surfingbudda

Aikido Energy Question

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Hey Everyone,

 

So I just started doing aikido and it seems like a lot of fun. The Sensei has done some demonstrations energy manipulation by changing his center of balance. People tried to hold him down but he was easily able to get up and some big guys held him in the air (BTW he is a little Japanese man, about 5 feet tall) and he showed that physically he could not get down, but then he changed his center and the guys could no longer hold him up and collapsed. I believe it all because we did group work in pairs and were able to demonstrate how changing your center of balance and awareness can really affect stuff.

 

My question is this. Everything that he teaches has to do with changing the energy center, or dan tian, and literally moving it up and down or anywhere within the body to maintain or change one's center of balance. Is this OK to be doing, moving one's dan tian all over the place? I always thought that your dan tian was a stable thing that stayed there, but maybe not? I asked him and he said in many meditation the goal is to just concentrate on our energy center located at about 2 inches below the navel and two inches in; however he said that in martial arts the goal is to move the center to trick the opponent and not let them know where it is. We do exercises like breath in and move the our center up and breath out and move it back down. Also bring the center to the top of the head, he said it is very important to keep the connection between the center and the top of the head aligned. Also we move the center to the side to rotate our center of balance.

 

So I am just wondering if all of this is OK to be doing? Anyone knowledgeable in Aikido energy movements?

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I don't know a whole lot about Aikido. Please forgive me for posting anyway.

 

Just in dantian itself, I don't think he is trying to give you a deep meaning, I think he is just being analogous to try and give you a sense of how to accomplish what he does. There is actually more than one dantian in the body. He seems to be talking more about center of gravity and how to change it.

 

Just my two cents. Take with some salt.

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It is fine to be doing what he is teaching. It will not harm you in any way.

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He's not moving his dantien, but his center of gravity.

 

Perhaps the point he was trying to make is that you must center yourself in where you move your center of gravity like you would center yourself in the dantien. So yeah, it's like you're moving your "dantien", but you aren't actually moving your "dantien".

 

But I dunno this guy or aikido, so I could be wrong. Just my interpretation.

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It is fine to be doing what he is teaching. It will not harm you in any way.

 

 

Hey steve,

 

Thanks you for chiming in to help. Do you have any experience with aikido or doing energy manipulation similar to what I have described? I am not at all doubting your advice, I am just curious how you came to your conclusion that this will not bring any harm. Also if you could elaborate at all or have any further advice or information to share about this kind of energy manipulation, I would be very grateful if you could share.

 

Thank you,

Ben

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It will not harm you so long as you are diligent in your study. If you do not learn the proper body mechanics you can injure yourself. "Internal" martial arts have this at higher levels. Being able to root oneself is very important. If you want to learn more about it I suggest you read into zhan zhuang.

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Hey steve,

 

Thanks you for chiming in to help. Do you have any experience with aikido or doing energy manipulation similar to what I have described? I am not at all doubting your advice, I am just curious how you came to your conclusion that this will not bring any harm. Also if you could elaborate at all or have any further advice or information to share about this kind of energy manipulation, I would be very grateful if you could share.

 

Thank you,

Ben

Hi Ben,

I've practiced aikido (Yoshinkan and Ueshiba styles) in the past and I currently practice and teach Taijiquan. The two have a great deal in common. Based on my experience in Yoshinkan (pre-war) and Ueshiba (post-war) styles, I'm convinced that Ueshiba's approach to aikido was heavily influenced by exposure to Taijiquan and/or Baguazhang during his time in China during the war.

I also practice Baguazhang, Xingyiquan, Qigong and Daoist meditation of the Kun Lun Xian Zong Pai.

Sloppy Zhang's comments are accurate, IMO. What your teacher is doing is using his "mind of intent", as my current teacher would call it, to manipulate his situation - this includes not only his center of gravity but his opponents' centers and their psyches (for lack of a better word). There is a lot going on in such a demonstration and it is much different if demonstrating with people other than your own students or other aikido practitioners.

I don't mean to take anything away or slam aikido - I love the art. But don't get too wrapped up in demonstrations.

Many techniques used in demos are parlor tricks or depend on cooperative (often unintentionally or unaware of it) participants.

Practice for a few years and you will understand what's going on.

Identical principles are at play when you learn martial applications of Taijiquan and Baguazhang (and other arts, such as Shuai Jiao and Qin Na).

Don't worry too much about the how and why - immerse yourself and trust the method.

It will work but is a serious investment. The fruits are slow to blossom.

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Hi surfingbuddha,

 

Back in 2003 I did around 7 months of Aikido and was enamored with Morihei Uesheba and his legendary ability. That was the last time I spent anytime trying to feel/cultivate energy and I was not very successful. I loved doing the rolls and throws though, it is a very liberating thing, and given the time I would do it again. Thinking back, I had no clear purpose for what I was doing so did not get the potential benefit of understanding energy, and only now after doing Calm-Abiding meditation do I feel anything at all, which is a little ironic! The old 'when you stop chasing, it finds you' scenario :rolleyes:

 

 

The Sensei you are training with certainly sounds masterful, what other meditation practices does he suggest to follow in general? Or is it just that one style he uses? I get the feeling that many things are possible, but whether they bring peace is another thing; Let Peace guide you. Deep inner peace is the most powerful ability of all, is he a peaceful person? I found the guys who trained me, though both 3rd dan, we focused on the martial aspect too much, not once did they suggest any meditation beyond a 5 min seiza session before training. Back then, I would spend time at the buddhist temple trying to meditate, but I had no unifying understanding of them at all to bring it all together. Which in the end is probably the best advice, if you have achieve some level of peace, you can best judge the path forward and what he is telling you.

 

I don't think you can do any harm, unless it distracts you from being peaceful, which is your most precious resource.. (It took a long time for me to learn that and I learnt it the hard way!)

 

 

 

 

 

peace

 

andrew

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Sloppy Zhang's comments are accurate, IMO. What your teacher is doing is using his "mind of intent", as my current teacher would call it, to manipulate his situation - this includes not only his center of gravity but his opponents' centers and their psyches (for lack of a better word). There is a lot going on in such a demonstration and it is much different if demonstrating with people other than your own students or other aikido practitioners.

I don't mean to take anything away or slam aikido - I love the art. But don't get too wrapped up in demonstrations.

Many techniques used in demos are parlor tricks or depend on cooperative (often unintentionally or unaware of it) participants.

Practice for a few years and you will understand what's going on.

 

I'll second Steve's comments. I did 13 years of KI-Aikido (nidan) and loved it. Its a worthwhile art that has much to teach. Learning the applications and mindset of 'Aiki' will greatly help you on and off the mat. Demos are window dressing. A good sensei will draw back the curtain and let you in on the physical and mental aspects of the art.

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Thank you everyone for chiming in with your helpful advice. i'll continue doing Aikido and see where it takes me :)

My Sensei seems incredibly knowledgeable and able to and willing to answer any questions regarding the practice, he is also one of the most peaceful and loving people I have yet to meet and it really is a pleasure to be in the dojo with him.

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Thank you everyone for chiming in with your helpful advice. i'll continue doing Aikido and see where it takes me :)

My Sensei seems incredibly knowledgeable and able to and willing to answer any questions regarding the practice, he is also one of the most peaceful and loving people I have yet to meet and it really is a pleasure to be in the dojo with him.

 

 

Awesome. He sounds like a real find, a Master if you will :D It is very cool that he has real ability and character you can emulate. It doesn't get much better than that...

 

peace

 

andrew

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Hi surfingbudda,

 

Remember that all the talk about dan tien and energy in internal martial arts is only one of many models to try to understand what goes on. As such, you can train to do what your Sensei demonstrated by training perfect form and once you have that in place, you will need perfect intent. The good thing is: it is really that simple! The tough thing is: it requires incredible efforts and hardship to learn the form. Thus, my advice in your training for the next 18-36 months is to forget about energy (at least while training martial arts) and focus on doing the form to perfection as directed by Sensei.

 

Here's a side-training exercise for training how to "sink your energy": Whenever you are standing on moving bus or similar wobbly ground, take your stands and try to ride the bus without holding on. The trick to not falling is plain and simply to adjust your stands deeper. This is an excellent way of learning to "shift your center". On a side-note: Be ready to hold on in case of unexpected and overly rough movements such as e.g. pot holes.

 

NB: I don't train Aikido, but I do train Xingyiquan, Baguazhang and Taijiquan. The principles of internal martial arts remain the same.

 

PS: I am not suggesting to give up your energy studies completely. Keep them up for any other pursuits :)

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Hi surfingbudda,

 

Remember that all the talk about dan tien and energy in internal martial arts is only one of many models to try to understand what goes on. As such, you can train to do what your Sensei demonstrated by training perfect form and once you have that in place, you will need perfect intent. The good thing is: it is really that simple! The tough thing is: it requires incredible efforts and hardship to learn the form. Thus, my advice in your training for the next 18-36 months is to forget about energy (at least while training martial arts) and focus on doing the form to perfection as directed by Sensei.

 

Here's a side-training exercise for training how to "sink your energy": Whenever you are standing on moving bus or similar wobbly ground, take your stands and try to ride the bus without holding on. The trick to not falling is plain and simply to adjust your stands deeper. This is an excellent way of learning to "shift your center". On a side-note: Be ready to hold on in case of unexpected and overly rough movements such as e.g. pot holes.

 

NB: I don't train Aikido, but I do train Xingyiquan, Baguazhang and Taijiquan. The principles of internal martial arts remain the same.

 

PS: I am not suggesting to give up your energy studies completely. Keep them up for any other pursuits :)

 

Thankyou devoid for the tips. I have come to think when my teacher says bring your energy center to say your hands, he doesn't literally mean you move your dantian there, but simply your awareness and intent which moves your energy there :)

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Thankyou devoid for the tips. I have come to think when my teacher says bring your energy center to say your hands, he doesn't literally mean you move your dantian there, but simply your awareness and intent which moves your energy there :)

 

Hi surfingbudda,

 

Exactly - it's funny how we (as humans) often think of ourself in total, conscious control of our muscles (except for the muscles around heart and a few others, perhaps). Keeping in mind that when walking while carrying something of a certain weight and size we use the lion's share of some 640 skeletal muscles. Thus imagery (such as "pushing an energetic ball from our center to our hands" or performing our form "as if we were submerged in honey, water or mud") helps activate a plurality of muscles which we are never consciously aware of (in addition, of course to the movement of the limbs which tend to be more under the control of the ego).

 

I wish you happy training and only little soreness as you begin to realize that you have muscles and tendons that you have never even thought of :lol:

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I'll second Steve's comments. I did 13 years of KI-Aikido (nidan) and loved it. Its a worthwhile art that has much to teach. Learning the applications and mindset of 'Aiki' will greatly help you on and off the mat. Demos are window dressing. A good sensei will draw back the curtain and let you in on the physical and mental aspects of the art.

 

Thirded. I did Aikido for two years before going to uni. Not a lot of energy work did come up, but when it did, it was similar to how you described, concentrating on the "centre" a point below your navel to make yourself more difficult to throw or to be aware of your centre of gravity. One demonstration was two people lifting a third. Easy when the liftee wasn't concentrating, but difficult when he or she was. Sounds like what you were talking about, or similar anyway. You should keep it up anyway, it's certainly something I miss! :D Happy throwing! :P

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