstand pushes from all sorts of angles, but I am helped by understanding how relaxing and "sinking", letting the body automatically shift vector forces, etc., work in the physical world. Notice in this video clip that Saito (?) or someone is pushing O-Sensei... watch the adjustments and slight lean. http://www.neijia.com/jotrick1.avi

The "structure" you're asking about can be done by the mind assigning paths of muscle, but it is also augmented by the development of "Ki/Qi" like I briefly mentioned in the paragraph above plays a role and strengthens the "paths". I hope that was a clear enough answer to your question ... rushing around too much today.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 02-27-2005, 05:03 AM   #32
tedehara
 
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Kouzo Kaku wrote:
In the first place, a human being possesses a mind and a body, but these alone are not enough. An activating force is required to connect the mind and the body, and this is the ki in Aikido; it is this that completes the trilogy of ki, mind and body.
A possible English translation for ki is thought, intent or will. If you want to raise your arm, you think it and it is your thought that raises your arm. The mind moves the body. The mind uses ki to move the body.

K. Kaku goes on to summarize his interview with K. Ueshiba in The Mysterious Power of Ki:
Quote:
Although the founder had a deep interest in philosophy, he probably would not have known of the philosophies of ancient India. However, he appears to have come to the understanding that what he called the 'expert use of ki' is synonymous with that state in which the mind and the body are unified and in harmony with the universe, a state that he achieved through many years of physical and spiritual training. The 'expert use of ki' means making ki work exquisitely and allowing the body to work in harmony with the mind. The founder discovered that the expert use of 'ki' could be realized through subtle changes in breathing.
Because of political differences, some people believe that K. Ueshiba and K. Tohei are ideologically separate. But here you have K. Ueshiba discussing ki as thought, the mind and body as one and being in harmony with the universe. An emphasis on breathing is also stated. This similarity of views could reflect their mutual understanding of the founder.

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Old 02-27-2005, 08:15 AM   #33
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
A possible English translation for ki is thought, intent or will. If you want to raise your arm, you think it and it is your thought that raises your arm. The mind moves the body. The mind uses ki to move the body.
Hi Ted:

I think you're perhaps leaving out a stage. The general statement is along the lines of "heart leads mind, mind leads Ki, Ki leads strength". For instance, imagine you're standing like Tohei does with the forearm in front of chest, ready for your partner to test your stance. Your "heart" refers to your desires, in the sense that you "want" a path or whatever to be in your forearm; the desire for that path triggers the mind to act; the mind makes the Ki go to the forearm; when your partner pushes your arm he feels your "strength" (more or less "kokyu"), which is the manifestation of your Ki. Of course, you'll notice that the idea of a separate "want" or "heart" is a little different than the western view in that we think of our "desires" as also being a part of the "mind".
Quote:
K. Kaku goes on to summarize his interview with K. Ueshiba in The Mysterious Power of Ki:Because of political differences, some people believe that K. Ueshiba and K. Tohei are ideologically separate. But here you have K. Ueshiba discussing ki as thought, the mind and body as one and being in harmony with the universe. An emphasis on breathing is also stated. This similarity of views could reflect their mutual understanding of the founder.
This is the part of your post that I'm having trouble figuring out. My personal opinion is that there is no ideological difference between what Kohei, Shioda, Ueshiba (M or K) believed... they just had slightly different ways of saying things or expressing the functional aspects of Aikido. I.e., there are no real differences, as far as I see, other than a few incidental details.

I'm on a trip, using a notebook computer with a tiny keyboard, so pardon if my words and thoughts appear a bit terse. It's laziness.

Mike
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Old 02-28-2005, 01:16 AM   #34
tedehara
 
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Hi Ted:

I think you're perhaps leaving out a stage. The general statement is along the lines of "heart leads mind, mind leads Ki, Ki leads strength".
This sounds like the Chinese mind. The Chinese love the baroque, shadows within shadows and variations within variations. The Japanese mind is just the opposite. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) drives much of the Japanese Arts. Certainly Ki No Kenkyukai H.Q. (KNK - Ki Society Headquarters) simplifies things. They would not put in an added stage if they didn't need it.
Quote:
For instance, imagine you're standing like Tohei does with the forearm in front of chest, ready for your partner to test your stance.
You're not testing the stance or posture. You're testing mind and body coordination. It's not just physical.
Quote:
Your "heart" refers to your desires, in the sense that you "want" a path or whatever to be in your forearm; the desire for that path triggers the mind to act; the mind makes the Ki go to the forearm; when your partner pushes your arm he feels your "strength" (more or less "kokyu"), which is the manifestation of your Ki.
Current thought I'm told from KNK is to think down where contact is made. If your arm is out stretched and a person is holding your wrist and pushing towards you, you should be thinking down from where they're holding. Their energy should be thought of as doing straight down, like following a plumb line into the ground. There is no path, no force going through your body down your legs and into the ground. Just think "down".

KNK has been using a point-to-point movement instead of thinking along a path. If your arm moves in an down-up-down motion, don't think of it as moving along a path, but just bring your arm to the down point then up point then second down point. KNK also uses an interesting visualization during the transition (up) point.
Quote:
...This is the part of your post that I'm having trouble figuring out. My personal opinion is that there is no ideological difference between what Kohei, Shioda, Ueshiba (M or K) believed... they just had slightly different ways of saying things or expressing the functional aspects of Aikido. I.e., there are no real differences, as far as I see, other than a few incidental details...
That's your perspective, it's not something that is held by everyone. I was using the similarities between K. Tohei and K. Ueshiba to try and make a point, not a political statement.

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Old 02-28-2005, 06:32 AM   #35
rob_liberti
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Okay Ki/Qi guys. When I hold my arm out and someone pushes down, sometimes I get an ache in the back of my shoulder or back muscles(s) why I try to maintain my position. (I generally move to avoid any position where they are able to do that to me.) If I didn't move, is there any advice about how to better deal with such a push to avoid the muscle ache? I am interested in moving down to the down point and moving up to the up point (or the second down point which I assume must be higher than the first), or finding a ground path would be fine with me too. The more ideas I get to try to work on solving a problem like that the better.

Rob
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Old 02-28-2005, 07:43 AM   #36
rob_liberti
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

<rant - not against the folks contributing to this thread, but it seems like this thread would be one of the better places for me to be heard on this related issue>

I keep hearing people say (and reading posts) that "aikido is simple" as if that means it is easy. People claim or seem to imply that you have to "_just_ not do" things for aikido to work, and that everyone can do aikido at any time; basically it's just in us and we simply get in the way of it.

This is only a half truth as far as I'm concerned. Certainly aikido (beyond surface level total beginner stuff) can happen at anytime but if the person being attacked is not well trained, I'd say they are probably one of those people who are naturally squarely over their center, have excellent posture, are very reflexive in their movement, and/or happened to get incredibly lucky.

I find those romantic ideas to be a bit of a trivialization of the amount of work and training needed to progress. Yes, of course reflexive movement is innate and we need to get out of the way of our reflexes - but NO and here is the bottom line - reflexes don't know anything about strategy especially with regard to subtle energetic communication used to blend with attackers!

The best reflexive people I know in aikido tend not to set things up optimally because they have that "reflexive" crutch going for them. They tend to blend very well before connection is made, but not so much as connection is made (setting up optimal kokyu ryoku experience).

My opinion is that you have to actually put time and hard work into learning, not only, how to consciously control reflexive movement, but also, to develop a feel for what you should be consciously directing for optimal results. You have to actually practice to get better at not interfering with reflexes. Also, there are times when it is very helpful to change the way you think about how energy is flowing in your body to relate to the uke in a more detached manner or to encourage keeping an uke more attached to you. (Of course, you can probably figure out how to do it without visualization, but developing using the energy imagery is slow enough, so why develop even slower?).

Just this weekend, I realized that the way I was trying to get to uke's blind spot was totally interfering with my attempt to continually lead with hara. I guess my point is that aikido is multifaceted and this idea of "just let it happen" offends my work ethic towards learning and optimizing.

I'm sure "aiki just is" and that "aiki is simple" and all of those other phrases are true, however, I would never count on just letting that kind of thing happen just because it works out by accident once and a while.

I feel that when people say "aikido just happens" they mean "accidental aikido can just happen". I'm training to be able to do "repeatable aikido with varying ukes."

The path (of aikido) towards manifesting your true self which can be continually tested for feedback by escalating drama from your partners is very difficult, and non-trivial. It takes complete rethought and retraining of movement.</rant>

Any training tips like what's been going on in this thread towards getting repeatable aikido "_just_ happening" are very appreciated.

Thanks,
Rob
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Old 02-28-2005, 11:09 AM   #37
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
<rant - not against the folks contributing to this thread, but it seems like this thread would be one of the better places for me to be heard on this related issue>

I keep hearing people say (and reading posts) that "aikido is simple" as if that means it is easy. People claim or seem to imply that you have to "_just_ not do" things for aikido to work, and that everyone can do aikido at any time; basically it's just in us and we simply get in the way of it.

This is only a half truth as far as I'm concerned. Certainly aikido (beyond surface level total beginner stuff) can happen at anytime but if the person being attacked is not well trained, I'd say they are probably one of those people who are naturally squarely over their center, have excellent posture, are very reflexive in their movement, and/or happened to get incredibly lucky.

there is a difference between K.I.S.S. and saying that something does not require a lot of training. In fact in all the martial arts I have done, it seems to take a lot of training to get one not to add unnecessary, sometimes counterproductive movements. In fact in the last year after watching Ellis Amdur's critique of the way many Aikikai groups do Ikkyo irimi(omote) and how it leads them right into a ground grappling match if uke is not "giving up", it taught me a greater appreciation of why Tohei Sensei teaches a "simpler" ikkyo with less angles of movement and steps.

simple does not equate to easy especially if you want to be able to perform well under an adrenalin dump. If one is worried about the
self-defense side, one had better be thinking about simplified movements because competent fine motor control like what is required for some of the more complicated things people have fun doing in the dojo just isn't going to be there for the majority of trained people. You can also can count on being not as relaxed as in the dojo, so I would want to practice being as relaxed and fluid as possible in the dojo. Under stress, I won't be as relaxed or calm but with a lot of practice I will be a bit more relaxed and calm than the other guy.

Tohei Sensei can spend a day on drilling your posture, on how you walk and stand and sit and put out your arm(s), and people will complain and bitch about not getting to the good stuff (I have done that :-)) and not realize he is giving them the good stuff. Not all the fancy moves, but just being and looking to be a hard target to begin with, being very difficult to take down, responding reflexively by relaxing and not tensing.

I don't think I ever seen anyone who was just a natural though I am sure some exist. Those who do it simply or make it look simple have usually trained a long time.

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Old 02-28-2005, 11:53 AM   #38
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Thanks, I knew I ranted in the right place!

Hey Craig, any advice about the ache in the back/ back shoulder muscle(s) problem? I only really know how to avoid it - instead of how to deal with it. Am I alone on that problem?

Rob
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Old 02-28-2005, 01:21 PM   #39
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Hey Craig, any advice about the ache in the back/ back shoulder muscle(s) problem? I only really know how to avoid it - instead of how to deal with it. Am I alone on that problem?
Rob
This is purely a guess. No guarantees implied. I am not exactly sure what you mean by push down (is this unbendable arm ?, is this someone grabbing you ? )

try bringing your hand up to your chest level by just using only your elbow joint and then do a shoulder check. I like
to roll my shoulders a bit in this position because I can feel if I started to hold or am holding tension in shoulder muscles (traps, delts, etc.). Take stock of it feels and then extend your hand forward to about the position where your elbow would have the bend if your arm was hanging naturally at your side. you may feel some tension a little chest or fron part of shoulder, make sure this is an "expanding open feeling" and the chest remains open and the knees stay relaxed/flexible to keep the lower back relaxed.

their should be a lightness, floating feeling maintained as pressure is applied, in counteracting of force is done with the lower body. The back and shoulder and arm just maintain where they are. This I find hard to describe without getting either to detailed or too physiologically inaccurate - it
is a combination of body/kinesthetic sense and proprioceptive responses and sense of touch.

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Old 02-28-2005, 03:08 PM   #40
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
This sounds like the Chinese mind. The Chinese love the baroque, shadows within shadows and variations within variations. The Japanese mind is just the opposite. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) drives much of the Japanese Arts.
Uh oh.... I can't resist this one. The "Japanese mind" is so different that they adopted the whole concept of Ki and how it works from the Chinese, but the Japanese do it differently? The same Japanese that borrowed the clothing, hair-do's, shoes, manufacturing methods, swords, alphabet, measuring system, etc., etc., part and parcel from the Chinese? That theory is not only baroque, but "gopher baroque", Ted.
Quote:
You're not testing the stance or posture. You're testing mind and body coordination. It's not just physical.
Then why do they physically test it, if it's not physical, Ted?
Quote:
Current thought I'm told from KNK is to think down where contact is made. If your arm is out stretched and a person is holding your wrist and pushing towards you, you should be thinking down from where they're holding. Their energy should be thought of as doing straight down, like following a plumb line into the ground. There is no path, no force going through your body down your legs and into the ground. Just think "down".
"Down" is a direction, implying a path, Ted. I.e., why not think "up" when someone pushes you, if there is no concern for a path and direction? Besides, the force does not dissipate within the body when someone is pushed; it is easily measured at the soles of the feet, so it ends up somewhere... ergo, there is a "path".
Quote:
KNK has been using a point-to-point movement instead of thinking along a path. If your arm moves in an down-up-down motion, don't think of it as moving along a path, but just bring your arm to the down point then up point then second down point. KNK also uses an interesting visualization during the transition (up) point.
Oh, I don't quibble about "different visualization".... the thought I'd offer is that a number of different visualizations can lead to the same physical results. What we're after is the most effective visualizations, not a dogma about "acceptable" visualizations, IMO.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 02-28-2005, 03:13 PM   #41
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Okay Ki/Qi guys. When I hold my arm out and someone pushes down, sometimes I get an ache in the back of my shoulder or back muscles(s) why I try to maintain my position.
Hi Rob:

Regardless of whether you are doing it right or wrong (without seeing and/or feeling it, I have no way of knowing, you might be getting an ache because your muscles are tired!!! Joking aside, I often watch experienced martial artists of various styles tell beginners to "relax, relax!" when their own "relaxation" is not really because they themselves are relaxed, but because their muscles have become condtioned to doing certain actions and/or holding certain postures. Wouldn't you agree this is often the case?

Regards,

Mike
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Old 02-28-2005, 04:13 PM   #42
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
I keep hearing people say (and reading posts) that "aikido is simple" as if that means it is easy. People claim or seem to imply that you have to "_just_ not do" things for aikido to work, and that everyone can do aikido at any time; basically it's just in us and we simply get in the way of it.

This is only a half truth as far as I'm concerned. Certainly aikido (beyond surface level total beginner stuff) can happen at anytime but if the person being attacked is not well trained, I'd say they are probably one of those people who are naturally squarely over their center, have excellent posture, are very reflexive in their movement, and/or happened to get incredibly lucky.

I find those romantic ideas to be a bit of a trivialization of the amount of work and training needed to progress. Yes, of course reflexive movement is innate and we need to get out of the way of our reflexes - but NO and here is the bottom line - reflexes don't know anything about strategy especially with regard to subtle energetic communication used to blend with attackers!

The best reflexive people I know in aikido tend not to set things up optimally because they have that "reflexive" crutch going for them. They tend to blend very well before connection is made, but not so much as connection is made (setting up optimal kokyu ryoku experience).
Not a bad rant, as rants go, Rob

There seems to often be a misunderstanding of what "innate" and "natural" mean in many Asian discussions. For instance the way the body is used to move or manipulate using "ki" is considered "the natural way", yet it is not meant that we naturally move like this, it's meant that we have to train to "regain" this sort of "pre-birth" strength that babies, etc., are reputed to have. I.e., to be that kind of "natural" isn't the way most westerners think of when they say "natural". The same is true of "instinctive" ... the practical idea is to train something so that it replaces the "instinctive" way we now move. The idea that Aikido should be "natural" and "instinctive" implies a lot of training for those strengths and responses to develop.... not that "it just happens if you'll relax your body and let it react instinctively". If it just came naturally we could stay at home in the lounger.

Mike
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Old 02-28-2005, 05:49 PM   #43
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Then why do they physically test it, if it's not physical, Ted?"Down" is a direction, implying a path, Ted. I.e., why not think "up" when someone pushes you, if there is no concern for a path and direction?
actually, I prefer not to think.

and just float.

Ted didn't say
Quote:
it's not physical
he said
Quote:
it's not JUST physical
besides, the physical test is not a direct test of Ki or oneness of mind and body, it is a test of the physical side effects of having oneness of mind and body. The measurement done properly is just as valid as many measurements made in modern physics that indirectly measure some property of a thing.

a couple of examples
presence of a neutrino

Functional MRI, based on a technique called "blood oxygen level dependent" scanning.

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Old 02-28-2005, 05:52 PM   #44
kironin
 
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
There seems to often be a misunderstanding of what "innate" and "natural" mean in many Asian discussions. For instance the way the body is used to move or manipulate using "ki" is considered "the natural way", yet it is not meant that we naturally move like this, it's meant that we have to train to "regain" this sort of "pre-birth" strength that babies, etc., are reputed to have. I.e., to be that kind of "natural" isn't the way most westerners think of when they say "natural".
Very well said.

What you have said is made very clear to us all the time as the way Tohei Sensei means "natural" or "innate" .

We train to regain this.

Craig

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Old 02-28-2005, 06:54 PM   #45
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

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Craig Hocker wrote:
actually, I prefer not to think.
Cogito, ergo sum.
Quote:
besides, the physical test is not a direct test of Ki or oneness of mind and body, it is a test of the physical side effects of having oneness of mind and body. The measurement done properly is just as valid as many measurements made in modern physics that indirectly measure some property of a thing.

a couple of examples (snip example of neutrino and MRI)
Hmmmmm. Craig, I don't think those are good examples, particularly if you're implying that the complexity of physical and mathematical inferences in neutrino detection, etc., is paralleled by the subjective criteria of a "ki test". Without even approaching or rebutting that inference, we could rig some simple tests of static physics and vector analysis that would fairly clearly point to simple physics and kinesiology as causative agents rather than unquantifiable forces. Let's use Occam's Razor rather than assume an unwarranted complexity.

Of course, I believe in live and let live and I have no problem with your convictions at all. However, I think I can teach most people fairly rapidly how to do the various Ki tests (naturally, "expertise" will take a little longer, but nothing exorbitant) without using the same visualizations or approach as a "universal Ki" ... i.e., I think these things are in the physical realm and are actually "skills" that can be replicated without necessarily resorting to the particular visualizations you favor. Granted, they are somewhat unusual skills and skills not normally encountered in western kinesiology, but I feel fairly safe in my position. In fact, to be quite candid, these things are also described as "skills" by many Chinese... i.e., my position isn't really very unusual. But you have your position on it and I have mine... and I'd be happy to help rig physical tests to show that we needn't resort to the frontiers of modern science or to unquantifiable energies to explain these things.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-01-2005, 03:19 AM   #46
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Uh oh.... I can't resist this one. The "Japanese mind" is so different that they adopted the whole concept of Ki and how it works from the Chinese, but the Japanese do it differently? The same Japanese that borrowed the clothing, hair-do's, shoes, manufacturing methods, swords, alphabet, measuring system, etc., etc., part and parcel from the Chinese? That theory is not only baroque, but "gopher baroque", Ted.
Let's take this closer to home. The Japanese play baseball. They learned it from the Americans. However Japanese baseball is different from American baseball. They have developed their type of baseball in less than a century. How long have they had those things you mentioned from China? Does a katana look and function like the Chinese sword it was taken from?

There is a noticeable difference between the Chinese and Japanese, just as there is a difference between India and China. Even though they share a concept like prana/chi/ki, their definitions or manifestations of that concept are not the same.
Quote:
..."Down" is a direction, implying a path, Ted. I.e., why not think "up" when someone pushes you, if there is no concern for a path and direction?
You can think up/down or you can think to either side. What you don't want to think is towards you, because then you'll be receiving their power.
Quote:
Besides, the force does not dissipate within the body when someone is pushed; it is easily measured at the soles of the feet, so it ends up somewhere... ergo, there is a "path".
Certainly I would agree there are force vectors on the body. Yet the psychology of the person should not allow them to receive any of that power. That will maximize their effectiveness.
Quote:
Oh, I don't quibble about "different visualization".... the thought I'd offer is that a number of different visualizations can lead to the same physical results. What we're after is the most effective visualizations, not a dogma about "acceptable" visualizations, IMO..
At the start of a chess game, there are a large number of moves. However if you want to have a playable middle game, your number of candidate moves becomes much smaller. As you start playing, the number of candidate moves can become very small.

Similarly, if you want a certain physical result, you begin a series of choices to obtain that result. This process may involve visualization. That visualization must take into account the changes that will occur during this process. Therefore the possible visualizations available for actual use, will be much smaller in number. e.g. All roads may led to Rome, but there are only a few practical routes to get there.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 03-01-2005, 07:07 AM   #47
rob_liberti
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

To me the most effective thing is for me to learn how to do something in a couple different ways becuase comparing and contrasing helps me figure out what's really happening.

No doubt that I must be muscling my arm out when I feel that ache from being pushed from that position. (I'm not telling anyone to relax _like me_.) In general, I am pretty good at lengthening and widening, and balancing my expansion. But, when I do certain things like kotegeri (rotate the tip of the sword clockwise - as you move left, and then cut for a wrist as you move forward) my right arm - which is basically just the fulcrum and barely moves gets that ache if I repeat this drill for a short while. I assume I need to learn how to hold my arm more efficiently, but I had no good insights to this. I think I got something pretty valuable from Craig's response. I think I hold my arm out too straight in that position (I don't think I have my elbow bent to the degree it would have been in when my arm hangs naturally to my side) . I have a lot of practice to do.

In that example, I don't know how to imagine a ground path and I have no idea how to imagine a first or second down but I'd like to read more about that.

I also hit this ache once and a while when some sempai puts a ton of weight on my arms in free waza - but I just bend my legs more and move with it to avoid this alignment problem. With sword, you are holding the weight, so it's not too easy to avoid.

Anyway, thanks - Rob
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Old 03-01-2005, 07:53 AM   #48
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
Let's take this closer to home. The Japanese play baseball. They learned it from the Americans. However Japanese baseball is different from American baseball. They have developed their type of baseball in less than a century.
Maybe their baseball is slightly different, Ted, but the basics are still the same. Otherwise, U.S. teams wouldn't be recruiting some Japanese players.
Quote:
How long have they had those things you mentioned from China? Does a katana look and function like the Chinese sword it was taken from?
Er, Ted.... you haven't shown "time=radical change", particularly in relation to the topic at hand, so this is all off-topic.
Quote:
There is a noticeable difference between the Chinese and Japanese, just as there is a difference between India and China. Even though they share a concept like prana/chi/ki, their definitions or manifestations of that concept are not the same.
That's simply an argument by assertion, Ted. Besides, the basics of prana, ki, qi are indeed the same, just as jin, kokyu, and shakti are basically referring to the same phenomenon that arises because the human body essentially functions the same in these relationships.
Quote:
You can think up/down or you can think to either side. What you don't want to think is towards you, because then you'll be receiving their power.
Make no mistake, Ted... in the example we're talking about, you ARE receiving the power, no matter what you think or don't think. The question is what happens to that power, not what you think. Something affects that power and causes the pusher to feel a solid resistance.

Let's take it a step at a time. Generally speaking, the laws of physics say all force, energy, and matter are in a balanced equation. When you say "energy", in essence you are talking about bookkeeping in which the books must always stay balanced. "Energy" is measureable and if you postulate a "resisting force" on one side of the equation, you have to show cause on the other side of the equation. So my first question is: "how do you explain the cause of the resistance the pusher-on-the-forearm feels?" in terms of what is actually causing that particular solidity?
Quote:
Certainly I would agree there are force vectors on the body. Yet the psychology of the person should not allow them to receive any of that power.
So if someone punches me in the face I can use "psychology" in such a way that it doesn't "allow" the punch to have any effect on me??? But we're getting closer to the real discussion, Ted. HOW does psychology negate a push to the forearm such that the pusher feels a tangible resistance?

Good discussion.

Mike
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Old 03-01-2005, 08:02 AM   #49
Mike Sigman
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

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Rob Liberti wrote:
In that example, I don't know how to imagine a ground path and I have no idea how to imagine a first or second down but I'd like to read more about that.
Rob, there are specific answers about how to do this, but it's sort of a "second-generation" question. I.e., there are things that someone should understand first and then the answer to this part comes into play. What you're looking for has to do with some of the points of "how to" I've already mentioned and it also includes something to do with the question by Ted about why the chin is tucked in, why Yoshinkan thinks they should spread their fingers, and so on. My position is that trying to explain beyond the level a conversation on the web can support is probably a waste of time. If I had had some indication that we were all on the same plane in general understanding, I wouldn't mind laying out my views on each facet, but my impression is that we need to keep the conversations focused around a few simple topics until we either reach a consensus of understanding or (and this appears quite possible on this forum) basic ideas are simply rejected.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 03-01-2005, 09:37 AM   #50
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Functional Ki Skills

I think what we really need is a workshop where we could share ideas and basically tear them apart and build up from there.
Ron (aren't there aikiweb workshops or something?)

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