Here's another example related to my recent post on structure, somebody wrote to Q me as below:
Q: I have seen several times in your books and articles that you seem to respect Yi Quan but in a funny way - you're always citing it as suitable only for advanced people. Can you say more about that?
A: That's right I've said that many times. Thing is, Yi Quan is a fantastic art, originally based as far as I can tell, on an incredibly insightful and efficient genius-level approach to cultivating the real internal energy. Although classical Xingyi has all you really need (and in fact has things that far exceed Yiquan in the internal realm), Yi Quan founder WXZ brilliantly called out and culled out a fundamentally excellent way of working the macro energy orbit (the model that distinguishes martial arts-sourced energy work from sedentary alchemical Taoist basics where little more than lip service is paid to the full macro annealing).
So it's great. But it presents a huge, perhaps insuperable, practical problem for beginners. What's a beginner, and then what's the problem?
Definition: A beginner is somebody who, no matter how many years they have of training or teaching the 'internal' martial arts, has not yet experienced the full-body internal power connection in its true identity as an quasi-independent, essentially non-physical, non-fasciaistic, non-tensegritic, radically seismic/hydraulic entity under explicit mental control co-located with (but not identical to) their physical body. In other words, they have no practical experience (beyond the occasional random buzz, trill, or spritz) of the full body massive power-wash and sand-blast of the real nei jing.
It's fine to be a beginner but they should stay away from Yi Quan. Yi Quan has a large number of branches and sub-styles now, all somehow traceable back to WXZ, but they all prescribe zhan zhuang standing for longer or shorter periods. In other words, stance training. Structure. That need not be all bad, because it isn't dumb structure. There's an attempt to ignite the simple postures and poses with micro and macro degrees of movement in the physical and as for the mental work, visualization of cords, bands, ropes, and pulleys in the basic level, and later, imaging of targeted and/or whole-body resistance against massive material structures in the more advanced levels. All great stuff.
But for people lacking thorough experience, instantiation and control of the true internal power entity, it's a recipe for disaster, or at least significant delay and impediment. The first problem is just terminology. Probably because most practitioners don't feel it, and also because YQ slammed into an ideological speed trap in an earlier phase of its development, they cannot talk openly and plainly about the energy. This cripples the conceptual basis, leaving everybody babbling lamely about 'nerve activation' and tensile pre-enhancement or whatever, instead of just straightforwardly laying out normal, expected and fully replicable levels of experience using simple seismic, hydraulic and electrical metaphors as I do.
But the deepest problem is just that the poses and practices themselves, great as they are once you got the hang of the power, seem almost deliberately designed to lead beginners away from the relaxation that is absolutely essential to spark off the initial development. I have never yet found a relaxed Yi Quan practitioner, in the deep sense that is required for profound power work. Not any master, instructor, or student. There are some good fighters at the very top of the heap, such as Yao Chengguang, who I have compared favorably (to the extent I have any very speculative basis for doing so) to Bruce Lee in terms of fight dynamics and mindset.
That however is only at the very top and even so that's a very different animal from understanding the real internal. Of course it's fine depending on people's various goals. But I have been asked about the internal power aspect so that's what I'm addressing. Leaving the top masters out, the amazing fact is that every single Yi Quan practitioner I've ever touched is really tight and tense. I attribute this to the effect of the YQ poses, postures and protocols on a beginner's psychology. The YQ poses kind of make you feel badass, you really feel like... I don't know, maybe the Karate Kid in "no can defend" mode? Something like that?
In fact this goofy crane thing (above) really is very reminiscent of an actual YQ training zhuang (獨立莊). Again if you are advanced, not a beginner as defined above, you actually can get a lot from any YQ pose/protocol, even one as gonzo-looking as that pic.
Notice the photo just above is an actual YQ master. But most YQ practitioners are super tense (either psychologically, or physically, or both) more like the Karate Kid pic higher above. There is too much emphasis on structure, which is psychologically satisfying as a way to exteriorize our existential fear. Very obvious in the Karate Kid pic. And though the average YQ student is not quite that goofy in actual practice, internally that's about the degree of tension they are manifesting and actually reinforcing within themselves.
And these comments apply to all the many sub-branches and heretical offshoots of orthodox YQ, the many such adherents I've met and worked with - all the same, all tense as hell to the touch. They're all really up in their shoulders - the very thing that Sagawa said to avoid at all costs. When the YQ poses and protocols do not proceed from actually feeling and directly manipulating the power itself (as opposed to some physicalized image or your own body) that's the inevitable result.
Anyway if you're tense it's all just so meaningless. You might get a bit of leg strength and that's about it. Notice that in this article I'm not making the usual superficial criticism about YQ which is that some branches emphasize long standing times, and outsiders sometimes carp that quality is more important than quantity. That kind of superficial stuff doesn't matter much. Long or short, it's all good once you have the power running. But to get the power running, you got to relax. And YQ, for both physical and psychological reasons, just doesn't get beginners anywhere even close to real relaxation.
Which is a pity because when you have (somehow, from other practice) really got the power flowing (maybe from the ARC work in my books or whatever) then - Holy Shit! The YQ poses, practices and protocols are phenomenally gonzo great at helping you pack up the cestus (forearms, wrists, and hands) with pure jing power. So I can see how my comments and views on YQ could be very confusing.
If we really need a little structure to prime the pump, the ZMQ-based work is better to start with.
Posted at 04:49 PM | Permalink
The other day I taught a private lesson to a long-time experienced martial artist, with black belts in various things, MMA/BJJ cred, Muay Thai etc. and a large strong man to boot, outweighs me by at least 100 lb. He's also fascinated by the idea (at least) of the internal thus he constantly takes seminars from whoever the latest internal Flavor-of-the-Month supermeister making the circuit.
Despite all his ring and street cred, he likes to work on the (laughably?) unrealistic baby drill of Tai Chi (semi fixed step) push hands with me. We just do a session now and then as the space-time continuum permits, catch as catch can. He's also read all of my books.
This latest time, after I flung him hither and yon, and after I kept telling him (as he charged me like a rhino or attempted to chomp and twist me like a river croc, only to get softly bumped onto the wall every single time) : be softer, be gentler, be... but I'm getting ahead of myself here.
After many dozens such bumpbacks (always within my 5% Tai Chi power cutoff), he stopped and asked:
Q: That weirdo slow soft touch of yours - that I can't slip, evade, neutralize, anticipate, pre-empt, ground, root, lever, lift, or do anything with in time to make any difference - what really is the source of that? Is it actually Tai Chi or is it Systema?
A: It's Tai Chi.
Q: But is there no connection between Tai Chi and Systema? How can you write about both?
A: They are pretty much entirely different practices. But they do touch in one key place.
Q: What is that overlap? If you had to had to state a single core common principle that underlies both your version of Tai Chi and Systema, what would that be - in one sentence?
A: That's really hard to formulate in just a sentence ... *pondering* ...
Q: Think twitter, give me that connection in one tight phrase...
A: OK ... "All structure is fear". That is their touchpoint.
We had some more discussion and resumed working. But it's such a neat formulation I wanted to paste it here for you guys (yeah all 2 of you who would give a shit :)
All Structure is Fear.
That means whatever - be it postures, poses, stances, bone, muscle, nerves, instincts, fascia, tendons, ligaments and all the supposed connections between such elements like tensegrity, tensile contraction, zhan zhuang, kata, techniques, weapons, strategy, habits, martial arts performance and ritual, whatever. It's all the visible manifestation of fear. Not saying that's a bad thing, just stating my worthless view, as I was asked about it.
And people from all sides of the arena will heap rubbish on the statement, pointing to the 4 Pillars of Systema, or the need to engage your groundpath with fascia-tic tensgrity in bracing for pseudo-rooting in Chinese martial arts or whatever. Those are all valid points. But I wonder if there's anybody out there who can put aside all that reactive clamor and just sit with the statement as it stands, for a minute.
Anyway that's my answer. I am not speaking for any other teacher, organization, or art, I'm speaking for myself only so don't bother anybody else about it. Above the molecular level, water has no structure, apart from whatever is imposed on it. Be water.
Posted at 02:25 PM | Permalink
I got a bit of questioning from a fellow who had learned ZMQ full sword form way back in the day, and now recently having stumbled onto TAS and PACKING, he's wondering whether there are any specific instructions for interlacing the pure energetics (as in those books) with the full ZMQ sword form in particular? He said he hasn't been practicing sword for a long time (after all it isn't the most portable, practical, and convenient practice) but is now thinking of picking it up again yet with attention to energetics. So what's the best way to work it?
First of all, this guy knows the whole form, apparently having been taught by one of the very few qualified ZMQ sword instructors out there. So my advice to him is going to be a little different than I'd say to just any Tom/Dick/Harry. For your average Joe, I'd advise 1st getting access to my Tai Chi Sword CUTS film on Vimeo just to have some simple straightforward mechanics under the belt. But this guy is quite beyond that, so, fine.
Then I would preface the instructions below by saying that you'd want to have a good grounding in the general ARC thing that I promulgate in order to profit by what I have to say on full sword training. If you don't know the ARC schtick including the key points and phenomena etc. then it's better to read the various books first and work the basics til you have some command of the power inside yourself. But from this guy's note it seems he is truly in a position to actually understand and profit from what I have to tell.
But, final caveat, what I'll say here is NOT the only way you could work the internal power through sword. There are several approaches all good. But here is a straightforward and highly effective approach. For some deeper aspects you can always refer to some energy hints given on the CUTS Vimeo film, and also the sword chapter of my book JUICE.
First thing you need to understand (review I hope) the key energy hotspots of the ARC. As I explain in JUICE, PENG, and SURGE books, the lingtai (upper/mid spine), niwan (brain center) and daling (inner wrist) points are special in that they are distribution hubs. They take the incoming power and fan it out broadly into the subsequent ARC segment. In particular, since my newest book The Aiki Singularity happens to especially examine the daling (inner wrist) point, let's call that out in a sword/energy context.
The daling point when mentally activated fans the power out to the entire hand better than if you directly geek out on the actual hand points themselves (laogong etc.). That's because most people whether they know it or not tense up their hands when working the hands and fingers directly. Better to let the power blast through from the daling on its own. One of the best ways to work that process is through ZMQ sword form.
And it's quite simple (assuming you fit the pre-qualify stuff above).
(1) Do the entire ZMQ sword, at correct speed (4 mins or so), all mechanics properly executed etc., as taught by any good ZMQ teacher. But - here's the key thing - as you do the form, without externally modifying or messing with your full and correct sword shapes and moves in any way, mentally (only) you put your mind at the daling points (inner wrists of both hands). You still keep the proper sword gripping and moving in your right hand, and the invariant 'sword fingers' of the left as usual. But the sword form's hands shapes are physically a little bit complex so it can be challenging to infuse them with energy directly while doing all the other stuff the sword form requires. Good thing is, all you need to do is place your mind at/on the daling points of each hands while doing the form entirely as normal.
(2) Now comes your big payoff. After finishing the form, gently put down or lean your sword somewhere and come quickly to normal Tai Chi Quiet Standing (no sword). Your hands will now be in Fair Lady's Hand configuration, as at the start and finish of the regular ZMQ37. Now the fun begins as you softly and gently extend your fingers into the standing shape, you will experience huge flood of power through your arms, into the daling poitns and then BLAMMO fanning hour massively into and through your entire hands, without regard for laogong points or any such dainty nicety, but blasting and reaming through every cell of each bone, muscle, tendon, joint, fingernail etc. Filling and permeating.
That is your reward for engaging the daling points, consistently and invariantly, through the ZMQ sword full form. It's kinda weird at first to be mentally engaging your inner wrists but after some time it will feel natural and rather a cool experience. In any case the big payoff is afterwards, in the standing.
But please if you don't meet the pre-qualify stuff above, don't mess with this because you'll just be disappointed. And that leads to bitterness and attempted retribution.
Posted at 06:02 PM | Permalink
Shave my head just as clean as your hand
And my strength will be like a natural man.
- Rev. Gary Davis
I want to offer up an analogy today. It will be perceived as irritating, confusing, unrealistic, illogical, distracting, fallacious and generally counter-productive. Here we go!
In some benighted time and place, people didn't know about body building and weight training or anything like that. Yes, in that remote area, everybody assumed that however your body naturally matured was all there is. They had no concept of any possible further development. Then one guy realized that by lifting something heavy in a certain way most days you got more muscle and strength. He did some of that for himself, and then he wrote a book pointing out the basic concept and explaining some sample exercises for bulking up.
But the wider reading public jumped all over the guy, based on the following irrefutable logic: It is known that there was once a man, Samson, endowed with huge muscles and strength, to the point that he tore open the jaws of a lion and pulled down a stone temple with his bare hands. The critics pointed out rightly that the weight-training author guy was not known to have, or certainly had never openly performed, any lion-rippping or pillar-crushing demo. Therefore obviously, QED, the guy's basic point (that anybody's muscles can be developed through straightforward fairly simple and consistent training procedures) clearly had to be pure bullshit and nothing but SEO marketing sleaze.
The guy's book faded into obscurity but the guy himself kept working his stuff on his own, as a "party of one" just because it was interesting and enjoyable and freaking amazing.
Keep in mind that an analogy is not an identity.
Posted at 12:08 PM | Permalink
For some reason this new book The Aiki Singularity in its two short weeks of life so far, is triggering a much bigger slew of enthusiastic testimonial emails to me, like 10x more, along the lines of these random samples:
I wasn't sure what to expect from your new book. All your other methods have worked fantastically so far, but I was blown away by ...
It has compelled me to ask about my experience ...
While some of my more recent experiences have been impressive for me, and pleasant, last night’s was the first that was both impressive and exquisite. It came from pretty much out of nowhere and rather spectacularly...
Each of these readers most especially references one particular TAS drill group (e.g. Cat Step Shiko, or Santi Inner Activation, or DLT, etc.), but they all are in the OMG/WTF range (as in: wtf is this I am feeling ?!?)
Yes, it's true - the drills in this book are getting into stuff I did not venture in to before. But maybe it's just that for some reason people are working it more seriously. The basic energetic architecture and process is identical throughout all my books. Anyway I know most reading this think I'm just shilling and pimping and SEO-marketing my stuff again with this kind of post. Think as you like, but the TAS stuff really is pure China White uncut straight from the Continent.
All I want to emphasize for now is that no matter what you're feeling, or how it seems to you now, it gets 100x, 1000x, 10,000x, 1 MILLIONx stronger over time, you ain't seen nothing.
Posted at 05:37 PM | Permalink
[Hey PEOPLE - Before you freak out on me about this piece, let me say I am NOT "attacking" any specific person, style, organization, or entity with this article, ok? (as one sensitive soul accused me). Jeez - we are supposed to be martial artists, get over it. This is merely the playful banter of ideas. If you don't like how I do it, do it yourself. Let a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend, ok? Stay loose and play on!]
Internal Energy XR Fascia
There’s a lot of excitement about the supposed connection between traditional Chinese medical and alchemical ideas of internal energy and the modern scientific analysis of fascia tissue in the body. So let’s unpack that and see whether the mystical, woo-seeming idea of ‘internal energy’ is really just a pre-scientific word for fascia tissue?
The first issue is: what are we talking about when we talk about ‘fascia’ ? There a whole range of specs, narrow to broad.
On the tighter end we have stuff such as this:
Traditionally, ‘fascia’ as a medical term applies only to certain dissectible bits of fabric within the body. Thoracolumbar fascia, the fascia lata, the pannicular fascia, the fascia profundis – these are recognized by science to be fascial sheets.
… but you’ll also find more liberal views:
Increasingly in scientific and research circles and professionals worldwide, ‘fascia’ has a wider definition: all the collagenous-based soft-tissues in the body, including the cells that create and maintain that network of extra-cellular matrix (ECM). Answering the question “what is fascia?” with this new definition includes all the tissues traditionally designated as ‘fascia’ in classical anatomy, plus all the other very similar tissues arrayed in different ways around the body; tendons, ligaments, bursae, and all the fascia in and around the muscles – endomysium, perimysium, epimysium. They are all made out of largely the same stuff and created in such the same way.
… and some people really run the ball to daylight:
Fascia is a broad term encompassing tendons (muscle attachment to bone), ligaments (bone attaching to bone), and aponeurosis (broad tendonous sheets that cover large areas of anatomy). There are many types of connective tissue; even blood is considered to be a form of connective tissue. Normally when people in the industry refer to connective tissue, it means specifically the tissue that connects various areas of the body in continuous tensional lines.
… so maybe it’s best to just go with Wiki:
A fascia (/ˈfæʃə/, /ˈfæʃiə/; plural fasciae /ˈfæʃᵻ.i/; adjective fascial; from Latin: "band") is a band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs.
I don’t mean to get all anal about terminology. When it comes to scientific concepts, there’s nothing wrong with different scopes of definition for different applications. Words and concepts can be tightened or loosened for particular research needs within a given discipline. The problem comes in when we are trying to hook up one somewhat out-of-focus term such as ‘fascia’ with a not just unfocused but wild-ass unknown X factor on the other side of the equation: qi or internal energy or what have you, from the notoriously slippery traditional Chinese medical world. That seriously compounds the “WTF are we talking about problem” far beyond the otherwise tractable question of semantic scope of the one technical term ‘fascia’.
So no matter how I frame the game, somebody can easily accuse me of setting up a straw man. Anybody can slip a joker in the deck with a redefinition of one side of the equation or the other. But wait – who said anything about an equation?
That brings up the other problem: not only the terms on the left and right that are to be somehow related “qi” and “fascia” but the identification of the supposed relation itself. It sounds kind of weird in its crudest form: “qi energy is fascia”. Huh? “Qi energy” if it has any reality at all, that would be kind of a verb-like dynamic thing, whereas “fascia” if it’s anything it’s gotta be a noun (doesn’t it? See above for quibbles) So we’re back to the old Clinton-era joke: “it depends on your definition of ‘is’ …”
Before we decide the right verb to assert the hypothetical relation between fascia and qi, we’ll need a standin, like algebra of modal logic, lets call it XR for “stands in Relation X to”. Then we can say:
Qi energy XR fascia tissue
Which is read as: “Qi energy is in Mystery-Relation-X to fascia tissue”. There, that’s better.
Of course it should really be: “Mystery-Energy-Q is in Mystery-Relation-X to Mystery-Tissue-F” because nobody really knows what they’re talking about in any of the three terms of this proposition… But for the “qi energy” side I’m going to assert that there really is a non-physical (in any normal sense) power in the body that manifests subjectively as hydraulic, seismic, and/or electrical power waves and states and that manifests objectively in the super-normal martial arts powers of some exceptional masters. And it has no more super-intimate connection to ‘fascia’ tissue than it has to cardiac tissue, dermal tissue, hair follicles, alveoli or any other specialized organ or cell type in the body. There’s my stake in the ground for that at least, and even if you hate it you should be grateful that at least one of the above balloons is now tethered.
We’re struggling here but our nose is still barely over the water line. So now we’re in a position to propose candidates for the XR relation. Here are a few strawmen, just brainstorming here:
XR is a relation of conveyance, so fascia is a conduit for qi.
XR is a relation of provenance, so fascia is a source of qi.
XR is a relation of deployment, so fascia is an instrument of qi application.
XR is a relation of identity, so fascia “is” qi.
See how confusing it gets? So fuck the logic for now, toss the shit overboard and let’s look at the origin of the whole schtick. It seems this whole fascia/qi thing got started when somebody noticed that if you cherry-pick some of the zillions of meridian lines on an acupuncture training mannequin, you can line those up in your imagination with the lines of (some definition of) fascia tissue. No shit Sherlock. You can also line up the acu-zones with the nervous system, the skeleton, the musculature, and lots of other good shit.
The deeper problem with this traditional Chinese medicine sourcing of the comparison is that acupuncture is mostly BS in its specifics. The non-physical energy is real enough, but acupuncture as a specific treatment system has been pretty well debunked and shown up as an arbitrary scam (yeah, I know people love it, there’s lots of training programs in it, and insurance pays for it, and all, it’s sure got a foot in the institutional/economic door so people are gonna fight the above statement fang and claw, but look up ‘placebo acupuncture’ before you light the fuse please).
So I’m not impressed with the historical insight here of how this whole supposed matchup got started. If TCM itself is shaky, then … a chain’s strength is only its weakest link. But hey if it’s a true, interesting, and productive idea, who am I to complain?
So we’re back to logic and common sense again. Let’s rerun the playlist above.
Is fascia tissue a ‘conduit’ for qi energy? Well sure. Nothing to see here. However you define fascia (see above) when the qi power blasts through you, it blast through everything. Muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood, nerves, brain cells, bone, bone marrow- all. It permeational and pervasive. So a fortiori, yes the fascia tissue is a conduit for the internal power because the power pervades and is co-located with the entire physical body. So? If we say that copper wire is conduit for electricity is that a big whoa-factor surprise thing? Actually that would at least be a stronger statement, in that the copper can at least be functionally distinguished in conveying electricity better than its plastic sheathing. But for fascia there’s no evidence of a special conveyance function distinguished from the energetic conveyance of blood, nerves, brain tissues and everything else that lights up when you’ve got the energy rocking. Unless of course your crypto definition of “internal energy “ is really: the physical/kinetic energy of structural mechanics in motion”. Then of course you’d have something to say about lines of load-bearing and motion-transferring vectors blabitty blah. And fascia would come into that discussion. But that’s not a definition of the real internal.
Is fascia tissue the ‘source’ for qi energy? I don’t see or feel any special reason to accept that. Traditionally qi or ki power is variously said to originate from the environment (air, food, light, water etc.) and/or certain internal organs, or just to be ubiquitous and inescapably omni-present (etherically sourced one might say), all through the universe and within our bodies at all times. Under none of these scenarios need we say anything special about fascia tissue. It’s true that at least for the moment we train the internal power via use of our bodies, and our bodies in turn need fascia (among lots of other stuff) to function. But that’s a pretty much uselessly weak form of the argument, because our bodies need all kinds of other non-fascia stuff to operate to but nobody’s salivating over all that other physical stuff, only fascia gets to have the spotlight for some reason.
Is fascia tissue the ‘applicator’ for internal energy? This might be some kind of martial arts idea, but pretty goofy. Again we need some involvement of our bodies to apply the energy in martial arts but that involvement includes bones and nerves and skin and other stuff so no need to call fascia off the bench for special duty. Unless… nah that’s too far-fetched… but… unless of course …. your idea of internal energy in martial arts is actually the wolf of efficient-but-ordinary physical mechanics dressed in the sheepskin of the true masters’ energetic terminology? You wouldn’t be trying to slip us a mechanical-structural materialist mickey here would you now? If the real problem is that you simply cannot accept the idea of a kind of power that is truly ‘other’ than the normal human mechanics, and structural dynamics, that’s ok. You can just say so. It just means you aren’t experienced yet, nothing to be ashamed of. You don’t need to dress it up with pseudo-scientific mystery assertions involving fascia. (Though I do feel you here – that word fascia does have serious marketing appeal).
Is fascia tissue the internal energy? This one doesn’t make sense, for all the reasons discussed throughout this article.
If we talked instead about water, with wind (or lunar gravitation, undersea quakes or any other source of ocean waves) as our pair for an XR relation, the whole thing would make sense, we could go down the checklist: yes water is the conveyance medium, no water is not the source power, yes water is the applicator (grinding down shore rocks on impact), no water is not the power itself. Whether the answers are yes or no, it all makes sense.
But in the case of the ‘internal power XR fascia’ proposal, the answers to each checklist item are either tautologically trivial (because fascia participates like all other body tissue in the sensations the internal power causes, and fascia is also necessary, like any other body tissue for physical functioning in the training of internal power), or else plain false. It’s an unproductive and in fact actively misleading proposition.
The whole effort to set up some kind of special relation between fascia tissue and internal power is just a little border flare-up in the larger war of the materialist project: trying to reduce mind to matter. But what you’re going to eventually find is that matter reduces to mind.
Posted at 10:00 AM | Permalink
Posted at 04:32 PM | Permalink
Somebody asked very reasonably about the internal training in my books, the following:
I can't help wondering why this method produces the results it does.Its not that far away from some of the stuff I have practiced over the last thirty years but the results are as different as chalk and cheese.
It's quite simple, four things:
Sequestration: My books talk about developing the internal energy, full stop. Most methods out there (whether more martially derived or more yogically oriented) are doing too much, serving too many masters. They promise physical fitness, breathing, flexibility, body shaping or toning, cultural engagement, spiritual elevation, dance aesthetics, ritual and symbolic significance, combative street-and-cage dominance, or god knows what all else. Most are hidebound by the conventions of systems, styles, names and appearances (the bonds of namarupa - name and form - as the Vedic sages have taught us). I use ZMQ37 as the tool not because it has so much content but because it has the least. I teach one thing and one thing alone: internal energy and its cultivation.
Sensation: Most methods talk very vaguely (or not at all) about what, where, when and why you are gonna feel X, Y, or Z as you work it. I tell you openly: if you can't feel it you can't train it.
Foundation: Most methods are either ignorant or silent about the crucial fact that in immediate engagement the power comes up from your feet and legs. Literally. Most omit the Rebound phase in the ARC because they don't believe it, and/or don't feel it, and/or just don't want to deal with it.
Relaxation: Everybody pays lip service to relaxation but most everybody is still tense as hell and they really don't notice or care which is totally fine, but that is then a very different kind of work.
Posted at 02:32 PM | Permalink
The picture above appeared in a Japanese martial arts magazine. It depicts the solo drill that underlay Sagawa Yukiyoshi's immense aiki fight power, known as shiko. The caption below the sumo player's photo is:
“In sumo shiko, the leg is raised high to hone the sense of balance, but in Sagawa’s shiko, the emphasis is on the way of stepping the foot down.”
The caption on the right side says the key to it is "how you place down your foot".
That explanation is completely accurate. It is however ‘the truth but not the whole truth’. It generally leaves people competely at a loss for exactly what that special way of ‘placing the foot down’ (足踏み ashifumi) might have been. People are left wondering what they should actually do to experience the internal power effect of the exercise.
Read all about it in new book:
Posted at 08:10 AM | Permalink
Mama may have,
and Papa may have,
But God bless the child that's got his own.
- Billie Holiday (God Bless the Child)
People have written to ask me why I do my own translations of some writings where English versions are already done and widely available. I'll give you one example.
Original text (from 透明な力 by 木村達雄)
Translation #1: (from Transparent Power A Secret Teaching Revealed by Tatsuo Kimura, translated by M. Cheryl Chow)
After my session with Yukawa, I talked with Ueshiba at the Wakamatsu-cho dojo in Shinjuku. There was a life-size statue of Onisaburo Deguchi (Ueshiba’s teacher and religious instructor) and a portrait of Ueshiba baring his stomach. He treated me to tendon [tempura rice bowl].
Translation #2: (from Japanese text above)
After that, I talked with Ueshiba at the Wakamatsu-cho dojo in Shinjuku. There was a life-size statue of Onisaburo Deguchi (Ueshiba’s teacher and religious instructor) and a portrait of Ueshiba baring his stomach. I requested that we try aiki-age together. Ueshiba was reluctant at first, but I insisted on grabbing his hands. I really wanted to find out whether he had acquired the true aiki power of Takeda sensei, but he had nothing, he couldn’t move at all. I felt it was getting awkward so I let him out of it. After all, he was my schoolmate and senior. With Takeda sensei, it didn’t matter how you tried to control his hands, he would easily free them. After this he treated me to tendon [tempura rice bowl].
Posted at 05:11 PM | Permalink