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Sacred Geometry and the Art of Movement


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#1 Spectrum

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 01:07 PM

Saw a recent thread on Healing Dao Forums encapsulating some sacred geometry into the healing dao framework of reality.

It got me thinking and felt I wanted to share some developments of a Sifu I had the honor of studying w/ off and on for the last few years.

Healing Tao Sacred Geometry Reference Link:

http://forum.healing.../message/11801\

The link explores various relationships of geometry and harmonics and makes some interesting notes oriented around the Fibonacci sequence essentially translating into the Golden Mean or Golden Proportion.

While I was visiting Hawaii on a training trip a few years ago I met Sifu Rob Moses. Rob has a background in Shaolin styles, being an accomplished practitioner under Sifu Kam Yuen (who's now WAY into energy work), his primary system of movement was the Praying Mantis system, but honestly he's a true lover of movement, very eclectic and coached David Caradine for many years (was onsite for KillBill) after Kam Yuen retired from the martial arts / movie scene.

Regardless of the endless tagents on history and style, my travel companion and I had the honor of both sitting down and visiting w/ Rob on a few occasions and training w/ him while on big island visiting our Sei Gung.

Sifu Rob had some things to share w/ us about Sacred Geometry and what he feels is the future of evolutionary movement, namely the Golden Mean; humanities relationship to form and function, the nature of stillness, gravity and relaxation, among other things. He was very gracious and let us take some video of him demonstrating various aspects of Proportionally "harmonic" (inserted by me) Movement using one of his Golden Mean sticks called "Sphere Knot".

Sphere Knot Example: (looks like from boyant sphere to squiggily line... )



Sifu Rob is the first to say that he is not a proponent of what he calls "bloodshed imagery" in the martial arts, instead he's telling everyone around him about the endless possibilities contained in the spirals of the Golden Proportion.

When I first met him in 2000 he had constructed a rather large spiral staff that was a perfect fibonacci spiral to the 5th sequence. It was about 40in in length. I've never seen anything like it. He's experimental to the extreme in the true spirit of seeking. He demonstrated to us a number of inventions oriented around "martial physics" in which he explained, exclaimed and expounded to us that Sacred Geometry was the single guiding connective thread between all the various principles and movements of all forms of human movement and expression. During one of our evening visits between Allan Holdsworth guitar rifts Rob talked to us about human movement, it's relationship to the double tetrahedron ala icosahedron and the likes of natural "exaust points" within the "ma".

Of particular interest to myself (as I live near the coast) was one of his inventions called the "quiller bee" which is basically a wing with a handle to fly in the wind. At first glance it seems simple, on second, the geometry of note is the geometry of a feather, phi , on the third... it flies.... and GOOD. I've never held anything like it before. I've taken one out in 25 knot winds and am most impressed with it's qualities. It's great for rounding off the edges of any sword work, and seriously tests your follow-through. The wind propels every movement you make w/ it. I've never felt a "weapon" float in my hand like this, and honestly I think it's due to the proportion used to make it.

Quiller Bee Experimental Demo:



Since then he's sent me a number of smaller versions to experiement with and reflect on, always with a sense of humor that he egged us on, c'mon, experiment, it's not just about punching, there's so much more! It was hard not to move around him, he's got a great sense of humor cracking us up all the while telling us how all the Classical styles are connected by the Golden Proportion by default of the human form. Think "asthetics of art".

Regardless of the theoretical opinions surrounding the Golden Proportion and it's mystical or mathematical significance, Sifu Rob sticks in my mind as a man w/ passion to share something. Something that he says is bigger then him....

Of particular note was a conversation we had about "forms". He response was "After all these years, I don't feel like moving the same way twice..." I have to agree. I think I got some of this on video, I will have to look around. It was fascinating conversation. At one point during a practice session we observed Rob moving for upwards of 45 min straight, not moving the same way twice... ? Impossible? Rob swears it's not when you moving w/ Phi. While at first struggling w/ the opitical illusion effect of Rob moving like the bent pencil trick in school.... surprisingly enough this bent pencil effect is with a solid; curved to the Golden Proportion.



Anyways I think it's a wonderful way to introduce someone to free forms of movement, sacred geometry, or otherwise.... my wife is experimenting with a version for use during yoga, she says "it's got just the right curve...." I agree. There is something to Phi.

Just sharing the Aloha; I feel there's no wrong way here, movement is beautifully expressive. Keep breathing w/ the ebb and flow of the endless cycles and spirals. I miss this guy, he's hilarious and potentially enlightening.

Spectrum

Edited by Spectrum, 26 January 2007 - 01:34 PM.

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#2 Japhy Ryder

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 10:18 AM

W-o-w! Thanks for taking the time to post these stories and the video links. Sifu Moses uses that Golden Mean stick like a souped-up taichi ruler.

I've spent most of my life immersed in (and, I see now, circumscribed by) various types of highly patterned movements (weight lifting and running, mostly). Now that I've practiced qigong for awhile, I'm feeling a strong desire/need to "not move the same way twice."

Another proponent of unpatterened, liberated, liberating movement (as opposed to exercise) is Frank Forencich, author of several books on the subject. I just read his latest book, The Exuberant Animal, which is both entertaining and endlessly thought-provoking. Here's a link to his website: http://www.goanimal.com/index.html.
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#3 Japhy Ryder

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 09:08 AM

Hey Spectrum:

The videos you posted, as well as the stuff on Sifu Moses' website, is AMAZING! I keep returning to it, and now I'm wondering whether one needs a background in sword forms to be able to use a Sphere Knot. And is a kung fu background necessary to benefit from Sifu Moses' kung fu DVD? I've never done swords or kung fu, but his stuff seems to really resonate with the Wuji qigong I've been doing.

Thanks!
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#4 thelerner

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 09:26 AM

Cool weapon. I like how it forces its user to create spirals. I used to collect bokken(wooden katana swords). I have light weight, exotic woods, heavier longer shapes, solid wood and composites. Its interesting how the weight and subtleties of each piece influences how it is used, even within the same kata form.

We'd work out with a long piece of bamboo, then do the same kata out with a long iron pipe. They both have lessons to teach. You needed to respect the heavier weight more. Its balance points were crucial and it could not be rushed. A lighter weapon is so much easier to rush, and if it moves faster then your mind does, its just a pretty whirling thing with no power.

Michael
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#5 el_tortugo

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 09:44 AM

Cool weapon. I like how it forces its user to create spirals. I used to collect bokken(wooden katana swords). I have light weight, exotic woods, heavier longer shapes, solid wood and composites. Its interesting how the weight and subtleties of each piece influences how it is used, even within the same kata form.

We'd work out with a long piece of bamboo, then do the same kata out with a long iron pipe. They both have lessons to teach. You needed to respect the heavier weight more. Its balance points were crucial and it could not be rushed. A lighter weapon is so much easier to rush, and if it moves faster then your mind does, its just a pretty whirling thing with no power.

Michael


Also, the different materials teach different things, along the lines of the five elements. Wood and metal are of course the easiest in this case, but it is interesting to practice near the other elements as well.

The latest weather has afforded me some rather large ice sicles to play around with. As you can imagine you have to move in such a way as to not break it, that is if you don't want to break it.

I imagine twirling fire or some how using a lighted sword or staff would be interesting. What element would a light saber be? Yoda?
"Every calculation, based on experience elsewhere, fails in New Mexico."

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#6 Spectrum

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 12:08 PM

Cool weapon. I like how it forces its user to create spirals.


Rob's the first to say he is spreading a message of "non-bloodshed imagry" through the golden mean. It' funny the paradoxial notions martial artists in general have about movement for health and fighting. Sifu Rob seems to be making progress in a direction away from promoting violence.

Japhy makes a nice observation about it behaving like a souped up tai-chi ruler. Having used a tai chi ruler myself I have to agree, actually taking the Sphere Knot through the same rotations as a tai chi ruler produces an elongated elipse that behaves like a screw, instead of just rotating around a fixed center.

That leads into what I think the biggest difference between Rob's Spiral Fitness sticks and a Tai Chi ruler is... the Golden Mean seems to "suggest" directions and possibilities to me whenever I relax and "feel" for the curve, arc, corner, or spiral that seems to be forming w/ it's use. This seems to be a constant theme, this suggestability of movement.

We'd work out with a long piece of bamboo, then do the same kata out with a long iron pipe. They both have lessons to teach. You needed to respect the heavier weight more. Its balance points were crucial and it could not be rushed. A lighter weapon is so much easier to rush, and if it moves faster then your mind does, its just a pretty whirling thing with no power.


Same thing here. Use a long pipe for forearm and grip strength, seems to teach a healthy respect for keeping in proper relationship to a beefy center of gravity. This has helped my grip strength alot for grappling/etc.

I'm wondering whether one needs a background in sword forms to be able to use a Sphere Knot. And is a kung fu background necessary to benefit from Sifu Moses' kung fu DVD?



I think it's good either way. The DVD on his website (I have a vhs copy) is on Nine Psalms Kung Fu, Rob's system of concept based movements, which I might add DO work well with a Sphere Knot, as I've experimented w/ this myself. As the movements are not form based, but concept and feeling based, I think it's possible for anyone to experiment. Concepts include metaphores such as "Upstream Mantis", "Gyro Mantis", "Line Mantis", etc... there are nine of them. Very creative in my opinion.

Regards,

Spectrum

Edited by Spectrum, 30 January 2007 - 12:15 PM.

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#7 Agni

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 12:40 PM

Oh wow :o

I'm pretty much interested in any form of movement (I do yoga, wing chun and parkour) and that is something I have never seen before.

What an amazing concept!
o.O n a m a s t e O.o

#8 Japhy Ryder

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 05:22 PM

Spectrum, thanks very much for answering my questions so thoughtfully! I'm not interested in "bloodshed imagery" either, and the idea that the Sphere Knot suggests movements rather than prescribing them is very attractive to me. And the Nine Palms video sounds like a wonderful cookbook of recipes for varied, joyful movement. Just my thang. Now all I have to do is decide whether to get the Sphere Knot or the video first!

Did you check out that Frank Forencich link? Here it is again: http://www.goanimal.com/index.html.

Take care. And again, thanks.
Namaste,

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#9 Spectrum

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 05:59 PM

Did you check out that Frank Forencich link? Here it is again:

http://www.goanimal.com/index.html.

Take care. And again, thanks.


Looks like Play is the Way! I'm enjoying reading through the articles! Thanks!

Spectrum
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#10 Japhy Ryder

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 08:32 AM

Spectrum:

You're very welcome. I think Forencich is a freakin' genius. Considering that he's taught martial arts for decades, just imagine how fruitfully he could collaborate with Sifu Moses. Talk about birds of a feather!

By the way, I tried to buy the Nine Palms DVD online, but the PayPal link appears corrupted. I emailed Sifu Rob to let him know.
Namaste,

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#11 Spectrum

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 09:24 AM

Spectrum:
You're very welcome. I think Forencich is a freakin' genius. Considering that he's taught martial arts for decades, just imagine how fruitfully he could collaborate with Sifu Moses. Talk about birds of a feather!


Looks like it works now. Paypal prob maybe? Wonder what would happen if all the creative spirits took flight together. Did you see Robs geometry of flight vid? I'm making up some different versions of the wing and can post my results later this week. Should be areodynamic w/ as lightweight yet strong, composite material instead of the original wood, the arch nemisis of the clubell in the works? Maybe... I can't believe the spirals you can get going off these in the wind. It's like attaching a propeller to your arm!

Keep laughing and playing,

Spectrum
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#12 Japhy Ryder

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 12:42 PM

Sifu Rob very kindly emailed me to confirm the link's working again, so I'll order the DVD soon. I look forward to reading about your experiments with the wing. We've got 30 and 40 mph wind gusts here today, but with temps in the single digits it's a bit too nippy for wing-play.

I've never worked with clubbells, but I remember how popular they were when Scott Sonnon introduced them. At the time, I was still very into Pavel's kettlebells; I owned five of them and could clean and strict-press a pair of 72 pounders (which outweighed me by ten pounds). Lingering aches and pains prompted me to give up kettlebells in favor of John McSweeney's (equipment-less) Tiger Moves and John Peterson's Transformetrics, supplemented by qigong. My joints thank me daily!
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#13 Spectrum

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Posted 05 February 2007 - 01:14 PM

We've got 30 and 40 mph wind gusts here today, but with temps in the single digits it's a bit too nippy for wing-play.


Those conditions sound perfect if you're a polar bear!

... never worked with clubbells, but I remember how popular they were when Scott Sonnon introduced them. At the time, I was still very into Pavel's kettlebells; I owned five of them and could clean and strict-press a pair of 72 pounders (which outweighed me by ten pounds).


The momentum of weight swinging on the end of any line or shaft has a kind of feeling to it for certain. A kind of PRIMAL feeling. Enjoying the articals and am aliking it to the simplicity of alive uninhibited movement.

Seems the natural body mechanics follow elongated arcs when whole body movement is adopted (tai chi or similar somatic principles) Hah in the chi gung form I practice we have apes swings through trees as one of the breathes that swings bag and forth. I believe there is a common movement the women in China do called swinging plum blossoms. Looks like a "him-haw" left and right w/ swinging arms.

Regardless of the general hip and swinging motion, in martial art and I believe in (good) chi gung as well there is intention through the whole including the hand, yet the wrist is relaxed. In golf this translates into the freedom of the forearm to rotate, while keeping the wrist straight. This allows the head of the shaft (the weight on the end of the string) to rotate laterally (L/R) as well as around the pivot of the shoulder and the axis of the waist. In essense power is being transmited along three planes thanks to the wrist turning over. It's called Radial Acceleration. I learned that from A.J. Boner while staying w/ Sei Gung on Kona, basically practicing kung fu by being a hole in one every time! Same complexity (layered not complex, same principles multiplied, expanded and contracted like fractals) of mechanics apply to a good punch or throw I think, a good baseball swing, a good golf swing, ever a cast, utilized the natural mechanics of the wrist turning over.

Although I like the ideas the ancient Indians had w/ their Club training, its still swinging a club around, a primitive experience of sorts, exercising the ability to move through the natural arcs and planes made available by placing that type of "load" on your organism. We're talking about basic human motion here, applied to a variety of man made toys or tools, different balances, different weights types lengths, a lawn mower is different then a sword. A ketttle ball "feels" different then a stafff. There are basic directions and combinations possible based on our perception of the "load" we're integrating mind/body with. T h a t ' s w h y alive training is important.

Now mind you, I think the wind is kind of alive in a way, but others will only apply this principle to their training w/ other people, so for me grappling is a useful way to keep it friendly when I train w/ people who want to compete ala compare themselves to others. Iron sharpens iron. Honestly, I feel like I have so much to learn about myself that if I waste anymore energy competing and not helping others, all the training is for naught.

Lingering aches and pains prompted me to give up kettlebells in favor of John McSweeney's (equipment-less) Tiger Moves and John Peterson's Transformetrics, supplemented by qigong. My joints thank me daily!


More in a bit... gotta eat lunch.
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#14 Spectrum

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Posted 05 February 2007 - 01:46 PM

I converted one of the longer examples of Rob's work into a walking stick. Since I've known Rob every time I open a dialog w/ him concerning the movement of martial art, dance, geometry, etc, he breaks out some new fu toy, then he sends me one to experiment with! So needless to say the first pic below is from the last 5 years of experimenting. I don't know what he was calling the super long ones a Phi Fight I think? Or even if he's making them anymore, but after I put walking cane ends on it, it's the Smartstick to me. Pretty strong looking like pvc, and w/ some fabric tape and rubber cane ends gives it a finished look. I like using it in the water (I live on a river) as it floats and doesn't get water logged. Nice for navigating the rocky bottom too.

The funny thing about it is that as you apply weight to it, it pretty much springs it right down through that arc, and in a way that seems to suggest you hold yourself up a bit better through synergetic connection to the ground through the stick. It's a different sensation then a straight cane, and certainly different then a short bow or staff.

Really I was only using it in the river because there's a nice hole across the way I like to find my way to in the summer to practice tai chi in the water as it meanders by. Here I snapped some pics of the Phi Fight stick:

Thanks again Rob! You're creativity inspires.

Edited by Spectrum, 05 February 2007 - 01:48 PM.

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#15 Spectrum

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Posted 05 February 2007 - 01:57 PM

...

Edited by Spectrum, 09 February 2007 - 06:30 PM.

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#16 Japhy Ryder

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 11:48 AM

Cool stuff, Spectrum. Thanks. That banana looks right at home with those Sphere Knots, Phi Fights, and other toys.

Which qigong form do you practice? The Wuji qigong I do is all about spirals and circles, especially those crossing the body's center line. Swinging Plum Blossoms sounds like one of the warmups I do sometimes (Roger Jahnke calls it Beating The Heavenly Drum).

I just ordered Sifu Rob's kung fu DVD; I figure I'll work with that for awhile, then get myself a Sphere Knot this spring when the snow and windchill are gone.

The wind is definitely alive, and competing definitely wastes energy if it's divorced from learning.
Namaste,

Japhy Ryder

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