022) Genkido: Swinging Exercise: Week of January 26, 2009
We began our journey into exploring the importance of Genkido exercises last week. This week, I would like to focus on a exercise that I created through the synthesis of some of the work that others have shared with me. This exercise allows us to explore the use of centripetal rotation and the issue of where our movement begins.
This exercise has two components to it. First, we allow our bodies to rotate by allowing one hip to relax backwards so that we create spinal rotation without tension-based torque. We then allow the other hip that is now twisted forwards to relax backwards. The second part is that the arm on the opposite side of the hip that relaxes, swings upwards. We can observe proper arm swinging by allowing your arms to swing upward while keeping our arm and shoulder muscles relaxed. It is surprising that what our body knows how to do easily, is quickly undone by our tendency to want to create this movement by tensing our arm and shoulder muscles.
We test this exercise by putting an arm in front of the swinging arm. The first thing that we find out is that if we are not standing upright (we typically stand with a lean backwards), when we start to encounter the arm in front of us, we are propelled backwards. When our posture is correct, what we discover is that we shift what we are doing when we believe that we need to force movement in order to move the arm in front of us out of the way. We also start to force our hips to twist forwards. We also tend to force our arms upwards. Both of these actions will force us backwards. If we put all of these pieces together properly, we find that the person in front of us can not stop our arms from swinging upwards.
The arm swings are actually a slight modification of the arm motion in Ikkyo-undo! the only real difference is that our palms are facing downwards the entire time. The hip movement actually creates a centripetal rotational energy. The arm and hip motions combine allow us to release a significant amount of internal energy, preventing the other person from receiving tension-based feedback that allows the person to react effectively to our movements.
We will spend this week exploring how prevalent this type of movement is involved in the execution of many Aikido techniques.
Marc Abrams Sensei