Saturday, August 27, 2011

paen to aikido, bend too far

1. aikido: the word made flesh.  all the other systems: do this, do that but they do not set up demonstrations that prove the principles.  take something relatively easier, like "balance" (harder might be "perspective" for example).  in aikido principles of balance in gravity are constantly demonstrated.  when the procedures are followed accurately success results.  partial accuracy yields partial results.  the demonstrative methods of aikido can be applied in other relational situations (which would include relations with inanimate object & forces as well as "ideas.")  if something works then there is some utility, if it doesn't that can be known.  you'll have to excuse me.  those are the kind of things i think about.

2. the instructional method is to demonstrate rather than to proclaim.  all education SHOULD be like that.

3. we are catching "outer bands" of hurricane irene, saturday am.  i stand under the soffit of the deck doorway, the deck wet, windy, big acorns falling, a branch from time to time.  i think about the big poplar i want to take down.  when i get to the back stretch & bendover part i find i have about a foot of back space so i have to do the back stretch differently, very tight, hands to just not touch the door, to increase my stretch i HAVE to go up on my toes.  interesting.
   bendover on the other hand, apparently so deep reactive spasms developed in lower back on both sides, made it hard to have the pelvic nod position exactly where i wanted it to be, right there it produced some-would-call-it-pain.  after a few minutes of working on it: move this way & that, i took ibuprofen, keep working it, got some really nice side stretches, went back in, wrote this, it is still kind of sore but getting better.  tree didn't fall on me.  lucky

Friday, August 26, 2011

paying attention to paying attention

this morning i start out unable to make a straight attention line.  even the vertical is not attained.  "i" can "see" it but my attempt to get the attention to follow the grid is unsuccessful, it bows.  several attempts before i get it right, the other movements of attention similarly shaky.  attention circles have a kick to the lower right.

later the eye movements bring confusion at the horizontal periphery, where exactly is "0" with the eyes pointed all the way to the side?  the attention wants to go all the way to the periphery, actually wants to go all the way to ignoring the input from part of the trailing eye which is looking at the wall of the nose.  the attention at 0 is somewhere back of the edge of the leading image, not quite 30 degrees maybe.

it comes together nicely in the head movements & ended with some nice deep leg stretches.

wife said last night: your legs are bigger.  yes, said i, i've been doing unusual things with them, this is the way they're supposed to me: the well used legs.  she: your knees are bigger too, how'd that happen?  Good question, bone remodeling i thought, went throught it with my ankles too i've been thinking.  this morning told son, he: maybe its all that knee walking you do in class.  well, not that much but some, and i notice that i've become quite comfortable getting down on the floor & moving around, knees, whatever, some basic methods & principles learned.  when i showed my brother the general idea of the possibility of this different approach to exercise he found himself unable to get himself back up without hands & slightly pulled a pectoral muscle during his 2 minutes on the floor.

aikido.  if everyone in the world learned aikido there would be no strife.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


this is some of what i went through yesterday: mini-knee analysis of a fellow aikido practicer in public with spectators. 

massage: therapeutic manipulation of the body.
palpation: using touch to get information from the body, includes diagnostic manipulation (like to find out how a joint is working by putting it through its motions)

first i did some meniscus stress tests - twisting the partially bent knee this way & that, sharp pain in specific spots = meniscus problem, meniscus part of the joint face.  no pain, so that was ok.  then i described the difference between ligaments, tendons, muscles, forgot to mention joint capsules.  then i poked here & there in a sketchy attempt to find some scar tissue (lumps mostly), bunched sore muscles, tender or twingy ligaments or tendons.  inconclusive little mini-exam hopefully gave some idea of how to think about trying to figure out what's wrong, maybe to start thinking about how to fix it.

the rant: everything gets filtered through culture, so here we are in a system that demands that we don't know how to use our bodies & allows only certain very limited physical contacts between um, cultural units, essentially in special situations.  massage as therapy could be a general habit as baboons groom each other but that does not happen.  automassage (selfmassage) could be a cherished trait handed down since pre-history but it is not.  why?  don't know.  you know: kindergarten class: all right children, today we are going to examine our hands.  that does not happen.  the wrist moves this way and this way but that way hurts (then they could go: so this is how you could move the rest of your body to make the wrist stop hurting when it is put in that position).

know what i mean?  why are we so persistently stupid?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

maybe i'll call it anchor spot

that spot out there on the deck, 0,0,0 in a certain direction, that exact center of visual field with that exact landscape point at the center, the convergent point imagined back in the brain, the imaginary connecting line, so it takes energy to keep that orienting imagination going just like any concentrated effort, one is subject to fatigue, taking breaks.  even so the imagination plays in the background so that out there running the line is still there & i "know where i am."  relative to that spot i mean.

Monday, August 22, 2011

absolute relation

continuing from the observation yesterday that the attention could be left on a specific point, say, the 0,0,0 of that particular moment & that then the eyes or the head or the body section or the body in space can do whatever they do spatially & the attention can remain on that spot.  an imaginary line "appears" connecting the evolving visual with that spot.  as the body goes through its stuff that it does the angle & "length" of the line relative to the spot changes.  in bendover the line goes through the back of the head.  i can turn around, go inside, upstairs, out the front door, etc. the line relating to that arbitrary 0 spot remains.  i "know" where i'm "at" relative to that spot because i can "see" the imaginary line.  that is, sitting here in the office the line goes out the left back of my head through the house to the spot, and, i guess a little down.  theoretically i could take my line out in the car with me, or everywhere, maybe never get lost.  lot of mental energy perhaps.  or maybe it gets easier like every skill.  maybe this is what that anthropological nugget i heard on radio: tribe somewhere even the little kids never get lost, the language has absolute spatial reference built into it. 

do you know what i'm talking about?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

gentling hand

1. the keep-the quads relaxed leg stretch, use of gentling hand
   this is the sequence that goes from back extend to bendover, allow necessary time for those thick lower back muscles to relax so the hams can relax & stretch, making sure that the quads are relaxed with knees in a distal position & relaxed lump of vastus lateralis just above the knee joint on the outside, which i'm pretty good at now.  then to repeat to the side, then to extent one leg at a time & squat for the adductor stretch, etc.  the thing for last couple days has been to go over the top & down the side then into the squat without sympathetically tensing the quads ("raising" the kneecap).  with sufficient attention to detail can do complete on the right, on the left there is tendon shortness or something taking a while (years) to work through, i found that the gentle contact of the opposite hand on the quads during the sequence made it possible to do on the left.
   that much detail, boring?  not to me.  its mine.

2. knowing the 0 visual in sideways neck stretch, attending to the 0 while doing head movements
   also, the sideways neck stretch will produce the visual 0: when the whole scene rotates smoothly around a single spot that's the spot.  once it is found there it is.
   from there a new layer of exercise can be done.  head movements: eyes at 0 so they remain in the same relation to the head as the head turns so the scene is changing, now the attention can be left at the original 0, the 0 of the 0,0,0.  as if in imagination a line of attention crosses the field as the head turns, always relating back to the original 0.  interesting.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

quad recruitment

in that leg adductor side stretch - what shall we call it?  squat stick out leg.  all the variations.  ssol?

in that ssol on the way down & up the quads want to sympathetically "support" the move even though they are not necessary & just get in the way.  so leaving them relaxed through the stages of the sequence is a technique to be learned.  the quads want to pull the knee toward the torso.  the effect will be to "guard" the joint.  i don't think the guarding is a reflex, i think i taught my self back when i was learning how to walk, same as i learned to push my arms out in front of me when i fell, nobody taught me different but there is indeed a better way.

so i'm watching the quads wanting to contract, as the process proceeds from all the way down in ssol, where relaxing them is easy (now), to all the way up where it is also easy, the effect is spotty in the midzone & the "intention" can be applied.  the stuff going on in the right leg is dramatically different from the left.  left is full of intense stretchy burny sensations, limits, difficulty.  right is pretty ok mostly except for the hip joint.  after several tries all the way up & down on both sides without contracting the quads, maybe 95%, so that when they started to contract i could catch them either internally or positionally & get them relaxed again.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


i am actually experiencing myself losing track of both straight ahead & horizontal & having to recalibrate & find it again all this without moving, just standing there.  this is not pathology, rather an interior experience of discovering that the nose is rotated off of 90 degrees to shoulder axis yet the cortical bureaucrat is stamping the form right on.

the eyes cling to some aspect of the visual as the head turns.  this time it is a dark green patch of short pine needles on that tree over there.  the interest clings to it as if a charismatic individual.  clinging to what it was looking at before.  clinging because our earliest ancestors clung to the mineral substrate from which they had emerged.  it is the first thing we did and do. 

we have become however free swimming spores of awareness, which we bring willy nilly where none has been before.  the opposite of clinging.  from clinging we have evolved to the opposite of clinging: exploration.

clinging modulated through the sensors of course like everything else.  all of the sensors cling.

nostalgia - the relative comfort of the immediate past moment gratefully survived, clinging to that image while the head turns & the scene changes with new problems & possibilities.  who, me?  asks the practitioner, momentarily attempting to deny that nostalgia happened, clinging to the memory as the new now rushes at the "me."

today was a further exploration of the blood-rushing-from-head-starts-toward-black-&-tingly sequence.   for anyone some amount of time in bendover will produce brfh upon arising.  the drill is to have the feet pointed properly, toes spread, soles flat, ankles (how to describe?), knees bent, pelvis tilted, etc. all the way up to chin tucked, eyes 0,0,0.  stable position.

a trick is to move, do something through the black-tingly, make it go away faster. 

but if like today the purpose is to go into the brfh then take the stable position & let it roll.  today's interesting thing was a more advanced sequence than normal that seemed almost to produce that kind of retreat from the senses, the "tunnel," as the "me" begins to dim & turn itself off or goes to sleep or whatever, i think they call it "loss of consciousness."  i can see why people can think this stuff is dangerous, but no.  there is no danger at the edge of the cliff unless one is inclined to do stupid things.

2. today also an exploration of the front outer thigh muscles, technically vastus lateralis i think.  for decades in bendover all of the quads would "involuntarily" contract in knee-locked bendover.  i watched it happen.  then i learned how to uncontract them.  what it is is in bendover with the hamstrings stretched the quads are naturally shortened-contracted but they want to "help" by energetically contracting further.  that is not necessary, wasteful interference in the business of maintaining the balance point.  the hams are supposed to stay relaxed in the stretch, the quads can just lie there quietly & relax.  eventually i learned how to do that & was able to get closer to hanging in the balance point.

there is that side leg stretch that starts with a wide 0,0,0 stance, procees to bend the knee of one leg while "i" keep my hand at the toe of the straight leg: the straight adductor stretches, the joints of the bent leg reveal their limitations.  i experienced the quads of the straight leg sympathetically contracted through all the phases of the stretch.  attempting to relax the quads yielded success with the right leg & maybe 90% on the left with more difficulty, that outer left hamstring is really tight in the tendon (months, years).

3. knealing on live toes - keeping the other toes spread so they don't fold over, ready be dislocated.  very gradually the ability to move the toes separately begins to emerge.  burning joints.

4. that burny spot on the upper outer left foot is going away.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

sweet spot

in each of my morning sessions there is an area that points itself out with stretchy-burny feelings as something that needs to be worked on.  base of neck, back of legs, that "adhesion" top outer distal left foot.  all of that leg-foot stuff seems to be ameliorating judged by less burn of lesser intensity.  been working those leg-feet aspects at least since february.

they had told me to "find my center" & in the first days had demonstrated for me that i did not have it.  "finding" it has been a kind of a swim in the dark, not knowing what there might be to bump into.  it is a platonic alignment of soles of feet, ankles, knees, pelvis, lumbar-thoracic spine, shoulders, neck, head in 3 dimensions.  the actual "center" does not correspond to any particular point inside the body, that point being the sum of the vectors of the various forces arrayed by the muscles around the joints.  if i flex/extend my knees there are the extremes of locked extension & the opposite where the flesh prevents further flexion, right in the middle of that range a narrower range "sweet spot" of maximum comfort, balance, least use of energy, same with all the other joints in the support structure. 

point being that when that sweet spot is noticed it can be returned to.  when returning from an extension i feel these days, if i'm slowed down enough, the joint goes into a sort of a settling "bump" when it hits the sweet spot.  i turn head to the side (leave shoulders still (-:) the neck bones slide up against each other as the turn proceeds, adding a teeny bit of height.  when the head goes back to 0,0,0 the neck loses that added height as each vertebra climbs off the high edge of the vertebra below it & descends into the pleasant valley of the "center."  like a plane landing, bump, like a ship come home to port.  sweet spot.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

pushing through

and i figured out morotetori kokyuho omote and ura and i got a rush of happy and immediately decided to reward my "self" with a run. c u later.

there are a limited number of things in those aikido techniques. face this or that way, each hand & foot in a given conformation. start facing this way, do this, do that, end facing that way. can do it with a checklist while learning, then its just practice to get better faster.

next day.

if i line my vision up with a given landmark I can always stand in the same place. taking that place immediately i saw a flush of falling leaves from the fungus infected big poplar tree i want to take down. i wondered if i could know the number of leaves i was seeing fall, maybe 20-odd, maybe 50.

in doing the head movements: the vertical extension-flexion can be done to try to get every vertebra to move in sequence. extension starts at the base of the neck & proceeds headward, flexion starts with the head & proceeds down to the base of the neck.

in bendover was very stiff this morning & i had to just stand there doing eye circles & such while the thick stuff of the low back stretched, did not get my fingers on the floor the first time.

a week later i demonstrated to my self the leon russell paradigm by going through all of the morning stretch & move stuff to the various competences & relaxations without getting the happy. that was sufficient to bring the happy into the personal zone. like in a dark room but i know where the bed is. i couldn't see it, the happy, but i knew it was there, in the blind spot, winking at me but the brain is covering it with the bad mood that's all around (