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#26 2009-04-13 11:55:51

chikuzen
Dai Shihan/Dokyoku
From: Cleveland Heights,OH 44118
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 401
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Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

Brian,  you're not one of the famous players I was talking about this time. I was looking around in the mornings during the Tamuke exercise and also watching as people were trying out flutes at the sellers stand upstairs.


Michael Chikuzen Gould

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#27 2009-04-13 12:03:34

radi0gnome
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From: Kingston NY
Registered: 2006-12-29
Posts: 1030
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Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

chikuzen wrote:

Brian,  you're not one of the famous players I was talking about this time. I was looking around in the mornings during the Tamuke exercise and also watching as people were trying out flutes at the sellers stand upstairs.

So does that mean belly-breathing with an expanded chest is still OK belly-breathing for shakuhachi? In your previous post it sounded like there was no chest involvement at all in Japanese belly-breathing.


"Now birds record new harmonie, And trees do whistle melodies;
Now everything that nature breeds, Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds."
~ Thomas Watson - England's Helicon ca 1580

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#28 2009-04-13 12:47:30

chikuzen
Dai Shihan/Dokyoku
From: Cleveland Heights,OH 44118
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 401
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Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

Sorry I've been gone a while and couldn't reply. Everything Lodro has mentioned so far is spot on with my understanding and experience of things. Except for the following:

Lodro wrote:

With qigong, taiji and the eastern tactile therapies one of the things we do is to encourage the natural flow of qi (through visualisation/tactile manipulation/movement) up the spine along the du meridian to the top of the head and then down the front of the body along the ren meridian where it joins up again with the upward motion thus creating a loop. This is one of the major circuits of qi in the body; the potential for using the Shakuhachi to stimulate the flow in this way is quite fascinating

.
     I was only taught to follow the line upwards from the inhalation through the nose, up across the head and down the spine , inwards to the dantien, pause, then back up through the mouth. If there are any reference books in English please direct us to them. It will save you a lot of time answering my questions. 



Lodro wrote:

With regard to the hara breathing, and this might sound a bit odd coming from the person here who is probably the least experienced player in the whole forum, but I would say that if you were to focus on the dantien (and here I'm not just talking about diaphragmatic breathing) whilst you're playing, then I believe it could make quite profound changes to your playing (please, I don't mean to judge any of your playing here either - I'm sure you're all wonderful players)

.

  Great advice. If people try it then they can learn how it's beneficial for themselves. Having this image in the mind is the first step. The image will work it's way inside you like cracking open a door. It may take a while to see the effect of the image but eventually it will help you open the door to see what's inside. Glenn's explanation is very clear too and should give people a lot to chew on. I think it may lead to some understanding of the relationship of KI and breath. However, if attention isn't given to the  development of the embouchure and it's bond with the shakuhachi then the transference of KI (energy) into sound (energy) will be less than what it could be.

Radiognome wrote:

I'm curious what Chikuzen's answer to this question will be. Although it's called diaphragmatic breathing, my understanding was that for both silver flute and voice the chest cavity should be kept expanded, similar to what is being demonstrated in these videos;

Radiognome, I think you misunderstood me. Actually, I learned from Taniguchi sensei about expanding the chest first by simply lifting it. The act of lifting it allows it to fill with air and then one keeps it immobilized while doing diaphragmatic breathing. My example was given in response to "What could be the ill effects of belly breathing" and was stating something I heard about getting the stale air out of the lungs when not playing the shakuhachi. I don't know about Japanese people compressing the lungs and belly breathing at all.
      I also had a conversation with another forum member well trained in these activities who explained to me that diaphragmatic breathing will push the stale air out of the bottom of the lungs better than trying to deflate the lungs and exhale it. That makes a lot of sense to me.

Last edited by chikuzen (2009-04-13 12:49:48)


Michael Chikuzen Gould

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#29 2009-04-13 13:02:16

Glenn Swann
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From: Central New Jersey
Registered: 2008-03-01
Posts: 151
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Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

"However, if attention isn't given to the  development of the embouchure and it's bond with the shakuhachi then the transference of KI (energy) into sound (energy) will be less than what it could be."

That is such an important point..... where technique/gongfu/practice comes into play.....

Lodro was describing, it seems to me, the microcosmic orbit
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcosmic_orbit

same way i was taught by my taiji teachers......


I followed rivers, I followed orders,I followed prophets, I followed leaders
I followed rivers, I followed highways,I followed conscience,
I followed dreamers... And I'm back here,
and I'm back here... At the edge of the sky       (New Model Army)

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#30 2009-04-13 18:07:17

Karmajampa
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From: Aotearoa (NZ)
Registered: 2006-02-12
Posts: 574
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Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

Interesting bunch of breath videos. The plot thickens.
I think the harmonica player demonstrates the effectiveness of diaphragmatic breathing  as it would apply to shakuhachi. Perhaps the fundamental difference lbetween transverse flute technique and shakuhachi technique supports the reason for developing different breathing technique.

Again, at the Festival, stan richardson suggests practicing blowing shakuhachi while lying on your back to develop abdominal breathing. He also mentioned how this also develops strength in our back muscles.

Kel.


Kia Kaha !

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#31 2009-04-13 23:30:09

Lodro
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From: Australia
Registered: 2009-04-02
Posts: 105

Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

Glenn Swann wrote:

Lodro was describing, it seems to me, the microcosmic orbit
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcosmic_orbit

Yes, the microcosmic orbit is what I was referring to.

Here's a quote from from Jerry Alan Johnson's 'Chinese Medical Qigong Therapy' Volume 1

"One of the functions of the Microcosmic Orbit is to connect the energetic and spiritual centres of the Three Dantians. Once an individual has been born, his or her Microcosmic orbit will naturally flow in the direction of the Water cycle, with the energy moving up the front of the body (Conception Vessel) and down the back (Governing Vessel). This energetic movement naturally facilitates the child's spiritual, intuitive, and psychic perceptions. This energetic pattern generally continues until the child reaches puberty, at which time the energy reverses its direction and flows up the back (Governing Vessel) and down the front (Conception Vessel) which is the direction of the Fire cycle. This energetic switch in direction facilitates the child's cognitive development and the ability to control emotions and impulses. The time of the Microcosmic Orbit's energetic reversal varies depending on the child's physical constitution, state of health, and his or her environment."


Each part of the body should be connected to every other part.

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#32 2009-04-14 00:18:47

Tairaku 太楽
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From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
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Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

chikuzen wrote:

Brian,  you're not one of the famous players I was talking about

Whaddya mean I'm not famous? wink




chikuzen wrote:

watching as people were trying out flutes at the sellers stand upstairs.

Man that was the only bad thing about the festival, all those honkers making racket you could hear in the recital halls not to mention the blowhards running through their "licks". It was the shakuhachi equivalent of walking into a music store and one guitarist is playing "Smoke on the Water" while another plays "Stairway to Heaven" and a bassist plays some crap like "Blister in the Sun". I hope the next festival has a soundproof room for flute sales or a separate building. Yuck!


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#33 2009-04-14 00:59:43

Karmajampa
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From: Aotearoa (NZ)
Registered: 2006-02-12
Posts: 574
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Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

Tairaku wrote:

chikuzen wrote:

Brian,  you're not one of the famous players I was talking about

Whaddya mean I'm not famous? wink




chikuzen wrote:

watching as people were trying out flutes at the sellers stand upstairs.

Man that was the only bad thing about the festival, all those honkers making racket you could hear in the recital halls not to mention the blowhards running through their "licks". It was the shakuhachi equivalent of walking into a music store and one guitarist is playing "Smoke on the Water" while another plays "Stairway to Heaven" and a bassist plays some crap like "Blister in the Sun". I hope the next festival has a soundproof room for flute sales or a separate building. Yuck!

Regarding the noise around the flute stalls, I agree to that, can't see how a flute could be auditioned inside that resonator.

Kel.


Kia Kaha !

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#34 2009-04-14 08:32:40

Glenn Swann
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From: Central New Jersey
Registered: 2008-03-01
Posts: 151
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Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

Lodro wrote:

Glenn Swann wrote:

Lodro was describing, it seems to me, the microcosmic orbit
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcosmic_orbit

Yes, the microcosmic orbit is what I was referring to.

Here's a quote from from Jerry Alan Johnson's 'Chinese Medical Qigong Therapy' Volume 1

"One of the functions of the Microcosmic Orbit is to connect the energetic and spiritual centres of the Three Dantians. Once an individual has been born, his or her Microcosmic orbit will naturally flow in the direction of the Water cycle, with the energy moving up the front of the body (Conception Vessel) and down the back (Governing Vessel). This energetic movement naturally facilitates the child's spiritual, intuitive, and psychic perceptions. This energetic pattern generally continues until the child reaches puberty, at which time the energy reverses its direction and flows up the back (Governing Vessel) and down the front (Conception Vessel) which is the direction of the Fire cycle. This energetic switch in direction facilitates the child's cognitive development and the ability to control emotions and impulses. The time of the Microcosmic Orbit's energetic reversal varies depending on the child's physical constitution, state of health, and his or her environment."

A book which describes microcosmic orbit in great detail, as well as immense amounts of info about the energetic, philosophical and mechanical workings of taiji, is Master Jou Tsung Hwa's classic "The Tao of Tai-chi Chuan".  Kind of required reading for serious taiji players, but i think edifying for anyone with an interest in qi and chinese philosophy.

btw, Lodro, have you ever come across the idea that the orbit for adult men is up the back down the front, but adult women maintain up the front down the back?

Also, i was thinking that the Aikdo misogi or "ki breathing" is another great way to conceive of qi/shakuhachi relationship, which could also be done with Kawase sensei's rising/falling idea. Andrew MacGregor's website has this-
http://www.japanworldmusic.com/misogi.htm
I've experimented with misogi breathing before. It's good stuff.


I followed rivers, I followed orders,I followed prophets, I followed leaders
I followed rivers, I followed highways,I followed conscience,
I followed dreamers... And I'm back here,
and I'm back here... At the edge of the sky       (New Model Army)

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#35 2009-04-14 10:45:47

Zakarius
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From: Taichung, TAIWAN
Registered: 2006-04-12
Posts: 361

Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

Glenn Swann wrote:

Also, i was thinking that the Aikdo misogi or "ki breathing" is another great way to conceive of qi/shakuhachi relationship, which could also be done with Kawase sensei's rising/falling idea. Andrew MacGregor's website has this-
http://www.japanworldmusic.com/misogi.htm
I've experimented with misogi breathing before. It's good stuff.

Thanks for that link -- good stuff, indeed.

The Root of Chinese Qigong by YANG Jwing-Ming has a good 25 pages on various breathing techniques.

It covers:
Natural Breathing
Chest Breathing
Normal Abdominal Breathing
Reverse Abdominal Breathing (the technique I tend to use in playing)
Holding the Breath Breathing
Full Inhale & Exhale Breathing (similar to the misogi technique mentioned above)
Body Breathing
Hands and Feet Breathing
Thread Breathing
Hibernation Breathing
Shen (Spiritual) Breathing
Real Breathing
Embryonic Breathing

I'd say it's a pretty good resource on breathing & its effect on one's Qi (Ki).

Zak


塵も積もれば山となる -- "Chiri mo tsumoreba yama to naru." -- Piled-up specks of dust become a mountain.

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#36 2009-04-21 22:26:04

Lodro
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2009-04-02
Posts: 105

Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

Glenn Swann wrote:

btw, Lodro, have you ever come across the idea that the orbit for adult men is up the back down the front, but adult women maintain up the front down the back?

No I hadn't heard of that one, maybe it comes from the concept of women being yin and men yang. This might lead to the possibility of women retaining the natural yin yang flow. Whereas men, who as children tend to maintain that nice yin thing until they reach puberty, might well require that reversal of flow in order to become what they are - I don't know, just vaguely hypothesising. Interesting.


Each part of the body should be connected to every other part.

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#37 2009-04-28 14:31:32

lowonthetotem
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From: Cape Coral, FL
Registered: 2008-04-05
Posts: 529
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Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

bassist plays some crap like "Blister in the Sun".

What tard would be playing that hacky bit?  You're right it must have been hell. wink


"Turn like a wheel inside a wheel."

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#38 2009-05-01 03:37:06

sasabuki
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Registered: 2008-07-18
Posts: 4

Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

Hello everyone, I would just like to scotch a rumour that I heard- that there were no Shakuhachi players in Adelaide. Well my friend Ray Mercer and I played at the Art Gallery of S.A. on Sunday 26th April and it went well. We both study with Michael Gould. I find his teaching excellent. We are also playing at Japan Australia Friendship Society's children's day on Sunday 3rd May at Cowandilla Primary School, around 2.30pm and will be playing a number of "vingettes" around the place before this on stage presentation. We will be exercising ALL of our meridians certainly, and blowing sweetly we hope. Our repertoire consists at present of  several Honkyoku and a number of Min'yo folk tunes, a duet and and a solo each.

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#39 2009-05-01 03:55:20

sasabuki
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Registered: 2008-07-18
Posts: 4

Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

Re breathing- the best tips I got after most of the aforementioned were from Akikazu Nakamura's workshop on "Missoku" at WSF08. Absolutely indispensible and goes much deeper into the hithertofore esoteric secrets of the monks and the master shakuhachi players.

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#40 2009-05-01 04:17:42

Lodro
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From: Australia
Registered: 2009-04-02
Posts: 105

Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

sasabuki wrote:

Hello everyone, I would just like to scotch a rumour that I heard- that there were no Shakuhachi players in Adelaide.

That makes 3 of us now that I know of, I'm an Adelaide person too.

sasabuki wrote:

We are also playing at Japan Australia Friendship Society's children's day on Sunday 3rd May at Cowandilla Primary School, around 2.30pm

Going to miss that one as I'm working at the East End Markets massage stall that day. I'll try to catch you guys another time

Last edited by Lodro (2009-05-01 04:19:02)


Each part of the body should be connected to every other part.

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#41 2009-05-01 05:11:54

Lodro
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From: Australia
Registered: 2009-04-02
Posts: 105

Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

Lodro wrote:

That makes 3 of us now that I know of, I'm an Adelaide person too.

Actually make that 4, I'd forgotten about composer extrordinaire and shakuhachi player David Kotlowy, even though technically he's not in Adelaide at the moment.


Each part of the body should be connected to every other part.

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#42 2009-05-01 05:58:19

Tairaku 太楽
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From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3206
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Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

Don't know about the shakuhachi scene in Adelaide, but the best steak in Australia is at Gaucho's on Gouger St. cool

And if you haven't been there yet you must go to South Australia Art Gallery and see "Japanese Art from Australian Collections". It's massive and they even have an Enku sculpture. Wow!

That would be a good day. Art museum and then a juicy steak. Think I'll hop on a plane.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#43 2009-05-01 20:29:06

chikuzen
Dai Shihan/Dokyoku
From: Cleveland Heights,OH 44118
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 401
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Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

Sasabuki wrote:

Re breathing- the best tips I got after most of the aforementioned were from Akikazu Nakamura's workshop on "Missoku" at WSF08. Absolutely indispensible and goes much deeper into the hithertofore esoteric secrets of the monks and the master shakuhachi players.

.
   Any way we can get the details of that lecture?


Michael Chikuzen Gould

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#44 2009-06-30 15:54:47

Matt Lyon
Member
From: North Eastern Oregon
Registered: 2009-06-30
Posts: 92

Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

Hey all,

In an unrelated conversation I was talking to my wife, who is a nurse, and the topic came to pursed lip breathing. It relates to getting out "stale air" and I think adds to the discussion so I will drag up this older thread.

Here is a link to help explain:   http://www.mothernature.com/Library/Boo … /19/82.cfm

Pursed lips provide a little resistance that maintains air pressure in airways. "That keeps the airways from collapsing before air has left the lungs, which can happen in people with emphysema," says Dr. Wenzel. "That's what traps stale air in the lungs and makes it even harder to breathe."  --- Copied from the last paragraph in the link above.


To me it sounds like proper posture and shaku breathing is conducive to emptying out the lungs and getting as full of a breath when playing as possible.

Matt

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#45 2009-07-01 04:06:56

Ambi
Member
From: Leeds UK
Registered: 2006-06-22
Posts: 108

Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

Thanks for reviving this very interesting thread.
Years ago I studied (the somewhat contentious) Lee style Tai Chi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_style_tai_chi_chuan) which places a great deal of emphasis on breathing control. (Dao Yin)
One of the basic exercises was "three section" breathing - from empty fill lower abdomen, then upper abdomen, then chest, (pause) exhale in reverse order.
Another more standard feature was the use of sounds while breathing out , chiefly a hissing Sssss sound, said to be associated with the lungs ( see "The way of Harmony" by Howard Reid). The sounds are produced by a sort of "partial lock" on the breath providing a resistance for the breath has to push against, the Sssss lock is at the front of the mouth and very similar to the pursed lip exercise Matt brought up (thanks Matt).

Glenn I would be very grateful if you could expand on your comment of Shakuhachi breathing being "a sort of modified reverse abdominal" - modified how?

And don't forget folks -  a teacher is really necessary for practise of these breathing exercises, believe me I've
experience of one of the things that can happen if you go wrong:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemorrhoids


"The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."

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#46 2009-07-01 07:51:13

Lodro
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From: Australia
Registered: 2009-04-02
Posts: 105

Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

Sound and Chakras

The Crown chakra resonates to pitch B
The Brow chakra resonates to pitch A
The Throat chakra resonates to pitch G
The Heart chakra resonates to pitch F
The Solar Plexus chakra resonates to pitch E
The Sacral chakra resonates to pitch D
The Base chakra resonates to pitch C

From 'Healing with the Chakra Energy System' - John R. Cross

Sounds a tad too convenient to me and nicely based on the C Major scale (or modal). Maybe that's so that even the beginner player can heal themselves hmm


Each part of the body should be connected to every other part.

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#47 2009-07-01 09:35:37

lowonthetotem
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From: Cape Coral, FL
Registered: 2008-04-05
Posts: 529
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Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

There are several interpretation of the Chakras.  Many Chinese systems equate them with Primal Elements, I believe.  Another, more anatomical, approach equates them to glands within the body, rather than organs, so the heart chakra actually is related strongly to the Thymus.  The thymus pumps the lymph system out and is central to our immunity and cell regeneration.  Deep breathing, as well as cardiovascular exercise, mashes the thymus between the lungs and the rib cage, pumping it much like another heart.  In this regard all playing, whatever the note will stimulate this "Chakra."  Deep breathing and labored breathing also massages the intestines and digestive organs as the diaphram expands and descends into the abdominal cavity, compressing it.

Do you think "playing" different notes on a flute can really vibrate within your body?  The effect would seem much more profound from singing or chanting.


"Turn like a wheel inside a wheel."

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#48 2009-07-01 10:09:57

Ambi
Member
From: Leeds UK
Registered: 2006-06-22
Posts: 108

Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

I didn't want to sound more expert than I am,  but rather than pitches I think the "sounds" equate more to different locks, So Ssss (lungs) is a lock in the lips\teeth\tongue-tip (and the only one I've actually been taught to use). The others I have written for use with "the four directions" exercise are:
FU: Kidneys
SHU: Liver
HA: Heart
HU: Spleen
SHI: Solar Plexus

I interpret this as moving the lock further back along the path of the breath. I've seen so many different chakra systems (positions\numbers), that I don't really follow any.
I've experimented enough to know how making these sounds feels TO ME - but I'm loath to actually use them in a sustained "effortfull" way without supervision (See previous post!)
I've was always struck by the way that the same  4 directions set of movements can be used in completely different ways depending on context.
I'd like to get more shakuhachi lessons than I do, but circumstances are not good at the moment - But I think I'm less likely to "do myself an injury" with long tones, than microcosmic orbits.

Truism - books can't teach. only remind of what you already know.

Anyone else listening for "one wiser than all the sages"?


"The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."

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#49 2009-07-01 17:33:59

edosan
Edomologist
From: Salt Lake City
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 2185

Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

Jeez, who knew that the Ji-gnashi thread could transmogrify itself into the Qi-gnashi thread?  smile


Zen is not easy.
It takes effort to attain nothingness.
And then what do you have?
Bupkes.

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#50 2009-07-01 19:17:53

Tairaku 太楽
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From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3206
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Re: Qi (Ki) and playing the Shakuhachi

edosan wrote:

Jeez, who knew that the Ji-gnashi thread could transmogrify itself into the Qi-gnashi thread?  smile

HATEMONGER!

Lodro wrote:

Sound and Chakras

The Crown chakra resonates to pitch B
The Brow chakra resonates to pitch A
The Throat chakra resonates to pitch G
The Heart chakra resonates to pitch F
The Solar Plexus chakra resonates to pitch E
The Sacral chakra resonates to pitch D
The Base chakra resonates to pitch C

From 'Healing with the Chakra Energy System' - John R. Cross

Sounds a tad too convenient to me and nicely based on the C Major scale (or modal). Maybe that's so that even the beginner player can heal themselves hmm

I find it hard to believe that the chakras want to follow western equal tempered scales. Anyway who says that the chakras in different people resonate at the same frequency?

Doubtful.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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