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Old 10-26-2005, 11:27 PM   #76
Upyu
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Re: Kokyu explanation

If you're ever in the Tokyo area PM me Matt

There's a guy here that does show how these things work, how they're related to pretty much all high level MAs, how you can develop them, all using an extremely precise training methedology. (Which is explained in common down to earth terms )
Oh, and he kicks butt too...literally

Like someone said before IHTBF (It has to be felt).

-> Kind of like describing how a punch feels. You can describe what happens, how it feels, even scientifically define what happens when the punch makes impact on your body. You *think you know. And then you actually have it done to you
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Old 10-27-2005, 02:55 AM   #77
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Re: Kokyu explanation

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
If you're ever in the Tokyo area PM me Matt

There's a guy here that does show how these things work, how they're related to pretty much all high level MAs, how you can develop them, all using an extremely precise training methedology. (Which is explained in common down to earth terms )
Oh, and he kicks butt too...literally

Like someone said before IHTBF (It has to be felt).

-> Kind of like describing how a punch feels. You can describe what happens, how it feels, even scientifically define what happens when the punch makes impact on your body. You *think you know. And then you actually have it done to you
If I am I will! Thanks for the invite. One thing I've walked away with today is the distinct feeling I'm talking too much about things I don't know enough about, so it's back to the old drawing board. Besides, I'm a little too good at talking and not enough at walking.
Take care!
Matt

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 10-27-2005, 10:03 AM   #78
Mike Sigman
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Re: Kokyu explanation

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
I'll interject here, while Japanese doesn't have an exact term for Jin, they do often use the term "hiriki" or "elbow power" (referring to the specialilzed type of power you use when you train the body using the bow, or other weapon).

And from my experience, it's basically yes, a willfull coordination of deep muscle tendon (rather than muscle itself).

The Qi/Ki paradigm that Mike refers to (correct me if I'm wrong here Mike) is connecting that Jin/hiriki with the power developed by specific breath related exercises. (thanks by the way for the hen/ha type hint that you gave earlier, realized some more stuff today )

The breath related exercises develop a type of power/skill that is used in conjunction with your already developed Jin/Hiriki skill.
I'll also bet, unless you already have structure/Jin/Hiriki skill, 10-1, doing the breath exercises won't be nearly as useful, and any skill gained from it will be kind of dicey...
It's why even the old JMA peeps used to train simple weapons until their legs gave out. They had to first develop a solid structure/hiriki before you could even begin to seriously start to develop the breath power which combined was referred to as "ki/qi".
As usual, it's obvious to me that we're talking about the same things, even though we have different backgrounds and different perspectives on some things. I agree with everything you've said, more or less, EXCEPT I'd throw out a caution about the "deep muscle tendon" concept. You're getting into a tricky area that demarcates "Shaolin" (Buddhist) from the supposed "Taoist" training methods, in some of the juvenile conversations (in reality, there is so much overlap, it is impossible to separate the two). While the fascia network permeates the body more like a sponge than anything else, the initial approaches to it are normally via the superficial myofascial structures, not the "deep muscle tendons". In other words, you're getting a bit to close to brute strength (even though you're doing it in a tendon-related manner) than I'm comfortable with (i.e., I need to indicate that I want to hear what you say without either agreement or disagreement).

Let me try to illustrate my area of concern. If someone is standing in a "tree hugging" posture and they pretend that they're actually standing in a hole dug in the ground so that their feet are on the ground in the hole and their elbows are resting on the grass around the top of the hole. Next they mentally try to rest their body-weight on the elbows and undersides of the arms somewhat. To add to that resting of the weight, they slightly attempt to raise both knees at the same time. This visualization sets up a standard "contradiction" within the body, although to an outside observer, nothing may appear to be happening.

The trick is in the level of contradiction that you're training. If you back off until the contradiction is just barely felt, you can actually be muscularly more or less relaxed, yet the contradiction is still felt throughout the body. This is the level I would suggest is appropriate to train the ki/qi as opposed to anything approaching "deep muscle tendon", because there is another important level beyond this that can't be entered if there is too much tendon/muscle involvement. The tendons will develop over time; the danger of going off on a tangent can be heightened by trying to rush too quickly into higher tension usages, IMO and FWIW.

Best Regards,

Mike
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Old 10-27-2005, 10:17 AM   #79
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Re: Kokyu explanation

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote:
Is ki a thing or an idea about things? What I take as being at least part of this issue is whether or not ki exists as an objective thing, but I may well be injecting my own questions into the complicated conversation you've been having.
"Ki" is an ancient paradigm that was used to explain how things worked. It became an umbrella-term which included just about every "unknown force" ever encountered (including blood-sugar levels, momentum, electricity, etc., etc.). So when you read "Ki" in the global sense, it is an attempt to suggest some universal thing that encompasses all "unknown forces" in the universe. Unfortunately, this idea doesn't withstand casual scrutiny in the modern western-science paradigm which now prevails and consequently you don't see any serious Asian scholars do anything more than drop the idea of ki/qi like a hot potato.

On the other hand, within that old nomenclature of ki/qi were some unusual discoveries about body mechanics which are obscure enough that our only current approaches are through the old names, as inaccurate and poorly descriptive as they are. The ki/qi in the body should not be confused with the global use of the "ki" or "qi" term. It is an objective, quantifiable amalgam of body abilities, attributes, and relationships (unfortunately it is ALL of those things and thus makes it hard to say any one thing is ki/qi).

Hope that helps.

Mike
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Old 10-27-2005, 07:54 PM   #80
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Re: Kokyu explanation

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
It is an objective, quantifiable amalgam of body abilities, attributes, and relationships (unfortunately it is ALL of those things and thus makes it hard to say any one thing is ki/qi).
So it sounds like ki isn't a thing, but an idea about things. Can you give me an example that distinguishes what you mean by "attributes" as opposed to "relatipnships" and "abilities"? Or are these terms overlapping and somewhat redundant?
Thanks for your time,
Matt

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Old 10-27-2005, 08:02 PM   #81
Upyu
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Re: Kokyu explanation

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
This is the level I would suggest is appropriate to train the ki/qi as opposed to anything approaching "deep muscle tendon", because there is another important level beyond this that can't be entered if there is too much tendon/muscle involvement. The tendons will develop over time; the danger of going off on a tangent can be heightened by trying to rush too quickly into higher tension usages, IMO and FWIW.
So, without overtly activating the tendons, keep the contradictory push/pull tug going at each part in the body?
When you say the muscles are relaxed, how relaxed are they?
In my case, they have a slight tension in them more due to the fact that I'm trying to keep that "push/pull" sensation going on in each joint of the body (that's put extremely simply though).


If you alternate the training so that you use the tension generated by relaxation and intent directed inward (pulling into yourself) to "hardcode" the groundpaths (done through say like, a shoulder wide horse stance),
while using softtraining in which you use the same groundpaths but more naturally and almost zero muscular tension (while maintaining) will it still impede the higher levels that you were talking about?
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Old 10-27-2005, 08:17 PM   #82
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Re: Kokyu explanation

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Let me try to illustrate my area of concern. If someone is standing in a "tree hugging" posture and they pretend that they're actually standing in a hole dug in the ground so that their feet are on the ground in the hole and their elbows are resting on the grass around the top of the hole. Next they mentally try to rest their body-weight on the elbows and undersides of the arms somewhat. To add to that resting of the weight, they slightly attempt to raise both knees at the same time. This visualization sets up a standard "contradiction" within the body, although to an outside observer, nothing may appear to be happening.
Mike
I had never imagined myself 'hanging in a hole' while doing that exercise but what I do does seem to match. This is one area anyway where explanations are necessary since as you say, observers cannot see it.

I have another from the same position. Instead of your hanging, try this: With arms extended out in the same circle, palms towards you, press your fingers together - without letting them touch - while at the same time pressing your shoulder blades together at the back. Another kind of muscular contradiction perhaps. Hold the posture for a minute or so - not too strongly though, just a gentle burn. The key for this (my) exercise is to memorise the feeling in the chest area. Next, do it while moving around - bring the arms together with a semi-forceful, tense but relaxed = extended feeling, then try with imaginary techniques - first by yourself, then with a partner (ikkyo, irim-inage, shiho-nage etc). (Sinking is still important of course, but here I am concentrating on developing a strong, yet relaxed arm extension).

Incidentally, I name the static solo paractice as natural tension, and the moving solo practice as dynamic tension. I use the word 'tension' as I think the word 'relax' serves only to confuse, although it still remains the objective. Give it a try

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Old 10-27-2005, 08:30 PM   #83
Mike Sigman
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Re: Kokyu explanation

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote:
So it sounds like ki isn't a thing, but an idea about things. Can you give me an example that distinguishes what you mean by "attributes" as opposed to "relatipnships" and "abilities"? Or are these terms overlapping and somewhat redundant?
It gets tricky and puts you into the world of "holistic" or "gestalt" almost. For instance the mind control of force origins and vectors is actually used, but not developed to a high skill, in normal motion. The fact that these "paths" can be markedly strengthened by seemingly unrelated fascia development (and shifting the normal myofascial coordinations) and they both assist each other gives a "relationship" that you can't ignore. It is this conjunction of skills and body attributes (with the mind controlling the relationship) that forms the framework for the ki/qi. There is a specific area of this relationship and body development that is focusedly referred to as the ki/qi, but it would take a lengthy and probably wasted explanation to try and point it out.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 10-27-2005, 08:35 PM   #84
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Re: Kokyu explanation

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
So, without overtly activating the tendons, keep the contradictory push/pull tug going at each part in the body?
When you say the muscles are relaxed, how relaxed are they?
In my case, they have a slight tension in them more due to the fact that I'm trying to keep that "push/pull" sensation going on in each joint of the body (that's put extremely simply though).


If you alternate the training so that you use the tension generated by relaxation and intent directed inward (pulling into yourself) to "hardcode" the groundpaths (done through say like, a shoulder wide horse stance),
while using softtraining in which you use the same groundpaths but more naturally and almost zero muscular tension (while maintaining) will it still impede the higher levels that you were talking about?
I've been listening to what you've said about Akuzawa's training methods and so far I sense that it is mainly a variation of known approaches, but it is, as I've suggested offline, more of a Shaolin variation (who cares, if it works?... Shaolin was the basis for the Way of the Chinese Hand arts). It has to do with the breathing things we talked about offline. You do your kokyu FAQ to share with others and I'll send you a PM on the other... I simply don't want to suggest anything that might conflict with what your teacher is obviously teaching quite well.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 10-27-2005, 08:40 PM   #85
Mike Sigman
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Re: Kokyu explanation

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote:
I With arms extended out in the same circle, palms towards you, press your fingers together - without letting them touch - while at the same time pressing your shoulder blades together at the back. Another kind of muscular contradiction perhaps.
Hi Rupert:

What I'm suggesting is that these contradictions be set up so that the muscles are actually relaxed. That's why I said "back off". Back off until it's almost not there. The problem is that without having built up somethings with some preliminary breathing exercises, people won't feel that thing I'd suggest they go toward. So just giving the standing in the hole exercise won't necessarily tell someone the exact way to go, it will just give them a general idea about the topic I'm trying to illuminate.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 10-27-2005, 09:31 PM   #86
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Re: Kokyu explanation

I would suggest that "back off until it's almost not there" be done later - for me anyway. First, do it a little more forcefully for some time, then work it less. I understand what you mean, but how do you get peole to do that? Like, how much is less?

I have found that adding a natural kind of tension is more practical and that that tension reduces itself naturally as practice continues. So, for me, I want to play with both maximum and minimum tension and many in-betweens. 'Minimum' is for master and I'm not there yet and I don't want to jump the gun too soon. I want maximum power with minimum tension and that maximum power demands some tension at my present 'place' in time. I want to develop that tension and make it stronger and more efficient while at the same time training the skill that I need less perceived effort to facilitate the workings of the technique. I don't anticipate anytime soon reaching so called master status. I want a 'work now' method that is capable of future progression and development.

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Old 10-27-2005, 09:37 PM   #87
Mike Sigman
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Re: Kokyu explanation

Well, this is the area I was expressing concern about, Rupert. The difference between muscular isometric training and training of the qi/ki. It's not really done with tensioning what you're talking about. In fact, you must be "relaxed" while still having this not-quite-tension, "condensing of the qi", etc. Again, I'm not trying to be cryptic, I just don't want to waste a lot of time writing about something in which the ground discussions and terminology haven't been set.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 10-31-2006, 07:54 AM   #88
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Re: Kokyu explanation

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Due in some part to Mike Sigman's probing questions, I have been investigating this area for some time. I'll try to list some of the things I've found that seem to be making a difference in physical technique. Please understand that nothing I write here is being presented as final answers in any way. This is simply my attempt at answering your question by presenting my own investigations on kokyu / ki / aiki in three traditions I have had some access to: Yoshinkan Aikido / Abe Sensei / Daito ryu. I am still continuing to research this, and coincidentally, Inoue Sensei of the Yoshinkan will be here this weekend in Phila. I believe a major topic in the private sessions will be kokyu. An important part of this is that he has written a book in Japanese about kokyu, and he has spoken in the past about the specific differences in Aikido and Daito ryu in relation to kokyu, ki, and aiki.

Yoshinkan Aikido

The books of Gozo Shioda talk about the different powers that make up aikido, and Kokyu and Ki are dealt with specifically. The power of the centerline, the power of breath, the power of focus are all spoken of as combining to be the power of ki, a mastery of balance (or as Mike says, balancing all of these powers). I'm not going to go into much depth on this now...your best option is to read his books (esp. his autobiography, Mastering Aikido, the basic course, and the third one whose title I forget just now). One of the key features of reading Shioda Kancho's works has been his statement that the basic training in aikido yoshinkan is meant to develop this kokyu power. You also get clues from statements like the power comes from the big toe.

Combined with this are statements from Chida Sensei, one of the top shihan in Yoshinkan, who has made statements about 'taking the slack out of' the relationship between shite and uke. In other words, there needs to be a certain amount of relaxed (?) tension between shite and uke so that their centers are connected so that when you move, uke must move if the connection is maintained.

I have also had input from other practitioners in the yoshinkan, specifically Tom Yawata. Tom's experience with a Daito ryu group has been beneficial as well. You can see his contributions for yourself at http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=1045.

Daito ryu

In the thread mentioned above and other sources, Daito ryu does not seem to use the phrase 'kokyu'. That seems to be unique to Aikido. The focus in Daito ryu is on 'aiki' more so than ki. This is an interesting area for investigation, as in viewing films of Daito ryu adepts, Ueshiba, and Gozo Shioda, there seems to be some strong commonalities. If you look at a technique such as shihonage and the use of 'aiki' in locking uke's elbows and raising them, you also see similarities to what I saw with Abe Sensei's use of kokyu / ki.

Abe Sensei

Due to the kindness of Shaun Ravens, I was able to spend 3 days training in Iowa with Abe Sensei, who focused on using ki in technique during his time there. Most of the techniques we studied involved focusing on bringing the power from the ground using the big toe, 'clamping down' on the 'one point' with the breath, keeping our arms straight and uke's arms straight. Abe Sensei's methods seemed to me to work best with absolutely no slack in the relationship between shite and uke, at least while learning his methods. Perhaps the need for this is greatly reduced as you advance.

Some of My Own Observations

From all of the above.

Relax the shoulders as much as possible. The kokyu / ki / Aiki power seems to get stopped in shoulders if there is any tension there at all.

Close the spine. There was a marked difference in my sucsess at Abe Sensei's technique when I relaxed the shoulders in combination with closing the gap between the shoulder blades. This helped not only with Abe Sensei's technique, but with Yoshinkan waza as well.

Focus on the big toe...that's where the power seems to come from. Keep your weight centered on the ball of the foot beneath the big toe, and try to structurally align everything between there and your contact with uke.

Don't worry about 'setting up uke' at first by having them attack in a specific way. It seems that at first this gets you feeling what it takes to move in the correct direction. Applying these (and other) methods in more adverse circumstances seems to come much later.

Best,
Ron
Hello Ron...now that it is a year later...

Do you have a follow up to these postings? I would love to hear what you have to say to date...

Cheers,

Charlie

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Old 10-31-2006, 08:12 AM   #89
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Kokyu explanation

Nothing that I can really be specific about yet. I've been off the mat since July due to a problem with my neck...not training in the dojo is a bummer. I have been trying some of the exercises found online in these and other threads, and while I was still on the mat, felt that I was moving in the correct direction, but slowly. I also started doing yoga once a week for an hour, and on my own as time permitted...that seemed to help my aikido a lot. As I get this stupid neck under control, I hope to explore more...I'll keep you posted!

Best,
Ron

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Old 10-31-2006, 09:51 AM   #90
David Orange
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Re: Kokyu explanation

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
I've been off the mat since July due to a problem with my neck...As I get this stupid neck under control, I hope to explore more...
Ron,

What happened with your neck, if you don't mind saying?

Have you ever tried The Feldenkrais Method? Moshe Feldenkrais was the founder of the Judo and Jujutsu Club of Paris. He was introduced to judo by Jigoro Kano, himself, and trained by hand-picked instructors whom Kano sent from the Kodokan to instruct him. I've often wondered what would have happened if Feldenkrais had somehow met Morihei Ueshiba, instead.

Feldenkrais has two modes of treatment:

ATM (Awareness Through Movement) group floor "exercises" which are more explorations of small, soft movement to discover and release blockages in one's own movement;

FI (Functional Integration) table "adjustments" with clothes on, in which the practitioner works with the sufferer to help him find and release problems with movement that cause pain. This is "NOT" like a chiropractor: NO popping of the joints, etc., though there may be some "popping" spontaneously through one's own easy movement.

The theory behind Feldenkrais is that our bodies/nervous systems are equipped with an inate "reset" mode, like "rebuild desktop" on a Macintosh computer. The Feldenkrais Method teaches us how to access that "reset" mode, through which the nervous system returns the body to "natural" mode, releasing "parasitic" tension, shedding stress and releasing mental anxiety and wasted mental effort.

Physical training of various kinds can help us improve physical performance, but it invariably takes us away from "natural" mode, which is a very powerful mode of being. By going through the "reset," we can get back to the power of the "natural" mode without losing the benefit of the esoteric training (unless the training is very unnatural, which is always destructive). But Feldenkrais lets us "integrate" the esoteric training with the natural mode, so that the training has the effect of "cultivating" the natural instead of "replacing" the natural.

Both ATM and FI treatments are very relaxing, loosening, resting and invigorating. They help shed stress and contribute to a long-term correction of the desired course of one's life.

A friend of mine attended an ATM I'd organized in Japan. He enjoyed it, but didn't think much of it as he was leaving on his bicycle. But as he was riding home, he said he turned to look over his shoulder and was startled to find that he could look much further back over his shoulder than he could before the lesson and that his head moved far more easily and with much greater comfort than before. Feldenkrais training got me back in the dojo in Japan after I was out for some months with a back injury, barely able to walk!

This page lists 34 Feldenkrais practitioners in Pennsylvania:

http://www.feldenkrais.com/guild/find/list.lasso

Best wishes,

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 11-01-2006, 09:07 AM   #91
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Kokyu explanation

Herniated and bulging discs, osteophytes pinching a nerve that runs into my shoulder and down my arm. Numbness and not fun pain. Working on it...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 11-01-2006, 09:11 AM   #92
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Re: Kokyu explanation

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Herniated and bulging discs, osteophytes pinching a nerve that runs into my shoulder and down my arm. Numbness and not fun pain. Working on it...
As a suggestion, try holding your head up, like it's suspended from a rope, and let your butt relax and pull down on the spine. Just enough to extend things a bit. Tiring at first, but as your muscles get used to the idea, they'll work past the newness. Gets rid of a lot of compression-related problems in many people. It also is the basis for the sort of power that Rob John mentions in his exercises, BTW.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 11-01-2006, 09:18 AM   #93
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Kokyu explanation

I'm doing that, and traction in physical therapy as well, along with band exercises to strengthen the postural muscles. Unfortunately, somewhat limited in what exercises I can do because they can worsen the inflamation, which is pretty severe. Very frustrating.

Thanks,
Ron

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