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Judo Tanren? Rate Topic: ***-- 2 Votes

#1 User is offline   Doctor Horrible 

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 03:04 AM

In several Japanese martial arts, there exists a concept of Tanren, or stance holding / breathing training (amongst other things) in order to strengthen the body.

In your experience, are there any accounts of Japanese judoka doing likewise stance holding / breath training?
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#2 User is offline   genetic judoka 

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 03:48 AM

does the plank position count?
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#3 User is offline   Doctor Horrible 

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 03:51 AM

View Postgenetic judoka, on 10 November 2011 - 03:48 AM, said:

does the plank position count?


Technically it could, yes, but I'd need more information / context to be sure :)

Do you have an instance of someone from Japan (let's say, the Kodokan) specifically extolling the virtues of plank holding? Or holding other postures to improve strength?

This post has been edited by Doctor Horrible: 10 November 2011 - 03:53 AM

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#4 User is offline   Cichorei Kano 

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 06:47 AM

View PostDoctor Horrible, on 10 November 2011 - 12:04 PM, said:

In several Japanese martial arts, there exists a concept of Tanren, or stance holding / breathing training (amongst other things) in order to strengthen the body.

In your experience, are there any accounts of Japanese judoka doing likewise stance holding / breath training?


Perhaps you will not find my response satisfactory, but here is it anywy.

There are a lot of things that exist in jûdô, that is in its complete curriculum. Kanô-shihan realized, not in the beginning, but certainly later in his career, that there are several stages in jûdô education. To put it simple, education is a lifelong commitment. Many of these values only are part of the very advanced stages of jûdô. These were, for obvious reasons, never really taught in the West. When Kanô died, the jûdô level in the West was way too low to be much involved with these advanced levels. As Kanô's own direct students started dying out, these values seemed to move even more and more to the back rows.

To go back to your question, when a person is in his prime to be competitive in jûdô fighting and randori, his educational stage in jûdô is typically far too low to be concerned with many of these advanced values. This is not meant in a bad way. It is far more useful and efficient at that stage to train in the way he can and does that maximizes his competitive results. Kanô-shihan himself, for example, by the time he had turned 40 years old had quit doing randori forever. In that what he still did in jûdô outside of some teaching, he focused very much on those advanced levels. Those who migrated in his immediate surroundings obviously benefitted from that. You can still see perceive that in some of the conversations of Fukuda Keiko. Even though she had at most merely 3 years of jûdô practice when Kanô-shihan died, the way she talks about 'jû' in jûdô is very unique, clearly from a time long gone, but with a freshness and insight we can only hope to develop ourselves.

To kind of summarize it, there is almost a mismatch in the readiness for the type of training you mention and one's time in jûdô and one's age. It is true that in some other arts, such training does occur at much younger age, and earlier stages in training, so there most certainly is not an absoluteness that makes such impossible. It has simply and mostly to do with the way how the curriculum is typically built up. You can, for example, as a jûdô teacher certainly decided to deviate very far from the ordinary jûdô teaching curriculum and attempt to focus on that from the start, but the likely risk is it won't fly, because jûdô students tend to be comparative; they tend to speculate about how much jûdô they should know by that stage and whether they can beat so and so, and would be a good as X from this or that club. By deviating seriously from standard jûdô curriculum, yes, you may be able to teach them important values and skills, but likely values and skills they will not be able to appreciate until much, much later, and by that time they may have long quit.
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#5 User is offline   Doctor Horrible 

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 02:14 PM

Interesting comments, CK. If true, the absence of Tanren as foundational training would make Judo somewhat of an oddity among Japanese arts. Heck, it would make it somewhat of an oddity among Asian martial arts, full stop.

Quote

To go back to your question, when a person is in his prime to be competitive in jûdô fighting and randori, his educational stage in jûdô is typically far too low to be concerned with many of these advanced values.


Well, as the apothegm goes - "Too soon, old. Too late, smart" ;wry)

In any case, can you can say a little more about what constitutes Judo Tanren? It would be interesting to cross-compare, historically, with Judo's progenitor arts etc

This post has been edited by Doctor Horrible: 13 November 2011 - 02:20 PM

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#6 User is offline   Jon Z 

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 02:22 AM

View PostCichorei Kano, on 13 November 2011 - 03:57 PM, said:

Regarding your question ... for some (limited) information about such training as well as importance of the tanden, refer to, especially Feldenkrais: Feldenkrais moshe, Beringer Elizabeth Beringer: The Collected Papers of Moshe Feldenkrais. Feldenkrais refers, inter alia, to such instruction given by Koizumi [Caveat: Koizumi was not originally from Kôdôkan, but 'imported' in it].

Some JudoForum members, such as notably wdax, NBK, and myself have written about the topic, mostly in the context of an advanced jûdô exercise called Koshiki-no-kata [caveat: this exercise is also not original Kôdôkan jûdô]:

http://judoforum.com...12&#entry613412

http://judoforum.com...24&#entry582924

There also exists published research on the topic:

“Tanden” Focus of Attention Affects Postural Control - 武道のおける伝統てきな言語教示を用いた注意の焦点化が in 時の静的平衡能に及ぼす影響 (Budôgaku Kenkyû), Feb 2009, pp. 25-34

Abstract


" 'Tanden', is a Japanese term of the lower abdominal region below the navel, is believed in oriental physical arts to be etermely important in maintaining vitality, staying calm, and taking rational action. In this paper, we examine whether the “Tanden” focus of attention exerts an influence on postural control. The effectiveness of this “Tanden” focus of attention on postural control is estimated by observing the equilibrium of subjects tasked with standing upright while following different sets of instructions. Four groups of subjects are instructed to stand still with minimal body sway while standing on a force-plate system that measures their center of pressure (COP).

Each group is given different instructions. One group focuses on markers placed 26cm away from the middle line of the force plate (external focus), a second group focuses on their feet (internal focus), and the theird on their “Tanden” (internal focus). The control group is given no specific focus instructions. The parameters of equilibrium are the length of COP, average velocity of COP, and ellipse area of COP.

The results show: 1) The length of COP is significantly shorter (p<0.05) in the “Tanden” focus group than in the feet focu group and the control group. 2) The average velocity of COP is significantly slower (p<0.05) in the “Tanden” focus group than in the feet-focus group and the control group. 3) In the ellipse area of COP, there no difference among the four groups.

These results suggest that “Tanden” focus of attention attenuates body sway." (...)


In your reflections, do consider that jûdô has evolved far more than any other Japanese budô and away from the ideas of its founder, essentially from a pedagogical system to an Olympic sport, with even the clothing completely changed. This is not so that that extent in either aikidô, karate-dô, kyûdô, jûkendô. In that context it is not surprising that training in jûdô has changed so much. After all, probably even the majority of jûdôka today train in function of objectives completely different from those established by its founder. Some of these evolutions are a consequence of what probably could be termed a "maturity process" in jûdô which would apply to some of the evolution we have seen in women's jûdô, away from instruction that was still considerably affected by paternalistic attitudes (leading to instruction focused on keeping women's bodies as healthy as possible in function of procreation, and on etiquette in function of "proper behavior", partly one of 'servitude').


CK – Dr. H. is asking about ‘tanren’ 鍛錬 not ‘tanden’ 丹田.

Dr. H.—Tanren is extremely widely used in early judo books (really through the war). Here is one example from Munakata Itsurō’s 1913 _Jūdō_ but there are many others.
http://kindai.da.ndl...p/pid/936789/12

The phrase in Munakata’s text is “Jūdō wa shinshin tanren no michi de aru”, “Jūdō is the way of training the body and mind.”

I'm not sure whether it's used much in judo contexts today or not (some of the people living and training in Japan like SugataSanshiro, NBK, and Budoka could answer that). If it's not, my guess (an educated guess but still a guess) is that terms like this are overly identified with a kind of fascistic biopolitics in the 30s and 40s (WDax recently touched on this in a very, very good post in the kata section) and judo has simply moved away from this. When this stuff comes up judo people are generally uncomfortable and a little embarrassed. Why you don't see it in English discussions of judo is probably that judo was always intended to be scientific and so assumed that vocabulary could be translated transparently without retaining words with a kind of mystical aura. Think Freud: in German Ego is just Ich so it really should be translated as ‘I’ but Strachey wanted to give these terms a kind of esoteric ring and so we now have Ego and Id instead of I and It in English. Similar things happen with Japanese vocab when some things are made needlessly esoteric. Kanō was actually centrally concerned with translating the metaphysical language of jujutsu into a scientific 'universal' idiom, so very much the opposite.

Two interesting notes: Freud (1856-1939) and Kanō (1860-1938) are almost exact contemporaries. Does this mean anything? Not really but it helps to put Kano in a broader intellectual context which is too often forgotten.

And a late 16th-century Latin-Portuguese-Japanese dictionary gives ‘tanren’ as a Japanese translation of gymnas (*羅葡日辞書〔1595〕「Gymnas 〈略〉Taren (タンレン)、レンマ、ケイコ」). Gymnastics, for its part, is imported to Japan in the 1860s and 1870s and is most often referred to as taisō which is a word found often in Kanō’s early writing on judo (from the 1880s). Also, a synonym for ‘tanren’in the 16th-c. dictionary is ‘keiko’ which was of course still very widely used to refer to judo practice.

Cheers,
Jon Z
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#7 User is offline   Jon Z 

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 02:53 AM

Where did CK's post go? This seems to happen a lot with his posts...
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#8 User is offline   Cichorei Kano 

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 03:08 AM

Thanks for pointing out my error, and for the additional valuable info, Jon. :manoyes:

"Doctor Horrible",

In addition to Jon's info, I mention that Kanô himself in Sakkô 9,1 of 1930 talks about shintai no tanren 身体の鍛練.

This post has been edited by Cichorei Kano: 14 November 2011 - 03:08 AM

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#9 User is offline   NBK 

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 05:12 AM

View PostDoctor Horrible, on 10 November 2011 - 12:04 PM, said:

In several Japanese martial arts, there exists a concept of Tanren, or stance holding / breathing training (amongst other things) in order to strengthen the body.

In your experience, are there any accounts of Japanese judoka doing likewise stance holding / breath training?

First, may I ask where you learned that tanren is 'stance holding / breathing training'? Seriously, I'm curious. It is always interesting to see how things morph out of recognition.

Second, are you ready to unlearn that? I will not ask the cost to you.

As both Jon and my little friend CK suggest, tanren has a broader meaning than you cite, one used very commonly prewar. Here's one definition:

鍛錬 たんれん tempering; forging; hardening; disciplining; training




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#10 User is offline   Doctor Horrible 

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 04:30 PM

View PostNBK, on 14 November 2011 - 05:12 AM, said:

First, may I ask where you learned that tanren is 'stance holding / breathing training'? Seriously, I'm curious. It is always interesting to see how things morph out of recognition.


Well hang on though, that's not quite what I said, if you look at it in full.

Quote

In several Japanese martial arts, there exists a concept of Tanren, or stance holding / breathing training (amongst other things)


So, there’s more to what I wrote then you’re implying with your quote of me


Quote

Second, are you ready to unlearn that? I will not ask the cost to you.

As both Jon and my little friend CK suggest, tanren has a broader meaning than you cite, one used very commonly prewar. Here's one definition:

鍛錬 たんれん tempering; forging; hardening; disciplining; training




Well, definitions are useful and all, but perhaps only so far. Ie: the literal definition is sometimes not the nuanced one.

My understanding is that the implication of Tanren (in arts like Aikido, Kendo, Karate etc) equates to something closer to “basic strengthening requirement” or “conditioning exercises”. Think of something like Aikido’s Tanren bo, which involves holding a heavy suburito for periods of time, swinging it around whilst maintaining correct usage and so on.

Curious to note if anything like that (heavy implement or no) has been recorded in judo

This post has been edited by Doctor Horrible: 14 November 2011 - 04:37 PM

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#11 User is offline   Taigyo 

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 07:58 PM

View PostDoctor Horrible, on 14 November 2011 - 04:30 PM, said:

Well hang on though, that's not quite what I said, if you look at it in full.



So, there’s more to what I wrote then you’re implying with your quote of me




Well, definitions are useful and all, but perhaps only so far. Ie: the literal definition is sometimes not the nuanced one.

My understanding is that the implication of Tanren (in arts like Aikido, Kendo, Karate etc) equates to something closer to “basic strengthening requirement” or “conditioning exercises”. Think of something like Aikido’s Tanren bo, which involves holding a heavy suburito for periods of time, swinging it around whilst maintaining correct usage and so on.

Curious to note if anything like that (heavy implement or no) has been recorded in judo

Yeah, but we typically call the heavy implement "uke"
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#12 User is offline   NBK 

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 12:11 AM

View PostDoctor Horrible, on 15 November 2011 - 01:30 AM, said:

Well hang on though, that's not quite what I said, if you look at it in full.

So, there’s more to what I wrote then you’re implying with your quote of me

Well, definitions are useful and all, but perhaps only so far. Ie: the literal definition is sometimes not the nuanced one.

My understanding is that the implication of Tanren (in arts like Aikido, Kendo, Karate etc) equates to something closer to “basic strengthening requirement” or “conditioning exercises”. Think of something like Aikido’s Tanren bo, which involves holding a heavy suburito for periods of time, swinging it around whilst maintaining correct usage and so on.

Curious to note if anything like that (heavy implement or no) has been recorded in judo
Perhaps your computer does not display what mine does.

View PostDoctor Horrible, on 10 November 2011 - 12:04 PM, said:

In several Japanese martial arts, there exists a concept of Tanren, or stance holding / breathing training (amongst other things) in order to strengthen the body.

In your experience, are there any accounts of Japanese judoka doing likewise stance holding / breath training?

Full quote. Full stop. Stance holding / breath training twice. Not sure how that is a misquote. But I'm not an English major.

View PostTaigyo, on 15 November 2011 - 04:58 AM, said:

Yeah, but we typically call the heavy implement "uke"

Big Fish is right.

One of the appeals intentionally honed by judo from its earliest days in its attempts to spread its practice was that it required minimal equipment and special areas, only a pairing of tori and uke. The body conditioning in judo is primarily uchikomi, constant repetition of motions. But watch this, note how uke is lifted off his heels every repetition. That's quite a bit of weight each rep, and in pretty unique angles for tori's hikite. Shoulder subluxation is not conducive for some of those angles.



Bare in mind that in prewar days, martial arts training was mandatory for all able (not just able-bodied....) children. In the earliest days of modern Japan, the schools were often very poorly equipped, and judo was planned to use absolutely minimal equipment. No weights, no mats.

In many of these mass instruction school programs, there was no actual throwing for the first year or two, just uchikomi and kata. And kicks, punches, kumu, and other warming up exercises. I have extensive prewar judo course books that even show you how to fashion chest harnesses from a small cloth to wrap around childrens' shoulders to give purchase for uchikomi so that kids don't have to even have gi. Others showed moms how to fashion homemade gi for school.

Here's a pic of how to tie the tasuki.

Attached Image


(and incidentally no fancy armor and engagement in school kendo - the first year or two was simply cut cut slash slash thrust thrust with a bokken or stick. Start with the Imperial Kendo Kata and a sword. Very nice!)

That was mainstream judo, mass training. Surely there were splinter groups that brought in other disciplines' practices for conditioning (tanren) but not as mainstream judo. See the almost endless discussions of ki someplace else herein in the fruitless effort to find something else. AFAIK there was never any bars, weighted jars, etc. That came with karate from Okinawa, and looks a lot like certain Chinese styles' training.

Seiryoku Zen'yo Kokumin Taiiku was the next step in physical training. Including more kicks and punches.

IIRC serious weight training didn't show up in judo until the 1950's. Someone else will know, that's sport judo postwar, and has not much to do with original judo.


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#13 User is offline   Doctor Horrible 

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 03:52 AM

View PostNBK, on 15 November 2011 - 12:11 AM, said:

Perhaps your computer does not display what mine does.


Funny....I could say the same to you in return <_<

Quote

In several Japanese martial arts, there exists a concept of Tanren, or stance holding / breathing training (amongst other things)


But let's not quibble over attempts at mind reading. Instead, here's an interesting picture of Kano.

Posted Image

I'd like to read your analysis of what (and why) Kano is doing that. To me it looks a lot like the tensioning / position holding practices seen in many other JMA/CMA throughout Asia.

This post has been edited by Doctor Horrible: 16 November 2011 - 03:56 AM

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#14 User is offline   Jon Z 

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 05:04 AM

View PostDoctor Horrible, on 15 November 2011 - 10:52 PM, said:


Posted Image

I'd like to read your analysis of what (and why) Kano is doing that. To me it looks a lot like the tensioning / position holding practices seen in many other JMA/CMA throughout Asia.

Hi Dr. H --

There is a longish thread that begins here that contains NBK's analysis of this image as well as thoughts from a number of other poeple:

http://JudoForum.com...post__p__530805

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#15 User is offline   NBK 

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 08:36 AM

View PostDoctor Horrible, on 16 November 2011 - 12:52 PM, said:

Funny....I could say the same to you in return <_<

But let's not quibble over attempts at mind reading. Instead, here's an interesting picture of Kano.

Posted Image

I'd like to read your analysis of what (and why) Kano is doing that. To me it looks a lot like the tensioning / position holding practices seen in many other JMA/CMA throughout Asia.


That is a very interesting picture, but Jon Z provided a link to my analysis as it evolved. I provided what I think to be a serious, informative outline of tanren in the early days of judo only to find your question is a stalking horse this?? :rolly:

In short, I think any explanation of that photo to be Kano shihan practicing some esoteric training simply to be a canard.

But that is only a theory with some circumstantial support.

So, please, elaborate on what you think you see.
If you could provide a viable alternative explanation supported by any direct, supporting evidence (therefore probably only available in prewar Japanese), that would be great!

Thanks,



PS - honestly, H, guys a lot smarter than I know of no such practices in judo from its earliest days. That does not mean that no judoka ever practiced such, or certain instructors taught such from time to time, just that mainstream judo, as defined by Kano and his immediate students / leaders of early days of the Kodokan, does not seem to contain them. Any evidence to the contrary would be very interesting, and welcome.

If you read on 'ki' herein, you can get a sense of the outlines of the discussion and the scope of the search for these practices. 'kokyu' is another search term. Check it out!

PPS - Unless of course of course I CAN read minds and you ARE channeling our own Mike Sigman! In that case, forget it! :lol:


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