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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 1999 1:12 pm 
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Ah, finally, with this round of discussion (thanks to the knowlegeable folks who are participating) there are ideas about internal/external arts that I can relate to and get behind!

It is exchanges like this thread which remind me of the reason I began reading these forums in the first place - to learn something! (BTW, thanks, Maurice for pointing out Joe's excellent article).

I can only wonder what I could have learned from the "real" experts about this stuff (sorry Bill, couldn't resist...)

greg

[This message has been edited by Greg (edited 04-06-99).]


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 1999 3:03 pm 
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The best internal teacher I've ever had and still have is Tim Cartmell. I talked with Tim about this thread yesterday for about an hour.

Tim wrote a book called "Effortless Combat Throws." The brillance of this work is not the throws, but the small essays he writes in the back of the book. The beginning of the text is straightforward and direct. There's no smoke and mirrors nor is it clouded with mystical mumbo jumbo. I recommend this text wholeheartedly. This work will help "clear up" some of the misconceptions about what is internal and what is not.

I've been on both side of the external and internal fence. I even study Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. (To some this is considered under the fence.) George Mattson is correct when he wrote, "instructors rallied around vaporous
terms like "internal" and "external", "hard" and "soft". Instead of expanding their understanding for the benefit of the art, they tore away vast segments of understanding and became comfortable within the confines of limited and rigidly defined movements."

The bottom line is what can "YOU" do with your art? How efficient are you? People will always want to talk about how "this is so much better than that." It's just talk. Confront yourself every once and a while and take Gary Khoury's invitation up to spar. Enter the tournament. You can't hide from yourself out there. Yang Chen Fu or Kanbum Uechi won't fight for you. Isn't that one of the attributes the art should teach you? Confront yourself! You'll feel better for it.

Joe


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 1999 3:47 pm 
Tony,

Push hands is not realistic fighting technique, no doubt about that. What it does do, with the increased sensitivity that you mentioned, is facilitate the efficient application of a certain class of techniques. if you are experienced at Push Hands, (which I'm not, by the way), the application of joint locks, for example, is much quicker and surer.

The other thing you gain from push hands is that very sensitivity. An experienced taijiren can "read" their opponent in a grappling situation so well that they seem to know what the opponaent is doing before he does.

Having said all that, push hands is still just an exercise. An important one to taijiren, but still just an exercise. It's like JD's drum rudiments; rudiments aren't music, but they make making music better. (and how's that for a sentence).

later,

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maurice richard libby
toronto/moose jaw
Ronin at large


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 1999 3:59 pm 
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Anthony

As the Beatles once said, "Happiness is a warm gun". Of course they meant something else with that but....allow me the literary license to use a good line out of context. All this hand-to-hand stuff is irrelevant behind a good modern weapon.

What you need, Anthony, is the experience of working with someone who really knows what they are doing. One eye-opening experience for me was with a rokudan of "zen judo", a branch of judo that emphasizes the internal point of view. I did a fairly simple exercise with him that is a little like push hands. You stand in your stance and grab wrists. Then you see who can pull whom off balance first. He was a much smaller guy than I. It didn't matter. He toyed with me. I knew exactly what he was doing, but it didn't matter. His trained reflexes for such sensitivity and movement were much more developed than mine. The only other person who could make me feel that way was Clyde Takaguchi, an aikido practitioner I briefly worked with in the D.C. area. Great guy!

Doing such exercises will give you a very different view of your sanchin. It will teach you concepts like centering and ground path. It will teach you the value of sanchin training in terms of not over-commiting yourself in an attack. It will teach you that simple exercises like arm rubbing are not there to warm your arms up for the pounding. And more importantly, the concept of a ground path and centering will show you how to use crane techniques (in sanseiryu kata) to take down the grapplers and the internal artists.

You need to study and actually feel your opponents' best weapons to learn how to use your own art to counteract them. Uechi Kanei once said that he didn't need to learn fancy kicks. All he wanted was to understand them so he could defend against them.

Bill


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 1999 4:03 pm 
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Maurice is correct.

Anthony, push hands is a training tool. A very good tool, but still a tool. It is also a skill that has to be developed and practiced. People loose track of what push hands can teach them. Sometimes folks get involved in "winning" at push hands.

The same thing can be said about arm pounding. I remember training with John Zachistal, my forearms being black and blue and wondering to myself, "what the hell does this serve?" Having tough forearms through pounding just for pounding, isn't the purpose of the exercise. But I was really proud of being able to take a beating. It's what you do with those tough forearms is the real question. Just like push hands.

Joe


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 1999 7:10 pm 
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John

A pistol instructor who worked with me - I swear - seemed like he was checking my sanchin. We spent a LOT of time working on posture and technique and the like before anything ever got in my hand. And then he told me to get in a stance and hold my hands flat forward at the level where I would hold a pistol. He then proceeded to press on my hands, and then let go to see if I fell forward. Very revealing. Good technique transcends the specific art.

Anthony

The biggest mistake most people make in doing arm rubbing is that they only concentrate on the push part. You are supposed to create resistance on the pull too. That's where you get into feeling the shifting center. As an addendum to this, I have my students alternately push palms and then pull palms so that they get a magnified sense of the shifting ground path. I'll first get their posture right while they are doing this (I'm big on proper spinal allignment and shoulder pull-down) and then push on the respective calf that is the dominant ground path during that half of the cycle. When people go back to the arm rubbing, the sense is more subtle, but it is still there. It's a very one-dimensional exercise, but it gets the point across at the lowest level. All you need to do after that is to go to two, and then to three dimensions.

Bill


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 1999 8:29 pm 
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Nice post JD.

Two points:
1. If you mention Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu again, we'll have to fight a death kumite. Of course, we'll have to drink after it's over.

2. Please don't mention physics again. I have quite a few people actually thinking that I can explode those chickens.

"Let's fight my friend!"

Joe


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 1999 5:35 am 
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I don't know exactly how to respond to A. Is push hands "combat" like Jiu Kumite and b. I there soemthing in push hands that can help Koticktai.

I'll take a shot at it.

Second one first: Push Hands seems closest to "arm rubbing". Push hands will teach you NOT to remain rigid over two "double weighted" feet. Your center must move quite a lot. You will learn to feel where the opponents center is. If you know where it it and how he is moving it, it can be helpful.

Sifu and I most often practice "free style" push hands. This allows (at present) slapping the head to let your partner know he has lost contact with you. It is dangerous. I cracked a friends rib with a push because I had not shown him properly that when the push was coming there, don't try to be a Bull in defense. He did, rib cracked. A NO INCH push did this.

It may lead you, Tony, to shifting your center forward and back a bit as you do arm rubbing.

The free style is a sort of fight. I suppose and advanced student could keep proper contact and neutralize punches. The moving push hands migh, if advanced enough, neutralize some kicks.

But at the level I am at, much like the method desribed by Bill in his "just prior hereto post" is certainly rough.


Defending against a screaming Pasdaran with an assualt rifle is another matter.

As the FRench said (after some very hard lessons to the effect that their Massed Attacks did not work) "Hug Mother Earth".


On a soldiers helmet in 'Nam "He who changes magazines first, wins."

I like the Martial Arts and I am iconoclastically say that my annual retraining with my M1A (M14 clone) is part of my martial Arts.

Seriously, the strength and breath control and understanding helps position long range rifle shooting a lot.

Now if I can just find a good combat pistol instructors=.

JOHN

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 1999 6:37 am 
Bill made the comment:

"It will teach you that simple exercises like arm rubbing are not there to warm your arms up for the pounding."

Like all things in Uechi there is always more to it than meets the eye.

I began exploring sheering some time back when a buddy showed it to me, and found it to be a formidable principle. Two quick simple examples:

1) Aggressor throws a lead hand attack. You pivot slightly on your forward foot to move the rear foot (and therefore your body) slightly off the line of attack to the outside. You throw a lead hand at the aggressor's head. Your blow sheers over the aggressor's deflecting it as you strike.

2) Your are trying to off balance the aggressor, you press directly into his neck with your forearm with no effect. Now angle the press to sheer through a piece of the neck and you find they move easily.

So, here I am exploring this cool principle and wondering why I haven't seen it before and yet it seems so familiar. Then I have my class do Kotakitia and wham the lights go on -- arm rubbing is sheering (and much more).

Rick


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 1999 7:10 am 
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MAURICE wrote:

"Mike: the reason for caring whether your power is generated externally or internally is related to age. the theory is that internal power generation (this has nothing to do with Chi. by the way) is that external generation of power decreases as you age, but internal power, because it uses muscles more efficiently and is less dependent on sheer muscle mass, can still be generated at a very advanced age. In other words, whether the power is generated internally or externally is of more concern to the generator than the recipient."

This explanation sounds reasonable to me but it leads to another issue. To be blunt, I have no patience for arbitrary definitions and classifications. I think it is ludicrous to suggest that any one martial art is either "internal" or "external". The human body can only move and generate power in so many ways. No one has yet effectively argued that greater effectiveness and efficiency could not be achieved through prolonged diligent perfect practice of Sanchin.

As I watch highly advanced adepts from different systems I am attracted by commonalties in their movements and not their differences. The software analogy would be to Java script which is platform independent. No need to rewrite the Java applets for every operating system that exists. I would argue that the Java script for Martial Arts systems is proper centering, alignment and transmission of power through the legs to the hips to the extremities while maintaining proper breath and muscular control.

The ice skating analogy applies as well. There are only so many ways that a skater can generate the power required to perform triple jumps. Has anyone ever heard Dick button exclaim "Michelle’s triple Sachow was less than perfect. She just didn’t generate enough internal power to complete her revolutions"! Yes, I can hear the objection now from some internal adherents that the skating analogy is false because after all skating is merely an "external" art and not an "internal" art. Oh give me a break! Word class skating performers have to efficiently control and coordinate all of their muscle groups in order to perform at the highest levels. Don’t you think that they would be looking for any competitive advantage if they felt that studying "internal" arts would lead to better performance? The skaters and their coaches rely on (Gasp!) scientific principles to enhance their performances. Well, gee perhaps we should do the same. Oh, but then how would the Lotus eaters make a living?


Rest easy Bill, I’ll be quiet now.

All the best,

Mike

"Look Ma, no chi!!"


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 1999 4:21 pm 
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Anthony

You wrote: <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
So in other words, I should stop trying get deep penetration on my arms and use the exercise to get a feel for balance.


I need to be careful here. One must realize that the simplest exercises in our system have many, many different lessons and applications embedded within them. I probably shouldn't have totally excluded the notion that we are stimulating the forearm muscles, but I personally view it as a minor benefit of the arm-rubbing exercise. Rick (above) gave another good application that I didn't even mention. It teaches you how to "slip" a technique and apply the simultaneous block/attack. But no matter what you are doing, the balance/centering/grounding issue is out there. So is the gaze. So is the back posture. So is the breathing......

Rick

I took a look in the dictionary after seeing your use of sheering as opposed to shearing. Interesting. Even terms we are all familiar with are ambiguous and murky in the modern dictionary.

Mike

The use of badly-translated terms and concepts in martial arts reminds me of the mumbo jumbo you get from translating old and/or, foreign language versions of the bible to contemporary English. And I believe many martial artists cloak themselves in the mystique of such language the way Catholics used to cloak themselves in the mistique of the Latin mass.

Also....Perhaps your ice skating analogy wasn't a good one. There is very little variability expected in the execution of an ice skating move. Perhaps a better analogy might be throwing a baseball pitch. The goal is to get the batter to miss the pitch, or get him to hit it where you want him to hit it. However there are many, many types of pitches. Even throwing heat has variability from pitcher to pitcher. Some use their upper body (shoulder, tricep, wrist) strength more. Some pitchers get more body rotation and drive off the mound very aggressively. Some use more simultaneous, whole-body contraction, whereas others use a wave-like motion from legs to wrist that take more advantage of neuromuscular reflexes. And then you get into the many, many different kinds of pitches. Ever seen a submarine pitch? You'd swear it wasn't legal if you ever saw it. My dad used to really mess people up with the pitch when he played in college because most had never seen it and didn't know how to hit it.

But.....what we need is to throw away the laguage of the mystics and charletans. I suggest that folks go to the fields of physics, physiology, anatomy, and kinesiology for better language. To do otherwise is - in my opinion - sheer laziness. My yet-to-be-disproven assertion is that if it can't be expressed there, it doesn't exist. And to the cretins of the world, threatening or ridiculing people doesn't prove a point. Not very original either!

Bill

[This message has been edited by Bill Glasheen (edited 04-07-99).]


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 1999 10:42 pm 
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Anthony:

Push hand would certainly teach you not to extend your center TOO far in arm rubbing.

Bill:

Most Catholics (such as myself and look I'm not being oversensitive or anything) especially those who studied the "Counter Reformation" would agree that using the ritual to "bar" the supposed participants from actually participating, was a BAD thing.


However, we have discussed the meaning of "ritual" and I am constrained to say, generally, that it has its uses and misuses.

I maintain my contacts with the church partially because I am comfortable with the rituals I have seen for 50 or so years.

I really don't have a good feeling about taking this too much further. However, the old "Tridentine" (latin) Mass had several specific "components" each of which had a specific history.

Since "tridentine" is gone, latin is gone a discussion of these roots seems at bit wasteful, especially, since I have forgotten the explanations.

Religion is a scary thing to discuss.

The point you made was VERY seriously taken by the Counter Reforming elements and by the effort to "ditch" Latin for the vernacular in the massed in the 60's.

The Weaver stance does seem related to what we do, doesn't it?
I seriously need a combat pistol retrain and a theology course.

As to the comment regarding getting "experts" to post (I'm sorry I've been typing long enough I remembered the question or theorem and forgot the questioner).

I many areas we discuss, we are not necessarily going to get the experts to post an answer.

When Sifu gets back from the "Cmp" he is attending, I will suggest it, but I expect not much.

Sensei is not a friend to computers at present.

Nonetheless I still think teaching something (not too soon) is often a very good way to learn, as is formulating a thought on a subject for the forums. Still no substitute for a good sweat, but I enjoy this too.

JOHN T



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 1999 2:58 am 
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JD:

I could be wrong, but the church adopted Latin about the time The Empire adopted the church. So, most everybody spoke it.

This was a clear break with the early church, I believe.

When the Empire in the West broke up, this was no longer the case. The East spoke Greek, and the West, whatever tongue spoken by the new powers that were.

The church initially held ontoLatin because of the control thing, one of Luther's biggest complaints (bad reason) and for the reason that diplomatic language was Latin for a while and also that scholarship writing was done by hand, mostly by clergy/monks and Latin is what they used.

Anthony:

Check GEM Sensei's Book "Uechi Ryu Karate Do" page 173. Here Sensei Campbell demonstrates a "Dynamic Pushing Drill".

If you train with the exercise, the modification suggest, and I would like your feedback on it, is to have the pushed person "yield" to the pressure somewhat, not let his/her arms ger caught back in a postion from which the Pushee cannot regain his center and his power to push. A long stance seems best. When completing the push, the Pushers hands should be about at Sanchin distance, and the Pushee's at no futher back than "ready thrust". Pushee should sink back into his rear leg and let the force divert doen into it.

Then vary it, If pusher over extends, grab hold and show him he has done so. If Pushee lets himself get pushed too far back, pusher should let him know, briefly, by not allowing the return push, as Pushee has essentialy been "busted.

Keep the back straight going back. Pusher can change the angle of his back when his push is completely exended and his rear leg locked. Weight at full extension, mostly on rear foot for Pushee and forward foot for pusher.

This is an exercise that has been around a long time. The book does not indicate its source. Watch in a mirror to make sure it is your hara ttat moves forward and back and that you do not lean or bend at the waist.


JOHN


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 1999 9:06 pm 
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JD:

Maybe you know. My recollection is dim, but when the KJ version was translated, weren't two fairly well known English writers commissioned for the translation? Do you remember when this was?

Anthony:

That "old" dynamic pushing drill has many uses, I would think. You could do it "soft" (yeilding at the slighest pressure) or hard (to develop "push/power from the floor.)

Well, I thought it was interesting to make note of it as I thought you would have a copy of the book.

Let me know what you think and how and if it works.

JOHN

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 1999 2:59 am 
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JD:

HAH!!! very good, very good!

The one I studied a H.C. was the oxford annotated.

Who would have thought 35 years later it would still be sitting on my desk fulllof notes from 1965!!

Well, ------

Good night!!!

JOHN

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