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Old 03-09-2005, 02:35 PM   #51
rob_liberti
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Now you see, my take on this was that the optimal movement would be when the part of the brain responsbile for reflexive movement is controlled/directed/send messages by the aprt of the brain that makes conscious decisions (about choices and strategy based on what is being percieved).

Alexander folks who really do things from the principles - as opposed to those who do things artificially (and there are plenty of those folks out there teaching and charging lots of money) are going to be abe to resist powerful pushes and expand in very difficult to stop ways. Well, that's been my experience. I suppose I'm not sure that pushing my arm while I'm siting on a bar stool (which did make a fari point I admit) has much to do with aikido and the power of reflexive movement. Typically, I see the optimal re-training of movements to be largely hindered by posture problems.

I do have a follow up question to the idea about really attacking someone like you on on fire and they are preventing you from getting to water. (I suppose I'd just hug them and make sure we both suffered.) But really, if you had to do this Mike, would it be a good kokyu-oriented "real" attack / series of attacks? Can you give an example?

Rob
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Old 03-09-2005, 02:50 PM   #52
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Now you see, my take on this was that the optimal movement would be when the part of the brain responsbile for reflexive movement is controlled/directed/send messages by the aprt of the brain that makes conscious decisions (about choices and strategy based on what is being percieved).

Alexander folks who really do things from the principles - as opposed to those who do things artificially (and there are plenty of those folks out there teaching and charging lots of money) are going to be abe to resist powerful pushes and expand in very difficult to stop ways.
I had a well-known Alexander Technique person who also does/teaches Taiji visit me once, Rob. Trust me, you and I see things very differently.
Quote:
I suppose I'm not sure that pushing my arm while I'm siting on a bar stool (which did make a fari point I admit) has much to do with aikido and the power of reflexive movement. Typically, I see the optimal re-training of movements to be largely hindered by posture problems.
I grabbed the bar-stool example out of my memory because Tohei did exactly that (and I've done it, too). See the old book "Zen Combat" by Jay Gluck if you want to read the example.
Quote:
I do have a follow up question to the idea about really attacking someone like you on on fire and they are preventing you from getting to water. [snip] But really, if you had to do this Mike, would it be a good kokyu-oriented "real" attack / series of attacks? Can you give an example?
Before I can tell you an example, I'll have to know what you plan to do with the information, Rob. Basically, I'm going to demur on this one because you haven't seen some of the things I do, so the description wouldn't be helpful as a reply.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 03-09-2005, 03:21 PM   #53
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Am I to understand that the movements you have re-trained through your tai-chi practice are not reflexive in nature?

There are well known -popular and well respected - aikido shihans who failed to do nikyo and sankyo on me too, Mike. Other aikido folks have no trouble with my level of resistance. I'd say that this point is a push (<-- clever points for Rob).

About using the knowledge I gain from your answer about attacking people with kokyu power - well I can't see me using it on anyone. It'd be nice to work on and see how I might deal with it in an aikido-like way. I'm okay with the amount you are willing to share.
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Old 03-09-2005, 03:41 PM   #54
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Am I to understand that the movements you have re-trained through your tai-chi practice are not reflexive in nature?
I'm not sure what your question is, Rob. I've already said previously that the body must be trained until this form of movement is automatic and replaces your "normal" movement. But despite saying that this form of movement is "natural", it needs to be understood that it is not the instinctive way the human body moves, it must be learned. Of course, there is some discussion that in an emergency, we all draw unusual strength, yada, yada, yada, but equating all potential factors as representing ONE factor is wrong, I think. When you toss out the word "reflexive", I sense another one of your semantic pratfalls and I tend to avoid it.
Quote:
There are well known -popular and well respected - aikido shihans who failed to do nikyo and sankyo on me too, Mike. Other aikido folks have no trouble with my level of resistance. I'd say that this point is a push (<-- clever points for Rob).
That was a twisted thing to say, Rob.
Quote:
About using the knowledge I gain from your answer about attacking people with kokyu power - well I can't see me using it on anyone. It'd be nice to work on and see how I might deal with it in an aikido-like way. I'm okay with the amount you are willing to share.
Er.... why aren't you interested because it's what they use in Aikido, as well as a number of other martial arts, Rob? It's the stuff O-Sensei did his "parlour tricks" with. It's what Tohei thought was so important that he made it the keystone of the Ki-Society. It's what people like Abe, etc., went to special teachers to learn. Saotome gave Ki lessons when he was at Hombu dojo... about this kind of strength, etc. If nothing else, I think you'd work on it because it's simply part of Aikido.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 03-09-2005, 05:33 PM   #55
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

"Twsited" with regard to nikyo, and sankyo - excellent!. (score for you)

Seriously, the point was that you said a source was a well repected and popular Alexander person, and I've met well respected and popular aikido shihan that weren't - shall we say - the best representatives of the art. Maybe that Alexander person was really good and then your opinion of Alexander's shortfalls would very interesting - and maybe they were more on the artificial side, and that's what you saw. I've met some cool Alexander folks, and some cool Tai-chi folks and they seemed to have similar skills as far as I could feel - at least as far as skills I'd like to develop for myself.

I really didn't mean to suggest I wasn't intersted in what you were saying about kokyu - I post to you all of the time in hopes of sharing. I meant I wouldn't be using the 'Mike Sigman patented death strike' on my friends after a card game gone awry. Of course I'm interested in your take on kokyu strength.

Back to banter land - as far as your being apprehensive about being sematically correct. I understand, I'm quite intimidating...

Hugs,
Rob
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Old 03-09-2005, 06:03 PM   #56
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Hmmmm.... I've met a few, but I only knew they were "Alexander Technique" practitioners.
Ok. I only asked because of course there's a difference between someone who's had a few private lessons and someone who's been teaching for years. Or should be.

Quote:
... I slipped on the Alexander "movement" because I mentally shifted to Feldenkrais ... so pardon the slip.
Ah, that explains it.

Back to reading...
kvaak
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Old 03-10-2005, 02:31 AM   #57
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
...It's the stuff O-Sensei did his "parlour tricks" with...
What were these "parlour tricks"?

A couple of nights ago my sensei took me to an advanced class at his sensei's dojo. The 69 year old sensei was doing techniques whereby senior black belts would touch his shoulder, he'd twitch the shoulder slightly and they would fall or roll dramatically.

I was invited to partake and grabbed his shoulder, (I'm 270+ lbs, he's about 110 lbs). He twitched but I didn't feel like I was being pummelled into the mat. Was I supposed to "play along" per se or is there something in these practices I'm just not getting?

Ideas, comments????
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Old 03-10-2005, 04:21 AM   #58
Michael Holm
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Howard Dyke wrote:
What were these "parlour tricks"?

A couple of nights ago my sensei took me to an advanced class at his sensei's dojo. The 69 year old sensei was doing techniques whereby senior black belts would touch his shoulder, he'd twitch the shoulder slightly and they would fall or roll dramatically.

I was invited to partake and grabbed his shoulder, (I'm 270+ lbs, he's about 110 lbs). He twitched but I didn't feel like I was being pummelled into the mat. Was I supposed to "play along" per se or is there something in these practices I'm just not getting?

Ideas, comments????
You should do what you like to do Why did you go to the dojo ?
Normally if I visit another dojo its to see their point of view, not to show my point of view, and the contact this establish will create what happen - maybe you will move when somebody does something and maybe you will not

What happened after wards, did the Sensei slap you, laugh, look angry/happy ?
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Old 03-10-2005, 07:31 AM   #59
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

I've experienced something similar to the shoulder thing. If you set your resistance in your arms to defend against them rushing in at you as you go to grab their shoulder - everything works out. If you just bend your elbow and get a counter shove - you can jam the nage. There are a lot of techniques that work as long as you are resisting in such a way to allow them. I do some wonderful judo-type throws that would be jammed up pretty easily by someone getting very relaxed at the right time.

I'd say you were not suposed to play along. Your Japanese sensei might not be able to get away with challenging his teacher, but a gai jin, you get to challenge it. (I posted above about how Heny Kono sensei got to talk to Osensei directly - that was because although his parents were Japanese from Japan, and he could speak the langauge, he had been living in Canada and was allowed some gai jin liberties - like asking direct questions about what the heck Osensei was doing.)

As far as playing along, my advice is that in demonstration mode you should try to do what is expected of you (assuming you know what that is) - since your job in that role is to be a demonstrator. When you are training, ask the sensei to show you again and try to jam the technique - with respect for the teacher but also with respect for budo.

Rob
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Old 03-10-2005, 08:29 AM   #60
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

On this issue of ki and kokyu... One of the things that I see stands in the way of really relaxing in Aikido is the amount of tension we introduce into our movement because we are trying to make our technique look like what the Sensei just demonstrated.

In order to be really relaxed you have to get rid of your thoughts about what you want the outcome to be and let the technique become what it wants, to be so to speak. Yamaguchi Sensei said that no technique should take more effort than the weight of your arms resting on your partner. I have found that I am beginning to be able to do this to some limited extent but I have to be willing to allow the technique to become whatever is appropriate based on the subtle or not so subtle changes in the energy I get from uke.

I've had a bit of experience training with the Systema folks and they do an excellent job of getting people to relax. They don't teach technique but rather they learn to move and so they don'y have any investment in trying to produce any particular technique. One of their principles is that they don't dispute space so they are constantly blending with the force being applied by the attacker. They do excercises which are designed to remove any preference they might have for a particular stance or even body alignment. They do all sorts of training from off balance positions, positions of great disadvantage etc (randori from flat on your back, knife fighting from a push up position, etc)

They do a lot of conditioning and they combine ther conditioning exercise with very sophisticated breath control excercises. And they do alot of striking each other. They do this to remove the resistance we have to receiving impact. Over time they learn to receive greater and greater amounts of force without tensing up around it (in fact the act of tensing makes the pain greater and increases the destructive power; by relaxing and focusing the breathing on moving the energy of the strike through the body the get to the point where they can stay relaxed under a pretty heavy threat and if they do take a hit they are seemingly unaffected by strikes that would put a lot of people down.)

Anyway, I think their training methods bear some scrutiny. The extent to which I have played with them, my Aikido was always better afterwards. I've been playing with these ideas in training my students and one of the things I've done is encourage the students from about third kyu and up to not worry if the technique they are doing ends up differently than I did it. If they find themselves doing henka waza that's fine. I am putting more emphasis on them relaxing and feeling their partner than on trying to force their partner into some position so that they make their technique look just like what I did. I am happy with the results so far. They are considerably more relaxed than I was at the same point in my training.

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Old 03-10-2005, 08:41 AM   #61
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Howard Dyke wrote:
What were these "parlour tricks"?

A couple of nights ago my sensei took me to an advanced class at his sensei's dojo. The 69 year old sensei was doing techniques whereby senior black belts would touch his shoulder, he'd twitch the shoulder slightly and they would fall or roll dramatically.

I was invited to partake and grabbed his shoulder, (I'm 270+ lbs, he's about 110 lbs). He twitched but I didn't feel like I was being pummelled into the mat. Was I supposed to "play along" per se or is there something in these practices I'm just not getting?

Ideas, comments????
The parlour tricks, as they've been referred to by a lot of people, usually involved O-Sensei demonstrating some directional aspect of basic Kokyu power. The "sitting on the bar-stool" example I used yesterday was a simple example of a kokyu-imbued "aha, I can bring a mysterious force through my relaxed body and impress the natives". He did a few variants. The most famous may be his "jo trick". The only thing of importance to me is that it indicates to me, in my opinion, that he must have included a certain amount of standing meditation in his practice... if so, it adds one more datum to the things I can extrapolate from probabilities.

Insofar as you visiting a dojo and playing the local games, it's usually best to avoid those sorts of things, I think, so that no one's feathers get ruffled. I'm 225 pounds and generally that's big enough that people doing demonstrations and who don't know me will avoid asking me to participate. However, like you, if a technique doesn't actually work on me, I'm loathe to become part of a game, just to be courteous. I remember years ago visiting a dojo in Florida where I became Uke and was supposed to attack with yokomenuchi; the woman Nage tenkanned (without touching me) and pointed at the mat... I stopped cold, in confustion... she get very angry and told me I was supposed to FALL! and quit resisting the technique! Alas, I am slow to understand some of these complex social situations, so I usually just demur if someone asks me if I want to feel their teacher's power.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-10-2005, 08:53 AM   #62
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

I know a teacher who does that shoulder trick...I don't believe anyone 'tanks' for him twice... I think Rob's take on how to behave is pretty much spot on...

Ron

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Old 03-10-2005, 09:01 AM   #63
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
On this issue of ki and kokyu... One of the things that I see stands in the way of really relaxing in Aikido is the amount of tension we introduce into our movement because we are trying to make our technique look like what the Sensei just demonstrated. (snipsky)
Anyway, I think their training methods bear some scrutiny. (snip)They are considerably more relaxed than I was at the same point in my training.
I think this comment is somewhat along the lines of whether Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, etc., "uses the same principles" as Aikido, Taiji, etc. They don't. I know some fairly good Systema people and while I enjoy what they do, I realize that it doesn't have anything to do with the body skills of Ki, kokyu, etc., that are found in the Asian martial arts.

My suggestion is to never take an assumptive step forward in your training until you're absolutely sure that it is correct. I listened with interest to some east-coast Taiji types who had modified their "real Taiji" and it became clear from the comments of a few experts that they'd erred in their assumptions. Their fallback was admirable, although quite silly.... they claimed that just like so many things Americans have received from Asia, we took a good thing and made it better. The point was that they didn't really understand Taiji well enough to make good decisions about modifying the art and they thought the aspect they added was roughly the same thing. It was quite different. I.e., "bogus".

Watching Stan Pranin associate Systema, jiu-jutsu, etc., with the Aiki-Expo is quite interesting to me... basically, I'm all for show-and-tell's between the martial styles, but I think that continuing to learn how to cook and enjoy prime, aged-sirloin is worth more effort than just acquiescing to hunger and switching to a bowl of hash.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-10-2005, 09:02 AM   #64
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
I remember years ago visiting a dojo in Florida where I became Uke and was supposed to attack with yokomenuchi; the woman Nage tenkanned (without touching me) and pointed at the mat... I stopped cold, in confustion... she get very angry and told me I was supposed to FALL! and quit resisting the technique!
She just forgot the groin strike component, that's all. Put that back in and you don't have much trouble figuring out why you want to fall.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 03-10-2005, 09:12 AM   #65
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
I know a teacher who does that shoulder trick...I don't believe anyone 'tanks' for him twice... I think Rob's take on how to behave is pretty much spot on...
I agree about going along with demo's. The problem often gets to simple practice and Uke's ability to provide a grip, strike, whatever, that is commensurate with the technique being practiced. I.e., if someone grabs you correctly when you're going to demonstrate a certain technique, it's not that hard to do the technique. If they grab you in a way (or hit, whatever) that is not good for the envisioned technique's dynamics, then things go haywire. If more people being Uke would take the time to do the attack in the manner commensurate with the technique being practiced, we'd have less of the "divers" one sees so often on the mat. Diving to make a half-ineffective throw look good is not good, IMO. That being said, someone who actually knows how to use power should be able to throw with a shoulder shake, assuming Uke grabs it in a way that allows his middle to be felt. But if the teacher was just mimicking something he'd seen done somewhere and he didn't really know how to do it, then Pasadena.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 03-10-2005, 09:14 AM   #66
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
She just forgot the groin strike component, that's all. Put that back in and you don't have much trouble figuring out why you want to fall.
Trust me, that woman was one of the types that was ALWAYS thinking of an excuse to groin-strike a man.

Mike
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Old 03-10-2005, 09:16 AM   #67
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

I'm almost afraid to ask. Do tai-chi folks take groin shots by mentally forming a path to ground? Do systema folks relax and recieve groin shots? Both ideas sound like really bad choices - compared to say ... moving out of the way. I suppose those methods could be plan "b" - but I'm not sure I'm up for such practice.

Rob
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Old 03-10-2005, 09:37 AM   #68
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
I'm almost afraid to ask. Do tai-chi folks take groin shots by mentally forming a path to ground? Do systema folks relax and recieve groin shots? Both ideas sound like really bad choices - compared to say ... moving out of the way. I suppose those methods could be plan "b" - but I'm not sure I'm up for such practice.
I think you're mixing up "conditioning", "core strengths", and "Techniques & Strategy" again, Rob. For instance, think of Tohei and his "Ki Tests" where someone pushes on a hard-to-push partner. That in no way implies that Aikido stands still resistively in its techniques, does it?. You should go to one of Wang Hai Jun's workshops the next time he's in the northeast and ask him and put a couple of moves on him.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 03-10-2005, 09:53 AM   #69
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Is he the chen tai chi guy that goes around with Stan Baker? If so, he's really good and his exercises are challenging to say the least. If he wants to grab my shoulder, he's welcome - but he'll have to take a step or two to get it or abandon that attack. Either way is fine with me. I suppose if he wants to do a yokomen and just stand there while I hammer fist him in the groin, that's okay with me too. I suspect he'd move, though.

As far as isolating these elements for discussion. I'm okay with it, but since I endeavor to use my "conditioning" and "core strengths" in my "Techniques & Strategy" it seems reasonable to talk about such things in context as well.

Rob
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Old 03-10-2005, 10:04 AM   #70
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Is he the chen tai chi guy that goes around with Stan Baker? If so, he's really good and his exercises are challenging to say the least. If he wants to grab my shoulder, he's welcome - but he'll have to take a step or two to get it or abandon that attack. Either way is fine with me. I suppose if he wants to do a yokomen and just stand there while I hammer fist him in the groin, that's okay with me too. I suspect he'd move, though.
Actually I meant you should try to attack him and watch what he does.
Quote:
As far as isolating these elements for discussion. I'm okay with it, but since I endeavor to use my "conditioning" and "core strengths" in my "Techniques & Strategy" it seems reasonable to talk about such things in context as well.
I don't disagree. The problem I have is that I don't really know what you consider core strengths and conditioning. We're apparently talking about different things, so it's hard for me to "mesh" with what you're saying, a lot of times.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 03-10-2005, 10:16 AM   #71
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Alexander folks who really do things from the principles - as opposed to those who do things artificially (and there are plenty of those folks out there teaching and charging lots of money) are going to be abe to resist powerful pushes and expand in very difficult to stop ways. Well, that's been my experience.
Not meant as a slam to anyone, but that has not been my experience with Alexander folks.

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Old 03-10-2005, 10:19 AM   #72
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Well I suppose that conditioning related to stamina, and ability to receive impacts optimally. (The yin if you will of full body movement and resistance).

I'd say core strength, is when you use the most efficient body muscles (especially the smaller ones that I can't typically consciously control) in line such that they form a chain reaction resulting in an uncommon strength like the whip action of a professional baseball pitcher's arm. (The yang if you will of full body movement and release).

I'd say technique is just part of the strategy that were you use those other concepts to optimally protect yourself and the attacker(s).

Rob
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Old 03-10-2005, 10:27 AM   #73
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Well I suppose that conditioning related to stamina, and ability to receive impacts optimally. (The yin if you will of full body movement and resistance).

I'd say core strength, is when you use the most efficient body muscles (especially the smaller ones that I can't typically consciously control) in line such that they form a chain reaction resulting in an uncommon strength like the whip action of a professional baseball pitcher's arm. (The yang if you will of full body movement and release).

I'd say technique is just part of the strategy that were you use those other concepts to optimally protect yourself and the attacker(s).
Well, as I think I noted in a couple of previous posts, we're discussing different things, Rob, and we'll probably never understand each other's viewpoint unless we meet, etc. Emails are fun and a certain amount of information can be shared, but they're limited to a certain degree.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 03-10-2005, 10:37 AM   #74
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Okay. When that guys comes to New England, maybe you can come too. Otherwise, we'll have to wait for my son to get a little older before I'm willing to take a trip to Durango. But, I'm sure it could happen eventually, and that would be nice.

Rob
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Old 03-10-2005, 10:42 AM   #75
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Okay. When that guys comes to New England, maybe you can come too.
Not me. William Gibson's novels refer to "The Sprawl" on the east coast and I totally agree. Fighting traffic is not one of my favorite pastimes.
Quote:
Otherwise, we'll have to wait for my son to get a little older before I'm willing to take a trip to Durango. But, I'm sure it could happen eventually, and that would be nice.
I will alert the Chamber of Commerce that there is a potential big influx of money on the horizon.

Mike
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