Internal Power

General discussions on Wado Ryu karate and associated martial arts.
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Gusei21
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Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:43 am

Internal Power

Post by Gusei21 »

I wanted to start a new heading since things are getting plastered everywhere.
Internal power, internal strength, internal force.
What does it all mean?
How does it fit in the context of what we do?
What did Otsuka Sensei have?
And if he did why did he not teach it?
Why did most of his students miss out on it.
How can you confirm that he had it.
What is the 'it' he had if he had 'it' at all?
Is this 'it' based in Shindo Yoshin Ryu/Yoshin Koryu or is it karate based?
Is it even important for Wado karateka?

With that opening shot I will leave you with two quotes.

The first from an infamous internal power expert who shall remain anonymous.

"FWIW, saying you "use your center for everything" does not imply everyone knows everything. Lots of people say a lot of things...even well known ones. There are plenty of folks who go on and on about breath-power too. And you can hit them and they fall apart or watch them do waza and they're all shoulder, or push or stress them and watch their feet wabble.
I pay less attention to what people say over what they look and feel like. It's amazing how many supposed experts don't do very well when it comes to showing what they told you they know. "
Unnamed source.

"In Wadokai we only do karate. We do not focus on tanto tori, tachi tori or stuff like that.
We leave that to our colleagues in the Wadoryu Renmei since their placard says Wadoryu Jujitsu Kempo.
In Wadokai we do karate." (No disrespect intended in this remark. He is just making the observation that in the Wadokai we only do kihon, kata, kihon kumite and kumite.)
Takagi Sensei.

Both of these gentleman have tremendous internal power....
Bob Nash
Gusei21
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Re: Internal Power

Post by Gusei21 »

Having laid that down I wanted to start by saying that for me internal power is not magic.
It has nothing to do (for me) with sending energy outside of your body.
For me it only has to do with superior body management.
How efficiently do you manage your body to do martial arts.
How are you using your muscles, tendons, fascia?
How aware are you of your bone alignment as it relates to producing efficient power.
How do you develop a 'connected body' which is essential for internal power.

I don't like to use the word ki. Don't like going down that road. That word is too loaded for me. The key word for me is 'intent'.
For me internal power is 'intent driven'.
'The mind leads intent which leads ki which leads the body.'

Intent has the capacity to create physical changes in the body that can result in projecting superior force thru efficient structure
and efficient internal body management.

I am not saying this is all there is to internal power.
This is just MY definition and my current understanding.
Other people have different experiences and different abilities.
This is a big playground with plenty of room to play.
At the end of the day you can't fake it. If you try to fake it you will be found out.
If you have it you will be found out.
Anyone can talk. Not many can do.
Last edited by Gusei21 on Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Bob Nash
Gusei21
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Re: Internal Power

Post by Gusei21 »

Adding to what Gordon said about balance.
He was defining balance from an internal power standpoint.

Imagine a bar with a fulcum on it.
It is centered.
So it is balanced.
Now you place 5 llbs on either end.
It is still balanced.
Now instead of placing the weights on either end you place two machines back to back in the middle.
Both machines can project weighted energy. (This is an imaginary device)
If you send 5 lbs down both sides of the bar it will be in balance.
Now you put another bar on top so it forms a cross.
You send 5 lbs thru either end of that.
Then you bisect that with another line doing the same.
And other.
Now do that with your body.
The center from which the extension emanates outwards is your tanden.
You pull up. You pull down. (Heaven Earth Man).
You pull left. You pull right.
You pull front. You pull back.
As if you have rubberbands anchored all around you and the rubber bands are connected to a sphere surrounding you.
Everything pulling. Pulling.
Eccentric contraction. Not concentric contraction.
Picture the Vitruvian man of Da Vinci. (google him if you don't see it in your head.)
The Vitruvian man is sending energy - extending himself in all directions equally.
Up down
Left right
Forwards backwards
All 6 directions.
Sort of like blowing himself up like a fugu fish.

From Morihei Ueshiba's book entitled Budo.
The section is called kamae.

第二 準備動作

(一)構

氣勢ニヲ充實シ足ヲ六方ニ開キ半身入身合氣ノ姿勢ヲ以テ敵ニ對ス(第一圖)
總テ構ハ時、位置、土地ノ高低、其ノ時ノ勢等ニ因リ惟神ニ起ルモノニシテ常ニ構ハ心ニアルモノトス
足ノ踏ミ方ニハ外六方、内六方及外巴、内巴アリ練習ノ際ニ傅授ス

注意

練習ノ際シテハ敵ノ構、敵トノ間合ヲ考ヘ左或ハ右ノ構ヲ用フ動作ノ終リシ時兩足ハ常ニ六方ニ開キアル如ク練磨スル要ス
Section 2: Preparatory Movements

(1) Kamae

Fill yourself with Ki power, open your legs in six directions and face the enemy in the hanmi irimi posture of Aiki (see Figure 1).

When assuming any stance, align yourself with the principles of the Kami according to your position, the level of the terrain and your spirit at that time, and always keep this stance in your heart.

In footwork there is an external six directions and an internal six directions as well as an outer spiral and an internal spiral, this will be taught in practice.

Caution:

Concerning the stance of the enemy in training.
Be mindful of the distance between you and the enemy and assume a left or right stance. At the end of each movement always open both legs in six directions, it is necessary to train this.
If you face directly towards the enemy there will be many openings and you will be at a disadvantage.

Translation by Chris Li ( aikidoka in Hawaii who is an excellent Japanese translator)

The six directions are up down left right front back.
It gives you a foundation for tremendous internal power.

Lastly another quote from Ueshiba.

「合気というものは、初め円を描く。円を描くこと、つまり対象力。相手に指一本ふれないでも相手は跳んでしまう。この一つのものをつくりあげるにも十年ぐらいはかかる。これからは大飛躍をしよう。」

Aiki is - first draw a circle. The act of inscribing a circle is a way of showing opposing powers. You can send your opponent flying thru the air without even putting one finger on him. In order to have the ability to do this takes about 10 years. So lets get started on this right away.
Translation by me.
Bob Nash
Gusei21
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Re: Internal Power

Post by Gusei21 »

Email from non Wado friend of mine who trains in internal power.

In the term Internal Power, I would say that Internal Power refers to Ten chi jin, one point, one thing moves /everything moves, six directions, pulling silk type phenomenon.

So then we go back to what Otsuka Sensei said about Ten chi jin.....(Heaven Earth Man).

Paraphrasing Otsuka Sensei very loosely , 'the path to Wado is thru Ten chi jin.'
Some will say he was quoting Ten Chi Jin as a philosophy.
I strongly beg to differ. Ten Chi Jin is internal power body management.
Bob Nash
WKU
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Re: Internal Power

Post by WKU »

Bob, this answer is from the end of the favourite kata post but here seems more relevant now and I wrote this before reading all of the above but i think it still relates ok and of course it's difficult to put into words as i think it's something we need to feel and experience to understand properly. Anyway ...

I would say that on a basic level being centered starts with good body posture. So if you take fighting stance then it is all the stuff like having a straight back, bent but flexed knees, head up etc. Then add to this what is happening inside your body. Some tension in your abbs, pulling down of your glutes, lowering your center of gravity. But not in a hard way. It needs to be controlled but soft. Hard kills itband and makes you rigid. To me inside should be like an engine just ticking over, ready to go into action as and when required.

But then you have to be able to move whilst keeping all of the above going. That means moving whilst keeping a good outwards posture but also keeping the engine ticking over at exactly the right / same speed. Like stepping forward in junzuki. If a blind person has his hand on your chest throughout the move he should feel constant forward energy. It shouldn't blip up and down or back and forth. I try and practice this in kata. I try and dial in say 30-40% tension in my core at the start and hold this and good posture throughout. It's so hard, even just mentally. (Tension might not be the best of words here but I can't think of anything better right now).

Then i think the next step is using this against an opponent. So i guess for us that's first in pairs then, if you are one of the talented few, in sparring. I think here the last part (kuzushi) of kumite gata is a good example. If you don't imbalance your opponent and take his centre away then it just becomes a matter of who is the strongest at the end. So with the kuzushi I try and move in with the same good posture and internal energy i set up at the start and i try and break the good posture of my opponent and put him in a difficult position, which also opens him up for a punch and then perhaps a take down. Actually, i try and break his good posture as early as possible so I don't leave it to the last move. If I can break him on the first or second move then the third move is massively easier to do. And please don't think i can actually do this well but i think i know what i am trying to achieve.

Anyway, I hope i've managed to get something across in the above. It's just the way i'm thinking about things at the moment.

Kate Williams
Kate Williams
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Re: Internal Power

Post by wadoka »

When you say intent, are we talking about sen?
Tim49
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Re: Internal Power

Post by Tim49 »

From what I’ve seen different teachers access this in different ways.

Reading between the lines of what Bob says I see the way different terminology is used when teachers communicate to students.

What is interesting to me is the language that is used (Bob touches on this). I feel that I am fortunate that native Japanese speakers I have listened to and trained under have done their best to avoid obfuscation and in particular try to avoid confusion by working out analogies and comparisons in the English language. The plus side of this is that if the analogies and comparisons work (in terms of communication) then this is valuable stuff – as long as you can utilise it and not just keep everything on the theoretical level. The negative side is that for some people if it is not dressed up in exotic language the information just slips by them; it doesn’t go over their heads; in fact it goes under their radar! Some will say ‘so be it’, but I always try and imagine the frustration of the teacher. Imagine the same lesson repeated and the student saying ‘yes, yes, but what about Bunkai?’, it must drive them crazy.

With regard to Ten Chi Jin as a philosophy. It seems bizarre to me to assume that Ohtsuka Sensei mischievously or accidentally happened to hit upon this reference to the key practical real life component of a philosophy which was part of the fabric of far eastern life for over 2500 years (less in Japan) and use it solely as a mask to hide structural and functional physical principles.

I say that it is a ‘practical real life component’ because it makes more sense to me that Ohtsuka was smart enough to see that if the philosophical basis is sound then the practical (physical) emanates out of it. Ohtsuka’s other writings support this.

Recent conversations I have had with those in the know who have been involved in Koryu in Japan have supported this. Of particular interest is the practical and philosophical marriage within the Shibukawa Ryu.

Tim Shaw
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Re: Internal Power

Post by kyudo »

Gusei21 wrote: Imagine a bar with a fulcum on it.
It is centered.
So it is balanced.
Now you place 5 llbs on either end.
It is still balanced.
Now instead of placing the weights on either end you place two machines back to back in the middle.
Both machines can project weighted energy. (This is an imaginary device)
If you send 5 lbs down both sides of the bar it will be in balance.
Now you put another bar on top so it forms a cross.
You send 5 lbs thru either end of that.
Then you bisect that with another line doing the same.
And other.
Now do that with your body.
Sorry Bob, but I can't make head or tail of your description. Would it be too much asked to post a quick sketch?

In any case, I've always been fascinated with the image of push puppets:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SdtzpaFyFk
Though not because of their posture,obviously. ;-)
Push puppets show in a very simple way how you can transmit with your arms and legs the power that has been generated elsewhere in the body. Conceptually, the strings in the puppet seem much similar to the anatomy trains in the human body. http://www.anatomytrains.com/

edited:
Just now, when visiting anatomytrains to copy the url, I noticed they developed a new tensegrity model that beautifully shows the internal movement of the pelvis: http://vimeo.com/48982696
We're merely advanced push puppet... ;-)
Igor Asselbergs
http://kyudokan.nl/
Gusei21
Posts: 403
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Re: Internal Power

Post by Gusei21 »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18W-mDtr ... e=youtu.be

Per Michael Matthews.

This is a clip I took several years ago when Sensei was in Vancouver, Canada.
I guess I must have given a copy to Peter or Peter snagged it from someplace I uploaded it.
Dunno.
Anyway...the title of Inashi has nothing to do with the video but I guess it is a convenient title if any.
Inashi is so generic anyway and ...

Sensei was explaining that the point is to maintain your balance while you unbalance (kuzushi) your opponent.
Kuzushi karate style...

But by watching the video is it obvious to most that he remains centered (in balance) as he endeavours to throw his opponent off balance by
1) applying spatial pressure thru pressing the maai (closing the distance between him and his poor opponent)
2) applying physical pressure by striking. (it hurts...so the normal human tendency is to withdrawal thus causing a disturbance in their sense of balance)

He is always emanating 6 directions as he moves. (extending outwards in all directions towards the imaginary sphere that he is enclosed in).
He is manifesting Heaven Earth Man while standing on the floating bridge of Heaven :)
And because he stands on the floating bridge of Heaven he is always standing in the center of his Universe.
He never leaves his center (the floating bridge). He remains in his Universe, never extending beyond.
He brings his Universe next to the opponent's fragile Universe.
And his Universe expands ever so slightly to destroy the opponent's Universe.
Bob Nash
Gusei21
Posts: 403
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:43 am

Re: Internal Power

Post by Gusei21 »

Floating bridge of Heaven.

Read Chris Li's brilliant essay on the floating bridge of Heaven.

http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/arc ... -of-heaven
Bob Nash
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