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#234824 - 03/04/06 08:22 PM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: eyrie]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
I won't try to translate the vernacular of it, but essentially "nogare" is "soft breath". As I said, it was learned as part of Okinawan karate training and zen training that we did back in the sixties. Breathing softly as you retreat or back up is one of the methods that you control the muscles as you move backward to diffuse any hits or kicks you might receive from your attacker. Ibuki is "hard breath", much like kiai, but done with forward movement and ki extension. Where it gets confusing is when you're backing up and still attacking. I guess you have to breathe through your ears then...

Quote:

But I think the "key" (pun intended), is not merely in the cursory surface practice of the training and conditioning methods, but in understanding HOW it (the training and conditioning methods) works, and what makes it work. Add to wit, what it is we are training and conditioning, that makes "it" work. I think this part is missing in most aikido practice.





I couldn't agree with you more, and it's a good thing to have as much information as you can about everything you do, because when you get my age (63) you start forgetting a few things. I'm not sure if it's age related or from being slammed on the floor a couple of hundred thousand times. Really, I think it's all that "gettin' up" that makes your brains go soft.

Quote:

How many aikidoka practice ten-no-kokyu, and chi-no-kokyu without knowing, much less understanding the specifics? How many aikido teachers actually explain what is going on or what one is meant to be doing, in any sort of detail? What do people know of jin-no-kokyu? Or how to strengthen the ten-chi-jin connection, much less know what it means?





Probably all of them. I'd go nuts trying to remember how to breathe in Japanese and how to center in Japanese. My instructor used to tell us "We won the war, so speak English", and that would work if there were adequate words to describe the phenomena that exist in their terms.

I've always maintained that the reason the Chinese styles had such colorful terms in their training, such as "parting the horse's mane", etc. was because in a "peasant"(not disparaging them) country where there was little formal education, they described things that they did every day to explain the motions of their arts. I'm getting to the "Tai Chi" slow practice stage of my life, so I'm going to have to start reading up on all this stuff now... I'd probably do okay if I read the room full of books I already have, but I'll bet that they'll all have the same information I've already trained in, but call it by some esoteric name. I know that the Chin Na techniques are much the same, and I wouldn't expect anybody's body to be different just because they're Chinese, so the mechanics will be the same as well. (Just kidding, I've been doing temple exercises for years).

Since you seem to have a grasp on a lot of the terminology and principles, what are your thoughts on "hand positions"? Most of my jujitsu works off several sets of hand positions, and they are very common to aikido, so give me some insight into your thoughts on them.

My "esoteric names" are things like "crane's head" and "eating popcorn" to teach the students how to shape their hands from gripping attacks, but I wondered what kind of descriptions you used in teaching tenkan, etc.
I have a lot of trouble with middle level students trying to spread their fingers on every technique (I guess to "extend ki") but if they understand the hand positioning and movements accompanying each one of them, it makes aikido technique much easier.

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#234825 - 03/04/06 09:15 PM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: wristtwister]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Quote:

I won't try to translate the vernacular of it, but essentially "nogare" is "soft breath". As I said, it was learned as part of Okinawan karate training and zen training that we did back in the sixties. Breathing softly as you retreat or back up is one of the methods that you control the muscles as you move backward to diffuse any hits or kicks you might receive from your attacker. Ibuki is "hard breath", much like kiai, but done with forward movement and ki extension. Where it gets confusing is when you're backing up and still attacking. I guess you have to breathe through your ears then...




OK, I follow... well, breathing thru the "skin" is much easier to imagine since the skin covers the whole body.

Quote:


I couldn't agree with you more, and it's a good thing to have as much information as you can about everything you do, because when you get my age (63) you start forgetting a few things. I'm not sure if it's age related or from being slammed on the floor a couple of hundred thousand times. Really, I think it's all that "gettin' up" that makes your brains go soft.




LOL! Ain't that the truth. I still have a few more years to get to 60 tho...

Quote:


Probably all of them. I'd go nuts trying to remember how to breathe in Japanese and how to center in Japanese. My instructor used to tell us "We won the war, so speak English", and that would work if there were adequate words to describe the phenomena that exist in their terms.





I totally agree... unfortunately, the lack of information out there in plain English (and difficulties of translation and transliteration) is a definite issue - for me at least.

Quote:


I've always maintained that the reason the Chinese styles had such colorful terms in their training, such as "parting the horse's mane", etc. was because in a "peasant"(not disparaging them) country where there was little formal education, they described things that they did every day to explain the motions of their arts.




Agreed. But I also tend to feel that it is also mostly contextual. Being native Chinese, I can understand and appreciate the context somewhat...

Quote:


I'm getting to the "Tai Chi" slow practice stage of my life, so I'm going to have to start reading up on all this stuff now... I'd probably do okay if I read the room full of books I already have, but I'll bet that they'll all have the same information I've already trained in, but call it by some esoteric name. I know that the Chin Na techniques are much the same, and I wouldn't expect anybody's body to be different just because they're Chinese, so the mechanics will be the same as well. (Just kidding, I've been doing temple exercises for years).





I'm getting to the "Tai Chi" slow practice stage of my life too... I dunno... something about hitting 40? I agree, irrespective of the terminology used, the human body only works in so many ways. I think there needs to be some common frame of reference and terminology. Unfortunately, with something like ki (or qi or prana or whatever), it is more a holistic/synergistic effect, and you can only talk about the things which point to it, rather than about it.

Quote:


Since you seem to have a grasp on a lot of the terminology and principles, what are your thoughts on "hand positions"? Most of my jujitsu works off several sets of hand positions, and they are very common to aikido, so give me some insight into your thoughts on them.





I don't focus much on "hand positions" - aikido is open-handed movement derived from sword, no? I teach students NOT to grip (well, only if they're grabbing someone to provide an attack). My teacher never focused on the "technicalities", only the "feeling". But having done jujitsu and Ryukyu kempo, I understand what you mean. Personally, my interest in hand positions lie more with "mudras"....

Like I said before, every school and style of aikido do things differently, and focus on different things. Perhaps a function of who their teacher and instructors are?

Quote:


My "esoteric names" are things like "crane's head" and "eating popcorn" to teach the students how to shape their hands from gripping attacks, but I wondered what kind of descriptions you used in teaching tenkan, etc.





Whilst I agree that the esoteric descriptions serves as a useful memory mnemonic, I don't think it's absolutely necessary. I say tenkan is simply pivoting on the front foot to change the angle at which the body is facing. Even my 8 year old kid understands that.

Quote:


I have a lot of trouble with middle level students trying to spread their fingers on every technique (I guess to "extend ki") but if they understand the hand positioning and movements accompanying each one of them, it makes aikido technique much easier.





Heh heh, very Yoshinkan/Daito-ryu... -ish. OK, my teacher never did the spreaded fingers thing, but he had a LOT of power. In fact, he was so soft and relaxed, it was exactly like trying to grab hold of an empty jacket. When you did grab him however, it was like trying to hold on to jello - oh, you'd have a hold on him, but his wrists would feel like jello, then suddenly, when he releases/pressurizes, it feels like an iron rod had just extended from his wrist into your center and down the "hole" that suddenly opens up.

But I understand what spreading the fingers thing does, and why to do it, and how to replicate the same application, without using the finger spreading as an augmentation/mnemonic device. But I can't yet describe what is happening inside the structure (i.e. with the flexors/extensor, connective tissues, fascial sheaths etc..), but let's call it ki for now?

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#234826 - 03/04/06 09:23 PM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: wristtwister]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
I will readily admit that I only have a small piece (or several pieces) of a much larger puzzle. Just looking to fill in the bigger picture... with some help.

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#234827 - 03/04/06 11:17 PM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: eyrie]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Quote:

Heh heh, very Yoshinkan/Daito-ryu... -ish.




Come to think of it, you're right... but I practice neither Yoshinkan or Daito-ryu, just some of their techniques. I've played with some people before that were both, and enjoyed the workout very much, but like you said, it's a "thing" with both styles.

I appreciate what you said about tenkan, and I hope your eight year old becomes a teacher someday. I've had students that are either mentally deficient or their coordination gene is missing, and they couldn't do tenkan for money.

Quote:

Being native Chinese, I can understand and appreciate the context somewhat...





Being Chinese, living in Australia, and studying Japanese martial arts... that would keep my brain full just in itself. I'd probably "wig out" over translations...

From reading your comments, you show a good knowledge of the body, so I'm assuming you either work in the medical field or have done a lot of extra cirricular studies on the body, unless you teach martial arts for a living, in which case the study wouldn't be "extra cirricular". Which is it?

I'm trained as a mechanical engineer, so I understand vectors and mechanical advantage, which helps me to understand how the body works as well. I have to admit that I've spent way too much time studying the body when I should have been training, but you have to do something besides train or you'll wear your body out.

At 40, you should just be hitting your stride... not hitting the "slow lane" with us old guys. The best years I had in martial arts were when I was in my 40's, and I enjoyed them the most of any time I've trained. Now, it takes me too much time to get over training, and unless I can find a good chiropractor to put all my parts back in place, I'm only good for a few workouts at a time before I have to go in the shop for repairs.

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#234828 - 03/05/06 12:05 AM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: wristtwister]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Quote:


I appreciate what you said about tenkan, and I hope your eight year old becomes a teacher someday. I've had students that are either mentally deficient or their coordination gene is missing, and they couldn't do tenkan for money.





I think much of it is due to the modern sedentary lifestyle... X-generation = X-box, Y-generation = Why should I do this? I see MA training, (aikido is merely my preferred vehicle), as a way to re-train the body to move "naturally" and efficiently. Most kids can't stand in horse stance for 10 min, much less stand straight without slouching.

What my boys do with their life one-day I hope will be molded by what they learn from me. All I can do is share with them what I know. (Not just my own sons, but all the kids that turn up to class). What they take away is entirely up to them.

Tenkan for money? Funny, one of the ways I teach basic tenkan is pivot, so you're shoulder to shoulder (mirror image), rock forward (like fune-kogi) and pick up the "coin"...

Quote:


Being Chinese, living in Australia, and studying Japanese martial arts... that would keep my brain full just in itself. I'd probably "wig out" over translations...





Ha... long story... fill you in on it one day.

Quote:


From reading your comments, you show a good knowledge of the body, so I'm assuming you either work in the medical field or have done a lot of extra cirricular studies on the body, unless you teach martial arts for a living, in which case the study wouldn't be "extra cirricular". Which is it?





What I do can best be described as hobby/enthusiast - unfortunately, there is this thing that exists outside of MA for me - that which most people describe as "life"... I'm a business analyst/programmer by trade. What I know is mainly from extra-curricular studies/reading, mostly TCM based, tempered with Western medical knowledge. (Can't help it - mum was a nurse). (No prizes for guessing what dad did... )

Quote:


I'm trained as a mechanical engineer, so I understand vectors and mechanical advantage, which helps me to understand how the body works as well. I have to admit that I've spent way too much time studying the body when I should have been training, but you have to do something besides train or you'll wear your body out.





Cool... out of curiosity, do you/how do you describe kokyu (as in kokyu-ho) in terms of force vectors?

Quote:


At 40, you should just be hitting your stride... not hitting the "slow lane" with us old guys. The best years I had in martial arts were when I was in my 40's, and I enjoyed them the most of any time I've trained. Now, it takes me too much time to get over training, and unless I can find a good chiropractor to put all my parts back in place, I'm only good for a few workouts at a time before I have to go in the shop for repairs.




LOL! Well, I'll tell you what the prognosis is tomorrow after the arthroscopy... Unfortunately, I know the feeling... but in the last couple of years since slowing down, I've found ways to compensate for getting "older" and actually getting stronger. In many ways, it involved re-visting taiji and its training methods, standing stake (zhan zhuang) etc., doing things more slowly and deliberately.

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#234829 - 03/05/06 11:57 AM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: eyrie]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Quote:

out of curiosity, do you/how do you describe kokyu (as in kokyu-ho) in terms of force vectors?





Usually, I try to teach kokyu-ho as a big "energy ball", with the center at your center. If you break your "grip" on the ball, it disappears and you have nothing, or if you allow your body mechanics to be used to collapse your arm swords, you have nothing. How much of your "energy ball" you use or how large you make it is entirely dependent upon keeping your structure. Of course, a lot of this depends on "moving from your center", and if you do kokyu-ho from some other place, your partner will break you down (like if you let your center shift up). It's done with shoulders down and relaxed, centered at your hara, and breath correct.

I know that leaves out as much as it says, but that's all that I can do with words... the rest is practice.

Sorry to hear you're having surgery. Luckily, I've avoided that particular part of the "training experience" (except for a hernia), and usually it involves a joint (knees or shoulders), which really affect life in general and not just your practice. I truly hope it goes well for you.

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#234830 - 03/05/06 10:41 PM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: wristtwister]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Interesting...

I try to demystify a lot of this stuff. My teacher never once used the word "ki" or anything esoteric/mystical. Nor did any of my senpai. A lot of it was implied/inferred. But sensei used to use a lot of interesting analogies like "light as a feather", or "compressing air"...

I teach kokyu-ho as force vectors. Like pushing a ball (or other object) using a bent structure from center to center:
__
A __/ \__ B
--->

Arthroscopy is on the 24th. Maybe 6 weeks in a brace and on crutches and 6-9mths to mend.

The standing exercises have gone some way to building strength and supporting the joint in the meantime.

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#234831 - 03/06/06 07:38 AM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: eyrie]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Being a jujitsu-hump, I tend to do things from "structure" a lot of times rather than mystifying things. The "energy ball" is a shape that can be any size, but it puts your arms into the right structure. As you "try to hold" the ball and enlarge the size, it keeps your arms in the right attitude and shape.

Like your diagram shows, the energy moves into the attacker, and as long as they hold their center, it's child's play to handle anyone. I sometimes talk about the energy being applied as "wispy" or "whispering" rather than overpowering, so I think we're on the same page... just using different words.

My teachers studied with Sogunuma Sensei and Tohei Sensei, so it's kind of a mix of Hombu and Shin Shin Toitsu. My jujitsu comes from mixes of Okinawan karate and Japanese systems, so I'm kind of like a "kitchen milkshake" where everything is thrown in and blended. Luckily, many of the teachers I've studied with were world class, and legends in their particular arts. My training partner is an international representative of the Kyudo federation in Japan, and on the Jujitsu committee and heads up the Aikido committee of the U.S. Judo Association, so I've got "good information lines" to find out things or get training in something that comes up.

I really hope you let your surgery heal before you dive in and do it any harm. I went back after hernia surgery a little too early and paid for it dearly, so take time to heal and don't "booger up the work" by being enthusiastic. You're probably like me, though, I'm so used to being sore and injured that I don't pay too much attention to it unless it restricts my movement. Just take care of yourself. You only get one body per lifetime.

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#234832 - 03/06/06 08:06 AM Re: Ki and related stuff [Re: wristtwister]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Quote:

Being a jujitsu-hump, I tend to do things from "structure" a lot of times rather than mystifying things. The "energy ball" is a shape that can be any size, but it puts your arms into the right structure. As you "try to hold" the ball and enlarge the size, it keeps your arms in the right attitude and shape.





I enjoyed jujitsu's "scientific" approach. It made many connections for me in terms of understanding structure. Do you find that certain descriptions tend to make students try to "compensate" holding the structure by using muscular tension?

Quote:


Like your diagram shows, the energy moves into the attacker, and as long as they hold their center, it's child's play to handle anyone. I sometimes talk about the energy being applied as "wispy" or "whispering" rather than overpowering, so I think we're on the same page... just using different words.





I think we're on the same page. It goes back to the "ki is subtle" idea. But it's kinda interesting that with your mechanical engineering background, why would you use a different analogy to describe it...? Is that because force vectors connotates "muscular" force? Just curious from a teaching perspective.

Quote:


My teachers studied with Sogunuma Sensei and Tohei Sensei, so it's kind of a mix of Hombu and Shin Shin Toitsu. My jujitsu comes from mixes of Okinawan karate and Japanese systems, so I'm kind of like a "kitchen milkshake" where everything is thrown in and blended. Luckily, many of the teachers I've studied with were world class, and legends in their particular arts. My training partner is an international representative of the Kyudo federation in Japan, and on the Jujitsu committee and heads up the Aikido committee of the U.S. Judo Association, so I've got "good information lines" to find out things or get training in something that comes up.





I think we are molded by who our teachers are.

Quote:


I really hope you let your surgery heal before you dive in and do it any harm. I went back after hernia surgery a little too early and paid for it dearly, so take time to heal and don't "booger up the work" by being enthusiastic. You're probably like me, though, I'm so used to being sore and injured that I don't pay too much attention to it unless it restricts my movement. Just take care of yourself. You only get one body per lifetime.





Thanks for the kind thoughts. Yep, you guessed it... training isn't going to stop for pain... it's only pain... If you can feel it, it means you're still alive.

But there's a heap of other stuff I could still do... other than suwari waza.

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