Watching Space

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu Resources' started by MattK, Jul 24, 2005.

  1. Kalabora

    Kalabora Valued Member

    Wa Mask Wa

    A R A

    Think you are picking up on intent.

    Though I may be mistaken :Angel:
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2005
  2. Keikai

    Keikai Banned Banned

    Is it me or are you on something, or are you a troll???
  3. bencole

    bencole Valued Member

    Sorry for the delay

    I apologize for my delay in responding. I've actually been out of state for the past two weeks and only had one ten minute window to check email during my time away. Little time for posting....

    First thing I must say is that not everyone agrees with me about the existence of these balls. Dale considers the kukan as tactical space that can take many shapes. I personally SEE BALLS, so I will be answering your questions from my perspective.

    There may be one there. That is the one that I originally said was "easiest" to see for people (and the one that I mistakenly said I differed from Dale).

    There are actually many balls all around you and the opponent, including at least one between the two of you.

    That's just the beginning. The human body, moving naturally, moves along the cusp of a ball. A punch wants to curve naturally, rather than go straight, for example. In this sense, the uke appears to be within a giant hamster ball.

    But as I said, there are more balls than just the one. They vary in size and location. The trick is learning how to create them, and use them to manipulate the body of the uke, rather than manipulating the uke directly. The most difficult to manipulate, for example, is the one that floats about six feet behind the head (just above the head level). It can be used only by the most skilled, for example. I know Soke uses it.

    I usually start students with the "hamster" idea because it is the easiest to grasp. But after that, the hamster idea actually starts to get in the way of learning. I would say that the hamster ball idea is "green belt" stuff, but it can be helpful for people first exposed to this stuff.

    Actually, I disagree. One should be focused solely on controlling the kukan. It's instead better to forget that the opponent is there! :rolleyes:

    Once you control the kukan, the opponent is trivial.

    Last edited: Aug 13, 2005
  4. xen

    xen insanity by design

    ben, interesting that you emphasise that you personally SEE balls in the space of your environment, could you elaborate upon how that perception is experienced from a subjective point of view?

    do you mean SEE as in imagine or visualise?

    or do you mean SEE as in perceive visually?

    (by this i mean that you would SEE it regardless of your wish to see it or is information available in the environment that your retinal-neural system picks up naturally and presents to your conscious mind in the same ways it picks up 'conventional' visual information)

    edit: (i ask because i am currently developing a biologically constrained mathematical model of the neural processing of 'optic flow' and part of the brains method for doing this seems to involve 'watching the space' between salient environmental cues. An insight into the type of conscious experience you mention above could be helpful :))
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2005
  5. bencole

    bencole Valued Member

    Good question. Personally, I *SEE* these balls with my eyes. They are like translucent balls hanging around. It may be because my brain WANTS to see them (rather than something stimulating my retina), but the first time I saw them, it certainly was not because my brain wanted to see them. :D I never even KNEW they were balls, and I certainly never conceived of seeing translucent balls hanging around my opponent before I first saw them. :rolleyes: Quite simple, the day it happened, I said, "Wooooooah!" :cool:

    Sounds a little drug induced, I'm sure, but I won't pretend that these balls don't exist.... That is why my reaction to naysayers on Kutaki no Mura, for example, was: "Give yourself some time. They'll come." Inherent in this answer was the belief that, "How could one NOT see them? They are so obvious." :D

    That's why I so strongly reacted to people retorting my explanations with quips like, "Well, I could use squares, and the same thing would work. It's all tactical space, blah, blah, blah. It's all timing and distancing, blah, blah, blah." Comments like those just told me that these naysayers were not talking about the same thing that I was talking about....

    These balls are certainly NOT any other shape, such as squares or triangles. They are BALLS. They also are not limited solely to the giant hamster ball between two facing opponents (as in conceptualizations of Suigetsu). Finally, they are not merely timing and distancing. They are BALLS! :D

    Granted, one can "learn" to see them, it seems. I got very strange looks from my students when I first started pointing out balls to them and directing them to not walk through them. "How can we avoid things that aren't visible?" they would ask. My reaction was simply, "How can you not see them?!? They are right there!!!" I kinda felt like someone arguing, "Why can't you see that 2 + 2 = 4?" It was very frustrating for everyone all around.

    Eventually, some of my students learned to see them in some form, because they are able to trace their hands across certain "easier" balls. They are still having difficulty with the more strangely located ones (like the one behind the head), but they've felt how they can be used to trivialize the uke.

    It has been very much an experiment for me, I must admit. Based upon my training with Hatsumi-sensei, I have an idea of how things "should" work. Then when I consider the Taijutsu in terms of these balls in manipulation, I have been able to piece together some "maxims" that *SEEM* to hold during training. This is clearly a "theory under construction" as I stumble around a new landscape.

    I have already communicated some of what I've discovered to Hatsumi-sensei and he seemed genuinely pleased. So, I will keep going down this path as I try to map my training in Japan to these concepts.

    I am thoroughly convinced that the ability to manipulate these balls is what will allow someone to move like Soke. It certainly has allowed people in my dojo to do things that they were never able to do before. Some people have derided that comment as preposterous, arrogant, and unlikely. I clearly disagree, and I hope to convince a few others that I am not off my rocker when I do seminars on these concepts in NYC and Texas later this year.

    Hope that helps!

  6. Kalabora

    Kalabora Valued Member

    Me or the guy seeing things? ;)
  7. Lord Spooky

    Lord Spooky Banned Banned

    Er take it you don't know who the "guy who's seeing things" is then??? :eek: :bang: :bang:

    Some how I think Greg was aiming the comment at you!
  8. Kalabora

    Kalabora Valued Member

    Probably because of my strange coded comment on the subject.
  9. Lord Spooky

    Lord Spooky Banned Banned

    well I got the masking Wa bit but av to admit the A R A lost me
  10. Kalabora

    Kalabora Valued Member

    Uhh.. the wa thing had more meaning but the A R A meant Aura, but I don't think that had anything to do with it so you should just dismiss that one. ;)
  11. xen

    xen insanity by design

    ben, yes it does, thanks, it gives me some 'experiential data' to play with and see where it takes me.

    the whole 'watching space' aspect is interesting because of the perceptual shift that is possible once someone breaks the common pattern of regarding 'objects' as the primary focus for attention and moves to appreciate that the presence of an object is in part defined by the space in which it exists.

    the crux of my question you have answered, but as ever, an answer seldoms closes a door, it merely leads to the next logical question. Unfortunately, the next logical question is one that i doubt either of us could answer, but you never know until you ask ;)

    If this gets a bit rambling, i appologise;

    You say that you do actually see these images. Now that could mean one of two things;

    first, that there is within our world, the objective existence of these spheres. They are around us all the time, we move through space and they change form and size and shape accordingly (forgive me if this isn't how they behave, but i am imagining what you can experience, so i don't have direct experience of the phenomena to act as a reference), and that due to training, you have managed to 'attune' yourself to their presence and as such, they are now available for detection by your 'physical' senses.

    second, that these spheres are not 'physically' real in the sense they have an independant and objective existence. However, the relationships and behavior between 'objects' does exist. As a result of your training, part of your brain has 'worked out' just what these relationships represent and has found a metaphor in the visual properties of spheres. Being the survival oriented tool that human brain is, it has incorporated this new awareness into your repetoir the best way it can. As such, your brain superimposes the 'cortical awareness' of these relationships into a language the rest of your body/mind system can interpret and 'ammends' the real-time visual data stream by 'mixing' it with internal signals about these relationships, prior to the visual stream being presented to your 'conscious' awarness of the scene.

    thus, you subjectively feel that you 'see' these spheres, which indeed you do, it is just that the 'seeing' wasn't done by the retina, it was done by your experience and superimposed onto the data from the retina because that is the best and most logical place to allow the information to be integrated and processed by the decision-making centres of the brain.

    i would hazzard a guess that the second case is closer to the truth, based purely on the fact that the perception of these phenomena is described differently by different people who have experienced it.

    Thus, the relationships are there for all to discern, but each individual will develop a neural metaphor based on their own personal attributes and experiences. So although many people may develop the ability to wotk with these changes in perception, each individual will 'SEE' the same event differently.

    I'd be interested to know which explanation 'rings truest' to your personal experiences.

    (of course, there could be 1000 other explanations for all this, but my intuition and the research papers i've been reading lately led me to the hypothesis outlined above).

    does what you post sound drug-induced? not at all from where i'm sat!

    Welcome to my world...i spend all day trying to answer questions like this for a living :D
  12. Kalabora

    Kalabora Valued Member

    I think that one is it. Maybe one of the different dimensions of this world happens before this one due to brain waves or something and he is seeing the after burn of that realm into this one and he is seeing the intentions of the humans before they happen.

    Are these always accurate.

    Dagnabit now you've got me interested guess I'll have to go read MattK's ten 2 foot long post. :bang:
  13. xen

    xen insanity by design

    nice idea, but not the same as what i was suggesting. (doesn't mean its could have it bang on the money)

    i'm am working from the premise that the world is happy with newtons laws and the esoteric's of modern physics needn't concern us at this stage :D

    By this i mean, objects and space continue to behave like objects and space. EM waves from the sun interact with the objects around us and create a visually detectable scene.

    I originally asked ben if he actually saw the spheres to try and work out if they existed as 'subtle objects' in the world around us, or if they were mental suppositions he consciously created to allow him to make better use of the space in his environment.

    His answer did not allow me to make a decision regarding the objective reality of such spheres, but did reinforce the hypothesis i outlined above.

    What i am implying is that over time, our brain works stuff out. It works all sorts of stuff out all the time that we are not aware of.

    As an example, pick an object in front of you up and move it two inches to the left.

    Pretty simple? You have no idea of the complex maths your brain has just performed to calculate the required trajectories for your arm from the visual data coming in from the eyes. Once it's got the trajectories, it needs to translate them into appropriate muscle commands, check in that those muscle resources are available and then sequence the task into the rest of what you are doing right now. And that's a simple task!!!

    Now, in the human mind, anything is possible. You can close your eyes and imagine a dog with two heads, made out of marzipan, talking to a plastic chair who sounds like george bush (the chair, not the marzipan dog).

    You probably won't see that on the 6 o' clock news anytime soon, so we can say that it isn't something that is likely to appear in the 'real' world. But now i've just imagined it, it does have a basis in reality, it exists in my memory.

    In the same way, concepts such as kukan can be very hard to objectively verify to having a 'real' existence. But the testimonies of people such as ben and dale tell us that such abstract concepts can be experienced and worked with.

    My professional interst in this topic comes from how do you define such phenomena from a neuroscientific perspective? If ben's account is genuine (and i am sure it is) and ben is not a season-ticket holder for the happy-bus (the juries still out on this one :D ) and other people have similar personal experiences, (but would express those experiences with different explanations), then their must be some common neural phenomena between them.

    The specifics of how that phenomena manifest in the conscious mind of the individual can clearly be different, but from where i'm sat, those differences seem to be the natural differences in expression that exist between us all, as opposed to being indicative of differences in the underlying mechanisms of the brain.
  14. saru1968

    saru1968 New Member

    I don't remember this fully.

    But i'm sure the eyes take in more info than the brain can interpret, so its entirely possible we 'miss' ben's balls untill we train ourselves to see them.

    I can't see them but i sorta understand where he's coming from, i'll just wait and train, train, train untill i do!

    Last edited: Aug 15, 2005
  15. Kalabora

    Kalabora Valued Member

    Not going to make any jokes about

    I do agree with you on that there are probably a lot of things that the brain misses an example would be the aura. Science has finally acknowledged its existance. Some see it others don't but with training or with the proper conditions (as the scientist would put it) we can all be made to see it.

    I'm enjoying this topic, Xenmaster. :D
  16. bencole

    bencole Valued Member

    Unfortunately, Xen this is the same "question" you presented to me earlier. :rolleyes: Either the balls exist in the real world at all times and I have learned to see them, or my brain is superimposing the idea of balls on the space. Same question. My answer is the same: I honestly do not know.

    It's like arguing about whether ghosts exist. For those who see them (or have experienced them), they are real. For others, it is just games of the mind.

    I'm not qualified to answer either way concerning my balls.... :rolleyes:

    Last edited: Aug 15, 2005
  17. Kalabora

    Kalabora Valued Member

    Yeah, some people see'em some don't. :D :p
  18. xen

    xen insanity by design

    thats why i started using the word 'spheres', i couldn't keep a straight face while i was typing :D


    thats a good point (more info coming into the eyes etc) and one i'm wrestling with.

    the eyes blink a few times a minute, now on the surface this appears to be a maintenance task (clean eyeball etc), but evolution is an efficient beast and when brains are concerned, especially so.

    These natural vision breaks could also be used to let the 'vision buffer' blinking allows time for data to be shunted through the neural circuits (pure speculation on my part, i've yet to scour the literature for any evidence of this)

    also, consider how you physically use your eyes. The focal point is moved in correspondance with the orientation required by the current goal (you generally shift your eyes from one object to the next...we do this because objects create features like edges and contrast and it is these distubances that our neural mechanisms lock on to and process...which is why 'watching space' seems weird at first, you are asking your brain to process what it has evolved to ignore). And you only extract a tiny portion of the available visual info at any one time.

    Now, during training, we are encouraged to develop a 'soft-focus'. We sacrifice detail of a particuar region of the visual field to gain a greater peripheral awareness of the envoronment in front of us. In short, we adjust the filter to let more info into our brain. My guess is that over time this affects the plasticity of neural connections (the ability of the hard-wiring of the brain to change in response to problems presented by the environment) and a 'trained' brain will develop perceptive abilities that appear unnatural to the un-evolved, but are in reality, just a natural shaping of our individual evolution brought about by choosing to train in the art we do.
  19. xen

    xen insanity by design

    there was a the first question i was trying to discern if you had 'visualised spheres' consciously as a way to improve your appreciation of kukan and thus you would then see them.

    your answer clearly explained that you had not attempted any visualisation techniques to become aware of the spheres...that you came to percieve them spontaneously...

    this was a clear answer to the first question...the perception of spheres was due to objective events in the outside world (ie as i am interpreting it, the 'relationships' are the 'object')

    The second question was whether or not the perception of spheres was the natural perception of the phenomena or just your perception of the phenomena...hence my hypothesis about individuals having their own 'neural metaphors' describing the same event.

    i do agree though, it gets quite circular and a nightmare to write unambigously regarding subjects this 'fluffy'

    Thanks for the insight...i hope you never lose your balls ;)
  20. bencole

    bencole Valued Member

    Thanks for the clarification. I see your point now.

    Still, I'm probably not able to give you a clear answer. Don't know whether balls exist all the time or just because I choose to see them now.

    I don't see them regularly when walking about town or anything, if that helps. It may be because I am not looking for them, or that they are irrelevant for my mind to see in contexts outside of "pending violence" against me. That may be enough for you to toss aside H1 for H2 in your second inquiry. I personally could not care either way. They definitely make Taijutsu MUCH, MUCH easier and it has been a lot of fun playing with my balls. :rolleyes:

    My focus now is on whether I can make them appear when they are not visible to me. I've been successful to some degree but certainly nothing like what Soke can do!

    Still trying to hammer down the various maxims, fwiw. Lots of work to do.


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