三元/San Gen/Three Origins


This week we are going to look at what San Gen means in the body, how it functions, and how to begin developing them into Aiki. As previously stated the three origins are:

– Heaven = Force of Gravity – Down Force
– Earth = Force of Solidity – Up Force
– Man = Force of Intent – Utilization.

These are considered GREAT forces and if one thinks about it, even from our twenty-first century point of view, they are still fundamental, foundational, and original forces, that are as relevant today as they were at their inception.

For our immediate purposes, however, we are going to be looking at how to use these forces to create Aiki 2 (Mono axial circular rotation created by Ten,Chi,Jin) in our bodies. Last week I explained how to begin to create Aiki 1 (Linear co-arising oppositional forces created by Ten,Chi,Jin) in our bodies. In truth, this was the beginning of our usage of Ten, Chi, Jin, because without them we couldn’t have done what we did.

We used the force of gravity (Heaven) to allow our tissues and bones to be pulled down to the surface of the earth. We used the force of the solidity of the Earth, communicated through our bones, to create a counter force from which our tissues could hang in tension. This state of dynamic balance of tension in the tissues and compression of the bones was created and sustained through a specific use of (the force of) intent (Man). Here we can see that these three (San) forces were the origin (Gen) of Aiki 1.

This week we are going to take things a step further. We will use the three origins (San Gen) to additionally create Aiki 2. If you haven’t figured it out yet, San Gen are the source of all Aiki.  We will first start with theory and then move on to a simple example of making Aiki 2 in the body.

Theory of Creating Aiki 2 in the Body:

First, take the Aiki #1 line that we created last week and create two equal and oppositional forces perpendicular to the original line.


The line we created last week will begin to rotate about a central axis point. The outer ends of the line draw arcs that meet at 180º making a circle. Voila! Aiki #2, kinda!


It would be so much better if that line was a spoke supporting a wheel that rotated around a central axis point. Then, anywhere a linear force that comes into contact with the rim of the wheel (on the same plane), will be met orthogonally creating a resultant force vector.


Beginning to Create Aiki 2 in the Body:

Okay, let’s do this in our bodies! We will be rotating three lines of Aiki 1:  One line from top of head to the perineum, one line through our femurs, and one line through our lower legs.



This can be rather challenging to do correctly at first.  However, my friend/training partner/student Robert Roeser (He lives in No. Cal., and if you can train with him you should!) borrowed an exercise he used to do as a powerlifter using Louie Simmons West Side method. It is called the Box Squat.

Normally we wouldn’t let our knees drift as far forward is is shown in this example.  Never let the knee move past the toes, and always keep the knees and toes in line with each other.

Now I KNOW what you are thinking! (My mighty Aiki powers allow me to read your puny little mortal minds! Bwah Ha ha!) But, no!  You are wrong in thinking that we are squatting to build strength like everyone else does. If that were the case, Robert would still be over 300lbs and power lifting. Thankfully for his heart, he is no longer that big.  He also hasn’t powerlifted in many years.  BUT he has actually become more powerful (Power = Work/Time), much to the surprise of his power lifting friends!

So here is what you do: you stand up vertically in front of a box placed approximately the length of your femurs behind you. The box should be strong enough to support your weight. Then, without allowing your shins to move forward, you stick your butt back. . . waaaaayyyy back, uncomfortably back, suicidally back. Your shoulders should stay in line vertically with your knees. You will land on your bum on the box with your thighs parallel or slightly less.

This takes practice and development.  If you think it is easy you are almost definitely doing it wrong.  Try it. Use a spotter so that you don’t miss the box. Be sure to have a partner who keeps your knees honest.


To stand up you just reverse the motion.  We shift our mass, and the forces that caused the initial rotation switch directions such that we “fall up.” DO NOT shift yourself forward and push linearly into the ground.  You will want to.  But, that is not Aiki, that is direct opposition and a “normal” squat.

There is no need to lift heavy.  Remember we are not working on contraction.  We just want to manipulate our mass in a particular way.

This exercise does three very helpful things. 1) Since it uses the back power train of the body which is usually underdeveloped, yet potentially the most powerful (including the psoas which we will discuss in a later blog) it causes this area to develop, thereby increasing one’s capacity to support one’s mass via balanced tension.  2) This forces the line of your spine, femurs, and lower legs to rotate around a central axis point, thereby creating Aiki #2 (which will lead to creating Aiki #3.) 3) One is forced by the movement to relax the tissues in the area of the inguinal fold (or “Kua,” the area where the head of the femur meets the pelvis). It is important to both strengthen (increase the capacity of the tissues to hold mass via tension), increase the range of motion of this area, and decrease as much as possible any contraction of tissues in the area thereby allowing force to travel without hindrance from the legs to the thorax and vice versa. Just strengthening is no good for our purposes. Just increasing the range of motion is no good for our purposes. We want a balance of strength (via tension) and range of motion.

Okay? Do this a lot, over a long period of time and you won’t regret it.  And remember what Sagawa said, “You can always do less!”

I want to get to Shi Kon, but before I do that, I want to liven things up a bit!

Next week we will begin to test and measure the capacity of our beginning Aiki #1 and Aiki #2.

Next week’s Blog Post is entitled, “When Push Comes to Shove!”

Public Service Announcement:  It has been pointed out to me that some of my blog posts were a little long and a lot more dense.  For those that know me, this comes as no surprise.  I tend to go from silent, to long winded, and from monosyllabic, to abstrusely complex.  I am trying to strike a balance between palatable reading and meaningful content.  

For those primarily seeking meaning, please understand that my plan is that I will be writing for some length of time. And so, while what I write might not be as comprehensive as some would like it to be now, all together it will hopefully come together as a whole.  I’ve been asked for decades to write a book or more on the various subjects I plan to cover.  I always assumed that I would do that upon retirement.  However, it occurred to me that since none of us knows our length of time on this earth, it might be smart to begin sharing now.  So, these blogs may someday become a book, or they may not.  Either way, I hope that whatever knowledge has been been shared with me can be passed on before my final bow.

For those who like a shorter and more casual read, please feel free to breeze through what I have written at whatever pace suits you.  However, I encourage you to ponder what you have read.  Don’t take my word for anything.  Rather, experiment, observe, come to your own conclusions and be able to defend (know why you think what you do) your conclusions.  And every once in a while, whenever suits, re-visit what you have read and see if your understanding has changed.  I certainly hope it does, seeing as progress IS change.

Finally, please ask questions if you have them.  Questions are not the sign of ignorance. Questions are the symptoms of a thinking, discriminating and inquisitive mind.  I may be able to answer your question to your satisfaction, and I may not.  Either way, we will both be exercising our intellect, and that isn’t such a bad thing after all.

Allen Dean Beebe

三元/San Gen/Los tres orígenes
Esta semana vamos a ver lo que significa San Gen en el cuerpo, cómo funcionan y cómo empezar a desarrollarlos en Aiki. Como ya había dicho los tres orígenes son:
Estas son consideradas GRANDES fuerzas y si pensamos sobre ello, incluso desde nuestro punto de vista del siglo 21, todavía son fuerzas originales, fundacionales y fundamentales, tan relevantes hoy en día como lo fueron al principio.
Para nuestros propósitos inmediatos, sin embargo, vamos a ver cómo usar estas fuerzas para crear Aiki 2 (rotación circular en un solo eje) en nuestros cuerpos. La última semana expliqué cómo empezar a crear Aiki 1 (Fuerzas opuestas lineales que se dan origen mutuamente) en nuestros cuerpos. En realidad, este era el principio de nuestro uso de Ten, Chi, Jin, porque sin ellos no hubiésemos podido hacer lo que hicimos.
Usamos la fuerza de la gravedad (Cielo) para permitir que nuestros tejidos y huesos fuesen arrastrados a la superficie de la tierra. Usamos la fuerza de la solidez de la Tierra, comunicada a través de nuestros huesos, para crear una fuerza opuesta desde la cual nuestros tejidos pudiesen colgar extendidos. Este estado de equilibrio dinámico de extensión en los tejidos y compresión en los huesos se creó y mantuvo a través de un uso específico de la fuerza de la intención (Hombre). Aquí podemos ver que estas tres (San) fuerzas fueron el origen (Gen) de Aiki 1.
Esta semana vamos a llevar las cosas un paso más allá. Utilizaremos los 3 orígenes (San Gen) para crear también Aiki 2. Si aún no te has dado cuenta, San Gen es el origen de todo el Aiki. Empezaremos primero con la teoría y luego veremos un ejemplo sencillo para hacer Aiki 2 en el cuerpo.
Primeros tomemos la línea de Aiki 1 que creamos la última semana y generemos dos fuerzas opuestas equivalentes perpendiculares a la línea original.
La línea que creamos la semana pasada empezará a rotar alrededor de un eje central. Los extremos exteriores de la línea dibujarán arcos que se encontrarán a 180º haciendo un círculo. ¡Voila! ¡Más o menos Aiki 2!
Sería mucho mejor si la línea fuese un radio soportando una rueda que rotase alrededor de un eje central. Entonces, cualquier fuerza lineal que entrase en contacto con el borde de la rueda (en el mismo plano) sería recibida ortogonalmente creando un vector de fuerza resultante.

¡Ok, vamos a hacerlo en nuestros cuerpos! Rotaremos tres líneas de Aiki 1: Una línea desde la coronilla al perineo, otra línea a través de nuestros fémures, y una línea a través de las tibias.
Esto puede ser bastante difícil de hacer al principio. Sin embargo, mi amigo/compañero de entrenamiento/estudiante Robert Roeser (vive en el sur de Californa, ¡si pudieses entrenar con él deberías hacerlo!) tomó prestado un ejercicio que solía hacer cuando era un powerlifter utilizando el método WestSide de Louie Simmons. Se llama la Sentadilla en Caja,
Normalmente no dejaríamos que nuestras rodillas se adelantasen tanto como muestra el ejemplo. Nunca dejes que la rodilla vaya más allá de los dedos, y mantén siempre las rodillas y dedos alineados entre sí.
¡YA SÉ LO QUE ESTÁIS PENSANDO! (¡Mis potentes poderes Aiki me permiten leer vuestras mentes de pobres mortales! –Risa diabólica-) Pero no! Te equivocas si piensas que estamos haciendo sentadillas para crear fuerza como hace todo el mundo. Si ese fuese el caso, Robert seguiría pesando más de 135kg y seguiría haciendo powerlifting. Afortunadamente para su corazón, ya no pesa tanto. No ha hecho powerlifting desde hace muchos años. ¡PERO en realidad se ha vuelto más potente! (Potencia: Trabajo/Tiempo) para sorpresa de sus amigos powerlifters!
Esto es lo que vas a hacer: Te pondrás de pie delante de una caja situada detrás de ti aproximadamente a la distancia de la longitud de tus fémures. La caja debe ser lo bastante fuerte para soportar tu peso. Entonces, sin dejar que tus tibias vayan adelante, saca el culo atrás….muuuucho más atrás, incómodamente atrás, suicidamente atrás. Tus hombros deben permanecer en la misma vertical que tus rodillas. Aterrizarás con el culo en la caja y tus muslos más o menos paralelos al suelo.
Esto necesita práctica y desarrollo. Si piensas entonces definitivamente lo estás haciendo mal. Inténtalo. Utiliza a alguien para que no falles la caja. Asegúrate de tener un compañero que te avise cuando tus rodillas no estén haciendo bien el ejercicio.
Para ponerte de pie simplemente invierte el movimiento. Desplazas tu masa y las fuerzas que causaron la rotación inicial cambian de dirección de maneras que “caes hacia arriba”. NO TE DESPLACES hacia delante ni empujes linealmente el suelo para ponerte de pie. Querrás hacerlo, pero eso no es Aiki, es oposición directa, una sentadilla “normal”
No hace falta levantar pesado. Recordemos que no estamos trabajando en contracción. Queremos simplemente manipular nuestra masa de una forma particular.
Este ejercicio hace tres cosas muy útiles: 1) Ya que utiliza la potencia de la cadena posterior del cuerpo, la cual suele estar subdesarrollada pero es potencialmente la más poderosa (incluyendo el psoas, del cual hablaremos en otro mensaje), hace que esta área se desarrolla, incrementando por tanto nuestra capacidad de soportar nuestra masa a través de un equilibrio de extensiones 2) Obliga a las líneas de nuestra columna, fémures y tibias a moverse alrededor de un eje central, creando por tanto Aiki 2 (lo cual llevará a crear Aiki 3). 3) El movimiento nos obliga a relajar los tejidos en la zona del pliegue inguinal (o Kua, la zona donde la cabeza del fémur se encuentra con la pelvis). Es importante tanto fortalecer (incrementar la capacidad de los tejidos para soportar masa extendiéndose) como incrementar el rango de movimiento de esta área y reducir todo lo posible cualquier contracción de los tejidos de la zona, permitiendo de esta manera que la fuerza viaje sin impedimentos de las piernas al tórax y viceversa. Simplemente fortalecer no es bueno para nuestros propósitos. Simplemente incrementar el rango de movimiento no es bueno para nuestros propósitos. Queremos un equilibrio de fuerza (a través de la extensión) y rango de movimiento.
¿Queda claro? Haz esto un montón, durante un largo periodo de tiempo, y no te arrepentirás de ello. Y recuerda lo que dijo Sagawa: ¡Siempre puedes hacer menos!
Quiero hablar de las cuatro almas, Shi Kon, pero antes de hacerlo, quiero animar las cosas un poco!
La semana que viene empezaremos a testear y medir la capacidad de nuestros emergentes Aiki 1 y Aiki 2.
El blog de la semana que viene se titulará: A la hora de la verdad
Anuncio público: Me han indicado que algunos de mis mensajes son un poco largos y muy densos. Para los que me conocen, esto no es una novedad. Tiendo a ir del silencio a las parrafadas y de los monosílabos a las cosas absurdamente complejas. Intento conseguir un equilibrio entre lectura agradable y contenidos útiles.
Para los que principalmente buscan contenidos, por favor entended que mi plan es escribir durante una buena temporada. Y por tanto, aunque lo que escriba ahora pueda no ser tan completo como a algunos os gustaría, poco a poco irán juntándose como un todo. Me han estado pidiendo desde hace un montón que escriba un libro o varios en los temas que voy a tratar. Siempre pensé que lo haría cuando estuviese jubilado, sin embargo, me di cuenta de que ninguno de nosotros sabe cuánto tiempo de vida le queda y podría ser inteligente empezar a compartir ahora. Entonces, estos mensajes de blog quizá algún día se conviertan en un libro, o quizá no. De todos modos, espero que todo el conocimiento que ha sido compartido conmigo pueda ser transmitido antes de mi último momento.
Para los que les gustan lecturas más cortas y casuales, por favor sentíos libres de leed lo que he escrito a vuestro ritmo sin problemas. Sin embargo, os animo a reflexionar sobre lo que habéis leído No os fiéis de mi palabra. Experimentad, observad, llegad a vuestras conclusiones y sed capaces de defenderlas. Y de vez en cuando, cuando surja el momento, remirad lo que habéis leído y ved su vuestra comprensión ha cambiado. Ciertamente espero que lo haga, ya que el progreso ES cambio.
Finalmente. Por favor haced preguntas si las tenéis. Las preguntas no son una señal de ignorancia, son síntomas de una mente inquisitiva, pensativa y cultivada. Quizá pueda responder vuestras preguntas satisfactoriamente y quizá no. De todas maneras, los dos ejercitaremos nuestro intelecto, lo cual no es tan malo después de todo.

17 thoughts on “三元/San Gen/Three Origins

  1. I’m training with Allen now; this “box-squat”-like exercise is HARD, even for people who can ass-to-grass squat 3x their bodyweight, because turning off as much muscular contraction as possible everywhere in the body to do it (especially when standing back up) is completely opposite of what everyone does naturally.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Sy,

    Thank your for the comment and for training with us. Your observation, “it is completely opposite of what everyone does naturally” is significant. Aiki is almost ALWAYS “completely opposite of what everyone naturally does and/or thinks.” In fact I’d say that is a reliable trait of Aiki.

    This really should come as no surprise either. It explains why Aiki is so unique and why it is so difficult for people to master. Conceptually, it isn’t obvious at all and requires being taught. Even after being taught, we are so used to conceiving of things in a certain manner that we often miss what is explicitly being stated and pointed out. Then there is the catch 22 of not truly having complete comprehension without experience. Finally, there is the process of adaptation that must occur both mentally and physically. One can, and usually does, screw up repeatedly along this process. And, this is simply the acquisition of Aiki, it isn’t applying Aiki to martially relevant skills, nor is it developing one’s Aiki and skills under physical and/or psychological stress. All of that comes later.

    Training in such a way that proper adaptation occurs in the mind/body such that it produces Aiki very difficult to do in isolation and very, VERY unlikely to occur while doing something else at the same time like learning technique or competing. That much IS logical. One proceeds step by step.

    All the best,


  3. Hi Allen,

    Thanks for the post. Really enjoying the posts. Just a criticism: your diagrams are confusing. Are the rotations that are created for Aiki 2 vertical or horizontal rotations?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post! I was a powerlifter and olympic-style lifter in my youth, so I am familiar with the “traditional” box squat, but not sure about the “shift our mass, and the forces that caused the initial rotation switch directions such that we ‘fall up'” portion of this one. Can you post a video clip so I can get a better idea?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank You very much. I have read all of your blog. This is the stuff that was allways missing for me. Thank you for sharing your knowledge….. It would be nice to actually see this exercise, and othes to come 🙂 done on a video so we could see it and corret mistakes…. although… I’ve done it a few times and ALREADY GOT IT …. hehhhe… only joking.
    Best Regards

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jose,

      Thank you for your encouraging words. It is rewarding to know that my efforts are beneficial. I’ve written about posting video in another response. I’m going to try to satisfy that request, although I don’t know how much good it will do. Aiki is the manipulation and dynamic balance of the forces of gravity, solidity of the earth, and mind. Consequently it is real, but it is invisible. Anytime we conceive of Aiki as an “outer” movement, we mislead ourselves. Nevertheless, we all start with “outer” movements and work our way to understanding. Video will be particularly helpful when I get around to sharing Shirata’s exercises.

      I’m glad to hear you gave it a try and “got it.” Now teach me! 😀

      Take care,
      Allen Dean Beebe


  6. Hi Jason,

    Thank you for your question! As far as posting a video clip goes, I am working on it.. It costs me money to post here, but I received a tip from a kind Facebook follower suggesting I use Vimeo and then just post a link here. I’ll look into that.

    To be honest, I don’t think the video will demonstrate what I said earlier about standing. The changes, while profound and real, are not visible on the outside. So when I post two standing vids (one correct, one incorrect) and two box squat vids (one correct, one incorrect) both will look identical. (And I’ll probably receive criticism for that! But whatever . . . )

    Nevertheless, given your experience, I bet I can help you understand from a distance. First off, when I say, “putting the tissues in tension” this often refers to an eccentric contraction. I didn’t put that in the blog posts because I thought it would further confuse an already confusing explanation. As you no, negatives are always stronger than concentric contractions. They are also, less dangerous, more efficient and recommended for older adults. Part of this technology is turning every movement into a negative.

    On the downward portion of the squat, you should feel as if the bottom of your foot is being pushed backward. It doesn’t move due to friction of course. On the upward portion of the squat, the bottom of your foot should feel as if it is being pushed forward. Again it doesn’t move due to friction.

    In a normal squat the feeling on the feet is usually pure compression because we try to keep our mass in a static state. But on ours, when I go down, I let my mass shift subtly forward. And when I go up, I let my mass shift subtly backward. So, in one rep my mass travels in a circle (more like an oval.) The shift in mass comes from moving my dantian if that makes any sense to you.

    Here is a bit more explanation: Say you squat down half way and then start to fall forward. It is possible you fall forward your body elongates. You could do the same backwards. If you mix the two there could be a net elongation upward due to the balance of forward and backward “falls.”

    Also, if you look at the acute angles formed by the body, on the way up I express force from the vertices outward where there is no resistance, one the way downI express force from he vertices inward where there is no resistance. Never do I try to express force force vertically against the solidity of the earth, or against gravity.

    Screw around with it. I’m certain you can figure it out!

    In the mean time, I’ll work on pics and vids for what that is worth.

    All the best,

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I find it helpful if you do not think of using your powerful quads to go up, but think of opening your kua. Likewise, think of slowly closing your kua going dow. Doing so, you can feel the tissue in tension, and the pressure on the feet are as you mention.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for adding that Hiroshi,

    Even for powerlifters the emphasis is on the back power train. So that means the hamstrings, glutes,etc. This applies for us as well. The load primarily falls to the back. However, we put an emphasis on using tissues in tension and not in contraction and powerlifters are not concerned with that distinction.

    I like the box squat precisely because it forces one to use the kuas in the manner you described. I would add one word of caution however. Usage of the kuas are passive rather than active. In other words, one does not actively move tissue in the kuas area. Rather one intentionally creates the conditions where the tissues in the kua area are allowed to move. There is movement of the head of the femur relative to the pelvic bone. But this movement is created by activity occurring above and below the are of the kua. It is the same with the upper kuas. There is movement in the head of the humerus, but that movement is not generated at the head of the humerus, it is created above and below that area.

    Actually, we are beginning to describe Aiki #3, But I didn’t want to get into that just yet.

    In some ways this is all very easy and logical. Eccentric contraction is much stronger than concentric contraction, so we use it. Back power train is much stronger than front power train, so we use it. Mechanically efficient whole body generated power is much more powerful that mechanically inefficient segmented body generated power, so we use it.

    One note of caution though, in time one can begin to generate far more power than one would be capable of handling conventionally. This is great, BUT if one screws up and one’s old habituated methods of handling force jump in to “save the day,” one will very likely experience injury. Will happen for the simple reason that the “correct” method of body usage can generate and support far more force than the conventional (incorrect) method can. That is usually the reason one sought it in the first place.

    Also, in time the amount of power one can generate and/or support as a matter of course, will become disproportionate to others. One will not likely be aware of that disproportion since one does not feel it. This can become problematic if one is not aware of it. It can also be misinterpreted by others. For example while you feel as though you are not applying any force at all, others may feel as though you are applying a frightening amount of force. It would take them a great deal of effort to generate the same amount of force, so they assume you must be putting forth the same amount of effort and therefore must be aware of the situation and be creating it intentionally.

    Most individuals are far from this point of concern, but with consistent and thoughtful practice it can be arrived at and one should be aware of it.

    Shirata sensei used to say that one should get to the point where one is constantly and consistently “holding back” one’s power so as not to injure others to the point that one feels as though they are handling a child. Only then will one’s power be sufficient in a conflagration, and at that point a conflagration is far less likely to occur.

    Thank you again for your addition Hiroshi! This stuff often has to be explained repeatedly and in various ways and then, if we are lucky, every once and a while we go, “Ohhhhhhhh, that is what so and so meant when he/she said xyzzy!” And then when we try to explain it in our own words we think, “Hmmmm, well I would say “xyz!” Oh wait, that is exactly what he/she said!”

    And so it goes . . .


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