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Thread: Body Conditioning

  1. #166
    Mark Murray Guest

    Default Body Conditioning and Training part II

    Sticky.

    Attacking and then feeling like you can't disconnect. Like you're stuck to tori. It's a weird feeling. Well, all of these things are weird. Not normal.

    I was at Dan's and met one of the other people who, like me, also went to meet Dan. She then started training with Dan. At my second meeting, we worked on a technique of her choosing. When she got the technique right, I felt like I couldn't disengage or let go. And I really, really tried. At one point, in the middle of the technique, my brain was saying, stop her. I couldn't. Then it said, well, just let go. I couldn't. I was stuck. Not from being held because I was the one holding her wrist. And not for lack of trying, let me tell you. I was actively trying to let go and it just wasn't working. The difference in her skill level was really neat to see since she couldn't do this kind of stuff the first time I met her. Timewise, it was less than 6 months apart.

    I've talked to other people and found that they've experienced this kind of "feeling".

    Can I do it with any consistency. No, not yet. But I have done it a few times with students at my dojo. And they say the same thing -- I couldn't let go. Course, usually, I don't feel like I was doing anything when it happens. Except trying to keep the body training skills intact. That's the hard part. Keeping them intact while stationary and then trying to do that while moving.

    More to follow ... (maybe tomorrow)

  2. #167
    Dan Harden Guest

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    And how do we suppose that could possibly aid in energy control
    A strong chest push horizontally or rising up 45 deg from the groun trying to lift you how is that meaningful in real fighting? Dissolving then manipulating incoming or pulling away force. Howcan the two be joined and resolved to one? The two sides of aiki that are one in the same? In-yo ho. What would happen if...say he was grabbing a hand instead of pushing on your chest?
    And say you could take all of his force and make it dissapear somewhere? The full force of big men say a big grappler? Wink..If-unlike so many in the arts who can be stopped just by grabbing their hands, you can actually stop there power cold-could you then...say...capture it since it turned to zero?
    Could you then...say...manipulate it since your not doing much of anything to stop it?
    What if he was grabbing your sleave intead? Your head?
    Why would in-yo ho connect the body so well, so inexorably intertwined that the slightest movement is an impulse or pulse to move them?
    How would the expanding, breath add...to that?
    Where did the pushing energy go when you pushed? 250lb guys pushing you horizontally while you stood there sounds like B.S. to most folks. But seeing is believing.
    Do you see a value in the idea that "What receives...feeds?"
    Could it then produce say unusual force in close distances? Say a stomach or kidney punch from laying on your back with someone in the mount or guard?
    Could it be used stop judo/ jujutsu throws?
    Cheers
    Dan
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 27th December 2007 at 23:42.

  3. #168
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    Default Question....

    Hi,

    So, I've been reading this thread and I'm not sure if I missed this or not so I'll ask it (possibly again):

    Regarding some of the body conditioning that we've been discussing (the forging of balanced connections within the body):

    Why doesn't it naturally occur to a greater extent in humans? Do you think there ever a time when this sort of development was more commonplace (hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of years ago, etc)?

    Curious,

    Mark Chiappetta
    Last edited by mjchip; 27th December 2007 at 23:39. Reason: Added full name...

  4. #169
    Dan Harden Guest

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    Hmmm....interesting. Since it takes soo much concentration, and training and the manipulated forces have to be controled by your mind do animals exhibit it? we see they move with out flexation, maybe even move without isolated flexation. But such a mind/body connection....hmmm.
    Cheers
    Dan

  5. #170
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Murray View Post
    I've read reports and seen video where Ueshiba lets other people test him by having them push on him. Seated or standing. In one video, he's seated and then rocks back and lifts his legs. I initially thought that he was being off balanced a bit, but later read reports that he was showing off.
    Lifting the legs only seems more impressive if you haven't thought about the physics involved. In actuality, in the demo you are describing, any downward force applied to the ground by the legs serves only to create a torque in the same direction as the torque resulting from the pusher's force. For Ueshiba to remain (rougly) fixed in place, the sum of the external torques must have been (roughly) zero (though we can, of course, quibble about the exact direction and magnitude of the pusher's force). Therefore, it would have taken less force to topple him if he didn't lift his legs. Extending the legs forward also moves one's center of mass forward and, therefore, serves to increase the torque due to gravity (the torque that directly opposes that of the pusher).

    If you think about it, it's rather simple: when you are sitting on the ground with legs outstretched in front of you, the parts of your legs which are in contact with the ground are applying a torque to keep you in place under the influence of gravity. When someone starts to push on you, though, they are now applying that torque and less force is required of your legs to maintain equilibrium.

    I suspect this is at least part of the reason why so many people believe the pusher's force to be "channeled" somehow into the ground (as in the often used analogy of an electric current): If the person being pushed wishes to remain in place, both the net external forces and torques must be roughly zero (otherwise, there would be appreciable translation or rotation, respectively, of the person's body). But this means that, if one is initially in a forward stance, for example, the forward foot must become "unweighted" in response to the pusher's force, and, therefore, an increased vertical force must be applied by the rear leg (to prevent the body from translating vertically). The increased weight on the rear leg is then responsible for the sensation that the pusher's force has been routed "into the ground."

    Another trick you can add is lifting under the arms of the pusher (per some of Gozo Shioda's demos). The effect is, again, to increase the torque in opposition to that of the pusher, since lifting up on the arms tends to make one's body rotate forward.
    Richard Garrelts

  6. #171
    Dan Harden Guest

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    Torque? Not that I am overly concerned about pushing on chests-it's just another demonstration of handling power- as well as a training tool to test results of understanding and progress. but your description doesn't cut it for me, and I imagine for Mark as well.
    We can do it and more. Can you? Can you stand there and have someone push on your chest horizontally-and remain standing without flexing? How about upward and still stand there? How about pushing on your head? If you can do it, and if you claim it occurs by torquing, care to describe what you are torquing?
    Please leave out spreading the arms of the pusher, that trick is known by many. This isn't a trick, its a constant in the body

    That Little guys like Ueshiba did this standing and moving is more important than static standing. That he also did this with Sumo, Judo, and any number of comers, that Sokaku did this in public at the Budokan with Judoka hell bent on taking him down, albeit I am sure with just standard Japanese waza- and Takeda handling them with ease, (which one witness-Sugino-calling it the finest display of budo skill he had ever witnessed )-and much later 85 yr old Sagawa handling gold and silver medal Judoka in the same fashion, is more my cup of tea. It is long been held and believed these things were done by “technique.” I contend the secret to the power (and the explanation for the differences) was never in technique-which oddly enough were so drastically different in execution as to defy that bit of logic. Their one consistent power was in their body method, not what they did with it.
    Cheers
    Some readers here have felt it from me and others who can do it. Then they were brought through steps to do it themselves. They have 'felt" waza before. From the highest Daito ryu reps in the world and from Shihan in Aikido as well as Judo. I am sure they won't agree its torque or waza either.
    Dan
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 28th December 2007 at 14:08.

  7. #172
    Mark Murray Guest

    Default Body Conditioning and Training part III

    Relax Completely

    We often hear this phrase, or one like it, in our training. Attempts are made to describe how to do this, what not to do, and then one can feel it in one's teachers. For me, at least, the biggest part of relaxing is the shoulder/chest muscles. Shoulders go up -- you know specific muscles were engaged. Pushing back into uke -- again, specific muscle groups are usually used. It's a tough thing to teach, "relax", let alone "relax completely".

    Once again, when Dan (I use Dan here in these examples, but really, you can replace Dan with any of the others -- Mike Sigman, Rob John, Akuzawa, etc, etc.) moves, it is a relaxed movement. You can't really feel any muscle being engaged.

    I visited a dojo sometime in 2007 and trained with new people. Well, actually, I trained at a lot of different places in 2007, but in this one, I actively tried using some of the body conditioning training. Usually, I don't do it because I'm not very good at it. yet. But, this one time I did. I was trying a technique and not getting it right. Using too much shoulders and chest muscles. So, I concentrated on the six directional training and what do you know -- my uke said it was great. Felt like no muscle at all. To shorten the story, every time I "correctly" used the six directional training, my techniques were "relaxed" and very effective.

    So, yes, I'm finding that these exercises do teach/train one to "relax" and "relax completely".

  8. #173
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    Default

    But this means that, if one is initially in a forward stance, for example, the forward foot must become "unweighted" in response to the pusher's force, and, therefore, an increased vertical force must be applied by the rear leg (to prevent the body from translating vertically). The increased weight on the rear leg is then responsible for the sensation that the pusher's force has been routed "into the ground."
    From my limited and new understanding of the subject, using the back leg as the primary channel, or especially as a brace, is one of the signs that you are NOT using these methods correctly. I still have a lot of trouble channeling using the front leg. If you find someone who can do this without up weighting the front leg, spend some time with them...

    Best,
    Ron

  9. #174
    Mark Murray Guest

    Default Body Conditioning and Training part IV

    Whole Body Movement

    I think I might cover slack in here as well. Since I seem to view them both as being closely related. Ever try a technique and find that part of your body got left behind? Like the left foot? Or one hand? Or that the shoulder started the movement first and then the rest of your body followed? Or your first movement was delayed and when you think about it, you found that you loaded weight on one foot to push off of it for your movement? Sort of half a second or less of extra movement that really isn't needed.

    I'll skip the examples and go straight to my experiences. This body conditioning/tanren/whatever you want to call it, develops whole body movement and eliminates slack. I know this not from experiencing it from Dan, Mike, etc. Not from seeing it done by their students, not from feeling it done by their students, not from seeing it progress through new students -- no, all that is true. But, the real illumination is from doing it away from all that, in a setting with people who haven't been exposed to it. It is in this kind of setting where I really didn't feel like I did anything special (especially speed up), but uke states that I seemed to move quickly or fast. Or that they ran into a wall, that was moving. Not muscled, mind you, but whole body movement without lag or slack. Again, I say that my skill isn't anything to brag about. If I get 1/50 right now, I'm happy. I'm just posting my experiences so far when I actively try using whole body conditioning.

  10. #175
    Mark Murray Guest

    Default Body Conditioning and Training part V

    Power

    I hate this one. Okay, not really. It's just the one that I'm really, really bad at. This and the push are the toughest for me.

    I really, really, really suggest people get out to test out Dan, Mike, Rob, and Akuzawa's power. Simply amazing. I haven't met Akuzawa, but I have met Rob. I felt kicks to the leg from Dan and Rob. No inch releases from Dan and Mike.

    I've been punched and kicked with muscle. But, the body conditioning power is on a different scale. One of the differences I can relate is the felt effect. Muscle strikes are more localized to the target area. Body conditioning strikes affect the target area, too, but they produce something of a wave effect, going through the rest of the body. Kind of weird to feel and hard to describe.

    I have yet to do any of this. At least with the push, I did it once.

    This is the last part. There are other applications that I could write about, but I think these five cover the general overview of body conditioning.

    If you think these exercises are easy, you haven't been reading enough. Everyone will tell you that they're hard. It isn't a shortcut of any sort. But it does seem to be a much better training methodology to gain the abilities I've mentioned in parts I through V.

    I will note one important thing, though. I've only been doing these body conditioning exercises for 9 months: That includes just 2 visits to Dan and one visit to Mike/Rob in DC.

  11. #176
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    Default What's changed...

    On the most basic level the solo training exercises have given me a frameowrk to more deeply examine what I already do. I am developing a deeper understandign of "correct posture." I might have gotten that soely through kata training but I think that it would have been a much longer tiem coming.

    In some respects I'm still srtruggling with the same things that always stay with me. But folsk that I train with have commented that I move more lightly, gracefully and with more power than I did before.

    In the TNBBC group eveyone's ability to generate pwer has improved to the detrement of many a bokken, jo and hanbo last summer. I had sevreal moments of thinking "crap, (insert name) did'nt need to learn to hit harder."

    I am continually intrigued by how, as I get stronger at the solo stuff it actually becomes more and more challenging.

    I've only been at it a little over a year so I still think I'm a relative newbie.

    FWIW

    Jeremy
    Jeremy Hulley
    Shinto Ryu Iai Batto Jutsu
    TNBBC

  12. #177
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harden View Post
    With that folks can we sort of switch now and stop talking about qualifyers and whos who, and just talk about how it has effected their training. Mark? Tim? Ron? Josh, Rob, Stan, Chris, Murray, Jeremy and a host of lurkers? Isn't that the real point?
    Hey Dan, Iím assuming Iím the Chris in your post? To be honest I havenít been lurking over here. E-budoís been so quiet the last year or so, I havenít even been stopping by lately. Kind of bums me out since I love e-budo. :í(

    Hope this isnít too long or round about, but here goes.

    Iíve been very open that being introduced to Ďthis stuffí (which in this case would be Ark, Rob and the Aunkai methods) has changed how I train, how I now understand Ďaikií and how I perform waza/move. I admit to avoiding a lot of the calls for specifics. There are a couple reasons for this. First is a question of ownership. If I were to talk about what my training looked like, and how one could apply that kind of training to ones open hand waza, I would basically be describing the basic Aunkai training method. I do not feel that I have the ownership of that material necessary to present that kind of information in a public medium. I am not in any formal sense affiliated with the Aunkai (although I do have one of their 4w350m3 t-shirts now!). I have about 15 hours of face time with Ark and another 12 or so with Rob. Thatís less than a workweek. I have spent a few hundred hours over the last year or so doing (to the best of my ability and memory) some of the exercises that I have been taught. Thereís too many people on the internet already who attend a seminar or workshop and then ďupdate the resumeĒ to reflect their newfound deep relationship and knowledge. I donít need to be one too. In the instances where I have tried to offer something, a certain somebody invariably calls into question my ability to make the statements that I have. So itís not really worth it to me. Online, there is no way for me to justify or validate my statements or understanding. In person, my ownership of these skills/concepts can be validated directly. Whether thatís in the form of push-out, feedback on someoneís form, or my waza, people are free to come to their own conclusions about what they think I know/can do and what I donít/canít. I donít claim to have mastered anything. Iíve been rather selfish in fact over the last 4-5 years, stepping away from teaching at a fairly large dojo to study with people who I felt could help *me* improve *myself* as a martial artist.

    I can talk a bit about how my training, thinking and understanding of ďaikiĒ has changed over the years however. The real shift in my thinking began when I started training with Neil, and has continued to shift ever since. Going back to your initial question, ďWhat is Aiki?Ē, I would offer the extremely overly simplistic definition that ďAiki is a kind of martial interaction that manifests physiological and psychological phenomena in both tori and uke to an end that seems almost impossible or magical to uke.Ē This is my own definition, and will probably be different in six months. Iíve written over on aikiweb about how itís my belief that this is specifically not the definition of Aiki that OSensei or the Nidai Doshu held. Thatís one of the big reasons why I no longer consider what Iím doing to be Aikido. This is however how I understand the term.

    In order to get where I am now however, Iíve had to start over several times. When I started training with Neil, I had to come to terms that, as a nidan in Aikido, nothing I knew would work on him or any of the guys who were training with him. That meant going back to judo/jujutsu, then slowly brining in the basic principles of aiki interactions (which itís safe to say in our case are based on the Yanagi-ryu principles which he learned from his time with Don Angier, but for the same ownership issues I discussed above WRT the Aunkai, I do not really discuss online. Also to be clear, Iím not saying we study Yanagi Ryu, we donít by any stretch of the imagination.) For me, these principles gave me a lexicon that allowed me to put words to the things I had seen and felt in Aikido. I could watch what someone was doing and tell you why what they did worked. Conversely, when someone was teaching something that was not in keeping with these principles, it stopped having much of any effect on me. I knew what real aiki felt like.

    We had already started doing some solo/tanren stuff with Neil before I ever met Ark. I honestly credit that with Jeremy and my ability to get and remember as much of Arkís stuff as we were able to from that very short first meeting. But, again, I had to start over to a large extent. The thing that was different this time, is that instead of having to throw out what I already knew (or thought I knew), Arkís stuff filled gaps in my ability to actually accomplish what we were already doing. My stuff just worked better. And it had to, because everyone who I train with got harder and harder to throw as we kept hammering at this stuff. For me, it was like Arkís stuff built the car and Neilís stuff told me where to drive.

    Finally, I believe exploring this stuff has brought a much deeper understanding to what OSensei was actually doing and talking about back in the day. (I realize this is the aikijujutsu forum, but please allow the thread drift.) I feel that I was better able to understand some of the comments he made (see some of my recent posts on the 1957 interview over on aikiweb for example). Iíve also been much more interested in the Chinese arts than I ever had been before, and have been reading up on Xing-Yi and other arts, and really appreciate the additional concepts and terms that has brought me (li + qi = jing is so much more useful as a concept than ďjust relax!Ē or ďExtend Ki!Ē for example).

    All for now, hopefully someone finds that remotely useful.

    Thanks too to Tom Campbell for his excellent post a couple pages back.
    Christian Moses
    **Certified Slimy, Moronic, Deranged and Demented Soul by Saigo-ha Daito Ryu!**
    Student of:
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  13. #178
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harden View Post
    Torque? Not that I am overly concerned about pushing on chests-it's just another demonstration of handling power- as well as a training tool to test results of understanding and progress. but your description doesn't cut it for me, and I imagine for Mark as well.
    We can do it and more. Can you? Can you stand there and have someone push on your chest horizontally-and remain standing without flexing? How about upward and still stand there? How about pushing on your head? If you can do it, and if you claim it occurs by torquing, care to describe what you are torquing?
    Please leave out spreading the arms of the pusher, that trick is known by many. This isn't a trick, its a constant in the body
    I'm not sure what you mean by "torquing"; it conjures up in my mind images of grunting and gnashing of teeth--things not at all implied by me. You will notice that "torque" is used only as a noun in what I wrote above. This isn't just semantics: Torque really is just a thing (really, it's a characterization of an interaction), and it is a thing that is present any time there is a force applied to an object. The real descriptive power comes from the fact that the net torque about an axis is numerically equal to the time-derivative of the object's angular momentum (about that axis).

    This means that, for a stationary object to remain so (that is, for its angular momentum to remain zero), the net external torque must be zero. Otherwise, there would be a change in the object's angular momentum. And this is true any time an object is in equilibrium.

    It's a relatively simple idea but also a very powerful one. For example, suppose you apply a force to an object and notice that it doesn't move. You now have evidence that there is another force being applied to that object, and you know its magnitude and direction... without having to know anything about what is applying the force!

    In the human body, it's a bit more complex since we have so many joints, but the basic idea remains the same. In such a case, for the body to maintain equilibrium, the sum of the forces and torques applied to each and every part of the body must be zero. For simplicity, I took it as a given that the muscles involved in holding each part of the body in place would actually be strong enough to do so. In my experience, for the demonstrations I was describing, this is a pretty reasonable assumption for most people. I'm actually surprised that you didn't object to this assumption but instead chose to focus on the most unassailable part of what I wrote, above--that, for an object to remain in equilibrium, the net force and torque must be zero.

    I suppose this is the part of the post where I should emphasize that it is not at all necessary to understand any of this in order to actually do these sorts of demos; I doubt Ueshiba or Shioda thought much about things in these terms. Nonetheless, I still find these ideas useful, if only to prevent me from beginning to believe novel (and possibly incoherent) ideas of my own design based on subjective experience ("he sure hits hard", etc.). Perhaps others don't believe themselves to be in need of such a filter.
    Richard Garrelts

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Tisdale View Post
    From my limited and new understanding of the subject, using the back leg as the primary channel, or especially as a brace, is one of the signs that you are NOT using these methods correctly. I still have a lot of trouble channeling using the front leg. If you find someone who can do this without up weighting the front leg, spend some time with them...

    Best,
    Ron
    Whether the front or rear leg becomes "weighted" will depend on the direction of the applied force as well as the stance you are in (more precisely, it depends on the position of your center of mass relative to the parts of your body in contact with the ground). If you are trying to statically "weight" the front foot of, say, a 60/40 forward stance in response to a completely horizontal push from the front (without resorting to tricks like lifting under the arms or "fooling" the pusher into applying force in some other direction), then it doesn't surprise me that you are having a lot of trouble. And I definitely agree that anyone who can do it would be worth studying under!
    Richard Garrelts

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Tisdale View Post
    From my limited and new understanding of the subject, using the back leg as the primary channel, or especially as a brace, is one of the signs that you are NOT using these methods correctly. I still have a lot of trouble channeling using the front leg. If you find someone who can do this without up weighting the front leg, spend some time with them...

    Best,
    Ron
    Yeah, what Ron said. The rear leg may be 'full'/extended whatevah, but it's the forward foot/heel that the real power comes from. This concept has been emphasized by both Yanagi principles and Aunkai walking drills to me. Toby Threadgill also spent a decent amount of time discussing this at a TSYR workshop I attended a few years back. Like Ron said however, it can be difficult to do.
    Christian Moses
    **Certified Slimy, Moronic, Deranged and Demented Soul by Saigo-ha Daito Ryu!**
    Student of:
    Shinto Ryu Iai-Battojutsu
    Tuesday Night Bad Budo Club (TM)

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