Internal Energy Workshop Session #2 by Gary Ohama was presented several times during October.
Session #2 focused on the placing of internal energy into the hands, and objects grasped/pushed/struck by the hands. To begin the new material, the internal physical dynamics of the hand grasp were presented (“Biomechanical & Breath Optimization of the Hand Grasp Technique,” Gary Ohama, Jan. 16, 2007, aikidojournal.com, Technical Forum Section.) The material in the article was presented with additional focus on the internal energy dynamics of using the hands for specific purposes or results. Grounded energy source vs. internal energy source vs. external ki/spirit source and the specific manifestations of each type of energy source was presented and related to tactical use (“Ueshiba and Timing: Pre-War vs. Post-War Technique,” Gary Ohama, Blog, aikidojournal.com, Jan. 14, 2009.) (“The Effects of Internal Connections on Physical Performance,” Gary Ohama, March 13, 2008, aikidojournal.com, Technical Forum.)
For example, grounded power is strong and powerful with stiff bone and muscle use. Cutting through is enhanced for most purposes. More flexible and fluid internal hara sources that are not grounded in their power source are more flexible, flowing, and less rigid in structure. Energy is more outwards than downwards in power direction. Power comes more from acceleration(Force equals Mass times Acceleration.) For punches, more attention needs to be placed on rigid wrists because the rigid bone structure is not as natural (ie. A broken wrist will result if the wrist bends during striking due to lack of rigidity.) However a plus is if a grounded stance is not available because of slippery conditions, steps, the need to keep continually moving in evasive tactics, etc., then the tactical option of an internal hara based power source or external aiki power source is a good option to have. External energy sources into the hands via going in under the fingernails was used as an example of totally external or “heaven” based energy. This is very light, flexible and soft. Evasive techniques and movements are controlled and fluid. When it comes to striking power it doesn’t seem to work well. Movement looks very esthetically pleasing though. In the performing arts there are more continuous applications.
Because the proof of the theories was in their practical applications, taking away the ability to be “grounded” and then proving what will produce effective striking power against a heavy punching bag was a major workshop activity. Workshop participants stood unbalanced on half round exercise platforms, clinging to punching bags with one arm while trying to stand on the bases, kneeling in seiza, and other stretched one knee down positions, etc. to self-demonstrate the specific application of power source options to tactical effectiveness while striking/punching at a heavy bag. (Back in the day, our dojo used to wet the mats with water to make them slippery and then do movements to verify if our body movements were correctly balanced and tactically viable. We do the Doshinkan Style Aikido of Yoshinkan Master Kancho Yukio Utada of Philadelphia, PA which is known for its traditional background and tactical viability. Weapons have unique qualities to their particular use. Kancho Utada’s Bokken, Jo, Tanto Kata with partner each have specific stance/ power sources and movements which relate to the kata’s proper maai “contact” distances. Fundamentals of his sword training uses the above-mentioned sword grip to create the proper energy flow within the body. It should be mentioned that Kancho Gozo Shioda’s “shukyu rokyu” energy is a combination of energies including kokyu/breath and he mentions that power is from the big toe.)
A Session #2 presented at a church went into the application of the same hand grasp energy and breath techniques for a power source in “therapeutic touch” or what is refered to as “laying on of hands.”